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Why Christians Don’t Argue with Atheists

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So what do you do? What can you say to an atheist who will not let you speak, ridicules your beliefs, laughs at your claims and is an obvious adherent to the godless philosophies of New Atheism as put forth by  Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris? Watch this video. It’s the only way to counter the counter-evangelists. (This is part one of a multi-part series that will  continue next week called “Of Pagans, Pearls and Pork.”)

Here’s a review from one YouTube commenter: This is hilarious and sadly pathetic. The atheist is actually MAKING POINTS using valid arguments, and all the Christian is doing is preaching biblical myths and making baseless assertions without providing any empirical evidence to support his fictional babble. Typical. Why would you even upload a video of yourself being intellectually dominated and horrendously making a delusional fool of yourself? And, you have the nerve to talk about *reason*? Wow.

Worker Demoted for Discussing Intelligent Design

The Alliance Defense Fund has filed a complaint against Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in a case involving freedom of speech in the workplace. A NASA specialist working for JPL was demoted and threatened with termination for discussing Intelligent Design with willing co-workers. Read the rest here.

44 Comments

  1. That “citizenlink” article about David Coppedge (the guy who got demoted) is a bit too full of spin, so I encourage people to read this San Gabriel Valley Tribune link instead, which appears to have far less bias.

    Regarding the video, it’s my opinion that you were both rude to each other, although I still would’ve shaken your hand, but that’s just me.

    Although I’m not too clear on why you’d expect someone to listen to you when you showed no interest in listening to them, but (shrug).

    • I came in the middle of a “beat-down.” That is, the atheist was beating down another evangelist by not listening to a word he was saying. As I tried to talk a little with him, he pulled the same maneuver on me. So all I was able to do, all I could do, was preach! My motivations for doing this will be explained further in coming weeks.

      And Nohm, I’m sure you would have shaken my hand, too.

  2. I guess I just don’t really see where he wasn’t listening to you. If you’re going off a script, then I can understand why he might try to rush the person to the end of the script, assuming he’s heard it before (and it appears that he has).

    Not sure exactly what you mean by a “beat down”, though.

    Lastly, I don’t see anything about him that would show me evidence that he is “an obvious adherent to the godless philosophies of New Atheism as put forth by Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris”.

    For the record, I don’t consider myself to be an adherent to their philosophies, whether obvious or not.

  3. You were speaking with him, but just at him. Why bother listening when you’re clearly trying to get back to a very set track (aka the good person test).

    You cannot answer the questions, so you just scurry to the gospel and ignore the person. This man in particular wasn’t very patient with you but I can understand why.

  4. And for laughs, would you mind defining what Old Atheism is, Steve?

  5. Steve, great job sticking to your guns. He won’t be able to say you didn’t warn him, and his ‘logic and reason’ will all evaporate with his self-righteousness when he stands before the Judgment.

  6. Old Atheism: The former set of ignorant beliefs held by people who just watched science erase the BS that used to be their truth.

  7. to whom it may concern,

    when i go out and share the Gospel…i typically get 1 or more who challenge me as this man has. no big deal, i’m comfortable in the message i’m delivering. oh, and i wish you could witness the time i went to the local high school…well, that was crazy! most, students came by to either mock the message or down right cuss at me. (i guess because they lacked any kind of broader vocabulary terms).

    this is just a typical day of the life of an evangelist. humph, no hand shake from the atheist…someone’s got a chip on his shoulder.

    great job steve! the WORD OF GOD IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD PENETRATING INTO THE BONE & MARROW [heart] of the hearer.

  8. Nu Muvs, and how would you say that your description differs from “New Atheism”?

    Glenn, sounds like your hands are clean then. He was warned, and all that “smarty-talk” will go away soon and he’ll know that you were RIGHT.

    “Logic and reason” being used to understand something. Feh. You certainly wouldn’t do anything so silly at your job, would you, Glenn?

  9. Steve,

    I am also interested in your way of separating “old atheists” from the “new atheists”.

    I honestly don’t really understand what those terms mean, as you use them (I don’t use either term, myself). Help please?

    What I’ve read elsewhere is people defining “old atheists” as those who complained about how much it sucked to not be a believer, while the “new atheists” don’t seem as bummed out.

  10. Steve,

    I thought you said in the recorded sermon from February that the way to get an atheist thinking is to ask him if a building had a builder, just like you did to that other atheist you mentioned in the sermon. You could reason it out together.

    Maybe that part wasn’t recorded.

    Seriously, though, I wish we could have a video of the entire encounter, including the atheist’s alleged “beat down” of another evangelist. If he came to your booth with the explicit intention of a hostile argument, then I think he’s in the wrong.

    At the same time, I’ve watched the video multiple times now, and I don’t see him doing anything I haven’t already watched you — or Ray or Tony the Lawman or Todd Friel — doing.

    In fact, I would say that he’s listening to you, by talking about something that you just mentioned, every time he talks.

    And he talks a lot. I definitely think he should have asked a single question and then allowed you time to respond, instead of hitting you with multiple questions/situations at once.

