Astonishingly my blog about Atheism, religion and sometimes science seems to have attracted some Christian readers. Those who follow my blog of course know that I am an Atheist. Yesterday I got 3 comments to which I want to reply in this post. I do wanna say first, that I am not going to have a blog vs comment discussion here. I’m a content Creator and I see it as my duty to keep it interesting for my readers. I have to move on to other topics.
The first comment is from Kaylin under my post The Justification of skepticism :
“The thing is, though, we do have sufficient evidence to believe one way or another, so your argument doesn’t apply.”
Me: In my article I proposed a thought experiment. I’m more than aware, that we have enough data to conclude that the population of the Earth is 7.5 billion people. I showed on this example how we should go about the situation if we had no data whatsoever. In that hypothetical event I showed that skepticism is the route to take.
Your second comment was from What would convince me and you said the following:
Me: If you don’t mind I respond to prayer first. I do concede the article as a whole. Yes praying has a positive health effect for you. It wasn’t my contention that the practice of prayer doesn’t have benefits. That can be attributed to things like the Placebo effect. Prayer also keeps you calm and relaxes you, just like meditation or Yoga does. What I am contesting is the idea that others praying for you, shows positive health effects. Of course knowing yourself, that 1000s pray for you could again be the Placebo effect. If you can show me an unambigious study under controlled conditions, where people pray for a person without that person’s knowledge (again possible Placebo) and we could verify positive results repeatedly now then we’d truly have something worth investigating.
Before you accuse me of goalpost shifting, notice that I explicitly mentioned “Psychological effects” and that we could show that ” not merely the practice itself is useful”.
to your second contention:
You did provide me with another source concerning the Exodus. My reply it simply: not good enough for me as a skeptic. I can understand, why you find it convincing, since you have an a priori commitment to your faith, that the Bible is the inerrant word of God (maybe even the literal word of God). I have no such commitment.
I do wanna go a different route here. I have no illusions, that I won’t convince you, that the Bible is wrong. I want show you, why I as a skeptic don’t accept that your evidence is sufficient.
There are 2 examples of religious claims we both agree are bogus.
The first example is Mor(m)onism. We have a wealth of eyewitness testimony, for the golden tablets of Joseph Smith. These include for example, Oliver Crowdery, Martin Harris and David Whitmer among others. While all eyewtinesses were close to Smith they all kept their testimony intact even after leaving the church. Here’s a great video where it compares the golden tablets to the resurrection
the second example is Satya Sai Baba, I often use this meme in debates on Twitter:
Don’t take my word for it though. A quick Google search will reveal my point.
From a logical perspective, if you accept the claims of the Bible, with so little evidence, then you should also accept my 2 examples. Of course I know why you won’t do that, since you have faith, that the Bible is God’s word. But that’s you, not me. From my perspective I reject all those claims, including yours, because the evidence establishing them is insufficient.
One outside source, decades later is not sufficient evidence for the plagues for anybody, who isn’t already a believer.
the third comment is my favorite one because strangely I agree with most of what he says:
the commenter writes:
“You do have valid points. You are right about faith, without faith in Christ, we can not know him and we don’t belong to him. Which means we can’t hear his voice when he speaks. One can go to great efforts trying to disprove God but it doesn’t make his existence less true. No believer can bring that reality to you, it is something you need to find for yourself. I can tell you about divine intervention in my life and the moments I commune with God and how he touches me so but most atheist aren’t concerned by another’s experiences and if they say they are, it is only so they can turn and attack you. This is why I take this subject of speaking with atheist lightly. I don’t have to “prove” Christ to anyone. It’s up to the individual to come to the knowledge of the Christian God through the help of Christ alone., besides I respect your choice.”
Of course I don’t agree, that God exists. I’m an Atheist… duh. It is true that arguments (Kalam etc.) probably won’t convince me. What would convince me is some sort of revelation etc. ultimately all I can do is go my way and I’m open to the possibility to change my mind and if God/exists he knows best what will be sufficient.
Thanks to you both for your comments and I hope you and other readers can understand my perspective better now.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation