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Jux:

And? The video linked was 16 minutes. He obviously felt that was the most important one, or he would have linked a different one. You're still wrong.

How bored are you that you're arguing about this? I first said it as "clips of other people" then again as "hour of video," I've made it clear that I've been talking about the whole list the whole time. What is there even for me to be wrong about here?

First, your apology was not directed towards him. Second, prefacing being a dick with an apology doesn't excuse you from whatever dickish thing you say next. It's pretty much the same as "I mean no disrespect, but..." then you follow it up with something really disrespectful. The humor was lacking, so perhaps you should reevaluate the situation.

a) He's a member of "everyone."
b) My roommate also thought it was funny. I guess funny isn't allowed here and we should start cracking down on all that pink text.

Silvanus:

Miracles, mister Tstorm? Honest-to-Loki miracles? Ones that haven't been surrounded by reasonable doubt, and have unequivocally pointed the finger towards your particular deity? These I'd like to see.

There have been dozens of reported eucharistic miracles where the host did strange things, and niether you nor anyone else has a reasonable counter-explanation for all of them (other than "everyone was just lying"). You just count them all as "surrounded by reasonable doubt" because to you, it's only reasonable to doubt them on principle, regardless of circumstance.

tstorm823:

MeisterKleister:

How about actually addressing some of the points made?

Since most of your post is making definitons for discussion,and most of this thread is discussion about how your definitions are wrong, there aren't a whole lotof pointsto address. The only thing you really claim of any substance is

I was referring to the points being made in the videos. Also, my definitions fall within current dictionary definitions and common usage and are therefore not 'wrong' in any sense. As I see it, people simply disagreed with them - wrongly, because [see previous sentence].

tstorm823:

theists have not met their burden of proof.

which is the same nonsense we discuss all the time. You've discuounted every miracle, decided all religious stories and traditions are BS that some jerk made up long ago, determined that the really obvious natural instinct to believe in the supernatural is the world's most unhelpful trick of evolution, observed with absolutely no data that all of the universe exists with no need for anything beyond it, and then, most importantly, figured out that since you don't believe in God that everyone who does is just being illogical.

Excuse me while the world remains reason enough for me to believe. I'll just step out and let you have the circle jerk you were obviously looking for in the first place.

I am not sure where all that you're talking about is coming from, because. All I'm saying is that there are good reasons to withhold one's belief until sufficient evidence is provided. How do you determine that something is a miracle? How do you distinguish truths from untruths?
Why do you believe and why should someone else believe?

I like this analogy: In a court of law, the prosecution has to proof that the defendant is guilty. The defendant does not have to proof his/her innocence. Otherwise, every innocent person who cannot proof their innocence would end up in jail. The court determines whether someone is guilty or not guilty based on the evidence.

The prosecution (theists who claim - not just believe - that a god exists) has not made their case, and I find gods (and miracles) not guilty of existing. That doesn't mean that I think they're innocent (of existing), it just means that I have not been convinced of their guilt of existing.

In other words, I am open to the existence of gods and miracles, but unconvinced at the moment due to lack of evidence.

@tstorm823

...because to you, it's only reasonable to doubt them on principle, regardless of circumstance.

That's exactly wrong. There are circumstances that would allow for serious consideration, like, say, a controlled lab environment with more objective observers and proper documentation of the supposed phenomena. You're just unhappy that we don't accept word-of-mouth from biased sources as valid evidence.

tstorm823:

There have been dozens of reported eucharistic miracles where the host did strange things, and niether you nor anyone else has a reasonable counter-explanation for all of them (other than "everyone was just lying"). You just count them all as "surrounded by reasonable doubt" because to you, it's only reasonable to doubt them on principle, regardless of circumstance.

A lack of an explanation is not proof for anything. It's just that: a lack of an explanation.
In those cases, claiming anything other than "I don't know" (ie. things like: "it's a miracle"), is a fallacy.

Claims of miracles are very extraordinary and no amount of eyewitness testimony would be sufficient as proof.
Imagine David Copperfield were to perform at a remote village where they have no knowledge about what illusionists are. After the performance, the hundreds of villagers who watched him swear that they saw him perform impossible, magical feats - like passing through a solid wall; making animals disappear and appear out of nowhere; etc.
But we would know this to be false. We know that people can be deceived, misremember things or inflate their memories.

Reasonable doubt is something great, I think. If a random stranger on the street gave you a pill and claimed that it heals every disease once swallowed, would you not doubt the stranger? If I told you that I can perform miracles, would you not doubt my claim?
Not all claims are equal, of course. If my friend told me he has a new dog, I would believe him. Because it's a trivial claim. We know that dogs exist and we know that people get new pet dogs all the time.
But I wouldn't believe him, if he told me that he saw a dragon in his backyard. I would withhold my belief. No matter how much he insists on having seen it and how much I trust my friend, I would not believe him. I wouldn't think that he was lying, because I believe that he believes it. Lying implies an intention to deceive.
It would be unreasonable for my friend to expect me to believe such an extraordinary claim without hard evidence.

"Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end to divine things."
-Hippocrates

Edit: made some more tweaks

tstorm823:
How bored are you that you're arguing about this?

I don't know, how bored are you that you think unprovoked mocking is funny, justified and a decent use of your time? And the apology came off as completely insincere, both because it was a prefaced apology, and because the only person you should be apologizing to is him.

TKretts3:
I know that there is no god for the same reason that I know that there are no leprechauns, or any Pegasus, because there is no proof that they exist now, or ever have existed. The religions made a claim, that god does exist, yet they never presented any rational proof; their proof is a book written thousands of years ago by the same men who claimed that it was real. The gods presented in the various religions have never be seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted, except by people who were completely isolated and alone at the time of experiencing it - in other words, in an environment in which they could easily make anything up and have it be unable to be disproved. That's the problem with the religions, they make wild claims, but throw the burden of proof onto other to 'disprove' it. Reality-check: if you don't present any evidence, then there is nothing to disprove. And if we're going along those lines - I am God, and unless you can disprove it you have to address me as such, calling me your lord and saviour whenever speaking to me.

And don't try to slap on the term 'Agnostic' to me. The process of taking arbitrary claims and treating them seriously because you can't 'disprove' them doesn't need another word, it already has one - irrational.

all hail the Lord and Savior of man!

OT: I am pretty much in the same boat as this guy. My reasons are that I felt betrayed in the religion I was in and explored other beliefs ultimately ending in atheism.

I would call myself an atheist. It's just the conclusion I came to.

I used to be Agnostic, because... I dunno, I don't remember my reasons. As of late, though, I'm leaning more towards Christianity (albeit mostly non-practicing), 'cause... I dunno, I guess I just wanted to believe that something happens to us after death.

Jux:

I don't know, how bored are you that you think unprovoked mocking is funny, justified and a decent use of your time? And the apology came off as completely insincere, both because it was a prefaced apology, and because the only person you should be apologizing to is him.

I'm wouldn't qualify that first post as mocking. Sure, the joke was at the OP's expense, but it wasn't belittling. Just the way he phrased himself made a humorous situation. It's like laughing at a strangely fitting typo. It's like if I was typing something about an ex-girlfriend and said "speaking of witch" in a sentence by accident. Part of the humor is the mistake, sure, but most of it is how things accidentally fit together.

Though I'm going to assume that you taking this direction means that whole arguement about the length of the video links was you being silly and attempting to spite me.

MeisterKleister:

A lack of an explanation is not proof for anything. It's just that: a lack of an explanation.
In those cases, claiming anything other than "I don't know" (ie. things like: "it's a miracle"), is a fallacy.

Except we aren't lacking explanation, you just dismiss the explanation we have.

MeisterKleister:

Claims of miracles are very extraordinary and no amount of eyewitness testimony would be sufficient as proof.

Human witness is part of all human knowledge. Every scientific procedure involves a certain amount of human error, and it's an important step knowing whether or not that error is worth dismissing the results or not. You decided that in any case where someone thinks there's a miracle, it's just human error. So you're position is not that you outright dismiss miracles, you just refuse to trust the senses of anyone who believes in them.

@skeleon see above

tstorm823:

Human witness is part of all human knowledge. Every scientific procedure involves a certain amount of human error, and it's an important step knowing whether or not that error is worth dismissing the results or not. You decided that in any case where someone thinks there's a miracle, it's just human error. So you're position is not that you outright dismiss miracles, you just refuse to trust the senses of anyone who believes in them.

Every scientific process can be recreated by people skeptic of the witnesses. Miracles conveniently don't hold the same ability. If they could, there would be no atheists.

I am an atheist and, though I don't claim to know for sure whether there's a god or not, I prefer the term atheist to the term agnostic because, basically, if there is a god, he's got to be the enemy of mankind rather than its friend. So if I somehow knew for certain there was a god, well, I guess I'd be going to hell.

CrazyGirl17:
I used to be Agnostic, because... I dunno, I don't remember my reasons. As of late, though, I'm leaning more towards Christianity (albeit mostly non-practicing), 'cause... I dunno, I guess I just wanted to believe that something happens to us after death.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you how illogical that is? I mean all it is is a argument from incredulity. You can't imagine that there is no afterlife, so you have come to the conclusion that there is one? Ok fine, if you want to believe then I guess logic isn't going to stop you.

tstorm823:

MeisterKleister:

A lack of an explanation is not proof for anything. It's just that: a lack of an explanation.
In those cases, claiming anything other than "I don't know" (ie. things like: "it's a miracle"), is a fallacy.

Except we aren't lacking explanation, you just dismiss the explanation we have.

An explanation that requires the suspension of laws and theorys as we know them is not not a good explanation. If you could provide evidence for your explanation I might believe you, but if you can't why should I?

