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Old 10th April 2019, 06:22 PM   #481
GDon
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
It just seems that every topic becomes the same (I don't know what the atheist version of Godwin's law is...maybe something about the Crusades?) even if someone wants to discuss a specific idea, it still comes back to the same thing.
I'd say the Godwin's Law equivalent would be the atheist tying the argument back to the Bible, especially "it's not in the Bible!", even if the argument has nothing to do with the Bible.
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Old 11th April 2019, 01:44 AM   #482
IanS
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post

Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
I thought I was clear, I'm fine with the prevailing tendency of this board and there are interesting discussions. It just seems that every topic becomes the same (I don't know what the atheist version of Godwin's law is...maybe something about the Crusades?) even if someone wants to discuss a specific idea, it still comes back to the same thing.

I'd say the Godwin's Law equivalent would be the atheist tying the argument back to the Bible, especially "it's not in the Bible!", even if the argument has nothing to do with the Bible.

I don't think any of the above is true at all. If Christians make some argument that's not from the bible, eg if they claim to have good evidence showing that local politicians have misused taxpayers money, or if they say the local bus company cancelled half of the service last Wednesday, then they would not find atheists quoting passages from the bible to dispute what the Christians had said about local taxes or buses or whatever.

The only reason why atheists ever quote passages from the bible in any arguments like that, is because Christians are of course making their arguments from a belief in those biblical passages.

As for why the same arguments keep being made by atheists on forums like this, the reason is entirely because theists keep making the same claims of miracles and supernatural gods from the bible. If Christians stopped making their innumerable and constant religious claims from the bible, and stopped trying to insert those religious beliefs into all aspects of society (ie into government & schools etc), then atheists would not be criticising those Christians for their belief in the bible as a source of divine truth and the miraculous.
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Old 11th April 2019, 04:10 AM   #483
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'd say the Godwin's Law equivalent would be the atheist tying the argument back to the Bible, especially "it's not in the Bible!", even if the argument has nothing to do with the Bible.
Actually, I feel like there should be a "here's your sign" for idiots who claim that they're following the God of the Bible, or that some argument of theirs is supported by said God, but then feel somehow violated when asked to support that it actually is the same entity.

Look, if you want to claim that you follow Dagon or Yog Sothoth, trust me, none of us will ask where in the Bible does it say that Yog Sothoth is the gate, and the key, and the guardian of the gate. We might ask where in Lovecraft does it say that, but not the Bible.

But pretending that you're still talking about entity X, except you're just making up your own version of every defining attribute of it, is not just stupid, it's dishonest too. It's like if I went on a cat fancier forum to discuss my "cat", except it has webbed feet, feathers, a bill, and goes "quack." Then calling it a cat is just dishonest and stupidly so.

Same for these numbskulls' god. If they're so appalled by it being confused with the one in the Bible, then they can stop pretending to talk about the same one. It's that simple.

Words have meanings. "Jesus" is a word too. 'Nuff said.
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Old 11th April 2019, 04:38 AM   #484
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But pretending that you're still talking about entity X, except you're just making up your own version of every defining attribute of it, is not just stupid, it's dishonest too.
That's also theism. Not necessarily mutually exclusive with stupidity and dishonesty, of course.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It's like if I went on a cat fancier forum to discuss my "cat", except it has webbed feet, feathers, a bill, and goes "quack." Then calling it a cat is just dishonest and stupidly so.
A theist going to an atheist forum to talk about God is like someone with a "cat" going to a cat fancier forum? I don't see it.

What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?

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Old 11th April 2019, 05:19 AM   #485
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?
I have lost count of the number of times you have been asked this question, and failed to answer it.
Both you and TBD seem to think that atheists are not qualified to define god, so perhaps you guys, and any other theists on this forum, should have a go.
It would be interesting to see if any of you agree, by the way.
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Old 11th April 2019, 06:56 AM   #486
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's also theism. Not necessarily mutually exclusive with stupidity and dishonesty, of course.


A theist going to an atheist forum to talk about God is like someone with a "cat" going to a cat fancier forum? I don't see it.

What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?
There is no true definition of anything. There are different uses of a word by different speakers. There are definitions that are more or less adequate or more or less useful for certain purposes. Not true or false.

