Thursday, May 10, 2012

FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Dr. Randal Rauser Says I Came Up With a New Argument!


I'm not real familiar with Dr Randal Rauser  but I have to respectfully disagree with him. The following "argument" by John Loftus is neither new or "novel". It is truly an example of a failure to understand what Christianity is. I thought Loftus says he used to be Christian.

I don't know whether it's new or not, but the thought tickles my fancy. A novel argument is hard to come by these days because the ancients have stolen all of our ideas! Here is what Rauser said:
John Loftus just came up with a new argument against Christianity. He summarized it like this:

1) If Christianity is true then the Christian faith will probably not die out if Christians stop proselytizing.

(2) The Christian faith will probably die out if Christians stop proselytizing.
How does Loftus know this? What evidence does he have for this?

(3) Therefore Christianity is [probably] false.

It is, if nothing else, a novel argument. Link
My argument asks What Would Happen if Christians Went on Strike?

Walter, whose Quote of the Day provoked such an argument, is defending it in the comments:
I think what John is getting at is that it might be reasonable to expect the One True Revelation from God should occur supernaturally to all people at all times, and the Christian revelation did not happen that way–it spread just like every other false religion has since man first started inventing religions.
I think Walter does not understand what happens to person when he/she is born again. Being a born-again Christian - Accepting and living out the gospel - is itself supernatural - meaning that no human being does it on his/her own or chooses to do it apart from the power of God. This make it different from ALL other religions from the start.

It bothered me in my Christian days to think that the most important event in the history of man had to be spread by the glacially slow process of word-of-mouth between mere humans. It took the Native Americans some 1500 years to get the news. Seems a rather inefficient way of doing things.
This used to bother me too before I realized that the scriptures doesn't support this viewpoint...neither does history. Christianity's growth is unprecedented and unmatched when you look at how it began with just 120 people - around a crucified prophet - and covers the planet in just 2000 years. What seems slow to us doesn't mean it's slow to God.  Also given that the majority of all those who have ever lived, lived after Jesus completed his salvation work, it seems to me that Jesus came at just the right time (just like the Bible says). And given that salvation is retroactive for everyone who has ever trusted God and walked in His ways - even if they did not understand the whole picture. For example - Abraham, Moses, and Ezekiel are just as saved as I am although I have Jesus in hindsight while they looked forward to Jesus. I have more pieces of the puzzle than they but not all of it.

A true revelation from the Creator would not need human effort to sustain it; it would propagate in a supernatural manner.

Who says the revelation of Jesus is dependent on human effort. God uses us as means to spread the Gospel but he doesn't need us. There are countless stories of people coming to become Christians without being witnessed to by human being. Check out this link containing such accounts: links here and there.

The Christian faith appears to propagate by purely natural means, and the faith would disappear if no human kept spreading the message.

Again see the links and look around for more information. There is plenty of evidence destroying such an assumption. 

An omniscient and omnipotent being who seeks to get an important message out can easily come up with a better method of communicating to humanity besides appearing to a handful of men in backwater Palestine, then commissioning these men to spread this important message to the whole world via proselytism. Such a God could easily have every person on earth experience their very own Damascus road vision. In fact, an omniscient deity could dream up all manner of supernatural means of communication that I couldn’t even imagine.
Who said that God has never revealed himself to anyone else like he did to Paul? Or that no one ever sees or experience something supernatural? There are many reports that say exactly that God still moves this way. And once you realize how truly steeped in sin and spiritually destitute we all are you begin to see the fact that anyone gets saved at all is a miracle from God. 

Keep in mind I never said I could convince Rauser of this. It's a thought experiment. For some people it will be convincing. For others it won't. The point behind it is stated well by Walter I think.

I don't think anyone who knows what God did for them would ever be convinced by such a thoughtless experiment because we know that we weren't saved just by someone proclaiming God's message but that God transformed and changed us from the inside so that we are now not the same people that we were. Walter and John Loftus completely miss the point of Christianity.

