Interesting Atheistic Arguments

Hi brothers and sisters,

We just concluded a wonderful night of dinner and very good conversation with a dear Atheist friend of ours. He initiated it by asking a question about something another “catholic” person said to him. Throughout the evening the following our the arguments that stuck out the most to me, that I found difficult to articulate, even though I was not necessarily stumped, I just didn’t know enough to state a refutation in a rational way…

  1. Original scriptures didn’t say virgin …they said young woman
  2. Constantine only made Christianity the state religion so that more people would fight.
  3. That ultimately whatever sacrifice, suffering, or martyrdom that happens…the ultimate belief that one is going Heaven makes it the one reason(He used this to refute my argument that why would the disciples choose to believe in a crucified God, be poor, be persecuted, and suffer horrible deaths, except John, for something that was not true…He said because they believe they are going to Heaven.
  4. The whole telephone argument from oral translation and biblical translations over the years…although I think we did a pretty good job at refuting that one…

there are some more, but I’d like to start with these for know to see what you guys have to say.

Also, for any science type people out there, cause he is really into science, as is my dear husband who is catholic like me, he brought up the whole entropy argument…

wheew…what a night. I absolutely loved our conversation…

  1. Original scriptures didn’t say virgin …they said young woman

It doesn’t matter. Does he mean that all young Jewish women cannot be virgins??? Is he anti-Semetic or sexually perverted?

  1. Constantine only made Christianity the state religion so that more people would fight.

It always amazes me how self appointed experts on Constantine HAVE NEVER READ THE EDICT OF MILAN!
gbgm-umc.org/UMW/Bible/milan.stm
It means no one could LEGALLY persecute ANYBODY of ANY religion, and any property that was stolen by the Roman government had to be given back to the Church.

With the reign of emperor Constantine (d. 337), the Church moved from being persecuted to being protected, and political and theological concerns began to overlap. The good of the Church likewise began to be seen as integral to the good of the State. Consequently, from the fourth century on, not only did emperors convene councils against heresies, but they also established a wide range of civil penalties for heresy.

saint-mike.org/QA/his/ViewAnswer.asp?QID=69

  1. That ultimately whatever sacrifice, suffering, or martyrdom that happens…the ultimate belief that one is going Heaven makes it the one reason(He used this to refute my argument that why would the disciples choose to believe in a crucified God, be poor, be persecuted, and suffer horrible deaths, except John, for something that was not true…He said because they believe they are going to Heaven.

No, because they believed they had picked up their cross, and followed Jesus all the way to the top. Nobody WANTS to be a martyr, they just accept it. Believing it will take you to heaven is not the motive, they were not crazed fanatics and I would tell him it is offensive to equate great saints with suicide bombers. I would remind him of ‘great heros’ that atheism produces with the likes of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Maybe he has a list of atheists who have done some kind of service to humanity.

  1. The whole telephone argument from oral translation and biblical translations over the years…although I think we did a pretty good job at refuting that one.

We don’t need translations because everything in the bible is preserved and divinely protected by God via Sacred Tradition. If all the Bibles in the world were to be destroyed, the so-called “telephone effect” would not tarnish God’s revelation one iota. The proof is in the pudding. Two-bit atheist dictators have come and gone, and we are still here with the same Gospel message, and it isn’t due to mere ink and paper.

Here are some great links refuting atheism.

bringyou.to/apologetics/philos.htm#Debates

bringyou.to/apologetics/philos.htm#Theism

doxa.ws/

Surf that doxa site for science articles. They are very good.

This one is loaded too, you have to scroll down far.

socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/philosophy-christianity-index-page.html

This, like everything, must go back to the Resurrection. If the Resurrection is true, then any argument like this is irrelevant. The author’s of the New Testament used the Greek word for Virgin, and if they were the followers of a man who rose from the dead, then they get far more than the benefit of the doubt. Your atheistic friend has to debunk the reality of the Resurrection before any other argument he can possibly make will have any merit.

Burn him a copy of any of the William Lane Craig debates here: bringyou.to/apologetics/audio.htm#WilliamLaneCraig. Dr. Craig debated some of the world’s most important atheists and makes them look silly. I’ve seen many debates, but I’ve never seen anyone simply humiliate an opponent like I’ve seen Dr. Craig.

