Tag Archives: arguments

Intellectualism Doesn’t Improve Religion Debate

IntellectualI’ve been thinking a lot about my participation in a lot of “intellectual” religious forums of late and have realized that just being around “smarter” or “better educated” theists doesn’t actually make for a better debate.  At best, it just serves to obfuscate the real issues which are actually quite simple.  There is no evidence for the actual existence of gods.  Period.  All the philosophical hand-waving and mental masturbation that tends to go on in such forums really doesn’t make any evidence come into existence, it just serves to hide the fact that there is no evidence.  Intellectualism isn’t a guarantee of rationality.

I’ve always thought that people like William Lane Craig are just blowhards anyhow, full of themselves and their own self-importance but without any interest in actual truth or fact.  Just having a bunch of letters behind you name doesn’t give you the cognitive powers to produce a better argument for the existence of a real god than anyone else.  At the center of the debate, that’s really all that matters.  You can spin all the philosophical fantasy stories you want, concoct arguments based on nothing but wishful thinking, etc. and you still haven’t actually produced a single shred of evidence that any gods actually exist.  You’ve just distracted your audience from the real question for which you have no actual answers. This isn’t physics, where complex mathematics produce models of the world that can be verified and validated, this is religion, where verification and validation simply do not exist.

But if you bring this up to the “intellectuals”, they tend to get pissed because they want to think that their superior education and intelligence actually mean something when it comes to theology.  Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t. Sure, they can use big words and complex-sounding arguments but those arguments don’t actually get them anywhere.  The Kalaam Cosmological Argument really isn’t impressive, it can be easily dismantled once you realize that it’s just a bunch of unsupported claims, based on wishful thinking.  It doesn’t actually prove anything.  The same is true of all of the other common theological arguments, they’re based on faith, not demonstrable fact, they just serve as a distraction from the undeniable reality that theology has no facts whatsoever upon which to base their claims.  Geniuses don’t make facts appear out of thin air, they’re just very skilled at hiding the truth.

And to be honest, I don’t know why more atheists don’t recognize this and call theists on their bullshit.  William Lane Craig and other well known apologists go around arguing for the existence of the Christian God, but why doesn’t anyone debating them actually point out that they’re not really accomplishing anything they claim to be able to do?  If I were debating them, I’d immediately bring up the fact that they’re making empty claims, blind assertions and arguments based on faith, not actually showing that God is real through demonstrable, objective evidence.  I could use the exact same arguments for the existence of Bobo the Tree God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster and have it make as much sense, yet nobody ever calls them on their nonsense as they should.  William Lane Craig isn’t impressive, he’s just a well-educated religious buffoon.

Having philosophical degrees doesn’t make you better at making arguments, it just makes you more skilled at piling crap higher and deeper.

Twenty Not-So-Good Arguments For Christianity


There’s a real idiot on Twitter named Peter Saunders and he spams the #atheism hashtag with his laughable blog articles, supposedly proving the validity of Christianity.  He doesn’t respond to criticism, he doesn’t acknowledge his errors, he just dumps crap into the hashtag in hopes that someone might take him seriously. Recently, I saw an article called Twenty Good Arguments for Christianity that I thought I’d take a look at.  Sorry, if these are the good arguments, I’d hate to see the bad ones!

1.The uniqueness of Jesus Christ
The life, teaching, extraordinary claims and miracles of Jesus Christ as recorded by eyewitnesses are best explained by him being God incarnate: the creator and sustainer of the universe who took on human flesh.

There really isn’t anything that unique about Jesus, in fact, we can show where most of the details of Jesus, his life and his miracles have been taken from other local mythologies.  Christians claim that Jesus is unique to make themselves feel better, but Jesus is as unique as Zoroaster or Mithra or any of the other supposed mythic saviors. Further, we know that there are no demonstrable eyewitness testimonies in the Bible, none of the Gospels are written by the people whose names are attributed to them, most of the New Testament was written by people who never even claimed to have known the physical Jesus, the claim is bogus, yet apologists keep making it because they aren’t interested in the truth.  Faith does not make facts, sorry.

2.Jesus death and resurrection
All historical records are agreed on the facts that Jesus was killed, that his dead body disappeared, that the disciples claimed to have seen him alive and that the church grew rapidly in the belief that he had been resurrected. His actual bodily resurrection in space-time history remains the best explanation for these observations.

This is really an indication that Saunders is delusional.  No historical records have validated the existence of Jesus, much less that he was crucified, etc.  This is someone who thinks that just  because it appears in the Bible, everyone has to agree with it.  This is something that as lot of religious fanatics do.  They have done no actual research into the historical record, they just assume that because they believe it, it has to be true and everyone else must have  come to the same conclusion.  His assertion that the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation just shows how crazy he is.  He might as well be saying that the existence of Harry Potter is the best explanation for the things that happen at Hogwarts.

