First up, the response to a guy referred to as Mr. Lonovy:
Mr. Lonovy fails to understand that even though science has answered many issues about life, medicine, mechanics, the universe, etc., it does not invalidate God's existence nor is it in any way a proof or evidence that God does not exist. The only thing science does is explain things using naturalistic principles. But, since Christians define God as being outside of time and space (yet able to interact within it), explaining things naturalistically does not effect the proposed existence of God or not since He is not limited to a naturalistic system.Now, his first and second sentences are true enough. His third sentence is also true, but it was one of the more entertaining points, in that he is claiming that God is beyond the realm of verifiable science, while simultaneously saying that he can feel free to poke in as he pleases in order to not undermine God's purported abilities to intervene in mortal affairs. So, we have a God that resides, undetectable, and undisprovable, in the realm of the supernatural. That is a Deistic God. But, by saying that this God, supposedly free to dance around the "naturalistic system" like it was a bird cage too small to even contain his clogs, is also able and willing to stick his finger in and swish things around every now and then...and you've got a God that can be verified or disproved by naturalistic observation! Especially if his methods of interaction are predictable. The second God's finger pokes through into the sphere of the natural world, he can be subjected to naturalistic observations. Of course, this is only partially relevant now, so I'll pick up on it later.
Either atheism is absolutely true or it is possibly true. Since it cannot be proven that atheism is absolutely true (i.e., prove that there is no God in all space and time, etc.), then all that is left is that it is a possibility that it is true -- or, dare I say, that it simply is not true.Very good. I would hardly claim that atheism is absolutely true myself, because I don't know whether something that could accurately be labeled a "god" exists or not. But, I also think that it is not only possible that no such being exists, but due to our inability to know whether it even exists, let alone any of the finer points of what exactly it might turn out to be if it did exist, the entire question is actually irrelevant.
I certainly agree that an atheist can conclude that God does not exist. But, it does not mean that his conclusion is correct. I can conclude that screaming blue ants are spying on me, but that doesn't mean I am right.Interesting choice of analogy when the first two sentences that it is meant to clarify could just as easily be said of any given person concluding that God does exist, from the point of view of atheists/those with differing deity of choice.
As a Christian, I can accept the possibility that there might not be a God. However, I most definitely believe and affirm that the God of the Bible exists and is the only true God. This does not make me agnostic; that is, it does not mean that I don't know if God exists or not. On the other hand, the atheist states, basically, that there is no God. But if this same person states that God may exist, then doesn't that mean that he isn't sure, that he doesn't know if God does or does not exist? That is not the same position I hold at all.Feel free to read that again. He believes in God, but admits that there possibly might not be one. Someone thinks that there is no god, but admits that there could be one. Seems equally unsure, and about as agnostic as one another. But, apparently, MR. Slick doesn't think so. [Bolded phrase may be funny when context is later revealed. No guarantee though.]
If you want your sin and independence from God, He will let you have it and He will not reveal Himself to you.Heckuva guy, that God. Sounds like a rather laissez faire, tolerant kinda guy. Except for the fact that he torments you eternally for that sin, independence, and unawareness that he even exists in the first place. With that in mind...he's a bit of a prick...
As compared to your generalized attacks against entire groups of people which have little to no basis in reality? Hey, at least when we atheists overgeneralize "Christians", it's because "fundamentalist and/or evangelical Christians who favor conservative politics and feel entitled to power in our country due to being Christian" is too long, occassionally winds up being redundant, may also be an overgeneralization, and may unintentionally exclude people who are also being referred to in our rants (e.g. Bill Donohue, who, being Catholic, may not qualify as fundamentalist or evangelical, but sure as hell seems to have the same mentality as them). But here...I don't think that this was imprecision in terminology. It is standard extrapolated B.S., by which I could also claim that Christians are arrogant bastards because they want to set themselves as second only to the One True God (O.T.G., for short) in order to feel superior to those who aren't Christian. It is an irrelevant claim, probably not true in most cases, and based entirely on assumptions that have little factual basis and have more to do with perception of the group relative to your own than reality.
Of course, the context is that God is the true sovereign and that atheists want that for themselves. In this, they take the place of God and set themselves up as master of their own lives, future, etc.Again, Mr. Lonovy uses a personal attack in his paper.
Now, the response to the second critique (which was by Dawson Bethrick):
But, is it irrational to believe that there are things in existence beyond our apprehension? Of course not. Furthermore, he has not demonstrated why belief in God is not rational.This is a nice little trick, that D'Souza also tried when talking about Immanuel Kant and the limitations of sensory experience, providing for the possibility of an unsensed, and immeasurable, world of the supernatural. The problem is, as rational as it is to assume that there is more out there, it isn't rational to assume that you know what that more is. It isn't irrational to assume that there is alien life somewhere in our expansive, unexplored universe. It is irrational to assume that that alien life resulted in other humans, or in little green men who are sufficiently advanced to visit our planet and explore farmers' anal cavities every so often.
