Making the Case for Belief

bigthinker

Active member
Conversations/debate between theists and atheists routinely hit limits and brick walls, as if the two parties are talking different languages. In a way, this is exactly what is happening. And while it might be entertaining for a moment to circle around speaking in terms and sentences that mean completely different things to each other, the entertainment value starts to decline rather rapidly and often into a negative, ad hominem riddled exchange until it ends only to be rekindled in another thread.

Here's a (hopefully not entirely fruitless) attempt at making the position from where myself and likely most atheists here at least relatable. Its not an attempt to make any comparison, it is an attempt to provide an explanatory example of why we atheists reject personal testimony and passages and quotes from scripture.

If you would, put yourself in the non-believer's shoes for a moment and think about what kind of evidence would be required for you to be convinced that Spider-Man is real and that Spider-Man stories have an important message for you. I'm willing to bet it would require more than my say-so and it would require more than me quoting characters in the story and it would take more than me telling you to test it by going to New York City and seeing for yourself that the city actually exists. It would take something extraordinary, wouldn't it?
To take the atheist position would be to lack belief.


The point here is to not make a case for the existence of Spider-man nor to parody belief; rather the point is to put the (an?) atheist position into relatable terms and see where the conversation leads.

Extra ordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Or:
With great claims comes great responsibility (to support those claims).

Cheers,
-BT
 

Authentic Nouveau

Well-known member
If you would, put yourself in the non-believer's shoes for a moment and think about what kind of evidence would be required for you to be convinced that Spider-Man is real and that Spider-Man stories have an important message for you. I'm willing to bet it would require more than my say-so and it would require more than me quoting characters in the story and it would take more than me telling you to test it by going to New York City and seeing for yourself that the city actually exists. It would take something extraordinary, wouldn't it?
To take the atheist position would be to lack belief.
Every last one of us were in your shoes .
We were on the road to the Devil's Hell.

We lied and lied about our sins. We had no hope.
One of your plethora of blunders is pretending we don't understand.

What are your plans for your sins?

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see

We came from blindness you still dwell in.

 

bigthinker

Active member
Every last one of us were in your shoes .
We were on the road to the Devil's Hell.

We lied and lied about our sins. We had no hope.
One of your plethora of blunders is pretending we don't understand.

What are your plans for your sins?



We came from blindness you still dwell in.
yeah, that doesn't describe my situation at all. Nice try though.
I did not - nor do I ever, expect a reasonable response from you.
 

Authentic Nouveau

Well-known member
yeah, that doesn't describe my situation at all. Nice try though.
I did not - nor do I ever, expect a reasonable response from you.
So you read minds? A "reasonable response" would require validating your pre-conceptions?

Under what basis do you insist people you don't know, don't understand?

You don't have the tools to measure what people know.

You don't understand the spiritual gift of discernment either.

We all know very well Jesus' disciples came from a set of scalawags. The scalawags they hung out with hustled to toss them in jail.
 
Every last one of us were in your shoes .
We were on the road to the Devil's Hell. We lied and lied about our sins. We had no hope. One of your plethora of blunders is pretending we don't understand. What are your plans for your sins?
So...what evidence would make you believe Spider-Man is real? For me I'd need to see Spider-Man, have scientists evalaute him as he clung to walls, and pretty much the exact same thing I ask to prove miracles or God.

How about you?
 

bigthinker

Active member
So you read minds? A "reasonable response" would require validating your pre-conceptions?

Under what basis do you insist people you don't know, don't understand?

You don't have the tools to measure what people know.
Well, that's what tests are for: to assess one's knowledge.
You don't understand the spiritual gift of discernment either.
Why, because I don't come to the same conclusion?
That's how belief works -the measure of belief-truth isn't factual evidence, its confirmation bias.
We all know very well Jesus' disciples came from a set of scalawags.
Yes, within the story, that is true.
 
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5wize

Active member
Conversations/debate between theists and atheists routinely hit limits and brick walls, as if the two parties are talking different languages. In a way, this is exactly what is happening. And while it might be entertaining for a moment to circle around speaking in terms and sentences that mean completely different things to each other, the entertainment value starts to decline rather rapidly and often into a negative, ad hominem riddled exchange until it ends only to be rekindled in another thread.

