Question for Everyone: The Atheist's "Burden of Refutation"

rossh

Well-known member
Proof nobody can give, for any reasonably complex natural system. All one can do is critique the structure of an argument and pile up evidences.

If you are interested in why this is so, I suggest you read the classic To Save the Phenomenon by Pierre Duhem (a convinced Catholic, BTW, so it isn't atheist propaganda). You are waiting because reality is complicated, and proving anything by means of reasoned argument alone is like nailing jelly to a tree. That being said, what an atheist can do is identify the assumptions made, and identify how the evidence for and against an argument relates to the argument itself.

I think you will find that, if dispassionately examined, the (rational) evidence for the existence of a deity rests on the fact that the arguments for it are intuitively plausible, and the believer wants and sometimes rationally needs them confirmed. OTOH the atheist looks at such intuitions with suspicion, and often finds them mere prejudice, with only flimsy backing, often with contradictory evidence, and a position of doubt more plausible than conviction. The adumbration of deep skepticism around each argument rationally leads to agnosticism, and if consideration and personal valuation of rationality are favourable, atheism.

To give an example, the idea that every event is caused. Why must this be so? Intuitively, it seems obvious. Analytically, it is not at all: cause and effect seem ideas reflecting mere prejudice, albeit tempting, and the farther one chases the ideas of cause and effect, the more abstract, rarefied and frankly irrelevant the subject becomes. With an increase in certainty as to the irrelevancy of abstractions justified almost wholly by intuition comes the notion that very little is certain on empirical grounds alone, and thus metaphysical abstractions arising predominantly from intuitions about nature should be relentlessly simplified, insofar as possible, and always carefully and rigorously examined, as being poor guides to truth.

However, faith is still justifiable, IMHO, although not from a purely dispassionate view (again, IMHO) . The arguments I have sketched rely on intuition and plausibility to evaluate, as well as logic and evidence. Doubt has two faces: inclining towards non-belief, or inclining towards the possibility of a truth that may not be proven. It is a moral responsibility to pick which attitudes, evidences and justifications lead one towards a functional and healthy life, while respecting the latitudes that one's degrees of conviction for or against provide you. The first duty towards yourself is your own health, well being, and sense of truth and rightness (note: not righteousness, but rightness: again, my opinion). This leads people various places, that are not always compatible with each other, and the main challenge in my opinion is not actually to establish objective truth, but to live with one another. Others may be worried more about eternal torment or reward, but I can't do anything about that.

I would also add that sometimes experiential pheniomena are so deeply convincing of one argument or another that the person who has the experience literally has no choice but to be convinced of one side or the other. This is not uncommon and not to be sneered at. However, such phenomena work both ways: some people go through religious experience and emerge convinced that they have seen the deity, face to face. Others go through nightmare and emerge convinced that there is no possibility of such a being at all. Both are non-rational convictions, both are justified, and both I'd consider myself a fool if I argued with the individuals concerned about the conclusions alone.

cheers
Great post and thank you for the/your effort.
How long are we all going to have world at war, and at war endlessly.. ? That is not Gods Will and God has allowed us, of course free will.. Israel of old was/is shown to us as a selective group of people who were always backsliding and who were always being punished by God yet to no avail ? Here is the issue with God..
Isa 46:8 Remember this, and stand firm. Keep it in mind, you rebels. 9 “Remember things that happened at the beginning, long ago —
that I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 At the beginning I announce the end,
proclaim in advance things not yet done;
and I say that my plan will hold,
I will do everything I please to do.
11 I call a bird of prey from the east,
the man I intended, from a distant country.
I have spoken and will bring it about;
I have made a plan, and I will fulfill it.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn people,
so far from righteousness:
13 I am bringing my justice nearer,
it is not far away;
my salvation will not be delayed,
I will place my salvation in Tziyon
for Isra’el my glory.
 

rossh

Well-known member
Proof nobody can give, for any reasonably complex natural system. All one can do is critique the structure of an argument and pile up evidences.

If you are interested in why this is so, I suggest you read the classic To Save the Phenomenon by Pierre Duhem (a convinced Catholic, BTW, so it isn't atheist propaganda). You are waiting because reality is complicated, and proving anything by means of reasoned argument alone is like nailing jelly to a tree. That being said, what an atheist can do is identify the assumptions made, and identify how the evidence for and against an argument relates to the argument itself.

