Christianity isn’t true

On February 18 I  responded to a challenging tweet from a Christian by the name of Christopher Andrus. We tweeted back and forth a bit and he invited me to read two articles on the website Christianity is True. It is his own blog and the articles he invited me to read are: “Evidence & arguments for the Existence of the God of the Bible” and “Ten Widely-believed Fallacies Today“. He asked me to read these articles when I asked him what convinced him that Christianity is true. I have good reason to say that Christianity isn’t true but to humour him, I decided to read his articles to see if they answered my questions. They didn’t and when I returned to Twitter to ask him about that, he simply didn’t respond despite me repeating my question.

I should point out that Andrus asked me to leave any comments or views on his own blog but I have decided I won’t do that and write my rebuttal here. The reason for that is that he ignored my questions for clarification on Twitter so I have no reason to believe taking the discussion to his blog will be helpful in gaining understanding.

Since this article is an answer to two articles, it is necessarily longer than my usual articles, especially given the volume of text Andrus put in his. I still hope that the reader will find it insightful or helpful. As always, feedback is encouraged.

The Twitter exchange

We didn’t get off to a great start on Twitter, to be honest. The tweet that he posted and my reply are below. My reply is strongly worded but I think appropriate to the tone of his initial tweet.

Surprisingly after this initial exchange, we got a conversation going that could be called respectful (despite the fact he called me brainwashed) and I tried my best to keep an open mind. After a few tweets, he said this:

Since I really want to know what convinces anyone to believe in the teachings of Christianity or any other religion for that matter, I dove into these two articles only to emerge on the other end still unconvinced. I returned to Twitter with my findings.

I asked Christopher what he meant by that last statement several times but he ignored my questions, unfortunately. Without a clarification about what convinced him, what happened when he became convinced and how he concluded that “no other approach is true”, I am stuck with those two articles mentioned before. I already said that they failed to convince me so now I will explain why below.

Evidence & Arguments for the Existence of the God of the Bible

The most important argument for the truth of Christianity is undoubtedly found in an article that claims to have evidence and arguments for the existence of the God of the Bible. So let’s start with that article and see if it holds up under sceptical scrutiny. Of course I have met plenty of people claiming to have this kind of evidence, just explore this tag. No one managed to convince me so far because the evidence never seems to hold up.

To be perfectly clear and blunt, this article by Andrus is no different. It only helps to affirm my conviction that Christianity isn’t true. In fact, there’s not a single shred of actual evidence for the existence of God that I was able to ascertain. All we find is idle speculation, arguments from ignorance and non sequitur conclusions. We’ll go over his quoted arguments below to see why they don’t work.

[The question for God’s existence] is whether or not the existence of God explains all of the evidence better than the alternative (that, is, that there is no Being higher than us).

God is not an explanation…

Right at the start, we see this article run off its tracks. Invoking a deity is not an explanation of anything because it doesn’t answer any questions. God is just a stop to asking questions. Whenever someone says “God did it”, he offers no explanation at all. You’re still nowhere nearer to answering the question of how something happened if your answer is that a God “poofed” it all into existence by magic.

Second, we say that one’s own understanding of the concept of God is one strong piece of evidence. This is something which most people have no problem understanding even though most people also have a natural tendency to want to reject God (as I once did and all of us actually do by nature).  This tendency shows that belief in God is not a matter of wishful thinking.

According to Andrus, that people understand the concept of God is evidence for the existence of God, if I read this correctly. This doesn’t make sense on several levels. For one, I can understand the concept of something without that something being real. For instance, I can understand the concept of vampires but this has no bearing on the reality of vampires. Secondly, people don’t understand the concept of God. God is something else to almost everyone you ask, ranging from a “magical anthropomorphic immortal” to “an impersonal presence or force”. These are two entirely different concepts.
The second part of this paragraph is simply not true. There is no natural tendency for people to reject God or religion. According to the Pew Research Centre, 8 out of 10 people identify as religious. They are not rejecting God, they are embracing a God but not necessarily the God of Christianity.
The last sentence is a great example of a non sequitur fallacy. The tendency to reject something doesn’t necessarily make that something real. People today tend to reject alchemy, the geocentric model of the solar system and the Earth being flat. None of those things have ever been real.

