Tag Archives: Existence of God

Atheists and authority

The Wintery Knight asked, Does God pose an authority problem for you? and offers an excellent analysis of the common answers.

It reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons where an old man is getting a hearing test.  The extremely nice lady politely tells him to do something for the test, and he grumbles back, “You can’t tell me what to do!”  It was such a clever way to show how we rebel just for the sake of rebelling.  Most of my youthful (and, er, uh, adult) missteps were the same sorts of things: Pure rebellion.  Just stickin’ it to the man — or so I thought.  As usual, our rebellion hurts us and not God.

Revelation 16:8-9 notes how people will know there is a God but would rather curse him than repent and glorify him:

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

Romans 1 is always handy to explain this phenomenon as well:

Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Oddly enough, spiritually dead people do exactly what you’d expect spiritually dead people to do.

We should pray for them, ask God to make them spiritually alive and then be ready to be used by God to share his truths with anyone who is interested.

A “blogment” with an atheist

I’m being lazy and using a comment thread as a blog post to address some common objections of atheists.  There were a lot of similar comments at this thread but I thought this captured some key themes.

Science is the best way to understand the reality of the world around us, to avoid fooling ourselves with imperfect reason, imperfect senses, and personal biases.

Science is great for material things, but by definition it doesn’t deal with immaterial things. And you can’t use science to prove that you should only trust science (circular reference).

And Darwinian evolution selects for survivability, not truth, so, ironically, you have no rational basis to trust your rationality.

The rational part allows us to both accurately weigh evidence and fill in the blanks in our knowledge. The alternative is to defer to tradition or authority.

You beg the question and assume we don’t have evidence for God, the Bible, the resurrection, etc. We have loads — teleological, cosmological, historical, archeological, etc. It is what helped convert me from atheism.

Your assertion about ‘god is supreme law-giver’ is a case in point. The ONLY thing you can say is ‘god says so’. If it causes poverty (abortion), suicide (gay hatred), societal degredation (slavery), dead children (faith healing), war (the middle ages), cronyism, graft, rape, etc (clergy of many vestments), then it simply doesn’t matter. Any believer A who can convince believer B that ‘god said so’ is home free to do anything.

Not at all. That would be the logical conclusion of the false teachers who are totally sure that you can’t be totally sure what the Bible says. I know abortion, suicide, bullying, rape, etc. are all wrong. The fakes will tell you we just can’t be sure because then we’d be putting ourselves in the place of God. (P.S. I won’t tell Max you are one of those nasty absolutists.)

You drank the kool-aid on gay hatred. 1. In your worldview, Darwinian evo caused gay hatred, Christianity, etc. Stop hating on your own worldview! 2. Gays have lots of other issues that lead to suicide. 3. Lots of atheists hate gays (or try to convince me that Matthew Shepherd’s killers — who may not have killed him just for being gay — just came from a Focus on the Family “Love Won Out” conference). 4. Tons of people hate me just for being a Christian, being pro-life and pro-real marriage and I’m not the least bit suicidal, so the hate ==> suicide is a canard. I’m probably way nicer to gays than the average atheist, and not just because I’ll tell them the truth if they ask.

Side note: That is so sad that you consider abortion to be a poverty-preventer. Using that logic, why not kill the kids outside the womb? They consume way more resources than the unborn or newborns. Or let the kid be born then kill the most expensive kid. Wouldn’t that be the most logical way to proceed once your scientifically based morality has deemed it acceptable to kill an innocent human being? (P.S. Note to self: Don’t let Jason travel to 3rd world countries. He thinks nearly all those people should be dead, because the poor in the U.S. live like kings and queens compared to them. I know a lot of very joyful people whose deaths in the womb would have been applauded as pragmatic here in the U.S.)

When the ultimate focus is on what is best for humanity, then ‘let’s kill the infidels’ has to pass a higher test.

What higher test? In your worldview the answer will always be, “Whoever is in power.” That isn’t a higher test, just a flavor change.

“It’s not ‘god said so’ it’s is that a humane and caring thing to do? It is possible to reason to a conclusion about what actions will improve our lot in life and our relationship to other people, and those conclusions will become progressively better over time with a scientific and rational approach.

