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Author Topic:   The Marketing Of Christianity
dwise1
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Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 487 of 591 (824016)
11-21-2017 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 480 by Phat
11-21-2017 6:48 AM


Re: Food For Thought
As an atheist, you mention the E word--evidence---and say that is what stopped you from accepting the call. So what do we make of this? Is the difference between believers and non-believers simply a matter of choice? Past experiences? Upbringing? Or does God Himself pick and choose? (Or are some people rational enough to see that not only is the Emperor wearing no clothes but that there is no Emperor! ) Personally, I go with confirmation bias. Some of us want to have a guiding father figure while others recoil at the prospect of spending eternity enslaved. In addition, some of us need evidence in order to make important decisions, while others are emotionally impulsive.

Actually, I became an atheist by trying to learn what I was supposed to believe as a Christian. So I started reading the Bible and found that entire thing so unbelievable ... well, since I couldn't believe what it said, then I couldn't be a Christian. Over the next half decade I learned more about the history of Christianity and found it even less appealing. Then came the Jesus Freak Movement of which I was a "fellow traveler". The more I learned of what they taught and believed, the less I could believe it and the more it confirmed that I had made the right decision to leave. Then came "creation science" and the Religious Right, both of which demonstrate how even more reprehensible {their} Christianity is. Now we have the evangelicals supporting the Anti-Christ (or is Trump the Beast?) in pursuit of secular power -- they keep getting worse and worse.

More generally in the case of many if not most ex-Christians, they started thinking and examining and found that they could no longer believe what they were supposed to. In case after case, they tried as hard as they could to continue to believe, but either you believe or you don't -- you cannot choose to believe.

And this brings up a point. Perhaps if the church were more loving and relevant, more atheists would attend out of the social need to do something relevant and fun for other people---regardless whether they believed in God or not.

Certainly that would contribute towards showing that Christianity is a viable option. Knowing "true Christians" as I do, I'm not holding my breath.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 490 of 591 (824060)
11-22-2017 1:56 AM
Reply to: Message 489 by Phat
11-21-2017 8:12 PM


Re: Jesus as Mythos
Not necessarily. The behavior of any human may well be evidence of some external influence. I cannot prove it, however.

Well, basically, everybody is influenced by a number of external influences, as well as internal ones (which in turn may have been created by external influences). And in some cases (or many cases), they will project their own personal desires on that "external influence" in order to pervert it to serve their needs, as is far too often done with religion.

Here's an interesting one: The Matthew 7:20 Test.

How well do you do?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 489 by Phat, posted 11-21-2017 8:12 PM Phat has responded

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dwise1
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Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 574 of 591 (829804)
03-14-2018 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 556 by Phat
01-09-2018 2:44 PM


Re: God Unplugged
Hopefully people at least try and believe in a bigger God than the one they can make up. Is your imaginary God bigger than what science can prove? if not, you let the facts get in the way. May as well stick with Long John Silver!

Yes, Man did indeed create God in His own image (having nothing better to base it on). And as each believer tries to figure out this god-thingee, each believer creates his own god based on how well or poorly he understands what other believers tell him (which includes the Bible and everybody's understanding and misunderstanding about it and what it says).

But that is not any reason for you to trivialize and denigrate that endeavor! Believers are quite serious in that endeavor. They are not just making shit up -- that is the purview of creationists. Rather, they are trying to work their way through a non-trivial problem in order arrive at a better understanding of something which by its very definition is beyond human ability to understand.

That is not to say that there aren't any whose gods are trivial. A couple decades ago on our church bulletin board was an AP article, "Childhood Image of God Prevails Among Adults, Authors Say." It was about a book co-authored by Rabbi Jack Bemporad, "Stupid Ways, Smart Ways, to think about God."

The stupid ways of thinking about God are very childish, because most people formed their ideas about God in their childhood and never got around to upgrading them as they themselves matured. An abbreviated list of stupid ways of thinking about God:


  1. God as your personal "cosmic bellhop" granting your every request.
  2. God as "little Mary Sunshine" who will take care of everything for you.
  3. The "proverbial God of Wrath ready to show how much he cares by punishing you, the Marquis de God" who despises sinners so much he exterminates them.
  4. "God the General", a nationalistic god, the leader of jihads.
  5. "God the Master of Ceremonies" who can be hired by anyone to observe all manner of ceremonies.

Creating one's own god should follow the same procedure as creating one's own theology (everybody does that too): think about and be willing to question your ideas so that you can discover what you had gotten wrong and try to correct those errors.

