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  1. #1
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    Test Your Competence

    In order to be a competent, thoughtful, reasonable person, you need to be able to understand the objections and alternatives to the positions you have.

    With that in mind, here is a test.

    Atheists: Briefly outline your objections to Theism. Then in your own words give either what you think is the strongest Theist response to your objections or what you think is the most common Theist response to your objections.

    Theists: Same as above, but vice versa.


    Anyone who argues for any position must be able to demonstrate that they truly understand why people disagree with them.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  2. #2
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    My objections to Athiesm

    My objection is not necessarily to atheism, its hard to directly object to a negative, and that frankly is the problem with athiesm. Its not something that carries any explanatory power and it does not lead one to any deeper understanding. Theism does offer these things, atheism is simply the negation of this. But I am not interested in negatives, I am interested in understanding the universe, life, and everything. As the antithesis of an actual world view, atheism has nothing to offer in explaining even the most basic questions. This is not a good start.

    Now obviously atheists believe there are answers to why we exist, how we have morals, etc, but these answers do not come from atheism itself. No, they require the atheist to reach out for an actual philosophy and belief system to supplant theism. Having rejected theism and the supernatural, that really only leaves the atheist with naturalism and materialism and I reject these on multiple grounds.

    They are self-refuting, impossible to prove by the same standards of proof that they demand everything else meet. In this the Naturalist/Materialist must accept the premises of Naturalism/Materialism on a truly blind faith. To me that is no better than theists who do the same. Any attempt to explain why there is something rather than nothing and why "this something" quickly degenerates into infinite regressions that leave the question unanswered. This ultimately forces a retreat to accepting every possible reality as an equally real existence as ours. This I find paradoxical, because this then opens up to many of the Ontological Arguments for God. How is it that nonmaterial ideas, thoughts, concepts really do exist when the naturalism and materialism demand that you reject the existence of the nonmaterial? How is it that there should be thought from unthinking matter? And while some forms of theism face the problem of evil, naturalism/materialism faces the problem of morality and I think fails to really address it.

    These are just a highlight of many of the problems that face Naturalism and Materialism.

    With theism, I recognize there are issues, but I am not limited to a narrow range of possibilities and I am free to accept where the evidence and logic take me. With atheism, I am reduced to the naturalist materialist world view which severely restricts me having to accept an explanation because my a priori assumptions limit me to only that explanation.

    So to summarize.

    1) Atheism offers no answers
    2) Atheism leaves me only with Naturalism and Materialism, which are problematic.
    3) I find the counterarguments against Theism to be inadequate.
    4) There are multiple arguments for Theism that also address the problems faced by Naturalism and Materialism.

    Best Argument against Theism

    Certain forms of the Problem of Evil.

    In reality this about the only real argument against theism. The other arguments are really just counterarguments against theistic claims or arguments for Naturalism/Materialism.

    Most Common Arguments against Theism

    Many. Most can be summarized as simply counterarguments against a theist argument and repeated demands to meet some arbitrary level of evidence.

    However, my favorites are always those that attempt to argue from science. I find these particularly amusing as science is really agnostic on the issue and when the atheist tries to argue that science demonstrates there is no God for such and such a reason, that is really them twisting science and imposing their own philosophical beliefs on it. I find a lot of the arguments and thoughts touted by atheists to be amusing for similar ironic reasons.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  3. #3
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Reasons for atheism

    1. Frankly none of the evidence on the theist side is remotely plausible: most of it is philosophical in nature which is basically a formal way of making things up as they go along.
    2. On the atheist side, there is a great deal of evidence supporting that deities are human inventions: humans have invented them many times and in different forms - why not the same form if deities were real? Or are there really multiple deities?
    3. Deities and religions are better explained by stepping back from the specific claims of any of the religions and seeing what is common: they are a great explanatory framework for the universe, they are an efficient way to preserve knowledge between generations of people, the rituals around the important events in life as well as a moral framework provide social cohesion. For that reason alone, it is hard to argue to dump religion for all humanity, if it were at all possible. As such, I reserve such a privilege for those in the modern Western World.
    4. Theistic morality is definitely better than nothing but Christianity is showing cracks in its seams, especially in the light of evidence that homosexuality is entirely natural and not harmful. It is hard to argue why it should ever have been considered a sin in the first place.
    5. Singing praises and praying just seem a bit of a primitive reaction to me. All the pomp and circumstance and seriousness of the rituals seem a little bit of an over-reaction even if there were a deity. I understand the emotions but it's like looking at modern humans behaving like tribal warriors dancing around a fire: a bit weird and a tad scary.
    6. After several thousand years of deities, no-one has come up with a single piece of physical evidence of one.