When in doubt, it is advisable for participants in a conversation or debate to clarify how they use the word. But you don't want to. This is not the way to debate.
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Old 11th April 2019, 07:19 AM   #487
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's also theism. Not necessarily mutually exclusive with stupidity and dishonesty, of course.


A theist going to an atheist forum to talk about God is like someone with a "cat" going to a cat fancier forum? I don't see it.

What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?

He's saying (in that example) the theist goes in to talk about"God", except it's not what everyone else means by God (he's calling it "God", but it turns out he's describing a duck!).
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Old 11th April 2019, 07:44 AM   #488
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A cat may or may not be the best analogy.

Let's rather imagine that person X goes on the literature forum to post that X fully agrees with count Pyotr "Pierre" Kirillovich Bezukhov, that we should do Y and Z. Well, some smart cookie who's read War And Peace might object that ol' Pyotr said no such thing in the book. And then it would turn out that X has never even read War And Peace, and has just made up a count Bezukhov that agrees with whatever X wants to believe.

And I put it to you that if X did that in a literature forum, and just made up what some character from a book says, everyone might think that X is an idiot, and for good reason.

And doubly so if X were to then proceed to make a fuss about how unfair it is of them -- downright on par with a Godwin, even -- to ask where in the book it says that, instead of just letting X talk out the ass.

Yeah, now you know, how this kind of "like nailing jello to a wall" woowooists... err... I mean theists come across to me.

Ditto for any other form of fandom. Like if X went on a Dr Who forum to discuss about how Dr Who supported the right to use guns, and then got offended when they ask in which episode does he defend guns, again, they might think X is just an idiot poser. And be right in that situation. Or if X went to a comic book forum and proceeded to drone about how Batman is the best because he has a big skull on the chest and is deadly with a sniper rifle, again, the words that would be on everyone's mind are "idiot poser."

Only for religion, it seems, you can pretend to talk about a character like "Jesus" from a book like "the Bible", while just pulling your own version from the butt. And then be righteously offended when anyone asks where does the book actually say that.
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Old 11th April 2019, 11:25 AM   #489
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I am not a theist, but I am surrounded by them day to day.

I have on many occasions entered into amicable discussions with them.
I usually begin with my difficulty in deciding which deity is THE ONE. I am at a loss to choose among them. Generally, the theist is not interested in the possibility that he/she may have made the wrong choice, but is quite interested in helping me to understand that their choice is the only possible correct one.

I am overrun with offers to help me understand the benefits of believing in THE ONE (Obviously this doesn't apply to the Hindu or Buddist), and with kind offers to help me overcome my "problem".

The christian theists (with whom I am most familiar) are not generally interested in discussing textual criticism, nor swayed by the scientific contradictions inherent in a modern life of posting religious memes denying evolution on the internet, using hand held mini-computers.

Their "faith" comes first. They "know" GOD from within, are personally familiar with "him". He gives them "strength", "calm", or whatever they want from "him". They feel "him" inside of themselves.

The following is an excellent description of such a theist from earlier in the thread:
Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Okay, here's an example description (one of many along the same lines) of someone I know well and personally. Middle aged woman, mother of 4 very kind and well-adjusted children, married ~20 years, medical doctor, generous, kind and considerate towards people of all sorts. Raised in a Christian home, became more involved in and committed to her faith as a young adult. Knows that faith and science are sometimes at odds, but has found intense peace, comfort, joy, hope, inspiration etc. in times of prayer and other expressions of her faith, both privately and within her community. As such, she is not concerned about trying to define her belief in ways that are congruent with "all current knowledge and understanding of reality", but is very happy to continue to explore and express her faith within the context of Christianity.
Given the theist's position that they know GOD personally, can feel his presence inside of themselves, there is no rational argument regarding the Bible or science which will convince them otherwise.
Everything is posthoc rationalization from the point of "God is real, I know him".

I have on occasion attempted to address this by pointing out that these feelings, the inner presence they feel, are common to all theists.
The Muslim, Hindu, Jew, and Christian are all utterly convinced that their personal experience of God represents THEIR OWN Gods, not any one else's, to the point of slaughtering one another to prove the point.

