Need to discuss religion with an atheist for apologetics class

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angieb's picture
Need to discuss religion with an atheist for apologetics class

I'm taking a Christian apologetics course at my university and one of my assignments is to have a religious discussion with an online atheist. If you'd like to help me there are a few things id like you to know. We can discuss through either email or this site. any information given in this discussion will only be shown to my professor. Please not that I'm not trying to be rude and force my religion on you, i'm just trying to pass this class. I'll need a response before September 9th.

*the discussion must be private so that I can screenshot it easily.

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Cognostic's picture

Greetings Angieb. We actually like theology students around here. They generally ask more questions than the ignorant apologists that wander in and tend not to engage in dip-shit positions like presuppositionalism.

A few ground rules before we begin.
1. Atheism is not a belief.
2/ Atheists do not have a world view.
3. Atheists are not scientists or biologists (Unless they are.)
4. Atheists are people who do not believe in god or gods (Read that Again) Atheism is NOT the assertion that God or gods does not exist. It is non-belief.

Okay, lets go look at your post.....

My suggestion is that you post your questions one at a time. Then you engage in discussions with various atheists on each question. For example....

Have one thread on "Where does morality come from." Another thread on "Why don't you believe in god." Have each thread focused on a specific topic as you will get a range of answers from the atheists on the site. You can then choose to respond to any of the posts you like by placing @ and the name of the person you are responding to.

Don"t make a list of questions. You will get responses but it will make it more difficult for everyone to stay on topic. All the topics will be mashed together and that gets confusing.

angieb's picture
thank you. This is very

thank you. This is very helpful!

Cognostic's picture
Remember @ + the

Remember @ + the person you are talking to.

@angieb This highlights the person's name so they can find it.

LogicFTW's picture
Ohh have not had one of these

Ohh have not had one of these in a little while, everyone must of been on summer break over there in apologetics class.

I will be happy to respond to questions here, but can't be bothered to have a private conversation. You do not need it to be private to screenshot the conversation. Heck needing screen shots is a silly requirement for the class. Either that requirement is silly and not thought through, or there is another motive for the class "requiring" it to be a private conversation and they are lying to you. The "for easier screenshot" reason does not stand up to scrutiny even a little bit, arbitrary unexplained rules like this should be ringing alarm bells in your head that something is not right here.

Also pay attention to cognostic's post these are all important points.

David Killens's picture
Atheism is just the answer to

Atheism is just the answer to one question, whether there is a god. The atheist position is one of withholding belief until proper evidence is provided, just like Spiderman and sasquatch.

For almost all atheists, our morality is subjective, which we believe is a much better argument against the objective morality required from the bible.

Not all atheist are angry at god/religion.

As an ex-theist I am much better off after my epiphany that I was an atheist. I no longer live in fear or death.

Randomhero1982's picture
A university with a Christian

A university with a Christian apologetics course...

It's akin to hearing that animals have their own olympics now.

David Killens's picture
Nice to know theists invented

Nice to know theists invented a profession because people started asking hard questions.

xenoview's picture

Atheism is not a belief, or religion.
Atheism is a lack of belief in any gods.
Atheism is not a worldview.
Atheism and science are two different things.

Tin-Man's picture
Howdy, Angieb. Welcome. By

Howdy, Angieb. Welcome. By all means, please ask your questions. I'm always happy to assist in such assignments to help promote higher learning... *grin*... Perhaps we can all learn a little something from them. However, just make sure you really want to hear the answers. We don't pull many punches around here.... *chuckle*...

Algebe's picture
@Angieb" Christian

@Angieb" Christian apologetics course

Is that a course where you learn to say sorry for crusades, pogroms, the 30 Years War, the St. Bartholomew Day's Massacre, pedophile priests, condom bans during AIDS epidemics, slave labor in Catholic laundries, money-grabbing televangelists, anti-science creationitwits....?

Apology accepted. Go and sin no more.

Calilasseia's picture


I'm taking a Christian apologetics course at my university

Oh you're in for a roller coaster ride here. Why will become apparent shortly.

and one of my assignments is to have a religious discussion with an online atheist.

You rang? Be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. (I see Tin-Man is already running for the fallout shelter ...)

