Thursday, February 27, 2014

Of miracles and debates, Part I

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! That's about the only good thing that came out of Godfather III, but it fits me today. This week, there was a story on the wire about some guy who lived after getting mugged and a shot fired at his chest was stopped by the bible he was carrying in his shirt pocket.

This, of course, made its rounds on Facebook and the forums I frequent. Theists automatically claimed divine intervention while atheists chuckled at the assertion.

My brother posted the version of the story and did so without comment, just a video/story link. He didn't actually come out and say it was a miracle or anything divine, but it's not hard to imagine he was posting it as some incredible story with religious overtones. The story was complete with some bystander offering the obligatory, "Someone was watching over him," type of drivel.

So, without being confrontational or even remarking on the miracle undertones in the story, I commented with a link to a historic piece about Teddy Roosevelt surviving an assassination attempt when his 50-page speech in his jacket stopped a bullet meant for his heart, and the link was accompanied by my comment that paper will indeed stop a bullet.

At this point, my debating nemesis/sister-in-law chimed in, as I knew she would because she's a Christian apologist who never misses an opportunity to proselytize and spew her irrational beliefs. She said it wasn't the bible stopping the bullet that was the miracle, it was because he just started carrying the bible the week before. From that moment on we were off to the races, even after we agreed last month to not debate anymore. This time it was in a semi-public forum, something I had always wanted to happen so others could see her desperate style of debating and her ad hominem attacks when she doesn't want to answer a question.

While I certainly wasn't looking for any debate by posting my link, I'm grateful we did because lately I have been slowing down with my posts here and this has provided me with plenty of fodder and it got my atheism juices going again.

So, here is the start of the exchange after I posted the link with the "stacked paper can stop a bullet" comment, and this is unedited. In the coming days, I will post more portions of the exchange so you can see what truly desperate defeated theists do when they aren't prepared to debate.

HER: The miracle is not the paper, it's the fact that he started carrying that book in his shirt pocket the week before.

(This is quite a low standard for miracles if you ask me, but I chose to go in a different direction.)

ME: Would it have been a miracle if it were the Koran, or a cigarette case? Good thing god made him start smoking last week. Sorry, special pleading and far from a miracle. Glad the guy is OK, but can't imagine anything more arrogant as to think some deity made sure he carried some pocket fairy tale a week in advance so he would have protection from a mugging. Why not stop the mugging? Sad worldview.

(Here comes her first ad hominem, accusing me of being angry and changing the subject for most of the response.)

HER: Why are you always so angry at our beliefs? Nobody said you have to accept what we believe. Why do you think this is even a story in the paper? I think it's because most people believe there was some divine intervention. It wouldn't matter to me if it was the Koran or any other thing that this guy started carrying in his shirt pocket a week before. He was going along doing the same thing day after day and suddenly he is moved to start reding this book and carry it with him everyday. Great for him and I'm glad they reported the story.

(At this point I wanted to say, if he were a homeless druggie and started carrying his crack pipe in his shirt pocket the week before would you have called it a miracle and would the press have reported the story? Would it have been divine intervention?)

ME: I'm happy for him, too, as I said. But there's no anger, just another ad hominem from you. :-) And you brought up it being a miracle, so I said it wasn't, which is wasn't. Nice story, though, glad he's OK. Love you Sweetie!

HER: You can have an opinion. And straw man on your paper can stop bullets. Nobody said they can't. :-)

(After about a month of debating she still doesn't understand what a strawman argument is, which I pointed out to her. And I wanted to use sarcasm and thank her for telling me it was OK for me, the lowly atheist, to have an opinion, but I took it to another level instead.)

ME: I was agreeing with the story that a stack of paper can stop a bullet, no debate, no strawman. And if it's opinion that it wasn't a miracle, then prove it. Show me the empirical evidence that your god made sure he carried this bible just in time to stop this bullet, which may or may not have killed him anyway. You know, burden of proof and all that stuff? Ah, just like old times huh, Sis? :-)

(The gloves are starting to come off and it escalates fast. More in my next post.)

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