Arguments Against Theism
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13-09-2011, 10:37 PM
Arguments Against Theism
Hello, I'm a new member, and I'd like to see what arguments there are against theism. I'd call myself an agnostic atheist (I'm not 100% sure if that's the correct term, but I believe it is.) I've came up with sufficiently many that have convinced me that all religions are man-made and false. I'll post a few below. Also, I have not done any extensive research (I'm only 15, and have a lot of school work to do), read the Bible (although I want to sometime), or gotten into an argument with a theist, so if my arguments are weak, have holes, have incorrect information, PLEASE correct me. Feel free to destroy my arguments from a theist point of view, as if I'm debating with one.

1. At most, 99.xxxx% of religions and gods are man-made. Only one, and in special cases a few (Can't you be Shintoist and Buddhist?) can be correct (though they can all be wrong). If so, we have proved that the majority of religions are man-made and false. All claim to have supernatural inspiration, and all claim to be special. If so, what makes xTianity true, what makes it special? (Bible/Quran/paper napkin doesn't work, as I'll use the Bible/Quran/Flying Spaghetti Monster's cookbook as an equivalent claim). Also, how do you know you won't go to the hundreds, if not thousands of other hells for not believing in those?

2. What happens to those who do not know about xTianity? Are they doomed to Hell? Obviously someone in the world has died without knowing about God, so what happens to them?

And so on, I believe I have many of the arguments you have, and they are all easily ignored by the amazingly effective "If I don't believe I go to Hell, if I question I go to Hell, so if I stop listening and believe, I'll go to Heaven" belief.

I think that whatever theists say, I believe that religion is detrimental to society (I believed this prior to reading God Is Not Great, when I have time I'll try to finish it). I also am extremely disappointed that the most hated group in America are atheists (search it, I believe some University did a survey or something). I know I am much more moral than many of my Christian relatives, and I think that many theists are extremely ignorant and hypocritical (better put and shorter, idiots). Most of my friends are religious, but I don't think they are of the (what's the word, is it fundamentalist? You know, the "Believe or else, God hates gays/atheists/Muslims/nonbelievers etc., Earth created 6000 years ago") type. I also think that Rick Perry/Michele Bachmann etc. are idiots. I believe in evolution, and I go to a very science/math oriented magnet school. Well, i see that I'm starting to drift off topic, but there you go, my mind the past few minutes onto a sheet of paper. What do you think? Also, after reviewing the post, I feel a negative feeling radiating from the post. I'm not the "Angry at God" type of atheist (seems ridiculous), and I'm not particularly angry at theists or anything at the moment; I'm just saying what I think.

"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned" - Anonymous
I am glad to live where there is no God, for I am moral, and mortal; I do not wish to worship He who crafts an immoral immortality.
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14-09-2011, 10:27 AM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
(13-09-2011 10:37 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  2. What happens to those who do not know about xTianity? Are they doomed to Hell? Obviously someone in the world has died without knowing about God, so what happens to them?

Since I am a Christian I will try to answer this part of your post.

Everyone has some knowledge of God. He has revealed himself through what he has created and he has given us an innate sense of right and wrong. You can read what the Bible says about this here:

http://www.esvbible.org/search/romans+1%3A18+-+2%3A16/

In judging our lives God takes into consideration how much knowledge we have and those who don't know as much about God will be judged more leniently that those who know more. However God's standard is that we live up completely to what we know is right. No one have ever met this standard. (If you doubt this, just examine your own life. Have you ever done anything you knew was wrong?) That means that we all deserve condemnation.

God is holy and his holiness won't allow him to tolerate any sin in his presence. The only way we can avoid the punishment we deserve and that is why God sent Jesus into the world; he was sinless but he voluntarily died to pay the penalty we deserve so that we can be forgiven if we put our trust in him.

But there are many people who have never heard of what Jesus did. First of all, they will be better off in the final judgment that those who have heard the message of salvation and rejected it. But God has also promised that anyone who seeks him wholeheartedly will find him. If a person lives up to what he knows God will give him more knowledge.

One example of this is the Wise Men who came because they knew that a king of the Jews had been born.

http://www.esvbible.org/search/matthew+2%3A1-12/

They knew about this from their study of the stars and this led them to Jerusalem. There the religious leaders who knew the Scriptures told them that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and so they went there. They acted on the knowledge they had and God gave them more knowledge.

Another example was a centurion named Cornelius.

http://www.esvbible.org/search/acts+10%3A1-8/

He had obviously learned something about God from his contact with the Jews but he didn't know how he could be saved by faith in Jesus. But he was putting into practice what he did know and God sent an angel to tell him how he could hear the message of salvation.

