Dear Ex-Christadelphians

Perhaps you would print on your site some of the other side of the stories you present so people can get full pictures?

To Rob Hyndman

You say that there is no underpinning evidence (of God).

Could you comment on the change of view of Antony Flew, former global spokesman for Atheism?  He  reversed this position when he considered the coming together of the first cell, the origination of all of earth’s life.  In consequence he authored the book in 2004 “There is a God”.

To answer him, Rob Hyndman, please comment on how all the inanimate non-living components of hydrogen, oxygen, calcium, carbon etc. came together to make the first functioning and self-propagating.  Flew thought there was no answer until his death in 2011.  Perhaps you see some other answers, or know of some that have come since?

I am looking forward to reading this thread and answers to it on your website.

Joel Elgie Rosenau
Christadelphian of British Columbia


18 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, the other side of the story consists of pseudo-science and cherry picking tiny bits of evidence to try and prove the christadelphian point of view. I have recently listened to several CD talks on creationism and the flood and to be frank they are laughable. So called "facts" are presented "proving" that the moon is only 6000 years old, the Alps were created by a worldwide flood along with the fossil layers, transitional fossils have never been found and scientists have never been able to observe evolution occuring. All of which is breathlessly related with an awesome level of naivety and complete ignorance of the massive mountain of evidence which conclusively proves the opposite.
    One former atheist changing his views is barely worth commenting on when faced with this much stupidity and wilful ignorance of the facts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Antony Flew did NOT abandon his Atheism and convert to Theism. He did NOT convert to Christianity. He modified his Atheist beliefs to include Deism but he did NOT believe in a personal god and to the time of his death he rejected all forms of religion. Deism is compatible with Atheism. Einstein was a Deist but he was also an Atheist.

    Before he went senile Flew wrote: "I think we need here a fundamental distinction between the God of Aristotle or Spinoza (Deism) and the Gods of the Christian and the Islamic Revelations." (Flew, Anthony (1998), Could We Survive Our Own Deaths?, Internet Infidels.)

    In 2007 at the age of eighty four and of a frail and forgetful mind, Flew was co-author to the book "There is a God" but it later emerged that this was entirely the work of Roy Abraham Varghese and N. T. Wright, the Anglican bishop of Durham. Flew admitted that he only "read the book" and put his name to it. It is generally accepted in the academic world that Flew was half senile by then.

    Shortly after the book was released, the New York Times published an article by religious historian Mark Oppenheimer, who stated that Varghese had been almost entirely responsible for writing the book, and that Flew was in a serious state of mental decline, having great difficulty remembering key figures, ideas, and events relating to the debate covered in the book.

    Another NYT review by Anthony Gottlieb also noted that Flew could not have written the book and concluded: "Far from strengthening the case for the existence of God, it rather weakens the case for the existence of Antony Flew."
    Click here.

    Gottlieb continued "Instead of trying to construct a coherent chain of reasoning in Flew’s own words, the (ghost writer) authors present a case that often consists of an assemblage of reassuring sound bites excerpted from the writings of scientists, popularizers of science and philosophers. They show little sign of engaging with the ideas they sketchily report. And they don’t seem much bothered whether readers understand what they are trying to say. The pattern of the reasoning is always the same: a phenomenon — be it life, consciousness or the order of nature — is said to be mysterious, and then it is boldly asserted that the only possible explanation for it is “an infinitely intelligent Mind.” It is never said how or why the existence of such a mind constitutes an explanation."

    Gottlieb concluded "It is unclear whether Flew has lost the desire to reason effectively or whether he no longer cares what is published in his name."

    Nevertheless, despite the good name of Antony Flew being hijacked by Varghese for his own ends, there is no hint of Theism or religion in the book and nothing with which an Atheist could disagree. The Atheist Einstein would have been content with the book and I can't see anything in it that I disagree with except for the subtitle written by Varghese "How the world's most notorious atheist changed his mind." Flew did NOT change his mind. He added some Deism to his thinking, but only in the sense that Deism is a form of Atheism that rejects the concept of a personal god that interacts with humans and should be worshipped. Instead, Deism holds that the complexity and beauty of Nature can be considered to be Divine, but not in in a religious sense. Deism is the thought that the Divinity of Nature is independent of humans who may never get to understand the nature or meaning of that Divinity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The idea of a personal god is often referred to as "the god of the gaps." Deism does not replace the gaps with a god, but does acknowledge that there are gaps that need to be filled.

