Before You Accuse Someone of Circular Reasoning, Make Sure You Are Not Practicing It Yourself

You can find this image at Joel Watts’ Unsettled Christianity and James McGrath’s Exploring Our Matrix.  Both use it to make the point that anyone who believes that the Bible is the word of God is engaged in circular logic.  Here’s how they arrive at that conclusion, albeit unwittingly:

P1: The only possible way someone could believe that the Bible is the word of God is through circular reasoning.  (That’s the point of this graphic that they’re using.)

P2: Anyone who denies that the Bible is the word of God cannot be engaged in circular reasoning.  (“And besides, the Bible is not the word of God,” they would say.)

C:  Therefore, whenever we hear of someone believing that the Bible is the word of God, we know that he is engaged in circular reasoning.

Thus Joel and James are practicing circular reasoning – the very way of thinking they are condemning in others.

Therefore, I encourage you to ignore their hypocrisy and trust the Bible.

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103 Responses to Before You Accuse Someone of Circular Reasoning, Make Sure You Are Not Practicing It Yourself

  1. Joel says:

    hahahhahahahahaha…. so, you link to people, which is great, who will show your post to be um, let us say, at the very least, unfactual….

  2. Pingback: More on Believing the Bible Is the Word of God Without Engaging in Circular Logic | Current Events in Light of the Kingdom of God

  3. Mike Gantt says:

    I want people to be able to compare both sides and decide for themselves.

  4. HJ says:

    Your problem is that the premises you assign to the graphic are both false. P1 is not addressed in the graphic; it simply ridicules a specific argument for belief in the Bible. (And it is no straw man, it is a real argument that I have seen some Christians use.) P2 is completely made up; the graphic says nothing about any other circular forms of reasoning.

    You should leave logic to the logical; it is not your friend.

  5. Mike Gantt says:

    HJ,

    You are missing the point. Of course P1 and P2 are not explicitly depicted in the graphic. They are the implicit assumptions of it. It’s these assumptions – unspoken and for some unwitting – to which I am drawing attention.

    The graphic is intended to show that anyone who believes that the Bible is the word of God is engaging in circular logic. That some Christians might actually engage in circular logic to get to that conclusion does not mean that everyone who gets to that conclusion takes that route.

    As for logic, I have never found a set of writings that demands more logic from a reader than the Bible does.

  6. HJ says:

    No, I got your point; you missed mine. You are saying they are implicit in the graphic; they are not. Neither is required for the graphic to make its point.

    I bet you think this stuff is made up; the following is an except from an actual Twitter conversation I had yesterday regarding how someone knows the Bible is true/inspired:

    Me: Again, can you give an example of God’s promise kept that couldn’t have happened by random chance?

    Xian: God promised abraham a son and did not give one to him until they were in their 90’s (past child bearing age)

    This is the logic we are up against.

    Now, please either explain how your P1 and P2 are implicit in the graphic, or be honest and admit that they aren’t. For extra credit, show how P2 relates to your conclusion.

  7. Mike Gantt says:

    HJ,

    Perhaps you should re-read the original post and even go back to the context from which it came. You say you get the point, but there is no evidence beyond that claim that you do.

    You are trying to make the point that there are actually some people who believe that the Bible is the word of God by means of circular logic (a la the graphic). I don’t deny this. I never have. My point was that it is possible to believe that the Bible is the word of God without engaging in circular logic, but that the people who posted that graphic would never know it because they are closed off to that possibility. The syllogism I gave demonstrates the thinking that traps them.

    P1 and P2 are implicit in the graph by virtue of Joel Watts posting and saying it applied to me when all I said to him was the Bible was the word of God. He never asked me how I arrived at that conclusion. He just assumed that since this was my conclusion that I must have used circular reasoning to get there and thus he felt justified in saying the graphic applied to me. Hence P1. He obviously thought he was not being circular in his thinking that the Bible was not the word of God. Hence P2. Since P1 and P2 are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive choices, the conclusion naturally follows for anyone “(“we”) who thinks like Joel (and apparently James does).

    Are you one of those people, too?

  8. HJ says:

    I was commenting on this blog alone; I do not see the need to read pages of your feud with the creator of the graphic to do so. You have not shown that the author agrees with the premises or conclusion. Obviously they are false, and I would wager that creator of the graphic would agree.

    Since you agree that the parodied circular logic exists, you should also agree that the graphic makes a valid point, but you don’t want to.

    Here’s why I think the Bible isn’t the word of god.

    P1: A book written or inspired by an all-powerful, all-good being would not contain imperfections such as factual errors, horrible morality, and translation errors.

    P2: The bible does contain these imperfections

    C: Therefore, the Bible was not written or inspired by an all-powerful, all-good being.

    Show me how that reasoning is circular.

  9. Mike Gantt says:

    HJ,

    I was commenting on this blog alone; I do not see the need to read pages of your feud with the creator of the graphic to do so.

    Of course, you don’t have to read the context of the post to appreciate it, but your insistence on ignoring what I have told you about the context will cause you to continue to misunderstand what I am saying.

    You have not shown that the author agrees with the premises or conclusion. Obviously they are false, and I would wager that creator of the graphic would agree.

    I don’t think Joel created the graphic.  Rather, I think he was borrowing it from another source for his purpose.  Of course, he is unlikely to agree with my syllogism because it would require his admitting he was wrong – but there’s always the hope that he’ll be open-minded.

    Since you agree that the parodied circular logic exists, you should also agree that the graphic makes a valid point, but you don’t want to.

    The graphic makes a misleading point because it only applies to the fraction of people who believe the Bible is the word of God by means of circular logic.  However, you should note that such people come to the correct conclusion, even if by the wrong path.  In any case, the graphic seems to suggest that anyone who believes that the Bible is the word of God comes to that conclusion by circular reasoning – and this is plainly false.

    Here’s why I think the Bible isn’t the word of god.

    P1: A book written or inspired by an all-powerful, all-good being would not contain imperfections such as factual errors, horrible morality, and translation errors.
    P2: The bible does contain these imperfections
    C: Therefore, the Bible was not written or inspired by an all-powerful, all-good being.
    Show me how that reasoning is circular.

    I don’t say that your reasoning is circular.  In fact, this is the first time you have revealed your reasoning to me on the subject.  I am happy to tell you that your reasoning is not circular; however, and I say this sadly, it is false nonetheless.  Your premises are unproven assertion.

  10. HJ says:

    Mike,

    You are saying the graphic points out faulty logic that you admit exists, but is misleading because less that 100% of Christians use this logic. This is not reasonable.

    You say they come to the conclusion via your syllogism. As pointed out, your P2 is irrelevant to the “proof” and the P1 is identical to the conclusion. Additionally, your “proof” does not even make the point of your blog title, as it is not circular; it’s just faulty.

    As to my proof, P1 is self-evident by deduction; a being who creates an imperfect book is by definition not perfect. P2 is also apparent to any neutral reader of the Bible, and was proved in my previous post in the other thread; my friend still has one leg.

  11. Mike Gantt says:

    HJ,

    You are saying the graphic points out faulty logic that you admit exists, but is misleading because less that 100% of Christians use this logic. This is not reasonable.

    It is reasonable for me to say that the graphic does not apply to me.

    You say they come to the conclusion via your syllogism. As pointed out, your P2 is irrelevant to the “proof” and the P1 is identical to the conclusion. Additionally, your “proof” does not even make the point of your blog title, as it is not circular; it’s just faulty.

    That P1 is the same as the conclusion is demonstration that the reasoning is circular.

