My Inaugural Speech, On the State of the Case for Christianity
Ladies and gentlemen, dignitaries and non-dignitaries, believers and nonbelievers, I am honored to briefly speak to you tonight on the inaugural of my next year’s term as president and owner of Debunking Christianity. About seven years ago, almost to the day, I started blogging. Each year you have reelected me to another term. I have posted something about 1.5 times a day ever since. I have fought many battles with both believers and nonbelievers in order to stay on track with my goal of debunking Christianity in all of its forms. It’s been very time consuming but very rewarding work. You already know my goals and what I have to offer, and you also know I have critics on both sides of these debates, but you still reelected me for yet another term here at DC, for which I am very grateful.
So my heartfelt thanks goes out to the various writers who have been team members at DC1 over the years, most notably Hector Avalos, Harry McCall, and more recently Jonathan Pearce. Thanks also to my readers for seven years of comments and debate, especially my peeps, including the amazing and indefatigable articulett, also a team member there. You have helped to make my blog one of the top places to discuss the best arguments for and against Christianity. This means a great deal to me personally. Without you I would’ve thrown in the towel a long time ago out of fatigue, discouragement and/or financial ruin.
As to the state of the case for Christianity, it’s abysmal. It has no more epistemic warrant for it than any other religion. Of that I am sure. The only people who don’t see this for what it is are deluded, indoctrinated, enculturated and even brainwashed Christians. This goes for the highly educated as well as the Bible thumping ignoramuses. This goes for the conservatives as well as for the moderates and liberals. Religious faith is a cognitive bias that overestimates the force of confirming evidence and underestimates the force of disconfirming evidence. Faith ignores the probabilities at every turn in favor of what believers prefer to be true. Faith itself is irrational and dangerous. We should think exclusively in terms of the probabilities when it comes to matters of truth propositions about the nature and existence of the universe and our place in it.
Typically whenever I say such things, believers of all persuasions will pounce on me, arguing that it’s improbable the universe even exists, much less the complexity of the human brain and self-consciousness. What they fail to understand is that this is not thinking exclusively in terms of probabilities after all, even though it sounds that way. For to think exclusively in terms of probabilities means comparing the likelihood of the naturalistic hypothesis with the many others. The question is not whether it’s improbable for this universe to exist as we find it. The question is whether one out of the thousands of god-hypotheses are more probable than the natural explanation. Likewise, the question isn’t whether natural explanations of the so-called “Easter Event” are improbable. The question is whether those natural explanations are more improbable than that a man lived after being dead for three days in the ancient past, an impossible event within the natural order on its own. Not even other non-Christian religious believers think the evidence for the resurrection is good enough to become Christians, even the millions of Jews who believed in Yahweh and miracles and prophecy in the days of Jesus! LET. THIS. SINK. IN. THAT’S thinking in terms of the probabilities and they can best be understood if we become Bayesian’s in our thinking (you can do it without the math).
Believers utterly fail to understand the difference between science-based reasoning and faith-based reasoning. Believers cannot possibly be intellectually honest when pointing out that science has its flaws as an excuse for their faith. To think exclusively in terms of probabilities means pitting these two methods for attaining truth against each other in order to determine which one produces knowledge, faith or science, belief or reason. But we know that faith solves nothing. It has no method for settling disputes. Faith cannot make anything true that isn’t true. It adds nothing for a person of faith to say, for instance, “I believe a flipped quarter will turn up heads.” It either will or it won’t. Faith adds nothing to the probabilities at all. Likewise, the same goes for a god, a religion or a miracle. Faith is superfluous, irrelevant, and based on improbabilities. It is irrational and even dangerous. Compared with faith, science is the only game in town. It’s the only way to even determine the probabilities, that is, science in its broadest terms, which includes sense data and personal experiences. The very fact that some apologists have argued against thinking exclusively in terms of probabilities and science should be a red light warning that the case for their faith is abysmal.
All Christians have as the basis for their faith are private subjective experiences and testimonies from pre-scientific superstitious people in the first century who had private subjective experiences, and that’s it. THAT’S IT! There is no objective evidence for anything specific to their faith at all. All of the so-called “objective evidence” is nothing more than private subjective experiences to the core. Based on these experiences we find a whole host of believers who have been so convinced of them that they have repeatedly lied about their faith, which has destroyed any credibility it could have had in the first place. There is therefore no reason to believe it even if it’s true! LET. THIS. SINK. IN.
