Material/physical science could confirm or eliminate various religious claims that should be detected in the material world.

When the Hindu claims that a certain mountain range in India is actually a huge snake under the surface, science can falsify that. If the revealed portion of their religion demands that the snake hypothesis is true, then that "revelation" is false and the Hindu is in a dilemma if he wants to keep his view.

The Christian example of a 6,000-year universe is a case wherein the revealed portion of the religion does not demand a "young earth" view. Since the Hebrew language in Genesis allows (and seems to indicate in places) an old universe, the Christian can embrace that view in keeping with the evidence.

If tomorrow we discovered indisputably that the universe is only 6 to 10 - thousand years old (that ain't gonna happen), I would shrug my shoulders and say I guess the young-earth view was correct! It's not an essential of the Christian Faith but is a peripheral issue.

But in what way could the science you're talking about detect God himself? If God exists, he is immaterial, timeless, and spaceless, etc.  Science is therefore limited to investigating vestiges or indications of God predicted by theism or the revealed portion of the religion(s), but then any speculations as to what can be inferred by scientific studies moves out of the realm of science per se, and into the realm of philosophy.

So what are some things that Christian Theism would affirm or predict according to both Natural Theology and Revealed Theology that science could investigate? Examples would be:

  • A finite universe.
  • Widespread belief in God or an ontologically ultimate being.
  • An enduring "religious" interest and nature innate in every culture.
  • Intricate design in the universe from the Big Bang to biological systems.
  • Widespread belief in objective moral values and duties.
  • Archeological discoveries of sites and artifacts crucial to the claims of Christianity.
  • Historical confirmations and indications of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Secondly, even if certain scientific discoveries lead to considerations that God exists, it requires further philosophical/theological speculation as to which of the World Religions has the best candidate for God.

Finally, as a Christian Theist, I think scientific discovery will progressively confirm the following predictions:

  • Continual confirmation of cosmological models that require an absolute beginning (even in the case of multi-verses or oscillation).
  • Neurological studies that indicate mind and brain interact but are distinct to the extent that mind is not reducible to brain (or physical components).
  • Further discoveries of conditions and constants in the Big Bang itself that are fine-tuned for intelligent life.
  • No discoveries will conclusively overturn the historical and archeological confirmations supporting the origins of Christianity, but will continue to affirm it.

 

Tags: Christ, Christianity, archeology, falsification, neurology, of, predictions, resurrection, scientific

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His book is on my list but I'd like to know what kind of evidence he says should be available for God. What sort of evidence should be found? FWIW, I say exactly the kind we do find!

"In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alteration of the night and the day, there are surely signs for men of understanding."  Qu'ran 3:190

 

Surely, you must see that the Master of the Universe has already reviled Himself to you.

Allahu Akbar!

Very thoughtful! I think the most exciting field of study for now and the future is Mind/Body Dualism.

I have trouble with the spelling of God as "god". Historically, gods are limited, finite, and thus would be subject to creation themselves. "God" is a better denotation of "the greatest conceivable Being" of Classic (or Christian) Theism. But a "universal consciousness would definitely go in the Theist column.

The most I hope to do here is to clear up some misconceptions that may serve as roadblocks to considering God. But I disagree that arguments for God are lame! On the contrary! New data the last 50+ years has bolstered the Cosmological and Teleological family of arguments for God (e.g. Big Bang, Fine Tuning). It's one thing to claim they've been refuted, it's another to show it!

The Ontological Argument has come roaring back in philosophy as it has been refined based on the back-and-forth study of it. There is something to it we just can't put our finger on (yet).

Pascal's Wager is not an argument for God and was not written toward atheists. Pascal just hoped it would shake the French laity out of their complacency, and, using a popular gambling motif, move them toward God. But PW is merely a call for prudence.

As to the "Hiddeness of God", I can only speculate. I cannot see inside you and determine what would serve as an adequate, customized revelation for you. But here are some things to think about.

In Christian theology, God has shown that big flashy miracles only go so far in convincing people. They can only serve as a general confirmation of a given revelation or teaching, but are limited in changing people's hearts. The Israelites quickly turned back away from God or just demanded more and bigger miracles. The religious leaders still denied Christ in spite of his miracles and attributed them to "Beelzebub".

Christ refused to do "parlor tricks". He took the deaf man away from the crowd so as not to make a spectacle of him. He told hypocritical religious leaders "only one sign will be given to you" (the resurrection).

So in "salvation history" God has moved to a more interior confirmation and relationship via the Holy Spirit. Exterior aspects in history and nature serve to support that it is indeed the Holy Spirit, i.e. there is an objective Referent to the internal experience.

Secondly, Christian theology indicates God reveals himself in ways that promote filial relationship with God and not mere acknowledgment of God's existence. An overwhelming sign of some sort may only cause one to reluctantly bow to, but not love, God.