    As to my proof, P1 is self-evident by deduction; a being who creates an imperfect book is by definition not perfect.

    The book is a collaboration of God and man; therefore, it will bear the marks of both.

    P2 is also apparent to any neutral reader of the Bible, and was proved in my previous post in the other thread; my friend still has one leg.

    Your friend’s unfortunate situation hardly proves that the Bible has imperfections.  Even if the Bible had imperfections, they would only be proof of the imperfect humans who wrote by the inspiration of a perfect God.

     

  12. HJ says:

    Your friend’s unfortunate situation hardly proves that the Bible has imperfections. Even if the Bible had imperfections, they would only be proof of the imperfect humans who wrote by the inspiration of a perfect God.

    I don’t think you could reasonably conclude that I was saying that my friend’s amputation directly proves the Bible imperfect. I think it was clear that it was an example used to prove the imperfection (complete failure) of the promise made in Matthew 18:19. I would suggest that:

    1. A book which makes promises which are not kept is inferior to one which makes promises that are kept, and is therefore imperfect. (Same goes for a book that condones slavery, etc.)

    2. A book that is subject to translation/copying/interpretation errors is inferior to one which is immune to such errors and is therefore imperfect.

    3. A god who is incapable of making his holy book immune to such errors is not omnipotent.

    4. A god who is not willing to make his holy book immune to such errors is imperfect.

    The book is a collaboration of God and man; therefore, it will bear the marks of both.

    So if it still mattered after the above, you would be left with having to provide a means of reliably determining which verses in the Bible are the marks of men, and therefore not necessarily true, and which are the infallible word of God. (This is the fun part, where one can make the Bible say whatever one likes. Often this means the parts about persecuting gays are literal truth; the parts about selling everything you own and giving it to the poor are allegorical.)

    • Mike Gantt says:

      HJ,

      I don’t think you could reasonably conclude that I was saying that my friend’s amputation directly proves the Bible imperfect. I think it was clear that it was an example used to prove the imperfection (complete failure) of the promise made in Matthew 18:19. I would suggest that:

      1. A book which makes promises which are not kept is inferior to one which makes promises that are kept, and is therefore imperfect. (Same goes for a book that condones slavery, etc.)

      The Bible does not promise that there will be no amputees.  Nor does the Bible promise that all amputees will grow new limbs.  Therefore, the Bible is not a book of unkept promises.  On the contrary, all the promises of God are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ).

      2. A book that is subject to translation/copying/interpretation errors is inferior to one which is immune to such errors and is therefore imperfect.

      I’m sure we’d all rather have the originals of the Bible’s documents but since writing materials cannot survive forever, we must make do with copies.  The same applies to all documents from antiquity, including those of Aristotle, Plato, and Homer.  Besides, since most of the world’s population today doesn’t speak Hebrew or Greek, especially the ancient versions, having translations is a good thing.

      3. A god who is incapable of making his holy book immune to such errors is not omnipotent.

      This is very poor reasoning (as are most of your numbered points here).  If God gives messages to men and they write it down and others copy it, it should not be considered strange that minor errors crop up in the copying – but that’s all they are: minor errors.  To throw the whole book out because of such trivialities is silly.  We’d have to throw out all ancient authors, but then how would we know anything about ancient times?

      4. A god who is not willing to make his holy book immune to such errors is imperfect.

      I can see how such a God does not meet your expectations, but that does not mean He is imperfect.

      So if it still mattered after the above, you would be left with having to provide a means of reliably determining which verses in the Bible are the marks of men, and therefore not necessarily true, and which are the infallible word of God. (This is the fun part, where one can make the Bible say whatever one likes. Often this means the parts about persecuting gays are literal truth; the parts about selling everything you own and giving it to the poor are allegorical.)

      You present a false dichotomy.  It’s not as though some verses are from God and others are from men.  God inspired all the verses, and all the verses were written by men.

  13. HJ says:

    The Bible does not promise that there will be no amputees. Nor does the Bible promise that all amputees will grow new limbs. Therefore, the Bible is not a book of unkept promises. On the contrary, all the promises of God are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ).

    I have noticed that you like to pretend that you don’t understand my point; I don’t think it helps your position, but I admit it is frustrating, so if your goal is to frustrate me into quitting, that probably will work soon enough. What it won’t do is leave you looking like you had some kind of win.

    I will try to explain it one more time in a way that will be more difficult for you to intentionally misconstrue, or at least make it very obvious to any reader that this is in fact what you are doing.

    I am claiming that if Jesus is quoted in the NT as making a promise, and that promise is not fulfilled, that disproves the proposition that the New Testament is a reliable testament of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god.

    Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV):

    “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

    If two followers of Jesus, like you (for the 3rd time, YOU; not me, an atheist, but you, Mike Gannt) and a friend, ask god to restore my friend’s leg, and he doesn’t restore that leg, there is a problem. Maybe Jesus didn’t really say it. Maybe Jesus lied. Maybe god isn’t omnipotent. Maybe god doesn’t exist. However you explain it, there is a problem with the Bible. If you respond to this with another non-sequitur like your response above, then I (and your readers) will have to conclude that you have no response for the actual problem being presented. The Bible DOES promise that whatever two followers of Jesus ask for, will be done. If what they ask for includes growing back a leg, and the leg doesn’t grow back, the promise isn’t kept.

    I have had this debate before; the Christian answer is usually along the lines of suggesting that the request is unreasonable. For some reason, requesting that someone recover from a potentially fatal condition is seen as a reasonable request, but regrowing a limb is not. This is because the actions of God bear a suspicious resemblance to the actions of random chance, and so you have better odds of getting what you ask for if you request something that random chance sometimes provides.

    In response to my premise:

    2. A book that is subject to translation/copying/interpretation errors is inferior to one which is immune to such errors and is therefore imperfect.

    your response puzzles me. Can you tell me which part of your response

    I’m sure we’d all rather have the originals of the Bible’s documents but since writing materials cannot survive forever, we must make do with copies. The same applies to all documents from antiquity, including those of Aristotle, Plato, and Homer. Besides, since most of the world’s population today doesn’t speak Hebrew or Greek, especially the ancient versions, having translations is a good thing.

    refutes that statement? If you correctly answer “no part of it refutes 2.” then what was the purpose of making the statement? The best guess I can make is that it shows that no book, including the Bible, is perfect, which is true, and proves my point, not yours.

    Your response to my next premise:

    3. A god who is incapable of making his holy book immune to such errors is not omnipotent.

    was

    This is very poor reasoning (as are most of your numbered points here). If God gives messages to men and they write it down and others copy it, it should not be considered strange that minor errors crop up in the copying – but that’s all they are: minor errors. To throw the whole book out because of such trivialities is silly. We’d have to throw out all ancient authors, but then how would we know anything about ancient times?

    My reasoning is fine and depends only on the definition of “omnipotent” as my dictionary gives it: “infinite in power.” Your reasoning is baffling. Are you claiming it would not be within the powers of an omnipotent god to create a document which could not be altered or misunderstood? I don’t think you will find many Christians who share your definition of omnipotent.

    You present a false dichotomy. It’s not as though some verses are from God and others are from men. God inspired all the verses, and all the verses were written by men.

    Is it false? You misunderstand yet again. Either the Bible is the perfect word of God, or it isn’t. If that is a false dichotomy, please identify the alternative. If it isn’t the perfect word of God, either because it bears the “mark of men” or for some other reason, you need a way to determine where the imperfect parts are, don’t you?

  14. Mike Gantt says:

    HJ has requested that his comments on this post be linked with his comments on this other post.

