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Rational thinking is over-rated?

September 23rd, 2013

Gorilla and boy

We all like to think we are thoughtful, rational people. In our modern scientific world, it has become an ideal. To label someone as ‘irrational’ is a severe insult. But have we taken this ideal a little too far?

Different types of thinking

Broadly speaking, there are two different ways of thinking. Mostly we think intuitively (jumping quickly to conclusions) because this is more efficient, whereas thinking analytically (working methodically to a conclusion) requires more time and effort. It turns out that each type of thinking is suitable for different types of problems.

Analytical thinking is suited to solving puzzles, making logical connections, and understanding causal chains of events, while intuitive thinking is better at making complex decisions where there is insufficient information, and in personal relationships, and so is better at “making social, romantic, or professional decisions”.

God, science and analytical thinking

You might think analytical thinking is ‘best’, but this study found that on several simple tasks where you’d expect analytical thinking to be best, intuitive thinking actually led to results closer to what experts consider to be the case.

Science generally requires analytical thinking, but even so, many scientists report that their best ideas come from intuition first, and then are shown to be true by analysis. For instance, Henri Poincare said “It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover” and Albert Einstein acknowledged “There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition …”

It is probably not surprising that analytic thinking promotes religious disbeliefatheists tend to be analytic thinkers while religious believers tend to be intuitive (religious belief appears to generally be ‘natural’ for us).

So the type of thinking we employ may help determine our conclusion.

Do we decide questions about God rationally?

Psychologist Jonathon Haidt believes we make most political, ethical and religious judgments intuitively (by “gut feeling”), and then rationalise our reasons afterwards. He hasn’t convinced everybody, but his conclusion seems to be consistent with evolutionary thinking.

If he is right, the cherished ideal of rationalism is in trouble – those who think their choices about religion are decided rationally may be fooling themselves. And we can understand why rational argument rarely convinces people to change their beliefs, positive or negative, about religion.

Is this bad?

At first thought, this seems ‘bad’. But as we have seen, intuition does a better job in many situations. So perhaps we need to think again.

Intuitive thinking is more personal and finds it easier to answer questions where we don’t have full knowledge. So perhaps intuitive thinking is the best way to think about God, or is at least an important part of thinking about God.

Can we do better?

If we tend to make most ethical, religious and many other choices intuitively, and then rationalise our conclusions, it seems to me that it is important that we take account of this and:

  • examine our motives and assumptions to see if they are predisposing us to poor intuitive choices; and
  • do our best to keep an open mind when we rationalise – be a little more self critical if we come to the conclusion that we want to be true.

Does God play favourites?

So there seem to be several reasons to believe that we are not wired to make totally rational decisions, but our focus, our wishes and our characteristic type of thinking all play a part in what we think. And as a christian, I can see a positive in this, even though I believe evidence and reason do point us to God.

If knowledge of God is based on evidence and reason alone, then educated and intelligent people have an enormous advantage in the quest to know God. And I don’t think that is God’s way. God is interested in intentions and motives, in good-will, intuition and faith, as well as evidence and rationality, and we can know God via all of these. Christians believe God’s Spirit helps convince those who are reaching out to God.

The bottom line

Perhaps, in the end, people often come to the conclusion they each want to be true, or feel to be true, and rational thinking is only a part of the process.

So the dichotomy of {scientific = rational = good} vs {religious = irrational = bad} surely cannot stand unchallenged. We are all at least a little analytical and a little intuitive, and most of us are more intuitive than rational. This mix matches the complexity of the world we live in and try to make sense of, and best allows us to make the right choices.

The challenge is to know when to use each type of thinking.

Picture: MorgueFile.

36 Comments

  1. “It is probably not surprising that analytic thinking promotes religious disbelief – atheists tend to be analytic thinkers while religious believers tend to be intuitive (religious belief appears to generally be ‘natural’ for us).”

