A Conversation With Brian Mason, aka beaconapologetics

Standard
A Conversation With Brian Mason, aka beaconapologetics

Having a conversation with an apologist is always a challenging experience, especially in a comment thread on the internet.  Over the last couple of days, I have been talking to Canadian Brian Mason, who’s Gravatar bio reads, “A Christian Apologist and Ordained Minister by God through the National Association of Christian Ministers”.  As one might expect, the topics of discussion was varied, but we did end up focussing on slavery, which is an interesting topic, right?

Sadly, in the end, the discussion digressed, and—in my view—it is not worth the effort to wrestle it back to coherence.  I lost motivation to pursue the argument at around the point when Brian started threatening me with hell.  You know, that age-old apologist strategy.

Below is a full “warts-and-all” transcription of one of our conversations.  Please excuse my spelling, and grammar etc.  I did write a lot of it on a phone and in a rush!  I can legitimately be blamed for one thing, and that is that I did write too much, after Brian requested more condensed comments.  I just can’t help it.

Please comment if you have an opinion.  I would love to get your feedback.  Have fun reading, I think it’s a good ride.

UNBELIEVERS! READ

September 27, 2013 by beaconapologetics

See, Christianity is all about SALVATION! There is no valid argument against it. We can argue until the Yaks come home, but this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in your life! Jesus was born of a virgin, he was crucified and rose in three days! What would the natural man make of that? I would hope that they would at least READ the Gospel of John, then respond intelligently.

God Bless

Brian Mason

AmRestorative says:

September 30, 2013 at 9:22 am

Hey Brian, here are my thoughts.

Regarding SALVATION:

To me, the idea is repugnant. Holding a child responsible for the sins of the father is abhorrent, by just about anyone’s standard. I don’t understand why believers accept the state of being born broken without questioning the injustice. It certainly is not moral. Neither is vicarious redemption. Not to speak of the injustice of offering the choice of Jesus or eternal suffering (not that all Christians believe in hell). I don’t get it. It’s like a mob boss saying pay me, or I’ll break your legs. That is not love.

Regarding MOST IMPORTANT thing in your life:

I presume you’re referring to Pascal’s Wager, which I’ll paraphrase to: if the God of the bible is true and I don’t believe and accept Jesus, I go to hell. So it’s in my interest to believe and accept Jesus. With this kind of reasoning, I should be a Muslim because their hell is far more frightening than the Christian equivalent.

Regarding the virgin birth:

How do you know?

Regarding death and resurrection?

How do you know?

Based on your responses in the comments, you believe the virgin birth and resurrection account because of 1) the bible, 2) Josephus’s writings, 3) retention of post-crucifixion wounds, 4) no counter historic information, 5) prophetic fulfillment, and 6) the apostles and followers believed enough to face torture and death.

1) I don’t find it believable that God would document the actions of Jesus, the most important person in the world–his masterplan for humanity–between 30 and 80 years after the death Jesus, by people who didn’t witness his actions or death, and who used second-hand accounts for reference. And even if the documents were written by first-hand account witnesses, I find it more likely that the people at that time were in error, that something else was going on, than believe that someone defied the laws of nature and death. What is more likely, really?

2) The passage in Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews (93 CE), which references Jesus–called “Testimonium Flavianum”–is widely accepted to be a fourth century forgery as far as I know. Again, even if it is not a forgery, Josephus was born 37 CE, after Jesus’s supposed crucifixion. This is not convincing evidence to warrant my belief. I have to ask why God did not organise things so that there were hundreds of secular historians that wrote throughout Jesus’s life, to make the historical man unquestionable? Why the doubt, for the MOST IMPORTANT man?

3) No idea what this is and a quick Google search didn’t give me anything. Did we find the body of Jesus with this crucifixion wounds?

4) This is a strange thing to say. It’s like saying there’s no counter historical information of Merlin pulling the sword out of a stone and serving as the king’s advisor, therefore Merlin existed. It’s more noteworthy for me to note that there are no Roman writings, in the time of Jesus, about the son of God, who by all accounts was an upstart–at least for the Romans. This casts doubt on his historicity.

