Dear Philosophical Atheist,


Is truth learned from the top down, or from the bottom up?

The more I hear your arguments, the more I realize that your conclusions are based upon philosophy. You will say that it is based upon facts, but the facts can be looked at in many different ways. There are legitimate arguments on various sides of the issue that you ignore, and there are legitimate arguments on your side of the issue that others ignore. Evolution and Intelligent Design are philosophies, ways of looking at facts. Even if you decide that you only know what you personally witness, you still have to interpret those facts, and who knows if you get it right? Is a man sitting on a bench talking to himself or is he talking to God? Even if we get the man’s input, that conclusion is still left up to us. Interpretations run wild in this world. Those of us who trust in God don’t give up our reason. Our reason is rather guided on a particular course. Do you really think that you have no need for a God who can instruct us in true reality, when you aren’t even sure of your own interpretations?

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37 thoughts on “Dear Philosophical Atheist,

  1. Wow Bob, that was very articulate. Count me impressed. Daniel, good luck with your search for answers!

  2. Socratically speaking, we must disclose “what god is” before any discourse can be rendered. Until such time, it remains in the realm of “theological non-cognitivism–meaning, the the word “god” is arbitrary at best.

  3. i think your right in the sense that we’re all just looking at the facts. however, some of us are looking at the facts and drawing conclusions based on them, and others are fabricating conclusions–in spite of the facts. it’s somewhat deceptive for you to throw two hypotheses like evolution and intelligent design up there as if they are equate, considering one has been substantiated by the scientific method and the other, proven wrong.

    1. “however, some of us are looking at the facts and drawing conclusions based on them, and others are fabricating conclusions–in spite of the facts.” Which fabrications are made in spite of those “facts” and what are the conclusions that you say are “drawn” from the facts? I’d bet we’d find the “facts” you speak of are actually the very “conclusions” that you claim are drawn from the facts. I assume this because, simply, facts are facts. Any conclusions made from them are conclusions made from the facts. Some conclude this. Some conclude that. Who will tell us which conclusion is the right one? You claim the opposite is a fabrication. Would you outline those fabrications? Or at least one?

      It is that you claim one interpretation of the facts to be a “‘fabrication’ in spite of the facts” that makes me think your “facts” are really just “conclusions.” I may be wrong.

      “considering one has been substantiated by the scientific method and the other, proven wrong.” What in science has substantiated the one? I would like to know how the other was proven wrong. I am particularly interested in that.

  4. “some of us are looking at the facts and drawing conclusions based on them”

    I think you’re missing the point here. How can you verify that your viewing the facts the right way? All of us have a bias. Are you the one person that has an objective perspective in the world? Are you saying that there is only one interpretation of the facts? That sounds a lot like a religious claim.

    1. i think we all can have an objective perspective of the facts…or at least an “objective enough” definition of the facts to define reality by corroborating it with logic and experimentation. to say evolution is real is not a religious claim, since it has been verified by the scientific method. to say evolution is not real, however, is a religious claim because because of all the overwhelming evidence against it. like you said, we have these things called facts… and you can come to a conclusion that agrees with the facts, or you can make something up which disagrees with the facts, which would be a religious claim.

      1. Here is some evidence against evolution. If there is a coherent argument against it, then there is legitimacy on the other side of the issue. The following is not a religious claim (click here for the source):

        Evolution relies upon mutation, but are there any documented cases of a good mutation? Some mutations manage to escape the normally functioning repair process, and these accumulate throughout life. Some scientists have proposed that aging and death are the result of such unrepaired mutations. It is hard to imagine that anyone could find something good to say about unrepaired mutations — except evolutionists. Evolutionists, you see, believe that mutations (and indeed death itself) are absolutely essential for the chance evolution of all living organisms, including man! The reason for this, as evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky points out, is that “the process of mutation is the only known source of the new materials of genetic variability, and hence evolution.” (American Scientist 45:385) Thus evolutionist Carl Sagan could say in his book, The Cosmic Connection, “we (humans) are the products of a long series of biological accidents.”

