A biblical theist responds to an atheist

clip_image002 clip_image004

(images courtesy Christ Art; Open Clip Art Library)

By Spencer D Gear

David, an atheist from the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc., wrote just prior to Christmas 2012:

Let us simplify the muddle in this topic, starting with a few basic facts.

All historians of any worth consider Julius Caesar actually existed.

Not all historians of note consider the New Testament Jesus existed.

A consensus of historian has concluded that the Jesus of the New Testament existed. Most of those have a religious bent and there are many arguments for and against this proposition. But let’s accept it on face value for the exercise.

The reason for the controversy on this part of history is that the evidence for the existence of the NT Jesus is very scant. If the NT Jesus existed, the highest probability is that he was ineffectual as being an ‘anybody’ when alive. If the purported miracles and wonders were real and had actually happened, contemporary historians would have recorded them. They did not. There is not one iota of credible ex-biblical evidence suggesting that the NT Jesus was divine.

He was not known in his time because he was just one of the run of the mill ‘messiahs’. Dime a dozen would be an adequate expression. There would be no way that he would have escaped the attention of the Roman authorities let alone the Jewish population. This is the biggest argument against the New Testament being a valid account of wonders and miracles.

Holy books cannot be trusted to be truthful or otherwise all holy books would have to be accepted.

Arguments for divinity or miraculous happenings based on the bible are as good as arguments base on the Koran or other holy books. They are not accepted by professional non-partisan historians.[1]

I responded:[2]

The reason for the controversy on this part of history is that the evidence for the existence of the NT Jesus is very scant. If the NT Jesus existed, the highest probability is that he was ineffectual as being an ‘anybody’ when alive. If the purported miracles and wonders were real and had actually happened, contemporary historians would have recorded them. They did not. There is not one iota of credible extra-biblical evidence suggesting that the NT Jesus was divine.[3]

These are your assertions that seem to be based on your presuppositions. You provided not one example to support your claim.

David wrote above: ‘He was not known in his time because he was just one of the run of the mill ‘messiahs’. Dime a dozen would be an adequate expression’.

This is no more than David’s assertion. Do you think that I’m going to be persuaded by that lack of evidence by you?

David: ‘Holy books cannot be trusted to be truthful or otherwise all holy books would have to be accepted’.

So says David.

David: ‘Arguments for divinity or miraculous happenings based on the bible are as good as arguments base on the Koran or other holy books. They are not accepted by professional non-partisan historians’.

Again, so says David.

You have as much chance of persuading me of your arguments as a Toyota salesman telling me of the benefits of a Ford car.

David wrote further:

Let us assume for a moment that Jesus is God, he does exist and all the other gods are false. Why should I follow anything he says?[4]

I replied:[5]

First, since you ‘assume’, that is a presupposition and I would propose a hypothesis and test it for validation or falsification from the available historical evidence regarding Jesus.

However, the worldwide evidence indicates that your first statement does not define the nature and personhood of who Jesus is. ‘Jesus is God’ cannot be a complete statement about his true nature as the New Testament reveals. Your ‘Jesus is God’ scenario is erecting a straw man logical fallacy[6] as Jesus’ nature is more comprehensive than that.

As to why you should follow Jesus, you will have to make that decision yourself, based on the truth of the New Testament Scriptures – which you state that you don’t believe as an atheist. But you are a long way from accepting that so I will not deal with that matter as I would be ‘casting pearls’ and I’m not about to do that.

clip_image006

(image courtesy The Telegraph)

As for Antony Flew, you stated:

Firstly, most atheists had never heard of Anthony Flew until it was touted he had changed his mind. Anthony Flew did not believe in a personal god or even the Christian god but came down on the side of a kind of deism. But there is more to this story than meets the eye.[7]

That is a statement about the ignorance of the atheistic establishment, if what you state is true, because Antony Flew was a leading atheistic British philosopher who taught at the universities of Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, Reading and York University, Toronto, Canada. The atheists’ ignorance of Antony Flew and his beliefs does not alter the fact of his prominence in the atheistic establishment before his conversion to deism. [See the YouTube video of ‘Antony Flew’s conversion to theism’]

David: ‘The divinity of Jesus is a myth (extraordinary story without evidence) which is believed by Christians’.
Not according to the historically reliable New Testament Gospels.