I have not had an amicable discussion with a theist go any farther than this, but I feel that this is the sticking point. When a person can recognize that their inner feeling of their deity and the emotional support that provides is actually the same as every theist's experience in every religion through all of human history history, then that person may be open to see that these internal states, common to us all, are no more than internal states, do not represent "god" but represent the working of their own individual mind.
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Old 19th April 2019, 03:32 PM   #490
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Originally Posted by MuDPhuD View Post
I am not a theist, but I am surrounded by them day to day.

I have on many occasions entered into amicable discussions with them.
I usually begin with my difficulty in deciding which deity is THE ONE. I am at a loss to choose among them. Generally, the theist is not interested in the possibility that he/she may have made the wrong choice, but is quite interested in helping me to understand that their choice is the only possible correct one.

I am overrun with offers to help me understand the benefits of believing in THE ONE (Obviously this doesn't apply to the Hindu or Buddist), and with kind offers to help me overcome my "problem".

The christian theists (with whom I am most familiar) are not generally interested in discussing textual criticism, nor swayed by the scientific contradictions inherent in a modern life of posting religious memes denying evolution on the internet, using hand held mini-computers.

Their "faith" comes first. They "know" GOD from within, are personally familiar with "him". He gives them "strength", "calm", or whatever they want from "him". They feel "him" inside of themselves.

The following is an excellent description of such a theist from earlier in the thread:


Given the theist's position that they know GOD personally, can feel his presence inside of themselves, there is no rational argument regarding the Bible or science which will convince them otherwise.
Everything is posthoc rationalization from the point of "God is real, I know him".

I have on occasion attempted to address this by pointing out that these feelings, the inner presence they feel, are common to all theists.
The Muslim, Hindu, Jew, and Christian are all utterly convinced that their personal experience of God represents THEIR OWN Gods, not any one else's, to the point of slaughtering one another to prove the point.

I have not had an amicable discussion with a theist go any farther than this, but I feel that this is the sticking point. When a person can recognize that their inner feeling of their deity and the emotional support that provides is actually the same as every theist's experience in every religion through all of human history history, then that person may be open to see that these internal states, common to us all, are no more than internal states, do not represent "god" but represent the working of their own individual mind.

Yes, how true this is.

The author of "A Manual For Creating Atheists", Peter Boghossian, writes:


Quote:
Almost everyone can relate to having had conversations with friends, family, coworkers, where you are left shaking your head and wondering how in the world they can believe what they believe—conversations where they fully and uniformly dismiss every fact and piece of evidence presented to them.

I most certainly can relate to this after many discussions, mainly with extended family members. Peters suggestion however is:


Quote:
When speaking with people who hold beliefs based on faith, don’t get into a debate about facts or evidence or even their specific beliefs. Rather, get them to question the manner in which they’ve reached their beliefs—that is, get them to question the value of faith in appraising the world. Once they question the value of faith, all the unevidenced and unreasoned beliefs will inevitably collapse on their own.

Peter claims some success with this approach - although fairly modest I sense. It is quite difficult to do I find, when presented with that seemingly impenetrable wall of, "I know because I have this relationship with Jesus", or other words to that effect.
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Old 20th April 2019, 04:30 AM   #491
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Originally Posted by MuDPhuD View Post

Given the theist's position that they know GOD personally, can feel his presence inside of themselves, there is no rational argument regarding the Bible or science which will convince them otherwise.
Everything is posthoc rationalization from the point of "God is real, I know him".

I have on occasion attempted to address this by pointing out that these feelings, the inner presence they feel, are common to all theists.
The Muslim, Hindu, Jew, and Christian are all utterly convinced that their personal experience of God represents THEIR OWN Gods, not any one else's, to the point of slaughtering one another to prove the point.

I have not had an amicable discussion with a theist go any farther than this, but I feel that this is the sticking point. When a person can recognize that their inner feeling of their deity and the emotional support that provides is actually the same as every theist's experience in every religion through all of human history history, then that person may be open to see that these internal states, common to us all, are no more than internal states, do not represent "god" but represent the working of their own individual mind.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Yes, how true this is.

The author of "A Manual For Creating Atheists", Peter Boghossian, writes:

Quote:
Almost everyone can relate to having had conversations with friends, family, coworkers, where you are left shaking your head and wondering how in the world they can believe what they believe—conversations where they fully and uniformly dismiss every fact and piece of evidence presented to them.


I most certainly can relate to this after many discussions, mainly with extended family members. Peters suggestion however is:

Quote:
When speaking with people who hold beliefs based on faith, don’t get into a debate about facts or evidence or even their specific beliefs. Rather, get them to question the manner in which they’ve reached their beliefs—that is, get them to question the value of faith in appraising the world. Once they question the value of faith, all the unevidenced and unreasoned beliefs will inevitably collapse on their own.


Peter claims some success with this approach - although fairly modest I sense. It is quite difficult to do I find, when presented with that seemingly impenetrable wall of, "I know because I have this relationship with Jesus", or other words to that effect.


Just re. The above 3 highlighted parts and what Mr Boghossian says - in those two quotes, as presented, there is actually no evidence, data, or facts to support Mr Boghossian if he is saying that (1) explaining to theists how and why all the evidence from science (it is virtually everything ever investigated and explained by science) is not effective to dissuade people from religious belief, but that (2) it is instead effective to present theists with arguments that question "the value" of their religious faith. Unless he's offering some good data & evidence to back that up, then as his mere opinion it isn't worth very much.

When I have said here (many times) that the discoveries of science (especially evolution, but in fact everything ever investigated by science) really show that religious belief in supernatural gods and miracles is no longer credible, that does not necessarily mean that I'm in the business of trying to convert theists away from religion and claiming that science is the best way to do it.

On the other hand, afaik, it's a fact that in educated parts of the world eg in most of Europe, starting from around the time of Galileo with the emergence of what we now recognise as “modern science” (as distinct from what certain ancient philosophers were doing as an early form of scientific approach), belief in religion has increasingly declined as the public awareness and understanding of science has increased, ie over the period from 1600 to the present day.

It's also a “fact”, that today, according to all sorts of opinion polls, people who are more highly educated in science (ie core science, not the more vague fringe stuff), are very significantly less likely to believe in a literal god, miracles, or heaven etc. So that is clear evidence of how increased understanding of science does directly decrease peoples belief in religions.

Although I'm not really in the business of trying to convert theists to atheism or agnosticism, I think science offers by far the best method of doing that, simply because science is presenting absolutely unarguable evidence and indisputable explanations – eg the evidence from evolution is completely overwhelming.

Whereas any other approach that relies on such ideas as trying to tell theists that various sentences and words in their ancient holy books are incompatible with such things as cruelty to children or that they are expressing unaceptable homophobic or misogynistic passages etc., is I think, quite obviously, wide open to all manner of theist rebuttals about what the words really meant, whether or not modern translations are accurate, whether or not such unacceptable sentences are contradicted by other biblical or koranic sentences that say something less objectionable, whether or not the copies that we have today are accurate to what the original “prophets” really said (since no originals exist for any of that biblical writing). That sort of approach against theism is quite obviously filled from end-to-end with all manner of vagaries and subjective claims and counter-claims. To me that seems a very weak and indecisive approach from it's very beginning.

All that said – of course religious creationists will simply deny such science as human evolution. But that does not mean they have any good honest argument against it. It just means they are left making claims that any honest objective person can see as immediately dishonest and/or religiously delusional … and that's not exactly a good advertisement to any others who may be in the early stages of trying to decide whether or not that faith is presenting honest educated information … and that may be why today in many countries religious belief is afaik declining amongst younger people.

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Old 23rd April 2019, 03:21 PM   #492
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I have no argument with what you are saying, about scientific progress eroding religious belief. The evidence in support of this is overwhelming as you suggest, and not refuted by Peter Boghossian.

Peter is talking about the best way to talk a welded on theist out of belief and his approach seems somewhat amicable.

If someone is not that strong in belief and wavering, an appeal to reason supported by scientifically arrived at facts, can be an effective approach. I have used this myself and do claim some success, in converting the not so faithful, faithful.