        Are biological accidents (mutations) up to the task that evolutionists claim for them? Are there any known examples of unquestionably “beneficial” mutations? Ironically, the primary textbook example of a “good” mutation is one that causes the disease sickle cell anemia! This mutation of blood hemoglobin is considered “good” because people who have it (and survive it!) are more resistant to the disease malaria. The symptoms of this “good” mutation include: acute attacks of abdominal and joint pain, ulcers on the legs, defective red blood cells, and severe anemia — often leading to death. One can only imagine what the “bad” mutations are like! No wonder that H. J. Mueller, who won the Nobel prize for his work on mutations, said:
        “It is entirely in line with the accidental nature of mutations that extensive tests have agreed in showing the vast majority of them detrimental to the organism in its job of surviving and reproducing — good ones are so rare we can consider them all bad.” (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 11:331)

        The unquestioning faith of evolutionists in the occurrence and beneficial effects of “good” mutations is sustained despite overwhelming evidence against it. In his book Genetics and the Origin of Species, Dobzhansky admits that mutations arising both in the laboratory and in natural populations typically produce deterioration, disease, and monstrosities. He even concedes that “such changes it would seem, can hardly serve as evolutionary building blocks.” Yet in his book Mankind Evolving, Dobzhansky insists that, “This is not inconsistent with the recognition that useful mutations did occur in the evolutionary line which produced man, for otherwise obviously, mankind would not be here.”

        Evolutionists have to fabricate a history that’s not backed up by first hand evidence. Sounds like faith, a previous bias, a naturalist philosophy, and it’s very close to a religious claim.

      2. “since it has been verified by the scientific method.” Actually it is not verified by the scientific method. It cannot be observed or tested. It is therefore science fiction, not science. The “science” done about it is simply adding to the story. It uses new anecdote to support old anecdote. In other words, it happened that way because that’s the only way that they can imagine it to have happened if there is no God. Therefore, it MUST have happened that way because, as evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin put it, “we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”

        If God is the key, atheists are trying to pick the lock.

  5. Daniel, can you tell us what it would take to convince you that your beliefs are wrong with regard to the existence of the biblical God?

    I guess what I would like to know is if there is any evidence – scientific or historical, that would persuade you that your beliefs concerning your Gods existence are wrong.

    I feel like I have to keep asking this question in a different manner so as to cover any possibility of you saying that it is a faulty or unanswerable question.

    It seems that it is not enough for the scientific or historical evidence to be against many biblical claims. For you will just accuse non believers of not “viewing the facts the right way”. In your mind the battle has been won by you before it even begins if you have already determined that nothing will persuade you that your beliefs are incorrect.

    Can you think of what convinced you, how ever long ago, that Jesus arose from the dead? I think Christianity hinges on that one claim, yes?
    So what was it that convinced you that the biblical claim of Jesus resurrection was true? If you can identify that, then you should be able to tell us what would convince you that the story of Jesus resurrection is probably a myth.

    Let me see if I can help with the second part:

    1 – You are probably like me in that if a friend comes to you with a claim of someone being dead (actually medically dead), and laying around the funeral home for a few days, then they suddenly get up and walk out, like me you would be doubtful and would require more than just their word that it happened. Agreed?

    2 – Like me, you probably discount any and all resurrection stories from other religions. You probably would agree with me that they are probably ancient religious myths. Agreed?

    3 – Like me, you probably have not heard of any modern, medically substantiated incidents of a person being dead, and then becoming alive again. Agreed?

    Of course, you may disagree with me on all three points, but if I am correct in these assumptions, then we, you and I, use the same reasoning with regard to resurrection stories. Just like you and I use the same reasoning when we drive down the road, balance our check books, or determine if the lunch meat in the fridge has gone bad. But for some reason, with regard to the resurrection story of your God, you stop using the same reasoning ability. You suspend it. I continue using the same reasoning, but you stop.

