What’s Trendy in Your Demographic?

10From David Smalley’s “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m an Athiest”:

8. All babies are Atheists. Religions are taught depending on the location and era in which you are raised. Being born in the U.S. in 1974 does not make you right, it most likely just makes you another Christian. That’s no better or worse than the person born in Tibet in 1955, who proudly worships the Dalai Lama.

I’m aware that many atheists have been hard at work arguing that atheism is merely “a lack of belief in theism”, but simply using this definition to claim that “all babies are atheists” isn’t going to produce a rational reason to think that adults should be.

While it is true that one’s culture has a profound influence on one’s beliefs (though it doesn’t dictate them, as Smalley implies here), this argument assumes that this is less true of the atheist’s view of life than of the theist’s.

That is, if one can dismiss Christianity by saying “You were born in the U.S in 1974.”, why can’t one dismiss the currently trendy materialism with “You were born in the U.S. in 1992.”?

This is a point that the overwhelming majority of atheists in my acquaintance miss:

However we define atheism, the choice isn’t between theism and “a lack of belief”. The choice is between theism and materialism. And materialists have done little to nothing to defend their view.

But, rather than claim that all babies are a-materialists, and imply that everyone who is a materialist is so simply because of cultural pressures, I’ll say that I find the Tibetan Buddhist’s view more in touch with reality. True, we disagree on a great deal, but I see much less self-contradiction in that position than in materialism.

Admittedly, the Buddhist has a great advantage. There is a long history of philosophy, debate, and refinement in all the major world religions. Modern materialism, by contrast, tends to be held by people who are stuck inventing a philosophy on their own–and its chief defenders in this culture have spent a great deal of energy in studiously avoiding the criticisms which might help to refine it. The insistence that atheism is simply “a lack of belief” is merely one example of this.

Thus, the only real defense the typical materialist seems to have is to avoid the subject of materialism and shift back to (usually very poor) objections to God–as if rejecting God justified materialism.

But this is getting into Smalley’s next point. I’ll pick up the thought when I discuss it.

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71 responses to “What’s Trendy in Your Demographic?

  • violetwisp

    “While it is true that one’s culture has a profound influence on one’s beliefs (though it doesn’t dictate them, as Smalley implies here)…”
    But the fact remains that most people stick with the religion they are born into, and those who choose a different religion can only choose one that another human transmits to them. None of these gods open more than one communication channel (assuming they all exist). Isn’t that a bit suspicious?

    ” … this argument assumes that this is less true of the atheist’s view of life than of the theist’s.”
    This is an interesting point. I often argue that atheism is a natural evolutionary state that we have arrived at now through globalisation and education. I think we’re all naturally superstitious and it takes a good dose of reasoning and evidence for most of us to overcome these urges to follow our local (or available) organised superstition/religion. But I agree with you that we are more likely to do this if more people around us are atheist. Typical sheep mentality. Someone else did the original thinking but it seems most logical to me.

    • Debilis

      I definitely agree that the fact that no religion is multiply attested from demonstrably separate cultures is a serious question.

      My response to the issue of religious beliefs rising from a single source is, essentially, that I know of no logical reason why this should be much of a point against the truth of its claims. It really seems to be the temptation to take an absence of evidence to be evidence of absence.

      With regard to Christianity (or any other religion), its central claims are either true or false. If Jesus rose from the dead (or Muhammed received a revelation from Gabriel), then it is true. If not, then not. We needn’t consider other cultures.

      Of course, these are all based in multiple experiences by many people, so it is not entirely true that there is only a single communication channel.

      As to your argument regarding atheism, I don’t personally see how this is any different that religious indoctrination unless one starts with the premise that atheism is true. The idea that someone else did the original thinking is precisely the argument we’re giving against religion here.

      That being the case, I’d say that religious and non-religious views are on equal footing with regard to this point. But I should say something about your evolution argument, as that is a separate concept:

      I’m not personally convinced that this is true (I’d say it isn’t, actually), but it is plausible enough that I can see why thoughtful people believe it. My main trouble with it is that “this is a later state in our evolution” does not equate to “this is true”. Nor do I think we can simply point out education as the primary cause. I’d not only point to others, but point out that atheism became popular after a decrease in educational requirements in the relevant subject (philosophy).