      Deism does not make any attempt to explain what fills those gaps other than to use the word "god." But it uses the word "god" as a metaphor, not as 'proper noun.' That is the primary difference between Theism and Deism and that is why Deism is compatible with Atheism but not with Theism.

      I admire Flew for brining Deism into his thinking towards the end of his life and I am inclined to agree with him. I suspect that there is something far greater to our universe than has heretofore been discovered. But that "something" has nothing to do with the primitive and ignorant hominid religious superstitions like Christadelphianism.

      Delete
  3. Humans have not yet discovered the mechanism of Abiogenesis (how self replicating life emerged from inanimate matter). However it is only a matter of time before science figures out how it happened. A few hundred years ago there were tens of millions of things that humans did not know, but science has relentlessly filled the gaps of our knowledge and driven the concept of a personal god to the point of virtual extinction.

    You might as well ask "Why don't we yet have a quantum theory of gravity" or "Why do General Relativity equations yield answers of infinity when driven to extremes" or "How can Space Time exist when at 10 to the minus 32 cms the uncertainty principle would make it too unstable to exist" or "Where do subatomic particles go when they enter the Quantum Vacuum" or "How can photons emerge from the heated carbon filament of an incandescent light globe when they were not there before we switched the light on" or any number of science questions that have yet to be answered. Just because science has not yet solved all of the mysteries of Nature, that is no reason to resort to fideism, illogical reasoning, irrationality and superstition to gain a shortcut to an answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. //Humans have not yet discovered the mechanism of Abiogenesis//

      This is the part theists capitalise on, but they don't realise that the more accurate way to say it is that "Humans have not yet discovered all parts of the mechanism of Abiogenesis. But they have made huge progress."

      Theists want to pretend that the study of abiogenesis never got off the starting grid, but this is just plain false.

      Have a look at 58:50 in this video (until about 1:00:00):
      https://youtu.be/W1fRfV_TTAo
      I watched the whole thing a while back and found it fascinating.

      This demonstrates the shrinking of the gap, in this "god of the gaps" argument. Many theists still insist that God was required for the origin of life, but now they'd need to revise that to "God was needed for the origin of a self-replicating molecule" if they're going to at least pretend to live in objective reality.

      Getting back to the Argument from Design, which is what this really is... it's actually just a textbook form of the argument from personal incredulity.

      That's a logical fallacy, and it has either the form, "I don't understand X, therefore it is false" or "I don't understand how X could be true, therefore it is false".

      Examples include, "life cannot come from non-life" (i.e. I don't understand how life could arise from non-living matter, therefore it couldn't), and "complexity requires an intelligent designer" (i.e. I don't understand how complexity could arise without an intelligent designer, therefore it couldn't).

      The fallacy is easy to spot when you know what to look for, and it should be a guide to sharpen our thinking, but theists don't seem to want such tools. They just want to believe, and these "deepities" allow them to do just that without having to cope with all those pesky unknowns. For every question science answers, it raises a whole set of new ones, and that is uncomfortable to many people, especially those with a high need for cognitive closure.

      Delete
  4. Hi Joel

    Consider the following:

    Thunder and Lightening
    God of the Gaps Explanation: God does it – perhaps he’s angry?
    Educated Scientific Explanation: Collision of particles leads to negative charge at bottom of cloud and arcs down to ground

    Diversity of language
    God of the Gaps Explanation: God does it to stop people build a Tower in Babel. I note this doesn't seem to happen now...
    Educated Scientific Explanation: Isolated communities of people developed different names for similar objects. As people migrated their languages changed

    There are MANY more explanations attributed to the supernatural – just look in the Bible for references to Demons and Witches – now accepted as nonsense, but at the time were assigned a “catch-all” explanation

    Your “explanation” of life’s origin can be placed in the same category – “God of the Gaps” i.e. we don’t know the answer, therefore, say God did it. The strange thing is that EVERY time when God has been proposed as an explanation in the past, God has NEVER been the answer when we’ve become educated enough to understand why nature acts the way it does.

    Secondly, how does the scenario of particles coming together, almost certainly the origins of life, tie to a story of a man created from dirt and a rib woman?

    Thirdly, how is your God/creation story any more credible than hundreds of other origin stories of life on earth? They all rely on explanations that can’t be tested

    Kind regards

    Scott

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Joel, if you're basing your worldview on what someone else believes, you're doing it wrong.

    If Antony Flew had changed his mind and once again became an atheist, would you change yours? If not, then I suggest this example is irrelevant.

