A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
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21-04-2012, 10:26 PM
A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
I'm a skeptic, as many of you are. I don't believe in any idea unless there is compelling evidence.

In short, a holy book --- The Bible, Q'uran, and the numerous lesser-knowns of the Western World --- can't logically prove anything. We've all pointed out many of the shortcomings in the Bible's literal words, but even if we granted a Christian the assumption that we can't find a fault in the book, it still doesn't make it absolute truth.

The three arguments by believers are all fallacious. The first is to argue that a book is true because it claims to be true, which is obviously begging the question/circular reasoning, and it is easily dismissed.

The second is that archaeology and observation and testing reinforce claims in the bible, therefore it must all be true. This is the fallacy of composition, that what is true about part of something must be true about all of it (specifically that it contains true statements). I like to cite Wikipedia, and many people like to claim that it's unreliable... and of course they're right. Even though it contains many fact-checked and obviously true statements, that doesn't make the whole thing true. This is just one counter-example to such an excuse; one counter-example that demonstrates exactly why composition is a fallacy.

The third is that holy books contain "fore-knowledge" in the form of prophesies or advanced scientific knowledge. The claim is that if a holy book has information before it should actually have such information, then it must be the product of a supernatural mind. What follows is an implication that this also makes it truthful, though there isn't a logical premise for "why" it would do that. The logical fault being committed here is a non-sequitar --- the conclusion doesn't follow from premises that actually lead you to that conclusion.

Why do I bring this all up? Well, there are concepts that theists believe in such as "heaven" that have absolutely zero evidence outside of being written about in a holy book. If a holy book can't logically be held as evidence for such a concept (because the book, in proving heaven's existence, does nothing more than assure you that it exists) then why would a rational theist accept belief in such concepts? I guess that would make them irrational, then... they either don't care for logic or can't follow it.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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22-04-2012, 03:02 AM
RE: A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
Very well said. I sometimes can't tell if a devout Christian is so heavily indoctrinated, that they still believe absolutely everything in the bible, or that they just prefer to be ignorant to everything.
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22-04-2012, 07:03 AM
RE: A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
I agree.

However, the thing that annoys me the most about calling things 'holy' is that they're suddenly not subject to the same level of criticism that any other claim to truth is. The "It's holy! Don't question it!" attitude is saddening because it's just put in a box ahead of everything and apparently you're just meant to accept it because it is what it is.

It's the same with all holy books. Apparently the Quran is special and should be treated as if a human couldn't have written it. That it has divinity (before you've read it) and criticising it is offensive. wut? Imagine if scientists were offended if their hypothesis was criticised or if philosophers stopped writing and arguing if someone else found a flaw in what they were saying. Where would we be?

It doesn't stop with holy books either. Holy titles seem to deem a person free from criticism. If I call a priest unjustified in what he is saying (like homosexuals are sinners) then I'm the bad person. It makes little sense to me.

Everything should be open to criticism. You shouldn't tell children not to question a book's level of truth or validity just because it's holy, or accept someone's word just because they wear a long robe and repeat things in the bible to people. The same goes for all religions. If they had such levels of truth in their religions then they should be open to criticism.

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Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.


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22-04-2012, 08:08 AM (This post was last modified: 22-04-2012 08:37 AM by Thomas.)
RE: A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
The only truth that can be associated with any holy book is that the paper it is printed on was made from trees.
Everything else is bullshit.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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22-04-2012, 08:20 AM
RE: A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
(22-04-2012 08:08 AM)Thomas Wrote:  The only truth that can be associated with any holy book is that the paper it is printed on was made from trees.
Everything elsle is bullshit.
Unless it's printed on rice paper. Or parchment. Big Grin

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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22-04-2012, 08:42 AM
RE: A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
Maybe in the future, when the majority of humanity have been wiped out, leaving the lucky few to repopulate the Earth, we may have an entirely new religion based on comic books. Anything can be used to start a religion, as long as you add the mystic or holy factor to said object. Basing the existence of God based on the Bible is similar to basing the existence of Santa Claus based on the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

All praise the Written Word of Our Prophet of the Holy Arachnid, Stan Lee. Spiderman will return to grace us with his holy spider silk. Down to the Church of the Revered Kryptonian, for they are false prophets who preach lies about the true saviour, which is Spiderman of course.

But theists may come out with this counter-argument, that we too based our world history on written and oral accounts, such as wars even if physical evidence is not found. Any ideas for a counter-counter argument?

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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22-04-2012, 08:53 AM
RE: A Holy Book's Reputation is Worthless
(22-04-2012 08:42 AM)robotworld Wrote:  Maybe in the future, when the majority of humanity have been wiped out, leaving the lucky few to repopulate the Earth, we may have an entirely new religion based on comic books. Anything can be used to start a religion, as long as you add the mystic or holy factor to said object. Basing the existence of God based on the Bible is similar to basing the existence of Santa Claus based on the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

All praise the Written Word of Our Prophet of the Holy Arachnid, Stan Lee. Spiderman will return to grace us with his holy spider silk. Down to the Church of the Revered Kryptonian, for they are false prophets who preach lies about the true saviour, which is Spiderman of course.

But theists may come out with this counter-argument, that we too based our world history on written and oral accounts, such as wars even if physical evidence is not found. Any ideas for a counter-counter argument?
The premise reminds me of a sci-fi book I quite enjoyed, A Canticle for Liebowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

It is available as an e-book.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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