    But you when you ignore his questions and statements, then I think it’s fair that he views it as disrespect.

    Having said all of that, I accept that the clip above is really short, and may not accurately reflect the full discussion. I certainly don’t like his statement about you babbling on, but you weren’t dealing with his questions, and were just talking at him. I think that there’s a more diplomatic way to put what he was feeling.

  11. Nohm,

    I see the New Atheists as angry and purposely argumentative with attitudes that are not very respectful, ala Hitchens, et al. The older type atheists were not so overtly aggressive. I don’t see you as a new atheist type.

    The encounter on the video was pretty much how it was.

    I arrived at the fair to see this atheist verbally assaulting a newer guy who had little chance to speak. Though he is pretty conversant in apologetics, the atheist wouldn’t acknowledge his answers to be reasonable; that’s when I stepped. I said something like, “Let me show you how to deal with this guy.” My only intention at this point was to just let him hear the Gospel once, whether he accepted it or not.

    The reasons for doing this will be explained more fully in my series starting (hopefully) next week.

    Good questions.

  12. Nohm, there is a difference between axiomatic proof (i.e. logic) and saying “This makes sense to me, therefore it is logical and I am logical.”

    This guy probably never heard of George Boole.

  13. New or Old atheist quotes:

    “You think [God has] no care for man? Why, you can see from all these votive pictures here how many people have escaped the fury of storms at sea by praying to [God], who has brought them safe to harbor.” To which [Atheist] replied, “Yes, indeed, but where are the pictures of all those who suffered shipwreck and perished in the waves?”

    From the same Atheist –

    [He made] firewood of an image of [God], telling [God] thus to perform his thirteenth [Miracle] by cooking turnips.

  14. Hey Pastor Steve way to go!!! I’m the type that likes to talk to people like that because I like giving the evidences for Christianity (he mentions in the video about other gods that would send you to hell for what you believe. Problem is there is no solid evidence for that. He is bringing up myths. Myths do not fall into the category of truth because of the lack of evidence in comparison to the massive amount of evidence for Christianity. Hence Christianity does not fall under the category of myth. There is so much more that could be said on this). Most atheist I have run into in the past do not want to talk, they just want you to know they are an atheist and then they run away. There was one time though I did get to talk to an atheist and he would not get off the fact that there was a NIV translation. He thought since there was a KJV translation that we didn’t need the NIV. I tried to explain the way the Bible is translated but all he wanted to do was raise his voice and not debate. So I understand your bottom line on this Pastor Steve. However, as you probably know there is evidence for the existence of God and validity for Christianity (creation, conscience and Christ. The three C’s to seeing God as I call them. The fourth most important element would be the witness of the Holy Spirit. But as we know atheist will not recognize this element and they find delusional ways about explaining away the other three). But yes I realize that when it comes to salvation it is not about evidence first and foremost (if it was about evidence over 6 billion people would be saved) it is about the heart not the head. Jesus proved who he was time and time again in the Gospel’s with evidence and still they did not believe (John 9; John 20:24-31). Two Scriptures come to mind:

    John 6:44-“No one can come to me [Jesus] unless the Father who sent me draws him [unbelievers], . . .” And
    2 Cor. 4:4-“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

    Keep it up Pastor Steve and God Bless you and the team!!!

  15. Glenn wrote:

    Nohm, there is a difference between axiomatic proof (i.e. logic) and saying “This makes sense to me, therefore it is logical and I am logical.”

    I agree.

    Can you point to anyone who says the latter? I can, but they’re theists; I mostly hear that statement from Muslims.

    This guy probably never heard of George Boole.

    Maybe, maybe not. He might know of boolean logic, though, without knowing the man who invented it. I’m still not sure why you think that his logic and reason will evaporate (your word), whether or not he meets with The Creator.

    For the record, I am willing to be presented with any argument of logic for the existence of one or more gods; I just haven’t seen one that works, yet.

  16. Steve wrote: “I see the New Atheists as angry and purposely argumentative with attitudes that are not very respectful, ala Hitchens, et al. The older type atheists were not so overtly aggressive.

    Wouldn’t you say that you are aggressive (overtly or otherwise) about spreading the Gospel? If so, then why shouldn’t others be just as aggressive in the opposite direction?

    Hitchens might be a person who is “not very respectful”, but I have a hard time understanding how that claim could be justified when referring to Dawkins or Harris.

    Personally, I don’t see much of a problem with either side being aggressive, as long as they’re not being jerks, as I mentioned in the “Jerky Evangelism” thread.

    As a side note, I could fairly be described as “argumentative”… whether you view it as “purposefully” or not is up to you. 🙂

    Lastly, Steve wrote: “Though he is pretty conversant in apologetics, the atheist wouldn’t acknowledge his answers to be reasonable

    I haven’t heard an apologetics answer that I view as reasonable either. Although I guess this depends on what you mean by “reasonable”. For example, I find it hard to believe that you’d accept Islamic apologetics for the divinity of the Qur’an as being “reasonable”.

  17. Thomas Moore wrote: “Most atheist I have run into in the past do not want to talk, they just want you to know they are an atheist and then they run away.

