Debating the Religiously Incredulous

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How I feel debating these idiots.

I keep running into people on religious debate boards that are convinced that if they hold a religious position, they have no responsibility at all to defend any of their claims whatsoever, just because they are religious.  Of course, they hold everyone else accountable for answering any questions put to them, but questions they can’t answer?  It’s just not their job!

Recently, I had someone go into a whole long diatribe where he argued that “Christianity doesn’t make factual claims about the real world. It does make theological claims and mythological claims.”  Okay, so he’s saying that the Christian God doesn’t exist in reality, because Christianity only makes mythological claims and not factual ones?  Nope, God is real… but not real enough to actually make any Christians have to back up his existence.

Now forgive me if I don’t understand how anyone can possibly think this way, especially someone who pretends to be at all rational and critical about their beliefs.  If your claims are wholly beyond any kind of real-world evaluation, then how can you possibly test them in any demonstrable way?  And if you can’t test them, then how can you be sure that they are reasonable at all?  This is the big question that I keep asking theists and the question that they all side-step and ignore.  If you have no way of objectively observing God, how can you know anything about the existence or characteristics of God?  If you cannot verify anything, how can you know that it isn’t all a big delusion?  If they refuse to step beyond their own imagination, then why should anyone else take their claims seriously?  How do you get from step A to step B?  They can’t and they know they can’t and they don’t even pretend that they can, or even should have to.  If it makes them feel good, that’s all that matters.

But that doesn’t stop them from continually making claims that must be borne out in the real world.  They claim that God actually exists, that God actually had some hand in the creation of the universe, that Jesus was a real person that died on a cross and rose from the dead, yet none of these claims are demonstrable, yet they all must have happened in the real world. There is a fundamental disconnect between the claims that they make and the reality that must be demonstrably true if their claims are true, yet they cannot bridge that gap and they refuse to acknowledge the requirement that they should.

So what do we do about it?  Nothing.  There is literally nothing we can do about it, you can’t force these people to engage in rational debate in good faith.  All you can really do is point out their hypocrisy and stop talking to them, which I’ve done in many cases, only to have them come back and pretend they won the debate because you refuse to engage.  It makes me just want to cancel my membership to a lot of these debate forums some days.  It’s all just a waste of time.

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