5) Hardly surprising that the writings of Jesus would try fit him into all the different old testament prophesies. The bible was edited over hundred of years. Like the Jews, I don’t find it as evidence to justify belief. Prophesy is too open for interpretation.

6) I don’t doubt that they really believed that something remarkable happened and that the legend spread and grew more fanciful. It only proves that they believed in something. Humans, hey. Still not proof that I can accept for God’s existence and that there was a man that violated the laws of nature and death.

Regarding What would the natural man make of that?

Even if it was proven that a man died and came back to life, it does not prove God. How does it do that? All we would know is that a man defied death. I might not know how it happened, science might not be able to explain it yet, that does not mean God is the more likely answer.

I read John a long time ago, so I’m not sure I replied intelligently in your view, probably not 🙂

The bible is an incredible book of literature with a fascinating history, and it has great cultural significance. Everyone should read and study it, there is much to learn. But it is a terrible moral guide and handbook for life, and it is not a path to truth. That’s my view, at least.

Take care,

Jaco

beaconapologetics says:

September 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

Jako Thanks for your comments. I truly do not have enough time in the day to address all you have commented on. If you like let’s keep the questions/comments/answers less in words. I have no problem with your questions, but I have time constraints.

PS Thanks for using your name. I don’t think it is a “personal attack” asking to converse with a person with a name. In fact I rarely do.

Brian

AmRestorative says:

September 30, 2013 at 11:26 am

Fair enough, it’s your blog. But based on the title of your article, a lengthy comment is not unjustified. Same with your article about asking if atheism is self refusing. That is inviting discussion. To be fair, I did go off topic there.. but you don’t have to respond. I’ll just be happy if you approve the comments. They are more for your readers anyway. It’s unlikely I’m going to change your position and visa versa. But your readers may learn something. Who knows, we might too.

Regarding the usage of real names. I don’t mind, but I don’t get your opinion on it. People are perfectly in their right to stay anonymous, unless they get nasty and then you just block their ass. You must remember that for some people, in America and especially in Muslim countries, it can be damaging to come out as an atheist, if not dangerous. Consider rejection in families and friends, losing jobs, and even their lives. This is a situation that religion has created, I might add. Your position just happens to be a widely accepted one, and so using your name is not a big deal. That is not necessarily the case for others. It’s the ideas and conversation that count anyways… My advise, if you’ll allow me, is to ask if the person wants to share their name as it personalises the conversation, and back off if they don’t want to. Accusing someone is afraid of something because they don’t want to share their name is not a nice thing to say–putting it lightly–and that warrants an apology in my view.

I do like to write, sorry. I’ll try to keep comments shorter from now on.

My best,

Jaco

beaconapologetics says:

September 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thanks Jaco,

You said “Consider rejection in families and friends, losing jobs, and even their lives”. Yes that has happened to me except for (obviously) losing my life, however I am prepared for that if that is what is necessary to give the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is my savior and I have nothing to fear.

Brian

AmRestorative says:

September 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

And that was your choice to make, your belief requires this. Others might not be ready to sacrifice the relationship of loved ones because they happen to reject the claim of God’s existence, which does not require the spreading of good news. It can be the smart and noble option to stay silent. Sometimes, it’s a process that takes a while before you find an appropriate and sensitive way to let people know what you believe or do not believe. In case of work, it is not their business to know, and if there is any chance of discrimination, silence is the right option.

You seem to imply, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the choice to remain anonymous is somehow cowardly and not as noble as your choice to confess your belief. If this is true, you are an insensitive and narrow-minded individual.

I hope I have put words in your mouth and misinterpreted your confession that you’re prepared to give your life for your beliefs.

I’m sorry to hear that you sacrificed friends and family. I’m fortunate that my coming out as an atheist did not cost me in relationships, especially that of my religious mother.

beaconapologetics says:

September 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Well my point I made all long time ago in my blog was that if someone is fearing for their safety or whatever, why comment at all? I really feel that (and I am not the only one) that is someone cannot use their real name they are no more than a tagger graffiti artist in most cases.