      None of this is to say that atheism isn’t true (that would be a separate point). It is simply to say that I don’t see any critique of religion here that wouldn’t apply equally to a non-religoius approach to life’s big questions.

      Otherwise, apologies for the length, and best to you.

      • paarsurrey

        “That being the case, I’d say that religious and non-religious views are on equal footing with regard to this point. ”

        If we go by “reason only”; that is true with a little edge of the religious over the non-religious.

        This is the position when we are yet prior to the three level of certainty leading to the one true God.

        Reason only is blind and cannot lead one anywhere without a conjugal partner even in the material and physical realm; not to speak of the ethical,moral and spiritual realms.

        • Debilis

          Yes, I’d say that we need to incorporate all of our experience into our philosophy, and apply reason to that.

          Even the atheist will see that reason is useless without experience to reason about. And I don’t see any reason why that should be limited to physical experience.

        • Arkenaten

          @ Deilis
          You will notice Paarsurrey never challenges you directly regarding Yashu’a.
          His comments are cleverly tailor to be directed primarily at me (and any other passing non-religious)
          I wonder how the hypocritical sod would be if he no common threat to rail against? lol….

          Sorry, forgot this in my previous comment. Knock yourself out.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country

          And of course, stats such as these merely reflect what people claim they are, or identify themselves as which is often dictated by custom and culture not whether they are actual practicing christians.

        • paarsurrey

          @ Arkenaten

          “You will notice Paarsurrey never challenges you directly regarding Yashu’a”

          I don’t challenge or debate with anybody; I simply discuss.

          Debilis has not mention of Jesus or Yashu’a since I have been visiting her blog. I always defend Jesus and his truthful teachings.

        • Arkenaten

          No, you challenge by your assertions.

        • paarsurrey

          I simply write what I sincerely believe with reasons.

        • Arkenaten

          No problem with that,no problem at all.
          Doesn’t mean any of your reasons can be substantiated; which of course they cannot.

          Anyway, Islam will be the No 1 religion soon if you lot keep breeding at the rate you are and then we can all be under your god and then those maniac Islamic extremists won’t have anything left to blow up.
          Or they could go at each other in civil war oF course. Lol….

        • paarsurrey

          They could reform and become peaceful; there is no teaching of extremism in Quran/Islam/Muhammad in support of the extremists.

        • Debilis

          Paarsurrey and I have disagreed on several points. He’s never been shy about letting me know when this is the case.

          The fact that I’m usually discussing theism in general, contrasting it to materialism, means that we tend to agree on most of the points discussed here.

          Do you consider it hypocritical to be debating solely with theists when you could be debating with John Zande on your areas of disagreement?

        • Arkenaten

          John Z is an atheist as am I and we have not encountered areas of disagreement in this regard.
          What’s hilarious is you feel somewhat more of a kinship with Paarsurrey than me simply because he agrees on many points of theism.

          The irony is obviously lost on you. Maybe both of you?

        • Debilis

          I don’t see how your not encountering areas of disagreement is any different than Paarsurrey and I tending to agree that theism is more reasonable than materialism.

          I don’t know where you get your guesses about what kinship I feel, and why I feel it. But it seems rather presumptuous to assume this–much more to decide that this something to mock.

          Really I’d like to get back to the point, which was that people who openly claim to find certain views “hilarious” and otherwise use emotional arguments are admitting that their emotional reactions are influencing their beliefs.

          And this was my position all along: that any group can be accused of belief for non-rational reasons. This accusation, then, is not a reason to reject any particular view.

        • Arkenaten

          Everything you adhere to as a worldview based any sort of religious belief is merely a variation of the god of the gaps.

        • Debilis

          I understand that this is the perception of theism right now, but it is simply false.

          Aside from fundamentalists and Richard Dawkins (who is arguably a fundamentalist himself), no one thinks of God as an explanation for gaps in our current knowledge.

