The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

a+b^n)/n = x

October 6, 2006 | 46 Comments

Atheists disbelieve in God for different reasons. Some focus on the alleged lack of scientific or observational evidence. Some dismiss the concept as impossible as a matter of pure logic. Others rely on a mix of both types of argument.

However, few atheists have considered every disproof. Disbelievers tend to specialize, finding a pet argument or two (i.e., the existence of evil, the perceived conflict between omnipotence and omniscience) so persuasive that they find it unnecessary to explore others. Similarly, atheists frequently specialize in a particular type of god with a particular definition. Accordingly, two disbelievers who say “God does not exist” may be denying two entirely different things — just like two people who say “Paul Simon does not exist” (the musician does, the Senator doesn’t).

Additionally, many atheists do not rely on actual disproofs of God. Instead, they base their disbelief on the perceived flaws in theistic proofs (teleological, ontological, cosmological, etc.), even though the mere failure of such proofs does not resolve the matter. For example, there were thousands of flawed proofs of Fermat’s Last Theorem — including the first version of the proof that was finally successful — but proving such flaws did not negate the truth of the ultimate mathematical proposition.

In the same way, an atheist may disbelieve as a result of relying on faulty disproofs. For every flawed proof of God, there is likely a corresponding bad disproof as well. In debating with Diderot the mathematician Euler may have been foolish to argue “Sir, (a+bn)/n = x; hence God exists,” but Diderot would be have been equally foolish to retort “a+bn ≠c x; hence God does not exist” (and Richard Dawkins, on page 84 of The God Delusion, may have been equally foolish to believe in the existence of the Euler/Diderot debate).

Finally, many atheists disbelieve for reasons completely unrelated to evidence or disproofs. Dispensing with consideration of the philosophical issues, some atheists focus on motives and simply dismiss religion as a meme or a method of controlling the masses. Others reject God because the concept it embraced by their political enemies, or because of the wrongdoing and hypocrisy of many religious believers.

The observations made above can of course be applied to the world of believers. The faithful believe in different gods with different definitions, and each person may rely on only a small number of flawed, incomplete or irrelevant arguments. Some will even argue that arguments are irrelevant to the question of God (although apparently not to the question of the relevance of argumentation).

The result of all this, I believe, is that the public debate on religion is dominated by flawed, irrelevant or partial arguments on both sides. Whatever the truth is, the controversy resembles the apocryphal Euler/Diderot duel more than anything else. Each side applauds the expression the preferred result — God or not — regardless of the reasoning behind it, and regardless of whether the disputants are even discussing the same thing.

Comments

46 Responses to “a+b^n)/n = x”

  1. Choobus
    October 6th, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

    stick to talking about fetus murder. When you talk about mathematics you make as much sense as a drunk redneck with a fist up his ass.

  2. Erik
    October 6th, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

    Bull-fucking-goddamn-horseload-crock-of-shit. The public “debate” about the existence of god is only nominally about the existence or not somewhere of some being you might call god. This is a complete smoke screen used by theists. The reason is so plain that it takes serious discipline to ignore it: theists don’t care about the existence of such a being.

    What they want is the being that answers prayers and has a special place in its heart for humans in general, believers in particular. Only this kind of being can give meaning to life in their view. Well, that being plainly does not exist, for all the reasons stated here and elsewhere.

    I don’t say there is no god just because one of the so-called proof is invalid. Rather, I don’t believe because (a) there is no valid proof I know of and, just as importantly, (b) belief, as in faith, is demonstrably unreliable when uncoupled from empiricism.

  3. CycloneRanger
    October 6th, 2006 @ 2:29 pm

    Well, let’s see if I’ve got this so far:

    “I’m the Raving Atheist. I’ve been an atheist for a long time, and used to make a habit of writing witty and acerbic criticisms of various arguments and personages of Christianity. I did this mainly without regarding to logical truth and based my arguments on whatever was the most convenient rhetorical technique–you know, fairly standard “conversational terrorism”. Of course, the great majority of my points were valid and addressed legitimate failings of theistic reasoning, but a few were made dishonestly, and the whole were presented in a more aggressive fashion than was strictly necessary.

