Arguing with aetheists....
Badgergirl - 25-2-2008 at 13:44
Is a good way to P*** oneself off,
and re-affirm One's faith.
Anyone else found that?
I've noticed with one adamant aetheist I know, his soul argument seems to be "Science Proves there is no God" and "Logic proves there is no God".
And then falls down flat when asked "Why are we Here then?"
His usual answer is "We don't need to know"
I say fair enough, no, We don't. Too busy being here anyway.
But as far as I'm concerned, I don't want to know "Why?", but the question of "Why?" is proof enough to me there is a God.
He also can't see the difference between "Faith" and "Religion", and because he doesn't understand any religious teaching, he won't listen when
I try and tell him the difference. He thinks I'm being all religious at him!
So, I give up debating, and come away satisfied that only my own personal experience of the Divine can ever affirm my Faith in God.
Swish Checkley - 25-2-2008 at 13:53
Why not respect his belief as differing from yours but equally valid?
I'm also an atheist but feel I shouldn't have to defend my viewpoint any more than you or anyone else should have to defend theirs.
DeWitch - 25-2-2008 at 14:06
Try defending yourself against a Southern Baptist
been there done that
now I just try to avoid any discussions of anything religious, supernatural, occult and on & on.
Badgergirl - 25-2-2008 at 14:07
His beliefs are equally valid. But he insults mine then can't come up with his reasons.
SRD - 25-2-2008 at 14:11
Bg, why do you need there to be a reason for us being here? Why can't it be that we are just here, that there is no reason?
Redwolf5150 - 25-2-2008 at 14:25
Remember the old saying about arguing with a donkey...
Swish Checkley - 25-2-2008 at 14:28
Ah OK, that wasn't clear from your original post, which seemed to imply that all atheists are idiots
Then honestly it's not worth the effort of the discussion.
Badgergirl - 25-2-2008 at 14:54
If I didn't say it, then I'm not implying it. I 'aint that sly!
SRD, I don't need to know why, I also said that in my post.
But "Because" is never a reasonable answer for any other theorey, hence the development of people in labcoats doing unusual things with chemicals,
microscopes or telescopes!
Why should "Just because" be the reason we exist?
SRD - 25-2-2008 at 15:05
Bg, I think you misunderstand me, I'm not asking you to say which reason we are here, I'm trying to find out why you think there is
any reason for us to be here.
Swish Checkley - 25-2-2008 at 15:21
Of course you're not, my apologies
(I was probably being over sensitive due to lack of sleep and pain)
janet - 25-2-2008 at 16:35
I lived quite happily with an atheist for more than 20 years but that was because he could understand where I'm coming from and respected my beliefs,
but didn't agree with them.
I'm fed up with arguing with people who assume that "Religious" = "braindead" or "indoctrinated". (Actually, that last one amuses me - the
last time someone tried that here, iirc - which was a few years ago - I finally agreed to post "a few references" at his request. BAD, bad move. A
tip to the wise - do not suggest to a doctoral student that they post "a few references" about their chosen research subject....).
"Christian" of course = sheeple, sheep, REALLY blind and indeed, incredibly stupid, in the minds of many. Pointing out people who are or have been
Christian and who are clearly none of those things, avails naught.
I have, however, enjoyed a few conversations (for some value of that word) with Pagans who have insisted on telling me that all Christians are idiots
*while at the same time* quoting Fortune and Blavatsky at me, along with various members of the early Golden Dawn... hello?
The problem stems from the assumption on various people's part that no intelligent person could possibly come to any conclusion that does not match
To me, that's an incredibly narrow view point, bordering on hubris.
SRD - 25-2-2008 at 16:52
janet; are you not yourself guilty of the same 'crime' in your last statement?
janet - 25-2-2008 at 16:59
No - because I'm taking about a specific viewpoint, rather than an entire group of people.
And I've said "to me" - indicating that I am not stating a universal truth; the view point that I've said annoys me is one that *does* purport to
be a universal truth.