          Nothing I’ve said, anywhere on this blog, is based on that kind of reasoning. And, either way, you can’t simply say that. You need to prove that there is no way, whatsoever, to believe in God that isn’t based on God of the gaps.

          If you want to make the case for that, feel free to do so. But please do make a case, rather than simply making big claims.

        • Arkenaten

          All you arguments against materialism and everything else you, and every other believer like to philosophize about eventually become meaningless in the face of science.

          1. You are a christian.
          2. Your god is Yashua, who you claim created the universe.
          3. At it’s core you challenge everything contrary to this belief.
          4. What you cannot explain you will imply god did it.
          5. This is the god of the gaps theory, whether you allow for science right up to the point where no current rational explanation is available or whether you act as an outright fundamentalist.
          Anything that cannot be rationalized by science you will inevitably insert your god.
          This is actually wonderful as every time science takes a step forward demonstrates yet another religious/god belief fallacy it leaves all believers looking like twits.
          And history is the witness to this.

        • Debilis

          FYI, I’ve trimmed again.

          When have I ever claimed that God did anything on the grounds that I cannot explain it?
          If you think I’ve implied this, then let me deny it directly. That is reading something into my words that I never meant to be there. If I made it seem that way accidentally, I apologize. That is not my view.

          I’ve only ever argued for God’s existence based on what we do know. What we don’t know–I’ve never talked about that, other than to say that we don’t know it.

          Wait, here you are saying that “history is the witness”. Does this mean that you accept history? You seem to have rejected all texts in our other discussion.

          But I have said that God’s existence is shown by some (though not all) of the things science cannot, by definition, study.

          Science has well defined limits of study. This has been true for centuries. Simply claiming that science studies everything is a philosophical claim that has been shown to be false.

          It is called scientism, and it contradicts itself.

        • Arkenaten

          ”I’ve only ever argued for God’s existence based on what we do know. What we don’t know–I’ve never talked about that, other than to say that we don’t know it.”

          There is nothing you know that anyone can demonstrate as being evidence of a god’s existence.
          If you assert this you are either delusional or a liar.

          ”But I have said that God’s existence is shown by some (though not all) of the things science cannot, by definition, study.”

          Which is the god of the gaps theory.

        • Debilis

          I’ve mentioned a number of things, which are clearly evidence of God’s existence. Simply saying that it is not does not make that the case.

          Either we’re having a communication regarding my argument, or there is a serious misunderstanding about what “the God of the gaps” actually is. I’m not remotely claiming “science can’t explain X; therefore, God did it”.

          What I’m claiming is “Here is X, which can be shown to be something other than the matter and energy that science studies. And, when we look at what must exist in order to explain it, that explanation sure looks a lot like God.”

          Those are completely different kinds of arguments. One is simply using the word “God” to name things we don’t know. The other is logically concluding a specific thing based on what we do.

        • Arkenaten

          Nope. Just because science can’t explain it YET is no reason to insert a deity. And to say that ‘…sure looks a lot like God.” is nonsense.

        • Debilis

          I think I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve pointed out that I’m not arguing for God on the grounds that science can’t explain something yet.

          Every single thing that I mentioned was outside the purview of science. This is to say, it would contradict the definition to study it. To be even more direct, it means that science will never explain it–not in a hundred billion years, not in and infinite number of years.

          This is not because science hasn’t yet found the answer, it is because it simply isn’t a scientific question.

          Now, I expect that you’ll disagree with this. But, if so, you have to give a reason. You can’t simply repeat the assertion that science will one day explain qualia, the existence of the universe, morality, the intentionality of thoughts, and the meaning of life. You need to explain why you think that these are scientific questions.

          I’ve already explained why they are not.

        • Arkenaten

          If science cannot offer a reason then it has:
          a) Not yet developed the means. Please note yet.
          Or
          b) It is being asked examine/demonstrate something clearly imaginary.

          So, we are, nce again, back to square one.
          YOUR god is Yeshua. This is YOUR claim, not mine. Therefore, if you wish me to accept this the onus is on your to demonstrate the veracity of your claim.
          It is this simple. Thus, if you are unable to do this to the satisfaction of all concerned then I am under NO obligation whatsoever to accept your word.