Given this state of affairs I have come to two conclusions.
First, I have little patience for atheists who want to have a discussion for discussion’s sake, or who want to play the devil’s advocate. The case is closed, slammed shut by the overwhelming evidence. So nitpicking about this or that argument, as if they matter to the case as a whole, is like helping to rearranging chairs on the Titanic which is doomed to go down into the deep. Why bother doing this? I would no more spend time arguing against an ineffective atheist argument than I would spend time baking cookies I had no intention of doing anything with. It’s a waste of my time given the over-all case against Christianity and faith, along with its dangers. I will, however, argue against ineffective self-serving approaches taken by other atheists, as I have.
Second, given the abysmal state of the case for Christianity I have reason to ridicule it. Christians don’t like it, I know. They want me to take their faith seriously. The fact is that I have done so, repeatedly. But after studying it for over 40 years my informed conclusion is that it is a delusion, through and through. Christians are brainwashed to believe. There is no reason at all to believe it. Only children in their thinking continue doing so. I have also produced the arguments and the evidence. There isn’t anything left for me to consider. So I have earned the right to ridicule Christianity and its defenders, and I do. For any atheists who think this is inappropriate let me remind them that for centuries Christians ridiculed skeptics into silence (and killed us). It marginalized us. People were led by this ridicule to think skeptics were evil people, and they still do. We all ridicule views we think have no basis in truth. Everyone who is not a Scientologist ridicules this religion, as we do Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, and Pat Robertson. We do this with all dead gods and religions too.
What happens to religions is that eventually they die. In fact, many different Christianities have already died out. Christians claim that skeptics have come and gone but their faith has withstood all attacks so far and survived. The truth however, is much much different. The Christianities that have survived into the present are newly invented ones coming as the result of skeptical attacks, sometimes coming from within, and as they came into contact with other cultures. This process happens in each generation. Just think of the modernist rift due to the enlightenment which divided all denominations to some degree. This division can be attributed to the skeptical attacks of Hume, Kant, Darwin, Nietzsche, Paine, Ingersoll, and many others. The liberal church is a testament to the effectiveness of the skeptical arguments. Even within conservative denominations there are liberal ideas that would have been condemned by the Office of the Inquisition, like Open Theism, a metaphorical and/or annihilation view of Hell, women in leadership, Preterism, the emergent church, acceptance of a gay orientation, the mythical (or literary) view of Genesis 1-2, and so forth and so on. I have lived long enough to see this theological drift in which evangelicals now embrace what only a few decades ago they rejected, Neo-Orthodoxy. The Christianities practiced and believed by any denomination today are not something the early church would recognize as orthodoxy. And the future church will be almost as different. Let’s have done then with this cockamamie notion that the church has survived our attacks. No it hasn’t. In each generation the former Christianities die out, so to speak, and new ones are invented.
But eventually Christianity itself as a whole will die out. We know this. As it dies out and as people become more aware that the case is as bad as I say it is, people will ridicule it more and more. It’s already happening across the internet. Eventually people will ridicule it just as we do to the other dead gods and religions. So complain all you want to. It deserves to be ridiculed just as the child in the story did to the emperor who had no clothes on. Hey, you’re naked! LOL You really really are!
This doesn’t mean I won’t continue making my case respectfully against Christians, but I have earned the right to ridicule it whenever I do, and I will. It deserves it.
In closing I wish you all well. This isn’t personal with me. I’m not angry. The reason you think I am is because by arguing against your faith you take it personally. The reason you do is because you think your God agrees with you about everything; because you create your own God in your own image, and your own religion with your own gospel. I am no more angry with your God than I am angry with any of the other gods.
Thanks for reading. It should be another turbulent year. That is, if I have the stamina and stomach for continuing to argue against a religion I consider has no more epistemic warrant than the religions of Ra, Marduk, Baal, Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Thor, or Odin in their days.
But as the Bud Light commercial says, “Here we go!”
Here we go!