Friday, August 27, 2010

Ridicule is not an argument: responding to Loftus

May I simply note the complete absence of argument in your response. Yes, God could have eliminated the pretext that was used to justify religious war by Christians. And what other massacres might have happened in a world where those pretexts were missing? I don't know, and neither do you. This is one side of the argument from evil.

Christians who have had the power to use force to promote their doctrines have done so, with bad consequences. Christians, however, are the ones who eventually learned their lesson and separated church and state. If atheists become sufficiently powerful politically to force their nonbelief on others, will they do so? The only examples we have of governments where atheists had sufficient power to impose atheism do not give us much cause for optimism. Oh, maybe there won't be burnings at the stake. Maybe just insane asylums for the incurably religious. After all, they were brainwashed to begin with, so what could possibly be wrong with brainwashing them into being right-thinking folks? I don't think atheists have cause for self-righteousness about such things. It is human nature that leads us to kill one another, and we will use anything we care deeply about as a pretext. Including atheism.

Your arguments raise serious questions for Christians. But the rhetorical noise level in what you write doesn't help us discuss those questions.

I mean, I do not have a specific answer for why God didn't make certain issues that became points of contention in the wars of religion clearer. And for that I am to abandon my beliefs and accept what? A world where the very pains that form the basis for the problem of evil are difficult to explain? A world where there are no objective moral values, and therefore the value of tolerating people you think caught in a delusion is also not objective? A world which is at its core irrational, but produced rational beings smart enough to do the math and science necessary to put a man on the moon? A world where a great religion grows which, all told, does more good than any other movement in the history of mankind, (and I do believe this, in spite of all the problems), but which is based, in the last analysis, on hallucination and legendary distortion? A world where those who inflict unjust suffering get the same fate as those who suffer it? A world where getting all of this right just puts you in the same kind of grave as those who fell into the great Christian delusion? A world that is, in the last analysis, completely without hope?

I alluded to the complete lack of argument in your response. As passionate as you are about your unbelief, your noisy rhetoric will increasingly play only in the echo chamber of convinced atheists, the mutual admiration society you call Debunking Christianity. The questions you ask are good ones, but you don't support your work by fostering real dialogue, the kind of dialogue that goes on every day at Dangerous Idea.  People on the other side who try to post and generate real discussion on your site are ridiculed and shouted down. Even atheists who question the way you go about defending your views are banned. Your constant self-promotion is tiresome, as is your incessant repetition of The Emperor's New Clothes. (I'm partial to Danny Kaye's version, myself). You tell people they are ignorant if they haven't read this or that book of yours, when your ideas are all out there for everyone to see on your website.

You think you understand Christians perfectly because you were once one. Sorry, but understanding positions you disagree with takes constant effort. Atheism, all too often, is defended with a large dose of intellectual pretentiousness, with ad hominems and proof surrogates where the argument is supposed to be.

You think that you are suddenly liberated from confirmation bias and sociological pressure by deconverting. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. People play follow the leader in the atheist community, too, as is evidenced by the popularity of the Jesus Myth.

It is interesting how much ideological passion today's atheists have. I think I have seen it somewhere before. Oh, now I remember. At meetings of Campus Crusade for Christ.

62 comments:

David said...

Thanks Vic. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Amen

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

A home run, Victor! I love it when the New Atheists attempt to ridicule Christians as ignorant, delusional, non-rational, etc. I prefer to be known by the company I keep - Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, St. Dominic, St. Ignatius Loyola, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams, Dorothy Day, Daniel Berrigan, etc., etc. I have yet to see ANYTHING coming out of the Atheist Noise Machine capable of matching wits with a single one of those brilliant minds.

unkleE said...

G'day Vic,

I'm sorry John has got up your nose a bit, but I think I agree with everything you have said.

"You think you understand Christians perfectly because you were once one. "

This is a common argument, and often used to support the inference that ex-believers have "seen through" christianity, and we believers are too blind or scared to do the same.

But John's former christianity is way, way different to mine! For the simple fact is that I still believe it and he doesn't, so there must have been something different in our respective understandings. He knows how to give up his belief, whereas I know how to hold on. Time will eventually tell whose choice was correct, perhaps, but this argument that some ex-believers offer is patently false.

There are few people on either "side" who are close to being fair-minded, but you have justifiably earned a reputation as one of them. Best wishes.

awatkins69 said...

Hi Vic. While I agree with this post, maybe you should have sent it to him in a personal e-mail? Also, please do not think all atheists are like this. There are many smart atheists like Quentin Smith, Michael Martin, and JJC Smart. These are worthy of our attention.

Anonymous said...

Victor said.."The only examples we have of governments where atheists had sufficient power to impose atheism do not give us much cause for optimism."

What? you dont like Sweden? or New Zealand? and places like that.

Victor in my opinion i cant say i think you have been so fair in the judgement here.To me it seems you have tended to equate atheism with tyrancy.As a way to try to offset the problem of cruelty of Christian rule.

To me this still seems very much like old school propaganda.

You already admit Christians who have had the power to use force to promote their doctrines have done so.

What atheist doctrine was it you would say there is that these tyrants used that so just happens were also atheist?.And if these tryrants who just so happened were also atheist used some doctrine, why dont atheist still do so?.

Surely we should be seeing Sweden and New Zealand etc falling apart and their governments sending folks to the gulags.And slaughtering millions.

In my opinion its a little deceitful that Christians use this type of argument connecting atheists with tyrants.

