How should I respond?
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20-02-2014, 06:42 PM
How should I respond?
I'm debating a theist who insists that there are no contradictions in the Bible. I've presented him with the following.
  • PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
  • JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
He insists that he sees no contradiction and demands that I explain what the contradiction is. From past experience I know that he is setting a trap. The guy is a master of word games and equivocation. I could just walk away but I hate to give him an excuse to declare victory. I've considered going to the extreme of actually diagramming the two sentences and showing they are contradictory. What do you think? Are there any other options?

Humans arrived on Earth on 22 October 4004 B.C. A few of us are still trying to repair the ship.
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20-02-2014, 06:43 PM
RE: How should I respond?
Are you sure he doesn't see contradiction or pretends to?
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20-02-2014, 06:51 PM
RE: How should I respond?
(20-02-2014 06:43 PM)donotwant Wrote:  Are you sure he doesn't see contradiction or pretends to?
Oh, I think he sees the contradiction all right. He's just pretending he doesn't. I've called him out on that but he continues to insist that he sees no contradiction. He's a liar.

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20-02-2014, 07:10 PM
RE: How should I respond?
I think you're approaching it incorrectly.

First, ask them if they believe in the supernatural as defined by the Bible BECAUSE they think it's internally consistent/non contradictory.

If not, then don't waste your time on that subject.

If so, ask them if they're aware of other stories that are internally consistent/non contradictory. If so, then ask them why they arbitrarily chose the Bible, and not those others ones.

Why is that one "non contradictory" collection of stories and laws are based in/a model for reality, while those other ones are not?

You can choose other religious text, or a comic book, or some high fantasy novels.

AT THAT POINT, they'll probably give you a more in-depth reason why they chose the Bible. "Well, it's really, old." or "it makes me feel good." or "well, my parents presented me with the bible first." You'll get down to the real reasons why they chose the Bible.

You can rinse and repeat, and find a more in-depth reason.
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20-02-2014, 11:00 PM
RE: How should I respond?
(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  I think you're approaching it incorrectly.

First, ask them if they believe in the supernatural as defined by the Bible BECAUSE they think it's internally consistent/non contradictory.
His answer would be "yes", provided he gave an answer at all.

(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  If so, ask them if they're aware of other stories that are internally consistent/non contradictory. If so, then ask them why they arbitrarily chose the Bible, and not those others ones. Why is that one "non contradictory" collection of stories and laws are based in/a model for reality, while those other ones are not?
His answer is "because the Bible was written over many centuries by multiple authors, all of whom agree, therefore they were all divinely inspired."

(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  You can choose other religious text, or a comic book, or some high fantasy novels.
I chose The Lord of the Rings. He said LOTR was not divinely inspired because it has only one author, thus is not divinely inspired. Besides which LOTR is obviously fiction.

(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  AT THAT POINT, they'll probably give you a more in-depth reason why they chose the Bible. "Well, it's really, old." or "it makes me feel good." or "well, my parents presented me with the bible first." You'll get down to the real reasons why they chose the Bible.

You can rinse and repeat, and find a more in-depth reason.
Hasn't happened yet. He never gives any reason why he chose the Bible, but insists he has.Facepalm Like I said, he's a liar.

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22-02-2014, 04:30 PM
RE: How should I respond?
I'd stick to an easier contradiction. Rather than getting into word games, pick something that is blatantly stated. For example: what were Jesus' last words? It's flat-out stated he said two different things immediately before "giving up the ghost". In Matthew, he says a third thing, he's given vinegar, then he cries out and "gives up the ghost". I suppose he could try to wiggle out of Matthew saying that "cried out" could mean, "he said the thing from Luke or the thing from John". Even still, he can't wiggle out of the contradiction between Luke and John.

Also, you can state times when the Bible is flat-out wrong. Despite what Leviticus 11:6 says, rabbits don't chew their cud. There is a bit of wiggle room in word games here about the scientific meaning and some stupid common vernacular meaning of "chew the cud", but that's basically just making shit up to remove the contradiction. He'll have no proof that "chew the cud" meant something different aside from his circular assertion that the Bible is true, so that verse must be true.

A super easy one is that pi does not equal 3. 1 Kings 7:23 gives a circle with a diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits. We've known for thousands of years that the circumference would be closer to 31 1/2 cubits. Oops. I think the common defense against this one is "rounding errors" or some stupid bullshit, but that should be pretty obvious that he's just handwaving things he doesn't like. You can walk away from him at this point, as there's no reason to continue talking to him.
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22-02-2014, 05:01 PM
RE: How should I respond?
Ethically, I can't help you. When I was debating a theist, I caught her going to her deacon more than once to try to refute my arguments and I resented it. Either it's a debate or it's not. I can't recall Hitch reaching out to Dawkins on his cell during a debate looking for advice when a tough scientific point was made.

Check out my atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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22-02-2014, 07:11 PM
RE: How should I respond?
(20-02-2014 11:00 PM)f stop Wrote:  
(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  I think you're approaching it incorrectly.

First, ask them if they believe in the supernatural as defined by the Bible BECAUSE they think it's internally consistent/non contradictory.
His answer would be "yes", provided he gave an answer at all.

(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  If so, ask them if they're aware of other stories that are internally consistent/non contradictory. If so, then ask them why they arbitrarily chose the Bible, and not those others ones. Why is that one "non contradictory" collection of stories and laws are based in/a model for reality, while those other ones are not?
His answer is "because the Bible was written over many centuries by multiple authors, all of whom agree, therefore they were all divinely inspired."

(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  You can choose other religious text, or a comic book, or some high fantasy novels.
I chose The Lord of the Rings. He said LOTR was not divinely inspired because it has only one author, thus is not divinely inspired. Besides which LOTR is obviously fiction.

(20-02-2014 07:10 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  AT THAT POINT, they'll probably give you a more in-depth reason why they chose the Bible. "Well, it's really, old." or "it makes me feel good." or "well, my parents presented me with the bible first." You'll get down to the real reasons why they chose the Bible.

You can rinse and repeat, and find a more in-depth reason.
Hasn't happened yet. He never gives any reason why he chose the Bible, but insists he has.Facepalm Like I said, he's a liar.

So his minimum requirement for believing in the Christianity/supernatural is:

1. Text written over a long period or time-
2. by many authors-
3. with the later editions building to existing ones, being consistent with earlier editions

Why did he stop at the "Bible"? Why didn't he stop earlier on with the Old Testament/Torah? Or continue on past the Bible to the Quran, or Book of Mormon?

note:
Lovecraft wrote stories and presented a pantheon of Gods. Decades later dozens of writers built on to it, creating a consistent Universe. Same with any comicbook franchise. Why are those not legitimate sources like the Bible?
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23-02-2014, 03:18 AM
RE: How should I respond?
(20-02-2014 06:42 PM)f stop Wrote:  He insists that he sees no contradiction and demands that I explain what the contradiction is. From past experience I know that he is setting a trap. The guy is a master of word games and equivocation.

The trick here is to get them to declare their definitions in advance so they cannot later change it when a difficult question comes along.
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23-02-2014, 03:20 AM
RE: How should I respond?
If he pretends to not see contradiction it's pointless to argue further. They will lie to your face. I would be more interested in why he believes. Or is he lying about that to and is actually atheist in disguise?
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