Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Questions from an atheist

Logic Lad said, "Is there any chance that someone on this site could try and address an issue without simply saying 'it's in the bible'"

Thank you for asking, Logic. But Sorry. This is impossible for any
biblical Christian to do. As Christian's, the bible is our ultimate reference point. It's how we know God. It's how we come to understand good and evil. It's where we find our answers for life and death. It's where we obtain information to defend our faith, etc.

So, we can't just set the bible aside for debate. We don't have the authority to do so as Christians. God hasn't given us the authority to so this. And I don't think
any particular individual on this site has said simply "it's in the bible" and that’s it. But they are using the bible to defend what they believe and in doing so their cases are reasonable and biblical. But with that said, they are not reasonable for you because you have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness and you love darkness rather than light (Rom 1).

It may not make sense to you, and you may not believe it, but we are still compelled and commanded to preach that all men everywhere “repent and believe upon Jesus Christ”. I know this seems absurd to you, but we are only being consistent with our worldview, at least we're tying to. And we care about you and the others on this site. I pray for you and others daily, that you will repent and trust in Christ. I’m praying that God will break in on your hardened heart. He did for me. I was the hardest of all until he used the scriptures to break me down and then I saw His grace—His amazing grace.

Please be patience with us, Logic, and think with me for a moment. The only consistent and logical thing for a Christ follower to do, is to quote the One they follow. A Christian is one who believes that the bible is God-breathed. They follow Christ. The One that the bible talks about. We can do no other thing. So that's why all you get is bible, bible, and more bible from us. :-)

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

Logic Lad said, "the atheists posting here do not recognise that book as the ultimate source of all truth so it is little pointless to keep quoting obscure bits of it in the hope it will support an argument."

It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in it. The truth is that you do! You simply have suppressed the truth through wicked works (Romans 1). You know that God exists. You know that He will judge the living and the dead. You know that He is the Creator, yet you have suppressed the truth. To you, this may sound like I'm being rude or arrogant but your issue is with the bible, not with me. I'm only staying consistent with the biblical worldview and the bible says that you have darkened your thinking through wicked works (Romans 1).

So no, I can't nor will I set aside the bible at any point in time. Other individuals might be inclined to do this, but a biblical Christian wont.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." Hebrews 4:12

100 comments:

ExPatMatt said...

Oh man!

Now you're just playing favourites; what does Logic Lad have that I don't?

*sob*

The Murphy's said...

Trish:

I would agree with you that I take the Bible seriously as far as my faith is concerned. But, with ExPatMatt for instance, why wont you answer his questions? If you need time to study, that is totally cool, but it would be nice for him to know that.

With Logic Lad or any atheist why cant we operate in realms that they know, and talk their language.

Logic Lad, I would be glad to try and talk with you outside of using biblical references. Before I am crucified by all Christians here, I said I am willing to try. Why not?

Ryan

David said...

Way to go Trish! For far too long Christians have taken the position of 'The Murphy's' and it has left our faith desolate and destitute!

It is pointless to argue when a person is simply surpressing what THEY KNOW because of unrighteousness. Both Spurgeon and Hitchens both agreed to this.

In these discussions until the REAL issue is dealt with the rest is a smoke screen.

Here is an example: Jesus speaking to the woman at the well in John 4. Once she realized that He was a righteous man and possibly a prophet--she threw out a smoke screen by bringing up the popular religious arguement of the day "which mountain to worship on."

Jesus deal with her about sin first and gave only a cursory nod to the arguement.

HeathP said...

Well said Trish.

I know for myself I could try to respond without quoting the Bible but what would be the point? I mean my view on things is shaped by scripture anyway, so alot of what you would get would be from Gods word.

The only difference would be that it is from my imperfect knowledge of the Bible, and be tainted by my personal opinions. Why not just skip the middle man and go to the the untainted source of truth?

Reynold said...

David:

It is pointless to argue when a person is simply surpressing what THEY KNOW because of unrighteousness. Both Spurgeon and Hitchens both agreed to this.Bull.

Even if they both did "agree" to it, what makes you think that that applies to every non-believer?

That's one of the most arrogant and unsupported claims you people make.

Logic Lad said...

Ex Pat

Well what can i say, charm, wit, dashing good looks. Well as i have none of the above i will go for, I put up a question that Trish saw as an opportunity to push the bible some more. Though i think they missed the point of the question.

Trish et al

I do understand that as you have only one piece of reference material you are going to call on it, however what to many people here seem to think is that simply waving a bible tract, out of context, makes an arguement, what i would like to see is more people showing how the bible supports their argument, not is their argument.

David

I don't know how else to say it, I will try again, i don't deny god, i don't believe. As i said in a previous post stop trying to tell me what i think. please assume that what i write is truly what i believe and respond accordingly, by writting what you do you are accusing me of being a liar, and that is highly offensive.

And if you want to go down the whole core issue thing, why should we even be discussing the bible until we agree on the validity of god and we have reached agreement on his moral authority? Using god to prove the bible and the bible to prove god is circular, you need to prove one of them independantly.

Robert said...

Oops, sorry for the URL. Your policy is unique in this regard. Feel free to remove the URL from my reply and post the rest.

Taxandrian said...

@Trish:

By your line of reasoning any Hindu can prove the existence of Krisna by citing from the Bhagavad Gita.

Now, Trish, do you believe in Krisna?

Fish with Trish said...

@ Tax,

No.

Do you?

Taxandrian said...

Trish,

Is that a serious question?

(just to make sure you are really willing to engage in a discussion; I don't feel like wasting my time)

BathTub said...

Commanded to Peach! I love peaches, that's a command I could truly get behind.

Fish with Trish said...

Just fixed the typo from "peach" to "preach".

Yikes.

Sorry about that.

FrodoSaves said...

David,

Congratulations. You've just set your cause back another decade.

-----

Trish,

I'm only staying consistent with the biblical worldview and the bible says that you have darkened your thinking through wicked works (Romans 1).
Well then you must recognize that your worldview has given you imperfect tools with which to do the job. From our point of view, until you properly understand an atheist's motivation, you will get nowhere. It comes across as patronizing, which wouldn't be a problem if what you were saying was true. Like you, most atheists are thick skinned enough to withstand some condescension. But as Logic Lad points out, you first need to establish the moral authority of the Bible before wielding it as your go-to tool. Until then, I'll feel like I'm being hit over the head with a cone of cotton candy.

HeathP said...

I am interested Frodos

1. What is an Atheists motivation?

2. Why does it matter?

3. If don't believe what you believe does it really matter now or in eternity?

HeathP said...

One more, what does frodo save us from?

FrodoSaves said...

HeathP,

1. Allow me to put the term in context before answering your question. "Motivation" may have been the wrong word, but I meant by it the basis upon which conclusions are reached. The context is the rationale behind dismissing claims for the existence of God. Trish writes:

But with that said, they are not reasonable for you because you have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness and you love darkness rather than light (Rom 1)
She continues in kind:

It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in it. The truth is that you do! You simply have suppressed the truth through wicked works (Romans 1). You know that God exists. You know that He will judge the living and the dead. You know that He is the Creator, yet you have suppressed the truth.
(Bold added in both paragraphs)

Before I tell you what I meant by "an atheist's motivation," let me first identify this paragraph above as broadly "a Christian's motivation". I'll use Trish's own definition of a Christian as "one who believes that the bible is God-breathed." Trish's motivation, her angle, is that atheists secretly believe in the Christian God, and yet their pride or sin etc requires that they suppress this alleged knowledge or belief.

An "atheist's motivation" on the other hand is that he has no such knowledge or belief. He doesn't believe the Bible is divinely authored, nor that it carries any moral authority, much less ultimate authority. He doesn't even believe in sin, allegedly the agent that causes him to deny all of this in the first place. My point is thus that using concepts atheists don't believe in to convince them of other concepts they equally don't believe in is a flawed strategy.

2. Why does what matter? I'm honestly not trying to dodge the question, but I don't want to waste time or space addressing a question you didn't intend to ask. Can you please clarify what you meant?

3. I'm not really sure what you mean by "If don't believe what you believe does it really matter now or in eternity?" Are you asking if you don't believe what I believe, does it matter? I'll attempt a brief answer on the assumption that's what you meant.

To the extent that when you die I believe you will merely cease to be, and all of your beliefs as to an afterlife will be for naught, then no, our disagreement doesn't matter. When our disagreement leads to the propagation of harebrained, unscientific ideas which are completely antithetical to the cause of human knowledge being taught to unsuspecting children, then yes our disagreement matters.

4. Frodo saves us from taking ourselves too seriously, and from lionizing that which ought to be laughed at.

Heath P said...

I guess my point is that, if I believe in atheism there is no real purpose to life apart from doing what I want. If life has no purpose what does it matter what we teach our kids? Is them believing in God going to stop them from making a contribution in society? Where do our morals come from? Surly if there is no God we should be able to just do what we want when we want to? Do you ever feel guilty about some thing you have done wrong? If you do why do you feel guilty? It doesn't really matter does it?

I was very serious about my question about what motivates an atheist and why atheism matters.

To the point about Christianity being antithetical to the cause of human knowledge. I point you to Isaac Newton
Louis Pasteu
Wright Brothers
Christopher Columbus
Robert Boyle
I don't think that most of these people would agree with you on this point.

FrodoSaves said...

HeathP,

Thanks for your questions. I know you were serious, and I'm glad to be able to answer honest inquiries for once rather than just correct misconceptions.

Most atheists don't believe their lives have no purpose. On the contrary, since we believe this is the only life we have, we want to make it count. Many atheists endeavor to make as great and positive an impact on society and human culture as possible. This might sound like a lot of hot air to you, but I daresay if you were to read anything by Dawkins or Sagan, you couldn't fail to see the tender appreciation they have for nature and the sciences.

Even The God Delusion, with all the rancor that surrounds it in some circles, carries a fundamentally positive message. I've watched the BBC's documentary series Planet Earth with tears in my eyes. It truly is moving to see the grand scope of our ecosystem, and daunting when you begin to grasp the immensity of the forces at work. Our appreciation will only increase as the quest to increase our knowledge reaps further fruit. Some might call it human vanity, but can you deny the results?