On topic atheist. Why wouldn't I be?

tstorm823:

MeisterKleister:

A lack of an explanation is not proof for anything. It's just that: a lack of an explanation.
In those cases, claiming anything other than "I don't know" (ie. things like: "it's a miracle"), is a fallacy.

Except we aren't lacking explanation, you just dismiss the explanation we have.

And that explanation is?
An explanation is something that actually increases one's understanding; something that gives greater clarity.
In what sense is "it's a miracle" an explanation?

In my example above, did David Copperfield perform miracles? Because according to your reasoning, he did. But we would know this conclusion to be incorrect.
Epilepsy used to be considered "proof" of the power of the Greek gods. Did it stop being "proof" as soon as we found out what actually causes epilepsy?

tstorm823:

MeisterKleister:

Claims of miracles are very extraordinary and no amount of eyewitness testimony would be sufficient as proof.

Human witness is part of all human knowledge. Every scientific procedure involves a certain amount of human error, and it's an important step knowing whether or not that error is worth dismissing the results or not. You decided that in any case where someone thinks there's a miracle, it's just human error. So you're position is not that you outright dismiss miracles, you just refuse to trust the senses of anyone who believes in them.

@skeleon see above

Science involves independently verifiable evidence, data and experiments and observation.
Eyewitness testimony alone is not evidence. Please remember my David Copperfield example: imagine that these hundreds of villagers reported that a man performed miracles. They claim that they know that they witnessed miracles. This fact alone has absolutely no bearing on whether it actually happened.
If people claim they have witnessed something supernatural, we cannot honestly comment on whether this is true, without actually doing further investigations.

[/quote] On topic atheist. Why wouldn't I be?[/quote]

Please excuse the approximation of my answer due to brevity

1) Because we have really good evidence that a man known as Jesus of Nazareth walked and taught as a radical Jewish rabbi around 33 AD
a)Tacitus
b)Josephus
c)Biblical texts
i) Because the bible has proved out to be archaeologically remarkable in both consistency and soundness
ii)to the textual critics, there are fragments which hold to the current 'best quality' Greek texts which are as old as 80 AD (the Rylands papyri from John, for example)

2) If we accept Jesus as a real figure, and we accept the Bible as an accurate source (I'd rather avoid the perfect/imperfect source debate here, though it is well worth having), then Jesus' teachings are very interesting. They make him:
a) Absolutely insane or
b) A blatant liar or
c) Lord (what he claims he is)

a) The insanity is possible. I can't deny it, except to point that the teachings seem very sound ("Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 22:39 The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 22:40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.") And the populace sees him as a great teacher, and the pharisees see him as a great threat, both unlikely from a loon

b) Liar doesn't fit the evidence. Nonviolent opposition, many chances to recount, redact, or soften his teachings (with an explicit threat of death if those warnings went unheeded), prediction of his own death, etc

b') People will make the argument for Christ as a legend, which is arguable, but again returns to a textual criticism of the Biblical texts, which, again, are remarkably sound

I choose C. A lot of other beliefs and practices fall in place after that.

I hope this is helpful. Christ, if I understand him, would never force religion upon anyone (else why not just handle that himself?) Instead, he offers a choice, in the pursuit of one of God's prime characteristics: love. Without choice there can be no love, and with choice we get imperfection, sin, and the ability to choose or reject God.

JadeXG:
2) If we accept Jesus as a real figure, and we accept the Bible as an accurate source (I'd rather avoid the perfect/imperfect source debate here, though it is well worth having), then Jesus' teachings are very interesting. They make him:
a) Absolutely insane or
b) A blatant liar or
c) Lord (what he claims he is)

Rather than retread the usual old arguments in detail, let me just slip "d) Legend" in there. "Possibly based on a real person or a conglomerate of several real persons that morphed over time into a bigger-than-life figure". Note that I'm not accepting Jesus as a real figure outright, but I don't find it particularly unlikely that a guy or a group of guys existed that his story is based on.

b') People will make the argument for Christ as a legend, which is arguable, but again returns to a textual criticism of the Biblical texts, which, again, are remarkably sound

I don't see how you can disregard the "legend"-argument simply by pointing to the Bible. Remember that it's the Bible's claims you're trying to argue for. The moment you add supernatural aspects to the mere claim that "somebody named Jesus - or rather the actual equivalent of the time - probably existed and he may have led a cult at the time", you'd need more than the Bible to support these supernaturalistic notions. Otherwise you just end up with circular reasoning again. You're using the Bible as the evidence for the extraordinary claims in the Bible. It is of course not surprising since most people arguing like this were not convinced by these arguments but believed in these particular religious claims (rather than any other religions'; let's not forget the countless other religions we could believe in that we consider to have a similar level of/lack of evidence) beforehand and use them as justification for their beliefs.

The usual example given is this: Just because the Bible features some historical accuracy among a lot of inaccuracies doesn't mean its supernatural claims can be accepted without external verification and a lot of extraordinary evidence.
Take Spiderman, a fictional character set in the real city of New York; I think he's the usual example people like to employ here.
Even if in thousands of years they verify that New York was real and that people named Peter Parker existed here and there - maybe even in New York! - that doesn't mean they'd be justified in accepting the extraordinary claims about Spiderman.