Hopefully people at least try and believe in a bigger God than the one they can make up.

Too few believers would make the effort to believe beyond their limited ideas. However, there are those with the wisdom to recognize their own limitations and so don't try to limit their God as well. Though I doubt that more than a few believers could find comfort in accepting that some (though I would think "many") of their ideas about God could be wrong.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


(1)
Message 576 of 591 (829829)
03-14-2018 3:59 PM
Reply to: Message 558 by Phat
02-01-2018 2:40 AM


Re: Food For Thought
dwise1 writes:

...but either you believe or you don't -- you cannot choose to believe.

As I was rereading this thread, your statement jumped out...and i disagree with it. In my opinion, belief is entirely a choice. The evidence is not that important nor persuasive to me. And not that there is a conclusive amount of it.

I stand by that statement.

I am not in any way accusing you of lifting out of context, but the context would help others reading this; in my Message 487:

DWise1 writes:

More generally in the case of many if not most ex-Christians, they started thinking and examining and found that they could no longer believe what they were supposed to. In case after case, they tried as hard as they could to continue to believe, but either you believe or you don't -- you cannot choose to believe.

I have read and heard many testimonials by ex-Christians (eg, at www.ex-christian.net). A recurring feature of those stories is how desperately they tried to continue to believe, to keep from losing their faith, but all their efforts were in vain. A lot of those deconversions were very painful, but despite that pain they were still unable to keep from losing their faith. They could not simply choose to continue to believe; they found that option to be impossible.

You really should spend some time on that site to get a better understanding of ex-believers and the deconversion process (the link itself is to the testimonals section of that site). Belief exists and operates on a much deeper level than making a simple arbitrary choice on the spur of the moment, as you are trying to trivialize it. For example, according to you I should be able to choose arbitrarily to believe in "creation science", whereas in reality I could never believe in it because I already know its lies far too well.

Believers who remain, believers, have more of a need to believe than do former believers, who are easily swayed by evidence.

I disagree that it's a matter of need to believe. Former believers had just as much need to believe as current believers, more so especially during the deconversion process as evidenced by the pain of that experience.

Rather, it appears to be more a matter of allowing themselves to see the evidence, followed by their reaction to that evidence. Evidence can have no effect on a person who can engage in denial so deep that they not only refuse to look at evidence but also can deny its existence.

For example, a friend at church, Gary, used to be a fundamentalist Christian, but now describes himself as "a complete atheist and thorough humanist" which he finds far more spiritually fulfilling than his previous faith. As a fundamentalist, he had to constantly practice self-deception in order to blind himself to the daily evidence all around him that showed his beliefs to be wrong. Needless to say, that constant effort finally exhausted him and led him to apply the Matthew 7:20 Test to Christianity itself, which it failed.

In many cases, what the evidence shows to be wrong is just some minor detail which should have no effect on one's faith or even some mistaken idea which really has nothing to do with the religion.

For example, one common factor in deconversion stories is discovering that your religion and your religious leaders (including your parents) had been lying to you all along and/or had betrayed you in some way. One such deconversion story serves as a sad example of the damage a false belief can do. A girl always believed that the books of the Bible were written in the order in which they appear, so when she learned that that wasn't true she decided that they'd been lying to her all along and left religion. While there are a lot of cases in which religious leaders were indeed lying and/or betrayed their members in other ways, this was a case in which the person had added a false belief that had nothing to do with the religion, not unlike my own mistaken belief that I was supposed to believe literally what the Bible says, which had led to my own exit from Christianity -- right choice, but for the wrong reason.

BTW, my main reason for opposing "creation science" is that it is a false belief (a deliberately crafted deception, actually) which is hawked to believers as support for Christianity such that if it proves to be false then so is Christianity. Not only does it have nothing to do with whether Christianity is true, but it is so demonstrably false that many former believers are now former believers -- many became atheists or switched to a saner form of Christianity, and a very few remained fundamentalist but none are creationists any longer.

In the case of "creation science", the evidence shows that what it claims and teaches is wrong. Believers can maintain their faith in "creation science" by ignoring the evidence, even denying that the evidence even exists -- Faith's persistent arguments about geology are a prime example of this. On a certain level, they cannot help but know that their beliefs are false, because otherwise they wouldn't know to engage their selective blindness to the evidence -- I have also witnessed "selective stupidity" in which an obviously intelligent creationist would suddenly be unable to understand a very simple English statement.

