Atheist Arrogance?

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AgedGrunt:

Reeve:
After all the immoral shit religion has done, and continues to do, us atheists are entitled to be slightly arrogant. Especially considering that there is no conclusive evidence that any of the claims made in any holy book or scripture are reality.

No, there really is no entitlement, and you're throwing bad behavior after bad behavior. That statement is arrogant itself and satisfies what OP described.

I don't give a fuck. If you are religious then you are as wrong as a child is to behave well in the hope of getting presents from Santa. i.e. That which is asserted without evidence (e.g. that the Bible or Koran or Torah are factually accurate) can be dismissed without evidence.

I'm not going to take people seriously that claim they know for a fact something which they could not possibly know. The only appropriate response to someone like that is scorn, mockery and derision.

Reeve:

AgedGrunt:

Reeve:
After all the immoral shit religion has done, and continues to do, us atheists are entitled to be slightly arrogant. Especially considering that there is no conclusive evidence that any of the claims made in any holy book or scripture are reality.

No, there really is no entitlement, and you're throwing bad behavior after bad behavior. That statement is arrogant itself and satisfies what OP described.

I don't give a fuck. If you are religious then you are as wrong as a child is to behave well in the hope of getting presents from Santa. i.e. That which is asserted without evidence (e.g. that the Bible or Koran or Torah are factually accurate) can be dismissed without evidence.

I'm not going to take people seriously that claim they know for a fact something which they could not possibly know. The only appropriate response to someone like that is scorn, mockery and derision.

First, making the assumption that those in religion are in it just for some reward from their deity is moronic. You clearly haven't spoken to a single person in the group you're criticizing.

Second, this I'd shy I can't identify myself as an atheist in real life. Because the image given is people like you who are all pissy at religion like they personally ruined your life. Just chill out and try a little thing called tolerance.

Shadowstar38:
You clearly haven't spoken to a single person in the group you're criticizing.

I was brought up religious. I used to be a Christian.

Don't talk to me about tolerance. Why don't you go and live in Baghdad; Or why don't you go to some parts of Africa where they still execute "witches." You'll see how nice religion is when it actually has some power and influence. The only reason why Churches in the West aren't killing homosexuals is because the State doesn't let them. And thank god Jim for that.

You all need to read "God is Not Great" by the late but legendary Christopher Hitchens.

Zeh Don:
So, for example, the following statement is logically sound:
All things that flow can leak.
Electricity flows.
Electricity can leak.
It's entirely logical, but also profoundly incorrect. If someone, not understand electricity and believing the above statement, were to apply logic to their day to day actions, they would cover their electrical outlets when not in use to prevent electricity from spilling out. So, no, logic is very limited.

I think you might be able to come up with a better example than this one...

Electricity does leak in a manner of speaking; wires don't transfer charge at 100% efficiency, and that efficiency goes down with distance. The electricity isn't just disappearing. "Leaking" is not an altogether unapt description. And people wouldn't need to cover their outlets by the above argument alone: you only need to worry about a leak when water is flowing. When you aren't using electricity it also isn't flowing. So whether or not you choose to describe what electricity does as 'leaking', no different behavior is necessarily called for by the idea.

Reeve:

Shadowstar38:
You clearly haven't spoken to a single person in the group you're criticizing.

I was brought up religious. I used to be a Christian.

Don't talk to me about tolerance. Why don't you go and live in Baghdad; Or why don't you go to some parts of Africa where they still execute "witches." You'll see how nice religion is when it actually has some power and influence. The only reason why Churches in the West aren't killing homosexuals is because the State doesn't let them. And thank god Jim for that.

You all need to read "God is Not Great" by the late but legendary Christopher Hitchens.

Earlier, you stated the only appropriate reaction to the religious is to meet them with scorn and mockery. From this quote, it looks like you're only upset about the few times someone does something stupid in the name of religion. Either the first thing was hyperbole or you're using certain acts to justify hating on everyone, which is rather pointless.

I'm not even going to waste time with the killing homosexuals part. You have no reason to believe that would ever happen here.

BiscuitTrouser:

Youre right. In future i should make it clear ive invented said god. Its cultural significance had nothing to do with my argument and was made purely for some familiar context. It was totally unnecessary and im in the wrong. I sincerely apologise for this and hope that i wouldnt offend anyone of Myan decent.

Good on you for doing this, man.

Actually i invented said god because i dont really see the Christian god as one requiring effort. Most if not all of the rules are things we do anyway every day by accident like "Be a good person" and "Apologise when you do wrong". If you cut down what moderate Christianity is it really doesnt require action to be an ok believer.

IDK, I think that's point of view. I couldn't be properly Christian and still feel satisfied with my own ethics; I see what Christianity asks as requiring a whole lot of effort. (Although admittedly one of the first things that trips me wouldn't bother most people, and that's the "have no other gods" thing. I can't act like I think monotheism makes sense, it would be a lie.) Like, take the "apologize when you do wrong" one. That's fine as it stands, but it's the sin-and-salvation thinking that it ties into that's wonky. The doer of the bad deed is supposed to apologize, the one he did it to is supposed to accept his apology and forgive him. If it's something like somebody stepping on your foot, fine. If it's something more serious, like rape or abuse, that's something else entirely. People being pushed to forgive people who did truly heinous things to them because it's the "Christian thing to do" is unhealthy. A whole nation being expected to forgive a corrupt official because he apologized (and now we can start his redemption tour!) is ridiculous-- I have to admit, my jaw dropped last year when I saw Evangelicals embracing Newt Gingrich. Dude, wtf, he committed adultery on a wife who had freaking *cancer*! But as oft pointed out, Christians love their redemption/salvation arcs, and he said he was a sorry sinner so it must be all water under the bridge now, right?

I also think not thinking for yourself is effort, in a way. My poor moderate Christian in-law has to get trotted out here again-- someday I really ought to buy her something nice out of guilt for so often using her to make a point-- my mother's family is Catholic. I was thinking one day about the whole Catholic thing of confessing and doing penance (and how my religion requires restitution paid in some form when one's wrongdoings were serious (look up "wergild" or "weregild") and I asked her if her denomination does anything like that. She looked at me like I'd sprouted a pair of heads, and said "of course not! God forgives everyone!" I held back the "but how do wrongdoers come to see that they've done wrong, if it's all just washed under the table like that?" and also the "okay, I know that idea is in your religion's DNA somewhere, so why did your denomination come to decide it's junk code, and did *you*, personally, decide it was junk code on your own, or did you simply accept it because it was taught to you that way?" I keep running into this "because it IS" in Christians, even moderate Christians, and it bothers me.

(And that's not touching some of the really off things Christians are required to do/believe, depending on denomination. What the Catholic church has done to young women's sense of their own sexuality is massively, massively fucked. To be told, and to go forth believing, that a perfectly normal, healthy function is evil, debased, sinful, and shameful is absolutely effort.)

I find the ideas of these religions, that are opt in and out and culture only based really interesting.

Well... to be fair, there's not a lot of "opt out" if you're part of the people (whichever people). But whether *belief* is required, or just proper practice, that's where the difference lies. Someone said that polytheistic religions support belief but don't require it, and I think that's about right. As an Abrahamic example, there are an awful lot of non-believing Jews who still consider themselves Jews, many of whom still keep up holiday and life-passage practices. Here, go have a look at this interesting thread on an anonymous board about whether religion is a choice or not. That board is very international, and you can assume that many of the people saying "not a choice" aren't Christian or American. There are still some issues around belief in non-Christian religions, but I think it's less... centered, maybe? Christianity very much centers belief, it's why atheism goes there first (and sometimes last and always, unfortunately).

