Atheist Questions

Ixoye,
You're missing the context of the exchange. We're talking about how to interact with atheists, and specifically the utility of apologetic arguments in providing a compelling case for the existence of God. In this case, Kurt cited the argument from morality as a good example, and claimed...

Now, I'm obviously not saying God doesn't exist, I'm just demonstrating the obvious flaw in Kurt's apologetic argument. And that leads back to my overall point...we shouldn't be sending believers (especially young believers) out into the world with flawed apologetic arguments, because doing so could ultimately cause them to question their faith.

I see .. I have in the past engaged in these discussions, but found they are just a waste of time .. so I pray to God for the atheist instead of reasoning with the atheist ..
 
ixoye said: "I see .. I have in the past engaged in these discussions, but found they are just a waste of time .. so I pray to God for the atheist instead of reasoning with the atheist .."

I am glad that the people who brought me to God did not take your stance...They preached the word of God to me and it was that preaching of the word that did the work. Just because you cannot 'reason' with an athiest, does not mean you cannot preach the gospel to them. Let the word of God do what He designed it for..


Also, ask an atheist to explain love...Why do they love their child or parent and whether love always existed or was a trait that evolved over time. That will at least get them thinking..

TC
 

RiverJordan

Inactive
I am glad that the people who brought me to God did not take your stance...They preached the word of God to me and it was that preaching of the word that did the work. Just because you cannot 'reason' with an athiest, does not mean you cannot preach the gospel to them. Let the word of God do what He designed it for..
I agree that we can, and should, share the message of Christ. Planting seeds....

Also, ask an atheist to explain love...Why do they love their child or parent and whether love always existed or was a trait that evolved over time. That will at least get them thinking..
Nah, that doesn't work either. We need to get away from these "Well how do you explain THIS then?" type of arguments with atheists. For one, they're all variations on the fundamentally flawed "God of the Gaps" theme, and also it sets the rules whereby if they do manage to explain what you've challenged them on, by your own rules they've just provided evidence against the existence of God.
 
I am glad that the people who brought me to God did not take your stance...They preached the word of God to me and it was that preaching of the word that did the work. Just because you cannot 'reason' with an athiest, does not mean you cannot preach the gospel to them. Let the word of God do what He designed it for..


Also, ask an atheist to explain love...Why do they love their child or parent and whether love always existed or was a trait that evolved over time. That will at least get them thinking..

TC

perhaps you are missing the obvious .. before they preached the Gospel to you, they prayed to God for Him to unharden your heart .. THEN God told them to go ahead ..
 
No, it's an obvious flaw in the argument you put forth. By the very structure of your series of premises, given the genocidal accounts in the OT there are only two possible conclusions. Either God is immoral or you have failed to demonstrate objective morality.


Like Ixoye, you're missing the context of the discussion. We're talking about us believers interacting with atheists and how they will respond to our apologetic arguments. They're simply addressing the God that we're presenting them with. Just like if someone started talking to you about Santa Claus, you could point out the obvious flaws in their "message" without actually believing in Santa.


And that's the problem with the argument you put forth and the argument from morality overall. It fails to demonstrate that God exists. That's why it shouldn't be used in an apologetic, evangelical context. It sets us up to fail.
 
ixoye said: "I see .. I have in the past engaged in these discussions, but found they are just a waste of time .. so I pray to God for the atheist instead of reasoning with the atheist .."

TC said: "I am glad that the people who brought me to God did not take your stance...They preached the word of God to me and it was that preaching of the word that did the work."

you missed the point like I did .. that being using reasoning is UNPRODUCTIVE ..
so you just affirmed that it was not
, but rejected the power of God in prayer first ..
 
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ixoye said: "I see .. I have in the past engaged in these discussions, but found they are just a waste of time .. so I pray to God for the atheist instead of reasoning with the atheist .."

TC said: "I am glad that the people who brought me to God did not take your stance...They preached the word of God to me and it was that preaching of the word that did the work."

you missed the point like I did .. that being using reasoning is UNPRODUCTIVE ..
so you just affirmed that it was not
, but rejected the power of God in prayer first ..
Huh?

