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DickChick
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Arguments for Christianity 2013-01-30 13:34:32 Reply

I opted to put this in its own thread because it's not really an "atheist vs. theist" topic.

I've noticed that at least where I live, "atheist vs. theist" debates are usually "Christian vs. atheist" debates. The problem with this is that the arguments used by the Christian side often fail to substantiate Christianity in any meaningful way. One may argue for the existence of a god, a higher being, or even a concept like absolute truth or morality, and say that it validates Christianity when in fact it only validates deism, theism, or perhaps even religion in general.

Christianity is a specific organized religion, so in order to support one has to at the very least take into account some of its mythology and unique beliefs. The closest I've heard to this is someone arguing that the bible is a historical document.

I'm not talking about whether or not Christian morals are beneficial to society. I'm asking simply, is it possible to prove or at least argue that the Christian religion is the closest to truth... or... you know what I mean.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-01-30 14:41:59 Reply

hi :) I am agnostic. I would have to say that it is not possible to prove christianity as being any more believable than any other religious practice. though I personally have had terrible nightmares and paranormal experiences throughout my entire life that keep me hanging by a thread when it comes to a little thought.


rules aren't what keep me in abidance.

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-01-30 16:39:59 Reply

At 1/30/13 01:34 PM, DickChick wrote: I opted to put this in its own thread because it's not really an "atheist vs. theist" topic.

I've noticed that at least where I live, "atheist vs. theist" debates are usually "Christian vs. atheist" debates.

That, I think, is because a large percentage of those who identify as theist also identify as Christian, so its only natural that the argument would take that form here in the US.

The problem with this is that the arguments used by the Christian side often fail to substantiate Christianity in any meaningful way. One may argue for the existence of a god, a higher being, or even a concept like absolute truth or morality, and say that it validates Christianity when in fact it only validates deism, theism, or perhaps even religion in general.

That's assuming those arguments validate theism at all. In my experience, theism is not something that can be empirically validated or rationally argued for. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that its not there. (Purple elephant fallacy).

Christianity is a specific organized religion, so in order to support one has to at the very least take into account some of its mythology and unique beliefs. The closest I've heard to this is someone arguing that the bible is a historical document.

The problem with that statement is that many of the Christian beliefs were only made popular through Christianity. Many of the Biblical stories involving Jesus were borrowed from other religions that no longer exist today (the virgin birth, turning water into wine, etc...).

I'm not talking about whether or not Christian morals are beneficial to society. I'm asking simply, is it possible to prove or at least argue that the Christian religion is the closest to truth... or... you know what I mean.

In order to argue that the Christian religion is or is closest to the truth, you would have to find some evidence for the Christian deistic structure that, in and of itself, compels people to believe in the veracity of what Christians are trying to tell us.

Cynical-Charlotte
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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-05 05:34:38 Reply

To be Christian, you must accept that a baby was born in a small town to a virgin girl who was a part of an obscure group of people. You must accept that the virgin's husband was in the direct bloodline of King David. You must accept that this child grew up and performed never-before-seen miracles including, but not limited to, walking on water and feeding thousands of people with a handful of bread and fish. You must accept that the Jewish officials carried out an entirely illegal and contested judiciary meeting, and also that the Roman government was interested enough in the dispute to transport the grown child back and forth between overseers.

You must accept that he was crucified by mob rule through Rome. You must accept that he died and was placed in a tomb owned by one of the Jewish officials who was a part of the illegal hearing. You must accept that he came back to life 3 days following death. You must accept that women were the first to see him after the resurrection in a male-centric culture and time period. You must accept that he visited various people via teleportation for 40 days following the resurrection. You must accept that he rose into the clouds and is currently in the alternate dimension of heaven.

On the other hand:

To dismiss Christianity, you must believe that all of the above is total fabrication. Thus, you must then believe that the authors knew they had written a completely unbelievable lie that jeopardized their lives. You must also believe that early followers knew they were dedicating themselves to a lie. Thus, you must believe that the authors and disciples risked their wealth, property, families, and lives to promoting a completely preposterous story which they knew was a lie (and also that they enthusiastically supported this gospel around the very people who could factually disprove their claims). Thus, you must believe that most of the apostles allowed themselves to go through excruciating hardships and be brutally killed for something they knew was a lie.

You must believe that Jesus was either lying or insane. For the former, you must believe that he intentionally accumulated no wealth, sought no political or social power, and spoke a severely unpopular message to the last group of people who would be willing to accept it - and that he was publicly ridiculed, tortured beyond belief, and killed without confessing to his lie (given multiple opportunities). For the latter, you must believe that he perfectly articulated his points, fully understood his themes, and was able to effectively communicate with and lead hundreds of groups of people for several years, yet was suffering from a mental illness that caused severe, constant delusions and hallucinations more intense than the ones a schizophrenic would experience in a psychotic episode (or that he was under a hallucinogenic drug non-stop for 30+ years).

It's your choice. I daresay both routes require faith.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-07 16:13:23 Reply

At 1/30/13 01:34 PM, DickChick wrote:

:I'm asking simply, is it possible to prove or at least argue that the Christian religion is the closest to truth... or... you know what I mean.

The simple answer to your question is no. I am a christian and i do not pretend to be able to prove, beyond all doubt, that my beliefs are truth (they're called beliefs for a reason). Yes, there are many historically proven facts, and yes, the bible is known to be an incredible book in terms of it's trajectory and there are many unusual things that tend to give it a great deal of credibility. But none of this proves that God exists. Then why, you might ask, do i believe that he does? Well the only thing i have going for me is my personal experience. The presence of my maker is something that i have experienced far too many times for me to dismiss.


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Korriken
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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-08 02:52:38 Reply

At 2/5/13 05:34 AM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: stuff

damn chief, I couldn't have put either way better myself.


