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Atheistic absurdities

Proofs and experiences

Certain atheists are convinced that the faithful are naive, obscurantist, superstitious, unsupported and irrational, simply because they believe in God, Who cannot be proven by physical means.  At the same time however, they regard themselves as "progressive", "rationalists" and "scientifically supported" in their own views.  Of course none of the above is true, and it will become apparent to our readers in the following arguments, which have been taken from discussions in a forum between Christians and atheists.


In a previous article of ours on atheism, we read the beginning of this discussion, where the atheist proved he was unable to support his views (that supposedly all those who are believers are "unscientific" in their stance), and was forced to direct the discussion towards the topic of experiences and proofs. The present article is the continuation of that same discussion, with the arguments that were brought forth.

In reply to the question posed by the Christian to the atheist: "If you believe ONLY in your personal experience, then how come you believe in the conclusions reached by Physics scientists, without actually having witnessed their experiments?", he responded as follows:


Of course I have not personally been a witness to scientific experiments.  The reason that I believe in their conclusions is simple:  they coincide with the perceptions that I have created with my own (physical) senses about the world.  The reason I do not believe in the various kinds of miracles is also simple:  they totally disagree with the logical manner of confronting the world.

Christian 1:

Let me give you an example on the matter of your senses and your perception of the world, as opposed to Physics, and then think over whether they coincide:

Suppose we have two observers in two separate spaceships that are moving in opposite directions, heading towards each other. The one is travelling at 10 kilometers per second, and the other one is also travelling at 10 kilometers per second. To calculate the speed at which they approach each other, we need to add their speeds. In other words, 10 + 10 = 20 kilometers/second.

Now, if we were to send a beam of light in parallel to one of the two spaceships, common logic based on experience would say that if the one who is travelling parallel to the beam wants to measure the light, he will calculate: 300.000 kilometers/second, MINUS 10 (= 299.990) because it is moving alongside it, whereas the other would have to calculate: 300.000 kilometers/second, PLUS 10 (= 300.010), because he is moving in the opposite direction.

BUT THAT IS NOT HOW THINGS ARE! Regardless of the speed and direction of the observers, light will always travel - for both observers - at 300.000 kilometers/second!

I could give you TENS of similar examples. And yet, even though all the above go contrary to common experience and logic, you accept them, simply because they have been told by Physicists.  So, how exactly are you more open-minded than a religious person who accepts something unusual in his daily experiences?

As you can see, I am not speaking arbitrarily, but am basing what I say on clear-cut facts and examples.


Who is a correctly thinking person and who is not is by no means an objective matter. The correct thinkers are those who rely on empirical rules and who base their convictions on evidence - as opposed to those who do no research whatsoever and just simply believe in things that are nonexistent.  Now, the reason they choose to believe in nonexistent things is an entirely different matter; sometimes it may have to do with one's intelligence, and other times with the social environment that one has lived in.

Christian 1:

So, if the correct thinkers are those who rely on everyday experience, then the physicists who teach the above example that I mentioned (about the speed of light) - which is contrary to everyday experience - must be irrational. And to personalize the matter, if you yourself agree with something like that , then you too are irrational, because it conflicts with your actual experience.  I will stress once again, that I can mention TENS of similar examples - which you accept, without having any personal experience thereof, simply because you BLINDLY BELIEVE in whatever the physicists tell you!

On the contrary, even though I myself may not necessarily believe ONLY what my everyday experience provides, I do NOT blindly believe what every religiously-oriented person tells me.  The things that he says must be LOGICAL, because something that is unusual in one's everyday experience is not necessarily something contradictory. The fact that recently human beings didn't fly (this being an unusual thing in the everyday experience of ancient man), does not mean that an airplane is something impossible or illogical.

Beyond that, who told you that I do NOT base my faith on experience also?  It may not be a daily experience, however, I do have experience of the "supernatural" element, and thus have tangible reasons to believe it; in fact, I have had tens of experiences in my life - not to mention the hundreds of testimonies of close friends and relatives.

