Stress-testing the
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Where a recovering ex-atheist rams the Bible into other worldviews to see what breaks (note: Scripture cannot be broken)


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Reflecting on Value

I have been considering Angels Depart’s conclusion to his side of the recent Does God exist? debate. I was disappointed by this conclusion, since it could have been a charitable and honest review of the debate, but instead introduced new material and arguments, quote-mined me, failed to acknowledge even my successful defense of the harmony […]

I have been considering Angels Depart’s conclusion to his side of the recent Does God exist? debate. I was disappointed by this conclusion, since it could have been a charitable and honest review of the debate, but instead introduced new material and arguments, quote-mined me, failed to acknowledge even my successful defense of the harmony of Scripture, and completely ignored the epistemological questions which constituted the very core of the debate. However, although this was disappointing, it was by no means unexpected—as I have mentioned often in my works, Scripture teaches that unbelievers are both deceitful and stupid by biblical standards. I am confident that this will be perspicuous to those who critically examine both sides of the debate, and it seems neither appropriate nor constructive to critique Angels’ conclusion at length here. If he would like to engage further with the epistemological argument I have forwarded I would be quite willing to schedule a second debate, since this would show how he has misunderstood many of my points, and give me the opportunity to more decisively refute the secular position—but I would do this primarily for the benefit of my Christian readers, and not out of a genuine hope for his repentance. In light of his own testimony and Hebrews 6:4-8, I cannot maintain such a hope with much conviction.

Erratum; August 14, 2007: Angels recently posted his deconversion story, from which it appears that Hebrews 6 may not actually apply. There is no mention of doctrine or of difficulties with the propositional content of Scripture itself (aside from Jonah)—rather, he seems to treat Christianity as a cultural phenomenon, and judge its truth according to the actions of those who profess to be Christians. This no doubt explains the focus he took in the debate on the atrocities committed by professing believers, though it only deepens the mystery as to what connection he sees between the actions of obviously apostate people, and the truth of the religious propositions which they claim to believe. If he met atheists who lived as Christians, would he start to doubt atheism?

Nonetheless, there is one theme permeating Angels’ concluding post which I think can constructively be considered. I don’t direct this consideration to Angels himself; rather, I am merely using his comments as a vector into a discussion which I have already been thinking about for some time. This discussion is as regards values in the secular worldview.

I think Angels’ statement represents the secular view fairly well when he says, “Only in humanism do we really have the tools to enjoy and value life.” Similarly, his representation of religious ideologies as “weak” and “inferior” is typical of the view taken by many secular ideologies. The problem with these statements is that they presuppose the concept of value—but value as a concept is incongruent with a godless worldview.

What I mean is, the idea of value implies a great deal more than most atheists or agnostics are willing to concede. It implies a standard which is directly borrowed from the Christian worldview: a standard which requires there to be such a thing as meaning and worth in a genuine, transcendent sense. This is obviously only possible given a transcendent source for these things, which in turn entails God.

Now, don’t think I make this statement naively. I am well aware that the immediate response of the unbeliever is, “Rubbish! Secular worldviews do not require that worth or value or meaning be dictated by God; they can be equally worthwhile, meaningful and valuable concepts if we dictate them instead.” In fact, many would argue that value can only be most truly dictated by the individual: that it is impossible for anyone to assign it from without, because it is something subjective which must be determined from within.

The problem should be obvious from the way in which I have couched the objection. It isn’t a trick; it is simply an observation on the nature of things like value and meaning. In order to talk about them, one must first have some conception of what they are. When we try to define value or meaning, we are already presupposing value and meaning in doing this. For example, an atheist might say that value is not any kind of moral issue, but is simply a pragmatic concern: that which is pragmatically best is of the most value. So we can say that life has value because it is, from a practical perspective, better to be living than dead. But the term “better” and “best” here are value judgments themselves. In trying to define value as a function of pragmatism, the atheist is nonetheless presupposing a non-pragmatic view of it.

