(Excuse the ranting in this post… I was added to a debate group and that never seems to go well for me. So just for today, I am a stereotypical angry atheist. For the record, the frequency of the word “idiot” here is not intended to be about all religious people – just the ones who debate. But I do mean all theology is bullshit, because it is.)
Yesterday somebody added me to yet another discussion group on Facebook. I looked around and discussions seemed interesting at first, until I realized there was plenty proselytizing going on. And in every case, the preaching followed this dubious logic: “The Bible is true because the Bible says so”. I commented there, explaining the burden of proof, and explaining that the holy texts are the source of the claim. You don’t get to repeat bits of the claim and assert that they are true – well, you can but it’s not going to convince anybody who doesn’t already believe, and you certainly can’t expect anyone who isn’t an idiot to accept the claim itself as evidence of itself.
In one case, the guy even asked what the earliest known religion was, and then answered his own question, claiming that Christianity is the first religion, because the Bible says so. (Because it says “In the beginning” in the book of Genesis. I kid you not.) In another, he asked what the four qualities of false religions are, and then went on to explain why other religions are false because of what’s written in a couple of Bible verses…
This after I pulled out of all those groups because I am tired of debating people who are about as smart as the shit I flush down the toilet.
Anyway, I decided to troll those stupid bastards. Since theists are so fond of loaded questions and bait-and-switch arguments, I posed one of my own. And from now on, I will post a status like this in every such group I’m added to. It goes like this… “Question: Is every argument in religious apologetics either directly or indirectly an argument from ignorance?” This…
- Of course they are. People who start with the assumption that their conclusion is true are never going to accept that, but it doesn’t matter. I’m trolling.
- If anyone seriously engages me, I can switch bait-and-switch style to a much more detailed argument. Since there are no valid apologetics arguments, as long as they don’t bore me to inactivity (actually they already have), I can’t lose such a debate. Try to bog me down in the details of your bullshit apologetics or theology or “philosophy”, and all I need to do is point out that your premise (it always starts with the assumption that god exists) is wrong.
Actually I don’t know if all apologetics arguments are arguments from ignorance, but they are all fallacious.
Of course, those same idiots who wrote the statuses that pissed me off weren’t the ones to respond, mostly. The status received several tu quoque replies though, because for many who aren’t smart, resorting to a childish “But you also…” is a clever reply. But hey… I recently saw an entire video of several minutes where American idiot Tomi Lahren ranted and her entire argument was a tu quoque fallacy, so I guess it works for many.
I did get one almost reasonable response though… One man argued that “natural theology” is not an argument from ignorance. He even continued arguing when I responded with the switch part of my bait-and-switch. Shame! Poor lil’ small-brained guy. He even claimed that natural theology is “deductive reasoning”.
What is theology? And what is the difference between vanilla theology and natural theology? Off to Google I go with, um, indifferent curiosity.
Google tells me that theology is: the study of the nature of God and religious belief.
Natural theology is: theology or knowledge of God based on observed facts and experience apart from divine revelation.
Well, excuse me, but in practice doesn’t that make all theology natural theology? Think about it. Take all the time you need. (Yeah, I hate that cliché too and I don’t know where it comes from. Sorry.)
Let’s illustrate the issue with a deliberately absurd analogy… Imagine that someone believed that Jimbo the Giant Jackass created the craters on the moon, together with his family of giants on giant pogo sticks. And he wrote that shit down, and people believed it, then taught it to their children before those children could think critically. Then those children taught it to the grandchildren, and so on. Imagine they regard the Book of Jimbo as absolute truth.
If you approach a Jimbo believer and say there is no evidence that the craters were created by giant pogo sticks, he might respond Hen Ham style with “Were you there?”. If you point out that he wasn’t either, he might respond, “I have this book” and then also point to a line in the book stating that Jimbo only speaks the truth, and criticize you harshly for being intolerant of his belief system.
Maybe they would invent a field of study called Jimbiology, all about the divinity of Jimbo and the miracle of the giant pogo sticks. Natural Jimbiology would be about looking at the craters… Look how round they are. This roundness is clearly evidence of the base of pogo sticks! And so on… The field is all about looking at the innermost details of the belief, and the “natural” side of it is about seeing signs that verify the belief to be true.
But seriously… Let’s ignore the fact that theology is not apologetics. It’s kool-aid made by believers, for believers. If theology is the study of the divine, other than studying the religious doctrines, it has to be the study of things that you assume to have been influenced or created by the divine.
In other words, natural theology is all about making a connection between the natural, between what is real, and what you assume to have created it. It’s like looking for footprints in the sand, except that because you assume god created everything, everything is a footprint. Imagine devoting your entire life to a field of study when that field is nothing but an extended argument from personal incredulity.
There’s no deductive reasoning going on. You start with the assumption of God, or Jesus, or Allah, or whatever, and then you study what you assume the deity created and fabricate reasons to connect the “creation” back to the creator. You have to fabricate and use your imagination to insert god into the gaps in knowledge because there is no evidence for the actual god. It’s all about making other things evidence for god. And this is why we always talk over each other in debates. We (atheists) ask for evidence, and theists point us at stuff that isn’t evidence at all, then wonder why we don’t accept it. (Look at this nonsense written by a religious guy who doesn’t get it.) If instead you started with the real world, there would be no reason to leap to the existence of a deity. It isn’t really an observation or a logical deduction, and in fact only makes sense if you assume the creator exists.
And that in a nutshell is all there is to all theology, as well as religious philosophy. Once you remove the layers of crap, because it is all about the innermost details of thousands of years related to the belief itself, it all starts with the assumption that god exists. It amazes me that people spend their whole lives immersed in bullshit beliefs. No wonder they don’t like to be reminded that it’s all made up.
Actually, after some reading I wonder if natural theology is based on the arguments of Thomas Aquinas? In that case, it definitely qualifies as apologetics. It’s those arguments I especially love to hate, such as the argument from first cause, which assumes that everything needs a cause, and that one can trace back to a “first” cause. Then leaps to that cause being the Christian god. There is no logical reason to make this leap, and of course it is only made by someone who, as I’ve written above, assumes that this god exists. (Not to mention that it is special pleading to insist that god doesn’t need a cause.) This same fault can be found in every one of his arguments.