This is really damn interesting. I just had no idea about how all this stuff functions. I suppose the rigid doctrine of modern religions is fairly new since it was required to be internationally binding.

Although even that is less rigid than it might look. Read some of the stuff on earlier Christianity, I'd recommend "The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity" by Russell, his point being that Christianity practically had to tie itself in knots doctrine-wise to sell itself to the very culturally-different Germanic peoples. What came out looks a lot different than what went in. I'm curious as to what's happening to Christianity(-ies) in Africa with this big conversion push right now-- as someone else mentioned, there are actual witch burnings happening *now* in Africa that are the result of the collision of colonizing Pentecostalism with traditional African beliefs.

May i ask what name your polytheism is under or closest to? Id love to read some more about it.

Asatru or Heathenry (more broadly). Let me work on some good links. If you like podcasts, I can recommend a couple of good ones that really nitpick at worldview-stuff (I don't always agree with it, but I like the discussion) vs. "these are the gods, these are the rituals, this is the mystical foo" type stuff. There's an associated board with one of them, but I think the show's explanations are more in-depth and less of a gloss. I haven't looked at Wikipedia in a while, but it's probably not that bad and the link-hopping could be interesting. :)

This seems like a better trump card building on what i said above. People are reluctant, in my experience, to take the stance i talked about above. This kind of questioning presses home on that. I like that. Its a stronger point in my view.

I think anything that knocks Christianity off its hegemonic perch by saying "these other things are your equal" is a good thing.

Seanchaidh:

Zeh Don:
So, for example, the following statement is logically sound:
All things that flow can leak.
Electricity flows.
Electricity can leak.
It's entirely logical, but also profoundly incorrect. If someone, not understand electricity and believing the above statement, were to apply logic to their day to day actions, they would cover their electrical outlets when not in use to prevent electricity from spilling out. So, no, logic is very limited.

I think you might be able to come up with a better example than this one...

Electricity does leak in a manner of speaking; wires don't transfer charge at 100% efficiency, and that efficiency goes down with distance. The electricity isn't just disappearing. "Leaking" is not an altogether unapt description. And people wouldn't need to cover their outlets by the above argument alone: you only need to worry about a leak when water is flowing. When you aren't using electricity it also isn't flowing. So whether or not you choose to describe what electricity does as 'leaking', no different behavior is necessarily called for by the idea.

You took that metaphor way too literally.

Shadowstar38:

Reeve:

Shadowstar38:
You clearly haven't spoken to a single person in the group you're criticizing.

I was brought up religious. I used to be a Christian.

Don't talk to me about tolerance. Why don't you go and live in Baghdad; Or why don't you go to some parts of Africa where they still execute "witches." You'll see how nice religion is when it actually has some power and influence. The only reason why Churches in the West aren't killing homosexuals is because the State doesn't let them. And thank god Jim for that.

You all need to read "God is Not Great" by the late but legendary Christopher Hitchens.

Earlier, you stated the only appropriate reaction to the religious is to meet them with scorn and mockery. From this quote, it looks like you're only upset about the few times someone does something stupid in the name of religion. Either the first thing was hyperbole or you're using certain acts to justify hating on everyone, which is rather pointless.

I'm not even going to waste time with the killing homosexuals part. You have no reason to believe that would ever happen here.

Ah, now there you're wrong. There's *very* good reason to believe the same people pushing it there would try it here if they could, and that's because they've said so. On the record. Repeatedly. Start with looking into Rushdoony himself, he's kind of the father of modern Dominionism, and then follow the line of descent of the very popular Christian leaders who he trained, they trained, etc. There was even something of a debate among some of Rushdoony's followers as to whether one should shoot homosexuals or stone them (doesn't waste a bullet). There's plenty of information out there now about Dominionism, quite a bit of it from people who were part of it. Would our legal/law enforcement/military system let it get that far is a matter of debate, but the links between the pastors overseas, the pastors here, and the thinking of both is a matter of fact.

Also, he mentions that people are being *murdered* for being "witches" (many, incidentally, are children) and you come back with "the few times someone does something stupid in the name of religion" (emphasis mine). Do you believe murder in the name of religion is "stupid"? I'd hate to see what passes your threshold for serious, then.

I am an atheist myself but I go way out of my way never to talk about religion because I never have anything good to say being a victim of 3 different and terrible christian foster parents who only did it for the extra check and to feel smug about themselves who after learning that I would not convert to their religion treated me like absolute garbage. And yes it happened 3 times and each one of them pretty much despised me.

Honestly, I have had VERY few good experiences with religious people and am turned off religion completely as if heaven is with THOSE people then I would rather go to hell with the people who are HONEST about being bad.

You hate atheist ignorance, well in return I get to hate the religious smug bastards who think that by being religious they are automatically good people.

The biggest issue here, and by far the most socially penetrating one, is the hypocrisy of 'religious people'. People need to realize that just because someone claims to be Christian it doesn't mean that they actually are, nor does it mean that they represent the faith in any way. A right wing republican who uses the Bible as grounds for oppressing homosexual people is a huge hypocrite. So is a parent who mistreats his child for not accepting the Christian doctrine. As corny as it might sound, at the heart of the Christian faith is love for all, selflessness and treating people the way one wants to be treated. So don't be fooled. Until you've investigated the faith and the doctrine itself don't take it for granted that what you see is the truth because it's a grotesque misrepresentation of Christianity is.

I'm Christian and I get so angry with stupid right wing American politicians who throw the Bible around at their leisure because they're usually so far up their asses they can barely see past their arrogance...not that I can stand tree hugging lefties either but whatever. I get angry because they have no idea how hypocritical they are.

Shadowstar38:

Seanchaidh:

Zeh Don:
So, for example, the following statement is logically sound:
All things that flow can leak.
Electricity flows.
Electricity can leak.
It's entirely logical, but also profoundly incorrect. If someone, not understand electricity and believing the above statement, were to apply logic to their day to day actions, they would cover their electrical outlets when not in use to prevent electricity from spilling out. So, no, logic is very limited.

I think you might be able to come up with a better example than this one...

Electricity does leak in a manner of speaking; wires don't transfer charge at 100% efficiency, and that efficiency goes down with distance. The electricity isn't just disappearing. "Leaking" is not an altogether unapt description. And people wouldn't need to cover their outlets by the above argument alone: you only need to worry about a leak when water is flowing. When you aren't using electricity it also isn't flowing. So whether or not you choose to describe what electricity does as 'leaking', no different behavior is necessarily called for by the idea.

You took that metaphor way too literally.

Wasn't a metaphor-- was an example. And taking examples how they are stated is how you get better examples.

Witty Name Here:

http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/approved_apparitions/lourdes/miracles4.html

So, after taking a visit to a sacred site associated with healing of the sick, a man's hip bone is miraculously reconstructed with no medical explanation give towards why he would make such a miraculous recovery. This is evidence for the existence of God.

Really? Which God?

Don't forget, you'll need to provide supporting evidence as to why it's God X and, by extension, not God Y.

HoneyVision:
The biggest issue here, and by far the most socially penetrating one, is the hypocrisy of 'religious people'. People need to realize that just because someone claims to be Christian it doesn't mean that they actually are, nor does it mean that they represent the faith in any way. A right wing republican who uses the Bible as grounds for oppressing homosexual people is a huge hypocrite. So is a parent who mistreats his child for not accepting the Christian doctrine. As corny as it might sound, at the heart of the Christian faith is love for all, selflessness and treating people the way one wants to be treated. So don't be fooled. Until you've investigated the faith and the doctrine itself don't take it for granted that what you see is the truth because it's a grotesque misrepresentation of Christianity is.

