Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Debunking Christianity"

I have been reading and commenting on the writings of atheists over at Debunking Christianity for about a month now.

The whole point of this site is to disprove Christianity not to have their beliefs questioned. I have tried to question their beliefs, but I was somewhat chastised as to the point of the website. I understand and I even had one person over there give me his email address in order to take the discussion of his beliefs offline. The only posting by Christians should really be in defense of Christianity.

At first I was somewhat troubled by the website not because they are trying to “debunk” Christianity as much as the fact that I didn’t have a lot of answers to their questions. Over the last month or so I have used this as an opportunity to once again question my own beliefs.

They never attacked my personal character and they always addressed the issue rather than me. I believe most of them are honest and are searching for some truth. I warn you that it is not for the lighthearted. It has caused me to reevaluate my Christian beliefs. Thankfully it has made me stronger rather than weaker. It has caused me to look inside and outside of the Bible for evidence that my beliefs have some validity.

Over the past couple days my failure to provide answers has really damaged my own impression of my faith. I realize how much I lack the ability or understanding to answer their questions. I'm kind of bummed about my inadequacy, but if anything it really says to me that I have a lot of studying to do in order to first and foremost prove to myself that my beliefs are valid.

8 comments:

DBULL said...

Hi there :-)

I've posted answers on the debunking christianity site as well. I think the people who put it together come across much better than the vast majority of so called christians who have similar sites. I'm a disciple of Jesus through and through. I have'nt read anything on their site that's caused me to question anything I believe. As I've posted on their site over and over, they are in search of facts they'll never find from Jesus, Jesus is in search of FAITH He might never find in them. People will only find the Creator through faith, which really chaps the rearend of the people on the debunking site since all they will be content with is fact. On the other hand, from a hard evidence standpoint, I've never seen a single shred of physical evidence that Jesus isn't God, all the archeological evidence I've ever seen points to the validity of what's written in the Bible. Keep the faith :-) ~brotherD

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks for your honesty here. If your faith is strengthen by reading my blog, then please continue to read and to comment. If we're wrong it will only help strengthen your faith. If we're right, then it can only help you see the truth as we see it.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be better to put this in perspective. First, you have 7 to 8 contributors to that blog. It would difficult to answer just every objection that is mentioned. Secondly, there are answers to the objections that DC raises. There are in fact many answers; just do a goggle search on the web and stick with reputable scholars. Finally, laymen would be expected to have a difficult time addressing the objections raised because some of the contributors have degrees in philosophy, religion, history, or the sciences. Even if their objections hold no weight, a laymen would struggle against a person trained in philosophy.

And it should be remembered that just as Christianity has problems that are difficult to answer, so does every other worldview and outlook.

Daniel Morgan said...

Observationist,

I hope that you learn from our site. I learn much from Xian websites. I read them regularly. I read the Bible pretty regularly as well. I feel that I know it quite well, better than probably 90% of Christians my age. If you are interested in finding the truth out, then you can't go wrong by questioning. It is when we stop questioning that we are forever beyond the hope of learning. And we cannot know the truth about anything without learning.

Anon,

It is true that every worldview has "problems that are difficult to answer". That isn't the issue.

The issue is that Christianity makes claims that can be directly refuted, falsified, and made completely unbelievable. Not every belief system/worldview does. Skepticism brings a worldview of agnosticism--one in which the unknown is simply unknown/unknowable.

In other words, when you ask, "why is the universe here?" of a Christian, and of a skeptical agnostic, the former says, "cause God wants it to be" while the latter says, "I don't know, and neither does anyone else".

Which one of those two is more believable? In the end, every worldview must be weighted against every other one -- we have to consider their "evidences" and arguments. And I try to do this objectively, but of course we all develop biases, because we have to start with some presuppositions and move outward from there to examine the conclusions.

The premise that no afterlife exists is not a "happy" one. The premise that an eternal bliss exists where we reunite with our loved ones certain is. Some premises are thus easier to hold, and make us happier, than others.

Some worldviews, then, are not as pleasant to consider. It isn't pleasant to say, "I don't know" rather than "I believe that..."

The question is whether we want to be honest with ourselves, and whether we want to know what truth is -- some truths may not be pleasant, and some truths may be completely beyond our grasp.

