Hi, everyone.

Over the next several days or so, I should begin posting a variety of arguments for the existence of God. The purpose of this thread is to give context to those arguments so that people have a bird's eye view of them when they are presented and evaluated.

I don't care if you become a Christian or not, nor do I care if you end up becoming any other kind of theist. Rather, my goal on this forum is to persuade you of the following proposition.

"It is not unreasonable to be a Christian theist."

Obviously, this core proposition should be distinguished from the proposition that Christian theism is unreasonable - i.e., crazy, stupid, insane, dishonest, and so on. 

My core proposition should also be distinguished from the proposition that Christian theism is true, because something can be false yet reasonable for people to believe. This seems to happen a lot in science. For example, for a long time there could be reasonable disagreement between cosmologists regarding whether the Big Bang theory or the Steady State theory was true. I think atheism and theism are like that: There are a lot of arguments that go both ways, and someone can arrive at either conclusion without broaching rationality (of course, it is also possible to arrive at either conclusion irrationally).

Having said all of that, I'd like to ask whether anyone will agree to my core proposition without argument. I know that some atheists believe that Christianity can be reasonable, so the question is just how many such atheists post on this site.

Regards,

Occam

P.S. If you're interested, you can learn more about my past here, and you can see a sketch of the arguments I'll be using here.

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OP is christian or what?

I'm a liberal Christian.

I come here to talk about why theistic belief in God is silly, not to hear reasons why he might exist.

Is that a common sentiment here? I certainly don't want to present arguments if people aren't interested in discussing them.

Atheist Nexus and Atheist Universe are more for those kinds of discussions (theists aren't even allowed at either, as far as I know). Think Atheist is open to theists wanting to debate. It's not, however, open to trolls (from either side).

if it were a common sentiment, you would have gotten a whiff of it in your earlier exchanges in this thread and the other that you made.

Not sure if it's common but it's definitely the way I feel. What got me thinking is, if you don't care if we believe, why bother presenting the argument anyways?

You have a sisyphian task ahead of you. Hardly anyone here is going to take the old, tired proofs for God's existence terribly seriously. You cannot really expect atheists to agree that it's reasonable to believe in a magical sorcerer god.

At least don't bore us. Show us some new thinking.

This is a good point, and it's backed up by some of the other responses I've been getting. Maybe I should ask for specific reasons why people find Christian theism unreasonable and address them individually rather than trying to establish that entire proposition from the ground up.

Sure. 

Lemme know when and where.

Simple really:  

  • No theoretical basis exists to explain how God could exist.
  • The paltry evidence for a god leans heavily toward a god that is strictly an anthropogenic fabrication: the product of collective imagination.
  • The Christian God is imbued with such reality bending properties that, from a human perspective, all things are as likely as they are not if such a being exists.  Essentially, even if correct, reason fails to be of use under such a deity.

As far as hypotheses go, it fails to meet any reasonable standard for that which is worth pursuing.  Even if there was a reasonable motive to pursue it, there is no reasonable method by which to do so.

For those who characterize their belief as pure faith, good for them (I guess), but I'm loath to call that reasonable.  At best I can recognize that it has a certain pragmatism to it, though one for which I have little appreciation, myself.

For those who hedge their belief on airy notions of probability -- a sort of agnosticism that leans toward God --, I think that's really just taking a regular old "I don't know," drawing a smiley face on it, assigning it a personality, and calling it "God."  Far from reasonable.

I guess that last paragraph was a bit ignorant.  The smiley face could also be a frowny or angry face.  Don't want to pigeonhole an entire, diverse belief system!

Thanks, Kris. This is helpful. I would classify your objections to my core proposition (i.e., "it is not unreasonable to be a Christian theist") under these heads.

The negative evidentialist objection: There isn't any evidence for the existence of God (or there is paltry evidence), and we need evidence for an entity in order to reasonably believe that it exists.

The coherence objection: God is incoherent, or at least incomprehensible or otherwise such as to invalidate human reason if God exists.

The pragmatism objection: Having faith in God on a pragmatic or Pascalian basis is unreasonable.

Since there's a thread about the problem of evil up on this forum, I suppose some people here probably also subscribe to some version of the following.

The positive evidentialist objection: There is good evidence against the existence of God, and it's unreasonable to believe in an entity that there is good evidence against.

Are there any more broad categories that I'm missing? Can anyone think of more concrete instances of important arguments in these categories that I should address?

Can anyone think of more concrete instances of important arguments in these categories that I should address?

I'm afraid I can't make sense of this.  Do you or do you not have a proposition to assert and/ or defend in your participation on this site?  I have to assume your proposition has (at least in your esteem) some unique or novel value to the members of the forums.  If so, what's the point in the members here providing concrete arguments against positions you may or may not even be taking?  

Surely you aren't the representative of all Christianity.  I doubt most of us expect you to defend against every possible argument we have against every Christian view.  I'm sure many members here could fill volumes with criticisms and counters to specific Christian arguments we've heard over the decades, but we've already been there and done that. Not much need to rehash that ground.

If you don't feel that your proposition has any novel value, what's the point of your participation here at all?  

Do you or do you not have a proposition to assert and/ or defend in your participation on this site?

I originally intended to defend the core proposition which I quoted and italicized in this OP (namely, "it is not unreasonable to be a Christian theist"). I listed a bunch of arguments for the proposition in a blog post with the intention of discussing them, but I was quickly informed that that was not the right way to go about defending my core proposition.

I asked what the right way to defend the core proposition would be, and I was told that I should start distinct threads for each argument for the core proposition. So, in this thread, I said that I would do that instead. But then, people started asserting that this isn't the right way to defend the core proposition, either.

And now, it looks like I'm going to get banned, because a moderator just asked me the following.

If you don't feel that your proposition has any novel value, what's the point of your participation here at all?

Maybe you're right that this isn't the best place to discuss the reasonableness of Christian theism. The members certainly appear closed to the arguments for Christianity, and for all I know, they have good reasons for being closed to those arguments.

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