    At some point I grew irritated with the behavior exhibited by many theists in using obviously false arguments and emotionally charged language to appeal to something besides pure logical validity. I soon realized that I was doing the same thing at times, however. I further noticed that, like theists, many atheists seem to care more about the fact that one is arguing for atheism than on the validity of the arguments one produces. Atheists are no less vulnerable to the psychological urge to favor arguments presented by those on your side than theists, especially when one factors in the uphill battle that they, as a minority in America, face.

    In pondering this I devised an experiment. I would begin to post arguments that were critical of fellow atheists (and their reasoning, in cases where I found it flawed). Further, I would refrain from using vitriolic language and rhetorical cheating. With as much honesty and politness as I could muster, I would proceed to critique my fellow atheists and observe their reactions. My hypothesis: they will attack me en masse due to my perceived treachery on the unacknowledged basis that a weak or flawed argument for atheism should be left standing and even propped up as well as can be done, since it is on “our side” anyway.

    I suspect that the polarity of the debate in modern America has altered our original intent as atheists from determining the truth of God’s existence or non-existence to fighting a rhetorical war with no holds barred, no matter if we know they are logically flawed.”

    So tell me… is that an accurate summary? Have I followed the plotline correctly so far?

    My opinion is that you are partly right (assuming my evaluation of your current opinions is accurate, which is a stretch since you still refuse to tell us). Sometimes we fall victim to what I call “teamthink”. We may occasionally use tactics that are no better than thoes of our foes, but we defend and justify these because they are on our side, and [I]we are right[/I], after all.

    It’s unfortunate, but it’s really an unavoidable side affect of any highly polarised debate (or conflict; one can easily see parallels in wars past and present). In the end it has no bearing on the truth of the matter and reflects only on those arguing for or against it. I also think that this tactic, while by no means purely one-sided, is used with far greater frequency by theists than by atheists. I agree with you (again, with what I imagine to be your opinion) in that we should try to reduce the prevalence of this sort of thing on our side as much as possible. Criticising the Party isn’t always a sign of treason, yes?

  4. andy holland
    October 6th, 2006 @ 2:35 pm

    In transfinite mathematics 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

    You won’t find God in mathematics; and as you will not find Him there, you cannot disprove Him there either.

    You will find God in the human heart, where compassion, love, and goodness dwell.

    http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl39.htm
    http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl84.htm
    http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl59.htm

    Men go on a voyage, and sail back and beckon to those on shore, we have found a wonderful Ark filled with all sorts of good things. The fishermen who worked the deep are indeed honest, hardworking and good.

    Yet other men, not so honest, not so good, with foul speech and cursing and many oaths make high and mighty philosophical arguments that there is nothing in the sea but fantasies.

    And as one has waded into the ocean only a little ways, and found nothing, he concludes those who are on the shore are as trustworthy as those who beckon from the deep?
    http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl84.htm

    http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl75.htm

    andy holland
    sinner

  5. Bem Ath
    October 6th, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

    You’ve expressed many views similar to mine. Please see
    http://bemusedatheist.wordpress.com/

  6. "Q" the Enchanter
    October 6th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    In the case of the proposition that Santa and his reindeer (or the Tooth Fairy, or a Harley Fat Boy, or…) are orbiting V838 Mon, a “partial disproof” will certainly do. On what grounds should we demand (or even find commendable) greater rigor for the disproof of god(s)?

  7. "Q" the Enchanter
    October 6th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    In the case of the proposition that Santa and his reindeer (or the Tooth Fairy, or a Harley Fat Boy, or…) are orbiting V838 Mon, a “partial disproof” will certainly do. On what grounds should we demand (or even find commendable) greater rigor for the disproof of god(s)?