1,I see no atheist doctrine that could have been used to make atheist become killer tyrants.

2,There does seem to be Christian doctrine that could be used to create the Christian tyrancy it did.

Victor said.."A world where there are no objective moral values"

We already have a world with no objective morals Victor.Objective as in the sense of being from the mouth of a supreme being.

For the bible as well as any other faith book also, is created by men.Making the very idea of us having any objective morals a very circular type argument.

And anybody who try claiming we have objective moral, only ever does so, by simply shouting louder than somebody else does.Kind of lots like you suggest John Loftus has some problems with.

You get your god to personally arrive in front of us all here and honestly prove the morals are honestly objective. And then maybe your suggestion of some type of objective moral might hold some water and honestly have some good reasoning.

Before then claiming objective morals,and then pointing to the bible or koran etc.Is just circular type reasoning in my opinion.Its about one person shouting louder than the other can.

Anonymous said...

Victor said.."Even atheists who question the way you go about defending your views are banned."

I dont think this is so true,people dont get banned just for questioning.I have questioned the way John handles matters from time to time .The difference is i say my opinion,and still respect his right that its his blog.Plus i understand atheism is not another religion. Atheism isnt about being run by trying to inforce another doctrine by which everyone must always need to live by and agree.Thats why its not a religion or a church.


Some atheists go to Johns blog and like they are still religious church going zealots try inforcing their own doctrine on John.Its his blog.He left church.

Im not looking for some atheist leader who lives by a special atheist type doctrine, to try and look like he represent me and all of atheism as a whole.

Some church type atheists just dont quite get that.They still havent really left church yet.

As for this thing of "being ridiculed and shouted down" .I happen to have seen plenty enough of that happen right here on your very own blog Victor.And with a number of Christians being involved.Ive been amongst the thick of it myself.

People of faith have been the majority rule in many of our societies for a very long time now.Please surely? you are not trying to suggest maybe such a vast minority of atheists ,could some how all of a sudden become so very responsible for this type of attitude of fighting.

Many atheists are recovering from faith Victor.Please dont blame us if we sometimes still often have attitudes like faithful folks do.

You do agree? faithful folks throughout history are very well known to have often fought! argued and devided and split into many differnt groups dont you?.

Why expect atheists who very often have had roots set back in religion ,to all of a sudden always become so sweet and lovely overnight.

It just isnt so likely to happen overnight.Its likely its going to take some time and lots of work.

John W. Loftus said...

For the record Vic, I treat people differently as I see it. When I argue my case before a general audience in my books I do not ridicule my opposition. Never have. Never will.

But there are people I've lost patience with like you. I think it is buffoonish for you to claim that how I argue here on your blog with you is how I argue generally. I think this is just Victor Reppert taking another low blow at me.

And I think it is ignorant to think the options before us are your brand of faith and atheism. While you know this you do not admit this whenever you've written about it. But I've said this before. *Sigh*

awatkins69 said...

If one cannot control his or her patience it is understandable. Many times we lose our tempers and do things that we wouldn't do otherwise. However, there seems to be a smaller margin for error when it takes us five minutes to type our replies.

I find it strange that we believe there is a need for ridicule at all. It adds nothing to the substance or argument whatsoever. If your quest is to discover truth and be an "open-minded bright", then it completely unnecessary. Period. It may gain you a few converts, if your game is proselytism. This seems more appropriate to a preacher than a philosopher though. Preaching is also a characteristic mark of religion.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

In answer to “anonymous”, who seems to think we’d all do just fine without Objective Moral Values, allow me to quote from David P. Wolpe, who in turn is referencing the Holocaust Survivor Primo Levi:

In Primo Levi's masterpiece "Survival in Auschwitz," Levi recalls that while suffering from thirst he broke off an icicle outside a barracks window. When a nearby guard "snatched" it from him, Levi asked "Warum?" "Why?" The guard responds in German "Hier ist kein warum" "Here there is no why." The greatest terror is if the universe presents to us a blank face.

Without God, there is no why.

(End of quote)

Sweden and New Zealand are not “atheist” governments” – they are secular. Quite a difference. The atheists may object until the cows come home that there is nothing in their belief (or non-belief) system that compels tyranny, but the embarrassing record is that there exists no example in all of history where the two have not gone hand in hand.

John W. Loftus said...

"Preaching is also a characteristic mark of religion."

What? Let me give you a demonstration of ridicule here. ;-)

You are an ignoramus. Tell ya what let's see you specify exactly what you mean and how this applies to the many other preacherless religions. It's as if you think there is only one or two or three religions and that anyone with passion is a preacher.

Buffoon.

Now, does ridicule work or not stupid?

;-)

Joshua Blanchard said...

"When I argue my case before a general audience in my books I do not ridicule my opposition."

Why not? Is there something wrong with ridiculing people? Also, what is the relevant difference between the "general audience" of books (wait, I thought it was just for evangelical Christians) and the Internet?

John W. Loftus said...

"Is there something wrong with ridiculing people?"

Of course not.

Sheesh.

And there is no difference between the general audience and the internet.

Idiots.

The relevant difference is that Vic and I have a history. He, taking pot shots at me without reading my books, me, trying for the last four years to reason with him to no avail.

Buffoons.

With thinking skills like this no wonder you believe.

Oh, and you and I have a history too.

What is wrong with you people? Where did you learn to think?

Anonymous said...

John,

If you are so interested in Victor reading your book, why don't you just send him a copy? Or are you only interested in selling it? Let's see you put your (literal) money where your mouth is.

