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Author Topic:   Counter-Apologetics
dwise1
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Posts: 3235
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.8


(1)
Message 16 of 86 (664847)
06-06-2012 12:25 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by LexM1985
06-05-2012 6:15 PM


I've been an atheist for nearly 50 years now, ever since I started reading the Bible to see what I was supposed to believe and very quickly realizing that I simply could not believe the stuff I was reading. So, I figured, since I can't believe what I'm supposed to, I should leave. Which I did, peacefully, and it was one of the best decisions I had ever made, despite the fervent and mindless hatred of atheists.

My attitude towards Christians and other religionists is and has always been one of respecting their choice to believe what they want to. However, I also insist that that respect be reciprocated. Now, that is something that doesn't happen. Well, sometimes it does, but too often it doesn't.

So, in general principle, your goal of counter-apologetics is not one that I would share. However, when attacked by Christians, I have had to employ such tactics in self-defense. Despite all their hypocritical cries of Christianity being under attack, they are just reaping the sour crop that they had sown. I left Christianity in the middle of the first half of the 1960's, before Christianity's massive attack on society. Well, fundamentalist Christianity's attack on society. Around 1969 and 1970, the "Jesus Freak Movement" was unleashed upon us. For decades, fundamentalist churches and communities remained small and secluded, but at the end of the 60's large numbers of hippies, burned out from drugs, flooded into the fundamentalist churches, creating the mega-churches we are now plagued with. For example, our local Calvary Chapel (Chuck Smith's) was small until it became the center of the county's "Jesus Freak" activity. Shortly thereafter, they bought an empty field a block away and held services in a big tent until they had raised enough money to build; now on that site is their church and a high school and they have spawned about a half-dozen similar mega-churches in the county.

The problem was that at first they were extremely aggressive. You see, the world was about to end and the Rapture and Tribulation and Jesus' Second Coming were about to happen. They know that for an absolute certainty because the Bible told them that -- actually ... more on that below. They're a lot calmer nowadays, since none of that ever happened, so they married, had children, and now have grandchildren. It's kind of like what Michael Crichton described in Andromeda Strain, in which a new disease which is extremely virulent evolves into a less virulent form because the more virulent it is (and kills off its hosts too quickly) the more it works against its own spread; the more benign form that lets its host live is more successful in spreading.

But in the beginning, it was horrible! You couldn't go anywhere without being aggressively accosted by a "born-again" hippie trying his utmost to convert you. Worse yet, family members would convert and cause all kinds of havoc at home. "Pro-family"? Bullshit! Jesus said that he had come with a sword to turn family members against each other and that it exactly what happened. To this day, four full decades later, people who had lived through that time still have very strong negative reactions to having to be around fundies. Negative reactions that are very well earned.

I also notice that many of these Christians don't actually know what much of the bible says

A former-creationist forum member talked about that briefly a couple years or so ago. Remember that before that massive influx of burned-out hippies, fundamentalists were a small community consisting of few converts, but rather mostly of those born into the cult^H^H^H^Hfaith. {for any neo-geeks out there, ^H is Ctrl H, which is backspace, deleting from the input stream the preceding character; you should be able to fill in the rest} Those born to the faith were raised and trained in it, with extensive Bible study -- the aforementioned Chuck Smith had himself been raised by his mother memorizing the Bible. Indeed, the Baptists, which whom fundies are associated (eg, fundies took over the Southern Baptist Convention), had a long tradition of thoroughly studying the Bible and working through your own understanding of it. That all changed with the "Jesus Freak Movement". Suddenly, the churches were flooded with members who knew nothing about the Bible, had never studied it before. Members who had to be brought up to speed in a hurry, like by yesterday. So they were told what they were supposed to believe and that it was all based on the Bible. And they learned what they were supposed to believe, plus a few isolated Bible verses taken out of context. Sure, they're supposed to read and study the Bible, which I'm sure most of them at least try to do, but still what's paramount is what they have been told that they are supposed to believe. So the parts of the Bible that aren't on their "reading list" of verses "directly supporting their theology" don't get much attention. And if what they do happen to read conflicts with what they've been told to believe, then they just turn as blind an eye to that as they do to reality.

Another question to atheists: When do you think it's appropriate to debate scripture?

I would immediately say, "never", but then my goals and reasons for participation are different from yours.