Don’t be concerned about putting words in my mouth, as when you are saved you will give up everything for the Lord.

AmRestorative says:

September 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Really? So flippant.

You don’t see the opportunity for said person to learn from discussion and argument? You don’t think that they have any valuable to offer you, and you them, if they choose to remain anonymous, because they don’t want

beaconapologetics says:

September 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I still see the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. In the case of most that I have dealt with, they hide behind the name with vitriolic and generally abusive overtones or outright slander. Would you put up with that? I have has decent conversations as well and can see the point of both sides of most arguments. I will not put up with abuse especially on my blog. Do you understand my “strange position”?

AmRestorative says:

October 1, 2013 at 2:25 am

No, not really. But I agree, you don’t have to put up with abuse. Good thing that you’re in complete control of your comments.

Abusive overtones? Sounds like an oxymoron.

I regret that in your experience most atheists fall in these categories. There are some people who believe that all religious people are stupid and that they have the right to attack a believer’s character. And they’re idiots. There are also those that will argue purely to show how much they know and how smart they are, because they believe that they know better. I’m less concerned about these people. I don’t see much difference between them and Christians trying to convert me because the believe they know better.

In my experience, frustration manifests when theists argue dishonestly and when theists refuse to concede when they are demonstrated to be in error. Sometimes theists and atheists are stupidly obtuse on a specific argument, and they need to be called out on it.

The anger surfaces when disbelievers suffered/suffer from the influences of religion, or when injustices are committed in religion’s name. Not to mention when they blindly defend vile moral proclamations and actions in the bible.

More than enough said again.

Peace out,

Jaco

beaconapologetics says:

October 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

You sound amiable enough and more important reasonable so far….

I cannot “convert” anyone. That is for the Holy Spirit…all I ever intend(ed) is to speak the Gospel.

“In my experience, frustration manifests when theists argue dishonestly and when theists refuse to concede when they are demonstrated to be in error. Sometimes theists and atheists are stupidly obtuse on a specific argument, and they need to be called out on it”. I agree.

“vile moral proclamations and actions in the bible”. This is where the wagon falls off the tracks….please expand this statement.

AmRestorative says:

October 2, 2013 at 8:14 am

I give you my thanks for saying so, for now….

Okay, you want to speak the gospel. It’s a semantic point in my view. In my experience, believers generally want more than just spreading the good news. As example: the want to affect state policy. But I don’t know any of your views on this, and it’s a rabbit trail, besides.

You agree with a point I made? Take that back. We’re not allowed to agree 😛

I think the wagon is just fine, thanks.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

Jesus’s teaching is irresponsible and immoral.

1) “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” Colossians 3:22

Paul’s endorsement of slavery is abhorrent

2) “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” Luke 12:46-47

Not only does Jesus not speak out about the injustice of one human owning another, he works it into a parable by favorably comparing God to a slaveholder who beats his slaves for not obeying him

3) “If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.” – Exodus 21:2-6

Jew can own fellow Jew for six years. Provided: loophole for owner to own slave for ever

4) “Thy bond-men and thy bond-maids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bond-men and bond-maids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land. And they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bond-man forever.” – Leviticus 25:44-46

One person owning another is vile

5) “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his money.” – Exodus 21:20-21

No, this slavery is not some wishy-washy servitude that was beneficial for the slave somehow. One person can own another, and beat him so severely that it’s okay if he doesn’t die in a day or two. Vile. Vile. Vile.

6) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.” Numbers 31:1-2

“And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword. And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods. And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.” Numbers 31:7-10

“And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Numbers 31:14-18

God of revenge. Moses angry that the army didn’t kill the women and children, then orders them to kill all the boys. And kill all the women who are virgins (how did they determine, I wonder). And kill all the girls who are virgins (I’m sure this was a pleasant experience all round). Then finally, Moses gives the young virgin girls to his army. For what purpose, other than to rape? There is no context where this is moral. No new testament magic can make this right.

7) “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you.” – Leviticus 11:9-10

I love shellfish!

