Is this the age of digital martyrs?

Is this the age of the digital martyr?

click on image to enlarge

Entirely fictional record of an online exchange between a theist and a non-theist:

Theist: Hey! This is my first time posting on this forum. I look forward to being challenged on what I believe. All sincere posts and exchanges welcome!

Non-Theist: Well, I would say “welcome” to you, but I’ll start by saying that your kindness sickens me. I’m not even sure that your kind deserves the decency of an honest attempt at understanding.

Theist: @Non-theist: Uh, should I say “thank you”? Anybody else out there?

Non-Theist: Just avoid all my questions! It doesn’t matter anyway. Anybody who believes in spaghetti monsters or an intergalactic Santa in the sky is mentally challenged. You are delusional and suffer from some sort of retardation. Everybody knows you’re just here to make converts to your fairy tale stories and self-delusion. Frankly, I’m sick of your kind always coming into forums all happy and trying to force your beliefs down our throats.

Theist: @Non-Theist: I’m not sure if I should feel flattered or not by all this attention that I’m getting from you. Should I? What questions did you ask me btw?

Non-Theist: Anybody with an IQ of a piece of crap could see the questions in my first reply. Guess that excludes you! U R DUMB! Get it yet? You and your invisible daddy are a complete joke and your are a sick individual. GET HELP NOW!

Theist: @Non-theist: Take a moment to step away from the keyboard, maybe get outside a little bit in the real world.

Non-Theist: [row of expletives] theist! Always trying to wiggle your way out of everything. Sick. Sick. SICK!!! You are an embarrassment to evolution!!!!!!!

Theist: @Non-Theist: ???

Non-Theist: [row of expletives]

I’ve come to the conclusion of late that on-line forums produce nothing but ulcers.

Beware the online forums!

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24 thoughts on “Is this the age of digital martyrs?

  1. If all someone is bringing to a forum is made up stuff, a disregard and disrespect of what’s true, and an attitude that belief is equivalent to knowledge, then absolutely nothing is being offered. Too often theists lie about intentions, and you’ve highlighted a typical one: theists don’t want their beliefs challenged; they want respect for being gullible. Ain’t gunna happen on most forums.

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    • Hey, tildeb.

      Well, maybe you’re right in a few instances. But it’s easy to dismiss anything that we don’t agree with as “made up”, see theism as symptoms of “disregard and disrespect of what’s true”, and equate any element of theism as “belief”. It makes life much easier, though it does stunt growth of basic social skills.

      And that’s my point.

      In the fictional account, the aggressive non-theist didn’t even bother having an actual conversation. They just made bold assumptions without evidence, used the theist as an outlet for some sort of deeply seeded aggression, and then walked away thinking they have somehow won an argument or a point for their “side”.

      Did you know that the Richard Dawkins forum is notorious for its aggressive, close-minded atheist posters many of whom are not open to any opinion or evidence other than those that agree with their pre-determined belief system?

      I know of one atheist in particular, Richard Morgan, who actually became a theist after seeing the way in which a Christian pastor was being treated on that very forum. Their aggression and lack of social skills was a mystery to him. You can hear an interview with him:

      http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2011/03/interview-former-atheist-richard-morgan.html

      Then again, now he’s a theist, so maybe he’s lying.

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  2. it’s crazy that what you illustrated was confirmed by tildeb, all in the first statement. Personally I gave up on internet discussions because of the childishness of the commentators, always something about fairy tales or Zeus. They are content to bash people for their beliefs without any basis, but as Jesus said “You shall know them by their fruits”.
    Why try so hard to disprove something that does not exist? Why go on apologetic websites? Why even go on atheist websites? What’s the point if there is none? The inconsistency is baffling, the only real atheist I know is Nietzsche, for he realized the implications of it all.

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  3. The first statement I made was an if-then explanation. It is my experience that theists who honestly want their beliefs critiqued find a great deal of politeness from the atheists on various forums a vast treasure house of informed knowledge. Not from all commentators, of course, but by far from most. It is the dishonest theists who bring nothing but beliefs to the table and pretend to be interested in a dialogue – all the while holding fast to the belief that their beliefs are true in fact – who receive legitimate hostile commentary for their trolling…. and it is trolling because they offer nothing in return for all the effort made by other commentators.