I'm Christian and I get so angry with stupid right wing American politicians who throw the Bible around at their leisure because they're usually so far up their asses they can barely see past their arrogance...not that I can stand tree hugging lefties either but whatever. I get angry because they have no idea how hypocritical they are.

I think you make the mistake of assuming that your personal interpretation of Christianity is automatically the correct one. From an outsider's perspective, nobody, whether they're a tolerant Christian like you or a member of the WBC, has any ground to stand on. To us, each and every interpretation of Christianity is equally valid. The people on the far right who you complain about ARE Christians, they're just a different type of Christian than you. You can say "those people don't speak for MY version of Christianity," but it's extremely, well, arrogant to assume that they are hypocrites/can't speak for their own version of Christianity. That's a "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

Of course, it's also only fair that people criticizing Christianity don't lump people like you together with people like the WBC. The point is that there is a WIDE range of interpretations of Christianity and it's foolish, whether you're a Christian or not, to try and dismiss any of those interpretations as invalid.

Zeh Don:

Seanchaidh:
Wasn't a metaphor -- was an example. And taking examples how they are stated is how you get better examples.

I could argue that you deliberately misunderstood my example, but I'd rather just re-word the previous one to prevent such misunderstandings from being possible. If you misunderstand the following example, then know that you've done so of your own accord:

You could always just figure out a better example. There are much better and more obvious ways to make the point that logical validity is no guarantee of deductive soundness. Each premise of an argument must (at the least) be true for what follows from their collection to be reliable information.

Zeh Don:

Godavari:
...That's a "No True Scotsman" fallacy...

I'd like to add that it really isn't such a fallacy, as the "No True..." fallacy refers only to things that cannot be defined by their nature - such as being a "True Scotsman". As being born in Scotland is the only thing necessary to receive the moniker of "Scotsman", a "True" Scotsman has no definition. And so Christianity can only be said to be one such fallacy if the base definition of "Christian" is entirely ignored.
What's that definition? Well, in order to qualify for the moniker of Christian, a person must be a follower of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have a baseline definition - it differs from the Scotsman moniker in that due to it's nature, it can be expanded upon. Because "to follow" under the agreed definition means "to accept the leadership of, to adhere to, to practice or to imitate" we understand that a "Christian" must accept the leadership of Jesus Christ, to adhere to and practice his teachings, and to imitate where possible his actions.
Well, what the hell does that mean?
Well, luckily, the Bible lays out Jesus' chief commandment to his followers - it is known as the great commandment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Commandment

Matthew 22:35-40
"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

The first commandment is to love God, the second is to love thy neighbour as thyself. Therefore, we have the baseline definition of what a "Christian" is as Jesus added the "...On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" part at the end - and for the sake of context, the Law as mentioned here simply refers to God's Law. This sentence allows this particular commandment power of everything else in the book - including but not limited to the burning of witches and stoning of homosexuals.
Being as we have a clear definition of "Christian", and that definition includes following Jesus' teachings, and his teachings dictate that a follower of his must adhere to these two commandments above all others, we're able to say that a Christian must adhere to these two commandments in order to qualify for the moniker.

So, no, we can rule out people who say "I'm a Christian, now excuse me while I burn these people over here because [reasons]" as Christians, because we have a definition of Christianity that comes from the guy you have to be imitate in order to actually be a Christian.
So, for an example, it is agreed that an atheist is someone who believes that God/Gods do not exist. If someone says "I'm and atheist, and I believe in Zeus", are they really an atheist? Of course not, because they do not fit the necessary criteria for the title according to it's definition. If they then run along and create their own definition that says "An atheist is someone who only believes in Zeus" are all the people who believe in Zeus now atheists?

That's a very ethnocentric and presumptuous interpretation of those passages-- by that standard The Church was not "Christian" for many centuries of its existence even before the Great Schism. You have performed no deduction of what constitutes a "True Christian"-- especially given the many theological deflections about the nature of God's supposed love in reaction to the problem of evil, "loving thy neighbor as thyself" is not necessarily distinct from killing people with fire. To say that the law "hangs on" some general ideas can easily be interpreted as to say that instances of burning or stoning people who do or are X or Y is part and parcel of loving God and/or loving thy neighbor-- not that such actions are therefore invalid. What you have done is interpreted one general directive as being more important than the specified detail of the law, which is an extremely questionable move. What you are doing is like saying the death penalty doesn't exist because everyone has a right to life, or that eminent domain doesn't ever happen because of a right to property-- as if one could construct the government of the United States to the very last detail simply by reading its Constitution. Generally we take details to be clarifying rather than simply overridden by more general statements. (Or perhaps the United States before Brown v. Board of Education and after Plessy v. Ferguson wasn't truly the United States.)

Not only that, but you have not justified reliance on one particular group of sources as to what Christian or Christlike behavior actually entails. Yeah, ok, so there is the Bible-- written by humans, picked and chosen from by humans centuries later, and of extremely questionable veracity in any case, given the timing of the writings. There are also Church councils that supposedly had the holy spirit in attendance and also personal revelations which there is no especial reason to distrust more than the Bible.

Basically, "Christian" is extremely woolly. And with such unclear terms the best approach really is accepting self-identification. With your definition, with its very modern (even materialistic) biases as to what constitutes "love", nearly the entire history of Christianity is not a history of Christianity.

Seanchaidh:
Wasn't a metaphor -- was an example. And taking examples how they are stated is how you get better examples.

I could argue that you deliberately misunderstood my example, but I'd rather just re-word the previous one to prevent such misunderstandings from being possible. If you misunderstand the following example, then know that you've done so of your own accord:

All things that can flow are liquid.
All liquids can can leak.
Electricity flows.
Therefore, Electricity is liquid.
Electricity can leak.

If someone, not understanding the true nature of electricity read the above statement and applied logic to their day to day actions, they would cover any and all electrical outlets when not in use to prevent electricity from spilling across their floors, walls and other surfaces and place small bowls under each outlet to catch residual electricity for use later.

Godavari:
...That's a "No True Scotsman" fallacy...

I'd like to add that it really isn't such a fallacy, as the "No True..." fallacy refers only to things that cannot be defined by their nature - such as being a "True Scotsman". As being born in Scotland is the only thing necessary to receive the moniker of "Scotsman", a "True" Scotsman has no definition. And so Christianity can only be said to be one such fallacy if the base definition of "Christian" is entirely ignored.
What's that definition? Well, in order to qualify for the moniker of Christian, a person must be a follower of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have a baseline definition - it differs from the Scotsman moniker in that due to it's nature, it can be expanded upon. Because "to follow" under the agreed definition means "to accept the leadership of, to adhere to, to practice or to imitate" we understand that a "Christian" must accept the leadership of Jesus Christ, to adhere to and practice his teachings, and to imitate where possible his actions.
Well, what the hell does that mean?
Well, luckily, the Bible lays out Jesus' chief commandment to his followers - it is known as the great commandment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Commandment

Matthew 22:35-40
"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

The first commandment is to love God, the second is to love thy neighbour as thyself. Therefore, we have the baseline definition of what a "Christian" is as Jesus added the "...On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" part at the end - and for the sake of context, the Law as mentioned here simply refers to God's Law. This sentence allows this particular commandment power of everything else in the book - including but not limited to the burning of witches and stoning of homosexuals.
Being as we have a clear definition of "Christian", and that definition includes following Jesus' teachings, and his teachings dictate that a follower of his must adhere to these two commandments above all others, we're able to say that a Christian must adhere to these two commandments in order to qualify for the moniker.

