There Isn't a Bad Reason to Reject the Christian Faith, Part 2

Previously I argued there isn't a bad personal reason to reject the Christian faith. This argument is aimed at Christians who believe in the following Doctrinal Statement (DS): An omniscient, omnibenelovent, omnipotent God exists who sent Jesus to atone for the sins of all who believe in him and desires that everyone should be saved with no one lost (See 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Other believers need not apply. Other beliefs that people have are not specifically relevant to my argument except as they illustrate how bad human beings generally reason about things. In the next few posts I'm going to answer some criticisms of what I had written. Be sure to read my original post to understand what follows.

I've found that the more well-known an atheist becomes then the more often atheists criticize him or her for this, that, or the other. I don't like it but it comes with the territory. It's a sign of some kind of success, believe it or not. Atheists disagree with each other quite a bit anyway, but in my case I have put out thousands of words over the last seven years, so atheists who want to nitpick at this, that, or the other, can find plenty of nits to pick, especially since I like being a provocateur from time to time. One atheist critic of my argument is Jeff Lowder, who has recently been dogging my steps for reasons that totally baffle me.

First of all Lowder agrees with me that it is normally rational for people who had a unique (or extraordinary) personal experience of some kind to believe such an experience actually happened. But that's where the agreement ends. Lowder goes on to point out the obvious. He says it doesn’t follow that it's rational for someone to believe just anything based upon a unique (or extraordinary) personal experience. He says no personal experience can make it rational for someone to believe that the moon is made out of green cheese, since no unique (or extraordinary) personal experience can do this.

Jeff, if you're reading this, did I summarize what you had written? I think it's important to charitably restate what others say before criticizing them, don't you? That way it cannot be said I'm straw-manning them, provided they agree with how I restated their argument. Did I get you right so far?

Why is it that when we're talking about private subjective experiences someone always brings up public objective experiences as counter examples? Christians repeatedly do this. Lowder just did the same thing. I offered two examples of what I was talking about. One case involved a dream by a guy named Pat. The other one was an example of self-deception. Both of these examples of mine are private subjective experiences. Lowder's response is basically to say that public objective experiences are in a different category than private subjective experiences.

Who knew? Thanks Jeff for this non-insight.

With regard to objective reasons to reject Christianity there are a multitude of them. There isn't much objective evidence for the Christian faith at all, if there is any. On that subject I have been clear. Again for the record, there are many many good personal reasons AND good arguments that should lead reasonable people to reject Christianity.

The question for us however, is not whether there are good objective reasons to reject Christianity. The question is whether private, subjective, ignorant, irrational, rebellious and self-deceptive reasons to reject Christianity are good ones given DS above. My argument is that even these "bad" reasons for rejecting Christianity are still good reasons.

Got that yet?
Bad reasons are good ones. Or, to state it better, 

bad reasons are not bad reasons after all, while good reasons are still good ones.

In my previous post I asked several questions about how human beings reason. I said that if any of a number of factors were to obtain then the distinction between having good personal reasons and bad personal reasons for what we believe basically flies out the window. I did not comment with finality on whether or not this is the case. Although it's clear I think the distinction is hard to pinpoint apart from the results of science, which is the exception, since it deals in hard cold objective evidence that eventually changes minds. I asked questions that need asked and answered. Perhaps Lowder would like to answer them.

I think that what makes any given belief rational is a complex subject. Yes, yes, it involves sufficient evidence, but it's really interesting to me how rational people can basically evaluate the same evidence and come away with opposite conclusions. I presume Lowder would agree, so I don't think he has yet expressed all that he knows.

Again Jeff, how am I doing?

What I did say was this: "If nothing else, there are certainly many cases where we cannot even say what it means for some people to have good personal reasons for what they believe." So by providing one counter-example as Lowder did, that it's not rational to believe the moon is made of green cheese, doesn't say anything about most all of the things reasonable people disagree about that are as clear as mud. And it says nothing about my particular argument either. When it comes to rational peer disagreements where it's not clear to everyone who is right or wrong, they are Legion (cue the biblical reference). Who's to say who's rational and who's not, apart from science anyway?

What we can say with virtual certainty is that all people who accept something as true also think they have good reasons for it, to a person, on a conscious level. That's why our abilities to reason are extremely bad. It's because of the haphazard evolution of the human brain. The only antidote to our poor reasoning abilities is science.

Then comes what Lowder considers the kicker: "By the same logic, there can be bad reasons to reject Christianity or any other false belief." [By "bad" he means really bad, that is, wrong or false reasons].

But we're not talking about "any other false belief." Of that I was crystal clear. We're talking about Christians who accept DS. My argument is that all personal reasons are good ones when it comes to rejecting the particular doctrinal beliefs represented in DS. So all Lowder has is a non-insightful obvious assertion to the contrary, something I don't disagree with, which by its nature cannot be considered a criticism of my argument.

I'm not always right. I know this. So surely Lowder will catch me saying something wrong, since apparently he's looking for it. When he does find something I'll admit it. This just doesn't seem to be one of those times though.