  15. Mike Gantt says:

    HJ,

    I have noticed that you like to pretend that you don’t understand my point; I don’t think it helps your position, but I admit it is frustrating, so if your goal is to frustrate me into quitting, that probably will work soon enough.

    I do understand your point – it’s just not relevant to this post.  Besides that, it’s poor reasoning, which I will review in a moment.

    I’m not trying to frustrate  you.  Rather, I’m trying to engage you.  However, you keep trotting out this weak and meandering line of reasoning, of you which you, inexplicably, seem quite proud.

    I am claiming that if Jesus is quoted in the NT as making a promise, and that promise is not fulfilled, that disproves the proposition that the New Testament is a reliable testament of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god.

    This is where you get off point – at the very beginning.  Go back and read what I wrote: I said that I read the New Testament documents as reliable historical accounts.  They were accounts of a man named Jesus of Nazareth.  These accounts were what convinced me of the truth of Jesus.  I only came later to believe that these documents were the word of God (that is the message of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God delivered by faithful though imperfect human beings).  There are other problems with your reasoning here and afterward, but the most fundamental problem is that you are not responding to the point at hand.  You keep trying to disprove that the Bible is the word of God.  I’ve tried to show you – and the others who’ve engaged here – that I believed in Jesus based on reading the New Testament documents as the word of men.

    Now, even though your line of reasoning is off point, I will still address it.

    First of all, you lift some words of Jesus from their context and force-fit them into your strange notion that God has promised to grow limbs for all amputees on demand.  I’ve already addressed the amputee issue above, but I will add some other appropriate thoughts.

    To isolate an individual verse of the Bible (which contains over 30,000 verses) and presume that the Bible’s entire contents can be discredited by discrediting one verse is like saying you can discredit the entire contents of a history book by finding one erroneous sentence.

    To lift a single sentence from the gospel of Matthew, deprive it of its context, and force it to  address an issue that was not addressed in the context is an intellectual crime against Matthew – not to mention everyone else who hears your “argument.”

    To presume that you – someone who does not even claim to know or follow Jesus – can explain the meaning of His words to others is preposterous.  It would be like me saying I could explain a sentence out of context from Karl Marx’ The Communist Manifesto.

    Your entire effort to discredit the Bible based on the contents of Matthew 18:19 is a castle built on sand.  And it’s a shaky castle at that.  Here’s a point by point review of the weak and meandering nature of your argument:

    1. A book which makes promises which are not kept is inferior to one which makes promises that are kept, and is therefore imperfect. (Same goes for a book that condones slavery, etc.)

    As I said above, you are in no position to claim understanding of the promises of God and how they work, much less the entirety of the Bible.

    2. A book that is subject to translation/copying/interpretation errors is inferior to one which is immune to such errors and is therefore imperfect.

    So what?  Here you meander.  Because textbooks can have typos we should not go to school and study books?  You do not have to believe that the Bible is perfect to come to a conclusion about Jesus Christ.

    3. A god who is incapable of making his holy book immune to such errors is not omnipotent.

    This thought is completely off track.  What does it have to do with anything?  It doesn’t even make sense on its own.  It’s like saying that because God created imperfect human beings therefore He cannot be perfect.

    4. A god who is not willing to make his holy book immune to such errors is imperfect.

    Another absurd statement.  Though I don’t by any means concede that the Bible promulgates errors, yet if God had chosen to allow the book to have errors it wouldn’t mean He was imperfect.  It would only mean he was unwilling to produce the kind of book you thought He should.

    You have imagined the kind of book that we would have if God gave us a book.  You’ve got to shed that notion.  It’s like me saying I think God should have lined the stars in the sky in rows like the American flag.  Just because He doesn’t do things our way does not mean He has not done them the right way.  Are we such experts at perfection that we know all about how a perfect God should act?

    Your mind is filled with imaginations and myths about God.  I encourage you to shed them and simply read the New Testament documents as history about a 1st-century Jewish man.  See what you think about Him without all the preconceived notions.

  16. HJ says:

    “Off point” for you means simply that I am not following the script that you have in your mind that you want me to follow so that you can refute it. If you mean “off of the circular reasoning point”, I agree, which is why I asked you to combine with the other thread to which this argument is more relevant. Some people (not you, I understand) but some people, namely rational people, would think that supernatural claims made in a book, which are clearly not true, might detract from the truth of a book.

    By what means do you determine that the NT is an accurate historical document of Jesus’ life? By assuming that it is. You do not care that the gospels tell conflicting stories of the resurrection; that doesn’t count. There is little point in continuing this thread. It has gone off topic. You have failed to show the circular reasoning of your opponent other than by your silly straw man. They accuse you of circular reasoning because it is common, and your alternate explanation is nonsense. To disprove this point, you would need to show that you have investigated every other holy text and treated it as true until proven otherwise. If you can’t do that, you would need to give an alternate explanation for why you gave the Bible this preferential treatment, other than your bias that it was the word of God. Until then, people are going to assume the circular reasoning. Those who make this assumption are not themselves using circular reasoning; they are simply judging based on past experience and the fact that the explanation you give doesn’t make any sense.

    Your refutation of my logic here is so weak that there is no point in arguing it. You simply lack logic skills.

  17. Mike Gantt says:

    HJ,

    “Off point” for you means simply that I am not following the script that you have in your mind that you want me to follow so that you can refute it. If you mean “off of the circular reasoning point”, I agree…

    I am not interested in getting you to follow a script or in making you jump through hoops.  As for your second sentence, we are agreed on that.

    …which is why I asked you to combine with the other thread to which this argument is more relevant.

    Per your request, I have linked these two threads at a couple of points.  To merge them, however, would be confusing.  This post is about people who assume that everyone who believes the Bible is the word of God can only do so by means of circular reasoning.  The other post is about the logical steps I take to faith in Christ and belief that the Bible is the word of God.  The two posts are related but are by no means identical.

    Some people (not you, I understand) but some people, namely rational people, would think that supernatural claims made in a book, which are clearly not true, might detract from the truth of a book.

    You contradict yourself by elsewhere saying that you cannot prove that the supernatural is  impossible but saying here that an historical account which contains supernatural elements is ipso facto suspect.  Either deny the possibility of the supernatural or accept the possibility.  You are being inconsistent.

    By what means do you determine that the NT is an accurate historical document of Jesus’ life? By assuming that it is.

    I take the New Testament documents as they present themselves, until they – or something else – gives me reason to believe otherwise.  If I find something in my attic that looks like a letter from Aunt Millie written in 1947 I assume that’s what it is until and unless it – or something else – gives me reason to believe otherwise.  This is the way most of us approach most documents.

    You do not care that the gospels tell conflicting stories of the resurrection; that doesn’t count.

    I see no material conflicts in the gospel accounts of the resurrection and I have studied them for many years.  There are some superficial differences in the details…but they can all be resolved.  And even if they couldn’t, that would be insufficient reason to throw out their agreement on the material facts.

    There is little point in continuing this thread. It has gone off topic. You have failed to show the circular reasoning of your opponent other than by your silly straw man. They accuse you of circular reasoning because it is common, and your alternate explanation is nonsense.

    I told Joel that I believe that the Bible is the word of God.  He then produced the graphic which says that people who believe the word of God do so based on circular reasoning.  His failure to even inquire whether or not I had used a linear sequence of logic is telling.  You attempted to defend him by saying that the graphic is true of “some” people.  That may be, but it’s off topic.

    To disprove this point, you would need to show that you have investigated every other holy text and treated it as true until proven otherwise. If you can’t do that, you would need to give an alternate explanation for why you gave the Bible this preferential treatment, other than your bias that it was the word of God.