  8. "Q" the Enchanter
    October 6th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    In the case of the proposition that Santa and his reindeer (or the Tooth Fairy, or a Harley Fat Boy, or…) are orbiting V838 Mon, a “partial disproof” will certainly do. On what grounds should we demand (or even find commendable) greater rigor for the disproof of god(s)?

  9. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    October 6th, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

    tisk tisk Raving Antiabortionist —– why even bring up “disproofs” … I have only one thing to say to you:

    Believe in god? PROVE IT ASSHOLE !

  10. benjamin
    October 6th, 2006 @ 4:18 pm

    Each side applauds the expression the preferred result — God or not — regardless of the reasoning behind it
    That’s not always true, but it is true more often than not. People like to have their beliefs affirmed by others, so many times people don’t correct others for arriving at the same conclusion through faulty logic, whether it be about God, the best automobile manufacturer, or abortion. Still, if you ever visited the forums of your own site you’d see that we challenge each other quite often, and we don’t accept posistions just because they make us feel good. We try to keep one another honest, believe it or not… maybe you should have a peek inside.

  11. Axolotl
    October 6th, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

    So RA, do you believe there a non-flawed, relevant, complete argument that will decide the issue one way or the other?

  12. Choobus
    October 6th, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

    I always enjoy watching theists (or, in this case, pseudo-theists) who can barely count higher than three (father, son, holy ghost, and then nothing else) trying to use mathematics to “prove” anything about Jeebus. It’s kind of like watching a big bad wolf trying to blow down a brick house by farting on it.

  13. smoke
    October 6th, 2006 @ 7:45 pm

    although I consider myself a ‘believer’ I find you have more truth in your blog then most of the ‘Go to Heaven’ blogs.Belief in god or no god is a personal thing and only the so called leaders in whatever faith are guilty, as they were 2000 years ago, of trying to control the ‘believers’ = power+ cash. Sweep aside the join my club preachers on all religons and look at people who give ‘Gandhi,Mother Teresa ect; and thousands that don’t make news,compare to the Hitlers ect;is it god in all things?nobody knows but all have believers.I only know what is real to me as you know whats real to you,so the question is ,is yours as strong as mine?PEACE

  14. Choobus
    October 6th, 2006 @ 8:04 pm

    It has now been firmly established that Mother (fucker) Theresa was an evil bitch who would have loved nothing more than to suck Hitler’s cock while reforming the caste system in India so that everyone was untouchable apart from her and her jesus loving cumchugging pals. Fuck that rancid crone, and all who spooged in her.

  15. Choobus
    October 6th, 2006 @ 8:08 pm

    oh yeah, PEACE

  16. defanatic
    October 6th, 2006 @ 9:29 pm

    Um… Are you (the raving atheist) really an atheist? Or agnostic apatheist, or what? When did what happen? Also:
    Visit this page for more details:
    here

  17. A Real Atheist
    October 6th, 2006 @ 10:49 pm

    All this recent nonsense suggests to me that you must work in law.

    I’m an atheist because the burden of proof is on those making the claim–namely, the theists claiming that a god exists. We all know the kind of god we’re talking about here. To speak of other ‘type’s of gods is to water the issue down. You can eventually reduce god to that of the deists if you like, or the pantheists. That’s just a copout, a giving way to the god of the gaps. Enough gaps and you DO end up with a deist or pantheist god. It is inevitable.

    Every argument I’ve seen for the existence of such a god (the kind of god we all know we’re referring to here) is flawed in my assessment. Some arguments against the existence of such a god are flawed–again, in my assessment–while others seem completely sound to me.

    But the arguments against the existence of said god are irrelevant. The burden of proof lies upon those making the claim that such a god exists, and ALL such arguments fail to hold up to my scrutiny. At least, all such arguments I’ve ever been exposed to.

    So while I admit that a god MAY exist, and that there may exist some watertight argument or proof for its existence I haven’t yet seen or which hasn’t yet been formulated, the bottom line is that until I find such an argument or proof or until such an argument or proof is discovered, I am a PROUD and CONFIDENT atheist, every bit as much as I am confident that fairies, elves, and unicorns also don’t exist.