8) “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” – Leviticus 18:22

I love gay people. It is immoral to discriminate against good people who harm no-one and who were born the way they were.

9) “If a man marries, then decides that he hates his wife, he can claim she wasn’t a virgin when they were married. If her father can’t produce the “tokens of her virginity” (bloody sheets), then the woman is to be stoned to death at her father’s doorstep.” – Deuteronomy 22:13-21

That’s no way to treat a lady. Again, no context magically fixes this.

10) “If a man rapes an unbetrothed virgin, he must pay her father 50 shekels of silver and then marry her.” – Deuteronomy 22:28-29

She was raped and no longer valuable in her society. Solution: force her to marry her rapist. Don’t punish him (50 shekels of silver don’t cut it). Vile.

11) “If two men fight and the wife of one grabs the “secrets” of the other, “then thou shalt cut off her hand” and “thine eye shall not pity her.” – Deuteronomy 25:11-12

Sounds like there’s a story behind this one. Still, there is no justice here. Vile.

12) “Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death.” – Exodus 21:15

Immoral

13) “If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink; For live coals you will heap on his head, and the Lord will vindicate you.” – Proverbs 25:21-22

Words to live by. If you’re a barbarian.

14) “Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.” – Colossians 3:18

They are our equals. Men are not subordinate to woman; woman are not subordinate to men; men are not subordinate to men; woman are not subordinate to women. Vile to think otherwise.

I’d like to list more, but I’m running out of time.

My best,

Jaco

beaconapologetics says:

October 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm

You go on and on… Let me respond by saying that you are mistaking “slaves” for the African slaves that were used like cattle. If you look at how slaves were treated during the days of the Bible, you are completely in error.

AmRestorative says:

October 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Hi Brian,

I appreciate that you might have time constraints, but that was a weak rebuttal.

“You go on and on…”? You accused me of making a statement you disagree with so much that the “wagon falls off the tracks”. You asked me to expand on my statement. I expanded on my statement, and tried to put a little effort into it. I believe it required at least that much.

Only five of the fifteen quoted scriptures are about the endorsement of slavery. I should have included more. It is necessary to do this specifically because Christians have this notion that the bible’s slaves were treated better and were different to the African slaves, like that somehow makes “slavery lite” a moral enterprise. I already addressed this in point 5 (actually point 6, as I forgot to label the first point). Let’s disregard the fact that slave owners were allowed to beat their slaves severely (even to death, provided that said slave didn’t die in a day or two), the bible clearly endorses the owning of people as property. That is immoral; it doesn’t matter how much tap dancing is done. I don’t care if they were treated better than African slaves, and that it might have been different to the slave trade that we’re used to in movies. It is still vile.

Brian, do you think it is moral, in any circumstance, for one human being to own another human being as property?

Do you have any thoughts on the other 10 points I made?

Peace out,

Jaco

beaconapologetics says:

October 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

I was referring to the length of the responses. I will save you time by stating I not only have about 10-15 comments daily that want a response also. I make it clear that paragraph after paragraph is way to long. Expanding a statement does not always require someone to wear out their keyboard. I respect your comments, but please keep them shorter. Thankyou.

What I think is moral and what is moral makes no difference. Would I personally want to own a human being, no. But we must look at the context of Biblical slavery. Slavery was permitted in the Bible because of sin in the world. Many nations treated their slaves very poorly however the Bible gave over to the slaves many rights and privileges. Of course this was not the best way to deal with people. God has allowed man freedom, slavery then exists.

BTW Which of the other ten points would you like me to answer. I actually wish we could discuss all this over coffee some day!

Brian

AmRestorative says:

October 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hi Brian,

Hmm.. coffee. But who else would benefit for our face to face? Besides, given the logistics, it’s pretty unlikely.

Now you are tap dancing, and making excuses in an attempt to make it such that God–the objective moral law giver–says that slavery is immoral. You are still promoting “slavery lite”. It’s still not moral.

The Word of God only ever endorses slavery. According to God, slavery is moral. Maybe there is a secret Gospel–that you accept as part of the Word–where Jesus says, “God has allowed man freedom, so slavery exists. It is commonplace today, but you missed the target. If you even think about owning another person, you are committing slavery in your heart.” But, I’m guessing no. Did you get the “missed the target” sin reference?