    I don’t need to examine every wrong addition of 2 + 2 to know the correct one.  I already explained in the other post – at length – how I arrived at my conviction that Jesus is the Son of God and it did not involved first believing that the Bible is the word of God.  You may not like the fact that this is the case, but there it is.

    Until then, people are going to assume the circular reasoning. Those who make this assumption are not themselves using circular reasoning; they are simply judging based on past experience and the fact that the explanation you give doesn’t make any sense.

    Yes, people assume circular reasoning in this case.  This is the point I am making in this post.  And you,  apparently, are joining them in that circular reasoning.  You are saying that I must be using circular reasoning if I believe the Bible is the word of God.  That you close your eyes and ears to my explanation in the other post shows how you lock yourself into circular reasoning on the subject.  If you want to break free, just acknowledge the linear sequence of my logic.  You don’t have to agree with it.  You don’t have to follow it.  Just acknowledge that it is not circular…and you will have liberated yourself from the shackles of circular reasoning on this subject.

    Your refutation of my logic here is so weak that there is no point in arguing it. You simply lack logic skills.

    You’re committing Joel’s fallacy.  People who live in circular glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Just break the circle, don’t try to understand it.

  19. Your premise is faulty. It implies that this is the only reason someone might believe the Bible is the word of God. But there are many others. Someone might argue it is so based on a personal revelation, based on evidence of godlike or inspired content within the scriptures themselves, based simple faith, based on the fact that someone they trust implicitly told them so, and so forth. The graphic merely cautions people not to believe based on circular reasoning; it does not say all reasons for believing fall into this category.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The Bible is the word of God. It’s the word of God because it offers scientific knowledge, knowledge which, in the absence of God’s help, could not have been known at such times through human insight.

    • roger says:

      Such ‘scientific’ knowledge as talking snakes and donkeys, I presume …..
      I think you need to go back to your cave and evolve a good deal more before you try again.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        Before commenting on the plausibility of some Old Testament passages, you’d serve yourself better by reading the New Testament and its story about Jesus of Nazareth. His life was morally splendid. Surely you care about morality.

      • todd says:

        such Scientific knowledge like Fingerprints,snowflakes,the Pleiades,Arcturas and many more ,are in the Bible,think you need some light in your cave to read more !!!!!
        The use of rocks to date Fossils,
        The use of Fossils to date rocks ,
        great example of Circular reasoning

  21. Etymos says:

    I have a new massage for you all. A new idea – Circural reasoning may be false but also may be solid true. Beware, thy who achieve positive circural reasoning will succeed always.

  22. Michael says:

    Hello, I happened to see this graphic online and found it interesting. Firstly, you’ll have to pardon me for not reading the entire comment thread. I don’t have much time as I’m also studying for final exams, but I wanted to leave a few thoughts. Secondly, I’m not exactly an expert in logic, so please let me know if my reasoning is fallacious. I do value logic, and believe that God himself is logical Truth.

    In response to the question “how can you be sure…” the graphic says, “Because the Bible tells us so.” For purposes of reasoning, this is only secondarily true. Primarily, I would have to say that I know that the Bible is the Word of God because it has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate its own power both to speak to my conscience and to change my heart from something perverse to something pure. Jesus suggests taking such an approach to his teachings in John 7:17. This argument is not circular, but experiential. As such, the Bible is not something to be proven or disproven through reasoning, but verified personally and by observing the Bible’s effect on its adherents.

    Now it can be seen plainly that the lives of many professed Christians do not display evidence of the Bible’s power to change hearts. Many profess the Bible’s teachings only by cultural custom, political or social convenience or family upbringing, as did I for the first twenty years of my existence. The apostle James wrote about this, suggesting that many of those are not, in fact, Christian. James 2:17, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Jesus addresses this even more emphatically in Matthew 7:21-23. The sad truth is that many people who call themselves Christian have no personal, saving knowledge of Jesus. Even those that do may have old sinful habits that they are still learning to overcome. My point is that not everyone who is Christian is Christ-like, but some are more Christ-like than others. If there is evidence that the Bible is the Word of God, then that will be the lives of those it has changed.

  23. Mike Gantt says:

    That attitude will take you far with God.

    See also Professing Christian, Practicing Atheist.

  24. mc says:

    i do believe in god but evaluating from a neutral stance, i really think HJ won that debate by a huge margin. sorry.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Mike but HJ applied logic in that exchange and clearly won and you didn’t. You were trying to protect your faith, which is understandable but he won that debate easily whilst you kept producing strawman arguements. The problem with debating with a religious person is their objective isn’t to find the most logical answer but to reaffirm their faith. So they will by default selectively disregard information which conflict with their faith, even if it’s clearly logical by creating strawmans. Or by coming up with creative answers that allow them to maintain their faith even if something clearly illogical about the Christian God or the bible is presented. You should read up on cognitive dissonance, it’s basically what you’re doing.

  26. Mike Gantt says:

    If you believe that a person of faith is illogical, relies on straw men, and tries to protect his faith by selecting disregarding information that conflicts with it, then it is no surprise that you thought HJ won the exchange. In fact, you would not even have to read the exchange to come to that conclusion. You could come to that conclusion just by knowing I was a person of faith. And that is circular reasoning.

  27. DJ Crowe says:

    There is absolutely no logic in believing in something that has never been proven, or even evidenced… I was a believer for many years, and when I came to the realization that I had had been believing in a lie, I was liberated… and have never been happier…

    • Mike Gantt says:

      The biblical claims about Jesus Christ are too good not to be true.

      Moreover, those claims are consistent, cohesive, and credible.

      If the claims of Christ were not logical, I could not understand them, much less believe them.

      • DJ Crowe says:

        Jesus was not logical. He was a mythological character from an even bigger book of mythology written when our greatest accomplishment to date was the aqueduct. You believe in a lie, just like a lot of us did, not because it was logical, but we WANT it to be true. We were force-fed it as kids, and it’s a hard habit to break..

        • Michael says:

          Not logical, just historical. Even Wikipedia agrees, with 11 difference citations.

          “Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and although there is little agreement on the historicity of gospel narratives and their theological assertions of his divinity, biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

          By the way, it’s hard to say that our greatest accomplishment was the aqueduct. You might want to research the phrase “out of place artifacts.” It’s really interesting. We may have a much more concentrated effort to advance our technology, but the ancient world was a lot more brilliant and accomplished than we give them credit for.

          So on the premise that Jesus was really a real person, and on the reports of the things he said and did, would you say he was crazy or was he a liar? He didn’t really leave open the option of being a “good teacher.”

          • DJ Crowe says:

            So on the premise that Jesus was really a real person, and on the reports of the things he said and did, would you say he was crazy or was he a liar? He didn’t really leave open the option of being a “good teacher.”

            Even if the bible stories are based on a real person, the feats and words attributed to him are false. He never walked on water, raised the dead, or fed 5,000 people with a couple of fish. Come on, you’re not really that gullible are you? Can you stop and use common sense for only a moment?

            • Michael says:

              How many witnesses does it take to validate a matter in a court of law?

              Just because something is not in our experience, doesn’t prove non-existence. It just proves there’s something we’re unaware of yet. Unless you can claim to have all knowledge, eventually you’re going to have to trust claims made by others.

              The claims made by the Bible about Jesus are reasonably acceptable for several reasons.
              First, there are not one or two, but four accounts recorded from eyewitnesses about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. (Luke was not a personal witness, but a historian who went around to multiple eyewitnesses and cross-examined their stories.)
              Second, when the claims were first made about Jesus, they were made in the face of a large organized group of hostile witnesses.
              Third, the evidence to prove those claims false were all immediately available to anyone who who had motive to disprove the claims.

