Sunday, October 09, 2011

Does Richard Dawkins exist?


Something is afoot in Oxford. The Christians are fighting back. To herald the 'Reasonable Faith Tour' with William Lane Craig, Oxford's buses are carrying the slogan: There's Probably No Dawkins. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Oct 25th at the Sheldonian Theatre.

The advertising campaign follows Richard Dawkins' refusal to debate the existence of God with philosopher William Lane Craig as he visits the UK this month. He has an open invitation to debate Professor Craig at Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre on 25th October. The Oxford bus campaign echoes the 2009 London atheist bus advertisements: 'There's Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life.'

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, California and is arguably the world's foremost defender of historic Christianity. Widely respected among academic philosophers, he has debated with many leading atheists across the world, including Peter Atkins, Daniel Dennett, Anthony Flew, AC Grayling, Christopher Hitchens, Lewis Wolpert and most recently, Sam Harris.

Harris has described Professor Craig as 'the one Christian apologist who has put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists'.

Dr Dawkins' refusal to debate Professor Craig led fellow Oxford academic Dr Daniel Came, who is an atheist himself, to write to Dr Dawkins stating that 'the absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part'.

Meanwhile, on his website, Dr Dawkins has branded Professor Craig a 'ponderous buffoon' who uses logic to 'bamboozle his faith-head audience', but has failed to respond to any of Professor Craig’s academic arguments criticising his book The God Delusion.


Even more surprising, the President of the British Humanist Association, Guardian columnist and prominent critic of religion, Polly Toynbee, pulled out of her agreement to debate Professor Craig at the Westminster Central Hall. She had keenly agreed to debate the existence of God and tickets had been sold for the event. She withdrew recently saying, "I hadn't realised the nature of Mr Lane Craig's debating style, and having now looked at his previous performances, this is not my kind of forum."

Meanwhile AC Grayling, who this year published a humanist 'Bible' entitled The Good Book also refused to debate Professor Craig about the basis of morality, stating that he would rather debate 'the existence of fairies and water-nymphs'.

Tour Director Dr Peter May said: “Richard Dawkins seems unprepared to defend the arguments in his bestselling book on the 5th anniversary of its publication. We’ve seen lots of ad hominem attacks by him on Professor Craig but nothing of any actual substance. Does he now think his arguments in The God Delusion are indefensible? Craig certainly does and we hope that the bus campaign might provoke him to attend the Sheldonian and defend his book. 'There’s probably no Dawkins' leaves a shred of hope that he may turn up. However, he seems more keen to promote his next book than to defend his most famous one.”

The Sheldonian evening will be chaired by an Oxford Professor of Philosophy, who is himself an atheist. The stage will be set for a debate or a lecture should Dawkins not show up. Professor Craig intends to tackle the central arguments in Dawkins book before a panel of academics who will respond to his lecture, before questions are invited from the audience.

In the (unlikely) event of Dr Dawkins making an appearance, it will be the 5th debate in 10 days for Professor Craig. Braver atheists will debate the existence of God with Craig in London, Cambridge, Birmingham and Manchester. They include Dr Arif Ahmed, Professor Peter Atkins and Professor Peter Millican. The Tour begins with a debate between Professor Craig and atheist philosophy lecturer Dr Stephen Law, who has agreed to stand in for Polly Toynbee. They will debate 'Does God Exist?' at Westminster Central Hall on Monday 17th October.



An open invitation has been sent to Dr Dawkins to change his mind and debate with Professor Craig in Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre on October 25th. If he does not turn up, an empty chair will be placed on the stage, and will remain there.

The void will be a reminder of Dr Dawkins' failing memory and hypocrisy. For he originally claimed not to know who Professor Craig was... despite simultaneously knowing that a debate with him would not 'look good' on his CV. He declared that he only debates people who are 'at least Bishops'... yet he has debated plenty of non-clergymen, including academics. He then claimed not to be familiar with Professor Craig's credentials... despite somehow knowing that Professor Craig was merely a 'professional debator' rather than an academic with two doctorates and reams of peer-reviewed, published material. Dr Dawkins also apparently knew enough (while 'not knowing') to dismiss Professor Craig as a 'creationist' despite the fact that Professor Craig endorses contemporary science and his arguments for theism are philosophical. Dr Dawkins has had no qualms in agreeing to debate young-earth creationists on TV (much bigger audience, you see). When the two unexpectedly met on a six-person panel debate in Mexico (in which their exchange was limited to approximately one minute) Dr Dawkins told Professor Craig: "I don't consider this a debate with you." Yet now he claims to have 'been there, done that'.

Dr Dawkins preaches the need to seek truth, question everything, and to not become duped by emotions or wishful thinking... yet he has used his website (the "clear-thinking oasis") to hurl ad hominem attacks at 'Dr' Craig (as he calls him, on the rare occasion that he acknowledges his title), complaining that his ideas are 'unpleasant'. This was the precise strategy he used against His Grace a few years ago, labelling His Grace 'nasty' (quoted in the 'honours and citations'). Academic responses and counter-arguments? Zero.

Dr Dawkins' hypocrisy is pure and undiluted. Some months ago, he said: "I have no intention of assisting Craig in his relentless drive for self-promotion." Yet Professor Craig is not personally seeking to debate Dr Dawkins. Rather, he has responded in the affirmative to independent organisations who have desired to stage such a debate. Further, while Dr Dawkins avoids criticism of his published work (by the 'self-promoting' Professor Craig), Dr Dawkins will be self-promoting more of his own published work - the new scientistic children's book The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True. This is presently hitting bookshelves across the country and Dr Dawkins is embarking on a tour of his own to make sure they sell. Coincidentally ('as if by magic'), Dr Dawkins is also presently appearing in all the national newspapers (eg here and here), frothing at the mouth against 'alien rubbish'. But there's no self-promotion there at all. Good grief, no.

While Dr Dawkins' tour coincides with Professor Craig's own visit to the UK, the evening of 25th October appears to be free (according to the schedule on the 'clear-thinking oasis' website). And finally, here is a photograph featuring prominent atheist Sam Harris with Dr Dawkins from April 2011, discussing Harris' book The Moral Landscape. It would appear that Dr Dawkins is perfectly happy to attend a debate at the Sheldonian... provided it's a congenial chat with a 'self-promoting' like-minded fellow atheist.

134 Comments:

Blogger Rebel Saint said...

What an excellent idea. Well done to the tour organisers ... proving that not only that they are capable of winning the intellectual debate but also the sense of humour debate too!

Of course, following Jesus isn't about winning debates ... but it sure is fun to see the self-righteous, pious oafs having their bubbles burst from time-to-time :)

9 October 2011 at 08:25  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

The picture you paint (or Mr Dawkins) is of a man who has some mental issues; quite disconcerting, really.

9 October 2011 at 09:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The bus campaign was itself a pushback for all the religious crap advertised on public transport by various religious groups so it's more like: Some Christians fighting back over the fightback.

9 October 2011 at 09:44  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace

May I be so bold as to nominate your communicant Mr G Tingey to debate Professor Craig in lieu of Professor Dawkins?

No doubt His Grace will be attending on the 25th October, and it seems only right to allow Mr Tingey to offer some balance to the proceedings.

9 October 2011 at 09:53  
Blogger Roy said...

DanJ0 said...
The bus campaign was itself a pushback for all the religious crap advertised on public transport by various religious groups so it's more like: Some Christians fighting back over the fightback.

Do you always ignore the issue in your comments on articles in this blog? In case you need a reminder the subject is Dawkins' unwillingness to take Craig on in a debate.

9 October 2011 at 10:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I see we have another self-appointed comments policeman. I commented on the very first paragraph on the article. If you don't like that then feel free to ignore it like you did to the one where I ripped your comment into shreds on the adoption thread. The subject of this article has already been discussed, His Grace is just updating it.

9 October 2011 at 10:32  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"The subject of this article has already been discussed, His Grace is just updating it."

His Grace sees we have a self-appointed expositor of His Grace's intentions and motives.

9 October 2011 at 10:39  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The intransigent belief of the faithful, that the Christian/Jewish or any other's 'God' exists, necessarily endorses the 'truth' that also underpins the existence of 'Allah' for Muslims. It's in the Koran so it must be true they say and therefore it is the only proof required.

This surely endorses the futility of the premise that the existence of anything supernatural can never be scientifically disproved therefore it must be true - so why would any amount of debate in any way be conclusively useful?

That Science trumps Superstition is a no-brainer as far as I am concerned.

9 October 2011 at 10:46  
Blogger graham wood said...

First Mr Dawkins, followd by AC Grayling, and then Polly Toynbee, all finding it highly inconvenient to debate with Mr Craig.

How strange! Their atheistic convictions appear to be very weak, or if not, too fragile to be heard in public.

Not like the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18) who at least made every attempt to publicly and vociferously rouse their god, and then deafen him with their pleas to attend the contest with Elijah.

"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

9 October 2011 at 10:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

His Grace: "His Grace sees we have a self-appointed expositor of His Grace's intentions and motives."

I don't think that follows at all. We had a long discussion here about the Reasonable Faith Tour over a month ago if I recall correctly when you posted that video. How is this not just updating the topic now the Tour is about to arrive?

I'm happy to actually take a stab at your intentions and motives for posting the video and article too if invited. The fact that the religious write so much about Dawkins is quite indicative I think.

9 October 2011 at 11:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Their nicking the style of the advert from the atheist bus campaign may show some humour I suppose but it doesn't give the Tour much gravitas. I think it also quietly concedes that they're trying to fight back i.e. that they feel they're on the back foot.

9 October 2011 at 11:18  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Wow, I'd hate to get on the wrong side of Mr Cranmer! Talk about character assassination.

All well argued and reasoned, of course, and no evidence of personal abuse. There is plenty of evidence the man is a pure and undiluted hypocrite and has a failing memory. And there is no personal motive in the verbal assault. Afterall, using ridicule may prove effective in shaming Dr Dawkins into attending the event.

9 October 2011 at 11:32  
Blogger elainew said...

Will there be an empty chair for Jesus, Surely he should be invited as it is mostly about him.
Watch out religion we are on your back, you are being found out for the cheats you are.It seems to me you are afraid of Richard Dawkins . Priests stop abusing little children.Bet you wont have that discussion.

9 October 2011 at 11:56  
Blogger Birdieupon said...

Dan, I'm going to take a stab at predicting something about you: that if the religious were not writing about Dawkins, you'd be jeering that it's because they have no good arguments and no backbone.

9 October 2011 at 12:07  
Blogger Papal Bill said...

"debate Professor Craig"
I guess when Dr Dawkins and others you mention "debate Professor Craig" they do so with some other party not mentioned here.
Will Dr Dawkins take up the invitation to debate with Professor Craig?
With or not with? Your Grace should decide.

9 October 2011 at 12:09  
Blogger PJ said...

Dreadnaught it seems you are committing the fallacy of Scientism. Science isn't the only gateway to truth.

9 October 2011 at 12:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This isn't so much fear as dismissal. When your opponent has limited public credibility to begin with, you don't offer him public credibility by giving him a stage. In a society that is overwhelmingly secular, Dawkins doesn't need to debate theists to defend his position. He only needs to ridicule them as unworthy of consideration. That's what this is. In essence he has made the defense of theism into the equivalent of Holocaust Denial.

