I was reading back over some old threads and searching around in here a bit. I noticed this thread, from a Christian Union, where a Christian was responding to a recent thread in this site's own atheist union. The atheist union thread debated the "delusional" or "irrational" nature of faith. I can understand how this can be conceived as an insult or cause some offence to those practicing a faith.
I think that's a shame though, since it is a basic tenet of my atheist belief. "Delusion" can be a poisonous word, not least in its associations with the psychopathic. Also, the "Dawkins reaction" would turn most Christians away from even defending their view (presumably?); that their faith isn't somewhat fanciful (another "nicer" definition of delusion).
The religious responder wrote this about Jesus in his bible-oriented union:
"His existence, His death in payment for our sins, and His resurrection, one of the most well-evidenced and documents truths of all antiquity."
Obviously, no supporting evidence was given. He continued with some criticisms of the"shamans of the faith of naturalism"(!!!), then finished off thusly:
"Now you be the judge which faith, Christianity or the faith of naturalism and disbelief, rests its foundational doctrine on "nothing", that same "nothing" that supposedly created "everything".No, my friend, Christians do not stand guilty of having faith in a "self-reinforcing delusion", they have faith in the Rock of Truth, Jesus Christ. All glory, honor, and praise be to Him."
These comments grossly pervert (my) atheist views and present a distorted scientific position. See, somewhat ironically and strictly scientifically speaking; there is no such thing as "nothing"; atheism isn't a faith; etc.
Using a rational basis for decision-making, you can make some informed choices about what to think. Scientific discovery uses this deductive basis to form our collective human understanding over time. In the past, what was considered supernatural is now well described by science. The unexplained is a scientific frontier, rather than something science can't possibly explain, or the antithesis of faith - as some adherents would have you believe. All scientific models of understanding are deductions based on strong evidence, that are open to debate and review.
Faith-based views use inductive methods for reaching conclusions. Although science does use induction to further discovery, scientific concepts are deductively rationalised. Inductive methods can lead to multiple, equally valid outcomes (as they have done in all the religions). So if religious faith does not fit with the definition of rationalism, doesn't that make it irrational?
This user would be encouraged to express his views in the atheist thread - many other Christians do in the Atheist union - and some have done in that thread. They are very welcome to too, seeing as the holding of any faith isn't an obstacle there. In fact, I think its a great resource of information and views from community of friendly deep thinkers of all sorts.
I do find it strange though, that based on my research, I think I'd be ineligible to join any Christian Unions here. If a Christian cause is conversion, then wouldn't their doors be wide open - just like the doors of the Churches they attend? Wouldn't they be so confident in their beliefs, that my questions would easily be answered?
I believe that several Christians do use this web site as a means of indoctrinating the unwary, so am particularly glad that the atheism union follows transparent principles on union membership - even going to the extent of allowing strong-Christians to stand as Union officers in democratic election.I wonder to what extent I'd have to start believing to be able to join some Christian Unions, and how they decide on an acceptable level of righteousness for their members.
Thanks a lot for the clarification. I needed it. :P And no it didnt feel like patronising. No worries.
@Teenaged "The scene is finally set" - means that everything behind our actions is now known to us both. We seem now to both understand how our miscommunication happened and are both satisfied with the outcome (I hope!). "There really is a refreshing community of opinion here" - means that people with different views can get along (i.e. you and Theo). GameSpot forums and unions are a really good place to debate faith for me. It is rare to get the opportunity to discuss religion in every-day life as I can do here, which is a privilage for me. I also would not have guessed you were Greek, aside from your "sig". I'm not trying to be "ironic" or "patronising" here, honestly!
Haha funny thing: seconds before I received your notification PM, I read the conversation you had with Theokhoth in an OT thread. :P I suppose you mean him. I do disagree with Theo on many things though, even if I like him.
@Teenaged - I thought I did know about your inclinations, but yesterday I had an exchange with someone else I thought was connected with you and felt the were needlessly giving me a hard time. Seeing your comment must have sparked some paranoia in me, so I "needed" that extra clarification, based on my assumption that you and they are connected. I do respect your work and contributions to the Atheism board and elsewhere in GS. I certainly didn't intend to alienate or conflict with you.
Like I said I knew it must have been me being paranoid in the last one. Yeah I just thought that no clarification would be needed because, assuming that from posting in the Atheism Union lately you would have seen where I "stand" on such matters. I am not saying you ought to know that, I just assumed it. Probably in mistake.
@Teenaged No irony from me on this. I thought we'd resolved the misunderstanding now. I agree its a silly and meaningless thing to say that everything came from nothing. I just got a wierd vibe from your initial smilie!
Now I may be getting paranoid but I am detecting irony in your comment too. :( Anyway, I just commented to express my frustration every time I hear that phrase being spouted without the person spouting it taking the time to read up on what they are talking about and actually understand it. Thats all.
@Teenaged Irony is fine, unless it obscures meaning. I'm not looking for ToS violations, I'm looking to reasonable debate here. I am glad you are too! Although It would be a shame if only people that agreed with me left comments.
Um, yeah the irony was about the innacuracy of the quote. Not towards you. And thankfully I think irony is ok by the ToU. Btw I wouldnt come to your blog to post something ironic directed at you. :? That would be ....stupid. Also, no I dont believe that that phrase is correct.
@Teenaged - Thanks for clearing that up. Could you clear something else up please? When you say "everything came from nothing" is an "absolutely ridiculously crude and innacurate quote", then stick a "rollie- eyed smilie at then end, do I detect a slight sense of irony there? So do you actually believe the GS user is right that the big bang theory states everything came from nothing or not?
I mean the quote that a specific GS user repeats in his debates with atheists/agnostics/naturalists. That the big bang theory states that "everything came from nothing".
The most hardcore Christians on GS are not the pleasant variety. I think you should just dive right in, and see what happens.