I hope this is helpful. Christ, if I understand him, would never force religion upon anyone (else why not just handle that himself?) Instead, he offers a choice, in the pursuit of one of God's prime characteristics: love. Without choice there can be no love, and with choice we get imperfection, sin, and the ability to choose or reject God.

I guess it depends what people think a rejection of their god leads to. Considering how vastly beliefs on this differ, so do their behaviours. This is why there are so many people that do want to force religion on (or at least strongly push it onto) people, through intrusive laws and whatnot.
But I'll agree that moderate religious people can be strong allies in the strive for Secularism. Hell, a lot of people realize that a) a Theocracy doesn't necessarily revolve around their religion or b) a Theocracy doesn't necessarily revolve around their interpretation of their religion.
In a best case scenario a society isn't necessarily Atheistic. That'll never happen completely, anyway, not that it has to. But it has to be Secular.

JadeXG:

On topic atheist. Why wouldn't I be?

Please excuse the approximation of my answer due to brevity

1) Because we have really good evidence that a man known as Jesus of Nazareth walked and taught as a radical Jewish rabbi around 33 AD
a)Tacitus
b)Josephus
c)Biblical texts
i) Because the bible has proved out to be archaeologically remarkable in both consistency and soundness
ii)to the textual critics, there are fragments which hold to the current 'best quality' Greek texts which are as old as 80 AD (the Rylands papyri from John, for example)

1) Even if a historical Jesus existed, this has no bearing on whether he actually performed any miracles, let alone that he was the son of a god.

1ci) Even if the Bible does contain "archaeological consistency and soundness" in one way or another in some parts, that has absolutely no bearing on the verity of any of the other claims in it, especially the supernatural ones.

JadeXG:
2) If we accept Jesus as a real figure, and we accept the Bible as an accurate source (I'd rather avoid the perfect/imperfect source debate here, though it is well worth having), then Jesus' teachings are very interesting. They make him:
a) Absolutely insane or
b) A blatant liar or
c) Lord (what he claims he is)

Why should anyone accept the Bible as an accurate source?

More importantly, the choices you present are incomplete. There is at least one other possibility:
d) Legend
A historical Jesus existed, however he was misquoted and many of the stories surrounding him are fictitious or misrepresented.

JadeXG:
b') People will make the argument for Christ as a legend, which is arguable, but again returns to a textual criticism of the Biblical texts, which, again, are remarkably sound

I would not describe the Biblical texts as sound. Again, just because some parts of the Bible are "sound" and proven through archaeological evidence, that does not mean that any of the rest of it is sound too.
And without corroborating evidence, all the the other claims about Jesus and claims of divinity boil down to nothing more than eyewitness testimony. Actually not even that, because the first stories about Jesus' miracles were written about 40 years after his death, by someone who wasn't a witness.
So it is hearsay of testimonies, at best.

Edit:

JadeXG:
Without choice there can be no love, and with choice we get imperfection, sin, and the ability to choose or reject God.

I want to challenge the idea that believing or not believing in God is a choice, at least not in any simple sense:

If you wanted to, would you be able to believe in the Muslim god Allah? (This is not the Christian god; Jesus is not Allah's son.)
If you wanted to, could you choose to believe that the Greek god Zeus exists?
If you wanted to, would you be able to stop believing in your god and that it exists?

In this sense, "believing something" means accepting something to be true.
I could pretend to believe and profess belief, but I wouldn't actually believe.
I simply cannot believe something of which I am not convinced that it is true.

MeisterKleister:

More importantly, the choices you present are incomplete. There is at least one other possibility:
d) Legend
A historical Jesus existed, however he was misquoted and many of the stories surrounding him are fictitious or misrepresented.

I think there could be at least two more possibilities I can recognise.

E) Jesus of Nazareth preached what he did, but only claimed to be the "son of God" in the sense that we are all God's children-- and then this message was misrepresented by those who reported his story (as well as those who had ulterior motives; perhaps members of his following). This is something a few people have suggested to me.

F) Mistaken. Not insane, merely mistaken-- perhaps after some profound personal experience (the kind many believe to be "spiritual"). I'd imagine it wouldn't take insanity to give somebody a delusion of divinity. There are many people who could be convinced by hallucinations or out-of-body experiences.

I believe in God..
Might be multiple gods.
doesn't matter to me, I believe there's more than 0 and that's enough.

I've been given enough reason to see that god exists and that's that.

Religion is a different matter. It's great to learn from/learn about, but there's no 'true', singular, right faith; and I don't identify as someone who prescribes to a religion.

JadeXG:
snip

Even if I grant you that there was a "Jesus of Nazareth" Even though little corroborating evidence. Lets just assume there was. That's a false dilemma. There are other things the guy could have been. There is not much more I need to say then that, as everything else is build upon it. Forgive me if I sound like I am making an ad hominem, but this is that same tired argument dragged out by C.S Louis that wasn't good then. It was fallacious then and it's fallacious now.