In an evolutionary worldview, value or meaning must be defined as a product of evolution itself. The atheist would say that we see life as valuable because it contributes to the survival of the species, and a species which did not see life as valuable would not survive. But this doesn’t explain the concept of value itself. It tries to explain why we see life as valuable, within an evolutionary framework—but it has no explanatory power over what value actually is. If it is simply a word to describe what is conducive to survival, then obviously the unbeliever is using it wrongly when he speaks of humanism as being able to provide the tools to enjoy and value life. Nor can his value judgment of religious ideologies as weak and inferior be valid. If anything, religious ideologies have shown themselves to be more conducive to the survival of the species than non-religious ones; and, if they are indeed an evolutionary by-product, as the evolutionist would assume due to their ubiquity, then certainly it is absurd to say that they are weak or inferior if one is defining value in a pragmatic sense.

On the contrary, the way in which the unbeliever clearly despises religion (or, I should say, Christianity) betrays a clear belief that value is more than a matter of pragmatics. It also does not seem to be simply a matter of preference (which would include personal enjoyment), because although one could perhaps define value as a mere metric for subjective inclination, the unbeliever does not permit the Christian his own preferences—rather, he says that Christian ideology is weak and inferior. It is very important to the atheist that people don’t believe in what he sees as weak and inferior ideologies. It is very important to him that they do not believe what he thinks is false and foolish. Value is something which is implicit in nearly everything he thinks and believes—but it isn’t pragmatic, and it isn’t subjective. On the contrary, he acts as if it is moral and objective, albeit twisted to his own worldview. Values are valuable to him. But how does a materialistic, naturalistic, non-theistic worldview account for this? How does a way of thinking which sees the universe as purely physical, without intelligent purpose, and without intrinsic value, explain what the terms “purpose” and “value” in this sentence even mean?

Indeed, the way in which objections to Christianity are couched generally imply very strong assumptions about purpose and meaning, as well as value itself. Christianity is seen as having no good purpose; that is, its purpose is without value. Conversely, one assumes that an atheist sees some valuable purpose in humanism, or he would not assert its worth so strongly. Although there are other things than purpose which may be valued, it is generally the case that the ideas of purpose and value are strongly correlated. Indeed, the implication in much humanistic argumentation, such as the quote by Angels Depart at the beginning of this article, is that value is a metric of purpose. Purpose is valuable; and, I suppose, value is purposeful.

Certainly the Christian has available to him the tools within his worldview to agree with this. Since God is all in all, and value and purpose are both intrinsic to him, as much as intelligence and creativity and compassion and all those other things we take for granted, we can certainly affirm the value and purpose of both him (intrinsically) and his creation (by necessary consequence). Indeed, the Christian knows that teleology (design and purpose) is integral to creation. It all fulfills a purpose, and because that purpose is God’s, it has superlative value. Human life has purpose, meaning, and value, because God has created it, and decreed it in his law.

The atheist, on the other hand, has a worldview in which life arose from non-life through non-teleological processes. We cannot even say that evolution has a purpose, because evolution is simply a natural process, and without any kind of teleology to nature itself, we certainly can’t impose one on any given process within nature. It would be erroneous, for example, to say that the purpose of the human species is to survive—there is no purpose at all intrinsic to it. It is a consequence of purposeless evolution that humanity has survived, and continues to survive—no purpose can be ascribed to this process.

Of course, even things like the desire to survive must be couched in purposeless, evolutionary terms. Although we desire to live, it is not because life has any genuine value or purpose in some objective sense. On the contrary, when viewed simply as a natural process, life has no value at all, because value is a meaningless concept in naturalistic philosophy. We might perceive life to be valuable, or we might see some meaning or purpose to it, but that is simply a mechanism which has arisen because it is conducive to survival. It does not imply genuine purpose or value at all, because genuine purpose and value do not exist.

