Asking the right questions of religious believers

Feb 26, 2011 Full story: Mano Singham's Web Journal 444

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“Fortes Fortuna Juvat, ”

Since: Dec 09

Wichita. Ks.

#365 Sep 24, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
So, are you claiming that because things exist, that proves there is a god???
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Grow up!!
I will grant him/her their circular reasoning as long as they can admit to it.

Since: Jun 07

Location hidden

#366 Sep 25, 2012
buck wrote:
I don't plan on arguing with you.
You couldn't plan your way out of a paper bag. That's what happenes when you have no evidence or arguments, only lies about science and atheism.
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#367 Sep 25, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
The bible is a terrible thing!!
It is morally bankrupt, historically flawed, and scientifically, a joke.
You seem to miss the point. The issue what the standard is and I indicated it is not individual Christians' lives. Immaterial whether you agree with the standard. Please support your claims of "morally bankrupt, historically flawed, and scientifically, a joke" with some proof from scholars.

Since: Dec 10

Orefield, PA

#368 Sep 25, 2012
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>You seem to miss the point. The issue what the standard is and I indicated it is not individual Christians' lives. Immaterial whether you agree with the standard. Please support your claims of "morally bankrupt, historically flawed, and scientifically, a joke" with some proof from scholars.
First you prove it is the standard with some proof from scholars.
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#369 Sep 25, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, lets look at the bible. According to that literary piece of garbage, not only is godd a lying piece of crap, but his make-believe son is too. Would you like me to post the proof, taken right out of the big book of fairy tales?
You do not respond to my statement but introduce an argument irrelevant to the points raised.
But seeing that you volunteer to provide proof of your claims of
1)Literary piece of garbage (evaluation of literary value of the Bible)
2)Lies (substantive proof of lies that can be verified - not by mere speculation)
3)Historicity of Jesus the Christ not true (Not even serious non- Christian scholars critics of the Bible dispute this)
4)Bible is a fairy tale.
I would be happy to receive this and will appreciate scholarly proof rather than emotional rhetoric.
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#370 Sep 25, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
First you prove it is the standard with some proof from scholars.
Thought this will be your position. You made the claim - you substantiate. Unless you cannot, which I will accept as yet another empty claim void of substance.
buck

AOL

#371 Sep 25, 2012
ain't none of them have the topic right yet lol
it's not for argument it is for asking a "RIGHT"
question to religious believers. Who, if they had common sense built in upstairs would automatically
know we believe in "GOD".
get on with asking "RIGHT" questions not a statement or opposing thoughts for arguments sake.
and asking a "Right" question is asking a "Proper" one as well. food for thought
otherwise they should stop wasting time & space.
maybe that's all they can do LOL

Since: Dec 10

Orefield, PA

#372 Sep 25, 2012
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>Thought this will be your position. You made the claim - you substantiate. Unless you cannot, which I will accept as yet another empty claim void of substance.
You made the claim first that the bible is a standard. Proof please.
Once you present your proof, I will present mine.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#373 Sep 25, 2012
buck wrote:
ain't none of them have the topic right yet lol
it's not for argument it is for asking a "RIGHT"
question to religious believers. Who, if they had common sense built in upstairs would automatically
know we believe in "GOD".
get on with asking "RIGHT" questions not a statement or opposing thoughts for arguments sake.
and asking a "Right" question is asking a "Proper" one as well. food for thought
otherwise they should stop wasting time & space.
maybe that's all they can do LOL
The title of the thread comes from the headline for the article that began the discussion. It is not a requirement for posting. Here's the article itself:

Asking the right questions of religious believers

Thanks to Machines Like Us I learned about a cable access call-in TV show in Austin, TX called The Atheist Experience. The hosts of this show take exactly the right approach. In this clip, a Christian caller gets stumped (as so many tend to do) when asked to explain why he believes in god and the Christian god in particular.

You would think that this is the question for believers and that they would have thought deeply about it. And yet when you ask them directly, they act as if the question had never occurred to them and flounder around.