And I would never deny that Christians and other theists are capable of playing a constructive role in society. Never. Neither would I deny that Columbus, Pasteur, the Brothers Wright, Newton or Boyle have contributed vastly to the sum of human knowledge. But they did so through science and their theism was not intrinsic to their achievements. On the other hand, the clowns who parade around with the fool's errand that is Intelligent Design will never be counted in the canon of the great scientists, because none of them are. They're pretenders, guilty of answering their questions before they've even asked them. Those techniques are deceitful and retrograde.

The argument that atheism is akin to moral nihilism and that atheists are necessarily amoral, without scruples or restraint, simply doesn't stack up with the evidence. Sweden and Canada are some of the most secular countries in the world, and are notable for having abnormally low crime rates if anything. How do I explain morality on a personal level? There's a chance it could be a trait acquired through evolution, and no, I'm not just trying to rub salt in a wound when I say that. There are good theoretical and empirical reasons to believe that societies are better off as a whole if their individual citizens are more egalitarian, and less egotistic. I could prattle on about this for a lot longer, but have probably already taken up enough space on Trish's blog. Feel free to ask further questions or even shoot me an email if you would sincerely like to learn more.

In short, atheism matters because it's an expression of honesty from those who disbelieve.

Regards,
FrodoSaves

BathTub said...

Yes! We get to chose our own purpose.

We all get our morals from the same place, our society, our culture, our community. We just don't pretend that they come from some ancient text.

It strikes me as hilarious that people think we get our morals from the bible. Our morals aren't the same as they were 2000 years ago before the bible was chosen. They aren't the same as they were 1000 years ago, 500 years ago, 200 years ago, 100, 50, or even really 20 years ago. The text of the bible hasn't changed (much) in that time. But at each step along the way you can be sure there were people saying 'the bible sets our morality!'

Did societies have morals before the bible was written?

Did & do societies that aren't 'christian' have morals?

Of course the answer to both those questions is Yes and Yes.

Now I know the standard answer to this "You know right and wrong, because God put that in your heart". Well that's really just an unfalsifiable excuse isn't it. And if it's true, then we don't need bibles to tell us what's right or wrong anyway.

beleth said...

Trish -

The difficulty with convincing folks of the authority of the Bible by using the Bible as your only authority is that you are starting from where you want to finish. To be persuasive, you have to start where your audience is starting, and lead them to your desired outcome. In this case, you need to give extra-Biblical reasons why the Bible should be taken as authoritative. That's the only way to start to convert atheists.

Just out of curiosity - how did you come to your own current state of faith? Was it from being preached to, or a personal revelation, or something else?

Brazen Hussey's said...

Trish:

Thanks for standing on the right side of the fence on this one:

God's Word is

S U F F I C I E N T

for our needs. It's what Jesus used to fight against Satan in the wilderness temptation. It's the foundation upon which we must stand:

For all men are like grass/flowers: they fade away. But the Word of the Lord will stand forever. (botching Isaiah from memory...)

Or, as Jesus said, "man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

God's Word is sufficient. Attempting to start off on "neutral ground" (which does NOT exist: all ground is biased and tainted with sin) is to start off on the wrong foot. The apostles and our Lord started off with the Word. We need to do the same: it is the power of God for salvation.

Step one in losing the evangelism and any other battle: underestimate the ability and power of God to save with His Word. After all, no other source is perfect and infallible.

Why would we start elsewhere?

Furthermore, why does Logic Lad (and other "atheists") refuse to acknowledge it? For one reason only: they have not acknowledged God as God, as Paul says in Romans 1:18ff (as you pointed out).

--JMH

BathTub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beleth said...

Brazen Hussey -

That's exactly the attitude which atheists will interpret as pride, and which will harden their hearts against you. If your goal is to show them the light of Christ when you witness to them, you need to change your tactic.

Atheists believe there is neutral ground whether you do or not. To successfully convert them, you must be able to get from where they are to where you are.

How did you get where you are?

Whateverman said...

HeathP wrote I guess my point is that, if I believe in atheism there is no real purpose to life apart from doing what I wantHow about doing what your wife or parent or sister or friend wants? How about doing what a complete stranger wants? Give some down-on-his-luck guy a free lunch?

Why not cure cancer, or inspire people with painting music or architecture? Why not manage a local restaurant? Why not try to find out how the natural world works?

Why is it that, without God, some people feel there'd be no purpose to life?

emram said...

Frodo said, "Well then you must recognize that your worldview has given you imperfect tools with which to do the job."

Interesting, you are speaking about 'worldviews'. Are you prepared to defend the athiest worldview?

By what standard of ethics do you judge whether or not we are being ethical in how we represent atheism's view? It seems as if that is precisely the problem and the challenge we make to athiests. In other words, they cannot define their worldview because they cannot account upon what basis they use things like logic, absolutes, or ethical standards. If these things are mere conventions, then are you making a meaningful statement or a non-meaningful statement. If it is a non-meaningful statement with no absolute standard of right and wrong, good and evil, logic or illogic, than in an athiest worldview how is anything meaningful and intelleigible?

FrodoSaves said...

emram,

Let me first say that I usually abhor the concept of 'worldviews' as it implies that the perspective of the viewer is able to influence the thing he's viewing. In other words, just because worldview X has it that trees and other plants have spirits doesn't mean they do.

Second, you're bordering alarmingly close to the presuppositionalist, Transcendental Argument for God. Let me just warn you that if that is where you're taking this, I'll be checking myself out of this conversation. I can assure you after plenty of experience arguing round and round in circles on the topic, we'll only be wasting each other's time. I'm sure ExPatMatt and and Whateverman will agree with me.

Third, I'll happily address your question on ethical standards because it is a popular misconception that atheism is akin to moral nihilism. I was going to discuss this when I addressed HeathP's questions, but decided my comment was already long enough. This can serve as a useful addendum to that comment.

I personally believe that societal standards of ethics have their origins in political communities. Thomas Hobbes' theory of the state had it that when man came out of the state of nature and willingly associated with other men, he formed a social contract with the state that he would give up a degree of personal liberty in return for the state's protection. I believe he also formed a collateral contract with his fellow man which covered his expectations as to acceptable behavior within the polis, vis-à-vis his neighbors. At first these norms covered the bare necessities: don't steal, don't kill, don't lie etc. These fundamentals have solidified and become uncontroversial over time, but as man has climbed higher into his hierarchy of needs, he broaches new territory. Is homosexuality per se immoral? Is abortion? These are divisive subjects today, but according to my beliefs regarding the source of ethics, one day they won't be.

In that sense, ethics is a function of the degree of socialization between people.

Hope that helps,
FrodoSaves

Logic Lad said...

Brazen

Well done, a prime example of everything most evalagists do wrong, insult your audience, assume unproven knowledge is fact, and display shocking arrogance all while claiming humility.


Let me spell it out for you, i don;t refuse to accept, there is nothing to accept, I don't beleive in your, or any other god, i don't believe that the bible is the inerrant word of your imaginary deity. If you want to convince me otherwise you need to try and come up with evidence, or sound reasoning.

And as i said at the start of this thread, bible quotes may support an argument but they do not make an argument.

get_education said...

Emilio,

You are also forgetting that you demonstrated all by yourself that not a single God is necessary for the laws of logic to hold. Remember? You asked me to try and deny the law of no-contradiction, assuming, that if I did try I would get in trouble. I answered, of course! The law is self-evidently axiomatic. See? You did it yourself, and with no help from any Gods.

Now, if you doubt it, then go ahead and try to talk about anything, even your God, or about the "atheist worldview" at the same time neglecting any of the laws of logic.

G.E.

Heath P said...

Thank you for your answers.

Frodo who saves us from tacking ourselves too seriously.

Your comment “The God Delusion, with all the rancor that surrounds it in some circles, carries a fundamentally positive message Your comment about fundamentally positive message” interreges me. Why is it positive? Is not right and wrong just subject to a person’s situation at that particular time. Would it not be better to have crippled and maimed people executed, wont they just put extra burden on society. People with genetic defects certainly shouldn’t be allowed to breed surly that would contaminate the gene pool why not just kill them before they are born (sorry that one is already happening). For that point why breed at all surly they are just taking up resources that I could use for myself? If there is no God right and wrong are just abstract constructs made up to suit that particular point in time to suit the felt needs of the person creating them. There are no moral absolutes; morals change to suit the perceived needs of the situation at the time.

I care about you Frodo and I think your life has intrinsic value, that is while I will tell you this.

God tells us that there are moral absolutes and he as written them on mans heart. That is why we feel guilt and shame. When we do wrong, He has told us not to kill, not to steal, not to lie. He lovingly created us and gives us the freedom we have today, He also holds us to account for our Words deeds and thoughts. He has appointed a time when this account will be given to him, That time is at our death. He said he will punish those who are deserving of punishment. He is a Just judge and will punish all murders and rapists for their crimes. But he is so just that He will also punish Liars, thieves and the sexually immoral. The punishment He has chosen will be just and right. How seriously he takes these crimes are shown in the punishment he has given. His just wrath will be poured out on all the guilty. The freedom he has allowed will be removed. The guilty will be imprisoned in hell for eternity. There must be a payment for crimes.

Lovingly God paid that price for his children. He came to the earth in the flesh as Jesus Christ, lead a sinless life. He willingly gave his life for the guilty. He paid the penalty for the crimes of man. He was buried and three days later he rose from the grave conquering the curse of death. He did this to show us how much he cares for his creation, while justice must be carried out. The punishment has been paid for. If we turn from our wicked ways and to Jesus Christ putting our trust in his finished work in paying for our sins, calling on Him as the lord of our lives. This is what Jesus saves us from his own righteous and just punishment for our disobedience and willful rejection of his existence. Examine your conscience, think about the things you have done wrong. He offers a place in his kingdom if you are humble enough to admit that you have done wrong and accept the gift he is offering.
I will be praying for you.

BathTub said...

Heath P we are going around in circles very very fast here.

Please tell us what you think is a Moral Absolute from god. Something that is always true.

profweather said...

Bath Tub, Here is nine moral absolutes...

1.Failing to keep God first in your life is wrong. That's always true.

2.Making a god to suit your beliefs is wrong. That's always true.

3.Taking God's name in vain is wrong. That's always true.

4. Disobeying your parents is wrong. That's always true.

5.Murder is wrong (so is hatred). That's always true.

6.Adultery is wrong (even by thought alone). That's always true.

7.Stealing is wrong. That's always true.

8.Lying is wrong (white, black or gray). That's always true.

9.Desiring something that is not your is wrong. That's always true.

Brazen Hussey's said...