Using the word “reject” is questionable as well because many people don’t reject God or other gods. People like me – atheists – usually fail to believe in gods based on lack of evidence. It’s not possible to reject something which you don’t believe in. That’s like saying you reject vampires or reject Santa Claus. I simply don’t believe there is enough reason to believe in gods.

Third, there is the fact that you or anything else exists, since, as a contingent being, your existence must ultimately have come from some Necessary Being.

A universe without a creator

Objection, your honour! Speculation. This is the Argument from Contingency, or the Cosmological Argument which can be summarized as follows:

  • Everything that exists contingently has a reason for its existence.
  • The universe exists contingently.
    Therefore:
  • The universe has a reason for its existence.
  • If the universe has a reason for its existence then that reason is God.
    Therefore:
  • God exists.

The Argument from Contingency as used here, fails for several reasons. For one, if someone argues that there must be a cause for the universe, it is fair to ask where this cause came from and why the cause doesn’t need a cause itself as Andrus suggests here. It’s an example of a special pleading fallacy where there is an “uncaused cause” without it being clear why the first cause is exempt from having a cause.
Secondly, if we grant that there is a first cause for the universe, it doesn’t follow that the cause is a god and certainly not that this must be the God of Christianity. This is a non sequitur.
Finally, if it is possible to accept a first cause that has no cause and is therefore eternal, why have a first cause at all? Why not simply say that the universe has no cause and is therefore eternal?
For a good debunking of the Cosmological Argument, you can see a video here which explains it very clearly and in more depth than I want to go into here.

Fourth, there is the amazing intricacy and capabilities of even simple forms of life. 

I am convinced the universe we inhabit has some amazingly complex life forms and structures in it. However, complexity doesn’t necessarily imply design. To assume that if something is complex, it must have had a designer is to commit a false cause fallacy. Essentially he is saying that complexity can only be caused by a designer, something which has never been proven. In fact the opposite is often true: great design is simple yet effective. In the process, Andrus completely ignores things like evolution through natural selection and how, according to him, it can not explain the complexity we see around us.

To say that the emergence of such life did not require design, but only mindless natural forces operating over a vast period of time violates the principle of Occam’s Razor, which says that, all things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

Actually, it doesn’t. It’s precisely the introduction of a deity that violates the principle of Occam’s Razor because this opens up an entirely new area of questions and problems that don’t exist if we ignore that proposition. Even assuming that the introduction of a deity is somehow plausible, we’d still have to explain how this deity made everything. We’d also have to explain the nature and origin of this deity. The deity is therefore not the simplest explanation, while natural forces are. We already know that natural forces exist and that they offer working explanations of phenomena like gravity that we observe in the universe. That science hasn’t worked out all the details yet should hardly be a surprise in this complex universe. Not having all the answers doesn’t mean we are free to invent explanations to make us feel better about not knowing.

Fifth, the dominant belief today that the universe ultimately consists only of mindless matter/energy in time cannot explain the existence of us as people and any of our knowledge, experience or values (including all ethics).

Andrus offers no justification for this assertion, it simply sits there at the top of a paragraph. This is an argument from personal incredulity, where he is really saying “I can’t believe all of this happened without some intelligence behind it, therefore God”. Baseless assertions aren’t valid arguments, I’m afraid. So this one won’t fly either. Besides, the belief that the universe only consists of mindless matter and energy isn’t dominant at all, as we have just seen.

Sixth, ethics can only be arbitrary unless there is a Higher Standard.  The only reason good and evil are not arbitrary is because goodness is God’s Nature as The Perfect Being.

Code of Hammurabi (Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr)

It is the worn out “morality comes from God” argument that so many Christians use and which is obviously false. It has not been established that morality or ethics must come from a god, and that this god must be the Christian God. In fact, there were laws and moral codes long before the world ever learned about the Christian God. There is the code of Hammurabi for instance which dates back to roughly 1800 BCE, or 1800 years before Christ was allegedly born. It outlaws murder, theft and rape. Clearly people back then had a concept of right and wrong without the Christian God telling them. Also, there are good reasons to conclude that moral absolutes don’t exist. There may be objective moral values but no absolute moral values. There is evidence for morality in animals, so does that mean they get theirs from God too?
More importantly, before we can assign properties to God, we first have to prove that God exists and we haven’t even come close to doing so.

