Saturday, 30 May 2015

What Do We Mean By 'Objective Moral Values'?

The Moral Argument for God's existence mentions these things called objective moral values. Sometimes (often) it seems as though people don't know what that phrase means (which is fair enough if you've never heard it before).

The difference between objective and subjective is the difference between facts and opinions.

If something is objective, then it is true no matter what anyone thinks or believes about it. If something is subjective then it's just based on a person's own preferences and doesn't hold any truth value.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

I Just Believe In One Less God Than You

And welcome to another round of Stupid Atheist Catchphrases!

Today's contender is a corker from Stephen Roberts that fundie atheists love to quote. It's the type of catchphrase that gets them out of actually having to think about anything. Their favourite kind! Along with 'atheism is the null hypothesis', and 'atheism and agnosticism are essentially the same thing'.

Anyway, let's look at this one:
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." Stephen F. Roberts

The first bit: "we are both atheists". Simply put - no. Even granting the dumb 'lack of belief' definition of atheism that many fundies cling to, atheism is a non-belief in any gods. It's the belief that the world and universe exists and functions without a god involved. You're not an atheist one hundred times over for not believing in one hundred gods. You're an atheist if you rule them all out without exception.
A theist is someone who believes in at least one. You can't be a theist and an atheist. They're mutually exclusive positions.
But, yes, you can believe in one, and none of the others. Even though the phrasing is ridiculous, I guess that's the point that he was attempting to make.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

What Are The Established Facts About Jesus?

There are several facts about Jesus' life and ministry that the vast majority of New Testament scholars and historians accept as truth. Of course there are a couple of wildcards that don't accept them, but there are always gonna be those kind of guys who aren't willing to accept stuff even if it's indisputable.

Here's a rundown of the things we know for certain about Jesus:

1) Jesus lived. Born around 4BC and died around 33AD (give or take a few years).
2) Jesus was from Nazareth.
3) Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.
4) Jesus was a great moral teacher.
5) Jesus preached radical new ideas.
6) Jesus had several disciples.
7) Jesus had a reputation as a healer and exorcist.
8) Jesus was beaten and crucified to death for blasphemy (claiming to be God/God's son) by the request of the Sanhedrin under the orders of Pontius Pilate.
9) Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimethea - a sympathetic member of the Sanhedrin.
10) Jesus' tomb was found empty by some female disciples.
11) Jesus' disciples claimed and truly believed to have seen him risen from the dead.
12) Creeds referring to Death, Deity, & Resurrection can be dated to within the same year as the crucifixion.
13) Christianity spread quickly.
14) Several of the first disciples/apostles were martyred for refusing to denounce Christ.

Considering all these taken together, there is no explanation that makes sense of it all except that the story of Jesus as presented in the New Testament is true.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Is The Shroud Of Turin The Ultimate Proof For Christianity?

Until recently I was among the crowd that would immediately think 'proven hoax' whenever the Shroud of Turin was mentioned.
However, New Testament scholar Gary Habermas has a sideline in studying the supposed burial linen of Jesus Christ. What he's discovered is actually quite incredible.