Let's begin by my announcing that much of what I will post here is a personal viewpoint, but one which was arrived at via a long period of deliberation, involving such diversions along the way as pure mathematics, cosmological physics, biology and a range of other topics. All I have to do here is start mentioning invertebrate zoology, for example, and the ticket sales for the ringside seats begin in earnest.

So, the first steps - the elementary concepts. Which I always begin with, in order to neutralise tiresome and predictable canards that I encounter here from supernaturalists, with frankly boring frequency, and which you are advised to avoid by a wide berth. The moment said canards appear, my response is swift and ruthless.

The first elementary concept to take on board, is the nature of atheism. Which, in its rigorous formulation, consists of nothing more than refusal to accept uncritically unsupported supernaturalist assertions. That is IT. It doesn't involve, when done properly, the presentation of assertions of its own, and indeed, leaves the business of presenting either assertions or postulates to other disciplines, within which this is the relevant remit. In short, it consists of "YOU assert that your favourite mythological entity exists, YOU support your assertions". Asking you to support your assertions in this vein, does NOT mean treating contrary assertions as true, as it is perfectly possible for one to be suspicious of a given assertion and its converse. An elementary lesson that any student of Quine will be aware of immediately. As an example of the sort of canards I've had to deal with in the past, this previous post is instructive.

Next, we come to the rules of proper discourse, offences against which I regard with particular scorn and derision. You'll find I've already covered this topic, and more, in some detail in this previous post, which you are strongly advised to read in full. Not least because it provides a thorough exposition of much of my position. You will also find I devote much attention to abuse of these proper rules of discourse here, and again, you are strongly advised to read and digest that post before continuing. You'll find I cover relevant issues, such as singular inference, in this previous post, again linked for your convenience. An appropriate maxim for you to take on board at this juncture, arising directly from those proper rules of discourse, is that ideas are disposable entities, a maxim that has demonstrated its utility value on a grand scale in the world of science.

Next, we come to reasons why I don't treat supernaturalist mythologies as reliable sources of substantive knowledge. There are several reasons for this, one of which is the rampant anti-consilience of the entire supernaturalist enterprise. If you don't know what consilience means, this word describes the manner in which a postulate is provided with evidential support by numerous independent lines of inquiry, including in some instances lines of inquiry launched to test entirely different postulates. An apposite example is provided by the scientific view of the age of Planet Earth, which is supported by numerous bodies of observational data arising from such diverse fields as nuclear physics, palaeontology and geological stratigraphy. Several of the requisite bodies of observational data were studied in order to test entirely different postulates, but all of them reinforce the consensus that Planet Earth is a 4.5 billion year old entity. On the other hand, supernaturalists cannot agree among themselves on a global scale, which of their mythologies is purportedly the "right" mythology, and adherents of a particular mythology cannot agree among themselves what said mythology is purportedly telling us. Again, a previous post of mine is apposite here.

A second reason I don't treat supernaturalist mythologies as reliable sources of substantive knowledge, is that they contain within their pages, assertions that are known not merely to be wrong, but to be fatuous and absurd. As an illustrative exercise, turn to Genesis 30: 37-39, read that passage, and work out what this asserts. If you cannot work out what this passage asserts, and why that assertion is fatuous, then rather than studying apologetics, you should be taking a biology course. This is merely one of numerous such assertions, and the diligent have already alighted upon others. The idea that a fantastically gifted magic entity, purportedly capable of fabricating an entire universe and its contents, would allow such errors to be associated with it, is untenable, especially when one factors in the assertion that said entity purportedly possesses perfect foreknowledge of the future, and must, if this second assertion is true, have known in advance that said errors would be discovered and exposed.

A third reason centres upon the fact that any genuine magic entity of this sort, would not choose mythology as a vehicle for disseminating factual information. Not least because said entity would be aware of the huge problems endemic to any mythological corpus, such as the manner in which mythologies, if they persist for any substantial period of time, have a habit of being mutable.