    Yeah, just like me. 😉

    I’m the type that likes to talk to people like that because I like giving the evidences for Christianity

    Well, I’m right here, if you’d like. What do you consider to be piece of evidence that should be the most persuasive to someone who does not already believe?

  18. Of course not, remember Steve made it explicitly clear previously that the only people who are ‘reasonable’ are the people telling Steve what he wants to hear.

  19. Hey Nohm- You are rare when it comes to an atheist that will speak. What I meant is in the key words “run into” meaning seeing them face to face when I have been out witnessing. So you (and the other atheist like you on this website) would count Nohm as one who has not run and I am thankful for that.

    I already mentioned in my first post about the three C’s to seeing God: creation, conscience and Christ Jesus. Creation is absolute proof there is a Creator. I know you probably do not believe that, but it is a free country to think void of evidence. Every building has a builder. Anyone would agree with that. So how is it that a person who is an atheist will agree that a building has a builder but will not agree that something that is a billion times more complex than a building (creation) does not have a builder or in this case a Creator?
    Second is the conscience. The fact that we as human beings know right from wrong sets us already apart from every creature on the planet. Where is the idea of right and wrong coming from? Justice and the entire court system is based on the fact that right and wrong exist outside our own thinking (of coarse there are elements of right and wrong that vary from culture to culture but every culture on earth (that has been some what successful) agrees that murder, stealing, and adultery is wrong. Mainly the Ten Commandments). In other words we did not just come up with right and wrong in the end. If we had (humans) then there is no ultimate reason to live because anything ultimately goes. Think of all the crimes that go unsolved every year. If there is no final Judgment Day then this is truely a world not worth living in because there is no final justice. It truely would be a scary world.
    Thirdly there is the man Jesus Christ. We know he existed outside of the Bible because of the many people who wrote about him in his time (Josephus and others in the first and second century). Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. The ultimate stamp of approval that he was who he said he was, God in the flesh, was his resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus binds everything together. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no meaning to life. People may be able to make there own meaning but ultimately it will end in death. Jesus Christ and his life, death and resurrection give humanity hope in the face of final despair.

    There is a final step, is the witness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the most important element. If a person is open minded and willing to except the truth of the three C’s then the final step to bringing it all together is being born of the Spirit. This is where faith comes from. A faith based on evidence. That evidence being: creation, conscience and Christ. And finally the witness of God’s Holy Spirit. This can only happen with a person who has not only a open mind but a open heart. I pray Nohm that both your mind and heart would be open.

    Now I know that in each of these areas Nohm there is more depth that could be explored. This is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak on these issues. I believe that these three are the best evidences for God’s existence besides the historicity of the Bible, very existence of Israel, the existence of evil, and the fact that every human society has believed in a supreme being throughout history, so on and so forth. I pray this will help Nohm.

  20. Thomas wrote:

    very existence of Israel

    So, I’ll get back to the other issues in your post, but I noticed that you wrote this. Dede once wrote the same thing to me, but never did get back to me with how exactly Israel’s existence is evidence of God.

    Please explain.

    As for the “buildings have a builder”, please research “Paley’s Watchmaker Argument criticisms” to find out why I don’t accept that. Plus, it’s an argument for polytheism, which I doubt you intend. Does a building have *a* builder, or *many* builders? Since it’s the latter, your argument by way of analogy would then result in “Creation has creators”, which I doubt you’d be happy with.

    Lastly, regarding Josephus, you have to be able to guess what I’m going to say there, or else I’ll *really* question your research into this subject.

    In short, what you’ve listed above as “evidence” are all issues I’m very well aware of, and no, I don’t see them as evidence for your God in any way. I do see them as evidence that you haven’t researched the criticisms of your arguments, though, or else you would deal with the counter-arguments to your evidence when you presented them.

    Be well,

    Nohm

  21. Thomas Moore wrote: “If we had (humans) then there is no ultimate reason to live because anything ultimately goes.

    So, is your belief in God the only thing that’s holding you back from killing your family and friends?

    Think of all the crimes that go unsolved every year.

    Ok.

    If there is no final Judgment Day then this is truely a world not worth living in because there is no final justice.

    Please explain how “a world not worth living in” is the conclusion from the premise “there is no final justice”; I don’t know how you make that leap.

    It truely would be a scary world.

    Says you. I disagree.

    The world is what it is, and some crimes go unpunished. Deal with it.

    That’s an argument from I-feel-better-having-hope-even-if-it’s-false.

    As for your claims of Jesus, you do realize that only Christians and Muslims believe that He rose from the dead, right?

    I hate to say it Thomas, as I know that you presented these in good faith, but those are all some absolutely horrid arguments, and I very much encourage you to research the criticisms of the arguments. If you are able to formulate counter-counter-arguments, I’m always more than willing to listen/read.

  22. Hey Nohm-I am not surprised in the least about the things you have wrote. You are blind to spiritual things (and in being blind to spiritual things you are blind to many natural things) and ultimately no matter what I or anyone else says you will always find a way to explain things a way in your mind and heart. Your mind and heart are closed and it will take an act of God to open them. Though this does not mean one should give up speaking to you. My question for you would be what evidence would convince you that God exists? Once that can be answered one can move on from there.

