What NOT to Do!


From abcnews.com

I’m sorry I missed it, but apparently Kirk Cameron (child star in Growing Pains) and his evangelist friend Ray Comfort pledged to prove the existence of God, indisputably:

“We’d like to show you that the existence of God can be proven, 100 percent, absolutely, without the use of faith… the number one reason that people don’t believe in God is not a lack in evidence, but because of a theory that many scientists today believe to be a fairytale for grownups.” (see Does God Exist? The Nightline Face-Off)

Their evidence was the classical Teleological (argument-by-design) and a few other standard raps, which are decent arguments, and their presentation sounds reasonable enough, but it was more inductive logic, not deductive. You can’t claim 100% proof through inductive logic.

They also have a few (irrational) quirks:

“On the Day of Judgment,” Comfort tells one man on the streets of New York, “God will see you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. You have sinned against God. You need his forgiveness.

And then they get persecuted:

On occasions, things go badly wrong and the pair are attacked by members of the public… “While I was preaching the Gospel a gentleman came up and he started spitting on me. And he spat quite a few times.” Comfort says he simply remained calm and moved on.

It seems to me there’s room for a little healthy Christian-to-Christian criticism here, because Paul says to “let your words be seasoned, as it were, with grace…so you know how to make an appropriate response to everyone.” To yell out in NYC insults like “lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart” seems very unseasoned with grace — even if it is NYC!

Emotional Atheists

But as acerbic as those Christians sounded, they didn’t spit out rhetorical heat like the “Rational Response Squad” and that Brief Informercial on…Disbelief I wrote about. Those clowns are pretty derogatory towards people of other beliefs. For example, in their own words:

“The Rational Response Squad was formed to respond to irrational claims, and the most wildly held irrational claim are the ones offered by religion.”

So they dump me and any Christian into a little slop-bucket marked “religion,” dismissed as “wildly…irrational.” Jeesh…what “wildly irrational” rhetoric! Maybe the “Rational Response Squad” should drop the pretense and call themselves the Emotional Response Squad. The Teleological argument isn’t “wildly irrational,” even if they object to it.

The sneering, insulting tone is quite pronounced throughout their presentation:”You pray for me, and I’ll think for me!” the Emotional Response Squad hurled at the Christians amidst great applause. Oooooo. Dissss!

I’m sorry, but they seemed quite intolerant towards other beliefs.

The New Atheist Agnostics

It was amusing to watch the squirming when it came their turn to prove their point: “I’m not going to prove atheism, but I am going to prove [the Christian’s] arguments are wrong…” was the opening statement.

As usual, it’s always easier to throw stones than build a house.

An atheist (or, “DIS-belief” as they call it) is a dogmatic position. I am astonished at how arbitrary they are claiming theirs is the only position on earth which requires no proof. I mean, isn’t it obvious that disproving Christianity still proves nothing about God’s existence? If the atheist dismantles ancient Greek myths, it only means ancient Greek myths are wrong. You can’t jump straight from that to atheism! This is why atheism is a leap of faith: it’s a leap from point A to point B without any bridging logic.

Then it hits me: they think they’re agnostics! An agnostic (which means “I don’t know”) would be a non-belief that requires no proof. How silly it would be to prove that you don’t know!

But atheism is a belief, not a non-belief. Atheism claims “I do know! Fo Sho! Ain’t no God! Ain’t no way!” Yeah OK, maybe they know something, but what is it? (I think it’s called “Blind Faith” to be unconcerned about proving your position.)

Atheism is a “Mystery Religion” and the mystery is how they absolutely know God doesn’t exist. Do we know 90% of the knowledge in the universe? No…but maybe 70% or 50% or 20% or maybe just 5% of the knowledge of the universe we know. Is it not possible in our vast ocean of 95% ignorance about the universe there may be proof for God?

Once-upon-a-time people were equally dogmatic that the earth was flat, but they just didn’t know that much after all…!

Don’t ever let someone call themselves an atheist and pretend to be non-religious! And in my humble opinion, I think the epitome of irrational, unreasonable nonsense is an Atheist acting like an Agnostic.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s at all possible to hold a sensible conversation anymore about God. “Why do the nations rage?” is a good question.