    Strongest response
    1. Muslim response - Shut up or die infidel.
    2. Old Christian response - Shut up and die unbeliever
    3. New Christian response - You don't understand that nature of our deity cannot be proven and that God is everywhere already, as inseparable from reality as a charge is from an atom. Rather than worry about details, is it not better to consider how to live a better life such that your family, friends and society can all benefit? Atheism has no moral framework whereas Christianity has one that has been tried and tested for thousands of years and proven effective and true.

  4. #4
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Atheists: Briefly outline your objections to Theism. Then in your own words give either what you think is the strongest Theist response to your objections or what you think is the most common Theist response to your objections.
    I would need further clarification as to what you mean by objections to theism. Specifically, whether you want to know why we object to a theistic word view (i.e. religion) or why we reject the theistic deity (and for that matter, whether you are including opposition the Deism) because the answers are different.

    For now I will answer both in basic

    Religion:
    1. I maintain that anyone who can claim an explanation to the entire physical universe without presenting any evidence for it is showing a serious level of intellectual dishonesty
    2. It teaches people that faith is a virtue, which is a dangerous precedent when we need critical thinking as a society
    3. It is needlessly divisive when we already have enough to divide us
    4. Similarly to 3, it is exclusionary and leads to people with an irrational hatred of other points of view
    5. That hatred and total belief you are right is a perfect storm for violence to erupt
    6. The horrible state of religious texts, which are for one ludicrous and unsupported, not to mention morally reprehensible
    7. Finally, it is clear from a study of history that EVERY time humanity assumes a supernatural explanation for a phenomena, we have been wrong, so why ae we continuing to do so without any good reason


    Existence of a deity
    1. The overwhelming lack of evidence for anything which is not naturalistic
    2. The logical disconnect between arguments for a first cause (i.e. KCA, which) and making that cause personal or, for that matter, conscious
    3. The lack of any reason to believe that the supernatural 1. exists 2. presents an explanation for anything
    4. The lack of a good reason to worship this god even if he did exist

    As for arguments theists present, they will usually ignore all your points, then straw man you. They will state there is evidence, then not present it and, most irritatingly, will use a version of Pascals wager while using scripture to try and prove scripture.

  5. #5
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Strongest response
    1. Muslim response - Shut up or die infidel.
    2. Old Christian response - Shut up and die unbeliever
    3. New Christian response - You don't understand that nature of our deity cannot be proven and that God is everywhere already, as inseparable from reality as a charge is from an atom. Rather than worry about details, is it not better to consider how to live a better life such that your family, friends and society can all benefit? Atheism has no moral framework whereas Christianity has one that has been tried and tested for thousands of years and proven effective and true.
    To be clear...these are the best arguments FOR Christianity that you are honestly and intellectually aware of or can think of, using your best cognitive skills?

    Or did you just fail to read the op and meet its objective?

    If the latter, can you retry? If the former...well...I think that about sums it up (that this is the best atheists have to offer thus far in as far as being incapable or unwilling of (or to use) ordered reasoning) and at least it does explain why many atheists are atheists.

    Lastly...do you realize what the thread's title is? If this were to be graded academically, you'd have failed and shown incompetence through your response Sharmak. I'll explain how so if you like, but you should be able to understand how by reading more carefully the instructions in the op.

    ---------- Post added at 03:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:33 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by SgtPeppers View Post
    As for arguments theists present, they will usually ignore all your points, then straw man you. They will state there is evidence, then not present it and, most irritatingly, will use a version of Pascals wager while using scripture to try and prove scripture.
    Like Sharmak, you failed the "test". You failed to follow instructions, and like him, have exposed a certain incompetence here. It's fine that you believe what you have posted, it is fine that you have reasonably concluded as you have. But that is irrelevant to this particular op.