If Dawkins felt pressure from the culture to debate, he would. He doesn't feel that pressure because the culture largely supports him in his presuppositions. As I have said before, this attitude will last until the money runs out. Then people will feel the emptiness and meaninglessness of life without the narcotic of prosperity to dull the pain. Then they will look for something to fill the void, and that something will be malignant and ugly. At which point, people won't be paying much attention to Dawkins and his heirs anymore.

carl

9 October 2011 at 12:27  
Blogger greg_s_s said...

"Widely respected among academic philosophers"

HA. WIlliam Lane Craig is a joke, his ideas are mostly laughable (hilariously still uses first cause of the big bang as a reason for god not thinking one step and wondering about the first cause of any creator), he debates using a technique that simply obfuscates what he says making it harder to respond specifically to what he is saying because it is nonsense. His arguments fundamentally relies on human logic and gut feeling; however that feeling has proved time and time again to be wrong when faced with empirical evidence. He fails to bring that up.

It makes the people who like him happy but doesnt actually answer anything and uses a bunch of logical fallacies so big it beggars belief even though his argument basically comes down to - fucking hell i that's a bit complex and I dont understand it so it was god. Oh and the history of jesus as portrayed in the bible is true because I dunno why not?

I'd debate him and I like to think I'd beat him. It is a shame Dawkins wont now, eventually he will i think though.

Remember linguistic tricks are not actual arguments, they are there to stop people from responding to him properly in a debate.

9 October 2011 at 12:31  
Blogger Berserker said...

Might I remind the Atheists and Christians in their everlasting spats that Simone Weil said:

The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made in
to an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.

Does anymore need to be said?

9 October 2011 at 12:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

birdieupon: "Dan, I'm going to take a stab at predicting something about you [...]"

Quite possibly you're right but I tend to work around Dawkins. He's the equivalent of Peter Tatchell for gay people in some ways.

Presumably the Reasonable Faith Tour is trying to promote the idea that buying into the Catholic view of the nature of reality can have a basis in reason. In principle, that's quite true though just how many religious people could actually work through the reasoning, even on paper rather than in a live debate, is a very different matter.

In promoting the Tour using Dawkins' name and the atheist bus campaign's style of advert, it is quite telling I think. Who would go to lectures presenting (say) the Kalam Cosmological Argument and discussing objections to it? Not many, I daresay. Who will go to Lane Craig's live debates? Some more, no doubt. But this is surely a (specialist) media thing so that various people can metaphorically 'dine out' on the refusal of Dawkins et al to attend. It'll work too.

Dawkins et al are in a tricky place. They pejoratively cast religion as superstition, and for lots of religious people it probably is, to change the social debate and undermine the quiet power of religion even it modern society. I doubt it's just to sell books or boost their egos. They must surely know that there are detailed philosophical arguments for it. The Catholic Church has had many 100s of years refining these things.

Lane Craig knows the arguments inside out, he's an accomplished performer, and most crucially he can think on his feet. I daresay they have no hope in a live debate with him. So they no doubt decided to cut their losses and take the localised flak. And flak there will be, though it won't affect the book sales one jot I expect. But the actual arguments are there, for and against, with proper objections. These debates are not about getting to the truth about something. Of course, this has already been said a month ago[, Roy].

9 October 2011 at 12:44  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace

As Stephen Hawking, the god of physicists has proclaimed "One can't prove that God doesn't exist, but science makes God unnecessary."

neccessary or unneccessary is in the eyes of the aadherents it seems to Ernst.

This should be interesting!

As Ernst has stated Hawkings previously,"One can't prove that God doesn't exist," but what does that old scientific fool know away, you atheists, eh.

Ernst 'just stating the bleedin obvious' Blofeld

9 October 2011 at 12:47  
Blogger Bigland said...

greg_s_s: "HA. WIlliam Lane Craig is a joke, his ideas are mostly laughable (hilariously still uses first cause of the big bang as a reason for god not thinking one step and wondering about the first cause of any creator)"
Did you watch the video? Go to about 30s in to see what he actually said. More interestingly, for philosophers like Aquinas, "first cause" doesn't refer to the beginning of the universe, but about causation in general.

9 October 2011 at 13:44  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

Classic Toynbee - "Yes, I'll debate - but only on my terms".

9 October 2011 at 13:53  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2011 at 13:58  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

PJ said

... Science isn't the only gateway to truth.

In the materialistic sense it most certainly is - until it is scientifically proved to be false.

A God does not create earthquakes, send great floods or send plagues and suffering upon the non believers - if this is not a fallacy, I don't know what is.

Truth in itself is a meaningless word unless it is applied to an objective.

9 October 2011 at 13:58  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"Dr Dawkins also apparently knew enough (while 'not knowing') to dismiss Professor Craig as a 'creationist' despite the fact that Professor Craig endorses contemporary science and his arguments for theism are philosophical"

Yet strangely enough Professor Craig is happy to argue for the viability of intelligent design

http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2009/11/william-lane-craig-vs-francisco-j-ayala.html

I appreciate this isn't necessarily the same as agreeing that there is intelligent design - he just says that he hasn't seen good evidence that ID isn't viable. Perhaps Dawkins just expects his debating opponents to have looked through what he views as being valid scientific evidence in the first place.

9 October 2011 at 14:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

As it’s apparent Dawkins is unwilling to debate face to face, how about a trial by blog site. By just allowing the chosen protagonists to post, each with super fit typists at their disposal...

9 October 2011 at 14:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I've been spurred on by this to order Dawkins' new book from Amazon. £10 in hardback format. It'll be in Tescos soon like the last one was, I expect. :)

9 October 2011 at 14:49  
Blogger Oswin said...

That's the way to do it! The bus advertising campaign, that is. It beats any amount of poe-faced worthiness. A little gentle ridicule/joshing, is both healthy and typically British. All we need now are a few saucy picture-post cards, and we're laughing!

I tend to agree with DanJo's perceptive observation of Dawkins, as something of a 'Peter Tatchell' equivalent. Further, DanJo is right again, when he suggests that Christians are too hung up on Dawkins. Yes, it is indicative of a seeming weakness; and quite unnecessarily so, in my opinion.

9 October 2011 at 16:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

As this is a fundamentally unwinnable debate, in the sense that while one party may win or lose in the rhetorical games, but not in providing anything resembling a positive proof by everyone's standards, I'm puzzled why the atheist side has recently been so hysteria-prone, jejune with its insults and in this instance quite cowardly. Mind you, as a former "devout" atheist, I'd be jumpy as a Mexican bean right now too if I were to be represented by such mysteriously overrated lightweights like Dawkins and Polly Toynbee.

9 October 2011 at 16:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "Mind you, as a former "devout" atheist, I'd be jumpy as a Mexican bean right now too if I were to be represented by such mysteriously overrated lightweights like Dawkins and Polly Toynbee."

They don't represent us, and especially not Toynbee, any more than Tatchell represents me as a gay man. For all his other foibles, Dawkins writes very well when he writes with his science-for-the-masses hat on.

As for this ramping up of rhetoric, it seems to me that Dawkins and his fellows did so when Creationists tried to slip Intelligent Design into the classroom ... but I could be wrong.

9 October 2011 at 16:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

An easily excitable lad declared

"I've been spurred on by this to order Dawkins' new book from Amazon. £10 in hardback format (Gads, that cheap, is that buy one get two free?). It'll be in Tescos soon like the last one was, I expect. :)"

Blast! Oh well, at least one less stocking filler to purchase this Christmas, wonder if Tingey has ordered his also?

Bah and Humbug!

"While there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.

A Quote from Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol, to keep DanJo happy!

Ernst 'The tealeaf' Blofeld? *giggles*

9 October 2011 at 17:03  
Blogger David B said...

Further to greg_s_s's critique of Craig, another of his tools is the use of the quote mine, taking statements out of context from scientists, who, when questioned about it, deny that what Craig says can be or should be imputed from his work.

There are a number of refutations of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and, pictures speaking louder than words, there is a good one on You-Tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baZUCc5m8sE

More briefly, that eminent philosopher, the barmaid in the Jesus and Mo cartoons, has her own take on the KCA.

http://www.jesusandmo.net/2011/10/05/must/

I sign with my usual internet handle

David B

9 October 2011 at 17:49  
Blogger Oswin said...

DanJo @ 16:51:

''As for the ramping up of rhetoric, it seems to me that Dawkins and his fellows did so when Creationists tried to slip Intelligent Design into the classroom ... but I could be wrong''.

I think you may well be right; especially so, at a time when Christians began to perceive the threat posed by Islam. The two then banged heads together, rather like a school-yard fracas, caused by 'third persons' who then walk away from the melee, unscathed.

9 October 2011 at 17:59  
Blogger Anglican said...

It is very curious that so many people today think that science is the only way to truth. It is indeed the way to investigate, describe and understand the physical universe. Thus there is scientific truth. But to believe there is nothing beyond the physical is to have a totally reductionist view of reality and of science itself. If everything else is excluded we cannot even understand the human person, or how indeed we can do science at all. We use mathematics to investigate the physical world. But mathematics itself is a product of the human mind.

As for Richard Dawkins, I first heard him talking, on TV, about science and Christianity about 25 years ago. Within a few minutes I realised he knew virtually nothing about religion or Christianity. Everything he has said or written since confirms this view. If I tried to address the Royal Society about quantum mechanics (about which I know virtually nothing) I would rightly be ridiculed. There are atheists who have a good understanding of religion, and with whom a debate would be useful. Richard Dawkins is not one of them.

9 October 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oswin, stop agreeing with me or you'll scare the horses! :O

David B: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2011/10/05/must/ :)

9 October 2011 at 18:51  
Blogger David B said...

Anglican said

"It is very curious that so many people today think that science is the only way to truth. It is indeed the way to investigate, describe and understand the physical universe. Thus there is scientific truth."

Well, OK

"But to believe there is nothing beyond the physical is to have a totally reductionist view of reality and of science itself."

Nonsense! Scientists have levels of abstraction. No-one studying biology or Psychology et al would attempt to do so from the POV of Quantum Mechanics. Try reading Steven Weinberg's essay 'Two Cheers for Reductionism', or Dennett on what he terms greedy reductionism.

"If everything else is excluded we cannot even understand the human person, or how indeed we can do science at all"

Higher levels of abstraction from the working hypothesis that these higher levels of abstraction allow scientists to gain a growing understanding of all sorts of things. Including psychology, physiology and other aspects of the human condition.

"As for Richard Dawkins, I first heard him talking, on TV, about science and Christianity about 25 years ago. Within a few minutes I realised he knew virtually nothing about religion or Christianity."

On the contrary, he knows enough about religion to understand that myths arise within cultures. What more is needed? His knowledge of religion is certainly greater than Anglican's understanding of science.

His criticism of Dawkins has been commented on with some pith by Prof P Z Myers.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/12/the_courtiers_reply.php

I commend it to you

David B

9 October 2011 at 19:23  
Blogger David B said...

Perhaps I should make clear, in case there is someone who can't pick it up from context, that it generic criticisms of Dawkins on the lines of Anglican's post that were addressed - more than adequately - by P Z Pyers, not Anglican's in particular.

That would have involved time travel:)

David B

9 October 2011 at 19:47  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Anglican

You talk as though the world's of religion and science never cross and those in religous circles never try and comment on scientific matters. Could I suggest that you go and look at the reaction of various churches to Galileo and Darwin.