John W. Loftus said...

Another idiot.

You really have no clue at all what I make on royalties per book, do you? I'd gladly give Vic my royalties if he bought my books but then it wouldn't be worth the stamp to send him that check.

This has become a hostile site to me precisely because Vic has not read my books and because he has taken pot shots at me out of ignorance for the last four years.

I think anyone would be upset at this, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

Hmm... John Loftus asks where [people like me] learned to do my thinking. Let's see. Could be it was at Arizona State University (class of '74). Or perhaps at the University of Arizona (graduate work). Or maybe it was in Boston University (MBA in 1979). Or even at the NATO School of Infomation Operations in Oberammergau, Germany (2002-3)

(Top that one!)

Or then again, perhaps it was in taking the effort to become fluent in Russian, or in mastering Middle English (so as to read Chaucer in the original). Maybe it was in studying and meditating on Homer, the Greek playwrites, Virgil, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Malory, Shakespeare, Milton, T.S. Eliot, Dorothy Day, Solzhenitsyn, etc.

Or maybe it was by raising two daughters and watching them go off to start their own families, or in caring for my wife of 34 years as she fought her losing battle with pancreatic cancer. (THAT will teach you how to think, if nothing else will!) Or maybe it was in successfully beating the alcoholism I fell into after her death. (Sober for one year now!!!)

It just might be that I learned to think while gardening, or stargazing (long time amateur astronomer, and current president of the Howard Astronomical League). Maybe I learned to think while in the Army, or when I survived a 1994 kidnapping attempt by Russian gangsters in Istanbul. It could be I gained a few thinking skills while standing amidst the wreckage of Iraqi armored vehicles along the Highway of Death in Kuwait.

Or perhaps I learned to think while listening to the music of Gustav Mahler, Ralph Vaughan Williams, or Eric Wolfgang Korngold. Or while gazing at the Parthenon, or Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Where did you learn to think, John?

John W. Loftus said...

Bob, I can only judge by what you write. So okay, you can think. Then show it. Oh, but wait, I know I know. Your faith is showing. Faith hinders clear headed thinking. What else am I to conclude?

I learned how to think when I was in 8th grade, but you wouldn't know why I say that because you probably have not bothered reading my book.

John W. Loftus said...

Bob, another thing. I don't know who an anonymous person is, you duffas. Did you expect otherwise? So other than revealing who you are when you comment then the only thing left to do is show evidence in your comment that you can think.

You did not do this.

If you have to defend your thinking caabilities then you have already lost the argument.

Damn, this is just too funny.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

John, what are you talking about? I ALWAYS identify myself when I post - no anonymity here! Seriously, I don't get your point.
Are you confusing me with someone else?

John W. Loftus said...

Touche Bob! You can fault me for not knowing that you were not the anonymous commenter I responded to.

How could I be so dense!?

Congrats to you!

Walter said...

John, what are you talking about? I ALWAYS identify myself when I post - no anonymity here! Seriously, I don't get your point.
Are you confusing me with someone else?


Do you, and the other anonymous posters here, realize that you can click on the 'Name/URL' button when posting and add your name there? It does sometimes get confusing when we get multiple anon. posters.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

Walter, since I always begin by identifying myself, I don't consider myself to be an "anonymous poster". If it does not begin with "Bob Prokop writing", then I didn't write it.

Walter said...

Walter, since I always begin by identifying myself, I don't consider myself to be an "anonymous poster". If it does not begin with "Bob Prokop writing", then I didn't write it.

I know. I was just trying to show you a better way. If you sign 'Bob Prokop' at the 'Name/URL' dialog box, it will show up as 'Bob Prokop said...' instead of 'Anonymous said...'

JS Allen said...

Hi John,

I own your book and have read it all the way through, with copious highlighting of things that I both agreed and disagreed with. Although I am not an atheist, I have publicly and repeatedly recommended you and your collection of essays as being the best defense of atheism. The "outsider test" is the only part I just don't get; everything else is far more challenging to Christianity than anything Dawkins has ever written.

I'm still a fan of the book, but your little outburst here is making you look really bad. From where I sit, it looks like you've allowed yourself to be baited into losing control. Every empirical study of the matter I've seen shows that people's positions lose credibility and esteem when they resort to mockery, anger, or personal attacks -- I'm sure that some of these studies were conducted by atheists.

Dismissive mockery is sometimes effective when you're dealing with a troll or ignoramus, but there's a pretty big risk in trying it with someone of Vic's stature. You just come across as someone who was losing the argument, so now you're losing your cool.

I'm not offering you any advice; you go right ahead and "do your thang". Just letting you know how it looks.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Loftus has come off as a crackpot lately.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks JS Allen, you're right unfortunately. I guess I can't respond to Vic's jabs anymore, at least not at this time. The problem is he's philosophically intelligent and yet so Biblically ignorant at the same time.

JS Allen said...

It's true that guys like Vic and McGrath don't read scripture the same way I do. We conservatives don't have a great track record at turning out intellectuals, I guess.

steve said...

John W. Loftus said...

"I think this is just Victor Reppert taking another low blow at me."

When Victor argues with a midget like Loftus, his aim is naturally adapted to the stature of the opponent. If he swung high he'd miss.

So he really can't blame Victor. Poor Victor has to crouch down to speak on Loftus' level. Every time he debates Loftus he has to visit his chiropractor.

