School is in Session
My wife and I had the pleasure of going to the Sunday school class of Dr. Hugh Ross (1) last week. (2) I used to go several years ago, but had to stop going because life simply got in the way. For now, we do plan on going when he’s in town, which doesn’t seem that often, unfortunately. On a quick side note, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Ross on the Frank Sontag show the next day!
I’ve been watching The Atheist Experience consistently for a handful of months now (I’ve watched short clips of it before but not full episodes) and I’m rather amused by what I see. I’m sad to say that the majority of the Christians who call in, are generally making bad arguments. I recently heard someone say that the main host of “TAA” (Matt Dillahunty) has made a career of going after low hanging fruit. Some may be offended by such a statement, but this person is trying to convey that there are too many Christians making terribly uninformed arguments on the program. Arguments that, are not the best that Christianity has to offer. However, there have been some good arguments brought forth as well, but at times were not properly unpacked in my opinion. In the rare case that a good argument has been brought forth, and in a cogent way, the caller has often been interrupted and subsequently muted. Following that, handfuls of logical fallacies have been offered by the hosts while improperly calling out ones that are not.
Photo Attribution: http://twitpic.com/ajwh7p
Yet another tactic that I see atheists use against God and religion, is visualized in the picture on the right (You’ll have to click on it a few times to read it) This picture is apparently trying to convey that the quality of life in these societies is better because they’re some of the least religious countries in the world. Such reasoning is quite problematic however, for various reasons. I think one of the biggest issues is finding/proving the causation for this assertion. I would like to know how they linked the two together. Did this study (or studies) take into account: the various cultural, economical, or social issues etc?
Does it follow that since the people in these countries are irreligious, then they are automatically atheists? Were such people specifically polled about their apparent atheism or just their non religious status? To be fair, this might not be the point of the picture (rather, that lacking religion equals a better way of life) but does this make a case for atheism if these people are just not religious, yet not atheists either? It could conceivably be a case against organized religion while being silent for the case of atheism. I know tons of people that don’t consider religion important at all, yet still maintain their religious status (when pressed; yet in a nominal fashion) of their heritage or upbringing. Was this scenario taken into consideration?
Photo Attribution: Wikipedia
The Debunking Usually Goes Like This:
1. If A Photo Was Shown – It was photoshopped.
2. When A Video Is Provided – It’s edited, not an authentic video.
3. Isolated Witness Testimony With Corresponding Data Presented – It’s those vulnerable individuals who are influenced by tradition of mythos and folklore.
4. Multiple Eyewitness Accounts That Were Simultaneous – Delusional subjects and mass hysteria.
5. All Four Conditions Occur – Appeals to “Naturalism In The Gaps” are asserted…denial, denial, and denial!
I’ve been meeting more and more skeptics who have taken the stance that Jesus never existed at all. This is a peculiar position as there are many attested writings about him, from early sources other than the Bible. The charge against such sources is that since they weren’t written during his lifetime, then they’re automatically invalid. What the proponents of this position don’t understand, is that historians don’t require contemporary writings for an accepted historical fact. If they actually did require it, then much of history would have to be rewritten. The purpose of this brief article is not to go into all the details (at a later time I will) but I would like us to examine some interesting comments from professor Bart Ehrman in the video above. Of special interest is that even though Bart is a New Testament scholar, he’s also an Agnostic. While I don’t agree with all of what he said or his overall position, but he thoroughly refutes the idea that Jesus never existed. Here are some of Bart’s comments from the video:
Photo Attribution: Wikipedia
One Book Of Books
One of the seemingly clever tactics that atheists use against Christians, is when they claim that “using the Bible to prove the Bible,” is circular reasoning. At face value this familiar accusation appears to be valid, but there are a number of problems with this charge however. One glaring issue is that they’re looking at the Bible as the single completed book that it is today. As we know, it took over 1500 years for the Bible (all of the 66 books) to be written  and was penned by about 40 individuals .
I’m not going to get into all of the details of who wrote what books, how they were written, etc but needless to say, it was a tedious process. The Old Testament was written primarily on scrolls while most of the New Testament was written on loose papyrus, parchment, or paper . I would like to point out that when New Testament “books” of the Bible were written, they were first written as letters with no chapters and verses etc. In the 21st Century we forget this fact. These individual letters were then compiled into books, and later all of these books were compiled into the cannon that we know/have today. So to look at these letters from a perspective of the time period that they were written -as the individual documents that they were- we see many corresponding documents that were coming from various sources, not just one.
Description: Given the probability of chance for the hundreds of fine tuning examples in the universe, the better answer is that a fine tuner tuned the tunings rather than chance or accident.
Photo Attribution: Main121 (public domain)
Rule It Out First
There’s an interesting sentiment that I hear on occasion when conversing with atheists about God. I’ve been informed that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. I admit that it seems to be convincing, but only to those that have no training in formal logic. After all, if there’s no evidence for God (in the form of tangibility -usually the type requested by atheists) then this absence seems to be a blow to his existence. Right? Not exactly. We’re going to examine the modus tollens argument (Latin; the way that denies by denying) to see if this type of reasoning is valid or not. The argument goes like this:
Photo Attribution: Wikipedia
On The March
As time goes on there seems to be an ever growing number of militant atheists that are on the march against God and religion. Though I feel this article could be directed at atheism as a whole (at least on some level) but I’m specifically addressing these militant types for today. Some of you may be wondering what I mean by “militant atheist”. I’m speaking of those that are hateful, obnoxious, rude, quick to judge and call names etc. Here’s a passage that sums it up: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. 
Description: This seems to be a trend where atheists use the “cruel God” of the Old Testament in a cumulative case to show that that God couldn’t possibly exist. I have had atheists flat out tell me that these “atrocities” prove that he is not real…their words, not mine.