Objections to Christianity

The Wrap Up – Part 2

My last post was five months ago.  You know, the one that I called “Part 1” and promised a “Part 2” follow-up post?

So, Seth, what gives?

Well… ever feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?  Or that you have so much to say about something, but don’t want to publish a novel on your blog since no one would probably read it?  Yeah, I know the feeling.

So, check this out:  I make a promise to my readers to compile and discuss (in a single post, mind you) all the evidences that I believe exist for the Christian faith.  Yeah yeah, I hear you skeptics chuckling out there — I can hear you thinking, “Well, that should be a short article!”  Go ahead, have your moment… I’ll give you a minute or two to enjoy your cleverness…. (more…)

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PRATTS and PAWs

I’m thoroughly enjoying the tennis match with my friend Captain Cassidy 😀 I really do hope the feeling is mutual — she seems to be pretty sporting about it all so far, so I think I’m not overstepping my bounds to hope that she’s also getting something out of our exchange.  Thanks also to others who have weighed in on the matter — I’ve gotten to meet several new people so far, which is always a good thing!  Y’all are very welcome, make yourselves at home 🙂

This time, I must thank the good Captain for introducing me to a new term: PRATT, which stands for “Point Refuted A Thousand Times.”  In her recent article, she establishes the groundwork for this term and then outlines a list of examples of such that I am supposed to have employed against her.  (The points she made therein seemed very similar to those she made in her first response.)  Some are fair points, others I’m pretty sure are not so fair — and some are more addressed at my tactics than my points themselves.  (If you’re interested in my answer to some of these points, feel welcome to check out my response article and my direct response to her comment.)  All, however, seem to come with a hefty dose of caricature, to the point where even I can’t find much about them to take seriously (even though I am supposed to have said them myself).

However, the article the Captain cited on RationalWiki that dealt with PRATTs had a few examples of its own — and, since they seem to be the authority on the matter, I figure I’ll go right to the source. (more…)

The Doubtful Promise of Nothing

I like Captain Cassidy over at Roll to Disbelieve.  She’s a fantastic writer who seems to share somewhat of my distaste for confrontational debate tactics (she left a very nice comment on my mission statement for this blog) — I recall having several pleasant discussions with her on her blog and mine.  Plus, I infer that she shares my appreciation for RPGs 🙂

She recently wrote what I regard as an excellent article, where she gives her point of view on the Christian doctrines of being born again and of the existence of an eternal afterlife.  I say it is excellent not because I agree with her viewpoint (I, in fact, thoroughly do not, much to the surprise of no one) — but because it is, as most of her works are, brilliantly crafted and even, in the beginning, quite beautiful and poetic.  I found myself legitimately moved by her ode to the purpose of life on this planet, which serves as a sort of introduction to her assessments of the aforementioned doctrines themselves.  I thoroughly recommend that everyone give it a read from top to bottom.

I wasn’t a few paragraphs in before I knew that I desired to respond to her strong points and opinions, and as I read I took notes on the statements in particular I wished to comment on.  I quickly found that my response fit better as a post on my own blog rather than as a comment on hers — for though I usually try to comment on others’ blogs for the sake of keeping the discussion on their platform, at the same time I do not wish to be inhospitable to her site by posting a novel in her comment section.  Plus, posting my response here gives me the opportunity to plug her blog, which in my opinion is well worth a subscription.

The rest of this entry will be directed at the good Captain, in direct response to her latest article: (more…)

Deconversion: A Response – Part 3 (Morality)

Ha, bet y’all thought I forgot about this series!

The third video in Evid3nc3’s series on deconversion concerns morality:

Again, can’t say enough how much I appreciate the author’s honesty and transparency about his experiences.  I glanced over the video’s comments and saw one by an atheist who said this series helped him understand more why Christians can believe as they do.  The ability to lead others to empathy like that requires a level of artistry and tact to which I aspire in my own writing.  His decisions about his faith notwithstanding, I want to be like this guy someday 🙂

Nevertheless, I am beginning to sense a pattern in this fellow’s story, and it seems to manifest itself in the following sequence: (more…)

Deconversion: A Response – Part 2 (Prayer)

I got some Christmas gifts early this year — we wanted to open gifts with my mother-in-law while she was in town helping us adjust to life with the new baby.  One of the gifts I received was this neat-looking credit-card-sized multi-tool from my Amazon wishlist.  Though I could discern on sight how to use most of the elements of the tool, there were a few that baffled me, so I swallowed my man-pride and actually took a look at the instructions.

