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  1. #1
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    Atheist template examined: God parodies

    So atheists have put up several threads that make some (apparently) wild claims. Dr god-zo, and "my garage dragon" (Which I think is a little like a trunk monkey). It seems clear that the atheists are trying to say something but it doesn't appear to be coming across well. I am assured that it is effective, and that is why it is repeated. Still, I am not clear on the exact point. It does seem clear that these parodies are supposed to be representative of Christianity and many other god claims. What I would like to do is discuss the idea. I don't mind pointing to some of various forms it is given in, however I don't want it to become about the specific examples.


    So, lets start with the "Original" or more specifically the Object of the parody. It is the "God concept". I think it can be easily forgotten that God is a concept and the name itself is not very important. So there are arguments that establish the God concept as "first cause", "timeless", "transcendent of the physical" among others. (Feel free to identify them specifically if you add something.) Now to me it appears that the atheist simply changes the name of God, and expects us to realize that the arguments are faulty. Which I don't think is very good argument tactic to begin with.


    I submit this clip of Craig rebutting a similar argument... presented and edited by a person who I presume thinks like atheists do.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oPhiv4Q1TU

    *note* I think the editor of the video fails to understand many of the points being made and how they interact, and he makes fun of Craig which is rude.... back on track.


    I suspect a few reasons for the parody.

    1) There is something inherently contradictory about the God concept.
    2) There is something inherently impossible regarding a specific attribute.
    3) To strip away a perceived bias by theists to the word "God".
    4) To reveal a perceived double standard.
    5) To express some sort of inside joke.


    So what is it? What is the reason behind the parodies? Why are they supposed to be effective? What are they trying to reveal?


    *Final note* I'm not trying to debate the truth of the claims only their effectiveness. I want to understand what you are trying to get at.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    I second the request for an explanation. It's been said before, but I'll say it again. It would seem that the atheists pushing such claims, simply don't understand the philosophy they are arguing against since their analogies are not relevant or similar (as far as I can tell). They are assumed to be, but that would be a bad assumption.

    Here's the chance for atheists to spell it out and enlighten the theists.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    It's the language. Theists are comfortable with the language that has been constructed around their deities, yet when reworded (with the exact same meaning), they suddenly are not comfortable with the language.

    To theists, it's plausible for them to consider their faith a plausible and realistic thing only when their own words are used. For example, Christians worship the Christ/Messiah as a part of the triumvirate god-head of the creator of the universe. They believe in an eternal soul and everlasting life for this soul through Jesus. They honor his sacrifice and partake of his physical offering in the form of communion (the body and blood of Christ), with some sects claiming actual transubstantiation. They believe a person can have a relationship with God that includes communication, so that one may come to serve God better and thus have a more fulfilling existence. They believe in things like the creation story in Genesis, the Garden of Eden, the fall of man, and original sin. These are all reasonable conclusions about Christian beliefs, right?

    Now, when we just use different words (that have the exact same meaning), a Christian will go into a tizzy. Who here thinks a Christian willingly agrees that Christianity represents the belief in a self-fathering cosmic Jewish zombie who grants eternal life if you eat his flesh and telepathically accept him as your master, so that he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree?

    Functionally, these are the same words.

    • Isn't Jesus self-fathering? If you believe Jesus is also God, then yes.
    • Isn't Jesus a zombie? If you believe he rose from the dead, then yes. That is the definition of a zombie (or, less specifically, the undead. Jesus did turn bread and wine into flesh and blood, so perhaps he is a vampire.)
    • Don't Christians practice cannibalism? If you believe in transubstantiation, then you believe you are actually eating human flesh when taking communion. But every sect practices symbolic cannibalism.
    • Doesn't "talking with God" represent telepathy? If you believe there is real communication happening, then yes. Mind-to-mind communication is what telepathy is.
    • Isn't original sin a stain upon all of our souls, and is not Jesus required to "make us clean" or something?
    • Isn't this sin the result of a talking snake tricking a woman magicked into existence by God from Adam's rib?
    • Does not the tree in the garden represent a "magical," supernatural source of knowledge?


    You see, using words with the same meaning, Christianity sounds pretty silly. The problem is, to an atheist or someone who is not a Christian, the words theists use sound just as silly. You might as well be talking about a dragon that lives in someone's garage. Christianity sounds just as silly to a non-Christian as, say, Wicca sounds to a Christian, or Baha'i, or Shinto, or Buddhism, or Hinduism.... God/YHWH/Jehova/Divine Jesus sounds just as implausible and unreal to a non-Christian as Krishna, Buddha, Shiva, Zeus, or Ahura Mazda sound to a Christian.

    Christians even call the beliefs of other sects of Christianity silly! Tell me, are Mormons "Christians"? Are Baptists right about the evils of dancing? Are Catholic priests actually vested with divine power? Maybe we should all make a Pasqualian wager and go Mennonite, you know, just in case they're right.

    Why was eternal salvation for the human soul only available to the inhabitants of the Levant for a thousand years? Why have some on this planet never heard the word of the Lord, if indeed it is the only path to heaven?

    Why are accounts of people claiming to be God met with derision and contempt, when you all are expecting Him to return any day now? Why are miraculous claims dismissed out of hand if those that claim them also claim no belief in God?