    I was a religious believer for over 50 years. I can’t say religious belief was “natural” for me . I’m not sure how natural it is for most. It was ingrained in me from a small child by my parents , minister, sunday school teachers, and church friends.

    I always had an analytical side but was told by the same people this didn’t apply to God or christian teachings. There would be things I wouldn’t understand about God or my religion and this is where “faith” came into play. I wasn’t always suppose to understand God as “his ways” were greater than “my ways” of thinking.

    It was actually during a bible study held in my home almost 10 years ago that my analytical thinking would not let go of the scripture we were discussing about King David.

    It comes from the book of 2 Samuel 12:11 where God says to King David, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.”

    I asked the men at my bible study when would this ever be acceptable punishment from God ? Of course I got the standard answer from most of them that “God’s ways aren’t always our ways”.

    From this day on, I continued to read the bible analytically. When doing so, so much of it made absolutely no sense. I mentioned just 3 simple verses to you unkleE in a previous post to which you gave no reply about why I thought jesus was not divine. I will repeat them here if you wish to comment. I ignored these verses when I was a christian for the reasons I gave above. When I read them now, I realize no one divine would be capable of saying them.

    1.)Cursing a fig tree for not producing fruit though it was out of season.
    2.)Telling the canaanite woman that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel and that it was not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.
    3.) Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans

  2. Ken, I find those events difficult to understand, as you do, but quite consistent with the mysterious and cryptic nature of Jesus – in fact if I could fully understand him I would be less likely to believe in him. I find the reasons to believe in him way greater than the reasons to disbelieve.

    Thanks for your comments.

  3. Hi IgnorantiaNescia, thanks for the link, but I’m afraid I wasn’t very impressed by it. I don’t necessarily believe all the neuroscience studies either, but cumulatively I think they present a generally believable picture. I think his response is too black and white. People aren’t either totally analytic or totally intuitive in their thinking, but use both modes, but in different proportions.

    But I’d be interested in hearing more about your final comment please.

  4. @unkleE, “Ken, I find those events difficult to understand, as you do, but quite consistent with the mysterious and cryptic nature of Jesus”

    Yes, this is the standard christian answer I mentioned in my previous comments. I gave the same answer for 50 years. Sooner or later you have to come to grips with this………or not.

  5. When I first began to study the bible seriously and pay attention to the text it was intuition that first came to the fore:
    Is is really likely Moses parted the Red Sea?
    or
    How likely is it that Jesus was born of a virgin and other such stuff.
    My gut feel said this was likely to be untrue, and when afterwards I began to study in depth, using the analytical side,
    this was borne out by the evidence.
    I would agree with ken aka kcchief1 on this insomuch that many of us believe it because it is taught to us as truth while we were kids.

  6. I would agree with ken aka kcchief1 on this insomuch that many of us believe it because it is taught to us as truth while we were kids.

    This is perhaps wishful thinking on your part. The evidence suggests otherwise.

    1. Population models suggest 30-50% of christians in the world today were not raised in a christian culture or family.

    2. I was not raised in a christian family (though I was sent to Sunday School) and my wife was raised in an atheist family.

    3. Statistics show that most people make choices about belief in God, or not, before they reach their mid 20s.

  7. I gave the same answer for 50 years. Sooner or later you have to come to grips with this………or not.

    Isn’t it good that we’re not all the same, and extrapolations like this don’t always work?

    1. I have been a christian now for about 51 years, so perhaps I am past the dangerous age? 🙂

    2. This blog shows me coming to grips with things, wouldn’t you say?

    It is evidence that matters, not assertion! Peace!

  8. Well, I did say “many of” not all or even most.
    I could not find among the links you have posted where exactly these Christian converts are coming from, but I suspect many are Africa and Asia and former communist countries, which suggests what we have known for a long while.
    In Africa, lack of education and poverty have always been happy hunting grounds for Christian missionaries. In Asia and other communist countries religion was suppressed so it is quite likely people would try out what they were formerly denied.
    With you and your wife I would venture you are more an exception than the rule.

