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Old 02-13-2001, 01:22 AM   #11
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rew:
Most Internet Christian apologetics is slop. But two glaring exceptions to this are J.P. Holding's www.tektonics.org and Glenn Miller's www.christian-thinktank.com. Wow, was I blown away when I came across those two! MetaCrock and Bede also have decent sites, though I haven't explored those as much.
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Man, if tektonics is one of the "better" sites, I'd hate to see what one of the "worst" ones looks like.

I have to say that Holding is an idiot. And that is my completely unbiased, objective opinion.

If you want to see what passes for apologetics from Holding, go to www.cygnus-study.com , look up the "convert me" subsection of the "bible" section. There is a questionairre in there of some 150 odd questions. Holding attempted to "answer" them, but made an exceedingly pathetic effort, brushing off most of them without even really trying. He then claimed on his website that he had "refuted" all the questions in the questionairre.

Go there for yourself and see what a good job he did.


As for Metacrock, he is an idiot. He tries to prove christianity true by claiming that the Big Bang was the beginning of the universe, and denies outright the possibility that anything could have existed before the Big Bang.


Bede, on the other hand, is quite intelligent. I have found him to be by far the most reasonable apologist I have run across on the net. Even though I disagree with him on almost every issue, he writes well, and doesn't commit most of the common apologist fallacies. If you are looking for good apologetics, his site is a good starting point.

As a matter of fact, Bede and Cygnus just finished on on-line debate on Cygnus forum. There is a section of the forum devoted to this debate.
 
Old 02-13-2001, 01:47 AM   #12
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Zoroaster:
Quote:
Originally posted by Rew:
Man, if tektonics is one of the "better" sites, I'd hate to see what one of the "worst" ones looks like.

I have to say that Holding is an idiot. And that is my completely unbiased, objective opinion.

If you want to see what passes for apologetics from Holding, go to www.cygnus-study.com , look up the "convert me" subsection of the "bible" section. There is a questionairre in there of some 150 odd questions. Holding attempted to "answer" them, but made an exceedingly pathetic effort, brushing off most of them without even really trying. He then claimed on his website that he had "refuted" all the questions in the questionairre.

Go there for yourself and see what a good job he did.


As for Metacrock, he is an idiot. He tries to prove christianity true by claiming that the Big Bang was the beginning of the universe, and denies outright the possibility that anything could have existed before the Big Bang.


Bede, on the other hand, is quite intelligent. I have found him to be by far the most reasonable apologist I have run across on the net. Even though I disagree with him on almost every issue, he writes well, and doesn't commit most of the common apologist fallacies. If you are looking for good apologetics, his site is a good starting point.

As a matter of fact, Bede and Cygnus just finished on on-line debate on Cygnus forum. There is a section of the forum devoted to this debate.
Quote:
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If Cygnus is the best atheism has to offer, I am not impressed! "Explain the Inquisition" blah de blah de blah. How the hell does he get to point the finger at people today for the sins of the ancients? Why not play the "evil atheist game"(Stalin is a good contemporary example)- because such arguments really prove nothing and have no import on the basis for Christianity or atheism or anything else.
As for JP's responses, I did not see them in that section- only Cygnus' bellyachin. I'm looking for the Bede debate too.

[This message has been edited by a_theistnotatheist (edited February 13, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by a_theistnotatheist (edited February 13, 2001).]
 
Old 02-13-2001, 04:10 AM   #13
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by a_theistnotatheist:
"Explain the Inquisition" blah de blah de blah. How the hell does he get to point the finger at people today for the sins of the ancients? </font>
Sort of like damning the world for all eternity, for a single indiscretion by two people in a garden?

Sorry, sorry, had to get that one in ...

--W@L
 
Old 02-13-2001, 03:09 PM   #14
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a
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Writer@Large:
Sort of like damning the world for all eternity, for a single indiscretion by two people in a garden?

Sorry, sorry, had to get that one in ...