3.The manuscript evidence for the New Testament
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are by far the best attested events in all antiquity in terms of the number of manuscripts recording them and the closeness in time of those hand-written records to the events they describe.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  There are no contemporary accounts by demonstrable eyewitnesses of anything that happens in the life of Jesus and Biblical higher criticism proves just how unreliable the Gospels are. He says that it’s the best attested event in all of antiquity, which I wouldn’t agree with, but even if it were true, what does that tell us?  That events in antiquity are generally unreliable?  It still doesn’t prove that the Bible is true, that’s a matter of faith and delusion, both of which Saunders has in spades.

4.The uniqueness of the Bible
The uniqueness of the Bible in its continuity, circulation, translation, survival, teachings and influence along with its internal consistency despite consisting of 66 books written by over 40 authors on three continents over 1,500 years defies simple explanation and is fully consistent with its claim to be divine revelation.

Every claimed religious book is unique in some aspect.  Even if they weren’t, though, that doesn’t prove that the Bible, or any other religious book, is factually true.  That’s really where we need to focus on these things.  I’m not really concerned over what facts you can pull out about the Bible, none of the things that he mentioned give any validity whatsoever to what is actually written in the Bible.  Delusion again, no surprise.

5.Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in Christ
The 39 books that make up the Old Testament contain several hundred references to the coming Messiah concerning his life, death and resurrection which were written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth but were fulfilled during his life and confirm his credentials as the promised Messiah.

None of these supposed prophecies stand up under even the most cursory of evaluation.  There isn’t a proposed prophecy in the Bible that can be proven to have taken place, in fact, the overwhelming majority are so vague that they aren’t even worth considering.  I could “prophecy” that there would be an earthquake in California and that a bridge would fall down.  My prophecy isn’t specific enough to demonstrably refer to any particular event, if we wait long enough, it’s certain to come  to fruition because we know there are earthquakes in California and that bridges do, eventually, fall down.  Further, there’s no mechanism for proving that later Biblical writers didn’t just scour previous writings and include imaginary fulfilled prophecy in their writings about Jesus.  We know, throughout the ancient world, that such things were actually done and there’s no way to prove that the events recorded in the Gospels actually took place, there exists no independent historical verification.

6.Biblical prophecy fulfilled in history 
The hundreds of predictive prophecies in the Old Testament and New Testaments about the fate of nations, empires and cities are consistent with supernatural revelation from a God outside the space-time continuum (Tyre, Sidon, Samaria, Gaza, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Israel).

Again, these are not demonstrable.  Tyre is a good example.  It states in Ezekiel 26 that Tyre would be completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and that the city would never exist again.  Funny, Tyre is a modern city in Lebanon, it seems to be doing just fine.  We can do the same thing for all of the other supposed prophecies. Sorry, just not impressed.

7.The uniqueness of the Christian experience
The shared testimony of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by millions of people from diverse cultures, nations, personalities, professions and time periods is unparalleled by any other ideology and consistent with the existence of a God with a universal attraction to all kinds of human beings. Each testifies to finding peace, forgiveness, the power to change and new meaning, hope and purpose through Christ’s death and resurrection.

You can’t even point to a definitive Christian experience.  What one person identifies as a Christian experience, others would not identify with at all.  You have to remember that there are more than 38,000 distinct Christian sects, many of which disagree with the rest on significant doctrinal points.  The Christian experience to a backwoods snake-handler Pentecostal is quite different to the Christian experience of a big city Episcopalian. There is no personal relationship with Jesus because there is no demonstration that Jesus was ever real to begin with.  It’s more like a personal relationship with a child’s imaginary friend.

8.The origin of the universe
Everything that began to exist has a cause and it is now virtually undisputed that the universe had a beginning. Any cause would have to be outside the material universe so would be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal and all powerful – characteristics shared by the God of the Bible.

Christians can’t even show how they know what these supposed characteristics of God actually are.  How do they know?  Because it appears in a book?  How did the people who wrote the book know?  This is the biggest failure of this type of Christian apologetic, they are just making assertions without support for things they can’t even prove are real.  This all goes into the Kalam Cosmological Argument which has been soundly disproven, it’s just wishful thinking.

9.The fine tuning of the universe
In order for the universe to come into being and allow intelligent life to exist, it required an astonishing series of ‘coincidences’ to have occurred. The probability that the six dimensionless constants (N, Epsilon, Omega, Lambda, Q & D) would be tuned in such a way as to allow this is infinitesimally small and the phenomenon is best explained by intelligent design.