    The real acid test is in Europe and North America and countries like Japan. And once again, while intuition might initially draw people in, the global stats show that overall people are moving away.
    It is a bit like global warming. One will see certain years that will suggest that it isn’t actually happening or there has been a sudden freezing of large expanses of ice. But overall, global warming is a reality.
    The same goes for religion. People will try to deny it, but it’s happening. Blind faith is a thing of the past and rationally as well as intuitively people are not going to accept the supernatural without proper explanations.

  9. It is evidence that matters, not assertion!

    No doubt after the length of time you have been a Christian, you are unlikely to change your mindset this late in the game.
    But if evidence is what matters, why do you seem to seek to find such evidence to bolster your point of view?
    Why should it matter?
    You have faith. Surely this should be enough?
    If you were able to produce evidence that what you believe is solely based on fact and not faith then maybe people, such as me, who visit your blog might have a serious reason to reevaluate their perspective.
    Yet with Christians who visit I notice it is more like preaching to the choir and so far I haven’t come across a single shred of evidence, on your blog or anywhere else, that would even cause me to pause and reconsider for a single moment. And believe me, I have looked.
    At what point is one supposed to stop asking and merely accept?
    One would think if there was any factual evidence out there it would have revealed itself by now, to me and the millions of other non believers and deconvertees such as Ken aka kccchief

  10. @unkleE, I mean no disrespect but you appear to be obsessive in your belief that Jesus is divine. I hate to break the news to you but you are changing no one’s mind by overstating what you call is overwhelming evidence. If the Vatican and major Protestant religions had the evidence you claim to have they would be using it to convince the world. Last I checked, I believe their emphasis is on “Faith”. You might want to share with them your evidence. It would most likely make their work much easier . Here in the States I receive over 15 Christian Networks on satellite tv. I still watch many of the tv preachers on these networks. I rarely hear them mention any evidence like you claim to have. I realize you take my comments along with many others with a grain of salt. It should concern you that more christians aren’t using the evidence you possess wouldn’t you say ?

  11. “This is perhaps wishful thinking on your part. The evidence suggests otherwise.

    1. Population models suggest 30-50% of christians in the world today were not raised in a christian culture or family.”

    Last I checked , evidence supporting your claim would need to be 51%

    “2. I was not raised in a christian family (though I was sent to Sunday School) and my wife was raised in an atheist family.”

    So your family were professing atheists ? Regardless they sent you to Sunday School. What is your definition of a Christian Family ?

    “3. Statistics show that most people make choices about belief in God, or not, before they reach their mid 20s.”

    A 2008 Gallup survey reported that religion is not an important part of their daily life for 34% of Americans.[4] A 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported, “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.”[5]

  12. unkleE, thank you for allowing me to voice my opinions on your blog. I think we’ve kicked this horse enough. I also appreciate “The Far King’s” comments here and the other blogs we share.

    In closing, I know you are probably not a fan of Bishop John Shelby Spong, but he made a statement about religion that I agree with. A religious belief is only acceptable if it does not infringe upon or effect someone else in a negative way. Even you have to admit Christianity has not lived up to this definition much of the time over the past 2000 years. If you can truly live your Christian Faith by this definition, the best to you.

  13. People will try to deny it, but it’s happening. Blind physicalism is a thing of the past and rationally as well as intuitively people are not going to accept physicalism without proper explanations.

    No doubt after the length of time you have been an atheist, you are unlikely to change your mindset this late in the game.
    But if evidence is what matters, why do you seem to seek to deny the evidence to bolster your point of view?
    Why should it matter?
    You have no faith. Surely this should be enough?
    If you were able to produce evidence that what you believe is solely based on fact and not your own wishes then maybe people, such as me, might have a serious reason to reevaluate their perspective.
    Yet with atheists who visit I notice it is more like preaching to the choir and so far I haven’t come across a single shred of evidence, in your comments or anywhere else, that would even cause me to pause and reconsider for a single moment. And believe me, I have looked.
    At what point is one supposed to stop asking and merely accept?
    One would think if there was any factual evidence out there it would have revealed itself by now, to me and the millions of other believers and convertees.