"The relevant difference is that Vic and I have a history. He, taking pot shots at me without reading my books, me, trying for the last four years to reason with him to no avail."

It's not as if Loftus has anything original to say (apart from sublime stupidities like his bird-man argument). Loftus is a retailer of other men's ideas, not a wholesaler of his own. So it's not as though Loftus has some groundbreaking objection that Victor has never heard of before. It's just Loftus hawking his threadbare hand-me-downs at the swap meet by the side of the road.

Francis J. Beckwith said...

John Loftus, rightfully, expects that those who disagree with him ought to treat him with dignity and respect, because he is a being of a certain sort for whom reasons ought to be given on contested philosophical matters. And yet, these properties--dignity, respect, and rational powers--seem to be the sorts of things that materialism cannot adequately account, since they require final and formal causes, the sorts of things for which mechanism has no room. Fortunately, for John, most of his adversaries--Christians, all--have formed consciences that he can prick. Without that, all you have is the prick.

awatkins69 said...

"Tell ya what let's see you specify exactly what you mean and how this applies to the many other preacherless religions. It's as if you think there is only one or two or three religions and that anyone with passion is a preacher."

I should have said "characteristic of the religious spirit".

My friend, I do wonder why serious philosophers bother to engage with you when, as soon as you find they disagree with you, your argument denigrates ad ridiculum. Serious philosophers avoid these useless ad-hominem attacks. In fact, you're a lot like those children who, when in need of attention, manage to get it by committing immature and offensive behavior while those who are really in need of it are ignored. The best way to get the child to stop is to not give them the attention they seek.

I think we should stop giving Mr. Loftus the attention he begs for, and direct it to people with serious criticisms. I'm not going to waste anymore of my time calling you out on your immaturity. I'll go read Michael Martin instead. Best. ;-)

Jake Elwood XVI said...

Mr Beckwith
"Without that, all you have is the prick."

'chuckle'

Sometimes I am not sure if certain words have the same colloquial meaning as they do down under. So when I saw Richard Pervo name I thought only Australia would get the innuendo. (I was under the impression that perv/pervo was australian impression). As such I am wondering if prick has the same colloquial meaning up there as it does down here.

Anonymous
What happened to "God Defend New Zealand", he certainly does that in the rugby. It must because we who are from across the Tasman are a godless people,{sigh]. I was of the impression that Maori were like most 'islanders' christian culturally.

Heuristics said...

Anonymous said...
"Victor said.."The only examples we have of governments where atheists had sufficient power to impose atheism do not give us much cause for optimism."

What? you dont like Sweden? or New Zealand? and places like that."

Sweden has never had a government where atheists has had sufficient power to impose atheism on the population. Until the year 2000 we had a state church, meaning the government officially recommended christianity. Today even though we do not have a state church the King must be a christian according to the law and our previous prime minister was christian, our current one appears to be an agnostic. The only political party with any imaginable ties to atheism would be the former communist party but they only get about 5-10% of the vote and not even they are an officially atheistic political party (unlike the communist party in for example china), their main voter target are women that want equality, not atheists.

Arthur said...

Bob Prokop said .."Sweden and New Zealand are not “atheist” governments” – they are secular. Quite a difference. The atheists may object until the cows come home that there is nothing in their belief (or non-belief) system that compels tyranny, but the embarrassing record is that there exists no example in all of history where the two have not gone hand in hand."

Bob i wont waste to much time arguing about it.From the superficial sense you argue from, i guess i will simply admit yes! you are correct.

But i will simply point this out.Whenever governments are sworn in now over in New Zealand.There sure is plenty of politicians who will make sure to purposely refuse to swear on any bible or any faith book .This is because we do have plenty of politicians who are atheists and gaining more and more all the time thankfully.

Faithful folk dont have such a great track record for being so very honest over here.Specially when involved in the election campaigns.

And churches are still being sold up left right and centre and turned into other more useful uses ,before they simply rot into the ground ! out of lack of any use.

Somebody else mentioned the ruby team still happens to sing God save the queen.So i ask, does use of an old tradition simply equal a God country by faithful folks calculations?.

But anyway, im sure it wont be so very long now, before that old outdated tradition gets changed too.It already gets discussed.

John W. Loftus said...

Link

Arthur said...

I chuckle a little how faithful folks like to try and closely connect atheism to people like Stalin.

Stalin who`s faithful class mates who were kids of priests and clergy and faithful teachers, one of whom he purposely name the black spot. Abused the hell out of Stalin and badly mistreated him and some other kids who were a little different to these faith bigots.And strangley enough Stalin obviously came to have a very extreme distaste for the faithful in general.Go figure !.Guess thats so very surprising huh? .Nobody ends up with this learned dislike happening to them today ,through their very bad experiences with faith.

Of course it wouldnt do the faithful pride much good to take any of this into account.Neither would many faithful bother to think of the many nasty aspects of faith that have so very often been present throughout all history , when they think of action of people such as Dawkins ,P. Z Myers , John Loftus or even anyone else who also publically displays great distaste for many matters surrounding faith.

No they dont . Its just far more easier and pleasing to think of Stalin and prop up the faith by running memes of propaganda through the faithful mind ,that yes its atheism itself, that leads these people to end up thinking the way they ended up doing.

L.o.L ... Should i let this worry me ?.

No . Why not? .Well because in my opinion it is this type of blindness that will ultimately be the very best type of help, that will lead to the final demise of faith in general in the end.