          So, once again, please demonstrate that Yeshua is a god.

        • Debilis

          Your options are simply a false dichotomy. You need to give an argument why

          c) Some questions simply aren’t scientific questions

          isn’t a valid option. You can’t simply demand that anything that is not scientific is imaginary.

          This is called scientism. It is not only completely unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, it contradicts itself. The demand that everything which isn’t scientific is imaginary is, after all, a statement without any scientific support at all.

          So, by its own standards, we should reject it.

          Nor does mentioning Jesus have anything to do with this. I’ve claimed nothing about that in this conversation. As such, it is no different from me saying. “YOUR philosophy is materialism. This is YOUR claim, not mine. Therefore, if you wish me to accept this the onus is on you to demonstrate the veracity of your claim.”

          You can’t simply avoid the need to support your answers to life’s big questions by demanding that I support mine. I’ve given reasons for my views, but have seen no reason to accept the materialism you’re defending.

        • Arkenaten

          “isn’t a valid option. You can’t simply demand that anything that is not scientific is imaginary.”

          Tis is EXACTLY what it is…and you cannot demonstrate otherwise.
          The comment stands. The onus is on you to prove otherwise…which you cannot and this is what the god of the gaps is all about.

          In the same vain we don’t fully understand quantum physics.
          Do you think Feynman sat there and said:
          “Okay, I’ll just stick god about …here…”

          And we haven’t even got to the the subject of a multi-verse yet,

        • Debilis

          This is simply another demand, coupled with a “you cannot demonstrate otherwise”.

          First, this is a logical fallacy. Saying “you can’t prove me wrong, so I’m right” is not good logic (formally: argumentum ad ignoratium).

          Second, I did demonstrate otherwise. I specifically explained out that approach contradicts science and breaks down into self-contradictions. Simply denying this does not change that.

          I’ve also explained why the God of the gaps accusation is way off the mark. I’ve been arguing from what we do know, not as a filler for what we don’t. I’ve said this several times, and the point keeps being missed.

        • Arkenaten

          Nope. Everything I stated stands,and you are still left grasping at straws and looking silly.
          I should care. Do you think you could peddle this argument at ANYONE who wasn’t a fundamentalist like you?
          Of the non religious folk that have visitied not a single one has deigned to give a single argument you have blathered on about one ounce of credence.
          Not one.
          Go figure?

        • Debilis

          Simply claiming that I am wrong doesn’t address anything I’ve said.

          Really, if you think this is a valid response, it is just as good for me to simply declare that you are wrong.

          But I’m not a fundamentalist. I’ve never been a fundamentalist. I can see why you’d think my position is untenable if you think I am–but I don’t see why you’d think that. I’ve already clarified this point.

          Nor is claiming that non-religious people don’t agree with me a point in your favor. That is true by definition. This is the same as my saying “Of the religious folk that have visited, not a single one has found even a single argument amongst all the declaring yourself correct.”

          It isn’t questioning your position at all. It is simply claiming that the people agree with you agree with you, and that you aren’t willing to offer any other reason than that.

          That approach is simply dogmatism; it isn’t based on logic, or any defense at all other than the refusal to consider the reasons why it is wrong.

      • paarsurrey

        “My main trouble with it is that “this is a later state in our evolution” does not equate to “this is true”.”

        Very truly said.

      • violetwisp

        “My response to the issue of religious beliefs rising from a single source is, essentially, that I know of no logical reason why this should be much of a point against the truth of its claims.”
        I would say it seems logical that given that all ‘false’ religions are subject to this condition because they are all invented by man and come from a single developmental line (that obviously branches off), it means that that the idea of a ‘true’ deity-based religion, where the deity hasn’t distinguished its method of message transmission from those of man-made superstitions is odd. Surely it casts doubt.

        “With regard to Christianity (or any other religion), its central claims are either true or false. If Jesus rose from the dead (or Muhammed received a revelation from Gabriel), then it is true. If not, then not.”
        This interests me. Do you have a post where you explain why you believe if the character Jesus existed and rose from the dead this would prove Christianity true? I’ve seen this expressed before and don’t understand the reasoning.