    No doubt you’re convinced now? 🙂

  14. Hi Ken, as I have said before, you are very welcome to voice your opinions here.

    Your first comment suggests your understanding of christianity, faith and evidence is very different to mine, and I don’t see evidence, or even a reason, to reconsider anything I believe, so I won’t comment on any of that.

    So your family were professing atheists ? Regardless they sent you to Sunday School. What is your definition of a Christian Family ?

    No they were not anything. Not atheists, nor christians, it was just something that was never talked about. They sent us to SS because that was the decent thing to do in those days (and probably to get 4 noisy boys out of the house for a couple of peaceful hours!). So we weren’t in any way a christian family. (My parents later converted sometime after I and my brother did, but I had left home by then.)

    If you can truly live your Christian Faith by this definition, the best to you.

    I try. Of course it must be said that christians in western societies are much more likely to do voluntary community work, so we don’t only not do harm, but actually do good. Thanks for the good wishes.

  15. Smile…fair enough.
    We will just have to accept that the biblical character of Jesus was god then, I suppose?
    Should I be using my analytical or intuitive side?
    Apparently more and more people don’t accept this as truth. In fact, based on evidence more people have traditionally considered this a silly thing to believe, which is odd really, as one would expect that God would have made sure that everyone was aware of who he was, rather than a few individuals in a dirt poor Roman outpost of the first century.

    So what is one supposed to do, believe 2 billion Christians or accept the verdict of the rest of the world?
    Why do you think God was so selective when he manifested as Jesus?

  16. Smile…fair enough.

    Thanks. 🙂

    one would expect that God would have made sure that everyone was aware of who he was

    Seriously, why would you expect that? What do you think God would be aiming to do if he exists?

  17. I have no idea as I cannot demonstrate his existence one way or another, in human or any other form
    You are Christian, what do you think God would be aiming to do if he exists?

  18. You say you have no idea, so what was your basis for saying what you would expect? You are, in effect, using a performance measure to judge whether God exists, but you cannot state what the performance measure is. So how can you have an expectation of his performance?

    This really matters. I could say a government is bad because it has failed to make everyone rich. But unless the government, and I, have a performance measure that says everyone should be rich, that isn’t a very good test of its performance. And of course, as soon as you express it that way, it is obvious that no government could realistically have that performance measure.

    I suggest it is the same with God. The only reasonable way you could expect God to make sure most people believe that Jesus was the son of God is if you think God places belief higher on his priorities than freewill. But belief surely requires freewill. My computer doesn’t believe in Jesus even though I type all this stuff about him because my computer doesn’t have any ability to believe or choose.

    So freewill must surely be a higher priority, and then you can see that 30% of the world believing is pretty good, especially as most have heard of him.

  19. The more convoluted an argument becomes the more one’s intuition should kick in and cry, “Wait a moment…”
    Mine always does.
    If free will is the sole foundation of this belief then one is within one’s rights to ask why Jesus bothered to come at all?
    Why entrust this vital message of salvation – a concept that has yet to be properly explained by any christian- to a small group of men, when, as God, he could have continued his mission once he had resurrected?
    Or simply have the message as part of out genetic code?

    …and then you can see that 30% of the world believing is pretty good, especially as most have heard of him.

    Irrespective of any percentage, it would not have been possible without proselytizing – and by all accounts it should have been.

