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The Real Cost Of Religious Faith

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Well, I actually go to church here in Austin and it's been a bit of a discussion about your show lately at my church. And when you're in church, if there were a show like your show what would you've thought about [....?] >>....concerned about the efect that it might be having on people... I mean, my parents think that I'm working for Satan leading people to hell. So, you know, I can kind of use their assessment as a barometer. And I would have been concerned for the souls of the individuals on the show. You know, for fear that they would be lost to hell as well. >> Well, that's just a perfect answer. My church believes heaven and hell are real places. And guess which one you're going to if you keep this up. >> Oh, dude. See, here we go. Why do you want to be our enemy? Why do you, on purpose, choose to think bad things about us? What's wrong with you? >> The Bible....>> Never mind the freaking Bible. Do you want to be a person who can get along well with others or not? Or, do you wanna partition yourself off into some little subgroup where, if people aren't in that group with you then they are bad. What's wrong with you? Why is this appealing? You wanna believe that me and Matt were not hurting anybody but just stating our opinion on TV that we deserve to be tortured forever? That's what you want? Cut it out. Relax. >> We're a new testament church and the book is pretty clear about ... >> Well, there's your mistake. >> I understand your position. I understand that you believe this and you believe it because the bible says so. Why should anybody else believe it? >> Well, that's the reason I called, really, it's to defend the faith. And the bible says you should defend the faith. >> I understand, you know, 1Peter 3-15, I got you. We're on the same page there. I understand what the book says. What I asked was why anybody else should believe it ? Because the reason that I'm not no longer a christian is because I finally came to the understanding that my beliefs were without rational justification and without evidentiary support. So, now, and I go a step further, even if the bible were true, even if it were, and I don't for a second think it is, and nobody has yet been able to come close to demonstrating that it's true, that still does not put one in a position where they are worshiping out of anything but fear of a monster that is grotesque and wants to punish people for its own problems. Now, setting aside all that, why should anybody believe what you believe? >> There're million different reasons to believe not just that God is real, but that Christianity is the only way to God. >>Just give us your best one. >> What's the best reason. >> Well..., uh..., it's..., what exactly..., what exactly am I trying to demonstrate here? >> Why are you a Christian? What is the main reason that you are a Christian? >> Well, uh, there's a lot of evidence that the bible was divinely inspired... >> Such as? No, no, such as? Give us a piece of evidence that shows that the bible is divinely inspired. >> OK, the bible says things about ... about... about nature that weren't widly known at the time. >>How do you know? Give me an example, first of all. >> Well,... >>Because we're talking about a book. >> Oh, no, first of all, Matt Slicks called in. The nonsense at it's been refuted I don't know how many times. We're talking about a book that if you actually take it literaly, do you think the world is 6 to 10 thousand yrs. old? >> Well..., uh... there's a lot of interpretation. >>That's an easy yes-and-no question: Do you think the world is closer to 6 to 10.000 yrs. old, or closer to 3.500.000.000? Well, I guess ..., if you ..., if you ...uh...if you take it literally, yeah, the world is closer to 6-10.000 yrs. old. Matt asked you specifically what YOU believe. Cause what we're trying to get out is the main reason why you're a christian, and you're dancing all around. Why can't you tell us? >> If you listen back to the way you just answered or tryied to avoid answering that last question, all I was asking was what do you think. And we're going to go from there. But I'm happy with your answer that, yes, a little of you will make it 6-10 thousand yrs old. So, clearly, you either think it's 6-10.000 or you're not completely a literalist. But, irrespective of what your position is do you at least acknowledge that all of the scientific evidence points to an Earth that is vastly older than 6-10 thousand yrs. old? >> Yeah, I'm aware of that. >>OK, so how do you reconcile ...? >>That doesn't proove there's no God. >> You're right. Did I say it did? I'm not saying that that proves there's no God. What I'm saying is: Here's something we've learned about the Universe and it doesn't match with your literal view of the bible. Now there's a conflict there and we need to resolve that. And some people resolve it in favor of the bible, saying the bible is absolutely right, and ignore whatever actual evidence is presented there. I find that to be patently absurd because it turns Christianity into a self-contradictory proposition, which is -- and so, by the way, does the entire idea of the Revelation and the New Testament. Because your position -- to the extent that understand it 'cause you haven't got a straight answer yet -- is one where there is a God who has an important message for mankind and somehow he only reveals it to certain individuals who, then, write this down and thousand of years after this initial revelation we have to rely on copies of copies of translations of copies by anonymous authors with no originals and the textual testimony to a miracle, for ex. the loaves and fishes, there's no amount of reports, anecdotal, testimonial reports, that could be sufficient justifying believing that this event actually happened as reported. No amount. And anything that would qualify as a God would clearly understand this and if it wanted to convey this information to people in a way that it was believable would not be relying on text to do so. And this for me is the nail in the coffin for Christianity. The God that Christians believe in is amazingly stupid If it actually wants to achieve its goal of spreading this information to humanity by relying on text, by relying on languages that died out, by relying on anecdotal testimony; that's not a pathway to truth. And anything that would qualify for God should know this, which means either that God doesn't exist or it doesn't care enough about those people who understand the nature of evidence to actually present it. Now, which of these two possibilities do you think is accurate? >> I think you do need faith to believe it. >> Sure. >> Why would you believe anything on faith? Faith isn't a pathway to truth. Everybody -- every religion has some sort of faith. People take things -- you know -- if faith is your pathway you can't distinguish between Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, any of these others. How is it that you use reason as the path to truth in every endeavor of your life and when it comes to the ultimate truth, the most important truth, you're saying that faith is required. And how does that reflect on a God who supposedly exists and wants you to have this information? What kind of God requires faith instead of evidence? >>Well, I think you probably have faith about a lot of things too. >> Like what? I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. I have trust that has been earned. I will grant trust tentatively. I don't have faith. Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don't have evidence. I mean, if you come up with something that I believe that I don't have evidence for guess what I'll do: I'll stop believing it. That's the nature of a rational mind. That is the goal, my only goal was to be the best Christian I could be and represent this to people who didn't believe. And what I found, because I actually cared about whether or not my beliefs were true, rather than whether they felt good was that my beliefs weren't justified. Try as I might, and pray as hard as I could, no answer comes, no evidence is forthcoming, and when I talk to people about this the only answer they ever offer is the one you do, which is, well, you just got to have faith. Well, sorry, I don't, and I'm not sorry that I don't. I'm sorry for others that they think that I should have. Because faith is not a virtue !! Faith is gullibility !! It's EVIDENCE that determines whether or not your perception of reality is reasonable and in conjunction with the world as it is. >> Well, I think that church gives a lot of people some community and some values. >>Sure. So what? That has no tie to the truth of the supernatural claims. Religions and churches have tons and tons of benefits for the in-group. And some of them even have benefits for some of the out-groups: -- you know-- feeding the homeless; although I really wish as many of the atheists do-- we have the atheists helping the homeless group in Austin, where we'll acctually help the homeless without making them sit through a sermon first. You know, we're not holding their sandwich ransom in the name of Jesus. You can do -- there's no good thing that a church or religion does that cannot be achieved by purely secular means. And there's no benefit, positive benefit of churches and religion that necessarily demonstrates the truth of their supernatural claims. But there is-- this is my personal hobby horse today: there is a COST to deciding that you're going to take in particular Christianity on faith, and that is that when you run into folks like us who don't believe it you are compelled , because you've decided to believe Christianity, you are compelled to think all kinds of horrific things about us. And tell us that -- come at us with these threats of eternal torment which just draws an insurmountable line between us . We can not be friends because of what you have decided to take on faith. That's the COST. >>And I'll tell you, that divisive COST plays out not only in the previous caller who had to give up his job because of good intention Christians, but I have a fiance' sitting in the room who is essentially estranged from a good portion of her family, who consider me to be the devil. Now, I may not be a perfect person, far from it, but I'm generally a good person, and a caring person, and I do whatever I can to live the best life I can. I certainly am not -- well, guess if I were the devil, this is exactly what he would say. And, so, who knows. But the absurdity of the divisive nature of Christianity in particular -- -- by the way, I'm an atheist with regards to all gods, but since you're kind of representing Christianity -- It breaks my heart -- people who actually understand what love is, people who actually understand what morality is, people who actually understand reality, it is almost unbearable to watch the people that you love be so absolutely duped into a divisive, hateful religion that they think is not divisive, they think it's inclusive, and they think it's positive. It kills me. And it's one of the reasons that I do this. Because, I, for 25+ years believed this stuff. I'm so happy, so happy that I no longer think that my former roommate is destined for hell. I am so happy that despite the fact that my relationship with my parents, the nature of it has changed, I don't have to worry about them. The division is entirely one-sided. I didn't end relationships when I became an atheist. Christians ended those relationships. And it was because their particular religion cannot -- -- I had letters from people who said: "We can no longer associate with you, you are of the devil." Now, it's possible that they're right. It's possible, I don't know under what circumstances, but the only way you can demonstrate that is through reason and evidence, not faith. And I don't know how we can fix a world where people have been so convinced that they're doing the right thing out of compassion and love and trying to help people, when it is absolute poison, when it is absolutely destructive, I wish everybody could go through what went through so they can have a proper understanding of: "Wow, how the heck could I have believed those things that believed" and how much better life is when you want to deal with reality on reality's terms. I mean, I know we didn't give you a lot of opportunity to express your views, but every time I asked I got kind of a dent. I'm happy to have you call back in, but if your whole position is that the foundation of your belief is necessarily depending on faith then we have nothing to talk about, because I don't think that that's a good thing, and until you demonstrate that faith is a good thing. How could you possibly convince them? And, by the way how do you go by demonstrating faith is a good thing without evidence. It all comes back to reason and evidence. >> I think he's gone...>> Alright. I've always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. And all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. That's because there's no Humpty Dumpty and there is no God. None. Not one. Never was. No God.

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Duration: 15 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
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Views: 112
Posted by: rianaa on Aug 13, 2011

Religious Faith has a High Cost for Humanity

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