    I would also like to point out you say that I have not researched the criticisms to the arguments I presented. As a matter of fact I have but I already knew that you would be presenting them. I am familiar with many of the criticisms to what I presented but I do not believe those criticisms ultimately hold up. You have put your faith in the criticisms because you like the outcome they create, no God equals no Judgment Day, not Judgment Day equals do whatever you want to do ultimately, and do whatever you want to do equals freedom in your mind and heart.

    I would like to comment on the existence of Israel being evidence for the existence of God. The Hebrew people have been one of the most oppressed people in the history of the world. They have been enslaved many, many times. They have been attacked many, many times with the intention of being destroyed and yet they still exist today. The size of there country is about the size of Florida and yet they still are here today. Back in the 1960’s they were attacked twice by the Arab countries around them, completely out number. In both cases the Arab countries had the upper hand and yet in the end Israel won the day. This does not make any sense except that God was fulfilling his promise to always protect Israel. I have a feeling Nohm that you will not agree and that is ok. But it does not change the fact of the truth that God protected Israel and continues too.

    At one point you say “The world is what it is, and some crimes go unpunished. Deal with it.” Tell that to a person who lost their loved one in a rape and murder over 15 years ago. They never found the killer. Without a Judgment Day when everything will made right, this truely would be an unbearable world to live in.

    There are many other points you raised about what I wrote that I would like to address (I’m sure there are other things in my post you would like to bring up) but I do not think we will have the room or the time on this website to do it. I personally would like to continue these discussions but time is a issue for me at the moment. I have a two year old and another one (baby girl) on the way. Also going to school online and work. So I guess we can just see where things go. God bless Nohm.

  23. Great video Steve…..love the music in the end. Your evangalism stories are always inspiring.

  24. Thomas wrote: “I would also like to point out you say that I have not researched the criticisms to the arguments I presented.

    With all due respect, I don’t believe that for a second.

    As a matter of fact I have but I already knew that you would be presenting them.

    So, what a person would then do in this situation is to deal with those objections when you present the arguments.

    That’s certainly what I do.

    I am familiar with many of the criticisms to what I presented but I do not believe those criticisms ultimately hold up.

    And yet you don’t explain why.

    I don’t believe that you’ve done research into the criticisms, or that you expected my replies, because you wouldn’t have presented the original arguments in the way you did.

    It’s all really moot, since I asked you in the beginning to present arguments that would be persuasive to someone who didn’t already believe. What you presented are the opposite of that.

    Again, I say this strongly, but with all due respect.

    Be well,

    Nohm

  25. “My question for you would be what evidence would convince you that God exists?”

    Ooh, I’d like to take a crack at this one. Here are a few options:

    – Direct personal experience. Examples would be meeting a ‘prophet’ capable of supernatural acts, observing one of those supernatural acts, recieving a ‘vision’ not explicable by hallucination, etc.
    – Indirect experience: if every news source stated broadcasting video footage of a modern-day moses parting the english channel and leading the taxi drivers of england to france, or if the clouds across america spontaniously formed into a massive message in Comic Sans font: “Vote Palin, Obummer is the antichrist” or a coded message in our DNA (“I am God, your Creator, worship me and give Joss Whedon a bigger budget. Seriously, the man’s a genius”).
    – Overwhelming evidence for creationism, or for the supernatural events of the bibles: for instance, a global flood plain in the geographic column, ancient texts across the globe reporting a moment of darkness in 33AD, radiometric dates, star red-shift and tree-ring records inexplicably stopping at less than 10,000 years, a “kind” barrier that stops animals developing past a certain point…
    – Biblical prophesies literally coming true. Don’t try to give me that Nostradamus metaphorgotten rubbish: whatever happened to the sun turning black and the moon blood-red and the rider on the white horse coming forth with a bow and crown, bent on conquest… of course, that all rather overlaps with my first two points.

    Of course, given that 1, 2 and 4 are out of human control, what I generally ask for is an example of 3. When I look at the universe, I don’t see an example of a building or a painting, which requires a builder/painter: I see a pattern of sand dunes formed by friction and the wind, a layered rainforest formed by the interactions of the ecosystem, heavy elements with specific arrangments of subatomic particles formed in the nuclear heart of dying stars, a spiral galaxy formed by gravity and centrifical force. No less beautiful, no less complex: but not requiring intelligence.

    Since natural complexity doesn’t always require intelligence, it cannot be counted as evidence in favor of intelligence unless it can be demonstrated that no natural systems can account for that specific arrangement of complexity.

