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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

 

 

Tags: Christianity, God, Science, and, atheism, blind, burden, creationism, earth, faith, More…gaps, god, naturalism, of, proof, the, theism, worldview, young

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Replies to This Discussion

Ask the electron what it does within its shells of high probability around the atom.  Manifestations out of the ether happen at the sub atomic level all the time.
What causes the manifestation?

Quantum waveforms.  What caused God?

So you're not giving an example of something coming from nothing uncaused? Do you think something can come from nothing uncaused?

Particle-antiparticle pairs come into and out of existence spontaneously all of the time. This is the source of the Casimir Effect, for example. And as Albert said, it is a result of the energy-time formulation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

 

Here is the Wikipedia article on quantum fluctuations.

How is any of that an example of something coming from nothing uncaused?
Kevin, you are the one claiming that something coming from nothing uncaused is a requirement of a naturalistic view of existence. Albert pointed out things that come from apparently nothing (although a vacuum, while nothing in the conventional sense is not nothing in a scientific sense) without discernible cause.

I agree that 'no discernible cause' is not the same as 'no cause', although I suspect that is what Albert meant. (Correct me if I am wrong, Albert) But that brings us back to your claim that naturalism requires that something come from nothing without cause, a claim which you have provided no supporting evidence. It is not a requirement at all, naturalism is perfectly compatible with an eternal universe, for example. No ex nihilo creation required.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that everything is an event which required a "trigger", i.e. a "causer".  But you've already made up your mind on what this "causer" is.  God.  This is argumentum ad ignorantium.  Why is it so silly that things can happen or appear without a cause, such as maybe the Big Bang, or sub atomic particles doing their own weirdness but it's not so silly that an uncaused causer can be sitting around for all eternity in the space-time continuum in either direction?  If everything is a cycle, then there is no need for a cause on the ultimate level, only miniature causes on the local level.  So long as the net product is zero, then the mass-energy equation works.

 

Why are you asking these questions when you seem to want someone give you the words you already know?  "God did it.  And not just any god.  Christian God.  Not those other gods."

The Uncertainty Principle only says one cannot predict various paths, etc a given particle will take. It says nothing about something coming from nothing uncaused.

There are different Uncertainty Relations, the most familiar being the one between position and momentum, the other between energy and time. It cause virtual pairs of particles to appear and annihilate all the time all around you.

You can measure it directly, using the Casimir effect. It is a very powerful relation. It can make black holes disappear.

Do you really believe that you've come up with a new and original point of view?  These questions have been debated for millennia.  Also, I've never observed a mind, I know what a brain is though.
No, I don't think I have anything original but I think there's plenty to discuss. BTW, you've never seen the number "7" either, only a  correspondence to it. Same issue with Mind/Body Dualism.

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