Logic Lad:

If you are insulted, know that is not my intention. You are obviously an articulate and intelligent creature, made in God's image no less than I. Being a Christian does not make me better or higher than you, and I hope you don't take my comments that way.

As for the idea of "neutral ground," there simply isn't any. This is the quandary of the dilemma: you are asking for a neutral starting point. The fact is that since the Fall of Mankind into sin, our minds have been effected negatively by sin.

If you don't believe or accept that, just take it as the Christians' dilemma. I can't prove the Bible other than through this challenge:

Before you or anyone takes the Bible and dismisses it out of hand, look at it as a huge missing piece of evidence you have yet to consider.

I'm sure you can use logic to argue "that's circular," I'd argue that all reasoning is circular. Even scientists begin with a hypothesis they are trying to prove, then they experiment and prove or disprove it.

The truth of the Bible isn't like that, it's more like a murder mystery. There has been eye witness evidence of God acting in history. In fact, that's what the Bible is: an eye witness testimony of the acts of God in history.

Take Simon Greenleaf, for instance. He was an atheist who sought to disprove Christianity. He was also a lawyer and professor at Harvard Law school, who wrote their textbook on Evidence and the proper use of Evidence in a court of law. After his appraisal, after searching out the evidence, he had to conclude that God was who He said He was, and came to faith.

I'd challenge you: stop asking for evidence that's already there. You are living proof of evidence (amino acids don't randomly pair up to produce thinking, reproducing, emotive beings): life cannot and does not come from non-life. In order for there to be life, there must be One from whom all life takes its existence.

In order for you or anyone claiming atheism to be legit, please: at least examine the Bible thoroughly. You may or may not come to the same conclusion as Simon Greenleaf, Lee Strobel, and other men who did the same, but at least then you'd know what and Who you are denying.

All that said, Logic Lad and others: have a great weekend, and I'm praying that the Holy Spirit illumines and enlightens your heart, grants you understanding, and you are given the gift of faith, which is NOT a blind faith, but a faith that rests upon prophets and apostles who died for the testimony of their eyewitness accounts of real events in real history.

It is, after all, 2009 Anno Domini.

--JMH

Whateverman said...

Brazen Hussy wrote to Logic lad: &npspI'd challenge you: stop asking for evidence that's already there. You are living proof of evidence (amino acids don't randomly pair up to produce thinking, reproducing, emotive beings): life cannot and does not come from non-life.I submit to you that, at best, this suggests that some being is responsible for our existence. It does not come close to suggesting that the being in question is the God of the Bible.

More constructively, however, it's notable to point out that humans used to point to all kinds of things as evidence of God. Gravity, the sun, the stars, the weather, the seasons, floods and famine and disease, language, the King/Queen/government, etc.

To date, no matter how we look into each of these, we hve yet to find evidence of an omnipotent, omniscient deity who created existence. Instead, we find natural mechanisms and processes - things which we're able to understand and use to our advantage.

I have nothing against people who want to point to human life as evidence of a creator God. I really don't. My beef is that these people often fail to notice thousands of years of human history in which the same thing was done - and none of the claims (to the extent they were falsifiable) were ever shown to be credible.

Faith is not knowledge. Stop trying to substitute it for knowledge - please.

BathTub said...

Right profweather. Lets see

So basically you just listed the 10 commandments as some sort of list of moral absolutes.

And it really comes off as a weird list.

See this is why I asked about absolutes.

You list just doesn't make any sense in that respect.

Only 1 example is needed to dispute it's absolute status.

Murder is not an absolute wrong in the bible. God kills and sanctions murder fairly often.

God lies, to Pharaoh when talking with Moses is a good example. Yes I consider god sending Pharaoh 'Delusions' to be lying.

Lots of theft in the bible too, plenty with Gods blessing.


You just can't be serious with this list.

You honestly can't think of a situation where lying is the right thing to do?

You honestly think desire of something someone else has is a moral absolute wrong?

This is just nonsense.

Fish with Trish said...

Whateverman said, "Faith is not knowledge. Stop trying to substitute it for knowledge - please."

Not sure if anyone here said "faith is knowledge" but I know that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7

BathTub said...

profweather, I am just trying to work out here, is the intent to have an honest discussion or is it just a game to see how long I will respond?

Whateverman said...

Fish With Trish responded to me:

&nbsp

Not sure if anyone here said "faith is knowledge" but I know that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7 The last part of your response is beside the point, Trish. Faith is not knowledge - it's belief.

When Brazen Hussey pointed to human beings as proof that Gid exists, what she did was simply express her faith. Obviously, a Christian believes that everything is created by the God of the Bible. If someone asks for proof that this God exists, standing up and saying "I believe he exists" is pointless.

You can't use faith as knowledge. You can only use it as faith.

---

And lest the point be lost, knowledge is something that can be shared and agreed upon by many people. Knowledge is objective. Faith is not.

Brazen Hussey's said...

Whateverman:

First off: (this made me laugh, and I don't blame you at all for it) I'm a guy. Mind you, the name "Brazen Husseys" is a mis-nomer, but it points to my last name and is a play on words. Whew! With that out of the way...

You dodged the main thrust of my point, which is that there is this need for "evidence" that the atheist will claim is missing. It isn't missing, it's just mis-interpreted (hence the "God must be back of all life for there to be life" argument, in your opinion, points to too general a cause for our existence). You and I both agree on this, then: that there must be something or someONE back of all of life in order for life to exist in the first place. Aristotle called it the "Unmoved Mover," and I'm with you on this point: it's too general a "proof" of our particular God's existence.

Which is why I insist, with Trish, that we begin with the self-revelation of God: the Bible.

Because that's what the Bible is: God's self-revelation.

Which brings me to the main point of my case: have you read the Bible, with at least an open mind to the possibility of its truth? Have you thoroughly examined its truth claims?

I was just reading in Isaiah, and time and time again, God says it (I'm paraphrasing):

"You want proof that I'm the real God and there is no other? Here it is: I will tell you what will happen in history centuries before it happens. None else can do that."

Honestly, the very person of Jesus Christ is all the "proof" required. If the Bible is mere story, then the 300+ prophetic utterances of Jesus, given centuries beforehand, would be impossible.

Before you lies the "objective knowledge" that you require:

A book containing eyewitness accounts of God acting in history. Before you discount it, I'd humbly ask you to check it out. You have everything to gain by doing so, even if it's only more credibility.

The very fact that the prophets and apostles gave their lives for their testimony (which is where we get the word "martyr" from: it meant "eyewitness" in Greek) is evidence that this is no mere story. They saw with their eyes, in real time, what they paid for with their lives.

And just think: all they had to do was say, "alright, it was a hoax."

They couldn't. There were too many other witnesses to the contrary.

God acted in front of witnesses. Your proof, objectively given, is in the one book only God could have written. Before you discount it, I urge you to read it.

Prayerfully yours,
James Hussey
Hence the name...

profweather said...

Bath Tub,

You want an honest discussion? It will be on God's terms; not yours or mine. He does not set the rules, He IS the rules.

Reynold said...

Proverbs 1:7Explains why people like Ray are always "mixed up" about evolution and science in general then.

bassicallymike said...

beleth,
How did you get where you are?
Regeneration

Whateverman,
"Why not cure cancer, or inspire people with painting music or architecture? Why not manage a local restaurant? Why not try to find out how the natural world works?

Why is it that, without God, some people feel there'd be no purpose to life?"
What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and loose his own soul?Logic Lad,
"If you want to convince me otherwise you need to try and come up with evidence, or sound reasoning."

How does an evolutionist account for the abillity to reason, laws of logic or ethics?

FrodoSaves said...

HeathP,

Thanks for the follow up.

My response to emram further up the page may explain a few things to you. I won't take up further space by reiterating it in its entirety here, but the paragraph beginning "I personally..." demonstrates that certain morals can be explained objectively from a secular position.

Integral to the position I elucidated in that comment is the idea that societies are greater than the sum of their parts, and that they can exist for the benefit of all. Clearly any sort of eugenics policy would be completely antithetical to this principle, as significant subsets of society would suffer. Indeed, socialism, traditionally a secular political ideology, has egalitarianism at its very core. I'm not a socialist, but it demonstrates that you don't need religion to see that helping the elements of society that need it most can be a guiding moral principle.

The ideas you put forward are a common (but misguided, I think) theistic argument against atheism. They take as their inspiration the perversion that is 'social Darwinism' and attribute it to atheism as some sort of monstrous logical extension of evolution. Let me be very clear. Natural selection is not a moral ideology. Completely the opposite is true. This may surprise you, but Richard Dawkins has written that it is our species' purpose to fight against the destructive influence of natural selection. It's much like hurricanes, floods, and other damaging forces of nature. We don't look at the damage wrought by an Earthquake and think "well that's OK, nature wanted it that way." Natural selection threatens us as a species. Of course we want to link arms, join together and oppose it. To do otherwise would be to invite our own destruction.

I hope this serves to dispel the idea that atheists are somehow amoral, and that they cannot adhere to an objective morality.

If things still aren't clear, please don't hesitate to ask more questions, or just send me an email.

FrodoSaves

BathTub said...

profweather, ah well then I will take your complete lack of a meaningful response as a 'no' then.

Heath P said...

FrodoS
I can see you are a thinker, and I commend you for that. These are important matters.
You quote Richard Dawkins in saying “that it is our species' purpose to fight against…” Lets take that to the basic premise of atheism.

1. The universe exists.
2. The universe has principles and laws inherent in its properties of matter, energy flow, chemical reaction, etc.
Any derivative principles based upon the laws must be consistent with the inherent laws.
3. These inherent natural laws cannot be violated.
Any apparent violation of these laws is only a display of our lack of understanding of all the laws, and is consistent with more complex inherent laws.
4. Life is the product of these inherent natural laws of the universe.
That is, due to the properties of matter and energy, life necessarily arose since we exist.
5. Life can only develop in harmony with the natural laws in the universe.
6. Life is limited to and governed by these inherent principles, since life is a product of the inherent laws and cannot violate them.
7. Therefore,
Human existence, thoughts, feelings, etc., are merely the end result of the inherent universal laws and principles of matter, energy flow, chemical reaction, etc., that has resulted in life.

Since the laws of the universe are immutable and cannot be violated, any “purpose” can be properly attributed to be the result of chemical reactions in his brain leading him to say he has purpose.

Dawkins, therefore, is nothing more than the product of his environment and naturals laws.

