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Hi All,

I recently responded to the "I'm Not a Christian Anymore" thread. As a philosophical Christian Theist, I hate to see people reject Christ due to misconceptions. I offered some thoughts.

I was challenged on God's existence and nature so I'll offer some thoughts for anyone who would like to discuss. I find it's always necessary to dispel straw men and define terms first.

Motivation. I am interested in civil dialogue on what I think is the most important issue of all time. I think there are more distractions keeping people from the knowledge of God than at any time in history. Yet, I think there are more reasons to believe Theism is true than at any time! It's too important to just view these discussions as a contest - to win the debate at all costs.

No matter how one feels about the "Religious Right", an obnoxiously religious family member, or atrocities done in the name of God, etc. Theism just may be true.

Humility is required in the quest for truth. Respect is required for those on the quest. I hope to offer both.

Worldview. It all comes down to which worldview best explains the data of the universe. If Naturalism is true, then atheism follows. If Theism is true, I think Christianity is the best theistic option.

Classical (or Christian) Theism.  Something is ontologically ultimate and therefore eternal and necessary. It is either something of the order of matter, or something of the order of mind. Theism holds to the latter and a conceptual analysis leads to God who is the personal Creator, is powerful, transcendent, and distinct from "his" creation yet active in it.

Christianity. The view that God revealed himself in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christ's claims concerning himself are true and he is authoritative in everything he taught or affirmed.

Faith. Broadly, faith is the assent, or trust, or affirmation that a proposition is true. It has been defined on a scale from "blind faith" (fideism) to reasonable (or informed, supported) faith. I hold to the latter.

Faith is not a way of "knowing something",  it is the application of what you know (or think you know). Some form of faith is a component of virtually everything in life - from the scientific method to personal relationships. But faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. All the faith in the world will not make something true.

One ought to place one's faith where the evidence points, even if one cannot prove the proposition 100% or does not have exhaustive data.

Proof. While it is difficult to prove something 100%, one can nevertheless offer and consider proofs (reasons or evidence). 100% certainty is not necessary for a view to be justified or considered knowledge. I offer proofs for Christian Theism not "100% proof".

A cumulative case is also often necessary. I think various arguments combine to show Theism is true.

Burden of Proof. When debating a question, (e.g. does God exist?) anyone offering answers to the question bears the burden of proof. All views make truth claims. All truth claims bear the burden of proof. Whether one defends Naturalism or Theism one ought to offer reasons why.

God of the Gaps. Theists need not argue from what we don't know. Arguments for God can be based on what we do know from science or philosophy.

Further, God can employ Secondary Causation, wherein initial conditions or systems produce perpetual effects (e.g. weather systems produce lightning).

God and Science. An eternal, transcendent Creator does not preclude us from rigorously exploring the universe and discovering how it works.

(You may be interested that I reject "Young Earth Creationism". I don't think it's the best biblical explanation and it certainly is at odds with known science. "Yom" in Genesis can denote long periods of time).

Thank you for reading this far. If anyone is interested I can sketch out some arguments for God for discussion.

 

Kevin H

 

 

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What you're saying boils down to "biased people cannot write accurate history". Or, "people with an agenda cannot write accurate history". You've wiped out all of history then. Including survivors of the Holocaust - our best sources for the events. I'm sure they were biased against the Nazis!

Luke, for example, was an historian. He looked into written sources. You are not familiar with the historicity of the New Testament. Take a look at how many sources we have for Alexander and how long after him they are recorded. Then compare that to the New Testament documents and tell me what you come up with.

Jesus cursing the fig tree? The poor little tree had no feelings! Jesus did that as a teaching aid - a symbol - of what happens when any person or group of persons fails to produce "fruit" in their lives. They wither!

No, I am saying that biased people will reflect those biases in their writings. This is why in scientific papers the authors must declare any conflicts of interest, so that those biases can be taken Into account when reviewing the paper.

I also mentioned diversity of sources, which you conveniently neglected to address. The more separate sources we have, from different perspectives, the more likely it is that an accurate picture can be gained.

Jesus' cursing of the fig tree can also be taken as the lesson 'if you cannot do the impossible, you will be punished', which fits in well with Christian philosophy.

