Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 83 (8942 total)
38 online now:
DrJones*, dwise1, GDR, jar, PaulK, Percy (Admin), ringo, Theodoric, xongsmith (9 members, 29 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: John Sullivan
Upcoming Birthdays: Anish
Post Volume: Total: 863,377 Year: 18,413/19,786 Month: 833/1,705 Week: 85/518 Day: 11/74 Hour: 0/3


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
Thugpreacha
Member
Posts: 12961
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


(2)
Message 1 of 7 (863331)
09-24-2019 6:12 PM


Earlier in discussions on this forum, I mentioned how I was impressed with though not in agreement with Matt Dillahunty and his debating skills supporting atheism.

This latest audible book which I purchased is from an ex-evangelical pastor who became an atheist. He too has some well thought out arguments against Theism and in support of Atheism. Here is a quote:

Dan Barker writes:

Many ministers have earned respect as decent human beings working to lessen violence and improve humanity, and their contributions to the betterment of the world are applauded by all of us, believers and atheists alike. But this could be said about anybody. Ministers have no corner on compassion, no corner on charity. There are thousands of exemplary atheists who do not turn their good deeds into an excuse to pastor (shepherd) other human beings, or to stand up weekly before their “flock” and pontificate, or to advertise to the world how great their (non)religion is. Many atheists walked shoulder-to-shoulder with Baptists and Methodists in the civil rights marches. Most atheists I know contribute to charity and work for social causes. Ministers, priests, and rabbis are not automatically better people.

Five years ago I would have refused to even listen to such a book, but I feel as if my faith is strong enough to be questioned. He has some other gems as well...but I'm not sure how much I can be allowed to quote. Let me try:
Godless by Dan Barker writes:

If there is anything that is obvious, it is that the existence of God is not obvious.

The apologists claim that God designed it this way to allow people a more fully honest choice rather than being "forced" to drop to their knees upon observing or experiencing overwhelming undeniable evidence. But Barker was an evangelical, so his claims carry a bit more weight. He goes on to describe what many evangelicals believe (incorrectly) about atheism:
Any scientist in the world would jump at the chance to be the one who finally proved that God is real. Of course, some philosophers and theologians feel that this can never happen because a supernatural being, by definition, is beyond the reach of science, which can only examine the natural world. Nevertheless, most non-philosophers do feel that there is a wealth of evidence for a god. Miracles, changed lives, fulfilled prophecies, biblical revelation, the resurrection of Jesus, unsolved scientific questions (which they mistake for evidence), coincidences they say could not have happened by chance, inner experience, selfless acts of kindness and so on all prove to the believer that God exists. Some offer attempts at rational arguments (examined in the next chapter). Since many of these believers cannot imagine themselves as nonbelievers, they try to detect some ulterior motive for atheism. Rather than accept the straightforward statement that there is no evidence for a god, which allows the implication that their worldview might be wrong, many Christians have claimed to guess the “true” cause of unbelief. Here are some of the ad hominem arguments I have heard:

  • “You resent moral guidelines and want to be free to live a life of sin and selfishness.”

  • “You dislike authority.”
  • “You want to be different and stir up trouble.”
    • “You are arrogant and hate God and want to be higher than God, like Lucifer (Satan).”
    • “Your heart is in the wrong place.”
    • “You have been hurt by Christians, or offended by certain nonrepresentative immoralities and crimes in the Church.”
    • “You are impatient and disappointed that not all your prayers are answered.”
    • “You feel let down by God, who didn’t answer your prayers the way you wanted.”
    “You are cold, empty and pessimistic.”
    • “You are an angry person.”
    • “You are too stupid, blind, limited or afraid to see what is obvious to everyone else.”
    • “You have been seduced by scientists into refusing to accept the possibility of miracles.”
    • “You are an atheist because you don’t know the true meaning of love.”
  • The arguments in this book encapsulate many of Tangles, AZPaul3's, and Theodoric's arguments which were attempts to persuade me to look at both sides (or all sides) of these spiritual discussions which we have here at EvC.

    In summation, I recommend the book for theists bold enough to want to understand (as I am struggling to do) and for atheists who want a good read and clarification of many issues which they may have been confused about.