It is also quite possible for non theists to believe that humanity is able to develop ideas about such matter as truth and soul that exist beyind the realm of scientific truth - so that religions do not have any devine right to be the arbiters on such matters. In fact it may be the case that since the non theists have access to the whole canon of music, art, literature, political thinking and philosophy to inform their views on such matters, rather than relying on a rather narrow range of out of date publications from several hundred years ago, that they are in a better to inform the debate.

9 October 2011 at 19:59  
Blogger Bigland said...

David B: "On the contrary, [Dawkins] knows enough about religion to understand that myths arise within cultures. What more is needed?"

It depends on how seriously he wishes to be taken.

I knew I'd heard of P Z Pyers somewhere before; from Edward Feser:

http://www.american.com/archive/2010/march/the-new-philistinism

9 October 2011 at 20:21  
Blogger Old Blue Eyes said...

What Polly really meant was "Having now seen his previous performances he'll probabley wipe the floor with me". What a joke she is.

9 October 2011 at 20:33  
Blogger David B said...

@ Bigland

Sorry about the typo - it is of course Myers, as I said in an earlier post.

I've come across Feser before, myself - someone who gives a lot of credence to Hitchen's claim that religion poisons everything.

You might look at this.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/atheists-proof-that-christians-are-deluded

Feser seems to me to be morally challanged, in part I suspect because of his religious views.

I quote from Feser's blog.

"The recent murder of another notorious serial killer – the late-term abortionist George Tiller – is in most morally relevant respects parallel to the Dahmer case. It is true that Tiller, unlike Dahmer, was not punished by our legal system for his crimes; indeed, most of those crimes, though clearly against the natural moral law, are not against the positive law of either the state or the country in which Tiller resided. That is testimony only to the extreme depravity of contemporary American society, and does not excuse Tiller one iota. Still, as in the Dahmer case, no private citizen has the right to take justice into his own hands, and Tiller’s murderer ought to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

As in the Dahmer case, though, the victim of this crime was himself an evil man and does not deserve our tears.

Do I seriously mean to suggest that Tiller was as bad as Dahmer? No, because Tiller was almost certainly a more evil man than Dahmer was. There are at least five considerations that favor this judgment.

First, Tiller’s victims were more numerous than Dahmer’s.

Second, Dahmer expressed remorse for his crimes. Tiller never did.

Third, and relatedly, Dahmer was apparently fully aware that what he did was evil, while Tiller pretended, to himself and others, that what he did was not evil. Some might think that such self-deception lessens Tiller's moral corruption, but in fact it exacerbates it. A man who knows that what he does is evil but does it anyway is corrupt; a man who has become so desensitized to the evil he does that he can no longer even perceive it as evil is even more corrupt. The sins of the former are likely to be sins of weakness; the sins of the latter, to be willful sins of malice. (Older moralists understood this. The modern cult of “authenticity” and “sincerity” has blinded us to it – and is itself a mark of our own grave moral corruption.)"

Tiller was a physician who, to quote wiki - 'In accordance with Kansas state law Tiller performed late-term abortions, which helped to make him a focal point for anti-abortion protest and violence. Tiller treated patients who discovered late in pregnancy that their fetuses had severe or fatal birth defects. He also aborted healthy late-term fetuses, in cases where two doctors certified that carrying the fetus to term would cause the woman "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function'

I don't see Feser as someone whose views should be taken seriously, and if you do, then you enjoy strange bedfellows, so to speak.

David B

9 October 2011 at 20:38  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2011 at 21:17  
Blogger NS40 said...

So RD has to enter into a 'debate' with every single religionist that offers a challenge or face being accused of cowardice?

There are only so many debates you can have with those who believe they have an assortment of 'imaginary super-friends' before it starts getting really, really tedious.

It's not as if your argument is likely to progress very much when your entire case is based on iron age esoteric scribblings, is it?

It doesn't matter how many times debaters such as Dawkins, Harris, Grayling or Hitchens drop 'logic bombs' on those who subscribe to supernatural fallacies, the religionists still walk away claiming 'victory by faith', by claiming that the 'warm fuzzy feeling' they get in their tummy when they think of Jesus is all they need to know or by suggesting that 'eyeballs and bananas' are irrefutable signs of God.

So, have a good debate - I'm sure there will be nothing new, progressive or original comes out of it - after all, that's not how religious belief works is it?

9 October 2011 at 21:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

NS40 the 'warm fuzzy feeling' they get in their tummy when they think of Jesus is all they need to know or by suggesting that 'eyeballs and bananas' are irrefutable signs of God.

Rather lots more to it than that. Do visit this site more often for something to think about...

9 October 2011 at 22:12  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thank you for that link, Bigland @20:21.

Well, Your Grace, this one's certainly brought them all out. I've never seen so many faithful atheists all believing that everything is material-- except for, when it suits them, "evil," "morality," "logic," "emotion," "contempt," "law," etc.

Never mind, of course, that this mechanically generated computer-age "thought" wafts through the 'aether' in 'the blink of an eye,' or that it will disappear long before 3-5,000 years elapse.

I reckon the Word-free ones are secretly supporting the global warmists. If they generate much more hot air, the polar icecaps will melt and....well, there they'll all be, contending for dominance: "upon the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2).

9 October 2011 at 22:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

That Feser thing is really interesting. I can sort of see Feser's point of view given his beliefs but it's his certainty and vehemence that's rather scary. I suppose it's just as well he condemns vigilante action but what if he were put on the spot at the crucial time and left with a gun? Surely he'd have to fire?

9 October 2011 at 22:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

non mouse, sound words indeed. (The Inspector apologies for getting somewhat hot about you the other week...)

9 October 2011 at 22:26  
Blogger David B said...

@ non mouse

Let us not forget concepts like emergent phenomena, extended phenotypes, and, indeed, concepts themselves.

It is a fact that atheists can accept that such things exist in a non supernatural world.

Apart from demonstrating sheer snark, what does your post have to say about anything?

David B

9 October 2011 at 22:31  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@greg_s_s - Umm, I think you misunderstand the premise of "first cause". To the atheist "first cause" is vital for proof of no God as it shows the lack of need for God. However, since the theistic understanding of God (in particular the Christian one, which I am most familiar with) defines God as eternal and as creator not just of space but also time the argument of "first cause" is false. After all, how can you have a cause for something or someone that has always been?
Granted, it is beyond the human mind to truly understand that possibility existing, but up until a few weeks ago it was beyond the human mind to believe in something going faster than the speed of light.

I should also point out that you are completely ignoring the views of many highly respected atheists who have commented on the content of Dr William Lane Craig's debates and have been positive. Indeed, do not forget the fact that one of them (although I forget which one) said that Dr Craig "spanked" Christopher Hitchens in their debate. So whilst you may "do a Dawkins" and attempt to ridicule rather than actually deal with the argument I would like to point out that if you did come up against Dr Craig I fear you would be a quivering, blubbering wreck within the opening minutes of the debate. So enough of the inanity and try to actually formulate an argument against what Dr Craig has said.

***

For myself, I am going to the London debate on the 17th and am very much looking forward to hearing both arguments being put forward. Whilst to do not believe that I will be persuaded against my belief in God I am more than willing to let the atheist argument be heard with open ears.

9 October 2011 at 23:39  
Blogger Bigland said...

David B: "Feser seems to me to be morally challanged, in part I suspect because of his religious views."

A bigger part is probably that you disagree with him. Still, being "morally challanged" doesn't mean Feser can't make logical, valid observations, but slinging a bit of mud his way might make those that prefer to attack the man rather than the argument feel better about skipping what he has to say. Good tactic.

Whether I agree with Feser about Tiller vs Dahmer is neither here nor there, but he makes interesting arguments, so he's a bedfellow I find worth reading. Unlike your link to John W. Loftus, who appears to confuse ranting with rationality in that particular piece. I think the first commenter got the measure of his comments on Feser. But perhaps this isn't typical of the man. Then again, isn't this the same John W. Loftus exposed here?

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?97534-Doubting-John-He-Still-Lies-Today!

Strange bedfellows indeed.

9 October 2011 at 23:40  
Blogger NS40 said...

@ Office of Inspector General

I've thought about it an awful lot in fact. I spent many years as a believer and actually experienced the warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy when I thought about Jesus.

Then I did what most religious people don't actually do...read the bible!

Then the warm fuzzy feeling was replaced by nothing short of horror and disgust at the sort of utterly nonsensical, misogynistic, genocidal, hateful and judgemental stories it contains.

The God portrayed in the bible is spiteful, vengeful, narcissistic and prone to acts of such petulance and destructive cruelty that I decided that no supposedly omnipotent being could possibly be so vile.

There is no proof of God outwith the bible. The bible itself has been edited and re-written so often as to bear little or no relation to the original scripts. Man (not God) has decided what texts would be kept and what would be dismissed as heretical.

There have been many texts that claim to have been 'imspired by God' and the 'source of his word' - what (apart from the warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy) convinces you that your collection of texts are the right ones?

9 October 2011 at 23:56  
Blogger David B said...

@Bigland

re 'http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?97534-Doubting-John-He-Still-Lies-Today!'

I looked at this briefly, and couldn't see exactly what you were on about, though I did recognise the names of a couple of posters.

Could you please copy paste what you want to draw my attention to?

'A bigger part is probably that you disagree with him. Still, being "morally challanged" doesn't mean Feser can't make logical, valid observations, but slinging a bit of mud his way might make those that prefer to attack the man rather than the argument feel better about skipping what he has to say. Good tactic.'

I do disagree with him, and you are right that being morally challenged does not imply that he can't make some logical, valid observations, though I don't think that he does so in the piece I was referred to.

I do, I must confess, have some sort of bias against the morally challenged (IMV) though. Luther in his anti semitisn, Aquinas in his justification for killing heretics....and Feser.

You are right, though, taking a shot - however righteously - at his morals does not necessarily imply that he is wrong about everything.

I think he is, though, in essentials.

It's late at night now - but if you have anything to point me to to where you think he is right then I will look at it tomorrow.

Either here, or perhaps at where I hang out, which you can find on my profile.

David B

10 October 2011 at 00:19  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Grin!

10 October 2011 at 01:23  
Blogger Amacdonald56 said...

It's certainly interesting, and possibly telling, that Dawkins refuses to debate. But the Christian community has to be REALLY careful here that we don't become aggressive, venomous and even egotistical. It isn't our own intelligence or victory, it's God's, and we should be humble, not goading and accusing.

10 October 2011 at 03:12  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I just spent most of the afternoon building our sukkah in the backyard. Bumpted my head twice, pulled a muscle trying to dislodge a root, couldn't find some of my tools and then, my wife somehow managed to come out only on those very rare and far between moments when I sat down to catch my breath with a few drops of cooling lager to say to me, "Is that all you've done all afternoon?" So, after all that, I'm not very receptive to the atheist hypothesis, as under its logic I could have instead caught up on some much-needed Sunday afternoon sleep.

Oh, a sukkah is a booth, of sorts, a specific structure we are commanded to...never mind, just google it. Anyway, as odd as it may seem, this annual building a sukkah and the act of using it is, for those of us who honour this commandment, an act of holiness and a form of prayer. Together with the social bit, it brings gladness and joy. Religion is not just a belief, or a way of postulating with scant evidence, it's a way of life. All you religious folks out there probably know what I mean. If not, perhaps it's time to examine your traditions and bring back at least some of the hundreds of customs and holy days which once enriched the lives of your ancestors, but which were dropped as unnecessary, work-impeding superstitions during your Industrial Revolution. Just saying.