There are so many scriptures that deal with this and that is why I would not call this argument "novel". No, "Facepalm worthy" fits it so much better. Here are just a few scriptures that show my point.

First, no one comes to God on their own without God redeeming them.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. - Romans 8:5-8

These verses describe all of us before one comes to God. So how do you explain a person overcoming their default hostility and hatred of God? Jesus said:


44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. - John 6:44

How do you come to Jesus? You believe He is who He Claimed to be. 


24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” - John 8:24


As for why you are born when and where you find yourself:


24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.- Acts 17:24-27


And lastly, 2000 years ago it was recognized that if God was not behind or in control of the Christian movement it wouldn't last. That it would have long died out. Now I recognize that this is not the best argument because if Christianity had failed and never left Palestine it would be proof that there was nothing supernatural to it, but the fact that it survived the best efforts to destroy it does not exclusively mean Christianity is true but it does add evidence to its validity.

Gamaliel is famous. He was Paul's teacher before Paul became a Christian and on top of that He is recognized even in Judaism today. Take a look at what he said. 


29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead —whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. - Acts 5:29-40

Hmmmm....looks like this movement is from God. 

Debunking Christianity: Dr. Randal Rauser Says I Came Up With a New Argument!
Enhanced by Zemanta

18 comments:

  1. "I think Walter does not understand what happens to person when he/she is born again. Being a born-again Christian - Accepting and living out the gospel - is itself supernatural - meaning that no human being does it on his/her own or chooses to do it apart from the power of God. This make it different from ALL other religions from the start."

    This is mere noise with no substance. If there were no Christians, how would this particular belief regenerate itself?

    "Christianity's growth is unprecedented and unmatched when you look at how it began with just 120 people - around a crucified prophet - and covers the planet in just 2000 years."

    It doesn't cover the planet, and Mormonism has spread about as fast, without using torture and murder, and against a lot more competition.

    "(2) The Christian faith will probably die out if Christians stop proselytizing.

    ~~ How does Loftus know this? What evidence does he have for this? "


    How many followers of Zeus do you know? Of Ra?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Christianity's growth is unprecedented and unmatched when you look at how it began with just 120 people - around a crucified prophet - and covers the planet in just 2000 years."

    Ergo, Islam is true.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ryan, the post has nothing to do with using that argument in trying to show that Christianity is true. As a matter of fact I only stated that it is evidence that should be considered - not a smackdown argument. The fact that you missed that shows just how poor your reading comprehension is. Good job.

    And as for the anonymous comment, the point is that Christianity would continue the same way it got started - an act of God. Can you name a single continent on earth where there are no Christians living and prove it? There are way more Christians around than Mormons and comparing the growth in the past 300 yrs of Mormonism with the rise of Christians during the first 4 centuries AD is really flawed and shows that you don't understand the culture in which Christianity got started. And the fact that no one seems to be worshiping Zeus or Ra now cannot tell you what will happen if all Christians became apostates. But if you wanna know what would happen, I'm sure you'll know after the rapture what happens to an earth without Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There are way more Christians around than Mormons and comparing the growth in the past 300 yrs of Mormonism with the rise of Christians during the first 4 centuries AD is really flawed and shows that you don't understand the culture in which Christianity got started.

    Right, good point, Mormonism hasn't had an Emperor make it the state religion.

    Can you name a single continent on earth where there are no Christians living and prove it?

    Ergo, Islam is true...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Right, good point, Mormonism hasn't had an Emperor make it the state religion.

    Way to make a poinless obervation, Ryan. Good show!

    Ergo, Islam is true...

    No, ergo you again make another conclusion that does not follow from anything I said. It doesn't even follow that Christianity is true based on what I said. Please do try to keep up. The point being made is that Christianity is a World-wide religion and the commenter had said that it wasn't. Can't you just agree with me without adding something that does not follow from what has been said? It's ok to agree when I make a valid point for the sake of the valid point.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The point being made is that Christianity is a World-wide religion and the commenter had said that it wasn't.