    To me, an invisible dragon living in someone's garage is no less plausible than a magical sky being that has a personal interest in me. I do not believe in the inerrancy of the bible, nor do I think "I must not know how to read it" is a good explanation for it's glaring faults. Historicity claims have no merit, just as Harry Potter is no more "history" for having taken place in London. There is no scientific argument for God, but instead a a glaring dearth of evidence. Yet, when presented with a nearly identical situation, a theist with dismiss it out of hand, call it irrational and ignorant, and condescend to those who forward the idea.

    I find it odd that "motive" can be used to dismiss an Argument from Ridicule, such as the garage dragon, yet "motive" is not even considered in the invention of religion.

    I just resent the fact that the problem must somehow be with me for not seeing whatever it is that you see. I must be ignorant, for not believing in your imaginary friend (or if I believe in someone else's). After all, I am as God made me, right? God created skepticism, and made me this skeptical, so He clearly doesn't want me to believe in Him! He knows my heart, so he knows I would believe in Him, if only He gave me a reason to.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by DR GONZO
    Now, when we just use different words (that have the exact same meaning), a Christian will go into a tizzy.
    Why do you suppose that is?
    I submit, it is because we recognize what is being attempted by atheists.. which is to dismiss the argument by using ridicule.

    Quote Originally Posted by DR GONZO
    You see, using words with the same meaning, Christianity sounds pretty silly
    So, basically an appeal to ridicule... got-cha

    I wonder why theists just won't accept an appeal to ridicule as a valid counter to the arguments being presented by them... . Your thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by DR GONZO
    Yet, when presented with a nearly identical situation, a theist with dismiss it out of hand, call it irrational and ignorant, and condescend to those who forward the idea.
    I think its dismissed because it a fallacious argument. That it is used and is said to be effective by intelligent people is beyond me. (Hence the reason for this thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by DR GONZO
    I find it odd that "motive" can be used to dismiss an Argument from Ridicule
    Well, thanks for confirming my conclusion regarding the argument at hand..

    As for motive...
    If I know you are trying to deceive me.. why should I believe you?

    Quote Originally Posted by DR GONZO
    I just resent the fact that the problem must somehow be with me for not seeing whatever it is that you see.
    Well, if you are wrong it will be your fault. What I mean here is that on ODN arguments are presented. If they are logically valid, and you don't see it... then I'm sorry it is your fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by DR GONZO
    I must be ignorant, for not believing in your imaginary friend (or if I believe in someone else's).
    I would challenge that that happens on ODN at all. We do challenge the validity of your objections,and if they are wrong, then you are wrong.



    conclusion...
    What your saying Dr gonzo is that the point of the argument is an appeal to ridicule. As we all know this is fallacious reasoning thus theists can dismiss the entire argument as such. ... Honestly, I was expecting better.

    Thanks for your clarification... however I fear that some other atheist may have a different reasoning... So I will await their response.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    It's the language. Theists are comfortable with the language that has been constructed around their deities, yet when reworded (with the exact same meaning), they suddenly are not comfortable with the language.
    If the characteristics are the same as God (and no more or less), but different terms are being used...then you are simply talking about God. You can call this entity an invisible garage dragon, toaster or teddy bear. Changing the name itself doesn't do anything. It's still God. Dr. Craig pointed this out in the linked video above.

    hey believe in things like the creation story in Genesis, the Garden of Eden, the fall of man, and original sin. These are all reasonable conclusions about Christian beliefs, right?
    Not necessarily. While some consider these accounts literal, others take them metaphorically. So which group of Christians do you wish to target here? Obviously, it isn't all Christians. So if your case rests on these issues, then you are talking to a specific group of Christians. If the Christians of ODN don't agree with these issues and don't believe them, as you do not, then you aren't talking to them...and they agree with you. This leaves only the Christians who believe in a literal sense...but how many here are they who do? 1, 3, 5?

    And if you thought that it was required for such accounts to be believed literally, well, then this serves as a great example of what I was talking about in my previous post. Many atheists simply do not understand enough about what it is they object to.

    Now, when we just use different words (that have the exact same meaning), a Christian will go into a tizzy.
    I've not seen this happen. Can you support it please?

    Who here thinks a Christian willingly agrees that Christianity represents the belief in a self-fathering cosmic Jewish zombie who grants eternal life if you eat his flesh and telepathically accept him as your master, so that he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree?
    None. Because they do not have the same meanings. So first it was a case of the atheist not understanding what it is they are objecting to, now it seems the atheist doesn't understand the English language. Case in point, and let's run a tally...

    Isn't Jesus self-fathering? If you believe Jesus is also God, then yes.
    No. This is a gross misunderstanding of the Trinity. There are 3 distinct and individual persons in one Godhead. Jesus is God the Father as it relates to the Godhead. but Jesus does not have the same personhood as the God the Father.

    It's a complicated doctrine that those who don't have more than 10 mins of diving into will never understand. Unfortunately, in today's age of quick 5 second answers through Googling, many people forgot how to properly reason and investigate issues and topics and demand that if they can't understand something in under 5 seconds, there is something wrong with the topic, not them.

    There's a thread about this very issue already.

    -1 atheists.