    And, once again, the number of believers is diminishing. This of course, does not prove or disprove God one way or another. However, it does make one wonder about the ability of God to convey a message that would be easily understood, whether through Moses, Jesus, Mohammed or any of the many other prophets that have come and gone.
    Based on the current world scenario an impartial observer would likely doubt the potency of such a god or the veracity of any such message.
    Again, what do you think God would be aiming to do if he exists?

  20. I really think most of what you say here is wild speculation, and pretty much useless in deciding truth (I’m sorry). Lots of things could maybe have been, but I don’t see why that makes what I believe actually happened any less likely.

    As for what God is aiming to do – I believe it is to create ‘little gods’ – beings that have most of his attributes, including freedom. But I don’t think I can ever convince anyone of that (and if I could, I shouldn’t, but should leave them free to decide) – a person has to want to believe and be interested in meeting belief halfway. So I present information, express views, and leave people to read and decide for themselves, in which I am sort of copying God (I hope).

    If you don’t want to meet God halfway, then our discussion becomes somewhat academic, and it cannot go very far.

  21. I am a fan of Dr Alvin Boyd Kuhn and his books where he touches on the idea that Christianity took a wrong turn during the 3rd century and looked to 1 man being divine but in reality all men possess a “divine spark” which we are suppose to draw on for guidance in this life .

    He insists that christianity has made man incapable of thinking for himself and must rely on the teachings of the church. I couldn’t agree more with his conclusion on christianity, “As ignorance was its Mother and the source spring of its world power, it is bound to cherish ignorance as its patron saint and monitor forever, for the breadth of knowledge would wither it away.”

  22. I really think most of what you say here is wild speculation, and pretty much useless in deciding truth (I’m sorry).

    This seems to be an almost stock-in-trade Christian kind of answer which merely leads to frustration and a measure of enmity: dismiss every comment contrary to your own but do not address the comment in a manner that will see a positive outcome.
    Why are Christians so often unable to answer queries or comments in a straightforward manner is beyond me?
    If what Christians believe is so self-evident as many claim why have they always gone to such huge lengths to prove it and proselytize their religion?
    If God/religion/Christianity was so self-evident did it not occur to any individual on the planet to become Christian until it was brought to them; so often by force?
    Why do you think this is? Are you able to offer a straightforward answer?

    I believe it is to create ‘little gods’ – beings that have most of his attributes, including freedom.

    How do you arrive at this conclusion?

    So I present information, express views, and leave people to read and decide for themselves, in which I am sort of copying God (I hope).

    How did God initially present such views to people?

    but I don’t think I can ever convince anyone of that (and if I could, I shouldn’t, but should leave them free to decide) – a person has to want to believe and be interested in meeting belief halfway.

    In your estimation, how is one supposed to meet God halfway?

  23. I know unkleE loves to use studies, reports, etc. I found this one interesting.

    Christian Polling Group Finds Atheists Divorce Less Than Christians

    by David Badash on July 2, 2013

    in News,Religion

    An Evangelical Christian pollster finds that atheists commit less crimes, divorce less, and are better educated than their fellow Christians. “It is obvious that you do not have to believe in a higher power in order to live a moral and successful life. Quite the opposite,” the Knoxville News‘ Al Westerfield writes of the study, adding that “the groups with the highest crime rate, the poorest marriages and the lowest education continually strive to force their beliefs on the nonreligious. And the politicians pander to them. Why else would they pass laws to put religion in the schools and on courthouse facades? And then they wonder why the godless could possibly be upset.”

    “According to a Barna Research Group report, fundamentalist Christians have the highest divorce rate, followed by Jews and Baptists,” Westerfield writes:

    The godless are tied with Catholics and Lutherans for the lowest divorce rate. It seems that some groups that claim to follow the Bible most strictly are not putting their money where their mouths are. The godless who are thought to be without morals seem to take their vows more seriously.

    According to a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Survey, the least-educated Americans are Jehovah’s Witnesses, followed by black Protestants and fundamentalist Christians. The most highly educated are reformed Jews, followed by Unitarian Universalists and the godless.