[…] taken to its logical conclusion, the anti-Theistic alternative absurdly posits an empty universe of objects with no knowing subjects.  In other words your existence as a human person disproves the Materialism/Empiricism of Atheism.

Taking a deity out of the equation does not mean that anti-theism ultimately posits that there can be no knowing subjects in the universe unless you a priori assume that a subject must receive its properties from said deity. That assumption is completely unproven at this point and therefore invalid. The follow-up statement that human existence disproves materialism/empiricism is therefore a non sequitur.

All of these things point to the necessary existence of The Creator God described in the Bible.

As we have just seen, they absolutely do no such thing. None of the arguments we’ve seen here so far make the existence of a deity even plausible and even if I was feeling charitable and grant all of them, we’d still not arrive at the God of the Bible. At best, we’d reach some form of deism, where a higher power is seen as the cause of existence or the origin of life but which is nothing like the personal deity as worshipped by Christians. I stand by my conviction that Christianity isn’t true because I haven’t so far seen any argument from Andrus to suggest it is.

They are not necessary proofs in the respect that God’s existence needs to be established by proof.  God is not a theorem.  He is The Ultimate Fact.  In fact, even logic itself is not explainable without the existence of The One True God (as the way His Mind works and the way ours is supposed to work because we have been made in His likeness).  So, God must exist or else we couldn’t prove anything.

Like anything else, the existence of a God would have to be established by some sort of proof otherwise we’d be believing in it on faith. Claiming that the existence of a God does not need to be proven is committing a special pleading fallacy. We still haven’t established the existence of any deity so we can’t say anything about how its mind would work or how logic would depend on the existence of said deity. Logic is merely a tool that humans use, there’s no reason to assume it is a divine gift. To say that this must be true is another non sequitur.

Thus, all of these “proofs” are not really proofs, but “evidence after The Fact” of something which is above all proof: God’s inescapable existence. [ … ] [people] want to be the God of their own lives.  The Bible calls this our “sinful nature”, by which we are naturally-inclined to reject God.  This is despite the most direct piece of evidence of all: the fact that all of us inevitably and inescapably know The One True God in our hearts, but suppress this knowledge.

Andrus now completely leaves the path of reason and logic and is entering “Lala-land”. Having utterly failed to make a coherent case for the existence of the Christian God, he now presents his most direct piece of evidence: people know God in their hearts but suppress this knowledge. This assertion is probably inspired by Romans 1:18-20 but as a self-professed former atheist, Andrus should know that quoting from the Bible isn’t going to convince an atheist. Holy books aren’t proof of your religion’s veracity, they contain the contents of what you believe. It is not a fact that everyone suppresses knowledge of the Christian God and a quote from the Bible doesn’t establish this as fact.
Andrus states this as fact but since he offers no evidence for it, we are free to dismiss it outright.

Many reading this will undoubtedly deny that you already know God exists, just as you will likely resist where all of the above evidence points.  But that is simply you acting according to the basic characteristic of mankind, as the Bible alone explains it: because you were born as a member of a rebellious race of sinners.

Many will undoubtedly deny any of these assertions above because they don’t make sense. As I said, there is not a single shred of evidence in the entire article. Instead, we are treated to a bunch of logical fallacies and baseless assertions that wouldn’t convince anyone with a basic grasp of reason. I warned him in our Twitter conversation that I’d read these articles as a sceptic. I have now dissected one of the articles and remain firmly convinced that Christianity isn’t true.

Ten Widely-believed Fallacies Today

I am not going to address all ten fallacies listed by Andrus because not all of them are pertinent to the topic and because some are just too childish. Since the first article has failed to prove the existence of the Christian God, which seems to be a prerequisite for Christianity to be true, I’ll just focus on the points from the second article which seem relevant.

Fallacy 1: Every reasonable person knows the God described in the Bible can’t exist.

It is impossible to know that God doesn’t exist because proving the non-existence of God would require complete knowledge of the universe, and not just in the present, but also from the beginning.  Of course, this is impossible for any human being.  So, one may doubt that God exists.  But you cannot know that He doesn’t.