Getting back to our subject: In your opinion, I am irrational for supporting my faith in something that may be unusual, but is nevertheless existent and empirical; whereas you are supposed to be the rational one, when supporting your faith on something usual, but accepting the UNUSUAL findings in the realm of Physics? I think the latter is irrational and inconsistent, not the former.  So, is it, or isn't it objective, when determining who of us thinks rationally and who doesn't?


You claim that Christianity is not an unsupported religion.  I wonder, how is the creation of Man and the transforming of stones into fish supported?

Christian 1:

There is nothing mentioned in the Christian faith on stones turned into fish. As for God having created Man and everything else that we can see, there is nothing irrational there.  Irrational would be for someone to assert that everything around us came to be - and evolved - at random.  Because everyday experience tells us that if you find a computer inside an office, then something intelligent has definitely constructed it. Therefore, the non-acceptance of such an EVERYDAY fact with regard to God would indicate irrational thinking.  In other words, how can you accept something that so blatantly contradicts everyday experience?   What is hindering you from accepting the simple, everyday and logical finding (as you would, that computers were developed by Man), that Man was in the same manner developed by God?

I believe I am speaking simply and logically, and in fact with EVERYDAY examples?   Unless you have an everyday example of a computer sprouting from within a stone....


Whatever I believe, dear Christian, is based on what I can sense:  what I can see, what I can hear, what I can smell, what I can touch and what I can taste - generally whatever my senses can perceive.  What you believe is often based on the things that you would like to sense - and that is a fact, not my personal opinion.

Christian 1:

I think that with what I wrote previously, I have already shown that what you regard as your basis for your worldview is not reality; it's just the way that you have chosen to believe.


I have no intention of offending your religion or anyone else's religion. Of course no-one has perfect viewpoints. However there are certain things that are doubted, and others that are uncontested.  You say that whoever has an experience of God can be called a theologian: well, how exactly does one have an experience of God?  Have they discussed the Cyprus issue with Him, or have they beaten Him at chess?

Christian 1:

I did not think for a moment that you intended to offend anyone.  Those who offend intentionally do not express themselves with your civility and respect. They make obscene remarks and they do not put forward any arguments; they simply hurl unfounded accusations and prejudiced opinions - always negative ones - without offering anything constructive in a discussion of this kind (and you know who I'm referring to).  On the contrary, you have all the characteristics of a logical and respectable interlocutor, to whom I am obliged (and pleased) to respond in the manner that befits civilized people.

As for who can be called a theologian: well, he is the one who has transcended Time-Space and has become united with Him, so that he is enabled to convey something from God to people.  And there are many such people. For example, I would like to mention Saint Simeon the New Theologian, who speaks of God out of experience.  And please don't say that this is an old event and that this doesn't occur today.  If you want a contemporary example, then I would  suggest the book by one such theologian (regardless of the fact that the Church has not yet officially pronounced him as such): the Elder Sophrony, and the book titled: "We shall see God as He is" (Οψώμεθα τον Θεόν καθώς εστί).  This man does not speak vaguely about theories; he speaks of things that he PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED.

That you yourself haven't had a personal experience of something does not signify that others haven't either. I myself may not have seen Him, but I have heard Him....


You say that psychiatry and psychology contain conflicting theories, therefore if theology is not a science, then they can't be sciences either, and you drive me crazy... Dear Christian, is there any science whatsoever that is based on an authentic and absolute theory? The nature of our world is such, that absolute knowledge apparently never will be attained and therefore the conflict in theories is absolutely normal, for the sake of reaching the truth.

Christian 1:

I fully agree; That's what I've been saying.  Given that you don't have a complete knowledge of the world, how can you opine that God doesn't exist, and you reject the idea altogether? And especially when there is a host of people who have had experiences of God?


The difference between theology and psychology is obvious: psychology has a predetermined and familiar subject: the soul of man.  Theology strives to tackle something vague and distant, which no-one has ever known to exist.

