Christian sleight of hand.
Have you noticed that when one debates a conservative Christian a mild headache develops soon after? Well I have and that is a normal biological reaction that follows after banging your head against the wall.
As atheists it is indeed a rare occasion to debate a Christian, because they normally run to the hills, with tails between trembling legs, quoting scriptures left right and centre, like:
“I don’t cast my pearls before swine" or "you have chosen to go to hell" or "you do not want to be accountable to a holy God" or "you are a Satanist" and so forth.
Yet Christians have been given an order by God via Paul and Jesus to interact with atheists in a respectful and truthful way as the following texts tell us:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15)
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
In any debate a Christian starts from a handicapped position because theirs is a faith based belief whereby belief must precede knowledge - where as in the real world it is vice versa. Evidence always comes first before you can believe in something.
A Christian believes with out “seeing” and an atheist is sceptical till he can “see”. These positions are polar opposites and explain why Christians and atheists do not see eye to eye. Christians are not embarrassed in the slightest bit about their “walking by faith and not by sight” philosophy and even think it a virtue.
The unknown authors of the Christian NT thought about this and anticipated that the gospel would run into a brick wall with intelligent people and be easily refuted so they deviously and deceitfully proceeded to place road blocks in the way of rational thinkers by denigrating natural reasoning.
Suddenly stories about doubting Thomas where interloped into the gospel narrative and others like:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe....For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (1 Cor 18-21; 25)
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:21-22)
Well Christians have only deceived themselves once again because I read into these verses that only gullible, naive and desperate people are going to accept the gospel.
Christian belief gives the appearance of pleasure and peace, because they are personal and subjective and don't push back. People typically believe in those things that make them happy, alleviate their fears, give them hope, and promise to fulfil their wishes and dreams.
Life-after-death, living in eternal Paradise with all your loved ones, inheriting a vibrant young 'spiritual' body, all arcane knowledge revealed, seeing wicked people get their comeuppance, escaping eternal punishment , being miraculously healed from a terminal disease etc - these are just some of the things that motivate people to believe.
It's understandable. The promises are tempting, the endings neat and tidy. Seeking truth and knowledge, on the other hand, typically produces the opposite effect by eventually uncovering the self-deception and denial underlying most untested belief systems.
This can be devastating. It is not a pleasant thing to witness the whole house of cards come tumbling down or watch peace-of-mind slip further out over the horizon.
No wonder most Christians are so adamant about clinging to their beliefs, sometimes even willing to die for them. Who wants to admit denial, deception, and defeat?
Who wants to pick themselves up, slap off the dust, and start over from scratch? Who wants to live in doubt, uncertainty, and the knowledge of impending demise?
No, believing in the supernatural seems much more pleasant. It's often easier to believe in the magic of the Tooth Fairy than it is to simply extract the tooth.
Leaving ones superstitious faith behind for free thought, reason, and science is indeed something to celebrate! Atheism is the future; Christianity is doomed to history just like all the religious myths have gone.