Now, the humanist might say that value and purpose exist because we perceive them, and we determine what they are. Although they may not reflect ultimate truths, they are nonetheless genuine to us. But I have already shown how the objections against Christianity tend to bely a view of teleology which is moral and objective in nature—not subjective in the sense that the humanist ought to believe. If he were consistent, he would say that it doesn’t matter what Christians believe. It isn’t morally wrong or somehow deficient to believe what is false; nor should it make the slightest difference to him. Indeed, if it conveys an evolutionary advantage to believe falsehood, and it is built into us, why should the nonbeliever object? But he does; he views religious ideologies as weak and inferior compared to humanistic ones. He believes that humanistic philosophy provides the tools to properly enjoy and value life. All of these beliefs are not ones he has deduced from his own worldview. His own worldview has no place for them. There is no provision for such ideas; they are, in fact, really incoherent. Just as reason itself is incoherent in a naturalistic worldview (but an argument from reason is slightly beyond the scope of this discussion), so value and purpose are quite at odds with his basic philosophical assumptions about the universe. So it should come as no surprise that his use of them is confused.

Because naturalistic, evolutionary humanism is an absurd way of viewing the world; because it is false and does not even provide the tools to make concepts like value and purpose intelligible; the unbeliever must steal teleology from Christianity, even as he denounces it as a weak and inferior system of thought. In precisely the same way that humanism cannot account for the uniformity of nature, but must assume it anyway, so it cannot account for value and purpose, but must assume them anyway. They are intrinsic to our natures; they are obvious elements of reality, just like uniformity. And so, they must be assumed without explanation—even when they are genuinely incoherent, meaningless concepts in the worldview to which they are being applied. It is really quite remarkable how incomplete secular worldviews are. They not only cannot rationally account for basic facts of the physical universe, but they also have no provision at all for things like values and purpose—and, as I may discuss another time, reason itself. And so they keep borrowing from the Christian worldview, which is the only one able to explain and describe these things in a comprehensive, coherent manner.

Now, these are merely some preliminary thoughts. I would be quite interested to see how a humanist would respond to these criticisms. Perhaps Angels, or another atheist or agnostic online, could offer comment. Perhaps this would be a good topic for another debate. By all means, contact me.

15 comments

  1. angelsdepart

    Hmmmm, that’s an interesting take on it. I had to read through my conclusion again because you said that I started new arguments. I had difficulty seeing what you were speaking about. Looks to me like I simply recapped your arguments and quoted your comments. There are a lot of things that you don’t want to mention or talk about.

    You have quite a mean streak in you. When someone doesn’t agree with your point of view you tend to call them names. I guess I am lucky that we live in a day when I don’t have to fear physical violence because I disagree with you. I suppose when you talk about people looking down on Christianity because of people that are claiming it but not following its doctrines, that you are talking about yourself as well?

    Anyways the Christian argument that there cannot be any means for morality without the Christian god creates some real issues for morality when considering the time before the establishment of Christianity. Furthermore I did not give validity to your defense of scripture because it was nonsensical.

    You cannot explain, and repeatedly dodge the question of the feasibility of the flood. How then am I suppose to except or give credence to your wild notions and apparently “all inclusive” knowledge of scripture?

    If I came out and started making claims that my worldview was the only one that made sense because of an apparition in the sky that gives all life value you would look at me and say that I am crazy. Unfortunately we give leave way when it comes to these behaviors and religion because we are dealing with invisible things that we don’t understand.

    Your ultimate argument is, that I better believe you because if I don’t I will be tormented in hell. Don’t you think that there is a problem with god designing creatures that are capable of pissing him off enough that they have to go to a place like that? Doesn’t god sound a little bit mean to you? Do you think this is a good thing? Does it make you feel big, powerful and important that you are going to heaven and all of those horrible sinners are going to hell? Doesn’t it bother you that it is not even a question of will because god has to reveal himself anyways before someone can know him? Doesn’t it suck for those of us who he chooses not to reveal himself to? I mean, come on! What an arrogant prick god is!