    Isn't Jesus a zombie? If you believe he rose from the dead, then yes. That is the definition of a zombie (or, less specifically, the undead. Jesus did turn bread and wine into flesh and blood, so perhaps he is a vampire.)
    A zombie is a being that is dead. Not someone who is alive. Jesus is not dead. He was alive, then died, then came back to life, fully restored as a living being. Zombies were humans who died, then came back as the living dead...never an actual living being. There is nothing living w/i them.

    Same with vampires.

    -1 atheists.

    Don't Christians practice cannibalism? If you believe in transubstantiation, then you believe you are actually eating human flesh when taking communion. But every sect practices symbolic cannibalism.
    Which Christians? All of them? Then you got it wrong again. Do you mean to point out the flaws of the RCC? Then I agree with you. But you were not aware of the distinction were you Gonzo? You sincerely thought that all Christians believe in transubstantiation and have not heard of Martin Luther, the Reformation, Protestantism or any other denomination of the Christian faith that is not the Roman Catholic Church it seems.

    So this is a case not necessarily where the atheist has trouble with the English language, but rather the topic of which he objects to because the atheist believes that all Christians hold this belief.

    -1 atheists.

    Doesn't "talking with God" represent telepathy? If you believe there is real communication happening, then yes. Mind-to-mind communication is what telepathy is.
    In what sense is one "talking with God"? Telepathy is thought transference. Do you think that all Christians claim there is an actual and active verbal/thought transference between God and human beings? If so, then yet another example of the atheist not understand what he objects to and we can add another -1 atheists.

    If it is not the case, then in what sense do you think that all Christians "talk with God"?

    We'll leave this as a potential -1 atheists until you clearly define what you mean here.

    Isn't original sin a stain upon all of our souls, and is not Jesus required to "make us clean" or something?
    Which Christian group(s) are you referring to here? Wait...you aren't suggesting that ALL of Christendom believes in original sin are you? If you are, then -1 atheists.

    If not, then which group are you arguing against? And what is the significance of arguing against a specific group of Christians who may or may not be present at ODN to defend their beliefs?

    We'll leave this as a potential -1 atheists until you clearly define what you mean here.
    Isn't this sin the result of a talking snake tricking a woman magicked into existence by God from Adam's rib?
    We are back to square one it seems (top of this post). Did you think that all Christians believed in the literal Creation story? If so, then this is a great example of the atheist not knowing what he's arguing about. -1 atheists.

    Trying to group all (or even a significant number of) Christians into one group, then creating an argument against this group based on their beliefs, doesn't work Gonzo.

    ** Disclaimer **

    I'm directing some of this specifically towards you and other atheists specifically as members of this community Gonzo because a) you make a personal note at the end of your post and b) I think we seriously need to address the issue of critical thinking, which IMO, is lacking in several members' repertoire here at ODN - atheist and theist alike). So I hope it isn't taken as a personal assault or being hostile in nature, that isn't my intent. There is just no other way to bring such an issue up, w/o bringing up members of the community.

    ** End Disclaimer **


    This is the perfect example of why a Critical Thinking course at ODN is necessary. There are too many "part-time" or "casual" debaters here who just don't taking reasoning seriously enough. This type of "non-thinking" will never present a compelling argument. It will however, convince the flawed interlocutor that he is right in his own mind. This is called "foolishness" Gonzo.

    Before you attack a position, wouldn't you agree that it is wise to first understand what it is you are objecting to? If not, why not? If yes, then why are you not acting wisely?

    Does not the tree in the garden represent a "magical," supernatural source of knowledge?
    Same as above.

    -1 atheists.

    At best, Atheists (who use your line of thinking, not all atheists of course), score a 2/7, but this requires a serious explanation. More likely however, I think it's going to be a 0/7. The "jr atheists" just missed the boat on this big time. See below for an explanation.

    You see, using words with the same meaning, Christianity sounds pretty silly.
    No. What is silly is a) lacking the education about that which you object to, and b) misusing the English language, then c) using both to make a trumped up case that has no attachment of reason or factual basis, then think it's a "solid position". Not only is this silly Gonzo, it's embarrassing. Additionally, as ODN's owner, it's embarrassing for me to see members of this community actually believe this is sound reasoning.

    Christians even call the beliefs of other sects of Christianity silly! Tell me, are Mormons "Christians"? Are Baptists right about the evils of dancing? Are Catholic priests actually vested with divine power? Maybe we should all make a Pasqualian wager and go Mennonite, you know, just in case they're right.
    This is a red herring fallacy. It has nothing to do with the issue of this thread. We are talking about the atheist god parodies, not the beliefs that some denominations have and their disagreements with others.

    Why was eternal salvation for the human soul only available to the inhabitants of the Levant for a thousand years? Why have some on this planet never heard the word of the Lord, if indeed it is the only path to heaven?

    Why are accounts of people claiming to be God met with derision and contempt, when you all are expecting Him to return any day now? Why are miraculous claims dismissed out of hand if those that claim them also claim no belief in God?
    All red herrings and irrelevant. They are topics in and of themselves. This thread isn't "Give us everything you don't understand, dislike or object to about Christianity." Instead, it's about unraveling the recent spread of fallacious, silly, non-compelling (except to the uneducated choir IMO) arguments attempted by a radical few atheists.