Anyway, DanJO, I sympathise with your predicament of being stuck with inferior pop-atheists; theists have their own duds as well. With regards to your Creationism and Intelligent Design conundrum you describe, it's no more unscientific than some of the steaming pile of stuff being shoved down your kids' throats in te "secular" school system. But I thought that unlike the US and Canada with their separation of Church and State, the C of E in the UK would teach religion and introduce either doctrines, at least as competing theories.

The other point that comes to mind is that the secular ethics taught in schools are, in essence, not much different from religious doctrine. Liberalism has its own paradigms, axioms, hallowed symbols, unquestionable beliefs, ceremonies, and even traditions. The notion, as some argue with a straight face, that all these are strictly "rational" or "scientific" acts and beliefs would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.

And lastly, even with all the problems religion can be accused of, it's rather curious that every atheist system has turned out to be a house of horrors within a single generation...e.g., fascism, national socialism and communism. Not one example of what we'd deem as even passable decency with those, whereas liberal democracies with sound systems of justice emerged from and continue to draw from "outdated" religious sources. As I asked you once before, DanJO, what do you think will happen after several generations under this presumably "scientific" atheist system? Will the society it shapes somehow manage to build an independent ethical system we would like to live under, or will it devolve into a crass self-deifying paganism and remorseless savagery? So far, we have only evidence for the latter scenario.

10 October 2011 at 03:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

NS40: "The bible itself has been edited and re-written so often as to bear little or no relation to the original scripts."

I doubt you'll get away with that.

10 October 2011 at 06:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "With regards to your Creationism and Intelligent Design conundrum you describe, it's no more unscientific than some of the steaming pile of stuff being shoved down your kids' throats in te "secular" school system."

If you're talking about the theory of evolution by natural selection then there's all sorts of evidence across many disciplines for it and it stays within the bounds of science. Intelligent Design goes beyond science as most people know it. Creationism is a belief system and naught to do with science.

"But I thought that unlike the US and Canada with their separation of Church and State, the C of E in the UK would teach religion and introduce either doctrines, at least as competing theories."

It's been quite a long time since I was at schoool but Creationism was touched on it Religious Education and the theory of evolution by natural selection was raised in Biology. I'm happy for both to be discussed in RE along side each other and the supporting worldviews identified. However, Creationism has no place at all in Biology.

"The other point that comes to mind is that the secular ethics taught in schools are, in essence, not much different from religious doctrine."

Well, indeed. I make that point quite often here.

"Liberalism has its own paradigms, axioms, hallowed symbols, unquestionable beliefs, ceremonies, and even traditions. The notion, as some argue with a straight face, that all these are strictly "rational" or "scientific" acts and beliefs would be funny if it weren't so dangerous."

Liberalism is a political theory. It looks to me like you're lumping stuff into a great pile, shovelling through them until they're all mixed up, and treating everything as one. As evidenced again below. That's not going to wash with me, I'm afraid.

"And lastly, even with all the problems religion can be accused of, it's rather curious that every atheist system has turned out to be a house of horrors within a single generation...e.g., fascism, national socialism and communism."

A secular State is not the same as an atheist system. I'm an atheist who wants a secular State but not necessarily an atheist society. As a liberal, people must be free to hold beliefs, including religious ones, independent of the State.

I'm not responsible for trying to defend the systems in the 20th century that were based on totalitarian political ideologies which needed competing religious belief to be suppressed in society. That are not mine nor do they necessarily follow from my atheism.

I am not advocating Fascism, Communism of various flavours, or National Socialism. I'm advocating a secular State along liberal democratic lines, which is something very, very different. You're pulling a fast one with all that.

10 October 2011 at 06:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Btw, I reserve the right to write "tl:dr" as a later response.

10 October 2011 at 06:56  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

I have little doubt that WLC will make Dawkins look like the lying elitist that he has long since been. Which is why there is very little chance Dawkins will show up.

The problem with WLC is that he over concentrates on the Christian, philosophical, or logical arguments instead of the scientific ones.

This is important for many reasons, not least because Dawkins claims to be a biologist specializing in evolution.

As Atheism is predicated upon Darwins Theory of Evolution, it would seem that blowing away this now completely discredited theory brings the whole atheist house of cards to the ground.

WLC is on reasonably solid ground until he seeks to defend the bible and in particular the role of Jesus Christ as fact, for at this point he is standing on the exact same FAITH based ground as Dawkins and all other evolutionists.

I am not saying that Jesus Christ was not all that he claimed to be, I am however saying that it would be better to first destroy the evil of ATHEISM before trying to replace it with some other kind of faith based religion like Christianity.

A Bridge Too Far, to say the least, and perhaps the wrong bridge to have tried to cross in the first place.

The problem with the pursuit of TRUTH, is that as soon as you think you may have found it, you become tempted to stop looking.

IMMHO, the correct, or godly use of ones own FREE will is the only path to salvation, either through Christ or not.

The vast majority, estimated to be around 90% of this planets population are united in THEISM of one kind or another.

Darkins and his dwindling amount of virtually brain dead followers are in a tiny minority, and are set to remain in one forever.

THE TRUTH is, we do NOT know where we ultimately come from, how we got here, why we came, or where we are supposed to end up, and neither does Dawkins.

Indeed mankind in spite of all of his new toys, is noted, not by how much he knows, but by quite how much he does not even have the slightest clue about.

This is why religions based on faith, such as Christianity, and Atheism have a tendency to hide far more then they ever intended to reveal.

Dawkins is not promoting a scientific viewpoint, he is simply promoting ANTI-RELIGION, using any nastily dishonest method available to him.

He has a mission, a mission that in some ways I share. He wishes to destroy established religion, for he believes that ultimately the world would be a better place without it.

The main difference between myself and Dawkins is that he uses LIES to achieve this end, while I use TRUTH.

I can assure you that Dawkins is not simply mistaken, HE IS LYING, as well as treating his readers/audience like utter fools.

Which is a fact that is becoming increasingly self-apparent every time he opens his ever more condescendingly rude elitist gob in public.

However I have a WARNING.

IMO the ONLY course worth pursuing is one designed to arrive at the TRUTH of the matter.

For as the bible tells us, ONLY the TRUTH can set you FREE.

Therefore there is no point replacing one faith based religion with another far larger faith, or indeed ILLUSION based religion. Indeed IMO to do so would be highly dangerous to say the least.

10 October 2011 at 07:00  
Blogger len said...

Dawkin`s has no desire to see his house built on sand blown away for all the World to see.
For Dawkin`s house is an illusion built on 'faith'in theories which have no substance.
Dawkin`s has also refused to debate at least two different people on 'Revelation TV.'

This self promoting Atheist hasn`t even the courage of his convictions, and the question I ask is "Should Dawkin`s novels be taken seriously?"

10 October 2011 at 08:01  
Blogger NS40 said...

@DanJ0

NS40: "The bible itself has been edited and re-written so often as to bear little or no relation to the original scripts."

DanJ0 "I doubt you'll get away with that."

I dare say if I touch too much of a raw nerve, I'll be deleted (or struck by lightening) at some point.

Believers tend to have little knowledge of the origins of the bible and don't have much of an answer when this is pointed out.

There is the old chestnut "Ah but all versions were guided by God, even the many revisions, the decision to drop the Apocrypha and the lovely Good News bible with all it's divinely inspired drawings"

Most Christians I have met have scant knowledge of the origins of their own faith, are content to be spoonfed, scared to ask too many questions and happy for those like Craig to do their arguing for them.

Mention the First Council of Nicaea to many Christians and they'll start complaining about their bins being collected fortnightly...

The truth shall indeed set you free - if you let it.

10 October 2011 at 08:26  
Blogger non mouse said...

Why thank you, Inspector @ 22:26; the slate is clean :)

I owe thanks also to Mr. Blofeld for kind words a couple of strands back. I'm glad you're still here, despite the onslaught! My best to the kitty.

10 October 2011 at 08:34  
Blogger non mouse said...

I do believe some of our atheist visitors should sharpen their "classification skills," though. At first I thought "snark" (@22:31) must be some obscure part of dawkinsian arsenal.

Then I realized that many atheists believe the one-eyed idol they designate "Science" sprang fully formed into the Age of Technology. Then I remembered the old mathematician who coined "snark."

The Bellman said:
"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!"
(They were all of them fond of quotations)
[. . .]

We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld until now!
[. . .]

Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks."

. . .

10 October 2011 at 08:39  
Blogger non mouse said...

cont'd
Let us take them in order.
The first is the taste,
Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
With a flavour of Will-o'-the-wisp.

Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
And dines on the following day.

The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
And it always looks grave at a pun.

The fourth is its fondness for [mincing]*-machines,
Which it constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes--
A sentiment open to doubt.

The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
And those that have whiskers, and scratch.**

For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.
(Carroll, Lewis. "The Hunting of the Snark.")

*Apologies to Rev. Dodgson, whose original term was "bathing machines."
**These are not to be confused with Mr. Blofeld's dear Kitty, or any of His Grace's Communicants: none of us is even of the genus Snark.

10 October 2011 at 08:43  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 October 2011 at 08:44  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Craig in a chicken constume is an interesting article on why Craig ducks yet another debate with somebody who has studied his writings.

Meanwhile, William Lane Craig claims children should be killed if they interfere with his God’s plans. (I think he was watching a Scooby Doo cartoon when he wrote that)

I quote Craig ‘God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.

Craig’s solution is for his alleged god to have all the children killed.

Then they wouldn’t be able to wreck his plans.’

Suprisingly, Dawkins refuses to give a platform to people who defend genocide.

10 October 2011 at 08:46  
Blogger Bigland said...

"I looked at this briefly, and couldn't see exactly what you were on about..."

I guess you need to look for longer.

"[I]f you have anything to point me to to where you think he is right then I will look at it tomorrow."

I did that already; rather than pick apart what Feser wrote you quoted a completely different article of his, and then dismissed him as morally challenged and not someone to be taken seriously.

The original issue here is the suggestion that Dawkins doesn't need to familiarise himself with theology, because he already "knows" it's bogus. In Myers's own words (in the comments on his Courtier's Reply article), "Why the hell should anyone have to take the frilly excuses of theology seriously?" And further down in the comments on Myers's article, someone berates another commenter for not fully understanding Dawkins: "All I can say here is damn, have you even read the book? I mean your comments make you, at least to me, seem uninformed about what he actually says." Myers himself goes on to say, "This is a bad thing: criticizing books at length that you've never read...what is it with people who think it's OK to tear into Dawkins on 2nd or 3rd hand echoes of what he actually wrote? It's intellectually dishonest." But as the logic of the "Courtier's Reply" makes clear, you don't need to read (let alone understand) Dawkins's book, if you already know he's wrong.

If people feel airborne with bootstrap-pulling of that degree, more power to them.

10 October 2011 at 09:01  
Blogger David B said...

I'm at a loss to understand how Atlas shrugged can consider the ToE discredited, unless he has been taken in by websites like Answers in Genesis.

There is simply too much consilient evidence in its favour. I'll just make one, of many, points for illustration.

It was possible, from multidisciplinary sources like evolution and geology to predict the sort of rock and the age of it where fish might first have exhibited the sort of fin structure that could later evolve into legs.

Palaeontologists sought out such rock, looked for such fossils, and found the appropriate fossil. Look up Tiktaalik.