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19 thoughts on “What NOT to Do!

  1. lbeech

    Great write up. I’ve bookmarked the article and discussion video and can’t wait to watch it. I’ve already started viewing Atheism: a Brief History of Disbelief.

    I am even more interested in this trend of rage against Christians and those who learn about Christ especially with respect to our youth.

    The other day my son, Henry was apparently taking a poll in his second grade classroom. The question was, “Who likes church?” The answers he received were rather disturbing.

    15 out of 22 students not only didn’t like church but the reacted strongly against it with comments like these:

    “BORING BORING BORING!”

    “WHY waste your life at church? There are better things to do – LIKE VIDEO GAMES AND SPORTS!”

    Some railed,”Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, I hate learning about Jesus Christ – What a waste!”

    Henry was outrages as he reported their responses to his question. I asked him what he thought. He told me that he loved learning about Christ and love and salvation. He seeemed surprised by the strong negative reaction from his 8 year old peers.

    He indignately ended our conversation with:

    “Only SEVEN out of 22, like GOD, MOM and that even includes me! That is only 1/3 of my class. Most don’t care about God or want to know him.”

    This is the state of the spiritual openness of our young children. This is so heart-breaking. Their hearts are already hardening!

  2. Joe

    Most children aren’t as lucky as Henry! If you would have asked me about church when I was younger I would have said the same thing! It WAS boring!

    I hated sitting through mass and Sunday school and only did so because I thought I was being a good person and really I didn’t have a choice- my parents made me.

    Jesus was a boring lamb-loving wuss in my eyes at that age too.

    So, on one hand I agree with Henry’s classmates. going to Church does suck! I think Jesus and the bible agree with this too. After all the “church” is us.

    On the other hand, I think it’s bittersweet that Henry is starting to learn the world is a cruel unsensitive God-hating place. Most churches aren’t like Xenos and most people don’t really know God. But, it’s so cool that he has answers that his classmates don’t have.

  3. Joe

    Apparently, there’s a “Imagine No Religion” billboard in Columbus that’s sparking all sorts of debate. What the people behind the billboard probably don’t realize (and in part who can blame them- it’s Christians constructing the “You’re going to hell” signs along the highway that do most of the damage) is that God is actually anti-religion! Imagine no religion is offending so many Chirstians, yet that’s what Jesus had in mind when he died on the cross to make a relationship possible between us and God!

    Check the link: http://66.102.9.104/search?hs=sUq&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fbbsnews.net%2Farticle.php%2F20080212012956810&btnG=Search

  4. kmcc

    Lisa, this is very disturbing. I do believe we have the right now to be given a chance to go into that classroom and make a case for why Jesus/church/whatever is a legitimate and good pursuit.

    Do you know anything about this teacher? It’s a very disturbing exercise this teacher compelled the children to engage in, and not at all common. I’ve never heard of this happening to 2nd graders before. It sounds (on the surface, at least) quite malevolent to place such young kids in a public position of either denying or getting persecuted for their faith.

    Imagine the outrage that would arise of this teacher had a couple muslims in his class and then asked the class to vote on wether or not Islam is a terrorist’s religion.

    What was the purpose of this exercise? Was it math? History? English?

  5. Vinny

    I consider myself an agnostic rather than an atheist because I feel that I don’t know whether there is a God rather than that I know there is not a God. On the other hand, I don’t see why belief that there is no God should require proof of God’s non-existence any more than belief that there are no leprechauns, pixies, gnomes, flying reindeer, unicorns, abominable snowmen, Loch Ness monsters, or Easter bunnies would require proof of those beings non-existence.

  6. kmcc

    Sorry Vinny, your comment was held up in my anti-spam queue. But you raise a fair question (actually two questions)

    First, “why does an atheist have to prove his belief?” Answer: they don’t have to prove their beliefs. But neither should they claim to corner the market on reason. Either provide reasonable proof, or stop claiming to be reasonable.