MeisterKleister:

Eyewitness testimony alone is not evidence. Please remember my David Copperfield example: imagine that these hundreds of villagers reported that a man performed miracles. They claim that they know that they witnessed miracles. This fact alone has absolutely no bearing on whether it actually happened.
If people claim they have witnessed something supernatural, we cannot honestly comment on whether this is true, without actually doing further investigations.

And if someone stabbed someone else in Times Square and then managed to dispose of all material evidence it was them, they could call like 400 eyewitnesses as evidence and throw the guy in jail.

You're confusing concepts here. Eyewitness testimony is ABSOLUTELY evidence. It's just not the highest in the reliability scale, so when something seems contradictory, it's likely the first thing to be questioned for faults. Since I believe in Jesus, I have no reason to question eyewitnes testimony of Jesus miracles unless there's a definite reason to question that one in particular. You consider anything described as a miracle to be worth dismissing immediately, and then throw away eyewitness testimonies, but you certainly don't do that for every claim people make. So, if we really wanted to delve into your positions and beliefs about things, we could find out just which David Copperfield you've been convinced by someone to be real.

(And judging by your preferred video links, it's gonna be in there. Youtube atheist videos are only ever honest and accurate when they talk about themselves. Every time they try and hit historical contexts or the motivations of religious people, it basically becomes a stirring cauldron of lies.)

Agnostic, neither Atheism nor Theism have any evidence in their favour and neither have convinced me on philosophical grounds.

So, first: neat to see all the responses. I actually really appreciate the discourse

Secondly: I didn't (and still don't) know the extent of everyone's knowledge on the topic. It's clearly higher in some ways than I expected (which is neat), so I hope none of what was, or will be, said comes off as patronizing.

3rd: I study Christianity because I think it's important, and because I believe it. That does not, however, make me an expert, so you'll have to excuse the pace at which I give a try to answering the questions brought to bear. (both to ensure my own accuracy, and due to having to work for a living :) )

So the C.S. Lewis (Liar, Lunatic, Lord) argument seems like a good first shot.

I recognize that one can offer a few other alternatives (legend amongst them) if the bible is inaccurate to varying degrees. I also recognize the argument isn't perfect, and I won't say otherwise, it's usually a good way to start the conversation, but it's also clearly got weaknesses.

The place to start here, I think, is the historicity/accuracy of the bible.

Skeleon:

I don't see how you can disregard the "legend"-argument simply by pointing to the Bible. Remember that it's the Bible's claims you're trying to argue for. The moment you add supernatural aspects to the mere claim that "somebody named Jesus - or rather the actual equivalent of the time - probably existed and he may have led a cult at the time", you'd need more than the Bible to support these supernaturalistic notions. Otherwise you just end up with circular reasoning again. You're using the Bible as the evidence for the extraordinary claims in the Bible. It is of course not surprising since most people arguing like this were not convinced by these arguments but believed in these particular religious claims (rather than any other religions'; let's not forget the countless other religions we could believe in that we consider to have a similar level of/lack of evidence) beforehand and use them as justification for their beliefs.

The usual example given is this: Just because the Bible features some historical accuracy among a lot of inaccuracies doesn't mean its supernatural claims can be accepted without external verification and a lot of extraordinary evidence.
Take Spiderman, a fictional character set in the real city of New York; I think he's the usual example people like to employ here.
Even if in thousands of years they verify that New York was real and that people named Peter Parker existed here and there - maybe even in New York! - that doesn't mean they'd be justified in accepting the extraordinary claims about Spiderman.

So the first premise that needs to hold, then, is that the bible's a useful source. We can only test its claims against items/events/places/people that we know of outside the text itself. So in that vein, there were a number of events/places for which there was originally no evidence, and those things were thought fabrications, until recent archaeology turned up artifacts which back them. (This pertains in particular to widely known figures and details which would have been obviously verifiable to a first century believer, but which the evidence of would be scarce; Pontius Pilate being a good example)

1) Pontius Pilate (certifying that a particular, real, individual (active in Jerusalem) had undertaken specific acts which did not happen would almost certainly backfire against the backdrop of a religious movement with its center based in Jerusalem. If one wanted to lie about what was done to Jesus, or by whom, then you'd be MUCH better off with a fictitious or obscure person. Instead, Christ's execution is laid at the orders of someone early believers would have known of (and many would have heard/seen), and whom the archaeological record backs as both real and likely accurately portrayed(as the prefect of Judea)

2) The Nazareth inscription (Basically verifies the statement that the resurrection claim has gone back to the beginnings of the church. In summary, a tablet found with an edict stating that the movement of the entombed would result in capital punishment. This appears to be in response to the 2 running narratives at the time: the Christians claiming Christ's resurrection, and the skeptics claiming that the body must have been stolen)
--This in turn backs the idea of the empty tomb being readily accepted. I recognize that I cannot 'prove' the claims of the early church, I can merely point to what they believed, and to the fact that the story wasn't somehow radically altered at a later date.