Some of the communist regimes did indeed try to have a sort of state atheism - not a good idea. The fascist states tended to be more Catholic - and supported by the Catholic Church, and the anti-semitism of Nazi Germany has Christian roots. Look at Luther! Look at the history of anti-semitism in the Catholic church!

Is it a coincidence that the states which are most civilised, most liberal, and most caring of the weak and the old tend to be the least religious? The Netherlands and Sweden being examples.

I think not.

David B

10 October 2011 at 09:50  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

non mouse said 10 October 2011 08:34

"I owe thanks also to Mr. Blofeld for kind words a couple of strands back. (It is always most heartfelt as Ernst only says what he means) I'm glad you're still here, despite the onslaught (Dear mouse, Ernst makes a statement in simple, plain, obvious english and leaves it there, he is misinterpreted or words put into his mouth or his words put against a subject he has not inferred, hence the tally ho charge, with all guns blazing!,. They never learn, do they)! My best to the kitty." Tiddles says 'Hi'

Ernsty

10 October 2011 at 10:52  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Clearly we must all bow to NS40 who, at the ripe old age of near 2000 must be the wisest man in existence. And also much the scholar as someone who can read Aramaic, Ancient Greek and Latin (to name but a few). Clearly, someone who was present with Paul when he wrote his letters, with the 4 who wrote the gospels and all other letter-writers and then with each and every person who ever looked after them. In fact, now that I think of it, surely NS40 MUST be God as to be able to do that would also suggest omnipresence and would also explain how he knows that the God of the Old Testament is "is spiteful, vengeful, narcissistic and prone to acts of such petulance and destructive cruelty". So I clearly take my hat off to NS40 (aka God) for clearly putting us in our place.

Oh, wait, NS40 says he doesn't believe in God, so he can't be God. I guess he can't have met God during the Old Testament either and so clearly has no idea of God's character. He also can't be that literate as he clearly has only read small parts of the OT and, as a reasonable human being, would never wilfully ignore the rest that puts all his misunderstandings into perspective. And surely, as a follow-on thought, if he is lacking in literary capabilities for plain English then I would guess he really can't be expected to understand Aramaic, Ancient Greek and Latin either. Which removes the need for him to be nearing his 2000th year.
Phew! That's a relief! I thought that the Guinness Book of Records had missed a sitter for a moment!

Ok, snide hat off now. The above will hopefully point that your [NS40] views on the Bible are unsubstantiated and therefore laughable at best. Credentials for your ability to "know" these things would be highly sought after before anyone should take your comments seriously!

10 October 2011 at 11:20  
Blogger NS40 said...

@ Youthpasta

You do realise you've just proved my point even more eloquently than I ever could have...?

Although I suspect you really don't.

Erm, if you're on God's sales team, you really need to increase your 'product knowledge'.

10 October 2011 at 13:01  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

For all of those saying that the alternative to religion is Stalinism/Naziism/Maoism/other totalitarianism could they please note that there are rather a lot of sucessful states in the world which have a secular constitution which separates state and religion, while at the same time guarantteing the freedom of religion and other thought - this still includes the US despite the best efforts of the "immoral minority".

Some might also note that there is somthing of an overlap between the absolutist beliefs of some supporters of religions and the totalitarians, who in some cases (and no I'm not saying all or a majority of cases!) have managed to reach some degree of accommodation with each other.

Avi - do you really think that the Israeli religious parties and the imans amomg the Palestinians are really contributing to a peaceful solution in Israel/Palestine? Perhaps a little secular thinking would not go amiss in that part of the world as well?

10 October 2011 at 13:02  
Blogger Oswin said...

DanJo @ 18:51 :

My apologies if I am inadvertently ruining your 'cred' - it's your own fault, for saying things that I might agree with! :o)

It's a case of : cred(it) where it is due; as should always be the case, or else everything becomes pointless and partisan.


NS40 @ various :

I agree with much of what you say, but I suspect we conclude differently. I am a 'believer' but, like you, believe that the 'true' story is rather different from the more accepted version.

However, I believe that the essential 'kernel' remains largely unaltered, and the 'true' story may be even more remarkable still.

10 October 2011 at 15:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

DanJO,

I appreciate your thorough response, but goodness, man, did you have to base it solely on straw man arguments? To wit, here are some of my objections.

My comment didn’t challenge the theory of evolution. That is, as long as it taught as a science, not as an introduction to select philosophical or social doctrines, which is often the case in practice. My comment challenged the secular myth that schools can and do only teach factual information.

You say that “creationism has no place at all in Biology.” Did I say it does? For a genuinely secular system of education, one which accommodates people from many backgrounds, I agree fully. But in this case there should also be no place in our universal education system for belief and value-based topics which crop up under the umbrellas of sex education, civics, political and social studies, history, environmentalism, or the myriads of pedagogical theories of the day or the hour. As things are, specific values and beliefs, none of them strictly scientific, are all currently taught and promoted in proscriptive ways to reflect current and fashionable political, ideological, cultural and personal preferences of individual teachers, administrators, school boards, dominant political factions, government bureaucracies and even industry. I see here a rather common political/religious strategy, a proselytizing kulturkampf to empower some sectors of our society and weaken others. In this context, the rather selective exclusion of Intelligent Design or Creationism from this cluster on the flimsy justification that they and they alone are not science based, is rather unfair.

In picking through my text and cobbling together a false position for me, you deftly avoid the central point I’m trying to make (perhaps poorly), namely that secularism is another religion in almost everything but name, and that it should be treated as such. In the real world secularism isn’t merely the absence of religious dogma or "undocumented" beliefs. It is not a universal, non-particularistic way of thinking and doing on which everyone should be able to agree. That would be science, which is merely a research strategy, arguably the best one we have, but still a research strategy. Secularism today goes quite a bit further in that it is an emerging pro-active belief system engaged in a struggle to marginalize its competitors, in this case our traditions and religions. You may think, as many do, that this is a right and just cause, a "progressivism" as an antidote for the world's old ills perhaps, but let's at least admit that it is one belief system among many, one open to free inquiry or rejection, as we have decided that all beliefs systems must be, including those we call "religious."

So, here is a "radical" suggestion: Let publicly-funded schools teach merely the basics, along with our common rights and responsibilities as reflected in our laws. It's not as if the basics have been sufficiently covered, leaving teachers twiddling their thumbs. Then, let families and their communities determine how to address, on their own, not only traditional religion which has been pushed out of the system already, but the new, the supposedly secular one, that has been replacing it.

And, DanJO, neither did I say or even suggest that you are advocating Nazism or communism, only that all attempts to suppress tradition and to institute atheism as the dominant doctrine for a society have, so far, resulted in massive, nearly sudden disasters, as those cases illustrate.

10 October 2011 at 15:59  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Avi

For once I agree with you - religion and philosophy/politics should be kept out of school science lessons, and all systems of belief should be discussed together. Of course there are some cross currents but they can be left until a higher level - just as I wouldn't start discussing Greek in a school.

Unfortunately, in the UK that isn't where we are at. We have certain religous bodies trying to push creationism and worse into the school science curriculum - and we have compulsory religous education which largely confines itself to the study of religion and doesn't look at other non religous schools of thought. We also have some schools where a daily religous service is compulsory.

10 October 2011 at 16:48  
Blogger peggy38 said...

While its very entertaining to see Dawkins running like a coward from a debate, I have to ask who really cares about these things? Honestly, has any one ever changed their minds following such a debate? What does it mean to be said to win one or lose one when no one on either side is going to change their position one bit regardless of the outcome?

Does the wider public even know about an event like this? If Craig resoundingly beat Dawkins, would that translate into a reversal of fortune for the Church in England? Hardly. More likely, few would notice and fewer still would do anything different.

Although I would like to see Dr Craig trouncing Dawkins as much as the next person, it just stikes me as a futile effort. Maybe we could better spend our energies elsewhere.

10 October 2011 at 17:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

NS40 (9 October 2011 23:56)

Do believe you are confusing the Bible with the Old Testament. And yes, you are right, you certainly wouldn’t read the OT to children as a bed time story ! God can’t have been too happy about it either
as he had to go to the extraordinary step of arranging Jesus.

And Jesus is everything. He not only promised salvation for those who follow his teachings, but he also provided the basis for a moral code still in use in the West two thousand years later. A moral code that stands up by itself, and one if followed by everyone to the letter, could indeed bring heaven on earth.

And how do we know this Jewish son of a carpenter was the son of God. Well, he told us, and everything he did and said would have been quite something for an ordinary mortal. But most of all those tricks, especially at the end, being flogged half to death, crucified, and if that wasn’t enough, being speared in the body. And then to rise on the third day. (Can’t see even David Copperfield volunteering to match that).

No wonder everybody said “Christ alive !” or words to that effect, when he re-appeared.

Somewhat a simple faith, mine, but God didn’t require us to have a PhD to believe. Rather fortunate that !

10 October 2011 at 18:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Yuffpasta (10 October 2011 11:20)

The Inspector believes you owe NS40 an apology. You’re sounding like Tingey and one him is more than enough for a site. Jesus might love him very much but everybody here thinks he’s a c__t.

10 October 2011 at 18:36  
Blogger NS40 said...

@ Oswin
"I agree with much of what you say, but I suspect we conclude differently. I am a 'believer' but, like you, believe that the 'true' story is rather different from the more accepted version.

However, I believe that the essential 'kernel' remains largely unaltered, and the 'true' story may be even more remarkable still."

Good luck with your journey Oswin, wherever it takes you. I mean that sincerely. You sound like a good and reasonable person and I wish you well...

NS40

10 October 2011 at 18:54  
Blogger NS40 said...

" Office of Inspector General said...
NS40 (9 October 2011 23:56)

Do believe you are confusing the Bible with the Old Testament. And yes, you are right, you certainly wouldn’t read the OT to children as a bed time story ! God can’t have been too happy about it either
as he had to go to the extraordinary step of arranging Jesus.

And Jesus is everything. He not only promised salvation for those who follow his teachings, but he also provided the basis for a moral code still in use in the West two thousand years later. A moral code that stands up by itself, and one if followed by everyone to the letter, could indeed bring heaven on earth.

And how do we know this Jewish son of a carpenter was the son of God. Well, he told us, and everything he did and said would have been quite something for an ordinary mortal. But most of all those tricks, especially at the end, being flogged half to death, crucified, and if that wasn’t enough, being speared in the body. And then to rise on the third day. (Can’t see even David Copperfield volunteering to match that).

No wonder everybody said “Christ alive !” or words to that effect, when he re-appeared.

Somewhat a simple faith, mine, but God didn’t require us to have a PhD to believe. Rather fortunate that !" (END QUOTE)


Oh, where to start...

So are we talking about a different God in the Old & New Testaments then? Was the New Testament like movie sequels, not quite as exciting, designed to appeal to a wider audience but consequently lacking in direction?

I mean, the story of the resurrection (in theory) sounds very inspirational but which version do we believe? You did know there were vastly differing accounts, right? Or should we skim over the contradictions and historical inaccuracies (never mind the quality, feel the salvation?).

Bearing in mind, you believers can't even make up your minds what version of 'The Truth' is the truth. You've all been fighting each other about it for 2,000 years rather than laying down the foundations for a "moral code". Seriously, you been paying attention to history much?

David Copperfield might not be able to rise from the dead but I'm fairly sure Derren Brown or David Blaine would give it a pretty plausible attempt...

I'm fairly rather than not needing a PhD to believe, it's probably pretty helpful in some cases to avoid learning wherever possible what with all that pesky critical thinking, empirical evidence, facts and stuff...