And believe me, it happens.
I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I manage to tie my own shoes and get out of the house with all my clothes on the right way, hold down a
job, etc... yet to listen to some people, I am incapable of any independent thought at all. (That rather belies how one could get the degree
mentioned above but hey...).
This isn't because of anything specific about me, but rather predicated on my religious beliefs - eg "All Christians are..." or "All those who
have religious faith are...".
There's a rather large difference between, "All X are Y" and "To me, a statement is bordering on hubris".
SRD - 25-2-2008 at 17:10
I think we must be using a different definition of hubris, to me hubris is stronger even than 'Pride comes before a fall' more 'having got up our
noses we gods are going to give you a 'damn good birching'. Certainly I consider it contains intervention by the gods, which pre-supposes the
existence of gods, therefore I would consider your statement to be committing the same 'crime' that you accuse others of committing.
janet - 25-2-2008 at 17:14
Hurbis, in my understanding, is the pride that is such as to challenge the gods - at least in the original.
I don't think there need to *be* gods to be challenged.
However, I still don't think that the statements are the same - mine is still couched as a particular, rather than a general.
If you prefer, however, I will restate it.
Those who insist that an entire population of people are of subnormal intelligence, lacking in critical capabilities and thought, based solely on
their religious affiliation, are, in my opinion, jumping to conclusions and basing their opinions on universalised assumptions rather than
observational, particular data.
SRD - 25-2-2008 at 18:34
I'm not sure I like the word 'universalised'.
janet - 25-2-2008 at 19:02
If that's the only quibble, I'm ok.
Dreamweaver - 25-2-2008 at 22:26
To my mind, a discussion/debate only exacerbates into an argument when one of the "debaters" feels they are losing.
Personally I walk away from the discussion then. knowing I won
You can hold your head up with confidence lol
Badgergirl - 25-2-2008 at 23:37
*here here* I've had the same discussions with Pagans.
I have no quibble with people who just plain don't believe in God of any kind. But I have too many people tell me I shouldn't ether, because of x y
and z..which all usually boild down to "Religion isn't science"
SRD. Why should there be a reason? Why not?
If there wasn't a reason, we wouldn't be here anyway. The reason words appear on the screen is because I'm pressing keys.
Plain old Logic. If we can apply it to working out the way the world works, why can't we apply it to why?
Badgergirl - 25-2-2008 at 23:39
There lies the problem I have with the Aetheist in question.
Forgetting of course, that we both got the same grades in our Degrees.
janet - 25-2-2008 at 23:58
Wry grin... some of the most vehement arguments I've had - or rather, the most vehement comments thrown in my direction about how I could not think
critically, etc. - have come from people who hadn't done the whole academic thing...
(I am NOT saying that people without degrees can not think critically, be intelligent, etc., in any way. That would be insulting, silly and just
plain wrong. I did, however, find it amusing that a few people who had never even attempted higher education were so very, very sure about its
effects, what happened therein, etc. Explaining that getting a higher degree without some level of critical thinking would be rather difficult, just
didn't work). (1)
(1)I'm sure it's POSSIBLE to do this - but it's not generally the norm...
Dreamweaver - 26-2-2008 at 00:05
Ouch!! so are you saying that we need "higher education" to believe in what we believe? Or do we need a level of higher education to understand?
Badgergirl - 26-2-2008 at 00:10
She's saying that you don't need a Degree to think Critically. But you DO need to think Critically to get a Degree.
victor - 26-2-2008 at 00:20
I am glad you worked it out with my lower inteligence I never would have.
Dreamweaver - 26-2-2008 at 01:20
So does that help you with your "debate/agument, or not?
the bear - 26-2-2008 at 02:35
To add to that, the old adage," a man convinced against his wil is of the same opinion still".
Regards the Bear
janet - 26-2-2008 at 08:43
No, that's not what I'm saying at all!