I'm not crazy, everyone else is.

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 12:03:01 Reply

At 2/5/13 05:34 AM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: *Stuff*

On the other hand:

:*Stuff*

It's your choice. I daresay both routes require faith.

I'll respond to that simply. eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth. One of those two is impossible, the other is highly improbable. Simple enough, eh?

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 12:55:15 Reply

If I could prove that the Bible is true and that God exists, faith would no longer be a part of Christianity. Faith has a very important role in the Bible and in our (Christians') lives, so it's kind of a difficult situation when people ask for convincing proof.


It made more sense in my head.

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 17:26:03 Reply

At 2/5/13 05:34 AM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: To be Christian, you must accept...

Do this forum a favour, post in more religion threads. This is literally the first time I've seen someone post neutrally in a theological discussion.

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 17:28:38 Reply

At 2/5/13 05:34 AM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: It's your choice. I daresay both routes require faith.

Then you misunderstand the way burden of proof works. Dismissing Christian claims does not mean that one must claim the opposite, it's merely a refusal to accept those claims without sufficient evidence. Simply put, dismissing an unsupported claim only requires a lack of faith, not faith in an opposing claim.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 17:41:46 Reply

At 2/11/13 12:03 PM, TheColdflame wrote:
*Stuff*
I'll respond to that simply. eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth. One of those two is impossible, the other is highly improbable. Simple enough, eh?

I also agree with Sherlock Holmes. However, the first case is not scientifically (or logically) impossible under the assumption that God or any similar being created the universe and the laws within it. Because God is also not a falsifiable entity, there can neither be an impossibility nor an improbability. To claim the existence or nonexistence of a God capable of manipulating creation is a statement of faith due to lack of observable evidence conclusive of either - as frequently stated by atheists and theists alike.

The only way to deduce an impossibility is to discover a fallacy within claims of Scripture. This could be a hypothetical story about Jesus breaking a bone as a child, contextual falsehoods, or any other instance of contradiction. Because Christianity claims that the Bible is completely true, an observation that challenges any statement in it would render this invalid. However, only a scientific theory/hypothesis can be impossible, and only an observable occurrence can be improbable. Miracles are, by definition, outside of scientific study and can be neither. Christianity is a "faith". Since this type of faith has no philosophical antonym, any claim dismissing Christianity is also a "faith" (in this case standing by a personal reality that Jesus lacked any/all of the claims - which can not be proven or disproven). This is why arguments that do not admit to this are vain and instigate passionate, yet meaningless disputes.

Anyhow, it is improbable that Christianity was founded on a lie, and supporters of this must do so with faith in the unknown. I say this because the foundation of Christianity was a scientific occurrence. Therefore, we can compare the foundation and development of it with organizations that began in a similar way - cults. Usually, when cults are formed, the founders and early followers seek money, power, and control. These are common denominators among many recent groups such as the church of Scientology.

Humans lie by nature in pursuit of some sort of gain, whether emotional or physical. The early Christians sought neither and, in fact, the Bible asserts literally and in illustration that becoming a follower of Jesus actually dramatically increases your chances of emotional and physical suffering to 1/1. The disciples and apostles, in addition to Jesus, suffered severe torture and martyrdom. Not a single one renounced his faith which was allegedly built on a lie. This hardly even includes the early Christian church which was hunted down and slaughtered - this trend has continued throughout history without pause as predicted by Jesus himself.

I am actually more baffled by modern Judaism (not Messianic) than I am atheism which at least rejects Christianity entirely. The Jews were given countless prophecies which were fulfilled in the early Christian church. So, their faith seems to be fragmented rather than 100% for or against a fact of life. But atheism is still a stretch, in my opinion due to our observations of human nature and history lending Christian as a lie to be unbelievably improbable.

Personally, I find it easier to believe in Christian claims due to their reliability, origin, and logical flow. Plus the gospel of Jesus is good instruction for us to treat each other and ourselves with love whether or not God exists. But, forcing someone to believe in something this ludicrous would be cruel; hence why I would much rather present both sides of the argument as they truly are - naked of all the flowery psuedo-appologetics and senseless denial of scientific facts.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 18:43:36 Reply

This is more-so a bit of a rant about those Christians that are so ignorant saying they want to kill/burn atheists, yet that is breaking two of their precious morale codes or whatever.

1. Thou shalt be kind to thy neighbor" or however that is.
2. Treat those as how you wish to be threaten" You wouldn't want people saying they want you to die.
3. Killing and burning? Yeah, that isn't breaking any bible code or anything.

This isn't really related to your arguments at hand but it's a bit of a rant.

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 18:56:39 Reply

At 1/30/13 01:34 PM, DickChick wrote: I'm not talking about whether or not Christian morals are beneficial to society. I'm asking simply, is it possible to prove or at least argue that the Christian religion is the closest to truth... or... you know what I mean.

;;;;
As long as you don't investigate the early church.
As long as you don't look at other religions , particularly earlier religions .
As long as you are prepared to deny anything you find as being obviously made up & simply outrageous claims made by atheists & or others who have no christian faith .

THen perhaps you can/will be able to go through life with Christian religious doctrine as being 'close' tot he truth.

BUT if you go & take the time to look into it. You'll find the chrisitan religion is simply a bunch of earlier other religious symbolism & myths reworked to 'Christianity' .
Everything from the 'Son' of god, the virgin birth, the 3 traveling kings, christmas day aka Jesus birth & it goes, miracles by a prophet on & on & on.

Nothing new there folks, just a 2000 year old ( well 1700 actually) control system set up by Ancient Rome as a last gasp at controling the population !

AND the "Truth" got nothin' to do with it at all ! ! ! !
Sorry, please don't shoot the messenger.


