A Message to Creationists

by Luke Muehlhauser on April 15, 2009 in Quotes

augustine_quote

From The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book 1, Chapter 19.

I would love to see somebody open a creationism debate by quoting this.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Alden April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I, for one, would like to hear an atheist quote more of St. Augustine.

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vision April 15, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Wow, this is amazing! To say something like this in 5th century, long before Galileo or Darwin, long before today’s scientific methodology came around, that’s really extraordinary! After 1500 years great many Christian still haven’t reached his level. I have great respect for this man now. (No sarcasm intended)

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Dan Gilbert April 16, 2009 at 5:46 am

What a great quote! I think I’ll file that one away for use at an opportune time. :-)

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danielg April 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm

That is a great quote, and I would love to open it up.  I would also follow it with a quote from someone like Francis Bacon, father of the scientific method, or one of these others:

Atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man. Francis Bacon

A little philosophy inclineth a man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.
Francis Bacon

Or one of the other quotes from <a href=”http://www.twoorthree.net/2008/12/101-christian-q.html”>101 Christian Quotes on Faith, Reason, Unbelief, and Atheism</a>

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lukeprog April 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Yeah, I’m not trying to open a war of quotables, here, but…

I’ve never understood the first quote, and I think the second quote is simply false. :)

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Reginald Selkirk April 19, 2009 at 7:00 am

A little philosophy inclineth a man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. Francis Bacon
Gosh, that Hume fellow must have been shallow.

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danielg April 20, 2009 at 9:07 am

Here’s what the first one means – it’s a bit theological.

Bacon assumes, as the Bible teaches, that seeing the beauty and intricacy of creation, and having a rudimentary conscience and spirit, men all ‘know’ in an intuitive way that a Creator exists.  So while they may intellectualize and verbalize (‘in the lip’) that there is no God, deep down, the ‘witness’ of their intuition (the ‘heart’) says different.   Bacon assumes that the voice of intuition is often cowed or silenced by the braying of the angry mind that argues for atheism.

As to the second quote, I understand that you, having delved in ‘depth’ into philosophy, are not included to religion, but have instead become more distant to it.  And you are not alone in this experience.  However, just as many who delve into quantum physics have experienced, there is an experience, both intellectually and intuitively, of the numinous and transcendent, which for most men, inclines them to believe that there is more at work here than mere physics and materialism, but rather, a supreme mind. 

I think this is what Bacon is alluding to.  That in any discipline, including philosophy, the ineffable mysteries of reality become more profound as we realize the limits of our reason and understanding.  Not that we use this as an excuse to stop seeking understanding (God in the gaps), but rather, we finally admit that no matter how far we progress in knowledge, there is an ocean of reality that we will never grasp.  As the aphorism goes, ‘the more I know, the more I realize how much I don’t know.’

And Reg, as for Hume, he was one of the great atheist intellectuals of his generation.  I don’t think that Bacon would call him shallow, but he would probably call him greatly mistaken.  And btw, if you can get ahold of a copy of Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great about Christianity, he has an interesting chapter (actually, it was a little esoteric and long) on Hume, Kant, and others on the limits of reason.

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danielg April 20, 2009 at 9:08 am

Above, I meant ‘inclined’ not ‘included’

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lukeprog April 20, 2009 at 10:05 am

danielg: Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great about Christianity, he has an interesting chapter (actually, it was a little esoteric and long) on Hume, Kant, and others on the limits of reason.

Read it. Not good. Also, just because there are limits to reason does not mean that we should just make up crazy stuff when we reach those limits.

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Reginald Selkirk April 21, 2009 at 8:47 am

I don’t think that Bacon would call him shallow, but he would probably call him greatly mistaken.

To bad for you that I don’t consider Bacon to be the definitive authority on this matter, and he died well before Hume was born, so that your opinion of Bacon’s view of Hume is entirely fictional.

And btw, if you can get a hold of a copy of Dinesh D’Souza’s …

I have not read this book, but from what I have encountered of Mr. D’Souza online, I can safely state that he is not one of the greatest intellectuals of his generation, theists and atheists included.

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Reginald Selkirk April 21, 2009 at 8:52 am

danielg: However, just as many who delve into quantum physics have experienced, there is an experience, both intellectually and intuitively, of the numinous and transcendent, which for most men, inclines them to believe that there is more at work here than mere physics and materialism, but rather, a supreme mind.

This seems to be a statement that knowledge of quantum physics inclines one to supernaturalism. My associations with people who have actually studied quantum physics, and other sciences, runs contrary to your statement, and poll numbers tend to favour my experience over yours.

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Reginald Selkirk April 21, 2009 at 9:03 am

BTW, I am pretty sure that Francis Bacon did not study quantum mechanics, so if he ever had numinous or transcendent experiences, they must have come from a different source.

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Reginald Selkirk April 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Bacon assumes that the voice of intuition is often cowed or silenced by the braying of the angry mind that argues for atheism.