I’d say that the statement is certainly an exaggeration but not necessarily a fallacy. It doesn’t take complete knowledge of the universe past and present to disprove the existence of the Christian God because Christianity makes claims about its deity which are testable. Should those claims be inaccurate, we may dismiss the claims about the deity and by doing so, we’ve disproved the deity as well.

Generally, the Christian God is described as omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent. A casual stroll through the Bible or a child cancer ward makes this description untenable. No omni-benevolent and omnipotent being would allow such horrible suffering, it would be morally obliged to prevent it and would prevent it. Also, an omniscient God would have been able to prevent the fall from grace. So either it deliberately set it up or it didn’t know it would happen. So again, it either isn’t benevolent or it isn’t omnipotent.

This was summed up nicely by Epicurus, long before people ever heard of Jesus. And just like that, we’ve disproved the Christian God. We may not have disproved all gods but if the Christian God doesn’t have the characteristics that are associated with it by Christendom, it is not the Christian God.

Fallacy 2: There is no evidence that the Biblical God exists.

Here, Andrus reiterates the arguments we’ve already seen in the first article, about the existence of minds, the existence of logic and morality, etc. They have already been debunked  so I won’t go into them again. The design argument pops up as well, together with the thoroughly debunked argument of irreducible complexity. Even the watchmaker argument is dragged in, which again is thoroughly debunked. None of these are evidence the God of the Bible exist so again, Andrus fails to prove his God. My answer is still that Christianity isn’t true.

Fallacy 3: All claims that immaterial entities exist are ridiculous because they can’t be demonstrated scientifically.  So belief in the Biblical God is akin to belief in Santa Claus or the “flying spaghetti monster”.

Andrus attempts to refute this statement by giving the following examples of immaterial entities which are generally thought to exist: logic, human consciousness, morality and human knowledge. This is a seriously flawed analogy because the entities which are compared, share only one property: they are immaterial. In fact, logic, consciousness, morality and knowledge are not entities in the strict sense of the word. An entity is defined as:

independent, separate, or self-contained existence, something that has separate and distinct existence and objective or conceptual reality.
Merriam-Webster

A God, if it exists, would certainly be an independent, separate existence. The four examples offered by Andrus are not separate, independent entities. Logic, consciousness, morality and knowledge all exist in relation to or inside a mind. There is no logic without something to do the reasoning, there is no consciousness without a working brain, there is no morality separate from creatures that can know right from wrong and there is no knowledge without someone who can know.
Thus, even if we were to grant the analogy, it would still only mean that God exists inside or in relation to our mind, which ironically does seem to be the case. Using these four examples, it is not possible to claim that the fallacy is indeed a fallacy.

Andrus concludes his argument with the following two statements which I quote here just to show how illogical many theistic arguments are:

As for fictional creatures, it is completely ridiculous to compare belief in The Creator God with belief that these are real.  This is because all sane adults know that fairy tales and fictitious creatures are made up.  But untold millions of people over thousands of years have based their lives on belief in The Creator God.  But, more importantly for the current point, all sane people in human history have assumed that they are real people.  And people are more than material bodies.

Andrus commits both an appeal to antiquity and an appeal to popularity fallacy by saying this. Neither the age nor the popularity of an idea bear any relationship to it being true. While he is right in claiming that millions of people have based their lives on belief in a God, they did so and do so with many gods. Again, he comes up empty with his attempts at proving the statement a fallacy.
The final two lines are even worse though. What sane people assume about themselves has no bearing on the existence of immaterial creatures because people aren’t immaterial. The assertion that people are more than material bodies is shaky at best. After all, if your material body is destroyed, what is left of you as a person?

Fallacy 4: Because Science has been proven to be the only reliable way to understand the physical world, it must be the only way to gain knowledge.

Andrus begins his objection with a bold statement:

This is such an obvious fallacy that it is absolutely stunning that the entire modern philosophy of secular education [ … ] is based on it.  This is known as a fallacy of composition in which it is illegitimately assumed that since Science is demonstrably superior to more primitive approaches to the physical world, then the physical world must be all that exists.