What I *am* saying, though, is that I found it ironic that the particular people in question, who had no experience of higher education, felt able to
tell me that it required no critical thinking.
janet - 26-2-2008 at 08:44
(Sorry for the long quote but it wouldn't make sense, otherwise).
I don't think it helps or hinders, really.
Other than the idea that telling someone who has been successfully through the HE system in three countries, and is still in that system as both
researcher and teacher, that they can not think critically and never has is, perhaps, a bit silly....
SRD - 26-2-2008 at 08:58
I'm sorry janet, but the ability to think critically in one area is no indication that one will think critically in all areas.
I can't understand how people can 'believe' in a supreme being of any description without either wanting to or being indoctrinated, and the highly
educated are just as capable of being indoctrinated as any other person, however they may well have a greater desire to want to believe as the
evidence in favour of any god existing is easier to question when one has been given the tools that enable such examination to take place.
janet - 26-2-2008 at 09:14
I was being told I could not think critically *at all*...
I'm not sure you actually want to go down the indoctrination route - I'm *more* than happy to talk about it but...
I don't actually mind whether or not you agree with my beliefs. However, it seems odd that I'm happy to say, "You have your beliefs, I have mine,
and that's fine", whereas you're saying, "You have your beliefs and I can't accept that you came to them rationally" - simply because you do not
As for the tools - what would those be? I suspect there are few of them I've not come across and investigated.
The simple fact is, it's entirely possible for someone to look at the same things you look at and come up with a different conclusion *and still be
critical in their thinking*.
SRD - 26-2-2008 at 10:22
I'm not actually saying "You have your beliefs and I can't accept that you came to them rationally", what I'm saying is I can't understand how
you can believe in what you believe without either being indoctrinated or wanting to. I gather from your reply that you can rule out indoctrination,
that's your analysis, I can't know that, which brings me to the conclusion that you want to believe. If you can explain to me in a way that I can
understand that there is another way I would be happy to listen.
janet - 26-2-2008 at 10:58
I rule out indoctrination because, to be frank, I know a great deal about indoctrination and it's simply not that easy to indoctrinate people. I'm
happy to send you a doctoral thesis on the subject but I assure you it's not stimulating reading. :}
Basically, the fundamental bit of faith is not about tenets of faith or doctrines or any of that - at least not to me.
For me, it's about a personal encounter, and in my case, with Jesus and him risen. I can't explain that any more than I could explain why I loved
my husband or my friends.
Do I want to believe? It's a good and valid question. I think an even more important question is *did* I always want to believe?
And the answer is no - I didn't. I'd have been quite happy to chuck the whole religion thing, at a number of times in my life. And indeed, did
chuck it for a time.
Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on one's point of view), it didn't work. The belief is not in a set of rules but rather in a Person, and
that is founded on relationship.
I can't convince you of this for a number of reasons.
First, because I've no intention of trying.
Second, because I'm reasonably sure that's not how it works. I wouldn't try to talk you into loving someone - no matter how much I tell you, for
instance, how wonderful my kids are, you aren't going to love them simply from hearing about them. No reason you should - love comes from
Do I think there are no inconsistencies in religion? Do I, billyoh - there are plenty.
Do I think that there are people who don't question their faith, who stay in their groups through force, fear and domination? Very much so, yes.
And through simply never having thought about it? Oh, yes.
I don't think reason will bring anyone to faith (I know others disagree and that's fine). But I also don't think reason is antithetical to belief.
I hope that makes some sense.
SRD - 26-2-2008 at 14:05
It does indeed, although it does reinforce my opinion that it is a 'wanting' thing.
And regardless of what you say about indoctrination, it is a relatively simple thing if what you want to do is re-inforce a want that is already
there, in other words giving someone a good reason to believe in what they want to believe.
I agree that implanting something that is against a persons wants or needs is much more difficult.
I find it strange that you can't explain why you love people, that's something I find relatively easy, it might be a long and convoluted
explanation, but it all makes sense. I suppose that might explain why you can't describe your relationship with your jesus but I suspect that in
reality it's more to do with jesus being a concept rather than a real person. It is not uncommon for believers to describe jesus as a real person
but then when they are asked to describe the person they can only come up with concepts and nothing concrete.