    To all atheists, Sharmak, Peppers and anyone else participating in this thread...


    Both posts #3 and #4 are examples of a serious lack of critical thinking (or the exercise of it) and is why I maintain that the public school system needs to mandate a critical thinking course at the high school level.

    The purpose of this thread was NOT to explain why you are an atheist or theist guys.

    The op was trying to explain a very simplistic form of the Aquinas model of argument making and analysis that has been used in philosophy since the 13th century, but is influenced on the Socratic Method which obviously predates Aquinas by over 1,000 years.

    An external explanation can be found here: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl2...as_method.html

    Here is a concise (believe it or not) and simplistic example of how you would do this in an actual philosophy course: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...d-KCA?p=493816 . Obviously, Clive was not asking for such detail or verbosity, but given the example format in post #2, what was expected and how to do it seems rather obvious.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; May 2nd, 2012 at 03:07 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by SgtPeppers View Post
    As for arguments theists present, they will usually ignore all your points, then straw man you. They will state there is evidence, then not present it and, most irritatingly, will use a version of Pascals wager while using scripture to try and prove scripture.
    I understand you are talking in generalities, but when atheists on ODN continue to state that these are the ways theists argue, I can only think "Good Lord, that atheist has just ignored nearly every theist on ODN, because that does not describe us at all."
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  7. #7
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by SgtPeppers View Post
    7. Finally, it is clear from a study of history that EVERY time humanity assumes a supernatural explanation for a phenomena, we have been wrong, so why ae we continuing to do so without any good reason.
    Perhaps because we don't like the implications of calling something natural that we just don't understand yet, though its observable and is most likely quite natural. It seems like some people have a love/hate relationship going on with the natural world.


    What specifically are you referring to that we've been wrong about?
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  8. #8
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    I understand you are talking in generalities, but when atheists on ODN continue to state that these are the ways theists argue, I can only think "Good Lord, that atheist has just ignored nearly every theist on ODN, because that does not describe us at all."
    There is no doubt that there are many atheists who are well educated and have deeply reasoned arguments and beliefs.

    However, perhaps ODN is an anomaly. Thinking of all the atheists in our community, there are probably only a few that are actually formally educated and/or have some degree of knowlegde about philosophy and theology...this, as compared to the theists who there are more educated in these fields. To put it simply...I think here at ODN, there are less educated/experienced atheists...and more educated/experienced theists. And I think this causes problems in many discussions as terms and concepts and ways to analyze argumentation are just unknown by several active atheists here.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; May 2nd, 2012 at 04:22 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    To be clear...these are the best arguments FOR Christianity that you are honestly and intellectually aware of or can think of, using your best cognitive skills?

    Or did you just fail to read the op and meet its objective?
    Well, the OP was about deities not religion; i.e. God and not Christianity, ONE of the religions of God. I probably come up with a better set of arguments for Christianity than I can for God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Lastly...do you realize what the thread's title is? If this were to be graded academically, you'd have failed and shown incompetence through your response Sharmak. I'll explain how so if you like, but you should be able to understand how by reading more carefully the instructions in the op.
    I read it more carefully than you did it seems. The OP is about theism, i.e. the belief in one or more deities, NOT Christianity. I know that you like to think that Christianity is the only legitimate religion for your own deity but not everything is about your religion!

    Please re-read, and retract the above.

    ---------- Post added at 07:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:25 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Here is a concise (believe it or not) and simplistic example of how you would do this in an actual philosophy course: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...d-KCA?p=493816 . Obviously, Clive was not asking for such detail or verbosity, but given the example format in post #2, what was expected and how to do it seems rather obvious.
    Criticism taken but to be honest, I thought this was a shooting the breeze thread and threw it out at 2am. Nevertheless, it's a nice write up but do you really have to use Teal? That went out with the 80's ;-).
    Last edited by SharmaK; May 2nd, 2012 at 05:43 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    No Sharmak...you are still missing the point. it isn't about "theism vs Christianity". It is not about theism. You have failed to understand the point of this thread.

    I've edited out the op and highlighted the most important parts:
    In order to be a competent, thoughtful, reasonable person, you need to be able to understand the objections and alternatives to the positions you have.