I don't see anywhere in scripture where we are told to 'pray first' that their heart may be opened...but to preach the gospel in season and out of season...If God so opened their hearts before we spoke the word how are we to know that?

My point is that the word of God is powerful enough to do things that our carnal reasonings cannot. I made your point- do not reason with them, just preach the gospel to them- trust God to do what He does..If you want to pray for them by all means...you should do that too

TC
 
perhaps you are missing the obvious .. before they preached the Gospel to you, they prayed to God for Him to unharden your heart .. THEN God told them to go ahead ..
I don't know how you can assume that they prayed first? How is it that you can know of a surety that the person in question prayed for me before He read the scriptures? God may have 'opened my heart' months before..But hey if that is what you believe, I am not going to argue with do as you feel led to.

TC
 
No, it's an obvious flaw in the argument you put forth. By the very structure of your series of premises, given the genocidal accounts in the OT there are only two possible conclusions. Either God is immoral or you have failed to demonstrate objective morality.

I respectfully disagree that the argument is flawed. The moral argument for the existence of God seeks to prove the existence of A God, and not necessarily the Christian God. This is what I meant when I said you have to keep the atheist focused on one argument at a time. Proving the existence of the Christian God is a different argument. As for the failure to demonstrate objective morality, it's up to you to come to a consensus with the atheist that premise #2 is valid. Any intellectually honest person will concede that genocide, child rape, or name-your-abhorrent-behavior is objectively wrong whether anyone believes it or not (premise #2) and is not subject to a culture defining it as fashionable or unfashionable. Once the atheist concedes to premise #2, then premise #3 follows by the rules of logic. If you are facing a person who honestly believes that a behavior like child rape has no moral value associated with it, that it's just fashionable or unfashionable according to how the culture defines it, then you are dealing with someone whose moral compass is seriously skewed and is a true atheist believer, and the moral argument clearly fails. But I've never met this person except for those who will disingenuously profess it in order to avoid the obvious premise #3.

Like Ixoye, you're missing the context of the discussion. We're talking about us believers interacting with atheists and how they will respond to our apologetic arguments. They're simply addressing the God that we're presenting them with. Just like if someone started talking to you about Santa Claus, you could point out the obvious flaws in their "message" without actually believing in Santa.

Fair point. But when I'm witnessing to someone who rejects the Gospel, the reason they often cite is because they don't believe in God. Rarely do they ever say, "because I don't like Jesus and I refuse to submit to His authority." Clearly if you got this response, the conversation is over. But if they say they don't believe in God, this opens up arguments that seek to prove the existence of God, of which the moral argument is only one.

Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is doing the work. There is no argument anyone can make that will convert anyone - even the most skilled presentation of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit either does the work or He doesn't, and that's not up to us. As I know you know, we've been commanded to spread the Gospel. I see nothing wrong with having some additional tools in the kit bag to keep the dialog open with atheists.
 

RiverJordan

Inactive
I respectfully disagree that the argument is flawed. The moral argument for the existence of God seeks to prove the existence of A God, and not necessarily the Christian God.
Except that we're approaching them as Christians and therefore the discussion occurs in that context. Additionally, the argument from morality typically comes from conservative, fundamentalist style Christians who are of the "the Bible is 100% literally true" school of thought.

As for the failure to demonstrate objective morality, it's up to you to come to a consensus with the atheist that premise #2 is valid. Any intellectually honest person will concede that genocide, child rape, or name-your-abhorrent-behavior is objectively wrong whether anyone believes it or not (premise #2) and is not subject to a culture defining it as fashionable or unfashionable.
But again, all the atheist has to do is point out that you believe in a God that orders, condones, and commits genocide, as well as orders sexual slavery (Numbers 31). That puts you in an untenable position. You have to concede that either the God you believe in is immoral, or that you believe genocide and sexual slavery are not objectively immoral. All they have to do is keep asking you, "Which is it" until you answer.

Of course the conservative response usually falls along the lines of "Who are you to question God. He can do as He pleases." or "They deserved it", neither of which are at all persuasive to the atheist and make Christians appear horrible.