He is guided and led by these laws; he reacts, plots, hopes, and wills only in agreement with these laws.

Any purpose offered is still nothing more than the product of natural laws of matter, chemistry, and energy flow. In other words, he is nothing more than the result of natural laws inherent in the natural universe.

Therefore, the Concept of "Having a Purpose" becomes meaningless because he has no purpose beyond the programming inherent in himself.

Therefore, he has no independence and no free will.

Purpose is indicative of a purpose giver, a designer. God gives us purpose. The best the naturalist position can offer is an illusion of purpose.

This answer was adapted from the article “Atheism, evolution, and purpose” at carm.org.

David said...

Reynolds,

Your question about "even if that were true how do we know that applies to non-believers."

I should have clarified, I some times assume too much.

Romans 1 says that so if you have an issue with that being an arrogant statement it is the sovereign almighty Creator of the universe that your issue is with. I am nothing, I have no ideas of my own. It is His word that will stand when all silly wrangling dies out.

BathTub said...

"This answer was adapted from the article “Atheism, evolution, and purpose” at carm.org.

Ah yes I thought I detected Matt Slick in there as I was reading through.

But what's the point of that really?

Here let me tell you how you should think?

Why is that such a key part of discussions with Atheists?

You believe Nothing Created Everything!

No I don't.

You are a nihilist!

No I'm not.

You have no basis for Morals!

Yes I do.

I mean really, what's up with that?

Logic Lad said...

Brazen

The Bible is nothing like an eye witness testimony, at best it was written a considerable time after the events and at worst it has been edited with malicious self interest by various people to secure the position of the clergy.

I am not living proof of the biblical god, i am living proof of the wonder of evolution. as someone else posted, even is there was evidence some higher power started off everyting, that is a long way from evidence it is the abrahamic god.

Your example of Simon Greenleaf, though interesting is utterly irrelevant. People are allowed to change their minds, that does not mean that they are now right. If dawkins came out and said he was converting it would not change my attitude towards religion, unless he could frame some far better argments in support of his descion than i have seen here or anywhere else.

I have read the bible, it is one of the main things that convinced me of the falsness of thiesm.

Given no two christian sects can agree on one interpretation of god how can you say exactly what i am denying. and again i repeat i don't deny, i just don't believe

On the topic of faith and knowledge, the bible has not given us one single technological advancement, so please stop claiming that it has any ability to reveal things about the real world.

Prof

Just to expand on what bathtub said, desiring things you don't have is what drives people to succed and improve themselves, either prove me wrong or explain how this is a bad thing.

And the next time you start off about honor your parents thing please try and remember all the abused children out there who's parents are to blame, repect is a two way street, which is what annoys so many of the athiests that post here. you have no respect for our points of view but expect instant, blind respect for yours.

Heath P

I liked your post on the position athiesm, it a good summary. Though only thing i realy disagree with is your concept of free will. While i am the sum total of the chemical and physical reactions that have happened in the preocess of my life time, of course i have free will, I don't beleive I am playing out a script that was eteched in stone at the beginning of time, while my actions could be predicted based on an accurate measurement, i could still go in a completly different direction. You on the other hand beleive that an all knowing deity will judge you, but if he is all knowing he already knows everything you will ever do. That means you have no free will at all. Funny how my acceptance of the natural world liberates me while your benevolent god imprisons you.

Basically Mike

These questions have been answered in previous posts or extensivley on line, please google the topic and come in with specific questions.

Heath P said...

BathTub in response to you answers.

But what's the point of that really?
Don’t


Here let me tell you how you should think?
I’m not, if you claim to be an atheist then you should be consistent with the definition of atheism or at the very least define what you think atheism is. I did this in my last post please tell me where you disagree.

Why is that such a key part of discussions with Atheists?
I don’t know, but it it seems quiet logical to use a common definition of Atheism when one has not been clearly defined in the discussion.


You believe Nothing Created Everything!

No I don't.

What do you believe created everything


You are a nihilist!

No I'm not.
I don’t believe you are a nihilist, and I think it is imposable to truly be one. This is because God has given us a conscience, and just because you don’t believe in Him doesn’t take this away. I do disagree with the source of the morals but I never said you didn’t have them. However that said if you took atheism to it natural conclusion is that a person has no choice to be a nihilist.


You have no basis for Morals!

Yes I do.

What is this basis you have. (see my last answer for what I think)


I mean really, what's up with that?

No Idea and not my point.

Please tell me why are you an atheist, what brought you to the conclusion, that there is absolutely no evidence there is a God and that you will never see any evidence that there is one?

Heath P said...

Logic Lad

You say you have free will, its not my biggest point in the statements anyway. What I am trying to get at is that if the premise given were true, is that if we are made by an unguided process of random change over a period of time then anything we think or say is in essence totally the cause of a random events, thus anything you say is totally pointless and meaningless anyway. I don’t believe this as you should not either. I do believe we have a point, a purpose , and that purpose is given to us by our designer. So therefore the things you say are not meaningless and pointless I just don’t actually always no what the point of them are. That’s what makes life exiting. On the freewill issue with regard to God big big theological question. I will give a simple answer and by far not an exhaustive one. Free will is the ability to make choices according to your desire. Just because God knows the outcome of your choices does not mean you have no freewill. As I stated before I don’t believe that you don’t have freewill but I do believe that taking things to their logical conclusion in atheism freewill would only be an illusion.

Taxandrian said...

Brazen Hussey's said:

Because that's what the Bible is: God's self-revelation.....just like the Bhagavad Gita is the self-revelation of Krishna, the Edda is the self-revelation of Odin and the Avesta is the self-revelation of Ahura Mazda.


...have you read the Bible, with at least an open mind to the possibility of its truth? Have you thoroughly examined its truth claims?Have you read the Bhagavad Gita, the Edda and the Avesta with at least an open mind to the possibility of the truth? Have you thoroughly examined their truth claims? Indeed, have you done so for every other scripture deemed holy by some religion in the world?

Hopes this makes you understand why quoting from the Bible doesn't impress nor convince atheists.

bassicallymike said...

Logic Lad
"Is there any chance that someone on this site could try and address an issue without simply saying 'it's in the bible'"

And you tell me to "Google it" when I ask you to account for your beliefs.

Hummm!

bassicallymike said...

Logic Lad
"You on the other hand beleive that an all knowing deity will judge you, but if he is all knowing he already knows everything you will ever do. That means you have no free will at all. Funny how my acceptance of the natural world liberates me while your benevolent god imprisons you."
Strawman Alert!

We do have free will LL,to act in accordance with, or true to our nature. We just can't change our nature. Can a leopard change it's spots? That is an act of Regeneration that only God can do.

FrodoSaves said...

HeathP,

I should first point out that what I attributed to Dawkins wasn't a direct quote and I cannot recall whether he actually used the word "purpose". Nevertheless, that's how I remembered it and conveyed it to you, so let's go from there.

In a sense this is a derivative of the "life cannot come from non-life" argument. Just replaced the concept of purpose with that of life in your comment and it's essentially the same argument. You could have concluded instead "Life is indicative of a life giver, a designer. God gives us life. The best the naturalist position can offer is an illusion of life."

This in turn is derived from the even broader "order cannot come from disorder" argument, which can be shown to be false. For example, how do galaxies array themselves such that they form symmetrical ellipses or spirals? By the same invariant forces you referred to in your post. Centrifugal force, which results from rotation, serves to flatten the matter in these galaxies onto a single plane, arrayed like clouds in a hurricane. In spiral galaxies, the arms result from the greater distance the tips have to travel vis-a-vis the matter closer to the galaxy's center.

Further examples abound. On a beach, different sizes of stones, pebbles and sand appear together in various bands. The wave action causes similar sizes to respond in a similar fashion, achieving order. And in our solar system, we find that every satellite of the sun is traveling at precisely the right speed to maintain its orbit. Too fast and it would spiral out into space. Too slow and it would succumb to the sun's gravity. Clearly these same laws have weeded out the planets and other debris not traveling at the rights speed, resulting once again in order (These last two examples were taken from Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker, p 44).

To bring the argument back to where it started, order can clearly be achieved without an "order-giver". While we don't currently know how life arose from non-life, it is in its simplest form an extension of order coming from disorder; specifically, that order comprises self-replicating organic molecules. While your argument about purpose might have a more metaphysical element to it than order and life, I believe the same principle applies.

As a species, our purpose has arisen through the same sieve-like movement from order to disorder. Natural selection operates on a species-wide level, and our presence means that we, along with lions, butterflies, palm trees and amoebas, have fallen through the holes of smaller and smaller sieves. Homo sapiens is good enough to survive as a species, and framed negatively we can see what Dawkins meant when he said it's our purpose to fight against natural selection. As a species, we have to keep squeezing ourselves through those holes, or else we disappear, and our purpose along with it. Our very existence gave rise to the purpose of continuing that existence, and the latter cannot exist without the former. It's objectively, not subjectively, true.

These comments are getting longer longer! Hope your attention span's up to it.

FrodoSaves

get_education said...

bassicallymike,

How does an evolutionist account for the abillity to reason, laws of logic or ethics?I doubt there is a single answer to this. You know that there are many kinds of "evolutionists", don't you? From the Christian to the Muslim, to other theists, to the atheist ...

G.E.

get_education said...

basicallymike,

That if you meant someone who understands evolution.

G.E.

get_education said...

Heath P,

WHile some of what you say is correct, I keep wondering why you add things such as "merely", "nothing more" and such. I also wonder why would you not understand that we being material and obeying the laws of nature means we cannot be more than just the sum of our parts.

Steven J gave a very clear answer at Ray's blog. A bunch of silicon cannot run a computer program, a bunch of iron, gas, and other stuff cannot be driven by the highway ...

In any event, then you go for "purpose". Now, please be aware that I would argue for many more things that come from your exaggerations on the meaning of us being the products of nature and nature alone (which we are).

How does being made by a God, and obeying God's command make a "purpose" a "true purpose"? How is that "meaningful"?

I suspect that it is quite like chocolate and vanilla. You find that to be truly meaningful. I find it empty and meaningless. Even if I were convinced that there is a God.

Do not misunderstand, it is not about rebellion. Not at all. It is about whether that feels meaningful or not. Having to comply with a command, I can understand. Going from that to "it is a true purpose." Well, nope.

So, show me exactly how.

G.E.

Whateverman said...

