Atheists, whats the worst "evidence" you have encountered while debating theists?
And yes, I use the term "evidence" extremely loosely
The bible is unquestionably the most flawed piece of evidence. Which is frustrating as it is often the only 'evidence' used. In my eyes it has two big failings. The first is its questionable moral code. For something that is supposed to teach morality, it condones a lot of bad things, like killing your son because a voice told you to, or owning slaves. It's debatable whether or not it actually condemns homosexuality, but the common position is that it does, which is also morally wrong (based on what we know now).
And the second failing is that the religious like to say there are real people, events and places depicted in the bible, as if this proves its validity. But, because of historical fiction, and modern fiction based in the real world, there are countless books that use real people, places and events with fictional storylines. It boggles my mind that anyone could look at a library full of religions, pick up only one and say 'this is the right one, all the others are wrong'.
I agree. Much of the Bible is borrowed from other traditions.
I assume you mean Abraham and Isaac with the killing of the son, but he never did it. Is there another one? When people speak of accuracy of the bible its more than just using real people. its about undergoing standards of reliable historical doc.
christiananrkist - yes, there is also Jeptha - only god didn't see fit to save his daughter. there is no evidence for a lot of the stories portrayed in the bible. the fact that they're portrayed in actual historic places doesn't make the tale true
hey JM, long time no talk. if there is no evidence for the stories in the bible , how do know of them?
There is no evidence for any of the stories in Greek or Roman mythology either. No one suspects that the Odyssey or the Iliad are factual - even if they depict parts of real events. How do we know of them? Myth. Tradition. Story.
I see your point. I think the writings themself are evidence, especially when correlated with archaeology. you and i have been down this road before. so i know you dont accept it as reliable evidence. but its still evidence.
Are the writings of the Odyssey considered to be evidence of the stories depicted in them, or are they myth? Why are you willing to historicize the writings you believe in but not the others?
Here's my thing, I can write a story that is untrue, based on legend and center them around actual locations. 2,000 years from now will people believe them because of that? or will they critically analyze the material?
Because historical documents undergo a certain criteria to determine accuracy and authenticity. the writings of the bible pass many of these. its kinda forensic in nature when looking at history. the Odyssey doesn't pass these criteria.
Give some examples of the criteria that the Bible "passes" please. Do you think the Koran is evidence that Islam is true? Or that the Book of Mormon is evidence for Mormonism - or does your book get special considerations?
quantity and quality of writings correlating with archaeological finds, early dating, multiple sources and in the bibles case, extra biblical confirmation. no special considerations. these are accepted by many secular historians as well.
sure. What are the extra-biblical sources for any of the events surrounding (just for one example) the death/resurrection of Jesus - or any aspects of his life, for that matter? Contemporary, extra-biblical sources.
Yes, I was referring to Abraham and Isaac, not because he actually killed his son, but because the moral of the story was to obey god's command. Loving and protecting one's family is considered moral, so it seems to contradict obedience to god.
what do you mean by contemporary, just so I can give what youre looking for.
If the God of the bible exists, could he raise Isaac back from the dead? If so, what makes it immoral. If not, why do you think he wouldnt be able to?
Contemporary. If Jesus did and said everything that is claimed of him, give me one non biblical, similar time period source.
Of course, the bible is borrowed from other cultures.The ten commandments was borrowed from Egyptian ethics. The Virgin Mary is the resurrected Great Goddess and so on. Judaeo-Christianity has gotten it ethical principles from older religions.
this is a good tactic to specify contemporary because you know there are no extra-biblical writings of the same time period. given the time and place of the biblical writings, why would you expect there to be? why are the gospels unreliable without?
First Century Judea was one of the most documented periods in history. There were historians and people who specifically wrote about miracle workers and messiahs - yet they missed all of the supernatural events surrounding Jesus' death. Why?