Here's a (hopefully not entirely fruitless) attempt at making the position from where myself and likely most atheists here at least relatable. Its not an attempt to make any comparison, it is an attempt to provide an explanatory example of why we atheists reject personal testimony and passages and quotes from scripture.

If you would, put yourself in the non-believer's shoes for a moment and think about what kind of evidence would be required for you to be convinced that Spider-Man is real and that Spider-Man stories have an important message for you. I'm willing to bet it would require more than my say-so and it would require more than me quoting characters in the story and it would take more than me telling you to test it by going to New York City and seeing for yourself that the city actually exists. It would take something extraordinary, wouldn't it?
To take the atheist position would be to lack belief.


The point here is to not make a case for the existence of Spider-man nor to parody belief; rather the point is to put the (an?) atheist position into relatable terms and see where the conversation leads.

Extra ordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Or:
With great claims comes great responsibility (to support those claims).

Cheers,
-BT
For me its not about how extraordinary the claims are. It's about how consequential they are. I could care less if people believe in talking snakes, magic apples, etc...

But what Christians believe is toxic. The concept of born flawed and fallen, a sinner deserving eternal damnation at birth, on demand to make oneself well via blind propitiation that they have trouble quantifying through strained apologetics. The belief that we cannot in ourselves be moral and deserving without supernatural grace that will only make sense when we die... until then, enjoy the lack of justice in the chaos of god's own empirical creation.

The message is evil. We deserve better, our kids deserve better, our grandkids deserve better.
 
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bigthinker

Active member
For me its not about how extraordinary the claims are. It's about how consequential they are. I could care less if people believe in talking snakes, magic apples, etc...

But what Christians believe is toxic. The concept of born flawed and fallen, a sinner deserving eternal damnation at birth, on demand to make oneself well via blind propitiation that they have trouble quantifying through strained apologetics. The belief that we cannot in ourselves be moral and deserving without supernatural grace that will only make sense when we die... until then, enjoy the lack of justice in the chaos of god's own empirical creation.

The message is evil. We deserve better, our kids deserve better, our grandkids deserve better.
Agreed.
The toxicity is the result of a kind of an inherent deep low self-esteem, something many denominations value and say is needed. I don't know if I would call it "self-hate" but identifying as so worthless as to not be worthy of God's love without a an intermediary can't be healthy.
 

docphin5

Member
Extra ordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Or:
With great claims comes great responsibility (to support those claims).

Cheers,
-BT
The problem may not be in the lack of evidence but in the category of evidence you expect. What you anticipate is “extraordinary” evidence when maybe the evidence is common or ordinary, even everyday.

Maybe the extradorinary thing is human consciousness in the universe. What if we are the only conscious things in the entire universe? Would that not be extraordinary? But we dont think of it like that because in our small cosmic niche we are common. IOW what is “extraordinary” evidence is a matter of perspective. The evidence may just be common, everyday things right in front of us. We need only look in a mirror. We despise what is common when actually it is unique in the universe as a diamond in the earth.
 

5wize

Active member
Agreed.
The toxicity is the result of a kind of an inherent deep low self-esteem, something many denominations value and say is needed. I don't know if I would call it "self-hate" but identifying as so worthless as to not be worthy of God's love without a an intermediary can't be healthy.
It's an ancient barbaric theme that when things go wrong, a sacrifice must be made. An intermediary to set things right again. Sheep, produce, virgins, children. The time of the OT prophets was a complete treatise on attempting to explain why things were going so wrong for the chosen and what must be done about it. It was science back then, and no science was not supernatural. It all had to do with manipulating god's wrath as if what they answered it with were an actual medicine. And when evil continued to prosper and the righteous continued to suffer, they invented a post-world justice in some heaven and hell to explain it away, kick the can into the unknown, and dream of an eventual savior for this world. A warrior messiah that will free the tribes and conquer their enemies. Having failed that when Jesus died on the cross, they reinstituted the sacrifice angle, but had to keep the "wait till death for your justice" illusion, because they had no choice. Even after Christ, the earth offered no solace.
 
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Nouveau

Active member
The problem may not be in the lack of evidence but in the category of evidence you expect. What you anticipate is “extraordinary” evidence when maybe the evidence is common or ordinary, even everyday.