    I guess my point, or the point I am trying to make is this – If you and I use, for the most part, the same reasoning when we judge the validity of any number of religious or supernatural claims from all around the world, but with regard to the religious claims that you believe, you cease using the same reasoning, shouldn’t that send a signal to you that your perspective is probably distorted – not mine, but yours?

    If the judge wants me to be guilty, what chance do I have of being found innocent? Wouldn’t you agree that his judgment with regard to my guilt or innocence can not be trusted?

    If you want the Jesus resurrection story to be true, what chance is there that you will find anything that I offer, as a good reason for doubting the resurrection story?

    Daniel, your judgment in the matter of your religious beliefs can not be trusted until you have no desire one way or the other. As long as you want to be right there is nothing that will convince you that you are wrong.

    I read a while back of a person asking the apologist William Craig, if it was sufficiently proven to him that Jesus did not rise from the dead, would he give up his Christian faith. It was reported that he said “No”.

    That is where we are at. If you can’t identify anything that would convince you that your beliefs are wrong, then truly, we are wasting a lot of time here at The Search For Truth blog, for Daniel, you are not searching for truth, you are only searching for more confirmation that what you already believe, is true.
    My guess – you will always find it.

  6. Bob,

    A while back we started a conversation about truth and if we can know it. I was remiss about replying to you but I think it’s appropriate that I do so now, since you seem intent upon trying to get me to see I am wrong. I think the only way we can know truth is through faith. When we are young we have faith in our parents. We obey them (hopefully) because they love us and they show us how life is, and what it should be. As we get older we put faith in our teachers trusting that they are authorities on Mathematics, Science, English, and so on. Each time we learn we take on faith the things they teach us because we have no first hand knowledge of the things they relate to us. However, there is a time to learn what others teach and a time to gather knowledge for yourself. In the multitude of counselors there is wisdom. In the process of seeking wisdom we reject “faulty” wisdom. (whether it is faulty we are not sure) We begin to have faith in ourselves that we have the capabilities to understand the right ways of life. At this point, two types of people emerge. The first is a person who begins to find the answers of life within himself, picking himself up by the bootstraps, so to speak, creating his own meaning and purpose. He has faith in himself. The other man perceives that his own reason has limitations and is therefore inadequate to get the answers needed. Since he perceives that the human experience is common to all, he looks for answers outside of humanity (something like God).

    What is the difference between a man who has faith in himself and human teachers, and the man who puts his faith in God? Both of them have faith, but the object of their faith is different. What are the outcomes?

    The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish. His self is the highest form of life he can find. He creates his own meaning, his own reality, his own purpose, his own morality. Essentially he is his own property. He can do with himself what he wants. The obstacles to this, however, are others and laws of society. He respects others because he chooses to but he may not choose to if he wishes. As his self grows in value, he can reason anything he wants. He eventually does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone it was for a good reason. If he commits suicide he is only hurting himself and it is just fine because he is his own property. If he hurts others it can be justified. (Certainly all of us justify bad things we do before we do them) Reasons exist to respect other’s “property”, but reasons also exist that justify the disrespect of other’s “property”. The choice is his. He is the judge and jury. Most everyone will not take it this far. They adopt this philosophy in moderation. Here lies harmony with the rest of men. However, this philosophy taken to the end of itself can lead to the destruction of self and others and it’s perfectly reasonable.

    The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless. God is the highest form of life he can find. In understanding God’s identity, he realizes his own identity, and derives from God his meaning, reality, purpose, and morality. Essentially, he is God’s property. He can do with himself what he wants, but he gives his self away to the Self of God. In this act, a new self emerges that naturally follows the character of God. He respects others because they are God’s property, and we are all tenants, so to speak. He does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone he goes against God’s character. If he commits suicide he is destroying God’s property. If he justifies hurting others, he must ignore God’s laws. (Certainly, all of us justify bad things we do before we do them) Reasons exist to respect God’s property. Reasons not to respect God’s property are faults of our mind. The choice is still the man’s choice, but God is the judge and jury. Most everyone will not take this as far as it will go. We don’t like to give up our selves. We adopt this philosophy in moderation. However, herein lies contention with men, God, and self. This philosophy taken to the its end can lead to the destruction of self and the replacement of a new self created by God.

