I am going to an christian apologist's speech tomorrow night on campus and the topic is "Too Smart For God". The speaker will deal with whether or not science is compatible with faith in god. I was wondering if any of my fellow non-believers have any suggestions on what questions I can ask Dr. Jim Muncy. I am fairly new to atheism so I would like your input on good questions. Thanks.
If they go with the Cosmological argument, point out that even if you granted them the entire thing, the best that it would do is convert you from an atheist to a deist, and does not prove that Jesus is the son of God or that the Christian religion is true.
If they go with the "it takes a lot of faith to be an atheist" argument, point out the irony.
Websters definition of atheism: a disbelief in the existence of a deity.
Good point. Although I can also point out that the first premise of that argument is false. Virtual particles appear to go in and out of existence uncaused. And the 2nd premise may be unknown. there is some speculation that the universe did not begin to exist and that it did not come from singularity but those answers are way to complex for me to argue well on. So I will stick with the atheist to deist argument although I feel as though I would be conceding too much ground.
Yes, the cosmological argument has been debunked so many times that it's applying for the role of henchman in the next James Bond film and IT IS conceding too much ground.
However you could say, "The Cosmological argument, while I could point out the false premises, I just don't have the time to go through it all and it's irrelevant to my point, so let's just say I grant you the whole thing, JUST FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT..."
I don't know who Dr. Jim Muncy is (google isn't turning up anything useful); I wouldn't really know what to ask him specifically unless I had more information.
It may be better not to ask anything at all. All learning processes require periods of observation. Just observe, take note of his claims and arguments, and process them objectively and rationally. If he makes a claim that you either clearly disagree with, or makes a claim that you want further clarified, ask him about it with sincerity. The strongest case you will ever make for your atheism will be based on the sincerity of your convictions and on a knowledge base that you have deeply internalized over time.
On the general subject of whether or not science is compatible with faith in a god, my first question is, 'Why should it matter?' Really, why is this important? Science does not seek to prove or disprove any god(s); it seeks to describe the natural world as accurately as possible. If that description of the natural world seems to contradict an article of faith, what is the harm in examining the issue objectively?
It should be accepted by all parties that our understanding of the universe is imperfect. Not that there is a strict dichotomy, but in generalized terms, those that adhere to scientific reasoning have to accept that we don't have all the answers as an obvious fact, and those that adhere to religious 'reasoning' have to accept that only their god(s) have all of the answers. In either case, why would the objective pursuit of truth ever be a bad thing? Phrased differently, what merit is there in holding false or unsupported beliefs? If you were wrong about any aspect of God, wouldn't you want to know? I mean, for those that believe that an eternity of suffering is on the line for those that get it wrong, you'd think they'd want to make damn sure they had faith in the correct things.
Of course, there are lots of answers that can be provided to my question, but because my question comes from my personal belief system, I can readily engage in further dialogue.
"Have you felt or heard someone suggest that people of faith are not as intelligent as those who reject the notion of God? Are intellectual and academic pursuits incompatible with faith? To advance intellectually, do we have to give up or set aside our faith? HAVE WE BECOME TOO SMART FOR GOD?
Dr. Jim Muncy will be our guest speaker this Tuesday at IMPACT. He will be discussing this issue and providing reasonable and sound evidence for the compatibility of faith and intellectual pursuits. Do you need to be encouraged in your faith? Do you know someone that would benefit from hearing this? Invite anyone and everyone to hear Dr. Muncy this Tuesday. Your faith will be strengthened and your mind will be challenged."
The above is a copy and paste description of the event from the email. I think his main goal is to prevent what happened to me form happening to other college students. What happened to me was I went to college gained knowledge contrary to what the Bible says and began to look critically at my beliefs in general and my religion buckled under the scrutiny. I became an atheist. And while I don't plan to engage in much of a debate, I simply want to ask him good questions. My biggest question is this idea of hell. Do I deserve to go to hell simply because I disbelieve and what kind of loving god would send someone to hell for not believing in him?
I see. Thank you for providing that additional information.
I suppose that would bring up a lot of questions in my mind.
Does religious faith have any merit if God doesn't actually exist?
If so, what is that merit?*
If not, should not a person be willing to objectively entertain the possibility that they are wrong or that their position is unsupported by evidence (atheists and theists alike)?
If an article of faith is shown to be wrong or unsupported, should it not be reevaluated?
If so, then shouldn't the pursuit of evidence be given precedence over faith?
If not, would that not simply be defending faith for the sake of defending faith? How could any such person ever claim to be objective?
If you ask about Hell, that may be a good way to get a sense of the speaker. I would hope he would give you a well thought out reply -- a reply that reveals some sort of humanity or reasonable disposition.
*One point that is always worth staying sharp on in these situations is to be able to identify and debunk Pascal's Wager no matter what form it takes. Some people are very clever about sneaking it into arguments, but that's okay; it generally provides a quick opening to call someone out if they're just full of shit. Not saying there's a need to be antagonistic or anything, but this argument crops up over and over and over, even from intelligent speakers, and it should always be shot down on sight without hesitation.
This video helped me overcome any lingering irrational fears of hell. Consider its concepts....they might help you tremendously in developing your hell questions. Or not, but the video is still awesome.
I'd ask him if faith and science are compatible, then why is faith never used in science?
The answer is because it is useless and science is not compatible with faith. And don't let him or her confuse the issue by pointing out scientists who are religious. People can subscribe to contradictory ideas at the same time, but that does not make the ideas compatible.