    I don’t need to even worry about alleged disproofs of their existence, all I need to worry about is the fact that no confident proof or evidence of their existence has ever been provided. I don’t hold god(s) in a different category, nor can I see any reason why I should.

    If you have in mind the god of the deists or pantheists, you haven’t in mind any meaningful god at all. I leave the deist god for physicists to work out; the pantheist god is no more than a matter of creative semantics.

    If you want to believe in a god for emotional reasons or to support some contingent belief you have a vested interest in, that’s fine with me. Just don’t try to pawn it off on the rest of us.

  18. A Real Atheist
    October 6th, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

    “Enough gaps and you DO end up with a deist or pantheist god. It is inevitable.”

    That should read, “Enough gaps filled and you DO end up with a deist or pantheist god. It is inevitable.”

    My apologies for the unintended omission.

  19. Forrest Cavalier
    October 7th, 2006 @ 12:05 am

    Uh, what public debate is NOT dominated by flawed, irrelevant, or partial arguments on both sides?

    Here’s why: Science and Reason cannot prove a choice is good. Some proofs are not attained in reasonable effort so the choice must be made without the effort. But even if the effort is reasonable, what you prove is merely the past and present states of the objects involved and the likely consequences of a choice. Science and Reason are incapable of discerning good and bad.

    Yet, everyone knows “good choices” and “bad choices” exist. We disagree on how to tell them apart, and how even to frame the debates, but we universally agree that our decisions have a moral aspect, and that Science and Reason are mere tools, applied IN SERVICE of that aspect.

    So, those pesky playground atheists will tease with “What’s YOUR god, little man? Can you prove him?”

    The belligerant theists shout back, “What’s YOUR ultimate good, little mind? Can you prove it?”

    These are both taunts about Faith and Reason and their universality.

    The Truth we need in order to act morally is waaay bigger than the truth we can prove.

    What belief or non-belief system leads to the right choices most often? I bet you can’t prove it.

  20. Godthorn
    October 7th, 2006 @ 2:38 am

    Ods bodkins! You are trying to confute subjective apples with factual oranges, Forest C. Science and logic are means of determining facts and truth. Science says nothing about “good” or “bad” because these are value judgements that arise from subjective desires spawned by the individual organism’s drive to survive and thrive. Logic can be profitably applied to your subjective opinions, convictions, prejudices and tastes, but it cannot compel you to concede to its conclusions. Your subjective Christian beliefs are insults to the subjective beliefs of the true-believing Moslem, and you will defend your convictions to the death in the name of God and he will lop your head off in the name of the same. We who trust to science and reason would like to treat you and him, and all your and his like-minded brethren, to luxury accomodations on a large, isolated island and let you have at each other. Unfortunately for all of us, that is an impossibility, and we are doomed to quarrel and murder each other forever.

  21. beepbeepitsme
    October 7th, 2006 @ 4:47 am

    I disbelieve for many reasons, some of which were covered here and some which were not, but I won’t bore everyone with my long list of why I don’t believe in the existence of gods. This is different to, for me at least, an empahtic position that the gods do not exist.

    But anyway, one of the reasons I think they don’t exist is because there is a traceable line of what I consider to be the evolution of gods.

    From animism, animatism, fetishism, totemism, theriomorphism, zoomorphism, anthropomorphism to personification; anthropologists are able to trace and observe the patterns of thought which have created gods.

    So, from an anthropological point of view, the evidence suggest that people have created the idea of mysterious powers and gods to fulfill various functions.

    1. as an explanation of an unknown or an intangible condition
    2. as an appeal to an authority which cannot be questioned in order to sustain or create order in a group.
    3. as an appeal to an ultimate authority which also sustains order in a group
    4. as a means to assume positions of power within groups according to claims of “special knowledge.”

    and so on.