    With that in mind, here is a test.

    Atheists: Briefly outline your objections to Theism. Then in your own words give either what you think is the strongest Theist response to your objections or what you think is the most common Theist response to your objections.

    Anyone who argues for any position must be able to demonstrate that they truly understand why people disagree with them.
    I will not retract my statements/post, as you have utterly misread or misunderstood what it is that is expected of you here.

    You are not supposed to argue against theism. I am not supposed to argue for Christianity or for theism.

    I even gave you 1 link that explains the method of argument presentation. In addition, I gave you an example of a college level, 5-step Aquinas method in action.

    The fact that you still failed to see what this thread is about is extremely troubling and speaks directly to the point I made in my last post about complete lack of education and experience in these matters.

    Threads like these are meant to help those who are less experienced. But they can only work if you actually follow the instructions and do so with the understanding of its purpose.

    To put it simply, so there is absolutely NO CONFUSION whatsoever, your primary "assignment", or your "test"...is to:

    1) Present your best case against theism in a concise manner.
    2) Present the best responses you can think of as to why someone would object to #1.
    3) Provide your best answer to the objection in #2.

    This "test" is to ensure that you understand (and I quote here) "why people disagree with you" and "understand the objections and alternatives to the positions you have", so that you can "be a competent, thoughtful, reasonable person."

    This thread has nothing to do whether one particular philosophy is true or not, whether theism or atheism is better reasoned, whether some people who argue for their position use fallacious reasoning.

    It is about YOU, as an individual interlocutor, understanding what it is you are objecting to in the first place. And clearly...by your response to my post (completely missing the point), this is definitely a challenge for you at times Sharmak. Being able to clearly understand what it is that someone is saying is extremely important if you wish to address them either in agreement or disagreement. If you don't understand, then you can't respond with anything other than confusion or seeking clarity.

    ---------- Post added at 05:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:46 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Criticism taken but to be honest, I thought this was a shooting the breeze thread and threw it out at 2am. Nevertheless, it's a nice write up but do you really have to use Teal? That went out with the 80's ;-).
    Teal is radical, dude. However, just for you Sharmak, I've changed the color scheme.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    No Sharmak...you are still missing the point. it isn't about "theism vs Christianity". It is not about theism. You have failed to understand the point of this thread.
    Possibly, but I did put out

    1. my best 2am argument for atheism
    2. responded back with the best argument I could for the above - i.e. that evidence isn't the point of theism but to provide a foundation for building a system of religion.

    And this is still nothing to do with Christianity. That said, when I get some time, it's worth revisiting this to understand the other side properly.

    But what do you think of Chadn's response, he didn't even address his own points in the first part, which wasn't even about atheism but atheists. Rebuke him too!

    ---------- Post added at 08:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:54 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Teal is radical, dude. However, just for you Sharmak, I've changed the color scheme.
    Phew! Back to the future!

  12. #12
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    I think the last two responses are very interesting given the recent history, especially in the CA threads in which Theists have been, to be frank, dominant. Still, to answer Clive's questions.


    My objection to Atheism


    To be honest it is intellectually incongruous. Atheism, and naturalism in general, have certain physical laws (such as causality) that they suspend when inconvenient.

    I have yet to see in a single thread an explanation by atheists for the creation of our universe. The response is what I am calling a "atheism of the gaps" argument. We don't know what did X therefore science will explain it at some point.

    The counters to the CA argument have been at best shallow. They betray a remarkably limited knowledge of physics and yet seem to rely on physics for their points.

    Atheism is also unattractive from a philosophical point of view because it seems to consist of nothing but a series of objections, not a cogent intellectual theory.


    Atheism's strongest rebutall


    Again, to be perfectly frank I haven't really seen any, the invariably come down to an emotional rejection of deities as a concept. I would have to say that Dio's attempt to argue that actions require time was perhaps the best argument that I've seen against the CA. While it rested on a little tautology, it was well thought out and the natural conclusions of his argument were clear from the beginning.
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Possibly, but I did put out

    1. my best 2am argument for atheism
    2. responded back with the best argument I could for the above - i.e. that evidence isn't the point of theism but to provide a foundation for building a system of religion.
    I understand, but our intent is not the same as the actual result.