From my experience this approach has very limited success with the strong, "I have a relationship with Jesus.", folk. Boy, have I tried this over, and over, and over. My emails too and from my nephew would fill a book. Every time I have him backed into a corner the ultimate, "I know because Jesus tells me." and "This stuff is beyond our understanding cause we can't know the ways of God.", is pulled out. Where do you go from here?
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Old 24th April 2019, 01:46 PM   #493
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I have no argument with what you are saying, about scientific progress eroding religious belief. The evidence in support of this is overwhelming as you suggest, and not refuted by Peter Boghossian.

Peter is talking about the best way to talk a welded on theist out of belief and his approach seems somewhat amicable.

If someone is not that strong in belief and wavering, an appeal to reason supported by scientifically arrived at facts, can be an effective approach. I have used this myself and do claim some success, in converting the not so faithful, faithful.

From my experience this approach has very limited success with the strong, "I have a relationship with Jesus.", folk. Boy, have I tried this over, and over, and over. My emails too and from my nephew would fill a book. Every time I have him backed into a corner the ultimate, "I know because Jesus tells me." and "This stuff is beyond our understanding cause we can't know the ways of God.", is pulled out. Where do you go from here?


OK, sure and I'm not really disagreeing with what you are saying either. . But just on that point of how impossible it seems ever to persuade theists (Christians or Muslims) away from their religious beliefs

- several times recently I've mentioned a YouTube program called The Atheist Experience, which I am sure most here will be familiar with. That program has been running for over 14 years now with several thousand theists (mainly Christian) calling in to present their arguments for why they believe in God.

But if like me, over the years, you've listened to scores (or even hundreds) of callers on that program, then whatever else anyone may say about that program (good or bad), you will notice that the same dozen or so arguments are used by every theist caller over & over again. And it does not matter how often or how conclusively the hosts of the program show that the the callers arguments are wrong, the theist's response to simply ignore that and plough strait on as if nobody had ever pointed out why they are wrong you could be forgiven for concluding that 90% or more of those callers really have no interest in the truth or honesty of what they are saying or what they believe at all.

If that's the sort of Christians and Muslims that we arguing against, then it doesn't matter whether we are making a scientific case against them or making any other sort of case against their religious beliefs, because by definition it's not possible to have an honest discussion with people who refuse to engage in an honest way.

All that said it is still true that many Christians (and even some Muslims) do eventually lose their faith. Of course that rarely if ever happens simply because they are faced with facts, logic or rationality in any one single discussion. But over the course of some years (sometimes many decades), the force of those arguments can finally sink in so that the individual does eventually decide to become more honest with themselves about what they have been saying and believing for all those years.
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Old 24th April 2019, 02:19 PM   #494
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
OK, sure and I'm not really disagreeing with what you are saying either. . But just on that point of how impossible it seems ever to persuade theists (Christians or Muslims) away from their religious beliefs

- several times recently I've mentioned a YouTube program called The Atheist Experience, which I am sure most here will be familiar with. That program has been running for over 14 years now with several thousand theists (mainly Christian) calling in to present their arguments for why they believe in God.

But if like me, over the years, you've listened to scores (or even hundreds) of callers on that program, then whatever else anyone may say about that program (good or bad), you will notice that the same dozen or so arguments are used by every theist caller over & over again. And it does not matter how often or how conclusively the hosts of the program show that the the callers arguments are wrong, the theist's response to simply ignore that and plough strait on as if nobody had ever pointed out why they are wrong you could be forgiven for concluding that 90% or more of those callers really have no interest in the truth or honesty of what they are saying or what they believe at all.

If that's the sort of Christians and Muslims that we arguing against, then it doesn't matter whether we are making a scientific case against them or making any other sort of case against their religious beliefs, because by definition it's not possible to have an honest discussion with people who refuse to engage in an honest way.

All that said it is still true that many Christians (and even some Muslims) do eventually lose their faith. Of course that rarely if ever happens simply because they are faced with facts, logic or rationality in any one single discussion. But over the course of some years (sometimes many decades), the force of those arguments can finally sink in so that the individual does eventually decide to become more honest with themselves about what they have been saying and believing for all those years.