Yeah, the Enlightenment crowd was really confident of that until that pesky 20th century came along and ruined it.

ps. Sam Harris – The Moral Landscape is a good read for this relationship between science and ethics. He doesn’t make as much of a distinction between science-based reason and scientific experiments, but it does explain the position in more detail.

Would that be the Sam Harris who thought that rape had some evolutionary benefits but now does not? I’ll pass. Again, rationalize all you like, but no amount of chemical reactions can’t make morality. Any “morality” discussed by atheists is by definition moral relativism.

Cheers.

Turning the tables: If evil exists then atheism and moral relativism are both wrong

circle-slash.jpgThe “problem of evil” is a classic argument used against the existence of God, but it is self-refuting. If evil exists — real, universal evil and not just people’s opinions that some things are evil — then that defeats the foundations of both atheism and moral relativism.

  • Atheism – Universal moral laws require a universal moral lawgiver.  Even if Darwinian evolution was true, it could account for feelings of morality but not objective morality.
  • Moral relativism – Making universal claims about right and wrong goes against their worldview.

Both groups rarely go three sentences without making moral claims that they expect you to adhere to, but their worldviews can’t support them and give you no reason to take them seriously.

Evil doesn’t disprove the existence of God, it supports it. Even if it didn’t fail in these ways it still wouldn’t disprove the existence of God.  Atheists can’t prove that God couldn’t have a morally sufficient reason to permit evil for a time.

Hat tip: Stand to Reason

Atheists run from William Lane Craig, but why won’t Craig debate James White?

As much fun as it would be to see William Lane Craig expose the horribly flawed atheistic philosophy of Richard Dawkins, I’d prefer to see Craig debate James White.  It would be a much more balanced debate between two very well prepared, extremely articulate and intelligent Christians.

I’d also like to see Norman Geisler debate White.  I’m part way through The Potter’s Freedom by White, where he defends Reformed theology and critiques Geisler’s Chosen But Free.  I’ve always found White to be exceptionally well researched, and so far his rebuttal of Geisler (whom I have a lot of respect for) is very convincing.

See Atheists on the Run from William Lane Craig.

There are many atheists who refuse to debate William Lane Craig. He is definitely skilled at self-control, remaining on-target, etc. But, I wonder if those who are so excited about Craig’s prowess realize that he has been challenged to debate a number of issues by men with just as much experience as he has in debate, but he has declined?

I have often commented on how useful a debate between myself and Dr. Craig would be on many issues. I have often played portions of Craig’s studies, talks, and debates, and have challenged his statements. I have challenged his evidentialism, and a debate on whether we are called to proclaim the “greater probability of the existence of a god” or to proclaim the certainty of the existence of the God that men know exists would be very useful to our generation. I have challenged his Molinism, even lecturing on the topic at a Reformed Baptist Church right next to the Talbot/Biola campus in Southern California. I do not believe Molinism is at all consistent with biblical truth, and would love to challenge him to demonstrate that the God of the Bible is the same God he describes as having “actuated” this world on the basis of middle knowledge, etc. And, of course, in light of his response to Christopher Hitchens, wherein the only “false” Christian faith he could come up with was not Romanism or any of the fundamentally sub- and anti-Christian movements of our day, but Calvinism, would not the students at Biola/Talbot find a full-orbed series of debates, right there on campus, on the doctrines of grace, to be an exceptionally useful addition to their education?

Dr. Craig is well aware of our desire to engage these subjects. Though we have never met, we know many of the same people, and I have been told, “through channels,” that “Dr. Craig does not debate Christians.” This is the same response you will get from Norman Geisler as well, when the topic comes up as to why he has declined a dozen such challenges over the past decade. I have never been given an explanation of why this is. We are both debaters. We have both debated many of the same people. We have just done so in very different ways, and it would be greatly edifying for the Christian community as a whole to understand the why’s and wherefore’s of those differences. We have both shown that we can debate fairly, fully, and respectfully. So I see absolutely no reason why Dr. Craig will not accept our challenge to engage these topics. We certainly stand ready, and given that the atheists are running for the hills with their hair on fire, it seems Dr. Craig would have plenty of extra time to join us in exploring, via debate, these important apologetic issues.