              The best argument that the Jewish ruling council could come up with was that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body while the Roman guards were asleep. But the accusation doesn’t prove that they did, in only verifies that the tomb was empty. The ruling council was never able to substantiate their claims about grave robbery. On the other hand, the record of the Roman soldiers is that Jesus was, in fact, no longer dead.

              When Paul was writing to the people at Corinth he said, “After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” If there was any question over whether Jesus was really seen alive after death, there were still plenty of people that could verify it.

  28. Michael says:

    Isn’t the argument in that picture a bit of a strawman? Certainly that’s the argument that most Christians have, but it doesn’t really represent reality.

    The Bible is the Word of God

    But how can you be sure it’s the word of God?

    As opposed to any other document, the Bible demonstrates all of the following:
    1. textual authenticity,
    2. historical and archeological accuracy,
    3. internal and external consistency,
    4. unity and coherence despite having been written by 40 authors over a millennium and a half,
    5. consistency regarding the nature of the God that it describes,
    6. accuracy regarding the condition of the human heart,
    7. ability to speak authoritative moral truth transcendent of time and place, and
    8. prophetic fulfillment.

    but why believe the Bible?

    Because it has demonstrated its power to change my heart internally rather than just beautifying my life externally like other religions.

    And that’s not evidence you, it’s evidence for me. I invite you to read the Bible and examine yourself by it. I suggest starting with Exodus 20:1-17 and Matthew 5:21-30. Where do you stand? If someone were to examine you by the standard set by those verses (ten commandments and Jesus’ teachings), would you be found innocent or guilty? I know I would be found guilty.

  29. DJ Crowe says:

    You know, I can understand why people 1,000 years ago believed all this to be true, but here in the 21st century, where we have walked on the moon, sent a space nearly out of our solar system, put robots on Mars, put a spaceship on Titan, mapped the human genome, and a plethora of other scientific advances, it is most depressing that there are still those of you out there who believe this garbage!! Come on, people… wake up!!!!! Stop being sheep!!!

  30. Mike Gantt says:

    DJ,

    Think about what you are observing and saying. Yes, mankind has done all these things and yet has not come any closer to solving the perennial problem of human existence: the temptation to do evil instead of what is good. In modernity, wickedness just finds different outlets. And, in fact, some of them (e.g. adultery, stealing, and bearing false witness) are the same old outlets.

    Technological advancement is as old as the Tower of Babel – and just as ineffectual when it comes to solving the problem of sin in a human heart.

    • DJ Crowe says:

      What is it about human existence that needs to be solved? If humans are so innately evil, as you claim, there is absolutely no way we could have reached the point we are at today! The only thing religion has done for man is make us feel worthless and evil (at least to folks who believe in religion). And if you’re saying the tower of Babel was an example of technology, does that mean unicorns are an example of taxonomy?

  31. Mike Gantt says:

    My point is not that humans are innately evil, but rather that they are susceptible to temptation. Thus we had a couple of young men scheming to maim and kill innocent victims in Boston recently. If technological advancement were a panacea, such men would not be doing such things.

    I am not advocate for religion. Rather, I am an advocate for truth.

    Your last sentence was a non sequitur. If you don’t accept that the Tower of Babel was historical, just consider the advancement from stone age to bronze age. It did not make men stop doing vile things to each other – just as no technological advancement has ever stoppped men from doing vile things to each other.

    If you don’t want to believe in Christ, then don’t. But don’t kid yourself that modernity holds any promise to reform human character.

    • DJ Crowe says:

      Those two young men scheming to maim and kill did so because of religion. Religion does one positive thing that I can think of. It helps to promote community. But that’s it. That’s the only positive thing I can say. Besides that, it divides us, causes us to hate others, and promotes insanity instead of logic and reason. And the most important thing in the history of the human mind had nothing to do with god or any religion. It had to do with our ancient ancestors began adding meat to their diets. That, and nothing else made us who we are today.
      And you most certainly ARE an advocate of religion. As long as it’s YOUR religion.

      • Michael says:

        It’s a bit harsh to lump all religions together as though they all teach the same thing. They don’t.
        It’s also harsh to judge a religion by the fringe followers.

        Don’t judge Islam by the activities of a Muslim; judge it by the teachings and life of Mohammed. In the same way, don’t judge Christianity by the activities of a Christian; judge it by the teachings and life of Jesus.

        • DJ Crowe says:

          If we are to believe the events in the q’ran actually happened, Mohammed was a pedophile. If we are use that same reasoning with the bible, Jesus was a lying anarchist… We have no idea what actually happened during those events. Both books are fictitious accounts of fictitious people, and have absolutely no bearing on our lives today, except as historical literature.

          • Michael says:

            It’s either historical or it’s fiction, but not both. The collection of manuscripts both biblical and extra-biblical can resolve that issue.

            You mention that Jesus was a lying anarchist, how did you come to that conclusion?

            • DJ Crowe says:

              You mean there’s no such thing as historical fiction? All the things written about Zeus were true? I didn’t say Jesus was a lying anarchist. I said if he were real (which he wasn’t) he would be a lying anarchist. Lying because he told so many lies, and an anarchist because he said not to have faith in present government, but in our ‘heavenly father’, which is the same as anarchy.

  32. Mike Gantt says:

    You extol logic, but don’t practice it. For example, you say the Boston bombers were motivated by religion and that religion fosters community. How is bombing people fostering community?

    • DJ Crowe says:

      Because religion affects different people in different ways. Those two nutjobs are no different than Andrea Yates, who killed her children because ‘god told her to’. Religion has a way of bringing out the most decadent part of a person. On the whole, the sooner it’s out of our lives, the better we’ll all be. And by the way, religion fosters community in only small ways. If it helps you to feel guilty about hungry people in your area, and you feed them, good job! If it tells you to kill a doctor because he breaks one of your religious rules, then bad job!! If it tells you to hate someone because they love someone else, again, bad job. Religion poisons everything…

  33. Mike Gantt says:

    Sin poisons everything.

    If religion poisoned everything, then only religious people would sin and atheists would be sinless.

    • DJ Crowe says:

      Granted, you appear to be very adept at circular reasoning. I believe it’s Romans 3:23 that says we all ‘sin’, and in light of folks like Swaggart and Bakker, I think it’s safe to assume that no one is immune from wrong-doing. My reasoning is that religion, the way it is practiced worldwide, has never done anything to improve the human condition. Only people themselves can do that, and religion teaches them that they only need to adhere to their respective tenets of faith, and they will live forever, doing whatever their fables tell them they will be doing. I prefer to liken religion to a cancer in society. Of course, if souls are real things, then the cancer doesn’t feel it’s doing anything wrong, correct?

  34. Mike Gantt says:

    Your reasoning is patently fallacious. You’re saying that because you can identify some religious people (e.g. Swaggart and Bakker) who have sinned, therefore religion is the cause of their sin. You could just as easily – and fallaciously – reason that they are both Americans, therefore being American is the cause of their sin. Or that both are males, and therefore being male is the source of their evil. Or that both have the vowel “a” as the second letter of their surnames, and therefore anyone whose name follows that pattern is likewise poisoned.

    Logic is not a friend of the position you want to take.

    • DJ Crowe says:

      I stand in awe of you. Congratulations! That is, without a doubt, the finest series of strawman arguments I have ever seen put together in one sentence. You take my breath away… Tell me again what the Crusades were for?