David, the atheist, wrote:

Again, this is a hypothetical and it means any god of any believer. Each can answer in their own manner. Strange but expected but none have. Your skirting around it is noticeable. Answer it about the god in which you believe.[8]

I’m not interested in pursuing your hypothetical concept of God as it is nothing more than trying to get conversation going with me. I’m skirting around NOTHING. The Trinitarian Lord God Almighty in whom I believe has stated this of your atheism:

blue-arrow-small ‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good’ (Psalm 14:1 NIV).

The biblical worldview as described in the Scriptures fits like a hand in glove with the world around me – I see its beauty and its ugliness. I have recently retired after 34 years in family counselling, the last 17 years full-time. I see the beauty and ugliness in human beings (including myself) and God has told us that that is exactly the way it is:

blue-arrow-small ‘For you [the Lord] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you [the Lord] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well’ (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV).

blue-arrow-small ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth’ (Psalm 19:1-6 NIV).

blue-arrow-small As for the ugliness in our world, we find the cause coming from the first two human beings who lived and had the choice to obey or disobey God. They chose to disobey and we reap the dire, sinful consequence. Read about it in Genesis 3.

blue-arrow-small But a new heaven and a new earth are coming (See Revelation 21).

blue-arrow-small Until then, all human beings have the opportunity of new life through Christ: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

Again David wrote:

I would not follow the words of Jesus if they did not tie up with the highest ethical standards unless he pointed out he would torture me for eternity if I didn’t. I would accept he is god and would no longer be an atheist, of course![9]

Humanistic answers like you have given here are a dud. I know. I tried them. Only a relationship with the God-man, Jesus Christ, changed my life. I would not trade that for all the $$$ in the world.

David again:

Repeat mode on: Even if Anthony Flew was very well known by all atheists, and he wasn’t, his words would not be accepted just because he is an atheist. You obviously have not looked at anything but religious nonsense about him.[10]

Your bigotry is showing up again. You want me to believe that your atheism has the sense for me to follow and that anybody’s relationship with Jesus Christ is ‘religious nonsense’. When will you quit using this ad hominem logical fallacy?[11] I should have stated that it was an example of an ad hominem (circumstantial) logical fallacy, which ‘is not an assault on the man’s character, but on some special circumstances surrounding him…. The attack is against other beliefs that the man holds’ (Geisler & Brooks 1990:94).

David wrote: ‘This is funny. I say the divine Jesus is a myth only believed by Christians and you offer proof that he is not, from a Christian view’.[12]

That is NOT what I stated. This is what I said:

However, the worldwide evidence indicates that your first statement does not define the nature and personhood of who Jesus is. ‘Jesus is God’ cannot be a complete statement about his true nature as the New Testament reveals. Your ‘Jesus is God’ scenario is erecting a straw man logical fallacy as Jesus’ nature is more comprehensive than that.[13]

He is the God-man Jesus Christ. That’s the biblical evidence. He is not just God. He is God who became flesh and that makes Jesus the God-Man [see John 1:14; .

How do you think an atheist would reply?

This was David, the atheist’s reply, to what I just wrote:

Anthony Flew lost the plot and was manipulated by others to admit to there being a designer when he did not have up to date scientific information. He was suffering from senility at the time. Get your head out of religious websites and smell the roses.

You have failed to properly check this story out and you have failed to understand the unimportance of it. This is a dumb religious strawman. No one cares what Anthony Flew thought. Okay, I’m wrong there. Apparently some Christians think it is important. Let me rephrase that, most atheists are not interested in what Anthony Flew thought.

I really don’t even care if he was of sound mind and chose to believe in a designer force, a deity or a god or even the Christian God, the Islamic Allah or Bugs Bunny.

Calling my comments on this matter, bigotry is inaccurate. (to say the least)

I certainly don’t want discussion with you to go any further. What made you think I would?

A fluster of posts with Biblical quotes, religious stories and anecdotes do not answer the question I posed.

Can you answer it thanks. It will not harm you.[14]

[15]You are into logical fallacies big time as you have demonstrated here: Genetic fallacy[16], straw man fallacy[17], and red herring fallacy[18].

No, I will not answer any further as there cannot be a logical discussion when you continue to use logical fallacies like this towards my posts.

I also chose to respond[19] to David’s statement above: ‘A fluster of posts with Biblical quotes, religious stories and anecdotes do not answer the question I posed’.