    I wrote a little bit about this, not terribly well, but for anyone who is interested, it can be read here –

    http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/2005/12/fault-dear-human-is-not-in-our-stars.html

  22. R and All
    October 7th, 2006 @ 7:39 am

    “two disbelievers who say “God does not exist” may be denying two entirely different things”

    That’s right, because theists can’t even come up with a good description of god. As you once wrote: “all definitions of the word “God” are either self-contradictory, incoherent, meaningless or refuted by empirical, scientific evidence.” Remember when you were that guy?

  23. a different tim
    October 7th, 2006 @ 9:54 am

    “All this recent nonsense suggests to me that you must work in law.”

    I believe this is, in fact, the case.

  24. Marcus
    October 7th, 2006 @ 10:25 am

    Every debate is filled with bad arguments by silly people. There are plenty of problems with the god debate, but that’s hardly a major one.

    The problem is, no nice little argument is going to prove that any magical thing can’t exist. Thus, we have to come up with lots of different arguments for different things people invent. Ultimately, I think they all just provide a little more evidence, which at some point pushes someone over the intuitive hump to say, “You know, all this magical stuff is really starting to sound the same.”

    Of course, people talking past each other is a major problem, the fact that theists don’t say or know what their god even is. To me, this reflects the basic problem with theism, though, that it’s really just a lot of people making sh-t up. They assume God has some definite meaning, basically out of ignorance of all the different things it means to different people. But then they just sort of define God as they go, so it ends up basically as just an imaginary friend, of some mystical but undefinable nature. No question: that makes rational debate difficult.

    I don’t know what to say about the atheist arguments against god though. Seems to me they come from every possible angle, attacking theistic arguments, standing on their own (like the argument from evil), or from anthropological bases (there are better explanations for religion than that there are a bunch of different gods out there). Seems to me that atheistic arguments do pretty much everything they possibly could.

  25. myst7426
    October 7th, 2006 @ 11:08 am

    “Additionally, many atheists do not rely on actual disproofs of God. Instead, they base their disbelief on the perceived flaws in theistic proofs (teleological, ontological, cosmological, etc.), even though the mere failure of such proofs does not resolve the matter.”

    Proofs are the only way! There is no such thing as a disproof. When a proof fails, it fails. Theist proofs always fail!

  26. Forrest Cavalier
    October 7th, 2006 @ 11:23 am

    Your subjective Christian beliefs are insults to the subjective beliefs of the true-believing Moslem, and you will defend your convictions to the death in the name of God and he will lop your head off in the name of the same.

    If you are correct about Muslim belligerant evangelization, he will be lopping your atheistic head off with the same blade, brother.

    Crusades by so-called Christians were evil in as much as they were not defense. The present conversions to Islam by violent coercion are also to be condemned.

    Do you really mean that my beliefs are insults?

  27. Godthorn
    October 7th, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

    I thought I made it quite clear that they are stupid and dangerous. All religious beliefs are irrational and absolutist; consequently, even the mildest forms of such faith can spawn inhuman ideas and movements that are immune to reason and humanism. The human landscape has always been riddled with spectacular examples. Jim Jones, David Koresh and Osama bin Laden are recent exemplars.

  28. Dada Saves
    October 7th, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

    Just because there’s no evidence of the Euler-Diderot encounter, does that mean it didn’t happen, ya cumchugger?

  29. V
    October 7th, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

    Godthorn’s right. You let some innocuous beliefs go unchallenged and the next thing you know the religious assholes take control and throw useful zygotes into the garbage without using them for research.

    That, for me, was the real eye-opener.

  30. Kreme
    October 8th, 2006 @ 12:16 am

    Godthorn’s right. You let some innocuous beliefs go unchallenged and the next thing you know the religious assholes take control and throw useful zygotes into the garbage without using them for research.

