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30-12-2013, 09:56 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(30-12-2013 09:16 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Another response is for theists to claim that atheists "just want to sin". I don't happen to accept this claim, and it definitely doesn't apply in my case, but, looking at this objectively, even if it were true, how does that help provide evidence for God's existence? It appears to be just a rude, petty response because some theists are offended that anyone would dare to question God's existence.

You've got a pretty good handle on that. You might ask them if the Buddha was an atheist because he "just wanted to sin".

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31-12-2013, 08:50 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(30-12-2013 09:16 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Why is it so common for theists to say "you can't prove God doesn't exist"? I usually respond by pointing out we can't prove with 100% certainty that any mythological creatures don't exist. I heard someone recently say that another response is to just accuse the theist of being a thief.. when they cry foul and ask for evidence, then they might start to understand why evidence is necessary. But, really, does claiming that you can't prove God doesn't exist really help your case any? If a salesman made unrealistic claims about some product they were selling, and you started asking questions, would you be any more likely to accept their claims if they said "you can't prove the claims I made aren't true"?

What you've said is correct. It's a dishonest tactic used by theist, but it's also a dishonest tactic for an atheist to ask a theist to prove that God exists. God cannot be proved or disproved because His existence isn't physical but metaphysical. In such, the metaphysical cannot be proved with empirical evidence.

The real question is what the person considered evidence. For you, the atheist, you consider empirical evidence as evidence; therefore, the claim that God exists is unlikely to you because there isn't any empirical evidence to support it. But to the theist, his anecdotal experiences and faith count as his evidence (just to him, no one else), so this is enough evidence for him to believe in the existence of God. Likewise, you, the atheist, cannot produce counter-evidence for his metaphysical evidence (which the theist gives credence to); therefore, you cannot prove (to him) that God doesn't exist.

It's a no-win for either side. A theist cannot prove God's existence no more than he can prove magical unicorns based on empirical evidence, and an atheist cannot disprove the existence of God no more than he can disprove invisible moon-creatures based on metaphysical evidence.

My suggestion is to not get sucked into this debate. It'll only frustrate you.

Quote:Another response is for theists to claim that atheists "just want to sin". I don't happen to accept this claim, and it definitely doesn't apply in my case, but, looking at this objectively, even if it were true, how does that help provide evidence for God's existence? It appears to be just a rude, petty response because some theists are offended that anyone would dare to question God's existence. Are there theists that can discuss God's existence without resorting to insults?

This is a narrow-minded point of view stemming from the most fundamentalist of Christians. They don't understand morality. They think people without God cannot be moral. This is, of course, false. Morality is a societal creation and varies from peoples to peoples. God gave a standard for His people, but that doesn't mean that others without God don't have morality.

This is another situation that you should just walk away from. It will only end ugly. This theist is not ready to think outside their indoctrinated box.

Quote:Are there theists who can discuss God's existence without resorting to either of these responses?

Yes. I have never used those tactics before when talking to atheists.

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31-12-2013, 09:12 AM (This post was last modified: 31-12-2013 03:01 PM by anonymous66.)
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 08:50 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(30-12-2013 09:16 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Why is it so common for theists to say "you can't prove God doesn't exist"? I usually respond by pointing out we can't prove with 100% certainty that any mythological creatures don't exist. I heard someone recently say that another response is to just accuse the theist of being a thief.. when they cry foul and ask for evidence, then they might start to understand why evidence is necessary. But, really, does claiming that you can't prove God doesn't exist really help your case any? If a salesman made unrealistic claims about some product they were selling, and you started asking questions, would you be any more likely to accept their claims if they said "you can't prove the claims I made aren't true"?

What you've said is correct. It's a dishonest tactic used by theist, but it's also a dishonest tactic for an atheist to ask a theist to prove that God exists. God cannot be proved or disproved because His existence isn't physical but metaphysical. In such, the metaphysical cannot be proved with empirical evidence.