    My criticism here is to point out the example used is not typical. What is typical is for atheists who come to various faith-based blogs and try to engage in reasonable dialogue are banned or kept in moderation or heavily edited. Criticism of the faith based beliefs is assumed to be rude or hostile towards those who hold them, whereas the tone is actually quite polite even if the criticism itself is withering. This censoring so often found on theistic forums is not done on most atheist websites or forums like Dawkin’s because the criticisms from readers themselves will soon expose the trolling of faitheist commentators unwilling to deal with the criticisms themselves on their own merit.

    One of the problems seems to me to be just how easily so many theists assume personal hostility for holding bad ideas and ill-informed opinions that are heavily criticized. If more theists understood that ideas are like bubbles of dialogue found in comics, then perhaps what is too often identified as ‘hostility’ and ‘aggressiveness’ and ‘stridency’ and ‘militancy’ taken personally would be better understood to be proper criticism of bad ideas and poorly informed opinions.

    Why bother? Because there is a great need for sustained and very public criticism of religion’s improper role in the public domain. Take religion out of the public domain and keep it in the personal domain and I think you’ll find we will all get along just fine and dandy. Insert it where it doesn’t belong and one should reasonably expect a very great deal of blow-back… some of it even hostile!

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    • tildeb,

      I see what you mean. The trolling, the times when theists and atheists come to a forum with wrong motives – I’ve seen it and been guilty of it in the past. I’m not sure how much editing goes on, but if you get a chance, check out the comments on any article at the CNN religion blog.

      Most religions deal with behavior and set standards for it. How can that not help but be related to the public domain? For me, the claims related to Jesus of Nazareth and His teachings form the core of my interactions with people. After all, when He was asked about the greatest commandment (a standard by which we are to judge our behavior), He instructs us to not merely love God in our own personal domain, but to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And, I’ll tell you honestly, I get other people’s religious practices and traditions shoved in my face weekly. And I’ve found it’s a great time to ask them questions to really think about why they believe this or that. Is it based on evidence? If so, what kind of evidence? Does the evidence justify the conclusion? I’m not going to get anywhere through insults and profanity.

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      • Thanks for fixing my html fail!

        Sorry for the length of this comment, but I hope you will find it useful.

        This is actually a central topic of concern: the push to impose behavioural rules on everyone under the banner of some people’s favoured religious morality. And under the term ‘behavioural’ falls a host of legal positions under which all will be subjected… like abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, adoption rights, stem cell research, reproductive rights, and so on, all of which have a very profound religious impetus. This raises a very important public concern: are our laws and public policies being formed for good reasons that stand on their own merit? Or are these global positions being formed on the assumption that faith in some divinely sanctioned morality should properly rule all?

        To the religious, the authority of personal religious revelation and various scriptures can be very potent in and of themselves and widely considered ‘good’ by the faithful on this basis alone… assuming that god only supports (and reveals) what’s ‘good’ (raising the Epicurus argument) rather than appreciate that this makes god subservient to what’s good (an intolerable ethical consideration to those who believe god is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent). The counter argument is that whatever god does is good in and of itself, so it’s difficult to sit him down and find out exactly what reasons inform his chosen moral position. We must take certain moral positions on faith, many theists insist, and just go with that authority.

        To the atheist, this reasoning is not reasoning at all but an intellectual capitulation to the priestly caste to do our thinking for us. And we know that theocracies that do this are the most backwards and unenlightened regimes in the world. Human rights, freedoms, and the legal dignity of personhood afforded to individuals in the west under secular liberal democracies are antithetical to these totalitarian theocracies. So we have a self-interest to make sure the state does not become an arm of any theology if we wish to protect our legal rights and freedoms from any totalitarian authority.