My purpose here does not include attacking anybody else's beliefs or religion -- that is the purpose of fundamentalist proselytizers. At the most, I will ask them to think about some of the details of what they believe. If provoked by their negative conduct, my questions may become more pointed ... OK, sometimes I am more easily provoked than other times. My purpose here is to oppose "creation science" claims, which are demonstrably false and deceptive; believe what you want to, but do not base your beliefs on falsehoods!

Your purpose seems to be to attack their beliefs.

As you already mentioned, they don't really know much about the Bible. And as has already been said, they will either ignore what the Bible says or reinterpret it in any way they please in order to preserve what they had been taught to believe -- just look at how they will twist and distort reality for the same purpose. Here's a little quote I pulled from a sci-fi novel that sums it up:

quote:
{When you search for God, y}ou can't go to the people who believe already. They've made up their minds and want to convince you of their own personal heresy.
("The Jehovah Contract", AKA "Der Jehova-Vertrag", by Viktor Koman, 1984)

But here's a little something that I've used at times in the past. To begin with, in the beginning I would always make it my approach to try to discuss a creationist's claims with him, taking his claims seriously and at face value. I very quickly found that nothing else could infuriate a creationist more than to try to discuss his own claims with him. Two reasons that I can think of:
1. He knew full well he had no idea what he was talking about.
2. He knew full well that he was lying through his teeth!

OK, your fundies claim that everything they believe comes from the Bible. Well, surely, they can back that up.

The Bible is completely true and contains absolutely no error? Where does the Bible say that?

If any error at all, even a single one, were to be found in the Bible, then God is a liar and we should just throw the Bible in the trash (foreveryoung, Message 187, 31-May-2012 11:41 AM).
Where does the Bible say that?

Take your pick of any other fundamentalist nonsense that is "based on the Bible."
Where does the Bible say that?

Roman Catholicism is a good example of this. All kinds of things to believe. Generations of Catholics raised on what to believe. But just exactly what are all those beliefs based on? Celibate clergy? Not in the Bible, but rather from a Church Father (and implemented centuries later, by my flawed understanding). Just exactly what is the source of the beliefs you believe in? That might be a good approach to take with your opponents. At the very least, it might actually get them to do the impossible, to think.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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foreveryoung
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 901
Joined: 12-26-2011


Message 17 of 86 (664848)
06-06-2012 12:38 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by dwise1
06-06-2012 12:25 AM


I left Christianity in the middle of the first half of the 1960's, before Christianity's massive attack on society. Well, fundamentalist Christianity's attack on society

What massive attack on society?

Edited by foreveryoung, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3235
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.8


(2)
Message 18 of 86 (664851)
06-06-2012 1:37 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by foreveryoung
06-06-2012 12:38 AM


Oh, kid, you have absolutely no idea.

And I use that term "kid" for a very definite reason. You are too young to have lived through that time that so many of the rest of us had to live through. Did you live through the Great Depression of the 1930's? Though the Second World War? Both of those eras very strongly shaped my parents and your grandparents. We, the both of us, know nothing personally about those times, but my parents and your grandparents did. Do you have any idea what they had gone through? How that had shaped them, their attitudes, their priorities? We're both clueless kids about those eras, except I have taken the time to research those times and to think about them.

We are both Americans. Do you know what Americans are known for? Besides only being able to speak one language? We are known for being abysmally ignorant about history. Stereotypically, the only history we know is what had happened within our own lifetime, your lifetime being ludicrously shorter than my own. Other cultures (eg, the Balkans, Greece and Turkey) have way too much a sense of history; they are still fighting wars and feuds from 100 and 200 years ago -- a shipmate of mine had married into a Greek family; as early as possible, Greek family teach their children to absolutely hate Turks. The Muslims are still bearing a grudge against us because of the Crusades (though much more immediately because of Great Britain's broken promises from World War One when the British had both promised Arabs total autonomy and the Jews a Palestinian homeland; Desert Storm, 1990, was a direct result of Great Britain's and France's arbitrary redrawing of Middle East borders). The happy medium we want to seek is somewhere inbetween.

I already described the history to you. What part of that do you not understand?