Christian 1:

Whoa!  I just caught you acting arbitrarily. God being something "vague and distant" is your personal opinion. On the contrary, I can feel Him, both as omnipresent and as close as my own Father.  Therefore there is a specific and clearly defined (by Theologians) person who is at the centre of Theology. Furthermore, the statement that "no-one has ever known to exist" is again your personal view, which lightheartedly disregards the PERSONAL TESTIMONIES of millions of people who have had experiences of God.  Your personal views naturally do not constitute proof; more so, when you yourself don't regard as proof the TESTIMONIES of people who have met Him .


What you are saying about Orthodox psychotherapy (which I must admit, I have no idea what that is) goes in one ear and comes out the other.  Are you saying that you believe that by bringing me 2000 people - according to your theory - I will be convinced about the veracity of your theory?  Man can be logical or he can be illogical. In order to distinguish between a logical view and an illogical one, we won't try to discover how many people concur with it, but only if it agrees with our experiences.

Christian 1:

See?  Now you have come to agree with I have been saying... on the one hand you put aside something that I said and you don't search it, but you opine about it as though you are familiar with it, and on the other hand, you agree that the number of people who agree with something or not is not a criterion of the truth, and finally, you speak of experiences, just like I was speaking of the personal experiences of millions of people (which you however disregarded). Furthermore, I never spoke of people who merely embrace a theory, but of people who were HEALED with the method of Orthodox psychotherapy (some of whom I am acquainted with), which indicates that this was an effective medical method.

At this point, the first Christian stopped writing and the discussion continued, with the intervention of a second Christian, who also happened to be a Physicist. His comments were as follows:

Christian Physicist:

Dear Atheist friend, you wrote:

"Of course I have not personally been a witness to scientific experiments.  The reason that I believe in their conclusions is simple:  they coincide with the perceptions that I have created with my own (physical) senses about the world.....  Whatever I believe, dear Christian, is based on what I can sense:  what I can see, what I can hear, what I can smell, what I can touch and what I can taste - generally whatever my senses can perceive." 

My response:  Dear Atheist friend, forgive me for what I'm going to say, but the above two statements are the definition of an anti-scientific stance.  Science, and specifically Physics, has long ago escaped from that framework. In fact, common sense and so-called "common logic" are in our day the greatest obstacle that man needs to overcome, in order to familiarize himself and admire the beauty of natural reality. Christian 1 already mentioned one example and stated that there are tens more like that. The term "tens" is in my opinion extremely underestimated.  Such examples are not merely tens; they are infinite in number.

Science - true science - has furthermore accepted that it is not sufficient in itself for discovering the full truth. It has been proven scientifically that any logical edifice that man has created or is going to create (such as mathematics, in which absolute logic prevails) is imperfect to begin with. In other words, there will always be premises that we will not be able to opine on - about their correctness or incorrectness - and we will have to accept or reject them by means of axioms. It is also proven that no matter how many axioms there may be, there will still be a premise like that. The only fully logical edifice would be the one with infinite axioms!

Finally, a couple of words on miracles.  What is the definition of "miracle"?  One answer is: "that which contravenes natural laws". Although this answer is not correct, let us accept it as a definition. Can miracles "defined" in this manner occur?  A classical physicist's answer is: "according to physics, no."  The answer that a contemporary physicist would give is: "anything can occur". Every occurrence, as crazy as it may sound, has a possibility of becoming realized. 

A professor had once told us during a lesson in the amphitheatre that if we could gain sufficient momentum and throw ourselves against the wall, it is possible to penetrate it and come out the other side. We heard him say that, and were saying to ourselves "what is this madman telling us?" - but that is, finally, how things are.  Of course the possibility is unimaginably small and I wouldn't recommend trying it.  That is not the way I interpret miracles. I simply want to stress that nowadays, we know that there is no law that prohibits even the most bizarre occurrence. It only renders it rare.  Physics does not prohibit it. Thus, God can intervene freely, without disturbing natural necessity (which may be a nuisance to some) and without being bound to it.