Perhaps it's just a personal opinion, but a father standing up to a powerful authority to protect his son seems morally right, more so than a father who is willing to kill his son for that authority.
they didnt miss it. you just dont accept them because the writings are included in the bible. what makes the writings unreliable?
you're saying the historians of first century judea (of which there were many) DIDN'T miss the earthquakes, the darkness and the horde of zombies at Jesus' death? Then where are their records? The gospels were written late and disagree, in short.
could you provide me with passages of the events your are referring to? why do you say the records were written late? what period of time would constitute early or late
Sure. Reconcile the four resurrection stories without leaving anything out, for starters. The earliest gospel was after 70. The latest after ad 100. late. Well after eyewitnesses.
you think 70 years is late? (disagree on the date by the way) do you know of other ancient docs that have earlier dating?good question on the zombie thing. i reluctantly must admit i dont have an answer...yet, lol. i will get back to you on that.
late in terms that none of the gospels were written by people who KNEW him, yes. And that the majority of the NT was written by someone relying on "scripture" (not the NT) and visions. No evidence of darkness/earthquakes and the accounts disagree.
And has not so much of what is regarded as "gospel" from the New Testament been written by persons with ulterior motive? Did they not take what bits they liked then add "titbits" to control the masses?
you lost me. didnt i already admit the earthquake/zombie thing was an issue? if 2nd+ hand accounts are unreliable, why should i trust what your saying?
what was their gain exactly?
What am I saying that is 2nd hand +? These studies are available. Almost no biblical scholar in the field think that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses, and I've spent 15 years studying it myself. The information is definitely out there.
I realize the info is out there. but you weren't an eyewitness. you didnt live in that time. you info comes from other sources. this makes it 2nd + hand. why are you more reliable than other 2n + hand sources?
If you're going to use that argument, are you an eyewitness? Were you there? Yet you are trusting the writings of others who weren't there either? Have you ever played telephone? That should explain why it is unreliable.
@christiananrkist: "JCL what was their gain exactly?" Answer: In many cases, control of the minds of masses.
iii yiii yiii, What a monumental waste of time. God, if there was one, would be totally disappointed. Absolutely fruitless discussion in a world that needs us not to waste time like this.
Billie - then why waste YOUR time commenting on it?
i guess you missed when you used that argument when you said" the majority rely on scripture". thats why i asked you the question. all history is discovered using some sort of evidence or relying on other writings. study of history is forensic.
The question becomes without corroborating evidence, why do a lot of believers consider the bible to be historically accurate?
i could see your point if it were in today's U.S. but when it was so new and unpopular, how would they have accomplished such a task?
like I said earlier, we have been down this road before. this question takes us back to the beginning.
@christiananrkist "....how would they have accomplished such a task?"
I suggest human nature has not changed over 1000s of years. Some of us are sheep, some are shepherds, some are wolves.
The "son" still travels about with the same 12 companions he always has - aries, taurus, gemini.... In ancient times it was lowest in the sky for 3 days near the southern cross, before ascending again, rising each spring equinox in virgo the virgin.
i agree people havent changed. I guess what im trying to get at is, to say Jesus was Lord in that time and place would have been very unpopular and a dangerous thing to do during a Caesar reign. whats the motivation if they knew this wasnt true?
I'm not arguing that the earliest christians knew it was a willful lie. Maybe they believed that they had received a revelation from god, and they believed it. It happens all the time - believing something doesn't mean it is actually true.
thats very true. somewhere in the beginning many people were being convinced of the stories, so much so that they were imprisoned or killed. this doesnt make it true, but does leave questions as to why and for me is a piece of a puzzle.
The Shroud of Turin comes to mind - or other miraculous "proof" that is usually some sort of item that people see a holy image in etc. I do believe that "miracles" can happen, but I don't think they are all that miraculous - but the belief is so intense that it allows the mind over matter to occur. the mind, is capable of powerful things - I truly believe that. People go to these places and expect miracles and healing or whatever, and they happen, not because the object caused it, but because their faith/belief did.
In this area, I sometimes wish I could have blind faith at times , but my brain is just not wired that way.
if people have experienced or seen miracles, is it still blind faith?
Yes, because it is their faith/mind that healed them, not a diety.
i'm sure that events (which are on the surface indescribable) happen all of the time. Attributing them to a source automatically seems dishonest. How do you prove who did them unless you're automatically looking for conformation to existing beliefs
Miracles are also subject to embellishment. Unless it was caught on camera, or was witnessed by hundreds of people, it is held to the failing memory of the individual. People struggle to remember where their keys are every day.
How is any evidence obtained? How is it presented? How is it corroborated?
