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!
"...what inferences can be drawn in this regard?"
For example, the scientific data that the universe had a beginning increases almost daily. If the time/space/material universe had a beginning, it brings up philosophical questions concerning the nature of causality, and what the attributes of the cause of the universe are (impersonal? personal? eternal? immaterial?).
Another example is the fine-tuning of the initial constants that allow for intelligent life (found in the Big Bang itself). The scientist, or anyone else, can put on her philosophers hat and ask if these fine-tuning aspects derive from chance, physical necessity, or design.
(God of the Gaps arguments are not necessary. One can argue for God based on what we know, not on what we don't know.)
"but nothing in science can be used to formulate a cogent hypothesis or even inference of personal or intelligent origins."
I showed how one can draw inferences from scientific data. You're just denying it without showing why my example is wrong. Please clarify.
"This idea that any conditions were fine-tuned for anything is also highly suspect for at least a couple of reasons".
Here, you are offering philosophical speculation (and inference) resulting from the data of the fine-tuning aspects of the initial conditions, which proves my point. I've made no arguments based on the fine tuning! I've merely shown what you asked: there are philosophical inferences to be drawn from the physical sciences.
When we get this straight, we can examine specifically how these data can point to God if you wish.
Excellent! This is a good way to sharpen thinking!
I'll add this. We have to distinguish between what moral values and duties are and what grounds them, etc (Ethics Proper) with how those moral values and duties are applied (Applied Ethics). For example, the Salem Witch Trials were horrific. But notice there was an over-arching moral value ("you should not murder"). The community thought the witches were murderers in the process of murdering others. However, we have better knowledge of what witches are capable of, etc. so we don't execute them (we apply "you should not murder" differently). The moral value is the same (murder), the application of it has changed (what we do to "witches").
You bring up a good point about the First Commandment. Couple that with "you shall not allow a witch to live", etc. and we have examples of laws of the Old Testament theocracy that are no longer in effect because the theocracy is no longer in effect.
Yet, from a spiritual standpoint for those who follow Christ, having no gods before God is valid. That also applies to the moral/spiritual imperative of avoiding witchcraft (because it attempts to interact with the demonic).
I'll take the first argument, Thank you. I worked last weekend.
Hey Kevin – welcome back man. It has been 2 years!! So as I was asking before – have you got any “evidence” yet? Really, I just don’t let go do I?? Not “argument” but “Evidence”.
I am holding my breath with anticipation of Kevin's answer...
Don't take too long here Kevin, the fate of our immortal souls rest in your hands!
I don't have time for the fate of my immortal soul to be resting in anybody's hands but mine! Of course, some theists would say it does rest in my hands and depends on whether or not I choose to believe in not only a deity, but a certain one. I contend I do not have that choice. I have a lot of choices, but not that one. I cannot simply believe, as some so blithely assert.
I don't have time for this either, but apparently can't resist.
Diane, I agree that none of us has time to place our immortal souls in someone else's hands... unless that someone has the qualifications and credentials to actually affect one's immortal soul! I only know of one person in history who is a good candidate for that!