@ Brazen Hussey:

Sorry for the misunderstanding. And a sincere apology for not having responded to your post yet. You put some thought in doing so, and I hope to return the courtesy in the near future...

beleth said...

bassicallymike -

"Regeneration"

Wow, really? That sounds truly miraculous! It should at least shut up that "God hates amputees" guy! Please go into details, that sounds fascinating!

BathTub said...

That was a really confusing reply to read HeathP. I was just speaking in generalities asking why Theists seem so intent on telling Atheists how Atheists are supposed to be thinking.

get_education said...

A slight correction in this paragraph, and sorry about that:

While some of what you say is correct, I keep wondering why you add things such as "merely", "nothing more" and such. I also wonder why would you not understand that we being material and obeying the laws of nature does not mean we cannot be more than just the sum of our parts.

G.E.

Reynold said...

David said...

Reynolds,

Your question about "even if that were true how do we know that applies to non-believers."

I should have clarified, I some times assume too much.

Romans 1 says that so if you have an issue with that being an arrogant statement it is the sovereign almighty Creator of the universe that your issue is with. I am nothing, I have no ideas of my own. It is His word that will stand when all silly wrangling dies out.
And I say that my problem is with the words of men written down a few thousand years ago, unless you can show otherwise.

Heath P said...

FrodoS

Your examples are excellent examples of order they are also very good examples of patterns in nature and show very well some of the physical laws in action. They are a long way from showing design and purpose. The statement “order cannot not come from disorder” does not really convey my beliefs; I would probably say design cannot come from disorder without a designer. The details of even the simplest organisms are much more than just order and patterns, they clearly give the appearance of design and hence my belief there is a designer. This is an argument that has been had time and time again and I hardly think it is worth repeating here. If you would like I could organize to send you some literature that would better illustrate my case if you would like. Just let me know if you would like it.

David said...

Logic Lad,

I hear you saying that you are not denying God but just don't believe, what I am saying is that you cannot believe until you are willing to deal with matters of the heart (namely repentance).

Let's face it, the Christian gospel is so far beyond the realm of what man could have conceived that it makes it unlikely men would have made it up. Who would have created a faith in which there was nothing you could do to save yourself? The claims of Christianity are so astounding that it is either true or the craziest thing on the planet.

If we think we can be reasoned into the faith, then we have built a faith for ourselves and we ultimately have nothing. If I can be reasoned into faith then I can also be reasoned out of.

The problem is that I am broken and utterly sinful as is all of man kind and unless something 'outside' of 'us' steps in to correct the situation, we have no hope. If I am broken then I need something 'non-broken' to fix me. But the Bible goes on to say I am not just broken but dead. I need something to breathe life into me.

Surely there is no one that thinks we are evolving to a better society. Every technological advancement has led to humans using technology to be more efficient at doing evil(despite the few things that are good). It is merely an act of grace from God that we all have any restraint.

as Romans 1 says God is pulling back His hand of restraint and we are seeing the effects of sin. Namely the wrath of God.

As a man, knowing the Terror of the Lord I plead with you, be reconciled to God. I plead as a man, yet God is so bold (Acts 17) that He commands you and all people everywhere to repent. Take note that He has soveriegnly placed you in the exact geographic location, in the exact situations that you find yourself in, even brought you to the people that you know, that you might grope for Him though He is not far from any of us.

The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.

bassicallymike said...

get_education
"You know that there are many kinds of "evolutionists", don't you?"
Yes, I understand there are differing views. I was asking Logic Lad. Guess I should have been more specific. Sorry

beleth
"Please go into details, that sounds fascinating!"

Regeneration is the work of God’s Holy Spirit in the soul of humans, enabling us to see our sinfulness and peril, and to behold the beauty of the Savior so that we can truly praise and worship him again.
In the act of regeneration, God changes the nature of the person regenerated.
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus was passive, not active, in the process. He was simply an object that God the Son worked on and through by his almighty power. Similarly, when God regenerates the human soul, we are passive. This work is accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. This is why we don't want to lay aside the Bible in a debate. I know it seems foolish and unbelievable to you, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God unto salvation.
Much of the above was gleaned from an article "Doctrine 101, Regeneration" by Edward N. Gross, which can be found at Monergismdotcom .

"It should at least shut up that "God hates amputees" guy!"

We could only hope! We do agree he should be shut up! LOL

Logic Lad said...

Heath P

Who ever said that I am the result of unguided random change, if you really beleive that is an accurate description of ToE then I understand why you have a problem with it, unfortuntaly thats not what the theory states, it is guided by natural selection.

I believe I have a purpose, to improve this world as I can and leave it better, or at least no worse than I joined it, I don't need threats of hell fire to make me want it either.

But if someone knows all the choices you will ever make how do you still have free will? I am sorry but i still don't see how you jump from your accurate if impersonal and cold description of athiesm to lack of free will, in the universal sense my actions may have absolutly no effect, but i am still free to choose any way i like.

Bassicaly Mike

Please refrain from quote mining, what i said was that the general questions that you asked have been answered both here and elsewhere on the net, rather than having everyone repeat them selves go back and read a few of the earlier posts, then bring specific questions to be considered. Not quite 'it's true because google said so' which is what you are trying to suggest I said. If you want to talk then talk if you want to play silly buggers then go to a playground.

Please don't just yell fallacy and then say the bible says so, please explain how you think my statement is a strawman, and if you can shoot it down i will apologies, and correct my argument or back off becuase i can't.

Just to expand on my thoughts, if god created you, knows all about you and can accuratly predict all of your actions then please explain how anything you do is down to your will and not down the script that god created/knows for you, if your life is scripted you have no free will, please explain where this argument fails?

Ethics are the glue that keeps society together they are an evolutionary advantage so have propgated to allow individuals to benefit from a better whole. that is this athiests view on where ethics and morals come from, please justify the morals of the jealous tyrant of the bible.

Please define you version of regeneration without using the word in the deffintion, you knoe the way a dictionary would.

David

david said 'the Christian gospel is so far beyond the realm of what man could have conceived that it makes it unlikely men would have made it up.'

Given the breadth and depth of human imagination there is no reason to believe that man could not 'make this up' look at later revelations, the book or mormon, for example, while clearly an enormouse con job it has still convinced thousands.

David said 'If I can be reasoned into faith then I can also be reasoned out of'

This is the point, faith denies logic and reason, hence why athiests posting here have an issue when faith is used to try and support arguments involving facts.

david said'The problem is that I am broken and utterly sinful as is all of man kind'

This is one of the main issues with christianity, are you really a bad person, do you reguarly do things that make you feel ashmed of the act, if so then faith will not help you, indeed believing in forgivness just means you can keep doing the bad things as long as you say sorry enough times, if you don't do bad things, then why do you need religion?

David said 'Every technological advancement has led to humans using technology to be more efficient at doing evil'

Medicin, water purification, birth control please explain while all these are bad things, and by the way that computer your typing on did not come from god but from the minds of men.

David said 'As a man, knowing the Terror of the Lord I plead with you, be reconciled to God. I plead as a man, yet God is so bold (Acts 17) that He commands you and all people everywhere to repent. Take note that He has soveriegnly placed you in the exact geographic location, in the exact situations that you find yourself in, even brought you to the people that you know, that you might grope for Him though He is not far from any of us.

The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.'

Citation needed.

FrodoSaves said...

HeathP,

Thanks for your response. You're right, I think we're in danger of wandering off into a broader creation v. evolution discussion, which has been fought elsewhere by better brains than ours. Still, I'd like to address some of your comments briefly, and hopefully show that our disagreement may not be so big.

The details of even the simplest organisms are much more than just order and patterns, they clearly give the appearance of design and hence my belief there is a designer.
I'd like to quote Dawkins from The Blind Watchmaker:

Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.
Do you see the overlap? We all agree that organisms in nature give the appearance of design (you used those exact words), but I believe that appearance to be illusory. When you see natural selection as a series of sieves, as I alluded to before, it doesn't take a leap of the imagination to see the illusion for what it is. The bottom line is that organisms that would appear to be poorly designed simply no longer exist, because they couldn't compete, and couldn't survive. It's not hard to see why all that's left is well suited to its environment and lifestyle, is it?

They are a long way from showing design and purpose... I would probably say design cannot come from disorder without a designer
Simple non-living patterns in nature are a long way from showing (the appearance of) design and purpose, but those unchanging laws you mentioned earlier can serve as a positive feedback loop, building those patterns into greater and greater complexity. I believe that life is merely a form of order, different from those patterns only by a matter of degree. Purpose naturally follows as the result of existence.

Anyway, I won't drag this out further. Feel free to send me whatever literature you wish, and we can discuss it further.

Regards,
FrodoSaves

bassicallymike said...

Logic Lad,
I’ll try to stay off of the jungle gym, must be something in my DNA. I apologize for not being specific enough in my question since you thought I was asking a “general” question when intent was to ask you specifically. Sorry for that. Thanks for your answer! To me it seems as if we are moving toward less cohesiveness in society, rather than being bound more tightly, especially in light of all the recent business scandals, Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen, Tyco and Adelphia to name a few. Looking at history, it seems, as societies age, ethics/morals decline, with eventual societal decline and death. I assume by the “jealous tyrant of the bible” you are referring to God. “Does not the potter have power over the clay”? It is only by His mercy that any escape judgment since we are all sinners deserving of divine punishment. Moral justification should not be required for the fact that He wiped out a wicked people group, but that He allows any of us to keep breathing considering His Holiness.
“please explain how you think my statement is a strawman”
Your statement might not be a strawman on an Armenian/Hyper blog, however, since I had read in an earlier post that most posting here were of the Reformed persuasion, I thought you would understand the difference and adjust your argument accordingly. Since you were making a statement about God and His attributes, and since you yourself have referred to the Bible (sarcastically)as His self-revelation, you can’t logically expect me to not use the Bible to refute you can you? What you are asking me to address is how the Sovereignty of God violates the free will of man. C.H. Spurgeon in his “A Defense of Calvinism” stated” That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.” Of course his statements can be summarily dismissed by you since he has so many presuppositions. I heartily embrace them all myself. I do not want to default to the nebulous “His ways are higher than our ways”, but I do believe, if I were able to explain/understand everything about God, faith would not be necessary and without faith it is impossible to please God. I know that is not conclusive proof for you, but it is the best I can do.
I think I covered regeneration on the reply above to beleth.
Due to time constraints I must abandon this discussion. Feel free to have the last word. Thanks for your civility, wherever it came from.