    To me, an invisible dragon living in someone's garage is no less plausible than a magical sky being that has a personal interest in me. I do not believe in the inerrancy of the bible, nor do I think "I must not know how to read it" is a good explanation for it's glaring faults. Historicity claims have no merit, just as Harry Potter is no more "history" for having taken place in London. There is no scientific argument for God, but instead a a glaring dearth of evidence. Yet, when presented with a nearly identical situation, a theist with dismiss it out of hand, call it irrational and ignorant, and condescend to those who forward the idea.
    It's because of the idea that you actually think they are equitable. Obviously, they are not (see above).

    When you DO present an actual and sound argument that is identical, you would have argued for God and thus, we'd be in agreement (See above).

    I just resent the fact that the problem must somehow be with me for not seeing whatever it is that you see. I must be ignorant, for not believing in your imaginary friend (or if I believe in someone else's).
    No Gonzo. It isn't because you don't see what we see that you are not taken seriously. It is because of your misuse of the English language, misuse of logic, and misunderstanding of what you object to that you or anyone else's position cannot be take seriously.

    I may as well argue "Atheists are people who are serial killers who smoke pot and rape kittens, therefore they should all be sent back to their believed maker, the amoeba".

    It's an absurd argument that by just expressing it, exposes a serious lack of knowledge and reason. Could you honestly take such an argument seriously? If so, then debate is just not your cup-o-tea my friend. If not, then you can finally see how silly Christians/theists see the recent surge of non-nonsensical, uneducated, illogical arguments spread by our jr. atheists ("jr" to make a clear distinction between the more knowledgeable atheists here at ODN who do at least understand key terms and philosophies and know better than to make such silly arguments in the manner in which you have presented them, then actually think they are sound).

    After all, I am as God made me, right? God created skepticism, and made me this skeptical, so He clearly doesn't want me to believe in Him! He knows my heart, so he knows I would believe in Him, if only He gave me a reason to.
    I'm a natural skeptic too. Always have been. The difference between us however, is the employment of reason and the understanding of the issues. Until that is grasped, you'll never find the truth of the matter Gonzo. You've not taken even the first baby step towards truth discovery (I'm just basing this on your defense above, of unsound argumentation). Until proper reasoning is used, until proper language is used, until proper understanding of worldviews is used...the individual just can't make a sound judgment one way or the other...they'll never be able to w/o the necessary tools. You are demonstrating Gonzo, that you just lack those tools at this time. So how could you find the truth of the matter you are skeptical about? It isn't even possible to begin with due to your own barriers that you've created or allowed (refusing to exercise proper reason, proper language, proper understanding of issues). I can understand the frustration that exists...but it isn't because of Christians, or theists...it is because of the obstacles you have placed for yourself (by not acknowledging you lack the proper tools at this time to knock that wall down and instead, insisting you do possess them - it is clear, through your defense above...that you are missing what is necessary Gonzo).
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; November 3rd, 2011 at 09:08 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    It's very simple. A claim that cannot be dis-proven is a worthless claim. Also the inability to disprove something should not be taken as proof of the existence of that thing. This is what the "Dragon in my Garage" thread showed. From what I read in that thread, it looked like theists agreed that believing in the dragon was absurd. I assume the reason for this was because the dragon could not be dis-proven. If that is the case then why doesn't the same standard apply to God?
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    It's very simple. A claim that cannot be dis-proven is a worthless claim. Also the inability to disprove something should not be taken as proof of the existence of that thing. This is what the "Dragon in my Garage" thread showed. From what I read in that thread, it looked like theists believed that believing in the dragon was absurd. I assume the reason for this was because the dragon could not be dis-proven. If that is the case then why doesn't the same standard apply to God?
    Because the belief in God isn't based on God not being disproved. Yet the belief in the dragon was. They are not comparable. It's been a few days...but I thought this was addressed in that very thread.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Because the belief in God isn't based on God not being disproved. Yet the belief in the dragon was. They are not comparable. It's been a few days...but I thought this was addressed in that very thread.
    Nope. The belief in the dragon was based on the cloud argument and not because it could not be dis-proven.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    You just said it was because it could not be dis-proven.

    Xeno: A claim that cannot be dis-proven is a worthless claim. Also the inability to disprove something should not be taken as proof of the existence of that thing. This is what the "Dragon in my Garage" thread showed.


    You are backpedaling.

    Even so, the cloud argument is not comparable to the arguments for God of Christianity. We take each argument and examine not only its soundness, but its plausibility. The cloud argument did not stand up. It's possible that the arguments for the Christian God do not stand up to scrutiny either. But you have not demonstrated it through the non-comparable and unsound argument you have provided through the cloud argument (or the dragon analogy).

    If we were to make the arguments comparable, we would say that God of the Bible must exist for the sole reason that He creates clouds. Yet, this is not why Christians believe in God.

    As I've said before, atheists simply misunderstand what it is they disagree with, and until they actually understand the other position, their arguments will always be unsound. Haven't you noticed why no senior atheists agree with the the jr atheists arguments? They, being more seasoned debaters and atheists, understand the Christian position and arguments sufficiently to know how not to argue against it.

    It's in my signature but I'll post it here for convenience: He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. - John Stuart Mill

    It would seem it is most applicable to many of our junior atheists. The jr atheists of ODN, unfortunately don't take the time to understand their opponents' position, and therefore, will never be able to present a sound (let alone compelling) argument for their position.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; November 3rd, 2011 at 11:25 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Level 1
    MT is at least partly accurate in that these areguments are at their heart an appeal to ridicule.

