Tuesday, October 18, 2016

41% of people believe election would be rigged against Trump

If we're ever going to progress as a nation--or a species, even--there's going to have to come a time where things are only believed, especially coming from our politicians, if they're supported by good ole' fashioned verifiable, mind-independent evidence and sound inductive/deductive logic. 

There's 0 basis for believing what 41% of people believe. No evidence. A thing does not become true because one man believes it with all his heart. A thing does not become true simply because your candidate is losing. A thing is only true if logically sound argument can demonstrate it, with supporting evidence.

Trump will lose, and lose badly. But not because anything is rigged against him. It's because he's a crude moron which a penchant for the tu quoque logic fallacy.

But the real problem is almost no one knows what that means. And therein lies the failure of the public school system.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Vote Hilary

An appeal to third party voters:

Vote Hilary, because you don't want the Supreme Court packed with right-wing ideologues for the next forty years.

Vote Hilary because she doesn't think climate change is a lie perpetrated by the Chinese government.

Vote Hilary because you care about what might happen to immigrants and children in war-torn countries if her opponent is elected.

Vote Hilary because her opponent's VP pick, a man a heartbeat away from the presidency, is a creationist hellbent on overturning Roe v. Wade.

Vote Hilary because she has an actual plan for fighting crushing student loan debt.

Vote Hilary because you're concerned about what Trump is hiding in his tax returns.

Vote Hilary because every living former president is voting for Hilary.

Vote Hilary because you don't think sexist jokes are okay.

Vote Hilary because the 2000 Bush/Gore election was decided by less than 1,000 votes in Florida. 

Vote Hilary because you trust the leadership and guidance of Bernie Sanders.

Vote Hilary because among all of the candidates that have any chance of being elected (both of them), her values are the ones that most align with yours.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wouldn't it make more sense...

...for God to keep someone in the Christian fold once and for all rather catch, release, and then bring them back into the fold? Why release them, which can only setback their spiritual growth? Which can only add and contribute to the evil in the world? Wouldn't that make God culpable for such evils?

But maybe there is, as always, some mysterious Reason. So who's to say.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Enemies of Truth


Blind partisanship.



Vested interests.

Ignorance of what an argument is.

Ignorance of what a fallacy is.

Ignorance of philosophy.


What else?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Relational Aspect of Christian Belief--or How I Can Know There Very Probably Is No God

According to Christian theists, it's not enough merely to believe that God exists. To believe that certain arguments are correct which show that God probably exists. For even the demons believe--and they shudder! One must seek and enter into a salvific relationship with Him (or rather, be drawn into such a relationship by God). That's the whole point. God is not an abstract philosophical concept--He is a Person. Thus we can see that theistic belief is indeed intellectual and relational in nature, and the relational aspect is even more important.

But many nonbelievers, including those who wish that God would exist, struggle with finding any of the arguments for God's existence persuasive and/or find arguments against God's existence persuasive. In that event, theists often implore nonbelievers to seek God out as a Person. Stop treating the debate over the existence of God as an academic exercise. Go to Him and He will reveal Himself. Seek, and ye shall find, as it is written in scripture (Matt 7:7).

But I have sought earnestly, and thoroughly, and I have not found. And it's been years. I've poured over my Bible. I've sought answers in Christian apologetics. I've prayed. I prayed throughout my gradual, agonizing deconversion, where my assurance of immortality and Divine love and protection were lost. I prayed for more faith. I prayed for understanding. I prayed for guidance. I said "I believe--help me with my unbelief!" as the father of the child with the unclean spirit once cried to Jesus. I prayed for forgiveness. But I was met only with silence.

I've even prayed as recently as this week--years after my deconversion. Though not always to just any Christian conception of God--I pray to Whatever or Whoever may be out there, so as not to privilege any one religion. And yet I am met with only more silence.

Not to mention the prayers on my behalf that have certainly come my way.

I continue to read the blogs of the smartest Christian apologists and books by their brightest scholars (right now, I'm reading Jesus and the Eyewitnesses) and yet I continue to remain unconvinced. Whereas books like On the Historicity of Jesus seem to only entrench my skepticism.

In all honesty, I am afraid of dying and fear that I may have a terminal illness as I speak (though unconfirmed). The nihilism that was left in the wake of my deconversion has consumed my life to the point of depression. So I have every cognitive motivation to embrace Christian theism again.

I'm not the only one. Other believers like Justin Schieber have experienced the cognitive abandonment that I've just described. And of course, the argument from Divine Hiddeness captures the spirit of what I'm relating in my life experiences.

This is how can I be near certain that there is no omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God. And why I wonder why I even bother continuing to debate the arguments for and against the existence of God. Because such a God would not have abandoned me. And because such a God would not continually ignore my sincere and genuine desire for His presence in my life. Especially with the threat of Hell looming if I do not repent (or, I guess I should say, re-repent).

So far as I can see, my life is a refutation of Christian belief. There is no more debate for me. The only response I can imagine a Christian making is that God, 'in the end', will come to save me before I die, in some unknown time and in some unknown way. But from my perspective, this is incredibly unlikely (though a remote possibility that I hope is true). Most likely, I will die an unbeliever. I've seen essentially all of the arguments and I've prayed all of the prayers. It is finished.

 Another recourse is to deny my lived experiences and claim that I'm really 'in rebellion' against God. But that does not comport well with the extensive evidence from my life I've just discussed. And any pretense to the contrary is theological assumption or simply begging the question. Or maybe I will be blamed for not finding arguments for Gods existence convincing. But believer, I can no more choose what arguments I find convincing than you can. And regardless, that is only the intellectual aspect. I am talking about the relational aspect.