In fact, so many who use the bible as a defence of their beliefs, don't really seem to know their way around it very well...

10 October 2011 at 19:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

NS40

The old testament is an interesting book. Jewish history and thought. But no, not entirely in the hand of God. genesis, woman coming from a spare rib, talking snakes, Lot’s wife, children being savaged by she bears called up by a prophets curse.

You've all been fighting each other about it for 2,000 years suggests you are a woman yourself - you write like a woman. Those beastly men doing all the killing.

Anyway, enough of that. It’s the spirit of Christ this one here goes for, not analysing it all right down. Off you go now and do the housework. Len will be here shortly and he’ll open fire with all his evangelical stuff – you have been warned....

10 October 2011 at 19:40  
Blogger NS40 said...

[Quote] Office of Inspector General said...
NS40

The old testament is an interesting book. Jewish history and thought. But no, not entirely in the hand of God. genesis, woman coming from a spare rib, talking snakes, Lot’s wife, children being savaged by she bears called up by a prophets curse. [End Quote]


Right, so it wan't god that brought the flood, destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah,and urged his followers to smite people for the most trivial of reasons?

You have actually read some of this bible you speak of or have you just been watching Horrible Histories on iPlayer and mixing up the stories...?


[Quote]You've all been fighting each other about it for 2,000 years suggests you are a woman yourself - you write like a woman. Those beastly men doing all the killing.[End Quote]

Guess again...

Or was calling me a woman meant to be an insult - was this to remind me of the deeply misogynistic themes in the bible?

Or did God tell you I was a woman but you didn't quite hear her 'cos she's still got an old Nokia 3310 that hasn't worked for years? Maybe Steve Jobs will sort her out with a new iPhone when he gets there...


[Quote]Anyway, enough of that. It’s the spirit of Christ this one here goes for, not analysing it all right down. Off you go now and do the housework. Len will be here shortly and he’ll open fire with all his evangelical stuff – you have been warned....[End Quote]

Oh no, not Len! Nobody told me Len would be here...Quick everybody, Len's coming!

...erm, who's Len and why should I be frightened?

Yea, thought I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil, 'cos Len's here and he ain't taking no prisoners.

puleeze....

Gimmie a buzz when Len gets here, been poking him on FB and he just doesn't get back to me - don't tell me he's gone back to MySpace...

Anyways, I'm bringing Frank back with me - tell Len and see how he reacts to that news...laters

10 October 2011 at 20:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

NS40

Good grief, you’re a man ! (INSPECTOR COUGHS)

Well there you go, but do get your sperm count checked out, it might be rather low...

The Inspector doesn’t rely on ‘horrible histories’ but on the bible itself.

Who’s Frank – a homosexual lover perhaps ??

Yes, do fear Len, we all do....

10 October 2011 at 21:10  
Blogger DanB said...

Everyone here knows that the premise upon which Christianity is founded, relies on the act of Original Sin, as related in the Old Testament, yes?

Therefore if, one dismisses the Old Testament, they also dismiss the reason for their need for salvation and in turn the need for a savior.

10 October 2011 at 21:38  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@NS40 - All I proved was that you posted what can only be described as guff without a single bit of evidence to back it up. If you expect anything you declare to be taken seriously you have to forgo the "It's all a load of rubbish they made up for the hell of it" diatribe and actually create an argument. Otherwise it is like arguing with a 4 year old.

10 October 2011 at 21:57  
Blogger NS40 said...

Office of Inspector General said...

Good grief, you’re a man ! (INSPECTOR COUGHS)

NS40 scratched his beard and retorted...
WooHoo, got it right on the second guess..

Office of Inspector General said..
.Well there you go, but do get your sperm count checked out, it might be rather low...

NS40 sighed and replied with a heavy heart...
No problems there...although is that really the level of your intellectual debate? Clearly you are indeed a master debater...

Or are all your beliefs purely seminal?

Office of Inspector General said..
.The Inspector doesn’t rely on ‘horrible histories’ but on the bible itself.

NS40 smiled enigmatically before stating...
The Bible could also be called 'Horrible Histories', just it's not as entertaining or as factually accurate.

Office of Inspector General said..
Who’s Frank – a homosexual lover perhaps ??

NS40 shook his head, the palpable disappointment tinged with predictable sadness...
So you've covered your obvious misogyny, now you're going for homophobia. What can I expect next, shellfish and mixed fibres?

Office of Inspector General said..
Yes, do fear Len, we all do....

NS40 felt almost sorry for IoIG then remembered how unpleasant and distasteful his comments were before uttering...
So is Len real or is he made up too, like the God & Jesus dudes?

I'm sure Frank could take him anyway. Hell, I'm sure Frank's 8 year old neice could take him.

IoIG - your comments are disgraceful and demonstrate that those who lay claim to a loving and compassionate God but are guilty of such hatred and vitriol don't serve your god well. Your small minded prejudices betray that your beliefs are based on hatred rather than love.

Despite my lack of Christian faith, I acknowledge that many of the Christian faith have done good and wonderful things to help others.

You sully their memory and their light is dimmed by your existence.

10 October 2011 at 22:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

NS40

IoIG - your comments are disgraceful and demonstrate that those who lay claim to a loving and compassionate God but are guilty of such hatred and vitriol don't serve your god well. Your small minded prejudices betray that your beliefs are based on hatred rather than love.

We are presuming much here NS40. The Inspector believes in Christ, but that doesn’t make him a cuddly teddy bear. ‘Hatred and vitriol’, where does that come from ?? The Inspector merely inquired as to whether you are of the anal persuasion. Many of His Graces communicants are you know. The Inspector holds nothing against homosexuals; they are as the Lord intended.

I acknowledge that many of the Christian faith have done good and wonderful things to help others. You sully their memory and their light is dimmed by your existence.

You have a nerve ! We’ve never communicated before. Why the textbook, and thus unoriginal, aggression ?? It’s you yourself who is the problem, and you deserve a good thrashing for that, sir...

10 October 2011 at 22:42  
Blogger Alissa1989 said...

greg_s_s:

It seems from your comments that you have not read any of Craig's books nor listened to his debates. Here's a taster - Craig responding to sceptical questions on Premier Radio's show 'Unbelievable':
http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={BBBB39AC-EDFF-4991-8B12-DDD46E0CEED5}

If Craig's arguments were as feeble as you say, I wonder why Sam Harris would have said he 'seems to have put the fear of God into my fellow atheists'.

11 October 2011 at 00:03  
Blogger DanB said...

Alissa, can you cite the source for that Harris quote?

11 October 2011 at 00:15  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector said ...

"Many of His Graces communicants are you know. The Inspector holds nothing against homosexuals; they are as the Lord intended.

NO they are NOT!

Homosexuals are objectively sexually disordered and those who activly engage in homosexual practices are an offence before God.

Stop being so lovey dovey about all this. Does God 'intend' that people be born with disabilities? Does He 'intend' people are born with a predisposition to sin? No. God permits this. It is a consequence of fallen man and the corruption of the natural order as well as the spiritual order.

Sin, in all its forms, has to be resisted.

11 October 2011 at 00:52  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

NS40

You really are a pompous dick head, aren't you?. You think yourself so knowledgeable about the roots of Christianity and its history. And goodness me, so condescending towards your Christian friends who know nothing about their faith.

Perhaps you have to deny Christ because if you accepted Him you would have to change your lifestyle. I've got some news for you. Given all your knowledge, you will be judged anyway when you come face to face with Christ. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

What will you say to Him? Bad mouthing Him and His Father and the Holy Spirit is really not something I'd recommend.

11 October 2011 at 01:07  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Tory boys asked, "Avi - do you really think that the Israeli religious parties and the imans amomg the Palestinians are really contributing to a peaceful solution in Israel/Palestine? Perhaps a little secular thinking would not go amiss in that part of the world as well?"

"Secular thinking" is hardly the issue. Israel has had an unbroken succession of "secular thinking" governments since its creation and the Arab Palestinians experimented with secularism in the form of pan-Arabism and a fascist sort of a socialism when there was a USSR to goad them on and line the pockets of their leaders. Now the bakshish is coming largely from the EU, which places no demands and has few expectations, and terror money and weapons from the Iranians and the Saudis, who want to hear the right Islamist sounds.

The Pal Arab "constitution" claims secular grounds for destroying Israel. Israel began as a secular, moderately socialist nation and communities in the "settlements," were established by secular, left-wing governments. Most supporters of settlements and a unified Jerusalem are secular people and the modern Orthodox, like me. We believe in holding onto Yudah and Shomron, at least significant portions thereof, largely due to what you might call secular perspectives; that the territories are part of our historic homeland, rights of conquest, rights enscribed in international law and because of vital strategic imperatives.

Since you asked, my speculation is that peace will come only when the Middle Eastern Muslim states finally collapse economically thanks to the ongoing loss of energy revenues for the Saudis and the Gulf tyrannies, the unsustainable population explosion in the temporarily oil-rich Muslim world and the increasing inability of the "oily-garchies" to raise the price of crude and to project terror at will. "Palestinianism" has a short shelf life because it is an incongruous and artificial cause, largely a product of Arab bribery with oil and threats with terror. The EU will most likely not make it for long, and even if does putter along for while, it won't be able to lavishly and almost single-handedly support the Pals as it has up until now. The Pals' "Arab brothers," who have already been bloodied several times over by Israel, are notoriously cheap with their support and, in most cases, don't think highly of the South Syrian migrants who pretend to be "Palestinians" for Western consumption; as their fortunes wane, each will make its quiet accommodations and commercial arrangements with Israel, a process which is already underway. Then, let's not forget the US and the looming change of administrations.... :o !

11 October 2011 at 03:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Does God 'intend' that people be born with disabilities?"

Are they Physically Disordered or Mentally Disordered then? Should we be encouraging them to limit themselves to what Ordered people can do where they can and simply accept their Disorder where they can't? No wheelchairs or prosthetics. No surgery. No extra handles, disabled toilets, no lower lightswitches ... why should we Ordered people extend and adjust our Ordered lives to help these people live as normal lives as possible? They're not as your god intended so who are we to decide to cater to their Disordered needs? Can't we just 'love' them as people if we ever come across one of them shut up in their houses or institutions because they can't get about like we Ordered people can?

11 October 2011 at 06:08  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Avi

Lets just say that your and my idea as to the meaning of secular thinking are somewhat different.

Does it ever strike you that it is possible for both sides of an argument to have validity?

11 October 2011 at 13:09  
Blogger NS40 said...

The Way of the Dodo said...
NS40 You really are a pompous dick head, aren't you?. You think yourself so knowledgeable about the roots of Christianity and its history. And goodness me, so condescending towards your Christian friends who know nothing about their faith.

NS40 replied...
I spent enough of my life being a Christian as I was raised one, even considered going into the ministry for a while. Most Christians I've met haven't really read their bible on noticed the hideousness, contradictions or falsehoods contained there. It is evident it wasn't inspired by any divine entity given the glaring errors it contains...

The Way of the Dodo said...
Perhaps you have to deny Christ because if you accepted Him you would have to change your lifestyle. I've got some news for you. Given all your knowledge, you will be judged anyway when you come face to face with Christ. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

NS40 replied...
Nothing wrong with my lifestyle at all. I'm nice to people, do good things (not motivated by a heavenly reward) and have spent most of my life helping others. I am a loving husband and father, my children are kind to others and display compassion to those less fortunate.

