Thursday, August 07, 2014

A response to the Skeptic Zone on the old "What would it take to make you give it up" issue


A couple of things. The Catholic Church has repeatedly condemned fideism as heresy. Lewis says that he isn't asking anyone to believe if the weight of the evidence is against it, and says that is not the point where faith comes in. Is Lewis a heretic? I there are some who will quote Bible verses here, but I know the verses and I don't interpret them as requiring suppression of doubt, 

A lot of confusion arises when these questions are asked because it looks like a request for a one-sentence answer. But if you read stories of people who move from theism to atheism, or vice versa, it's a lot of things put together. 

When I was younger I had a lot of doubts and questions, and drove everyone nuts by asking questions. I did hear the "We're not to question" response from some people, but most of the time people tried to provide something intellectually responsive. The Christian community, as I experienced it, did not, as a whole, try to get me to simply quash doubt. If it had, I might very well not be a Christian today. 

And then you have P. Z. Myers, who says that belief in God is something so defined that there couldn't be any evidence for it. 


B. Prokop said...

Against my better judgement, Victor, I followed your link. Amazing nonsense over there, such as "[Bob's] religion requires that he reject the evidence." It does? Where did I miss that? On this very website, I have for several years now presented time and again evidence for Christianity that satisfies me. The fact that it doesn't satisfy someone else is irrelevant! (There are people today who refuse to believe the evidence that we landed on the Moon, or that the Holocaust happened. Their refusal to accept the evidence does not make those events untrue.) In stark contrast, I have yet to see presented here even the weakest imaginable case against Christianity. I'm asked to "consider the evidence" but am never shown said evidence. All I get in response is ever shriller repetitions of "The evidence is out there!" as though that was some kind of an answer. Rather than being "required to reject the evidence", I have yet to see any evidence in favor of atheism for me to reject.

Im-the-opposite-of-skeptical says with a veneer of fake innocence, "You say there are supernatural events? Show me one. Show me anything that is clearly and unmistakably supernatural." What he fails to realize, despite being told this time and time again, is that anything he can be shown within the created order will be ipso facto part of the natural world. He has not-so-cleverly and all-too-transparently rigged the game in advance to ensure his faux challenge is unanswerable. His "request" is like a person who stubbornly keeps his eyes fixed on the ground, refusing to lift them upward even an inch, while denying the existence of the stars. "Show me these so-called stars, here on the pavement in front of me!" he demands. "Otherwise, I will refuse to admit they exist!"

Im-pigheaded also writes, "in the past two millennia, nobody has ever produced convincing evidence that Jesus even existed." Hmm... I will commence to do so in a single word: Rufus. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to discover what I mean.

Crude said...

And then you have P. Z. Myers, who says that belief in God is something so defined that there couldn't be any evidence for it.

I recall that Jerry Coyne used to regard the ability to say what would change your mind as pretty much -the- mark of a rational person, and crowed about how he was certain any atheist could do this. Then PZ Myers and others said nothing could change their minds, and the whole thing largely disappeared.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Is Lewis a heretic?
Well, from the catholic point of view yes - he practically as member of Church of England denied the papal primacy ...

The Catholic Church has repeatedly condemned fideism as heresy.
Could be. But Catholic Church in fact also says, that once you´re a catholic (disregarding the reasons why ou are it), it´s always a sin to leave the catholic church, voluntarily doubt about the truth it requiers us to believe etc ...

B. Prokop said...


And right there is the crux of the whole matter. Heresy is defined as knowing something to be false, yet believing (and proclaiming) it anyway. That is also why all these phony definitions of Faith as believing something in spite of the evidence are complete and utter bullshit. Quite to the contrary, the Church commands that no one profess something they do not believe in.

Side note: Lewis was no heretic, and neither were/are most members of the Church of England. Schismatics, maybe, but that's a whole 'nother matter.

Anonymous said...

"And then you have P. Z. Myers, who says that belief in God is something so defined that there couldn't be any evidence for it."

Or indeed Richard Dawkins, who openly admits that there's no piece of evidence that could make him accept the existence of God:

B. Prokop said...


Wonderful link there! I especially love this howler from Dawkins (at 15:11 into the clip):

Nothing would [convince me of God's existence], which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.

Note that last phrase well. The chief gnu is finally admitting that all the atheist blather about evidence! has never been anything but the sheerest hypocrisy (a.k.a., "lip service"). They are as wedded to their dogmatism as is Ken Ham.

Unknown said...

The recent admissions by Myers and Dawkins on the relation between evidence and beliefs are definitely PR gems that deserve wider publicity.

They nicely highlight what popular atheism is peddling; unfalsifiable snake-oil dogmatism masquerading as science.

So here we have a nice contrast in views.

For christians, its concievable that there is empircal evidence against our specific beliefs about God (robust evidence against the resurrection would fit the bill), but for these atheists, there is *no concievable evidence* that would tell against their belief that that nature is all there is.

These new atheists are a jolly load of fun :)