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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Paul Manata and the talking snakes

John Loftus, of Debunking Christianity, reports that our friend Paul Manata believes in talking snakes because it says so in the Bible. Well there you go. Quoting from Manata:

Assume that there is no higher weight that can be given to any evidence than God's own word on the matter. Indeed, since He cannot lie, knows everything, etc., then is there any higher authority that I could go to on this matter? If the above is true then why can't I invoke His word? And if I can invoke his word, well that's pretty good evidence for the talking snake.


Now, I like Loftus' discussion of this whole thing, especially the fact that he used Euthyphro Dilemma- something which atheists don't do nearly as much as they should. But I think he missed one simple but pretty important point. Paul believes that God knows everything and cannot lie. This, to me, seems to be a crucial assumption.

Of course, any discussion assumes that "God" means something as a label, which it doesn't, but indulge me for a bit. If God exists, it is all-powerful, or at least it is able to change the content of people's minds. The Bible proves that in many places.

Given this fact, Paul Manata may believe that God does not lie, but how does he know he is not being fooled by God into believing it? God may be making him believe this in order to gain a worshipper, when in fact God is lying for its own benefit. Now of course Paul would simply reply "but I believe that God does not lie", which brings us back to the same problem. You can believe that God does not lie all you want, but unless you can assert a mental independence from God, you cannot know that this is indeed the fact.

Of course, given that Christianity is all about belief and not about facts, why should we be surprised? If you want, you can believe with all your heart that God is not deceiving you. But you are making a very risky bet, if the Christian worldview is correct.

Post a Comment


9 Comments:

At 7/19/2006 3:53 AM, Blogger Frank Walton declaimed...

Why should atheists have problems with talking animals (ie snakes) when they see talking animals every time they look in the mirror? Even a cockatoo can talk.

 
At 7/19/2006 4:05 AM, Blogger Mark declaimed...

frank:

bring us the talking snake. we'll all become christians if you bring us the fucking snake.

 
At 7/19/2006 8:42 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

An excellent point. Just as Christians surrender thier moral autonomy, they also are forced to surrender their intellectual autonomy if they wish to worship their god.

This is why only freethinkers are "free thinkers."

 
At 7/19/2006 9:02 AM, Blogger Vic declaimed...

mimicry <> 'talking'

 
At 7/19/2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Franc wrote: "You can believe that God does not lie all you want, but unless you can assert a mental independence from God, you cannot know that this is indeed the fact."

Agreed. Unless we are autonomous agents, we are nothing more than puppets being fed what the puppet-master wants us to think or believe. I'm having the same discussion with a commenter named "Jim" on my blog. And even though presuppositionalists are explicit in their rejection of rational autonomy, they at the same time insist that there's no conflict between free will and the all-controlling determinism dispensed by their god. For the believer, it's just a matter of denial at this point. The concern then turns to camouflaging that denial by pointing to vast tomes of literature which supposedly provides the solution buried somewhere under a morass of twisted verbiage and double talk. But a contradiction is still a contradiction no matter how much one tries to analyze it.

The Christian idea of beliefs being piped into the believer's mind is simply another expression of the believer's force-worship, just as is their concern for an authority figure that can trump any rival authority. "My authority is bigger than yours" represents the level of their thinking. And this authority, which hides itself from us, is supposed to have the power to control our minds. And even though this god is said to "control whatsoever comes to pass" (Van Til) and is said to be the standard of morality, it accepts no moral responsibility for a state of affairs that wouldn't exist in the first place had it not been for its bungling creativity.

Fralton wrote: "Why should atheists have problems with talking animals (ie snakes) when they see talking animals every time they look in the mirror?"

Who said anything about "having problems"? We simply don't believe it. Apparently this is a problem for believers. The very existence of an individual who is honest enough to say "I don't believe it" is a profound threat to those who insist on the make-believe of theism. Why else would Christians be so obsessed with atheists? Meanwhile, they squander their opportunity to present any evidence they might have for the curious. Could that be because they simply have no evidence?

Regards,
Dawson

 
At 7/19/2006 12:55 PM, Blogger Dan Doel declaimed...

Seriously? Humans are animals, humans can talk, therefore all animals can talk?

Clearly you must be joking when you present such an argument, right?

Also, even if one grants that a cockatoo can talk, I don't see what relevance that has, since a snake isn't a cockatoo.

Really, you must realize that such arguments are absolutely laughable. Why even bother presenting them?

 
At 7/19/2006 4:22 PM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

Larynx.

Anyway, what I want to know first is, why did God put the serpent there?

Surely, "GOD" overheard this unvoice-boxed, un talkable tongued creature talking to Eve, telling her the truth, and just POSSIBLY could have gotten off his almighty Ass and said "No, no, don't listen to the talking serpent, he's a bullshitter." You know, GOOOOOOOD, the guy who doesn't want us to go to hell, who's so graciously "given us" free will? (given?) Nope, can't be bothered.

 
At 7/19/2006 7:36 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

I cannot emphasize enough just how stupid I find the whole "word of God" argument. Bullshit. The only organism on this planet that writes or reads is man. As for the talking snake, I'll settle for one that can tap dance. Hell, show me a mouse that can burp. I'm so sick of trying to talk logically to these fucktards that I would rather puke.

Nice YouTube find on prayer on Alleee's blog by the way. The same goes for all that make-believe self-serving subjugating crap in the Bible. The only thing worse than pulling a con job on 4/5 of the human population is using some ancient brain-dead bullshit to do it for you. I'm not in a good mood, can you tell? Might get a rise out of some dumb fuck like Walton though.

 
At 7/19/2006 7:46 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Frank Walton, I think this is pretty obvious (to people other than yourself); you are a prick.

Not to mention a coward, as you don't allow comments on your weblog.

 

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