Ten quick responses to atheist claims

AT the recent London Evangelists’ Conference, Professor John Lennox offered some quick responses to some common claims from atheists.

1) You don’t believe in Zeus, Thor and all the other gods. I just go one god more than you, and reject the Christian God.

The problem with this idea is that ‘gods’ such as Zeus and Thor are not comparable with the biblical understanding of God.

“There is a vast distinction between all of the Ancient near eastern gods and the God of the Bible,” said Prof Lennox. “They are products of the primeval mass and energy of the universe. The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth”.

2) Science has explained everything, and it doesn’t include God.

Science cannot answer certain kinds of questions, such as ‘what is ethical?’ and ‘what is beautiful?’ Even when it comes to questions about the natural world, which science does explore and can sometimes answer, there are different types of explanations for different things.

“God no more competes with science as an explanation of the universe than Henry Ford competes with the law of internal combustion as an explanation of the motor car,” says Prof Lennox.

3) Science is opposed to God.

There are certain conceptions of a ‘god’ that might be opposed to science, but not the Christian God. There might be certain kinds of ‘gods’ that are invented to explain things we don’t understand, but they’re not Christian.

“If we’re being offered a choice between science and god… it is not a biblical concept of god,” said Prof Lennox. “The biblical God is not a god of the gaps, but a God of the whole show. The bits we do understand [through science] and the bits we don’t.

“Among many leading thinkers, their idea of god is thoroughly pagan. If you define god to be a god of the gaps, then you have got to offer a choice between science and god.”

4) You can’t prove that there is a God.

This kind of statement ignores that there are different kinds of ‘proof’.

“Can you prove that there is a God?” asked Prof Lennox. “In the mathematical sense no, but proving anything is very difficult. The word proof has two meanings. There’s the rigorous meaning in maths that is very difficult to do and rare. But then there’s the other meaning – beyond reasonable doubt”.

That’s the kind of ‘proof’ we can present: arguments to bring someone beyond reasonable doubt. For example, rational arguments such as those from philosophers Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, the personal experience of Christians, and the witness of the gospel accounts in the Bible.

5) Faith is believing without any evidence.

Christian belief has never been about having no evidence: the gospels were written to provide evidence, as the beginning of Luke’s attests. The end of John’s gospel says, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

But believing without evidence is a common notion of ‘faith’ at present. “This definition is in the dictionary and believed by many,” said Prof Lennox. “So, when we talk about faith in Christ, they think that’s because there’s no evidence. [John’s gospel shows that] Christianity is an evidence-based faith.”

6) Faith is a delusion. I’d no more believe in God than I would in the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

These ideas have been made famous by people such as Prof Richard Dawkins. The only thing they are good for is mockery.

“Statements by scientists are not always statements of science,” said Prof Lennox. “Stephen Hawking said, “religion is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark”. I said, “atheism is a fairy story for people afraid of the light”.

“Neither of those statements proves anything at all. They’re all reversible. What lies behind all these delusion claims is the Freudian idea of wish fulfilment [that we believe what we hope to be true.] This works brilliantly providing there is no god. But if there is a god, then atheism is wish fulfilment.”

7) Christianity claims to be true, but there loads of denominations and they all disagree with each other, so it must be false.
Why does the existence of denominations imply Christianity is false? It might imply that Christians have very different personalities and cultures – or even that Christians aren’t good at getting on with each other – but not that Christianity isn’t true.

“There are all kinds of different kinds of teams in football, but they all play football,” said Prof Lennox.

8) The Bible is immoral.

If you want to question the morality of the Bible, what basis does that morality have? There can be a serious contradiction within atheist criticisms. Dawkins wrote: “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

If this is true, then why does he question the morality of anything? “Dawkins says faith is evil,” said Prof Lennox. “But at the same time he abolishes the categories of good and evil. That doesn’t make sense.”

9) Surely you don’t take the Bible literally?

Some atheists (and a few Christians) have a very black and white idea of how to interpret the Bible. You either have to take it ‘literally’ or chuck it away, they think. That ignores the reality of language and how it reflects truth.