Those who have only the religious opinions of others in their head & worship them. Have no room for their own thoughts & no room to contemplate anyone elses ideas either-More

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 19:06:18 Reply

At 2/11/13 05:41 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote:
Miracles are, by definition, outside of scientific study and can be neither.

Nothing is outside of scientific study just as nothing is outside the universe. Anything that is is inside the universe.
Religious people love to grab that free pass. "Oh, God is outside of science, so I don't have to think about it". No, sorry, nothing is outside of science.

The only reason a miracle would be outside of science is if it didn't affect anything, but that's not what Christians claim. They claim miracles affect the real world all the time!

Christianity is a "faith". Since this type of faith has no philosophical antonym, any claim dismissing Christianity is also a "faith"

No it's not, just the same as dismissing magic lemures and wizards isn't a "faith" just because I say wizards are immune to science. If I make a claim, it's false by default until I prove otherwise or offer convincing evidence that it's true.


Anyhow, it is improbable that Christianity was founded on a lie,

Why???

because the foundation of Christianity was a scientific occurrence.

What does that mean? That it happened?
Well I agree, it was founded!

in illustration that becoming a follower of Jesus actually dramatically increases your chances of emotional and physical suffering to 1/1.

No it doesn't since IT PROMISES ETERNAL BLISS AND PARADISE AFTER YOU DIE.
It's the GREEDIEST of all possible claims you can make. There is literally nothing more greedy that your cult could ever promise its followers.

Personally, I find it easier to believe in Christian claims due to their reliability, origin, and logical flow.

Well apparently you don't know much about the origins of Christianity. You should probably look it up. For starters, it was basically officiated hundreds of years after the supposed death of Jesus, a historical figure for whom no evidence exists. The bible was voted into existence by a committee. The "sacred texts" are nothing but a man-made selection of the most popular religious texts of the time.
The bible itself is a very poor religious book too, riddled with hundreds of contradictions and inconsistencies, because it's not meant to be a cohesive doctrine, it's just a collection of somewhat random texts by dozens of authors over centuries of time and from difference cultures.

By comparison, the Qur'an is much more airtight, consistent and logically sound. It has far less errors and contradictions.
And it's far less likely to be a lie since it was written by its actual prophet while he was alive, based on his visions, whereas Jesus never wrote down anything and what is written about him wasn't done by anyone contemporary to him. The earliest texts date from decades after his death.

Plus the gospel of Jesus is good instruction for us to treat each other and ourselves with love

Well there's bad things, like the parts where he says you should give away all your money and live for nothing but the religion and Jesus, because nothing else matters, not even your friends and family. Jesus doesn't tell people "plan for the future". Jesus tells people to just do nothing but worship him and God until they die.

If any country / group of people actually modeled their society on what Jesus taught, they would be extinct / conquered within a generation. "Turn the other cheek"?
Of course they never fucking did that. If they had, you wouldn't be a Christian today, all the Christians would have died out long ago because people would have figured out that they were a bunch of pussies who let you invade their country and steal all their shit.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 19:13:08 Reply

At 2/11/13 05:41 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: But atheism is still a stretch,

How can a rejection of a claim be a stretch?

in my opinion due to our observations of human nature and history lending Christian as a lie to be unbelievably improbable.

It's an established demonstrable fact that humans are capable of lying and/or being fooled into accepting falsehoods as truth, the existence of anything supernatural isn't. Based on that alone, regardless of how improbable you personally deem the former to be, it would still be a more logical conclusion than the latter given the current evidence available.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-11 23:16:14 Reply

Poxpower: The bulk of your post seemed to be the usual (but honest) critique of the Christian religion. While I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, I should not waste time supporting something which even you consider to be irrational and unbelievable. However, I will address the points you raise which seem to be rooted in misconceptions of my arguments - I will attempt to clarify myself and cite references where need be in the future (I won't waste either of our time by explaining every single one, simply the most important). But, I'd love if you would respond in a more paragraphical format rather than dissecting individual statements which were actually used as introductions to the bulk of my presentation. You occasionally managed to cut me off in the middle of a sentence, which would render a truthful and open reply illogical.

Thanks in advance, and have a good rest of the evening!

At 2/11/13 07:06 PM, poxpower wrote:
At 2/11/13 05:41 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: Miracles are, by definition, outside of scientific study and can be neither.
Nothing is outside of scientific study just as nothing is outside the universe.

You are attempting to redefine a term here. A (biblical) miracle would be a supernatural occurrence - therefore, something beyond nature or an impossibility. It cannot be observed or tested through the scientific method which is used to study nature. Keep in mind that the word "miracle" within Christian context is a direct intervention of God in the physical universe. But, I do realize the confusion of it with synonymous words such as "phenomena" and "rarity". I apologize for the misunderstanding.

If I make a claim, it's false by default until I prove otherwise or offer convincing evidence that it's true.

This is not a matter of "proving" nor of presenting evidence. In fact, I thought I was quite clear when I stated that Christianity and its claims cannot be proven (faith). However, if I were to ask if you believed in a God, you would say "No." This is because you have seen no evidence in favor of a God; subsequently, you must believe that there is no God. There either is or is not - and you, personally, find it very easy to say there is not - thus, you operate on the faith that God does not exist due to lack of evidence.

in illustration that becoming a follower of Jesus actually dramatically increases your chances of emotional and physical suffering to 1/1.
No it doesn't

1) 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2) John 15:18 - "If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you."
3) Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
4) Psalms 119:86 - "All your commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help you me."
5) 1 Thessalonians 3:4 For truly, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and you know.

Despite the reward of eternal life (which, unique to Christianity, is absent of marriage or sex), the intense hardships suffered for being a follower is made abundantly clear and is to be expected. I am not aware of many cults/religions that would use this in order to attract as many members as possible.

