Arguments against Christianity, for the ‘forgetful’

Today Mung claimed of TSZ that

I see mocking of Christianity, what I don’t see are arguments that Christianity is false.

As the regulars here (including Mung) know, this is bollocks. There have been many such arguments, and Mung has fled from a number of them.

I replied:

You see plenty of them [arguments against Christianity], but you’re in denial.

Want to test that hypothesis? Start a thread asking for arguments against Christianity. You’ll get an earful.

He got cold feet, so I am starting the thread for him. I’ll provide some arguments in the comments. Feel free to add your own or to cross-post or link to old OPs and comments, if you can’t be arsed to reinvent the wheel for Mung’s trollish sake.

Mung’s fellow Christians are welcome to come to his aid. He’ll need all the help he can get.

534 Replies to “Arguments against Christianity, for the ‘forgetful’”

  1. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: It’s unclear whether the strawmanizing was due to dishonesty on Mung’s part versus mere stupidity, but either way he got it completely wrong.

    No, I did not get it wrong. That’s precisely what the argument does.

    At this point I think it’s reasonable to question whether you even understand the argument you think you’re making.

  2. keiths keiths
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    says:

    Mung responds, and his response leaves no doubt: the strawmanizing was due to both dishonesty and stupidity on his part.

    Mung, what do you suppose the word ‘temporarily’ is doing in the phrase you highlighted?

    if we temporarily set aside such positive reasons,

    Idiot.

  3. Mung Mung
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    says:

    keiths: I am not the IEP. I did not write those words. If you want to argue with the IEP, fine. If you want to argue with me, then you’ll have to address my argument, not the IEP’s.

    Since your argument is presumably different then from what can be found in published works, what is your argument?

  4. Mung Mung
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    says:

    keiths: Idiot.

    I do think it hilarious that you’ve been reduced to quote-mining.

    IF we temporarily set aside such positive reasons THEN what?

  5. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Are you talking about how the surface of a cylinder can roll back on itself?

    I’m reasonably sure that is not the kind of flat the flat earthers have in mind

    Yes, that’s my counter example. It is sufficient to show a problem in your premise 2, whether or not that’s what the flat earth society is assuming.

  6. keiths keiths
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    says:

    I do think it hilarious that you’ve been reduced to quote-mining.

    Your desperation is showing, Mung.

  7. keiths keiths
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    says:

    Mung,

    You’re proving my point for me:

    Look, Mung, all this discussion is accomplishing is to establish that you are

    a) incompetent; and
    b) dishonest.

    But everyone knew that already. The coffin lid has long since been nailed shut, and any further banging is superfluous.

    The more interesting question is whether intelligent Christians can come up with a viable defense against the evidential problem of evil, not whether you can. Given your performance in this thread, you also can’t be trusted as an interpreter of intelligent Christians, such as van Inwagen and Plantinga — plus it wouldn’t be fair to saddle them with you.

    I’ll think about whether it’s worth it to engage you further on this topic — I have to admit that it’s been amusing to see you fume at your continued failure — but I’m leaning toward removing the incompetent middleman and dealing with the arguments of van Inwagen, Plantinga, etc., directly.

    If defeating the evidential problem of evil were as easy as saying “Look, they’re saying we must ignore the evidence for God’s existence!”, then don’t you think it would have occurred to, say, Plantinga, or van Inwagen, to make that objection? Do you really think we would have needed to wait decades for a special-needs commenter named ‘Mung’ to point that out?

  8. keiths keiths
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    says:

    Mung quotes the IEP:

    It is also important to note that it is the notion of a “horrendous moral evil” that comports with the current, everyday use of “evil” by English speakers. When we ordinarily employ the word “evil” today we do not intend to pick out something that is merely bad or very wrong (for example, a burglary), nor do we intend to refer to the death and destruction brought about by purely natural processes (we do not, for example, think of the 2004 Asian tsunami disaster as something that was “evil”). Instead, the word “evil” is reserved in common usage for events and people that have an especially horrific moral quality or character.

    Trakakis is overlooking an obvious point. If God is omniscient, he knew the tsunami was coming. If he is omnipotent, he could have prevented it or warned the victims.

    Instead, he did nothing, watching passively as hundreds of thousands of people perished.

    If that doesn’t exhibit a “horrific moral quality or character”, then what does?

    Would Trakakis be so cavalier if a human presided passively over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people that he could have easily prevented?

  9. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Here it is again, in the conclusion section.

    Evidential arguments from evil, such as those developed by William Rowe, purport to show that, grounds for belief in God aside, the existence of evil renders atheism more reasonable than theism.

  10. Mung Mung
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    says:

    The Skeptical Theist Response.