To summarize:  Common logic and science do not go hand-in-hand. However, even if we do reject common logic and accept strict scientific logic, again, we need to know that even that has limits and weaknesses. Even with it, we again cannot discover the full truth. And also that it cannot rule out a miracle.

I am clarifying that it is one thing for us to have agreed on naming "common logic" that which is exceptionally useful in our daily lives, and another thing altogether what strict scientific logic is.

I am quoting here a truly interesting text (as I see it), on the theory of incompleteness, which I have been intending to post in forums for a long time. This may not be the best place, but I hope to soon post it in a better place.

Copying the text here:

"When, at the end of the previous century, the theorem of infinite sets was developed by Cantor, they began to base mathematics on it.  A "set" is a group of things that correspond to a certain definition. For example, the set of natural numbers, the sum of numbers (3,4,8) etc.  This theory of sets therefore has comprised a foundation upon which mathematics began to build up to a higher level of deduction.  That is when certain paradoxes began to appear in the theory of sets; for example the Russell Paradox, that the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. Such a set appears to be a member of itself if - and only if - it is not a member of itself, hence the paradox.

David Hilbert, a young German mathematician, wished to eliminate the paradoxes from mathematics and he had his own plan for this. Mathematics were to become clear, without any unforeseen elements, and they would not even require people to describe them and monitor them. They were to be defined within a system of axioms.  Axiomatic systems have existed as far back as Euclid; they are not a new idea. However, Hilbert was going to describe mathematics through a formalized axiomatic system. One of the reasons for the paradoxes and the contradictions in mathematics was the words that we use for them; words in a language are overly generalized and unclear. Therefore, the solution to the problems was to be the replacement of the natural language for defining mathematical problems and solving them, by means of a technical language and an obsolete set of axioms.  A synthetic, univocal and well-defined grammar and a series of synthetic, univocal and well-defined rules.

An axiomatic system is a system - a mechanism - which starts from a number of well-defined axioms, as well as a series of symbols that it can manipulate, and all results are an output of those axioms and those symbols, on the basis of certain rules.  One such system is typical logic.

Man is no longer required, because there is no need here for intuition, or meaning; only the manipulation of symbols.  Right or wrong, this simply means that something is the outcome of those axioms and rules for output, or not.  With Hilbert's dream, mathematics would be able to be executed by computers - theorem provers - programs equipped with the original axioms and output rules. These would be able to prove - in a mechanical manner - all theorems (hence the name, theorem prover); Mathematics without people and meanings, therefore without contradictions and paradoxes.  As Chaitin says: "There should be no human element, there should be no subjective element, there should be no question of interpretation."

In 1931, Goedel showed that the plan is futile - specifically impossible - in however rich in axioms a system may be, at least as far as elementary arithmetic can define or express. In every such system there will be contradictions, that is, proposals that can be valid but cannot be provable by that system.

 Goedel began with the statement by Epimenides the Cretan: "all Cretans are liars", or, in other words, "this statement is a lie".  He only altered it slightly, to : "this statement cannot be proven".

So, the matter is that in an axiomatic system that describes mathematics there can be found a way to enumerate its possible proposals, either finite or infinite ones. That is exactly what Goedel did: he found a way of enumerating the proposals of an axiomatic system, by utilizing the proposals of the elementary numbers theory. So he created a proposal in that axiomatic system, which said that the proposal with number so-and-so of the system cannot be proven. The trick was that the proposal with number so-and-so was the proposal itself.  He thus succeeded in making a self-reference, using the means of that same system.

So he created a form such as: "this statement is false" - specifically, "this statement is unprovable". Can the axiomatic system therefore prove that proposal? If it can, then it encounters a contradiction, since itself says that the proposal cannot be proven. If it cannot, then the proposal is true but it is unprovable. In either case, the system is not a complete one.

