<<<Since you are a
Christian, I would not expect you to accept lordbyron's characterization
above. But no Christian I've ever met has been able to prove to me that the
collection of primitive writings known as "the Bible" has any
relevance to my life.>>>
"I guess that would
depend on what you think is relevant."
Oh, of course. No guessing
"Are you in
At the moment I am.
"Do you live under the
You bet I do. Specifically,
the US Constitution (what little is left of it).
"Christians had a large
part in that (sure, there were other deists too (like Jefferson), but the vast
majority of the Founding Fathers were Christian...and how many
atheists were there???)."
Founding intellectuals, like
Thomas Paine? Ever read his book The Age of Reason? Ever hear of
Ethan Allan? Allen, in his book Reason: The Only Oracle of Man
(Bennington: 1784) wrote: "While we are under the tyranny of priests, it
ever will be in their interest, to invalidate the law of nature and reason, in
order to establish systems incompatible therewith" (p. 457).
Ever hear of Elihu Palmer? Palmer,
himself a former Presbyterian pastor, wrote that the Christian God "is
supposed to be a fierce, revengeful tyrant, delighting in cruelty, punishing
his creatures for the very sins which he causes them to commit; and creating
numberless millions of immortal souls, that could never have offended him, for
the express purpose of tormenting them for eternity… the grand object of all
civil and religious tyrants… has been to suppress all the elevated
operations of the mind, to kill the energy of thought, and through this
channel to subjugate the whole earth for their own special emolument… It has
hitherto been deemed a crime to think." [The Examiners Examined:
Being a Defense of the Age of Reason, (New York: 1794), pp. 9-10.]
Today's Christians who seek to hijack the success
of the American Experiment and credit it to their god-beliefs routinely fail
to take into account the fact that, during the time that the principles which
provided the foundations of the new nation's ideals, religion was on the
retreat. If one wants to credit Christianity for the rise of the American
constitution, why didn't America come into existence until the late 18th
century, some 1700 years after Christ???? Why didn't a nation like America, a
nation founded (in principle) on the idea that the individual has the right to
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - an idea that is nowhere found in
the Bible - come into being when Christianity was the prevailing philosophical
force in the west from the fall of Rome to the Enlightenment (a period of
history affectionately known as the Dark Ages)?
"But I suppose that
doesn't have any "relevance" to you."
The number of theists as opposed to deists and
atheists during the American Revolution is of course irrelevant to me. The
uniqueness of the American ideals cannot be reduced to a numbers racket.
Instead, what is important - and what is crucially relevant in this context -
are the ideas and principles which formed those ideals. What were those ideas
and principles, and what made those ideas and principles possible? Certainly
not faith in resurrected zombies! What made them possible was one thing:
Reason. And indeed, another term for the Age of Enlightenment is the Age of
Reason, per Paine's own hand.
What was the one principle which formed the
cornerstone of the new nation's constitution? That principle is the idea that
the individual has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Is
this a "Christian idea"? No, it is not at all. The Bible nowhere
identifies the concept of individual rights or develops a theory of man's
rights anywhere in its pages. Indeed, the anti-abolitionists appealed to the
Bible as their chief defense of slavery and the slave trade. Where does Jesus
anywhere speak against the immorality of slavery? Where does Paul speak
anywhere against the immorality of slavery? Indeed, not a peep from those two!
Indeed, they explicitly condoned the heinous practice, and that's why the
anti-abolitionists appealed to the Bible in their defense of slavery.
"If you refer to your
morals that you hold to and say you can hold them without the Bible, then
again it doesn't really matter"
I do refer to my morals and I
do affirm that I hold them without the Bible or the underpinnings supposedly
provided by belief in any gods, Christian or otherwise. And while it may not
matter to you, it does matter to me.
"--you have to know why
you believe what you believe and such for yourself"
Agreed. And I have repeatedly
identified the means by which I know these things. It is called reason.
