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How Christians Should Approach Atheists

How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 10:59 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(01-07-2024, 10:56 PM)Dave Armstrong Wrote: Really? Are you that unaquainted with the history of philosophy? You wish to claim that no theist philosopher these past 3,000 years had the slightest idea what God is like? It's extreme statements like this that make atheists lose some intellectual credibility.

OK, tell me, what is a god.

Philosophers have already done that. That's my point. You seem to think that they haven't done so. I'd say, go look up "God" at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and get up to speed with that. 

Meanwhile, Aliza is advising me to cool it with the discussions of theism and go to the coffee house.
[F]anatical atheists . . . can’t hear the music of the spheres. (Einstein, 8-7-41)
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 11:02 PM)Dave Armstrong Wrote:
(01-07-2024, 10:59 PM)Mathilda Wrote: OK, tell me, what is a god.

Philosophers have already done that. That's my point. You seem to think that they haven't done so. I'd say, go look up "God" at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and get up to speed with that. 

Meanwhile, Aliza is advising me to cool it with the discussions of theism and go to the coffee house.

She was suggesting it…not demanding it.  My personal opinion is that you seem to start topics that you want to publish on your blog, not something anyone has shown much interest in.  That’s fine to do…we don’t know if we’re interested until it’s brought up.  Personally, I don’t care about Moses and his rocks.  To me, it’s a bit of a stretch hypothesis.  Do we even know what level the aquifers were in Moses time?  Would any of this make any difference if Moses really didn’t exist?  Or, even if he did?
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
Sorry for the second post. When asked a question, it seems absurd for an apologist to defer to the questioner to find it for herself. You can either answer her question using your own words or not answer at all. That was a bit rude…
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 11:23 PM)pattylt Wrote:
(01-07-2024, 11:02 PM)Dave Armstrong Wrote: Philosophers have already done that. That's my point. You seem to think that they haven't done so. I'd say, go look up "God" at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and get up to speed with that. 

Meanwhile, Aliza is advising me to cool it with the discussions of theism and go to the coffee house.

She was suggesting it…not demanding it.  My personal opinion is that you seem to start topics that you want to publish on your blog, not something anyone has shown much interest in.  That’s fine to do…we don’t know if we’re interested until it’s brought up.  Personally, I don’t care about Moses and his rocks.  To me, it’s a bit of a stretch hypothesis.  Do we even know what level the aquifers were in Moses time?  Would any of this make any difference if Moses really didn’t exist?  Or, even if he did?

Then don't read it. mordant thought it was interesting and made an argument against it. Different strokes . . .
[F]anatical atheists . . . can’t hear the music of the spheres. (Einstein, 8-7-41)
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 11:26 PM)pattylt Wrote: Sorry for the second post.  When asked a question, it seems absurd for an apologist to defer to the questioner to find it for herself.  You can either answer her question using your own words or not answer at all.  That was a bit rude…

Not at all. What's rude is for someone to make a statement that extreme and immediately absurd, as if no one has ever described what God is like (in that belief-system).
[F]anatical atheists . . . can’t hear the music of the spheres. (Einstein, 8-7-41)
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 11:35 PM)Dave Armstrong Wrote:
(01-07-2024, 11:26 PM)pattylt Wrote: Sorry for the second post.  When asked a question, it seems absurd for an apologist to defer to the questioner to find it for herself.  You can either answer her question using your own words or not answer at all.  That was a bit rude…

Not at all. What's rude is for someone to make a statement that extreme and immediately absurd, as if no one has ever described what God is like (in that belief-system).

I'd had enough of god by the age of 13 as portrayed by the lutheran church. 

How about you give your personal description/definition(s) of god? Apparently you have read all of the theology and philosophy or at least enough to satisfy you. It's my guess that you have come to some conclusions about what god is and/or is not. Nothing absurd, extreme or rude.
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 10:38 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(01-07-2024, 10:35 PM)Dave Armstrong Wrote: No. They can't know that he exists because he doesn't. Yes, of course, now you'll say, "we don't think God exists!" I have said over and over that I believe that is true of most atheists. But a tiny group (IMO) knows that God exists and rejects Him because they don't want to do what He requires of them, and they have been taught a bunch of distortions about what the God of the Bible really is like.

How can they be atheists if they believe that God exists?

Don't torment the poor fool. You will make his head explode.  Whistling
There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.


Socrates.
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 11:35 PM)Dave Armstrong Wrote:
(01-07-2024, 11:26 PM)pattylt Wrote: Sorry for the second post.  When asked a question, it seems absurd for an apologist to defer to the questioner to find it for herself.  You can either answer her question using your own words or not answer at all.  That was a bit rude…

Not at all. What's rude is for someone to make a statement that extreme and immediately absurd, as if no one has ever described what God is like (in that belief-system).
Of course theologians have written libraries about the nature of god ... as you admit, relative to their particular beliefs. I tend to take it as a sign of an insufficient, incomplete, or incoherent definition (or more bluntly, that we are dealing not so much with definitions as with dueling assertions) that has produced so many different denominations and offshoots and splits and sects. Also there's the small problem that literally all the definitions I've heard are incoherent or logically inconsistent in some way. Theologians tend to dismiss any such objection with references to god's ineffability and Mysterious Ways, or to some nuanced paradoxical understanding that you're just insufficiently open to or just have to accept or you need to have faith ... on and on it goes.