    Some groups seem to like their flocks ignorant so that pastors’ interpretations of God’s edicts are not questioned. Other groups prize scholarship and achieve more in their lives here on Earth.

    In fact, a review of worldwide studies found that criminality and religion go hand in hand. The countries with the most religious people have the highest crime rates, highest sexually transmitted diseases and the highest teen pregnancy rates.

    This is also true in the United States. The more religious a state’s population, the higher the crime, STD and teen pregnancy rates. The report does say that the religious are happier than the secular but posits that the ostracism of the latter may be a major cause.

  24. I am a fan of Dr Alvin Boyd Kuhn and his books where he touches on the idea that Christianity took a wrong turn during the 3rd century and looked to 1 man being divine

    Hi Ken, we come to the same point again – whether we believe the consensus of experts, whether they tell us what we want or not, or whether we pick the minority of experts who happens to agree with our opinion.

    Dr Kuhn wrote more than half a century ago, and his views are not consistent with contemporary scholarship, as far as I can tell. This blog post by Larry Hurtado summarises the current state of scholarship, and pretty much everyone agrees that the christians worshiped Jesus as God very early on (perhaps within weeks of his death, perhaps decades), and formulated a belief in his divinity not much later, certainly within the first century.

    The scholarship is clear, the only question is whether you are willing to accept it. (So much of Jesus-scepticiam is based on outdated and disproved scholarship!)

    He insists that christianity has made man incapable of thinking for himself and must rely on the teachings of the church.

    I think that statement is a little exaggerated (I mean, were Newton, Pascal, Dostoevsky, Plantinga, CS Lewis, Simon Conway Morris, etc, all incapable of thinking for themselves?), but I don’t think it is far wrong. But church christianity doesn’t always equate with Jesus christianity. I believe in the latter, not the former, and a growing number of people are now doing the same.

    You should perhaps update your disbelief!! 🙂

  25. Hi Far King, I hear your plaintive cry, but I think you are like the boy crying wolf.

    Why are Christians so often unable to answer queries or comments in a straightforward manner is beyond me?

    You throw out scores of unsupported statements, and I am not going to spend my time answering them all I’m sorry. That’s why I parodied one of your recent rants by turning it around to the opposite view. If you want me to answer something, please show that you are interested in evidence, and offer some unbiased evidence to support what you say.

    If what Christians believe is so self-evident

    I’m not sure where you got this from, but I don’t know any christians who think this. We believe it is true, supported by the sum total of evidence, and makes more sense of the whole of our experience than any other view. But we also believe it must be approached in the right way and depends partly on revelation. I have never berated you or others for not believing; rather I have said what I believe and criticised you and others for a biased approach to the evidence.

    How do you arrive at this conclusion?

    From the Bible, from thinking about what God has done so far. It’s not a fundamental of my belief, just a thought and an answer to a question.

    How did God initially present such views to people?

    How do I know? There would have been many ways. Sociologist Rodney Stark suggests God has been revealing himself to visionaries for millennia. I am more interested in how he is doing it now.

    In your estimation, how is one supposed to meet God halfway?

    Really want to know the truth, not just support one’s existing opinion. Being willing to change if one’s understanding of truth changes. Considering all the arguments and evidence, and not weighting things towards arguments on one side or the other. Giving God the invitation to reveal things his way, instead of insisting on his doing it on our terms. That would be a start.

  26. I know unkleE loves to use studies, reports, etc. I found this one interesting.

    Ken, this is just the same. You find one report and you throw it out there without considering the plethora of other reports. I will be blogging more on some of these things soon, so I won’t respond now. But I probably wouldn’t bother anyway until and unless you give some indication that you would take notice of the broad spectrum of studies, and not refuse all the ones but the one you find that supports your view. What do you say?