There are multiple problems with this.
1) Bacon lived at a time when it was dangerous to one’s health, occupation and even life to publicly express a tendency towards atheism. We should keep this in mid when evaluating what people around Bacon may have been saying, and what he himself said.
2) You are setting up an “emotion vs. rational mind” struggle, and yet you characterize the rational mind with the emotional and loaded terms braying and angry. Isn’t it rather dumb to label the rational argument with an emotional adjective?

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Ajay July 8, 2009 at 5:54 am

I see a lot of Christians etc. who also believe in Evolution. Rather than feeling good about that, i feel frustrated. I think Richard Dawkins feels the same too based on some interviews i have seen of him.
 
I feel frustrated because it is more easier to have a situation of “either Bible is true evolution is true” than to have a situation of “both bible and evolution can be true”.

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James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil August 6, 2010 at 10:17 am

I think what he was saying is, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.” Even then, he knew that the religious world view was total and complete nonsense. It hasn’t improved any that I’ve noticed.

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Kirk the banana boy August 31, 2010 at 11:41 am

Theologian: A man who looks in a dark room for a black cat that doesn’t exist – and finds it!

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Kirk the banana boy August 31, 2010 at 11:42 am

Religions cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong!

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kevin September 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm

interesting quote, especially in the face of the recent pew research poll on religion, which said atheists knew more about religion than ANY believing individual…

it proves one thing. adding together that atheists know more about the world and the universe…. to the fact that we know more about all religion than any deity worshiper knows about their own….. it just simply proves, the smartest people are atheists.

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Joel April 4, 2011 at 4:31 am

I was an ‘athiest’ until St. Augustine came along. He said that god is beyond the realm of human thought, so god is uncomprehendable. Then I realised how arrogant it is to believe god does not exist, and that we could ever understand him if he did.

You’re all kinda wrong…

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James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil April 4, 2011 at 4:42 am

Joel, are you being sarcastic or or just an idiot? “You’re all kinda wrong” is kinda arrogant isn’t it?

There is no god and never has been. The burden of proof is on those claiming there is. I’ve waited decades for someone to produce independently verifiable evidence and no one has even tried anything but circular reasoning and quoting the babble. That’s a collection of badly-translated, politically edited myths and outright lies.

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Vlad April 4, 2011 at 5:17 am

@Joel at al.

Religions. They can’t all be right, but they can all be wrong.

I don’t have to prove gods don’t exist. However, show me how you would prove Zeus or Thor don’t exist and I’ll use your method.

I am not religious because I refuse to bypass my intelligence. The lengths people go to suspend the little sense they have…

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James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil April 4, 2011 at 5:29 am

@Vlad Nice, succinct, accurate post.

Unfortunately, you are using logic and facts with those who have already rejected logic and facts as being useful in their lives. We cannot reason a person away from a position that they did not reach through reason.

Still, I like the part about proving Zeus or Thor. I liked it so much, I will shamelessly steal it :D

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Joel April 4, 2011 at 6:10 am

You guys sound very clever. Being an atheist tends to make you clever. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

So why don’t you have to prove god doesn’t exist? I mean, I don’t mind if you say that you don’t know whether there is a god or not. That’s fair. No burden of proof for you there.

But if you say there is no god, then prove it. You seem very clever, I’m sure it’s very easy.

You are still all kinda wrong…

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James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil April 4, 2011 at 6:19 am

@Joe. You are totally wrong. Theists claim there is a god. SO the burden of proof is on them. If you cannot understand that, you are simply too stupid to bother with. If you knew the first thing about the rules of debate and logic you would know the burden of proof is always upon those making the claims. But then, facts and logic have no place in your world view, do they? You are also an arrogant SOB insisting that you don’t have to prove anything.

Come on, stop being as asshole and provide some proof of your ridiculous claims or else slink away like the intellectual coward you are.

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Joel April 4, 2011 at 6:31 am

But you claim there is no god. That’s a pretty hefty claim. I would never be so brave to say that there is indeed no god. Shooting over your weight a little I would think…

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Vlad April 4, 2011 at 6:43 am

Still, I like the part about proving Zeus or Thor.I liked it so much, I will shamelessly steal it:D

You are welcome to it James, I stole it too :). Here’s another one:

If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people. (House)

Even a fictional character from a TV series is more clever than some real live “characters” we can read here.

I am certain gods don’t exist as I’m certain there’s no invisible pink unicorn or Russell’s Teapot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot). Deities are not only improbable but also utterly impossible, at least by any definition I ever heard from believers. In order to avoid stupid arguments with stupid people I tell them that I’m an Ignostic (not Agnostic). That either stops the conversation dead in it’s tracks due to utter confusion on the poor believer’s part or gets them entangled in definitions that are easily proven wrong or incoherent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism

1. The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed. Furthermore, if that definition is unfalsifiable, the ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless. In this case, the concept of God is not considered meaningless; the term “God” is considered meaningless.