Well there's bad things, like the parts where he says you should give away all your money and live for nothing but the religion and Jesus, because nothing else matters, not even your friends and family.

Luke 14 is often misinterpreted in just this way. Jesus is not saying here that you should give up your possessions and family - simply that you must be willing to do so to seek the good of all people through following Christ. In other words, this devotion must be on the top of your priorities even above your own life.

Christianity is a commitment to serve others at the expense of yourself, as demonstrated by the apostles and Jesus.

At 2/11/13 07:13 PM, chiefindomer wrote: It's an established demonstrable fact that humans are capable of lying and/or being fooled into accepting falsehoods as truth.

Yes. But you have not adequately responded to my point. What I am saying is that cultic/religious founders rarely, if ever, seek no political/social power or wealth. To do so would be contradictory to human nature - especially when at the cost of any or all of these including one's life.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 00:16:41 Reply

At 2/11/13 11:16 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote:
You are attempting to redefine a term here. A (biblical) miracle would be a supernatural occurrence - therefore, something beyond nature or an impossibility. It cannot be observed or tested through the scientific method which is used to study nature.

How can an impossibility be possible?
Lol.
You're the one not understanding the correct usage of words. IMPOSSIBLE means that IT CANNOT HAPPEN, EVER. It doesn't mean "improbable". It doesn't mean "unique" or "unlikely". It means that it cannot, by definition, occur.

Similarly, nothing is beyond nature. You can never define a thing that is outside nature as nature is everything. By definition, once you come up with a thing, it becomes part of nature.

Similarly, everything that can be detected is within the realm of science. As soon as something has an effect on the universe it becomes part of what can be observed by science.


There either is or is not - and you, personally, find it very easy to say there is not - thus, you operate on the faith that God does not exist due to lack of evidence.

That's not how it works. It's not black and white.
For instance, if I buy a lottery ticket, I cannot say for certain I will lose, but I know my chances. Even if you don't know the exact chances of an event ( for instance, being struck by lightning ) you can tell in what kind of ballpark it is as far as likelihood.

The immense majority of evidence concerning the history and claims of the christian religion point to the conclusion that your God is INSANELY unlikely to exist. In fact, it's pretty much one of the unlikeliest things you can imagine.

And if you were a biblical literalist, then you would know he cannot exist since he has attributes that directly contradict each other, most famously his ability to know everything that will happen because he made it this way combined with his supposed gift of free will.

By definition, these two things cannot be true. It's logically impossible given the very definition of the terms. If you posited that God has both, we'd know instantly he doesn't exist since it's impossible by definition.

Despite the reward of eternal life (which, unique to Christianity, is absent of marriage or sex), the intense hardships suffered for being a follower is made abundantly clear and is to be expected. I am not aware of many cults/religions that would use this in order to attract as many members as possible.

Again you ignore the fact that eternal paradise is infinitely compensating for whatever amount of persecution you'd endure as a christian, even in the worst times of history.

Anyone would take that deal.

Plus, it's a complete and total non sequitur to say that because your beliefs promise nothing but suffering then it makes them correct. Those two concepts are entirely and completely unrelated.

It's like saying that if I wear red pants, I am always correct about snake venom cures. Doesn't make any sense.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 04:44:40 Reply

At 2/11/13 11:16 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: Yes. But you have not adequately responded to my point. What I am saying is that cultic/religious founders rarely, if ever, seek no political/social power or wealth. To do so would be contradictory to human nature - especially when at the cost of any or all of these including one's life.

So your point is that if the founders of a religion don't seek power or wealth then the supernatural claims of said religion are true? Now that would be one hell of a stretch.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 09:52:04 Reply

At 2/11/13 11:16 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: This is not a matter of "proving" nor of presenting evidence. In fact, I thought I was quite clear when I stated that Christianity and its claims cannot be proven (faith). However, if I were to ask if you believed in a God, you would say "No." This is because you have seen no evidence in favor of a God; subsequently, you must believe that there is no God. There either is or is not - and you, personally, find it very easy to say there is not - thus, you operate on the faith that God does not exist due to lack of evidence.

You are jumping to several conclusions about Pox's beliefs that are unfounded, and with all due respect to Pox in his response to you, I do not find his argument on probabilities entirely compelling or comprehensive as a response.

You say that:

if I were to ask if you believed in a God, you would say "No." This is because you have seen no evidence in favor of a God.

So far, everything is fine. This is the basic essence of the atheistic position: a lack of belief in a god or gods based on the lack of evidence in favor of their existence.

You then go off the rails by concluding that:

subsequently, you must believe that there is no God. There either is or is not - and you, personally, find it very easy to say there is not - thus, you operate on the faith that God does not exist due to lack of evidence.

This is an illogical leap to a conclusion, and it is NOT the atheistic position. To say that there is no god or gods (what some might refer to as the "anti-theist", or sometimes incorrectly as the "hard-atheist" position) is an affirmative claim, in other words, one that requires evidence before it can be accepted as valid. Seeing as there is no way to provide conclusive affirmative evidence for a negative proposition (i.e. X does NOT exist), it is an irrational position to hold.

The first part of your reasoning can be summed up with the question "do you believe in a god/gods?" to which the atheist would respond "no, there is no convincing evidence for me to base such a belief on". The second part can be summarized with the question "is there a god/gods?", and this is an entirely different question. The only answer an intellectually honest person concerned with evidence can give to that second question is that "although there is no convincing evidence to support the existence of a god/gods, the possibility of such evidence becoming available in the future cannot be definitively excluded; therefore, I cannot say with certainty whether there is or is not a god/gods". In short, "I don't know".

At the risk of doing damage to the views of Pox on this second question, I hope that I am safe in assuming that he agrees with my wording of the answer.