--W@L
</font>
Yeah that's a cutie. I also like the "EVIL PARASITES!" one.

in case you never heard this before:
Only a person who has no sin of his own should worry about being "damned" for the sins of the first nudists. I suspect Cygnus doesn't qualify.

 
Old 02-13-2001, 11:39 PM   #15
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J. P. Holding? You mean Robert Turkel, right?

This is the site you're recommending?

I just wanted to be sure that I wasn't mis-reading, and skipping over the sarcasm somewhere.
 
Old 02-16-2001, 08:10 AM   #16
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I read both Miller's and Turkel's sites. Don't make me laugh. I am sure Xtian's can do better than thay; indeed Nomad, Bede and Layman all do better than Holding and Miller. There must be something better. I haven't read any Craig, except what is available on the Net, nor have I heard him speak.

There IS a literature that can make you atheist, and that is science fiction. I came by my atheism reading SF writers, Heinlein, Asimov and Harrison particularly. In high school we read _Childhood' End_ and _A Canticle for Leibowitz_ both of which are fairly anti-Christian.

The great thing about SF as a whole is that it presents universes without gods. Many writers are didactic, which was wonderful for a 13 year old. While I consider the thinking in _Starship Troopers_ to be quite shallow now, I thought it was great when I was adolescent. Harrison manages to sneak in quite a bit of simple philosophy, and sometimes open statements. In _Deathworld 2_ there is a discussion of good and evil between the hero and a religious fanatic. The Stainless Steel Rat series has one serious monologue, and couple of instances of parody, like when Jay Hovah, appears as a cosmic policeman. In MZB's _Darkover_ Xtianity appears as a despised minority religion. _Dune_ has a complex and cynical view of religion and ecology that can be quite rich, though the older I get, the shallower it looks. H. Beam Piper wrote a number of stories in which religion gets short shrift, like _Gunpowder God_ and _Oomphel in the Sky_. Just think of all those "travels to the future" stories, like _The Man Who Awoke_, _City at World's End_, _Buck Rogers in the 25th Century_ and others in which the protagonist runs into civilizations that have given up on the whole god thing. Aliens almost never believe in our gods either.

Basically SF is permeated with the assumption that religion is a sociological phenomenon that smart people do not buy into. What a revelation that was for a boy of 14! I devoured SF in my adolescence. My children are going to get a solid dose of it. Xtian fundies are right to oppose it, it is powerful stuff.

Even when SF writers are theists it is not really very overt. Fred Hoyle's haunting _October the First is Too Late_, a compensatory fantasy for the loss of British power in the world, is a good example. Events are brought about by "a higher power" the protagonists cannot contact. We cannot even be sure it is god. And one of the best "theistic" books, Niven and Pournelle's _Inferno_, offers a very theologically suspect view of Hell.

If literature is not enough, the violence with which atheism is met can go a long way to convince those on the fence that Xtianity is in fact evil. When I was in 8th grade I told my parents I was an atheist and would no longer go to Church. In my whole life that was the only time my father threatened to hit me. Ironically, he doesn't go to church now!
Score one for the good guys!

Michael
 
Old 02-16-2001, 08:31 AM   #17
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See, I read sci-fi, still do, and came out a particularly strong theists. How did this happen? I realized that this was fiction. I realized that of course you can create alternative universes to reflect your own fancy. Indeed, one of the joys of sci-fi is the ability to act out and "test" views that would be entirely unfeasible in the real world. I always viewed such works as atheist fantasys.

Additionally, not all sci-fi writers were so naive to think that religion has entirely harmful effects or would have no place in a futuristic reality. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's A Mote in God's Eye and The Gripping Hand allowed significant, and largely beneficial roles for religion. In A Mote, it was Christianity. In The Gripping Hand it was Islam. They repeated this somewhat favorable review of religion in their classic, "Footfall." One main character is citing C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity and a minister is depicted as being very open to the idea of aliens fitting into God's plan.