  35. Mike Gantt says:

    The only unjust wars you can think of are religious ones?

    • DJ Crowe says:

      Absolutely not. I can think of many, but that’s one with the sole purpose of forcing their message on the population. Spread the word of god through the sword. But then again, we were pretty barbaric back then. Inclined to believe anything told them by a person of high charisma. Do you completely dismiss science in any form? Do you actually defend the events in the bible as factual and literal?

  36. Mike Gantt says:

    Skepticism is not a modern invention. The Bible records plenty of it.

    I see no conflict between science and the Bible. They report on different dimensions of human existence.

    I don’t always understand what the Bible says, but when I do understand it I trust it. The people who wrote it were people I’d like to be more like.

    • D.j. Crowe says:

      To be honest, I find the conflict between science and the bible begins very early in the book. For instance, the record of the events of creation are almost the exact opposite of the way we knew them to occur. The earth is created before light and stars, birds and whales before reptiles and insects, and flowering plants before any animals. The order of events known from science is just the opposite. The stars are simply lights hung up in this mysterious ‘firmament’, but we know now that they are suns like our own. The story in Joshua 10 about the sun stopping indicates the sun revolves around the earth, which we know is not true, but back then, this is what they believed.
      And when you say you say you want to be more these people, that kinda scares me. I’m assuming one of your heroes would be Abraham? This is the same man who was willing to murder his son, Isaac?

      • Mike Gantt says:

        DJ,

        I cannot help you with your complaint that a collection of ancient writings in diverse genres doesn’t read like a modern scientific textbook.

        Likewise, to lift Abraham completely from his ancient context and place him in a modern neighborhood, calling his conduct murder, is also illogical.

        While I do admire Abraham, the person in the Bible I’d most like to resemble is Jesus of Nazareth. If He thought Abraham was a notable exemplar of faith, who am I to disagree? Am I more moral than Jesus?

        If there is a Creator, there can be no doubt that He is able to raise the dead. Therefore, for you to suggest that the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament are illogical is simply to reveal that you have assumed your conclusion – not proven it. That is a classic case of circular reasoning.

        • D.j. Crowe says:

          Mike, there is a reason the bible doesn’t read like a science book. They knew extremely little about science in those days. They believed in gods, demons, monsters and ghosts. All of these things are repugnant to a normal 21st century human. It hurts our sense of thought, and does absolutely nothing to help us grow as a species. In fact, it does just the opposite. I know so many believers that scoff when they are discussing the beliefs held by, say, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or some backwater tribe of aboriginals in South America who worship a soda bottle. “How silly!” they say. “How can people believe such craziness?” And this is said without looking at their own beliefs, which, to anyone else, is just as silly.
          And you are incorrect. I am in no way using circular reasoning. I am using critical thought. As a fan of science, I do not start with the answer, like christians do. I ask a question, and I do not stop asking until I find the answer that fits with what I know to be true. In other words, you can tell me that god appeared to you and told you the sky was pink, and you can witness to me about it forever, but when I can simply look up, and see the sky for myself, your witness will fall upon deaf ears. Whether you like it or not… whether you agree with it or not, logic is not your enemy. It IS, however, the enemy of what you claim as truth. Logic cannot be twisted to fit anyone’s point of view, including mine.

          • Mike Gantt says:

            Your arguments stem from emotion, not logic Of course, I don’t expect you to recognize this. Similarly, Christopher Hitchens was constantly shedding heat where light was needed. He didn’t recognize how he’d intellectually imprisoned himself either.

            If you’re not awestruck by the morality – which is to say the love – of Jesus Christ, then I’m not surprised that the rest of the Bible doesn’t impress you.

            • D.j. Crowe says:

              Yes, I’ve been told that before, and so has every other atheist I’ve ever met. We all hear the same things: “You’re just angry,” or “You must have had some terrible experience in your life.” Is it so hard for you to believe that people can just ‘see the light’, and cast off ancient, Bronze-Age superstition when reason and common sense are able to take over the psyche?

              Since the Jesus of the bible didn’t exist, no. He doesn’t impress me. No more so than the stories I’ve read of Hercules, Perseus, or any other legendary ‘god-man’ in history.

              • Mike Gantt says:

                I have never read another story like that of Jesus – either in history or fiction.

                The sort of deceit necessary to fabricate the story of Jesus we have in the Bible would cut against the moral excellence ascribed to Him. That is, a liar can’t credibily fabricate a such a truth-teller.

                • D.j. Crowe says:

                  The bible was put together the way it was because christianity was a major political power, and it behooved leaders to claim it. That’s why Constantine converted. Not because he believed any of it, but it helped to solidify his kingdom. I don’t think deceit was the motive behind whoever wrote the original stories of the bible, but the ones who rewrote them and promoted them as true are absolutely guilty of deceit.
                  And I disagree that a liar can’t credibly fabricate a truth-teller. That happens all the time, and has happened all throughout history.

                  • Mike Gantt says:

                    A liar doesn’t understand the thought processes of an honest man and that’s why he can’t describe them.

                    I’ll let you have the last word now.

  37. Michael says:

    @DJ Crowe:
    (This is a reply to your post above mentioning historical fiction. The format of the blog seems to make replies narrower as we go.)

    That’s fair enough, I’ll accept historical fiction. I don’t know how the Greek myths got started. There isn’t any (scholarly) debate anymore over whether Jesus was real. There are more manuscripts documenting him than there are for anyone before the last 200-300 years or so. The fact that the bulk of those documents are complied in a religious text doesn’t negate or even validate their accuracy. To do that we have to go back and cross-reference and date the various independent voices writing about him, critical responses to those accounts, the events they mention, etc. to see whether it was fiction or an actual event. But you see right within the first year or so and continuing, that there were people dying for the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. Do you know of anyone willing to die for fiction?

    Based on the archeological and textual examinations already done by the science community, I trust that he was real. I can find some links if you’d like, or would you accept this reasoning?

    You said above that, “If we are use that same reasoning with the bible, Jesus was a lying anarchist…”
    I’m having trouble finding evidence that he ever lied. Could you point to any texts Biblical or otherwise showing that he lied about anything?

    About anarchy, that reference about “not having faith in the government but in the heavenly father” seems to be mistakenly taken out of context. At another time (when asked about paying taxes) he clearly showed submission to the governing authorities, even when the people asking him wanted to rebel. The point that Jesus was making wasn’t to rebel against or disregard the governing authorities, but to not put one’s hope in them to provide. They have legitimate authority, but are still just humans.

    Out of curiosity, What has your background been with religion?

    • D.j. Crowe says:

      “Based on the archaeological and textual examinations already done by the science community, I trust that he was real. I can find some links if you’d like, or would you accept this reasoning?”
      I accept that the ‘legend’ of Jesus may have been based on a real person, but I contend that the feats attributed to him are fabrications. There is no logical reason to believe that he ever walked on water, raised a dead man, or healed horrible diseases. As I stated to you before, Jesus was quoted as saying:
      “…these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they
      shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any
      deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall
      recover.” (Mark 16:17,18). And again:
      “…He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…” (John 14:12).
      Now, the way I read this is that Jesus allegedly said “Any true believers will perform these same miracles that I have done.” Am I reading this wrong, or are there no true believers? You should be able to turn water into wine, heal sickness and disease with only a touch, etc…
      My background with religion is that I was saved in 1986, baptized in the holy ghost one month later, and ordained three years after. I was pastor of a small fellowship for a few years, before discovering that the more I studied the bible, the more questions developed, that required an answer. After all, I was basing my immortal soul on this, so I felt it deserved a solid basis. I am in the process of posting my testimony on my website, because so many people ask for it. But suffice it to say, I know the bible well, having read it cover to cover no less than four times, and committing many hours of study into it.
      My ‘deconversion’, however, took a few years. I came out of belief kicking and screaming, because I sincerely wanted to believe. I did not wake up one day and tell myself that I no longer wated to believe. This was a very personal and somewhat traumatic experience, in that I lost many family members and many friends because of it.