Circa 1969/1970 we experienced the "Jesus Freak Movement". In the parlance of the time, hippies were "freaks" and non-hippies were "straights". Freaks were furthermore categorized by their choice of drugs: "pot freaks" smoked marijuana while "acid freaks" dropped LSD. At first, the term "Jesus freak" was a perjorative applied by non-fundies, but very quickly, such that I, who lived through that time (born 1951, graduated high school 1969 -- yeah, I know, "cool!"), never noticed that transition time, the "Jesus freaks", who were "hooked on Jesus" (yet another drug term carried over into the Jesus Freak Movement), took that label on as their own.

We have all noticed and remarked on how extremely bent-out-of-shape you get over each and every apparent slight against your religion that you imagine to encounter. Now picture this scenario. You walk down the street. You go to school. You go to work. And some fundamentalist confronts you, face-to-face, invading your personal space, directly attacking everything that you believe and trying to convert you to his own personal fundamentalist religion. I'm talking aggressive proselytizing here. Now, you have chosen to identify yourself as a fundie, and have made yourself into an attractive nuisance. I'm talking about everyday people, most of whom are not overtly religious, being constantly accosted about their beliefs. Constantly! Every single day! Everywhere they turned! Absolutely no relief! Everybody!

My wife's brother converted to Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel mega-church. His attempts to convert the rest of the family nearly split that wonderful nourishing family apart (I'm Irish-Scottish while my wife was Mexican (she still is, but she's no longer my wife); her familia was so filled with love, the archetypical Mexican familia -- my son made the mistake of marrying into a dysfunctional family (their dysfunctionality was masked from him); she and her mother could not even begin to comprehend the amount of love in our familia). Many years later, 2000, my wife and I started learning to dance, seeking the swing dance that her parents danced (actually, it was what he had learned in Chicago and taught to his wife, which is "double swing", which I understand is called "toddling", as in Chicago, Chicago, That Toddlin' Town). I found a Lindy Hop (the original swing dance) instructor and my next opportunity to bring my wife into the dance was at a big dance event sponsored by a local mega-church, Mariners' (really odd; two big local Baptist-type churches, Saddleback and Mariners', with huge singles ministries, used dancing as part of their singles ministry, and rightfully so, even so the churches themselves had serious misgivings about dancing (eg, the old joke: "Baptists have forbidden sex while standing upright, because it seemed too much like dancing.") ) My wife was not religious. Her brother had caused very serious familial rifts by having converted to fundamentalism and trying to convert family members. All the way during the drive over there and all the way from the parking to the dance tent, she kept repeating over and over again, "if even one of those bastards even begins to try to convert me, I am out of there immediately!"

OK, kid, that's what I'm talking about. The massive proselytizing effort of the Jesus Freaks circa 1970 and in the half decade thereafter. You're just a kid, so you have no personal memory of that time. But it did happen. I lived through it. My ex-wife lived through it. Countless others lived through it. And we all remember it! Why are you fundamentalists hated so much? Because you have made it so! As ye sowed, so shall ye reap!

What other stupid questions do you have?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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foreveryoung
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 901
Joined: 12-26-2011


Message 19 of 86 (664855)
06-06-2012 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by dwise1
06-06-2012 1:37 AM


Oh, kid, you have absolutely no idea.

Thanks for calling me kid. You may not have meant it as a compliment, but I will take it anyway. I don't even mind being called immature. Let me be immature till the day I die, I don't care. I am foreveryoung, and I will be a "kid" till the day I die, and I MEAN THAT.


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foreveryoung
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 901
Joined: 12-26-2011


(1)
Message 20 of 86 (664856)
06-06-2012 2:16 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by dwise1
06-06-2012 1:37 AM


Lmao. I understand what you are talking about and it irritates the hell out of me too. That still happens today. That is why I asked what I did. I still get accosted today, and it always makes me feel uncomfortable. Believe it or not, in real life, I am more comfortable around non fundies. I mean the cultural fundies, not the ones defined by mere belief. I am a fundie by belief alone. I DO NOT act like the most of them do culturally. I can't stand that proselytizing bullcrap they put people through. I totally sympathize with you. Yes, they tear families apart. I share my beliefs online and online alone. People don't have to read what you say if they don't want to. People have no choice in real life. BTW, I am probably older that you what you assume me to be but , I am younger than the age you have revealed...61.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3235
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.8


(1)
Message 21 of 86 (664861)
06-06-2012 2:46 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by foreveryoung
06-06-2012 2:16 AM


60, actually. I know, because I got the official "you're too old" letter from the Navy.