I think you will find that, if dispassionately examined, the (rational) evidence for the existence of a deity rests on the fact that the arguments for it are intuitively plausible, and the believer wants and sometimes rationally needs them confirmed. OTOH the atheist looks at such intuitions with suspicion, and often finds them mere prejudice, with only flimsy backing, often with contradictory evidence, and a position of doubt more plausible than conviction. The adumbration of deep skepticism around each argument rationally leads to agnosticism, and if consideration and personal valuation of rationality are favourable, atheism.

To give an example, the idea that every event is caused. Why must this be so? Intuitively, it seems obvious. Analytically, it is not at all: cause and effect seem ideas reflecting mere prejudice, albeit tempting, and the farther one chases the ideas of cause and effect, the more abstract, rarefied and frankly irrelevant the subject becomes. With an increase in certainty as to the irrelevancy of abstractions justified almost wholly by intuition comes the notion that very little is certain on empirical grounds alone, and thus metaphysical abstractions arising predominantly from intuitions about nature should be relentlessly simplified, insofar as possible, and always carefully and rigorously examined, as being poor guides to truth.

However, faith is still justifiable, IMHO, although not from a purely dispassionate view (again, IMHO) . The arguments I have sketched rely on intuition and plausibility to evaluate, as well as logic and evidence. Doubt has two faces: inclining towards non-belief, or inclining towards the possibility of a truth that may not be proven. It is a moral responsibility to pick which attitudes, evidences and justifications lead one towards a functional and healthy life, while respecting the latitudes that one's degrees of conviction for or against provide you. The first duty towards yourself is your own health, well being, and sense of truth and rightness (note: not righteousness, but rightness: again, my opinion). This leads people various places, that are not always compatible with each other, and the main challenge in my opinion is not actually to establish objective truth, but to live with one another. Others may be worried more about eternal torment or reward, but I can't do anything about that.

I would also add that sometimes experiential pheniomena are so deeply convincing of one argument or another that the person who has the experience literally has no choice but to be convinced of one side or the other. This is not uncommon and not to be sneered at. However, such phenomena work both ways: some people go through religious experience and emerge convinced that they have seen the deity, face to face. Others go through nightmare and emerge convinced that there is no possibility of such a being at all. Both are non-rational convictions, both are justified, and both I'd consider myself a fool if I argued with the individuals concerned about the conclusions alone.

cheers
Proof that nobody can possibly give ? Well that say a lot in a very few words.
How many issues of science will never be fully explained nor understood ? Millions!
 

Algor

Well-known member
Proof that nobody can possibly give ? Well that say a lot in a very few words.
How many issues of science will never be fully explained nor understood ? Millions!
We agree!

OTOH, the question is not what can be explained or understood fully: the question is how fully something needs to be understood in order to make a reasonable decision.
 

Algor

Well-known member
Great post and thank you for the/your effort.
How long are we all going to have world at war, and at war endlessly.. ? That is not Gods Will and God has allowed us, of course free will.. Israel of old was/is shown to us as a selective group of people who were always backsliding and who were always being punished by God yet to no avail ? Here is the issue with God..
Isa 46:8 Remember this, and stand firm. Keep it in mind, you rebels. 9 “Remember things that happened at the beginning, long ago —
that I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 At the beginning I announce the end,
proclaim in advance things not yet done;
and I say that my plan will hold,
I will do everything I please to do.
11 I call a bird of prey from the east,
the man I intended, from a distant country.
I have spoken and will bring it about;
I have made a plan, and I will fulfill it.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn people,
so far from righteousness:
13 I am bringing my justice nearer,
it is not far away;
my salvation will not be delayed,
I will place my salvation in Tziyon
for Isra’el my glory.
I love Isaiah. The whole mountain top perspective and the steady certainty and confidence in an eternal plan in the face of doubt and dissent.

But some of us have a greater sense of transience and merely personal obligation:

Tis mute, the word they went to hear on high Dodona mountain
When winds were in the oakenshaws and all the cauldrons tolled,
And mute’s the midland navel-stone beside the singing fountain,
And echoes list to silence now where gods told lies of old.