    Your questions of Jesus hinge upon whether God exists or not. If he does exist then it is reasonable to believe he was and is able to do the things you talked about. If he does not, then it does not matter what Jesus did. Jesus begins to matter when I give God all of myself, all my desires, my past, what I have become, what I will be, and all my mistakes. Jesus then is the conduit through which I come to God.

    “I guess what I would like to know is if there is any evidence – scientific or historical, that would persuade you that your beliefs concerning your Gods existence are wrong.”

    Evidence to me is a secondary issue, since men cannot help but add their own bias to it. Furthermore, I would have to put faith in them to tell me the truth. I, being a man that tells lies to myself and others, do not trust other men that far. For me to stop believing in God, I would have to forget every experience I ever had with him, and lift my self up above him. I don’t like the end of that philosophy.

    “If you can’t identify anything that would convince you that your beliefs are wrong, then truly, we are wasting a lot of time here at The Search For Truth blog, for Daniel, you are not searching for truth, you are only searching for more confirmation that what you already believe, is true.
    My guess – you will always find it.”

    Is not the evolutionist claim of exclusivity just as one-sided as the claim of exclusivity of truth indicated by the claim of God’s existence? Yet, the religious one is called the bigoted claim. It is true that we all search for evidence that backs up our claims. But, I have evaluated my philosophy and your’s, and I choose mine as the better one. I respect your opinions and none of what you have said has been dismissed lightly. However, I am not here to convert you or prove your claims wrong. I don’t think I can do that. But, I am here to challenge your beliefs, to test them and see if they tend toward life or death. I think every philosophy taken to its logical end will show you whether it’s good or bad.

    1. Hi Daniel,

      You said:

      “The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish.”
      “The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless.”

      Please tell us about one of each of these kinds of men that you have met or read about that leads you to believe this. No names are necessary, although that would be helpful. I’m curious if this is one of your “well I never met them but I believe this to be true” situations.

      Thanks.

      1. You need a story for this? Dissect the logic and disprove it that way. Why do I have to provide the answers for you? You must find it easier to make a disparaging statement than to do some research.

      2. Hi Daniel,

        Why do you have to provide the answers? Well, I am not claiming that I have met anyone who would lead me to believe that your statements are true. You are the one who said it as if it were an established fact, so I am curious as to how you reached that conclusion. If all of your statements are not intended to be true, but are rather philosophical, despite the fact that you don’t present them as merely thoughts, but as ideas that are true, well, that explains a lot. If you are expecting every thing you represent as fact to be taken with no question, then you should not address your letters to me.

        Thanks.

  7. Well, I gave it a try.

    “Is not the evolutionist claim of exclusivity just as one-sided as the claim of exclusivity of truth indicated by the claim of God’s existence?”
    The difference between you and me, or between your reasoning and my reasoning – I can be persuaded that I my view is wrong – you can not be persuaded that your view is wrong.

    “…since you seem intent upon trying to get me to see I am wrong.”
    I do not know if you are right or wrong, with regard to your God’s existence. But I suspect that your reasoning is faulty. I reiterate – If you and I use, for the most part, the same reasoning when we judge the validity of any number of religious or supernatural claims from all around the world, but with regard to the religious claims that you believe, you cease using the same reasoning, shouldn’t that send a signal to you that your perspective is probably distorted…?

    “A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports that myth.”
    – Edward de Bono

    I wish you could see that I am not arguing against your conclusions as much as I am against your reason for coming to your conclusions. If we approached all of life’s situations with the same reasoning that you (believers in general) approach their faith, progress would die on the vine.

    “The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish.”
    “The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless.”