Having watched many episodes of "The Atheist Experience" myself I know exactly what you mean. The persistent denial of the hard theist is like a wall that seems to resist any assault. I do wonder if some small cracks occur that latter widen and lead to a collapse over time. Matt Dillahunty himself was once a preacher so would have been quite strong in his belief.

Would the dramatic decline of religiosity in the West today, be more as a result of less religion being pushed on the young, and the simultaneous conflicting science being taught, rather than the personal collapse of religious commitment in previously hard theists I wonder?
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Old 25th April 2019, 11:38 AM   #495
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Having watched many episodes of "The Atheist Experience" myself I know exactly what you mean. The persistent denial of the hard theist is like a wall that seems to resist any assault. I do wonder if some small cracks occur that latter widen and lead to a collapse over time. Matt Dillahunty himself was once a preacher so would have been quite strong in his belief.

Would the dramatic decline of religiosity in the West today, be more as a result of less religion being pushed on the young, and the simultaneous conflicting science being taught, rather than the personal collapse of religious commitment in previously hard theists I wonder?

Obviously I am just repeating myself if I say that I think our increasing awareness of science is the main reason why religion has declined in the more educated parts of the world. But, I think that conclusion is inescapable, so in all in all honesty I do have to make that repetition.

If that does not seem entirely obvious to everyone, then I suspect that's partly because it has been a very slow process. That is – when we look back now at some of the landmark discoveries of science, e.g. from Galileo (c.1610), to Newton (c.1750), to Dalton (c1810, i.e. atomic theory), to Darwin (c.1860), to Einstein (1905) to Heisenberg et al (1920's) etc., we are likely to overlook the fact that very few people at those dates would have known about, or understood, anything about those new discoveries. And in fact it's probably only been in the last 75 to 150 years that a relatively sizeable percentage of the public have begun to have a really significant level of awareness and appreciation of how science has changed our understanding of the world around us.

So to take Darwin & evolution as an example – although when that was first published in 1859 it probably did sow seeds of doubt in the minds of some religious people, those people were at first probably very few in number, and the numbers only increased very slowly through the remainder of the nineteenth century … even today most of the population in any educated western nation probably still have almost no idea what evolution actually is. So, IOW, the discovery of evolution has certainly had an effect in reducing religious belief, but it's taken a very long time, and even now it's probably still only a significant factor for perhaps 5% of the population (the other 95% still do not really understand what evolution is or understand why it should influence their belief in God ... but still, 5% from a population of say 50 million in any European country, or from 328 million in the USA, is actually a very large number of people compared to what would have been a very tiny percentage of people in the first 10 to 20 years after Darwin's publication, e.g. maybe just 0.001% of the population ...

... so IOW, that increasing awareness of evolution has grown from just a handful of people in society in the 1860s to now become several million people in those same societies in the 21st century …. ie, it does take time for scientific discoveries like that to influence a sizeable percentage of the general public, but that process is an inevitable one of increasing awareness and understanding that does eventually change peoples religious beliefs).

Last edited by IanS; 25th April 2019 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 26th April 2019, 06:48 PM   #496
MuDPhuD
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
OK, sure and I'm not really disagreeing with what you are saying either. . But just on that point of how impossible it seems ever to persuade theists (Christians or Muslims) away from their religious beliefs

- several times recently I've mentioned a YouTube program called The Atheist Experience, which I am sure most here will be familiar with. That program has been running for over 14 years now with several thousand theists (mainly Christian) calling in to present their arguments for why they believe in God.

But if like me, over the years, you've listened to scores (or even hundreds) of callers on that program, then whatever else anyone may say about that program (good or bad), you will notice that the same dozen or so arguments are used by every theist caller over & over again. And it does not matter how often or how conclusively the hosts of the program show that the the callers arguments are wrong, the theist's response to simply ignore that and plough strait on as if nobody had ever pointed out why they are wrong you could be forgiven for concluding that 90% or more of those callers really have no interest in the truth or honesty of what they are saying or what they believe at all.

If that's the sort of Christians and Muslims that we arguing against, then it doesn't matter whether we are making a scientific case against them or making any other sort of case against their religious beliefs, because by definition it's not possible to have an honest discussion with people who refuse to engage in an honest way.