So, no, we can rule out people who say "I'm a Christian, now excuse me while I burn these people over here because [reasons]" as Christians, because we have a definition of Christianity that comes from the guy you have to be imitate in order to actually be a Christian.
So, for an example, it is agreed that an atheist is someone who believes that God/Gods do not exist. If someone says "I'm and atheist, and I believe in Zeus", are they really an atheist? Of course not, because they do not fit the necessary criteria for the title according to it's definition. If they then run along and create their own definition that says "An atheist is someone who only believes in Zeus" are all the people who believe in Zeus now atheists?

Asserting that your atheist belief is true is not arrogance, it is asserting your belief. It can be done in an arrogant manner, this is true, but when dealing with those of conviction in religion one must also hold conviction in an atheist ideal.

Atheist conviction can often be perceived as arrogance but it must be expected from individuals as they do not congregate in theological groups - they congregate in political groups. Due to not having a large organised body to belong to the individual must be strong in conviction without outside support, this individual conviction can often be compared to that of a preacher of actual religions.

Atheism is presently a rebellious stance to take, not by virtue of being destructive by nature but by the overwhelming majority of theists that exist.

An atheist also, by default, will pity a theist in the same way many a theist will pity one who is not a member of their religion. To an atheist anyone who follows a religion has been indoctrinated or brainwashed by an influential individual or group. According to an atheist someone, somewhere has lied to that unfortunate individual and managed to convince them to believe. Insisting this to someone who is of faith can be perceived as arrogance, but it is the very root of atheism - religions are not the word of a god, they are all the word of man.

Zeckt:

You hate atheist ignorance, well in return I get to hate the religious smug bastards who think that by being religious they are automatically good people.

By all means do :)

Like I said in the original post this was more a rant to get a feeling off my chest and hear it discussed in a public domain rather than just let it continue to play in the back of my mind. I find a lot of the posts fascinating truth be told, much more care and detail than I ever showed the subject. I digress, I just wanted to point out that I've often heard people talk about 'religious smug bastards' (of which they do exist) it's just I've never personally seen the other side, the idea of atheist arrogance be debated, hense the thread.

The only real conclusion I've come to so far is that it's the nature of man to think what he believes to be superior, how that manifests itself changes, from arrogance trying to assert your correct way of doing to tolerance safe in the knowledge you are correct but in both cases that inherent inner ego remains. Sure that sounds kinda obvious but I hadn't really thought it out before this thread.

Reeve:
snips

Just a heads up your being really confrontational and kinda rude, you might want to calm down. Then again my original post has appeared to some to be a condemnation of all atheists as arrogant which was never my intention, if that sparked you off I apologise.

ClockworkPenguin:
I'm going to be straight with you here, example after example of atheists being arrogant wont convince me that atheism is inherently arrogant. A brief run down of terms likely to appear in my rebuttal to such a list include; confirmation bias, sampling bias, cherrypicking, anecdotal evidence...

Debates are not the place to look. You don't enter a formal debate with the tactic of passively presenting ones views. You do it to assert that your views are more reasonable than your opponents. There is no place for humility in such an arena.

And whilst I don't have any examples off the top of my head, I would be surprised if, in the heat of the moment, both sides on any given argument don't tend to take debating shortcuts they shouldn't.

Furthermore, there is the issue of perception. As we saw with the bus picture, arguments which you believe to be arrogant or fallacious may be perceived by those with a different viewpoint as being reasonable and arguments which you believe to be in honest and understanding depth may be seen as fallacious ignorant and missing the point by your opposition.

Starting from a Christian perspective, even if it is a toss-up regarding whether or not God exists there is no really compelling reason to stop believing. So atheism looks unreasonable. But starting without any belief, there is no compelling reason to start, which is why atheists think theists look unreasonable.

I see. I honestly cannot myself be convinced that atheists can hold their position seriously without arrogance, though this is simply because every atheist I know is extremely arrogant. That's just subjective though. However, atheists inventing concepts such as the "Dark Ages" and the "Scientific Revolution" all the way to the "Enlightenment" in order to discredit religious accomplishment and take the credit over "ungrounded" belief is all just to much for me. I simply cannot see atheism or secular humanism in a non-arrogant light.

I should have been more clear. When I said "debates" I meant debates of pen, as authors write books back and forth with opposing theses. Face to face debates are absolutely pointless as they never convince anyone and just raise enmity between the groups represented.

And finally, your analysis of the Theist-Atheist views is mostly accurate for most though still offensive to me personally. I considered myself an agnostic for God knows how long, until one day blindly stumbled across a book that explained how metaphysical naturalism collapses in on itself, and how Thomist realism still holds up. Up until that point I had just assumed that metaphysical naturalism was proven, however, this book (The Last Superstition) made a very potent argument against it, and I became a theist. Not all of us just play toss-up with whether or not God exists. I am living proof of that. I did not have a personally "compelling" reason to become a theist except that I followed where the evidence led as I began to study philosophy.

I don't base my belief in a God on a weak argument like Paley's watchmaker argument (like the "Intelligent Design" camp), but on metaphysical demonstration (a topic that you don't find in atheist literature, as atheists tend to just focus on the woes of religion in history instead - see "God is Not Great" or "The God Delusion" for proof); or rather, why there must be a God and how that logically pans out metaphysically as opposed to why there might be a God so why not just accept him just in case. You won't find detailed arguments like this laid out online, and search google for Aquinas's five reasons for God and you will find a bunch of arguments against them that misunderstand the basic metaphysics beneath the arguments. However, if you are ready to leave behind the subjective world of "toss-up" beliefs and are serious about studying the philosophical foundations for atheism, agnosticism, and theism (and prepared to spend a little cash to do so), I would recommend you begin with a book such as Edward Feser's "The Last Superstition" or "Beginner's Guide to Aquinas" (To balance it out, I recommend Richard Carrier's "Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism, though if you read it after the other books I have recommended you will quickly put it down in disappointment). If not, well I'm sure you'll still sleep well tonight knowing that I am wrong.

Good day to you, sir.

AMMO Kid:

I see. I honestly cannot myself be convinced that atheists can hold their position seriously without arrogance, though this is simply because every atheist I know is extremely arrogant. That's just subjective though. However, atheists inventing concepts such as the "Dark Ages" and the "Scientific Revolution" all the way to the "Enlightenment" in order to discredit religious accomplishment and take the credit over "ungrounded" belief is all just to much for me. I simply cannot see atheism or secular humanism in a non-arrogant light.

Unless you have strong evidence to the contrary, I think it should be assumed that these terms (due to their age and that atheism was even weaker historically) were coined by Christians.

I considered myself an agnostic for God knows how long, until one day blindly stumbled across a book that explained how metaphysical naturalism collapses in on itself, and how Thomist realism still holds up. Up until that point I had just assumed that metaphysical naturalism was proven, however, this book (The Last Superstition) made a very potent argument against it, and I became a theist. Not all of us just play toss-up with whether or not God exists. I am living proof of that. I did not have a personally "compelling" reason to become a theist except that I followed where the evidence led as I began to study philosophy.

I don't base my belief in a God on a weak argument like Paley's watchmaker argument (like the "Intelligent Design" camp), but on metaphysical demonstration (a topic that you don't find in atheist literature, as atheists tend to just focus on the woes of religion in history instead - see "God is Not Great" or "The God Delusion" for proof); or rather, why there must be a God and how that logically pans out metaphysically as opposed to why there might be a God so why not just accept him just in case. You won't find detailed arguments like this laid out online, and search google for Aquinas's five reasons for God and you will find a bunch of arguments against them that misunderstand the basic metaphysics beneath the arguments. However, if you are ready to leave behind the subjective world of "toss-up" beliefs and are serious about studying the philosophical foundations for atheism, agnosticism, and theism (and prepared to spend a little cash to do so), I would recommend you begin with a book such as Edward Feser's "The Last Superstition" or "Beginner's Guide to Aquinas" (To balance it out, I recommend Richard Carrier's "Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism, though if you read it after the other books I have recommended you will quickly put it down in disappointment). If not, well I'm sure you'll still sleep well tonight knowing that I am wrong.