    There is a bit more to it than that. For many atheists, when we examine the basic constructs for theist claims, we see them as ridiculous at their face. The re-wording as Gonzo describes is an attempt to hold up a mirror so you can see what we see. A fictive construct with a lot of words holding meaning not found in our world. To a naturalist, those worlds are alien ones, like terms from a sci-fi novel. But for the theist, many who grew up with such terms, they are well understood and trusted.

    Some atheists mistakenly think that if we hold up that mirror, you will fall for the appeal to ridicule. That is, I think, a foolish expectation.

    Level 2
    There is an attempt to shift your perspective. They want you to try and walk in the naturalists instinctual footsteps as you try to deconstruct their dummy argument. They also want to offer you the kinds of responses they often encounter in theistic debate. Cop outs about faith, personal experience, and unfounded claims. I'm not saying all theistic arguments end there, but certainly some of them do and for every ODN christian, there are far more who are hard pressed to argue their faith in their own words.

    The problem here is that smart theists know the trap and they are not going to walk into it whether they can beat it or no. Its far easier to attack it from the natural perspective of showing qualitative failings with respect to their own faith. Religions have deep wells of support of all sorts to draw from and FSM and Garage Dragons don't. Nor does the forwarder of these ideas have the full motive to defend them with the vigor and depth a theist does.

    What you end up with is a debate about Garage Dragons that has little or no application to the religion of the theist does not end up walking in the atheists footsteps.

    Level 3
    They are kind of fun for atheists to construct and can be cathartic. In some ways they can serve the opposite purpose and put the atheist in the theists shoes and make them walk their talk. This can give us insight (if we listen well) to the theists mind set.

    Level 4
    These exercises can highlight the construction of religious belief and thereby highlight the atheists view of comparative religion. Nearly all religions begin as a narrative explanation of some part of our lives and invent causal agents at work in the process. This is how they are explained to people and they gain a life of their own over time. The theist response will be "not mine" but with theists of every stripe making that claim... well most of them must be wrong and the quality of their arguments varies little.

    Level 5
    Taken to an extreme, such as that with the FSM, we can highlight the social impact and privilege of religion and how it is pretty much done irrespective of evidence. This is somewhat unique to secular states, religious states could just kill the infidels. But in secular states with religious freedom, the believers must suffer the fancies of the fictive faiths organized enough to represent themselves. This highlights the challenge of being an atheist and having to put up with ardent beliefs you find silly. It can elicit sympathy, but mostly it just creates more anger.

    Level 6
    Again, taken to extremes, these constructs can provide atheists with the fun trappings of religious life. Symbols to represent a view, social gatherings, special events to celebrate common interest etc... Atheism is not really a unifying concept. There isn't much meat on its bones. We just don't think there are gods. It's not the sort of notion you can get all that excited about and with other atheists there isn't much to say about it. It's pretty boring.
    Last edited by Sigfried; November 3rd, 2011 at 10:24 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    There is a bit more to it than that. For many atheists, when we examine the basic constructs for theist claims, we see them as ridiculous at their face. The re-wording as Gonzo describes is an attempt to hold up a mirror so you can see what we see.
    An attempt that fails in every level however (see my above post as to how).

    Some theists mistakenly think that if we hold up that mirror, you will fall for the appeal to ridicule. That is, I think, a foolish expectation.
    Did you mean "atheist"? I don't understand how it makes sense by referring to "theist".

    Level 2
    There is an attempt to shift your perspective. They want you to try and walk in the naturalists instinctual footsteps as you try to deconstruct their dummy argument.
    That's fine. And it is a great practice or strategy in argumentation. But it must be done accurately and comparatively. I've never seen an atheist succeed in doing so her at ODN. Can you link to a thread in which it was done if you believe they have? Or is it your position (which it very well may be from your recent posts) that such threads aren't nearly as accurate as they need to be to be effective?

    The problem here is that smart theists know the trap and they are not going to walk into it whether they can beat it or no. Its far easier to attack it from the natural perspective of showing qualitative failings with respect to their own faith. Religions have deep wells of support of all sorts to draw from and FSM and Garage Dragons don't. Nor does the forwarder of these ideas have the full motive to defend them with the vigor and depth a theist does.

    What you end up with is a debate about Garage Dragons that has little or no application to the religion of the theist does not end up walking in the atheists footsteps.
    Agreed 100%.

    I think the issue however, is just that the atheists here who wish to use this strategy, need to compose a legitimate, comparable argument. But I think to do so, will require more energy and effort than most would prefer to put into it. Instead, it's easier to create a straw man and exaggerate the position which serves only the purpose of mocking and ridicule (even though it is inaccurate and never reaches its goal to actual mock and ridicule and thus, only succeeds in back patting of the proverbial atheist choir) instead of presenting a sound challenge to the theist.