Please notice that Mr. Bethrick does not even afford me the respect of calling me Mr. Slick. Instead, it is just "Slick." This is a personal preference, but when I address someone I criticize I try and show him the respect of calling him "Mr." as in Mr. Bethrick.I think he's just jealous because he has a last name that sounds like an insult. Mr. Slick doesn't make it sound a whole lot better though. Sounds like an ominous villain with a nameless government job in a Bond movie or comic book or something. Also: could be the name of a superhero who is half-frog.
He states that the "absence of evidence or convincing argument for the positive" is what makes atheism viable.Isn't it? From the original article: "There are no "proofs" that God does not exist in atheist circles; at least, none that I have heard -- especially since you can't prove a negative regarding God's existence. " It is almost impossible to prove a negative unless it is self contradictory, is contradicted by something that is proven positively, or is simply not found to exist after a thorough survey of the known universe (and you already claimed that the third one wouldn't be sufficient because he doesn't reside in our universe). So...one would think that, you know, you would need at least some slight proof for the existence of this thing, rather than expecting someone to go about the nigh impossible task of disproving the existence of any creature, entity, force, or phenomenon that you can concoct inside your skull. Basically: burden of proof.
[Babbles on about how the critic is so biased that he cannot see the Truth!]
Furthermore, how do you prove that in all places and in all times and in all dimensions, God doesn't exist? In order to do that, you'd have to be God to know all things to know there isn't a God, which is not logical.Odd how I pretty much made the same point in the last paragraph....except as an argument for why the person claiming that such an unverifiable being exists should be the one providing evidence. Under no other circumstances does "you can't prove it doesn't exist!" serve as a valid argument for something's existence.
If you can prove that there aren't leprechauns, then there are no leprechauns.
You can't prove that there aren't leprechauns.
Therefore, there are leprechauns.
X, therefore no Y.
(It is equally illogical to claim that something DOESN'T exist just because you don't possess proof for it by this logic as well...).
It seems Mr. Bethrick needs to adjust his thinking since we Christians believe that God is also in the universe as well as outside of it. He is, after all, omnipresent.Good to know. NOMA doesn't apply then. I'll keep that in mind.
Mr. Bethrick is trying to shift the onus of proof onto me by trying to get me to prove God exists. I may not be able to prove God exists, but I do have evidence (as given on CARM). It is up to Mr. Bethrick if he wants to examine it or not. But given his atheistic presupposition, I am sure that all such evidences would be insufficient.(I think he is presupposing that atheists are the ones with the presuppositions in this equation! He seems to assume bias as a fast explanation for disagreement.) The onus of proof is actually on you. And you are going to need a little bit more than "I define God as the universe maker. The universe exists. Therefore God exists, you're a sinnner, the Bible is true, and Jesus saves." I don't much care for those kinds of tricks.
But until then, I am "atheistic" about atheistic proofs for God's non-existence and will stick to the evidence supporting the reality of God.Ya see that! Your default stance, in the absence of positive proof of the existence of "atheistic proofs", is to assume that it doesn't exist. Same with fairies, same with little green men, same with Nessie, Bigfoot, poltergeists, and white gangsta rappers who aren't laughing stocks. If only you were consistent, you wouldn't even be talking right now!
Atheism, as I have said before, lives in a theistic vacuum. It exists only by attempting to disprove theistic evidences and/or offering attempted reasons why no God can exist.This is true. Mostly because atheism without theism is just "a-". I'm not sure what exactly you expect....
However, Atheism is viable in one sense: it is simply a possibility. But, being a possibility does not mean it is a reality.I am tickled. Atheism is a possibility? I agree. Flip a coin. Heads, a god exists, atheism is wrong. Tails, no gods, atheism is right. But...what happens when it comes up heads again? It sure as hell doesn't mean that Christianity is right. It means that any given conception of deity, past, present, future, or never to be conceived, can be correct. Popularity might be a good indication of correctness, but I honestly doubt it severely. The plain fact is, atheism is a possibility, theism is a possibility. Any given religion though? Possible, but nowhere near as likely as Deism with a loose definition of God. Hell, give that Deism a pantheistic streak and you could guarantee the existence of "God" by making "God" mean "existence". But, still doesn't help strict religious descriptions of the divine out of their rut.
My experience with atheists has lead me to conclude that actually dislike theistic proofs.Yeah. I have a bias against piss-poor arguments that are presented as authoritatively settling controversial and otherwise unverifiable positions. I apologize for that.
Atheism is a claim.Atheism is also a skeptical position that maintains that there is insufficient evidence to believe that theism is true. But, of course, you don't believe that that is true, or would just prefer to address "strong atheism" (a position I sympathize with, but is difficult due to the fact that very few atheists hold the "strong atheist" stance).
Atheism, like an ice cream factory on Jupiter, is an intellectually possible position if we were to assert that basically anything is possible. But being possible does not mean that it is probable, let alone an actuality. That is the point of the ice cream factory on Jupiter. Atheism has no proof for its position.I really don't like to make "No, you!" the bulk of argument. But that's pretty much what this comes down to.