First of all, the statement above doesn’t say that the physical world must be all that exists. It asserts that science is the only reliable way to understand the physical world, so science is the only way to gain knowledge. That is indeed a fallacy of composition because it doesn’t follow that science is the only way to gain knowledge. There may be other ways but one has to ask why anyone would use less reliable ways of understanding the physical world.

Andrus on the other hand commits another fallacy by a priori assuming that there are things beyond the physical. This is not an established fact. We know that the physical world exists and that science is the most reliable tool to gain understanding of it. We do not know if anything exists beyond the physical and even if there was, it is unclear how we would gain knowledge of it.

Instead, it must be recognized that there is an entire realm of reality in addition to the physical world.

Photographic illustration of a near death experience

We must recognize no such thing because we do not have a reason to think there is a realm of reality beyond the physical world and even if there were, it is highly dubious that it would conform to the Christian view of the non-physical. Andrus certainly hasn’t made a case for why this must be true.

Fallacy 5:  Biblical Christianity is anti-Science and anti-Reason.

Andrus attempts to prove that this statement is a fallacy by the following argument.

Biblical Christianity is entirely compatible with proper Science – the study of the physical world as it works today.  Indeed, the most fundamental scientific discoveries upon which the modern world is built were achieved during a time when most scientists were Bible-believing Christians.  This includes electricity and artificial propulsion.  And even the most revered pioneer of the last century, Albert Einstein, was a Theist.

It’s almost impossible to comprehend how anyone could make such a wrong statement in modern times. If we read “Biblical Christianity” as “literal interpretation of the Bible” then according to this statement, the Genesis narrative is scientifically accurate. There is no reputable scientific institution that accepts Genesis as true. Even the Roman Catholic church no longer clings to a literal reading of Genesis and has issued statements supporting the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. Neither are biblical concepts.

Whether the scientists who discovered things like electricity and artificial propulsion were Christian or not is not relevant. Their personal beliefs do not matter, what is relevant is how they made their discoveries. Their discoveries aren’t revealed wisdom or prophecy, they were made using the scientific method.

Letter from Einstein, where he declares himself agnostic.

Albert Einstein was anything but a theist, as he himself explained. He believed in an impersonal God and felt monotheism to be childlike and naive. While he rejected outright atheism, he repeatedly described himself as an agnostic. He also said: “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends…. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.” These are hardly the words of a man who believes in a God.
Besides, even if Albert Einstein had been a theist, that would not matter. An appeal to his religious belief would still only be an appeal to authority. And a very mistaken one in this case since Einstein wasn’t a theist. That is an outright lie perpetuated by religious apologists.

So is biblical Christianity anti-science and anti-reason? Since there is no evidence for creation as described in Genesis that would hold up in the court of science, the position that a literal reading of the Bible is compatible with science becomes untenable and therefore also unreasonable. I’m forced to conclude that the statement is not a fallacy at all.

Fallacy 6: We can know what happened in the past and what will happen in the future based on what we understand about how nature works now.

Andrus makes a long and poorly structured argument for why this is a fallacy, one which I will have to condense here for the sake of brevity while trying to keep the integrity of his argument intact. First, let me summarize each of his points of why this is a fallacy.

  1. It is a fallacy to assume the impossibility of past supernatural influence being involved in how the universe came to be as we observe it today.
  2. It is a fallacy that accepting the possibility of supernatural influence would destroy science.
  3. Scientific speculation about what happened in the beginning of the universe and what will happen in the future is actually invalid.
    1. Do we really know all of the relevant forces involved in producing what we observe today?
    2. Second, even if we have come to know all of the natural forces involved, can we really assume we know them well enough to understand all of their effects?
    3. Third, can we really assume that the natural forces which we observe today always worked exactly as we observe them today?
    4. Can we deny the possibility of the supernatural?

Andrus uses quite a few arguments to bolster his assertion that “All of this means that, despite the unquestioned value of the process of induction regarding how the universe works today as one of the foundations of proper Science, one simply cannot use induction in order to understand what happened in the distant past or what will happen in the future.  For, strictly speaking, such questions are not subject to scientific examination.

Rather than refute each claim made by him, let’s look at the 3 points which he raises, including the sub-points to point 3. Do these points actually work when examined?