        All of the above-mentioned issues have some bearing on the theological/human rights divide. Just seeing this divide is a major impediment when theists by and large assume the two are compatible… yet are compatible only if the separation between state and various religions are respected in law. So when people bring their religious views to a discussion and expect the other to respect faith alone (as a good reason for holding some opinion that involves a moral component taken on faith), we find a conflict of interest immediately: theism practiced through law in the public domain (meaning having effect on public policy and governance) excused on the basis of divine morality is incompatible with a primary respect for an individual’s rights and freedoms.

        Each of us really must choose which hierarchy to support: a primary respect for the state to remain secular or a primary respect for some moral faith claim to trump individual rights. Only one can be primary in law. That’s why I say religious belief must remain in the private domain where what I religiously practice does not affect your rights and freedoms, and your religious practices do not effect mine. I think that can work.

        The argument I go back to is on what merit does this theistic moral claim trump that contrary theistic moral claim? Said another way, the important questions all of us must answer is 1) Is this claim true, and 2) how do I know? You are well aware that contrary claims made in scripture become arguments of various interpretations and divine intentions. Without a clear answer about which one is correct, however, it seems to me that all theistic claims even if contrary to one another have the same merit: it is simply a matter of faith.

        This explains why in just christianity there are over 30,000 sects with many contrary moral claims based on different interpretations offering up many ‘authorities’. Without having any need to go into any of them, faith is obviously no reliable way for us to discover some singular divine moral code or theists would have long ago come to a consensus on what that actually is. When you throw all the world’s religions past and present into the mix, we have no cohesive notion of what any divine moral code might actually be in practice nor any reliable way to find out if any of them are, in fact, true in an honest comparison.

        But a moral code based on Enlightenment values is a cohesive set of rules of behaviour, and we see how human society can flourish when we keep the state out of the business of promoting any one particular religious moral code; instead, we promote a fully secular legal system based on everyone’s shared individual rights and shared freedoms and we allow people to have faith in whatever set of beliefs about god rocks their world… as long as it doesn’t reduce or effect the rights of anyone else.

        As soon as someone understands that the religious views about abortion or gay marriage and so on really does impose one’s own moral preference over and above another the moral preference of another by curtailing their individual rights and freedoms, then we have made progress. In this sense, these fundamental disagreements between theists and non theists can be better understood to be about maintaining and protecting shared rights rather than one over accepting or rejecting god. This issue if not us/them battle between faitheists and anti-faithiests; it’s a battle over a shared or favoured public domain.

        The hostility/aggressiveness the theist hears from the non theist is spoken in the tone of defending our mutual rights and freedoms with passion. The aplogetics the non theist hears from the theist is spoken in the tone of honour and respect for god. The middle ground that I think will eventually be found acceptable to all rests with theists believing what they wish for themselves and rendering all issues secular to Caesar’s public domain.

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      • Now, tildeb, that is a great comment. I don’t mind the length. It’s worth the read. You put out a great summary of objections and your positions. This is entirely opposite the experience I have had on atheist messageboards, the thing which inspired the cartoon. I appreciate that! I’m going to think about what you’ve written for a while (I’m printing it out). If I have something substantive to reply with, I’ll do it. Otherwise, just know that I appreciate this.

        Let me just mention this: Living in a foreign country and encountering people with different beliefs and motives has really stretched me to consider the place of religion in private and public life. In fact, I encounter both since my wife is an ex-Buddhist and we share a home with Daoist / Buddhist / folk religion-believing relatives, whom we love regardless of their beliefs.

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  4. I had never of Liberal, Missouri, but it doesn’t surprise me such a place was founded in that time.

    Religious belief is a private domain matter and I think anyone who tries to coerce the public domain into representing a private domain matter is doomed. Any kind of special favouritism in the public domain is antithetical to the Enlightenment values of equal rights and equal freedoms.

    Religion – like alternative medicine or ghost hunting – is not the bad guy in my mind but a symptom of poor thinking. And we’re allowed to think poorly. We do it all the time. That’s why lotteries are so popular. You cannot legislate poor thinking away. My issue is the widespread equating of belief in faith-based positions to what is knowable and true in reality that I see as the problem. In other words, when we start undermining reality’s position to be the final arbiter of what’s true in fact and substitute what we believe to be true – what we wish were true – to be that final arbiter, then we’re into a world of unnecessary problems of our own choosing. We fool ourselves all the time and we do it often for the best of reasons… but it’s still fooling ourselves.