2. The second view is synonymous with theological noncognitivism, and skips the step of first asking “What is meant by ‘God’?” before proclaiming the original question “Does God exist?” as meaningless.

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James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil April 4, 2011 at 6:44 am

No, you moron. I say there is no proof of any god. YOu must prove there is. If course you would never be brave enough to claim anything, That’s because you are a moral coward as well as an intellectual coward.

Shooting over my weight? You also cannot keep your metaphors straight. While there is no proof of any god, there seems to be plenty of evidence that you have the metal agility of a soap dish.

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Vlad April 4, 2011 at 6:52 am

But you claim there is no god. That’s a pretty hefty claim. I would never be so brave to say that there is indeed no god. Shooting over your weight a little I would think…

I also claim there’s no invisible teapot in the earth’s orbit. I only assert that because my deluded neighbor claims that teapot is sending him signals to kill me and my family. Do I have prove my claim? No. The poor sob will end up in the loony bin anyway. I don’t see how you are any different from him.

We believe in just one less god than you do. When you understand why you would claim Zeus doesn’t exist you will understand why Atheists claim there don’t believe

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Joel April 4, 2011 at 6:56 am

How on Earth am I supposed to prove that there is a god? That is really a lot to ask. Why do I have to prove there is a god? I’m not the one saying that there is one…

Seems if you clever atheist types want to keep this moral superiority on the internet, you should run off to a science lab and start working on proving that there is no god. Then have a big ‘I told you so’ party and not invite all those silly Christians. They’re just so dumb!

And really, if a lack of god in your life has made you such a snappy little shit, maybe you would be better off as a Christian ;-)

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Joel April 4, 2011 at 6:59 am

Maybe there is a teapot out there. Who knows? Prove it, or keep out of it.

Isn’t that how atheism works? This whole ‘you must prove your stance’ thing. I mean, if you’re gonna make a rule that all claims about gods must be provable in some way shape or form, you should make that a uniform kind of rule. Don’t waver on teapots, the burden of truth is on both sides there too.
Prove it does. Prove it doesn’t. Or accept that you don’t know.

I could go all the way back to descartes on this one. You guys are great in the way you don’t actually read what others say (note: you still think I believe in god…)

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Vlad April 4, 2011 at 7:07 am

How on Earth am I supposed to prove that there is a god? That is really a lot to ask. Why do I have to prove there is a god? I’m not the one saying that there is one…

You are not saying anything then, so there’s no point in discussing with you. Go troll somewhere else.

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Vlad April 4, 2011 at 7:09 am

Maybe there is a teapot out there. Who knows? Prove it, or keep out of it.

Only insane person would even exercise a notion of an invisible flying teapot. Thank you for proving my point.

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Joel April 4, 2011 at 7:20 am

You just don’t get my point at all. You are all following a giant double standard. Christians are retards! They cannot prove their god! There is no god! I don’t have to prove anything!

Really? Stop making claims you can’t back up. And that includes the teapot. You can’t prove there is a teapot, so why bring it up? Your mate who believes in the teapot is free to think whatever he wants, and if you don’t think his case for a teapot is compelling, then don’t believe in it. But until you have proof that there is indeed no teapot, don’t run around making claims you simply cannot back up.

And btw – there is a lot of space junk out there. How do you know that the astronauts didn’t use any types of disposable space-teapots on their journeys? Just sayin’ :-P

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James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil April 4, 2011 at 7:24 am

@Vlad This Joel person is obviously a total moron incapable of understanding anything involving the rules of evidence, rational thinking or facts. Instead, he likes to troll hoping he will find someone as stupid as he is to agree with anything he says.

Unfortunately for him, there will be few atheists that fall for anyone as stubbornly stupid as Joel. People that have used rational reasoning, and critical thinking to understand that no god of any kind has ever existed anywhere but in the delusions of theists are not likely to subscribe to anything this idiot says.

So Joel, either put up, or STFU.

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James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil April 4, 2011 at 7:27 am

@Joel. You don’t have a point, a brain, or the ability to understand the most simple concepts. You DO have to prove there is a god. You have admitted you can’t so it. So just STFU and go sit in the corner at the children’s table. You have no business even attempting a rational conversation with anyone.

You have the last reply from me. I have no time to waste with anyone as willfully stupid as you.

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Joel April 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm

This experiment went well. Try to make an atheist prove there is no god and insults will come first. I knew that would happen. I don’t believe that there is a god, but I cannot prove it, so I do not say that there is indeed no god. The reason why I stopped calling myself an atheist is because I do not want to be seen in the same species as you are. I call myself an atheistic agnostic. Cause it distances myself from the horror that is the atheist movement.

Internet atheists are Christians with bigger vocabularies. Really. It’s horrible that people who choose not to be of faith have to say “Yeah, I don’t believe in god, but I am not an ATHEIST!” (read: not a wanker).

P.S. You should read people’s posts before commenting on them. Either that, or you should do a comprehension class. Your (possibly existent) partner must hate that.

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