“Jesus said ‘I’m the door’,” said Prof Lennox. “Is Jesus a door like a door over there? No. He is not a literal door, but he is a real door into a real experience of God. Metaphor stands for reality. The word ‘literal’ is useless.”

10) What is the evidence for God?
You can debate the existence of God until the cows come home. It can be very interesting, especially when you go into the detail and explore the subject in depth. But for an atheist, they might be missing the point or avoiding the real issue. Prof Lennox advises to ask them the most important question:

“Suppose I could give [evidence for God], would you be prepared right now, to repent and trust Christ?”

Of course there are more in-depth answers to all of these claims – try out videos of debates between Prof Lennox and Prof Dawkins like this one:

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72 thoughts on “Ten quick responses to atheist claims

  1. What a litany of strawmen. “Zeus and Thor are not comparable with the biblical understanding of God.” Here Lennox effectively quote mines himself by omitting the “all other gods” part, which would include that of Islam and Judaism, which are biblically comparable. And insisting on “biblical comparability” is an example of special pleading in any case.

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    • To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.” ~ Ravi Zacharias

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      • This is a quote by atheist writer Crispin Sartwell recently in The Atlantic on atheism and faith.

        I’m an atheist because I think of the universe as a natural, material system. I think of it, on the basis of my own extremely limited experience, as an infinitely replete but morally indifferent thing. It isn’t bent on saving me, or damning me: It just is. I find comfort in that, as well as pain; wonder as well as loathing. That’s my experience, and my atheism is a reflection of that experience. But it’s not an argument; it’s an interpretation.

        I have taken a leap of atheist faith.

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      • My opinion, supported by most dictionaries and a swathe of literature

        Yeah and I can cite plenty of dictionary definitions and literature that disagrees with your definition. In fact, I already have.

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      • And another quote from atheist Crispin Sartwell:

        The idea that the atheist comes to her/his view of the world through rationality and argumentation, while the believer relies on arbitrary emotional commitments, is false. This accounts for the sense that atheists such as Christopher Hitchens or Dawkins are arrogant: Their line of thinking often takes the form of disqualifying others on the grounds that they are irrational. But the atheist too, is deciding to believe in conditions of irremediable uncertainty, not merely following out a proof.

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      • “Yeah and I can cite plenty of dictionary definitions and literature that disagrees with your definition.” You were the one who said it was “only my opinion”. Most dictionaries (Oxford, Cambridge & Macquarie) provide for the absence of belief as opposed to an assertion of non existence, and for good reason. Same goes for current literature on atheism.

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      • Nothing to say about Sartwell’s thoughts?

        As for dictionary definitions: You know that I and others have posted many of them that counter your definition. I won’t bother to post them again. And as we always end up, agree to disagree.

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      • “But the atheist too, is deciding to believe in conditions of irremediable uncertainty”

        Give me an example of an “irremediable uncertainty” I’m choosing to believe in.

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      • If atheists applied their own definition of atheism to their divine creation the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an atheist would proudly state they merely have an “absence of belief in” the FSM. Just as with the theist’s God, they would neither concede to having a disbelief or belief . I have no qualms confessing that not only do I have a “lack of belief in” the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I also positively believe the FSM God does not exist. Are atheists willing to concede a theist has more conviction that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t exist than an atheist does? Perhaps now atheists can fully see how incomplete and wanting their definition of atheism is in practice.

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      • “Nothing to say about Sartwell’s thoughts?”

        Patience grasshopper! See my previous reply.

        “many of them that counter your definition.”

        The point is that they’re not “my” definitions. They are definitions from major dictionaries, based on, among other things, common understanding of the use and meaning of a word.

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      • @ Les “Are atheists willing to concede a theist has more conviction that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t exist than an atheist does?” What has conviction got to do with the reality of something’s existence?

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      • “Unlike agnosticism, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial.” Apart from being a minority account, the problem with this kind of definition is that it cannot give you a persons actual position. You can be an agnostic and hold to a degree of certainty that the resurrection stories in the Bible are true or be an agnostic and have no belief in a deity whatsoever.

