Problems With Christianity [?]


A Reason To Believe Christianity Is False?
I was browsing the internet when I found a post on an atheist website that said the following:

“What is it that makes people believe in God at all? It seems to me that gods were invented by men to explain things they didn’t understand. But we understand a lot more today (though of course the frontiers of science are always speculative). Given that it’s impossible to have an explanation for everything (because then that explanation would demand another explanation — “But Mommy, why is it that way?”), why not just take the universe as we find it, rather than positing some incredibly complex cause for which we have no evidence?”

The Argument:
He is using the above argument as one of the many “reasons [he] think[s] Christianity is false”. In the first part of the paragraph, he says that people who consider themselves “religious” are, in fact, weak-minded individuals that are psychologically handicapped. These intellectually restricted people use religion as a tool to explain things “they don’t understand”. Therefore, Christianity is false.

A Rebuttal:
Even if religious people were really weak-minded, how is this a reason to think Christianity false? To determine the truth value of someone’s beliefs you don’t explain his or her psychology — you address his or her beliefs directly. If I prove that scientific methodologies were developed by intellectually crippled people, how does it follow that science is false? In logic this type of argument is dubbed a non sequitur fallacy. The conclusion of the argument (Therefore, Christianity is false) does not follow from the premises (Religious people are weak-minded).

An Example Of This Type Of Reasoning

“Why Not Just Take The Universe As We Find It”?
In the second part of the paragraph, the atheist is claiming that Christianity’s view on origins is complex in nature and is thus breaking Occam’s razor. However, Occam’s razor is merely a rule of thumb in science — not a law. It’s just another guideline that is commonly broken in the scientific method. On top of this,  it seems the designated level of “unwarranted complexity” is completely arbitrary. When is something too complex? When does it cross the line? It seems “complexity” is purely relative to the person asking the question. If I was an amoeba, I might think the idea of humans existing an exceedingly complex solution to why things like computers and the like exist (I’m pretty sure amoebas aren’t that smart, but you get the point).

In Conclusion:
The atheist’s argument seems very weak. However, in spite of this many an atheist affirm and hold to the same logic and arguments he is making. When faced with a person like this, all you have to do is show that to prove a belief wrong, you must do more than describe the psychological condition of the individual. Address the person’s belief first, then you can start having discussions about the actual person.

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  1. #1 by Fr.Griggs on July 31, 2011 - 5:07 pm

    The Ockham notes that as God rests on convoluted, ad hoc assumptions, He has more assumptions than the presumption of naturalism . Richard Swinburne also doesn’t fathom the nature andforce of this heuristic measure!
    Thus, we have to take Existence as is. Per Reichenbach’s argument from Existence, as it is all that exists, no transcendent being can thus exist. As transcendence preludes omnipresence, He cannot be thus transcendent anyway. For Him to be omnipresent, He cannot be anywhere as a person!

  2. #2 by studentsforchristianity on July 31, 2011 - 5:30 pm

    “The Ockham notes that as God rests on convoluted, ad hoc assumptions, He has more assumptions than the presumption of naturalism . Richard Swinburne also doesn’t fathom the nature andforce of this heuristic measure!”

    Even if this was true, what would this prove? You have a couple of premises, but no conclusion.

    “Existence, as it is all that exists, no transcendent being can thus exist. As transcendence preludes omnipresence, He cannot be thus transcendent anyway. For Him to be omnipresent, He cannot be anywhere as a person!”

    I guess I’m not familiar with this argument. Could you provide a link?

  3. #3 by Chance on August 5, 2011 - 11:03 am

    Studentsforchristianity,

    Science doesn’t try to ‘prove’ anything. You see the problem here is that you believe and generally what religion entails in general is that science is out to ‘prove’ things. While this word is thrown around often it does have context specific meaning. For example, I could ask “Why…is the sky blue? or Why does a ball drop when I release it in midair?” These questions are answerable and ‘provable’ in that sense only insofar as the description of the action itself. I could tell you a ball falls because gravity is acting on it. You could then ask, “Why is gravity acting on it, and how?”. We could then go into the exact force measurements and even the very particles that create such forces. You could continue asking “Why” forever with no end, because the answer you want is quantitative.

    This means the only answers science is going to give you are the ‘how’ questions, but not the ‘why’ questions. This is because Science and rationalism are not based on what someone believes the world should be, such as unchanging as the ancients believed, or any presupposition.for that matter. When you con-volute your worldview with an unproven conclusion, you will ONLY see the evidence that supports that view!

  4. #4 by Chance on August 5, 2011 - 11:10 am

    And why do you need a link to respond to Fr.Griggs argument? It sounded reasonable to me, and thus needs an answer…

    • #5 by studentsforchristianity on August 5, 2011 - 11:29 am

      Chance,
      It’s simple actually. I didn’t want to slay strawmen.

      Once he elaborates on the argument and it’s implications, we can then start a good discussion.