    This position – sometimes labelled “skeptical theism” or “defensive skepticism” – has generated a great deal of discussion, leading some to conclude that “the inductive argument from evil is in no better shape than its late lamented deductive cousin” (Alston 1991: 61).

    meh

  11. Patrick Patrick
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    their argument appears to be that when you are traveling west, you’re actually following a circular path on a flat Earth that returns you to your starting point.

    So the response is to claim that there is no such thing as due west?

    I don’t think so (remember, I don’t subscribe to their brand of crazy). My understanding is that they think that the north pole is the center of the flat Earth (although some disagree). Traveling west in this model consists of moving in a circle around the north pole.

    I don’t know how they address the fact that people have been to the south pole. Still, I don’t think you can demonstrate that they’re wrong purely through logic. They reject a lot of evidence as the product of a world wide conspiracy, so that’s an exercise in frustration as well.

    In any case, I’m more interested in your operational definitions in your most recent thread.

  12. keiths keiths
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    says:

    Mung,

    You’re avoiding my question, for obvious reasons:

    If defeating the evidential problem of evil were as easy as saying “Look, they’re saying we must ignore the evidence for God’s existence!”, then don’t you think it would have occurred to, say, Plantinga, or van Inwagen, to make that objection? Do you really think we would have needed to wait decades for a special-needs commenter named ‘Mung’ to point that out?

  13. Mung Mung
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    says:

    I didn’t respond within 30 seconds? The horror. The answer to your question is a simple one, which I shall shortly write up for you. But first I want to read VJT’s post.

    ETA: Simple and obvious.

  14. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Do you understand why the “skeptical theist response” fails?

    Did you conveniently overlook the fact that Trakakis addresses it, concluding that

    Secondly, the “sceptical theist” objection to Rowe’s inference from inscrutable evil to pointless evil was examined in Section III and was found to be inadequately supported.

  15. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    From the recent thread begun by VJT, keiths refers to this thread:

    keiths: Says Mung, who has been defending that very vision in the other thread.

    I’ve been mocking the keiths “omnigod” idea. He takes that as evidence that I have been defending his “omnigod” vision.

    If I have been defending the idea that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent in this thread I’d sure like to know where I have said that God is any of those. I almost certainly have not said that God is “omnibenevolent” in this thread or any other here at TSZ.

    Is keiths jumping to conclusions based on his mind-reading skills again?

  16. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: If defeating the evidential problem of evil were as easy as saying “Look, they’re saying we must ignore the evidence for God’s existence!”, then don’t you think it would have occurred to, say, Plantinga, or van Inwagen, to make that objection?

    William Rowe is a philosopher, as are Plantinga and Inwagen. In the spirit of philosophy they address the actual arguments rather than dismissing them out of hand. Me, I’m just “a special-needs commenter.”

    See how simple and obvious that is keiths?

    Now let’s look further to see if we can find anything at all logical in keiths’s claim.

    From that fact that Plantinga and Inwagen take the evidential argument seriously, it cannot be concluded that the argument does not in fact ask us to set aside positive reasons for the existence of God.

    … to see if we can find anything at logical in keiths’s claim. Nope. Just another logic flail.

  17. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Now that an intelligent Christian interlocutor is available, you aren’t needed (if you ever were).

    Feel free to go away. Play with Frankie, or whatever it is you do in the basement when the door is closed and your parents are upstairs.

  18. Mung Mung
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    says:

    You forgot to declare victory.

    This thread will forever live in TSZ infamy!

  19. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ll carry on because I think it’s important to show how wrong keiths is (not that he’ll ever admit it).

    As Plantinga notes, this shows how crucial it is to have all the relevant evidence before making a probability judgment.

    …Plantinga argues, we might know on the basis of various evidences that God exists (or at least that the probability is very high). In that case, evil in our world may be evidence against God’s existence, but that wouldn’t amount to much in itself.

    Those are basically the same arguments I’ve been making.

    On the next page Feinberg diagrams the evidential argument and writes:

    Note that the only kind of evidence included in this argument is appeal to instances of evil.

    John S. Feinberg. The Many Faces of Evil.. p. 210.

  20. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Feinberg:

    In contemporary discussions of theism’s probability in light of evil, philosophers have invoked and appied Bayes’ Theorem, a theorem for determining the probability of any hypothesis. (p. 210)

    And what did keiths have to say when I asked him, repeatedly, about Bayes’ Theorem? Nothing. Silence. As if he had no idea why I’d even ask.

  21. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Continuing from Feinberg (discussing the use of Bayes’ Theorem):

    A further problem with this inductive argument’s conclusiveness arises in regard to premise 2. That premise appeals to evidence, but it cites only one kind of evidence. Before making a judgment on the probability of of theism and atheism, one must have all the evidence for both. (p. 212)

    That’s precisely the same thing I was saying. It’s the exact same objection I raised. I honestly don’t think keiths knows what he’s talking about.

