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Why It is Impossible to Argue with Christians

god and satan

Guest post by Neil Robinson who blogs at Rejecting Jesus.

I’ve written before about how impossible it is to argue with Christians. It’s either that they have superior knowledge because an invisible ghost possesses them and is guiding them towards truths that non-believers can’t possibly perceive. Or it’s that the supernatural just cannot be understood in an evidential, naturalistic way. Science and empiricism – what we can detect with our own eyes, with specialist equipment that serves as an extension of those eyes or that can be mathematically demonstrated – just cannot detect, perceive or understand the supernatural. Gary Matson is currently experiencing this on Escaping Christian Fundamentalism, where a Catholic Christian (an oxymoron to many other religionists) is arguing that the things he believes in – hell specifically and his God generally – are just too sophisticated for the ignorant layman to understand. We’ve met this before too, from pseudo-intellectual Christians who think their faith, which its supposed founder said was best understood by becoming like a child, requires a degree or three in theology or philosophy.

It’s all a sleight of hand, and rather like wrestling with a jelly-fish. The assertion that the believer in the supernatural makes, that his or her particular brand of woo lies outside the purview of science, is mere flannel. ‘You can’t prove this because you haven’t the tools to’, applies to any form of magical belief – in heaven and hell, in an afterlife, in ghosts, and angels, gods who speak to mortals, mystical saints, flying horses, reptilian overlords, UFO abductions… you name it – does not stand up to scrutiny. If supernatural entities and states are outside the natural universe (and they are, by definition) then they will never be detected by science, observation, and empirical measurement; but not because our means of detection is inadequate, but because they don’t exist. It isn’t that they are out there somewhere, detectable only with the right frame of mind or with the help of a spirit that itself has no physical presence; they are nowhere; they are not real. It is not the inadequacy of our means of detection that is at fault; it is that the invisible, non-physical, and intangible have no substance outside the human imagination. As I’ve said before, remove human imagination from the equation and the supernatural goes with it. If humans were to become extinct tomorrow, so too would all the magical beings and places that humans have ever conjured up. They have no existence independent of the human imagination.

Arguing that this isn’t so is to assume your conclusion in your premise: ‘Of course supernatural things exist, you just can’t see them. But I can prove them with my argument/philosophy/faith’. This, however, is a demonstration of irrationality, not of the supernatural. In any case, the fact the supernatural has to be argued for at all is evidence that it doesn’t exist. Nothing real has to be argued for, it can be detected, shown, demonstrated, and measured by the senses, by instruments, by mathematical proofs. That gods and ghosts can’t be, but have to be argued for, tells us they are not real – not that they are beyond the scope of our capabilities.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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20 Comments

  1. Avatar
    James Thompson

    It’s because that’s what you live to do argue the truth. You’re not “atheists”. Antitheists yes. Agnosticism yes. A true atheist would not give a rip about the discussion on this blasphemous blog.

    And atheists don’t go out seeking to remove Mickey Mouse from everything.

    Or Buddha or Mohammed.

    But they do Jesus Christ because Satan knows he is the only one who can bring salvation

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Thompson is using a fake email address, but I thought I would, for your entertainment, post his comment anyway. I think Thompson is a preacher who has commented before using different names and email addresses. What is he trying to hide? Come on James, be a man and tell us who you really are, what church you pastor.

      I responded to one of Thompson’s emails here:

      https://brucegerencser.net/2022/02/evangelical-pastor-james-thompson-says-god-is-judging-me-by-making-me-sick/

    • Avatar
      Astreja

      James, take your head out of the Holy Spook’s ass and listen up. It is possible to be agnostic (because one believes it impossible to know if something actually is a god), an atheist (because one finds religious claims unconvincing and does not see gods as real), and an antitheist (who sees the egregious harm that religious beliefs do to civil society, and wants it to stop).

      All three apply to me: I am an agnostic atheist antitheist. If your god wants that to change, it hypothetically knows where to find me and what my office hours are. You, mortal, are just one more petulant little whiner pretending to have superior knowledge and authority while believing some pretty fucking stupid things. Shoo. Scram. Take a hike.