    You talk a good game Bnonn, but you mentioned yourself that there is no empirical evidence available for god. You basically entered a debate on a topic and started off by saying, there is no way that I could be right given my position alone.

    I understand that being a person of faith that this is how you must proceed but I imagine that even you can understand the problems with this point of view.

    I said I will only accept empirical evidence and then you said that that makes no sense. As Pat Condell says, “if you want me to believe that you are a chicken then you need to show me your feathers and prove that you can lay an egg.”

    I am sorry that you are disappointed with the outcome of this debate. Let it be noted that I never once directed derogatory or inflammatory comments towards you. I treated you with respect through the whole process. This is something that I would expect someone, who belongs to the only ideology in the world that provides us with the ability to value and respect life, to be capable of. I suppose I can’t be right about everything though.

  2. Bnonn

    Angels—

    You have construed my calling you stupid and deceitful as my having a “mean streak”. However, since my comments are not intended as a personal attack, and are not merely a reflection of my own opinion, you are mistaken. Equally, the fact that you have not similarly directed derogatory or inflammatory comments towards me says nothing of either of our moral standing, unless we have some kind of moral standard against which to judge it. The fact that I do not respect any non-Christians inasmuch as they are sinners whose beliefs are wholly irrational and stupid again says nothing about me without some kind of moral standard by which to judge me. It is remarkable that you would assume that, since I adhere to the only ideology in the world that provides us with the ability to value and respect life, I should then conform to your ideology as regards social etiquette. Since the ideology to which I adhere teaches me that you, and all non-Christians, are stupid (and unworthy of respect in that regard), why do you expect that I should act contrary to that ideology? Or, do you think that the Christian ideology teaches that I should not consider you stupid, and even insult you?

    As an “ex” Christian, I would expect that you are familiar with the way in which Jesus and the apostles and prophets rebuked unbelievers, and frequently used ad hominem against them (Luke 3:7; 1 Kings 18:27; etc). I would expect that you are familiar with the way in which unbelief is represented as sinful and idiotic, and unbelievers as evil fools (Jer 17:9; Matt 7:11; Ps 14:1; Rom 1:21; 1 Cor 2:14; Col 1:21). But perhaps you do not know the Bible as well as you think. I would direct you toward my brief discussion on the place of ad hominem in apologetics.

    As regards the status of Christian ideology before the establishment of Christianity, I am unsure what the “real issues” are to which you refer. Since God has always existed, and since the human conscience bears witness to his law, he need not have ever given any revelation in order for us to be condemned. Indeed, no revelation, no divine law given verbally by God to man, is mentioned in Genesis 6f when God purposes to destroy all mankind for their evil ways. Scripture tells us that we know right from wrong apart from the written law, because that law is written on our hearts—though we might twist it in numerous ways (Rom 2:12-16).

    As regards the flood, I did not dodge any question—I stated from the outset that I was using it as an example to examine the deeper issues which make any specific scientific issue really irrelevant. You seem to have become fixated on the example I gave, instead of engaging with the philosophy upon which it is based, from which I was arguing. It is indeed true that empirical evidence is worthless, as I spent my entire fourth statement, and much of the third, clearly proving. You don’t seem to have really grasped any of what I said; certainly you have not responded to it.

    Anyway, my ultimate argument has never been that you had better believe, because if you don’t you’ll be tormented in hell. That was one of the conclusions of my ultimate argument, which was epistemological in nature, and comprised the fourth statement of the debate. The argument is essentially that knowledge is genuinely impossible without revelation and that, since knowledge must be possible, the revelation of Scripture must be true. I hope you will go back and consider this argument again, because so far you have given no indication that you even realize that I have made it. Since I have shown Scripture to be incorrigible, and so necessarily true, it does indeed follow that if you do not repent you will be tormented forever in hell—but that is not an argument; it is a statement based on the fact that Scripture is true, which in turn is the conclusion of the epistemological argument I gave. It does not seem “mean” to me that this is so; it does not outrage me that God would send evil people to hell—evil people he created. He has an absolute right to do this, and no moral argument can be brought to bear against him. Please refer to Romans 9, or my article on the doctrine of hell.