  27. Hi, Unklee. You throw out scores of unsupported statements, and I am not going to spend my time answering them all I’m sorry. That’s why I have parodied one of your recent rants,below, by turning it around to the opposite view.

    In your estimation, how is one supposed to meet an a non believer halfway?

    Really want to know the truth, not just support one’s existing opinion. Being willing to change if one’s understanding of truth changes. Considering all the arguments and evidence, and not weighting things towards arguments on one side or the other. Giving a non believer the invitation to reveal things his way, instead of insisting on his doing it on our terms. That would be a start.

    I thought it prudent before continuing with any more dialogue to investigate as much of your blog as I could stomach, just to get a measure of the methodology of you arguments and some understanding of your presentation.
    From a broad cross section you seem to start with a foregone conclusion then build your post backwards, ensuring everything fits, even to the point of your carefully selected counterpoints from scholars who do not uphold a theological point of view.
    This comes across as balanced but in fact it is designed to make any contrary opinions look meaningless, because for you, God underpins everything.
    Your interaction with other bloggers is similar: your tone is almost always condescending to those who disagree (even n other blogs )and where your argument has lost ground you merely dismiss any counter points as irrelevant or deftly ignore them and deflect to another point.
    This is classic Apologetics 101.
    I initially thought this was simply your religious conviction coming to the fore but I strongly suspect you have actually studied read/such techniques which likely demonstrates a win at all costs desire rather than any genuine wish to interact with those of different points of view.
    I also paid close attention to the comments of other bloggers to ensure I was not making this personal and these feelings and observations were not limited to me only.
    Your conduct seems to be the same with everyone:
    Those that agree, you appear to pat yourself on the back, those who don’t you are disparaging towards without a hint of humility even in cases where your argument has been shown to have more holes than a swiss cheese.
    I even read your God Test and can concur with the one commenter about the way it is presented.
    And I even took note off the following conversation you had with him, and although I do not condone the type of language he eventually used toward you, I can most certainly appreciate the sentiment.

  28. Hi Far King. I’m sorry you have responded that way, and I don’t see why these things can’t be discussed without such accusations. I won’t be responding to any of that. If you think so badly about my website, please feel free not to read any more. Best wishes.

  29. Hi UnkleE.
    And this last comment illustrates exactly the point I was making in the previous comment.
    Which is more or less how you ended dialogue with the chappie on your God Test post. And how other commenters you engage in this fashion are also treated.
    I have no desire to convert ‘you’ , a silly notion under any circumstances, but engage in open dialogue and explore or challenge what Christians postulate. This requires the parties to at least consider every aspect of the argument when presented.
    You don’t. Your posts are loaded.
    This is indicative of a fundamentalist mindset. Where evidence confounds faith, stick to faith. Any other course of action would render your faith untenable.
    You cast aspersions on other religions/faiths yet see nothing wrong in claiming adequate evidence for a resurrection.
    You would refute A.C.E and its more insidious offshoots on various grounds yet see nothing disingenuous about defending the blatantly fallacious gospel texts, especially where it concerns healing and miracles.
    Thus your fundamentalism takes on a hypocritical aspect as well.

    If you consider my comments pertaining to these issues ‘off the mark’ or unwarranted then they should stand the test of scrutiny.
    Based on the majority of comments I have read where you are actively involved many commenters feel similar. and respond as such.
    If you really want the truth, why not ask them, or would you have a ready Christian/Apologist answer at hand for this as well?

    As was noted, you have no real desire for open investigative dialogue in search of truth otherwise you would not be so dismissive of evidence when it is presented to you, especially where that evidence is irrefutable.

    a

  30. @unkleE

    Until you look in the mirror when responding to others , your comments will fall on deaf ears. I hate to disappoint you, but you are not the only one on the planet who holds the truth.

    As I have said many times before and The Far King just confirmed it, you want to win at all cost . You must always have the last word. And you must always be right.