    And I think we have that right to fool ourselves all we want… right up until we begin to insist that others respect us for doing so or manipulate the public domain to grant us that respect. The consequences for this are dire. I think the world will be a better place once more and more of us agree to respect reality. And we see this problem being played out today in reality’s overwhelming evidence for stuff we can know even though we may not like it… stuff like evolution and global warming. But I think it’s just foolishness to pretend that we owe respect to what many would prefer to believe about reality on any kind of equal footing with what reality shows us to be true in fact.

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    • Hey, tildeb.

      I appreciate the clarity of your posts of late. The thing I’m continually struck with is this: You insist that belief in God is 1) based on faith alone, not evidence; 2) operates on a denial of reality; 3) is merely fooling ourselves.

      For what it’s worth, I could accuse you of denying reality, although I’m not going to presume to know that much about you. 2 pieces of reality: DNA is a code system. DNA exist in reality. Matter doesn’t produce information. The universe had a beginning. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. Those are just two of the many pieces of reality I and many others have encountered over the years which pointed to God’s existence. But most importantly, is Jesus. What do you do with the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, His claims about Himself, and claims made about Him?

      Frankly speaking, He and the New Testament are like historical barbs; when you try to get rid of them, you just damage everything else that attaches to them, like history of the ancient world. You have to come up with an explanation that explains the existing evidence (that is, reality) than that He is the Son of God, who came, was killed, buried, and rose again after 3 days.

      So, simply put: I want to know a little more about your point of view on Jesus and the evidence to support it. If you get a chance, and you’re willing, just share it with us.

      Thanks!

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      • The questions I am most concerned about are 1) Is a claim true in reality, and 2) How do we know?

        Let’s take a look at the contrary claims about how we have come to be as a species (note that this is a how question and not a why question).

        Once upon a time, we didn’t know anything about this. When asked, “How have humans come to be?” the honest answer would have been, “I don’t know.” Built on this I don’t know could be all kinds of personal beliefs… perhaps we were seeded by an alien race, perhaps we were magically created, perhaps we came out of a hollow log, perhaps we were the children of gods, and so on. All of these beliefs – and many more – were equally valid suppositions. So what changed?

        Knowledge from evidence gathered from reality lent support to some claims more than others. This is the pursuit of knowledge based not on supposition and imaginative wishing but on what evidence reality provides us. If I honestly want to know, to gain knowledge, to inform claims about reality, then it seems to me I have to be willing to respect reality enough to let it – and not my suppositions and beliefs – to arbitrate what is true.

        Let’s look more closely at this question of human origins.

        Many believe today, for example, that we have come to be by some kind of intervention by a creative agency. This is supposition but a supposition that answers the how question. Next we turn to reality and see if it matches up because we really like this explanation, we want to believe it is true. It seems to explain a lot at first blush. Unfortunately, there is no physical evidence in reality to support this explanation. Let’s be clear, here, however: there should be physical evidence in reality if the claim were true, that there could be physical evidence regardless of how much or little we want our beliefs about it to be true, that there ought to be physical evidence to lend support to the continuance of the creative claim to have merit. Yet all supporting physical evidence for the claim of special creation that should, could, and ought to be there is lacking.

        Reality, in this sense of providing us with physical evidence, has made it abundantly clear that it – and not the beliefs of those searching reality for evidence – does not support the creative claim. At all. In any way.

        An explanation that does happen to fit seamlessly to every aspect of physical evidence reality provides us for how we have come to be, derived from widely divergent avenues of our inquiries that are mutually supportive (when it doesn’t have to be this way), is today widely rejected by many in favour of maintaining the creative claim we know is fiction.

        How can this be?

        How can so many people favour an explanation for which there is no physical evidence over a contrary claim for which there is nothing but mutually supportive physical evidence?

        My answer to this puzzle is that there has to be a widespread disregard for the role reality plays in assessing certain kinds of truth claims made about it. And the exception for disregarding reality seems to be wholly centered around claims of the religious kind.