Thirdly, God seems to have revealed himself in ways that 1) cannot be faked, and 2)are so much better than the gaudy things people often call for!

Sagan suggested  "a glowing cross" be placed in the sky. But that could always be attributed to natural phenomena, a NASA experiment, or even aliens! It may temporarily convince people, and cause atheists to reluctantly believe (as obnoxious religious people laughed at them), but it would do little do promote a love relationship that God desires.

The Big and Bang and the glory and beauty of creation cannot be faked! And it's awe supports the general intuition that I think we all have of God (which the Scripture says can be "suppressed in unrighteousness").

Christ said if we are faithful in little things we will be given more. If we respond to the General Revelation of God we will get more. We will get more insight into the Special Revelation God has provided in history, and get more internal relationship that is necessary due to God's transcendent, non-physical nature.

Finally, I think there are three main reasons God requires an amount of reasonable faith (not blind faith) pertaining to him: 1) God's transcendent, ultimate nature is not directly physically accessible to material beings.  2) it is the appropriate response to a person. 3). You're gonna need it in all relationships!

In any relationship, you must place trust (faith) in that person. As you grow in trust you grow in relationship. This applies to God since God is a personal being even in his being ontologically ultimate and transcendent. Even after you believe in and are in right relationship with God you must trust God. Tragedies will come.

 

 

There is no real evidence for any of the man made gods that have ever existed (including the Judeo-Christian god).  The only way to invent a god that might make any sense is to define "God" in a similar fashion as deists, naturalists, as the sum of all things, etc.  Otherwise, any argument for any god can have the same legitimacy- be it Zeus, Thor, or the Giant Squid God. 

As for Jehovah and Allah, they will suffer the same fate as all the hundreds of other gods that were worshiped before them by thousands, if not millions, of people - they will die with the people who believe in them.

As I've said before, animism evolved to polytheism, polytheism evolved to monolatry, monolatry evolved to monotheism, ..... it would appear the natural progression is to agnosticism, Humanism, atheism, free thought, etc.

The god you seem to believe in is not the same god described in the Bible.

It's quite simple, the bible was written at a time when people had no clue how old the earth was. People had no idea the earth was just a planet in a solar system, and that all the stars were suns. At the moment you're the equivalent of that hindu going "No no, the snake was a metaphor", or that it was invisible.

Also if stuff had an absolute beginning you've sort of disqualified christianity already since "god is infinite", there's just no way to try and have a sensible discussion then. Complexity evolves from simplicity, we know that.

 

With the morals there's a pretty strong theory called Darwinism. If we got morals from the abrahamic religions people would be killing gay people and non-believers all the time, selling daughters to slavery etc. (that stuff does still happen of course among indoctrinated fundementalists, organised or not).

I'm just not with you. The more we learn about the universe, physics et cetera the less probable christianity becomes. The more we study history the more we find that the story of Jesus is just another in a whole bunch of very similar myths (a lot of them pre-dating the jesus myth). Jesus may or may not have been a real person (too many inconsistencies in the stories of Jesus to really confirm him as historical person), and if he did exist (which is pretty irrelevant to me) I doubt there was anything supernatural about him.

i think discovery of the multiverse would destroy religion, if one dies on this universe how could one's "soul" go to heaven or hell if he didn't die in another.

 

What would qualify as non-material the end of a flash light beam?

When you mention “cosmological models that require an absolute beginning” (of the universe) would you consider Time and Space to be part of that Universe? That is to say would you consider that the “First Cause” only created matter and that Time and Space already existed independently of this “First Cause” or would you consider that “Everything” – Time, Space, Gravity, and various other forces and Matter began at the instant the Universe was created.

If Time and Space were created at the “absolute beginning” it would imply that there was “Nothing” beforehand – what we can call an Absolute Vacuum. There would have been no Time in which any Cause could have occurred. The first moment of Time would have been at the beginning of the Universe.

A Theist would say that a god created something from nothing. That infers god as a free agent had a choice to create or not to create this Universe. If this god choose neither, then one of them would occur without a cause. If he choose to create this Universe and this god is infinite then he must exist outside “Time” and is therefore not part of a Universe that began when Time began.

However the fact that the Universe exists, rather than does not exist, does not increase the probability that a god exists. It does not make its existence contingent on a god existing.