Point 1

While it is indeed a fallacy to assume the impossibility of supernatural influence in the formation of the universe and its workings, we can easily flip this argument upside down. It is an equally big fallacy to assume that a supernatural influence is required for the formation of the universe and its workings. As mentioned above, the introduction of a supernatural agent involved in the creation of the universe creates more problems than it solves. Even if we were to speculate that a supernatural influence was or is at work, that is still a far cry from the Christian God who became flesh, forgives sin and performs miracles.
Either way, both arguments are speculative without evidence to point one way or the other.

Point 2

While it doesn’t necessarily follow that supernatural influence on the world would destroy science, it would make the work of scientist a lot more challenging if this supernatural influence were able to bend or break the laws of physics. Yet again, we can flip this argument upside down by asking if there is any reason to assume there was or is a supernatural influence on the world. To my knowledge, there is yet to be a problem that can only be solved by invoking a supernatural explanation. Even if there were such a supernatural explanation required, there is no reason to assume this must be the Christian God.
Of course there are problems where science doesn’t have a ready-made answer such as the question where life came from. The absence of a scientific explanation is still insufficient reason to assume the explanation must therefore be supernatural.

Point 3

Scientists aren’t prone to idle speculation but speculation (the formulating of hypotheses) is one of the steps in the scientific method. The difference between idle speculation and speculation as part of the scientific method is that the latter will have to be verified by testable predictions and will be refined, altered or rejected as insight grows.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Scientific_Method_as_an_Ongoing_Process.svg

This kind of speculation is an integral part of the scientific method and it is far from useless or invalid. To give but one example, scientific speculation about the very distant past is what gave us the Big Bang Theory, the prevailing cosmological model at this time! Ironically it was Georges Lemaître, physicist and priest, who proposed the theory of an expanding universe based on evidence observed in the present which he extrapolated to the very distant past. His speculation gave us one of the most valuable insights into the history of our universe.

As my example illustrates, even if the 4 objections that Andrus raises hold up, it doesn’t mean science can not say anything about the distant past or the future, or that we don’t gain valuable insights from scientific attempts at doing so. Even if the attempts fail, we will have learned something.

Science works

This is one of the biggest differences between science and religion. Scientists know that they do not have all the answers, that maybe they do not have the full dataset, that their current model may be inadequate. And yet, despite all of that, science advances. Science produces results that work. Science can and does make accurate predictions about the world which are testable and repeatable. Science follows the evidence where it leads, not where it wants the evidence to lead.
No religion can make such a claim. Religion doesn’t advance, it is static. As such, it is less and less at home in a world that is increasingly scientifically literate. For the first time in its history, religion is now at a disadvantage because it becomes apparent that it doesn’t have all the answers. Or at least that it doesn’t have the best answers, the answers that actually explain the world instead of invoking a deity to pretend to make sense of  it all.

So can we deny the possibility of the supernatural? In my opinion, that is not the right question to ask. The correct question is: “does the supernatural offer better answers than the ones we now have?” Or in other words: “Do we need the supernatural to make sense of the world?” The answer to that, at the moment, must be “no”. As we’ve seen above, invoking the supernatural creates more problems and it doesn’t solve any existing ones. Gods aren’t an answer to the big questions of science, they’re merely the end of questions. At the end of the day, it is more honest and productive to say “we don’t know” than it is to say “we don’t know, therefore God”.

Andrus may argue “Your dismissal of the possibility that the Supernatural exists is both arbitrary and irrational” but this is simply not the case. It is irrational to assume something exists when we don’t have evidence to suggest that it does. It is also not arbitrary to reject something based on a lack of evidence. This is sound reasoning.

We assert that it is Christian Theism which alone explains why anything exists, why the universe has order and why it is that we can come to understand this order (or, for that matter, why we exist as people and can experience or know anything).

This assertion simply begs for this quote of Christopher Hitchens: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

Fallacy 10: Every reasonable person knows that the Bible is filled with scientific impossibilities, evil teachings or actions done by or required by God and other errors.

Fallacy or not, the arguments that Andrus brings forward to show that this is a fallacy are simply atrocious. They are not only bad reasoning, they also show how religion can make the immoral and evil seem moral to the religious. Let’s see Andrus’ arguments.

All objections to what is in the Bible are based on the fundamental (and unknowable) assumption that The God described in the Bible doesn’t exist.  But all of them are answerable if one begins with the premise that this God does exist.