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      • well if Stu is an atheist his opinion on atheism would surely be more valid than that of the Christian ?

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    • A problem with an “absence of belief” definition is that it is not accepted by the vast majority of people. I personally don’t know anyone who considers babies atheists because they lack belief in gods. I also don’t know of any people who are agnostic or undecided about the existence of God who call themselves atheists.

      A “lack of belief” definition for the word “atheist” would include so many agnostics, babies, infants, and the undecided that the self-identified atheists would be a very small minority. Babies and infants would make up a majority of the “lack of belief” atheists and I haven’t heard of any of them who could express a coherent definition.

      Most surveys of religious beliefs show that only a minority of the non-religious people self-identify as atheists. For example an American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) shows that 13.2% of the US population self-identified as “no religion” while 0.4% self-identified as atheists and 0.5% self-identified as agnostics.

      The lack of public acceptance for a “lack of belief” definition of “atheism” is reflected in the fact that no reputable dictionary has a “lack of belief” definition for either “atheism” or “atheist”.

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      • “I also don’t know of any people who are agnostic or undecided about the existence of God who call themselves atheists.” Look no further Yael. If you need to, try Richard Dawkins on pages 50-51 of the The God Delusion. If you need to look even further, try the motto of the Australian Atheist Foundation. Where a person stands on the existence of gods is matter of degree.

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      • Hardly credible impartial sources Stu.

        Yael’s point would appear to be justified by the many national surveys that show a certain percentage of people classify themselves as “No Religion” (perhaps you might call them agnostic) and a much smaller group that call themselves atheists. Most people – even those who claim no religion – do not also call themselves atheists. It’s not a “matter of degree” at all.

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      • Yes Yael, you bring up an interesting point. If Stu’s definition is correct then all babies are atheists. The fact that a child perhaps doesn’t know about the concept of God doesn’t make him an atheist.

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      • “It’s not a “matter of degree” at all.”

        That’s because you see things as black or white, while I think in terms of probabilities (grey).

        “Hardly credible impartial sources Stu.”

        Yael said he “didn’t know of any people who are agnostic or undecided about the existence of God who call themselves atheists.” I identified two individuals and one organisation showing there such people. Partiality is irrelevant to the point I was making.

        “Yael’s point would appear to be justified by the many national surveys…”

        Argumentum ad populum.

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      • Argumentum ad populum? A short while ago you were arguing against what you called “a minority account”!!!! and claiming definitions from “major dictionaries”.

        And then you claim that the views of two people and one organisation proves your point? Really Stu!!

        I’m glad you think you see things in probabilities of grey. Good for you. Perhaps consider the following with an open (grey inclined) mind:

        And Just for anyone who hasn’t a copy of Dawkins’ book, the passage Stu refers to is when he proposes a . “spectrum of probabilities” between two extremes of opposite certainty, which can be represented by seven “milestones”. Dawkins suggests definitive statements to summarize one’s place along the spectrum of theistic probability. These “milestones” are:
        1.Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: “I do not believe, I know.”
        2.De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”
        3.Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”
        4.Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent. “God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.”
        5.Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. “I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.”
        6.De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
        7.Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.”

        Dawkins originally said he is a 6 and then later changed that to 6.9.

        His own belief scale shows atheism is a belief system.

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      • “Argumentum ad populum? A short while ago you were arguing against what you called “a minority account”!!!! and claiming definitions from “major dictionaries”.”

        Was my argument based solely on identifying an account as a minority, or solely on the basis of particular dictionary definitions? No it wasn’t, so maybe four exclamation marks is bit excessive.

        “And then you claim that the views of two people and one organisation proves your point?”

        It proves the point I was making, to show that there are people that share my position. Yael said he didn’t know of anyone that shared my position. Now he does.

        “His own belief scale shows atheism is a belief system.”

        No it doesn’t. As you quoted, the scale is a “spectrum of probabilities” not belief.

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      • Slightly snagged yourself there mate. You claimed majority viewpoint and then complained when someone else did the same.