All that said it is still true that many Christians (and even some Muslims) do eventually lose their faith. Of course that rarely if ever happens simply because they are faced with facts, logic or rationality in any one single discussion. But over the course of some years (sometimes many decades), the force of those arguments can finally sink in so that the individual does eventually decide to become more honest with themselves about what they have been saying and believing for all those years.
Yes that's exactly what I mean.
A theist who "knows god" personally, has a "relationship" with him, will disregard all facts in favor of the foregone conclusion that God exists.
It does no good to argue reasonably with such a person, no matter how amusing it may appear from our point of view.

Those who "lose their faith" are those who for some reason have come to doubt that the voice they hear, those internal conversations, are really god. Without that conviction they become open to reason and to reasonable arguments.
Some I think lose faith because they are sure god has told them something which then proves false in a way they cannot deny. I must say, however, that I know some who have prayed and prayed for healing, and the loved one has died, and their faith actually becomes more hardened, not less.

This is why I think the amicable approach is to query how they feel they are different from all those theists of conflicting faiths who claim the same experience. Is there more than one true god? How can one be sure all the other theists are wrong, but those one agrees with are right?
I feel like that might open up a crack in their faith which might lead them to eventually accept facts and reason.

There is of course a strong role of the group, the congregation, in reinforcing a theist's certitude when doubt arises. They tend to "rescue" one another from doubt, in my experience.
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Old 27th April 2019, 02:16 AM   #497
IanS
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Originally Posted by MuDPhuD View Post
Yes that's exactly what I mean.
A theist who "knows god" personally, has a "relationship" with him, will disregard all facts in favor of the foregone conclusion that God exists.
It does no good to argue reasonably with such a person, no matter how amusing it may appear from our point of view.

Those who "lose their faith" are those who for some reason have come to doubt that the voice they hear, those internal conversations, are really god. Without that conviction they become open to reason and to reasonable arguments.
Some I think lose faith because they are sure god has told them something which then proves false in a way they cannot deny. I must say, however, that I know some who have prayed and prayed for healing, and the loved one has died, and their faith actually becomes more hardened, not less.

This is why I think the amicable approach is to query how they feel they are different from all those theists of conflicting faiths who claim the same experience. Is there more than one true god? How can one be sure all the other theists are wrong, but those one agrees with are right?
I feel like that might open up a crack in their faith which might lead them to eventually accept facts and reason.

There is of course a strong role of the group, the congregation, in reinforcing a theist's certitude when doubt arises. They tend to "rescue" one another from doubt, in my experience.


OK, but lets just note that in the part you highlighted from what I'd said about theists not being dissuaded from their faith by facts or logic or rational discussion, you left off the absolutely essential ending where I said that rarely if ever works immediately just from "one single discussion". But obviously it does eventually work on an increasingly large number of theists over a period time ... that's why over the last century or two, religious belief has decreased in proportion to scientific understanding increasing ... and it's why religious belief is significantly lower amongst scientists than it is in the rest of the society around them.

Of course in individual cases people often discard their religion due to a certain specific event, such as the death of a child or relative. But that's not something you can teach theists in general ... you cannot hope to convert many theists by saying to them that if one day they have a child who dies in tragic circumstances, then they will decide to stop believing in God.

But what you can explain to them is that the entire reason for their Christian faith was originally that people believed a God must have been necessary to create this planet and to create humans (otherwise how could any planet or any humans have come into existence?). You can point out to them, that at the time (2000 to 3000 years ago) it seemed to be the only possible answer ...

... but now we have disscovered that is certainly not true at all. The Earth was certainly not created by any God ... and humans most definitely evolved from earlier apes (where for example, you can point out that until about 300,000 years ago humans did not even exist at all !! ... and 5 billion years ago even the planet itself did not exist!!) ... theists may not want to accept that (because that discovery completely destroys the entire basis for their faith), but in the end, over the course of time & over the course of education, they will have to accept it because the evidence of that is overwhelming and unarguable, and the evidence against it is non-existent.

Last edited by IanS; 27th April 2019 at 02:17 AM.
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