And when that starts to happen ..I shall still be there chuckling a little about how it was the faithful were so keen on continuing being dishonest and hell bent on blindly blaming all these historic problems on atheism.

Arthur said...

Hi Bob Prokop thats a heart stirring story you quote from David P. Wolpe.

But it seems for all your years of education, in my opinion you still have not yet done anything here to help prove how it can be said we even have morals that equal what can honestly be called as being objective.The fact they are recorded in a Christian bible dont do anything to make them any more objective than being recorded in the Koran or even some Hindu book or Buddism belief.

These emotional storys while they might be great to pluck at the heart strings of faithful folks, and be useful to make many them fold and simply agree we have objective morals.Im sorry for me all they do is help me to see how this idea of objective morals rests more on faithful emotion rather than resting on any honest truth.

Like i said men of faith were involved in helping decide some of the morals societies use.But thats no more objective than atheists being involved in doing the same things.And i suggest again, the only honest way to have morals that could honestly be called as being objective in the sense faithful try using .Would be for God himself to publically show up and prove it to us.

Until that happens in my opinion its not even so honest to try claiming we do have any morals that are objective, in the sense of being suggested as coming from mind of God.Because they dont.They still travel through mind of men whether they might be faithful or atheist.

Bob i dont wish to offend you.Im honestly very impressed by both your education and experiences.Im just saying this story still does nothing for me to point out how morals can be honestly claimed as being objective in the sense that many faithful folks try claiming.

Continued.

Arthur said...

You said.."Without God, there is no why."

Exactly i agree with you.


It wasnt the objective moral of God that stepped in and asked "why" and then changed the matter of morality of stoning people to death either.No it wasnt.It was all about time! and human moral mind slowly evolving.

For had God ever been involved in the "why" .Stoning people to death would never ever have been thought of as anything moral.For morality of God is said as supposedly being the same yesterday today and tomorrow.If not,then who gets the right to choose when God decides his mind has changed?.

Let be honest surely it seem obvious morality has obviously evolved over time.

Longstreet said...

"This has become a hostile site to me precisely because Vic has not read my books and because he has taken pot shots at me out of ignorance for the last four years."

Hmmm. I suspect this has become a hostile site for the same reasons T-Web did; you're dishonest, your arguments are shallow, and you're incapable of the kind of self-examination that you demand of believers.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

Arthur
Somebody else mentioned the ruby team still happens to sing God save the queen.So i ask, does use of an old tradition simply equal a God country by faithful folks calculations?.

I actually mentioned God defend new Zealand. Not being a kiwi I thought this was your anthem. The rugby reference was to light heartedly suggest this might be true. I thought that kiwis had senses of humour like Aussies do. Maybe I was wrong. Sorry I must have lacked clarity in what I was trying to say. Which was that new zealand still seems a xn nation to those of us across the ditch. Maori like other islanders seem predominately xn, even if this is just a cultural thing.

Arthur said...

Jake Elwood XVI said...
Arthur
Somebody else mentioned the ruby team still happens to sing God save the queen.So i ask, does use of an old tradition simply equal a God country by faithful folks calculations?.

I actually mentioned God defend new Zealand. Not being a kiwi I thought this was your anthem. The rugby reference was to light heartedly suggest this might be true. I thought that kiwis had senses of humour like Aussies do. Maybe I was wrong. Sorry I must have lacked clarity in what I was trying to say. Which was that new zealand still seems a xn nation to those of us across the ditch. Maori like other islanders seem predominately xn, even if this is just a cultural thing."

Hi Jake.

Sorry if i sounded offended.Thats a problem with blogging i guess.No you didnt offend me.

New Zealand was colonized quite a long time ago and yes thats also our anthem, and back then many people in the old days were believers .So naturally some of these old God traditions still remain today.However people here often do question whether we still need them.And i doubt they will last forever.

Jake i personally know and have worked with many Maori and number of pacific islanders over the years.

For all the many Maori i have known , i could count those that had honest faith, on fingers of just one hand.And though many pacific islanders do come here to this country with christian faiths ,it doesnt last long with many of them, and with those that it does it really cant be described as being anything more than tradition and culture.

It seems many use it to fleece their flock or the government system.And yeah some go quickly to church sunday morning , but by afternoon they are back slugging back alcohol and then beating each other over.The wonder of the power of the holy spirits.

I havent been to church now for 40 years or more ,and absolutely none of my friends bother to either .None of us drink alcohol in any great quantities and neither do we bash each other.

Atheism .Such a very terrible terrible thing huh Jake?.

Causes these tyrants.

Arthur said...

Longstreet said...
"This has become a hostile site to me precisely because Vic has not read my books and because he has taken pot shots at me out of ignorance for the last four years."

Hmmm. I suspect this has become a hostile site for the same reasons T-Web did; you're dishonest, your arguments are shallow, and you're incapable of the kind of self-examination that you demand of believers."

Yes well being one of these nasty tyrant atheists myself, when ever i find somebody with some bad arguments who might also be a little dishonest and angry and harsh.I find this automatically also gives me good enough reason to despise them and go on the attack in return.And because somebody is incapable of something they expect of me, well i just begin to hate them .I call this leading by example.

This is naturally all completely warranted of course , the holy tyrant atheist spirits tell me so and are guiding me.My adult atheist tyrancy explains to me i should need to copy others like an adult should always do.There is absolutely nothing at all to ever be gained by an atheist tyrants perseverance from leading by example.

Because of my atheism very soon i shall most likely morph into another Stalin.