    Level 3
    They are kind of fun for atheists to construct and can be cathartic. In some ways they can serve the opposite purpose and put the atheist in the theists shoes and make them walk their talk. This can give us insight (if we listen well) to the theists mind set.
    I don't know that it can do this though. I understand that it has the potential to do so. But the actuality of it is contingent upon a legitimate comparative. If it isn't legitimate, then the theist response is not the same as the atheist response to theistic arguments because the theist is responding to reason that is never actually held by any group. Thus, the atheist could never use the theistic response to the unsound strategy here, in an actual debate where the theist provides actual reason. It's actually harming the atheist if that is the goal as it is arming him with false ammunition. They aren't learning anything from it for it was never a legitimate position that one could learn from.

    Level 4
    These exercises can highlight the construction of religious belief and thereby highlight the atheists view of comparative religion.
    Again, the problem is that the atheist needs a legitimate comparable backdrop for this to work. To my knowledge, it's never been done here in the history of ODN.

    Level 5
    Taken to an extreme, such as that with the FSM, we can highlight the social impact and privilege of religion and how it is pretty much done irrespective of evidence. This is somewhat unique to secular states, religious states could just kill the infidels. But in secular states with religious freedom, the believers must suffer the fancies of the fictive faiths organized enough to represent themselves. This highlights the challenge of being an atheist and having to put up with ardent beliefs you find silly. It can elicit sympathy, but mostly it just creates more anger.
    This has potential...but I don't think it is the reason such strategies at ODN are employed. I think instead, it speaks to more sophisticated arguments and attempts and the social impact (vs argumentative analysis which is our goal here at ODN).

    Level 6
    Again, taken to extremes, these constructs can provide atheists with the fun trappings of religious life. Symbols to represent a view, social gatherings, special events to celebrate common interest etc... Atheism is not really a unifying concept. There isn't much meat on its bones. We just don't think there are gods. It's not the sort of notion you can get all that excited about and with other atheists there isn't much to say about it. It's pretty boring.
    Again, another good point (like #5), but its value is rather limited here at ODN if this is all there is to it. It's nothing but a "fun factor" for atheists at ODN...there is nothing they or theists can actually learn and grow from as a result.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    [/COLOR][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]It would seem it is most applicable to many of our junior atheists. The jr atheists of ODN, unfortunately don't take the time to understand their opponents' position, and therefore, will never be able to present a sound (let alone compelling) argument for their position.

    I just want to say that in my experience, few theists of any experience level bother to spend much time considering the atheist/naturalist position its history or its nuances. I think you have to assume most opponents in a religious debate do not hold the depth of knowledge you do regarding your position or its traditions. Of course with many of us, our position is also somewhat individual so only through learning about one another can we come to understand it better.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I just want to say that in my experience, few theists of any experience level bother to spend much time considering the atheist/naturalist position its history or its nuances.
    But isn't this contradictory to what atheists say? That there is no commonly held view or philosophy? It is merely the absence of belief in a god?

    Of course, I know better and I agree with you and I very much do believe that it is an actual philosophy which shapes perspective, values, thoughts, etc... But it seems contrary to what most atheists claim. And if most atheists claim that it is nothing more than the absence of the belief in a god, how is it that the average theist should take it any other way and thus, seek to investigate this "non-existent" philosophy?
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    As I've said before, atheists simply misunderstand what it is they disagree with, and until they actually understand the other position, their arguments will always be unsound. Haven't you noticed why not senior atheists agree with the the jr atheists arguments? They, being more seasoned debaters and atheists, understand the Christian position and arguments sufficiently to know how not to argue against it.
    So you are claiming that Carl Sagan is a jr atheist for making up the argument of the dragon in his garage. This could be true, I do not really know the difference between a senior atheist and jr atheist. You are also claiming that you are smarter then Carl Sagan and therefore understand religious arguments better then he does. I seriously doubt that.
    abc

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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    So you are claiming that Carl Sagan is a jr atheist for making up the argument of the dragon in his garage. This could be true, I do not really know the difference between a senior atheist and jr atheist. You are also claiming that you are smarter then Carl Sagan and therefore understand religious arguments better then he does. I seriously doubt that.
    No. There reference is to ODN atheists and their lack of understanding of what it is they are attempting to debate.

    Furthermore, you placement of Carl Sagan on a theological pedestal is misplaced. He is a cosmologist. Speaking of religion is outside his area of expertise. In fact, the dragon parable isn't even his original parable...he paraphrased it 50 years later from philosopher Antony Flew's parable of the gardner, who since became a theist. Are you then suggesting that the cosmologist is better suited than the philosopher when it comes to philosophical issues?

    In his essay he writes:
    Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

    The only thing you've really learned from my insistence that there's a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You'd wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then, why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I've seriously underestimated human fallibility.
    Of which I agree and to my knowledge, EVERY Christian you are addressing agrees. The issue is not the truth of this particular argument...but it's application to the Christian God or at least the beliefs held by Christians. We've been saying this over, and over, and over, and over...and for some reason, you and the small circle of other atheists who put forth this line of argumentation...just aren't seeing it and none of you are supporting it (supporting your claim that it is indeed, applicable). It's been demonstrated time and again how it does not apply.

    Now, if it is the case that Sagan holds the identical views as yourself in regards to the false comparison...then he too is in error. It isn't logically sound Xeno. I don't care of someone with an IQ of 300 made the claim. It isn't true merely because so and so said it was. You should know better than that, especially after taking your intro to philo course (as it should have at least addressed elementary concepts such as this). If you disagree, and believe that the comparison is logically sound and it is airtight, then I hereby officially challenge you to bridge that gap in application.

