Friday, February 10, 2012

FacePlant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, With Examples

John Loftus posted posted the following stream of consciousness thoughts on his blog today. I'm kind of amazed how he keeps trotting out these objections when they have been answered time-and-time-again with no acknowledgment of their existence or rebuttal.
If the same kind of reasoning produces support for two different conclusions then the reasoning is delusional. By your host here, John W. Loftus ;-)
Let's ask ourselves: Is this true? On the surface it reminds me of the definition of insanity that doing the same thing but expecting a different result. It seems like Loftus' whole argument hinges on the idea that all religious people reason the same way in establishing the existence of a god - leading to different god. He offers "examples" supposedly pointing to evidence of the correctness of this statement. He's asserting that the examples show that these different religions utilize the same reasoning to different conclusions. Let's see if he can deliver. 

--Example 1) Ontological argumentation for God's existence equally supports the Oriental conception of God, or a trickster god.

--Example 2) The same kind of arguments exonerating God from being evil also work in reverse to exonerate an evil God from being good.

Both of these :"examples" are based on the same idea. Stephen Law tried this line of reasoning. I think he failed to make it stick and Loftus doesn't even try to demonstrate it's true. I've posted some links to this particular subject, check them out  and see for yourself if this is persuasive. This failure counts twice.

--Example 3) Arguments deflecting the problem of divine hiddenness for the Christian God also work to deflect the problem of divine hiddenness for Zeus, Odin, Thor, Re, Hathor, Apollo, and Artemis.

 I realize in philosophy, :"hiddenness" of God is an idea that has much traction. The problem is that in my experience, God is far from hidden. I think coming to redeem humanity from sin and death in the person of Jesus Christ, is the tantamount rebuttal to example 3, but there is other Biblical evidence. The entire Bible is about how God has created humanity and redeems His chosen people - glorifying Himself and declaring His Character to all of us. The Bible is a record of how God has  been building a relationship with humanity. If you look at the stories about Zeus, Odin, Thor, Re, Hathor, Apollo,  Artemis, or anyone else you can name you won't find the same example of the love and relationship building we get from YHWH - from Genesis to Revelation. Paul had words regarding the "hiddenness:" of God.

 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? - Romans 9:19-24
Failure number 3. When people complain that God has not made Himself plain to them, what they are really whining about is that God will not allow them to come to Him on their own terms. We must relate to God on God's terms.

--Example 4) Pascal's beneficial argument to support belief in the Christian God also works to support the evil Egyptian god Set (Seth), and the Greek gods Minos, Styx, Tartaros and Thanatos.

More elaboration here would help (but not much), but I'm sure any attempt would lead to more failure.  If I remember Egyptian mythology, Set was only seen as Satan's counterpart after being mixed with Christianity. Also the Greek Gods  don't really fit as an example. How did believing and trusting in these deities promise improve their adherent's prospects in life and in the after-life? It did not. In order for Pascal's wager to be analagous for them, you would have to be able to show how believing in Greco-Roman or Egyptian deities would be better (in their system) than eing an atheist or believing in other deities. Since Loftus did not explain this, this is another failure.

--Example 5) Arguments supporting the proper basically of belief in the Christian God also work to support the proper basically of belief in Allah. Somebody stop me!

When most Christians and other theists use such basic arguments they don't assume that it's enough to prove the existence of any particular deity only establishes that there must be such a real things as a god. If you want to know who that God is it takes that God revealing God to you. Paul used this very same reasoning in the first and chapter of Romans. If you want to find the God of Christianity you have go deeper than the Cosmological, Ontological, and Moral arguments. These indeed don't distinguish between Islam and Christianity, but I think it says a lot about atheism in that these basic arguments are really only necessary to prove that atheism - the belief in no God - is nonsensical.  I also have to say that the charge that without knowing who that God is merely accepting that a god exists is not enough is true.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.- James 2:19

However, today, people are so out of touch...deceived...lost.....corrupt....that you have to start there before you can move on to who God is and what He has commanded.  Fail all around.  "Somebody stop you", Loftus?. Already done, before you were even born.

Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, With Examples

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