Your comment about not personally wanting to own another human being is an ambiguous and empty statement. It matters to me that you state, clearly and definitively, if you think it is moral for one person to own another person as property. Because, either you say, “yes, I think it is moral”, in which case we have a deal breaker in my view, or you say, “no, I don’t think it is moral”, in which case you are in direct conflict with God on the issue, and you have used a humanly authored moral framework to get to this point. Pick the latter, please.

I’d love to hear your context rationalisation for number 6 (Moses and the God of revenge and genocide), and for the heck of it, let’s go gay with number 8. If you have spare time, I’d like to hear your thoughts on why God does not respect woman (9 & 14).

We’re at the that point, I think. If you do not wish to state your position on slavery, you are arguing dishonestly. And, If you do not concede that God’s moral law states that slavery is moral, I will be frustrated, because I’ve shown that you are in error, and you’re unwilling to accept it.

Peace out,

Jaco

beaconapologetics says:

October 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm

“You are still promoting “slavery lite”. It’s still not moral”. From what moral objective do you come from? Hello! And I take exception to your claim “You are still promoting “slavery lite”. How so? “The Word of God only ever endorses slavery” Show me where God condones slavery? Man, I wish you atheists did your homework!

beaconapologetics says:

October 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm

16 “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death. Exodus 21:16

beaconapologetics says:

October 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Voluntary slavery was practiced during biblical times, the Bible actually wrote laws to protect slaves and their health! The Apostle Paul, completely ordered the Christian Philemon, to free his Christian slave to “do what is proper”. Additionally many verses from the New Testament indicate that God values slaves as much as any free person and does not discriminate to anyone standing before other people.

beaconapologetics says:

October 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

AmRestorative says:

October 4, 2013 at 2:31 am

Brian.

We should probably end it here, unless you are going to start arguing honestly. You’re not engaged in this discussion. And time constraints are no excuse.

Is “atheists cannot have objective morals” the default deflection of theists? I’ve commented about my moral framework elsewhere on your blog, and I’m not going to repeat myself for a rabbit trail. ***See right at the bottom for the comment referenced here*** If you’re not satisfied, read my blog. It is not rocket science to know that slavery–of any flavour–is harmful to individuals and detrimental to society. It demonstrably lowers the well-being of humanity. It is immoral.

The bible promotes slavery, and I’ve given you five scriptures to back up my claim, and there are more if you need. The bible never speaks out against slavery. That is an endorsement.

The bible is the Word of God, according to theists, and it is their moral guidebook. God fails to speak out against slavery. That is an endorsement.

You have not once argued against my assertion that the bible endorses slavery (probably because it can’t be done). Your only argument has been that the bible’s slavery is different to African slavery and that the slaves were treated well and had more rights than slaves in other cultures at the time. I call that “slavery lite”, and it is no less immoral. Over and above this, you effectively made excuses for the biblical law on slavery and its endorsements by saying slavery must be looked at in context and that it was just a thing of the time, and of course, man’s sin is to blame. Like this makes it okay that God never bothered to let us know that slavery a crime against humanity. You are defending “slavery lite”. You endorsing it.

I’m sorry you take exception, but maybe you should state your position more clearly, like I’ve been begging you to do. Maybe you should present your argument and demonstrate why God and the bible does not endorse slavery, instead of blanket accusing atheists and me in particular of poor research.

My best,

Jaco

AmRestorative says:

October 4, 2013 at 2:38 am

Only see your follow up comments now. Yay, you find made a start at making a case. I’ll respond in due time, but I need to work now.

Jaco

AmRestorative says:

October 4, 2013 at 6:41 am

1) Exodus 21:16

Four verses later, there is clear instruction how severely a slave owner may beat his slave to avoid punishment (for the slave is his money). Verse 16 merely means that there are rules about who may be enslaved. And it’s clear in verses such as Leviticus 25:44-46 that It was perfectly fine to own “heathen” men and woman.