"It is, according to the Natural World, impossible for Jesus to do those things."

You're right! I'm certainly not claiming that. You're presupposing Naturalism.

"There is no evidence whatsoever to believe that natural laws have changed since their inception. What is more likely, that out of the blue, that a divine creature burst onto the scene who had Magical Powers and was able to bend the laws of Nature at will? Or isn't it more likely, using Occam's Razor, that if Jesus did exist, he was a mere mortal, and the divinity had to be claimed later."

If Naturalism is true then anything other than a naturalistic explanation of the life and claims of Jesus gets shaved off. Holding fast to atheism causes one to rule out certain evidences a priori.


You are conflating again, Kevin. One does not have to be a naturalist to be an atheist (although it is quite common) as I know a good many atheists who believe in ghosts, psychic powers, etc, but just do ot believe in gods.

There is also a difference between methodological naturalism, which is what science is based on, and philosophical naturalism. Yes, science rules out supernatural explanations by default as something which, by definition, cannot be measured by natural means. However, if there were any supernatural causes, while they might not be detectable, their results would be, as long as they acted upon the natural world. Is is why scientific studies into prayer, for example, can be expected to show if prayeqr has any significant result, even though they would not necessarily be able to detect the source of that result.

As far as the miracles of Jesus go, there is no more reason to believe that they happened as described than there is to believe that Mohammed ascended to heaven on a winged steed, that Heracules diverted a river to clean stables, or that the islands of Japan were created by a deity dipping a spear into the ocean. There is no evidence and it is far more probable that a tale of magic and the supernatural is a myth than that it is true. Unless you want to accord every other myth and legend the same credibility you grant your favorite.

Egoism thy name is christianity... is all I'm going to say, I'm going to show my opinion by ignoring your thread, because I'm tired with claims like this:

It all comes down to which worldview best explains the data of the universe. If Naturalism is true, then atheism follows. If Theism is true, I think Christianity is the best theistic option.

Why christianity for evolutions sake? Why not buddhism or hinduism (which lays in every major religion), or judaism. Or maybe scientology or neopaganism like asatru, or ufo religion like raëlism, or maybe spiritual humanism? Hmm, maybe that one would fit better with the WHOLE world. Why not some religion which thinks that white males like yourself are the predominant species, then why not chose Creativity Movement (sounds benign does it?) or on the other hand Nation of Islam?

Why is Christian Theism 99.9% likely to be true and all the other gods and religions 99.9% likely to be not?  Why offer "proofs" for your own religion bias and not proofs for the others?
All of us have biases, Mario. The question is, are those biases warranted. Further, if  view X is true, then any view opposed to the truth of X is not.

"It's too important to just view these discussions as a contest - to win the debate at all costs."  At all costs, huh?  Why is it important to you that people believe in God, not just gods or any god, but YOUR God?  Assuming one does exist, why would you even associate with such an obvious tyrant?

 

Knowledge--acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition.

 

Ergo, "knowledge" of god does not exist.  Hence why it's called "faith" in gods.  You can't study God or even make an acquaintance of it any more than the other gods that you and others reject or the Tooth Fairy for that matter.

 

I think the existence or non-existence of a god or gods is not really the point, and any so called perfect god most likely would not care.

"why would you even associate with such an obvious tyrant?"

Please explain.

 

"Knowledge--acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition. Ergo, "knowledge" of god does not exist".

 

Apparently you have a lot of knowledge of God! You seem to know that there are no facts, truths, or principles supporting the concept of God. It is self-refuting to say "I know enough about God to know that one cannot know anything about God".

"Apparently you have a lot of knowledge of God!"  No.  That's YOUR claim.

 

"It is self-refuting to say "I know enough about God to know that one cannot know anything about God"."  This makes no fucking sense.  Quit putting words in my mouth and complicating the issue.

 

"Please explain."  One ultimate power.  Ruling over all of us.  A "believe in me and this one true religion OR ELSE mandate".  Sounds like a tyrant to me.  How many people has god supposedly killed in his "all powerful love" for us?

To answer your question:

 

And actually, that would just be the self-documented (he did write the bible, right?) God killings.

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