God's invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
Romans 1:20 ESV

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14-09-2011, 01:09 PM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
(14-09-2011 10:27 AM)theophilus Wrote:  In judging our lives God takes into consideration how much knowledge we have and those who don't know as much about God will be judged more leniently that those who know more. . . .

But there are many people who have never heard of what Jesus did. First of all, they will be better off in the final judgment that those who have heard the message of salvation and rejected it. But God has also promised that anyone who seeks him wholeheartedly will find him. If a person lives up to what he knows God will give him more knowledge.

I don't know if you realize it, but you've just provided a fine argument against missionary work. Smile

Suppose a Xian missionary goes into a tribal area untouched by western influences. No one there has heard about Yahweh or Jesus or the bible. Now let's say this guy has a 10 percent success rate, which I bet most missionaries would be thrilled with. Before the missionary arrived, God judged everybody there leniently, since they never heard the Gospel. (Why He didn't simply tell them Himself--you know, maybe another burning bush?--is unclear; apparently even in matters of eternal salvation He prefers to have human beings do His work for Him. But that's another story.) So for millennia, 100% of the population, being ignorant of Christianity, have faced a so-so fate when they die . . . not too good, not too bad. Maybe some mild first-degree burning, just a taste of wailing and gnashing of teeth, nothing too heavy. But with the advent of Mr. Missionary, there's no more excuse. Everyone has now heard the story. So 10 percent of the people are all set to get their wings and harps, while the 90 percent who prefer to stay with the Volcano God are doomed to roast in Hell for eternity.

Seems to me that on average, everybody there was a lot better off before they heard the so-called Good News, wouldn't you say?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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14-09-2011, 02:24 PM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
(13-09-2011 10:37 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  1. At most, 99.xxxx% of religions and gods are man-made. Only one, and in special cases a few (Can't you be Shintoist and Buddhist?) can be correct (though they can all be wrong). If so, we have proved that the majority of religions are man-made and false. All claim to have supernatural inspiration, and all claim to be special. If so, what makes xTianity true, what makes it special? (Bible/Quran/paper napkin doesn't work, as I'll use the Bible/Quran/Flying Spaghetti Monster's cookbook as an equivalent claim). Also, how do you know you won't go to the hundreds, if not thousands of other hells for not believing in those?

It is possible to prove a negative - as AC Grayling once said, "imagine how easily you could prove there are no coins in your piggy bank" - but it is better to simply state that you do not believe in god, and then ask the theist to provide evidence that might eventually convince you otherwise. The theist is making the claim, so the theist must produce the evidence.



(13-09-2011 10:37 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  2. What happens to those who do not know about xTianity? Are they doomed to Hell? Obviously someone in the world has died without knowing about God, so what happens to them?

Tribesman: What happens to those who have never heard the Christian message? Will they go to hell?

Missionary: No they will not go to hell - God understands their situation.

Tribesman: So why did you tell me?



(13-09-2011 10:37 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  I believe in evolution

If you do "believe in" evolution then fair enough - but you are leaving yourself wide-open if you tell that to theists. They will immediately declare that your "faith" in evolution is the same as their faith in God - but yours is misdirected.

In fact, most theists have no interest in evolution. They bring up the subject, just so they can avoid proving their claim that god exists. As long as the atheist is trying to defend evolution, they are not having to prove god exists.

I always tell them that I have no interest in evolution (which is true) and just for the sake of argument, I will agree with them that maybe evolution doesn't work - so now the ball is back in their court and they can set about producing their evidence for god's existence. They always try to get me back onto the subject of evolution, but I remain firm and refuse to discuss it with them. As I said earlier, the theist claims god exists so the burden of proof lies with him/her.

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14-09-2011, 02:48 PM (This post was last modified: 14-09-2011 03:02 PM by sgilbs.)
RE: Arguments Against Theism
I believe in evolution,

I try to avoid using the word belief, I prefer; I accept the theory of evolution as the best explanation of the fact of evolution. Also watch out for theists conflating scientific theory with the word theory used in everyday language. I think it is useful to understand evolution as it destroys the creationism argument and is so elegant that even if theists say God set the dice rolling you can refute this by stating the theory stands on it's own feet therefore God is unnecessary.
2. What happens to those who do not know about xTianity? Are they doomed to Hell? Obviously someone in the world has died without knowing about God, so what happens to them?

Well if your an unbaptised infant you'll be on a one way ticket to limbo for ever and ever, a lovely concept for a grieving parent to dwell on don't you think?
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14-09-2011, 06:54 PM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
(13-09-2011 10:37 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  Hello, I'm a new member, and I'd like to see what arguments there are against theism. I'd call myself an agnostic atheist (I'm not 100% sure if that's the correct term, but I believe it is.) I've came up with sufficiently many that have convinced me that all religions are man-made and false. I'll post a few below. Also, I have not done any extensive research (I'm only 15, and have a lot of school work to do), read the Bible (although I want to sometime), or gotten into an argument with a theist, so if my arguments are weak, have holes, have incorrect information, PLEASE correct me. Feel free to destroy my arguments from a theist point of view, as if I'm debating with one.