Here we see the complete backwards thinking of the theist.  In reality, the universe is not fine tuned for us, we are fine tuned for the universe.  We exist the way that we exist because of the way the universe is.  The puddle conforms to the shape of the hole, not the other way around.  Had the universe not supported the existence of life, no life would be here and no one would be wondering at the fine tuning argument.  Christians, and indeed most theists, are entirely convinced that they are special.  They’re just wrong.

10.Biological complexity
Whilst it is widely recognised that random gene mutation, genetic drift and natural selection can account for a degree of biological descent with modification (evolution) the mechanisms by which proteins, DNA, unicellular organisms and new body plans could have arisen remain unexplained. Blind chance and necessity alone are unable to account for the biological complexity that we observe on planet earth and these phenomena point to intelligent design.

Oh look, scientific ignorance at work!  I’m sure Saunders has no clue about what biological evolution actually says and as creationism and it’s bastard step-child intelligent design have lost in every single scientific forum on the planet, to continue to claim that it’s anything more than a laughable relic of an absurd belief is pretty funny on it’s own.

11.The rationality of the universe 
The universe operates according to physical laws which are not merely regularities in nature but also mathematically precise, universal, ‘tied together’ and rationally intelligible. These phenomena point to the existence of what Einstein called ‘superior mind’, illimitable superior spirit’, ‘superior reasoning force’ and ‘mysterious force that moves the constellations’ and are fully consistent with the teachings of Christian theism.

News flash for you Peter, Einstein didn’t believe in a personal god, or any god at all.  Like many scientists, he used the word “god” to refer to his awe and wonder about the universe, not to refer to some imaginary friend in the sky.

“I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist.”

– Albert Einstein, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr, July 2, 1945, responding to a rumor that a Jesuit priest had caused Einstein to convert from atheism.

12.The human mind 
Human experience of free will, consciousness, self-awareness, conscience and a sense of meaning, purpose and destiny are all very difficult to explain within a purely materialist world view (ie. the belief that nothing exists apart from matter, chance and time). These phenomena point to, and are consistent with, a reality existing beyond the material world and are consistent with the biblical teaching that human beings are made in the image of God.

They’re not that difficult to explain at all and even if they were, that doesn’t lend credence to the  existence of a magical man in the sky.  This is an example, one among many, of the fallacy of false dichotomy, where the apologist argues that because the opposition cannot prove their  case to his satisfaction, therefore, his position is true by default.  No, sorry, your position is only true if you can provide evidence that it is actually true.  Since this is not the case, Saunders claims are faulty.  No surprise there.

13.The explanatory power of the Christian world view
The Christian theistic world view described by the parameters of creation, fall, redemption and consummation has considerable explanatory power in accounting for the existence of human complexity, creativity, love, suffering, disease, evil and hope.

Clearly, Saunders doesn’t understand what “explanatory power” means.  In science, it means the ability to make predictions about things that ought to be found to be true via experimentation and observation.  Where has Christianity ever made a prediction that can be verified in such a manner?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

14.The universality of spiritual belief and experience 
The universal belief in, and experience of, a spiritual reality beyond the material world and in the existence of other intelligent beings in addition to human beings (gods, spirits, angels, demons, ghosts etc), along with the proliferation of different religions, is consistent with the Christian world view including the existence of a Devil whose intention is to deceive people into believing anything but the truth.

Obviously there is no universality of spiritual belief and experience or there would be no atheists.  Only a very tiny percentage of people report to have had any kind of spiritual experience and of those, none can be demonstrated to be actually spiritual.  Many people have experiences they cannot explain and they assert, without evidence, that those experiences are spiritual, but they can never demonstrate it, nor have they tried to find other explanations.  Saunders, once again, is laughably wrong.

15.The moral law
The universality of moral beliefs and conscience, and the similarities of moral codes across times, continents and cultures, point to the existence of moral laws and a supernatural law giver. The moral laws outline in the Decalogue (ten commandments) encapasulate these principles of respect for life, marriage, property and truth and their observance leads to more stable and enduring societies. These observations are consistent with the existence of a moral God who has designed human society to operate according to moral norms and who reveals moral principles.

There are no universal moral beliefs, as I’ve demonstrated before and making such a claim only proves that apologists don’t bother to think about these things before they spout them.  I find it funny that Saunders only looks at the Ten Commandments as a means to support the respect for life and doesn’t look at the multiple slaughters that God has either performed personally or ordered the Israelites to perform in his name.  He ignores that God commands slavery and details how it is to be  done.  God respects property rights?  Since when?   The Israelites were ordered to slaughter the people living in the “promised land” so they could steal it.  God is about the most immoral monster I can imagine.

