ARCHIVES:

Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

10/25/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Here's What the Evangelical Christian Must Defend

By John W. Loftus

He or she needs to defend the existence of the social Trinitarian God (versus an anti-social Trinitarian God) of the Bible (which had a long process of formation and of borrowing material from others) who never began to exist and will never cease to exist (even though everything we experience has a beginning and an end), who never learned any new truths, who does not think (for thinking demands weighing temporal alternatives), who is not free with respect to deciding his own nature, who revealed himself through a poor medium (history) in a poor era (ancient times), who condemns all of humanity for the sins of the first human pair, who commanded genocide, who allows intense suffering in this world (yet does not follow the same moral code he commands believers to follow), who's Son (the 2nd person of the trinity) became incarnate in Jesus (even though no one has ever made sense of a person who is 100% man and 100% divine) to be punished for our sins (even though there is no correlation between punishment and forgiveness) who subsequently bodily arose from the dead (even though the believer in miracles has an almost impossible double-burden of proof here) and now lives embodied forever in a “spiritual” human body to return in the future (even though the NT is clear that the end of all kingdoms and the establishment of God's kingdom was to be in their generation), who sent the 3rd person of the trinity to lead his followers into "all truth" (yet fails in every generation to do this), who will also judge us based upon what conclusions we reach about the existence of this God and what he has done (paralleling the ancient barbaric thought police), and who will reward believers by taking away their freedom and punish the dammed by letting them retain their freedom?

Interesting hypothesis, if so. This is such a large claim. The larger the claim is, the harder it is to defend it.

16 comments:

Aspentroll said...

Of course none of this matters to those who don't believe in
any of the christian myth.

Fortunately it may help sway the thinking of the deluded.

liniasmax said...

I read this earlier today over on the debunking site and I printed it out (kind of like I printed the Bible contradictions thing here a few months back). I'm not really an argumentative type and I don't shoot from the hip well until I know something inside and out.

I used to look argumentative when I was an apologetics fanatic, but I'm realizing that I wasn't that good at it after all, because I didn't have to be. I spent most of my time convincing the convinced - so then I became a Calvinist/preterist freak who liked arguing against the Pelagian "errors" and dispensational sensationalism. I was really a better theologian than apologist, because I had to know theology better - heck everybody already knew that God existed and that Christ was the right revelation, but no one bought into my reformed thinking down here in the Southern U.S. All my immediate family is oneness pentecostal - they never thought I was "saved" anyway - when they find out this deconversion thing, they'll KNOW I was never...

Oh well - I like this John Loftus question thingy. In and of itself, it's a great argument and I still maintain that the fact that we have to "argue" at all is the biggest red flag. God (or no God) should be obvious...but it's not... and I maintain that He's only "mysterious" because that's the required spin to keep Him alive...

"Who are you oh man to question the things of GOD?"

I'm Liniasmax...and your God is too circular; I like amoebas...

resonate11 said...

liniasmax said... "I still maintain that the fact that we have to "argue" at all is the biggest red flag. God (or no God) should be obvious...but it's not... and I maintain that He's only "mysterious" because that's the required spin to keep Him alive..."

Right on!

Laughing Buddha said...

Wow, liniasmax. You should write fortune cookies or something. That statement was DEEP.

It IS ONLY the ambiguity and mystery of things that cannot be dogmatically defined that gives those things their power.

That, of course, is how men designed the first "priesthoods". Make big statements about mysterious 'gods' and then offer one's self as the true, anointed "explainer/defender/revealer". Nice work if you can stomach it. ;)

.:webmaster:. said...

"I still maintain that the fact that we have to "argue" at all is the biggest red flag. God (or no God) should be obvious...but it's not..."

People argue over UFOs, Big Foot, Allah, Reincarnation, and a host of other silly things. All of those topics are big red flags to the superstitious nature of humans and the strikingly stunted ability to reason logically.

If no one was insisting that "God is crying for you to repent and worship his god-man son..." etc., then there would be nothing to argue about. Not too many people are arguing about whether or not the gods of Mt. Olympus actually exist these days. But people did argue about it for over 2,000 years! Imagine! People arguing about whether or not there were gods on Mt. Olympus for 20 centuries! And most people in Europe believed in Zeus and his ilk! MOST PEOPLE! Only a pitiful handful expressed doubt about it.

Think about it.

Spirula said...

webmaster said;
superstitious nature of humans and the strikingly stunted ability to reason logically

What is your take on why this behavior persists?

My own take, from an evolutionary perspective, is that logic and reason are derivatives of the strategizing necessary for hunting/gathering, as well as dealing with competitive tribes (whether it be battle or truce).

But in the context of the actual day-to-day social interactions of the tribe or village, the community relationships, emotional bonds, and rituals (again, more social bonding) are the dominating behaviors, and none of which are typically "logical". Sure, reason and logic may play a role in internal conflicts and social hierarchy, but often this was overshadowed by some ritualization as well(often irrational to the outsider).