I'm also somewhat mystified by your refusal to evangelise as I understood this was a requirement of the religion you espouse and as for trying to
make someone love another person's children that is patently ludicrous firstly as not even parents necessarily love their children but also because
love of anyone or thing is a personal relationship, not based on anything other than the 'lover's' personal wants. This doesn't mean that the
'wanting' can be controlled, just the way the wanting is handled in one's mind.
Inconsistency isn't really the issue, just an indication that all is not as it should be, there may be perfectly rational reasons for inconsistency,
ask the LibDems.
I also find it odd that you feel that one can't be brought to belief through reason, after all if one can define one's belief through reason one
should be able to. If however you are really saying that it is unreasonable to believe then I'm with you all the way (cheap shot, I know ) but the anomaly of accepting belief in jesus as a person rather than a concept
whilst accepting that it is beyond reason to evangelise about him is one I find difficult to get my head round, unless, again, it is a matter of which
aspects of a formal religion one chooses to accept, pick and mix in fact, and if one indulges in a pick and mix religion then quite obviously it is
because that is what one wants rather than because any particular religion, or none, is the 'right' way.
janet - 26-2-2008 at 14:24
Um, no, it's not. All through the literature it's pretty clear that one of the components of indoctrination is violence to the will of the person
indoctrinated. It's hardly indoctrination if you like flowers and I show you more about flowers.
It is indoctrination if you hate flowers and I do something to you - against your will - which changes your view of flowers.
To take a less stringent view of indoctrination is to open any programme or idea that changes people's minds - or rather, allows people to change
their own minds or behaviours - as indoctrination.
And that's when it becomes indoctrination.
Or, how will you distinguish it from learning? A fairly classic definition of learning is a "more or less permanent change in behaviour", after
So, basically, you don't accept my statement because it does not accord with your view of the world.
I can explain that I loved my husband because he was the person he was - if that sort of surface reply will suffice.
But I did say that I could not make you love my children as I do - which is closer to the mark.
It is a requirement to preach to all nations, yes.
That doesn't necessarily mean telling people that their beliefs are wrong or that mine are right and they must adhere to them - or belittling the
beliefs of others as non-rational, fanciful, etc.
The well lived life is probably a much more powerful means of preaching than any other - to quote Francis of Assisi - preach constantly, use words if
you have to.
So why is this not true in relation to a believer's relationship with their God?
Where have I *ever* tried to define my belief through reason? I've said it's based on personal relationship.
And of the sort I have refrained from making because I think it serves nothing.
See above. I've not said that I do not evangelise - I've said I'm not going to try to convince *you*, *here*.
I've been teaching theology for 30 odd years (most of them very odd) - to me, that fits in the evangelising bracket.
I'm amused that while you reject the concept of religion, you feel that you can criticise someone else's practice of it as "pick and mix".
In essence, you still refuse to believe that I have any integrity as regards my faith. There's really not a lot more to say.
SRD - 26-2-2008 at 15:18
Ok, maybe a definition of indoctrination is required, oh and yes I do think all teaching is indoctrination, not necessarily of the subect but of the
need for the subject.
It isn't that I don't accept your statements because they don't accord with my view of the world but because they don't seem to accord with your
view of the world, and anyway were not talking about the world here but what's outside of it.
So you agree that one worships a god because one wants to, which is what I've been saying all along.
I fail to see why a personal relationship can't be defined through reason, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Hence the big grin.
So you equate teaching theology with evangelising? And as for the larger scale, do you really think that your personal life is taken by 'nations'
as an example?
I don't reject the concept of religion, that would be ridiculous as I know that religions exist, but I do reject the basis on which religions exist.
And I don't criticise anyone who wants to pick and mix, that is their prerogative, but by picking and mixing one is showing that one
wants to believe, by exercising that choice one is showing that the requirement in ones life for a belief is a selfish one, again,
that is not a problem, rationally we all live our lives selfishly. It is only those who see such things as wrong who would perceive the commentary
and discussion as criticism.