Heath P said...

Logic Lad and FrodoSaves

Lets get down to it. It seams clear to me that I have not accurately expressed what my understanding of Evolution and Natural selection are especially from the response Logic Lad gave me about random chance. Also I misrepresented my belief in design when I used the term “appearance of design” I used this term to try and achieve some common ground. I do apologize for misrepresenting my belief that there is actual design not just the appearance of design.

At the end of the day while we have the same evidence we interpret it differently because of our presuppositions. How we got these presuppositions is a whole different topic.

So let’s get to the real issues.
I believe there is a creator (God).
You believe there is no creator (No god/gods)
I believe the design seen in nature screams out creator/designer
You believe the design in nature is only in appearance and is in fact illusory.
I believe God is the God of the Bible.
You believe the Bible is not true and is just stories made up by man.
I believe that we will be held accountable for everything we do, say and think by our creator God.
You don’t believe in God so the only one to hold you accountable is society.
I believe that God will be just in punishing us for our wrong doing.
You believe there is no god so there is no punishment.

Please correct me if I have misrepresented your beliefs in these statements in anyway.

Whateverman said...

From my perspective, I enjoy reading and participating in the conversations on Trish's blog far more than simply reading anything at Atheist Central (Ray's blog). I find people here to disagree, but things are generally much more receptive on both sides.

I wont say why I think this is so, because it's not important. What *is* important (imho) is that there's dialogue, rather than 2 sides talking at each other.

Cheers everyone...

FrodoSaves said...

HeathP,

Sorry for the delay in my response. As you know I was busy entering a contest I didn't want to win.

It is very illuminating (and I'm glad we were able to cut to the heart of the matter) that your first claim is to believe in God. Why would you suppose first that anything existed before looking for evidence of it? We've all heard the examples of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and I won't use them because they're condescending in their absurdity. How about a more useful example?

Say I live in England in the 18th Century. My neighbor tells me he thinks that black swans exist, but has no real reason to think so. He brings me a black feather he found in his garden and tells me it could be evidence that black swans exist. Yes, I agree, it could be, but don't you think since we've never seen the swan itself, that there might more a likely explanation for the feather? Perhaps it came from a magpie, or a crow, or a raven. They're all better explanations, because they're all far more likely.

The situation would obviously be different if I go to Australia, where we can tangibly see black swans. We now have a good reason to believe they exist, and it's more likely that a black feather found in my neighbor's garden in Australia belongs to a black swan. Following their discovery, it's even conceivably an explanation for the black feather found in his garden in England, though still poor compared to the other possibilities.

I don't see design in nature, much less the design of the Hebrew God of the Old Testament, because there is simply no reason to, not when other explanations are far more likely. Frankly, why you'd start with the assumption that God or a god exists is unfathomable to me.

FrodoSaves

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Heath P:

"At the end of the day while we have the same evidence we interpret it differently because of our presuppositions. How we got these presuppositions is a whole different topic."

Amen.

We are both sides looking at the same evidence: a world, our own souls, the created (evolved?) universe.

Neither will agree due to a difference in interpretation, and that will never be reconciled because this is a work of the Holy Spirit upon regeneration.

To all the atheists:

I have been on your side of this fence. I can't describe how I came to "this side" of the fence, other than a supernatural work of God. That sounds too simple, but it's true.

God's Word says that we are dead apart from the regeneration/new birth of the Spirit. Jesus said that the Spirit blows whereever He will; like the wind you can't know where it's going next.

That doesn't help one whit to answer the question, I just wanted to say that I can't bring up any more evidence: we're standing in front and on top and in it everyday. The evidence abounds. How will we interpret it is another matter.

I said either here or in the other post, that all reasoning is circular in nature. That is: we begin our inquiry not from neutral ground, but from biased ground. We wind up proving our assumptions in the end, even if evidence is stacked to the contrary.

One last bit I'll say on the matter of evidence:

Life has never arisen out of non-life. If you assume a materialistic universe, you cannot account for the transcendant elements: thought, life, energy, order/organization (informational structures to the DNA code, for instance: it's a type of language, which presupposes and demands a logical mind back of it).

At bottom, again: I'll ask the atheists to read the Word of God prayerfully seeking God to illumine the Word for you. After all, if God doesn't exist, what do you have to lose? If (since) I'm right, and there is a God, I daresay you'll gain a new appreciation and new/eternal life as the Word and Spirit of God grant you eyes to see what we've been getting at.

Brazen Hussey's said...

@whateverman:

Dude. Love the name!

And I agree with your sentiment. As a Christian, I REALLY DO APPRECIATE THE ATHEISTS ON THIS BLOG. Then again, it's all been moderated by Trish and her staff, but what does get through makes for great conversation and fantastic moments of struggling through "How do you answer THAT?"

It's all been great fun, seriously, so hat's off to the atheists here. Hope you all stick around, otherwise Trish's fishbowl's a bit empty (no offense to my Christian brethren).

Trish:

Fantastic blog! I'm hooked.

Heath P said...

FrodoSaves

Great example with the Black swan. It is a bit ironic in the fact that I live in Perth Western Australia the home of the Black Swan.

That aside it looks like its another one of those cases of me communicating poorly. I reread what I wrote and it does give the impression that one of my presuppositions was there is a God, While this is the case now it was not always this way. Before I became a Christian, about 5 years ago, my only presupposition in this respect was there could be a God. I didn't really care ether way to tell you the truth.
That was up until the point when he called me.

profweather said...

Frodo,

you say...

My neighbor tells me he thinks that black swans exist, but has no real reason to think so."Real" as defined by who? He may actually have a valid reason to think so but you reject his argument.

...that there might more a likely explanation for the feather? Perhaps it came from a magpie, or a crow, or a raven.Therefore, you gather feathers from each of those birds and do comparisons to learn the truth about your neighbor's feather. That is what a scientist would do.

They're all better explanations, because they're all far more likely.Being more likely does not mean the better explanations are still correct though.

You are correct when you say "you do not see design in nature." We start with the existence of God because the "black feather" did not come about on its own. You see design in a computer, airplane, building, automobile, etc. Yet the structure of the black feather is way more intricate and complicated than anything man-made. That does not come about by chance and time.

You do not see it because the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Frodo Saves:

I don't see design in nature, much less the design of the Hebrew God of the Old Testament, because there is simply no reason to, not when other explanations are far more likely. Frankly, why you'd start with the assumption that God or a god exists is unfathomable to me.What "other explanations" are "far more likely" than the Intelligence behind all intelligence, or the One who has life giving to the biosphere it's life?

It is unfathomable, in fact, unscientific and illogical, to assume that there was an eternal universe comprised of matter and energy that someway, somehow, gave rise to life.

Life NEVER comes from non-life, even the most vitriolic atheist recognizes that.

In experiments where amino acids could be formed, these amino acids don't form organized protein chains we know as DNA.

Randomness and disorder cannot give rise to a single living organism. Science as we know it has never produced such a thing: life always comes from other life.

So, which is more likely? That nothing exploded for no reason into something and that something gave rise to everything and somehow, for impossible random processes, the dead, inert material gave rise to ever-increasingly complex life?

THAT is supposed to be more rational, more probable?

Sorry to say, but that takes far more faith than all the religions of the world combined: that disorder and chance, given enough time, can produce anything like the human eye, or grat's foot, or the amoeba, for that matter, for NO REASON behind it...my friend, if you can believe that insubstantial and illogical fallacy over the Truth of God creating all there is, you really don't believe in intellectual honesty.

FrodoSaves said...

HeathP, profweather & Brazen Hussey's,

Thanks for your replies. I'm going to reply to you collectively if I may.

Sorry, "no real reason" is something of a wet statement. By it I meant he has no corroborating evidence to support his belief. This is precisely the difficulty my neighbor faces when trying to determine if the feather comes from a black swan, crow, magpie or raven. Say he discovers that the feather doesn't belong to the three birds already known to science. It may come from a black swan, but in the absence of the black swan's discovery, he has no reason to think that it comes from that specific bird.

Unfortunately, the point that the black feather is more complex than anything created by man allows us to conclude only that it probably wasn't created by man. Hardly a compelling conclusion. It leaves open a raft of possibilities.

Now to address some of the shriller criticisms...

Life NEVER comes from non-life, even the most vitriolic atheist recognizes that.
I, um, don't think they do. As I've expressed elsewhere (earlier? I forget which thread this is) I believe life is merely another form of order seen elsewhere in nature, with the unique property of being self-replicating.

Those lab experiments involving mixtures of organic molecules didn't result in life, but I'm fairly they weren't run for 1 billion years either.

And, finally, to any who might care to listen: evolution is not about chance. Honestly, not even kidding. Whether that message will be taken home amidst the trite simplifications of scientific theories and gleeful assumptions about billions of years of history remains to be seen.

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Frodo:

Curious: if evolution is not about chance, then please enlighten me. This is new info to me, as evolution was always presented this way in school.

If at bottom evolution denies an intelligent Creator, then that leaves...chance and billions of years (the billions of years keeps growing as the theory seems less and less likely to overcome the impossible odds of it's veracity, btw) are all that's left.

It may be an oversimplification, but that's where you can fill me in, or point me to where I can look?

Thanks.

Whateverman said...

Brazen Hussey wrote If at bottom evolution denies an intelligent CreatorEvolution doesn't deny the possibility that an intelligent Creator created humanity. If you were to somehow assemble all of the knowledge (sub theories, hypotheses, etc) of the ToE, you wouldn't find anything that rejects the possibility.

What you would find, however, is a rejection of the literal interpretation of Genesis (re. Adam and Eve). There's simply too much evidence against it (according to current understanding). But it's scientifically possible that God created the rules by which evolution occurs, and that he set everything in motion...

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whateverman:

That is a better answer I've heard come from a non-theists mouth...er..keyboard. Oh, that all would be this intellectually open!

Seriously.

Whateverman said...

@ Brazen Hussey: I submit almost every atheist here would say the same thing. Not they they believe God had a hand in creation, but that the theory of evolution doesn't discount the existence of (non-specific) him.

I get lumped in with atheists a lot because I tend to agree with their arguments. I also tend to get annoyed when a faithful theist claims the ToE is somehow anti-God, or that it's the same thing as the Big Bang theory, etc.

It's not. Really. It only takes a little bit of research - even if you reject the theory! - to see this.

Sugee Andersyn said...

That was awesome.

FrodoSaves said...