The first statement is untrue but the second statement demonstrates the kind of mental gymnastics which are required to make the horrible parts of the Bible seem acceptable. The terrible reasoning becomes clear when we use it in a different setting:

All objections to smoking are based on the assumption that smoking is bad for your health. But all of them are answerable if one begins with the premise that smoking is healthy.

Literally anything can be answerable if we first assume an opposing premise is true (or false)! We still don’t have reason to assume the Christian God actually exists beyond mere assertions that he does. After all the arguments we have examined up this point, Andrus has made a weak case for deism but not a single argument in support of the existence of the Christian God.

If God exists, He can do everything He is described as doing in the Bible because He is not bound by the laws of nature which He Himself created, nor can He be judged for His actions because human moral judgment is based on His own moral and rational Nature

Whatever God decides to do, is moral because he is God. It doesn’t matter if he wants to drown nearly everyone in a global flood for reasons which he would have known before creating the first man, or if he destroys Jobs’ life over a bet with the devil or if he decides to help you find a parking space instead of curing a child with terminal cancer. God is always good and beyond human judgement in Andrus’ world view.
Fortunately, humans have developed a superior moral system called humanism, which actually takes into account things like happiness and suffering of people.

The God of the Old Testament is the most unpleasant character…

This statement is also a fallacy because most people who say this today have little or no knowledge of what is actually in the Bible.  You simply can’t know something which you have never studied.

I have studied the Bible. I have to admit that I found it unconvincing and unbelievable, much the same as the arguments put forth by Andrus here.

Furthermore, even among the most advanced scholars of the Bible, no one has ever proven that the Bible has an error.

This is a startling statement and one which I find hard to believe. You don’t need to be a scholar to see that the Bible has errors and is not internally consistent. The amount of translation and copying errors alone should disprove this. There are sites that expose reams of errors in the Bible, such as this one. Are none of those errors actually errors?

For, all of supposed factual errors or contradictions in the Bible have conceivable explanations.  The fact that many are not open to these is their problem, not the Bible’s problem.

Actually, this is a problem with the Bible and Andrus’ asserting that it isn’t, is an attempt at shifting the burden of proof. A conceivable explanation isn’t necessarily a viable or correct explanation of some fact. This would have to be established before we could say that the error is indeed explained away.

Christianity isn’t true

I challenged Christopher Andrus when I said that Christianity isn’t true. He challenged me in return to read the two articles we’ve just read through and to read them with an open mind. I did so but of course an open mind isn’t the same as an empty mind or an impressionable mind. I applied rigorous but valid scepticism to Andrus’ claims and I see no reason to accept them.

My conclusion after reading both articles must remain that Christianity isn’t true. Not only do Andrus’ arguments not hold up under logic and scrutiny but even if we grant all the premises in the first article, he utterly fails to make a case for the Christian God. At best, we arrive at some form of deism but he still has all his work ahead of him to prove the Christian God.

For someone who is quick to point out fallacies in the reasoning of others, he appears to be oblivious to the many logical fallacies he commits in his own reasoning. I have pointed these out throughout my rebuttal but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. Andrus raises so many points that are worth refuting, it would actually require a series of articles.

Andrus is quick to dismiss other arguments, labelling people who don’t accept his world view as “brainwashed”, as he did with me. His Twitter feed is evidence enough of this. There is nothing brainwashed about requiring evidence before accepting claims as true. Claims which are insufficiently supported by evidence and reason should be treated with suspicion. It is clear that Andrus has no evidence for his faith, resorting to long refuted arguments and fallacious reasoning. It is unfortunate that he is unable to see the extent of his own doxastic closure.

Christianity isn’t true, not because I am rejecting God, not because I am brainwashed, not because I am blind to evidence but quite simply because it is not supported by evidence.

The two videos I linked to in this post, are from the Youtube Channel Rationality Rules. If you liked them, please subscribe to that channel and be sure to stop by the Rationality Rules Patreon!
Links to videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTAQKbpVqXM&
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL61JXV1YdA&

Link to Rationality Rules on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeCBPkkuoVvVgXk2O9qaRhA

Link to Rationality Rules on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/rationalityrules

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.