Now, completely separate to the above questions are two other questions that are more closely related to the topic of this discussion: (1) do you believe that the Christian religion is true, and (2) is the Christian religion true? On these, I wouldn't hesitate to say that (1) no, I know of no evidence on which to support a belief in the Christian religion as true, and (2) not only is there no evidence to support the Christian religion as true, there is in fact a large body of evidence that would suggest that large parts of the Christian religion is FALSE. You are obfuscating the issue of whether Christianity is true or false by veering away from these two questions into a discussion on the existence of god, which is a wholly separate issue.

As I like to say, I don't believe in God, but I believe in religion even less.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 15:23:52 Reply

At 2/12/13 04:44 AM, chiefindomer wrote:
At 2/11/13 11:16 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: Yes. But you have not adequately responded to my point. What I am saying is that cultic/religious founders rarely, if ever, seek no political/social power or wealth. To do so would be contradictory to human nature - especially when at the cost of any or all of these including one's life.
So your point is that if the founders of a religion don't seek power or wealth then the supernatural claims of said religion are true? Now that would be one hell of a stretch.

Absolutely not. It simply decreases the probability that it is a lie. It would be, as you say, a stretch to then say it is true because there is still a mathematical chance of it being false. I am speaking strictly in a scientific-numerical sense. If we agree that the majority of cult-like entities begin primarily in pursuit of power (similar to racial supremacists, rebels, extremists, and the mafia) and/or commercial gain (similar to scientologists, apocalypse groups, and secret membership scammers), and also that Christianity began as a cult-like entity (it proclaimed a philosophy beyond a moral behavior), then the fact that the Christian roots sought neither social power nor wealth but rather risked both including their lives places them in the minority for deceptive groups.

Again, this is not proof of truth or falsehood. It is simply mathematical - not induced - probability.

At 2/12/13 09:52 AM, Angry-Hatter wrote:
At 2/11/13 11:16 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote:
This is an illogical leap to a conclusion, and it is NOT the atheistic position. To say that there is no god or gods (what some might refer to as the "anti-theist", or sometimes incorrectly as the "hard-atheist" position) is an affirmative claim, in other words, one that requires evidence before it can be accepted as valid. Seeing as there is no way to provide conclusive affirmative evidence for a negative proposition (i.e. X does NOT exist), it is an irrational position to hold.

An atheist, by definition, is a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. It is not a middle-ground, "passive" position under its dictionary term. Despite this, when I refer to atheism, I am still also including "agnosticism" because it is actually identical to atheism in a purely scientific sense. Let me explain.

Scientifically, it is impossible to prove the nonexistence of anything (outside of mathematical probabilities in observable environments - I will go into this shortly). Therefore, an affirmation on the nonexistence of something would logically be the same as "having no position". Although your conclusion that an indifferent position is valid, it only applies to scientific theories which can be accepted as true through observation and testing exclusively - neither of which can be done on a non-existence, which would otherwise be outside of the observable universe. This is why multiverse "theory" is so controversial.

In other words, refusing to choose a side when only one can be affirmed through observation is synonymous with claiming the other. You are simply more willing, in this scenario, to accept evidence in support of existence. Here's a logic/probability example:

Instance A

1) I begin with an empty glass jar, and a large bag of marbles of various colors.
2) I fill the glass jar with 100 red marbles.
3) I take 1 marble from the jar.

What color is the marble? I will assume you answer "red". This is because there is a specific environment which can be observed, and this environment holds contents which can be tested. Thus, we deduce the existence of 99 red marbles in the jar, and 1 in my hand.

Instance B

1) I begin with a glass jar filled with 100 red marbles.
2) I spill all of the marbles from the glass jar onto the floor.
3) I take 1 marble from the floor.

What color is the marble? There is no logical answer, because the probability has been voided by an environment which was not observed in the instance. Although your position must assume the marble is red because it was the only color type you have been presented, even the retrieval of all 100 red marbles does not disprove the existence of blue marbles on the floor. Atheism and agnosticism reflexively assume that I take a red marble from the floor given no other alternative; by doing so, they reject the infinite probability that I take a blue marble from the floor. (Refusing to develop a hypothesis of any sort would not be scientific.) The affirmation that 0 blue marbles exist is mathematically no different from assuming that I have taken a red marble from the floor - which would be the required, default agnostic position due to the fact that no further information has been presented in favor of blue marbles save for speculation.

Thus, atheism/agnosticism is a faith argumentatively contrary to theism which claims that blue marbles are on the floor and also opposed to Christianity, which claims that someone else has told you that blue marbles are on the floor.

As I like to say, I don't believe in God, but I believe in religion even less.

Also responding to your division of this topics positions, the existence of God is the foundation of Christianity. How could one profess to support a religion without first explaining why the key factor in it is entirely based on faith (thus, the opposition of its foundation also a faith)? I am more than happy to engage in more thorough, elaborate apologetics of the Christian faith itself; but, it would be a futile effort if the first step to understanding why followers of it are so adamant is rejected and/or misunderstood.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 16:43:48 Reply

At 2/12/13 03:23 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: Absolutely not. It simply decreases the probability that it is a lie. It would be, as you say, a stretch to then say it is true because there is still a mathematical chance of it being false.
Again, this is not proof of truth or falsehood. It is simply mathematical - not induced - probability.

