You know what theists are hung up on? This notion of absolute certainty and dogma. Because they are so often trained to think in no other way, they cannot fathom how rational people can freely admit to not knowing a thing for certain, and yet still feel confident in rejecting the truth of the thing on the grounds of a lack of evidence. So why is it, the more we ask for their evidence for God, they insist we really don’t want to see any? Isn’t that just their way of comforting themselves in light of the fact they know full well they cannot meet their burden of proof? Of course it is.
We’ve had an especially dense fellow emailing us since yesterday, and the exchange so far has wound up with the following…
Out of one side of your mouths you claim that you do not believe in God,
on the other side of your mouths you claim that you do not know if God exists, and to make matters worse you live your lives as if you knew for sure that God does not exist.
Martin: [Name withheld], your problem is that you simply do not seem to be bright enough to make meaningful distinctions, nor to consider ideas with any degree of intellectual nuance. Try, however you can, to allow this concept to penetrate the very thick walls of your skull: it is possible to admit that you do not know something for certain, and yet have an opinion concerning its truth or falsity. I do not know for certain that an alien city does not exist beneath the surface of Pluto. However, do I believe there is an alien city beneath the surface of Pluto? Moreover, do I live my life, day to day, as if the existence of an alien city beneath the surface of Pluto is a relevant fact that should influence my decisions? No, I do not. I have no reason to, and doing things with no reason is foolish. If, at some point, evidence for such a city comes to light, I may be forced to change my mind about the matter. But until such evidence comes, I feel confident in dismissing Plutonian alien cities, even while admitting I lack absolute knowledge about their existence.
So no, this is not “talking out of both sides of our mouths.” This is us being smart and knowledgable enough to understand epistemology (look it up), which, as each of your emails makes more and more clear, is not a subject you understand.
You do this by rejecting all evidence that comes your way.
Increasingly Frustrated Sentient Human, aka Martin: But you have not sent any evidence our way. You have just whined and bellyached that we haven’t accepted your beliefs as blindly as you have. But that is your problem, not ours.
Let me demonstrate what I’m talking about. Matt admitted that he did not hear the debate, Morey vs Barker, but yet on one quote from Morey, Matt decides, “Morey doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Martin, Who Is Hoping There Is a City on Pluto As He’s Ready to Request Asylum There: This is because the one quote you provided from Morey contained a logical fallacy called a “straw man argument.” And when people employ fallacies, it is a pretty safe bet that they either do not know what they’re talking about, or do not know how to argue effectively even if they do know what they’re talking about. So either Morley is an ignorant idiot, or he isn’t and simply has a bad habit of sounding like one. Either way, first impressions count, and the quote you provided made a bad one. Perhaps you could have found a better quote.
It is clear to me that this kind of superiority complex Matt suffers from makes it impossible to have a meaningful discourse.
Martin, Who Would Headdesk If He Wasn’t Typing on His Lap Because He’s Tired of Replacing Broken Desks: Except it’s not a superiority complex to point out when someone has said something inaccurate or ignorant. I would say what makes it impossible to have a meaningful discourse is when ignorant people insist on clinging to their ignorance despite many attempts to communicate concepts to them accurately and clearly in the hopes of improving their understanding. As Exhibit A, I would point to my attempts to clarify things to you, and your continued inability to grasp them.
Why do you ask people for evidence for God when you don’t even believe in God in the first place. You should be asking yourselves, what would prove it to me? But this you will not do, why? Because your pride won’t let you.
Martin, Who’s All Out of Love, and Ready to Throw a Punch or Two Below the Belt: I think you should redirect this line of questioning. Try this instead:
People who don’t believe in things ask for evidence because — are you sitting down, because this will come as a shock — they are open to having their minds changed. But instead of providing that evidence, you insist we would reject it, even though we have prompted you many times to produce it. This should tell you something, and here it is: You know you do not have evidence, you know you cannot rationally defend your religious beliefs, you know deep down you do not have good reasons to believe in God and the Bible…but your pride (or rather, your fear, instilled in you through a life of strict indoctrination) won’t let you admit this.
Suddenly the game changes, doesn’t it?
I leave you with this. Down through the centuries the Bible has survived ALL the attacks of Atheists, skeptics, you name it, who hate God & His Christ. Matt Dillahunty’s Atheist experience show, which seems to be his lifes purpose, is a small wrinkle in time, it’s a sad pathetic experience, it’s illogical, non historic, he makes mistakes that are absolutely mind boggling.
Martin, Still Here: You do realize you’re the one you’re trying to convince with this childish, petulant tirade, right? We terrify you with our rejection of your myths and our ability to out-reason you. And this is the security blanket you weave to hide behind.
The Bible is the ONLY reliable thing we have to show us the meaning and purpose of life.
Martin, Now Just Mopping Up the Blood: Speak for yourself. I have chosen reason as my source of meaning and purpose, and from the higher perch on which I sit looking down at you, it’s clear to me you have chosen an impoverished idea of meaning and purpose.
Our inbox really looks like this, people, more often than you know.