    Challenge to support a claim.

    Both you and he, have not bridged that gap of logic. And until you do, the argument is dead in the water (in as far as it applying to the belief in God).

    See my previous post, the one you ignored (save for the editorial rant) on how this was the case.

    And just by doing so Xeno (ignoring the actual challenge and rebuttal), you've proven my point that you objected to here in this post. Many atheists (the ones I referred to as "jr atheists) simply are not interested in rational discourse. To use reason, to use logic, to understand the issues of the argument, to understand the philosophies in which they attempt to discuss...is of absolutely no interest to them whatsoever. And until they do they will never be able to put forth any cogent or compelling argument.

    For convenience, I'll re-post the relevant parts (100% of the relevant bits you overlooked).

    ----------------

    You just said it was because it could not be dis-proven.

    Xeno: A claim that cannot be dis-proven is a worthless claim. Also the inability to disprove something should not be taken as proof of the existence of that thing. This is what the "Dragon in my Garage" thread showed.


    You are backpedaling.

    Even so, the cloud argument is not comparable to the arguments for God of Christianity. We take each argument and examine not only its soundness, but its plausibility. The cloud argument did not stand up. It's possible that the arguments for the Christian God do not stand up to scrutiny either. But you have not demonstrated it through the non-comparable and unsound argument you have provided through the cloud argument (or the dragon analogy).

    If we were to make the arguments comparable, we would say that God of the Bible must exist for the sole reason that He creates clouds. Yet, this is not why Christians believe in God.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; November 3rd, 2011 at 11:58 AM.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    APOK--

    You highlight a strong problem. To do these arguments such that they are beyond an appeal to ridicule, it takes a metric ton of work. Creating a strong proxy faith, working up defenses for it, and hardest of all, obscuring the fact you just pulled it out of your brain on the spot or getting the opposition to ignore that obvious fact so you can debate it on its merits.

    I think I could do that, I've spent many years creating fictional religious beliefs, gods, cultures etc for the RPG games I play in. But I have no idea why I'd take the time and effort just to get an atheist to admit that there is a component of faith and personal interpretation in their belief system. Most of them will freely admit that if asked.

    One of the things I've come to a firm determination on through debating on ODN is that most of my religious arguments will fall into one of two camps.

    - Theoretical mental masturbation, which is all well and good but kind of pointless beyond its cognitive exercise and entertainment (80%)

    - Practical discussions of how we should behave in our real world lives (20%)

    I mostly find religion just doesn't matter for #2 because I live in a largely religious but secular governed society. On practical matters religion often follows common sense, and when it doesn't we mostly can ignore it. Most ODN Christians etc... tend to set religion in the background on such topics anyhow.

    On the 80% I find most folks here are smart and the disagreements lie at some root assumptions that are really hard to communicate effectively.

    Then there is evolution, where science and religion seem to collide as they once did with astronomy. Here to me it seems we have on one hand a mountain of physical and testable evidence against an insistence that the proposed mechanism is just too complicated to be believable or so complicated it must be the product of a super brain. Its not that these objections are terrible, they just pale in comparison to the case science has developed in the last 100 years and which has only accelerated over time.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    APOK--

    You highlight a strong problem. To do these arguments such that they are beyond an appeal to ridicule, it takes a metric ton of work. Creating a strong proxy faith, working up defenses for it, and hardest of all, obscuring the fact you just pulled it out of your brain on the spot or getting the opposition to ignore that obvious fact so you can debate it on its merits.
    Well, if it is seen as a philosophical exercise, it can be worthwhile IMO as it causes those creative juices to start flowing.

    But unfortunately, it is more than that from this rather eccentric group. They seem to think that it actually is applicable and don't see the numerous fallacies and misrepresentations they've committed. Then when they are pointed out how they are not applicable, they go off he deep end IMO, as if their entire world just got destroyed...as if their entire philosophy was hinging upon this one, fallacious argument. It's just weird.

    If on the other hand, it was used simply as a philosophical tool, then all members regardless of religious beliefs could participate and benefit. Unfortunately, this has never been what it is about though.

    Then there is evolution, where science and religion seem to collide as they once did with astronomy. Here to me it seems we have on one hand a mountain of physical and testable evidence against an insistence that the proposed mechanism is just too complicated to be believable or so complicated it must be the product of a super brain. Its not that these objections are terrible, they just pale in comparison to the case science has developed in the last 100 years and which has only accelerated over time.
    The problem here is of course, that not every Christian believes in special creation (young earth, literal Adam and Eve story, etc...). And from what I've read, those who do here at ODN are far and few between. We could always take a poll of course, but it seems to me that more Christians that not believe in Intelligent Design, which is not synonymous with Creation at all. I've never seen any argument exposing an incompatibility with theistic evolution or similar theories.

    So here, it would seem, that your objection is with but a small group of members at ODN. It's like creating a huge argument against Marxism and labeling all non-Capitalists into this group and expecting them to change their position from our argument. The problem is, there is a variety of beliefs out there and only a fraction of them actually apply to our argument.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    But isn't this contradictory to what atheists say? That there is no commonly held view or philosophy? It is merely the absence of belief in a god?