      • Michael says:

        There is no logical reason to believe that he ever walked on water, raised a dead man, or healed horrible diseases. I think that logic could not disprove something based only on the knowledge of one’s personal experience. All a person could say is that they can’t prove it one way or another (yet).

        Regarding miracles, the context of Mark 16:17-18 is verse 15: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” This is the same context of Jesus’ ministry in John 14. I believe that miracles do happen, but where they are no longer needed to establish the gospel they eventually fade away. i suspect that if you were to start preaching in a place where the gospel has not yet reached, you would again see such things. God doesn’t exist to satisfy our desire for a show. On at least two or three occasions the Pharisees asked Jesus for some kind of miracle to test his authority. His response was that no sign would be given it. Yet when Jesus was among the poor and the outcasts he did many miracles.

        You might want to consider the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. The rich man and Abraham were conversing, and the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his brothers so they wouldn’t also end up where the rich man was.
        “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
        “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
        “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

        I’m not sure why, but there is something about miracles that does not produce lasting faith. Later on in Luke 24 when Jesus had (ironically) risen from the dead and was walking with the two disciples who were headed for Emmaus, the text says that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
        After several hours of this they finally recognize him as the messiah and he disappeared from them. “They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

        You mention that you had unanswered questions, would you be willing to discuss those questions?

  38. D.j. Crowe says:

    In regards to logic not being able to prove it one way or the other, it is illogical for Jesus to have done those things the same way it is illogical for a cow to suddenly sprout wings and fly. Using your methodology, it is quite reasonable for that to happen. The logic I espouse says that the likelihood of that happening is zero. In other words, The events in the bible go against the established laws of physics, reason, and even gravity! If I may paraphrase Paul, when we are children, we think as children, but when we are grown, we put childish things behind us.
    Now, I’m not saying religious belief is childish, but what I AM saying is that when our species was young, we were apt to believe all manner of things. One needs only to look at primitive tribes in the world to see that. The strange thing about religion is that we still believe it, even though we have learned things that bring about all kinds of unanswerable questions (which I’ll get to momentarily to answer your very last question.
    Your comment about miracles was puzzling. Are you saying that miracles no longer happen like they did in biblical days because the gospel has been established? You mean god is still doing these type of things in places like the Amazon, New Guinea, or the Congo? They certainly don’t happen where they can be authenticated, that’s for sure. And if miracles are no longer needed, where is this stated in the bible? Or is that conjecture on your part?
    It seems to me that an all-powerful god would allow his presence to be known in a major way. The god of the bible seems to have diminished in power here in modern times, hasn’t he? Or maybe it’s because in modern times, we’ve evolved beyond the need for a belief in such foolishness.

    Your last question is a sticky wicket. If you are an apologist, you’ll find senseless answers for senseless questions. On my website, http://everydayatheism.com, there are three chapters dedicated to the majority of questions that arose as I studied. They are called:
    Science in the Bible;
    History in the Bible; and
    Irrationality in the Bible
    But one of the biggies (at least for science-minded folks like myself) is an issue with the supposed world-wide flood. If it rained enough to cover all the earth, it was fresh water. How did that not kill the salt-water animals? And if it was salt-water rain (which doesn’t exist), how did the fresh-water animals escape death? Before you answer, the generic ‘god did it’ is not going to be enough, but I’m sure you’re aware of that.

  39. Michael says:

    I don’t think those events go against established laws of physics at all. If a lame person were suddenly able to walk without any intelligent intervention, then yes, that would go against physics. But to say that a superior being interacted with nature in a way that was superior to our own ability to interact, that’s perfectly consistent. The problem is that we can’t make God do that on command, so we have to trust other people’s reports of a time when God did that.

    Consider an analogy: Suppose you were to write a computer game world with various natural laws. If your character were to use the cheat codes that you added, would that mean that the laws of the game were broken? No, it would just mean that you were using an extra set of abilities that you had reserved only for yourself. That analogy will break down eventually, but I hope you get the point.

    “You mean god is still doing these type of things in places like the Amazon, New Guinea, or the Congo?”

    I have actually heard of accounts from missionaries about what I would consider miracles among the people that they worked with. I can’t verify those accounts, but even if I could, what difference would it make? I don’t need it to believe, because I already have God’s word right in front of me.

    “if miracles are no longer needed, where is this stated in the bible?”

    The Pharisees demanded miracles from Jesus and were never given any, except what Jesus described as the sign of Jonah, speaking about his death and resurrection. In their case they did not need miracles to believe, because they already had Moses and the Prophets and were unwilling to believe from what they had. In contrast, the religious outcasts and poor people that Jesus spent most of his time with did not have that. To them Jesus authenticated his teaching with miracles because it actually did increase their faith. If you must demand proof to believe, then no proof will ever be enough.

    Romans 10:17 tells where we can get genuine faith: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
    This happens through the conviction of the Law and the prophecies about Jesus. That’s something God does in a person as they seek him.

    “It seems to me that an all-powerful god would allow his presence to be known in a major way.”

    He has. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

    “The god of the bible seems to have diminished in power here in modern times, hasn’t he?”

    No, he practices what he preaches in Matthew 7:6, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

    • D.j. Crowe says:

      “But to say that a superior being interacted with nature in a way that was superior to our own ability to interact, that’s perfectly consistent.”

      With physics? Absolutely not. The very existence of god is illogical and goes completely against the established laws of science.
      Funny you should use a computer programmer analogy. So god punishes us for being sinful when he created us sinful in the first place?

      “If you must demand proof to believe, then no proof will ever be enough.”

      Absolutely wrong. When my sense of reality is sated with the answer to ANY question, I consider it answered. If god were to offer proof of his existence, you would see me turn quickly into an on-fire soldier for Jesus. And that proof has to be more than just the world I see around me. When I look at the world, I see evidence of plate tectonics, weather patterns, and a multitude of things with science has studied, evaluated, and explained. I would love to see a work that can only be explained by the existence of a god. Something that science simply throws their arms up at. If we are to believe the bible, we are unique creatures, living on a world that was made just for us that was made a mere 6,000 years ago. Now this scenario creates many more questions.
      If we believe science, it tells us our species has been around nearly 4 million years, living on a planet that orbits a star that is 4.5 billion years old, and that is constantly changing. This scenario explains why there are nearly 7 billion humans living in the world today. We simply could not reach that number in 6,000 years. Science answers the questions that the bible creates. And does it quite well, too.

      • Michael says:

        The commonly accepted population growth rate formula is
        Pop.final = Pop.initial(1 + rate)^N.years
        For ease of calculation let’s say that the current world population is 7 billion. Based on Wikipedia and other websites, I think it’s fair to assume an annual population growth rate of 1%, but I’ll use .5% just to be safe. Assuming also that we had a starting population of 2, how many years would it take to reach our current population?
        7,000,000,000 = 2(1 + .005)^years
        You’re welcome to check my math, but if we solve for the exponent, it would take right around 4550 years to get from 2 to 7,000,000,000 people. If we used 1% it would take under 2300 years.
        By the way, I disagree with the popular Christian model that the world is exactly 6000 years old; I would accept a number even around 10-15,000 years old. But it certainly is possible for to reach our current number 6000 years.