Once the atheist concedes to premise #2, then premise #3 follows by the rules of logic.
But the atheist will never concede to #2 as long as he can get you as described above. In fact, he doesn't even have to get this far.

If you are facing a person who honestly believes that a behavior like child rape has no moral value associated with it, that it's just fashionable or unfashionable according to how the culture defines it, then you are dealing with someone whose moral compass is seriously skewed and is a true atheist believer, and the moral argument clearly fails. But I've never met this person except for those who will disingenuously profess it in order to avoid the obvious premise #3.
I've not met such a person either, but I have encountered those who will point out that genocide and sex with children have indeed been considered "moral" at times in human history.

But when I'm witnessing to someone who rejects the Gospel, the reason they often cite is because they don't believe in God. Rarely do they ever say, "because I don't like Jesus and I refuse to submit to His authority." Clearly if you got this response, the conversation is over. But if they say they don't believe in God, this opens up arguments that seek to prove the existence of God, of which the moral argument is only one.
And I've yet to see it succeed on any level. In fact, I've only ever seen it fail spectacularly.

Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is doing the work. There is no argument anyone can make that will convert anyone - even the most skilled presentation of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit either does the work or He doesn't, and that's not up to us. As I know you know, we've been commanded to spread the Gospel. I see nothing wrong with having some additional tools in the kit bag to keep the dialog open with atheists.
I agree. (y)
 
1. No, I think you are the one who's being blind. Fundamentalists put out these apologetic arguments (like the argument from morality) to young believers that they're supposed to use in discussions with non-believers, but the problem is they're so easily shot down they end up making the young believer look foolish, thereby putting their faith in jeopardy.

2. I was listening to the local Christian radio yesterday while I was running some errands and I heard "The Bible Answer Man" promoting a flip chart of his about evolution. He claimed it would "equip believers and help them defend Biblical truths". The problem is, the contents of that chart are so...well, stupid...and at times flat out deceitful, that any believer who tries to use it to argue against anyone who knows anything about science is going to get shredded and made to look the fool. IOW, believers are being sent out into the world "equipped" with atrocious and easily countered apologetic arguments.

3. IMO, that sort of thing does far more harm to young believers than a fellow believer warning them against using such easily countered apologetics. Sorry I made you angry, but I see no need to apologize to Ravin. I've seen what happens when believers confront atheists with "Oh yeah? Well how do you account for morality without God then?" They usually get their rhetorical butts kicked. It's a bad argument to try and use against atheists.

4. LOL! Don't ask questions you don't want an answer to. ;)

5. Again, I'm trying to explain what the atheist response is to the "how do you account for morality" apologetic. Don't you think it's a good idea to have an idea of what sort of response you can expect before you go out parroting an argument?

6. Right, and when you get an answer that isn't what you want, you'll fall back on the "No True Scotsman Fallacy" and say "You're not an honest atheist then".

I have shared it. It was generally ignored.

1. River, your statement will stumble young Christians. Our entire belief system is in the approval of and our shortcoming of God's morale code in His word to us.

2. You are mocking a Christian who is trying to help fellow Christians. Yes he is part foolish but I see a good guy trying his best. His foolishness starts with him ignoring scripture..like the fact that Adam never consulted with his ape father. But you thnk you are better when you knowingly ignore the same scripture?

3. Your advice is to leave them completely vulnerable to an issue that is at the heart of Christianity?...God's morale code. Any Christian should know that scripture is rather clear on that subject and have ease in dealing with an atheist....John 15:13 is why Jesus did John 3:16...if we can do John 15:13 we are doing a darn fine job of James 4:8! Hence scripture like James 1:27 and 1 Cor 11:31. Heck, we need only quote scripture like James 4:6.

4. ''Animals are selfless therefore humans can be selfless'' is simply not an answer.

5. I have heard enough of their responses. I spent 2 years frequenting atheist forums. Feeling that was my calling. But learnt it was more casting pearl before swine. You call quoting scripture 'parroting' an argument? Jesus said John 15:13. I want to challenge all to deal with it and grasp their shortcomings. That is great commission / evangelism 101.