Ok so I'm not sure exactly what you are getting at with this. I responded to you saying that atheism is a stretch and you had also said you find it easier to believe Christian claims in the same post. Are you saying that supernatural Christian claims are more probable to be true rather than the result of lies and/or people being fooled into believing falsehoods? I'm just wondering how you justify the position of believing supernatural Christian claims rather than rejecting them.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 20:54:27 Reply

At 2/12/13 04:43 PM, chiefindomer wrote:
At 2/12/13 03:23 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: Absolutely not. It simply decreases the probability that it is a lie. It would be, as you say, a stretch to then say it is true because there is still a mathematical chance of it being false.
Again, this is not proof of truth or falsehood. It is simply mathematical - not induced - probability.
Ok so I'm not sure exactly what you are getting at with this. I responded to you saying that atheism is a stretch and you had also said you find it easier to believe Christian claims in the same post. Are you saying that supernatural Christian claims are more probable to be true rather than the result of lies and/or people being fooled into believing falsehoods? I'm just wondering how you justify the position of believing supernatural Christian claims rather than rejecting them.

Okay I see how that can be confusing.

Basically, I acknowledge the mathematical probability in favor of, at bare minimum, the Christian founders wholeheartedly believing in their message. If they knew they had created a lie (in other words, not delusional), then there is a severely difficult case to be had in comparison to other cults/organizations that began similarly. This case is best described in the lower half of my initial post. They sought only the betterment of others at the expensive of themselves - and this philosophy, while in part promoted by other religions, is hardly ever carried out by such intensity and by such a large group of original followers. (By original, I mean those who must have "come up" with the idea).

However, I also acknowledge the mathematical probability that Christianity is founded on a lie. What I said above is not confirmation of truth, rather, it reinforces my personal affirmation in what I see as truth. I personally choose to accept Christian claims by faith; but, I refuse to ask this of others as many of the claims are so outlandish and strange. The primary job of a Biblical follower is to inform others of truth - not shove things down people's throats and expecting them to believe it.

I am simply attempting to illustrate feasibility, as this topic demands an argument that favors Christianity.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 21:38:50 Reply

At 2/12/13 08:54 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote:
They sought only the betterment of others at the expensive of themselves

Again, a point which you totally refuse to address: This is 100% false.
The Christian religion promises eternal paradise to whoever follows it. No matter how much you give up to be a Christian in this life, you are infinitely compensated for later on.

I personally choose to accept Christian claims by faith

Then why do you say you want to "spread the truth" of Christianity? You've already admitted it's not truth at all and you just believe it because you want to, despite logic / reality.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 21:43:29 Reply

At 2/12/13 08:54 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: Okay I see how that can be confusing.

The primary job of a Biblical follower is to inform others of truth - not shove things down people's throats and expecting them to believe it.

;;;;;
Informing others of the truth ...a truth you may believe, but which is actually a lie. Makes it impossible to bring the truth to others.

Just because you or I or anyone believes somethingis true , doesn't make that so.

Let us look at a couple of actual truths, about religion, & i'm not just attempting to pick on Christianity, but it fits as well. This is especially true concerning when althese monotheistic religions were new & evolving.

Governing the masses at that time was often done by 'divine rulers' Pharo's Kings etc often depicted themselves to the people as being god's or god chosen.

The government /religions of the day were the rulers of the people.

Religion was politicized for the purpose of controling the population.

Using "god" & you the leader(s) direct connection to god allows you some really powerful fear element to the great unwashed/uneducated masses, to use the myth to control society as a whole

Fear of God - supports blind submission to the authority who represent this awesome power.
reduces human responsibility to the effect that god controls everything, so bad things are the will of god, your place as a serf for example is the will of god !

And most importantly it empowers those who know the truth to manipulate the myth(s) as they see fit .

As I've previously mentioned , you dig deep enough , you'll find that the Jesus myth & Christianity is simply a reworked religion based on earlier diety, a direct desendant of Horus from Eygpt & who in of himself , his myths can be traced back further as well to a solar diety & the signs of the zodiac . And not just these couple of religions but many of them !


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 22:55:07 Reply

At 2/12/13 08:54 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: I personally choose to accept Christian claims by faith; but, I refuse to ask this of others as many of the claims are so outlandish and strange. The primary job of a Biblical follower is to inform others of truth

Do you think faith is a good way to determine fact from fiction though? I mean, I see faith as acceptance of a claim despite a lack of evidence or evidence to the contrary. When you add the fact that said claims are, as you put it, "outlandish and strange", I don't see how one such as yourself can feel justified in seeing those unsupported claims as truth to begin with. I also just don't think the probability that a claimant is being honest is a good argument to support the claim. That's just judging the validity of a claim based on the claimants character or nature rather than the contents of the claim itself and the evidence to support it, which really just brings it back to merely having faith again, faith in the claimants words.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 23:03:02 Reply

At 2/12/13 03:23 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote:
At 2/12/13 09:52 AM, Angry-Hatter wrote:
At 2/11/13 11:16 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote:
This is an illogical leap to a conclusion, and it is NOT the atheistic position. To say that there is no god or gods (what some might refer to as the "anti-theist", or sometimes incorrectly as the "hard-atheist" position) is an affirmative claim, in other words, one that requires evidence before it can be accepted as valid. Seeing as there is no way to provide conclusive affirmative evidence for a negative proposition (i.e. X does NOT exist), it is an irrational position to hold.
An atheist, by definition, is a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. It is not a middle-ground, "passive" position under its dictionary term.

Depends on whose dictionary you're consulting. After all, there is implicit atheism in the cases where someone has never been introduced to the concept of god or gods. If you're not aware of a particular claim, then you lack a belief in it by default. In order to believe a claim for which there is no evidence (particularly something so specific as a resurrected sun-deity from the Middle-East) you must first be introduced to the concept, and then you have to actively suspend your disbelief in order to accept the claim. To take the position of disbelieving the claim doesn't require nearly as big of an effort.

Despite this, when I refer to atheism, I am still also including "agnosticism" because it is actually identical to atheism in a purely scientific sense.