The problem is for the believers who don't realize that they must be careful to not look at the evidence. They actually believe that "creation science" is true and so can stand up to any evidence. Most of them grew up in the faith, whereas most of the selectively blind believers had converted into it (or else had already encountered the evidence earlier; eg, when engaging in creationist proselytizing). It is those believers who don't know to ignore the evidence who end up losing their faith because of a false belief that doesn't even have anything to do with Christianity.

There is another group affected/created by "creation science": those who reject the very idea of converting to Christianity because they think they are required to believe in "creation science", something that is so obviously false. Count among them fifth-graders whose teacher, Ray Baird, used ICR "balanced treatment" materials -- at the end of each lesson, the materials pressured the students to choose between "an unknown Creator" (part of the deception) and "atheistic evolution", so they chose atheism:

quote:
"Someone that I know has become an atheist because of this class, because the creationist theory was so stupid, he thought. Well, if religion requires me to believe this, then I don't want to have any part of it."

(JP Hunt, student in Ray Baird's 1980 "balanced treatment" class at Emma C. Smith Elementary School, Livermore, CA, in "Creation vs Evolution: Battle in the Classroom", KPBS-TV, aired 7 July 1982)


More info on that class at LIVERMORE 1981: Creation Science in the Classroom - A Case Study.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 577 of 591 (829830)
03-14-2018 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 572 by Phat
03-14-2018 2:13 PM


Re: Food For Thought
My point is that in my opinion, one cannot simply choose Gods the same way one would choose a new coat.

Of course not! Who is saying such a thing, besides you? From what I see, you are the one who keeps trivializing belief and the gods.

I dont believe that all "gods" have the same capability of providing what is needed, but there is no way to prove it.

Of course they all do! They all serve the purposes for which we created them. How could they possibly do otherwise?


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 578 of 591 (829831)
03-14-2018 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 572 by Phat
03-14-2018 2:13 PM


Re: Food For Thought
{duplicate post}

Edited by dwise1, : duplicate; refer to last


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dwise1
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Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


(1)
Message 579 of 591 (829911)
03-16-2018 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 558 by Phat
02-01-2018 2:40 AM


Re: Food For Thought
In my opinion, belief is entirely a choice.

I have given it more thought. I still disagree: belief is not "entirely a choice", but rather it is a conviction. You cannot choose to belief something that you know for a fact is false, but rather you need to be convinced that it is true.

I started discussing creation/evolution online on CompuServe in the late 1980's. At first I thought that creationists didn't realize that their claims were false and that, since Christianity teaches them to love truth and to seek the truth, once we'd point out their errors then they would make the necessary corrections. Needless to say, I was increasingly perplexed by the outrageously dishonest behavior I was observing from the creationists.

Then about a decade later in a Yahoo Groups forum, a creationist finally gave me the epiphany I needed. He had tried to use the horribly false sea-salt claim and I did such a good job of demonstrating why it's false that he explicitly acknowledged that it was false. I asked him what he thought he was trying to accomplish by using such flimsy arguments that are so unconvincing. His reply was that the only reason I find them unconvincing is because I am not yet convinced myself. {light bulb switching on over my head} That explained what the creationists had been doing all along. They don't care anything for the truth nor for honesty nor for Christian doctrine or morality. All they care about is convincing others, but far more importantly themselves. Because the only way to continue to believe is to remain convinced about that which they believe in.

In response on that forum to my epiphany, I wrote a comparison of the fundamental difference beween scientists and creationists, which I later started to convert to a web page (not yet finished) which is posted but not linked to at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/cs_vs_sci.html. The page does a side-by-side, step-by-step comparison, but basically:


  • Scientists are trying to discover how the universe works. They base their research on the research of others, so if that research of others is bad or false, then that would work against their goals of learning how the universe works.
    As a result, they are strongly motivated to verify other scientists' research (eg, the moment the "cold fusion" paper arrived over FAX machines all over the world, physicists immediately started verifying it and found it to be wrong).
    If any scientist is found to have committed a hoax or done shoddy work, then his career is over. The scientific community has a strongly vested interest in ensuring the quality of research.