David said...

As one who is maybe too much a bystander to disagreement and debate on the internet, I take some grim satisfaction in JWL’s outbursts of, “you’re an idiot and duffas.” I guess I’ve accepted the fact that no one is really convinced of anything on blogs and debate. They are convinced by much deeper emotional and experiential events.

No one on the internet is really going to dissuade me that my only real hope is in Christ, that my marriage and love for my wife is not the greatest satisfaction in life, that my years in science were repetitive and boring, and other truths that I will probably go to the grave with. All said, I like Vic and Bob Prokop and find John W L most interesting when he shows his humanity and not his Mr. Spock like logic.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, Sounds to me like you're clinging tighter and tighter (in white knuckle fashion) to a long list of specific beliefs about morality and God and Christ and what not, as you grow older, all part of what you "hope" for. That's a LOT of explicit "hopes." But one day we're all gonna die, our blogs will be gone, our words turn to dust. Even if we go on in another form in another life we can't take this stuff with us. And even our memories from this brief span of life on earth will probably fade as eternity wears on and new experiences fill up our minds, such that this life will be a distant dream, less real to us than the memories of our first year of life on this planet. So it's probably all gonna go, Vic. All of it. No "hope" can bring it back. And I bet you'd get tired of this life even if you COULD play the tape back over and over and over again at will throughout eternity. So maybe it's best to simply live life LIKE AN ATHEIST, one day at a time, and not try too much to second guess the future, whether finite or infinite, whether surprising or disappointing, and not worry so much about dragging around your grocery cart filled to the brim with specific explicit "beliefs" and specific "hopes."

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

I never realized there were so many Kiwis on this site! I’ve actually spent quite a bit of time in your fair land (although I have yet to make it to South Island). It was in NZ that I heard one of the funniest jokes ever:

The Lord God had gone missing for 7 days in Heaven, before the archangel Michael discovered Him resting on a cloud, looking quite pleased with Himself. Michael approached His Omnipotence and said, “Lord, we haven’t seen you for days! What have you been up to?”

The Almighty turned to Michael and, beaming broadly, replied, “I’ve been creating! Take a look!” Michael gazed out into the void, and gasped at what he saw – the world! “It’s beautiful!”, the angel exclaimed.

“Yes”, said the All-knowing. “And best of all, everything is in balance. Look – it’s cold at the poles, and hot in between. Here is a continent of white people, and over here is a continent of black people. It is wet and rainy over here, and dry and desertish over there”.

Michael continued to marvel at the globe as it spun before his gaze. Then he noticed two islands coming into view far in the south. “And what is that?”, he asked the All-seeing.

“Ah”, came the reply. “There you see my masterpiece! I call it New Zealand. A land of strong men, fair women, gorgeous scenery, rich in natural resources, and home to the most feared rugby team on the whole planet!”

Michael was speechless with awe, as he contemplated this wonder. But then, somewhat confused, he asked, “But Your Everlastingness, you said everything was in balance. Where is the balance for New Zealand?”

“Well asked!” responded the All Powerful, “Just take a look at the continent of loudmouthed, arrogant tossers I’ve put right next to it!”

O'Brien said...

I strongly disagree with Mr. Loftus and rip on his commenters but he has not banned me from his blog. (Not yet, anyway!) So, with respect to me, at least, he has been accommodating. (I do not claim my experience is universal, though; I don't know of others' experiences with DB.)

Blue Devil Knight said...

New atheists tend to be the most vociferous, think that anyone that is still a believe is just ignorant, and tend to be the most argumentative. Those that have been atheist a long time tend to be a lot more tolerant of others' belief, as they realize there are very intelligent/educated people that still believe.

They like to say 'If atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby.' Well, the latter would be true if they started web sites attacking people that collect stamps, can't stop talking about stamp collectors, have meetings and write books about how silly it is to collect stamps, there is an entire subculture of people united by the fact that they do not collect stamps.

They aren't free from theism yet, their life is still dominated by it. They are typically 'new atheists' in the literal sense. IT is new, they are passionate, they 'witness' for atheism, and tend to be really annoying know-it-alls.

I was like that for a few years when I first became an atheist. When I see it in others I find it amusing for the most part, like a sophomore in college who has just become a liberal and gives a knee-jerk response to any idea he thinks is "conservative".

Some people never grow out of these adolescent stages. I view it as a kind of intellectual adolescence or rebellion, and I think people for the most part grow up, and become more mature which partly means accepting other intelligent people will disagree with me.

Loftus takes the cake, frankly, lately coming off as not even adolescent. Calling people out for not having credentials, justifying his lack of credentials by saying he is a jack of all disciplines so is especially scary. I bet that really has you guys quaking in your boots.

Really, I find it embarrassing to be in the same camp as him metaphysically speaking. His stereotypical behavior may be doing more for Christian apologetics than any of your arguments about martyrs.

Arthur said...

Bob Prokop thanks for the Joke i laughed so much i had tears in my eyes.Its a funny thing both these two countries send jokes back and forth about each other, and often give each other heaps!.But underneath all the cheek we think of them like they are family.Most of us do really have relations on both sides of the ditch now anyway mind you, so im picking thats got lots to do with it.