  22. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Feinberg quotes Plantinga:

    So the atheologian must show that G is improbable with respect to the total body of evidence, whatever exactly that is. To do this he would be obliged to consider all the sorts of reasons natural theologians have invoked in favor of theistic belief… This would be a substantial and difficult project – one no atheologian has undertaken so far.

    Plantinga obviously noticed the same flaw in the argument which I spotted. The argument fails to take into account evidence “in favor of theistic belief.” It’s flawed because it appeals only to instances of evil.

    keiths is simply mistaken.

  23. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    I pointed out above how keiths was misled by his skimming of the IEP article, and I shall take up that theme again in this post.

    The article presents the argument as follows:

    There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

    An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

    (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being. (Rowe 1979: 336)

    An Outline of Rowe’s Argument

    Now it is plainly evident that the argument does in fact only consider the evidence from evil and that it does not take into consideration any positive evidence for the existence of God.

    keiths was simply mistaken and his accusations against me turn out upon investigation to be clearly false.

    Section 5, Further Responses to the Evidential Problem of Evil, also makes this clear.

    Let’s suppose that Rowe’s evidential argument from evil succeeds in providing strong evidence in support of the claim that there does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being. What follows from this? In particular, would a theist who finds its impossible to fault Rowe’s argument be obliged to give up her theism? Not necessarily, for at least two further options would be available to such a theist.

    Firstly, the theist may agree that Rowe’s argument provides some evidence against theism, but she may go on to argue that there is independent evidence in support of theism which outweighs the evidence against theism.

    keiths needs to explain why the theist would need to make such an argument if the evidence for God had already been taken into account in the evidential argument itself.

    So the IEP article must be wrong, Plantinga must be wrong, Feinberg must be wrong, I must be wrong, fifth must be wrong, and only keiths is right.

    I’m not buying it.

  24. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Patrick: Traveling west in this model consists of moving in a circle around the north pole.

    If you are moving in a circle it’s obvious you aren’t traveling due west.

    Patrick: Still, I don’t think you can demonstrate that they’re wrong purely through logic.

    All it takes is the law of non-contradiction “due west” is not “in a circle”.

    peace

  25. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: If you are moving in a circle it’s obvious you aren’t traveling due west.

    That is not nearly as obvious as you seem to think.

  26. Mung Mung
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    says:

    There is no “west” of the matter. 🙂

  27. Patrick Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    Traveling west in this model consists of moving in a circle around the north pole.

    If you are moving in a circle it’s obvious you aren’t traveling due west.

    You need to think in terms of their coordinate system. On the flat Earth map, a compass will always point to the center so in traveling west you will go in a circle around that point.

    Given that, your attempted disproof fails.

  28. Frankie Frankie
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    says:

    Patrick: On the flat Earth map, a compass will always point to the center

    LoL! Why is that, Patrick? Do tell

  29. Mung Mung
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    says:

    What sort of magnetic field would a flat earth have. Just musing.

  30. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: If defeating the evidential problem of evil were as easy as saying “Look, they’re saying we must ignore the evidence for God’s existence!”, then don’t you think it would have occurred to, say, Plantinga, or van Inwagen, to make that objection?

    Whether or not defeating the evidential problem of evil is easy or not is rather beside the point. The point is that Plantinga (among others) makes that exact objection. The argument fails to take into account “the total body of evidence.”

    Now if you want to back off your claim that you’re employing the evidential argument don’t let me stop you. But that is in fact one of it’s defects, as I said and as you denied. So you were wrong. Will you admit it?

    So the atheologian must show that G is improbable with respect to the total body of evidence, whatever exactly that is. To do this he would be obliged to consider all the sorts of reasons natural theologians have invoked in favor of theistic belief… This would be a substantial and difficult project – one no atheologian has undertaken so far.

  31. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: Of course nothing in any of those OPs has any bearing on the truth of Christianity, because as Mung tells us, there are no arguments against Christianity at TSZ.

    And of course, keiths, being the standup guy that he is, can quote me on this.

    For what I said was, “arguments that Christianity is false.”

  32. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: A rational person will consider all of the available evidence when evaluating an evidential question.

    So you took into account all the evidence for the existence of God?

    I’ve spotted the keiths shell game. It’s typical.

  33. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    Explain this, atheists:

    https://oddshot.tv/s/GEPMcz

  34. GlenDavidson
    Ignored
    says:

    Richardthughes:
    Explain this, atheists:

    https://oddshot.tv/s/GEPMcz

    I…I’m at a loss for words. Her hand moved!

    Maybe I should see if my hands could do more than hang limply at the ends of my arms while I use voice recognition hardware to “type.”

    Glen Davidson

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