Brazen Hussey's,

I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to enlighten you.

To understand how evolution is not about chance, we should first look at Whateverman said in response to your claim that "...evolution denies an intelligent Creator."

Whateverman said that "Evolution doesn't deny the possibility that an intelligent Creator created humanity. If you were to somehow assemble all of the knowledge (sub theories, hypotheses, etc) of the ToE, you wouldn't find anything that rejects the possibility." He's absolutely right. The origins of life on Earth is a question so far unanswered by science. Abiogenesis (the study of how life could have arisen from inanimate matter through natural forces) is one possibility, but the theory of evolution doesn't stand or fall with it. Other possibilities include panspermia (life originated elsewhere in the universe and subsequently came to Earth, although this admittedly only passes the buck even further) and an intelligent creator.

Once you remove this question from the equation (as it's not within the remit of the theory), you can quickly see how evolution is not about chance. Evolution revolves around random mutations on the one hand and non-random natural selection of those mutations on the other.

As for random mutations, it is simply a fact that they occur. Bacteria mutate rapidly, which is the reason why it's so hard to keep developing effective antibiotics to counter them. Their DNA experiences random mutations, some of which may affect the antibiotics' ability to defeat them, and some of which may not. So, mutations are random, and there is no way to determine whether a given mutation will be beneficial to the organism beforehand.

This is where natural selection steps in, and it is the opposite of random. To revisit the bacteria, you can only determine whether a mutation is beneficial to the organism in the context of the organism's environment. If a bacteria strain undergoes a mutation that doesn't affect their susceptibility to antibiotics, they will still be wiped out by it, and that mutated gene will never gain a foothold in the gene pool of the species. If that mutation happens to make them immune to those antibiotics, the bacteria with the mutation will obviously be much more successful than those that don't have it. Nature (i.e. the antibiotic) won't wipe them out, because it can't. The offspring of the mutated bacteria will be more successful, and multiply bountifully.

This exact same phenomena happens at a macro level, albeit more slowly. Classic scenario: gazelles and cheetahs on the savannah. Imagine a mutation in a gazelle that allows it to run more quickly. The mutation is random, but chance has little say in whether that mutation works its way into the gazelle population at large. The gazelle has a better chance at escaping predators, and is more likely to survive long enough to reproduce, passing that mutation onto its offspring, who will similarly be better equipped to evade predators. If on the other hand, the gazelle had a mutation that affected its equilibrium, it would have a poorer sense of balance and be much more easily caught. There's less chance it would reproduce, and even if it did, its offspring would be easy prey. It's not chance, it's exactly what you'd expect to happen.

I hope this helps!

FrodoSaves

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatever Man:

Whatever, man.

Sorry! Just had to do that once. Listen, I don't want to discourage any further dialog here, but why exactly do you reject the ONE possibility of God's existence (the God of the Bible)? You seem open minded to other possible explanations. Just curious. If you could be specific, that would help.

@ Frodo:

Thank you. Did you burn the ring, btw?

In any case, I'm familiar with the theories you posit: abiogenesis, panspermia, etc. Not to insult you in any way, but the rest of your explanation describes something that can easily fit into creationism.

You describe adaptability and mutation, which I'd describe under the header "microevolution." I don't discount microevolution at all. I don't deny it's real. It's been observed.

However, the mutations you describe do not give rise to new species. Darwin's finches, for example, can be explained by latent DNA traits that only express themselves under certain environmental situations.

Like a 4WD vehicle: you can put the 4WD or 2WD on depending on your need. It's been engineered to adapt. Or, a Humvee: amphibious application or dry land. There are latent traits engineered/designed into the craft that allow it to adapt to varied situations. I'd say it is the same with our DNA: the rugged nature of nature's species comes out and demands (to my mind) "Great design."

However, the gazelle (in your scenario) is still a gazelle. It is not amphibious, nor reptilian, etc. It is still a member of a certain genus/family/etc.

Macro-evolution has yet to be seen, only posited as a theory.

I'd grant the same is true for Creationism, but here's the difference:

Allowing for the astounding historical evidence of God at work in front of witnesses of people (viz: the Bible, Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger), at bottom isn't simply "the Bible told me so," but rather, "God has proven Himself time and time and time again over the course of history as trustworthy and true, so I take Him at His authenticated Word."

There IS evidence out there, extra-biblical evidence, in the archaeological findings of the 19th-29th centuries especially, the works of Simon Greenleaf (evidence professor at Harvard, wrote their text book on evidence and it's proper use, and sought to prove by the evidence that Christianity was false...but then had to bow down to his findings--it was true!), the historical accounts of the ancient historians (Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger), the overwhelming manuscript evidence which puts several Gospel manuscripts to within 10 years of the events (with over 20k manuscripts and little variance!)...seriously, this is NOT blind faith (such as you'd find in the LDS/Mormon "church", the Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology and Christian Science).

Here's a couple websites:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org
http://carm.org/

There are other resources that abound, but hopefully you get the point. This isn't simply wish fulfillment, the actual evidence screams "God exists and has acted in history."

Whateverman said...

Brazen Hussey responded to me with @ Whatever Man:

Whatever, man.

Sorry! Just had to do that once. Listen, I don't want to discourage any further dialog here, but why exactly do you reject the ONE possibility of God's existence (the God of the Bible)? You seem open minded to other possible explanations. Just curious. If you could be specific, that would help. 
To be really specific, I'd have to write for a while. In the interest of keep this short-ish, I'll try to give you the Reader's Digest version of my "belief" (it's still going to take a long time):

There are lots of Gods to choose from. Even discounting Greek mythology, the pool is simply ginormous. Christianity boasts dozens (one for every subset of belief, including vaguely related believers in jesus such as Mormonism and the Jehova's Witnesses). Islam and Judaism and the Baha'i Faith and Zoarastrianism and Buddhism and etc etc etc.

As I've made my way through this world, it's become apparent to me that every single one of these religions contains people or organizations that desire power, that want to remain in place as an authority, and will bend the rules (or mold them suitably) to help ensure that this happens.

Simply put, religion can no more remove the presence of human fallibility than it can remove its belief in God.

Every time someone stands up and claims to have some handle on the truth, it appears to me as example of the thing I'm describing. And since so many people claim to know God, yet they each describe him differently

I reject all religion. Not God, religion.

I'm open minded though, and accept the possibility that I've guessed wrong. But I have a moderate amount of faith that I'm not. And the more strongly people tell me that I'm wrong, the more I'm convinced I'm right.

As for the nature of God himself, I guess I'm pretty close to being a deist. God exists (I think), but religion is unable to describe him consistently, so I'm trying to figure it out on my own.

Whateverman said...

@ Brazen Hussey:

A quick followup. If it appears that I'm more or les open to certain religions, it's because I reject that which is illogical. I believe very strongly that God gave me a brain, to be used vigorously in understanding myself, my friends and family, and the world in general. I reject beliefs which are inconsistent (ie. a loving God damning the unborn to eternal hellfire), even though I can't say for sure that I know I'm correct in doing this.

So if it appears I reject Christianity very strongly... well, the group of people over at SMRT have been discussing this recently (re. bias against Christianity over Islam, etc). I choose to think of myself as rejecting the interpretations of individual believers (ie. martyrdom = 72 virgins in heaven), rather than the religion as a whole.

Whateverman said...

Brazen Hussey wrote It is unfathomable, in fact, unscientific and illogical, to assume that there was an eternal universe comprised of matter and energy that someway, somehow, gave rise to life. Why is this assumption (which is not being made by science specifically in the way you stated it) illogical? Why is it unscientific?

Brazen Hussey wrote Life NEVER comes from non-life, even the most vitriolic atheist recognizes that. Definition of terms - we need them. What do you mean by "life" and "non-life"? And what do you mean by "comes from"?

I'm asking because I can easily use specific definitions to give an example of where life CAN come from non life. A combination of nonliving nutrients (all from things that are either dead [beef:cow, pasta:wheat, vegetables:plants] or never lived [water, oxygen, iron]) gave rise to an egg which was fertilized by sperm & turned into a fetus, ultimately yielding a bouncing baby girl.

Right?

So, when you suggest that Life can't come from non-life, can you please be more specific?

I understand that you believe God creates life, including the fetus in my above example; I'm not questioning this. But the important part of that YOU BELIEVE God does this - an atheist does not. So, when you claim vitriolic atheists must believe in things that you take on faith...

See where I'm going with this?

It's most accurate to say that an atheist simply doesn't have all the answers as for where that baby came from. Certainly, the vast majority of the bundle of joy came from non-living things, though living things were involved too (Mom & Dad).

But beyond that, rather than claim God's responsible for the stuff we don't understand, an atheist simply says "I don't see evidence of your God being involved"

Heath P said...

Whateverman

"a loving God damning the unborn to eternal hellfire"
I don't know where you are getting your information. I have never herd the bible say that God damns the unborn to hellfire. I have never even herd a Christian say this. If this is your idea of Christianity, it is no wonder you hate it so much.
You can count on the fact that God is "Just" he will only send those who are deserving to hell. But the question for you are you deserving. Look at his standards and read the Bible the whole thing not just bits and pieces, don't just listen to what others say about Christianity.

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev' Man:

dude! you triple double-dog one-two-three socked me in the cranium! I can't type, much less read, that fast! LOL

Seriously, I thank you for your responses, you and the other atheists (and my Christian brothers and sisters) make this site rather enjoyable. I am printing these responses out so I can chew 'em over, but give me day to breathe and play with the half dozen kids o' mine.

Enjoy your day, and thanks for giving us all something to chew on (that goes for Frodo, Bath Tub, Ex Pat Mat, all of you: this is truly an exiciting, stimulating forum).

Ciao!

Whateverman said...

I wrote "a loving God damning the unborn to eternal hellfire"

HeathP responded I don't know where you are getting your information. I have never herd the bible say that God damns the unborn to hellfire. I have never even herd a Christian say this. If this is your idea of Christianity, it is no wonder you hate it so much. I don't hate Christianity. Not at all. The "damning the unborn to hell" bit is a logical conclusion of some of the contemporary Christian arguments.

As an example, God is omnipotent and omniscient and gave us free will. Since it's *our* choice as to whether we go to hell or not, God knows well in advance of our existence as to what we'll eventually choose.

No matter how you try to twist your noodle around this concept (and I mean "you" in general, not you specifically), God knows whether we're going to heaven or hell before we're born. In fact, he's the only one who can possibly impact the choice that we make - he's the only one that can change the future.