I DO NOT act like the most of them do culturally. I can't stand that proselytizing bullcrap they put people through.

At one point in my software career, I was the sole software engineer in a small greenhouse control company. The company president was born a fundamentalist, so his son, Todd, was a second or third generation fundamentalist. The son went off to college at Northwestern University (interesting coincidence, when I testified in a Boy Scouts of America, Inc (not to be confused with Scouting) religious discrimination lawsuit in Chicago, both I and Todd were on the return flight). Working with the company after his first year, he mentioned to me how lonely he felt on campus, so I told him about the plethora of Christian clubs that are on most campuses. He immediately rejected that idea! He had looked into those clubs, but all they were interested in was to try to convert the rest of the student body, which he was not at all interested in.

What Todd had said, along with what you indicate, indicates a generational difference. New converts want to gain other new converts; that is what we were seeing in spades in the early 1970's. If you were born into the faith, as was Todd, and the fervour to convert others is not really there. That is a difference worth noting.

The thing is that the problem that was created in the early 1970's was created by the mass of new converts. That is what all the non-fundamentalists witnessed. I'm a bit hazy on this one teaching. Are the sins of the fathers to be visited on the children? Or not? Your fathers were the Jesus Freaks out there aggressively accosting the rest of society. Are their sins being visited upon you, their child?

Either way, those who had lived through those troubled times will remember them. I am personally fortunate, in that I have been friends with those "of the faith". To others, such as my ex-wife, those "of the faith" are out-siders, of a psychology totally foreign to her own.

I guess the major question for you is whether your being sequestered off is because of your criteria, or ours.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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foreveryoung
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 901
Joined: 12-26-2011


(1)
Message 22 of 86 (664864)
06-06-2012 3:05 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by dwise1
06-06-2012 2:46 AM


I am sequestered from the rest of the cultural fundamentalists because I am not at all like them culturally. I am actually just plain secular culturally. I am not into this "don't do this", "don't listen or watch that", or "you should be doing more of this, don't you love God?". It is a huge guilt trip these guys lay on you and it ends up where a certain few get to have power over the others. No one wants to appear like they aren't true Christians. This is why the criticism I get over my behavior slides right off me like it does a ducks back. Being overly worried about how your behavior appears to others is a big drain and fucks with your brain. It changes you....for the worse in my opinion. To put is succinctly, I am very uncomfortable around the openly "christian by behavior" crowd. It makes me extremely paranoid to be around them. Does that answer your question?
This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3235
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.8


(1)
Message 23 of 86 (664867)
06-06-2012 3:38 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by foreveryoung
06-06-2012 3:05 AM


Uff da!

You are being very honest here.

A lot of being "Christian" is indeed about power. About telling you what you need to believe. But isn't there something in there about believing what is true?

There are so many who believe so many things. I am an atheist. But moreso, I am an agnostic: I don't know, and neither do you!

How do we differ? A Christian needs to always find some way to get every argument to come back around to the Christ. An atheist just needs to consider what's actually going on. A Christian has to also think always about what other Christians think of his solution; an atheist only needs to offer a solution.


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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 24 of 86 (664873)
06-06-2012 8:30 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by LexM1985
06-02-2012 1:10 PM


Re: Good Topic Opener
A lot of atheists think that debating scripture is a frivolous exercise since it can't be demonstrated to be true in the first place and are therefore quick to dismiss it. However, I believe the bible can be common ground to at least open up discussion (if not objective debate) with more fundamentalist Christians who refuse to start a debate on the grounds of empirical evidence.
I feel that I can debate Creationists all day on the fine points of evolution, history, astronomy, and physics, but when it comes to scripture and biblical rhetoric I feel my knowledge and abilities fall short. I find it hard to navigate through the mental gymnastics and logical fallacies theists persistently use in their scriptural counter-arguments. It seems easy to specifically demonstrate points of atrocity in Leviticus and throughout the bible, but the theists strange counterarguments often leave me lost for words. When debating theists, It's also hard to mediate a separation of dogma and evangelism (when they push it) from a discussion about the logical consistencies within the bible and relating to the world at large (the latter being what I'm interested in). In many ways I feel debating biblical logic is tantamount to debating logical inconsistencies within The Lord of The Rings, except 80% of Americans base their world view on "Lord of The Rings." I also try to keep an open mind so any argument is potentially valid until I can refute it and I try not using the same fallacies I accuse creationists of using.