        “I’d say that religious and non-religious views are on equal footing with regard to this point.”
        Yes, I do agree with you here. Although, as commonly stated, it seems likely that if humankind were to start again in the absence of what we currently know, no religion the same as we have now would develop, but atheism in the same form (rejection of whatever supernatural beliefs developed) certainly would at some point.

        “My main trouble with it is that “this is a later state in our evolution” does not equate to “this is true”.”
        Yes, that is a great point. We can only talk about where humankind is at this point in time. There’s no way of knowing how our knowledge and understanding will develop in the future. Perhaps atheism will be universally ridiculed in 1000 years time, but I do think it’s the only place we can logically arrive in this day and age with the evidence that’s available to us.

        • Debilis

          I don’t see why a religion rising from a single source is a reason to think it false. This seems like a leap in logic.

          Rather, we should ask ourselves whether or not the claimed events occurred.

          I haven’t written much on the resurrection, I’m sorry to say. So far, my position is that it is the best explanation of the historical facts.

          I’ll elaborate on that if the conversation goes in that direction. If, however, you’re interested enough to take on some serious study, the most thorough defense of this idea is The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright.

          I find your claim about what things would be like if humanity were to restart from prehistory. I’m not sure what I think:

          Given the truth of any one religion, it seems likely that it would appear in essentially the same form. But, perhaps, much would be different even then. Much of what is written is, after all, contextual.

          I’m also not sure about atheism. I’d agree that pure atheism is simply a single idea, which isn’t open to much change. In my conversations with atheists, however, I find that by “atheism” often what is meant is “materialism”, or even “post-enlightenment, white cultural views”. And this would almost certainly be different.

          Even the idea of atheism as “rejection of supernatural beliefs” may well be different. Very few cultures have such an emphasis on the physical as ours.

          In all truth, it takes a long list of culturally-contingent ideas to come up with the idea of science. It is hard, then, to believe that the rejection of the supernatural which is peculiar to our culture was inevitable.

          Of course, that’s quite a digression. I don’t think it says anything about the truth of atheism.

          As to your last point, I like the spirit. Though we disagree, I think the key thing is that we look at what we know, and try to form the best conclusion we can from that.

          As a former atheist myself, I can understand why someone would find atheism to be the most likely conclusion. Really, it wasn’t until I realized that it wasn’t atheism, but materialism, that was the option being presented that I became confident that it wasn’t true.

          And that’s my main issue here: every culture has a view. Materialism, no less than any religion, rose out of a single moment, and is dependent on particular cultures. This doesn’t make it untrue, of course, but it is much less the logical default position than many make it out to be. Rather, it is an assumption that often goes unquestioned at this point in history.

    • paarsurrey

      “But the fact remains that most people stick with the religion they are born into, and those who choose a different religion can only choose one that another human transmits to them. ”

      I agree with it to some extent.

    • paarsurrey

      “atheism is a natural evolutionary state”
      It is totally wrong.
      The original, normal and the natural position is belief in one true God; when man leaves this norm one either becomes polytheist or atheist.

      • violetwisp

        “The original, normal and the natural position is belief in one true God; when man leaves this norm one either becomes polytheist or atheist.”
        I’m confused by this, I understood that all the ancestors of those who set up the monotheistic religions were polytheists. Does that not make polytheism the ‘original, normal and natural postion’? I wouldn’t argue with that, but your statement makes no sense.

        • paarsurrey

          @ violetwisp

          The original and normal position is belief in the one true God; all messenger prophets of all revealed religions of the world testify to it; namely Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, Socrates, Jesus, Muhammad.
          It should not be difficult to understand.