That's interesting, because neither of those terms are scientific terms. They are terms describing the answer to two specific theological questions (see previous post). A more relevant term might be scientific skepticism.

Let me explain.

Scientifically, it is impossible to prove the nonexistence of anything (outside of mathematical probabilities in observable environments - I will go into this shortly). Therefore, an affirmation on the nonexistence of something would logically be the same as "having no position".

No, it's not. If I make a claim, for example, "there are no blue unicorns", then I have to meet the burden of proof in order for my claim to be accepted as valid. It's like any other claim, and it's definitely not the same as saying "I make no claim as to the existence or nonexistence of blue unicorns".

Although your conclusion that an indifferent position is valid, it only applies to scientific theories which can be accepted as true through observation and testing exclusively

AKA, every scientific theory ever. Also, it's not "indifference", it is a humble aknowledgement that we do not have the necessary evidence to support a definitive conclusion.

In other words, refusing to choose a side when only one can be affirmed through observation is synonymous with claiming the other. You are simply more willing, in this scenario, to accept evidence in support of existence.

It is not synonymous. It's also not an either or proposition. There's always room for new evidence to support the existence of something previously unsupported. Simply because it is next to impossible to conclusively prove that something doesn't exist doesn't change the reality of whether or not it ACTUALLY exists. Likewise, saying that you do not know whether or not something exists when there is no evidence either way is not "refusing to choose a side", it's just being intellectually honest.

Instance B

1) I begin with a glass jar filled with 100 red marbles.
2) I spill all of the marbles from the glass jar onto the floor.
3) I take 1 marble from the floor.

What color is the marble? There is no logical answer, because the probability has been voided by an environment which was not observed in the instance. Although your position must assume the marble is red because it was the only color type you have been presented, even the retrieval of all 100 red marbles does not disprove the existence of blue marbles on the floor. Atheism and agnosticism reflexively assume that I take a red marble from the floor given no other alternative; by doing so, they reject the infinite probability that I take a blue marble from the floor. (Refusing to develop a hypothesis of any sort would not be scientific.) The affirmation that 0 blue marbles exist is mathematically no different from assuming that I have taken a red marble from the floor - which would be the required, default agnostic position due to the fact that no further information has been presented in favor of blue marbles save for speculation.

There are several things about this example that doesn't make any sense. For instance, why can't we observe and examine the room we're in and determine whether there are any blue marbles around? Also, for this example to be applicable, we have to accept the scenario that the existence of blue marbles had never been reliably recorded throughout human history before this experiment. So, if we could scour the room and make absolutely sure of its contents, and armed with the knowledge that blue marbles have never been shown to exist, then it would be tantamount to accepting miracles to claim that there is even the remotest possibility of picking up a blue marble after tossing 100 red ones on the floor.

Of course, the principled agnostic would concede that there is no way of knowing with absolute certainty that a blue marble will or won't magically appear, whereas that atheist (or abluemarbleist, as it were) will assert that there is no reason whatsoever to believe that a blue marble will appear and that it's a waste of time and money spending a large part of your life buying expensive blue clothes, furniture, and curtains to match with the blue marble when it finally appears.

Thus, atheism/agnosticism is a faith argumentatively contrary to theism which claims that blue marbles are on the floor and also opposed to Christianity, which claims that someone else has told you that blue marbles are on the floor.

No it's not. Your conclusion is without merit.

You make a number of logical fallacies here. For instance, why can't we observe and examine the room we're in?

Also responding to your division of this topics positions, the existence of God is the foundation of Christianity. How could one profess to support a religion without first explaining why the key factor in it is entirely based on faith (thus, the opposition of its foundation also a faith)? I am more than happy to engage in more thorough, elaborate apologetics of the Christian faith itself; but, it would be a futile effort if the first step to understanding why followers of it are so adamant is rejected and/or misunderstood.

Then you better switch gears, because the title of this thread is "Arguments for Christianity". It's true that the existance of god is a precondition for Christianity being true, but that just leaves you an extra hurdle. As mentioned, there is actual evidence that one can point to that suggests that Christianity is in fact false, a step down from arguments for the existance of god (which is unfalsifiable). You've got your work cut out for you.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 23:18:12 Reply

Obviously no one can argue in defense of the superstitious stuff. Jesus was a swell guy though, at a time when 95% of the population were peasants and slaves with the aristocrats pretty much saying "they won't resist so they deserve it", he seemed to be the only one saying things like "the meek will inherit the earth", "to be perfect give all your money to the poor" and saving prostitutes from being stoned to death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

The bible is like the tomb paintings of the pharoahs, the pharoahs were not 50 feet tall and did not converse with animal headed gods, however we can infer that they were powerful religious and political figureheads. Jesus may not have had magical powers, the Dawkinite atheists tell us they are absolutely sure he didn't exist, whatever happened it did spread some interesting ideas that had an enormous impact on society.

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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-12 23:33:25 Reply

At 2/12/13 11:18 PM, science-is-fun wrote: Obviously no one can argue in defense of the superstitious stuff. Jesus was a swell guy though, at a time when 95% of the population were peasants and slaves with the aristocrats pretty much saying "they won't resist so they deserve it", he seemed to be the only one saying things like "the meek will inherit the earth", "to be perfect give all your money to the poor" and saving prostitutes from being stoned to death.

Why would you think that?
Jesus wasn't unique in his philosophies. He didn't say anything groundbreaking or original. Every culture had figured out the same shit he did.

Jesus didn't say actually progressive modern things that were out of the context of his time. He wasn't for the equality of men and women, wasn't for abolishing slavery and supported the old testament, which is full of racism and tribalism.

Tons of philosophers before him had figured out things like "be nice" and "give to charity". Read Confucius of some greek philosophers and you will know this. Furthermore, simple evolutionary psychology and tests on animals show us that Jesus's morals have been figured out by things like bees, ants, monkeys etc.