After just a quick review of Aquinas' reasons for the existence of god I can tell you already that they are flawed.

I'm going from this by the way:

http://web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/aquinasfiveways_argumentanalysis.htm

The first three are (as far as I can quickly figure) true in the classical Euclidean conception of the world from which Aquinas was working (and in which we perceive most of our experiences). However, the discovery of quantum mechanics changes all of this.

First Argument: Flawed in two areas: one is that things can be in a superposition of potentiality and actuality. Another is that while things cannot move themselves, two or more things can move each other. Consider gravity or magnets as an example. Or one thing can split and result in two or more moving parts.

Second and Third Arguments: Flawed because quantum mechanics allows things to basically just pop into existence (with a certain probability). The only requirement be that when you combine all of the new stuff together again you get nothing.

Fourth: Flawed for several reasons. First of all, "better" is a normative term and has no basis in physicality. Secondly, just because some things are more "X" than others, it does not follow that the thing which is more "X" than all other things is infinitely "X." For example, the tallest man does not have an infinite height. The heaviest thing does not have an infinite mass.

Fifth: Teleological argument. These are generally flawed because the question is begged. One can only arrive at the conclusion that all natural bodies work towards some goal by assuming that all natural bodies are guided by some consciousness. This is then used as evidence for that very same assumed consciousness. Additionally, there is no evidence for the assertion that the consciousness need be intelligent or even conscious. It must simply be very regular.

I'll say again because it bears repeating: from where science was in his day, Aquinas did a pretty good job. But the assumptions that most of his arguments are based on have since been overturned.

In fact, what he seems to be describing as God is quantum mechanics itself, or whatever deeper theory may lie beneath it.

.

Now, perhaps you say that this is simply one more of those rebuttals that doesn't get it. Maybe it is. However, this does not preclude the very important constriction I am about to put on Aquinas' arguments:

Were I to concede that these arguments are compelling, the only thing that they would prove is that there is some consciousness which is eternal and created everything. It is no evidence for Jesus, or Noah's ark, or heaven, or any of the other things in any holy book. As such, these arguments should not lead to beliefs in such claims.

So even if Aquinas is right, it is still no proof for the kind of God that any theologian is interested in proving, nor one that entails any special ways of behaving.

Godavari:

HoneyVision:
The biggest issue here, and by far the most socially penetrating one, is the hypocrisy of 'religious people'. People need to realize that just because someone claims to be Christian it doesn't mean that they actually are, nor does it mean that they represent the faith in any way. A right wing republican who uses the Bible as grounds for oppressing homosexual people is a huge hypocrite. So is a parent who mistreats his child for not accepting the Christian doctrine. As corny as it might sound, at the heart of the Christian faith is love for all, selflessness and treating people the way one wants to be treated. So don't be fooled. Until you've investigated the faith and the doctrine itself don't take it for granted that what you see is the truth because it's a grotesque misrepresentation of Christianity is.

I'm Christian and I get so angry with stupid right wing American politicians who throw the Bible around at their leisure because they're usually so far up their asses they can barely see past their arrogance...not that I can stand tree hugging lefties either but whatever. I get angry because they have no idea how hypocritical they are.

I think you make the mistake of assuming that your personal interpretation of Christianity is automatically the correct one. From an outsider's perspective, nobody, whether they're a tolerant Christian like you or a member of the WBC, has any ground to stand on. To us, each and every interpretation of Christianity is equally valid. The people on the far right who you complain about ARE Christians, they're just a different type of Christian than you. You can say "those people don't speak for MY version of Christianity," but it's extremely, well, arrogant to assume that they are hypocrites/can't speak for their own version of Christianity. That's a "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

Of course, it's also only fair that people criticizing Christianity don't lump people like you together with people like the WBC. The point is that there is a WIDE range of interpretations of Christianity and it's foolish, whether you're a Christian or not, to try and dismiss any of those interpretations as invalid.

Oh not at all! I'm not offering any form of interpretation. I'm talking about what the faith practices. ANYONE claiming to be Christian will agree that the Christian faith preaches love, selflessness, tolerance and patience, because it's the doctrine, not an interpretation. The foundational doctrines of Christianity are stated very clearly in the Bible. Interpretational problems arise with more outlaying issues. So there's no "MY version".

HoneyVision:
Oh not at all! I'm not offering any form of interpretation. I'm talking about what the faith practices. ANYONE claiming to be Christian will agree that the Christian faith preaches love, selflessness, tolerance and patience, because it's the doctrine, not an interpretation. The foundational doctrines of Christianity are stated very clearly in the Bible. Interpretational problems arise with more outlaying issues. So there's no "MY version".

Just curious, what about all the fire and brimstone Christians? It's not like they're reading a different book. There must be some sort of interpretation going on here if you have groups like the WBC that self identify as Christians, yet do not operate on principles of love, at least in any way thats recognized by the rest of us.

Jux:
Just curious, what about all the fire and brimstone Christians? It's not like they're reading a different book. There must be some sort of interpretation going on here if you have groups like the WBC that self identify as Christians, yet do not operate on principles of love, at least in any way thats recognized by the rest of us.

I know this wasn't directed to myself, I just wanted to add my two cents, if that's ok?
The "fire and brimstone" Christians are reading from the same book, sure, but they're much the same as people who think it's best to treat opposing ideas with outright hostility and belittling - and so pay lip service to the parts about being nice to everyone.
A chief teaching of many sermons is that it's easy to be nice to be people when they're nice, agreeable and pleasant. It's significantly harder to be nice to people when they're hurling insults at you, your family, your friends and the things that mean the most to you. Someone people never learn that lesson, and still proclaim themselves Christians as they're fanning the flames, so to speak.
They're generally the kind of people who hate homosexuals, bi-racial couples, and other such ideals, not because the Bible preaches against it, but because they simply hate those concepts, and use the Bible as a smokescreen to "justify" their bigotry. The "interpretation" that they're running from is basically holding up all of the Old Testament Law's regarding atonement for Sin, while praying to the Son of God who died as atonement for all Sins, and thus fulfilled those old Laws.

Oirish_Martin:
arrogant militant atheists

I'm not sure what exactly constitutes a "militant atheist". Militant Islamists blow up women and children. Militant Christians burn down abortion clinics and threaten doctors and their families.

Militant Atheists are the ones that write books, I guess? Pointing out the obvious flaws in pretty much all religious scriptures and being baffled at how otherwise intelligent people can unquestioningly swallow bronze age myths as absolute fact is hardly "militant", is it?

Zeh Don:

I could argue that you deliberately misunderstood my example, but I'd rather just re-word the previous one to prevent such misunderstandings from being possible. If you misunderstand the following example, then know that you've done so of your own accord:

All things that can flow are liquid.
All liquids can can leak.
Electricity flows.
Therefore, Electricity is liquid.
Electricity can leak.

If someone, not understanding the true nature of electricity read the above statement and applied logic to their day to day actions, they would cover any and all electrical outlets when not in use to prevent electricity from spilling across their floors, walls and other surfaces and place small bowls under each outlet to catch residual electricity for use later.

I understand and agree with your general point but the example above is so ill defined and illogical sound it serves to undermine your point.

What does flow mean in this context?
What does leak mean?
Does electricity flow?

If all things that can flow don't require to be liquid your first argument is incorrect.

Zeh Don:

Godavari:
...That's a "No True Scotsman" fallacy...

I'd like to add that it really isn't such a fallacy, as the "No True..." fallacy refers only to things that cannot be defined by their nature - such as being a "True Scotsman". As being born in Scotland is the only thing necessary to receive the moniker of "Scotsman", a "True" Scotsman has no definition. And so Christianity can only be said to be one such fallacy if the base definition of "Christian" is entirely ignored.
What's that definition? Well, in order to qualify for the moniker of Christian, a person must be a follower of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have a baseline definition - it differs from the Scotsman moniker in that due to it's nature, it can be expanded upon. Because "to follow" under the agreed definition means "to accept the leadership of, to adhere to, to practice or to imitate" we understand that a "Christian" must accept the leadership of Jesus Christ, to adhere to and practice his teachings, and to imitate where possible his actions.

Let's stop right there, shall we? I take issue first with your definition of Christian and second with your interpretation of what that means.

Firstly, I hold on principle that we, as impartial observers, should not (and in fact can not) tell people who self-identify as being part of a group without defined and codified membership requirements that they are not part of that group. That is to say, any group label which can be applied to someone (such as "Christian") is, by definition, undefined unless the vast majority of persons adhering to that label agree on the basic requirements. You say that to be Christian is to follow the teachings of Christ. Others say that to be Christian is to attend church weekly, be baptized, pray daily, and atone for all sins major and minor. Still others proclaim that being Christian means separating yourself from the world and living in isolation, leaving the rest of the world to bathe in sin and waiting for them to be cleansed of it on judgement day. And there is also a contingent of Christians who believe that the righteous must condemn all fags and fag enablers as loudly and rudely as possible. Your singular definition is far from universally accepted, and you show your arrogance when you try to apply it as if it's sanctified.

Secondly, even if we assume that all Christians must follow Jesus Christ, there is significant theological debate on what that even means. You base your own personal interpretation on one specific passage. But what if someone else wants to base their interpretation on an altogether different one? Say, Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Even if you want to interpret this passage as meaning that we no longer have to sacrifice goats or whatever, it is still just an [/i]interpretation[/i] and no more or less valid than someone who interprets it to mean that we still need to stone homosexuals and that if a man rapes a virgin, he must wed her and pay her family a fine. Don't get me wrong - I vastly prefer your interpretation - but the Bible is often vague and contradictory and can be construed to mean a great many things. Without a way to definitively say which meaning is most correct, all reasonable meanings must be assumed.

So, for an example, it is agreed that an atheist is someone who believes that God/Gods do not exist. If someone says "I'm and atheist, and I believe in Zeus", are they really an atheist? Of course not, because they do not fit the necessary criteria for the title according to it's definition. If they then run along and create their own definition that says "An atheist is someone who only believes in Zeus" are all the people who believe in Zeus now atheists?

Except that "atheist" has a near-universal definition among its population, namely the lack of belief in anthropomorphic transcendent beings known as "gods." Christianity, by comparison, is much more splintered and fuzzy. There are a few things which hold true for the majority of Christians, such as that God exists and the Bible is his book (though even those begin to break down and show variance in meaning if you dig deep enough), but most of the things you mention in your post are far from universal.

HoneyVision:
Oh not at all! I'm not offering any form of interpretation. I'm talking about what the faith practices. ANYONE claiming to be Christian will agree that the Christian faith preaches love, selflessness, tolerance and patience, because it's the doctrine, not an interpretation. The foundational doctrines of Christianity are stated very clearly in the Bible. Interpretational problems arise with more outlaying issues. So there's no "MY version".

Sorry to be so brash, but you are completely wrong. There are many Christians who will not agree that it preaches tolerance and patience.

Specifically relevant is the bit which mentions "God?'s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death." And this is Paul we're talking about. His interpretations of Jesus' teachings are so respected that they were actually included in the Bible. Hardly a claim that you can make, I'm sure. Despite what your church may tell you, there is a lot of dissidence on the matter of what being Christian actually means, and while you may be on the more morally upstanding side, as long as you and other Christians continue to rely on the Bible, no single interpretation (because that's what your view is) will ever be seen as more valid than any other. As I said above, the Bible is often vague and contradictory and can be construed to mean a great many things. Without a way to definitively say which meaning is most correct, all reasonable meanings must be assumed. Your views, while I prefer them, have the same basis and theological backing as those of the Westboro Baptist Church. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that you must accept a cornerstone of polite and intelligent debate, that other people, while you may disagree with them, have a point worth listening to.

Honestly, I think we deserve some slack because for centuries we have been told to either believe or burn and suffer for all of eternity. Whenever people would say NO they would be condemned a heretic. Even now religion can only continue by doing their absolute best to BRAINWASH our youth to carry on their hateful beliefs.

Don't you think religion kind of deserves it for all the forced brainwashing it puts on us? I was bombarded with it as a kid, and I'll admit I'm still mad and hold grudges against religion because of it. Religion fricking TERRIFIED me as a kid because all the people doing the brainwashing were bad people and they told me to believe in god and be like them or BURN. I mean this in the nicest possible way, but fuck religion. I'm so sorry for saying that but I'm bitter and its just how I honestly feel about it and I would still rather go to hell then suffer an eternity with THOSE types of people.

HoneyVision:
The foundational doctrines of Christianity are stated very clearly in the Bible. Interpretational problems arise with more outlaying issues. So there's no "MY version".

Yes, yes there is. What you're doing is taking the modern, incredibly bastardised version of Christianity that is more palatable to the average 21st century person who doesn't actually want to bother reading the Bible and assuming that that is the true Bible.

Failing to realise that a 2000 year old book is going to have 2000 year old beliefs and values I.e. Superstitiousness, fear, ignorance, bigotry and dogmatism.

Semes:

Zeh Don:

I could argue that you deliberately misunderstood my example, but I'd rather just re-word the previous one to prevent such misunderstandings from being possible. If you misunderstand the following example, then know that you've done so of your own accord:

All things that can flow are liquid.
All liquids can can leak.
Electricity flows.
Therefore, Electricity is liquid.
Electricity can leak.

If someone, not understanding the true nature of electricity read the above statement and applied logic to their day to day actions, they would cover any and all electrical outlets when not in use to prevent electricity from spilling across their floors, walls and other surfaces and place small bowls under each outlet to catch residual electricity for use later.

I understand and agree with your general point but the example above is so ill defined and illogical sound it serves to undermine your point.

What does flow mean in this context?
What does leak mean?
Does electricity flow?

If all things that can flow don't require to be liquid your first argument is incorrect.

He's making the distinction between a valid argument and a sound one.

In a valid argument, the conclusions can be derived from the premises.

In a sound argument, this is also true, but the premises are also true.

Consider this example of a valid but not sound argument:

P:All men are women.
P:My father is a man.
C:My father is a woman.

And a comparative sound argument:

P:No man is also a woman.
P:My father is a man.
C:My father is not a woman.

randomsix:

AMMO Kid:

I see. I honestly cannot myself be convinced that atheists can hold their position seriously without arrogance, though this is simply because every atheist I know is extremely arrogant. That's just subjective though. However, atheists inventing concepts such as the "Dark Ages" and the "Scientific Revolution" all the way to the "Enlightenment" in order to discredit religious accomplishment and take the credit over "ungrounded" belief is all just to much for me. I simply cannot see atheism or secular humanism in a non-arrogant light.

Unless you have strong evidence to the contrary, I think it should be assumed that these terms (due to their age and that atheism was even weaker historically) were coined by Christians.

