False arguments

How to avoid ideas you don’t like without actually showing that they’re wrong

Guest post by Noel Reeson

Children arguing

I’ve been hanging around the internet for about a decade now, often getting into discussion about religion. Some can get a little tiresome, and you can make it hard on yourself if you try to check out every reference and reply to every so-called fact. So I’ve worked out a few tricks for cutting arguments off quickly.

Here’s a few of the best.

Read more

Atheist slogans: one fewer god than you?

Egyptian gods

I came across it yesterday, not for the first time, but maybe the 21st. Quoted as if it was significant and telling. You have almost certainly seen it too.

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

The quote is attributed to Stephen Roberts1. It is cute and sounds clever, but does it actually say anything?

Read more

Shock! Horror! Turn off the Xmas lights! We shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas at all!

Xmas lights

In Australia they don’t call this the “silly season” for nothing. So we can expect a swag of Christmas stories, from the sentimental to the supposedly shocking. Which of course includes at least one “expose” of the shocking truth that Jesus probably didn’t exist.

And so right on cue we get Weighing up the evidence for the ‘Historical Jesus’, published by Sydney University, no less, in The Conversation, End of Year Series which promises “Academic rigour, journalistic flair”.

Well, one out of two ain’t bad, I guess, and at least its journalistic flair was enough for the Washington Post to re-publish three days later.

So after almost two millennia, is this the end of christianity as we know it?

Read more

Arguments against God based on what God ‘ought’ to do

Sign: religion is stupid

Not long after christianity began, a critic named Celsus argued that Jesus couldn’t have been divine, for he missed the opportunity to prove his divinity by disappearing from the cross.

I find this an unsatisfactory argument, because it assumes that Celsus knew what God’s purpose was. And I find similarly unsatisfactory arguments being used today.

Read more