Funny that you should quote a verse that advocates the death penalty.

2) Voluntary slavery and health benefits

There was not only voluntary slavery, such as with the owning of heathens. But even it is was the only type of slavery, and even if it was voluntary, it’s still not moral!

3) Paul

Paul’s views on slavery are at best ambiguous. He endorses slavery (Colossians 3:22-4, Ephesians 6:5-9, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Titus 2:9-10), and then there are the verses where Paul teaches that the Spirit is for all people, and that all people are one in Christ, and that there is freedom from slavery after death (Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 12:13, 1 Corinthians 7:21-24), and lastly the prison letter to Philemon.

Neither Jew or Gentile:

In reality, of course, there are Jews and Gentiles, men and women, and slaves and freemen. This is just saying that everyone can escape death. There is no pronouncement that slavery is wrong, just that it’s tough to be a slave (voluntary or not), and that said slave can also go to heaven. How nice.

On the epistle to Philemon:

Diarmaid MacCulloch, in his A History of Christianity, described the epistle as “a Christian foundation document in the justification of slavery”. Due to its ambiguity, the letter was a cause of debate during the British and later American struggles over the abolition of slavery. Both sides cited Philemon for support.

Ambiguous. Hardly a statement that slavery is immoral.

The bible endorses slavery. God endorses slavery.

beaconapologetics says:

October 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm

So you use the word immoral. Do you have an objective standard of morality by which you can judge whether or not something is morally right or wrong? This will require an answer before I address any of your points.

beaconapologetics says:

October 4, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I don’t know what you are reading but I have already stated that slavery is a product of the evil in the world. I sense that since you cannot have a objective morality you cannot judge God. ***In response to my comment, “We should probably end it here, unless you are going to start arguing honestly”***

beaconapologetics says:

October 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I am sorry but I find this comment incoherent. Can you re-phrase it?  ***In response to my comment, “Only see your follow up comments now”***

AmRestorative says:

October 5, 2013 at 12:17 am

It doesn’t matter. I had replied to one of your comments without seeing that you had made other comments.

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 12:36 am

I have to tell you that atheism is truly the ultimate suicide. I think you have answered my question by default. You said it doesn’t matter, however I proposed a simple question. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORAL ABSOLUTES?

AmRestorative says:

October 5, 2013 at 12:42 am

What are you on about?

I’ve replied to all your comments. This throw away comment was before I had responded to your comments about Paul, to let you know that I intended to respond.. and I did.

Let’s drop this side thread of comments.

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 12:45 am

So you will not answer. It is simple DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORAL ABSOLUTES? Yes or no?

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 12:53 am

Not only is atheism the ultimate suicide, the moral argument is way too much to handle for them. Not just that…Darwinian evolution has NO EVIDENCE, The unbeliever is unable to understand the word. The unbeliever will roast in hell for eternity.

AmRestorative says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:01 am

Brian, please calm down.

I’m still trying to get to all the different threads on this conversation. And I’m doing it on my phone, while I’m trying to give my kids breakfast.

This comment detached from the main one, I dunno how that happened. I’m merely suggesting to drop the comment thread about the comment you found incoherent.

I’ll get to your moral question bombardment (even though it is a rabbit trail), and I will answer your question AGAIN, (because I’ve already commented on morality in your post WHY DID GOD LET THE SERPENT (SATAN) INTO THE GARDEN OF EDEN?) ***See right at the bottom for the comment referenced here***  And as an aside, when I asked you a yes-no question, you failed to answer, and tap danced. I won’t do that to you.

Now chill out. I’ll answer when I have time.

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:10 am

The question is and was very simple. You could have typed “yes” or “no” in so many less characters. Just saying…

AmRestorative says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:13 am

yes

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:19 am

Since you say that you do have an objective standard of morality, where did you get this objective standard since an objective standard is one that is not based on your opinion or your experience?

AmRestorative says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:20 am

PS, you cross reading comments. This is a thread I was talking about:

Me: Only see your follow up comments now. Yay, you find made a start at making a case. I’ll respond in due time, but I need to work now.