16.Lives changed by Christian faith
The power of Christian faith and prayer to change behaviour and improve human functioning in restoring the lives of those suffering from addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography and other enslaving activities or in reforming antisocial and criminal behaviour and strengthening marriages, families and societies is unparalleled.

Lives are changed by lots of things.  I know plenty of people who say their lives were changed when they became atheists.  This means nothing.  Of course, if Christian faith changed lives as Saunders says, why do they need religious 12-step programs?  Shouldn’t being a Christian automatically rid people of their addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc.?  No, the majority of people involved with those things are Christians in the United States.  Apparently, just being a Christian doesn’t change a thing.

17.Christian reformation of society
The reformation of British society in the 19th century (and many similar phenomena elsewhere in the world throughout history) through such moves as the abolition of slavery, child labour, child prostitution, prison reform and the establishment of schools and hospitals through the work of Wilberforce, Booth, Fry, the Clapham Sect and others was largely the result of the evangelical revival of the 18th century and lends strong support to the existence of a redemptive supernatural God who changes and shapes human lives and societies.

I will give credit where credit is due and certainly, Christianity has had a reformative effect on society, but only because Christianity has been forced upon people.  When you could be tortured or killed for not pretending to be a Christian, when the Catholic Church pushed the Inquisition across Europe, when you could lose your job, your family and your social standing for daring to question the dominant religion, it’s no surprise that lots of people pretended to be Christian because their lives and livelihoods depended on it.  However, this lends no credence whatsoever for a redemptive supernatural God, only for the people who actually demonstrably did anything and we’re getting closer to a post-Christian world where people are finally ridding the planet of the bigotry and stupidity of the religious reformers that came before.

18.The work of Christian missions
The development of education, healthcare and societal reform in the developing world owes a great deal to the work of Christian missionaries motivate by the love of Christ who underwent great hardship and made great sacrifices to assist and empower those marginalised through ignorance, superstition or poverty. If Christianity were true we would expect it also to result in demonstrable good across nations and cultures.

Funny, I know I heard somewhere, maybe in Matthew 19:21, that Christians are supposed to give all that they own and follow Jesus.  Hmmm, I’m just not seeing that happen.  It is a fact, of course, that there are many Christian missionary projects, just as there are many other non-Christian missionaries and entirely secular relief efforts going on around the world at any given time.  The religious efforts are almost entirely aimed at converting non-believers to their particular brand of religion.  As we see with many local efforts like the Salvation Army, some of these groups will refuse to actually render aid until the local population pays lip service to their religion.  It’s not about helping people, it’s about bolstering their numbers.

19.The plausibility of Christian eschatology 
The emergence of a one-world government under the leadership of an antichrist, antagonistic to God, based on the worship and pursuit of material things, strongly opposing Christian faith, dominating through economic control and resulting in massive environmental destruction seems increasingly plausible given recent historical experience and the current trajectory of world history.

How is any of that plausible?  Sure, I guess you could have a strong military leader come along and hate Christianity but that isn’t really what Christian eschatology is about.  They believe that God actually exists and that the antichrist will be a forerunner of the end of the world.  That’s not plausible.  That’s idiotic.

20.The phenomenon of Israel
The history, laws, influence and endurance of the nation of Israel through over 4,000 years of world history whilst world empires have come and gone, the maintenance of its national identity and central place in world affairs through war, persecution and holocaust, its recent restoration to Palestine and the educational and cultural achievements of its people are unparalleled but fully consistent with its special status as described in the biblical record and teaching of Jesus Christ.

Um, the only reason Israel exists is because the United States and Britain, following WWII, felt guilty because the Jews got massacred by the Nazis and therefore granted them a homeland, due in no small part to the lobbying by the Jews.  In fact, within a short time of Israel existing officially, they would have been wiped off the map without the constant financial and military support of the United States.  Israel has been a constant drain on the foreign aid budget of the United States for it’s entire existence.  This does not sound like a nation that is under the protection of God, does it?  And let’s be honest, the only reason Christians care about Israel is because they need Israel to be destroyed as a prelude to the second coming of Jesus.  Yeah, Christians really care about the poor, downtrodden, persecuted people of Israel, don’t they?

So there you go, more Christian fail from a long, long line of Christian fail.  So much of this is just blatant ignorance that could be solved by a few moments on Google, the fact that these asinine ideas keep coming up is proof that Christian apologists just don’t care about the truth, they don’t  care about reality, they only care about their credulous nonsensical beliefs and their ego-stroking.