    No, he didn't. He said it didn't cover the world.

    ReplyDelete
  7. No. We may disagree over what "cover" means. I would say Christianity does not "cover" Somalia or Yemen or Saudi Arabia or Germany, or France, or Greenland or Antarctica, etc...

    It's interesting to me that you'll claim "Christianity is a World-wide religion" except for when you want/need to exclude self-identifying Christians who are not "actually" Christians (for some reason you couldn't possible actually know).

    ReplyDelete
  8. No. We may disagree over what "cover" means. I would say Christianity does not "cover" Somalia or Yemen or Saudi Arabia or Germany, or France, or Greenland or Antarctica, etc...

    Is English your second language? Obviously the point I was making is that there are Christians everywhere. They are not the majority in Somalia or Yemen or Saudi Arabia but there are Christians living there. There are Christians in Germany (birthplace of the Reformation remember) and there is almost no one living in Antarctica but I'd wager at least one of those scientists who is studying there is a Christian.

    It's interesting to me that you'll claim "Christianity is a World-wide religion" except for when you want/need to exclude self-identifying Christians who are not "actually" Christians (for some reason you couldn't possible actually know).

    The Bible tells you who is a Christian and who is not. On top of that I'm not even discussing just those who self-identify but are not(like you did.) I'm talking about born-again Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Is English your second language?

    As a matter of fact, yes. I still type, and likely speak and read English better than you. How many languages do you speak?

    In any case, there are Bahia "everywhere", there are Muslims everywhere, there are atheists everywhere... And?

    The Bible tells you who is a Christian and who is not.

    You've admitted to having no method for determining if someone is a future apostate or not, so this statement of yours doesn't mean much.

    I'm talking about born-again Christians.

    Are you? You know that at least one of the scientists in Antarctica is "born-again"? How would you even know that?

    ReplyDelete
  10. As a matter of fact, yes.

    Good for you. God has blessed you!

    I still type, and likely speak and read English better than you. How many languages do you speak?

    I speak english and I don't think you have demonstrated any better skills in typing or English or reading comprehension that mine.

    In any case, there are Bahia "everywhere", there are Muslims everywhere, there are atheists everywhere... And?

    Case in point. My arguments is not that because there are Christians everywhere and that the faith has lasted 2000 years that Christianity is true. The point is the same as Gamaliel's: If the movement had died with Jesus and/or His apostles in the first century it would be absolute proof that Christianity is a lie. But I am not saying that you can argue the opposite way. The fact that you did and can't seem to understand that this is not my argument shows that maybe its not your reading comprehension at fault - just your critical thinking.

    You've admitted to having no method for determining if someone is a future apostate or not, so this statement of yours doesn't mean much.

    Why should I be able to tell if someone is a future apostate or not? How does that help me or anyone else. It's not my mission. It's not a commandment. I can't, nor am I supposed to be able to, read anyone else's heart. And no one fully comprehends their own heart. The Bible tells you if you are living according to God's will or not. If you are not submitting to God you are going to hell. It's simple as that. If you change your mind in doing so, it means you were never born-again. So it really is your statement that makes no sense. No surprise since you don't understand what being a Christian is or what the Bible says.

    Are you?

    Yes.

    You know that at least one of the scientists in Antarctica is "born-again"? How would you even know that?

    How do you know there isn't?

    ReplyDelete
  11. God has blessed you!

    No, I actually spent time and energy and learned a new language myself. You should try it and not rely on a non-existent entity to "bless" you.

    If the movement had died with Jesus and/or His apostles in the first century it would be absolute proof that Christianity is a lie.

    I don't believe this is true.

    But...

    But I am not saying that you can argue the opposite way.

    so you are not saying that if the movement hadn't died with Jesus and/or his apostles in the first century it would be absolute proof that Christianity is a lie.

    Or are you saying that if the movement had died with Jesus and/or his apostles in the first century it would be not be absolute proof that Christianity is a lie.