  • Creationists are not trying to discover anything about the universe, but rather believe that they already have the complete truth which they must 1) defend against scientific evidence to the contrary and 2) convince everybody of, including themselves (many creationists use "creation science" as a proselytizing tool and will testify that that is what had converted them). They made liberal use of other creationists' claims, but it makes no difference if those claims are bad or false, just so long as they sound convincing. Since their goal is to convince, the merit of a claim lies in how convincing it sounds and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it is true. A complete and utter lie which sounds convincing will be embraced and repeated by the creationist community, whereas a true claim which doesn't sound convincing will never see the light of day. If a creationist is found to have committed a hoax or done shoddy work, then that does not matter one whit just so long as his claims sound convincing.
    The creationist community has absolutely no interest in ensuring the quality or truth of creationist research, but rather goes for the spectacular convincing-sounding lies.

BTW, that creationist who explicitly admitted that his sea-salt claim was false showed up again. A couple months later on that very same forum I saw that very same creationist using that very same sea-salt argument on a new-comer. When I called him on it he ran away knowing that he had been caught red-handed deliberately lying with the full knowledge that he was indeed lying.
 
 
So to recapitulate the thesis here, belief is not a simple matter of making a rational and arbitrary decision to believe, but rather there is a lot more involved such as becoming convinced of what you're believing. You cannot arbitrarily choose to believe something that you know for a fact is false (possible exception: engaging in unreasonably extreme mental measures which many would rightfully classify as a form of mental illness, yet the end result of which is to deceive yourself into believing that known falsehood to be true). So the key to belief is being convinced, which is not a simple arbitrary choice.

Exposing a believer to incontrovertible evidence that things that he believes are false can have different effects on his belief depending on how he reacts. Every believer will initially dismiss that evidence, but normally it can get the person thinking. The stronger believer will resist that thinking part more, even to the point of not only rejecting that evidence but even denying that even exists -- again, many observers would classify many of those defense mechanisms as forms of mental illness. Regardless, the effect of contradictory evidence would normally not be to convince the believer of something else, but rather to weaken their conviction in their own beliefs such that they start to investigate deeper.

I'm sure that you know who Dan Barker is. Now known as one of America's leading atheists, he was raised fundamentalist and at age 11 was called to the ministry personally by God. In the first part of his book, godless, he tells his story, including his deconversion. I recommend that you read at least that part, since it will show you the process of deconversion.

Barker's deconversion started out in an interesting way. He traveled around with his family in a musical ministry. They would travel from church to church within his denomination where he would give a guest sermon. Like everybody else in his denomination, his views were black-and-white with a strongly and inflexibly drawn line separating right and wrong. Everybody in each other those churches he would visit were the same way, except ... . Every congregation had its strong and inflexibly drawn line, but every such line was drawn slightly differently. What was right in one congregation was absolutely wrong in another, and at the same time what was absolutely wrong to one was perfectly right to another. As long as you restricted your experience to your own group, you will never see that, but Dan Barker's experience was spread over a large number of groups, each with its own unique "absolute lines", so he saw that having a single absolute line between right and wrong that applied to everybody (as per fundamentalist theology) is just an illusion. As he watched that "unblurring" line blurring all the time, he could not help but to become less convinced about such lines. That got him to start thinking and questioning and reading and researching. And now you know the rest of the story (apologies to J. Paul Harvey).

I am not advocating that every believer become an atheist; frankly, I very much doubt that most believers could handle it (especially considering the bizarre falsehoods they had been taught about atheism). I'm sure that you've heard that tired old argument: "There are so many different religions, but only one of them is right." It's wrong, because all religions are wrong, none of the legion of theologies is right, because every single one of them gets something wrong, mainly in their large bodies of detailed statements and descriptions. At the same time, all religions and all theologies are right because they all (ignoring a few possible exceptions) get something right.

You do not hold a single religious belief, but rather a sizable body of religious beliefs accompanied by many mega-beliefs (ie, beliefs about the interdependence of those beliefs, an Achilles heal of creationists). Part of that body of beliefs do get it right, but other beliefs get it wrong. When exposed to evidence that those false beliefs are indeed false, the dilemma for believers is to decide whether his correct beliefs depend on those false beliefs or not. If he can determine that his correct beliefs do not depend on the false beliefs, then he can shed the false beliefs and not only keep his faith, but also have a more mature faith. If he determines that his correct beliefs do depend on those false beliefs, then as he loses those false beliefs he also loses the right ones.

I see creationists as falling into that trap. From what I've been able to observe, they seem to hold firmly to the meta-belief that their entire Christian faith depends directly on their YEC beliefs being true. Therefore when they fight for YEC, they see it as fighting for Christianity. In reality, Christianity does not depend on YEC, but they have trapped themselves nonetheless.