I've been scouring the internet in an attempt to do more research on counter-apologetics. (Iron Chariots was disappointingly limited IMO). I stumbled upon a website that had a comprehensive list of hard rhetorical questions to ask Christians and halfway through I found a reply from a theist using the type of twisted rationalization I alluded to earlier. Some of his arguments are transparently fallacious while I simply donít know the best angle to tackle the others (I have ideas, but I'd love to compare them to yours). It's possible some of these arguments may even be sound IF the bible where demonstrated to be a source of reliable information. I thought it would be a fun exercise for you guys to maybe address some of these counter arguments. The website is:

http://www.whyilefttherevivalfellowship.com/bible

and the apologetic reply is located a little below halfway down the page labeled "Wlerin January 18 2011" (or just type the quotations into your browser search)

I would also appreciate past transcripts of similar debates if you have them.

Hi LexM1985. Welcome and thanks for the great topic and opener. I've got too much to attend to at this time but will submit a respones as soon as I can get to it.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The Immeasurable Present Eternally Extends the Infinite Past And Infinitely Consumes The Eternal Future.

Someone wisely said something ;ike, "Before fooling with a fool, make sure the fool is a fool." :)


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3235
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 25 of 86 (664883)
06-06-2012 10:32 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by foreveryoung
06-06-2012 3:05 AM


In case it didn't come across that way, your honesty there is very refreshing and to be encouraged.

For me personally there's now another aspect to fundamentalist proselytizing. Proselytizing is inherently very offensive, because it directly attacks and seeks to destroy the beliefs of others. But in my own case, it seeks to turn me into a monster, to actively embrace becoming a monster.

My younger son killed himself 10 years ago at the age of 17. No, he wasn't a Christian, so by your religion he's damned for eternity, probably doubly so for suicide. So when one of these idiots tries to proselytize at me, he's trying to turn me into a monster who will change his beliefs to actively embrace the belief that my son, whom I still love very much, will suffer an eternity of hell. That is something that I would only wish on my ex-wife.

So when a Christian idiot now tries to proselytize at me, he immediately gets disabused of that vile practice. Thankfully, it has so far only happened to shadow77 on this forum when he inevitably switched to proselytizing. As much as I may hope, he will not be the last.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 15982
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 26 of 86 (664895)
06-06-2012 12:15 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by foreveryoung
06-06-2012 1:58 AM


foreveryoung writes:

Let me be immature till the day I die, I don't care.


I hate to break it to you but you're showing some signs of maturity already.
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jerm
Junior Member (Idle past 2311 days)
Posts: 8
From: United States
Joined: 06-06-2012


Message 27 of 86 (664896)
06-06-2012 12:35 PM


I like Sam Harris's morality argument in his debate at Notre Dame a while back. Do a YouTube search for "Sam Harris destroys Christianity" for the ~10min clip. Full debate is also on YouTube but is a waste of time.
Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 28 of 86 (664897)
06-06-2012 12:38 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by jerm
06-06-2012 12:35 PM


Welcome home. Pull up a stump and set a spell.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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Artemis Entreri 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2242 days)
Posts: 1194
From: Northern Virginia
Joined: 07-08-2008


Message 29 of 86 (664933)
06-06-2012 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by dwise1
06-06-2012 12:25 AM


yeah riiight
dwise1 writes:

My attitude towards Christians and other religionists is and has always been one of respecting their choice to believe what they want to.

hard to believe considering your use of such an offensive and troll-like avatar.

but such denial is typical of anti-theists. you claim one thing but your actions show something else.

if you were really about respect then you would be respectful. There are many respectful Atheists on this board, you are just NOT one of them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by dwise1, posted 06-06-2012 12:25 AM dwise1 has not yet responded

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jerm
Junior Member (Idle past 2311 days)
Posts: 8
From: United States
Joined: 06-06-2012


Message 30 of 86 (664987)
06-06-2012 10:03 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by jerm
06-06-2012 12:35 PM


Sorry for the short first post, was on my iphone. Here's the full video I was referring to. The morality argument against religion should be enough for any clear thinking rational person to grasp. Besides of course all the physical evidence we have that most of the stories in the bible I know of are false (although I'm completely unqualified on both the bible and physical evidence to be considered an expert in either).

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