        This raises a huge red flag for me regarding how we know if a religious claim is true in reality or not: many people simply ignore reality in order to maintain that the claim is true. This willingness to detach a claim about reality from reality in order to continue to believe it to be true is a clear indication that such a belief is untestable in and by reality and so must be untrustworthy because its maintenance is equivalent in all ways from what we call a delusion: what’s true in reality no longer matters to affect the belief someone has in it. That’s why I continue to maintain that religious belief does not respect reality’s role in determining what is and isn’t true. And without this respect firmly in place for reality to judge a truth claim made about it, the claims made in the name of religious beliefs about reality are not ‘some other way of knowing’ but equivalent in all ways to delusion. Religious belief cannot help us determining what is true in reality and attempts to undermine how we can know by calling on people to raise faith-based beliefs to be considered equal to knowledge about reality. It’s not, however: faith-based beliefs about reality are empty – and necessarily so – of reality’s legitimacy. That’s why faith and science are diametrically opposed methods of inquiry in how they go about finding out what’s true.

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      • I wanted to comment on your understanding of genetic ‘information’ – a term promoted usually by those who wish to support the belief in a creative designing intelligence. It might be helpful to understand DNA not as some kind of code like a computer language that yields the same result when activated over and over again. DNA reproduction does not behave this way. It is much more like a recipe that although duplicated with a great deal of copying can still yield variation depending on several important factors like interactions with the environment and other external forces.

        Once you realize why the two analogies are rather different, one can begin to appreciate how significant changes over time to the genetic code during multi-generational reproduction should happen… and this is exactly what we find in reality. It helps explain why a flower or a fish has a much longer DNA base code than, say, humans. Simply put, this is why you are not an identical copy of half of each parent, and why children who share parents are not identical copies of each other (obviously, identical twins and much closer to being copies than, for example, fraternal twins). Genetic ‘information’ in this sense is a recipe that produces quite a bit of variation in each and every expression.

        Interactions between materials, their environments, natural forces of physics, and energy results in all kinds of different configurations of prior ‘information’ to post ‘information’ in a chemical sense of the word without any need to introduce any notion of directed agency. And at the root of genetic expressions are exactly that: undirected chemical interactions producing ‘information’. The notion of a directed agency during reproduction has no evidence to back it up… although it could have evidence if it were true, should have evidence for the claim to be taken seriously, ought to have at least as strong a case based on evidence if the belief in agency is to be maintained contrary to the overwhelming evidence against it. Once a legitimate hypothesis, the notion of how the creation of ‘information’ had to have directed agency has now been thoroughly refuted. It’s a good hypothesis that has failed to yield supportive evidence in reality for it.

        Reality – and not the beliefs of those who inquire into it – has provided us with no supportive physical evidence for the notion of directed agency to be considered a valid scientific hypothesis. That’s why Intelligent Design is just another version of a faith-based notion of creationism; a belief that has no evidence from reality to support it.

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  5. Especially when you are only being fed one side of an issue, be vigilant my firend, do not take everything for granted, search for yourself. There is evidence AGAINST evolution and Global warming, the first to present in court seems right until the cross examination begins. The only reason you see overwhelming evidence for evolution is because the media is secular, of course it will look like a fact: you only have one side of the issue. If I would have heard the arguments against evolution, I would have never believed it in the first place. I did call all that believe in God simply stupid, why? Because I never heard the arguments against evolution. Personally I do not have enough evidence for evolution. Whether it is true or not, I would love to know, but the more discoveries, the more it looks impossible, like the complexity of the cell, etc. Seek for yourself my friend, remember that at some point the Big bang theory was ridiculed because of it’s logical implications, showing you the bias against the established order. Just like the centuries before, you questioned Catholicism you were sure to die, today you question anything from science (as if it was an establishment) and you are ridiculed, fired. Do you really think you should put your trust in something that does not allow questioning? Do you really think that it would lead you to truth?

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  6. Yeshua, science is not a conclusion you may or may not agree with. Science is a method that you entrust with your life every day not because you choose to hold some level of faith-based belief to inform this trust but because you know it is a very reliable and consistent method of inquiry that works. It works for everyone everywhere all the time. It is the same method you automatically use to find your misplaced keys (unless you seriously consider supernatural explanations for them being elsewhere, in which case your ability to inquire into reality is rather suspect, wouldn’t you agree?).