Maybe the extradorinary thing is human consciousness in the universe. What if we are the only conscious things in the entire universe? Would that not be extraordinary? But we dont think of it like that because in our small cosmic niche we are common. IOW what is “extraordinary” evidence is a matter of perspective. The evidence may just be common, everyday things right in front of us. We need only look in a mirror. We despise what is common when actually it is unique in the universe as a diamond in the earth.
'Extraordinary' in the context of ECREE is defined in reference to our experience. So even if Christianity is true and God is real, the resurrection remains an extraordinary claim for which we have only very ordinary evidence. And even if consciousness is rare in the universe, our evidence for it is extraordinarily strong, being the one thing that we cannot possibly deny. IOW what is 'extraordinary' may well be a matter of perspective, but it is our shared perspective as human beings that defines it.
 

bigthinker

Active member
The problem may not be in the lack of evidence but in the category of evidence you expect. What you anticipate is “extraordinary” evidence when maybe the evidence is common or ordinary, even everyday.

Maybe the extradorinary thing is human consciousness in the universe. What if we are the only conscious things in the entire universe? Would that not be extraordinary? But we dont think of it like that because in our small cosmic niche we are common. IOW what is “extraordinary” evidence is a matter of perspective. The evidence may just be common, everyday things right in front of us. We need only look in a mirror. We despise what is common when actually it is unique in the universe as a diamond in the earth.
Hypothetically, lets say I found a dollar. I tell you that I found a dollar -a mundane, inconsequential claim, right? You're as likely to believe me as not based on my say-so because it doesn't really matter.
On the other hand, lets's (hypothetically again) say I claim to have found a cure for cancer. Would my mere say-so be sufficient? Of course not.
Its an extraordinary claim. Should a cancer patient expect more evidence than a claim?
 

docphin5

Member
'Extraordinary' in the context of ECREE is defined in reference to our experience. So even if Christianity is true and God is real, the resurrection remains an extraordinary claim for which we have only very ordinary evidence. And even if consciousness is rare in the universe, our evidence for it is extraordinarily strong, being the one thing that we cannot possibly deny. IOW what is 'extraordinary' may well be a matter of perspective, but it is our shared perspective as human beings that defines it.
It is because you you are looking for evidence for something that never happened. I have said this so many times but nobody listens. The Gospel stories are mythical and they refer to cosmic events. Why do you think the cosmos factors into my theology? There lies the meaning of the myths. The resurrection begins with our common souls in the universe, the extraordinary evidence everyone despises because it is common. The universe was dead before it produced our souls. This is actually extraordinary! And it totally flies over your head. You are still waiting for a mountain to thunder and smoke or God’s handwriting on the sky when maybe we are his handwriting in creation.
 

docphin5

Member
Hypothetically, lets say I found a dollar. I tell you that I found a dollar -a mundane, inconsequential claim, right? You're as likely to believe me as not based on my say-so because it doesn't really matter.
On the other hand, lets's (hypothetically again) say I claim to have found a cure for cancer. Would my mere say-so be sufficient? Of course not.
Its an extraordinary claim. Should a cancer patient expect more evidence than a claim?
What?! Dollars and cancer? Are you looking for a cure for cancer or for a divine entity who has a purpose for us. Please stay focused. I am saying that the thing right under your nose (or in the mirror) which you despise could actually be extraordinary.
 

Nouveau

Active member
It is because you you are looking for evidence for something that never happened. I have said this so many times but nobody listens. The Gospel stories are mythical and they refer to cosmic events. Why do you think the cosmos factors into my theology? There lies the meaning of the myths. The resurrection begins with our common souls in the universe, the extraordinary evidence everyone despises because it is common. The universe was dead before it produced our souls. This is actually extraordinary! And it totally flies over your head. You are still waiting for a mountain to thunder and smoke or God’s handwriting on the sky when maybe we are his handwriting in creation.
I'm quite happy to agree with you that the resurrection didn't happen. I was just correcting your misunderstanding of ECREE.
 

5wize

Active member
What?! Dollars and cancer? Are you looking for a cure for cancer or for a divine entity who has a purpose for us. Please stay focused. I am saying that the thing right under your nose (or in the mirror) which you despise could actually be extraordinary.
How?
 

docphin5

Member
I'm quite happy to agree with you that the resurrection didn't happen. I was just correcting your misunderstanding of ECREE.
The resurrection IS happening, just not as literally written in the Gospels. The actual resurrection begins with us in the cosmos. What was dead is now alive—in us. Proven resurrection,—right under your nose! But who listens?
 
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