Now, regarding the specific issue of the use of the Hebrew word almah in Isaiah:

The fact is that it’s not clear that the word necessarily means young woman. There are good reasons to think it does not. First, the word that skeptics and atheists assert really meant “virgin,” betulah, is used in many places in Scripture in cases where it clearly seems not to be referring to a virgin. Second, the word almah is not simply said to refer to a young woman, but you a young maiden, an umarried woman. In Jewish culture, such a person is supposed to be a virgin.

Most importantly, the 70 Jewish scholars who translated Isaiah into Greek sometime around 150 BC used the Greek word parthenos, which means precisely “virgin.” These people had no possible Christian agenda, and they understood the language far better than even the greatest scholar of Hebrew can today. If they chose to translate it as virgin when plenty of Greek words for “young woman,” or “maiden,” or some other such thing existed, then there’s no grounds whatsoever for questioning the translation.

If you want more information than you could ever use on this issue, see here: christian-thinktank.com/fabprof2.html

  1. Constantine only made Christianity the state religion so that more people would fight.
  1. If he did, so what? It wouldn’t disprove the teachings of the faith. Plenty of folks have made atheism the state religion for political reasons. That doesn’t disprove atheism.
    2)Constantine didn’t make it the state religion. He made it a legal religion, one that was permissible to be practiced.
  1. That ultimately whatever sacrifice, suffering, or martyrdom that happens…the ultimate belief that one is going Heaven makes it the one reason(He used this to refute my argument that why would the disciples choose to believe in a crucified God, be poor, be persecuted, and suffer horrible deaths, except John, for something that was not true…He said because they believe they are going to Heaven.

This only helps the Christian point. This is actually usually used to argue in favor of Christianity. These men did all this stuff and suffered martyrdom because they thought they’d be going to Heaven, and more precisely they thought they’d go to Heaven for dying for a man. If some person came up to you and told you that you’d go to Heaven if you died for him, would you believe him? Of course not. Even if you did, there’d be doubt which would make dying for him extremely difficult.

These men didn’t die merely for God, as modern Muslim extremists do. Anybody can die go ahead and die for God. Jews did it, Muslims do it, folks of all sorts of religions have died, and still die, for God. We can’t see God, but if a person believes in God, the big Spirit who made everything, then dying for Him makes sense.

These men died for a man. They died for a poor man who walked around and, according to every Jewish standard in the book - the religion these men were, after all - blasphemed God. They died for a guy who according to many of the teachings of their religion was an enemy of God, and so dying for him oughtn’t to have been a way to get to Heaven.

This shows that these fellows saw something which made them think that dying for this man would get them to Heaven. They saw His Resurrection. Apart from that, going to death for a man makes no sense at all, for all the reasons I’ve explained. Furthermore, they refused to die for this man before the Resurrection. It’s only after it that they in fact do die for Him.

  1. The whole telephone argument from oral translation and biblical translations over the years…although I think we did a pretty good job at refuting that one…

As you may have told him, anthropological research in places that have tribal cultures and whatnot show that the oral traditions passed down in these tribes are far more accurate than even our modern day methods. For example, the research done on the Bedouin tribes. It’s astounding.

For example, the tribe will gather around the story teller each day. He will tell them the stories. If he makes even the slightest mistake, they stop him and won’t let him continue until he corrects it. They all know the stories, he knows the stories, and they hear them day after day, without even the slightest error, as the whole group of them - people that have been hearing the story for years and years - censor any errors.

Peace and God bless

Regarding science: markshea.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html#8715024701857426619

Excerpt:

The energy budget of the Universe is the total amount of energy and matter in the whole cosmos added up. Together with some other observations, WMAP has been able to determine just how much of that budget is occupied by dark energy, dark matter, and normal matter. What they got was: the Universe is 72.1% dark energy, 23.3% dark matter, and 4.62% normal matter. You read that right: everything you can see, taste, hear, touch, just sense in any way… is less than 5% of the whole Universe.

How on earth can anyone even begin to claim that science disproves God is beyond me.