    • Avatar
      BJW

      Dude, you aren’t even actually arguing with Bruce’s actual words, but with a strawman you’ve constructed in your head. Bruce has said he has no objection with religious people who aren’t trying to force others to follow their faith through legal coercion. Although you are probably a Dominionist and would be fine with that. I wonder what you would do if the brand of Christianity that took over the US government was Catholism, or Mormonism, or any sect that you heartily disagree with and condemn.

    • Avatar
      clubschadenfreude

      Oh James. I do love a Christian who intentionally lies. You are so desperate for external validation that you find you must claim everyone really does agree with you. In your delusions, there can’t be any real atheists for that would mean that someone doesn’t find you as important as you find yourself.

      thanks for demonstrating that you have no more interest in obeying your god than I do.

  2. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Thompson must be aquatinted with Tee Hee ! I went over to Neil’s blog out of curiosity, and the comments there are very interesting indeed. Wherever did you find him, Bruce ? And what exactly is ” blasphemous” about your blog ? I’ve been exposed to real blasphemy over the years,seen some real strange and crazy stuff. Nothing blasphemous here. I like reading your blog, because it’s a great source of support for people who suffered spiritual abuse. Abusers really HATE it when one scapes and shares their experiences. And for the record, salvation itself was not the problem, it was the churches that are. Besides, Christians DO read here also,and have no problem with it. Take THAT, J.T. !

  3. Avatar
    John Arthur

    Hi James,
    What actual evidence do you have for the existence of any hell? Barbaric holy books are not evidence. Why would a God of compassion, mercy and kindness, if he or she exists, have an eternal torture chamber for finite sins committed by finite persons in finite time? It’s all nonsense. You may as well believe in fairies. There is as much evidence for them as for any hell. Absolutely none!

  4. Avatar
    Neil Robinson

    I see James knows what a ‘true atheist’ thinks. I wonder how he knows this? The same way he ‘knows’ a bunch of fantasy characters really exist?
    I’m more than happy to be considered an anti-theist, despite James’ clichéd assertion that anti-theists only attempt to ‘remove Jesus Christ’ (?) but wouldn’t dare criticise other religions. Evidently James missed my attempt to be inclusive of any and all beliefs in the supernatural. I failed, admittedly, to mention Mickey Mouse, but then Mickey Mouse has never threatened me with hell just for being myself.
    Thanks, Bruce, for posting my article and for counting me as a long time friend. I really appreciate both.

  5. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Astreja—I needed a good laugh and you provided it. Thank you!

    Neil beautifully summed up the problem of arguing with fundangelicals. I was especially struck by his observation that they try to have it both ways: They believe in Bible that tells them to become like a child while arguing that you’re not sophisticated enough to understand what they’re saying.

    Also, fundangelicals, while claiming to be guided by their invisible friend and a collection of half-baked, warmed-over late-Bronze Age myths (that sometimes contradict each other), ultimately make their beliefs, and whether or not you accept them, about themselves. That is why they cannot understand how we can be agnostic, atheist or ant-theist (or some combination of them) and respect their right to believe—as long as they don’t try to force their faith (and, too often, their attendant political opinions and social morés) on the rest of us. That is also why they whine about being “persecuted “ when we simply live by the same human rights they take for granted.

  6. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I had to comment, again, after reading James’ latest insult hurled with so much venom, at Astreja. Just why on Earth would you care what others say on this blog ?? What is it to YOU ? To say that ( you want desperately) for her to one day ” split Hell right open”- what does that say ? As for wishing for never being conceived, that’s where contraception and abortion come into play,right ? Why argue for the ” right” to be born, when knowing full well that most people who ARE born won’t make it to Heaven( if one takes the Bible literally). Such comments make Christians look like rabid psychotics. This blog is mainly about spiritual abuse, and what it does to people. That said, you don’t belong in the comment section, James.

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Bruce Gerencser