    Lastly, when I spoke of the new content you brought into your conclusion, I was thinking specifically of your comments regarding John Calvin. I am curious: even assuming that your representation of him is accurate (which, frankly, it is not; a Geocities webpage is hardly a convincing nor scholarly resource!) what difference does this make to the value of my epistemological argument? What bearing does it have on the debate at all? Why do you feel so strongly that Christians must respond to this sort of issue? It seems to be a red herring thrown in as a distraction—nothing more. If I may say, you seem to have a particular problem with Christians acting in ways seemingly inconsistent with their profession of faith. I’m genuinely interested in discussing this further with you, because it has obviously caused you a great deal of difficulty, yet it is such a strange thing to find troubling. Would you be willing to elaborate on why you see it as such a problem?

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  3. angelsdepart

    Bringing up john Calvin was not a new topic. You quoted him in one of your earlier arguments. I was just pointing out how funny it was that you were using him. If you would like a scholarly account of the issue spoken of in the linked geocities page please read these books; History of the World by J.M Roberts; History of Europe by H Fisher; History of Christianity by Paul Johnson; and History of Christianity by John Robertson. I like the geocities link because it simplifies the argument.

    Calling out “Christians” on their evil transgression towards humanity certainly would not disprove the doctrine of the Bible if Christianity disapproved of their actions. You of course, have already admitted that the Bible approves of and more specifically that god commands atrocities.

    I wish you would have made it clear earlier that you feel that anyone who is not a Christian is stupid. It speaks to your mindset and it certainly makes sense in light of your comments. You entered the debate not willing to listen to any argument because you feel that you are talking to a stupid person.

    Jesus did not run around calling everyone stupid. He showed compassion for everyone he came in contact with whether or not they were believers in him unless they were blatantly evil. He even looked upon the people crucifying him and begged god (or begged himself I guess, since he was god) to forgive them. He claimed to be the only one with the power to act self righteous yet he chose not to.

    It would be difficult for me to imagine the Jesus of the Bible conducting himself in such a way as you have conducted yourself in this debate and beyond. If you think that this is warranted and civilized then so be it. I will not subject myself anymore to your childish name calling though. This is the very reason why Frank had to be cut off previously. If your world view says that you need to be an ass to those who disagree then so be it. If you are interested in civil discourse I am always available.

  4. Bnonn

    Angels—

    For a balanced and comprehensive view of Calvin, a biography of the man would seem a better place to start, rather than a general history; be it of the world, of Europe, or of Christianity. None of those works could be trusted to carefully consider a single man, since their topic is simply too broad.

    Nonetheless, whether or not Calvin was as he is represented by your link is irrelevant. I have already discussed atrocities and shown that, if we define them non-ethically, the only instances of them in Scripture are specific and historic; and we cannot draw general principles of behavior from them. On the contrary, the general principle affirmed by Scripture is to love one’s enemy. Surely I have made that quite clear—if you disagree with my exegesis, then you must explain why. On the other hand, if we define atrocities as ethical in nature, then there are no atrocities sanctioned by Scripture, as I have also pointed out quite carefully.

    As regards making clear my view of your intellectual standing: I had assumed that, as an “ex-Christian”, you would be fully cognizant of what the Bible teaches about unbelievers: that they are foolish, darkened in mind, and unable to understand spiritual things. This is integral to an understanding and implementation of apologetics, and is basic to Christian anthropology in general—which is certainly a foundational area of doctrine. If you did not want to enter a debate with someone who thought that both you and your beliefs were profoundly stupid in the most genuine sense, then why would you offer to debate any Christian? Are you so ignorant of the Bible’s teachings that you were not even aware of what it says about unbelievers? How, then, can you claim to have ever been a Christian yourself? Still, a brief perusal of my blog would have set you straight.