--This goes to comment, in some ways, on the Spiderman analogy. Very few, if any, believe in Spiderman as a real person, or as a real story. This is because there are many people who were (are) alive during the time he is supposed to have been acting, and nobody has any accounts or beliefs in his supposed actions. That's why we know, even sans the survival of the internet and conclusive sources, people won't confuse Spiderman for a real entity in a few hundred or thousand years. Nobody living during his time believes in him.
----In particular, nobody's willingly allowing their own execution on his behalf. The beliefs of the early church are pretty well known/backed (this find, tacitus' account, the accounts of Justin Martyr, the council of nicaea, etc), and it is well supported that the church was agressively attacked for its beliefs.(In fact, many believe that Nero's burning of Rome has strong ties to his severe persecutions, which Suetonius records)

3)The Erastus enscription, which verifies another minor to us, but 'major to them' (first century individual living near Corinth) individual.

I'm (as you can see) obviously more familiar with the New Testament, and it's archaeology than the old, but that doesn't reflect the support of the matter, the OT, happening over a MUCH longer timespan, has a lot more historical/archaeological backing. Again, I stress that my point is not to say "Look, it says something that's true, it must ALL be true", but rather to point out that it includes, interwoven into the stories, important details which would be readily verifiable to time-period individuals, whom would be able to easily determine whether the events described did or didn't happen to the people or places in question. (The OT is also more complicated in that it requires, in my very humble opinion, an understanding of Hebraic poems, writing, authorship, and context in order to be seen for what it really is. Genesis being a great example thereof [the Peter Enns text Inspiration and Incarnation does a much better job than I could ever claim on the topic])

tstorm823:

MeisterKleister:

Eyewitness testimony alone is not evidence. Please remember my David Copperfield example: imagine that these hundreds of villagers reported that a man performed miracles. They claim that they know that they witnessed miracles. This fact alone has absolutely no bearing on whether it actually happened.
If people claim they have witnessed something supernatural, we cannot honestly comment on whether this is true, without actually doing further investigations.

And if someone stabbed someone else in Times Square and then managed to dispose of all material evidence it was them, they could call like 400 eyewitnesses as evidence and throw the guy in jail.

You're confusing concepts here. Eyewitness testimony is ABSOLUTELY evidence. It's just not the highest in the reliability scale, so when something seems contradictory, it's likely the first thing to be questioned for faults. Since I believe in Jesus, I have no reason to question eyewitnes testimony of Jesus miracles unless there's a definite reason to question that one in particular. You consider anything described as a miracle to be worth dismissing immediately, and then throw away eyewitness testimonies, but you certainly don't do that for every claim people make. So, if we really wanted to delve into your positions and beliefs about things, we could find out just which David Copperfield you've been convinced by someone to be real.

(And judging by your preferred video links, it's gonna be in there. Youtube atheist videos are only ever honest and accurate when they talk about themselves. Every time they try and hit historical contexts or the motivations of religious people, it basically becomes a stirring cauldron of lies.)

I apologize for my bad wording. You are right, eyewitness testimony is a form of evidence, just the least reliable one.
What I meant was, that in cases of extraordinary (ie. supernatural) claims, eyewitness testimony is never sufficient evidence.

In your example, we know that murders do happen, we have a long list of well-documented murder cases, so it is not an extraordinary claim. Though if there is no body and no other evidence, I strongly doubt that any court would convict an alleged murderer purely based on eyewitness testimonies, no matter how many.
What if a hundred people all saw someone, who strongly resembles you, commit a crime and flee?
Later, they all identify you as the criminal. You were sleeping alone at home at the time the crime happened, but can't prove it.
What now? Should the eyewitness testimonies alone be sufficient to convict you?

So far, I have mostly just been responding and exposing - what I perceive as - flawed reasoning and flawed evidence.
My David Copperfield example served to illustrate why eyewitness testimony is so unreliable and always insufficient to establish supernatural claims.

The fact that the videos I linked to are by atheists is irrelevant. And where did they lie about historical context or about motivations?
And even if the videos I linked to were wrong for the most part, the fact stands that we don't have nearly enough information or evidence to establish whether it even contains any eye witness testimony or that any of the miracles reported in the Bible are even remotely accurate.

Olikar:
Agnostic, neither Atheism nor Theism have any evidence in their favour and neither have convinced me on philosophical grounds.

As I've mentioned before, agnosticism addresses the question of what you know or claim to know.
But I asked about whether you believe or not.
Not being convinced of theism, is atheism (or 'non-theism', if you prefer) by definition. You can't be neither because it is a dichotomous issue, or at least it is in this thread.

JadeXG:
... Again, I stress that my point is not to say "Look, it says something that's true, it must ALL be true", ...

But that's exactly what you're doing. Though you're saying "some things" and not just "something", but it is a fallacy nonetheless, and for the same reason.