You guys are awesome!! I checked this first thing this morning and can’t wait to check out some of the links. I can’t really argue some of the first arguments with him, because saying something is protected by the Holy Spirit, or even getting offended would just be very counter productive. And honestly, I really didn’t get offended. I truly see it as an opportunity to witness to the Truth. Because, when I came into the faith, I had soooo many similiar questions and misconceptions. Of course I still did say that such and such is protected by the Holy Spirit as for him to understand our beliefs, but it doesn’t really hold water with him, I still said it because it is truth, but I need to approach my discussions with him not from a “spiritual point of view”…even though every word of my mouth that might make sense, is a gift to me from God.
However, I still go back to the resurrection like somebody mentioned. I told him none of this would make a lick of difference if it were not for the Resurrection. I brough up some arguments by Peter Kreeft. I brought up the whole what did their belief get them…riduculed, poor, chastised, beaten, and murdered. Who would do this if it were not true…that is when he brought up…well, if somebody believes that they will be going to heaven, then why wouldn’t they.
BTW, it was a very good conversation, no nastiness, or raised voices just really good logical arguments…or the attempt at them from both sides. So, he’s cool. He did mention he just read the book…The God Illusion or is it Delusion, I am not sure…so

I will check back here after I read the links…:thumbsup:

Non sequitur, first of all. This has nothing to do with the existence or nonexistence of God. Also, it strikes me as as an extremely ignorant thing to say. Does he know Ancient Hebrew and Ancient Greek? Did he go back and read original manuscripts? Is he an expert on Biblical translation? Where did he hear this from?

2. Constantine only made Christianity the state religion so that more people would fight.

What makes him think this? I mean, I would be hesitant to make a similar claim about a modern leader, much less an ancient leader who I haven’t even been able to see on TV. Plus it’s another non sequitur.

3. That ultimately whatever sacrifice, suffering, or martyrdom that happens…the ultimate belief that one is going Heaven makes it the one reason(He used this to refute my argument that why would the disciples choose to believe in a crucified God, be poor, be persecuted, and suffer horrible deaths, except John, for something that was not true…He said because they believe they are going to Heaven.

Strawman. He’s trying to attack the motives of the apostles for following Jesus as being selfish as opposed to selfless, but in either case, if they didn’t legitimately believe Jesus to be who he said he was, devoting their lives to him, all the way to the end, is just plain stupid. He’s actually agreeing with you here implicitly, but he switched arguments before conceding anything explicitly (which is actually a really common tactic in debates, I’ve found).

4. The whole telephone argument from oral translation and biblical translations over the years…although I think we did a pretty good job at refuting that one…

Circular logic, on his part. He’s assuming the scriptures are untrue and using this to prove that they are untrue. If they are the divinely inspired word of God, they have been protected from major textual inaccuracy, in which case his criticism is untrue on its face. If they aren’t divinely inspired, then it doesn’t matter if they’ve been corrupted over time, as they were untrue from the start.

Also, for any science type people out there, cause he is really into science, as is my dear husband who is catholic like me, he brought up the whole entropy argument…

What does that have to do with God’s existence?

34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?..:ehh:

Index of Biblical Contradictions


That is my favorite which can only end with one conclusion - He cannot be trusted, nor you, or anybody else! The fundamental flaw of atheism. Please tell him I asked you to explain how that can be true unless we conclude all humans are greed selfish individuals who only have relationships (all types) to use other people. Ask him to resolve the apparent contradiction?

I’m assuming by “original scriptures” he’s referring to the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 which states:

  • Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a (virgin/young woman) shall conceive and bear a son, …"*

This was to be “a sign”, one from the “Lord himself’”. (That to me immediately indicates it will be unique and recognizable as something out of the ordinary - else, how could it be recognized as a sign.) There is nothing unordinary about a young woman becoming pregnant - it has happened billions of times since Isaiah’s prophecy, Isaiah prophecied “a sign”, not “billions of signs”.

Nita

OP does not pose any arguments, interesting or otherwise, OP poses unverified and untrue statements without any attribution, evidence or citation. Until same are provided, there is no argument because there is no basis upon which to base an argument.

That is only true with reference to certain OT passages, and is also irrelevant unless the terms “virgin” and “young woman” are somehow mutually exclusive.

Constantine did not make Christianity the state religion. He issued the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313, which legalized Christianity as part of a decree of general religious toleration.

That’s only a refutation if Heaven doesn’t exist. His argument assumes the truth of one of its premises, and is thus a circular argument. It demonstrates nothing.

If translation were like the telephone game, he’d have a point. Unfortunately for his position, translating documents doesn’t work that way.

– Mark L. Chance.

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