    I've known people who claim that DNA contains information (which I agree with), and that information requires intelligence (which I disagree with). They never quite say how they arrived at this conclusion. There seem to be many steps missing along the way, and it really just sounds like argument from personal incredulity (i.e. "I don't know how information could arise without intelligence, therefore it can't").

    But what is information?
    Here's an awesome video that attempts to answer that:
    https://youtu.be/sMb00lz-IfE

    That would suggest that information is directly correlated with entropy. And we know that entropy increases naturally.

    But there's another thought experiment we can do as well.

    Wouldn't intelligence require information? But if information also requires intelligence, that creates a vicious circle, or an infinite regress.

    And if there is information in the mind of God, which intelligent being created that information?

    In any case, wouldn't an omniscient being know all information there was to know? By definition, yes. But is that possible? Well, no, because such a being would also have to know that it knows everything, and it would need to know that it knows that it knows everything, and so on. The information in such a scenario is infinite.

    But suppose God did somehow know all information. That would include information about all of his future actions, rendering him without any free will.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Joel,
    You wrote you would enjoy reading "this thread and the answers".
    How are you getting on so far?
    Love to hear from you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm pleased with the comments made, but surprised that anybody has bothered.
    Joel seems to me to be asking Rob Hyndman to comment on the supposed changes of view of Antony Flew, rather than any of us here.
    This is odd because, so far as I know, Rob has never written or commented here. Surely contacting Rob directly would be a better strategy if that is what Joel is REALLY interested in. Rob's religious life have now been downgraded to a few sentences on his blog, and he clearly states that "that part of (his) life is now over", so I'm unclear as to Joel's purpose with this obscure line of questioning.
    The other side of the story is very clearly put forward on dozens of Christadelphian sites, and the extreme evangelical sites that Christadelphians draw their inspiration from. There is no need for repetition of it here, from people who, like Rob, have put that primitive religious life firmly in the part of their lives that is over.
    At last weekend's (Rugby) "Prophecy Day" Br Simeon Guntrip declared evolutionists and theistic evolutionists to be wrong because without creation as described in their understanding of Genesis "the Angels would have had nothing to do"...as if that is a valid explanation, later, Don Pearce assured parents that the children of Christadelphians "taken up" at the second coming, will be looked after by the Jews for 1000 years.
    If Joel is signed up to the sort of belief system that holds that as "The Truth", then it may be a year or two before he sorts himself out sufficiently to realise that just because the processes of early life formation are are not yet understood, that does not mean that they never will be.
    Mancott:
    He will never comment. Learning is not his purpose here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. // Don Pearce assured parents that the children of Christadelphians "taken up" at the second coming, will be looked after by the Jews for 1000 years. //

      Really? I thought the whole thing with this kingdom of heaven was that it was actually on earth. Surely those children's parents would still be around and accessible, even if now immortal?

      Personally, if this actually happened I suspect some children would have a grudge against Jesus for taking their parents away, and thus not display the appropriate acceptance of Jesus as saviour and king.

      Delete
    2. JJ,
      Yes, although to get the full message you need to listen.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVD9YfqrlaM

      1.03.38 if you don't fancy the full session. I sat through all three sessions last Saturday but feel off my chair at this fanciful stuff.
      Don's belief is that when the Christadelphians are called away, the kids will go with them, right up to the judgment seat. At this point, the Angels will look after them for the ten years up until the battle of Armageddon. At this point, they will be handed over to the returning Jews, and live in, and benefit from, The Kingdom,(physically they will be in Israel) and get a chance for immortality at the end of the 1000 years.
      I attended the talk at the time, by means of being there "virtually", and from the whole day, it was these few minutes that troubled me most.It seemed to me that Don, while well meaning, sounded rather like a Catholic Priest, in that his human desire to offer comfort and assurance, led him to concoct a statement that was not a good reflection of Christadelphian teaching, and does not stand up under any kind of scrutiny.

      Delete
    3. I always thought that a ten year judgement period created more problems than it solved. This is just another example of that.

      I was thinking that he was going to leave it as "I believe" without a supporting verse, but then he threw in Isa 56:6 - 7. Pity it's misapplied and doesn't say what he wants it to say.

      But ultimately, I'm not sure how reassuring it really is to say "Yes, your children will be safe. You'll be separated from them, of course, but if you're lucky they'll make the right choice and you can be reunited at the end of the millenium. Pity if they don't know you any more, but there's all eternity to get to know each other." Sure, few people are really going to think through it to that level, but if you want comfort it would be much simpler to say "We should trust that God will take care of them" and leave it at that.