Taking pity on the caller's inability to articulate any reason, the hosts of the show then very eloquently explain why they themselves became atheists.
__________

Mano Singham, the author, then, sees the right question as "Why do you believe?" The object is not for the show's host to open themselves up to renewed attempts to convert them, but to encourage believer to think more deeply about the processes by which they come to believe ideas in general and religion in particular and whether there is a dissonance between the general process and the religious one.

I think that even most believers tend toward skepticism about ideas not related to their beliefs, else they would buy anything that a decent salesman pitched to them. In matters of belief, that actually becomes super-skepticism, i.e., a refusal to accept obvious truth when it contravenes deeply held belief.

The core question, then, is not "How can you defend your belief?", but "How did you come to believe in the first place?" What was the internal process? At what stage of development did you begin to believe? How vulnerable were you to powerful influences in such unequal relationships as prepubescent parent-child indoctrination? How large a part did your emotions play in the process--did they overwhelm or suppress your intellect? Did you ever reevaluate your beliefs from a more skeptical point of view, allowing your intellect the role it may have been denied earlier?

These are questions that believers should ask themselves. Explaining them to atheist challengers creates a confrontational dialogue in which the need to defend their beliefs short-circuits the process that those questions can begin. They are better for beginning an internal dialogue than an external one--a meditation, if you will.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#374 Sep 25, 2012
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>You seem to miss the point. The issue what the standard is and I indicated it is not individual Christians' lives. Immaterial whether you agree with the standard. Please support your claims of "morally bankrupt, historically flawed, and scientifically, a joke" with some proof from scholars.
1. Morally bankrupt -- Name just 1 moral tenet that you can clearly show originated from your religion. There isn't any.

2. Historically flawed -- You're kidding here, right? There was no world-wide flood. There was no Moses, nor Garden of Eden, nor countless other mythological tales.

3. Scientifically a joke -- Again, you're kidding. " http://lmgtfy.com/... ;
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#375 Sep 26, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
You made the claim first that the bible is a standard. Proof please.
Once you present your proof, I will present mine.
Maybe you do not understand. The Bible is the standard for Christians. If you do not understand that, I cannot help you sir.
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#376 Sep 26, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
You made the claim first that the bible is a standard. Proof please.
Once you present your proof, I will present mine.
In simple terms, it was stated that the Bible is the standard against which to judge Christianity, and not use individual Christians as the standard. Now your proof will be welcomed.
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#377 Sep 26, 2012
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
1. Morally bankrupt -- Name just 1 moral tenet that you can clearly show originated from your religion. There isn't any.
Making allegations and wanting me to prove the contrary? Please note that morally bankrupt means the absence of/disregard for moral standards, not whether it agrees with standards originating elsewhere (even if your claim can be substantiated). Your argument is flawed. If you claim it is contrary to moral standards, please indicate a specific moral standard and why it is regarded as moral (the basis of such morality)
2. Historically flawed -- You're kidding here, right? There was no world-wide flood. There was no Moses, nor Garden of Eden, nor countless other mythological tales.
Your proof for your claim that the flood never happened, no Moses etc.– historically speaking? Your absence of proof for this claim is noted. Even in the absence of proof for Moses, it only suggests the absence of proof, not that he did not exist. If you check your facts , you will know that nothing that is claimed in the Bible as fact has ever been proven wrong. Just allegations claiming (present) absence of proof is proof to the contrary. Faulty logic.
3. Scientifically a joke -- Again, you're kidding. " http://lmgtfy.com/... ;
Please specify a scientific fact and what the Bible claims as truth. If you are at a loss, you may consider abiogenesis. Would you care to comment on this?