    Yet here you are suggesting that the method we use to find out what’s true in reality – to set about finding those missing keys – is actually a matter of taking sides in some argument about some specific conclusion, as if the method works here but not there, useful for investigating this stuff but not that stuff, and so on. And you do so without any good reasons to back up this sudden change in trust… except claims to some kind of divinely inspired faith to do so.

    Think about that for a moment. You are actually suggesting that exactly the same method you use to find your missing keys suddenly becomes the wrong method, an untrustworthy one, an inadequate one, if it produces overwhelming evidence that stands contrary to a claim made on behalf of that supposedly divinely inspired faith. If you were to ask others to respect your line of thinking to find your keys that involved the sacrifice of a chicken and appeals in poetry and dance with smoking embers and incense to seek the aid of your ghostly ancestors first – and then expect to honestly hear answers from them that were revelatory about your keys’ locations- I think it would be quite reasonable for others to be deeply suspicious of your grasp on reality.

    Of course, you don’t do any such thing in your day to day functioning within the reality we share… except in matters of religion. This is where we part company, not because of the conclusions you have reached but because 1) I see no reason to trust how your arrived at them, and 2) the answers do not match up with reality.

    Whereas you are willing to suspend your legitimate trust in the method of science when it is inconvenient to your faith, I will continue to trust the method even when it is inconvenient to mine. I’ll look for my keys without invoking any supernatural agency of cause and effect and be satisfied in my search only when I have overwhelming evidence that I have found them.

    So the difference between us is profound; I am willing to let reality rather than my wishful thinking determine which of my beliefs has merit and which do not… regardless of how much comfort or passion or depth of feelings my beliefs may offer me.

    As for evolution and global warming, let me simply say that neither is a case for faith-based beliefs to offer us anything useful. Reality, not faith, really is the final arbiter of what’s true in fact and one must be very poorly informed to think one’s self justified to assume the overwhelming scientific evidence for both is somehow lacking when it meets all the criteria equal to finding and holding those missing keys in one’s hand. It really does require a rather remarkable degree of confidence in one’s contrary faith (for that in the end is all it is) to continue to deny that the keys I am holding are not true in fact. If the claims made by science about evolution and global warming weren’t true in fact, then our medicines wouldn’t predictably work, our technologies would predictably fail, and the planet wouldn’t be responding the way it predictably is.

    Reality matters to me, Yeshua. I am willing to respect it more than I am your assurances that your faith is better informed. Until you offer better reasons to inform your method of inquiry than what the scientific method has reliably produced for us, I’m not willing to sacrifice that chicken on behalf of my keys just to make me feel like I’m doing something productive. I’ll stick with looking because it works.

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  7. Everything that had a beginning had a cause, the universe had a beginning therefore it had a cause. But for some reason science will let this slip by and say that it somehow poped into existence, POOF just like that, out of nothing.
    My friend,
    I do not have enough faith to believe that something came out of nothing
    I do not have enough faith to believe that information came out of non information
    I do not have enough faith to believe that an explosion made order
    I do not have enough faith to believe that intelligence made non intelligence
    I do not have enough faith to believe that my cognitive faculties just happen to be
    I do not have enough faith to believe that life happened just by chance

    I look all around and see that believing in God is consistent with what I see, I make an inference on the data at hand. You on the other hand just take it by faith because some people find the idea of God simply uncomfortable. Who’s further away from reality? You are my friend.
    Be careful not to mix science with philosophy. A lot of stuff out there is not science anymore but pure dogma at the service of a particular worldview, called materialism.

    Personnaly I am done (commenting), too much of stereotyping, exactly what the post said, too much stereotypes. In the end, I am a glad internet martyr :) and would not hesitate to be a real martyr for my God, that has proven himself to me and in nature, Jesus Christ. Would die in a heartbeat for He is great and I am not. Your comments do not hurt me nor any other christian for He was ridiculed too and that is why we love Him, our savior, our redeemer Jesus. Glory be to Him, forever and ever, Amen.