That’s why Christians like Peter Saunders are complete idiots.

Four Bad Atheist Arguments

zeus_is_a_myth_and_so_is_your_god_t_shirt-rdf7a501454994da18789f2953ac1e0da_va6lr_512I point out a lot of really awful arguments made by theists, although I do make an attempt to be even-handed.  Therefore, here are a couple of really bad arguments made by atheists.  Granted, these did come from a post written by a really nutty fundamentalist Christian, I don’t know if that matters or not, but I found myself agreeing that atheists shouldn’t use them.  Believe it or not, it’s not just theists who make bad arguments, there are a ton of them out there made by atheists as well.

So let’s take a look at these four arguments that atheists shouldn’t make.

1. “I just believe in one God less than you, you don’t believe in Zeus, Thor and so on and so forth”

This is one of the most common atheist memes out there, often used in the form depicted to the right.  While it might be a pithy comment, it’s also entirely wrong and it makes atheists look silly by using it.  See, the reason atheists reject Zeus isn’t the same as why theists reject Zeus.  Atheists, at least most atheists, reject Zeus because there is no evidence for Zeus.  It’s the same reason that we reject Allah, Vishnu and God.  However, Christians don’t even consider evidence for Zeus, any more than they do for God.  They reject Zeus and all other deities because they believe their God has declared all other gods to be non-existent.  Yeah, I know, they ought to read the Old Testament, there are plenty of cases where the gods of other pantheons perform miracles, but they’ve fooled themselves into thinking “the devil did it”.  That makes the statement factually incorrect, since theists do not exercise their critical reasoning skills to reject the existence of gods, they will never understand why atheists don’t believe in their god.

2. “You might as well say Unicorns exist.”

This is the only one of the four that I would find somewhat valid if done right.  I find it funny that theists get very, very bothered when you compare their gods with leprechauns, unicorns, Bigfoot or alien abductions.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a theist get pissed off because “God” and “leprechaun” were used in the same sentence, but in reality, both words have just as much evidence to support their factual existence.  I think theists get upset simply because they realize just how silly the association makes their religion sound.  I did say that this argument had to be done right, I think that it’s possible to do it wrong by making claims that unicorns or similar imaginary critters really do exist, citing the same “evidence” that theists use as proof.  I can’t tell you how crazy it drives me seeing atheists making jokes about the flying spaghetti monster and the invisible pink unicorn, I think it makes us look foolish because it’s far too easy to shift what we mean by the analogy with a strawman version of our statements.  As much as I hate to say it, theists cannot be trusted.

3. “Science can explain everything.”

While I would agree that this is a very bad argument, I can honestly say I don’t remember ever hearing an atheist actually saying it.  I suspect this is just a theist strawman, something they think atheists ask for but can never demonstrate that they actually do.  Science cannot explain everything, otherwise we’d no longer need science, we’d already know everything.  Science and the scientific method are the only demonstrable means we have of reliably discovering objective reality.  We do need to be careful with how science is handled because it’s often open to theist misuse.  Science does not have all the answers to all of the questions right this minute, that doesn’t mean that it won’t answer many of the questions in the future, nor that religion has any means to demonstrably and factually answer any questions at all.  Science is a methodology.  Religion is blind faith.  One works and we can prove it.  The other fails all the time.

4. “You cannot PROVE God.”

Yes, they’re right, it is foolish to ask them to prove the existence of God, just as foolish as when they demand that we prove that God doesn’t exist.  It’s not about proof.  Proof only matters in mathematics and alcohol.  Outside of that, it ought to be a verboten word.  We cannot expect them to prove anything because absolute proof doesn’t exist in the real world.  It makes us look bad when we demand an unreasonable standard and it opens the door for them to make similar unreasonable demands back to us.  What we ought to expect is for them to produce objective evidence for their claims.  They can’t do that, we know, but it is a wholly reasonable request.

I realize that statements like these are easy and lend themselves to posting witty remarks in 140 characters or less, but when they are so easily distorted, or worse yet, absurdly untrue, they do nothing to help our cause.  Hop on Twitter and watch what scrolls by in a busy hashtag like #atheism.  Just spend 5 minutes and watch every tweet critically, evaluate it for validity and I think you’ll be shocked at how bad most of them are.  We really need to strive to be better than the theists, we need to think about what we’re tweeting or blogging or posting online, we need to examine our own arguments even more closely than we do the arguments of the theists so that when we say something, not only is it better than what the theists come up with, it’s demonstrably factually and rationally correct.