"(I simply question why
And I have addressed this
question in numerous posts, and you have not interacted with them. Instead,
you simply come out with new issues. Clearly, you're constantly on the run
"and also point out that
you have no reason to hold me to your morals so you cannot question anything I
You have not established this
at all, indeed, you haven't even attempted to. But so what? I suppose you want
to evade the judgment of others, just as Jesus taught in Matt. 7:1. Clearly,
the Christian believer fears the judgments of others, and he clearly fears
practicing moral judgment on his own behalf as well. You simply want to dance
between the raindrops so you don't get yourself wet.
"And if you're wrong, you
might discover the relevance of Scripture later..."
I've never been more right in my life, and I think
you know it. That's why you are constantly on the run here.
I wrote (quoting Peter):
<<<You yourself wrote
to the Rev: "Philosophical arguments are much more important than any
'evidential' argument because, absent of actual first hand knowledge, no one
can say anything difinitively about what historically happened in any
time--philosophy, on the other hand, does not need history in order to be
This just tells me that one
needs philosophy, not the Bible. And I agree wholeheartedly. Besides, why read
the Bible when you could read Atlas Shrugged?>>>
"While philosophy can
prove that there is a God of some kind,"
Only by relying on an invalid
philosophy built on stolen concepts, frozen abstractions, package-deals, post
hoc schemes and non sequiturs can one pretend to "prove" that a god
exists. We've already seen numerous attempts by yourself fail repeatedly, and
for the same principal reasons. You've not been able to salvage one of the
arguments which you've paraded before this forum.
"it cannot demonstrate
which God exists."
That's because there is no
god. All god-belief is simply a fantasy mistaken for reality. You claim there
is a god because you want there to be a god. But reality does not conform to
your desires, Peter. That's just the way it is, and your attempts have
ironically only reaffirmed my position. Go back and read them.
"Since Rand didn't agree
with this first statement,"
Why would she agree with the
claim that "philosophy can prove that there is a God of some
kind" when this claim is clearly false, and she saw right through it?
"then she already
disagrees with my perspective,"
the reading of the Bible at some point."
How does disagreement with
your perspective necessitate the reading of the Bible at some point?
"I don't really want to
get off on a side-trail here until after we hammer down the philosophical
issues first though."
The philosophical issues have already been
"hammered down" repeatedly. Again, as I've stated, you reject
reason, so it is no surprise that you still insist on your god-beliefs here.
Indeed, you have to reject reason in order to make room for your faith. I'm
aware of this, and I think others are too. They're simply sitting back and
grinning each time you secrete another poorly reasoned post to the Theism vs.
Atheism Web. You've been checkmated but you still think the game is in
progress and that you have a chance to win. But reality doesn't allow the
arbitrary to prevail over reason, Peter. Don't you recognize that yet?
<<<I have to
intervene on this matter again. There is no such thing as "the atheist
assumption that all atheists have is that there is no god (or, at the very
least, we don't know if there is a god or not)."
Peter not only nowhere
establishes this claim, he fails to consider the points I have made in
anticipation of this claim. I am an atheist, but my fundamental assumption is
not that there is no god. Anyone who has been reading my posts carefully knows
very well that my fundamental assumption is the fact that existence exists and
that existence exists independent of consciousness. This fundamental
assumption is not the same as what you are claiming above. However, it is true
that this fundamental assumption constitutes the only principle needed for a
fully valid repudiation of any and all god-beliefs. It is unassailable, and
your failed efforts to challenge it only support this assessment.
"Because of that, every
philosophy that an atheist comes up with is going to be based on the
assumption of no god/no proveable god."
Again false, and Peter nowhere
establishes this. It is just another unsupported claim, and it is another
instance of context-dropping, and therefore another example of, at best, sloppy
reasoning. Objectivism is a non-theistic philosophy, but nowhere in the
Objectivist literature will you find any statement suggesting that it is
"based on the assumtion of no god/no proveable god." You
misrepresent opposing views, Peter. This is dishonest.
Can you not establish your views without being
dishonest at least once, Peter???