  26. Quasar – I am not surprised in the least about your answers. But what is interesting is that if God would do the things you mentioned you still not believe. That is what is so sad. You have literally believed the skin of the truth stuffed with a lie. You see atheisim does have “seeds” of truth other wise absolutly no one would take atheism seriously (much like the Greek gods today. Though there was a time when atheism was not taken seriously at all before the days of satan’s lie of Darwinism. After Darwinism was propagated on the earth by satan, that is when atheism took off). An example of a “seed” or “skin” of an atheism truth would be at looking at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There have been through the years theories developed to explain away the resurrection (the swoon theory and others) but these theories when seriously looked into DO NOT HOLD UP UNDER TOUGH SCRUTINY. Correct me if I am wrong but the basis of these theories is rooted in materialism (all we see is all there is) which as you know is a foundation of atheism. Please ask yourself, “Is my heart and mind truly open to the Truth?” God bless.
    P.S.—Quasar, some of the things you mention are going to happen so be patient (“the sun turning black and the moon blood-red and the rider on the white horse coming forth with a bow and crown, bent on conquest…”). When Jesus Christ returns to the earth.

    Nohm – I believe I did deal with some of the objections the second time, but no I did not write them all out the first time. Really because of time and space is the reason I did not do that. As you know we could go very in depth with these issues. I would like to point out how you mentioned how the building analogy is a weak one to use because it can be used to prove polytheism. You could say that this is where this analogy is weak but interestingly you are still asserting there is a creator of some kind. Really when I used that analogy it is to get to the basic premise that created things have a Creator. I guess I should have said a painting has a PAINTER, meaning one Creator. Now I do want to point that though I have studied many different objections toward Christianity and the existence of God (books like “Why I became an Atheist” by John Loftus and Charles Templeton’s book “Farewell to God”) I still have much more to learn and study in the area of apologetics (would like to read Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation” and Richard Dawkins book “The God Delusion.”) I know that God will continue to give me wisdom in these area’s. God bless.

    I would like to say to the both of you a great quote that explains the situation, this is not from me, it is a quote I heard, “The man with an experience is not at the mercy of the man with an argument.” (paraphrased). I have EXPERIENCED the living God in relationship. I have EXPERIENCED the power of Jesus’ resurrection. I have EXPERIENCED the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. I will be praying for the both of you, please repent and trust Jesus for salvation.

  27. ARRRGGGHHH! lol. Thomas Moore said: “Quasar – I am not surprised in the least about your answers. But what is interesting is that if God would do the things you mentioned you still not believe. ”

    That’s so cute. You ask what it would take to believe, receive an answer, and then wave it away because you know better. Nice way to protect your GOD from actually gettin up off his butt and doing something.

  28. Perdita, but don’t you know? Thomas Moore has amazing mind-reading abilities! He knows what Quasar thinks before Quasar himself does!

    It’s amazing!

    Thomas, the fact that you changed the building argument to a painting argument shows that you have not researched the criticisms of Paley’s argument (which is the exact one that you’re using). Hence, I still feel confident that your claim of looking up the criticisms of your own arguments (and NOT books written by atheists, that’s a completely different issue) is something that I cannot accept.

    As for “atheism comes from Darwinism”… are you serious? Also, if Satan created Darwinism, then he has a great mathematical background. I mean, you have researched this subject, haven’t you?

    Yeah, I know the real answer to that one.

    Lastly, you wrote: “The man with an experience is not at the mercy of the man with an argument.

    You are the one making positive claims, not me. Therefore experience doesn’t fit into this since I am not “the man with an argument”. I asked you for evidence of God’s existence, and you gave me a group of arguments which are well-known for their fallacies, fallacies that you seem to not have researched (since you haven’t mentioned any besides the couple that I brought up).

    Look, if you haven’t researched this stuff, it’s ok. I hope this encounter will encourage you to do so. As I’ve said before, when/if you find problems with the criticisms, please bring them up to me.

    Here, I’ll give you a hint as to your problem with the building/painting/creation argument:

    What does a building or painting have in common with “creation”, that would allow you to make the analogy that you made?

  29. Did the painter create the paints, the brushes, and the canvas?

    Did the paint-maker make the raw materials used to make the paints?

    Did the brush-maker make the raw materials used to make the brushes?

    This “painter” sounds absolutely nothing like the God that you worship.

    Thomas, I am not talking about objections to the existence of God or Christianity, as I haven’t presented any to you. I am talking about objections to your specific arguments, which are supposedly “evidence of God”.

    If your arguments aren’t sound, and in some cases they’re even invalid, then the “evidence” goes *poof*.

    I would be willing to try again if you would present just ONE piece of evidence, but what you consider to be the best piece of evidence with the target audience of someone who does not already believe. That last part is the important one.

  30. Thomas,

    I apologize.

    Looking back on my last couple of posts, I realize that what I intended to be thought exercises could easily be viewed (especially in this medium and context) as challenges or “gotcha!” statements.

    That wasn’t my intention.

    I’ll stop beating around the bush and simply ask you to go to this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy

    Please focus on the criticisms part, as those are mostly what I’m trying to get at. I still have a few other objections to it, for being a faulty analogy, such as the “raw materials” one above (although that’s briefly discussed in the “Faulty Analogy” section).

    If you have any counter-arguments to the criticisms, I’m more than willing to read them.

    Lastly, you wrote: “You could say that this is where this analogy is weak but interestingly you are still asserting there is a creator of some kind.