A fourth reason centres upon the fact that the authors of mythologies manifestly knew nothing about vast classes of entities and interactions, which have since been alighted upon by scientists, and placed by said scientists into usefully predictive, quantitative frameworks of knowledge. The authors of your mythology, for example, knew nothing about the existence of four major continental land masses on this planet, and if you happen to be residing on one of those land masses, this should be a serious source of embarrassment to you. The authors of your mythology were incapable of even fantasising about these, and a myriad other entities. They knew nothing about bacteria, forty entire phyla of eukaryotes, or for that matter, even bothered learning about entities that were already being studied by other contemporaneous civilisations. Despite spending time being subject to captivity by the Babylonians, who were at the time the foremost astronomers of Classical Antiquity, the authors of your mythology chose not to bother learning from them on this matter. They chose not to learn anything about civil engineering from the Ancient Egyptians, despite spending time in captivity by that civilisation. And, despite engaging in trade with the city-states of Classical Greece, they chose not to learn anything of Greek philosophy, or the developments of Greek civilisation in fields such as mathematics and the physical sciences. Indeed, they never exhibited any signs of engaging in meaningful intellectual cross-pollination with other civilisations, with teh possible exception of plagiarising the Epic of Gilgamesh for the farcical "global flood" myth.

And now, I'm going to come to the part of my post that you will find stings particularly harshly, namely, the part where I tell you that you're wasting your time on a grand scale, if you think that apologetics is going to teach you anything meaningful. Indeed, one of the reasons that apologetics is a failed enterprise, I cover in more depth in this previous post. That's before I notice the manner in which certain pedlars of apologetics (creationists being particularly egregious in this vein) resort not merely to fanciful fabrication in order to prop up their adherence to mythological assertions, but outright lying about topics such as science and atheism. Quite simply, if you have to lie about the position of someone outside your doctrinal pale in order to continue convincing yourself of the veracity of your mythology, then your mythology is simply worthless.

Indeed, if supernaturalists had genuine evidence for their magic entities, of the sort that, for example, physicists can bring to the table with respect to entities as exotic as black holes and subatomic particles, they wouldn't bother with apologetics at all. They'd be too busy submitting the data to scientific journals, and placing their magic entities on a proper, rigorous footing, earning a collection of Nobel Prizes into the bargain. Indeed, there wouldn't be an argument about whether your magic man existed if this was the case, because the existence thereof, instead of being an unanswered question, would have become part of mainstream science some time ago. That this hasn't happened, should be telling you something important.

And finally, because I'm pressed for time, but would love to post much more here, I'll point you to this post, where I cover in detail the manner in which genuinely existing entities have a habit of being observable and measurable, neither of which applies to your magic entity, which dovetails nicely with the latter part of my previous paragraph above.


Tin-Man's picture

@Cali Your post alone should be enough to allow her to write a thesis for her class... lol... As always, a pleasure to read your work... *tipping hat in respect*...

cranky47's picture
Excellent as usual.

Excellent as usual.

A serious question: Is it your wont to subscribe to learned journals/publications? Imo the stuff you write here is superior to a lot of the dross I had to wade through as an undergraduate . (why is it that so many academics writes o poorly?)

chimp3's picture
I am an atheist and I make no

I am an atheist and I make no apologies.

Cognostic's picture
@Calilasseia: RE: " I tell

@Calilasseia: RE: " I tell you that you're wasting your time on a grand scale, if you think that apologetics is going to teach you anything meaningful. Indeed, one of the reasons that apologetics is a failed enterprise."

Christian apologetics is a collection of inane assertions, fallacious positions, circular mumbo-jumbo, straw-men, smoke, mirrors, and outright lies. What would be really enlightening for you is if your University Professor logged into the site, had a conversation with an atheist, and then posted it for the class. He won't do that! He won't do that for fear of looking foolish. Theists have been using the same old tired and worn out apologetics for centuries and they have been completely debunked by non-believers for that same amount of time. There are NONE that stand against rationality, logic, and reason. NONE.


xenoview's picture

Waiting for your questions right here in the debate forum. We all look forward to answering them the best we can.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ angieb

@ angieb

Happy to have a private conversation as long you realise that I reserve the right to screenshot and post in this forum....ask away.

David Killens's picture
Question angieb. Why do you

Question angieb. Why do you take apologetics? is it to reinforce your personal beliefs, help convince those sitting on the fence, or actually convert us heathens back to the fold?

