Friday, February 18, 2011

My Common Sense is Tingling - Debunking Christianity: Evidence of Delusion?

John Loftus has posted an statement that frankly shocked me.

I am personally attacked almost every day on the web for something I've written. If I don't respond then it's taken to mean I can't (WTF?). These Christians think all skeptical arguments are utterly lame, including mine. Who in their right mind would think this? Just once I'd like to hear a devout Christian say something like: "Hey, that's something I haven't thought of before," or, "This is a serious problem for my faith." It's just that these things are almost never said. No, they have the answers. And they laugh at all skeptical arguments, many of which derive from David Hume, who is thought to be the greatest English speaking philosopher who ever lived.

Now it's one thing to disagree with the skeptics. It's another thing entirely to think our arguments have no force at all. The fact that most Christians think they have no force at all simply means these Christians are delusional.

I agree that it's silly to just assume that John Loftus can't respond to criticism of his arguments. I find it telling that he almost never does, but be that as it may, aside from dismissive insults. I have not heard of a single objection or argument from John Loftus that has not previously been used or refuted. I don't think there are any serious problems with the Bible that a nonbeliever can raise that has not been diffused. That's not to say that people like Loftus accept those answers but it also does not mean that they are bad arguments. I really don't think people who reject the Bible have any good reason aside from the delusions caused by sin. David Hume is often quoted and his skepticism taken as an authority, and it amazes me because they ignore the many scientists and philosophers and experts who believe the Bible is trustworthy? Are they delusional? If one says, yes, I would really like to see someone prove it. Human skepticism, knowledge,and wisdom just can't hold a candle to God and His Word.

Debunking Christianity: Evidence of Delusion?
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FacePalm of the Day #62 - Debunking Christianity: A Former Believer On Why He Once Believed and Then Left the Fold

John Loftus has posted a quote from Jerry Wilson and an article by Mr. Wilson to explain why he left Christianity and became an atheist.

See a parallel here with the Outsider Test for Faith coming from Jerry Wilson?
I realized that all religions are bubbles. People see the other bubbles, but only from a perspective within their own bubble...I realize that, from a vantage point outside of all bubbles, all bubbles are equal. So all religions are equal and, therefore, all religions are equally wrong. Link
Someday in the future ardent Christians who visit us at DC will go through a similar deconversion just as he did, and just as I did.

Let's look at the quote first. It's interesting to me that Wilson talks about being a believer in a religion as being in a bubble. The Bible describes being outside of Christ as being in the bubble. I like the bubble analogy because you can't see reality clearly outside the bubble because of the refracted and reflected light inside the bubble. Things will look distorted when you look outside the bubble. In effect "deconversion" is a misnomer because an apostate was never converted.

When people explain the reasons behind their apostasy, it becomes apparent. There is no born-again experience or relationship with the risen Lord. I hate to say it but there are people who never leave Church yet haven't been converted. You can't truly be converted without born-again. With all due respect to Jerry Wilson and John Loftus, the Bible is correct. When you leave Christianity, never have been born-again, you merely trade one bubble for another.

Let us look further at Wilson's understanding of why he used to be a Christian.

First of all, I was never a fundamentalist. I accepted the bible as a good spiritual guide and not as ancient history. I knew that the stories in the Old Testament were allegories and that they never really happened, or were at least heavily embellished. I did believe most of the New Testament stories, but I took with a grain of salt the stories concerning miracles. After all, those were superstitious people back then and what they were reporting was based as much on their emotional state as it was on real circumstances. But I still believed in Jesus and in God and in the Resurrection. I was, after all, a Christian. I was raised that way.

So, by his own admission he did not believe in the Bible as infallible word of God. I wonder how did he reconcile the miracle of the Resurrection with the other miracles. I mean all of the other miracles seem so small compared to the Resurrection. I mean if you believe the Resurrection why would any miracle in the Bible be incredulous? This makes me wonder if he ever really believed the Resurrection or thought through it. My parents are also Christians and raised me that way. But that is not why I am a Christian. I'm a Christian because God changed my heart and changed me. Doesn't seem like Wilson's heart was ever changed.