The only reason people think he was such a great guy is because the bible WAS WRITTEN THAT WAY. It's like people forget it's fiction when it comes to the moral parts. They think he's awesome when he stands up to the "bad people" of his time. Well NO SHIT, those people are written that way. They're supposed to be assholes.

It's like watching Gladiator or Braveheart and thinking the main characters are awesome because they were up against such dickholes.

If you want a religion that actually upheld values of peace and tolerance, go look at Jainism. Christianity was never anything but another among a vast plethora of religions of the time used to control morons by making promises about the afterlife and by letting them get out of existing religious duties.

That works really well. For instance, the Mormons had polygamy at first. That convinced a bunch of people to go into it because they figured it's like Christianity but with tons more sex. WOO! Similarly, Christianity was more lax than existing religions, without so much tithes, offerings, sacrifices and ceremonies.
Sadly that eventually ended as the centuries went by and the church officials gained political power.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-13 01:07:25 Reply

At 2/5/13 05:34 AM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: To be Christian, you must accept...

Very intelligent post, however I feel like you've either missed, omitted, or are unaware of.

Specifically in your "for Christianity" section you seem to be asserting that the Gospels are written by the original apostles themselves. This is NOT the case, no Gospel in fact definitively traces to Jesus's life time (the closest I believe is John, which some place as only 70 years after Jesus's death). You've also ignored where Christianity is clearly borrowing from other traditions in it's story. You've also ignored important events that change the nature of the religion, such as the conversion of Paul which resulted in major changes in Christian thought, and pushed more of the divine onto the character of Jesus.

Also I think you've created something of a false dilemma, or false representation of what it takes to be a Christian, or to have been an early Christian since you seem to be asserting that no reasonable person would possibly go ahead and suffer everything early Christians suffered unless they were eyewitnesses to the events depicted in the New Testament, this ignores other factors for belief at the time that may still be present in belief today (lack of education to other explanations, indoctrination, a desire to believe in something bigger then one's self, a desire to rebel against the status qou).

Otherwise it was one of the better thought out posts towards trying to present a debatable and credible explanation or defense of the Christian faith. But as with any other I've seen on this board, there's still clearly some problems present with the thesis.


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Response to Arguments for Christianity 2013-02-13 01:22:28 Reply

I wish I had the perseverance to respond to every point brought up by all of you! Unfortunately, seeing as this is essentially four against one, I must limit replies to opposing arguments and confusion about my own argument. If you believe that any Christian claim is untrue, please reference me to the books/verses in question and I will do my best to address them accordingly.

Also, in order for my responses to have more clarity, objectivity, and relevance, I would also suggest avoiding any sort of demand for me to explain my personal beliefs. Such discussion would be more apt in a private chat rather than this thread. Who am I, anyway? But, if you are curious, I will be more than happy to express my views with you!

Thanks!

At 2/12/13 10:55 PM, chiefindomer wrote: I also just don't think the probability that a claimant is being honest is a good argument to support the claim.

Okay, no problem. I was actually intending to say much more, but I see that this is simply a difference of opinion. You seem to have tried to understand at least most of my side of the argument - which I appreciate! We will have to agree to disagree on the interpretation of probability in human behavior.

At 2/12/13 11:03 PM, Angry-Hatter wrote:
At 2/12/13 03:23 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: Although your conclusion that an indifferent position is valid, it only applies to scientific theories which can be accepted as true through observation and testing exclusively
AKA, every scientific theory ever.

I'm not understanding what this redundancy was intended to accomplish. What I said was that your conclusion only applies to scientific theories - not an unfalsifiable idea (the object of discussion).

PS: I omitted a very large portion of your post prior to this simply because in order to respond to it, I would simply be repackaging the argument I have already presented. Moreover, the bulk of your confusion lies within my logic scenario and focusing on this may actually produce a more sufficient answer to what you have stated. If not, we will have to agree to disagree on what makes an atheist.

Instance B
1) I begin with a glass jar filled with 100 red marbles.
2) I spill all of the marbles from the glass jar onto the floor.
3) I take 1 marble from the floor.
What color is the marble? There is no logical answer, because the probability has been voided by an environment which was not observed in the instance.
There are several things about this example that doesn't make any sense. For instance, why can't we observe and examine the room we're in and determine whether there are any blue marbles around?

Because the instance does not logically allow you to do so - an unwritten law of premises. If you could examine the room, I would have simply said "I take the glass jar out of the room and spill the contents outside." If you are unwilling to abide by the logical boundaries in order to understand the use of the metaphor, then you might as well "Go to the store and buy a blue marble." The purpose of Instance A and B is to illustrate the difference between an observable environment and an infinite one.

Perhaps you have not taken a statistics or chemistry course? If not, I apologize for assuming you understood this basic principle for a sample.

(Retorting your following paragraphs on this would be redundant.)

Also responding to your division of this topics positions, the existence of God is the foundation of Christianity.
Then you better switch gears, because the title of this thread is "Arguments for Christianity". It's true that the existance of god is a precondition for Christianity being true, but that just leaves you an extra hurdle. As mentioned, there is actual evidence that one can point to that suggests that Christianity is in fact false, a step down from arguments for the existance of god (which is unfalsifiable). You've got your work cut out for you.

I am confused here. Are you agreeing with me that I must first tackle the theism part of Christianity before the religion itself? If not, what "gears" should I be switching to? I would also like to point out that my initial post was in direct response to the thread's question. The debate has dissolved into "atheism vs theism" simply because it is square one. I have not attempted to prove the existence of God. Personally, I find it tremendously easier to defend verifiable Christian claims rather than faith-based ones (obviously?).


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