    If you view that as me “asserting there is a creator of some kind”, then please understand that I only make that statement within the context of the argument you gave me.

    For example, let’s say I said “Just like a child has many teachers, a unicorn must have one and only one princess to take care of it”.

    If you then pointed out that the analogy actually leads to a unicorn having many princesses, that doesn’t mean you believe in unicorns.

  31. Quasar – I am not surprised in the least about your answers. But what is interesting is that if God would do the things you mentioned you still not believe.

    TM: “What would it take for you to believe in God?”
    Qu: “I would believe in God if X occured.”
    TM: “It is interesting that if X occured, you would still not believe in God.”

    Thomas, I am not lying. I do not lie easily, and my above post was a truthful representation of what I believe my reaction would be to the hypothesised events.

    Given that I am me, I would have assumed myself to be in the best position to judge such a thing. Certainly, my personal experience of being me would seem to be a better baseline from which to do so from whatever you could have gleaned from a few paragraphs of text on the internet, in addition to whatever stereotypes you assigned me by virtue of myself not holding a specific belief of yours.

    A conversation requires some basic premises be accepted by all parties involved. One of these premises is that, short of a motivation and within reasonable restrictions, and assuming none the other parties are pathological liars, none of the parties involved in the conversation will deliberately misrepresent their own opinion.

    If we are not holding to this premise, then a logical conversation can not be conducted.

    I will, however, be patient. Assuming that you are correct about the literal prophesies, and that they occur before I die, then I will accept christianity when I observe these events happening. I have my doubts as to their likelyhood, however.

    In the meantime, some empirical evidence in favor of creationism or biblical literalism wouldn’t go astray…

  32. Given that I am me, I would have assumed myself to be in the best position to judge such a thing. Certainly, my personal experience of being me would seem to be a better baseline from which to do so from whatever you could have gleaned from a few paragraphs of text on the internet, in addition to whatever stereotypes you assigned me by virtue of myself not holding a specific belief of yours.

    But Quasar – that’s what God says. Who am I going to believe about what you believe? You or God?

    This kind of goes back to the grassy field/ocean analogy. It’s not just that we see a grassy field when theists see an ocean. Theists see a grassy field also, but they believe that there really, really is an ocean with people drowning because that’s what they believe their GOD told them.

  33. Hey Nohm, Quasar and perdita- I just want to say I really enjoy hashing these things out together. The one thing I like about you guys (or gals?) is that you are not apathetic towards these issues. It makes it fun and interesting.

    Nohm- I will look into that link you sent me (I looked it over briefly but will need more time) and I know I will look at the criticisms to the watchmaker. I have briefly studied this analogy in the past and the criticisms that go along with it. But it has been awhile. You mentioned, I believe, a book in a post you wrote that would be a good read and I can’t find it above, do you remember? What books would you recommend to read on these types of issues? What I try to do when I read (I haven’t every time but what I like to do) is read one book that is for (in this case the existence of God) and at the same time read a book that is against the existence of God. Nohm you have also helped me in other ways to see the importance of giving a counter argument and then giving a counter counter argument. Particularly when speaking to atheist/people like you. Thank you for that. Though I will say that when it comes to knowing God it is fully and finally a matter of the heart and spirit. But the mind plays an important role too because what the mind does not understand the heart can’t worship. How it all works (salvation/being born-again) is truly and ultimately a mystery to our human intellect. God bless.

    perdita- Hey, I would like to make a comment on your statement which was, “That’s so cute. You ask what it would take to believe, receive an answer, and then wave it away because you know better. Nice way to protect your GOD from actually gettin up off his butt and doing something.” perdita you make a valid point here that should not go unnoticed. I apologize for not giving Quasar more credit for actually answering the statement of what it would take to believe. Quasar thank you for your answer and perdita thank you for pointing that out to me. Thankfully God can handle things himself without my help.

    Quasar- In my comment I am simply stating that the declaration you make is one of pride. In the past particularly when Jesus walked the earth people asked Jesus for a sign after they had just witnessed a sign already given. It came to the point that Jesus WOULD NOT give a sign because he (Jesus) knew that the people around him would not believe. I do not need to know you personally to know how you would react if God did want you want, because I already have God’s word on it. The Bible gives an accurate description of the human heart and how evil it is. I don’t know if you have heard this story before, “A man was on his house once trying to stay afloat during a flood. The waters were creeping up on every side of the house. The man pleaded for God to help him. First came a man in a boat and yelled to the man on the house, ‘Get in I will rescue you!’ The man on the house yelled back, ‘I’m waiting for God to save me.’ The man in the boat went on. This happen two more times, a larger boat came by and asked to help, but the man’s reply was the same, ‘I’m waiting for God to save me.’ Finally a helicopter came and the man on the house gave the same reply, ‘I’m waiting for God to save me.’ Sadly the man died in the flood when his house along with the man were swept away. When the man stood before God he asked God, ‘Why did you let me die?! I prayed to you for help! Why didn’t you help me!!’ God said too him, ‘I sent you two boats and a helicopter and you turned them all away.'” (paraphrased). Quasar, God has given you all the evidence you need to believe yet you want more, you are waiting for more. Well that more may not come please don’t let that happen while there is still time, repent and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. God bless.