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  8. Yeshua, I am not ridiculing you nor stereotyping. I am pointing out that criticism of faith-based beliefs is fully justified on merit alone. That does not make you a martyr for your beliefs receiving criticism. The question of how much you have benefited from it is something only you can answer, but from appearances it seems to me that you already are in possession of whatever answers you wish to believe are true and willing to leave it at that.

    You’ll note the kind of intellectual contortions you undergo to make your beliefs seem to fit reality. For example, something comes out of nothing all the time yet you do not inquire. You’re satisfied that they don’t. You are factually wrong and it just doesn’t matter to you.

    Note how easily you exempt god from this same causal reasoning yet you don’t find this troubling at all. You just make the exemption without any good reasons because it satisfies you to do so. This contradiction bothers you not at all.

    Information comes from inanimate material all the time but you do not inquire. You’re satisfied that it doesn’t. You are factually wrong and it just doesn’t matter to you.

    The Big Bang fits the cosmological evidence we have and makes very good sense in terms of understanding the astrophysics we have today. You can understand this if you inquire and see how order does indeed come out of chaos all the time. You simply assume it does not and are satisfied by that factually inaccurate judgement, which doesn’t bother you at all.

    You can understand how your intelligence has come to be if you just inquire. But you don’t. You are satisfied that it cannot be explained in any other way than your belief that god went Poof! and there man was, even though we have irrefutable genetic evidence clearly contrary to the notion of a single pair of ancient ancestors in human lineage. Maybe this bothers you.I sincerely doubt it does because I detect a pattern in what you think is true and it has nothing to do with what is factually true in reality.

    You can improve your understanding of what is meant by ‘chance’ if you would just inquire. Evolution is an extraordinary insightful theory that yields real knowledge applicable to you and your health. You take the health benefits in complete disregard for the very theory that has enabled this knowledge! What does that indifference you practice say to those who dedicate themselves to increasing our knowledge and creating practical applications in this area? Yes, it works, but I choose not to believe it anyway? Why should anyone respect this kind of reality-denying belief?

    Do you really care what’s true in fact in any circumstance that challenges your religious beliefs when you are fully satisfied to remain factually incorrect on so many assumptions you rely on to inform your faith? What does this blatant unwillingness to learn say to those of us out here in Internetland about your intellectual integrity? When you come to comment, what does your obvious disregard for what is factually true in reality say to others who care very much about what is factually true in reality? It says your mind is closed tightly to anything anyone can possibly offer unless it first agrees with your belief. Well, that actually means you don’t come to participate in any kind of exchange of good reasons and interesting evidence and lines of reasoning at all; you come only to preach your beliefs. When those beliefs are found insufficient and you are made aware that they are insufficient, what do you do? Well, here you claim martyrdom as if the suffering from so much cognitive dissonance you have accepted in the name of your chosen piety is caused by others persecuting you for your beliefs. Well, my friend, reality doesn’t excuse believers from its honest indifference to you and your self-imposed suffering. Don’t blame those who point this factually true condition out to you. The blame rests squarely on your own grossly inadequate assumptions you use to keep your inadequate faith garrisoned from reality. Rest assured, however, that reality always wins out in the end.

    As long as you are willing to look around and be satisfied with the answer ‘therefore Jesus’ to so many questions, it seems clear to me and no doubt others that your honest inquiries have come to an early demise. I think because you are capable of understanding all of this far better than you currently do, it’s a shame and a loss to all of us that you give up your natural curiosity so easily and substitute a kind of religious pseudo-answer that yields no equivalent value to our collective knowledge. Your religious belief brings me nothing but indifference to reality. Thanks, but no thanks. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own ignorance to tackle the burden of figuring out why you seem so satisfied with yours.

    There, in a nutshell, is the problem we continue to face on internet forums: those who assume religious belief contrary to what is true in fact should be held in esteem.