    And to be clear, the best argument you think that is in favor of theism is:

    And this is still nothing to do with Christianity.
    Of course it doesn't. Not only have I never claimed that it did and instead, explained just the opposite, but also I concisely told you what the thread was about.

    That said, when I get some time, it's worth revisiting this to understand the other side properly.
    But it isn't just this thread. It's important to understand the points of any argument given by the opposite in any thread. This thread is just to bring to light the problem that many people have when responding and critiquing other's positions.

    But what do you think of Chadn's response, he didn't even address his own points in the first part, which wasn't even about atheism but atheists. Rebuke him too!
    He offered what was expected as per the op (what he thought were the best and/or most common arguments against theism):

    Best Argument against Theism

    Certain forms of the Problem of Evil.

    In reality this about the only real argument against theism. The other arguments are really just counterarguments against theistic claims or arguments for Naturalism/Materialism.

    Most Common Arguments against Theism

    Many. Most can be summarized as simply counterarguments against a theist argument and repeated demands to meet some arbitrary level of evidence.

    However, my favorites are always those that attempt to argue from science. I find these particularly amusing as science is really agnostic on the issue and when the atheist tries to argue that science demonstrates there is no God for such and such a reason, that is really them twisting science and imposing their own philosophical beliefs on it. I find a lot of the arguments and thoughts touted by atheists to be amusing for similar ironic reasons.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; May 2nd, 2012 at 07:36 PM.
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Of course it doesn't. Not only have I never claimed that it did and instead, explained just the opposite, but also I concisely told you what the thread was about.
    Apok: To be clear...these are the best arguments FOR Christianity that you are honestly and intellectually aware of or can think of, using your best cognitive skills?

    By my understanding of the format, I don't need to argue FOR any topic from the Christian perspective but I should be arguing against my original claims from the Christian perspective; i.e. not bring up new theist objections against atheism per se but must address the points already raised. Also, it was you bringing up Christianity - did you mean theism?

    From the OP "Then in your own words give either what you think is the strongest Theist response to your objections or what you think is the most common Theist response to your objections."

    I did this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    He offered what was expected as per the op (what he thought were the best and/or most common arguments against theism):
    Yes, but I thought the rebuttals, at least from your examples should be attacking his original reasons not theism in general.


    It seems like from your KCA sample it the format is:

    1. An argument
    2. Solid rebuttals for the argument
    (3. responses to the rebuttals)

    Which I actually did:

    1. I argued, from the atheist side, that there is no evidence for deities.
    2. Then I argued, from the theist side, that evidence is irrelevant.

    chadn "best arguments against theism" don't even really address the issues laid out in his first section.

    Surely, the second part, the rebuttal should attack something directly in the argument.

    (I'm not deliberately calling out chadn here, btw, I'm just trying to understand what the format is)

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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Apok: To be clear...these are the best arguments FOR Christianity that you are honestly and intellectually aware of or can think of, using your best cognitive skills?

    By my understanding of the format, I don't need to argue FOR any topic from the Christian perspective but I should be arguing against my original claims from the Christian perspective; i.e. not bring up new theist objections against atheism per se but must address the points already raised.
    That's correct. By "for Christianity" I meant from that perspective since it was the theist side of the debate. And you are correct that the correct term to use here was "theist" and not Christianity. I used the term "Christianity" because you used the term Christian in your response. I was trying to be less accurate in order to be more communicative (since you apparently are addressing the objections from an Old Christian, Muslim and New Christian perspective).

    From the OP "Then in your own words give either what you think is the strongest Theist response to your objections or what you think is the most common Theist response to your objections."

    I did this.
    Which is why I asked if that is what you sincerely believed with all your intellectual capacity. That is, that you were being sincere that the best response that you are aware of or can think of from these belief systems is what you stated in your first response "Do or die" and "You don't understand God" and "Instead of understanding, it's better to just do."

    The reason why myself and all the Christians (we are discussing this in the private forum) are shocked, because it exposes a serious level of what we believe to be, incompetence, either intentional or unintentional, because nowhere here at ODN, has it been the predominant Christian reasoning and argumentation that you have claimed here. However, it is possible that you are not drawing from experiences here at ODN and instead, from somewhere else (in real life perhaps)...in which case, obviously it's just a different pool to draw from and not necessarily incompetence. Unfortunately, though, this would mean that you took the "most common from Christians outside ODN", instead of "best argument you are aware of."