(Which raises the question, why should a relationship rest on finding any particular argument convincing? What other kind of personal relationship is potentially subject  to that type of refutation?)

If nothing else, let it be said that I was a seeker of truth. And I will continue to read on and debate these issues. And maybe the believer will end up being correct, and their God will come to save me in the 11th hour. But I suspect my experiences have been the way they have been because the arguments against arguments God's existence are correct. So I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

There are no Christians open minded to the idea that their beliefs are false

Since Christians claim to have a relationship with God, they can't be open to evidence against their existence--because in real relationships, there can be no doubt as to the other parties existence. Through communicative elements, their existence becomes undeniable. You can't be in a real relationship with someone while at the same time concede you may be just talking to the ceiling.

 Real relationships are a two way street, therefore the other "street" must exist. So any Christian who believes they could be persuaded out of their beliefs must deny the the divine relational aspect, or argue that relationships with divine Persons are somehow drasticly different from relationships with human persons.

Edit: typo

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thinking Christian tries to rebut the Failed Apocolyptic Prophet Thesis

Found at: http://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2015/02/was-jesus-wrong-about-the-time-of-his-return/

"It sounds like he got it wrong, doesn’t it? All this seems to be happening virtually at once, from the fall of the city to the return of Christ. A lot of skeptics say so."

Gilson make it sound like only internet atheists have argued this. No, this is what many biblical scholars of various theological stripes have concluded (perhaps the majority, depending on who you ask), and even liberal Christians like Thom Stark agree that this is the case.

"In this passage, though, that’s not the case. Look at verse, 24, which I omitted before, and belongs at the end of the first paragraph above:

They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
How long did Jesus expect that interim period to last? Long enough for the Jews to be dispersed among all nations; long enough for the “times of the Gentiles” to be fulfilled. A while, in other words–an indefinite while, that is. I don’t think Jesus can be accused here of getting this wrong."

There's nothing here that logically required an "indefinite while" to had taken place before the return of Jesus: possibly allowing for reasonable hyperbole (but not requiring it), The Jews could have been led captive (not "dispersed"; captivity is the verbage used by the text) among "all nations" by the end of the 2nd Temple era or shortly after (which was roughly a 40 year period). Mainstream scholars (e.g, Allison, Ehrman) have argued that the "times of the Gentiles" was fulfilled at the destruction of the 2nd Temple, which seems to be the era Jesus has in mind here, given the overall context and theme. Importantly, Jesus says in verse 32 that their generation (that of the disciples, who he's speaking to) "will not pass away" until "all has taken place." (Elsewhere, he says all will not "taste death" until they see the "Kingdom of God.")

"That’s especially true if we add Matt. 24:14 into the mix"

The known world wasn't as large to Jews in Jesus' day. So a command to preach throughout "the whole world" and "to all nations" isn't a problem for the Failed Apocalyptic Prophet thesis. What apologists try to do here is make "preach throughout the world" a temporal indicator, when Jesus himself already has given several clear temporal indicators.

 Later on, when an interlocutor makes reference to the "this generation" passage, Tom says this:

"The rest of the paragraph (ESV) says,
And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
So there is some set of signs that indicate the season of his return is arriving. What are those signs? Go back one more paragraph, and you’ll find that there’s a section where his topic seems to have shifted somewhat. He could be talking about the fall of Jerusalem, and the disciples could have naturally interpreted him that way, but it’s also not an unnatural interpretation to suppose that he could be shifting to another time frame. :

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

But this is an unnatural interpretation, because Jesus is telling his disciples-his audience, not some unnamed generation reading a book, unknown millennia into the future- "when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Moreover, Mark and Matthew are even clearer: in Mark, the Son of Man comes "after that tribulation," but still "in those days (Mark 13:24)." Matthew makes things even worse: "immediately after the tribulation of those days..." (Matthew 24:29). [1]

 "Not only that, but if you back up even further to Luke 21:10-19, you’ll see that Jesus is speaking of a whole range of events that seem to take place over an extended period of time, beginning with the disciples’ lifetimes, but not containable within that short time frame."

But a careful reading shows that this all happened before the temple fell again in 70 CE. Nothing described here is not containable within the apostle's generation, Tom's assertion to the contrary notwithstanding. Perhaps Tom had in mind a more widespread persecution of Christians that took place in later centuries, but as Paul and the book of Acts can attest, persecution also took place early on.

"For these reasons, I conclude that “this generation” does not refer to the generation of those who were standing there listening to him, but to the generation that sees the final signs coming together, as he refers to throughout the chapter."

And it is for these reasons Tom's defense of Jesus' infallibility doesn't appear to stand up to close scrutiny. If we had only the few passages that have been discussed on hand, the Failed Apocolyptic Prophetic Thesis would fair pretty strong. Jesus fits well within his apocalyptic era further elucidated by the Qumran community, et al. But the Failed Apocolyptic Prophet Thesis accounts for a much wider range of data, summarized beautifully by the Ex-Apologist here: http://exapologist.blogspot.com/2007/10/one-of-main-reasons-why-i-think.html

Readers further interested in the apocolypticism of Jesus would do well to consult the works of Thom Stark, John Loftus, Dale Allison, Schweitzer, et al.

[1] Credit goes to Thom Stark for this enlightenment.