There was one problem, though:  The instructions were all in Chinese.  I couldn’t read them.

I went to the product’s Amazon page, and lo and behold one of the pictures was a key that showed the uses of each element (though now I have to go figure out how to use a “direction auxiliary indication”).  Out of curiosity, I proceeded to read some of the reviews, and I noticed that many who had received the tool had the same problem that I did with the instructions.  What struck me the most about these particular reviews was how many users gave the product a negative review based solely on their inability to understand the instructions.  Ironically, in leaving their review, they had to visit the very page where I was able to discover clear instructions, so they could have easily overcame the linguistic difficulty, just as I had — and yet, their entire opinion of the efficacy of the tool never ventured beyond their inability to understand how it was meant to be used.

Isn’t this exactly how so many people base their opinions on the inefficacy of intercessory prayer?  Once they realize the tool doesn’t work they way they thought or assumed it did, they give the whole system a negative review and state that “it doesn’t work.” (more…)

Deconversion: A Response (Part 1)

About a month ago, Nan shared the video below in a comment.  The video is the first in a series by YouTuber Evid3nc3, where he explores his prior belief in Christianity and examines the various components of his deconversion.

I had seen this video and a few others in the series before, and I remember being impressed — it is, in my opinion, a very well-done series.  However, I think some of the points the gentleman makes warrant response.  So, I would like to begin a series of my own in response to each video in Evid3nc3’s “Deconversion” series — not to attack the author in any way, merely to respond to his points from my perspective.  The author’s main motivation in this series seems to be sharing his own personal story, and I highly respect that approach (more on that later) — I’m certainly not interested in undermining the author’s personal experience, or minimizing the impact of certain events in his life that led him to adopt his current beliefs.  I shall try my best to approach this series as though I were discussing with the author face-to-face, rather than attacking him or sniping his ideas from the security of my computer chair. (more…)

Objections to Christianity: Who Created God?

I’m going to borrow an illustration I heard John Bevere use once (which he probably borrowed from someone else — there is, after all, nothing new under the sun, is there?).  I’ll be paraphrasing, of course 🙂

Have you ever watched a particularly poignant, well-crafted movie?  One that methodically and artfully sets you up with an hour and fifteen minutes of pathos for that one heart-wrenching moment at the plot’s climactic moment?  When that moment comes, your eyes start welling up, your breathing becomes a little shallower, you move to the edge of your seat — you feel the strong empathetic connection to the characters in the movie.  You almost can’t help it.  Unless you’re a sociopath — c’mon, would it kill you to show a little human emotion now and then… dad…?

Just kidding, my dad’s great.  Anyway, imagine your roommate walking in right when the big climactic moment occurs — he’s never seen the movie before, and so he’s missed out on all the exposition and buildup.  He looks at the characters on the screen, looks over to you bawling your eyes out on the couch (mostly obscured by your tissue-box fort), and scoffs, “What’s with you?  It’s just a stupid movie.”

First of all, your roommate’s kind of a jerk and you should probably consider moving.  (Then again, he does pay the rent on time, and his mom is friends with your boss… I guess he’s not all that bad.)  But, really, the illustrative detail is the difference in how the two of you view the movie in that moment:  You have been taken on this hour-long journey preparing you for this scene; you connect with the characters, their stories touch you, you empathize with their plight and take on some of their pain upon yourself; your roommate, on the other hand, couldn’t give two figs about the characters, doesn’t connect with the moment, isn’t compelled in the least by the scene unfolding on the screen.  Why?  Because he’s missing the context of the scene. (more…)