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

    You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

    “As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness.”
    ? R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith


    Replies to this message:
     Message 2 by PaulK, posted 09-25-2019 1:00 AM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply
     Message 3 by dwise1, posted 09-28-2019 6:20 AM Thugpreacha has responded
     Message 5 by Diomedes, posted 09-30-2019 9:37 AM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply

      
    PaulK
    Member
    Posts: 15439
    Joined: 01-10-2003
    Member Rating: 2.9


    Message 2 of 7 (863344)
    09-25-2019 1:00 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by Thugpreacha
    09-24-2019 6:12 PM


    quote:
    The apologists claim that God designed it this way to allow people a more fully honest choice rather than being "forced" to drop to their knees upon observing or experiencing overwhelming undeniable evidence

    Except for those that claim that God obviously does exist (often on the grounds that the Bible says so!)

    However, it makes no sense to me. Evidence would be enough for belief, but not the decision to follow and act accordingly. The Book of James agrees that the latter is far more important (2:14-26 verse 19 bring the key verse).

    A fully informed decision to follow is an exercise in free will. Guessing what the facts might be is not.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by Thugpreacha, posted 09-24-2019 6:12 PM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply

        
    dwise1
    Member
    Posts: 3761
    Joined: 05-02-2006
    Member Rating: 3.9


    Message 3 of 7 (863621)
    09-28-2019 6:20 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by Thugpreacha
    09-24-2019 6:12 PM


    I have that book, though I have only read his personal history in the first chapters.

    I personally became an atheist over half a century ago. A year or so after having been baptized around age 11 in a Protestant church (the only denominational denotation I've ever been able to find was just some independent mainstream Protestant church whose property has been absorbed by the neighboring junior college), I decided that I needed to get serious about this religion stuff and, since I assumed that we are supposed to believe in what the Bible says, I started reading the Bible, from the beginning. I couldn't even make it all the way through Genesis. I quickly realized that I simply could not believe what I was reading. And since I couldn't believe what I was supposed to, the only course of action was to simply leave. From what I've heard since then, that was one of the smoothest transitions out of Christianity.

    From that point, I then learned about the history of Christianity and its many atrocities. Then around 1970 the Jesus Freak Movement arrived, through which I learned up close about fundamentalist beliefs. Needless to say, I really could not believe that stuff. Then yet another decade later, in 1981, I encountered "creation science" and very quickly learned what a complete deceptive crock that is. And all my encounters with creationists over the subsequent nearly-four decades only serve to reinforce and completely vindicate my very negative opinion of creationists and their obviously and blatantly false theology. Now the frosting on the cake is the decades-long push to institute Christian Sharia Law.

    I've known about Dan Barker since the 1980's. One day on the way home from work around 1983, I was tuning through the FM band and stumbled upon Atheists United from Santa Monica. They had a weekly 15-minute radio program on KPFK at the time. A number of their broadcasts were of presentations by their monthly speakers.

    One month, their guest speaker was Dan Barker. As you will recall from his autobiographical chapters, he underwent his deconversion in the Los Angeles area at a time when Atheists United was active. Yet he had no idea that they even existed and instead had to move over 2000 miles across the country before he could find anybody of like mind. At that point in his presentation he cried out to the audience: "Where were you guys when I needed you?" The Internet has changed the situation a lot, but back in those days you could be next door to the resource that you needed and never know it.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by Thugpreacha, posted 09-24-2019 6:12 PM Thugpreacha has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 4 by Thugpreacha, posted 09-28-2019 8:36 AM dwise1 has responded

        
    Thugpreacha
    Member
    Posts: 12961
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.2


    Message 4 of 7 (863623)
    09-28-2019 8:36 AM
    Reply to: Message 3 by dwise1
    09-28-2019 6:20 AM


    My 2 cents
    Did you see the list of common assumptions above that many Christians have about why folks are atheists?
    quote:
    ... many Christians have claimed to guess the “true” cause of unbelief. Here are some of the ad hominem arguments I have heard:
  • “You resent moral guidelines and want to be free to live a life of sin and selfishness.”
  • “You dislike authority.”
  • “You want to be different and stir up trouble.” (could apply to Christians also..."The Martyr Complex")
    • “You are arrogant and hate God and want to be higher than God, like Lucifer (Satan).”
    • “Your heart is in the wrong place.” (Could apply to many Christians...especially conservative wealthy ones...who will help feed their church and let the planet burn.)
    • “You have been hurt by Christians, or offended by certain nonrepresentative immoralities and crimes in the Church.” (Could apply to Christians in that they have been "hurt" by well educated atheists who deflated their confidance in their world view. )
    • “You are impatient and disappointed that not all your prayers are answered.”
    • “You feel let down by God, who didn’t answer your prayers the way you wanted.” (I will admit I feel this way too. Why does God ghave to bless all of the "least of these" before He takes care of me? My carnal nature is quite immature and selfish, you will note)
    “You are cold, empty and pessimistic.” (It could be argued that some Christians who embrace last days theology are depressed and want the world to just end...damning the planet, the forests, the jungles and animals...and especially all the "heathen unbelievers"...)
    • “You are an angry person.” (same as above)
    • “You are too stupid, blind, limited or afraid to see what is obvious to everyone else.” (I hear this one from a lot of secular humanist critical thinkers, who laugh at my ignorance and beliefs )
    • “You have been seduced by scientists into refusing to accept the possibility of miracles.”
    • “You are an atheist because you don’t know the true meaning of love.” (Substitute the word "believer" for atheist and the same could apply)