Yes, they do, but you don’t want to listen to all of the reliable historical evidence that is available from Scripture. Yes, reliable historical evidence. This has been proved many times over, but you don’t want to hear about it.

clip_image007

Dr. Paul Barnett

(image courtesy Anglican Church League)

Dr. Paul Barnett, a former history teacher at Macquarie University, Sydney, has written a number of publications that confirm the historical reliability of the Bible. He wrote as a historian and a Christian. His publications include:

1. Is the New Testament History (rev)? (Servant Publications 1987).
2. Jesus and the Logic of History (IVP Academic 2001);
3. Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity (IVP Academic 2002);
4. The Birth of Christianity: The First Twenty Years (Eerdmans 2005);
5. Paul: Missionary of Jesus (Eerdmans 2008).

He was so competent as a historian that Macquarie University hired him to teach history. He is an ‘Honorary Visiting Fellow in Ancient History (Macquarie University)’[20] and confirms the historical reliability of the New Testament.

But, ah! You, as an atheist, don’t want to hear that evidence. You write off ‘Biblical quotes’, but Dr Paul Barnett, the historian, can demonstrate the historical reliability of the New Testament. As an atheist, you have decided to exclude reliable historical records from your repertoire of historical evidence? Why? Your presuppositional bias against the Bible!

How do you think David, the atheist, would respond to this?

Looking back at some of your posts over time shows a preponderance mention of various fallacies, which you love to throw around like confetti for effect. Mostly they are not related to that which you are criticising and it is only done to show you are innocent of written wrongdoing yourself and the master describing the literary faults of others. If I had to guess, I would say that religious-method-lessons, (some religious websites promote this dishonesty and a start to investigate can be found here http://www.atheismsfallacies.com/ ) panic, desperation, run out of ideas and insecurity causes this.

And about the question, well, looks like your fear of the wrath of Yahweh is showing even though you didn’t state it just in case he found out.
Do you mean Paul William Barnett, the ex-Anglican Bishop of North Sydney? Yes, he would be unbiased as it gets. Not.

BTW, the Garden of Eden was not real, it is a bad metaphor at best and anyone using it in discussion as though it was real, should be careful of calling other people names concerning credibility. And I am not going into the creationist mumbo jumbo arguments…trust me.[21]

How does one respond to such a put down of the Christian faith and misinterpretation of the Garden of Eden story in Genesis? This was only a brief reply by me:

David: ‘Do you mean Paul William Barnett, the ex-Anglican Bishop of North Sydney? Yes, he would be unbiased as it gets. Not’.

He is such a competent historian that Macquarie University hired him. And you, an atheist, would be as unbiased as it gets. Right??

David: ‘BTW, the Garden of Eden was not real, it is a bad metaphor at best and anyone using it in discussion as though it was real, should be careful of calling other people names concerning credibility. And I am not going into the creationist mumbo jumbo arguments…trust me’.

This is David, the atheistic president of the Australian Atheist Foundation speaking. Please tell me your qualifications in biblical hermeneutics.
Here you are with your ad hominem logical fallacy again: ‘the creationist mumbo jumbo arguments’.

We cannot have a logical discussion when you resort to these kinds of tactics in your misotheism.[22]

I also replied:

David: ‘Looking back at some of your posts over time shows a preponderance mention of various fallacies, which you love to throw around like confetti for effect. Mostly they are not related to that which you are criticising and it is only done to show you are innocent of written wrongdoing yourself and the master describing the literary faults of others. If I had to guess, I would say that religious-method-lessons, (some religious websites promote this dishonesty and a start to investigate can be found here http://www.atheismsfallacies.com/) panic, desperation, run out of ideas and insecurity causes this’.

This is a false accusation. This is also another example of your use of a fallacy of relevance: An error that does not address the issues (Geisler & Brooks 1990:93-100).

When I have accused you of using this and other logical fallacies I have been accurate in my accusations. I happen to know what opponents of Christianity do and you are no exception with your use of logical fallacies.

‘If I had to guess’.

That’s exactly what you have done here.

David’s response: [23]

“He is such a competent historian that Macquarie University hired him. And you, an atheist, would be as unbiased as it gets. Right??”

Let’s get some facts straight as you are being quite disingenuous on a number of fronts. Paul William Barnett is a fellow in ancient history at the Macquarie University. He has written about the history of the New Testament and not the divinity of Jesus. As far as I know he does not aspire to creationism.