        You say that “the very existence of god is illogical and goes completely against the established laws of science.”

        What laws of science rule out the existence of a God? What logic do you use to say that the existence of God is illogical?

        Here, I think, is the key issue we need to deal with, because it is difficult:
        “So god punishes us for being sinful when he created us sinful in the first place?”
        I do believe that God sovereignly arranges all things, but I don’t believe that he forces us to sin. I would say that he allows us the freedom to sin if we choose to. We have been given the choice to honor him or to dishonor him as our Creator, and he allows us to live out the consequences for our actions.

        • D.j. Crowe says:

          “But it certainly is possible for to reach our current number 6000 years.”
          I’m not even sure how to respond to this. Have you ever studied the science of evolution and migration? We could reach present numbers if every human capable of procreation were doing nothing but copulating. There would be no time for hunting, no evolution of stone tools, no agriculture. Not to mention the infant mortality of ancient homo sapiens. Every child born would have to be healthy and fertile. Conception would have to begin right after puberty (which actually falls in line with biblical and q’ranic accounts). The math simply does not work, especially when you take these things into account. For a species with nearly 4 million years of evolution behind it, it actually does…

          • Michael says:

            Actually it makes more sense, considering the cave-man style societies we assume they had. You need proliferation for survival. More than that, in a preindustrialized society, kids around the house were needed to get the farm chores done. Kids were actually a blessing rather than a curse. the only reason we have limited ourselves to two these days is because of the me-centered lifestyle that our society has taken.
            The only reason we haven’t reached 8 billion or more by now is because of genocide, war, disease and famine. Again, have you worked out the math for yourself? Trying again with a paltry 0.1% growth rate, it would take no more than 22,000 years. Keep in mind that it takes roughly 2.1 children per family to break even. So 3-4 per family would very easily accomplish this, even if people only lived to age 50. Outside of the city, people tend to have larger families.

            As for stone tools, why use that? They were working with iron 3000 years ago, and bronze for a lot longer before that.

            • D.j. Crowe says:

              And what were we using 100,000 years ago? We’ve been around much longer than you are saying. That’s what I’m trying to tell you, but you’re sticking your fingers in yours ears and refusing to hear it. 98% of reputable scientists believe this, and for you to say they are all wrong is the epitome of hubris!!!

          • Michael says:

            By the way, 1% growth rate is hardly the mass orgy you’re imagining.

            • D.j. Crowe says:

              LOL… not my imaginings… only in the mind of someone who believes the young earth theory, which I don’t. I imagine a highly intelligent species of primate, coming into their own, learning from others, and teaching their young, and going on a vast trek to populate the planet. All in the course of a few million years.

              • Michael says:

                I understand that species develop from archetypal “kinds”, but could you explain how one kind can change into another? DNA is not as fuzzy as Darwin would like.

  40. Michael says:

    In answer to your question about saltwater and freshwater animals being wiped out by a flood,
    here is one possibility: back then the animals had not speciated to the point that they needed a specific habitat. We still have some animals that are apparently that robust. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euryhaline

    Does that answer help?

    • D.j. Crowe says:

      Salt water and fresh water go far beyond a specific habitat. If a dolphin (a mammal) or a white shark (a fish) were to be placed in fresh water, they die. There are some species that can live in both for short periods, but no..

      • Michael says:

        Salt water versus freshwater is actually a kind of habitat. Either a fish needs a saltwater habitat or a freshwater habitat to survive. What I’m saying is that over time they may have adapted so much that they can no longer tolerate the other kind of water, whereas they originally may have been able to tolerate such dramatic changes. Microevolution allows for loss of genetic material. Consider the definition in the first paragraph here: http://www.gotquestions.org/microevolution-macroevolution.html
        Does that help?

        • D.j. Crowe says:

          You are talking about far longer than 6,000 years for any species to adapt to freshwater over saltwater. You would need millions of years for this to happen. And then, milliopns more for them to revert BACK to saltwater. This is just a silly story that CANNOT be true. Sorry.

    • D.j. Crowe says:

      And, I must also add, this event ‘occurred’ less that 5,000 years ago. And yes, species were no different now than they were then, and they DO require specific habitats to live in. If, 5,000 years ago, it rained enough to flood the earth, we would NOT have any saltwater oceans. We would be a completely freshwater world, which we are not.

      • Michael says:

        What about the “fountains of the deep” that were also mentioned?
        Also, how are you so certain that species did not change in 5000 years?

        • D.j. Crowe says:

          There are no fountains in the deep. The earth is filled with magma. There are pocket of underground springs, yes, but our core is boiling rock. If the earth’s ‘fountains’ were to be opened up, we’d be a dead planet then, and a dead planet now.

          And I am certain because we have found bones from lions 700,000 years old that are virtually identical with modern lions (except for size). Evolution is not an event we can witness. It’s a process we can identify in the fossil record and geological record. The changes that creatures go through to evolve takes many, many millions of years to occur. There are very subtle changes that can happen in a few thousand years, but not enough to change a species. Jack Russell Terriers and wolves are both canidae. Their are only subtle differences (size, of course, being the major one) that differentiate the two.

          The whole Noah’s Ark story is impossible for many reasons. This is only one.

          • Michael says:

            There’s more to the earth than just the core. If the “fountains of the deep” were opened up and emptied, then yes, of course they won’t exist anymore. We now have a lot of tectonic activity instead. The planet is a shattered remnant of what it used to be.

            I thought the scientific method could only make claims about what was observable and repeatable?

            So we have wolfs and Jack Russell Terriers now. Back then they had the canidae.
            Lions never adapted to water habitats anyway, so what’s your point?

            What other reasons do you have for the Flood account being impossible?

            • D.j. Crowe says:

              Yes, but the deeper you go, the hotter it is. And we are far from a shattered remnant. We are just living on a constantly changing planet, as evidenced by earthquakes and volcanoes. These are not biblical omens of god’s wrath, simply our planet evolving the same way we do.

              The scientific method indeed relies on the observable and testable, but also the measurable. We have never been to Proxima Centauri, but we know it is 4.24 light-years from us, because it is measurable. Your book claims that it is only a light hung in the firmament.

              Lions never adapted to a water habitat, but otters did. And it took them much longer than 6,000 years to go from being badger-like predators to marine mammals.

              I have many problems with the flood. I mean, I could list them, but I have done so on my website. I have described Noah and the flood as the gift that keeps on giving because of the ridiculous claims therein.

  41. Michael says:

    By the way I noticed your comment about Constantine above, and I’d have to say he probably did use Christianity a a means to his political end. But the Bible was well established long before his time. Constantine was 272-337, while modern dating efforts now put the new testament texts generally before the second century. http://www.freebeginning.com/new_testament_dates/
    From what I’ve heard they reached rather broad acceptance well in advance of the council of Nicea in 325.

    • D.j. Crowe says:

      Unfortunately, that doesn’t coincide with the most accredited historians. The individual books existed, to be sure, but certainly not as a complete collection, and most likely not in their present form.

      • Michael says:

        Ok. Could you send me some references?

        • D.j. Crowe says:

          Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry, eds. (1890). The Seven Ecumenical Councils
          Athanasius of Alexandria, Defence of the Nicene Definition; Ad Afros Epistola Synodica
          Theodoret, General Council of Nicæa

          Of course, these are only starting points. The only sources you will find a complete bible before this council convened will be found in apologetics texts or websites, not unlike ‘Answers in Genesis’, which is completely useless for gathering factual information…

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  43. Anonymous says:

    diffirent lens diffirent views

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