        Anyway, you had to make a conscious decision on where you fit in on Dawkins’ scale. That’s what belief is. You come to a conclusion based on the definitions. And the definitions require belief.

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      • “You claimed majority viewpoint and then complained when someone else did the same.”

        No I didn’t. If my argument had been based solely on a majority viewpoint you’d have a point. But it doesn’t, so you don’t. The only reason I mentioned dictionary definitions at all is to counter your cherry picking of certain definitions and Yaels false assertion that “that no reputable dictionary has a “lack of belief” definition for either “atheism” or “atheist”.”

        “Anyway, you had to make a conscious decision on where you fit in on Dawkins’ scale. That’s what belief is.”

        No. I held this position before I had ever considered this scale. In any case conflating decision making with belief is a mistake. Not all decisions require belief, and it’s possible to hold a belief without making a conscience decision.

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      • You held a position? Hooray!!! (that deserves three !) Yes you did. You made a decision. based on belief Stu. What is your belied based on then if you haven’t made a decision? Own up to having committed.

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      • “You made a decision. based on belief Stu. What is your belied based on then if you haven’t made a decision? Own up to having committed.”

        Decisions can be made without belief. Commitments can be made without belief. I’m heading to the fridge right now having committed to having a beer based on the probability of there being a beer being in the fridge.

        “What is your belief based on…”

        What belief are you referring to?

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      • Seriously Stu? You went to the fridge believing the beer would be there. But seriously? I’m sure you’re joking now. Are you saying you call yourself an atheist but you have no idea why? The position just fell on you without any thought? C’mon mate, You can do better than that.

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      • “Seriously Stu? You went to the fridge believing the beer would be there.”

        No. I went the fridge based on the probability of there being beer in the fridge and a commitment to drinking that beer based on the probability of it being in my fridge. In case this isn’t clear: I hold no value, opinion or viewpoint on the basis of belief.

        “Are you saying you call yourself an atheist but you have no idea why?”

        Of course not. I call myself an atheist because I have an absence of belief in any deities.

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      • And that absence of belief is based on…belief that there is an absence….
        You cannot stay neutral about it. You invariably make a judgment about an idea once it has been introduced to you. You reject or accept.
        Lack of belief is defined as a non-intellectual commitment or non-action concerning belief. So you are either someone who has no intellectual belief and wrongly call yourself an atheist. Or you are an agnostic. And that means you don’t know or perhaps don’t wish to know. It has nothing to do with intellect. Lack of belief is really an attempt by atheists to avoid facing and defending the problems in their atheistic position. I believe you might really think you living in the deceptively beautiful grey area where nothing is black or white, right or wrong, real or false but I also think it’s a copout. Surely you’re not as lukewarm as you pretend.

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      • “And that absence of belief is based on…You cannot stay neutral…about it… You reject or accept…Lack of belief is defined as a non-intellectual commitment…”

        Wrong. I don’t have to accept what you or anybody else believe just because you assert so. I’m not neutral about about my position which is: I’m an atheist because I have an absence in belief in the supernatural in all forms.

        “Or you are an agnostic. And that means you don’t know or perhaps don’t wish to know.”

        It means I don’t know, or can’t know or or can’t know yet. Not knowing is never a “cop out”.

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      • Some atheists have created a phony definition of atheism as a ‘lack of belief in God’. ‘Lack of belief’ is a psychological state – like an infant, rock or a tree stump (neither true nor false).

        This phony definition of atheism is intended to permit them to hide atheism behind agnosticism in order to shield atheists from any intellectual burden to justify their belief position. It’s intellectually lazy at best.

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      • “Some atheists have created a phony definition of atheism as a ‘lack of belief in God’.”

        A “phoney” definition like this perhaps: “Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.” (OED online). Clearly an atheist conspiracy.

        “‘Lack of belief’ is a psychological state – like an infant, rock or a tree stump (neither true nor false).”

        This is creating a false dichotomy. Belief has nothing to whether something is real or not.

        “This phony definition of atheism is intended to permit them to hide atheism behind agnosticism in order to shield atheists from any intellectual burden to justify their belief position.”