Daniel Morgan said...

Observationist,

Let me give you a piece of unsolicited advice: don't expect studying to satisfy your need to "prove...my beliefs are valid." It won't.

In fact, I would advise you, if you feel that you hear from God and talk to God, to spend more time doing that than studying if you want to have faith. I have found that the harder we try to fill the gaps in our ignorance, the more gaps appear. Faith is a choice in how to interpret the unknown, with hope, and believing that God exists and loves you and such. Those things aren't the result of study, and won't be aided by it. Just my $0.02

One Observationist said...

DBull – I think there are answers to their questions. I wonder if they are closing their eyes, but until I research the issues more thoroughly for myself I can’t come to that conclusion. They seem to be honestly searching for the truth. Thanks for the encouragement!

Mr. Loftus – Thanks for reinvigorating me to continue my search. Even if we may end up disagreeing I appreciate the opportunity to discuss your ideas and perceptions of the truth.

Anon said, “there are answers to the objections that DC raises.” I agree however, I don’t want to merely do a Google search and find answers to their questions. For me personally the whole point is to study the issues and come to my own conclusions. My conclusions may agree with the Google answers, but I need to find it out for myself.

I am ashamed that the people over at DC have a better understanding of the Bible than I do especially since I claim to be a Christian. I agree with you that every worldview or philosophy has objections so it is our responsibility to research them and find the ones that make the most sense.

Daniel – As always thanks for the thoughts. I’ve been told that I question things too much and that quite frankly let’s me know that questioning everything is the key to understanding the truth.

Other than talking with people that are pro or anti Christianity I don’t really think God talks to me. I think the only way he talks to me other than through other Christians is through the Bible, specifically the New Testament.

My post may have come across wrong. I stated that I was thankful that I had not lost my faith in God during the past month of debating the folks over at “Debunking Christianity”. Had I thought about it a little more before I posted I would have probably deleted that sentence. Don’t get me wrong I am glad that I still have faith, but in retrospect the most important thing is learning the truth.

Tim said...

I've read the Debunking Christianity site a bit. Seems those folks aren't searching for truth as much as they are denying it. They claim that they "formerly" believed, only to turn their back on their faith. I submit that it wasn't really faith then.

True faith can't be forgotten. Neither can it be "un-believed", if there is such a word.

Faith is just that..faith. There doesn't have to be any logical proof of it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be faith. Believing in a God who created the Universe, sent His Son to die for a lost world, a virgin birth, a man dying and being raised from the dead three days later, and that same man ascending into Heaven are all things that require faith. Interestingly, evolutionists have not one shred of scientific evidence for the Big Bang, not one single strand of primordial DNA, no fossil records of any one single species evolving into another, yet they claim science for their beliefs...nee, their faith in evolution. They must make a larger leap of faith to believe in evolution that any Christian has to make to believe in an all powerful God, yet they claim science as their only basis for their faith in evolution. And yes, evolution is as much a religion as any other.

So I ask you, is it really your faith you are questioning? Or simply your lack of Bible knowledge? Your faith should not be shaken. Your faith will strengthened as you read, study, and understand more of the Bible, but don't let some fools who claim to have once believed and then left shake the foundations of your faith.

One Observationist said...

Tim – I think it is possible to lose your faith. I may believe with all my heart that Jesus is God and he is the messiah and next week I may lose that faith due to a number of various reasons. Reasons such as the death of a child or something as simple as losing my job. Just because I lose my faith doesn’t mean I never had it.

I understand that the reason we have faith in Christ is due to the fact that we cannot prove his existence beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, I believe that there are things outside of the Bible that prove His existence and the existence of a God.

Yes it is my faith that I am questioning. I am questioning myself on whether it is rational to believe that God took human form and saved humanity. My Biblical knowledge or lack thereof is only a portion of the reasoning or faith process. If we ignore the natural world as we are developing or questioning our faith then I believe we are ignoring reality. The Bible may very well strengthen my faith, but so will looking outside of the text. Didn’t Paul say something to the effect that God can be seen working in nature?

I won’t let them take my faith away in fact I believe that the questioning of my faith will either destroy it or make it stronger. It is my responsibility to defend it and provide answers to those that question it.

Thanks for the comments.
Jeremy