The existence of Jesus of the New Testament is not under dispute in this thread as it is unimportant. What is of paramount significance is whether this character was divine. There is no credible ex-Biblical evidence for that As a Christian, he may hold the view that Jesus was divine on faith but that is all.

“Please tell me your qualifications in biblical hermeneutics”.

No, I’m not an expert on interpretation of the bible. Neither are you. And if there was one interpretation then there would be one religion. This method of escaping the question of your creationist leanings is another example of manipulating the language.

I don’t have to be an expert as the human race is very lucky, it has the best truth finder there is, it is called science. It’s not perfect but nothing comes close to it. Science would be very pleased indeed if creationists could demonstrate another force in the universe but creationism/intelligent design has failed to produce any studies refuting evolution in accredited scientific journals where they may be investigated by peer review.

And please don’t come back with excuses that scientist have a conspiracy theory against God, are influenced by the Devil or are deluded and therefore won’t allow any studies to be published. That is nonsense.

A GAC speaker and evolutionist, Eugenie C. Scott, is the Executive Director of the National Centre for Science Education. Have a look at what she says here. Watch at 33:50 if not wanting to view the whole video. But, it is glaringly obvious that you definitely need to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lvsE_ZYcP8&list=PL7C0CA45F60FD44C7&index=14.

My response was:[24]

David: ‘Let’s get some facts straight as you are being quite disingenuous on a number of fronts. Paul William Barnett is a fellow in ancient history at the Macquarie University. He has written about the history of the New Testament and not the divinity of Jesus. As far as I know he does not aspire to creationism’.

Here again you are using a fallacy of relevance. I was not addressing an aspect of creationism. You wanted to discredit Paul Barnett in a previous post because he was the former Anglican bishop, so what do you do now? You switch horses with a red herring fallacy. I gave you books on the demonstrated reliable history of the New Testament written by a competent historian, Dr. Paul Barnett. But you are not interested in pursuing what Dr. Barnett states about the New Testament as history. It is in the historically reliable New Testament that we have the biblical evidence for the full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ. He is the God-man and not just God or just man.

David: ‘The existence of Jesus of the New Testament is not under dispute in this thread as it is unimportant. What is of paramount significance is whether this character was divine. There is no credible ex-Biblical evidence for that As a Christian, he may hold the view that Jesus was divine on faith but that is all’.

The existence of Jesus, the God-man, is under discussion in this thread, which is authenticated by the NT, and you have denigrated the historical veracity of the NT.

David: ‘No, I’m not an expert on interpretation of the bible. Neither are you. And if there was one interpretation then there would be one religion. This method of escaping the question of your creationist leanings is another example of manipulating the language’.

You are demonstrating your ignorance. I happen to have a BA in biblical literature and NT Greek, which means that I have completed courses in hermeneutics. I’m currently working on a PhD in New Testament with a university. You have misrepresented me.

David was back again:[25]

The New Testament Jesus may be under discussion by you but it is irrelevant to me. I am not going to say this again. It is the divinity of Jesus that is pertinent as Jesus the man is only a man. Bugs Bunny is a rabbit and only a rabbit. He is not an actual creature.

It is a red herring that you play continually on the historical Jesus. Don’t do it.

If you have qualifications, (where did you achieved them) or if you are a young or old earth creationist and you wish to have proper discussion, those facts should be divulged. Please lay this information on the table now.

You can consider that Jesus was a God-man but there is no evidence for that. Stop manipulating the topic to make out there is. What is the ex-biblical evidence for Jesus being a God-Man? I mean universal evidence that would be accepted by all.

Oh, and by the way, the terribly hard question I posed does have a very simple answer.

Here is the question again.
David: ”I am very happy with my life and live it similarly to most reasonable people in the community.
Let us assume for a moment that Jesus is God, he does exist and all the other gods are false.
Why should I follow anything he says?”

Answer: Because you will go to hell if you don’t.\

The implications should be obvious.

I responded that there are a number of misguided and false statements in what you have written here.

1. David wrote: ‘The New Testament Jesus may be under discussion by you but it is irrelevant to me. I am not going to say this again. It is the divinity of Jesus that is pertinent as Jesus the man is only a man’. You might try to get away with diverting the divinity/deity of Jesus from the New Testament, but it is in that historically reliable NT that I find the teaching on the deity of Christ. Nice try, but it doesn’t work.