I considered myself an agnostic for God knows how long, until one day blindly stumbled across a book that explained how metaphysical naturalism collapses in on itself, and how Thomist realism still holds up. Up until that point I had just assumed that metaphysical naturalism was proven, however, this book (The Last Superstition) made a very potent argument against it, and I became a theist. Not all of us just play toss-up with whether or not God exists. I am living proof of that. I did not have a personally "compelling" reason to become a theist except that I followed where the evidence led as I began to study philosophy.

I don't base my belief in a God on a weak argument like Paley's watchmaker argument (like the "Intelligent Design" camp), but on metaphysical demonstration (a topic that you don't find in atheist literature, as atheists tend to just focus on the woes of religion in history instead - see "God is Not Great" or "The God Delusion" for proof); or rather, why there must be a God and how that logically pans out metaphysically as opposed to why there might be a God so why not just accept him just in case. You won't find detailed arguments like this laid out online, and search google for Aquinas's five reasons for God and you will find a bunch of arguments against them that misunderstand the basic metaphysics beneath the arguments. However, if you are ready to leave behind the subjective world of "toss-up" beliefs and are serious about studying the philosophical foundations for atheism, agnosticism, and theism (and prepared to spend a little cash to do so), I would recommend you begin with a book such as Edward Feser's "The Last Superstition" or "Beginner's Guide to Aquinas" (To balance it out, I recommend Richard Carrier's "Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism, though if you read it after the other books I have recommended you will quickly put it down in disappointment). If not, well I'm sure you'll still sleep well tonight knowing that I am wrong.

After just a quick review of Aquinas' reasons for the existence of god I can tell you already that they are flawed.

I'm going from this by the way:

http://web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/aquinasfiveways_argumentanalysis.htm

The first three are (as far as I can quickly figure) true in the classical Euclidean conception of the world from which Aquinas was working (and in which we perceive most of our experiences). However, the discovery of quantum mechanics changes all of this.

First Argument: Flawed in two areas: one is that things can be in a superposition of potentiality and actuality. Another is that while things cannot move themselves, two or more things can move each other. Consider gravity or magnets as an example. Or one thing can split and result in two or more moving parts.

Second and Third Arguments: Flawed because quantum mechanics allows things to basically just pop into existence (with a certain probability). The only requirement be that when you combine all of the new stuff together again you get nothing.

Fourth: Flawed for several reasons. First of all, "better" is a normative term and has no basis in physicality. Secondly, just because some things are more "X" than others, it does not follow that the thing which is more "X" than all other things is infinitely "X." For example, the tallest man does not have an infinite height. The heaviest thing does not have an infinite mass.

Fifth: Teleological argument. These are generally flawed because the question is begged. One can only arrive at the conclusion that all natural bodies work towards some goal by assuming that all natural bodies are guided by some consciousness. This is then used as evidence for that very same assumed consciousness. Additionally, there is no evidence for the assertion that the consciousness need be intelligent or even conscious. It must simply be very regular.

I'll say again because it bears repeating: from where science was in his day, Aquinas did a pretty good job. But the assumptions that most of his arguments are based on have since been overturned.

In fact, what he seems to be describing as God is quantum mechanics itself, or whatever deeper theory may lie beneath it.

.

Now, perhaps you say that this is simply one more of those rebuttals that doesn't get it. Maybe it is. However, this does not preclude the very important constriction I am about to put on Aquinas' arguments:

Were I to concede that these arguments are compelling, the only thing that they would prove is that there is some consciousness which is eternal and created everything. It is no evidence for Jesus, or Noah's ark, or heaven, or any of the other things in any holy book. As such, these arguments should not lead to beliefs in such claims.

So even if Aquinas is right, it is still no proof for the kind of God that any theologian is interested in proving, nor one that entails any special ways of behaving.

...To be honest I was scared of getting some sort of "rebuttal" to my earlier post... You have to have sympathy on me here. It takes one paragraph-per-reason to "refute" Aquinas, even though these rebuttals completely misunderstand the arguments. However, it takes an entire book to refute these shabby rebuttals and build up the proper arguments. And since entire books have been written rebutting the weak, paragraph-per-reason responses that you can find all over the internet, how am I supposed to point out the flaws in your rebuttals concisely on an internet forum? Have a little sympathy mate. How about I refute your personal critique of the "First Way" (without building up the whole argument for the First Way) and let you seek out the rest on your own, should you choose to do so (The Last Superstition/Beginner's Guide to Aquinas by Edward Feser)?

Your list of Aquinas's arguments isn't the worst I have seen, but it is certainly not the best. Like most others you will find online, it simply plops the basics of them down without any attempt to present the metaphysical foundations for the arguments, so it is no wonder that they are so misunderstood. And it does a practically non-existent job of showing the interconnection of the arguments. If this is how you learned the arguments then it is no wonder that you misunderstand them.

But anyway, you make the same mistake that David Hume and others have made by misunderstanding what Aquinas meant by "motion." He does not mean "moving" in the sense of walking across the room, he means "changing." Neither gravity nor magnets are changing, and an atom is not becoming something other than an atom when it splits, so therefore these critiques of act/potency are useless. And that's pretty much it. I'm honestly surprised you didn't have any more mainstream critiques of the first way, but that's all I've got.

Again, please forgive me for not being bothered to refute all your rebuttals. It's just this is the last day off I have in a long time and it would literally take up my entire afternoon to even scratch the surface of this conversation. And even then I wouldn't convince you. I'd like to think I know when to pick my battles, though I suppose commenting on this thread in the first place disqualifies me from that. Hopefully both of us really care about finding truth, even if it's not what we want, as opposed to just proving our own positions as right.

By the way, I find it interesting that you interrupt my post about theism and Aquinas's arguments for God by mentioning how nothing proves Christianity. I'd just like to say how puzzled I was to see you fortify yourself on that point when it had nothing to do with my previous post, or it at least came completely out of the blue.

One last thing: When you say that you think that concepts such as the "Dark Ages," the "Scientific Revolution," and the "Enlightenment" were concepts created by Christians, my first response is: "Why would Christians create concepts to discredit their own accomplishments and achievements?" And I did not blame atheism for the inventions of these concepts, I blamed secular humanism for them, and then I blamed atheism for arrogantly lording them over Christians. I'm sorry I should have made that more clear. I would recommend chapter two of Rodney Stark's "For the Glory of God" on this topic.

I hope you find truth, even if I am wrong. Good luck to you.

AMMO Kid:
Snip

I understand where you are coming from. What I will warn though is that if it takes a whole book to rebut such simple arguments, you need to be really, really sure that the arguments aren't based on sophistry or hidden premises.

randomsix:

AMMO Kid:
Snip

I understand where you are coming from. What I will warn though is that if it takes a whole book to rebut such simple arguments, you need to be really, really sure that the arguments aren't based on sophistry or hidden premises.

From my experience it is usually hidden premises which are assumed true.

AMMO Kid:

ClockworkPenguin:
I'm going to be straight with you here, example after example of atheists being arrogant wont convince me that atheism is inherently arrogant. A brief run down of terms likely to appear in my rebuttal to such a list include; confirmation bias, sampling bias, cherrypicking, anecdotal evidence...

Debates are not the place to look. You don't enter a formal debate with the tactic of passively presenting ones views. You do it to assert that your views are more reasonable than your opponents. There is no place for humility in such an arena.

And whilst I don't have any examples off the top of my head, I would be surprised if, in the heat of the moment, both sides on any given argument don't tend to take debating shortcuts they shouldn't.

Furthermore, there is the issue of perception. As we saw with the bus picture, arguments which you believe to be arrogant or fallacious may be perceived by those with a different viewpoint as being reasonable and arguments which you believe to be in honest and understanding depth may be seen as fallacious ignorant and missing the point by your opposition.