David Weber gets mixed reviews. There are some favorable representations of Christianity in Insurrection, while he rejects fundamentalistic fanaticism in Crusade.

In Babylon 5, religion also plays a significant role. It is the Minbari's religious cast who are generally depicted as the heroes of the series. The secular military caste are the zealots who despise religion. Moreover, there have been more than one episode which included favorable representations of human religions. This even though the producer is an avowed atheist.

Finally, C.S. Lewis wrote a sci-fi trilogy which I enjoyed very much. He taught me that thinking outside the box didn't mean secularism.

Christianity specifically, and religion generally, has nothing to fear from this genre.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited February 16, 2001).]
 
Old 02-16-2001, 09:48 AM   #18
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Konnrad:
I have recently had "The Case For Christ", and "The Case For Faith" recommended to me.
...
And will they make me into a Christian?
</font>
I don't get it. Wouldn't the bible be "THE BOOK" that should make you a christian? *scraches head* I'm not christian but if the bible doesn't turn you into a christian, why bother?

Also, I have never read the book "Case for Christ" but I did read a review of it and remember them saying that the author made it out that he was a journalist that was presenting what he discovered searching for the history of christ. But the review went on to say that If the author was a journalist, why the lack of journalism. Supposedly, he was very one sided in his presentation of the case.

Anyways, thats just what I read. I guess you will have to read the book yourself to find out if it is true or not.

 
Old 02-16-2001, 09:56 AM   #19
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Orionus:
I don't get it. Wouldn't the bible be "THE BOOK" that should make you a christian? *scraches head* I'm not christian but if the bible doesn't turn you into a christian, why bother?

Also, I have never read the book "Case for Christ" but I did read a review of it and remember them saying that the author made it out that he was a journalist that was presenting what he discovered searching for the history of christ. But the review went on to say that If the author was a journalist, why the lack of journalism. Supposedly, he was very one sided in his presentation of the case.

Anyways, thats just what I read. I guess you will have to read the book yourself to find out if it is true or not.
</font>
Sobel makes it clear that he is a pastor of a large community church in the description of the author. He was an award winning journalist prior to his career change, and decided to use that stylistic technique for his book. He wasn't trying to deceive anyone.
 
Old 02-16-2001, 10:14 AM   #20
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In Babylon 5,

My favorite show! Although the 5th season
sucks. I left the US right after the 3rd season time travel ep, never saw the whole series, and just got back last summer to be greatly disappointed by the 5th season (now on SciFi Channel).

religion also plays a significant role. It is the Minbari's religious cast who are generally depicted as the heroes of the series. The secular military caste are the zealots who despise religion. Moreover, there have been more than one episode which included favorable representations of human religions. This even though the producer is an avowed atheist.

Well, religion sells, as he said. Atheism doesn't. Still, he might have had one openly atheist figure on the show. Souls and other stuff make great stories, but as you said, it's basically fantasy. Still, on the whole, theists are rarer in SF than in the world. As a boy, they were the only open atheists I knew.

Additionally, not all sci-fi writers were so naive to think that religion has entirely harmful effects or would have no place in a futuristic reality.

I don't know what is so naive about thinking religion is entirely harmful. Certainly Christianity and Islam are. Consider the progress in the first 17 centuries of Xtian dominance, and the last 3 since Enlightment. End of discussion. It has no positive effects that I can think of, unless you count providing employment, and maybe business for the publishing industry. Maybe you could make a case for Buddhism, but I don't know whether you could qualify it as a religion.

As for whether it will be around in the future, the answer is: of course. Humans are great inventors of religions -- I suspect religious awareness is a by-product of innate cognitive problem-solving mechanisms (no, you'll have to wait for the article I'm going to submit here later this year). Plus, anything that creates wealth, power and control on such a large-scale basis will always be found useful by elites.

Michael
turton@ev1.net
 
 

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