Archeology, astronomy, geology, historical records, folk lore, chemistry, linguistics ..... all these faculties and more come into use in the attempt to provide evidence. They are all branches of science. The scientific methods employed have to be meticulous and focused in order to bring about any kind of reliable acceptance. Even when everything seems so, so certain, they retain at least a tiny bit of room for new information to come about. There is continual technological advancement which can allow such new information to come to light, often most unexpectedly..
In my opinion, the "worst evidence" comes from wishful thinking, and a desire for a predefined outcome. The picture in the mind becomes perceived as real, when it is really only fantasy.
When it comes to "evidence" for theism, I've found it usually tends to fall into one of four overall categories: artifacts (like traces of Noah's ark or the Shroud of Turin), anecdotal (personal tales of miracles or trips to Heaven), pseudo-scientific (i.e. supposed evidence for a world-wide flood) and documentary (primarily texts like the Bible).
Since I'm still an atheist, I suppose it goes without saying that I've thus far found each and every one of these items unsatisfactory and unconvincing. However, I'd have to agree with an earlier commenter who suggested the Bible is the worst piece of "evidence" for theism.
I've read hundreds (perhaps thousands) of books in my lifetime, and I can honestly say I've never come across a more incoherent, inconsistent, implausible, repetitive, demeaning and vile piece of literature. I've often said -- and will repeat it once more here -- that the Bible is arguably the most widely owned, most widely quoted and least read and understood book in the world. I daresay that most people who "believe" in it don't really have a clue what's actually in it.
I've noticed the same thing, Paladin. Most of the Christians I know have never read the bible from cover to cover even once, and most atheists I know have. If the bible was really the word of a god, shouldn't his follower be all over it?
JM, if Christians do read the bible,they believe it in literally instead of seeing the bible as metaphor.The bible is written to be taken as a metaphor &is a figurative analysis.Many Christians rely SOLELY upon what THEIR church SAYS.
In a recent national survey atheists knew more about the bible than theists.
gmwilliams, you are correct, in part. The Bible speaks both in narrative and metaphor... but, it is clear in the reading of it in context which is which.
Not necessarily true, Mitch. It often depends on denomination. Some think the creation story is myth. Some think hell is metaphor. Christians disagree on practicality all points.
Prayer has been the worst evidence that I have been presented with. Even a former atheist friend of mine said that he converted only after...as a last ditch effort...he prayed to God, and God cured his son. He convinced himself that this was all the "evidence" that he needed. I tried to reason with him by proposing that it was far more likely that the odds and probability factor was much more at work here than superstitions, as superstitions are absurd, and probabilities are a reality. He is now a devout, psychotic believer. How absurd.
Theists and religionists are not monolithic. There are many theists and some religionists who are open minded and accepting of atheists. They strongly maintain that the beliefs and ethos of atheists are just as legitimate and viable as theirs. I am not an atheist but a New Ager. I wholeheartedly support atheists and the right to their beliefs. I furthermore assert that atheists and other nontraditional spiritual people are oftentimes viewed as "the other" and demonized in this society by the religious majority.
That being said,.many religionists strongly insist that their religious beliefs are the only legitimate ones. Let me correct that, highly educated, intelligent, and liberal religionists realize that atheists have a viable belief system.Liberal religionists also have the intelligence to know that there are different paths in terms of beliefs which should be respected and encouraged. Conservative or rather very dogmatic and fundamentalistic relgionists are the ONES who strongly believe that everyone is LOST and WRONG except for them. These are the people who will argue religion ad infinitum.
These dogmatic and fundamentalistic religionists are the ones who have an animus against those who do not believe as they do, particularly atheists.Such religionists will "convince" atheists that there is a God and that God is to be worshipped according to prescribed and preordained laws. Such religionists will oftentimes present some authoritative book or dogma as some type of factual evidence to convince the atheist to change his/her "errant" ways.. They will further assert that God wants people to live a certain way.
Another form of evidence that dogmatic and fundamentalistic religionists will present to atheists is that the MAJORITY of people have some type of religious beliefs and if the majority believes in something then it must be "correct and right" by consensus. Many dogmatic and fundamentalistic religionists feel that they have some unmitigated right to make atheists and other non-traditional spiritual people see "the errors" of their way by oftentimes threatening them of the dire consequences of their actions. Many dogmatic and fundamentalistic religionistis will tell atheists that they will "pray" for them to "reform" and "see the light" before "it's too late." Many dogmatic and fundamentalistic religionists will state that what the atheist is going through is just a phase in their lives. and they will "grow up" and "come around."