2. David: ‘If you have qualifications, (where did you achieved them) or if you are a young or old earth creationist and you wish to have proper discussion, those facts should be divulged. Please lay this information on the table now’. You don’t have the humility to acknowledge what you don’t know about me. But you give us another red herring fallacy.

3. In another post above, you wrote of New Testament historian and exegete, Dr. Paul Barnett: ‘Paul William Barnett is a fellow in ancient history at the Macquarie University. He has written about the history of the New Testament and not the divinity of Jesus’. From where did you get that quote?

It is a blatantly false statement, as is demonstrated in Paul Barnett’s book, Messiah: Jesus, the evidence of history. You have proved again that you don’t know what you are talking about and have erected another straw man logical fallacy.

clip_image008

This review of Barnett’s book on Messiah has the heading, ‘Messiah: Jesus, the evidence of history; Paul Barnett argues for the deity of Christ’.

Paul Barnett affirms the deity of Christ in his online article, ‘The Great Creeds’.

You are digging yourself further into the hole of ignorance with what you stated of Paul Barnett and the divinity/deity of Christ.

4. You also stated of me, ‘I think OzSpen would pull you up about arguments from authority. That is on his cute little fallacy list. Be interesting to see if he does or doesn’t’.[26] Here you are engaging in your ad hominem logical fallacy against me. Sure sounds like you don’t like being called for your use of logical fallacies when you use ‘his cute little fallacy list’ as an ad hominem against me.

I do not wish to continue this discussion further as it is impossible to engage in a logical discussion with you when you continue to use logical fallacies. Bye, and I pray that one day you’ll come to know the Jesus revealed in the historically reliable New Testament. However, perhaps you’ll have to wait for that until you breathe your last breath.

I wrote to David,

David: ‘Discussion with you is next to useless and you have mentioned Leviticus and the nature of your god. Here are some other parts of this god’s nature from Leviticus (KJV version). As you know, there are Christians promoting ‘dominionism’ as a way of governing countries. (Are you one of them?) This means following the Bible as is written. Scary stuff’.

AND

David: ‘I really don’t need or warrant your condescending remarks about me not being ready for your particular god. No, I’m not ready for any of the thousands of gods, but only because I have not surrendered my mental integrity to indoctrinated nonsense’.

These are further examples from you of red herring logical fallacies. You did not respond to the 5 points I made in two posts. You were off and running with your own agenda without addressing the content of these five points.

Discussion with you is impossible when you continuously resort to the use of logical fallacies. Nice try but no cigars![28]

David’s response was:

I don’t smoke, so no cigar for me thanks. A beer to go with the Saturnalian originated festivities of the season would be acceptable though. There are no reasons good enough that you have offered, for me to take the words in your bible seriously, so I don’t. It’s not that I won’t accept these scribbling’s from centuries ago by a superstitious race of people, it’s that they are meaningless to non-indoctrinated folk.

I do have a sadness for you but I am not responsible for you surrendering your mind to your childhood teachings, not being able to escape the instilled terror of torture forever and your incapability to be able to face death head on, but I do mind that you would just as easily lay this rubbish on the innocent minds of children who have no defence against the fears you would instil. If you wish to think in this contorted fashion although it is not your fault, so be it. Only you can undo the damage you have experienced.

Your god talk is no different than the god talk of other sects of Christianity or other religions.

It is ridiculous to ask me to respond to biblical ideas. That is just a ploy to escape answering the question I posed. Some would call this gutless on your behalf, but I rather think of it as something not of your doing.

It is obvious that the AFA [Atheist Foundation of Australia] must try harder so as not to let this kind of warped behaviour infect the thought process of new generations. But, on the other hand, the zealotry observed on this thread by religious people is a lesson enough to others that even in Australia, religion, like rust, never sleeps.

The good thing is that like rust, the material rusting eventually rots away to nothing. We are seeing this demonstrated with Christianity now. Even though the flaying around is palpable, within a couple of generations religion will be a negligible and powerless part of society.

I see there has been no answer to the biblical quotes I provided. Interesting.[29]

In another response to David, I stated:

David: ‘If you had read the sentence before the one you quoted you would not have made such a dick of yourself. Here it is: “even in Australia, religion, like rust, never sleeps”’.[30]

Please forgive me for my error. I got the context wrong.