    Second, “If I don’t have to disprove the Easter Bunny, why do I have to disprove God?” I find that a little harder to answer. It’s like asking, “What’s the difference between God and the Easter Bunny?” The difference is intuitive to me, but just to be fair, I would say even if the Easter Bunny exists, so what? God’s existence is a fairly significant issue. It’s not at all ludicrous to consider His existence.

    But I’m afraid you’re missing the point: to say you don’t believe doesn’t mean you’re more rational than someone who says he does believe. Both are belief-statements. Christians should have the honesty to admit theirs is a belief-system (albeit a reasonable and verifiable one), and I’m saying atheists should have the integrity to admit their own faith (and provide reasonable proof, it they want to wear the “King of Logic” badge). Unfortunately, we’re given “hot rhetoric” and insults (“you Christians are just so dumb!”) without any reasonable dialog.

    But I do appreciate your willingness to ask thought-provoking questions, Vinny, because these questions should be asked.

    Furthermore, I think your position as an agnostic has integrity, at least, and I only wish more people had that integrity about their beliefs.

  7. lbeech

    Just to clear up a few things about the poll taken in Henry’s second grade class; It was my sanguine child – Henry – who initiated this poll – perhaps he has aspirations as a pollster.

    I think he thought everyone would agree with him – he was shocked by the negative responses from his classmates.

    Sorry that I was not clear on who asked the poll question.

  8. kmcc

    Oh. Well, I’m glad it was him and not the teacher.

    In that case, I would agree with Joe: it’s a good thing for Henry to come to grips with the anti-Christ sentiment which is growing so popular.

    Y’know, taking Joe’s comments about the sheep-holding Jesus, why bother to hate him so much…unless, of course, there’s a gnawing sensation that He is indeed King of Kings.

  9. kmcc

    Also, Frank’s got some interesting material on his Web site. Mark & I were watching a video by this “Emotional Response Squad” guy in which he thinks Jesus Christ is (somehow) the equivalent of Charles Manson.

    It goes to the better-suited title “Emotional Response Squad”.

  10. Vinny

    kmcc,

    I think you are missing my point. I am not saying that God is like the Easter Bunny. I am saying that the atheist can no more prove the non-existence of God than the Christian can prove the non-existence of the Easter Bunny. No Christian would admit to being unreasonable for denying the Easter Bunny’s existence without proof, but they claim the atheist is unreasonable for doing the same thing with God.

    If I were an atheist, I would argue that it is unreasonable to believe in a God that is empirically unobservable and that does not act in a way consistent with any known thing that is observable. That seems to be the kind of reason that Christians have for not believing in the Easter Bunny.

  11. kmcc

    Dude, it’s really quite simple: for the same reason you have the integrity to say you’re an agnostic, the atheist should have the integrity to admit theirs is a belief-statement, and not rationalistic. Of course they can’t prove that God doesn’t exist–everyone knows that! So why pretend theirs is a position based on reason and proof? It’s patently absurd. And Vinny, I know you understand this.

    “I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny” doesn’t mean I’m a formidable rationalist. It merely means I “don’t believe.” Likewise, “I don’t believe in God” is merely stating a belief. It certainly doesn’t prove any great intellect or reason or logical faculty or any of the many other leaps of logic made by such radical atheists.

    An atheist may try to claim high-minded rationalism by saying the only acceptable evidence for any conclusion is empirically-observable phenomena (which is your argument, above). Yet this again is a bloated claim. The scientific method itself assumes predicate logic — that is, “A and non-A are incompatible and therefore absurd.” This assumption is an assumption (as with other “intuitive knowledge”), and cannot be verified, is not a phenomena nor observable. Predicate Logic is denied outright by Pantheists, for example–and there’s no way to “scientifically prove” predicate logic without using predicate logic (much like, say, Christians quoting the Bible’s claims to be God’s Word to prove that the Bible is God’s Word). This is called foundationalism, and it is a hallmark of Western thought.

    The question I have is this: was reason always reasonable, or did reason evolve? I think the question illustrates my point.

    Thanks for your open-minded inquiries, Vinny.