And if in here you encounter a strong argument that counters what you 'believe", will you accept and use that argument, or ignore it?

I am really really interested why anyone would take such a course.

cranky47's picture
Imo apologetics are even more

Imo apologetics are even more inane than theology. Theology is an intellectually dishonest type of philosophy . Apologetics are fare worse, because they often turn truth into lies, and vice versa.

Strictly speaking ,an 'apologist' is simply a person who explains, not one who makes excuses for or apologises for.

Apologists are skilled at explaining how a verse in say theTorah or the New Testament doesn't actually mean what it says; EG Jesus says he did not come to change the law. However, he himself is reported as breaking the law on several occasions . Jesus said he would return before any of his disciples "had tasted death" -A christian apologist will 'explain' how those passages don't mean what they say .

---One reason is that the gospels were clearly not written by Jews but by gentiles with no understanding of Judaism or the law of Moses.

Then there's the fatuous Christian claim that Jesus fulfilled prophecy to become the Messiah. With careful cherry picking, apologist made it seem likeJesus was the Messiah. A few minutes reading the rest of the prophecies about The Messiah show how it was impossible impossible for Jesus to have been the Messiah. ,THATS why Jews have always simply dismissed the claim Jesus was the Messiah .

It's one thing to reinterpret the mythology which is the Torah and the New Testament . It's another thing entirely when apologists change historical fact to fit with dogma

A simple example is of the word "usury". Apologists claim that the word means and HAS ALWAYS MEANT "lending money at excessive rates of interest" .That is a barefaced lie : The original ,meaning was to lend money at ANY INTEREST . (Muslims still have the same understanding of the word)

To dismiss that meaning is to blur over 1000 years of European antisemitism. :

Christians were forbidden to lend money AT ANY INTEREST, for centuries. In Christian communities most occupation and professions were forbidden to Jews. Two which were allowed were that of merchant and of money lender .

It was the Jews who lent money to Princes and the aristocracy. As creditors, they were loathed. Thus pogroms were common for centuries.,One excuse was that of the Jews as christ killers. It was not a coincidence that pogroms also killed off creditors.

More serious and amoral , imo, was the fact that the church taught that going on crusade meant forgiveness of any and all sins. Knights and others going on crusade often had pogroms and murdered their Jewish creditors. .

The foregoing is historical fact. I once spent an evening with a priest trained in apologetics about the matter. ,
He was adamant the that the historical record is simply wrong . That the Catholic position that 'usury' HAS ALWAYS meant "lending money at excessive interest ".

It is my belief that religious apologetics are so egregiously dishonest that one could only practice the discipline by possessing a staggering level of cognitive dissonance.

Tin-Man's picture


Couldn't help but notice you stated you needed responses to your questions before September 9th. (aka: Tomorrow) Yet we still have yet to see a single question from you. Procrastinate much?

Cognostic's picture
@TIN - I think we scared

@TIN - I think we scared her off. The ground rules just nipped everything in the bud!

Tin-Man's picture
@Cog Re: "I think we scared

@Cog Re: "I think we scared her off. The ground rules just nipped everything in the bud!"

...*look of disappointment*.... Awwwwww! Dog-gonnit! It's been so long, I was actually looking forward to another university apologetic survey. And now we done gone and runned off another young future leader of the world. Well, ain't that just great?... *pouting*... Although, in all fairness, you can't really blame the poor child. Whoever her sadistic "professor" is totally (and, likely, knowingly) setting these innocent, naive, and vulnerable kids up for failure. As somebody else already mentioned, for once I would love to see one of those university "professors" come on this site and have a debate with us to share with his/her class. Of course, we all know that would never happen, because he/she would NEVER allow that class to see the results of having his/her ass shredded by a bunch of primitive heathen Neanderthals. Obviously, that would not look good on a resume when hunting for the next teaching job.... *look of realization*... Oops. Oh dear. Did I just issue a challenge?... *innocent look*... *halo over head*... My, my, my... Well, Angieb, if you still happen to be reading any of these posts, please feel free to pass this info along to your "professor". Not that it would really matter. I am fairly sure he/she would just brush it off with some lame excuse of how he/she would not stoop so low as to waste his/her time trying to "reason" with such a "close-minded and confrontational" group of immoral godless dregs of society. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Cognostic's picture
@Tin: RE: University

@Tin: RE: University Professor's participation. I can already see the "Shifting of the Burden of Proof" at every turn. We might as well have another Catholicray on the site. I'm with "Cranky" when he asserts that these kids in "Apologetics" classes are just being lied to.