From the Australian 2011 census, mainline denominations are declining, but the Roman Catholics grew slightly; Baptists and Pentecostals grew more quickly. See: http://blog.id.com.au/2012/australian-census-2011/2011-australian-census-christian-religions/.

This census provides these details:

  • ‘Though Christianity as a whole declined as a proportion of the population in 2011 (from 63.9% in 2006 to 61.1% in 2011), there were substantial differences between Christian groups’;
  • ‘Among the larger Christian denominations, Catholicism grew slightly, adding 310,000 people (6.1%), to remain the largest response in Australia. Many of the major protestant denominations fell, including Anglican (-38,340), Uniting Church (-69,633), Churches of Christ (-5,133) and Salvation Army (-4,044). These are somewhat affected ageing of the UK-born population, as well as the drift to no religion. The Anglican Church, long Australia’s 2nd largest religious grouping has fallen from 23.9% of the population in 1991 to 18.7% in 2011.
  • In contrast, the Charismatic churches such as Baptist (+35,757) and Pentecostal (+18,305, which includes Hillsong) continued to record increases (they were well up from 1991-2006 so this is a longer term trend)’.

From other details, we have this information:

  • For the evangelical Anglicans of the Sydney diocese, ‘based on Weekly Average Service Attendance data of all ages, Sydney Anglican congregations are growing at around 1.4% per annum’ (see: http://matthiasmedia.com/briefing/2011/08/why-arent-we-growing/). However, Tony Payne, who wrote this assessment of the research data, headed his article, ‘Why aren’t we growing?’ The remainder of the Anglicans declined. This is expected as theological liberalism (modernist or postmodernist) has invaded the ranks.
  • The Western Sydney Regional Organization of Councils indicated that for that region, the total number of Christians, from 2006 to 2011, had increased from 897,075 to 914,855. This is out of a total population of 1,507, 877 in 2011 (see: http://profile.id.com.au/wsroc/religion).

So, the research data here is not as ‘rusty’ as you want to paint it

Conclusions

In my discussion in On Line Opinion’s topic of ‘Merry Christmyth from the Atheist Foundation of Australia’, David the atheist, used some tactics that have to be challenged:

1. He is a whiz at the use of logical fallacies. I challenged him in his use of these fallacies: ad hominem (circumstantial), genetic, red herring, relevance, and straw man.

2. At times he shoots off at the mouth on subjects he does not know about. He does not know me and my qualifications or experience, but he wrote me off this way when I asked him what qualifications he had with biblical hermeneutics (interpretation): ‘No, I’m not an expert on interpretation of the bible. Neither are you’. He is ignorant of my background but still wants to give his uninformed rave against me.

3. As I’ve indicated to him, the evidence for the existence of God is in both Scripture and the general revelation of the universe, including human beings. This evidence is so adequate, from God’s perspective, that God, through the Psalmist, can state: ‘The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God”’.

4. His association of the decline of Christianity with ‘rust’ and religion will become ‘a negligible and powerless part of society’, is not matched by the evidence.

I highly recommend this Ravi Zacharias presentation on YouTube, ‘The Existence of God’.

References

Geisler, N L & Brooks, R M 1990. Come let us reason: An introduction to logical thinking. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.

Notes


[1] On Line Opinion, ‘Merry Christmyth from the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc’, Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Friday, 21 December 2012 10:47:51 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=19 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[2] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Friday, 21 December 2012 6:21:56 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=21 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[3] This is what David wrote above.

[4] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Saturday, 22 December 2012 9:30:50 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=24 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[5] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Saturday, 22 December 2012 6:53:24 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=26 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[6] We need to understand logical fallacies so that we can learn to recognize bad logic in an argument. ‘Fallacy is a general term referring to anything that can possibly go wrong in a logical argument. It is important to know fallacies because even though they might be psychologically persuasive, they are not logically correct. They cause people to accept conclusions for inadequate reasons. By knowing fallacies, we can specify why an argument is faulty. But knowing fallacies is not only to a help in refuting error; it also protects us from criticism and gives us the ability to develop clearer expression of our thoughts’ (Geisler & Brooks 1990:81).