6. I like to pin people. I learnt it from God Rev 3:15.
 
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RiverJordan

Inactive
1. River, your statement will stumble young Christians. Our entire belief system is in the approval of and our shortcoming of God's morale code in His word to us.
I disagree. I think sending young Christians out into the world armed with weak, flawed arguments will cause them to stumble.

2. You are mocking a Christian who is trying to help fellow Christians. Yes he is part foolish but I see a good guy trying his best. His foolishness starts with him ignoring scripture..like the fact that Adam never consulted with his ape father. But you thnk you are better when you knowingly ignore the same scripture?
But Hank H. isn't arguing from a theological or scriptural standpoint. If that's all he did, I'd barely even notice. Instead, he's arguing that evolution is scientifically a "farce" and is putting forth scientific(ish) arguments. Unfortunately in doing so, he makes both misleading and downright false statements and accusations along the way.

My problem with that is, why is he trying to make a scientific case against evolution when he's not a scientist, nor is he qualified in any way to do so? And why does he have to...I'm just gonna come right out and say it...lie to make his case? Aren't we supposed to be truthful in all we do?

And back to the main point, he's claiming to "equip" Christians with a tool to help them defend Biblical truths, when in reality he's setting Christians up for failure and embarrassment. What do you think happens when a new Christian uses this flip chart to confront a non-believer who's at least moderately astute in science? I know what happens because I've seen it first hand. The new Christian gets shredded and embarrassed, and when that happens enough times they start to question their faith and a certain percentage will eventually conclude, "If this is Christianity, I want nothing to do with it".

3. Your advice is to leave them completely vulnerable to an issue that is at the heart of Christianity?...God's morale code. Any Christian should know that scripture is rather clear on that subject and have ease in dealing with an atheist....John 15:13 is why Jesus did John 3:16...if we can do John 15:13 we are doing a darn fine job of James 4:8! Hence scripture like James 1:27 and 1 Cor 11:31. Heck, we need only quote scripture like James 4:6.
??????? I never said anything of the sort. I'm just noting that sending new Christians out with the argument from morality as an evangelical/apologetic tool is setting them up for failure (because it's a fundamentally flawed argument).

4. ''Animals are selfless therefore humans can be selfless'' is simply not an answer.
Except no one said that. Go back and read what I posted.

5. I have heard enough of their responses. I spent 2 years frequenting atheist forums. Feeling that was my calling. But learnt it was more casting pearl before swine. You call quoting scripture 'parroting' an argument? Jesus said John 15:13. I want to challenge all to deal with it and grasp their shortcomings. That is great commission / evangelism 101.
Yep, we have a great commission. But we can't be stupid about it either. If we're not going out with logically sound, valid arguments, we may be doing more harm than good.

I like to pin people. I learnt it from God Rev 3:15.
Except that's not pinning people. That's invoking a logical fallacy and bailing out.
 
I see .. I have in the past engaged in these discussions, but found they are just a waste of time .. so I pray to God for the atheist instead of reasoning with the atheist ..
Thats because an atheist has brain schisms to facts. They simply cannot admit when they are wrong or pinned. It is required to live in their state and it comes as no surprise that they simply imitiating thier father of lies with their deceitfulness.
 
I disagree. I think sending young Christians out into the world armed with weak, flawed arguments will cause them to stumble.
They will face these questions. It is inevitable. Some preparation is better then nothing. I agree though, but lets give them actual scripture, it is the most powerful armour there is for a Christian.

And back to the main point, he's claiming to "equip" Christians with a tool to help them defend Biblical truths, when in reality he's setting Christians up for failure and embarrassment. What do you think happens when a new Christian uses this flip chart to confront a non-believer who's at least moderately astute in science? I know what happens because I've seen it first hand. The new Christian gets shredded and embarrassed, and when that happens enough times they start to question their faith and a certain percentage will eventually conclude, "If this is Christianity, I want nothing to do with it".
Yes, he may be dumb. But you are not any better with your take. You completely concede, whilst failing to grasp that Christianity is dead with your view. That is why you have to reject much scripture. I would be surprised to hear you are still a Christian in a few months time. Reject any scripture and tomorrow you lose all confidence in it. That ''feeling'' you had when you got saved is easily debunked by atheists too. What do you say to that? You had a placebo effect. A simple emotional experience induced by an over the top sensational preacher. It was all in your head. I am not trying to be ugly to you River. I am really concerned about you! Your heart is right but you have conceded too much ground to the devil.

