A New Atheist Really Said This to Me

Courtesy of new atheist tildeb, commenting on this post from lotharlorraine’s (very good) blog:

I said this, when he asked what my definition of “faith” was:

I like C.S. Lewis’s definition: “Faith is holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”

His response?

Really? Your reason has you once accepted? That implies something once known. But is this true?

What might that reason be? Might it be because of compelling evidence adduced from reality?

Come on.

I don’t think so and I don’t think you think so even for a moment.

Yes, that’s right. He just told me my definition of faith was wrong because believers can’t believe in the Resurrection due to reason. And because of that, I’m obviously lying about my definition of faith. To him, it is literally impossible that anybody can examine the evidence and come to a different conclusion than he does.

I responded with this:

Are you even serious, dude? You’re telling me the definition is wrong because I don’t believe in Jesus’s Resurrection because of reason, when I haven’t even given you a reason yet?

You are beyond talking to. This is a farce, and you’ve revealed your true colors by poisoning the well. “Obviously you don’t believe in the Resurrection because of reason, because reason can’t prove the Resurrection!”

What a joke.

How about this: Your reason for being an atheist is totally unreasonable, since there is no good reason for you not to believe in God. Thus, I know you are only an atheist because of faith. QED.

We’re done here.

Good job by Crude of taking this clown down hard.

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14 Responses to A New Atheist Really Said This to Me

  1. James says:

    I’m sorry you had to waste a single second of your time on this dishonest charlatan. He’s been around numerous Christian blogs for years with the same old, tired, failed shtick.

    Even if you don’t make a case for something based on your belief in God, somehow you’re still using “faith-based reasoning” just because you have come to a conclusion that even has a whiff of it being in agreement with mainstream Christian stances expressed in the public square. He’ll throw a lot of words in his replies, but they’re mostly non-sequiturs and poisoning the well, as you’ve pointed out.

    It’s one thing for him to lash out against traditional, conservative Christians, but for him to lash out against Lothar, a self-professed progressive Christian, is quite ludicrous.

    • tildeb says:

      Lash out?

      I substituted the definition into an example – the resurrection – and showed that it doesn’t work to explain how the belief was justified by reality’s arbitration of it. What it shows is that the belief must be justified by something else other than reality, other than a reasonable belief.

      So although MTC may assume this definition is honestly held, it does not comport with explaining how a faith-based belief like the supposed knowledge adduced from the supposed reality of the resurrection is achieved. In other words, he’s stirring the shallow pond of his definition of what constitutes faith of the religious kind into a muddy mess and then insisting that its magically deep.

      • Show? How did you show anything? All you did was say that the Resurrection could not possibly be believed through reason because Biology, failing to realize that we’re positing that a third party interfered.

        You’re essentially arguing that people with HIV will inevitably develop AIDS and die and then ignoring people who point out that, hey, there are actually medicines that might prevent that from occurring.

        Now, you don’t believe in the third party. Okay. But I’ve examined the evidence and disagree with you. You apparently are so arrogant that you think it’s literally impossible to disagree with you reasonably.

      • Crude says:

        I substituted the definition into an example – the resurrection – and showed that it doesn’t work to explain how the belief was justified by reality’s arbitration of it.

        You failed miserably. Your ‘reality’s arbitration’ was ‘cells die! That happens! They don’t just spontaneously fix themselves after cellular death!’ Wonderful. But no one is arguing that cells spontaneously come back to life after cellular death. But via the intervention of a third party? That’s a whole other issue, particularly where God is concerned.

        And no, saying ‘But God doesn’t exist! Thinking God exists is IRRATIONAL!’ does not mean ‘God demonstrably does not exist!’ or ‘Belief in God is demonstrably irrational!’ suffices for a demonstration.

        So although MTC may assume this definition is honestly held, it does not comport with explaining how a faith-based belief like the supposed knowledge adduced from the supposed reality of the resurrection is achieved.

        There you go again. But when it comes to actually demonstrating this, you fail miserably. You think mere disagreement on your part is enough to demonstrate the other party is wrong – and so far your biggest move was to point out that cells that die, all else being equal, stay dead. Gosh. I suppose that if we did in fact have reports of someone who was dead coming back to life, it would be pretty exceptional then. A miracle, even!

        But by all means, keep up with the street epistemology. And then marvel and cry about how the people you rant at and rage about dismiss you as angsty toolbox. It’s all a big mystery, why in the world are people impatient with you when your arguments are poor, you accuse everyone who disagrees with your claims about what and how they believe as lying, and you behave like a living caricature of the worst aspects of the Cult of Gnu.

        It is a mystery.

  2. lotharson says:

    Thanks for those kind words 🙂

    It saddens me when people are so irrationally aggressive for I want to foster a nice and respectful dialog.