[7] On Line Opinion, op cit., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Saturday, 22 December 2012 11:22:12 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=26 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[8] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Sunday, 23 December 2012 9:35:45 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=28 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] ‘ad hominem’ is Latin meaning, ‘Argument against the man’. It is an alias for ‘the fallacy of personal attack’. See: ‘Argumentum ad hominem’, available at: http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adhomine.html (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[12] On Line Opinion Forum.

[13] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Saturday, 22 December 2012 6:53:24 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=26 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[14] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Sunday, 23 December 2012 1:31:31 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=29 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[15] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 23 December 2012 4:10:12 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=29 (Accessed 29 December 2012).

[16] A genetic logical fallacy is ‘a special type of reductive fallacy in which the single issue focused on is the source or origin of an idea. The argument demands, “Something (or someone) should be rejected because it (or he) comes from a bad source.” This is an attempt to belittle a position by pointing out its inauspicious beginnings’ (Geisler & Brooks 1990:107). Examples of his logical fallacy by David are in these statements, ‘Get your head out of religious websites and smell the roses’; ‘This is a dumb religious strawman’; ‘A fluster of posts with Biblical quotes, religious stories and anecdotes do not answer the question I posed’.

[17]What is a straw man logical fallacy? ‘Another way to stack the deck against the opposition is to draw a false picture of the opposing argument. Then it is easy to say, “This should be rejected because this (exaggerated and distorted) picture of it is wrong.” The name of the fallacy comes from the idea that if you set up a straw man, he is easier to knock down than a real man. And that is exactly the way this fallacy works: set ‘em up and knock ‘em down. It is argument by caricature. It avoids dealing with the real issues by changing the opposition’s views’ (Geisler & Brooks 1990:101). David’s examples of the use of this fallacy against me include: ‘I really don’t even care if he was of sound mind and chose to believe in a designer force, a deity or a god or even the Christian God, the Islamic Allah or Bugs Bunny’.

[18] A red herring is a ‘device for changing the subject [and] is less sneaky; it just does it! Pulling a red herring across the platform will divert attention. So will telling an irrelevant joke. A red herring argument says, “Accept this because this other subject is interesting (funny, witty, etc.).” Rather than proving the point, this fallacy simply evades the question by changing the subject, then proceeding as if the point had been made. Often the other topic bears a superficial resemblance to the one being discussed. Don’t let that fool you! If no proof is given, there is no reason to accept the argument’ (Geisler & Brooks 1990:104). David the atheist changed the topic here with my raising the example of Antony Flew, an atheist who became a deist and his going off at a tangent about Antony Flew, with a statement like this: ‘most atheists had never heard of Anthony Flew until it was touted he had changed his mind. Anthony Flew did not believe in a personal god or even the Christian god but came down on the side of a kind of deism. But there is more to this story than meets the eye’. The fact is that Antony Flew moved from atheism to a belief in God known as deism. You can read about his change of belief in Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese 2007. There is no/a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind. New York: HarperOne.

[19] On Line Opinion op cit., Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 23 December 2012 4:49:25 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=30 (Accessed 23 December 2012).

[20] See the Paul Barnett page, available at: http://paulbarnett.info/sample-page/ (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[21] On Line Opinion, Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Sunday, 23 December 2012 5:07:40 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=30 (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[22] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Monday, 24 December 2012 7:38:13 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=30 (Accessed 24 December 2012). ‘Misotheism’ refers to hating God. Bernard Schweizer has written the book, Hating God: The untold story of misotheism (2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press).

[23] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Monday, 24 December 2012 9:40:58 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=31 (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[24] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Monday, 24 December 2012 10:15:45 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=31 (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[25] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Monday, 24 December 2012 10:45:45 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=31 (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[26] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Monday, 24 December 2012 12:02:18 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=31 (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[27] Ibid., Posted by worldwatcher, Monday, 24 December 2012 1:40:00 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=32 (Accessed 24 December 2012).

[28] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Wednesday, 26 December 2012 9:24:24 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=38 (Accessed 27 December 2012).

[29] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Wednesday, 26 December 2012 10:04:17 AM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=38 (Accessed 27 December 2012).

[30] Ibid., Posted by Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, Wednesday, 26 December 2012 9:01:13 PM, available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=5547&page=39 (Accessed 27 December 2012).

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 28 June 2016.

3d-shinnyblue-star3d-shinnyblue-star3d-shinnyblue-star3d-shinnyblue-star3d-shinnyblue-star3d-shinnyblue-star3d-shinnyblue-star