    I know you believe this, but unfortunately, as with much of what you believe, you believe it based on what you have been taught, rather than what you have experienced. To put it in simple terms – this is a lie.
    I could march out instance after instance, example after example of Christian ministers who are anything but selfless. I have personally sat in their churches, and I have observed them on TV.
    I can drive by most of the 180+ churches that are in my yellow pages, and I can easily judge by the opulence of the building and the year, make, and model of the cars in the parking lot, that the believers inside are anything but selfless. I know hundreds of Christians. As much as you would like to believe they are different, they, and you are no different. You believe you are, but in reality, that is the only difference – what you believe.
    Can you explain why my disabled, unemployed friend, who is a Christian, can’t find anyone to help him move his belongings from his storage unit to his house, so I, an atheist, am going to borrow a truck and spend a second day, (a day that I desperately need to be working) moving stuff for him? Please explain how that matches up to what you believe.

    Daniel, what do you call a person who spreads misinformation and repeats lies?

  8. “you believe it based on what you have been taught, rather than what you have experienced.”

    With regard to my comparison of the two philosophies, I have not been taught this, I observed it through my experiences. And I have already explained that men follow the Christian philosophy in moderation. They don’t take it to its logical end in their lives. Men also follow the naturalist philosophy in moderation, not following it to the logical end. I explained to you that Christians are selfish when they don’t follow God like they should, and you proceed to give me examples Christian selfishness expecting it to invalidate the philosophy. It still doesn’t make the philosophy any less effective. I focus on philosophy, you focus on men. You focus on the badness of men, I focus on the goodness of the philosophy. Of course men will fail you. Maybe that’s why you can’t see the logic behind the reason I talk about. Stop using men as your yardstick, and focus on the validity of the philosophy. Men not always match up 100% with their philosophies.

  9. The problem with that though, is that as christians you are representative of your God. I say “your” but he used to be mine too. I stopped believing after I moved out of my parents house.However , my God would not discriminate between religions, promote discrimination toward gay people, tell people who in areas where HIV is rampant not to wear condoms(catholic), allow children to be raped/ “married” to much older men(mormonism), suicide bombing, the dark ages woudn’t have lasted so long, explorers of the new world wouldn’t have killed the “savages” for being godless,etc. You can’t discount all of that.You might try to argue that these people are extremists who do not represent their religion, but these are people who literally follow religious teachings. I sat on the fence a long time with this one believing I could take away from it the core concepts of christianity, I eventually realized that I had to either believe all of it, or none of it. I couldn’t cherry pick the concepts I liked and disregard the rest. It doesn’t work. I also couldn’t reconcile with treating people how the Bible thinks they aught to be treated. Especially as a woman, this idea that I should submit to my husband. That gay people are an abomination. The Bible actually teaches that stuff. The Bible actually teaches that we should not have any other Gods, what does that mean for other religions then? Is it like a lottery game? The biggest factor for which religion you choose is simply geography. That’s it. I don’t have a problem with people believing differently except that you all vote on things that affect me based off of these beliefs. I also think that you should not underestimate people’s ability to live full lives and feel empathy for other people. Many athiests have a great desire for both of these things based off of the knowledge that you only get to live once. Wouldn’t that thought make you want to make the best of it? I’m sorry, if this came across harsh, you seem like a nice person and a good critical thinker. Cheers!

  10. Hi Daniel,

    How do Christians who consider evolutionary theory to be correct fit into your “atheist = evolution”/ “Christian = creationism” boxes, which seem to be the only two boxes that exist for you?

    Thanks.

  11. Hi Daniel,

    You said: Do you really think that you have no need for a God who can instruct us in true reality, when you aren’t even sure of your own interpretations?

    It seems to me that one of your most constant themes is that the only time you think it is correct to trust your own interpretations of reality is when you are interpreting the reality of your god.

    Thanks.

  12. Daniel – “The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish.”
    “The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless.”

    Daniel – “With regard to my comparison of the two philosophies, I have not been taught this, I observed it through my experiences.”

    No you haven’t. You believe this is supposed to happen, so you ignore, rationalize, or make excuses when you observe that it is not working as you believe it should.

    Daniel – “Maybe that’s why you can’t see the logic behind the reason I talk about. Stop using men as your yardstick, and focus on the validity of the philosophy. Men not always match up 100% with their philosophies.”