This gets us into another aspect of this question of belief and dealing with contradictory evidence. We can classify creationists into several groups along a long spectrum of how much they've been exposed to contradictory evidence (primarily evidence that their claims are completely and utterly false and nothing but a pack of lies, many deliberate), but at the same time we will find that they all still maintain that meta-belief that YEC must be true in order for Christianity to be true. Their exposure to contradictory evidence starts at zero for creationists who do not venture outside of their own congregation and it goes up as their interaction with the outside world increases as they talk with non-creationists and witness to them and proselytize to them, engage in discussions (both in person and on-line), participate in debates both passively and actively, creating web pages and dealing with feedback replies, writing creationist articles and books, running creationist organizations, etc. Each step along that spectrum, they encounter more and more proof that their claims are false and that their YEC beliefs are false, but their meta-belief that Christianity is false if YEC is false forces them to reject that realization.

Here's where it gets weird. While they cannot admit that the evidence is quite clear that YEC is false, at the same time they choose to act upon that knowledge that they cannot allow themselves to acknowledge. YECs, even ones who are openly YEC, now avoid presenting or discussion YEC claims like the plague. Sure you might get some newbie doing it because they don't know any better yet, but try talking with an experienced YEC. Any YEC with any amount of experience knows that YEC claims are false and hence are extremely vulnerable and will refuse to touch the subject -- unless he feels that you know nothing about YEC claims in which cause you can't get him to stop.

Which raises so many questions of what's going on in creationists' minds.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


(3)
Message 581 of 591 (829915)
03-16-2018 5:37 PM
Reply to: Message 580 by Phat
03-16-2018 3:41 PM


Re: Food For Thought
Judging from past behavior, I doubt very much that she would be able to make any rational contribution or assessment.

... , but she (also) prefers to steer around these sorts of topics.

Which is also true of other creationists. There is a very important honest conversation that creationists and non-creationists need to have ... or even just creationists among themselves: just exactly why are creationists doing what they do (including just exactly why they think that Christianity depends so directly and completely on the extraneous claims of YEC) and just exactly what they honestly think the consequences of evolution being true or the earth truly being ancient would be. That would be just the starting point of a series of serious and honest discussions that we need to have in order to get to the root causes of this entire brouhaha so that we can arrive at some kind of solution. And one of the first steps in such a solution would be for creationists to understand what creation is and must be (they add far too many extraneous requirements) and to stop redefining evolution into something that it clearly is not.

I have tried to start those discussions with individual creationists and their response would be run away from that discussion in any of a number of ways; eg, change the subject, go into a ramped-up attack mode, disappear altogether. I don't think that it's simply because they don't want to, but rather that they feel that they must not even begin to think of those questions.

I keep comparing this situation with one in a science fiction novel I read back in college (early 70's, though now I'm back again), Macroscope by Piers Anthony (1969). The story involved a newly discovered particle, macrons, which permeate the galaxy and are affected by whatever they pass through, such that a detector, the macroscope, could reconstructed a scene anywhere in the galaxy. Some alien civilizations had learned to use macrons as a communication medium. There is one message in particular called "the Messenger" which continuously broadcast tutorials for creating advanced technology. But there is another message atop the Messenger, the Destroyer, which would fry the brain of any entity who understood what the Messenger was saying. So the team of scientists have their one non-scientist, Ivo Archer who cannot understand what the Messenger is saying, watch the Messenger and then report what he saw to them so that they can then figure out the science and technology being transmitted.

This is the analogy I see with creationists. Ivo Archer had to access the Messenger and learn all that he could, but he had to be very careful to keep from understanding it (or too much of it) in order to avoid the Destroyer destroying his mind. When employing "creation science", creationists need to learn something about science, even though science clearly refutes their YEC beliefs and claims. If they learn and understand too much, then they cannot help but realize that their claims are false which would lead to them losing their faith. Therefore, creationists must be very careful to learn just enough science without understanding enough of it.

It's a mental defensive mechanism that they are undoubtedly not even aware of, because if they were aware of it then it wouldn't work anymore. They learn just enough to create a false claim and turn a blind eye (ie, "selective blindness") to everything else. For example, the classic claim of the living freshwater clams being carbon-dated to be thousands of years old uses an actual science journal article which also explains the reason for that anomalous date (the well-known "reservoir effect"; the clams were getting "old carbon" from the dissolved limestone in the water). The originating creationist saw the anomalous date but not the explanation for it. I've even seen examples of "selective dumbness" in which an otherwise intelligent creationist suddenly cannot understand the simple English of an explanation. And we have seen many similar examples in the geology discussions with Faith.