I have a "Book on Tape" of an apologetics class being taught at a major university. The professor, renowned in apologetics, goes over all the basic arguments one by one. He does a really good job of explaining them all and the arguments from both sides. He does this professionally and honestly. This makes the lecture worth listening to. Finally he comes to the conclusion of each section.

"So you see class - ITS A PUSH - A TIE - " He goes from being an honest lecturer to the most dishonest asshole on the planet and feeds the little minions the lie that they are on ground that is just as solid as the atheists. Nothing can be proved or disprove 100% so it is a tie. I shit you not. He does this with every single apologetic, teleological, Cosmological, Pascal, Minimal Facts, Transcendental, and the rest. Each and every time, he concluded - "So, you see, its a push." Not once does the asshole mention that the burden of proof is on the person making the claim. It is not a push. It is a failure on the theist's part to support their position. It is an enactment of the null-hypothesis. There is no reason, what so ever, to believe a claim until that claim has been proved. "TIE, MY ASS.!" I could probably send this to anyone interested. "The Great Courses" online learning. It's worth listening to.

Nyarlathotep's picture
angieb - *the discussion

angieb - *the discussion must be private so that I can screenshot it easily.

Why would something private be easier to take a screenshot of?

Sheldon's picture
@ angieb

@ angieb

What objective evidence can you demonstrate for any deity or deities?

If the answer's none, could you please list ten other beliefs, that are not part of your religious beliefs, that you accept as true without any objective evidence?

If again the answer is none I'm not sure what's left to discuss, as the bias in favour of your religious belief is manifest. Though I am certain you can find all the discussions you'll need in existing threads. This is not a new request.

possibletarian's picture


I would be happy to take part in your discussions on the forum.

Like many on this forum I was a Christian at one time, a very winsome one too and would be happy to discuss anything with you.

Tin-Man's picture
Hmmm... Something else that

Hmmm... Something else that just caught my attention in the OP. Miss Angieb stated she needed to have a discussion with AN atheist (singular). Almost as if she or somebody else believes something along the lines of, "Well, no need to waste time interviewing multiple atheists. Obviously, if you chat with only ONE then you totally know how ALL atheists think." That's the impression I get, at least.

CyberLN's picture
I’m not so sure she is at all

I’m not so sure she is at all interested in what any atheist thinks. I would guess that she’s just trying to step through the requirements of her class without an inclination to learn a damn thing...after the credentials but not the understanding.

Tin-Man's picture


Yep, just going through the motions to get a passing grade on her record. Ugh... *shaking head sadly*...

Tin-Man's picture
Hmmm.... Upon further

Hmmm.... Upon further contemplation, it dawned on me that it actually makes perfect sense why most of the Christians we encounter have no real desire to truly learn about their chosen faith. Particularly those who wholeheartedly believe in the Adam and Eve tale. After all, Adam and Eve got themselves into one helluva conundrum when they ate a piece of fruit and gained knowledge that God did not want them to have. And it got their asses booted out of the paradise of Eden as a result. Basically, that pretty much SCREAMS that their divine Sky Daddy prefers to keep its precious human pets as dumb and as ignorant as possible. Otherwise, they could start thinking for themselves and realize exactly how horrible their "loving" god truly is.

Therefore, it stands to reason that any dedicated and loyal follower of the bible would be in constant fear of learning too much, lest he/she risk forfeiting his/her chance to sing holy praises to God for all of eternity. Now, for all the regulars here, I know I am preaching to the choir. (Pardon the pun.) This is just basic common sense/knowledge for us. This post is primarily for the benefit of Angieb (if she is still bothering to hang around) and others like her who might stumble through and see it. Anyway, I had a few spare minutes and figured I'd toss this onto the field while it was fresh on my mind.


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