I would not have said no one has ever made the attempt to define god, only that none of the definitions are supportable in a way that I could subscribe to them. The most I can hope to do is to accept your definition for the sake of argument and then be honest about whatever problems I have with it.

Also in our experience with most theists, their understanding of god is, shall we say, not very thought through. They claim to be personally acquainted with their god but he is really just a pastiche of vague notions that don't hold up to scrutiny. In fundamentalism god is essentially a grumpy, angry, controlling, dysfunctional father figure and one wonders if your interlocutor has Daddy issues of some kind they are working out. In other parts of Christianity he's more an avuncular and tolerant, perhaps slightly daft genie. There are other variants, but in essence, he always happens to agree with the views of the believer, and serves to support whatever superficially comforting ideas that they find important ... and usually those things also are inconsistent and incompatible with each other as well.
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 11:02 PM)Dave Armstrong Wrote:
(01-07-2024, 10:59 PM)Mathilda Wrote: OK, tell me, what is a god.

Philosophers have already done that.

No. They haven't. Not in specific terms that mean anything.

For example, we have a good definition of what a human is. What shape is it? Is it alive? Does it have human DNA or blood? So we can determine whether something is a human or not.

Similar with Santa's elves. We can at least determine whether the creature in front of us is elf shaped rather than say bird shaped.

We have no definition of what a god is, because if we did, it would no longer be a god but something more specific (alien creature for example).

This is why your god myth still persists when so many others have been rejected as fantasy. Because without a definition it cannot be disproved.
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
(01-07-2024, 11:26 PM)pattylt Wrote: Sorry for the second post.  When asked a question, it seems absurd for an apologist to defer to the questioner to find it for herself.  You can either answer her question using your own words or not answer at all.  That was a bit rude…

I assume it's because they can't answer the question but cognitive dissonance stops them acknowledging that for themselves.
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
The god of the philosophers... the god that is, the god that's existence itself, the god that's metaphysics... the metaphysics that may underlie physics, but may also just be a rationalization by human brains seeking patterns in their surroundings.
So the god of the philosophers may exist, but may also not exist. Who knows?
Personaly, knowing humanity, I'd wager on the second possibility.

And, even if the god of the philosophers exists, it still takes a considerable "leap of faith" to connect that one to the god of Abraham. Why go through that effort?
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How Christians Should Approach Atheists
To Dave Armstrong...

"I don't waste time with fools. Life is too short."

And yet you are here, wasting time with people you consider fools.

" I like to actually have conversations that have some rational content"

Religion is not rationally-based. It is faith-based. And faith needs no evidence nor provides any.

" Are there some atheists who know that God exists and reject Him? In my opinion, yes; they exist"

By definition, an atheist does not agree that there is a god. You are stating merely an opinion, without support.

" Yeah, lots of folks don't believe in Santa Claus. See the movie, Miracle on 34th Street"

That was a fictional movie. I realize that fiction comes naturally to you, but as a reference, it is really very meaningless.

" This small minority says they are atheists, but it's false advertising. It's the distinction between not believing God exists and believing He does, but not following Him (which the devil and Satan worshipers do): think God is actually a Bad Guy and not to be followed, let alone loved.
"
This "small minority" is larger than you realize even here in the rather religious US (which is more religious than many other developed nations).

The superstitious views of the past are slowly fading away. Post and scream all you want, but religion is losing out to modern and analytical factual knowledge.

According to ABC News US numbers, in 2003 "No religion" was 12%. In 2017, it was 21%. And it is growing...

" Really? Are you that unaquainted with the history of philosophy? You wish to claim that no theist philosopher these past 3,000 years had the slightest idea what God is like? It's extreme statements like this that make atheists lose some intellectual credibility"

Well, first, ancient philosophers had some really stupid ideas. And the term "theist philosopher" makes me laugh.

What does a theist philosopher do anyway? Ponder a deity they already believe in and contemplate how to suggest one exists without evidence, I suppose.

And BTW, I've never quite understood the term "christian apologist". I'm sure they aren't quite apologizing for being christian, so what does "apologist" actually mean to you?

" It's the distinction between not believing God exists and believing He does, but not following Him (which the devil and Satan worshipers do): think God is actually a Bad Guy and not to be followed, let alone loved"

That is rather weird. And somewhat typical among many (not all) theists. I do not believe god exists at all. I cannot think a non-existent being is "a bad guy". A sentient being has to exist to be "bad".
But further, I equally have no belief in a " devil and Satan" any more than your god or unicorns or Santa Claus.

I know the basic ideas of what any deity Of any theism) should be. Omnipotent. Omnipresent. Omniscient. "No sparrow shall fall". Etc.

But how would you describe your deity?

Now go forth mightily into our atheist forum, tell us what your It is...

And if you want to explain how your It is different from all the other Its, go for it.
Never try to catch a dropped kitchen knife!
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