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#378 Sep 26, 2012
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>
Making allegations and wanting me to prove the contrary? Please note that morally bankrupt means the absence of/disregard for moral standards, not whether it agrees with standards originating elsewhere (even if your claim can be substantiated). Your argument is flawed. If you claim it is contrary to moral standards, please indicate a specific moral standard and why it is regarded as moral (the basis of such morality)
<quoted text>
Your proof for your claim that the flood never happened, no Moses etc.– historically speaking? Your absence of proof for this claim is noted. Even in the absence of proof for Moses, it only suggests the absence of proof, not that he did not exist. If you check your facts , you will know that nothing that is claimed in the Bible as fact has ever been proven wrong. Just allegations claiming (present) absence of proof is proof to the contrary. Faulty logic.
<quoted text>Please specify a scientific fact and what the Bible claims as truth. If you are at a loss, you may consider abiogenesis. Would you care to comment on this?
You want some scientific, logical, and historical absurdities,(such as four-legged insects), start here:
" http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/lon... ;

You want contradictions with archaeology:
" http://www.scripturescholar.com/BibleArchaeol... ;
or
" http://www.examiner.com/article/archaeology-c... ;

And Biblical morality is an oxymoron. You are commanded to kill witches, stone people who gather wood on the Sabbath, stone children who sass, women are nothing more than chattel, slavery is sanctioned, raping the young girl virgins of the cities you destroy is commanded by Jehovah, etc., etc., etc. You have no moral standards.

The Abrahamic religions are a blight on humanity that teaches subservience to the church at all cost.

Since: Dec 10

Orefield, PA

#379 Sep 26, 2012
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>In simple terms, it was stated that the Bible is the standard against which to judge Christianity, and not use individual Christians as the standard. Now your proof will be welcomed.
Ok, I got it, I misunderstood your point.
My proof will be forthcomng.

Since: Dec 10

Orefield, PA

#380 Sep 26, 2012
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>
Making allegations and wanting me to prove the contrary? Please note that morally bankrupt means the absence of/disregard for moral standards, not whether it agrees with standards originating elsewhere (even if your claim can be substantiated). Your argument is flawed. If you claim it is contrary to moral standards, please indicate a specific moral standard and why it is regarded as moral (the basis of such morality)
<quoted text>
Your proof for your claim that the flood never happened, no Moses etc.– historically speaking? Your absence of proof for this claim is noted. Even in the absence of proof for Moses, it only suggests the absence of proof, not that he did not exist. If you check your facts , you will know that nothing that is claimed in the Bible as fact has ever been proven wrong. Just allegations claiming (present) absence of proof is proof to the contrary. Faulty logic.
<quoted text>Please specify a scientific fact and what the Bible claims as truth. If you are at a loss, you may consider abiogenesis. Would you care to comment on this?
You seem pretty consistant on your standards of proof.
What proof do you offer that this god of yours is real?
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#381 Sep 26, 2012
No absolute proof either way. It is a case of faith. Yours and mine. I trust God that He will in his wisdom be just to everyone - including you and me.

Since: Dec 10

Orefield, PA

#382 Sep 27, 2012
Andre wrote:
No absolute proof either way. It is a case of faith. Yours and mine. I trust God that He will in his wisdom be just to everyone - including you and me.
SO I must ask... Why do you have faith?
Andre

Durban, South Africa

#384 Sep 27, 2012
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
You want some scientific, logical, and historical absurdities,(such as four-legged insects), start here:
" http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/lon... ;
I really do not have the time to go through it all, but taking your “insect” example, it is just a translation – where the literal translation is “ Every flying swarming creature going on all four”. Now I am not familiar with the language used at the time and their manner of expression, but it seems obvious to me that those living at the time knew exactly which animals he would be talking about – otherwise the “prescription” is useless and would not allow people to obey – to which they were committed . So there is no scientific error, it is a manner of description of certain animals. Hardly a “scientific error”.
You want contradictions with archaeology:
" http://www.scripturescholar.com/BibleArchaeol... ;
What is stated there is apparent discrepancies - no proof.– which will eventually be cleared as has happened before. It was for instance suggested that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch as there was no “writing” at the time.(Documentary Hypothesis) This was disproved for instance by the Code of Hammurabi, written before the time of Moses.
I must agree from a fairly superficial reading of the text that in dispute is contradictory dates assigned to various events. I am not a historian, but it seems that there are contradictory evaluations of the data presently before us – and thus no clear proof as such. It depends on acceptance of certain records as factual and disregarding others. Although your argument has merit, it is not accepted as undeniably true. So an honest assessment will possibly conclude that “the jury is still out” on some issues. Contradictory conclusions of the same set of data is likely to occur and history is no exception.
And Biblical morality is an oxymoron. You are commanded to kill witches, stone people who gather wood on the Sabbath, stone children who sass, women are nothing more than chattel, slavery is sanctioned, raping the young girl virgins of the cities you destroy is commanded by Jehovah, etc., etc., etc. You have no moral standards.
The Abrahamic religions are a blight on humanity that teaches subservience to the church at all cost.
Claiming no moral standard flies in the face of all facts. Even if your standards are different (i.e killing little unprotected babies is OK) it is still a standard. You seem to confuse having a standard different to yours as the absence of moral standards