All this without the need for an invisible friend...

I decided not to believe as blind faith is the worst form or ignorance, constantly ignoring contradictory evidence. It shows either a truly closed mind or a mind so open that the brain is at risk of rolling out..

The Way of the Dodo said...
What will you say to Him? Bad mouthing Him and His Father and the Holy Spirit is really not something I'd recommend.

NS40 chuckled and replied...
Next time you're talking to him, let me know he can smite me down anytime he feels like it. As for the old 'Ah, just wait until you die, then you'll be judged' argument, I'll happily take that risk. I'd rather be judged for my actions than my faith (or lack of it).

11 October 2011 at 13:54  
Blogger NS40 said...

IoIG dribbled out of the corner of my mouth...
We are presuming much here NS40. The Inspector believes in Christ, but that doesn’t make him a cuddly teddy bear. ‘Hatred and vitriol’, where does that come from ?? The Inspector merely inquired as to whether you are of the anal persuasion. Many of His Graces communicants are you know. The Inspector holds nothing against homosexuals; they are as the Lord intended.

NS40 replied...
You were making an assumption...did you have 'faith' that I was homosexual or simply hope that I was as it would give you and your prejudices another avenue to stumble down?

You were about as right on that one as when you 'assumed' I was a woman.

If I were in the business of making assumptions, I'd perhaps suggest that your obsession with homosexuality and anal sex while attempting to present yourself as an alpha male with misogynistic leanings suggests that you may have some deeply sublimated desires that you are failing to disguise. Give in, go with it, discover the real you...hell you might even feel better about yourself afterwards.

IoIG hoisted himself up to his full height, puffed out his chest and spurted...
You have a nerve ! We’ve never communicated before. Why the textbook, and thus unoriginal, aggression ?? It’s you yourself who is the problem, and you deserve a good thrashing for that, sir...

NS40 chuckled at this overt display of passive/aggressiveness mixed with a less than subtle cowardly internet troll type threat and said...
Yeah, we've never communicated before and hopefully never will again as talking to you is about as appealing as drinking 'bin juice'. The threats of violence are never too far away with many religionists, content that it's an 'internet threat' and that in reality they would fail to have the courage to step up.

I'll simply dismiss your threat as symptomatic of your collection of 'issues' and leave you too it...

11 October 2011 at 14:10  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

NS40

So you are a fallen Christian. Baptised and turned your back on your faith. That's your choice, but do not presume to inflict your particular comprehension of scripture onto others.

I think you'll find more knowledgeable and informed scholars can give an account of any apparent contradictions the bible contains.

As for the 'passive aggression' you accuse others of, well try looking in the mirror! Anyway, I'm not sure the Inspector's is passive but it's up to him to answer you.

By the way, being 'good' is not 'good enougth' especially wwhen you seem intent on undermining the faith of others.

11 October 2011 at 15:42  
Blogger Oswin said...

NS40 @ various:

How I wish that you'd not swung back the saloon doors quite so challengingly, when you entered the bar!

Had you but stayed your gun-hand a little - your earlier posts held much of potential interest for future discussion - but, true to the age-old script, all hell was let loose.

Wearing thin the analogy a tad, the ensuing bar-room brawl, with accompanying 'scatter-gun' retorts, has done little more than alienate folk.

OIG would, I feel sure, have enjoyed discussing the esoteric minutiae of early Christianity, as would I, and many others beside.

However, your comments regarding Len, do rather suggest an element of premeditated intent (?) as does your threatened enlistment of 'Fearsome Frank' (one imagines 'Lee Van Cleef') or, do we attempt a fresh start; thus avoiding further clichéd encounters?

11 October 2011 at 16:24  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Nothing wrong with my lifestyle at all. I'm nice to people, do good things (not motivated by a heavenly reward) and have spent most of my life helping others. I am a loving husband and father, my children are kind to others and display compassion to those less fortunate.

I heard it put very well once.

1. Have you ever told a lie?

What do we call someone who tells many lies?


2. Have you ever looked at someone with lust?

The Bible says that anyone who does has already committed adultery in his heart


3. Have you ever used God's name as a profanity?

What do we call someone who does that?


4. Have you ever hated someone, whether it be only transiently and for any justification you can think?

The Bible says that that is the same as killing the man.

What do we call those who kill people?


5. Have you ever stolen anything or illegally downloaded anything?

What do we call people who take things that are not theirs to take?


So what does that make you?


People say "I am a good person, why would I be condemned?"

Could a murderer ever use such an argument to avoid gaol?

If a judge were to offer you clemency in return for repentance, and you not only refused it but denied his authority to judge, would you expect him to free you?

If you break God's law, do you expect him to let you off, simply because you are a "good person"?

You are taking the biggest gamble a man can make, if you continue to believe that being a "good person" is enough to save your soul.

11 October 2011 at 17:25  
Blogger Oswin said...

Lakester: I cannot believe that a 'good person' would suffer for not having the 'right credentials' whatever they might be.

However, it is this concept of 'being a good person' that worries me. Who decides; only God, surely? Thinking one's self a 'good person' is, I agree, a dangerous game; and altogether different from 'trying to be a better person' - but, who is worse: the 'unbeliever' who breaks few of God's laws, or the 'believer' who breaks more, but asks for absolution?

My own struggling opinion is that Christ probably favoured a more 'Essene' view, of 'living a good life' than a 'Church' view of eventual repentence/absolution; but the two are not always mutually exclusive; or so I hope!

11 October 2011 at 18:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

NS40

The Inspector does have an uncanny knack of bringing the worst out in people, but in your case he didn’t have too far to go.

He also apologies for assuming you’re a women, but really, your initial comments on the OT led him to believe that he was dealing with someone of a ‘sensitive’ nature…

Then I did what most religious people don't actually do...read the bible!
Then the warm fuzzy feeling was replaced by nothing short of horror and disgust at the sort of utterly nonsensical, misogynistic, genocidal, hateful and judgemental stories it contains.


Must have been dreadful for you. Do hope counselling was nearby – Mummy to run to, that sort of thing. How old were you at the time – eleven ??

If you’ve studied history as the Inspector has, you’ll soon realise that this historical document of the Jews is nothing out of the ordinary for the time. In the case of wars, there were few ‘armistices’, it was wipe out the other side or be wiped out yourself. Men ‘owned’ women, and there were no professional liberals with their bleeding heart sentiments – and that was the Iron Age, EVERYWHERE. In other words, welcome to YOUR OWN history.

11 October 2011 at 18:20  
Blogger Alissa1989 said...

DanB:

Sure:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX13lJlHI-8
(click on 'Show more')

I've seen this remark quoted in several places.

11 October 2011 at 18:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Oswin OIG would, I feel sure, have enjoyed discussing the esoteric minutiae of early Christianity, as would I, and many others beside.

Count the Inspector in. As a boy, and educated by Carmelite priests, the OT was rarely touched on, only the essentials. Always had the idea that the book was considered the ‘dark side’ of Christianity. However, can't see it happening with this thread – NS40 is revelling in his rejection of Christ, and is telling anyone who will listen to him...

11 October 2011 at 18:39  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin said ...

"My own struggling opinion is that Christ probably favoured a more 'Essene' view, of 'living a good life' than a 'Church' view of eventual repentence/absolution; but the two are not always mutually exclusive; or so I hope!"

That's not what Jesus actually said assuming you accept the Gospel accounts.

Why would the Son of God become man, suffer and die and then rise from the dead?

Not to urge people how to lead a 'good life'.

I'm not entirely clear what you mean about an Essene approach and a 'Church' approach being compatible. Would you care to expand?

11 October 2011 at 21:40  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Tory boys...

You say, "Lets just say that your and my idea as to the meaning of secular thinking are somewhat different."

Or, let's just say we rely on common definitions?

Then, "Does it ever strike you that it is possible for both sides of an argument to have validity?"

Uh...gee...that's real heavy, dude. I'll have to think about that one.

WHAT THE HECK'S THE MATTER WITH YA, BOY? Were you binge drinking last night or something? Seriously, now.

11 October 2011 at 23:26  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Office of Inspector General said:

If you’ve studied history as the Inspector has, you’ll soon realise that this historical document of the Jews is nothing out of the ordinary for the time. In the case of wars, there were few ‘armistices’, it was wipe out the other side or be wiped out yourself. Men ‘owned’ women, and there were no professional liberals with their bleeding heart sentiments – and that was the Iron Age, EVERYWHERE. In other words, welcome to YOUR OWN history."

Inspector, while I disagree with you of course about the Torah being being merely an historical document, both for religious and scholarly reasons as well, I must say it's best one-paragrah "life's like that" clarification I've read. The "welcome to your own history as well" was dead-on. Can't say I didn't enjoy the counselling advice bit too.

11 October 2011 at 23:38  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

"Always had the idea that the book (Old Testament)was considered the ‘dark side’ of Christianity."

Not at all; not at all. Understood correctly the OT foreshadows the New Testament. It is full of symbol as well as religious history. A beautiful and inspiring book full of unfathomable wisdom and deep insight into the human condition and God's unfolding plan for humanity.

There are numerous excellent (Catholic and some Protestant)commentaries on this wonderful series of books. Get hold of one and you'll never doubt your faith in Jesus Christ or the mission of His appointed Church.

11 October 2011 at 23:53  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo:

Ah, that's just it you see, I reckon that Jesus probably had quite a lot to say on that score. Unfortunately however, we are left with very little of His more intellectual, learned discourse, other than passing references to such debate.

What I actually said, was that I doubted that the 'Essene' view, and that of the 'Church', were wholly incompatible.

As for ''accepting the Gospel accounts'' then I must admit that I agree with NS40, in that they are , to a lesser or greater extent, the product of interference via selection and, in some cases, possibly even suppression. IF not merely because of choices made, between near repetitions. Further, being subject to many other other considerations, as are likely to befall ancient documentation.

I don't suppose that they are massively corrupted, from the essential message; but neither are they necessarily the entire picture.

I didn't say that the Essene tradition was compatible with that of the 'Church' - but I hoped that they were not mutually exclusive.

Yep, I'm probably a heretic; but there again, many of the best people are. :o)

12 October 2011 at 00:02  
Blogger Oswin said...

My apologies, I inadvertently repeated myself, re' the 'Essene' bit.... 'am in need of sleep.

12 October 2011 at 00:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Office of Inspector General said:

If you’ve studied history as the Inspector has, you’ll soon realise that this historical document of the Jews is nothing out of the ordinary for the time. In the case of wars, there were few ‘armistices’, it was wipe out the other side or be wiped out yourself. Men ‘owned’ women, and there were no professional liberals with their bleeding heart sentiments – and that was the Iron Age, EVERYWHERE. In other words, welcome to YOUR OWN history.

Inspector,

Of course, I have a different take on the Torah as a historical document, both religiously and from a scholarly perspective, but that's the best single-paragraph "life-was-like-that-grow-up" advice I've come across. And your solicitous side was truly touching, I must say; I didn't know you had it in you.

12 October 2011 at 00:11  
Blogger BWE said...

I am finding it difficult to tell if these comments are authentic or some kind of prank by someone who is trying to make ideology look bad.

While it may be entertaining sometimes to toss out an insult or two for effect, and sometimes maybe even illuminating, the level of emotional language here seems somehow out of place for a story about something someone did not do.