  5. #6 by Henrik Wiese on August 5, 2011 - 11:11 am

    Well. Its time to destroy your argumentation. I am an atheist and i dont think that christians are dumb or whatever, in cause of their belief. That said lets start the arguments. The idea of religion started way fucking back, while most humans got no knowledge so they thought that for example lightning and thunder are a sign of a god. With time the bible was created with some rules for a good behavior, which was and is set for the control of people.(Wars and so on) Thats what the guy meant. Religion WAS based on unknown miracles of past that can be proved now. It got carried and used thousands of years. Well the mainpoint is your amoeba. Why the fuck should god contact us back in time and we know shit about him. The amoeba might not know us and so he doesnt believe in our existence. There migth be shit flying around in space or wherever, but the keypoint is that we dont know this stuff and so we gotta focus on the stuff we know. We dont have to follow rules by a ghost to fill the churchs pokets and letting them rape our kids. Its your own decission. There might be an afterlife or some junk like that, BUT you will never know. So you might follow this shit by wasting your lifetime and in the end you got nothing. I rather live in the here and now than believing in something unknown. I can accept dead, when it comes and its the final end: So i live life to my fullest and i will be glad to have existed and glad to make this world a bit better. Thats what we should do. Focus on real problems.

    • #7 by studentsforchristianity on August 5, 2011 - 11:27 am

      Let me have the honor of simplifying your argument:

      P1. Religion started a long time ago.
      P2. People didn’t have much scientific knowledge back then.
      P3. They made up things to explain natural phenomena.
      *No Conclusion*

      You’re second point:
      P1. There are things we don’t know.
      C1: Therefore, we must focus on things we do know.

      Am I following this correctly?

      • #8 by Henrik Wiese on August 5, 2011 - 12:46 pm

        well you forgot the use of religion by the church and stuff thats my conclusion why i shouldnt obey a religion. And yeah, we know nothing bout religion in cause of the arguments i showed..

  6. #9 by studentsforchristianity on August 5, 2011 - 11:18 am

    Chance,
    I don’t see where I explicitly stated that science is out to “prove” something beyond doubt. In fact, I completely agree with most of your post.

    “When you con-volute your worldview with an unproven conclusion, you will ONLY see the evidence that supports that view!”

    Well, this comes of nowhere! I don’t really follow your line of reasoning.

  7. #10 by studentsforchristianity on August 5, 2011 - 1:27 pm

    Your first argument:
    P1. Religion started a long time ago.
    P2. People didn’t have much scientific knowledge back then.
    P3. They made up things to explain natural phenomena (Religion).
    C1: Therefore, The Church decided to control people.

    This is a pretty good semantic sidestep. However, my point still stands. In P3 you implicitly make a truth value claim about religion. (i.e. Christianity was founded by dim-witted people with little to no knowledge of science.) Stop focusing on the person and set your efforts on the belief. It’s a type of fallacy called Chronological snobbery.

    You’re second point:
    P1. There are things we don’t know.
    C1: Therefore, we must focus on things we do know.

    Going back to your first argument, P2 says that people had little to no scientific knowledge in ancient times. They thought the things they “knew” were actually hardcore facts. “Facts” like Apollo really did pull the sun across the sky or Gilgamesh really did fight the Bull of Heaven. Is it that hard to say that the things we thought we “knew” yesterday and the things we know “today” are that different from Bull of heaven example? I think I’m intellectually honest enough to say that I’m very ignorant of reality. Though, in recognizing my ignorance, I realize that what we think we know and what we don’t know might actually be the same thing. So why not question things we don’t know? Why not question things we think we know? It’s all apart of life and ought to be encouraged.

  8. #11 by heartrevealed on August 5, 2011 - 3:14 pm

    Argument on the concept of religious people being weak:

    Given the historical data of religions including the current 85% of the world’s population, that essentially equates to 85% of the population being “weakminded” and 15% being strongminded (namely the ones who can intellectually reason away God).

    I would contest the “religion = weakness” argument by first pointing out that the people in question (the overwhelming religious majority) are primarily the very ones who have carried civilization to were we are today–alive and thriving as opposed to an extinct species.

    That seems to be more in line with survival of the fittest, as opposed to a byproduct of weakmindedness.

    Additionally, I would have to point out that religion put aside ALL people are followers and by such display utter weakness.

    When we look at society we can see that people need to follow socially accepted norms because they have tremendous fear of being different, and outside of anything to do with God they follow what society spoon feeds them.

    All you have to do is look at the way young people talk, act, dress etc. Just one example: listen to the hip hop culture “talk” (not rapping) they all even have this sort of “accent” as well as the same attitudes and mannerisms.

    This is actually very unatural and only observed within that culture–an intense mimiking of what others do (for social approval) and that has nothing to do with religion.

    Not fitting in is equivalent to death. Essentially, it is a primal dependance on others for survival, becasue an individual is not really strong enough (they are helpless basically) to survive on their own.

    People in general tend to walk alike, talk alike (same phrases, concepts etc), dress alike, think alike, buy alike (corporations are masters at taking advantage of tapping into all of this)… becasue of weaknesses.

    One would then have to argue whether this weakness was good or bad, even necessary for survival.

    But the point really is, regardless of a belief in God, unbelievers display a TREMENDOUS amount of weakness and use many things as crutches. If it’s not a religious belief it will be something else.

    In the form of dress and appearance of the young we can probably see it the most obvious; but it trancends to all areas of life and within all cultures, generations, etc.

    I really don’t think the “weakness” argument holds up. It’s a shallow view–although one that is tactically successful to a degree, becasue dispite our weaknesses, people do not want to admit them to others nor themselves.

    For example, one of the most successsful tactics used in the argument against homosexuality is to use the term “homophobe”. Fear is considered a weakness, so if you can accuse someone of being weak or fearful you may gain leverage. But in truth, it’s usually just a tactic, and amounts to nothing more.

    There are more reasons the weakness argument fails, but too much to get into in a comment thread.

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