But there are also many creationists who do know and understand the science and yet they still create blatantly false claims. They are operating on a much higher, much more extreme, and much scarier level.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4389
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 587 of 591 (829962)
03-18-2018 6:01 PM
Reply to: Message 582 by Rrhain
03-18-2018 1:19 AM


Re: Food For Thought
But they have had this conversation. For example, Christian creationists have mentioned those specific things many times:

If evolution is true, if the universe is ancient, then that means the Bible (as they understand it) is false.

Why is that not sufficient for you? They have their reasons for believing in god (defined as the being referred to in the Bible) and thus to have that book be disproven means this god they believe in might not exist.

But we haven't had the conversation yet. All that creationists have given us are conclusions, little more than bare assertions. How were those bare-assertion conclusions arrived at? I have little reason to doubt that for most believers, those conclusions are simply taken as being axiomatic, the starting points from which to build the rest of their theology. So it is important to see how those conclusions were arrived at.

Similarly, creationists are basing those conclusions and more on a great many assumptions without ever examining those assumptions, let alone present them for discussion. They assume that creation and evolution are mutually exclusive and opposed to each other, so if evolution is true then that proves creation and God wrong. Why? In exactly what ways are they in conflict? In exactly what ways would evolution being true negate creation? I cannot see why that is a necessary conclusion and believe that there is no inherent conflict between a supernatural creation and the physical and biological processes that were created, including evolution. The only way that there could be any conflict would be if one (ie, creationists) were to create that conflict by mis-defining either creation or evolution or both, thus leading to false conclusions. Those conclusions that creationists assume to be givens are not givens, but were arrived at based on many unspoken assumptions. Those assumptions need to be spoken and examined and evaluated.

Another problem that those unspoken assumptions cause is that the two parties trying to discuss any aspect of creation/evolution cannot understand each other because the one party (ie, the creationists) have redefined all terms. We use the same words, but the creationists apply different meanings so that they cannot understand our explanations and we cannot understand their rejection of reality. Part of an honest conversation would be to address those unspoken assumptions in order to arrive at common terminology that would make communication possible. My logic professor told us that the first order of business in any debate is to agree on the definitions of the terminology that will used, but my experience with creationists, especially the ones active in debating and proselytizing, is that they depend on the confusion generated by not having common definitions.

The other part of an honest conversation which is still lacking is for creationists to explain just exactly what they think the consequences of their being wrong about something would be. They seem to believe that each and every bit of their theology is true and that every single bit is intertwined such that if even one bit turns out to be wrong, then the entire theology is wrong and they must lose their faith. Since all theologies are Man-made, they are all imperfect and they do all contain errors, so requiring loss of faith should even one error be found is just a self-imposed booby trap a hair-trigger away from going off. You should be able to detect and correct or eliminate errors in your theology without a loss of faith; many ex-creationists who remained Christian were able to do that. The trick would be to be able to identify what your faith truly depends on and what is extraneous.

In Message 576, I gave an obvious example of holding an extraneous belief and making your faith dependent on it, one that even Faith would agree about. A young Christian believed that all the books in the Bible were written in the order in which they appear. That belief was important to her, so when she discovered that it wasn't true, she blamed her religion for having lied to her and lost her faith -- I read that in her testimonial of how she became an atheist. It was a stupid extraneous belief, though it still proved to be an effective booby trap. Maybe if she had talked to somebody about it, they might have been able to have that little talk with her that I'm talking about and she might have realized that her faith did not actually depend on that stupid extraneous belief. But sadly when that stupid extraneous belief is also held by the rest of the congregants (eg, YEC), talking it out with a fellow congregant would probably fail.

I'm not trying to change a believer's mind. Rather it's kind of like non-directive counselling as we were taught as Navy supervisors. Before enlisting, I was often sought out for advice in religious matters by Christian classmates even though they knew I was an atheist. I just naturally used non-directive counselling by listening to them, asking questions at different points, offering a different perspective, all with the goal of helping them find their own solution to their problem.

Of course, in this case creationists have so many booby traps embedded in them that almost anything could set one off. It's painful to see people living that way, in constant fear of encountering any of a huge number of inconvenient facts that could set off one of their embedded booby traps.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 582 by Rrhain, posted 03-18-2018 1:19 AM Rrhain has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 588 by Faith, posted 03-18-2018 6:53 PM dwise1 has not yet responded
 Message 591 by Rrhain, posted 03-19-2018 8:42 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

  
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