Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Adventures at CARM - I'll take my chances

Chipmunk
I've been digging through carm.org for curiosity's sake. So far, these are the episodes of my adventures:


Today, I'm going to look at the objection/answer of "I'll take my chances":

With what, eternity? Eternity is a long time to be wrong. Why would you want to gamble with something as important as your eternal destiny? It takes only a moment to trust Christ for your salvation. There will be an eternity of pain and regret if you don't. 
You don't take chances with guns do you? You don't take chances and run red lights do you? Why would you take a chance on something that is far more important than these? Don't take a chance on something eternal. It isn't worth it.
Jesus said He was the only way to God. He forgave sins, walked on water, calmed a storm with a command, raised people from the dead, and rose from the dead Himself. No one else in all of history has done that. If He can do all that, don't you think you should listen to Him?
I have never heard this argument before. Ever. At least, not yet today.

With what, eternity? Eternity is a long time to be wrong. Why would you want to gamble with something as important as your eternal destiny?
Damn straight. It's stupid to screw around with something so important, so undemonstrated and unevidenced.

That's why I should just take the plunge and become a Muslim. Why take the risk, am I right?

 It takes only a moment to trust Christ for your salvation. There will be an eternity of pain and regret if you don't. 
Oh.... uh. Right, that one.

So wait, I'm taking a gamble whether I choose to become Christian OR Muslim?

Egads! I forgot! If I choose either of those, I risk being devoured and digested forever by the trans-galactic iridescent space matinee, because he just despises Muslims and Christians.

I gotta think about this one. Let's see, I have the following choices:

  1. Choose Christian, and risk either sent to hell by Allah, or digested forever by the tGISM.
  2. Choose Muslim, and risk either being sent to hell by the Christian god, or digested forever by the tGISM.
  3. Choose neither Christianity nor Islam, and risk being sent to hell by either of those two gods.
Fartsalad! I forgot that there's an infinite number of other things that can just be made up with random sets of rewards/punishments that are all equally unsupported by evidence (read: zero).

How do I choose?!

Oh wait, we have this thing. What's it called? Oh, right. Evidence.

This is a question of risk assessment - something that we do quite frequently in life. Would Mr. Slick be convinced if I informed him that he was risking his eternal soul by being a Christian or Muslim? I'd expect "no" as an answer. He'd find me as unconvinced by his attempt at threatening me with his version of the argument.
You don't take chances with guns do you? You don't take chances and run red lights do you? 
Well, not all the time.

Here's the key difference, and it's essentially a difference of category. It's the difference between things that are demonstrably real, and those that are not.

Guns, and the potential accidental damage are demonstrably real. Red lights and related car accidents (or police being mad at you) are demonstrably real.

That's why people take the idea of gun safety seriously, but not the idea that if you say the words "lorem ipsum" around a gun that it'll turn into a robot in a parallel dimension and destroy your parallel dimension family. One possibility is demonstrably real, and the other is lunacy.

That example is not far off from what Slick is trying to convince me.

In his case, he's trying to convince me that an arbitrarily chosen action (belief) in some mythological figure is going to save my undemonstrable unevidenced brainless mind copy of myself in a parallel dimension from being tortured forever in an undemonstrable unevidenced parallel dimension torture chamber due to an undemonstrable unevidenced problem, that my undemonstrable unevidenced brainless mind copy of myself has, due to a mythological man/woman couple having eaten some mythological fruit from some mythological tree, which was apparently bad because an undemonstrable unevidenced universe-creating entity was mad, from a book of mythology that is a dime-a-dozen, surrounded by other such mythologies that Slick doesn't accept.

At no point is any of this supernatural crap substantiated by actual evidence.

Thus, it's going into the "lunacy" category. I'm going to be about as worried about my parallel dimension brainless mind copy of myself as I am about saying "lorem ipsum" around guns. Hint: not worried.

Why would you take a chance on something that is far more important than these? Don't take a chance on something eternal. It isn't worth it.
Exactly. So you'll be converting to Islam promptly, right?

Jesus said He was the only way to God. He forgave sins, walked on water, calmed a storm with a command, raised people from the dead, and rose from the dead Himself. No one else in all of history has done that.
No one else in history was faster than a speeding bullet, or could jump over the highest building, and is NOT either a bird or a plane.

 If He can do all that, don't you think you should listen to Him?
Begging the question. Seriously, blithely, begging the question. I was being heavily sarcastic in the last bit, but seriously - you appear to be assuming that the Jesus stories were accurate portrayals of true events.

I have a better suggestion for you. Why don't you follow the evidence to the conclusion, instead of leading the evidence? It's the most consistently demonstrably effective method for figuring out reality humanity has ever devised. It's responsible for 100% of the technology that the computer, you used to write this article, uses to run.

You risk having wasted most of your life on lies and fairy tales - the only life we know you have... for a set of beliefs that don't even survive 5 milliseconds of the sniff test. Because believing in unevidenced undemonstrable things requires a self-lobotomy - an anti-intellectual abandonment of basic critical thinking and analysis skills, you're impairing your own mental capacity to accurately understand the world around you, challenging your basic capacity to make wise decisions, as the quality of your decisions depends on the accuracy of your beliefs.

And, you're trying to spread this impairment to everyone you meet.

Think about it, I condescendingly blurt out. How about this version:

Critically think about it.










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