  • Barker writes:

    There are millions of unqualified Christians who have only the slightest familiarity with the bible, yet their decision to believe is considered praiseworthy. Church pews are packed with biblically illiterate worshippers. If it is necessary to have a degree in theology before making an informed decision, then millions of Christians will have to be ushered out of church..(jar would agree with that statement, asking the Christians if they have ever read the Bible!

    What I like about this book is that it frames many of the arguments between us here at EvC and explains sound reasoning for them. While I could explain away your situation by charging you with never even making it through Genesis...(Hint: Jesus is the best part of the Bible) I can't say the same for Barker.

    I will agree with Faith in that you seem angry sometimes...even though it is one of the cliches on the list. Is it her personally that annoys you? I can understand how a logical person could get exasperated with Biblical Creationism (labeling it as willful ignorance) but I might ask if you feel the same about me and my belief that Jesus is alive and is Gods character.


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

    You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

    “As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness.”
    ? R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 3 by dwise1, posted 09-28-2019 6:20 AM dwise1 has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 6 by dwise1, posted 09-30-2019 10:25 PM Thugpreacha has responded

      
    Diomedes
    Member
    Posts: 909
    From: Central Florida, USA
    Joined: 09-13-2013
    Member Rating: 2.6


    Message 5 of 7 (863765)
    09-30-2019 9:37 AM
    Reply to: Message 1 by Thugpreacha
    09-24-2019 6:12 PM


    I was a fan of Matt Dillahunty since I discovered The Atheist Experience show on Youtube back in the mid 2000s. It apparently is taken from a public access telecast out of Austin, Texas.

    Matt does have an interesting history, with him studying to be a Baptist Minister and during that journey is when he discovered his skepticism of the Bible and the concept of god in general. He, along with other atheists like Aron Ra, Sam Harris, Professor Richard Dawkins, and Adam Savage (from the Mythbusters) made the concept of atheism more mainstream.

    The arguments in this book encapsulate many of Tangles, AZPaul3's, and Theodoric's arguments which were attempts to persuade me to look at both sides (or all sides) of these spiritual discussions which we have here at EvC.

    That is the cornerstone of critical thinking and also, the scientific method. That is why the motto of the science channel is 'question everything'.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 1 by Thugpreacha, posted 09-24-2019 6:12 PM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply

      
    dwise1
    Member
    Posts: 3761
    Joined: 05-02-2006
    Member Rating: 3.9


    Message 6 of 7 (863818)
    09-30-2019 10:25 PM
    Reply to: Message 4 by Thugpreacha
    09-28-2019 8:36 AM


    Re: My 2 cents
    Not much time, so here's a first pass.

    While I could explain away your situation by charging you with never even making it through Genesis...(Hint: Jesus is the best part of the Bible) I can't say the same for Barker.

    Yes, I have very often admitted that, while I made the right decision, it was for the wrong reasons. My decision that I must leave may not have been maximally informed (ie, requiring complete knowledge of all things biblical and theological), but it was sufficient to make that decision, the right decision. That is why the first warning I would give to every Bible-believing parent is that they must never leave their kids alone with a Bible. If I had gone to an adult in the congregation to discuss this stuff with, I may not have left (and more's the pity if that were!). But I doubt that many kids would have done that.

    In a way, that experience informs my approach to that deliberate deception, "creation science". Anyone who takes "creation science" claims seriously should be driven to question their religion (which explicitly makes itself depend on the "truth" of their false claims) and end up choosing "the only other mutually-exclusive possibility, atheism" (which is how they train them to think).

    Now mind you, I would welcome a growth in the numbers of people choosing atheism, but I'd prefer the ones who understand atheism and had left because they had outgrown religion.