I took my question to the shrine that has not ceased from speaking,
The heart within, that tells the truth and tells it twice as plain;
And from the cave of oracles I heard the priestess shrieking
That she and I should surely die and never live again.

Oh priestess, what you cry is clear, and sound good sense I think it;
But let the screaming echoes rest, and froth your mouth no more.
’Tis true there’s better boose than brine, but he that drowns must drink it;
And oh, my lass, the news is news that men have heard before.

The King with half the East at heel is marched from lands of morning;
Their fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air,
And he that stands will die for nought, and home there’s no returning.

The Spartans on the sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair.

-AE Housman
 
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SteveB

Well-known member
It doesn't matter. reCaptcha me then. Won't change how silly it is that you believe you know things about something no normal person would claim to know because of sources that fail even the most rudimentary and childish veracity tests.
It's your decision whether or not you want to know the truth.
If you don't care, then there's no guarantee that you'll ever get the opportunity to engage him again.

It's plainly stated that it's appointed to man once to die and afterwards to judgment.
 

Tiburon

Well-known member
It means what it says... " Thou shall not kill.. " Now, go to the Ordinances/Statutes that God also gave Israel, all the 360 of them.. Obviously not in war, obviously not in capital punishment etc; as God command execution of criminals and blasphemy etc;
You claim to be very well read in regards to the Bible ?
How many stones tablets could Moses carry down the Mountain, if God gave him all the statutes and ordinance at the same time ?
I don't claim to be very well read in regards to the Bible.
How big were the tablets? How heavy? How small was the small print? Why do we elevate the '10 Commandments' above the rest?
 

rossh

Well-known member
I think the Jews expected the Messiah would break the shackles of Roman occupation and lead Israel into a golden age.
Yes, you are right on the mark,, I do believe that they actually did think He was that kind of " saviour ".. He did then go on to save all mankind, those of us who truly confess Him as out Messiah and Lord and make this known..
 

rossh

Well-known member
I don't claim to be very well read in regards to the Bible.
How big were the tablets? How heavy? How small was the small print? Why do we elevate the '10 Commandments' above the rest?
Very good question, but Moses smashed them initially.. This was when he finally returned from up on the mountain and saw his people acting like pagans, whores and such.. I do not think that they would have been heavy or large. We have to remember that the Ordinances were written over several decades later.. They are the real law books and are very specific and detailed, around 350 of them ?
 

Tiburon

Well-known member
Very good question, but Moses smashed them initially.. This was when he finally returned from up on the mountain and saw his people acting like pagans, whores and such.. I do not think that they would have been heavy or large. We have to remember that the Ordinances were written over several decades later.. They are the real law books and are very specific and detailed, around 350 of them ?
How do you know the Ordinances were written over several decades later?
 

J regia

Well-known member
They are NOT manmade ??
Wrong. The ten commandments etc are obviously just man-made since they didn't apply to Abraham et al and their ancestors.
Which is why it wasn't morally wrong for Abraham and Noah to have sexual relationships with their sisters, or for Abraham to commit adultery with Hagar.
And why it wasn't morally wrong to command Abraham to butcher and cook his son as a sacrificial meal, or for Cain-an to kill his brother Abel or for Noah's father to murder a young man (Gen 4).
 

J regia

Well-known member
Well amen to that belief in Yeshua Matt 1:
20 But while he was thinking about this, an angel of Adonai appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach HaKodesh. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Adonai saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this happened in order to fulfill what Adonai had said through the prophet,
23 “The virgin will conceive and bear a son,and they will call him ‘Immanu El.” (The name means, “God is with us.”)
24 When Yosef awoke he did what the angel of Adonai had told him to do — he took Miryam home to be his wife, 25 but he did not have sexual relations with her until she had given birth to a son, and he named him Yeshua.
And Luke 3:23 says that Jesus' biological father was assumed to be Heli's son. But since maternity is a matter of fact whereas paternity is just a matter of opinion without a reliable paternity test, then some have suggested Jesus' biological father could have been a Roman centurion.
 

Bob1

Well-known member
Ok.