    It doesn’t matter whether a person’s a believer or not. Communists who started the cultural revolution in China were atheists- the entire purpose of the cultural revolution was to force a reform of Chrina by eliminating all the traditional religious/cultural emotional forms of expression of the past they considered unreasonable by idea secular standards. Like the religious cultural purges of the middles ages asshole Christians embarked on, like those now sought by asshole Muslims (both forms of Theism), asshole Atheists did the same in the Soviet Union, and China (perhaps as a retaliatory effort to years of religion based authoritarianism on all people). I say this as an atheist, that by any other view, asshole remains the same.

  31. Godthorn
    October 8th, 2006 @ 3:55 am

    Kreme, I have to agree with you. It isn’t just religion, strictly speaking–though I think religion is the scariest and most formidable of the enemies of humanism–but any ideology, any “national interest,” any “hero” or “saviour” or “champion of the people” that proposes, for the “security of the nation” or the “betterment of society” or the “salvation of the human race,” to constrict the basic liberties of the individual, must be energetically opposed. And all history is witness that it is atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, and the occasional religious libertarian, who are always the voices of sanity and the volunteers who march defiantly into the breech. And it is our priests who, on the one hand, command us to slay the foriegn infidels, and on the other to obey without question the anointed leader of our tribe, whom they, by God’s own command, have anointed.

    So I howl against religion. But, as with you, it is not my only enemy.

  32. Kreme
    October 8th, 2006 @ 4:48 am

    Godthorn,

    this is not a matter of the search for life’s greatest enemies. These constructs, are all of human nature. Where the individual consistently stands up against forces that threaten to constrict, and smother out the ability to evolve beyond less preferable elements. The religious individuals seek liberty through insane means not fruitful to the secular individual. Secular individuals seek liberty to pragmatic areas not whimsically fantastic enough for the religious individual. I do not support religion, because it is not a system that offers to grant as reasonable a grand set of rights to those not interested in the dogma. As a secularist I only seek the right to be free to respectably live without religious dogma, not to infringe harm on the religious individual who decides to carry beliefs I’m not interested in, so long as they don’t require infamy on my person.

  33. Internet Strangler
    October 8th, 2006 @ 5:32 am

    I can’t believe you have so many assholes that read your posts RA =) and they never seem to go away ….

    It seems nobody can just discuss something anymore. Everyone needs to vent their opinions and have an enemy of some kind. I admire what you are doing RA, keep it up.

  34. Professor Chaos
    October 8th, 2006 @ 8:43 am

    Internet Strangler: What exactly is RA doing that you admire?

  35. V
    October 8th, 2006 @ 10:50 am

    “…so long as they don’t require infamy on my person.”

    The unfortunate truth is that they ultimately always will.

  36. Marcus
    October 8th, 2006 @ 11:21 am

    Godthorn,

    >Forest C. Science and logic are means of determining facts and truth. Science says nothing about “good” or “bad” because these are value judgements that arise from subjective desires spawned by the individual organism’s drive to survive and thrive.

  37. Tom
    October 8th, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

    Umm . . . . The burden of proof lies with the claimant. And I’m more impressed by all the “faulty proofs” in favor of than any “faulty disproofs” against.

  38. Godthorn
    October 8th, 2006 @ 9:42 pm

    I didn’t mean to sound cynical. My main point was that science does not investigate values. But all our values have evolved from our elemental strugle to survive. That is not a condemnation of these values. Our higher sentiments and principles are what enable us to enjoy the benefits of civilization and culture. And they were not showered on us as gifts from heaven; they’ve always had to be fought for, and probably always will. And there are too many people–largely because of religious teachings– who don’t understand the function of science or the origins of morality.

  39. Forrest Cavalier
    October 8th, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

    But all our values have evolved from our elemental strugle to survive.

    Can you be clearer on this point?

    For individual specimens, I understand this statement as meaningless, since “our values” assumes we share values. The word choice is funny, because an individual’s values do not evolve, they develop. And there are way, way more influences on developing values than struggles to survive.

    Were you making a statement about the averages across history?

    If the values are built into the nursery which is society, and develop in the individual because of those influences, then they might as well be defined as coming down from heaven. They are just as mysterious, complicated, and difficult to define, prove, or disprove. They are taken on Faith.