  • Arkenaten

    There is an extremely closed mindedness in the way you present your arguments in defense of your religion. The aim seems not so much as to demonstrate the veracity of your faith/belief but rather to find fault in any belief that opposes or challenges your belief.
    By trying to demonstrate an untenable position of the opposing belief you seem to think that through a process of elimination the ”Last Man Standing” as it were, will be Christianity.
    I have absolutely no doubt at all that through clever argument this could be achieved.
    But would it prove that the last man standing was the right man?
    No sir, it would not.
    Simply because you are then left with the unenviable task of demonstrating the truth/veracity of your own position. And as this is based largely on supposition and not hard evidence the whole argument is reduced to using the same tactics as you employed to take down the ‘opposition’.
    Furthermore, what you hope to gain from all these semantic gymnastics is still not clear.
    Maybe it simply makes you feel good? I have no idea.

    The undeniable fact is this:
    Religion is losing ground across the globe hand over fist.
    Its eventual demise is by all accounts inevitable – or at least it will likely decline to the point where it becomes nothing but an oddity.

    The US and large parts of Africa will likely be the last to go, but go they surely will.

    No doubt you will claim that irrespective of whether religious belief and belief in the supernatural in general does not negate your god. As will others who believe in different gods and follow different religions.
    This also is true.
    But unless god – any god – decides to turn up those that hold on to such archaic and outmoded patterns of thought and behaviour will be in such a minority as to be considered inconsequential to the growth of humankind.
    As no god has made such an appearance most normal people would regard this as highly unlikely.

    It will take quite some time…maybe a few hundred years.
    When one considers how long humans have been held in bondage because of religion what’s a couple of centuries?

    And the more defenders of religion beat the same old drum without making even an effort to introduce anything meaningful to the whole arena of religion and god belief the more these ‘drummers’ just look and sound silly.

    • paarsurrey

      “By trying to demonstrate an untenable position of the opposing belief you seem to think that through a process of elimination the ”Last Man Standing” as it were, will be Christianity.”

      But that is what Atheists are also doing exactly; by simply proving “Christianity” as false; they think Atheism/Materialism will prove to be true; never giving any evidence, which the atheist demand of others, that the “one true God does not exist”.

    • paarsurrey

      “The undeniable fact is this:
      Religion is losing ground across the globe hand over fist.
      Its eventual demise is by all accounts inevitable – or at least it will likely decline to the point where it becomes nothing but an oddity.”

      This is only a myth and superstition of the Atheists; at the most it is a conjecture. Please provide your evidence.

    • Debilis

      It seems strange for an atheist to accuse me of trying to support my view by criticizing others. In general, I find a lot of criticisms of religion on the lips of atheists, but little to no support of their own view.

      But I am saying that Christianity will be the “last man standing” that’s how discourse works (in science as much as here). We put everyone’s explanations on the table, and debate until it becomes clear which is the most reasonable.

      Christianity has been debated and challenged many times. What on Earth is unfair about challenging materialism?

      But I can tell you what I hope to gain:
      1. I hope to persuade people who are uncertain about the issue
      2. I hope to give myself and others some things to think about.
      3. I hope to give those who agree with me some arguments which will help them.
      4. I hope to challenge those who are not used to being challenged to defend their views.
      5. Mostly, I hope to have some interesting conversation about a topic I find interesting.

      I’m not sure about most of these, but I’m definitely accomplishing the last.

      “The undeniable fact is this:
      Religion is losing ground across the globe hand over fist.”

      I’ve heard other statistics globally. It was my impression that atheism is only increasing in North America, Australia, and Europe.

      But, even if it is true, you’re right to say I’ll claim that this doesn’t “negate [my] God”. It is an interesting topic, but atheism being popular wouldn’t make it true.

      Really, I think it is just as likely that the kind of blunt materialism I’ve been criticizing will be considered a laughing stock in a hundred years. That philosophy is getting less popular in academia lately.

      But none of this has anything to do with whether or not God exists, which really is the important point. I’d gladly be part of a cultural minority that happened to be right, rather than a majority which was wrong.

      I’d have assumed that an atheist would be with me on that point.

      • Arkenaten

        ” Ï’ve heard other statistics globally. It was my impression that atheism is only increasing in North America, Australia, and Europe.”