    Best wishes from Europe.

  3. Crude says:

    No prob, Malcolm. That guy is an irrational toolbox.

  4. tildeb says:

    Irrationally aggressive? A toolbox? Is this what passes for justified criticism in theistic circles?

    Look, Boghossian was criticized for defining ‘faith’ incorrectly. I don’t see the argument against it having any reasonable merit because it’s demonstrably accurate: faith in its simplest form is the justification used to assert stuff people don’t know. It works just as well in justifying alternative medicine as it does the thousand s and thousands of religious beliefs that are put forth as if they accurately describe reality. They don’t. And when I politely asked for better definition, I get C.S. Lewis’… a definition that can be demonstrated to not work to explain how a religious tenet is justified. For that effort, I receive name calling and moderation here.

    • Moderation? Who moderated you here? All people who post here for the first time get screened before I allow their posts.

      And when I politely asked for better definition, I get C.S. Lewis’…

      Yes, you did. And then immediately disregarded it, because you had to or your whole position would collapse.

      Sorry tild, I don’t believe that with a single paragraph you’ve managed to render C.S. Lewis’s entire body of work irrelevant. I do not think you’re that brilliant, but you do.

      It’s too late. Your whole position DID collapse, and you’re just sauntering around the ruins.

      Cry me a river about your hurt feelings.

    • Crude says:

      Irrationally aggressive? A toolbox? Is this what passes for justified criticism in theistic circles?

      Yes, you were both irrationally aggressive, and frankly a toolbox. You reacted to someone giving you a definition of faith with ‘No! No you don’t believe that! I’m just going to argue as if you didn’t give me another definition at all. Here’s what you REALLY believe.’ On what planet is that rational?

      And worse, your understanding of miracles is atrocious. “Our understanding of biology and cellular degradation..!!!” Here’s news for you: people two millenia ago knew that the dead stay dead, okay? That happening is not a surprise. When someone dies and comes back to life, that’s a big deal.

      You say it’s demonstrably accurate, but all you mean is ‘I’m going to insist it’s accurate, and when someone else says they reject that definition of faith I’m going to call them a liar and say it’s not true.’ What a shock – no one agrees with your definition. Better yet, you make it sound as if ‘pretending to know what you don’t know’ is somehow specific only to beliefs you dislike. Guess what, tild? It applies also to conclusions you do like, and to you yourself.

      You are, demonstrably, an irrational person who is out of your depth when it comes to these topics. You think that passion and anger and emotion can substitute for knowledge, and you think demonstrations that you are right mean ‘I INSIST that I am right’. If you’re an example of someone who has been riled up to be a ‘street epistemologist’, guess what – about the only thing you’re going to accomplish is that people are going to once again notice that atheists tend to be pig-ignorant and annoying on top of it.

  5. I’ve seen tildeb’s arguements before.
    Children argue the same way: Child A says one thing, Child B says “That’s not right because you’re stupid.”
    It would seem that at the core of it, tildeb is saying pretty much the same thing.

  6. Ilíon says:

    That’s not only Lewis’ definition of ‘faith’, but the Bible’s.

    • Indeed – if I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t have used it.

    • tildeb says:

      Hebrews 11:1 is not the same as Lewis’ although with enough interpretation can be somewhat similar. When discussing how arriving at a faith-based justification differs from arriving at an evidence-adduce justification, however, we can show a methodological difference. And it is this methodological difference that matters when answering criticisms about Boghossian’s use of the term ‘faith’. Because lotharson asserted that the difference was not true (because the term’s definition by Boghossian was not true), I wanted to show that it was, that there really is a methodological difference between faith-based and evidence-adduced justifications. And that’s why I bothered to substitute Lewis’ definition into a faith-based belief to see if it would work. It doesn’t lead one to the conclusion claimed in the same way an evidence-adduced justification would be claimed. There really is a difference and this difference really does matter in how we inform confidence in in our beliefs about reality. It matters because claims from each method really are in conflict. In addition, the faith-based methodology is itself fractured into tens of thousands of incompatible claims within theology itself. This is a clue about its usefulness and accuracy in describing claims about reality. I think we should pay attention to this clue and stop pretending it doesn’t matter when it so obviously does (and causes real negative effects to real people in real life).

      • But you didn’t demonstrate that it didn’t work. You claimed that it definitely wouldn’t work and said you “proved” it, and now refuse to believe that any can possibly reasonably disagree with you.

        I also love how you say, “It’s not the Bible’s definition, unless you interpret it that way”.

        This is your last post here, tild. You had your say, I didn’t moderate you, and this is going nowhere and only serving to make you look foolish. You’re shut down.

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