    You are making a claim –
    “The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish.”
    “The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless.”
    If your claim is false, it is not because I expect too much, it is because your claim is false. You can learn form this…or not.

  13. Daniel, try to see the contradiction in your reasoning. You said -“The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless.”

    I then point out my observations of men who put their faith in God, and how they do not appear to be living up to your claim of selflessness.

    You then suggest that I need to – “…Stop using men as [my] yardstick, and focus on the validity of the philosophy.”

    Basically what you are asking me to do is accept your claim as “logical” without doing any investigation of your claim. The only way I can accept your claim as logical is to observe it in action, which is to observe those who put their faith in God to see if they live up to your (incredibly vague) claim. That should be straight forward. But when I report my findings to you, you tell me to “…focus on the validity of the philosophy”, which is completely useless if my observations of the philosophy in action show that the philosophy doesn’t seem to work as you claim it works.

    Perhaps I claim that all atheists will “eventually become” happy. My claim is equally as vague and equally as false as your claim, and if you point that out to me, I could respond just as you do – stop looking at atheists, just look at the “philosophy”.

    What else can I say?

  14. Hi Daniel,

    That does not follow. You would be more correct to say that you should stop saying that all Americans live a more fulfilling, transcendent life because we have laws, even if we don’t always follow them.

    Thanks.

  15. Daniel, I don’t know how to make my point any clearer. I have not tried to encourage you in any way to “give up” your belief in Christianity.
    All I have tried to do is point out that your statement(s) concerning the behavior or morality of Christians is false.
    All I have tried to do is point out that your beliefs concerning the “selflessness”, or eventual selflessness(?) of Christians are based only on your beliefs, not on actual observable actions on the part of Christians.

    But, it’s obviously time for me to cease my efforts.

  16. Bob and Puzzled in Peoria,

    I developed a Christian statement and an Atheist statement. You have rejected both and that’s fine. What I would like is for you to logically tear them apart. I acknowledge the inconsistency of men in relation to their philosophies. I have travelled mentally down both philosophical paths and theorized about the end of both. In my mind, there is truth in both statements concerning selfishness and selflessness. Very rarely does anyone travel practically to the end of either of the philosophical paths. Peter Singer is someone who does travel to the end, and his morality makes it easier to distinguish between Christianity and Atheism. I believe that most of the time Atheists travel partway down the Atheist philosophy while borrowing likable parts from the Christian philosophy.

    Instead of staying on the offensive declaring me to be wrong, I would like you to go on the defensive and prove logically that I am wrong, or at least misguided. Please don’t just use the behavior of men as the only evidence to support your opinions.

    1. Rebuttal.

      The man who puts faith in himself empathizes with others, and seeks to treat them as he would like to be treated. He eventually becomes selfless.

      The man who puts his faith in God wonders why people who are not as religious as he is get to live a life of happiness and fulfillment without having to continually remind themselves that they are worthless scum who only exist through the conditional benevolence of a being who had so little empathy that he felt it moral to manufacture and kill his own son in order to make himself feel better about the worthless scum he invented to worship him. He eventually begins to wonder why he is not getting the return on his investment that he deserves. He can’t understand how people can fail to believe the way he does. And all of his attempts to convince them that they are worthless scum just like him fail. This erodes his empathy, eventually causing him to become selfish.

      1. “The man who puts his faith in God wonders why people who are not as religious as he is…”

        First of all, you are confusing an inward belief with an outward act. There are core beliefs and then there is religion. Religion is just a group of people who think they should live a certain way because of their core beliefs. The minute you take your eyes off of God and put it on people you will stop being selfless and journey toward self more and more.

        “get to live a life of happiness and fulfillment”

        People can live a full and happy life without God. I’m not denying this. If God exists, living a good life isn’t what gets you to heaven, and it will never bring you closer to God. Good works from a flawed motivation and a flawed way of life cannot reach a perfect God.

        “without having to continually remind themselves that they are worthless scum”

        God gives us worth. Our lives on earth are temporal. Defining yourself in the light of the eternal gives more meaning than a temporal meaning can supply.