        I don’t hold any position based on belief. You want to create a position for me, then attack that position. If you are doing that deliberately, that is more than just lazy.

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      • Stu, You have a belief regarding God’s existence, and that belief is that God’s existence is improbable or impossible. While you may not be certain of this belief (and certainty is not required), you have certainly made a judgment. Youy are not intellectually neutral

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      • Once it becomes necessary for you to give a label or name tag to what you believe you have escalated it to a belief system

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      • “Stu, You have a belief regarding God’s existence, and that belief is that God’s existence is improbable or impossible.”

        This is what I mean by assigning a position to me, rather than looking at my actual position. The probability of something’s existence is not based on belief. The beer in my fridge is a case in point.

        “You are not intellectually neutral”

        Never claimed to be. I’ve outlined clearly why I don’t believe on gods before, but you’ve chosen not to engage with that reasoning.

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      • Yael,
        It is an implicit teaching of the Bible that when it comes to children (before the age of consent), parents are to stand in the place of God, under delegated authority from God (and I can give you the Scriptural text upon request).

        Hence, it is not far off the mark to say that if you want to see what values system the parents have by how the child behaves. Thus babies and children can be atheists if that is what they have been taught by their parents.

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    • Stu, that is the definition that Atheism has claimed more recently. As an agnostic, I object to being deemed an Athiest as I am in the centre of the scale of Theist and Atheist.

      The trouble seems to be that many Atheists work in context to the current selection of God beliefs rather than with the bigger picture of Theism. It is an adoption of a binary worldview that is just as troublesome as the binary worldviews that come from religion.

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      • “Stu, that is the definition that Atheism has claimed more recently. As an agnostic, I object to being deemed an Athiest as I am in the centre of the scale of Theist and Atheist.”

        The definition does not “deem” you an atheist. If you regard the existence of a god as a 50/50 proposition, then calling yourself an agnostic is reasonable. I regard the idea of the existence of a deity as much less probable than 50 percent, so for all intents and purposes I describe myself as an atheist. It’s hardly a binary worldview and I’ve spelt out why I think it’s problematic to describe me as agnostic above.

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      • Weren’t you recently describing yourself as agnostic and an atheist Stu?
        Applying your own “everything is grey” definition to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, do you merely have an “absence of belief about the FSM?
        What about the soul? Care to make a decision on that?

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      • Ah, from your original comment I thought you were taking the common misinformed Atheist route where a lack of belief in God counts one as an Atheist. Unfortunately, there are many Atheists that do turn this into a binary worldview.

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      • “Weren’t you recently describing yourself as agnostic and an atheist Stu?”

        Yes.

        “Applying your own “everything is grey” definition to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, do you merely have an “absence of belief about the FSM?”

        The FSM probably isn’t real on account of it being invented to (a) mock fundamentalist religious beliefs and (b) stop the teaching of intelligent design in public schools in Arkansas or someplace.

        “What about the soul?”

        Souls, angels, demons, Satan, Shiva, Allah, astrology, ghosts, unicorns, centaurs – name your superstition. All of these things are things some people believe or believed in. On what basis should I accept any of these as real?

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      • “So you’re not sure about God. But you’re sure about the soul and the FSM. Have I got that right?”

        No, you don’t. I think the probability of an omnimax entity (pick any version you like) and “the soul” existing in reality are equally unlikely. Given we can trace the creation of the FSM in a very specific way, I think it is even less probable. But maybe you subscribe to an ontological approach to the FSM as presented by Geoff.

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      • So you still may believe the FSM “may” exist. Really? I can say the FSM doesn’t exist. I seemingly have more conviction on that question than you.

        What evidence do you have that the soul and God don’t exist?. Or are you still sitting on the (grey) fence of “I just don’t think it’s true so I don’t have to justify my dogma”?

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      • “So you still may believe the FSM “may” exist. Really?”

        No. I repeat: I do hold any position, value or opinion based on belief. FSM inclusive.

        “I can say the FSM doesn’t exist.”

        So you unequivocally reject the aforementioned ontological argument then? Or does it only not apply to your beliefs?