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  9. You sure do make a lot of assertions for somebody who claims to be reality based, like you did on the William Lane Craig cartoon. I see that the only thing you are trying to do is to prove your worldview superior to Yeshua’s. But why try so hard if God does not exist? We do not go on unicorn forums to talk how unicorns do not exist. If you are so secure in God does not exit, LET US BE. Why put so much effort into going into a christian site to prove that they are wrong? If you are right, and there is no go, GET A LIFE, don’t you get it? Tomorrow you die, and all that you do today will end up being ultimately pointless, so why even try going and posting on apologetic websites. WHY MAKE GOD YOUR LIFE? Don’t you have better things to do? Videogames, TV, radio, booze, go to those, but don’t spoil your short life by talking about God, for you are only fooling yourself. God is such that all creatures have a relationship with him, some bow the knee, some find their dose by enjoying to challenge those who believe, a relationship nonetheless.

    It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists.

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    • Why put so much effort into going into a christian site…?

      I snipped that sentence for a reason because this part is actually a really good question that deserves an answer, whereas what follows is simply conjecture on your part… conjecture that is actually wrong.

      I go onto these sites to comment because I think it is worthwhile to do so, not because I am trying to ‘win’ anything or ‘beat’ another opinion as if it were a contest but because I have an agenda. My agenda is to remove religion from the public domain but I can’t do that. You can. You – as a believer – need to support the idea that your religious beliefs do not belong being enacted in the public domain affecting public concerns like governance, law, education,science and medicine, public policies, and so on. I don;’t expect you to agree with me on a basis that Tildeb is deserving of your faith/trust/confidence in this matter. I respect you enough to want to arm you with good information, excellent reasons, informed opinions why doing so is in your best interests, your freedom to believe whatever religious faith you hold dear, to improve your legacy to enrich your children’s future, to better your community, increase your social importance, to meet your obligation as a responsible citizen, to do your part to create a better world… at home, at work, and here on the internet.

      You are important and you have a voice. I want to show you why we are allies – believers and non believers – and not antagonists. But for that to happen, we need to have a common understanding of what it is that crosses this line between the public and private domain and why religion in the public domain causes both of us harm.

      If you show that you understand this divisive issue and still want to cause harm to both of us, only then will I consider us enemies… and rightly so because we will stand for conflicting and incompatible values antithetical to secular liberal democracy based on respecting each others rights and freedoms and dignity. But I sincerely doubt you are actually against these values but don’t understand why promoting religion in the public domain undermines and weakens these values specifically.

      If we can talk about it, then I think you will soon realize that just because atheists reject the god hypothesis doesn’t mean they reject your right to believe whatever you want. Whereas you think our differences are about god – and we certainly have differences in opinion about that – I think our differences are really about respecting our individual rights and freedoms and dignity of personhood in the public domain. And one the most fundamental problems in this effort is trying to explain how the exercise of faith in the religious sense of the word (in the public domain) is not a justification for reducing anyone’s rights and freedoms and dignity of personhood but a significant factor in promoting public discrimination. That’s why I comment on these kinds of sites… because I know it has effect, some of which is very positive in the sense of a better understanding of what the issues really are that divide atheist from non atheist, issues that really can be settled in a favourable way to all.

      Hard as it may be for you to believe, some of my best friends are quite religious and we honestly don’t have a problem holding each other in the highest regards. But then, these folk don’t advocate or try to reduce my rights and freedoms and dignity in the name of their religious beliefs but stand with me against those who try.

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  10. I am looking back at my comments and I am ashamed of myself, I believe I responded rudely and with pride to you, tieleb, and I sincerely apologize for this.

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    • That’s kind of you to say, Yeshua.

      I understand that you hold a great deal of passion for your beliefs and wish to share with others what you feel is an important message rather than spend time defending them from what you perceive to be the hostility of others. What I am trying to explain is that the perception of hostility is sort of the flip side of your own passion, meaning that most atheists I know are quite passionate about respecting what’s true first when told to respect the beliefs of others that do not assume that same primary respect. This goes back to NAA’s point of talking past each other. Once we realize why this is happening, each of us can better approach the actual issues raised by others and address them, I think, in a more constructive manner. Holding differences of opinions about what’s true is fine; disregarding that what’s true matters is not. I’ll explain what that looks like more in my response to Pape.

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