        Er…hello? Once it has gained an majority in these countries the balance will swing at an alarming rate. Once people have walked away from religion few go back. There may be marginal moves sideways to other religions, but Christianity – which is what you are more concerned with – would likely be finished as an evangelical and proselytizing force.

        It has been proven that higher living standards and more pertinently higher education leads to abandonment of religion. (maybe should get some higher education?)
        So, while large parts of Asia will still be considered religious with the biggest players collectively in the global market turning away from religion it is very likely that Asia will follow. More slowly, agreed, but it will inexorably move away from superstition.

        ”I’d gladly be part of a cultural minority that happened to be right, rather than a majority which was wrong.”
        Lol…you are currently part a minority that is WRONG…according to every other religion and atheists on the planet and losing ground hand over fist.

        As for the points you list. Well it seems you attract more dissenters than those prepared to stand in your corner. And I wouldn’t count on Paarsurrey, either. ‘That’s not a Winged Horse you want to back…believe me.
        Your best bet is to look to the sky. Maybe Jesus will arrive on the Millennium Falcon and whisk you away? You never know,right?
        Sheesh! You are so funny.

      • paarsurrey

        @Debilis
        “But, even if it is true, you’re right to say I’ll claim that this doesn’t “negate [my] God”. It is an interesting topic, but atheism being popular wouldn’t make it true.”

        I agree with you.

      • paarsurrey

        @ Debilis
        “But I can tell you what I hope to gain:
        1. I hope to persuade people who are uncertain about the issue
        2. I hope to give myself and others some things to think about.
        3. I hope to give those who agree with me some arguments which will help them.
        4. I hope to challenge those who are not used to being challenged to defend their views.
        5. Mostly, I hope to have some interesting conversation about a topic I find interesting.”

        You give good reasons about Atheism and Materialism; I appreciate it. Your post are useful.

      • paarsurrey

        @ Debilis

        “Really, I think it is just as likely that the kind of blunt materialism I’ve been criticizing will be considered a laughing stock in a hundred years. That philosophy is getting less popular in academia lately.”

        Atheists will themselves make it a laughing stock; the religious don’t like to ridicule others as a principle. To ridicule is a weak position; it hampers reasoning faculty.

    • Debilis

      So, this was less a report of growth that is happening than a prediction about growth that will happen. I’ll leave that to others, I’m not terribly interested and definitely don’t claim the ability to predict the future.

      I will say, however, that if you can’t differentiate between classical theism and superstition, there is a deep misunderstanding here. It’s no wonder you don’t believe in Christianity, if that is your understanding.

      Beyond that, you also seem to misunderstand my intentions. I’m not interested in whether or not most of the people here disagree with me. I don’t claim to know what those who don’t comment believe.

      Really, the bottom line is that all your appeals to “loosing ground” and “people in [my] corner” simply aren’t reasons to think that there’s anything true at all about the materialist view you keep assuming, but no one actually wants to defend.

  • paarsurrey

    Reblogged this on paarsurrey and commented:
    Paarsurrey says:
    “That is, if one can dismiss Christianity by saying “You were born in the U.S in 1974.”, why can’t one dismiss the currently trendy materialism with “You were born in the U.S. in 1992.”?”

    Good and valid reasoning by Debilis.

    Thanks

  • paarsurrey

    “the choice isn’t between theism and “a lack of belief”. The choice is between theism and materialism. ”

    Well said; I agree with you.

  • paarsurrey

    “Thus, the only real defense the typical materialist seems to have is to avoid the subject of materialism and shift back to (usually very poor) objections to God–as if rejecting God justified materialism.”

    I agree with it.

  • What’s Trendy in Your Demographic? | paarsurrey

    […] August 3rd, 2013 at 6:55 am “the choice isn’t between theism and “a lack of belief”. The choice is between theism and […]

  • Keith Pinster

    “…materialists have done little to nothing to defend their view.”

    This is such a perfect example of a theist sticking to a mantra despite being proven over and over and over that the manta is completely invalid. You keep insisting that people who reject your lunatic assertion are, themselves asserting something. You just simply refuse to understand that just because people reject YOUR delusional superstition, that they must be asserting something to replace it. How many times do you have to be told this isn’t the case? How many time do you have to be proven wrong before you give up your fallacious and, let’s be honest here, fabrication (yes, I’m calling you a LIAR) of this assumption?