        “I seemingly have more conviction on that question than you.”

        Why is that important?

        “What evidence do you have that the soul and God don’t exist?”

        Do you disagree the that the burden of proof is on those asserting the existence of such things? If not, why?

        “justify my dogma”?

        What dogma?

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      • Boy Stu, you’ve wildly contradicted yourself (don’t ask for examples ..I’m sure you know), jumped logically all over place and really got nowhere. I seriously don’t know why you bother. But it’s been fun. Cheers mate.

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      • “Boy Stu, you’ve wildly contradicted yourself (don’t ask for examples ..I’m sure you know), jumped logically all over place and really got nowhere.”

        If you even though that was true, you’d demonstrate the alleged contradictions. I won’t hold my breath waiting for such a demonstration.

        “I seriously don’t know why you bother.”

        I’ve already told you why. Several times. Feel free to ask again.

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      • “OK. Why do you bother if you are so ambivalent?”

        Because you mistake ambivalence for the point I’m actually making.

        “I don’t have to demonstrate anything.”

        Sure. Then anything you assert can be dismissed accordingly.

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      • “despite contrary evidence, self-contradictions and messy logic.”

        If anything I have written is contrary or messy, you’d be able to (a) point it out and (b) demonstrate said contradictions and messiness. Good luck with that.

        You asked me earlier if I had anything to say about Sartwell’s thoughts. I did: Sartwell:
        “But the atheist too, is deciding to believe in conditions of irremediable uncertainty”

        Give me an example of an “irremediable uncertainty” I’m choosing to believe in.

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  2. Since arguments against atheism are necessarily arguments for God, here are some of classical arguments for the existence of God, in summary form.

    –The Ontological Argument: The idea of God exists in the mind, even in the mind of an atheist. The event of one’s mind understanding this idea must have a sufficient cause. The idea is one that contains infinite perfection, but one’s mind is limited by finite perfection, as is everything else in the natural world. A mentally imperfect being cannot produce a mentally perfect effect. Therefore, there is a perfect Mind transcendent to the universe, from which the idea of perfection can originate.

    The Argument from Causality: Look around for something that does not have a cause (and therefore a beginning). This sequence can work backwards indefinitely. But does it go infinitely, or does it ultimately stop? To say that it goes on infinitely leads to a logical dilemma. Without some initial cause, there can be no caused things, and no explanation for causality itself. The only rational answer is that there is at the beginning of all things an uncaused Cause, capable of causing all things.

    -The Argument from Design: Nature manifests a certain irreducible complexity. The design in nature requires a Designer. God is the creator and designer of all things.

    -The Moral Argument: Morality exists. Whether we are considering a stone-age Amazonian cannibal or an intellectual savant at a prestigious Ivy League school, every human being has some sense of morality. Everyone has some level of mental obligation to do good and avoid evil. Why else do we have laws, government, military, prisons, and self-improvement books? The atheistic view is incompatible with real moral obligation. Therefore, the theistic view, which is compatible with real moral obligation, must be correct. Moral obligation cannot originate in the mind of man, and therefore must originate in the mind of a greater being, which is God.

    Although these arguments bear some intellectual curiosity, they are by themselves insufficient to persuade someone not to be an atheist. Nor are they necessary to do so. In fact, some of the arguments for God (and there are many more) may actually be paralogisms. While arguments for the existence of God may help to demonstrate that belief in God is not irrational, there is more that is necessary to bring real confidence for the Christian. Furthermore, more than philosophical rationality is necessary to truly dissuade an atheist from his or her no-god beliefs.

    Here is where the atheist may begin to object. The atheist prefers to argue on the basis of logic, empiricism, or even philosophy as the only fair grounds for discussion. But logic, empiricism, and philosophy are only a tiny slice of reality. When the arguments against atheism get into spiritual issues, he or she may dismiss them as irrelevant. Although the atheist may be dissatisfied with the arguments, these are the only arguments which truly matter. The reality is, these spiritual issues are of utmost importance and relevance. .
    http://www.sharefaith.com/guide/christian-apologetics/christian-arguments-against-atheism.html

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      • “Suppose I could give [evidence for God], would you be prepared right now, to repent and trust Christ?”