    Either way, I have not simply made an assertion about unbelief and left it hanging; I have proved that unbelieving worldviews are always irrational and knowledge-destroying; and thus to believe them certainly fits the definition of foolishness.

    As far as “what would Jesus do”: I have not called you stupid except where it has been to affirm a biblical doctrine for a specific reason. There has been no malice or spite or sin in so doing; on the contrary, I am being faithful in affirming the truth of Scripture. Jesus was not generally engaged in structured debates with agnostics, so it is difficult to use his example as normative for this situation. We would be better looking to Paul in Acts 17:22-31; and he certainly did not avoid offending the Athenians [PDF]. Since Jesus speaks in all Scripture, because all Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Tim 3:16) and Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:14); and since Scripture affirms what I have said, as I’ve already shown, what argument are you seeking to make? Why do you think that, just because I have affirmed the biblical teaching that you are a sinner (remembering that sin, itself, is genuinely irrational and stupid), I would not wish to forgive you if you were crucifying me? And why do you think I am acting self-righteously when I have made every effort to show that it is not my opinion, not some puffed up conceit on my own part, which I am expounding—but rather the teaching of the word of God? Throughout the debate, and this discussion, I have sought to be faithful to Scripture. Why do you accuse me of self-righteousness?

    You appear to want to have a discussion only on your terms. If my worldview says that you are an idiot for believing that God does not exist, then you get upset and accuse me of everything from petty name-calling to being uncivilized. But when your worldview says that my beliefs are inferior, weak, and primitive (and, by extension, that my own mind is therefore inferior, weak, and primitive to affirm them), you don’t have a problem saying so. Neither do I get upset about it—I expect it, and I use argumentation to prove that it is false, while the Bible’s contention is true. Yet you have so far avoided engaging with those arguments, and have instead favored highlighting the fact that my approach does not conform to what you consider good etiquette in an argument—which of course is because your worldview’s ideologies are at odds with mine. So, in essence, you have avoided any real debate by simply complaining that I don’t already believe what you do; albeit in a rather obfuscated manner.

    I would invite you to engage with the epistemological argument I have made. Simply disagreeing with me about the rationality of your own beliefs, the sensibility of holding them, and the acceptability of engaging in debate according to my own standards instead of yours, is simply to avoid argument altogether.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  5. angelsdepart

    Well I can tell you this, when I was a Christian I did not run around calling everyone who disagreed with me “stupid.” I always respected people with differing views. So maybe I wasn’t a real Christian after all. It seems to me that there are many Christians who respect others views as well. I do not think that it is fair to blame your self-righteous mean spirited actions on your faith, but of course this is what faith seems to be used for. When we can pawn things off on spiritual responsibility we no longer have to take personal responsibility and this is when things seem to go awry.

    You accuse me of not engaging your points although a brief perusal of the post between us will show that I covered your every contention point for point. It was you who (admittedly) left things out. (supposedly to save time and space.) We both know that the plain and simple fact is that you will not even consider an argument unless it agrees with your world view. Personally I could care less what people believe as long as it does not cause harm to the world or its inhabitants. You need people to believe what you believe. Your whole worldview is reliant on converting minds.

    Well you had a chance to convert my mind and you failed. You failed because you cannot produce anything but speculation. You cannot show proof of the fantastical stories in the bible. You cannot produce a verifiable miracle. You cannot even produce the original copies of the scriptures that you base your whole belief system off of. The very idea of having faith is to except something that cannot be proven, but your mind is intelligent. You need proof anyways. By all means you are going to find it. Intelligent people believe unintelligent things because they are very good at coming up with intelligent explanations for unintelligent arguments.