    Of course, I know better and I agree with you and I very much do believe that it is an actual philosophy which shapes perspective, values, thoughts, etc... But it seems contrary to what most atheists claim. And if most atheists claim that it is nothing more than the absence of the belief in a god, how is it that the average theist should take it any other way and thus, seek to investigate this "non-existent" philosophy?
    That's why I say atheist/naturalist. And when folks ask me my moral philosophy I tell them it is not atheism, but secular humanism. Atheism really is a pretty hollow standpoint. It just says I don't ascribe to any theist arguments. It is a very neutral sort of thing.

    Naturalism is different. That says that I ascribe to a a whole host of philosophical positions that are pinned on the process of experience, reason, and exploration of the world I live in. Naturalism is a positive claim that involves a lot of thought and meaning as well as a number of practical positive actions. Atheism calls on me to do nothing specifically, its more like a kind of baseline. Naturalism informs how I approach truth claims and how I make practical decisions.

    Secular humanism is a whole moral framework with its own assumptions, mechanisms, justifications etc.. Hardly anyone ever even bothers to talk about it, they like to focus on Atheism as the moral framework but it just isn't. Its little more than an opinion, it just has a number of implications on where you go next with your philosophy.

    ---------- Post added at 12:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:16 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    The problem here is of course, that not every Christian believes in special creation (young earth, literal Adam and Eve story, etc...). And from what I've read, those who do here at ODN are far and few between. We could always take a poll of course, but it seems to me that more Christians that not believe in Intelligent Design, which is not synonymous with Creation at all. I've never seen any argument exposing an incompatibility with theistic evolution or similar theories.

    So here, it would seem, that your objection is with but a small group of members at ODN. It's like creating a huge argument against Marxism and labeling all non-Capitalists into this group and expecting them to change their position from our argument. The problem is, there is a variety of beliefs out there and only a fraction of them actually apply to our argument.
    Its an interesting point, my feeling is about half the theists here favor special creation or something like it and about half who ascribe to a kind of God driven evolution model. I'll do a poll and see what we get, I'm really curious.

    In the wider world (and Atheists face these conflicts more often I think) christian's seem to mostly favor a special creation view where the Adam and eve story is either literal or approximate to events that happened and humans were more or less just popped into existence and evolution only operates at the "micro" level, aka you can breed dogs and some birds might become other birds but that's it. Evolutionary theory is an affront to their faith and so they fight against it as best they can.

    There are levels if Int design, and I think most support the sort that says there is only micro evolution and we are looking at special creation. I don't find great fault with the notion that the whole system of evolution is designed, I just think it requires a leap of faith to be certain of it to any great degree. I can see that it could be designed, but I don't see why it must be or any hard evidence it was. But that is not how most of the arguments here or elsewhere go. Mostly its that evolution is impossible so it must be a case of special creation.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    Apok-

    -28 for all the ad homs in post #4.

    Disregarding your continued personal attack against my ability to think critically, you seem to not have read my argument carefully enough to pull out any meaning. I was clearly not making the case that "All Christians believe [x]". You dodged key questions that lie at the heart of the matter, and instead attacked my seeming inability to think on your level.

    Regarding cannibalism, I specifically mentioned that in lieu of transubstantiation, at least symbolic cannibalism is practiced. If you belong to a sect that does not take communion, I was not aware one existed. Still though, it doesn't change my point in the slightest. Do Christians believe that Christ offered his flesh and blood at the last supper? Is that not part of the narrative? Is this NOT symbolic cannibalism?

    What about the Mormons? Do you or do you not call them Christians? Why aren't you a Mormon? Why are the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price not on your list of divinely inspired literature? And what about the baptists? Go ahead and pick a flavor, there are several. Are you Anglican, by chance? Certainly not Catholic I surmise. You have a computer, so you clearly have electricity, so you can't be Amish (unless you're on extended Rumspringa). Tell me, of all the denominations available to you as a Christian.... why aren't you any of the others?

    I anticipate your answer being something like "because they haven't done their homework, or else they'd see things the way I do."

    What I am now convinced you will never see is just how out there your personally held beliefs are to any who do not also hold them. Talking about magical and supernatural things may be a little tongue in cheek, but it is no less representative of the nature of the subject matter than anything having to do with an anthropomorphic deity. Just because you don't like the reflection does not mean you aren't looking into a mirror.

    Tell me something, honestly: Are you trying to force atheists away from this site? Your treatment of Rodriguez, Myxenocide, and now me leads me to believe you simply do not want any active atheists on ODN anymore. I mean, you dodge and squirm around our arguments, you don't answer our questions, but you are always ready with sharp criticism of the way we think, our "lack of education" when it comes to logic, our seeming inability to grasp concepts like the "senior" atheists.... Tell me, would you just like us to leave? I am getting a feeling from you that is not so much hostile as it is simply unwelcome.

    If that isn't your goal, I suggest dropping the litany of ad homs. People might get the wrong idea if you don't.
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    Re: Atheist template examined: god parodies

    It's the language. Theists are comfortable with the language that has been constructed around their deities, yet when reworded (with the exact same meaning), they suddenly are not comfortable with the language.
    Bias regarding the language used in the original description would account for that, yes--but so would bias regarding the language used in the reworded description. Assuming that different words have precisely the same meaning and connotation doesn't seem very reasonable, does it?
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