Gödel starts with ``this statement is false'', what I'm now saying is a lie, I'm lying. If I'm lying, and it's a lie that I'm lying, then I'm telling the truth! So ``this statement is false'' is false if and only if it's true, so there's a problem. Gödel considered instead ``this statement is unprovable''.

This was in other words the theorem of incompleteness that Goedel proved in 1931. It shows that no sufficiently extensive, closed axiomatic system can be complete.  The conclusion is that we cannot formalize even the meticulously-defined mathematics. There will always be the need for a higher level, in which axioms acquire a meaning - regardless how broad an axiomatic system may be.

Thus, Kelley Ross wrote the following:
Roger Penrose in "The Emperor's New Mind"
(pp. 105-108) notes that if David Hilbert were right and all of mathematics could be completely reduced to a formal syntactic system, then mathematics need have no meaning -- "true" and "false" would simply mean "derivable" and "non-derivable" in the formalism of the system. Hilbert himself recognized this and had said that mathematical terms could mean "beer steins, sausages, and tables" instead of what they are interpreted to mean mathematically (obviously, Hilbert spent some time in German beer gardens).

Instead, Gödel demonstrated that in any formal syntactic system there will be propositions that are true but not through formal derivation from the axioms of the system. Thus, Penrose notes, they are true because of their meaning, not because of their syntax relation to an axiomatic system. This reinforces the thesis of Jerrold Katz, that syntactic simples are not semantic simples, and so some truths will depend on semantic contents that cannot be exhaustively expressed as syntax.

And Voiers:
"Then, Goedel destroyed - within one year's work - all the hopes of the formalists in Mathematics. Goedel showed that at a given moment, one is confined only to the observation of the truth, since in a given formalized system it can be proven that it is impossible to actually prove it, even though one can see that it is something that is valid. Formalists sought nothing more than to eliminate the observer from Mathematics. It was something equivalent to the "final result" in mathematics.  With their labours gone to waste, Goedel proved that there is an eternal need for an observer in arithmetic."

Two and a half thousand years ago, Aristotle had said: "we must pay as much attention to the unproven sayings and opinions of experienced people, as to those which are proven, for it is by having the gaze of experience that they can see correctly." (ταις αναποδείκτοις φάσεσι και δόξαις ουχ ήττον των αποδείξεων, διά το έχειν εκ της εμπειρίας όμμα όρωσιν ορθώς). He had therefore sensed that his logical rules of proof were not sufficient, in order to define everything; or, to say it differently, he was not afraid of encountering a logical contradiction by accepting both options.

No matter what system of proof we may end up with, there will always be contradictions - it will never be a complete system.  Whatever can be proven through certain rules will be limited, without its meaning. To salvage the situation, we resort to fantasy, insight, or whatever else helps us out of that impasse, in ways that are not already contained in the system.

A later, famous mathematician, Chaitin, followed in Goedel's footsteps and even proved that mathematics also contain randomness; that in mathematics there exist axioms that apply without reason - they simply apply. This means they can only be discovered; they are not the output of other pieces of knowledge. The adventure cannot but continue."


The above is my dedication to all the incurable rationalists.

After the above messages by the two Christians, the atheist in this article - along with the other atheists who participated in the discussion (but whose messages we have not included, as they had nothing serious to say) - had no arguments of their own that could refute the Christians' arguments. They merely began to repeat the same words about experience etc., as if they had not bothered to read the arguments that had been presented.  This being the case, we considered it meaningless to repeat the same, and we in fact did not post those repetitions, or the Christians' objections to the repetition of the topics that had already received their responses.

The atheists in this discussion had also resorted to another trick; they began to speak of .... "dragons and pink elephants" in their attempt to ridicule the Christians' positions. But this is another topic altogether, which will be tackled in another article, exposing all the irrationalities that it contained....





Translation:  K.N.

Article published in English on: 7-10-2010.

Last update: 7-10-2010.