I remember debating a teacher friend of mine back in the ‘80s. He was an atheist. I placed the old Pascal’s Wager in his lap, even though at the time I did not know of the arguments against it. I asked him, “What if you’re wrong?” He said that if there is a god, he would like to believe that he is a forgiving god and one that will forgive him for not believing. I thought in my head, “He obviously doesn’t know his bible because it doesn’t work that way.”
You were right, he didn't understand what the Bible says. A better question is do you understand what the Bible says?

But how did I know it didn’t work that way? How did I know that I was right and he was wrong?

The fact is, I didn’t. I only assumed I did because I believed the bible. I knew there were other religions in the world and I knew they had their own holy books. But I also knew, or believed, that these were the “heathen religions” the bible speaks of. I knew that Christian missionaries were busy trying to convert them to the true religion

The Bible says that things do not work this way. The things is no one is going to hell because the don't believe. On our own we can't believe. Again hell is the default destination. You are condemned already. It is through Christ we are declared "Not Guilty". It's not that the Christian is right and the Atheist is wrong. The issue is that God is right and we all are wrong. God would be in his rights to destroy us all, but God in his mercy has chosen to save those who believe and trust him through Jesus Christ. Arguing about whether it is fair or not that God would allow those who choose to reject him to go to hell is silly because it is not the point the Bible is making.

But why did I assume Christianity was the true religion, other than the fact that it was what I was taught as a kid? I was an intelligent science teacher with a master’s degree for goodness sake. Could I not see the fallacy of my beliefs?

Assuming wasn't necessary. If one would be born-again and circumcised in heart you can no that Jesus is real and the Bible is true beyond doubt. You can't see that from inside your bubble. And you can only get outside the bubble if God takes you out the Bubble.

Though down deep I was riddled with doubt, I justified my faith in Christianity and my dismissal of other religions because Christianity seemed to have an answer for all objections. You can find a bible verse that seems to dismiss almost any objection you want to throw at a Christian. What about other religions? They are mentioned and dismissed in the bible as being “heathen.” What about all our vast knowledge? The Old Testament warns against thought processes that would tend to lead you away from God. The New Testament seems to understand that there are rational arguments against believing, so it hammers the faith angle. Faith is all that matters; knowledge may be bogus.

Wilson seems to think that "faith" is at odds with rational arguments. Knowledge is nothing without understanding and wisdom. No where in the Bible are we asked to have faith in absence of evidence. Faith is an extension. You trust and obey God without having all the answers but it does not mean you have no evidence or contradicting evidence. For example, when you sit in a chair you don't really know it will support your weight. You believe it will based on past experience and what you see and you don't think the laws of Physics are going to change. But how do you know? We operate on faith daily! What or who are you going to put your faith in?

Wilson further wrote:

But the only evidence I was using to justify my belief was that the bible seemed to know my objections and handled them all. It didn’t register until much later in my life that these answers were bogus and one-dimensional. When people brought up the fact that other religions and their holy books also had answers to the same objections and when I started to realize that the only thing really special about Christianity was that it had more members than other religions, only then did I start looking at religion, all religion, from a truly skeptical position.

This is how I know Wilson was not born-again. If you really experienced the peace of God - the Joy - something was missing: Salvation. One can't truly say there is nothing special about Christianity had they really met and experienced what God promised those who love him. Skepticism is fine. However, God tells us to try Him out by obeying Him and you will see he keeps his promises.

Debunking Christianity: A Former Believer On Why He Once Believed and Then Left the Fold
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“The Fatima Crusader” : True vs. Counterfeit Miracles | True Freethinker

Mariano Grinbank has posted a great article regarding Fr. Nicholas Gruner's contention that the miracle at Fatima was predicted by Jesus in Matthew 16. In short, I don't think we can say that. Mariano does a great job in explaining why Matthew 16 does not support Father Gruner.

“The Fatima Crusader” : True vs. Counterfeit Miracles | True Freethinker
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Answering Muslims: The Qur'an and the Expansion of the Universe (Debunked)

Answering Muslims: The Qur'an and the Expansion of the Universe (Debunked)
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