      I'm glad to know the angels have been working overtime, too (at least they earn their pay packet). But it seems a bit curious that an all-powerful God requires angels working overtime to make events happen as he predicted in advance while (technically) not infringing human free will.

      I never had much to do with this prophecy / angelic action side of Christadelphia, but I vividly remember one discussion group when everyone else was talking excitedly about this or that unexplained event as God's angels practicing for Armageddon. Not only was it completely fanciful, but the idea of angels needing practice is extra-Biblical and extremely disturbing. What if an angel accidentally messes up the all-knowing plan of God while practicing? Or what if they haven't quite perfected it by Armageddon, and the bad guys win? Or the wrong people get killed? Really, the only slightly credible defense for slaughter on that scale is that God is in control and all powerful and knows what he's doing. To entrust it to apparently fallible angels takes that away. And all in the name of seeing a few extra "signs of the times" to get excited about. What about if some of the angelic appearances in the Bible were also practice, or the angel involved made a mistake? Really makes you think.

      Oh, and a lot of believers think that these angels are the saved beings from a past creation, and they will be taking angel like roles in the future. Maybe they think they are going to be making mistakes and needing practice too? Never mind, it's not like that city I blasted matters, I've still got another four to take care of...

      The more you fill in details (whether from the Bible or outside the Bible), the more certain believers get excited, but the less credible it becomes.

      Delete
    4. I think the "God will take care of the children" idea is pretty prevalent among Christadelphians. I just don't see how it's actually comforting though.

      Sure, we should trust the being that invented smallpox, polio, and every other disease ever, to look after our children. What could possible be the harm in that?

      I'm sure God is doing a fantastic job of looking after the millions of orphans in the world right now, especially in areas where resources are scarce... right?

      Delete
    5. Steve, What had me falling from my chair was not the obvious point that there seems to be no evidence that God takes care of children, but more his stance that the children of Christadelphian parents, simply by being the children of Christadelphian parents, get a different (better?) shot at eternal life than others.
      Christadelphians are very quick to condemn the practice of infant baptism as per article 27 of the Church of England doctrines, which seeks to use baptism to confer a state of being Christian upon a child, but leaves the child to later make confirmation of that, and does not result in salvation of itself (often misrepresented omong Christadelphians, who know no better) and yet Don's belief (backed up with irrelevant scripture as JJ points out), is, in essence the very same thing.
      If you make a bold statement such as Don has, then you should expect to be challenged.

      Delete
    6. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising for Christadelphians to show this level of favouritism. The Bible itself shows this kind of attitude towards children:

      "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation."
      Exodus 34:6-7

      "You show unfailing love to thousands. But you also punish children for the sins of their parents."
      Jeremiah 32:18 (Yes, it really does say exactly that)

      "Then tell them, ‘The Lord says, “I will soon fill all the people who live in this land with stupor. I will also fill the kings from David’s dynasty, the priests, the prophets, and the citizens of Jerusalem with stupor. And I will smash them like wine bottles against one another, children and parents alike. I will not show any pity, mercy, or compassion. Nothing will keep me from destroying them,’ says the Lord.”"
      Jeremiah 13:13-14 (God of love indeed!)

      It's all in the good book. Apparently that's where they get their morality from...

      Delete
    7. Steve, tonight at the University of Melbourne I was listening to a researcher talking about the attempts to control mosquito populations and prevent mosquito borne diseases like dengue. I notice a lot of human ingenuity and experimentation, and absolutely no mention of God. Same for smallpox and polio eradication.

      Delete
  8. This burning question in CD parents minds about "What happens to the children?" came up in the late 1960`s, possibly as a result of the 1967 Middle East crisis, and the CD`s pronouncing (yet again) that Christ`s return was "at the door". I`m fairly certain that the CD mag writings came up with a different scenario then, to what Don Pearce is trotting out now.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Again, CD's are running from one lecture to another, Middle east is really in the picture, Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump, all God's work coming together, Israel will be invaded by Gog and then the world will be in turmoil. CD's are called away by God. Who did God speak to, or better still, text or emailed someone in this mentally disturbed ( religiously ) bunch. I cannot comprehend how these people come up with stories made up as they read the Bible to mean this period of time. But they have failed many times before, again and again they say they have been called out, give me some proof please...

    ReplyDelete

ONLY MEMBERS CAN COMMENT - to prevent spamming.

To join please email us at Ex-Christadelphians@Hotmail.Com

Non-members can also comment by emailing their comment to us at the above email address for us to upload.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.