    The atheistic standpoint is simply “YOU HAVE NOT PROVEN, LET ALONE PROVIDED ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL, FOR YOUR CLAIMS.” Why is that so hard for you to wrap your mind around? Oh, right. Sorry, I keep forgetting – it’s because you are desperate to shift the burden of proof. You think that is someone can’t “prove you wrong”, that means you must be right in any crazy fairy tale you think should be generally accepted. If we can’t “prove” there have never been any talking snakes or talking donkeys, that means that there must have been, despite this being so improbable that it is delusional.

    What it boils down to is this: no matter who else is incapable of proving their position, it does NOT relinquish YOUR burden to prove YOUR position. And when all is said and done, the position with the most evidence wins. You’ve already admitted that “materialism” is true, you just claim that it is not the limit of reality. The fallacy of the entire basis for your constant argument is that someone is “claiming” that there is no more to reality than that. The fact is, no one knows. However, in order to assert that there IS something more requires evidence, of which you provide none. You make assumptions that there is. You keep supposing that there “must be.” You even make assertions that the path to understanding this is what you call “revelation” (which I and many others have disproved on a multitude of occasions), but you have NEVER actually provided any actual evidence for.

    It must suck to be so blinded by a superstition as you are.

    • paarsurrey

      @ Keith Pinster
      “delusional superstition”

      Will you please let us have your own concept about the words “delusional” and “superstition”; I think I requested you earlier for the later word, if I remember correctly. Please don’t copy/paste from a dictionary.
      May be the above words describe more of the atheists.
      Please don’t mind.

    • paarsurrey

      @ Keith Pinster
      “How many times do you have to be told this isn’t the case?”
      What is there to be angry about? I think one doesn’t have to persist at Debilis; please respond her with the normal courtesy becoming of the Humanists . If one cannot have a little tolerance; there is no compulsion to make immediate comments, one can defer it; if at all one should do it in a nicely and friendly way like Debilis does.

      • paarsurrey

        @ Keith Pinster
        “The atheistic standpoint is simply “YOU HAVE NOT PROVEN, LET ALONE PROVIDED ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL, FOR YOUR CLAIMS.” Why is that so hard for you to wrap your mind around”

        I think it is equally, if not more, relevant to Atheists; I have yet to see them provide an evidence that “the one true God does not exist”. Did they ever provide one? If, yes; please repeat it here.

    • Debilis

      “You keep insisting that people who reject your lunatic assertion are, themselves asserting something.”

      I didn’t think I was doing this. But I am insisting that those who reject my assertion without asserting anything else aren’t worth serious consideration.

      This is because everyone needs a set of working beliefs about life in order to function. Anyone who isn’t asserting anything in this conversation is simply keeping quiet about theirs, and therefore keeping them away from criticism.

      But I have provided many reasons to think my view is the correct one. You may not agree with those reasons, but they are reasons. As you’re not presenting your view for consideration, then it is safe to say that you’re also not presenting reasons for your view.

      That being the case, only one of us is actually presenting support.

      Really, I couldn’t even adopt your view if I wanted to, since you won’t tell me what it is. Rather, you simply insist that I drop my own. Personally, I suspect that the view you won’t tell me about is materialism (as that is the only thing that fits with the statements you’ve already made). But, if that is the case, I’ve given quite a few reasons why it should be abandoned. Not the least of which is that no evidence for it has ever been presented.

      But, if it is so important that I drop my view because it hasn’t (according to you) been proved, why isn’t it equally important that you drop your view when it hasn’t been evidenced at all? It seems that we’re committed to the burden of proof only if we’re discussing religion. Non-religious approaches to life seem, on your view, immune to this burden. Why?

      So, feel free to disagree with my arguments for theism. But to claim I’ve not given them is simply false. Likewise, to claim that it is wrong for me to subject your view to the same tests that you’d like to subject mine is simply inconsistent.

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