    Regardless, your response tells us 1 of 2 things. You seriously misunderstand the Christian position or you are not referring to ODN experiences but that elsewhere.

    If the latter, can you rephrase based on what you know from the debates you've been involved with here?

    Yes, but I thought the rebuttals, at least from your examples should be attacking his original reasons not theism in general.
    True. And I think the confusion lies with the way I worded "for Christianity" instead of "from the Christian/theist perspective", which would be more easily relatable to the response (vs philosophy in general).

    ---------- Post added at 08:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:52 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    chadn "best arguments against theism" don't even really address the issues laid out in his first section.

    Surely, the second part, the rebuttal should attack something directly in the argument.

    (I'm not deliberately calling out chadn here, btw, I'm just trying to understand what the format is)
    I see. In other words, while Chad gave the atheist argument against theism, he did not give the atheist response to his theist assertion. Is this correct? If so, then I agree with you and you called it correctly...Chad did not follow the format and instead took a more broad approach. However, my concern is less with the technical approach here as it is with the understanding of the opposition's position. That is, it is more important to understand the opposition's position either generally or particularly in regards to the asserted "pro position", than it is to provide that understanding for the particular "pro position" instead of the general position (of atheist or theism). We can know this by the language used in both the title and throughout the op. So while Chad did not get an "A", he at least understood and passed the test as he focused in on what the purpose of the op is for.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Which is why I asked if that is what you sincerely believed with all your intellectual capacity. That is, that you were being sincere that the best response that you are aware of or can think of from these belief systems is what you stated in your first response "Do or die" and "You don't understand God" and "Instead of understanding, it's better to just do."
    Well, the first two were kinda jokes; the first addressing the Muslim theist perspective of apostasy and lack of regard for other ideas. The second, to address the inquisition and social stigma of not being a Christian (and getting punished anyway).

    But in saying that I don't understand God, I think that seems to be a consistent retort, most recently by eye4magic, and largely to point out that my arguments do not apply to the latest understanding of God being a-temporal and a-material, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    The reason why myself and all the Christians (we are discussing this in the private forum) are shocked, because it exposes a serious level of what we believe to be, incompetence, either intentional or unintentional, because nowhere here at ODN, has it been the predominant Christian reasoning and argumentation that you have claimed here. However, it is possible that you are not drawing from experiences here at ODN and instead, from somewhere else (in real life perhaps)...in which case, obviously it's just a different pool to draw from and not necessarily incompetence. Unfortunately, though, this would mean that you took the "most common from Christians outside ODN", instead of "best argument you are aware of."
    It seems to me in general, and I've pointed this out several times over the last week already, that the best arguments here are:

    1. KCA (4 separate threads now!).
    2. chadn's compatibility thread.
    3. Your notion of faith beginning where facts end.
    4. The teleological argument
    5. Some of what Karen Armstrong has been saying - e.g. Man vs God (WSJ)

    (There are real life arguments and outside of ODN of course, but they only touch upon these themes and not in detail and not as sustained as here: so thank you Christians of ODN for the time spent, I do appreciate it even if I don't show it sometimes.)

    To me, the trend seems to be towards an understanding of God via mainly by reason alone and with some reference but not directly dependent upon physical evidence. But in such a way that it does not contradict science but to exist alongside it.

    I won't go into details why I don't like it and why I feel it's wrong, but that's what I mean about the theoretical retort of "You don't understand the nature of God" given my insistence on physical evidence. I think it's a strong line of argument because if evidence is not possible given the a-material, timeless nature of God then it is nonsense to ask for it. I wasn't drawing on specific arguments but on my interpretation of the a trend over the last few months from different threads.

    Sorry if this interpretation turns out to be wrong but I was trying to finish up the chadn compatibility thread to flesh it out more clearly when it kept getting derailed with evidence being demanded for the 'human invention' argument; hence starting that thread, hoping to get back to the chadn thread. That said, I am fully conscious that I am totally off base interpreting these arguments, which is also why I put forward "You don't understand the true nature of God" but I do need to go through the process.