  34. Thomas wrote:

    God has given you all the evidence you need to believe

    As I keep asking: what evidence? All you’ve provided so far are arguments.

    What’s the best example you have of this evidence?

    As for what “evidence” would cause me to believe, I honestly don’t know. I think we can agree that, if God exists, He certainly knows, right?

  35. Thomas wrote:

    You mentioned, I believe, a book in a post you wrote that would be a good read and I can’t find it above, do you remember?

    Hmmm, I don’t remember, and recommending books is not really something I would see myself doing often on Steve’s blog.

    What books would you recommend to read on these types of issues?

    So, it appears that you’re looking for anti-Christian or anti-God books, and I wouldn’t recommend any of them.

    What I would recommend are *critical thinking* and *formal logic* textbooks, that you should be able to easily find. The reason I say this is because while I disagree with the content of your arguments, I’m much more bothered by the construction of them. When you learn how to diagram an argument and test it for validity and soundness, I think that’s when you’ll see all the problems with “a painting has a painter” or your other arguments.

    You’ll see that your premises do not lead to the conclusions you present.

    To use an analogy, it’s like as if you’ve built a church, but it keeps falling down, and I’m pointing out that the church keeps falling apart. You then ask me for anti-church-building books, but I’m saying that what I think you really should be reading are books that deal with the fundamentals of building construction, and nothing specific to churches.

    In short, if you’re going to use arguments, I think it’s best if you learn the inner (mathematical) workings of arguments, instead of focusing on learning non-believer arguments.

  36. “Quasar, God has given you all the evidence you need to believe yet you want more, you are waiting for more. “

    I assure you, if God had given me all the evidence I needed to believe, I would believe.

    You are mistakenly assuming that I am someone who bases his beliefs primarily on emotion, and further that the emotion I am using as my primary motivator is pride. My primary motivating emotion is empathy, but this is subsumed by the fact that I do not base my beliefs on emotion at all. I am highly analytic, and I try to ensure that my beliefs are based on thought, rather than feeling.

    As such, it would go against my nature to deny evidence for any emotional reason, pride included. I am not one of those who would have denied the existance of the supernatural after meeting someone capable of the acts supposedly demonstrated in the New Testiment.

    I will not challenge your assertion that people who observed Jesus’s miracles did not accept it as evidence: you believe the bible wholeheatedly so such a challenge would be futile. I instead challenge your ability to determine, based on my posts, that I am one of those who would act in such an illogical, and quite frankly absurdly stupid, way. The bible did not specify me specifically, nor did it specify all unbelievers: it indicates that some unbelievers would act in this manner. What causes you to put me in this category, despite my continued protestations that such behavior would be stubbornly illogical?

    Your analogy misses the mark because you are claiming that God has sent me two boats and a helicopter, yet I’ve not seen or heard any sign of them. Further, you supposedly have a boat (evidence) provided by God, yet you don’t let me see it, choosing instead to chastise me for not accepting the boats and a helicopters I have still seen no sign of.

  37. Nohm- If what Quasar wants for evidence is the evidence you also are looking for then really what it comes down too is God showing you (the only section I can think of in Quasar’s post that a human being could show evidence for physically would be the third section. I know by me saying that that you will now want me to lay all the evidence out on a platter. I would be happy too, though I know that you will want more evidence on top of the other evidence). Every person on the face of the earth has faith to some degree. You have faith Nohm, you have faith that what you believe is right. You believe that your faith is based on evidence. I know God because of the personal relationship I have with him. It can not be fully explained through human intellect, and by the way human intellect ultimately is not perfect. We are imperfect people that have imperfect understanding at the end of the day. Having said that it does not mean that the human intellect is not important, but it can only go so far. Also I might add if the human intellect were perfect don’t you think we would have much less or no problems in the world? If science was a perfect tool (and don’t get me wrong I like science-good opened minded science) don’t you think we would have wiped out all the problems of the world and dawned a utopia? Science is a tool that is imperfect that was created by imperfect people.

    The BEST evidence (sitting aside for the moment creation and conscience) I can think of besides the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit changing my life.

    Your final comment Nohm hits the nail on the head, “As for what “evidence” would cause me to believe, I honestly don’t know. I think we can agree that, if God exists, He certainly knows, right?”

    God bless you.

  38. Nohm – Ok what book(s) would you recommend that would explain good inner (mathematical) workings of arguments? One book would be fine. God bless.

    Quasar, Nohm, perdita and others – Please heed to what this says:

    “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

    Will evildoers never learn—those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the LORD? There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge. Oh, the salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

    Psalm 14 & 53

  39. Thomas, I’m not a Christian.

    Therefore, why would you think that I would view a psalm as something to pay attention to? As a non-believer, I just view it as someone’s opinion.

    Secondly, I don’t say “there is no God”. When I do, then that psalm “might” be relevant.

