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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.
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"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?"
"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?
1). God killed people as recorded in the Bible.
2). In fact, God kills people everyday.
3). Therefore, God doesn't exist.
(I'm sure you don't really mean that. Just goofing on you!)
Of course it makes no sense! So don't say it! That's what your statements logically imply! If we cannot know anything about God (or even the concept of God) then we don't know which facts, data, insights, etc. do not apply!
I suppose you would call a father who kicked his adult son out of the house for smoking dope in the house a tyrant? I suppose you would call a society who puts a murderer in prison tyrannical?
I suppose you would call a society who puts a murderer in prison tyrannical?
An omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent society wouldn't put murderers in prison. There would be no murderers to begin with.