    This is a debate board so the last few recent accusations of being a know it all (far from it!) and wanting to win are a bit weird given that debates are to settle issues.

    However, sometimes, I forget that theists are much more vested in their beliefs than I am in my retorts but I do consciously try to attack the argument (sometimes too harshly on later reading) than the person. To me, this is purely an intellectual exercise since I don't live my life by atheism per se - in fact in real life, I consciously have to hide it sometimes. And for you guys, I think your Christianity informs every aspect of your life (hence my second Christian response of just getting along with life) so it must seem that I am attacking your way of life (which I suppose I am!).

    So that's what's been going on in my mind for the last few days; on reflection now kicked off with chadn's thread which frankly angered me somewhat for its audacity but it's been a simmering issue for a while.

    If I have upset anyone I unreservedly apologize. It's not my intent to anger anyone, though I can tell that I have. And I do appreciate the time spent with me as well as the secret discussions as well and to the ever patient (though you lost it a couple of times) Apok, for directly asking the question so directly.

    Hope that all makes sense.

    [edit: I also want to add, reading this a second time, after a good night's sleep, that although I stand by all I said above, this should not be construed as a retraction of any arguments, including my post here, but an acknowledgement that my style needs to sanding down.)
    Last edited by SharmaK; May 3rd, 2012 at 05:23 AM.

  17. #17
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    --My objection to atheism--
    #1 Their rejection of obvious truths such as objective morality.
    #2 The inconsistent application of requirements of proofs and world view. Regarding #1, it is exemplified by rejecting objective morality, then getting upset when someone takes their wallet. #2 in general is epitomized and chanted in the phrase "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". It fundamentally denies human testimony as valid and seeks to diminish the role of testimony to zero regarding the question of God. All in the same way, never holding every other claim to the same standard. They accept every claim of science based on nothing more than hear say from a PHD. The only person on the board that I am aware of with direct first hand knowledge of evolution, is Chad.. Yet it is held by all atheists based on their own version of the bible by various authors, all the while never having first hand knowledge of any of the claims.



    --Best response--
    #1 - Objective moral are an illusion, and I don't like it when people take my wallet.
    Enter - Euthyphro dilemma
    #2 - The "extraordinary claims/evidence" standard is basically standard practice and reasonable, as only an unreasonable man would accept outlandish claims at face value.
    To serve man.

  18. #18
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    [B]Strongest response
    1. Muslim response - Shut up or die infidel.
    2. Old Christian response - Shut up and die unbeliever
    3. New Christian response - You don't understand that nature of our deity cannot be proven and that God is everywhere already, as inseparable from reality as a charge is from an atom. Rather than worry about details, is it not better to consider how to live a better life such that your family, friends and society can all benefit? Atheism has no moral framework whereas Christianity has one that has been tried and tested for thousands of years and proven effective and true.
    How about a No. 4 to your list called the New Atheist response, which I think is somewhat refreshing. Plus, they seem to be selling a lot of books?

    The New Athesit response "see nothing irrational about seeking the states of mind that lie at the core of many religions. Compassion, awe, devotion and feelings of oneness, ecstasy, rapture, sacredness, bliss, concentration, a sense of the sacred and think all of those are indispensable and lost in much of the atheist community."

    They also don't seem to like the label "atheist" and think they should not call themselves “secularists or “humanists,” or “secular humanists,” or “naturalists,” or “skeptics,” or “anti-theists,” or “rationalists,” or “freethinkers,” or “brights.” The new atheist think they should not call themselves anything. "They think that they should go under the radar for the rest of their lives. And while there, they should be decent, responsible people who destroy bad ideas wherever they find them."
    Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Ugh! good debate... I nuked a very long response by accident.... :( Sometimes I really really hate browsers and their Fing back buttons and hot keys associated with them.

    I'll just say for now many of the responses on both side ring very much of not listening. Both atheist and theist characterizations of their opponents responses are hollow and misunderstanding.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: Test Your Competence

    Firefox will remember what you have typed into the text area as a post Sig. You never have to worry about accidentally back paging as long as you then click forward page AND you are NOT using the Quick Reply box.
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