If someone has a lack of belief in something, then his actions would be consistent with that. I lack belief in the existence of screaming blue ants from Venus. And because I lack belief in them, I do not try and defend the position that I lack belief in them nor do I go around announcing to people that I lack belief in screaming blue ants from Venus.Moron. If "screaming blue ants from Venus" was a popular belief that influenced not only the behavior and mindsets of those around you, but also politics, and people's opinion of you, you better believe that you would say something on the matter (especially if these same people were willing to kill one another and divide entire based upon opinion of which region of Venus the best blue ants came from). Social significance is the key here.
I further maintain that logic requires agnosticism rather than atheism.Sigh. Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. Agnosticism is admitting that we cannot know for certain whether or not a god exists (and possibly cannot know its qualities). This only contradicts your definition of atheism as exclusively being "belief that there is no god", but even that it is only an addition of rational doubt that should honestly be expected (but makes that atheism more consistent with the more common "lack of belief in god", which you deny the existence of).
If the claims of Christianity posed no challenge to atheism, then why are atheists constantly attacking the Bible and Christian theistic proofs?To show that they are no threat by refutting them (?).
Now, for the final response:
I would agree that there is a burden of proof that lies upon the one making the positive assertion. My argument, however, is that atheism is a positive assertion; that is, it is a position that atheists hold to and defend. this defense means they have a position, I believe, an opinion.So "there is no God" (your straw strong atheist claim) is a "positive assertion"? What, pray tell, is a "negative assertion" then? Same problems with proving a negative as before.
The point I was making was dealing with evidences for God of which such evidence exists (whether or not an atheist admits it). We have fulfilled prophecy in the Bible, eyewitness accounts of Jesus' resurrection, miracles, the transcendental argument, the argument from entropy, etc.The fulfilled prophecies are hardly more impressive than horoscopes that make accurate predictions. Largely because they are designed to be vague, metaphorical, or obvious enough to be guaranteed to succeed. Then there were a few self-fulfilled prophecies, and the prophecies that were assumed to be fulfilled by Jesus are dependent on the accounts of Jesus's life weren't influenced by those prophecies and exaggerated in order to fulfill them. The eyewitness accounts of Jesus' resurrection are contradictory, and are by those closest to him. Other eyewitnesses mentioned in the accounts we have left no records to confirm it. Miracles serves as a nice buzzword, because most "miracles" are really "improbable fortuituous events that still do not require a supernatural explanation, and even if they did, they don't even have to have anything to do with gods, let alone any given religion's conception of god". Your transcendental argument is that there are logical absolutes, they are conceptual, they are perfect, and they are not dependent on material reality, and therefore they are the concepts in a perfect immaterial mind called God. Color me unimpressed. And the other argument is a trumped up "first cause called God" argument. Jeez. You should've just kept vaguely alluding to "evidence that you are too biased to accept"; you were better off.
And, finally: the main article!
Which ever flavor is given to atheism, it is a negative position.Well...you sure flipped on that one in your final response above, didn't you? John Kerry would be proud!
Therefore, since there are no proofs for atheisms truth and there are no proofs that there is no God, the atheist must hold his position by faith. Faith, however, is not something atheists like to claim as the basis of adhering to atheism.Faith? You're right; I don't like to claim that as a basis for being an atheist. Primarily because it is not the case, at least for any meaningful definition of "faith", especially the one that is most commonly used when it comes to these issues (usually of the "blind" variety...).
Therefore, atheists must go on the attack and negate any evidences presented for Gods existence in order to give intellectual credence to their position.Well considering that our position is effectively "you don't have any compelling evidence for believing in God"...what exactly are we doing wrong?
It is in the negation of theistic proofs and evidences that atheism brings its self-justification to self-proclaimed life.Well duh. If atheism is basically being skeptical and unwilling to say that there is enough evidence that gods exist, then having no viable theistic proofs in the vicinity is kinda helpful. Obviously, though, it is not proof that no gods exist. But it is the groundwork for just plain disregarding the entire idea of god regardless, as one would do for the screaming blue ants from Venus and ice cream cart on Jupiter that you mentioned above.
But there is another problem for atheists. Refuting evidences for Gods existence does not prove atheism true anymore than refuting an eyewitness testimony of a marriage denies the reality of the marriage.True dat. (LOL, I am ghetto fabulous today). If only you looked at it that way when claiming that those "proofs" of yours are evidence for the Christian God, rather than the existence of a bunch of random crap that you associate with "God". Proving that these things exist doesn't prove that Christianity is right.
This is why atheists need to attack Christianity. It is because Christianity makes very high claims concerning Gods existence which challenges their atheism and pokes holes in their vacuum. They like the vacuum.No. We attack because there are a lot of you, you are vocal, and your "very high claims" are too big for their britches. And yes, I like "the vacuum". Because that "vacuum" is what the world really is.
Woooooo. Sorry for the giant post. That was quite an ordeal...