Except no one said that. Go back and read what I posted.
''they can point to the increasing number of studies showing that altruism exists in varying degrees in various animal species (mostly in those that have evolved social structures)''

Except that's not pinning people. That's invoking a logical fallacy and bailing out.
It is not a logical fallacy. I have asked you to explain how it is. All you have given me is 'animals have evolved altruism' . That is bailing out. I have explained why in post # 8 paragraph 2.
 

RiverJordan

Inactive
They will face these questions. It is inevitable. Some preparation is better then nothing. I agree though, but lets give them actual scripture, it is the most powerful armour there is for a Christian.
Of course they'll be asked such questions, but they must also be given logically sound, valid answers. Giving them logically flawed answers only sets them up for failure.

Yes, he may be dumb. But you are not any better with your take. You completely concede, whilst failing to grasp that Christianity is dead with your view. That is why you have to reject much scripture.
Yes, I understand that to a person who thinks in black/white terms, one either accepts all of scripture as 100% literally true, or one rejects it all and can't be a Christian. It's an all or none proposition.

However, not everyone thinks that way. Specifically to Genesis 1&2, I've explained how I interpret them and do not "reject" them as you claim.

I would be surprised to hear you are still a Christian in a few months time. Reject any scripture and tomorrow you lose all confidence in it.
And that's your problem. You think that just because someone interprets a part of scripture differently than you, that means they're rejecting it.

That ''feeling'' you had when you got saved is easily debunked by atheists too. What do you say to that? You had a placebo effect. A simple emotional experience induced by an over the top sensational preacher. It was all in your head. I am not trying to be ugly to you River. I am really concerned about you! Your heart is right but you have conceded too much ground to the devil.
LOL! First, it's not a "feeling I had when I got saved". It's a "feeling" I have every day. Second, I have no idea where you got the idea about a "sensational preacher". Finally, since you're being so honest with me, I'm going to be just as honest with you.

In my view, it is conservative, fundamentalists who are "doing the devil's work" as you called it. By telling young and new Christians that they have to reject almost everything we know about our world and universe in order to be a Christian, you're forcing these new converts into an unnecessary dilemma and driving many away. You say you've participated in forums with atheists, so surely you've read the accounts of people whose journey away from Christianity began with the intellectual garbage that is fundamentalist creationism.

That's the problem I see in working in my youth ministry. Someone they know gives them something from some creationist organization, they read it, and see it for the undeniably dishonest junk that it is. Then they start to ask questions. Why are they so dishonest? Why are they lying? Why are they omitting so much relevant information? Some of them will ask those questions to a black/white thinker and will be told that they have to choose. Either deny reality, or be a Christian. You can't have both. And there's no doubt that a certain percentage of them will leave the faith....all for nonsense.

''they can point to the increasing number of studies showing that altruism exists in varying degrees in various animal species (mostly in those that have evolved social structures)''
Right, but that's not the same as what you claimed, "Animals are selfless therefore humans can be selfless". To clear this up, atheists can logically claim that what we call "morality" is an evolved trait that occurs in social animals, and they can point to the existence of altruism in such species as evidence in support of that. It's not the A therefore B scenario you tried to paint it as.

It is not a logical fallacy. I have asked you to explain how it is. All you have given me is 'animals have evolved altruism' . That is bailing out. I have explained why in post # 8 paragraph 2.
You're mixing responses here. I cited the No True Scotsman fallacy in response to your question, "Ask an honest atheist if he will give his life for someone who tried to kill him". I figured that when you pose that challenge to atheists and don't get the response you want, you would invoke the NTS fallacy.
 