You: I am sorry but I find this comment incoherent. Can you re-phrase it?

Me: It doesn’t matter. I had replied to one of your comments without seeing that you had made other comments.

You: I have to tell you that atheism is truly the ultimate suicide. I think you have answered my question by default. You said it doesn’t matter, however I proposed a simple question. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORAL ABSOLUTES?

WordPress comments perhaps not the right place to have a long continued discussion.

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:24 am

It has happened to me before yes. However the moral question needs to addressed as your entire argument is hinged on it.

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:31 am

Still no response…

beaconapologetics says:

October 5, 2013 at 1:34 am

Now I need to sleep…You know you need to repent and trust Jesus as your Savior friend, Otherwise…

AmRestorative says:

October 5, 2013 at 3:04 am – Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Brian.

You: “Now I need to sleep…You know you need to repent and trust Jesus as your Savior friend, Otherwise…”

Otherwise what?

You: “The unbeliever will roast in hell for eternity.”

Oh right, with your “objective morality” it’s okay to threaten people.

You: “Still no response…”

Resorting to rush tactics, after I’ve already said, that I’m giving my kids breakfast, and after I said that I will get to answering your questions (which I’ve already done one of your other posts, which I’ve repeatedly told you). And I’ve invited you to read my blog about my position on morality.

I’m sorry my friend, but you have not only lost sight of the argument on slavery, and argued dishonestly, and tried to move the goal posts, and deflect, and make excuses, and avoid my questions, you also failed to remain civil (which ironically you accuse atheists of doing).

I made a start of typing my response to your questions about morality (and no, my argument doesn’t “hinge” on my answering it). Instead, I’ll leave you with a lecture about the superiority of secular morality that says it better than I could in a post. I’m relatively convinced you will never bother to watch, but here it is anyway; you might learn something: http://blip.tv/the-atheist-experience-tv-show/matt-dillahunty-the-superiority-of-secular-morality-4192742.

Also, your raving that Darwinian evolution has no evidence is because of your misunderstanding of the theory whereby you think “macro evolution” must lead to something like the croco-duck, which evolution specifically says cannot happen. There is no need to quantify evolution by saying Darwinian, it just confuses what you actually mean. Again I’ll leave you with 2 hours worth of videos, which explain the fallacies that apologist like you and Ray Comfort make. And it gives you the evidence, which you claim does not exist, and it supports the evidence claims with references. Again, I expect you won’t watch it, but hey, it’s worth a try. Ironically, the videos also explain why people like you won’t concede. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL126AFB53A6F002CC

On one hand, you have all the hallmarks of a good apologist, and the other you have much to learn. The morality dilemma is old hat. Answered long ago. Most people have moved on. You still have the Euthyphro dilemma.

And if you’ll allow me to give you some advice: try to keep your cool, and try not to threaten people. It’s quite unbecoming, and it is not okay, at least not for any decent human being. The funny thing is that you’re moral compass is so warped that you probably don’t even think you made a threat.

Take care,

Jaco van der Byl

*** Comment referred above, which has as not been approved yet ***

AmRestorative says:

October 2, 2013 at 2:31 am – Your comment is awaiting moderation.

….

Morality. I’ll rephrase “do I believe in moral absolutes?” to “do I believe there are objective moral truths (or falsehoods)?” To which I say yes. You would argue that’s not the same thing, and I’d respond, meh.

This is my belief: Morality is the framework that ensures our well-being and helps us to live together and thrive as a social species on this planet.

I do not believe there is a divine moral law giver. I do not believe it is necessary.

References:

Advertisements

19 responses »

  1. I commented on the very same post. He’s an idiot. He argues himself into a corner and then tries to say that not using your real name is somehow a fault in your argument. That is to say that he tries using it as an out rather than present a coherent argument. Given a choice I’d beat him with his crayon box and send him home to mommy.

    • It is frustrating. Fun, in a certain sense. It was funny that I highlighted what makes atheists frustrated and angry when arguing with theists, and he ticked almost every single one.