    The best to you

  31. G’day again. You say you want to “engage in open dialogue and explore or challenge what Christians postulate”. That seems to me to be worthwhile. But it also seems to me that “between the idea, and the reality …. falls the shadow”

    1. I have no wish to engage in discussion of your accusations, or to make any of my own. So I will only say that if you look through this and other discussions, I don’t believe I have made any personally critical remarks. The only criticisms I have made are of ideas or of unwillingness to present or accept evidence on topics. Contrast that to the personal comments in your last two comments. If you want “open” dialogue, I suggest that isn’t the way.

    2. I maintain 2 blogs, and spend significant time researching and writing them. You and others are free to read and comment. I am equally free to comment back, but I’m not under any moral obligation or compulsion to do so. I try to respond to all comments, and treat every comment with respect, but I don’t have unlimited time. I prefer to stick to the topic of the blog post, though I am pretty flexible on that. But what I am not interested in are long drawn-out discussions where the other person doesn’t accept the best evidence from experts, doesn’t offer evidence of their own, and makes personal accusations about me when I persist in my considered opinions. So when those things occur, I tend to back off.

    So that’s where I sit. Please decide what you will do without any more insults. Thanks.

  32. (So much of Jesus-scepticiam is based on outdated and disproved scholarship!)

    And yet you provide no citations.

  33. And yet you provide no citations.

    I have done that may times before, as both you and Ken are aware. I see no reason to spell it all out again when neither of you accepted it previously. Again, this comment is not the way to “open dialogue”.

    The choice is yours, But if you keep choosing this way, I won’t participate much longer.

  34. I have no wish to engage in discussion of your accusations, or to make any of my own.

    Aah…but you do. In the fashion I have already mentioned.
    Some examples for you…..
    To Ken

    You should perhaps update your disbelief!! 🙂

    Ken, this is just the same. You find one report and you throw it out there without considering the plethora of other reports. I will be blogging more on some of these things soon, so I won’t respond now.

    What makes the ”plethora of other” reports more valid than this one than Ken offers? And yet again, you do not address the issues of his comment.
    Or for that matter the case study I offered the other day, which clearly refutes the one you have presented on these past posts?

    To me

    Really want to know the truth, not just support one’s existing opinion. Being willing to change if one’s understanding of truth changes.

    The key here is “being willing to change if one’s understanding of truth changes.”
    Truth is truth whether one is willing to change one’s view of it or not. You have not shown an inkling of being prepared to do this.

    I really think most of what you say here is wild speculation, and pretty much useless in deciding truth (I’m sorry).

    “I Think” – yes, but not knowAnd once again the dismissive tone.

    I could trawl the last five or six posts and this pattern would be repeated throughout.
    And this pattern was clearly evident in your ‘discussion’ with the chap on your God Test post.

    That there are around 2 billion christians does not make what they believe is right, or true. No. Definitely not. And why not? Simply because Christians do not agree with what the rest of the religions of this planet believe in, and you have absolutely no way of honestly proving otherwise. (they often do not even agree amongst themselves either, do they?) Neither does any religion.

    Until you understand this and accept that what you believe is first and foremost based on faith and belief in the supernatural then every argument you present will be biased in this regard and any claims you present concerning truth will always be perceived as fundamentalist, and like all religious fundamentalists you are, at core level, intolerant and dismissive of anything that honestly challenges your point of view. I don’t mean me or other non believers, I mean toward any religious person that does not hold your views, be they non Christian, atheist, or a Christian from a different denomination.
    You may amass a small regiment of experts, but I can merely offer Professor B Ehrman who seems to be one of the most highly qualified biblical scholars around. Yet I bet you would dismiss much of what he says out of hand.

    You are quite within your rights to post and write whatever you wish and I wouldn’t even suggest that you weren’t, but please, if you wish to garner any sort of respect take note of the criticism (which must be obvious to you by now, is not solely from me) . and adjust your presentation to make it more honest and balanced.

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