August 9, 2011

Circular reasoning can't combat anything

In addition to his main essay "Combating Atheism with Sola Scriptura" (Christian Post blog: Recession-proof Christian Life, 7/22/2011), Olabode Ososami posted a follow-up response that is actually a good summary of the thrust of his argument, so I'll respond here by directly addressing his comments in that response post.

"If salvation is based on argument ...don't you think a future superior argument or logic will eventually derail the saved who needs an assurance of His salvation."

If "salvation" (i.e., a religious doctrine) isn't based on reality (i.e., if it's just fantasy) then it can't be derailed because it was never on the rail to begin with.

"The Bible says the just live by faith..."

Yes, of course, the advice of every snake oil religion salesman on the planet. Of course, the reason most atheists are atheists is because they require actual, you know, EVIDENCE to back up what is claimed. The "just live by faith" argument is so heavily relied on these days by promoters of religious belief precisely because the 'our religious beliefs are backed up by the real world evidence' argument hasn't worked out so well, to put it mildly.

"we accept many things by faith including getting on the flight and believing and expecting the aircraft is fine and crew are competent without confirmation."

False. We don't do anything of the sort. The flight industry is built on science, engineering, preventative maintenance, standardized testing, etc. "Competent without confirmation" is an utterly bogus remark.

"The Bible says whatever is not of faith is already sin."

Sticking with the facts is a sin? This demonstrates the lack of credibility of the attitude of religious faith.

"Meditate on the merit of this."

The religious proclamation that testing your claims against, oh, actual evidence is A SIN demonstrates a serious lack of merit.

"The taste of the pudding is in the eating. Christians have found faith works."

Really? (Tell that to the geocentrists and the young earth creationists.) Christian religious belief, which totally dominated the perspective of scientists over two hundred years ago in the infancy of the age of science, now doesn't even exist in science. This is precisely because even those scientists who believed in the religious beliefs couldn't produce good scientific evidence for them. If they had, we'd be discussing the scientific facts backing the empirical truth of the claims of Christian religion, not being regaled with 'you must rely only on blind faith', and witnessing people making ridiculous declarations out of sheer hubris that expecting evidential backing for empirical claims in the first place is a "sin". If Christians seriously think that this attitude that blind faith is a virtue while testing ideas against evidence is a sin somehow justifies their religious belief, then atheists are right on the money - and we have to thank Ososami for backing us up. Not only is it impossible for the circular logic of Ososami's "Sola Scriptura" argument ('The Bible is God's Word, because it says so') to combat atheism, it's exactly what atheists point to as a case-in-point example of the fallacious nature of religious belief in the first place.

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