      • He has no answers, only arguments. If you ask believers for answers they do not have any. Some of them will parrot what the preacher said but can’t explain it. I think that is the most effective way to make them think about what they are saying… ask them to explain it. This guy can’t explain anything, just argues because he must think this is supposed to be what apologetics is about … arguing with people.

      • The scary thing is that he is an ordained minister. I don’t know if he is a preacher at a church, but I expect he is. Frightening stuff, considering that he might be pastoring people. He looks up to Ray Comfort, and parrots a lot of his teachings…

  2. I always find it very sad when people get threatened by hell … surely there must be a better reason than that to follow Christ. People won’t ever be converted to Christianity by threats of hell, that only drives people into an earthly hell of guilt and fear – causing them to fake the appearance of following Christ, which is just called religion (which is also sad, because Christ frees us of religion).
    My point is not to define “religion”, but to say that “escaping hell” is not very persuasive to comitting your whole life to Christ – I would have needed a better reason 😉
    … you Did badger the man though! Hehe! I do perceive that you had Much more fun than he 🙂

    • I confess, I had fun. But there was no badgering, the man is an apologist, and these were 101 questions.

      I disagree obviously with some of the claims you make in your comment, but yes, I agree threats of hell are uncool.

      Thanks for the comment Vicky, I hope you enjoyed your Europe trip, you must do it again!

      • No worries. The problem with most apologists is that even though they KNOW Josephus is forged (every atheist will tell them) they will repeatedly cite it. Their brains truly do work in peculiar ways.

  3. It’ll take a while to read through the lot of it, but from the opening exchange alone I can say that your apologist is treating “SALVATION” as a real thing, as something that exists as a “thing” and the existence of which is not disputed. While your response to it requires it to be some kind of optional view or opinion, as if it’s a view that is based on whether it’s a good idea or not. Your objections to salvation are fine, of course, it’s a terrible concept to live by. But they would fall on deaf ears as to an apologist this will sound like you’re objecting to gravity because falls kill people. So, if you’re after feedback, I’d say this was a mistaken approach if the aim was to persuade someone that “SALVATION” (sorry, have to keep the CAPSLOCK) isn’t worth living by.

    • Thank you, that’s useful.

      I certainly had no illusions of persuading him; a cursory glance at his blog made it clear that he is not open to any input outside of his faith. But his readers might get a different perspective, and somewhere a light might go on.

      Thanks for reading, and taking the time to share your advice. I appreciate it.

  4. I truly feel sorry for those who are deluded by ‘The Gospel.’ They will spend their entire life dedicated to a hollow myth based on absolutely NO PROOF and end up with nothing in the end. These are the 90% of humanity that are sheeple and who will drag down the 10% who think for themselves instead of taking their cues from the little magic video box in the living room. I find it incredible that in the 21st Century there are so many people still immersed in illogical, foolish thinking.

    • I love this quote by Rickey Gervais, “It’s a strange myth that atheists have nothing to live for. It’s the opposite. We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for.”

      And Hitchens, “The argument with faith is the foundation and origin of all arguments, because it is the beginning—but not the end—of all arguments about philosophy, science, history, and human nature. It is also the beginning—but by no means the end—of all disputes about the good life and the just city. Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other.”

      And Hitchens again, because he’s so awesome, “Faith is the surrender of the mind, it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals. It’s our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. … Out of all the virtues, all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated”

      • I really agree! Faith is an easy way to cease fighting the fear of the unknown. As we walk thru the endless corridor of fear, some of us succumb and some of us rise further to the challenge of creating light in the darkness. Too many people regard the unknown as their greatest subconscious fear, I see it as a reason to continue scientific research that probes and lights the unknown.

  5. Ah! Just saw the date on this. Oh well, never too late to like. 🙂
    This is pretty much how all my conversations with “The Saved” end up. It’s fun, for the most part, till it gets un-fun w/ “yer damned to hell, sinner” talk. Looking forward to reading more posts.

    • Yeah, It’s an empty threat to me and I don’t mind it that much. What’s worrying to me is that theists thinks it’s okay. There’s no consideration from their side that they might needlessly cause someone distress. That’s not okay.

      Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

      Jaco

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s