    So did I call your ideology inferior? Yes I did. That is my belief and I am entitled to it. In the same light you are entitled to believe that mine is inferior. Did I ever engage in personal attacks against you? Absolutely not! That would be ad hominem and would be a fallacy no matter how you attempted to justify it. So if your world view does not allow you to be a decent and civil human being then this is the end of this discussion for me.

  6. Bnonn

    Angels—

    Most of what you have said in your last comment can again be distilled into a mere complaint that our worldviews teach two completely differing ideologies. To say that I am pawning off my own sinful tendencies onto my faith is ridiculous, since I have clearly showed how what you perceive as self-righteousness is in fact my being faithful to the full teaching of Scripture. My behavior is derived from the Bible; not imposed upon it. It is strange that you are getting hung up on this one aspect of my presentation, when your only reason for doing so is that you don’t like it. Again, that just shows that our ideologies, like the rest of our worldviews, are at odds.

    As I said before, you insist on having the debate on the terms dictated by your own ideology. You say that if my worldview does not allow me to be a “decent and civil human being”, then you won’t continue to discuss with me. But decency and civility are terms which themselves are defined within your worldview; and they don’t mean the same thing for me that they do for you. By insisting that I conform to your ideas about conduct, you are in essence saying that unless I agree with your worldview, you won’t debate me. I am sure you can see how ridiculous that is.

    If you wish to prove that I ought to act in a way which you find decent and civil, then you should prove that your worldview is true. However, I have already proved that it is false, by merit of the fact that it makes knowledge impossible. Although you say you have engaged with all my arguments, this one seems to have passed you by. I would be interested to hear why you believe that the epistemological arguments I have made against your worldview, and the ones I have made for Christianity, are invalid. You complain that I won’t consider an argument that does not agree with my worldview—but that is simply being consistent with the fact that other worldviews are provably false. If an argument has its foundation in false premises, then why should I accept it? Furthermore, this is a hypocritical criticism for you to make. It is not as if you will accept an argument from miracles on the strength of biblical testimony, for example, is it?

    As regards converting your mind, again you ought to know that it is not my responsibility to do this. God is the one who converts minds, as I can personally attest. If my presentation has succeeded only in hardening you, I have still been faithful and done my duty. I am saddened because you heap judgment upon your own head, condemning yourself to greater punishment on the last day, but it is not as if either I, nor the word of God, has failed.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  7. angelsdepart

    If you are affirming that it is the contention of your worldview to be an ass to those who disagree with you then I suppose we are done here.

  8. Bnonn

    Angels—

    I have already been clear in what the Christian worldview affirms; and shown, using argumentation, that its affirmation is true. If you are unwilling to move past your dislike for Christian ideology to engage with it rationally, then that is unfortunate. But if you are willing to put aside your personal dislike for what the Bible teaches about unbelief, and the conduct of believers, and tackle the arguments I have made for why your worldview is knowledge-destroying, and why Christianity must be true, I would still be quite willing to examine these with you.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  9. angelsdepart

    OK then I will ad hom like you! Let me give it a shot.

    -But you are stupid because your worldview doesn’t agree with mine. You are just intellectually inept! How am I supposed to carry on a conversation with you when I have already proven your worldview false? How am I supposed to continue talking to you about intellectual things when you have proven yourself to be a total idiot?-

    Are you getting it now? Shouldn’t it be the Christian that approaches these issues with respect and dignity? Unfortunately you are only proving what I have been saying about Christians for years. This is why countries continually take power away from the church, because believers tend to become intolerant and dangerous when they get a taste of any kind of power.

    You and I both know that the Christian world view nor Christ himself condoned treating anyone this way. I will engage in my first and only ad hominem attack now. You are a self righteous ass!

  10. Bnonn

    Angels—

    It is hard to know if you are seriously trying to represent my own position, or merely building a strawman for the fun of it; however, assuming for the sake of charity that you genuinely think I am saying you’re stupid because your worldview disagrees with mine, I would like to point out that this is not the case.

