“Shoot the Messenger” in Reverse

e7d6shoot_the_messengerAs we’ve already seen, many of the attacks on Christian theology are centered around terrible understandings of what it is that Christians actually believe. And none of them justify atheism.

In his “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m an Athiest”, Smalley continues to make these mistakes:

6. If the Christian god[sic] created humans as sinners, how could it rightfully expect us to believe the corrupt messengers it[sic] has sent to teach us the way of life?

On the one hand, I don’t doubt Smalley’s sincerity. On the other, it is very hard for me to imagine how he could have made even a half-hearted attempt to find the answer to this question without finding it. This seems more like something that occurred to him as he was writing, rather than something he’s actually asked of a person educated on the subject.

Most obviously is the fact that I don’t know what believer in God actually claims that humans were created as sinners. Rather, God created humans with the choice to sin or not. But, as far as who is to “teach us the way of life”, Smalley doesn’t even consider the idea that a Christian might think that Jesus Christ and God’s spirit would help with that. He can argue that such things don’t exist, but this isn’t a reason to disbelieve in them.

Yes, Christians are often corrupt, immature, and hypocritical. But the personal life of a corrupt scientist, counselor, philosopher, or inspirational speaker doesn’t keep people from realizing it when their words are correct, even if their actions don’t fit with them.

Jesus himself spent quite a lot of time criticizing the religious leaders of his day. He instructed his followers to do just as the Pharisees said, but not as they did. This is necessary advice in any generation.

So, again, we see why someone ought to understand a topic before presuming to pronounce wholesale judgment on it.

But many do seem to have trouble differentiating between “I don’t like how you’re living” and “Your claim is false”. This is why so many have listed bad things done by Christians as if that were evidence that God doesn’t exist.

But Smalley isn’t exactly doing this. Rather, he seems to be blaming God for the fact that people often commit this logical fallacy. Somehow, he thinks it is God’s fault if people don’t realize that a statement isn’t untrue simply because the speaker isn’t perfect.

Personally, I find “God doesn’t exist because people reject him for irrational reasons” a little hard to swallow.

But, if this is a terrible objection to theism, the next is much better. I’ll get to that soon.

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6 responses to ““Shoot the Messenger” in Reverse

  • walttucker

    Right on target! Good job.

    • Debilis

      Thank you!

      I’m trying to see these challenges as chances to get the real beliefs of Christians out there. It’s definitely been a more positive approach.

      In any case, best wishes to you.

  • paarsurrey

    Reblogged this on paarsurrey and commented:
    Paarsurrey says:
    Your words “Jesus himself spent quite a lot of time criticizing the religious leaders of his day.”
    Jesus did admonish the Jews for doing wrong things. Quran confirm it with the following words:

    [5:78] Say, ‘O People of the Book! exceed not the limits in the matter of your religion unjustly, nor follow the evil inclinations of a people who went astray before and caused many to go astray, and who have strayed away from the right path.’
    [5:79] Those amongst the children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress.
    [5:80] They did not prohibit one another from the iniquity which they committed. Evil indeed was that which they used to do.
    http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=5&verse=78

  • Anonymous

    Obviously the biggest problem with your rebuttal is that it is nonsensical. Your basic argument is “Smalley doesn’t even consider the idea that a Christian might think that Jesus Christ and God’s spirit would help with that.” However, since every person gets different messages from these imaginary beings, it seems pretty clear that this argument is as fallacious as every other argument that Dub comes up with. This argument has absolutely no basis in reality. How can there be thousands of different sub-cults of the xianity if everyone gets the same messages? This in and of itself absolutely proves beyond any reasonable doubt (well, to a reasonable, rational person) that this is nothing but fantasy.

    The statement that “[Smalley] seems to be blaming God for the fact that people often commit this logical fallacy” is just hilarious. The only way you can come to this conclusion is to assume that everyone else *MUST* buy into you delusional superstition and either secretly or at least subconsciously believe in your fairy god demon-god. Nothing could be farther from the truth. That is why it is so important to indoctrinate children at a young age, before they are able to think critically, so that people will grow up without questioning the lunacy of their superstitions. But, back to the point, it’s not “god’s fault,” but rather evidence that there is no god. Morality is in the same boat. With every person having a different moral code, it’s ridiculous to think that morality comes (or even could come) from a single source.

    Regardless, Dub’s argument here is as hollow as every other supeculative argument.

    • Debilis

      This was not my basic argument. My basic argument was that Smalley’s objection has nothing to do with whether or not Christianity (let alone all theism) is true.

      The problem of many revelations is a significant tangent, however. I agree that it is worth mention, and would further agree that appeals to personal revelation wouldn’t be a rational apologetic. I’d only underline that neither of these ideas contradict the sentence you’ve quoted, let alone the thrust of my argument.

      I think we see the difference in our views here:

      “it’s not ‘god’s fault,’ but rather evidence that there is no god”
      I don’t see how this is evidence that there is no god. What is about the fact that some people distrust everything said by someone whom they find to be imperfect that makes it evidence that there is no god?

    • Dale

      I believe you missed the point of the post, but let’s look at your main argument against it. The argument you present is God does not exist because of failure or variation of people in their understanding of a similar messages.

      “How can there be thousands of different sub-cults of the xianity if everyone gets the same messages? This in and of itself absolutely proves beyond any reasonable doubt (well, to a reasonable, rational person) that this is nothing but fantasy.”

      I do not believe your argument would stand up in other similar situations; and, if it does not, you have not proved it does here beyond any reasonable doubt? Take for instance students in a classroom. They are taught the same ideas from a standard syllabus, by the same teacher, and during the same length of time. Preceding the end of the course an exam is given to each student to measure their understanding of the material. We commonly see the result of student’s comprehension of course material as a range; some performing better than others. This is true across multiple subjects within various geographic areas, schools, and academic levels.

      Following your argument, if a group of people (this can be all people) received the same message; similar to how a student receives standard information in a classroom. Any variation of the message by the people which results in different understanding and application of such knowledge within each individuals life, is proof the source of the information is false. This goes against what we experience everyday within multiple fields, subjects, and industries. Your claim the argument demonstrates the existence of God and Christianity to be false based on the varying outcomes of a message; equates to stating due to the varied performance record of student comprehension of a subject, said subject is demonstrably false. It is interesting in what you consider proved beyond any reasonable doubt.

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