    Or are you saying that if the movement had died with Jesus and/or his apostles in the first century it would be absolute proof that Christianity is not a lie.

    It's not clear what you mean by "opposite".

    Why should I be able to tell if someone is a future apostate or not?

    It means you cannot use the demographic argument for christianity.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Do you understand what "English as a second language" means right? Guess not given that I confused you. Smaller words this time with no inferences made. But I'll take responsibility for that and not take it as evidence of your inadequacies and re-state the point.

    If the Christian movement had died with Jesus and/or his Apostles in the first century it would be absolute proof that Christianity is a lie. However the fact that Christianity didn't die with Jesus and/or his Apostles can be conclusively used to prove that it is true. It is merely some evidence in it's favor but not a decisive argument.

    I hope that's clearer.

    It means you cannot use the demographic argument for christianity.

    You keep arguing against a position I don't hold. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Do you understand what "English as a second language" means right?

    Of course. why do you ask?

    You keep arguing against a position I don't hold.

    I keep arguing against an argument you've made a number of times and implicitly make here.

    However the fact that Christianity didn't die with Jesus and/or his Apostles can be conclusively used to prove that it is true.

    I think you missed an apostrophe and a t in there.

    It is merely some evidence in it's favor

    It's evidence all currently existing religions share, so it's not really evidence for anything.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Of course. why do you ask?

    Because you talked about teaching yourself another language when I asked you if English was your second language.

    I think you missed an apostrophe and a t in there.

    You are right. I did type too fast. But in case you still didn't understand my point, given no real comment by you:

    If the Christian movement had died with Jesus and/or his Apostles in the first century it would be absolute proof that Christianity is a lie. However the fact that Christianity didn't die with Jesus and/or his Apostles can't be conclusively used to prove that it is true. It is merely some evidence in it's favor but not a decisive argument.

    It's evidence all currently existing religions share, so it's not really evidence for anything.

    Who's arguing that all currently existing religions do not share the evidence of their existence? I'm not. Who's arguing that their existence for several generations conclusively or solely enough to prove that they are true? You are trying to say I am but I have never said that. I stated my position, but you don't seem to understand it. There is no reason that all religions can't share common evidence - it doesn't make them all true. If anything it undermine atheism which concludes that there is no god at all.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Because you talked about teaching yourself another language when I asked you if English was your second language.

    You really seem to be struggling with this. If English is my second language, which language do you think I taught my self?

    Who's arguing that all currently existing religions do not share the evidence of their existence?

    Whoa there Sparky... You are arguing that X is true and X being true is necessary, but not sufficient to conclude that Y is true. However, X is true of all extant religions so it being true does prove to be a necessary condition, but is a totally pointless statement (like the statement "For a religion to be true, it must be called a religion" True statement, but doesn't advance anything.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You really seem to be struggling with this. If English is my second language, which language do you think I taught my self?

    You didn't say what language you taught yourself. The confusion is yours because I asked you if English was your second language (as in "English as secondary language (ESL)) and you said "yes". LOL. Right over your head.

    Whoa there Sparky... You are arguing that X is true and X being true is necessary, but not sufficient to conclude that Y is true. However, X is true of all extant religions so it being true does prove to be a necessary condition, but is a totally pointless statement (like the statement "For a religion to be true, it must be called a religion" True statement, but doesn't advance anything.

    Again I'm not trying to argue that the premise that Christianity exists all over the world and has lasted 2000 years is sufficient to prove it true. I wouldn't dismiss the necessity. You don't think it advances the argument for Christianity being true, but I'm not trying to suggest that it does. Don't you ever get tired of trying to a make a contention on points that we actually agree on?

    ReplyDelete
  17. LOL

    Wow, you are really having a hard time understanding this.

    …but the fact that it survived the best efforts to destroy it […] does add evidence to its validity.

    You don’t think [surviving 2000 years] advances the argument for Christianty being true, not I’m not trying to suggest that it does.

    Ok…

    ReplyDelete