Bob, entering the South Island of NZ from being in the North Island, is kind of like entering another country.I now live in the South Island.The North Island is only 43,911 sq mi in area, yet has the population around 3,287,600 .South Island is larger with 58,384 sq mi in area and yet only has a population of a little over 1 million people.If people like open spaces , less hussle and bussle , extra friendly people , great outdoors, mountians ,bush and trekking or sailing through fiords etc.Best be sure to visit the South Island.But if trekking please do plan, be safe and well prepared and tell people your plans and where you intend to trek,its really best too to always pack a few warm clothes a little food and maybe even a suvival blanket,they are so cheap and lite to carry,and can save lives!.Its a safe small country yes, but creeks can sometimes turn into torrents in a flash as water flows quickly down from vast mountianous catchments.Specially after short heavy downpours of rain,after long dry periods,the water doesnt sink into the ground enough it just rushes downhill!.I heard it myself and it sounds like thunder.They have even found local people ,dead from drowning days later laying hung up in tree tops in gullys.

There is nothing here other than sandflies thats going to bite anyone or try kill you that way ,it just seems such a calm peaceful place that it becomes so very easy to be lulled into under-estimating the dangers the weather can be, if its due for a drastic changes overnight etc.

I say all this because we kiwis do really enjoy having overseas travelers ,but we dont really enjoy searching for these peoples dead bodies.And sadly it happens to often.

Peace

Arthur said...

Arthur said...
Blue Devil Knight said... "They aren't free from theism yet, their life is still dominated by it."

Hi Blue.

Yes thats very much all part of the reason.Yes people can leave religion but that dont mean religion going to decide to leave on effecting them does it Blue.

There is plenty of valid reason for new atheists.However nobody has to be forced into being one.But then nobody should be forced not to be one either, specially when there is plenty of good valid reason why they exist.

If Christians really dont like the presense of new atheists,then maybe they need to finally start getting their act together, and spend a lot more time and effort working a little faster themselves towards making sure religion dont effect so many people the way it always has done.Religion often been effecting people whether through choice or no choice.

Because honestly that is no more fair, than Christians feel the effects of new atheists dont really seem fair to them.And the detrimental imposing effect of religion has been around for thousands of years now.Its not like theist havent had plenty of time! to get their act together to try to do a little more to remedy this problem .The biggest problem has been not enough cared about it enough.They became complacent,and so naturally there is also a price to pay for this complacency.Hense the new atheist evolving.

Im not interested in being in anybodies camp Blue.I totally refuse to ever accept i need to be categorized as such.It reminds me far to much of some sort of religion.

I left faith 40 years ago Blue and i aint been back to any church since either.But faith still effects my life in a very potent way.And my kids life too .They dont have a grandma or gandpa or any cousins or relations on my side.There is much more i could tell you too about it much worse stuff than i have already said, but it just dont matter.Telling you wont fix it,and thats why its important to stop it happening from the start.

continued

Arthur said...

Just saying in my opinion there is some very good valid reason for the new atheists Blue.

But just as i will fiercely fight for the right of the new atheists to exist, i would also do the same for your right not to need to join them.There should be room for everyone.Theism doesnt always allow for that right.It shuns and segregates.

Personally i hope the new atheists stick around and dont go away until much change happens.

We had years without new atheists and look what that acheived for us.Its the year 2010 Blue , and shit still happen even in the U.S.A where faith terrorist groups can still outcast and torment people and even their own flesh and blood and their children.

Islamist terrorist may not blow up buildings and kill and maim people in quick acts that cause pain over shorter periods, without causing such outrage and quick action.

But faith terrorist may freely blow many families lives apart and harm and torment peoples lives for a whole lifetime and continue doing the same for thousands of years ,and seems nobody really cares much unless so happens they themselves are personally involved in it.

Seems many people care far more about getting a little pissed off with those nasty pesky new atheist.

I would fight fierce for your right to keep on with the peacful methods you might personally prefer .But will also fight for the rights of those others who see things a little differently.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Arthur, I don't mind the "New Atheist" (meaning Harris et al). I was literally referring to new atheists. That is, people who just recently became atheists and still haven't really begun to live a life free of whatever it is they have rejected.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Loftus hasn't banned me, but has deleted a couple of my comments at his site the past week. He's becoming the atheist's valicella, pretty soon the comments allowed will all be like "You rule, dude, please may I ask you a question because I need you to guide my thinking I suck you are great."

His latest is really funny, he's all excited that someone listed his book on a top five atheist books, not realizing the author wasn't a real person but a link leecher grabbing links for a degree mill web site.

Skeptics, show some more skepticism. Confirmation bias perhaps at work? lmao

Someone should start a parody site called the gullible skeptic.

Winston Smith said...

Historically, there have been many terrorists quite active politically.

The Russian student radicals of the 1800's, the Narodniks, the Weathermen amd of course Lenin and Trotsky and the existentialist Sartre were advocates of terrorism.

Arthur said...

Blue Devil Knight said... "Arthur, I don't mind the "New Atheist" (meaning Harris et al). I was literally referring to new atheists. That is, people who just recently became atheists and still haven't really begun to live a life free of whatever it is they have rejected."

Hi Blue.

Yes sorry i guess maybe i misunderstood you.I do agree with you there are plenty that way you describe.

But i think the point that leaving religion alone, doesnt always equal that religion will be agreeing to be leaving us alone.I think this problem still stands quite often.And so some folks have some reason why they might even resent this the way they do.We cannot expect people to "begun to live a life free of whatever it is they have rejected." .If there is still parts of this religion or whatever it is they have rejected, that still chooses to personally effect them in some way.Its a bit like people cant totally move on from the effects of cancer ,until the cancer itself actually been cured.