The real question is what the person considered evidence. For you, the atheist, you consider empirical evidence as evidence; therefore, the claim that God exists is unlikely to you because there isn't any empirical evidence to support it. But to the theist, his anecdotal experiences and faith count as his evidence (just to him, no one else), so this is enough evidence for him to believe in the existence of God. Likewise, you, the atheist, cannot produce counter-evidence for his metaphysical evidence (which the theist gives credence to); therefore, you cannot prove (to him) that God doesn't exist.

It's a no-win for either side. A theist cannot prove God's existence no more than he can prove magical unicorns based on empirical evidence, and an atheist cannot disprove the existence of God no more than he can disprove invisible moon-creatures based on metaphysical evidence.

My suggestion is to not get sucked into this debate. It'll only frustrate you.

Quote:Another response is for theists to claim that atheists "just want to sin". I don't happen to accept this claim, and it definitely doesn't apply in my case, but, looking at this objectively, even if it were true, how does that help provide evidence for God's existence? It appears to be just a rude, petty response because some theists are offended that anyone would dare to question God's existence. Are there theists that can discuss God's existence without resorting to insults?

This is a narrow-minded point of view stemming from the most fundamentalist of Christians. They don't understand morality. They think people without God cannot be moral. This is, of course, false. Morality is a societal creation and varies from peoples to peoples. God gave a standard for His people, but that doesn't mean that others without God don't have morality.

This is another situation that you should just walk away from. It will only end ugly. This theist is not ready to think outside their indoctrinated box.

Quote:Are there theists who can discuss God's existence without resorting to either of these responses?

Yes. I have never used those tactics before when talking to atheists.


Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I appreciate it.
I am a former Christian (about 40 years), so I understand the metaphysical argument.... But, I became an atheist because the evidence for a man-made God far outweighed any personal experiences I thought I had. I do understand the problems involved with giving up firmly held beliefs.

There is another thing I'd like to clarify. I get into a lot of discussions with a lot of theists of various types. It isn't just the fundamentalists that will bring morality into a discussion in an attempt to avoid talking about evidence. I use another forum regularly, and one of the forum members there is a theist, but claims not to follow any religion, and he has and does bring up morality. He flat-out accused me of being an atheist just so I could be immoral. It's not just fundamentalists who will bring up the red-herring of morality.
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31-12-2013, 09:28 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 09:12 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  There is another thing I'd like to clarify. I get into a lot of discussions with a lot of theists of various types. It isn't just the fundamentalists that will bring morality into a discussion in an attempt to avoid talking about evidence. I use another forum regularly, and one of the forum members there is a theist, but claims not to follow any religion, and he has and does bring up morality. He flat-out accused me of being an atheist just so I could be immoral. It's not just fundamentalists who will bring up the red-herring of morality.

No, you're right. I guess I over generalized. It's usually people who are militant in their beliefs and consider anyone who doesn't think like them an enemy. They will try anything and everything to degrade their enemy while giving credence to their said belief. It doesn't make it right, though. But, there is little that you can do about it besides simply ignoring it and disengaging from that person. They are unable at that time to consider any other type of thinking other than their own.

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31-12-2013, 10:17 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 08:50 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  What you've said is correct. It's a dishonest tactic used by theist, but it's also a dishonest tactic for an atheist to ask a theist to prove that God exists.


Not to generate any sort of argument between you and me, KC, but I always thought the one making the extraordinary claim was the one with the burden of proof. The atheist is making no extraordinary claim.
You are.


so....................

well............Blink


Isn't that how that goes? The one making the extraordinary claim has the burden of proof?





just sayin
Cool

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31-12-2013, 10:23 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 10:17 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  
(31-12-2013 08:50 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  What you've said is correct. It's a dishonest tactic used by theist, but it's also a dishonest tactic for an atheist to ask a theist to prove that God exists.


