Posts Tagged god

Skeptics in the Pub: Mike Hall

Five Bad Reasons to Believe in God

by Mike Hall
When: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines (aka the Big House), 81 Lime Street, Liverpool

Summary

Apologetics is the systematic defence of a position. Religious apologetics specifically is a field of theology which seeks to present a rational basis for religious faith, defend the faith against objections and support the claim “God exists”. But are the arguments made by apologetics sound?

Mike Hall takes a look at five common apologetics, deconstructing the arguments presented and exposing any flaws.
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Atheism: Those Who Know Do Not Say, Those Who Say Do Not Know

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With the coming of a very low-key, very gentle pro-atheism awareness campaign on facebook in ‘A’ week (http://www.aweekonfacebook.com/, Facebook event, #aweek Twittertag ), I’ve been reminded of the hesitation that many atheists feel towards the promotion of atheism in any way. Talking about any type of promotion or advocacy in favour of atheism as annoying because “this is the sort of thing that X-, Y- or Z-ians/-ists/ers do” may not be exactly how the majority of atheists feel, but I’d say, and only from my own feeling (not very skeptical, but still), that a large majority of atheists either couldn’t care less in trying to spread ideas and grow our mostly merry, but sometimes quite grumpy band of disbelievers, or are very uncomfortable with the thought of trying to actively or passively win people over to the idea that, maybe, they should give up the idea of an invisible Daddy In The Sky who grants wishes a little less frequently than you see the evil evidence of His Divine, or more humanly – if not humanely – divined, Will

But when you see the damage that religion does, and the toxic effect that a supreme, unquestionable authority and unquestioned afterlife can bring – from the banality and stupidity of the penny candle, crap wine and drain-filtering devices (pieces of The Christ’s Holy, suspiciously bread-like, Flesh must be saved from the insult of the sewers) of Catholicism (though after 2000 years on a bread and wine diet, I’m certain Jesus could make excellent use of modern facilities) to the horrendous tradition of wife-burning in Hindu ‘Sati’, thankfully both illegal and much reduced in modern India, or the unholy union of extreme Christianity in demonising a contraceptive layer of latex that could do so much to help the AIDS crisis – doesn’t this, shouldn’t this drive anyone with a rational bent and compassion for humanity towards doing what we can to reduce the influence of The Beast, even to simply kick the giant’s toe? Read the rest of this entry »

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There’s Probably No Santa, So Stop Worrying and Forget About The Beard

Next week we have the lovely Ariane Sherine coming up to Liverpool Skeptics In The Pub, when she will be talking about how she created the Atheist Bus Campaign, and about her new book The Atheist’s Guide To Christmas. The book is a great read, featuring essays by 42 famous atheists from different walks of life. Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Charlie Brooker, Simon Singh, Josie Long and many, many more. I thoroughly recommend it.

Anyway, in tribute to the book and Ariane’s upcoming talk (which will be fab, so please come along!), I thought I’d stick my oar in and have a bit of a blog about atheism myself. As far back as I can remember, I’ve never believed in a God. Lately, I’ve heard and read a lot of stories by people of their conversions to athiesm, or from atheism to theism, or of their struggle to ‘come out’ as an atheist, particularly in religious households; but I have no such story to tell. No-one in my family is religious or cares much either way about whether a God exists or not, and the friends I grew up with seem to have been in the same boat, so far as I know. It’s simply never been an issue for me, to the extent that I’ve never even really thought of myself as an atheist. It would be like giving myself a label based around the fact I have arms, or have never owned a chicken. Read the rest of this entry »

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Biblical Healing: Coming To A Town Near You

Flyer for the Revival Fellowship. Click for super-big.

Flyer for the Revival Fellowship. Click for big.

Last weekend I was handed a flyer on the street for something called the Revival Fellowship. Well, that’s not strictly true – it was actually a friend of my girlfriend’s who was given the flyer, with the specific reason that she knew it would annoy the hell out of me, and she was right. Because the Revival Fellowship is a ‘prayer heals’ kind of organisation, going so far as to make some extraordinarily outrageous claims. The flyer – which is a pretty well-made affair, I might add (you can view it right there on the right) – claims to be ‘Totally Different from anything you’ve heard before’. Bold claims. Turn the flyer over, and you’ll see the happy faces of various healees (it’s not a word, I know, but I like it). Beside the face of the first healee, the flyer proclaims:

“After prayer, Russell was healed from a severe food allergy and Autism. He now leads a completely normal life”

This struck my girlfriend as odd, and it definitely strikes me as odd. First of all, I like how the statement goes with the big claims first – namely that he was healed from a severe food allergy? Wow, that’s an amazing claim! Oh yeah, and he was healed from the hitherto-untreatable autism too, but that’s by the by… And that’s not the only extraordinary claim. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #004

Muzzled babies, Princess Diana’s psychic and the God Spot. Mike, Marsh and Colin talk about all this, plus Freddie Mercury, Madame Tussauds, woo in New York City, Liberace and more!

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Homosexual Clergy Force God To Blow Lutherans

Last week, the Central Lutheran Church in downtown Mineappolis was beset by a rare and unexpected tornado – upturning Lutheran food stands and damaging the church steeple. The winds, which brought with them something of a strong rain which flooded nearby highways, managed to detach the cross from on top of the steeple, causing it to hang down in what ended up being a cracking photo op. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the only real damage was to the building and the “Potluck Favorites” Supper, which had to be rescheduled due to damage to the food stall.

Rev. Rick Nelson, Central’s senior pastor, says of the freak tornado:

“We give thanks to God that no one was injured by today’s tornado” – Source: www.centralmpls.org

So far, so normal. But not everyone was as willing to take it as a random act of weather as we reasonably sorts might. In fact, soon after the reports went out, the hardline Christian blogs were alight with tales of fearful vengeance from the magic sky man. Especially given the unfortunate fact that, at the same time as the tornado landed, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America debate was taking place over the road, in order to decide whether to allow practicing homosexuals to be ordained clergy. So, of course, the more hardline and nuttier elements of the church – and the wider Christian community in America – have taken this freak weather event as some kind of warning from God, a kind of ‘Repent lest ye be blown!’ Read the rest of this entry »

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