        “who only exist through the conditional benevolence of a being who had so little empathy that he felt it moral to manufacture and kill his own son”

        No greater love can any man possess than this: that a man would lay down his life for his friend. Considering that humanity continually rebels against him, I would have to qualify his benevolence as unconditional because of what he did.

        “in order to make himself feel better about the worthless scum he invented to worship him.”

        He made us better than we are right now. We have degenerated because of our rebellion. He gave us choice. With choice comes undesired outcomes. But, with choice, also comes a group of people who chose to love you when they could have chosen not to. Those are the kind of people I want around me.

        “He eventually begins to wonder why he is not getting the return on his investment that he deserves.”

        That’s why Jesus lived a life completely right, because we were not able to. Now God views us (those who God has saved) as he views his son. Jesus was our substitute.

        “He can’t understand how people can fail to believe the way he does.”

        Are you changing the object of the pronoun here? I think the “He” you are referring to is the Christian now. If he does this, he is taking his eyes off of God and onto people once again. This leads to comparison of yourself against others. Again, this lifting self up.

        “And all of his attempts to convince them that they are worthless scum just like him fail.”

        The Christian knows that God loves everyone and gives each of his own children eternal meaning. The stark reality is that people must realize they are in need of help before they can trust God for that help.

        “This erodes his empathy, eventually causing him to become selfish.”

        This is true if he concentrates on people, and forgets that his primary concern is relationship with God. He must learn to love others as God loves them.

  17. Daniel, I believe I have proved, logically, that you are at the very least, misguided.

    I have to use the behavior of men (Christian men) as evidence against your claim because you made a claim concerning the behavior of men, both Christian and non-Christian.

    “What I would like is for you to logically tear them apart.”
    I have done this. Go back and re-read my comments in this thread.
    You made an unsubstantiated and vague claim about the conflicting behavior and/or morality of Christian and atheist men. You have done very little in attempt to rebut my counter arguments, but have simply waffled, and now are asking for…what…I have no idea.

    I have logically argued against your claims. I can’t do any more than that.

    “I believe that most of the time Atheists travel partway down the Atheist philosophy while borrowing likable parts from the Christian philosophy.”
    An example would be helpful in understanding what “likable parts from the Christian philosophy” you are talking about.

  18. Perhaps I used the wrong word to describe what I perceive, but here is what I perceive –

    You – “The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless.”

    Me – “I could march out instance after instance, example after example of Christian ministers who are anything but selfless.
    I can drive by most of the 180+ churches that are in my yellow pages, and I can easily judge by the opulence of the building and the year, make, and model of the cars in the parking lot, that the believers inside are anything but selfless.

    You – “Stop using men as your yardstick, and focus on the validity of the philosophy.”

    You gave me an example of the philosophy of Christian men in action (selflessness), yet when I point out that my observations of Christian men in action indicates that your claim is not valid. You then basically tell me that my observations are not necessary.

    The problem is, your argument was not a philosophical one. It was an argument concerning the actions and/or morality of Christians, not their beliefs. If your argument had of been purely philosophical, you should have said something to the effect of – “The man who puts his faith in God eventually believes that he, and other Christians should become selfless”.

    I would not have a single argument against that philosophical statement.

    Your claims concerning Christians and atheist was not philosophical, but claims concerning the actual action and/or morality of the two groups. You gave me no choice but to counter your claims by my testimony of actual observations.

    What I find interesting and incredibly frustrating is that, in my last comment, besides quoting you, I wrote 12 sentences. You respond concerning my use of one single word – “waffled”.

    Take this how ever you like, but you are a good example of a Christian.

  19. What do I know?
    I know that I, a Christian, am not perfect, but that when I fall, I rise again with my eyes on the One who gives me the most hope..hope that I can become perfect someday like He is…that I can learn to love like He loved…so much that He gave His Son for mankind…for me.