  40. Godthorn
    October 9th, 2006 @ 1:21 am

    Forest C, just what do you think is the raison detre of society? Sociologists have found no need to appeal to heaven in order to unravel the “mysteries” of human values. Their origins and purposes are fairly obvious.

    If you prefer “Development of Species” to “Evolution of Species,” feel free.

    And for clarification of my point that our values emerged from our struggle to survive, I refer you to my just posted #58 under RA’s “Not So Simple.”

  41. severalspeciesof
    October 9th, 2006 @ 8:16 am

    RA.

    You’re flawed, but I don’t know which RA to “disprove”.

  42. Internet Strangler
    October 10th, 2006 @ 3:31 am

    I admire RAs writing. He is looking at things objectively. What he writes is more than just an arguement to tear apart and look for flaws. I enjoy reading what he has to say. I agree that it’s right to quesion something that we don’t agree with, but why do so many people have to be assholes about it? I also notice a lot of atheists are more interested in religion bashing than discussing it. Venting maybe?

  43. atheist
    October 10th, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

    No Internet Strangler, to look at things objectively would be to condemn theism and its ramifications in general. Theism is a falsehood, prolonged by beliefs that have no rational justification. The whole idea behind skepticism is to look at claims critically, which you call to ‘tear apart and look for flaws’. Yet it is precisely this process–tearing apart ideas and looking for flaws–which drives all human progress. It is right to question something, but sometimes those who hold the ideas in question label those doing the questioning as ‘assholes’, simply because they’re bold enough to question.

  44. Godthorn
    October 10th, 2006 @ 11:17 pm

    I have always accorded religion a great deal of respect. I know that if I don’t I’ll lose half my Christian friends and might even have to seek my livlihood in some other locale. I also know that if I badmouth Islam or Mohammed, some devout fellow may hunt me down and cut my head off.

    Now that I’ve vented, let’s discuss.

  45. Irreligious
    October 11th, 2006 @ 7:54 pm

    Isn’t the public debate on religion really just a debate between fundamentalist theists and everybody else? What difference does it make to the rest of us whether one believes in a single, supreme being, no dieties or 20,000 demigods, so long as none of us is forced to share someone else’s unfounded beliefs or live under the dictates of their dogma? If there is a real public debate going on out there between theists and atheists, well, all I have to say is it’s a barely perceptible one.

  46. James magnano
    April 12th, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

    Here’s the simple proof you need. Not too wordy, and easy enough for anyone to test.

    Jesus said many things. Most of which completely contradicted everything else he said, but believers say that this is simple mis-interpretation.

    So here is (a paraphrased version of) something Jesus MANY times said that CANNOT be interpreted in anyway, there was no room for error or misunderstanding. Clear precise instructions on how to pray, what you can pray for and how you will be answered.

    “Anything Anyone prays for will be given to them, nothing is impossible”

    So pray for anything you like as long as it’s “impossible” and not something that could be answered by coincidence. The rules or prayer state that you will get it. But you will not. So, Jesus lied. But Jesus was the perfect human, God incarnate. He can’t lie, and wouldn’t. Yet he did lie, because what he said in the Bible MANY times is easily proven to be not true.

    Therefore Jesus was not God, and we can assume that since there is no proof of God, and every God ever thought to be factual is now relegated to Myth, and every God currently worshipped will also one day be a Myth, that God does not and has never existed. Not that I expect any believer to change their minds. Just because their own Bible and Dogma turns against them, proves that the “founder” of Christianity was a liar doesn’t mean they’ll stop believing, because they’ll never admit to being wrong.

    Time to step up and provide REAL proof of God. The burden of proof is not on us to DISPROVE an invisible murderous being, it’s your burden to prove he exists. It’s like that for every other argument, why do you feel that you’re special? That you are above providing actual answers to actual questions?

  • Basic Assumptions

    First, there is a God.

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