Yeah, this doesn't help you here.
Are you prepared to explain in detail what the situations were, or do you think that your failure to get the help you wanted is proof that YHVH doesn't exist?

Because your statement above isn't proof that YHVH isn't real and christianity doesn't work.
It does however raise numerous questions.

Biblical christianity itself is not legalistic.
Man made religious beliefs however are.

So, the first thought that comes to mind here is what you think biblical christianity is and consists of?
And as predicted, you come back with excuses.
 

Bob1

Well-known member
This is the very worst possible excuse you could possibly conceive to give.

When you stand before God to answer for your life, the one question he will never ask you is why others failed.

He will ask you-- why did you not follow Jesus?

Not Tom, not John, not Dave, Sam, Sally, or Judy.

YOU.

Each and every single one of us will give an account for ourselves and our lives and choices to God after we die.

If you actually tell him that you didn't bother because others failed,.... 🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️
Literally the very worst excuse to give.

Do you actually want to blame the failures of others for your own failures?

There are hundreds of millions of people who are following Jesus and they have and are experiencing great success in following Jesus.

Peter describes exactly how we can experience success in our lives as followers of Jesus.

2Pe 1:10-11 WEB 10 Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. 11 For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Then, John, in his first letter gives a detailed explanation for how we can ensure that we actually know YHVH and have eternal life.

1Jn 5:13 WEB These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

So, in all seriousness and honesty.... you don't actually want to use the failures of others as your justification to send yourself to an eternity separated from God.

And yet you don't actually have any knowledge to back this up, which means that you are hiding behind excuses and the failure of others to send yourself to an eternity separated from God...

Repent and believe the gospel of Jesus, Bob!

YHVH says that he has given us everything we need to know him and live a life that honors him and upon your death, you will be immediately ushered into his Kingdom and home.

Read this very closely.
You can indeed continue to argue, which will only succeed in excluding yourself from knowing God, or, you can stop, and start reading, and learn what knowing God and Jesus consists of.
Jesus made it possible to be wholly restored to a right relationship with YHVH. And he said he would never turn away anyone who comes to him.


2Pe 1:2-13 WEB 2 Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control perseverance; and in perseverance godliness; 7 and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to not be idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. 11 For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
More of your excuse-making and failure to acknowledge that your religion just doesn't work for a lot of people.
 

Bob1

Well-known member
Lenin
Stalin
Mao
Pol Pot
Over 100,000,000 in just over 50 years.



So, people who don't follow the instructions given in the bible and use the bible to create a political environment, in violation of the bible mean that Jesus taught his followers to commit the crimes you're talking about?

You're going to have to do better than that Bob.
I asked you to SPECIFICALLY prove that any of them did what they did in the name of atheism... that atheism was what motivated them to do despotic deeds.
You're going to have to do better, Steve.

Those CHRISTIANS who committed those acts were primarily motivated by THEIR RELIGION. The bible states that believers are not to suffer a witch to live.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
I asked you to SPECIFICALLY prove that any of them did what they did in the name of atheism... that atheism was what motivated them to do despotic deeds.
You're going to have to do better, Steve.
Well, you and your buddies here are the only ones who think their actions are political.

In the United states that I grew up in in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and early aughts, everyone agreed those crimes happened explicitly because they were atheists.

So, 50 years of human history.



Those CHRISTIANS who committed those acts were primarily motivated by THEIR RELIGION.
The key term here Bob....

THEIR religion.
Not BIBLICAL religion.
There's nothing in the new testament which approves, condones, sanctions, endorses, instructs, or commands followers of Jesus to use violence to fight against evil, or to convert people to become followers of Jesus.

But, by all means, I encourage you to examine the new testament to find it. Find the support you need to affirm your opinions.

I know that the catholic church used violence to oppose the Muslim jihad in the crusade era.
I further know that the catholic church used vile means to force conversions of people during the Inquisition.

I am not, nor have I ever been a catholic. I just never liked man-made religion.

The bible states that believers are not to suffer a witch to live.
Yep. In the old testament.
The laws given to the nation of Israel.
And the reason why is also explicitly stated...

That they not become a snare to you so that your children are drawn away from YHVH and serve false gods.

So, as I am not an Israeli, I won't be tracking you down and slaughtering you.
 
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