Edit:
It's a bit late, but here's another relevant rant by Matt Dillagunty that I remembered, but couldn't find at the time:

JadeXG:
So the C.S. Lewis (Liar, Lunatic, Lord) argument seems like a good first shot.

I recognize that one can offer a few other alternatives (legend amongst them) if the bible is inaccurate to varying degrees. I also recognize the argument isn't perfect, and I won't say otherwise, it's usually a good way to start the conversation, but it's also clearly got weaknesses.

The place to start here, I think, is the historicity/accuracy of the bible.

No, it's a awful place to star a conversation because it's fallacious form the start. It's based on flawed reasoning, an assumption of truth, and a complete red herring to the topic at hand. The historical accuracy of the bible in not on trial, it's an irrelevance. Don't try and smuggle magic in under historical truth. There may have been a man name Jesus, he my have had 12 disciples, he also might have been crucified, and hay I guess the Romans could have forgot to mention that whole census thing. Lets assume that's all true. How exactly dose that prove there is a god? Remember the question at hand is I'm an atheist because why wouldn't I be?

Eddie the head:

JadeXG:
So the C.S. Lewis (Liar, Lunatic, Lord) argument seems like a good first shot.

I recognize that one can offer a few other alternatives (legend amongst them) if the bible is inaccurate to varying degrees. I also recognize the argument isn't perfect, and I won't say otherwise, it's usually a good way to start the conversation, but it's also clearly got weaknesses.

The place to start here, I think, is the historicity/accuracy of the bible.

No, it's a awful place to star a conversation because it's fallacious form the start. It's based on flawed reasoning, an assumption of truth, and a complete red herring to the topic at hand. The historical accuracy of the bible in not on trial, it's an irrelevance. Don't try and smuggle magic in under historical truth. There may have been a man name Jesus, he my have had 12 disciples, he also might have been crucified, and hay I guess the Romans could have forgot to mention that whole census thing. Lets assume that's all true. How exactly dose that prove there is a god? Remember the question at hand is I'm an atheist because why wouldn't I be?

I'm not being clear enough here, given this stance, I think. The C.S. Lewis argument is fallacious in a vacuum. Granted. It, however, isn't made in a vacuum, it's made in the presence of the bible, which provides context for both what early Christians believed, and when they believed it. That changes everything in regards to the 'historical person distorted by time and re-telling into mythical figure' hypothesis. Historically, yes, the gospels are written 30-50 years after the crucifixion, and no that's neither surprising, nor a problem, given an understanding of how society worked in antiquity (oral history being a remarkably interwoven part of life)

The bible 'proves' (An aside: proof is a scientific, mathematical term for deterministic environments with absolutely repeatable events. History cannot 'prove' anything, and yet we clearly believe that things have happened. I use proove here because it's how the dialogue started, but it's not quite the right word) there's a God by providing his account to us. Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Christ, a biblically recorded event. Belief in God can certainly exist outside of that (cosmological evidences, evidences in creation itself, etc.), but if one wants to know God, rather than just suggest Him, I think you have to start with his son.

Your question, writ small, is: why wouldn't everyone default to atheism. (Do I have that correct?)
My answer (so far), writ small, is: because history says otherwise.

JadeXG:
snip.

No, it's just fallacious period. As it relays on a false dilemma. You appear to expanding the dilemma, but it's still false dilemma. And must I say you're not doing a good job of explaining legend away, but that's inconsequential. Like I said this whole argument is a complete red herring anyway.

Quick edit. This is Special pleading as you're trying to say your argument is exempt form this fallacy because it's not a legend.(And again doing a poor job, 40 years is plenty of time. We see that kind of thing in this day and age.) Well so what? Like I said you expand the dilemma, it's still a false dilemma though.

MeisterKleister:

Not being convinced of theism, is atheism (or 'non-theism', if you prefer) by definition.

No atheism is the rejection of the claims found in theism, I don't reject them but I don't accept them either.

Olikar:

MeisterKleister:

Not being convinced of theism, is atheism (or 'non-theism', if you prefer) by definition.

No atheism is the rejection of the claims found in theism, I don't reject them but I don't accept them either.

Not accepting theism makes you not a theist.
While some people use the term 'atheism' to mean 'an assertion or belief that there is no god or gods', I have made it clear in my opening post that in this thread I am using the term 'atheist' to simply mean 'not a theist'.

"Atheism" can mean either: "not accepting theistic claims" or "a rejection of theistic claims".
Although I would argue that there is no significant difference between the two, because "to reject" can also mean "to be unwilling to accept".

If you still do not accept my definition, I would like you to imagine that, instead of the word 'atheist', I have defined the word 'glixnard' to mean 'not a theist':
So under that definition, are you a theist or a glixnard (not a theist)?

I reject your dichotomy - there are more nuanced positions to take with regards to divinity that are glossed over by the way you construct the question.