I think the individual churches and their beliefs are just extensions of this basic human need. They appeal more to the emotional and ritualistic side of our nature. Since this is the more dominant component of our day-to-day social life, the perpetuation of these myths continue as well. It is functioning more as a social glue than anything else.

Anyway, that is my somewhat off-the-cuff assessment.

redtail said...

That is a very good and interesting point Spirula...My own experience was that fellowship, and all the ritualistic behaviors involved with it, were what drew people in-myself included. Whats more, thats the thing most people seem to have such a hard time reconciling the loss of-again-myself included. Take the emotion out of the picture and it all falls apart.

This point was proven to me by the fact that as soon as I lost my belief in the christian religion, I started looking for a replacement! I was glad to be rid of my illogical belief to be sure but I guess the need that drove it was still there.

Anonymous said...

that was one of the most poorly thought out articles posted on this site and thats saying alot.

liniasmax said...

Yes, oh anonymous one, and the fact that it needed to be articulated at all shows just how poorly religious dogma is actually reasoned...I know it won't sway people who reason poorly... just read what the smart folks said above. But there ain't an anonymous soul out there that can refute Loftus' "poorly thought out" challenge as stated here - I bet you can't and I sure as heck ain't gonna try...I already tried about six months ago and my faith crumbled...Have a good weekend...

stronger now said...

Anonymous said...
"that was one of the most poorly thought out articles posted on this site and thats saying alot."

WOW! I hardly know how one would try and defend the original post against such a well articulated rebuttal such as this.
:p

If that's the best you got anony then bugger off.

Lorena said...

" that was one of the most poorly thought out articles posted on this site and thats saying alot."

Perhaps, anonymous, you should post an article of your own, and let us be the judges of how well you think out your posts. And we you do that, do tell us who you are, so we can laugh at you using your own name.

chris said...

Spirula,
Though I cannot articulate it quite as well, I agree with what you propose. I think a lot of it stems from those basic thought patterns of earlier times when survival was the first thing on men's minds, and I don't believe that just because we've become more modernized that those basic "instincts" completely go away.

Also, the fact that what happens after we die is unknown to us is still a major player in keeping us questioning and open for these types of beliefs ("us" meaning mankind as a species). We simply can't know what it is like to cease to exist, and so we imagine that we continue to exist, something that I think is very powerful.

And, when loved ones die, we can't always face the loss all at once. It is comforting to think that we will see them again, so we cling to anything that gives us hope of that.

Well, that's part of my take, anyway.

Chris

Laughing Buddha said...

Derr... dat was one of de most poorly... derr...

Hey, asshole. It's "that's saying A LOT" (TWO WORDS), not "alot" as one word. You mouth off anonymASSly about the poor execution of someone's reason in an article, then you betray your own thinly-veiled stupidity by using a grade-school malapropism in attacking said article.

By the way, Why not use your name and some actual arguments concerning your opposing viewpoint rather than calling names anonymously. My name's Steve. I, personally, [b][i]while in no way a representative of the website in any official capacity[/b][/i], would be glad to chew up and spit out any pathetic defense of the Xtian faith you might muster. Your own evanjellyfish "theo-logic-less cemetery" in the city of Louisville provided me with all the ammunition I need to sink your sorry little Noah's arkie.

notabarbie said...

My momma always told me that a critique made anonymously should always be ignored. I find it so interesting that most of the anonymous attacks posted here are made by Christians, I never knew what cowards they were outside of their own religious realm until now.

Anonymous said...

"who does not think (for thinking demands weighing temporal alternatives)"

Good point. I hadn't considered that.
I had always heard that "God contemplates only Himself" If true that might account for some of his behavior! ;)

I actually quite fancy the image of God contemplating himself.
"Mirror, Mirror on the wall who is the most almighty of them all?"

Sorry for the anony post. I couldn't be bothered to assume an identity. Maybe when God dies I will assume his!

webmdave said...

Spot on John. Like you say in your book, the bible is just the musings of a primitive, barbaric, superstitious people which tells us nothing about this universe. A loving god wouldn't threaten or send people to eternal torture. A loving god wouldn't have let a fallen angel ruin his plans for the world. A loving creator god could have easily ended this universe (turning all the mass back into energy) the moment satan fell into it and started again. Or a loving god would have nipped down (or shouted down) to stop Eve. etc A loving god wouldn't let the world keep running with millions going to hell; he would take his chosen ones off to a new planet/universe as seed. It would have been an act of callous cruelty to let the world continue even a day after Christs victory. Infact such action would be worse than hitler did. A picky christ who wins the right to save everyone but saves only a minority is no hero. A fireman rushing into a building were he could save everyone but only saving the woman he fancied would not be hailed a hero. Christians are caught in catch 22 between the good of trying to save others from hell verses not wanting to make abominable threats to others- especially when the Bible says only those foreknown and forechosen will be saved. The official doctrine of the Church of England since 1995 is that there is no eternal torture- unbelievers just cease to exist- annihilationism.
Even Genesis 3v22 says Adam & Eve were put out before they could eat of eternal life. Humans don't exist for ever, why would they be tortured for ever? Humans probably cease to exist at death