---

Keep in mind, this is simply the logical conclusion to the argument described. It's more similarly known as the conflict between omniscience/omnipotence and free will.

I personally believe the REAL problem is with how individual Christians claim to understand the nature of God. Some of their beliefs are completely nonsensical, when you take a close look at them.

Unfortunately, the face I associate with Christianity is most often representative of the Evangelicals, who strive to scare, cajole and provocate via their faith. People like Mr. Comfort often say things that make no sense, so to that extent, I often find myself rejecting Christianity when I *should* be rejecting individual Christians.

I struggle twith this constantly.

Whateverman said...

Brazen Hussey wrote much that started with dude! I'm here to discuss :) And though I feel pretty strongly about what I'm writing, I try to be fair and level-headed about it. I also try to be polite. So if I ever come across as something else, please don't mistake it for antagonism - I'm most likely simply frustrated.

And I'm also willing to listen. So fire back if you've got something to say, or just offer a counterpoint if you think I should consider an alternative, etc.

By the way, I think it's important to mention that I'm not an atheist. I often get lumped in with them by Christians, and though I think I know why, I'd rather just have people try to take my words at face value, rather than lump me into some category I don't actually belong in.

No hard feelings - respond only if you want to :)

Heath The Blogless said...

Whateverman

I can see your point, but you have to remember at the end of the day God Just. He would not punish anyone for what they don't deserve. You can take it to the extremes like you have. But it will only put a stumbling block in your way in seeing God for what he is really like. In away you are imposing your standards on God. But in reality it is the other way round God imposes his standards on us. This is a great thing because He can see the whole picture he knows all the facts. Hi decisions are always right.

Heath The Blogless said...

Sorry. His (not Hi) decisions are always right.

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev':

I wrote a book in post form last night, stayed up till 2 am...and got CENSORED (boo! hiss! Sorry, Trish, it's your blog after all)...so I DID respond as you bring up plenty to chew on.

Alright, let me pick my battle:

As I've made my way through this world, it's become apparent to me that every single one of these religions contains people or organizations that desire power, that want to remain in place as an authority, and will bend the rules (or mold them suitably) to help ensure that this happens.TRUE! Agreed. Ironically, Jesus agrees, too, and I say that based on His actions and message to the Scribes and Pharisees. To these religious elite, Jesus called them everything from "dead men's bones" to "brood of vipers," and "blind guides."

They crucified Him for being a threat to their power and position in society, and both He and John the Baptist called these false guides to account.

False teachers have always been around, wolves in sheep clothing, and Jesus warns many times to be on guard. The only standard we have: the Bible. Compare what they teach to the Bible.

Plese don't discount the only piece of missing evidence as you search out for Truth. It contains the message God has for YOU.

You ask a question on epistemology: Jesus tells us He would send His Spirit to come reside in us, and the Spirit would illumine and help us know the meaning of the Gospel and the Word.

You start in a bad place: you are spiritually dead, and need re-generation. Only God can do that for you. This isn't hocus pocus, but God promises if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just and will forgive us, cleanse us, and also give us this missing element to knowing Him: the Holy Spirit.

Hope that helps. I'm composing another response to your other point(s).

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev':

God exists (I think), but religion is unable to describe him consistently, so I'm trying to figure it out on my own.
The problem is not in having a consistent witness amongst all the religions of the world. There are enemies that abound, all lead by Satan. It sounds lame from an outsider's perspective, definitely unscientific, but the father of lies is great at his job: attacking truth, and has been since the Garden. One would expect thousands of pieces of hay surrounding the one needle.

Jesus called it, amongst other things, the "narrow" vs. "broad" roads.

Truth, as such, is objective, and denounces all other possible explanations by definition and nature. All truth is that way, if it is objective.

For instance, 2 + 2 is NOT an infinity of answers, but it IS ONE answer: 4.

The same with Christianity. One thing you must know: there are thousands of Christian denominations, and the "true church," which is also called the "invisible church," is made up of possibly hundreds, if not thousands, of denominations.

The things that divide us Christians are not always worth division, but we're all sinful and as you observed accurately: we all fall short. Therefore, not all Christians will belong to the same denomination.

That's OK. There HAS to be agreement on the basic tenets of the faith, and I'd argue that the ecumenical creeds sum it up well:

Athanasian Creed
Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed
Apostles' Creed

Compare the above creeds with the ONE INFALLIBLE RULE of our faith, which is the BIBLE ALONE, however. I say that because the creeds sum up the faith well, but only the Bible is infallible and only the Bible was written by God's hand through men inspired by His Spirit.

Hope that helps. Composing another one...

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev':

But beyond that, rather than claim God's responsible for the stuff we don't understand, an atheist simply says "I don't see evidence of your God being involved"I don't claim to hold this position: I think at bottom you may believe that Christians are anti-science. Anti-macro-evolution is one thing, because we think it's not good, honest science.

Just quickly, I hold the presuppositional method of apologetics, which you can read more on at:

http://crta.org/

Science, knowlege and intelligence are IMPOSSIBLE apart from the God of the Bible. How can I say that?

Because this world is intelligible. The intelligibility of the universe, the knowability of it, leading to the possiblity of scientific inquiry, demand that the all knowing God of the Scriptures actually exists, wants to be known, and has given us minds with which to apprehend Him.

When a scientist pursues his or her field, they are standing on this premise: that knowledge and intelligibility are actually possible. From an atheistic worldview, this would be impossible. The atheist (not necessarily calling you one) assumes that what he or she does will actually reflect truth of the universe.

There must be a logical Mind behind it all, and the Scriptures make plain that intelligence is God.

Re: my comments on life cannot arise from non-life

All I meant is this: unless something is alive, it cannot produce life. Living organisms come from living organisms. Inert matter produces inert matter. Rocks don't have babies.

That's all I meant.

I brought it up because even the most devout atheist must assume that life first existed to cause life to follow in coming generations.

Composing one more, please don't edit...PLEASE TRISH!!

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev':

As an example, God is omnipotent and omniscient and gave us free will. Since it's *our* choice as to whether we go to hell or not, God knows well in advance of our existence as to what we'll eventually choose.

No matter how you try to twist your noodle around this concept (and I mean "you" in general, not you specifically), God knows whether we're going to heaven or hell before we're born. In fact, he's the only one who can possibly impact the choice that we make - he's the only one that can change the future.
I recommend a book to you, a couple, on this subject NOT from a modern evangelical view, but rather from a Reformed Presbyterian view (I only say that to differentiate, not condemn my brethren):

Almighty Over All, by R.C. Sproul, Jr.
The Grand Demonstration, by Jay Adams

Both books take a much more biblical view on this subject, properly called "theodicy" in technical terms.

You said something about how we have free will: we DID, but we LOST it in the Fall of Man. The Bible now says we are all bound like slaves to sinful minds: we can't escape...unless we get new minds and God changes us from the inside out (Ezekiel 37, for instance, or Romans 8). This is part of God's rescue plan for us.

So, the premise that He gives us free will is misleading: we are all now spiritually DEAD. Not "sick," not simply influenced by sin, but we are DEAD in sin. Ezekiel 37 describes a valley of dry bones: that's us. They can't live again apart from God's power, and Jesus says the Spirit gives us new birth in John 3.

All that to say, God saves some from a population that is entirely Hell-bound. NO ONE would be saved unless He decided to. To see this more clearly, read the Gospel of John.

Lastly: Hell isn't a waste place, a place where "oh, great--God failed." Hell is God's creation as well, and it is a place where God Himself will make manifest His justice.

It will be the place of eternal punishment for mankind who rebelled against God, and though this is hard to swallow for many, we are told in various places (Ps. 58:10-11, Rev. 19 etc.) that we will worship God when we see justice served.

However, our position in the here and now, this side of the final Judgment Day, our task is to plead with all who will listen (and many who don't) to avoid that punishment at all costs: it isn't a joyful thing to consider, even for the worst of people.

Especially when one considers: WE ALL DESERVE IT. God is just to punish His enemies, and that is what we are apart from His redeeming work in our lives: enemy soldiers.

He made Satan, and all the demons (angels who rebelled) who decided to fall out of Heaven with him in the Great Rebellion. They will display something we won't otherwise see in Heaven: they will display unlimited, omnipotent, unchained holy justice.

That God saves ANYONE is sheer unfathomable grace, but He does.

Whateverman said...

@ Brazen Hussey:

Ha! You've been busy!

I'm not going to have time to respond today (and you've given me a lot to respond to - I guess I deserved that by spamming Trish's blog in the first place). I'll try to tackle some of this stuff in the next few days.

Thanks for taking the time to write back

Sincerely,

Whatever, man

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev':

Re: God damning unborn to Hell~

I meant to address this. My answer is brief, surprisingly.

God declares throughout Scripture that He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy, He will harden the hearts of those whom He will.

Our final justice or felicity hangs on this sovereign choice, which ultimately rests upon God's will alone. I know we're always saying "repent and believe," and how can a baby do either from the womb?

Or so the argument usually goes.

I can only answer this way: God will have mercy upon whom He will. You and I are NOT unborn babies: their lot rests upon the character and choice of God alone. We can't rescue or plead with them one whit.

I am content to leave them in God's hands, which means He either will or will not "save" them eternally, and in the meantime to plead with the "born babies" who are grown enough to blog or talk with, and share the truth of the Good News: you can have eternal life and know it beyond a doubt, right here and now.

I'll say one last thing:

Who would make a better choice on this subject of salvation other than the Maker Himself? His will is perfect, and perfectly done.

Whateverman said...

@ Mr. Hussey:

Regarding your last response to me, I place a lot more trust in a Christian who says to me "I know these things appear to contradict; I can't explain it" than one who repeatedly claims their contradictory beliefs are True and Perfect, etc.

IOW, it's good to admit that you don't have all the answers. I, myself, have very few, and willingly admit it. My complaints aren't with God - they're with certain beliefs that people claim are True/infallible/etc.

Know what I mean? I don't really think God condemns the unborn to Hell. But there are Christians who evangelize beliefs which, when examined, boil down to this very thing.

My beef is with them. Not with people who admit they don't really understand everything (but they're trying)

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatever, Man!

Thanks, I find I'm looking forward to this like I look forward to coffee in the am. Starting to get headaches if I can't get on this blog...Trish has probably lined this thread with nicotene...

Thanks for your kind words, Whatever...man.