My atheist friends often have Psalm 14:1 lobbed at them as if the verse ends the conversation like a holy grenade! It says, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God".
But the verse does not mean all atheists are fools. It means anyone who "says in his heart" there is no God is a fool. In other words, anyone who denies God for merely emotional reasons is foolish. An issue this profound is not to be determined by one's psychological state or emotional disposition.
The person who has genuine intellectual questions or objections concerning God's existence is not the biblical definition of a fool. God will honor and answer in the humble quest for truth. The honest inquirer is in a better position before God than the emotionally closed-minded.
Since I'm talking about the Hebraic-Christian Scriptures, they repeatedly say we must humble ourselves before God. Think about it. If God exists, humility is certainly in order in seeking Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God", etc.
This shouldn't be hard for the atheist intellectually. Most of my atheist friends agree that humility is in order in the quest for any truth. Don't you agree?
(On the other hand, I can see how horrible I would feel (at least at first) if, say, Islam was proven to me to be true. I would be forced intellectually and emotionally to acknowledge Allah and Muhammad. I would have to begrudgingly and reluctantly bow before them. That would suck! I would acknowledge Allah's existence, but probably continually resist any relationship or love for him until he smote me!
But I must say that my emotional resistance to Islam is mostly for intellectual reasons! Thankfully, I am confident there is nothing forthcoming in Islam that will serve as an adequate defeater of Christ's claims.)
BTW, I am aware of Christ's injunction against calling anyone a fool, yet he himself did. Keep in mind that Christ is forbidding unwarranted name-calling (literally "empty head") from people who are themselves often foolish!
That's all well and good if you believe, but I don't. As far as "history" goes, I am sure there some historical accuracy in the Bible, but I do not believe it's claim that Jesus is the son of a deity is part of that. That crosses over into mythology as far as I am concerned.
Believing something does not make it true or false. And whether something is mythological or actually happened is a matter of historical investigation. Professional historians who study the New Testament documents do not consider them mythological, but biographical. That does not mean there is nothing disputed, but that the documents generally don't have the earmarks of mythological development. And, they were written down too soon after the events for mythological corruption.
I am by no means a Biblical scholar so I can't get into a meaningful discussion on its presentation as biographical vs. mythological. However, my guess is that the ancient Greeks thought their myths were biographical when they were not looking at them through the lens of time as we are. I contend that 3000 or 5000 years from now Christianity will be also classified as a collection of ancient myths.
It is the way things go in this world. Deities and belief systems come and go. We are a very creative and fickle species. We create and destroy deities as time passes and cultures merge, clash and change.
I agree with you that belief does not make something true or false. This includes Christianity. Many people believe it to be true and try to sell it to others but all they have is their belief to back it up. That is simply not enough for many of us.
How can you historically investigate whether or not Hercules, who was allegedly half deity and half human, really was so? Most people would think it absurd. To an outsider like me, the supernatural aspects of the Bible are every bit as absurd and unverifiable. If I am wrong, may Zeus strike me dead.
Hi Reg! Good to hear from you! It's a valid question, and you and I know that we must agree on definitions before we continue. So please give me (1) your definition of evidence, and (2) what you think would constitute evidence for God. Please be specific. I'll return the favor. Thanks!
Is it up to us to define evidence? Whatever has convinced you that there is a god and that that god is the same god as the one in the bible. Tell us that, and we'll either point out where your thought process was flawed or we'll see the error of our ways.
Reg says "arguments are not evidence". Therefore, I'd like to know how he defines evidence and what he would accept as evidence (for God). Otherwise, we're just talking past each other. So, care to give me your answer on those two questions?
Hi Kevin, I will try to explain what I mean. I think we were here before though with the KCA in a previous debate. You contend that (religiosity aside) that the KCA is evidence for the existence of God. I contend that it is not. It is only an argument and even if you “win” the argument from a debating viewpoint it still cannot be used as evidence for a particular god. So even if something caused the Universe to begin to exist you can still only argue that the Christian god was this “cause”. There is still no evidence to deduce that it is so.
Let me put it like this. You as a Christian assert that your God exists. When you tell me this you are making a subjective claim. You are telling me what your mind believes or holds to be the Truth. I have no problem with that. However if you wish me to believe what you believe then you need to make your claim objective. I need something tangible to consider that exists independently of your subjective claim. Something that I can consider without any further input from you.
I can sit here all day and discuss all manner of philosophical, scientific and even theological arguments with you. We could play tennis with the KCA if necessary and I would relish the prospect. However it would all be just “argument”. It may be intellectually stimulating and that is all well and good but if you cannot put some “evidence” on the table and allow me to study it then the premise that “God exists” will remain purely subjective.
So if you cannot move from subjective argument to objective evidence I can only conclude that you have none. If you wish to maintain your assertion that God exists then the onus probandi is upon you to produce some evidence. I get your conceptual analysis based on your definition of God but it is not evidence in itself. I get the logical possibilities of your arguments in Kantian terms but to get to the material possibility we need some evidence presented for analysis.
I understand you have affirmed the cognitive belief that your God exist. If you want me to give that premise any further consideration you must justify it for me or it holds no value to me other than I know that it is just something you believe no matter how deeply held it is.
(It is 1 am here – stupid round Earth and its time zones).
So arguments are only to help the case for the possibility that a God may exist. If your believe so then it is just your subjective opinion. If you want to convince me that it is more than just a logical possibility, i.e. that God actually exists then objectify your claim with testable evidence. Otherwise admit that it is only based on faith. It may be a reasonable faith for you but it will remain meaningless to me without it. Not proof, just a little shred of evidence. Ok that is a start.
Reg, don't you agree that an argument is just a way of presenting evidence? The evidence is found in the premises of the argument and can be examined, affirmed, or disputed. For example:
1). If it's Sunday, Chick-Fila is closed.
2). It's Sunday.
3). Therefore, Chic-Fila is closed.
One can check evidence for premise #1 by researching Chic-Fila's policy on being open on Sundays, or whether a business called "Chic-Fila" even exists!
Evidence for premise #2 can be seen by consulting a reliable calendar, etc. and this would be objective evidence (existence of company policy, eyewitnesses who have eaten at or seen Chic-Fila).
So if there is evidence supporting the premises, the conclusion follows, and that serves as further evidence for the proposition (or argument). Do you agree so far? Why or why not?
This is so boring it is going nowhere slowly. How many different christian faiths are there? And they all claim to be the true and only true faith. I have been told so many times " but they are not true christians" by christians condemning other christians faith. They can not even agree amongst themselves. And every one of these different faiths will interpret the same book , the same versus in different ways. At least as Atheist we agree that there is no god. We belief in critical reasoning and thinking.
Jorita, what you're correctly pointing out is the differences in the application of certain key doctrines, The major denominations of Christianity are united on the Essentials, but differ on peripherals. So, there is only one Christian Faith. It's up to us to make sure we're accurate about it.
BTW, critical reasoning and thinking is certainly not the sole domain of atheists!
Any rumination on what constitutes a fool vis a vis scriptural injunctions is a de facto acceptance that there are things in the Bible worthy of respect. I don't believe there are; therefore, it is meaningless to me.
I do have my own perception of what constitutes a fool, however; and it's anybody who puts any value whatsoever in any religion. All religions are based on the fear of death; and many people choose to allay that fear by being foolish. I do not begrudge them that choice, but to characterize anyone a fool for being an atheist is the supreme example of the charred pot calling the kettle insufficiently black.