Completely agree with your assessment here -
Thank you ChristinS! To dogmatic and fundamentalistic religionists, non-traditional spiritualists incl. atheists are considered to be "the other" to be should "be guided" and "saved." Religious hegemony is QUITE ALIVE AND WELL..
Loosely is definitely the right term!
Paladin pretty well hit it;
Artifacts are usually so ridiculous that it all I can do not to laugh. They find a splinter of a type of wood commonly used for almost every type of tool and "It could only have come from the Arc or the staff of Moses". No; its just a splinter of wood that could have come from almost anything. The chances that it came from anything other than a common tool or fixture, like a cart, backpack or climbing staff, is overwhelming. Most relics have never been seriously analyzed and when they are they are always found to be something else.
Pseudo-science to explain the impossible like a flood that supposedly reached a depth of 30,000'! Many millions of times the total amount of water on the planet. When you consider that water can't be destroyed the question of where did it come from and where did it go has to be answered if it is to be taken seriously? Instead you just gets gibberish. Of course the impossibility of the Arc itself it such a comedy I would expect it from the Marx Brothers not from supposedly thinking people.
You can not use the Bible to prove the Bible! Or the Koran or any other book to prove itself. Nor can they be used to prove a god!
By that logic I can use "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" with every bit as much reverence. All of these books were written by men and rewritten over and over to fill the agendas of their collaborators. Not to mention that there are more "scriptures" discarded than were used but didn't fit their desired message. As it is the bible is so self contradicting and absurd that to try and pass it off as a historical reference is again silly.
Entering a deity into equations like it were a valid integer. A+B-C while A+B-CxG(od)= Shazzam, a miracle. Really? Can you repeat that for me,,, NO!
A valid equation works every time with exactly the same result. Do it a thousand times and you have a scientific result. If it can't be reliably repeated then there is nothing scientific about it.
Somehow the number of people who buy into a belief makes it true? No it doesn't matter. The entire population believed that the world was flat at one time. The number of books published means nothing!
These are just a few of the arguments that don't wash.
I suppose what astounds me is that people I know who are completely rational about most things drop it all at the door when it comes to religion.
So true, Borsia, so true indeed. Many highly rational and intelligent people become quite primitively childish when it comes to religion then all types of rationality goes out the window. I have seen this firsthand. It boogles the mind really!
Great Answer-The "re-written over time part" is a factor that people can't grasp. I think Americans who speak one language have the most difficulty. Interpreting for deaf people, I KNOW there are phrases that just don't translate.
Ooh, great topic, I want to play! The most lol-worthy "evidence" of God:
1. The banana. Ray Comfort's banana. You know.
2. The world is beautiful. It's like... what does this have to do with your argument?
3. "God is real because I know it."
4. "I prayed for something and it came true." I knew one girl who told me she had a bloody nose once (not from getting hit or anything, just a random one) and so she got on her knees and prayed... and before long, it went away! Let me tell you, I almost converted then and there, such a beautiful story.
5. "The Bible says so." Well, no kidding it says so. lol
someone told me once that they had the flu, so they prayed for 5 days and it went away. Really? How long does a flu last? About 5 days - and an all powerful god couldn't cure it instantly while you still accredit getting better to his healing?
Haha, yep, that seems to be the gist of "prayerful healing." There might be some validity in strong belief giving the body the psychological boost, whether from prayer or a genuine will to survive, but most stories I hear are not that coincidental.
a prayer study was actually performed and the people who knew they were being prayed for actually took longer to recover and had more complications than those who didn't know or weren't. Performance anxiety, maybe?
lol really? Well, so much for that. It gets worse when it comes to Christian Scientists, who don't even believe in sickness, and think praying is the answer - sometimes killing kids because they refuse to go to doctors.
I don't debate theists as I consider it a huge waste of time to debate a closed mind.
But, here are two favorites:
Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.”
– Bill O’Reilly
The craters on the moon were caused by water ejected from the center of the earth at supersonic speed after Noah’s Flood.”
I'm not easily offended, but to be associated with Bill O'Reilly because he is a so called christian. ouch!
I have to say that including O'Reilly is hitting below the robe. But I've heard the same ignorant quote from other Christians. Ones who apparently never took basic science and don't know what causes the tides, or sunrise / sunset for that matter.