    I have said that you are stupid because the Bible says you are stupid, and it was relevant to the presentation of my case that I affirm the biblical teaching in this area. Unbelief itself is stupid because it is a denial of God; and, since God is the precondition for knowledge of any kind, be it moral or logical or empirical, to deny him is to deny knowledge. As I have argued, affirming an empirical worldview sans God does indeed result in a self-refuting system of thought, which cannot justify any of its knowledge-claims. I have repeatedly invited you to engage with this profound problem, and to refute the argument I have made which establishes that knowledge is only possible by revelation. However, you have instead complained about my conduct and carefully ignored the genuine, objective arguments which ought to be examined, in favor of emotional and subjective disagreements.

    You once accused me of being like a child pounding his fists and stomping his feet—but that description really seems more fitting as regards your own attitude to the way in which I will not back down from the biblical affirmation that, “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God'” (Ps 14:1). If you read over our conversation, you will see that I have been consistently as courteous as possible within biblical mandate. I have made a defense for the hope that is within me with gentleness, and with respect for your time and effort, having a good conscience (1 Pet 3:15-16). I have not spoken violently, or been disrespectful of you in any way except as pertains to your unbelief, which I am charged with destroying and exposing as lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:5).

    Again, if you would like to engage with the arguments I have made; if you would like to try to prove that the empirical worldview is not knowledge-destroying; if you would like to try to prove that revelation is not a precondition of a rational worldview—then the invitation is still open. But if you are merely going to continually complain that you find Christian doctrines objectionable, as if the fact that you (or even entire countries) being offended by what you perceive as intolerance constitutes some kind of proof, then there is nothing further that need be said. (Incidentally, being intolerant of intolerance indicates a contradiction within your ideology, which again reveals it to be irrational.)

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  11. angelsdepart

    I find it incredibly amusing that the moment I imitated your ad hominem attacks that you finally understood the analogy of the child throwing the temper tantrum. Ad Hominem is always a fallacy no matter what you have tried to prove otherwise. If you cannot prove your worldview by empirical evidence then what good are your arguments? If the best Christians can do is a feeble attempt at explaining the Bible’s inconsistencies, then trying to use the Bible as their empirical proof, then I have truly been wasting my time.

    My best to you

  12. Bnonn

    Angels—

    Further conversation in this tired vein is not productive. You seem either unable or unwilling to move past this issue you have with the Bible’s teaching that you are a fool, and engage with whether or not the Bible is right. And, when you do seem to be trying to engage with this, you still demand empirical proof, when I have given an argument which destroys the possibility of any kind of empirical knowledge.

    Again, I invite you to engage with the epistemological arguments I have made. If you feel they are weak or flawed in some way, I am happy to schedule another debate. But if you simply post here again complaining about ad hominem (which, as my last comment clearly explained, is not necessarily a logical fallacy), then I will simply reject publishing that post. I am not interested in petty squabbling over an issue which can be resolved by genuine, rational argumentation. Similarly, if you continue to keep demanding empirical proof, I will reject such comments also, since they indicate not only that you won’t engage with the epistemological problems with empiricism, but apparently that you are actually oblivious to my raising them at all. It is simply embarrassing to think that you could have not noticed the third and fourth statements I made in the debate.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  13. angelsdepart

    That makes sense!

  14. angelsdepart

    Not only are your arguments “fallacy rich” but incredibly speculative. I have seen the arguments that you have made a million times and I recognize them for what they are. If you would like to present “evidence” for your argument then I will gladly listen. Your rhetoric about empiricism not making any sense is ridiculous. While it is necessary for your worldview to work, it simply goes against everything that we know about the world in the present day. In order for you to prove that empirical evidence is nonsensical you need to disprove all of the knowledge that we have learned through empiricism. I reject your argument because it defies everything that we know and understand about the world today.

  15. Bnonn

    Again, if you would like to debate this further, the invitation is still open. However, I would suggest studying epistemology further before you accept such a challenge, since you appear to be confused about what knowledge and evidence are.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

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