    The dreadful alternative is the "Christian atheists" created by their dysfunctional religions and so they carry with them all those negative stereotypes of atheism taught them, but now as a model to follow. For example, I have heard given as the typical Christian attitude (from both believers and non-) of what they would freely do if they were an atheist: They'd end up running naked down the middle of the street fornicating with everything in sight and axe-killing everybody (some are more modest and only aspire to being an axe-murderer) -- slightly hyperbolic, but not by much!

    That is why I would concern myself with the ridiculous misconceptions that believers have about atheists. Because those ridiculous misconceptions of atheists will, when they themselves become atheists, become the templates and models for how they are supposed to conduct themselves as atheists. Basically, just as "creation science" booby-traps creationists' faith ("if my patently false claims inevitably turn out to be false, then my faith and all my religious beliefs are false and I should become a hedonistic atheist who runs down the street ..."), all these false stories of what atheism is and what atheists think or are like only serve to booby-trap the lives of those believers who later leave.

    Here's an example. A local creationist activist always boasts of having been an atheist, but he's just lying.

    In his own story that he has published, he was raised in a Protestant family and was a theist. When he was a young teenager with "bubbling hormones", knowing that God wouldn't let him indulge himself, he hit upon a "cunning plan (hint: Blackadder)": if you stop believing in God, then you aren't responsible for anybody and you can do whatever you want! Gee! Does that sound familiar? Kind of like “You resent moral guidelines and want to be free to live a life of sin and selfishness.”? Look familiar? Like that first "Christian assumption of reason for atheism"?

    OK, he openly admits that he had made that choice just in order to "sin without guilt". IOW, he "became an atheist" just so that he could do anything he wanted, to get away with stuff. But then just because he used that Time-Life March of Man portrait (much parodied), he blames "evolution" as the cause of his atheism. Uh, no, it was the legalistic loophole offered by your religious indoctrination. And he directly credits young-earth creationism with returning him to "god", but I feel that he has yet again used a system as an excuse for him to do whatever he wants with no guilt. Anyway, over a 20-year span of time, I could never ever even once get him to advance a single young-earth claim. Even when I'd ask him directly for one.

    But we haven't come to the weird part yet. Oh, yes, there's a weird part.

    This creationist would avoid direct questions with a lot of nonsense. It's only been within the past few years that I've come to realize he was a typical creationist who only copies from his sources and doesn't actually understand any of it. But, as in a properly run interrogation (not that I was ever attempting that), the interrogatee inadvertently divulges some information.

    This "former atheist" told me that all during the time he "was an atheist", he still believed in God and prayed to God every night, "just like all atheists do". Uh, what??? No atheist I've ever known, including myself, was ever, as atheists, like that!. IOW, just like Trump does, this idioot just admitted to me that he never actually was an atheist (who doesn't believe in God ... DUH?); all he was doing was pretending to be an atheist in order to get away with something.

    But then this creationist goes around trying to claim that he knows exactly why people are atheists "because he had been one too!" No, he obviously never has been one, any more than countless creationist "former evolutionists" had ever actually studied the subject (a few, maybe, but not most). Yet he disspells every one of their actual reasons for become atheists, because that list of liies about atheists that you listed (no accusation, just pointing). He even tried to blame my being an atheist on the death of my son, even though he died 17 years ago and I became an atheist about 55 years ago, decades before he had ever been born. And that turned me into an atheist? What an idioota!

    But that's all part of the problem that I'm seeing because of theists' weird ideas about atheism. As well as the senseless anti-atheist discrimination we have to put up with. That I personally had to put up with!

     
    So, basically speaking, there has to be some kind of dialog and exchange. So far, you're not picking up and all we're getting is a wall of ignurance and hate.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 4 by Thugpreacha, posted 09-28-2019 8:36 AM Thugpreacha has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 7 by Thugpreacha, posted 10-01-2019 6:30 AM dwise1 has not yet responded

        
    Thugpreacha
    Member
    Posts: 12961
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.2


    Message 7 of 7 (863819)
    10-01-2019 6:30 AM
    Reply to: Message 6 by dwise1
    09-30-2019 10:25 PM


    Re: My 2 cents
    dwise1 writes:

    So, basically speaking, there has to be some kind of dialog and exchange. So far, you're not picking up and all we're getting is a wall of ignorance and hate.

    From me? Sorry I didn't pick up on that impression. Why not start our dialogue by asking me specific questions, which I will attempt to answer honestly and briefly, if possible. Spoiler Alert: I may use "I Don't Know" a lot.

    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

    You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

    “As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness.”
    ? R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 6 by dwise1, posted 09-30-2019 10:25 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

      
    Newer Topic | Older Topic
    Jump to:


    Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

    ™ Version 4.0 Beta
    Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019