Your beliefs have been identified as anti scriptural. You simply deceive yourself when you say you accept scripture but not my 'conservative' view. I asked you a simple question and you still don't come close to answering it. You are being elusive and have narrow minded / un-budging theories. The irony! I may as well be speaking to a recording device or an atheist. Heck I would prefer an atheist!

A humans ability to be selfless cannot be compared to an animals. But this fact flies over your head. Brain schisms kick in and all you can say is...NTS...really??????????

You say you've participated in forums with atheists, so surely you've read the accounts of people whose journey away from Christianity began with the intellectual garbage that is fundamentalist creationism.
You are a fool if you believe that. Their journey away from God starts in the heart. Their belief is a much needed thought they entertain to distract them from reality. I am truly surprised to hear a Christian who should be lead by the Holy Spirit fall for their stupidity! It really is stupidity River. One-day in heaven you will kick yourself. I just pray you don't lead anyone else astray! God help the kids you teach! They are now on my prayer list!!!!
 

RiverJordan

Inactive
Your beliefs have been identified as anti scriptural.
"Identified" by you, in the same sense that I have "identified" your beliefs as harming our Great Commission. IOW, we have differing opinions! :eek:

You simply deceive yourself when you say you accept scripture but not my 'conservative' view.
That's your opinion. I OTOH see it as obvious that merely having a different interpretation than you does not constitute "rejecting scripture".

I asked you a simple question and you still don't come close to answering it.
What question is that?

A humans ability to be selfless cannot be compared to an animals. But this fact flies over your head. Brain schisms kick in and all you can say is...NTS...really??????????
Why not? If this is your best response to a non-Christian challenging you on this point, it's no wonder you couldn't stick around those forums very long.

You are a fool if you believe that. Their journey away from God starts in the heart. Their belief is a much needed thought they entertain to distract them from reality.
No, I've seen it first-hand. I've seen youth truly struggle with being told by people like you, that they have to choose between the reality they can see with their own eyes and Christ, and being told that if they take anything other than a hyper-literal view of scripture, they are "rejecting it" and might as well be an atheist. Some of the kids I work with come to me in tears over this. Oh, but never mind....some anonymous fundamentalist on an internet forum who's never even met any of these kids knows the situation better. :rolleyes::LOL:

I am truly surprised to hear a Christian who should be lead by the Holy Spirit fall for their stupidity! It really is stupidity River.
Yes, I agree. Fundamentalism and creationism is indeed stupidity that no one with half a brain should fall for. :p

One-day in heaven you will kick yourself. I just pray you don't lead anyone else astray! God help the kids you teach! They are now on my prayer list!!!!
Right, because in your world sharing anything different from fundamentalism is the same as leading people astray. Thanks for your input.
 
Kids come to you with a knife in them and your solution is to drive it through them?

Evolution makes scripture obsolete. Scripture is either the word of God or it is not. If scripture says Adam was the first human created, Adam was either the first human created or scripture is false. Either God created humans just beneath the angels or scripture is false.

River, I challenge you to debunk / correct me. I am open to correction.

1. Share your belief of creation with me. As convincingly as you can.
2. Show me the scripture you use to support it.
3. Explain to me how you deal with this scripture:

- Heb 2:7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor.
- Gen 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
-
1 Cor 15:39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.
- Gen 1:3-19 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Light came before the sun. (evolution says opposite).
- Gen 1:2 Oceans were created before land. (evolution says opposite).
- Gen 1:11 First life was land plants. (evolution says opposite).
- Gen 1:16 Stars were all created at once. (evolution says opposite).
- Gen 1:20, 21 Marine life was created all at once. (evolution says opposite).
- Gen 2:7 Man was made from the dust of the earth. (evolution says opposite).
- Gen 2:21, 22 Man was created, then woman. (evolution says opposite).

4. Refute these arguments of logic:

- When did man become accountable for sin? Modern Homo-sapiens are traced to 200 000 years ago in Ethiopa. Is Adam's ape father in hell or heaven?
- If Adam is 200 000 years old, where is scripture filling the gap to Abraham (1926 bc)?
- Why does scripture not mention something as relevant as evolution?
 
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