The Abrahamic religions are a blight on humanity that teaches subservience to the church at all cost.
I wish to challenge you on that issue in respect of the Christian faith. Not church doctrine, but using the Bible as basis (as indicated – this is supposed to be the standard for “Abrahamic religions”)
Please also explain
1. why it is a “blight” on humanity ,
2. what measure you use to determine that and
3. why that measure holds good for everyone.

I would much prefer if you could actually limit to one or two specifics, as I could just as well refer you to the www and say: "See for yourself" - in which case you will find (in the case of Christian apologetics)some good and well researched items written by persons of some standing in the various disciplines - and you will find some utter nonsense as well. I depend on you to put a well researched point across. I will try and do the same.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#385 Sep 28, 2012
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>I really do not have the time to go through it all,...
Of course not. Totally expected.
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>
What is stated there is apparent discrepancies - no proof.– which will eventually be cleared as has happened before. It was for instance suggested that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch as there was no “writing” at the time.(Documentary Hypothesis)...
So, since you couldn't actually address anything I offered, you go off on some tangent and argue against a strawman position.

Let's make this as easy as possible. Donkey's can't talk. There was no world-wide flood. The value of Pi is 3.14. There is no high mountain from which you can see all the lands of the Earth. A star cannot guide anyone to any particular spot on this or any other planet.
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>
I must agree from a fairly superficial reading of the text that in dispute is contradictory dates assigned to various events. I am not a historian,...honest assessment will possibly conclude that “the jury is still out” on some issues....
No, you are quite obviously not a historian. And, yes, the jury may still be out on some issues, but not on all of them.

You should also consider that just because a city named Jericho might have existed around the right time, this fact does NOT prove the account in the Bible about it is accurate in any way. I have actually been to King's Cross Station in London, and this train station is mentioned in Harry Potter. That doesn't prove that Harry Potter stories are real.
Andre wrote:
<quoted text>
Claiming no moral standard flies in the face of all facts. Even if your standards are different (i.e killing little unprotected babies is OK) it is still a standard. You seem to confuse having a standard different to yours as the absence of moral standards
Your book say to dash these "little unprotected babies" on the rocks, so you have no room to talk.

I could not help but notice that you did not address any one of the list of moral standards I pulled out of your Bible.

Again, your moral standard includes killing witches, stoning children who sass, stoning anyone who gathers firewood on the Sabbath, etc. etc. etc. You can find a Biblical justification for every vile act you can imagine. Don't tell me you're just a cafeteria Christian who picks and chooses which parts of the Bible to follow and which to ignore?

So, let's make this easy. Name 1 moral tenet that you can clearly show would not be available to humanity without you religion. Just 1.
Andre wrote:
The Abrahamic religions are a blight on humanity that teaches subservience to the church at all cost.
I wish to challenge you on that issue in respect of the Christian faith. Not church doctrine,....
I bet you would. But what's the use? You will continue to ignore the points you can't address and make apologetics for everything else.

And the truth is, I don't care. Nail a chicken leg on your bedpost and dance around it naked for all I care. Just don't insist that my taxes be used to sponsor your religion -- stop trying to make laws based on nothing more than your religious beliefs .... stop trying to teach your religion as science ....

When I was born "god" was NOT in our pledge nor on our money. Stop pushing your religion into every aspect of my life and you won't hear from me again.

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