    I know that being rejected as a child and as a wife… I belong to Someone…Someone who accepts me…challenges me to become a better person every day as I read His words….Someone who will not let me get by with being less than He wants me to be…who checks me when I slip up…and yet loves me unconditionally. How do I know this? Not because I can argue this logically…not because I can win with words…I can’t. I know this not because I have faith in myself…I know this because I have suffered things so utterly painful that I would have been destroyed were it not for God’s love that held me up and gave me hope…made me better, not bitter. I have come out on the other side of trouble with my head held up because I know God better than I would have had I not been through these things. No I cannot explain my faith in His existence. There is no way to argue my faith in God. But there is no one else nor any philosophy that can fill me with life giving energy and love like He can. Who can explain this life that God gives? It cannot be understood by those who do not have it. Yes, there are those who claim to have it, but do not. Frauds are in every sector of life. Yet, there are those who claim to have it and fall…and we judge them very harshly…forgetting to look in the mirror…and we refuse to give them grace. Christians are not better than anyone else. Not real Christians, that is.. Real genuine authentic Christianity has one outstanding earmark…LOVE…for each other..for all races…for all people…no matter what they do..no matter what defines them.. The Christian has chosen what defines him..just as the atheist has chosen what defines him. I have lived long enough to see more clearly inside me the deceptions…the lies…the sins…the negative emotions…the despair that is deep within. I do not want that to define me. Everything else outside of myself…all the philosophies…theories…religions…are perceptions of someone’s view of reality. Every one’s perception is different. How can we rely on any human perception? Christianity is the only venue that allows for a God who has a history of being true to His character…someone who is stable…He judges..yet He does not condemn. Instead He loves. And a true Christian will reflect the same imperfectly, yet always striving to be like Him. Someday I will die, and when I do I will rest in the knowledge that I trust the only One I know that offers eternal life after death. Why would anyone want to try to convince me to give up that kind of peace? Every day is filled with meaning and purpose….and love.

    1. Hi Carol,

      you said: How can we rely on any human perception? Christianity is the only venue that allows for a God who has a history of being true to His character…someone who is stable…He judges..yet He does not condemn. Instead He loves.

      This seems to be a common theme on this blog. No one is supposed to trust their human perception unless they are perceiving the Christian God. Comments?

      Thanks.

      1. Hey there.

        You know, we cannot even perceive God perfectly. And anyone who says he can is wrong.

        But speaking of our perceptions – It seems that we are made up of our genes, our environment, and the consequences of our choices; all of which are unique and provide each of us with our own different perspectives and references. And each of us tends to think that our perceptions are correct, indeed reality. Our perception is our reality. Can we really 100 percent trust that it is the correct objective true reality?

  20. Carol, in response to why anyone would want you to give up that peace. We don’t, we are simply tired of christians acting as if the devil works through us and as if only christians are capable of deciding right from wrong. We cannot get an athiest elected president in this country. There are numerous incidents where I felt that my job would be at stake if I told anyone what I believe due to an openly intolerant and skewed view of athiesm. It bothers us because it isn’t enough for you to have your beliefs. Case in point gay marriage, many christians feel that it is their obligation to try and stop this from happening because God doesn’t like it. From my

  21. Oops, I accidentally posted early.
    Anyway, its senseless, it would be better if we didn’t have these barriers between us. Have a good day dear.

  22. Bob, your argument is clear and concise and pops the bubble thought about believing in god separates selfish with selfless. The truth claim offered by Daniel is not true. In addition, the reasoning he has offered in response to your logic is clearly muddled because it doesn’t fit with his assumed beliefs that he knows for certain are true… yet you reveal are not true. I read nothing but cognitive dissonance in his replies, which is always a good sign that perhaps the critical faculties are being restarted. I hope your efforts are rewarded with Daniel’s newly found understanding trumping his embedded and false beliefs one pillar at a time.

    In the meantime, Daniel writes Evolution and Intelligent Design are philosophies, ways of looking at facts. Evolution is good science, ID is bad theology. Neither is a philosophy. Science deals with facts, theology with assumptions and assertions about supernatural critters.

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