Starting from a Christian perspective, even if it is a toss-up regarding whether or not God exists there is no really compelling reason to stop believing. So atheism looks unreasonable. But starting without any belief, there is no compelling reason to start, which is why atheists think theists look unreasonable.

I see. I honestly cannot myself be convinced that atheists can hold their position seriously without arrogance, though this is simply because every atheist I know is extremely arrogant. That's just subjective though. However, atheists inventing concepts such as the "Dark Ages" and the "Scientific Revolution" all the way to the "Enlightenment" in order to discredit religious accomplishment and take the credit over "ungrounded" belief is all just to much for me. I simply cannot see atheism or secular humanism in a non-arrogant light.

I should have been more clear. When I said "debates" I meant debates of pen, as authors write books back and forth with opposing theses. Face to face debates are absolutely pointless as they never convince anyone and just raise enmity between the groups represented.

And finally, your analysis of the Theist-Atheist views is mostly accurate for most though still offensive to me personally. I considered myself an agnostic for God knows how long, until one day blindly stumbled across a book that explained how metaphysical naturalism collapses in on itself, and how Thomist realism still holds up. Up until that point I had just assumed that metaphysical naturalism was proven, however, this book (The Last Superstition) made a very potent argument against it, and I became a theist. Not all of us just play toss-up with whether or not God exists. I am living proof of that. I did not have a personally "compelling" reason to become a theist except that I followed where the evidence led as I began to study philosophy.

I don't base my belief in a God on a weak argument like Paley's watchmaker argument (like the "Intelligent Design" camp), but on metaphysical demonstration (a topic that you don't find in atheist literature, as atheists tend to just focus on the woes of religion in history instead - see "God is Not Great" or "The God Delusion" for proof); or rather, why there must be a God and how that logically pans out metaphysically as opposed to why there might be a God so why not just accept him just in case. You won't find detailed arguments like this laid out online, and search google for Aquinas's five reasons for God and you will find a bunch of arguments against them that misunderstand the basic metaphysics beneath the arguments. However, if you are ready to leave behind the subjective world of "toss-up" beliefs and are serious about studying the philosophical foundations for atheism, agnosticism, and theism (and prepared to spend a little cash to do so), I would recommend you begin with a book such as Edward Feser's "The Last Superstition" or "Beginner's Guide to Aquinas" (To balance it out, I recommend Richard Carrier's "Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism, though if you read it after the other books I have recommended you will quickly put it down in disappointment). If not, well I'm sure you'll still sleep well tonight knowing that I am wrong.

Good day to you, sir.

The term Dark ages refers not to religion, but to the fact that the period has substantially poorer surviving records, compared to the era of the (itslef religious)Roman empire. "Enlightenment" referring to the period of renewed western science after centuries of just going with whatever Aristotle said, is also neither coined by humanists nor particularly to do with religion. Most enlightenment scientists where christians. I'll admit that humanists like to talk about Galileo and his treatment, but I do not believe that the majority of otherwise well educated humanist philosophers would display such historical ignorance nor leave themselves so open to derision.

I may eventually get around to your reading list, but I'm still behind on the books I should be reading for my actual uni course.

I do find it odd that a large part of your argument for the arrogance of atheists is basically that they persist in being satisfied with arguments that you find lacking, and still act as though they are valid arguments. However, if they did not believe their arguments to be valid, they would not use them. In so far as they genuinely believe the arguments to work at dismissing Aquinas, they are no more arrogant in using them then you are in using arguments to support Aquinas's theory, whatever they may be.

In short, it should be no surprise that your opponent is convinced by his own arguments and not convinced by yours, because otherwise they would not be your opponent.

I have studied Aquinas five arguments, as part of my Religious Studies A-level (a-levels are qualifications obtained after high school but before uni in the uk) and ironically that led to me becoming agnostic, rather than theist.

But I don't set out to disprove Aquinas' arguments here. Smarter men than me have made their attempts. I merely aim to rebut arguments that atheism is more arrogant than any other given position on the matter. Thank you for the polite tone of your debate and good night to you also.

Milk:

HoneyVision:
The foundational doctrines of Christianity are stated very clearly in the Bible. Interpretational problems arise with more outlaying issues. So there's no "MY version".

Yes, yes there is. What you're doing is taking the modern, incredibly bastardised version of Christianity that is more palatable to the average 21st century person who doesn't actually want to bother reading the Bible and assuming that that is the true Bible.

Failing to realise that a 2000 year old book is going to have 2000 year old beliefs and values I.e. Superstitiousness, fear, ignorance, bigotry and dogmatism.

Um, no. Have you actually read any significant portion of the book itself? The absolute most central idea to the entire faith is the golden rule:

Matthew 22:36-40
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I don't know about you but "Love your neighbour as yourself" is not "incredibly bastardized", nor is it irrelevant 2000 years later. If you're forming your opinions based on what you hear around you and in the media then you're extremely misguided. If you want an informed opinion I'd suggest starting with the faith itself because everyone knows the media misrepresents everything.

HoneyVision:
Um, no. Have you actually read any significant portion of the book itself? The absolute most central idea to the entire faith is the golden rule:

Matthew 22:36-40
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I don't know about you but "Love your neighbour as yourself" is not "incredibly bastardized", nor is it irrelevant 2000 years later. If you're forming your opinions based on what you hear around you and in the media then you're extremely misguided. If you want an informed opinion I'd suggest starting with the faith itself because everyone knows the media misrepresents everything.

Again, your assumption that said passage is "The absolute most central idea to the entire faith" is your personal interpretation. Other Christians, whose beliefs are equally as valid as your own, think that other parts of the Bible are more important. It's not a clear and concise book. It's an amalgamation of stories, letters, and poetry written by dozens (if not hundreds) of different authors, passed down over two millenia, translated through several different languages, and canonized based on popular vote at the Council of Nicaea, among others. There are books that didn't even make it into the Bible you use that others may consider the most important part of their faith. Even major concepts in the cosmology, such as the lake of fire version of Hell, didn't actually exist until people like Dante came along and became popular. You are part of just one of over forty thousand different sects of Christianity. Your answer is not necessarily the most correct answer.

HoneyVision:

Milk:

HoneyVision:
The foundational doctrines of Christianity are stated very clearly in the Bible. Interpretational problems arise with more outlaying issues. So there's no "MY version".

Yes, yes there is. What you're doing is taking the modern, incredibly bastardised version of Christianity that is more palatable to the average 21st century person who doesn't actually want to bother reading the Bible and assuming that that is the true Bible.

Failing to realise that a 2000 year old book is going to have 2000 year old beliefs and values I.e. Superstitiousness, fear, ignorance, bigotry and dogmatism.

Um, no. Have you actually read any significant portion of the book itself? The absolute most central idea to the entire faith is the golden rule:

You say this, then you pull out possibly the only two quotes in the book which apply such a thing. Also, in the original context it was intended, what it meant by 'Love thy neighbour' was actually 'Love thy Jewish neighbour'. How do you think they justified the Jews slaughtering masses of people in the old testament?
So bottom line is, the golden rule is not central to the faith, it is not in the faith as it was, and it was an older idea that the Bible ripped off.

HoneyVision:

I don't know about you but "Love your neighbour as yourself" is not "incredibly bastardized", nor is it irrelevant 2000 years later. If you're forming your opinions based on what you hear around you and in the media then you're extremely misguided. If you want an informed opinion I'd suggest starting with the faith itself because everyone knows the media misrepresents everything.

I agree in general with Milk, and I'm hardly biased by the media. I went to a Christian school, I was a Christian (in the sense that a child can be), and have extensively researched the topic.

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