Not to generate any sort of argument between you and me, KC, but I always thought the one making the extraordinary claim was the one with the burden of proof. The atheist is making no extraordinary claim.
You are.


so....................

well............Blink


Isn't that how that goes? The one making the extraordinary claim has the burden of proof?





just sayin
Cool

Again, I believe it depends on the evidence that's allowed and who's doing the asking.

To a theist, if an atheist says that God doesn't exist and asks the theist to prove His existence, then according to the theist's evidence that's an extraordinary claim and the atheist has the burden of proof because he's doing the asking as well.

And vice versa.

I don't believe that anyone objectively has the burden of proof, as it depends on the conversation and the context of the claims and what is considered evidence.

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31-12-2013, 10:33 AM (This post was last modified: 31-12-2013 11:03 AM by anonymous66.)
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 10:23 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(31-12-2013 10:17 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Not to generate any sort of argument between you and me, KC, but I always thought the one making the extraordinary claim was the one with the burden of proof. The atheist is making no extraordinary claim.
You are.


so....................

well............Blink


Isn't that how that goes? The one making the extraordinary claim has the burden of proof?





just sayin
Cool

Again, I believe it depends on the evidence that's allowed and who's doing the asking.

To a theist, if an atheist says that God doesn't exist and asks the theist to prove His existence, then according to the theist's evidence that's an extraordinary claim and the atheist has the burden of proof because he's doing the asking as well.

And vice versa.

I don't believe that anyone objectively has the burden of proof, as it depends on the conversation and the context of the claims and what is considered evidence.

I just lack a belief in God. I think a case could be made that ideas about God are man-made... but, entire books have been written on the subject by authors far more eloquent than I.

Any assertion that God does exist needs to be backed up with evidence. We all know just how subjective human experiences are, so, if that's the only evidence, then it is severely lacking.

For example... many people have been to magic shows and had their senses fooled by illusions. This fact is not evidence that true supernatural magic is being done, but rather evidence that our senses can be fooled.

Edit: so on the one side we have real evidence in the form of the history of religions, extinct Gods, the fact that the number of things attributed to God are shrinking, the fact there is no real evidence for God. And on the other we have personal experiences. It doesn't appear to be much of a contest.
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31-12-2013, 10:39 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 10:33 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  I just lack a belief in God. I think a case could be made that ideas about God are man-made... but, entire books have been written on the subject by authors far more eloquent than I.

Any assertion that God does exist needs to be backed up with evidence. We all know just how subjective human experiences are, so, if that's the only evidence, then it is severely lacking.

For example... many people have been to magic shows and had their senses fooled by illusions. This fact is not evidence that true supernatural magic is being done, but rather evidence that our sense can be fooled.

But, you're not trying to appeal to a general mass audience... or anything general to speak of. You're trying to appeal to a person; an individual. In that, you have to use what they consider evidence to boast your claim. In order to change personal beliefs, personal forms of evidence must be disproved, whether that be metaphysical or empirical. It works this way for proving God and disproving God.

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31-12-2013, 10:54 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 08:50 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  What you've said is correct. It's a dishonest tactic used by theist, but it's also a dishonest tactic for an atheist to ask a theist to prove that God exists. God cannot be proved or disproved because His existence isn't physical but metaphysical. In such, the metaphysical cannot be proved with empirical evidence.

That's all well and good, but why do theists, including you, continually try to use reason to justify their beliefs?

The amount of ink and electrons used in empty theological 'justification' is appalling.
If the theists will just stop that nonsense and honestly admit to belief without evidence, then there is no real basis for argument.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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31-12-2013, 10:55 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
@kingschosen
Hmm. Most of the time I debate in public forums and do consider the audience. I don't usually expect to change the theist's mind, but I hope that the audience is making judgements about the validity of the arguments on each side.

I don't usually discuss God's existence in real life... even when I was a Christian. If someone brought it up, I'd defend my beliefs.

If I was debating one on one, with no audience, I suppose I'd ask the theist to consider where his beliefs came from in the first place. I'd ask him to define his God and ask him to consider exactly why he does believe what he believes about this God.
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