  12. kmcc

    See, the whole comparison between God and the Easter Bunny is very unfair. Nobody believes in the Easter Bunny. But there’s billions who say there is a God, and offer proof. Now that proof may or may not be convincing, but nonetheless it is reasonable. The Teleological “Argument by Design” may not be convincing to some, but it’s not irrational, and shouldn’t be treated so contemptuously if a reasonable dialog is to be maintained.

    But I’ve yet to hear any argument from an atheist as good as the “Teleological” used by Theists.

  13. Vinny

    I have tried to be very careful in limiting my use of the Easter Bunny analogy. I am not claiming that belief in God is somehow as irrational as belief in the Easter Bunny because I do not believe that it is (although I am sure others do). I am only claiming that lack of evidence can be a sufficient and rational basis for unbelief or disbelief without further proof of non-existence. Whether or not that evidence is in fact lacking for God is a separate inquiry.

  14. kmcc

    Ah…well by all means, I do agree with you Vinney, and I think it’s a good point. Like I said before, you do seem to have a realistic grasp of the limitations of the atheistic position…and it does have non-trivial limitations.

  15. Bill

    Kmcc,

    I would say that the universe and all of the appearance of design must be explained by both atheists and theists. There is no evidence that might point towards an Easter bunny that must be explained.

    As far as Comfort’s evangelism method, if you look at the Bible it is what Jesus did. He let the woman at the well know that He knew she was an adulteress. He never pulled punches with the Pharisees, or anyone else.

    We would be well advised to do as Jesus did.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  16. kmcc

    Thanks, Bill, I certainly agree re: your “Easter Bunny” comments.

    But I don’t see the parallel between Mr. Comfort and Jesus in John 4, Bill. Jesus clearly took the time to first talk with this woman, meet her where she’s at, raise several important issues which drew her into the conversation, and he never actually used inflammatory language in talking with her, whereas Mr. Comfort I would say did non of the above. Hurling insults at passing strangers is clearly a loser strategy, whereas the patient and strategic one-on-one conversation Jesus had with that woman is a winner.

    Also Bill, my apologies for letting your comment languish in my “anti-spam” filter…I gotta get that changed! I changed your post date from 2/18 to 3/5, but left it otherwise unchanged.

  17. Jacqueline León

    You know, Keith, for some random reason, this morning I was wondering about what Kirk Cameron was up to these days….I think it was a result of stream-of-conscious thought during a dry lecture in class. Anyway, essentially I had dismissed this character, because he seems too “churchy,” so to speak: the annoying kind of evangelist that even a sister in Christ wants to avoid. This particular article affirms this thought. Too bad.

    And this Comfort author: I own a copy of his book, Hell’s Best Kept Secret. Admittedly, I’ve read as far as its opening pages. Is Cameron his disciple?

    Keith, I especially enjoyed reading your section on athiesm/agnosticism, most notably this sentence: “I am astonished at how arbitrary they are claiming theirs is the only position on earth which requires no proof.” Have you ever talked to or heard about an athiest who actually does offer evidence for a nonexistence of God without his argument being loaded with “well, it isn’t this or that”? If so, were they anything above dismissible arguments? That is, did they challenge you to engage in a worthwhile debate? I’m curious simply because I’ve been exposed not to athiests but to pseudo-athiests (i.e. agnostics in disguise) and unabashed agnostics whose ultimate argument is based on a disbelief in absolute truth. I find this interesting, because God is truth, the Creator of truth, and even Christ says, “I tell you the truth” before driving home an important point.
    Once, a friend did come to admitting that her issue with truth is, in fact, an issue with God being who He says He is.

    I have another question: do honest athiests truly exist? I cannot see myself convinced by a person claiming an absolute denial of Someone whose markings of His creation permeate all over and through, between nature, love, and that little God-shaped void in the hearts of unbelievers.
    Perhaps they find it more palletable to dismiss the gnawing reality of something deeper than what this kosmos has to offer, something that requires acknowledgement (180 degree perception change), submission, and reverence to another more superior than the self.

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