And yes, I do question your 'integrity' towards your faith if you continue to insist that your belief is anything other than a selfish action that
you actively wish to partake in.
janet - 26-2-2008 at 16:20
I gave you one - it's the one used in the literature about indoctrination - forcing the will of another, forcing belief through manipulation of will.
That's the pejorative definition, anyway. There are others - the US military uses or used to use "indoctrination" as title for some types of
training, which they were perfectly happy about. The word has slightly different meanings on the different sides of the Atlantic.
But in essence, in the pejorative meaning of the word (which is what I assume you mean) it's about violence to the will of the person who is
indoctrinated, generally with full intent on the part of the indoctrinator. (I'm quite happy to cite sources about this, if you wish... about every
20 years there's a flurry of activity about indoctrination in the educational press. It comes and goes... the last real flurry was a few years ago -
people like Hand, and McLoughlin and to my shame, someone else who wrote a lot and whose name does not come to mind...).
Pardon? I'd disagree - I don't think religion is out of this world, or that God is.
Yes - and no. I believe about worshipping and wanting to - worshipping is an act of will.
But that's about worship, not belief - they are not interchangable. I can believe in something perfectly well and not worship it.
Defined or explained?
You think you can adequately explain why you love someone?
Poets have been attempting that for about 6000 years...?
The purpose of evangelising is to teach, spread the good news.
The good news is that of God, who is truth.
The ultimate reason for teaching *anything* is truth, as far as I can see, and certainly it's the only reason I teach anything.
A lot of my students have no clue about the history of the churches for instance - if they walk out knowing more about what we currently understand to
be the truth about that, than they did when they walked in, I've done my job and yes, evangelised.
There's more to it than that, due to particular circumstances, but that'll do for now...
I don't think the command was for every individual to go to every nation...
But in terms of the numbers of people I've taught over the years - and the numbers *they* have taught... - and the effect that's had? It's not
I do what I can. That's all one is asked to do.
Which is fine. We don't agree, but you have every right to your opinion.
But you don't answer my point about why it is picking and mixing.
Then there's not a lot of point in continuing.
If one person in a discussion doubts the good faith of the other, I'd say the discussion is over.
SRD - 26-2-2008 at 17:42
Sorry, I didn't make myself clear, I was accepting the various explanations of indoctrination, and I wasn't using indoctrination as a perjorative
term but to suggest a forcible input of views, for reasons not necessarily associated with the subject of the teaching. Hence a good teacher may
'indoctrinate' a pupil to enjoy learning per se rather than just of the particular subject.
You seem to be conflating religion, belief and thought, when I refer to out of this world I speak of belief and thought. Things of this world can be
shown to all, not just a select few.
I agree with your difference between worship and belief but both are still acts of conscious will.
Defined/explained, you chose the word defined and I think my point still holds, if you are changing your statement to "Where have I *ever* tried to
explain my belief through reason? I've said it's based on personal relationship." then I think my point holds there too.
And yes, I can explain my love for someone, and some poets have succeeded, love is not a single thing but comes in many forms, most of which have been
adequately defined and explained in both poetry and prose ..... and music and art and other ways.
But you have chosen the softest application of evangelism, this http://www.ccsta.ca/documents/MeaningofEvangelisation.doc suggests a much stronger requirement, and by
your own admission your teaching of theology is not an even-handed approach but an evangelisation (if such a word exists).
Can any of us really say we have done what we can about anything? I certainly can't think of a single instance when I couldn't have done more.
The reason I didn't explain why it was pick and mixing is because you didn't ask why it was picking and mixing! But you know perfectly well why, as
a perusal of this http://www.ancient-future.net/basics.html might show.
And I completely disagree with you conflating 'faith' in a religion and faith in someone and think it is the equivalent of the cheap shot I chucked
at you earlier.