In the story as well as the comments actually. Is this a cultural difference that I just don't understand? Is it common in the UK for discussions to focus on adjectives rather than nouns and verbs?

I followed a link here because I am familiar with William Lane Craig's work as well as Richard Dawkins' and I thought there might be some analysis of their competing truths or a discussion of the practical issues of the debate format or something at least to use as a scaffold to support the inevitable snark that accompanies some discussions between theists and atheists, but I an genuinely surprised at the level of anger especially in the article itself tossed about and justified as somehow giving the other side what they deserve, as if people deserve violence for holding an opinion that doesn't match the first.

I will volunteer to debate either a theist or an atheist on why your philosophical position is wrong and why adhering to it limits your ability to understand or recognize or even grasp the possibility of entire classes of experience.

And I will also volunteer to have an internet debate with William Lane Craig or Richard Dawkins over their positions on God with the same terms.

I can tell that some of you hold your truths so tightly you will be unable to resist a challenge of this nature.

Is media in the UK really like this or is this article an anomaly?

12 October 2011 at 04:40  
Blogger BWE said...

Oh my. I've only read Craig's essays. Although I started one of his debates a few times, I never had the chance to finish it til now. Now I've seen a debate. Perhaps someone familiar with Craig's oral debates would be willing to offer me a rating of his debate with 'Victor Stengel' compared to other debates? They were both very poor in my view. Not that I held out much hope, but he could have done better.

I would be happy to have a written debate with him. What he did here is called marketing. Not arguing.

Am about to watch one of Dawkins'

If it is as bad as Craig I will let you go back to fighting amongst yourselves.

12 October 2011 at 05:33  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

BWE said, "I am finding it difficult to tell if these comments are authentic or some kind of prank by someone who is trying to make ideology look bad."

You and me bro. As I oscilate between intellectual crises and spiritual agonies, I torture my super-ego/soul with the gnawing suspicion that His Grace is penning all the comments here all by his lonesome self. Except that there/here is me, of course, so I must be real. Blogere ergo sum, or something like that. Just a thought.

Then, "I will volunteer to debate either a theist or an atheist on why your philosophical position is wrong and why adhering to it limits your ability to understand or recognize or even grasp the possibility of entire classes of experience."

That'll learn us good...assuming there is a multiple of humans on board here, of course. Even better, since we low brows aren't evidently up to such an arduous intellectual/spiritual endeavour as a debate must be (we wouldn't really know), and being the rascally and contentious lot to boot, hows 'bout you go ahead and go debate yourself, BWE? Just an idea.

12 October 2011 at 11:47  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin

"Yep, I'm probably a heretic; but there again, many of the best people are. :o)"

Maybe you are. I'm just interested in your train of thought about Christ and His message.

Let's start with the basics.

Do you believe He was the Son of God? That He sacrificed Himself and rose again?

What do you see as His essentialmessage?

12 October 2011 at 11:53  
Blogger DanB said...

Alissa,

You presented this, "seems to have put the fear of God into my fellow atheists", as a quotation of Sam Harris.

In response to my request for a citation, you responded with,

"
Sure:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX13lJlHI-8
(click on 'Show more')

I've seen this remark quoted in several places.'

This is from the description accompanying the YouTube video, "Sam Harris, after preliminary introductory remarks, introduces Dr. Craig as "[b]the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists.[/b]" He proceeded, rather humorously, to say "I've actually gotten more than a few e-mails this week that more or less read, "Brother, please,"" clasping his hands in a prayerful and pleading gesture, ""don't blow this!"" He then issued this charge: "So, you'll be the judge.""

Context and accuracy. It matters.

12 October 2011 at 14:06  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo:

Er, yes & yes, but perhaps not quite as you perceive them. As for his message: again, probably as you understand it to be, with possible reservations/additions.

Forgive my apparent vagueness here Dodo, it's not that I seek to avoid your questions, but would prefer to begin discussion from another standpoint entirely, as your ''basics'' are not necessarily mine.

Having said that, I think I'd need time to consider where MY starting point, for such a discussion, might begin; at present, I'm not at all sure! I'll give it some thought.

I often wish, as you and others probably do too, that His Grace furnished a suitable antechamber, a withdrawing room for other forms of discourse, away from the heat of topical debate. Where one might more readily explore, and disseminate, all manner of ideas and concepts; ideally under a 'specific subject' headings, whereby we had free rein to exchange (bore!) to our hearts content.

12 October 2011 at 15:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo and Avi

Of course the Old Testament is a wonderful book, but at least NS40 for one found parts of it so horrifying that he ran and hid in the nearest cupboard. And that was the context in which the Inspector replied. Perhaps if he is still around, he can notify us of those objectionable parts and we can address his concerns. A point Oswin made on this thread.

12 October 2011 at 19:07  
Blogger Alissa1989 said...

DanB:

Sam Harris is quoted as saying it: accuracy seems fine; he was apparently speaking humorously but evidently at least partly meant it ... I don't see the problem??

12 October 2011 at 19:35  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

You've obviously frightened NS40 and the poor soul probably run off back to the broom cuboard.

12 October 2011 at 21:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

By all means, let NS40 unload his fears and nightmares, Inspector, we'll fight them. That's what we're here for...among other things. But if he likes the cupboard, he can stay in!

Catch ya all after Saturday night, next round of Holy Days about to start.

12 October 2011 at 21:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Here's a funny one; I just killed myself to surprise my wife with a three course dinner for after services (Sukkot/Feast of Booths) and my wife called to remind me we've been invited out to dinner. Oops. New project: Look for a tie...I did wear one couple of years ago, I think.

See, NS40? Religion can really mess with you. Easier in the cupboard.

12 October 2011 at 22:02  
Blogger David B said...

Dodo said

"You've obviously frightened NS40 and the poor soul probably run off back to the broom cuboard."

I wouldn't have thought so - I'll bring this post to his attention.

Avi said

"See, NS40? Religion can really mess with you. Easier in the cupboard."

I don't want to give away any confidences, but I am aware of NS's upbringing in one of the most lauded, but in fact nastiest and most cultic of Christian sects.

BWE said

"I followed a link here because I am familiar with William Lane Craig's work as well as Richard Dawkins' and I thought there might be some analysis of their competing truths or a discussion of the practical issues of the debate format or something at least to use as a scaffold to support the inevitable snark that accompanies some discussions between theists and atheists, but I an genuinely surprised at the level of anger especially in the article itself tossed about and justified as somehow giving the other side what they deserve, as if people deserve violence for holding an opinion that doesn't match the first."

This is the link BWE followed, but registration is necessary to respond to it.

http://www.secularcafe.org/showthread.php?t=14446

BTW the flood story is one of the OT stories which, if taken seriously (I know some Christians don't, but many Christians do) shows the horror of the God of the OT.

The omnipotent, omniscient omnibenevolent God recognises that he has, not to put too fine a point on it, fucked up, so decides on genocide on a world wide scale. Won't someone think of the poor kittens and puppies?

If humanity is build in that sort of moral image, then, for all the human faults, don't you find it somewhat surprising that we as good as we are?

David B

13 October 2011 at 00:24  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

And now David B has to answer for the poor NS40, a former member of a "lauded, but in fact nastiest and most cultic of Christian sects."

Not a Jesuit sect?

The Flood? Why not Google some Jewish and Christian apologetics on this event? Probably too lazy. It can be understood and doesn't mean God messed up as you so crudely state and decidied to start over.

Do some work!

13 October 2011 at 00:35  
Blogger David B said...

@ Dodo.

No, not a Jesuit sect, a protestant one.

In my many years on-line, and thousands of posts on many discussion fora, I have come across many theist misinterpretations of atheist positions.

The most common is that atheists know nothing of the Bible. I am not the most knowledgeable biblical scholar, of atheists I have met on-line, yet I think it safe to say that I, and most atheists know more of it, and more about it, than most Christians.

The atheists I know who are ex-seminarians, of one sect or another, are more knowledgeable than I and much more knowledgeable than most Christians.

Following that comes the assumption that atheists know nothing of Christian (or Jewish) apologetics.

Many years on-line, checking links, checking sources, et al, does not lead to someone being entirely unaware of the apologetics.

It is possible, you know, for people to be aware of the apologetics but find them unconvincing.

I don't know then all, of course, and you might have pointed me to something you found particularly compelling.

Too lazy?

Do some work!

David B

13 October 2011 at 00:58  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B said ...

"I think it safe to say that I, and most atheists know more of it, and more about it (the Bible), than most Christians.
The atheists I know who are ex-seminarians, of one sect or another, are more knowledgeable than I and much more knowledgeable than most Christians."


Well excuse me for daring to think differently!

You (and they) will know then that in the Gospels Satan is portrayed as exceptionally knowledgable about Holy Scripture. He failed to understand it though!

You're listening to the wrong people. Spite and pride are dangerous qualities. God doesn't want us all to be scholars and puffed up with vanity, our heads full of knowledge and clever arguments.

The message in the Bible is really very simple and you don't have to be simple to accept it.

13 October 2011 at 01:47  
Blogger DanB said...

"The message in the Bible is really very simple and you don't have to be simple to accept it."

Yeah, 'Obey or my invisible friend will hurt you! And if, you're really obedient, he'll give you a golden carrot!'.

13 October 2011 at 06:35  
Blogger David B said...

@ Dodo

My irony meter is always in danger of exploding when someone who apparently thinks themselves so important that some lord of the universe cares about them personally accuses someone under no such misapprehension of pride.

David B

13 October 2011 at 15:39  
Blogger Oswin said...

DanB :

You let Dodo off the hook there; he was imagining some anti-Jesuit rant, and you offered him a protestant sect. Spoilsport!

Strident extremists of any religion, or even in the case of atheism, seems to me to miss the bull; which we know, is in the central position.

13 October 2011 at 15:49  
Blogger Oswin said...

Further, as OIG says too, I'd rather like DS40 to return (pistols deposited with the Sheriff). Perhaps, DanB, you might prevail upon him? Thank you.

13 October 2011 at 15:56  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin siad ..

"DanB
You let Dodo off the hook there; he was imagining some anti-Jesuit rant, and you offered him a protestant sect. Spoilsport!


I know, what a let down!

Actually, in truth, I suspected it was a protestant sect of some description. There are so many of them and some really are odd. Just listen to len to get a flavour. Besides, only the chosen few are chosen to enter the Society and that's only after careful selection and formation.

I just didn't want to ask which sect and then be accussed of being anti-protestant or, even worse, a bigot. You never know who might be evesdropping.

13 October 2011 at 16:26  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo:

Tut! Len isn't extreme, he's pure pussycat, with some interesting ideas and a good heart.

As I frequently, and perhaps tediously, remark, I personally abhor extremist opinions.

Naturally, I don't consider my own 'heretical' views to be in the least 'extreme' - a vista seen from a different angle, is all.

Hm, hang about a bit, aren't Jesuits kinda extreme...? (warily looks behind, into the deepening shadows!)

13 October 2011 at 17:17  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin

Now just what is "extreme" and what is "moral relativism"?

You're okay, don't worry. I've advised the lads to leave you be. No need to look over shoulder just yet as I'll tip you the wink if you need to exercise care.

13 October 2011 at 19:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

As the Rapture is now scheduled for 21st October 2011 (according to Harold Camping et al), it seems a little defeatist to me for Lane Craig to schedule a debate with Dawkins for 25th October and expect to be still around to attend it. Just sayin' like.

16 October 2011 at 06:57  

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