1. At most, 99.xxxx% of religions and gods are man-made. Only one, and in special cases a few (Can't you be Shintoist and Buddhist?) can be correct (though they can all be wrong). If so, we have proved that the majority of religions are man-made and false. All claim to have supernatural inspiration, and all claim to be special. If so, what makes xTianity true, what makes it special? (Bible/Quran/paper napkin doesn't work, as I'll use the Bible/Quran/Flying Spaghetti Monster's cookbook as an equivalent claim). Also, how do you know you won't go to the hundreds, if not thousands of other hells for not believing in those?

2. What happens to those who do not know about xTianity? Are they doomed to Hell? Obviously someone in the world has died without knowing about God, so what happens to them?

And so on, I believe I have many of the arguments you have, and they are all easily ignored by the amazingly effective "If I don't believe I go to Hell, if I question I go to Hell, so if I stop listening and believe, I'll go to Heaven" belief.

I think that whatever theists say, I believe that religion is detrimental to society (I believed this prior to reading God Is Not Great, when I have time I'll try to finish it). I also am extremely disappointed that the most hated group in America are atheists (search it, I believe some University did a survey or something). I know I am much more moral than many of my Christian relatives, and I think that many theists are extremely ignorant and hypocritical (better put and shorter, idiots). Most of my friends are religious, but I don't think they are of the (what's the word, is it fundamentalist? You know, the "Believe or else, God hates gays/atheists/Muslims/nonbelievers etc., Earth created 6000 years ago") type. I also think that Rick Perry/Michele Bachmann etc. are idiots. I believe in evolution, and I go to a very science/math oriented magnet school. Well, i see that I'm starting to drift off topic, but there you go, my mind the past few minutes onto a sheet of paper. What do you think? Also, after reviewing the post, I feel a negative feeling radiating from the post. I'm not the "Angry at God" type of atheist (seems ridiculous), and I'm not particularly angry at theists or anything at the moment; I'm just saying what I think.

Hello nsguy 1350.
Hope you don't get too angry with Christians. At 15 don't let all this stuff become too devisive.
[u]As for point 2This is an interesting issue and I wont go too far.
Yes, how were those pre Jesus, saved?
Hindus pre Moses?
All lost for a "good cause?
Also watch out for ultra dogmatic atheists.
Its not all a piece of cake.Wink

''Though they go mad,they shall be sane
Though they sink through the seas they shall rise again' Dylan Thomas.
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15-09-2011, 10:34 AM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
(14-09-2011 01:09 PM)cufflink Wrote:  Seems to me that on average, everybody there was a lot better off before they heard the so-called Good News, wouldn't you say?

No. What you are failing to take into consideration is the fact that no one has ever completely lived up to what he knows about right and wrong and so all who have never heard the gospel will be condemned. It is true that some who hear will reject it and so face a more sever punishment than the would otherwise have received but some will believe it and have their sins forgiven.

God's invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
Romans 1:20 ESV

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15-09-2011, 11:01 AM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
Hi nsguy,

Welcome to your forum, hope to see more of you.

Ignoring Theo's attempt to sidetrack the post, I'll address the original question.

I take the position that the non-existence of any supernatural claim (including gods) is to correctly put the burden of proof on the one making the claim. Otherwise you may have a killer argument against a god (for example The problem of Evil) only to have the believer retort (that's not my definition of God). Look at the argument's of the few theists we have here on the board, they redefine god, scripture even words within their pet scriptures to avoid the obvious. Using their metaphor, arguing with a believer is like building your house on the sand, the words they use shift and twist to prevent you from nailing anything down.

For me the damning argument against any god existing is the very fact that virtually no two believers can agree as to exactly what their god is. If such a powerful, loving and intelligent being as they posit existed, then the believer is in a terrible position trying to explain how he can be such a bad communicator.

I could write many other arguments that I found convincing, but I have to run to work now. I can assure you that I will be returning to this thread.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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15-09-2011, 11:44 AM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
Also watch out for ultra dogmatic atheists.

Whats one of these Mr Woof? sounds like an oxymoron to me?
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15-09-2011, 02:17 PM
RE: Arguments Against Theism
(15-09-2011 10:34 AM)theophilus Wrote:  It is true that some who hear will reject it and so face a more sever punishment than the would otherwise have received but some will believe it and have their sins forgiven.

What if you have multi personality disorder and one part rejects and the other part accepts?

“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” Orson Welles
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