        Really the good Professor has really confused his terms on this one. Evidence for ‘God’ is not the same as evidence for Christian Salvation and its unique demands. Seeing and accepting evidence for God in itself would only turn the skeptic into a Theist or a Deist.

        Then there is the argument about difference between the Christian god and the traditional mythological gods. The Jewish god is another alternative, so is the Islamic deity. and there are other creator gods too, you know. Dont think that argument is particularly powerful either.

        John’s Gospel only shows that there are claims of an evidence based faith. There is still no proof.

        Dont think Professor Lennox has come up with anything particularly substantial there. Not too difficult to answer.

        Rian.

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      • ” The Jewish god is another alternative, so is the Islamic deity. and there are other creator gods too, you know.”

        And where is your proof for the statement above Rian? Or is your statement just as much a statement of faith as professor Lennox’ statement?

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      • Oh davinci,
        I cant really see just what in my statement that you quoted, could possibly be any sort of statement of faith. It is rather obvious that the supreme God of Islam and the supreme God of Judaism are alternative creator gods.

        if by any chance you are querying my suggesting that there are other creator gods as well, – well, just thinking of it, a couple of these do come to mind. I think of Brahman of the Hindus, whose holy Trinity consists of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Then the Great Spirit of the American Red Indians.

        In my Dictionary of Non-Classical Mythology, there are about 15 pages dwelling on the various creator gods that have been venerated in the world. I have a suspicion that you dont have much of a comprehension of any of the world’s most important mythical Cosmologies, other than the Christian one.

        I repeat anyway, that Professor Lennox’s postulations can be demolished pretty easily, as they have been tackled so often in the past. I cant see just what I am stressing in my posting that could be seen as faith. And I just break up into fits of laughter, whenever I read that there are arguments ‘that atheists must never use’!!!

        And davinci, havent you learnt yet that tossing Biblical quotes at an atheistsa or dissenters, in order to ‘prove’ your points, simply doesnt work?

        Your comment to Kathleen on how one will be certain to get the truth by relying on the Holy Spirit when interpreting the Bible, is a bit on the ‘iffy’ side. I’d remind you that all the great Councils of the early Christian Church called on the Holy Spirit consistently, and yet they brought out rulings, doctrines and interpretations that varied considerably from the concepts that you adhere to. I have over the years been advised by representatives of many churches, to call on the Holy Spirit as I pray and as I read Paul’s Epistles, or the Book of Mormon, or the writings of the Catholic Saints etc etc. I guess you would maintain that the Holy Spirit has only ever truly inspired Evangelical Christians. Ho Hum.

        Oh, and didnt I make a perfectly good point there on Nov. 5, at 1623, when I commented on his challenge on observing ‘evidence for God”?
        Rian.

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    • ” But logic, empiricism, and philosophy are only a tiny slice of reality. ”

      Yeah but they are the ones that count.

      If somebody collapses on a plane you don’t hear a concerned shout of “Is there a faith-healer on board”

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  3. 9) Surely you don’t take the Bible literally?

    I think the balance here is one that even Christians themselves can often disagree on. I don’t think all is literal, some are allegories but I do think some people take extreme liberties when they suggest that certain passages are open to ‘interpretation’. To me it just means they don’t want to believe what is written and they are twisting themselves into pretzels to convince themselves it’s not the truth.

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    • Kathleen,
      It is not hard to see which parts of the Bible should be taken literal and which don’t, provided one lets the Bible interpret itself, and not bring to the study of the Bible one’s prejudices, lusts, likes and dislikes.

      To do this, Bible study must never be undertaken without the prayer for the Holy Spirit’s assistance. If one doesn’t study with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, one will always interpret the Bible according to one’s natural lusts.

      If one studies the Bible with the assistance of the Holy Spirit one will be guided into all truth, and will know which part to interpret literally, allegorically, etc.