The worst "evidence" I've encountered is, "It's in the Bible" or "It's the word of God."
Personal "testimony" of having been saved or having some truth revealed is the worst evidence I've ever heard. A creationist once told me the biblical account of creation was true because he dreamt about it, and according to him all dreams are personal messages from Jesus. There's no arguing with that logic.
The second best way to look like an idiot is to argue with one.
"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." ~GK Chesterton
I find it interesting that HubPages answer section leans so hard towards atheism when only about 10% of the world doesn't believe or follow a religion.
Philosophically you either believe in God or not, and nothing is going to change either sides mind. There will never be enough evidence one way or the other.
Scientifically 40% of all scientists believe in god. That is hardly overwhelming evidence against god.
You either believe in the Bible or you choose to believe in another book or group of books, or you believe in yourself. So that either the author of your books or yourself are your god, and you will worship no other.
Two of the worlds main Holy Books derive from the same God and their ancestry comes from Abraham's two sons.
It is also true that once a persons mind is made up, to believe or not believe in god, their search for answers will lead them in the way they want to go.
Yes, I am a Christian, but to change someones mind is almost impossible.
Those that are looking for answers, have open minds, atheists and Christians or any other religion do not fall into the open minded category, their minds are already made up.
The atheist point of view is not another religion. Also, atheist people are a very heterogeneous group, with widely differing opinions.... whereas those proclaiming christianity are often very dogmatic and closed-minded.
Why does everyone assume Christians are so close minded? jstfishinman, I strongly dissagree that their minds are completely made up. some that maybe true, others can be convinced however. Its done all the time on both sides. Bart Ehrman comes to min
Jonny even atheism is a belief system. christian, I am not saying that there aren't windows of opportunity when two or more people are able to put their defense mechanisms down. Otherwise we butt heads for hours with no progress. Pick your battles!
What, pray tell, are the dogmas, tenants and beliefs that all atheists share and must adhere to? I'd really like to know.
@christiananrkist "Why does everyone assume Christians are so close minded?" Not assuming..... I know that some are, as are some atheists. Can the closed-minded christian person opt out of that for just one moment? Have the faith to?
My mind is not closed to the possibility of a God. However until there is irrefutable evidence to prove it, I have no need to abdicate logic in lieu of nonsense. Your accusations of Atheists being closed minded is shallow and desperate.
getitrite , is that directed at me? Do you see my statement as shallow and desperate? I said "some," in relation to christian and atheist people... Is that not true?
@jonnycomelately, my comment was directed at jstfishinman. I have no qualms with your statement. Sorry for the confusion.
Getitrite, it takes two to butt heads. Open discussions are fun for some of us, but to just butt heads without understanding is useless. The Christians are as guilty as those opposed to Christianity. That is why we have to pick our battles.
If we ceased "butting heads," containing "closed minds," would we need the battles? It could develop into a gentle, interested and interesting, respectful sharing of views. Let's hear from christians who can do this without judging?
Jstfishinman, since you are asserting that atheism is a belief system, I would like to know what you think atheism dictates in regards to beliefs, dogmas or doctrines.
I would love that jonny, but it just doesn't seem to happen very often. I can't figure out why people can't get along with each other, and agree to disagree on certain subjects. I guess I'm just old and remember when that was possible.
I must ask one thing: How is it possible for a blind man to debate anything with one who sees. Or how is it possible for one who is incapable of hearing a frequency that is only audible to one who has exercised a receptor within the heart to argue with the tonalities within those pitches? It is like arguing about the hues of the colors within the rainbow with one who is color blind; it serves no reasonable purpose. The representatives of humanity of which you allude are examples of people who live in entirely different domains. It is therefore a question that is essentially pointless. In addition, evidence changes all the time depending upon technological advancements. At a time not too long ago, evidence of the DNA within the genes of various species was impossible to gather. Did that make DNA any less real and substantial? Evidence, therefore, cannot be the determining factor of reality.
Evidence itself doesnt change. its just sitting there waiting to be discovered. Just because we dont know how to gather it or interpret it all the time doesnt make it less reliable. How else do you think we should look at history or solve crimes?
"Evidence" for each of us is what we perceive with our (5) senses and then interpret with our brains. Once those senses and the brain cease to exist, away goes the awareness. Without awareness (consciousness) there is No-thing.
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