Its not just a matter of us having the choice to be choosing not to be personally involved in religion.Often there is parts of religion that decide they are still going to be strong influences within our lives,whether we choose it and like it, or not.

Of course this is not always the case.Many family members can choose to leave a more liberal faith ,and that liberl faith will simply honor their right to make that personal choice, and so choose to leave them alone in effect also, by fully accepting their right of making this personal choice.

However there is still a great shortfall of this more liberal type approach.And so it is partly only a natural phenomena we see in motion, when we do see there are still also new atheists not yet really able to totally free themselves from all the effect of parts of religion.

If people tried to stop rights of religion altogether ,even being an atheist myself, i would still stand up and help them defend the right of the religious to personally choose to continue in some religion themselves.

However it dont seem so many of them faithful are also prepared to become involved themselves, in helping the new atheists who try to choose to leave religion , have their personal right to choose to do so, respected by the faithful without some sort of negative religious backlash occuring.

It is not a very fair deal when religious dont want atheism to effect them .But still do nothing much to try to help stop religion having the right to carry on effecting those who dont choose it.Its like saying look some people have cancer,simply get over it will you, and dont dare be at all unhappy about it.

It likely wont happen.It wont work.Its not even fair.In my opinion, we dont have good reason to even expect it might work out fine.

And so there is naturally still some consequences humans will pay for this type of very long standing complacency.Because many people are getting very sick of it.

Arthur said...

Blue Devil Knight said... "Loftus hasn't banned me, but has deleted a couple of my comments at his site the past week"

Hi Blue i had some trouble posting a number of my comments here on this thread over the past few days.Some comments made, seemed like they were automatically deleted somehow.But i respect the right that its Victor blog here,and still think its a really great blog too anyway.

Maybe something written within my post wasnt so acceptable to Victor.So i just kept on altering my comment, until it became accepted.

But i dont see any need for me to make it like a special personal war , of me against Victors blog standard.To try and get Victor to change his mind about his blog standard.

However personally, Blue mostly ive found most of your comments to seem to be fine.So maybe the difference is us humans are not clones and never will be.What i might find acceptable,some others will find not so acceptable.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Arthur: yes, it is very hard to leave a religion both personally, and often because other folks make it hard by trying to pressure you to stay. Good points.

Victor Reppert said...

Arthur: I didn't delete any of your posts. It must have been technical difficulties of some kind.

GREV said...

Vic:

Too long time spent not reading what you write.

The noise level at the Loftus site I find to be tiresome also. I spend much of my time now talking back and forth with an agnostic. Both of us share an unwillingness to engage the tiresome fundamentalists on both sides who are unwilling to grant any truths other then their on.

Arthur said...

Victor Reppert said... "Arthur: I didn't delete any of your posts. It must have been technical difficulties of some kind."

Hi Victor , yes then i guess it must have been that.I see no good reason i should have to mistrust you.

I just changed use of some words that i thought maybe might have seemed unacceptable to some people ,and been cause of the problem.And left some things out i had mentioned also.And it then went through just fine.

But anyway i wasnt unhappy about it.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Grev: good for you. When I read that blog I feel my IQ drop. Such overconfidence reminds me of some of the freaky evangelicals I meet time to time. They are not free from religion, their lives are still run by it.

unkleE said...

"Well asked!” responded the All Powerful, “Just take a look at the continent of loudmouthed, arrogant tossers I’ve put right next to it!”

As one of those loudmouthed, arrogant tossers who has just visited NZ for the first time, I think I agree with everything this story says about both countries. And I too laughed out loud!

Interesting too, that Australia is probably a more secular country than NZ, and we currently have (though for how long?) an atheist Prime Minister, the previous two PMs, the current opposition leader and our current NSW Premier are all professing believers - out of all proportion to the percentages overall. Dunno why, but it seems secular Aussies still tend to elect professing christians.

unkleE said...

Dunno if anyone is still following this discussion, but I want to comment again on ridicule and fair-mindedness.

I think I judge people not just by their tone (whether they use ridicule or scorn, or whether they are courteous and humane), but also by whether they are arrogant or humble.

Some people act as if they have certainty about things which remain unresolved, and, worse, sometimes they try to overpower you, not with evidence and arguments, but with confident statements of opinion sounding as if they are fact. They can seem impressive to people who are looking for someone authoritative to do their thinking for them, but a turn-off to more thoughtful people.

Both believers and unbelievers can fall into this trap, though I am most critical of fellow believers because i think we should know better. I think to my shame I may have slipped into this at times, though now I consciously try to avoid it.

Vic, of all religious and anti-religious protagonists I have come across on the web, you and James Hannam seem to me to most exemplify the qualities I respect, and avoid the pitfalls. On the unbelieving side, the Infidels seem to try hardest to be fair-minded.

And so you are all the people I take most notice of.

Best wishes.

Blue Devil Knight said...

OK, I've officially been banned from debunking christianity.

Loftus made some very strange and personal critical comments toward me, suggested I had "promised" to stop posting at his site (I would never make such a silly promise), and also lambasted me for refusing to show my real identity. Then he made some weird personal attacks about how I am a nobody, and he is somebody important. Sort of weird frankly, just awkward. He even started referring to me as a "she" as if that would be an insult.

I had walked back into the seventh grade. Wow.

My response at his site, where I discuss my real identity, among other things, was deleted, and I was banned from the site.

I think he was mad that I called him out for his childish behavior at Victor's site.