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  4. Various believers see themselves in various ways, why do we deny the same right to atheists? Why is it SO important to prove ourselves right about a definition? Are we in danger of seeing the other side, and so argue to convince ourselves? Do we think we will be lessened if proven wrong, and false pride makes us ultra defensive?

    It’s not something I can imagine Jesus arguing about.

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    • Strewth,
      Jesus would certainly argue about this issue.

      You can be as sincere as you like and still be lost. If a Christian is not on the straight and narrow path, s/he will be just as lost as the atheist.

      The original Christian Church never preached that Christianity is optional, one can be saved regardless of whether one believes in Jesus or not. Jesus Christ Himself made the same claim in John 3:16. There is no option whether to believe in Christ or not as far as salvation goes.

      Secondly, the Christian Church fought for unity among believers. This is explained in 1 Corinthians, where Paul rebukes the Church at Corinth for seeing themselves in different ways (there was Peter’s group, Apollo’s group, etc). It is unfortunate that Christianity todays sees nothing wrong in being divided into sects, denominations, etc. If everyone followed the Bible, the division into denominations, sects, etc. would disappear overnight.

      Which is why I certainly advocate at looking at what other side is saying, then comparing it with scripture. Everything boils down to letting the Scriptures have the final word.

      Like

    • Davinci, you are saying Jesus would be surely concerned about the strict interpretation of a word in the English language? I though he would be more concerned about belief and disbelief.

      Like

      • Hi Bryan,

        Hadn’t really given it much thought, there’s too much of the article that’s discordant to me.

        But since you asked I’ll give it a quick go.

        1. “The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth”

        Yes but:
        “According to the Boshongo people of central Africa, in the beginning, there was only darkness, water, and the great god Bumba. One day Bumba, in pain from a stomach ache, vomited up the sun. The sun dried up some of the water, leaving land. Still in pain, Bumba vomited up the moon, the stars, and then some animals. The leopard, the crocodile, the turtle, and finally, man.” (Hawking – ‘The Origin of the Universe’ available online)

        There’s lots of creation myths out there too. Lots of gods created with creating the heavens and the earth. Your God created the heavens and the earth so did Bumba.

        You don’t believe in the great god Bumba – I don’t believe in either Bumba or the Christian God.

        I’m not trying to be overly disrespectful here but from where I’m sitting there isn’t really any difference between the various gods out there.

        2. Ok there are fields outside scientific enquiry, (although you’d also have to exclude the social sciences). And – so what? A golf pro wouldn’t be able to help you with a top-spin forehand. But that doesn’t really say anything useful about either tennis or gods.

        3. Science and God / gods don’t really need each other (unless you’re going down the path that gods are just technologically advanced people). Again and??

        4. “Arguments to bring someone beyond reasonable doubt” – are yet to be presented.

        5. Faith – I’ll stick with the dictionary definition. Why should I ignore the dictionary and go with the Professor? (I don’t really see why faith would be considered a delusion either)

        6. I said, “atheism is a fairy story for people afraid of the light”. – I’ve met people afraid of the dark, yet to meet anybody afraid of the light. What kind of light is it that people are afraid of. Personally I’d be about as afraid of the light as I am afraid of winning the lottery.

        7. Yep there are different kinds of football – take to an AFL field wearing NFL padding and you’d be on the side lines. There are different kinds of football because football is an invention of man and in different places and with different cultures that game is different. Unlike say gravity which is the same the whole world over. So natural occurring phenom consistent – man made constructs variable. Do you really want to apply that analogy to religious belief?

        8. The Bible is immoral – oddly enough the good Prof doesn’t actually give us anything to refute the notion that the bible is immoral.

        9. And the bible shouldn’t be taken literally. Yet the gospels which shouldn’t be taken literally are evidence of the reality of God. If we can’t take the book literally then how can it also have evidentiary value? If you were on jury duty and the witness you’d just listen to told you part of their evidence was the literal truth but part of it was just metaphor what would you make of that?

        10. “Suppose I could give [evidence for God], would you be prepared right now, to repent and trust Christ?” – well if that evidence indicated Christ as opposed to Bumba then certainly. It’s the paucity of the evidence that’s the problem.

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