I *feel* as though we are alone in our world, cosmically speaking, and so I'd generally call myself a non-believer; I'm not touched by Faith. This doesn't hinge in accepting or not accepting any particular proposition about deities or similar preconceived notions of divinity, I just don't understand myself as having a certain sort of general orientation toward the world that I would expect to have if I were a believer. However, I am, to some extent and in certain ways, open to the possibility (not merely the logical possibility) of my somehow being inspired to change in that regard in the future (this is not an epistemological position as 'knowledge' was never in question).

But sure, if you're determined to shove me in a little box, I'm sure you'd choose to put me in the one labeled 'atheist'. So be it, though that is an awfully irresponsible way to handle such an important and rich issue.

I don't believe in god because there is no reason to believe in god. Done, over.
Ciao.

TWRule:
there are more nuanced positions to take with regards to divinity that are glossed over by the way you construct the question.

True, but I intentionally only asked about whether you accept theism or not.
Asking 'what do you believe?' could be a whole new topic on its own.

TWRule:
I *feel* as though we are alone in our world, cosmically speaking, and so I'd generally call myself a non-believer; I'm not touched by Faith. This doesn't hinge in accepting or not accepting any particular proposition about deities or similar preconceived notions of divinity, I just don't understand myself as having a certain sort of general orientation toward the world that I would expect to have if I were a believer. However, I am, to some extent and in certain ways, open to the possibility (not merely the logical possibility) of my somehow being inspired to change in that regard in the future (this is not an epistemological position as 'knowledge' was never in question).

I think I'm mostly in agreement with you. I do not have faith in any religious sense and I am open to the possibility of me being wrong and there being a god.
However the topic is about 'acceptance of theism'. Do you accept it or not? Why or why not?

TWRule:
But sure, if you're determined to shove me in a little box, I'm sure you'd choose to put me in the one labeled 'atheist'. So be it, though that is an awfully irresponsible way to handle such an important and rich issue.

You are of course free to identify yourself as you like and use whatever label you want to use. But in this topic all I'm asking is 'do you consider yourself as a theist or not?'

And that's also exactly one of the main point of this topic:
Outside of answering one single question ('Do you believe that a god or gods exist?'), the fact that you either fall under 'theist' or 'atheist' says next to nothing about who you are or what else you believe or don't believe.

MeisterKleister:
But in this topic all I'm asking is 'do you consider yourself as a theist or not?'

And that's also exactly one of the main point of this topic:
Outside of answering one single question ('Do you believe that a god or gods exist?'), the fact that you either fall under 'theist' or 'atheist' says next to nothing about who you are or what else you believe or don't believe.

And I'm trying to point out that even answering that question doesn't necessarily tell you anything about the person. You posed acceptance of theism as affirming one or a set of propositions; even if I were a believer, I would probably not accept any such propositions, because they would use concepts (historically distorted ones with a wide range of connotations at that) that would always fall short of the situation being described: I mean 'God' and 'exist' (which presuppose specific conceptualized notions of 'God' and a whole metaphysic that would grant 'exist' some particular content).

So the only thing that might be taken away from this is that people are easily herded into choosing labels for themselves, especially when they are presented as a dichotomy, and that some of them apparently think affirming or denying extremely ambiguous propositions is an important factor in building identity...(or more likely, they just take the meaning of said ambiguous propositions for granted)...

If it was your intention to illustrate this point indirectly by posing the question the way you did, then I apologize; though I wonder if there wasn't a better, direct way to get at it.

Eddie the head:

CrazyGirl17:
I used to be Agnostic, because... I dunno, I don't remember my reasons. As of late, though, I'm leaning more towards Christianity (albeit mostly non-practicing), 'cause... I dunno, I guess I just wanted to believe that something happens to us after death.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you how illogical that is? I mean all it is is a argument from incredulity. You can't imagine that there is no afterlife, so you have come to the conclusion that there is one? Ok fine, if you want to believe then I guess logic isn't going to stop you.

Umm, I suppose I just missed the part where she claimed she couldn't imagine that there was no afterlife? Oh, I guess that's because it isn't there. No, what she said was, she wanted to believe. It's the same way with me. Sure, I can easily imagine an existence without a soul, without something more to the universe beyond what our limited perceptions can discover, without a Goddess, but I can imagine the opposite as well. And you know what? A lot of people find that the opposite is just a better way for them to look at the universe. Objectively, whether you choose to believe or not believe changes absolutely nothing about the universe. The truth is still one or the other, it may even be more likely that there isn't anything beyond this empty, meaningless material universe, but why should that matter? We have the capacity for more than that. We have the capacity to imagine and believe and make the world, the universe, into what we want it to be. And what's the harm in believing in something more? In believing that when we die, we live on in some way, to continue experiencing more of what this universe has to offer? That maybe, we'll get a second chance to live? Given how horrible and cruel this world is to billions of people around the world, how hard people have to struggle just to survive day to day, how many people who suffer through horrible diseases and have their lives cut short, or have someone they love taken away from them far too soon, how can you blame people for wanting to believe? And why should they stop believing just because people like you have decided that it's probably not true?

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