    Thomas, how persuasive would it be to you if I started quoting surahs from the Quran?

    Surah 5:72-73

    “They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers.

    They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve.”

    Surah 4:171

    “O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.”

    See? The Quran is telling you that the Trinity is wrong, and that you’re a disbeliever for thinking that it’s right! It says that a “painful doom” will come to Christians!! Please heed to what this says, Thomas!!!!

    Wait, you don’t view that as persuasive at all? Because it’s a ancient holy book that you don’t find to be authoritative?

    Exactly.

    As for your question about a book, I’ll do some research, but I would pretty much recommend any university-level formal logic/critical thinking 101 textbook.

    Modus ponens and all that good stuff.

  40. Thomas, after asking a couple of people that I know, they recommended the following book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Logic-Harry-Gensler/dp/0415996511/ref=pd_cp_b_1

    They also recommended the following book as a companion text to the one I listed above. After looking at it, I also recommend it, but only after you’ve already learned the basics:

    http://www.amazon.com/Rulebook-Arguments-Anthony-Weston/dp/0872209547/ref=pd_sim_b_4

    I hope this helps.

    Steve, I would recommend these books to you also.

    For the record, I am not of the opinion that either book will change your theistic beliefs, nor am I trying to do that.

  41. All I can say Nohm is that God’s word DOES NOT RETURN VOID! If I give the word of God, God will use it to accomplish what He wants to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). I know you don’t believe that, but not believing it will not change that truth. If you end up going the rest of you life without making Jesus Lord and Savior of your life, when you die you will go to hell. I DON’T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN TO YOU!! At least on the day of Judgment you will know that someone warned you, someone told you.

    You are right that I don’t find the Quarn authoritative first and foremost because it was written by satan. Satan has many, many books on the earth that he has had a hand in writing that look very much like the Bible but the message is far from what the Bible teaches. Also the Bible reign’s supreme over the Quarn in evidence (science, history/archeology, textual evidence and in the area of the supernatural/prophecy). The Bible was written by men, but was not conceived by the mind of man.

    “All Scripture is God-breathed. . .”-2 Timothy 3:16

    “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”-2 Peter 1:21

    Thank you Nohm for the advice on books!

    God bless,

    Thomas

  42. Thomas wrote:

    All I can say Nohm is that God’s word DOES NOT RETURN VOID!

    *shrug*

    So you say.

    If I give the word of God, God will use it to accomplish what He wants to accomplish.

    Muslims make the same claim about the Quran.

    I know you don’t believe that, but not believing it will not change that truth.

    In the same way that believing it will also not change the truth.

    If you end up going the rest of you life without making Jesus Lord and Savior of your life, when you die you will go to hell.

    Ok, but the problem is that you’re not giving me any reason to believe that the claim is true.

    At least on the day of Judgment you will know that someone warned you, someone told you.

    Many people have warned me, both Christians and Muslims. Of course, this assumes that there will be a “day of Judgment” which, again, I’m not given any reason to believe that the claim is true.

    Muslims claim the same thing, by the way.

    You are right that I don’t find the Quarn authoritative first and foremost because it was written by satan.

    The Muslims disagree. In fact, they say that your holy book, the Bible, has been corrupted. Without evidence, I don’t have any way to decide which of the two of you is right or wrong.

    Satan has many, many books on the earth that he has had a hand in writing that look very much like the Bible but the message is far from what the Bible teaches.

    I take it that you’ve never actually read the Quran.

    Also the Bible reign’s supreme over the Quarn in evidence (science, history/archeology, textual evidence and in the area of the supernatural/prophecy).

    Ok, now I know that you’ve never read the Quran, and probably have never debated a Muslim about his beliefs, otherwise you’d know about the scientific miracles of the Quran, along with The Challenge.

    Again, they make the exact same arguments that you’re making, with the exact same level of “our book is OBVIOUSLY so much better than that other book!” hubris.

    Without evidence, I have no way to accept either claim.

    (For the record, I’ve done a lot of research about prophetic claims of both books and, to put it lightly, I find that both claims fail.)

    The Bible was written by men, but was not conceived by the mind of man.

    So you say. Muslims say the same about the Quran.

    Why should I believe you over them?

    Why should I believe either of you?

    “All Scripture is God-breathed. . .”-2 Timothy 3:16

    “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”-2 Peter 1:21

    And the Quran often says that it was written by Allah (I’ll spare you the surahs, unless you really want to read them). So, it’s the same thing.

    Both you and the Muslims argue with the same conviction, and the same lack of evidence. Therefore, I am put in a situation where I am currently unable to believe either of you.

    Here’s what it fundamentally comes down to, Thomas: when you’re wrong about things that I actually know, how am I supposed to assume that you’re correct about things that I don’t know?

    Thank you Nohm for the advice on books!

    You’re very welcome! 🙂

  43. I have enjoyed speaking with you Nohm. Remember I have warned you. It is all in God’s hands now. We broke the Law the (Ten Commandments), but Jesus Christ has paid our fine. If you repent and put your trust in Jesus to save you, HE WILL! God bless.

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