Modern cosmologists say Hawking for example, loved as he is by Theists, suggests that it possible that something can be created from nothing. He makes a very good case for it. They do have very good Theories which are as good as proven and little doubt remains in the minds of those who take the time to understand them as to the veracity. No faith is required. Some recent experiments and observations have shown that “something can come from nothing”. Particles have been shown to suddenly appear and vanish inside “empty space”.  start here

As an Atheist I do not accept that Science has all the answers yet. Modern cosmology and physics supply us with very good evidence – via the Scientific Method – to give weight to their arguments. What irks me is that Theists claim to have the answers. Not only do they claim that they know how the Universe began, they even know which god created it and everything in it. If, like Scientists they claimed it was a possibility and not a certainty, I might give it some credence. Science uses the Scientific Method to test a hypothesis and if it determines something to be deemed Knowledge, it does so by offering tangible and verifiable Evidence. Religion does nothing of the sort. It is not compatible with Science. One deals with the study of the Natural world, the other with the Supernatural. The bible is not a Science book. Theology is of no use to Science in the pursuit of Knowledge. It is only used by people who are Theists in the first place. Scientists do not attempt to link science to Religion. There is no need to. Religion however, especially in recent times as Science discovers more, is constantly trying to seek approval or validation from Science. Whatever theological arguments put forward by Theists or Apologists in general are all without Evidence or are debunked. Why is Theology even needed by Theists if their God exists? This is true from Aquinas to Plantinga. (I will admit Plantinga has done a better job and has presented a more logical argument) However God is still being created by argument, not evidence. Science is based on verifiable Evidence and starts out without assumptions, only hypothesis. Religion starts out with the “knowledge” that a god exists and then argues in defence of this position. This is not Knowledge but Belief. It is based on Faith, not Evidence.

You asked previously what I consider to be evidence.

Belief in the religious sense is the subjective psychological assent to the truth of the Proposition that a God exists and that God created Everything. You are claiming it is more than Belief. You are saying it is (revealed) Knowledge, i.e. that the Proposition is not only justified but it is true. It can be justified to me with arguments that you believe support this proposition if I cannot counter them. However if it is the Truth it is therefore must be based in Fact. If it is a Fact it needs to exist independently of your (Kevin’s) perception or subjective thoughts or your closely and long held beliefs.

So for me to see it as Truth I need to see the Facts. This is what I consider to be the required Evidence. I want something factual to show that the Knowledge you claim to have is the “Truth” If it is not available then I will be left to assume that it is still a proposition. Without this tangible Evidence your claim can only be considered to be based on your Faith. It remains a subjective Truth in your mind. It is still seen as a belief that is unproven to me. It will not become objective for me without this Evidence no matter what Arguments are put forward. If Theists make claims that require my time to consider but do not provide any evidence (no proof needed – just evidence) then I consider the claim unworthy of further consideration.

If Religion wants to share the stage with Science it must produce Evidence or leave. I have never seen or heard any.

I apologize, but I forget where I read something like this:

 

"Science enables us to fly to the moon, religion makes us fly into buildings."

 

 

[Like]
Yes it was printed on the sides of buses. However I no longer like the analogy other than it is an attention grabber. I will remove from my home page photos soon !!!

When you mention “cosmological models that require an absolute beginning” (of the universe) would you consider Time and Space to be part of that Universe? That is to say would you consider that the “First Cause” only created matter and that Time and Space already existed independently of this “First Cause” or would you consider that “Everything” – Time, Space, Gravity, and various other forces and Matter began at the instant the Universe was created.

Yes. I would consider it the absolute beginning of time, space, matter, and energy. It is a contradiction to make the temporal statement, "there was time before time". There is no time before time.  

If Time and Space were created at the “absolute beginning” it would imply that there was “Nothing” beforehand – what we can call an Absolute Vacuum. There would have been no Time in which any Cause could have occurred. The first moment of Time would have been at the beginning of the Universe.

Close, but Kant pointed out a distinction between something's being temporally prior and logically prior. If a cause and effect are simultaneous, the cause is logically prior to the effect but not temporally prior.

The example is one of a bowling ball sitting on a cushion from all eternity. If the two objects had been in that state eternally, then the indentation in the cushion would be caused by the bowling ball. So it would be the logical or efficient cause of the indentation. It would be the cause logically but not chronologically.

A Theist would say that a god created something from nothing. That infers god as a free agent had a choice to create or not to create this Universe. If this god choose neither, then one of them would occur without a cause. If he choose to create this Universe and this god is infinite then he must exist outside “Time” and is therefore not part of a Universe that began when Time began.

Yes, if a being created time, it would exist outside of time. Time is a measurement of change. An absolutely changeless state would be a timeless state. Time occurs at the moment things begin to change.

But there is nothing incoherent about God being timeless without the time/space/material universe yet entering into time upon its creation. Further, God can know all true propositions instantly and intuitively which would not require temporal terms like "hesitation" and "before" choosing between options (which would require time).

However the fact that the Universe exists, rather than does not exist, does not increase the probability that a god exists. It does not make its existence contingent on a god existing.

But it makes it's existence contingent upon something! And a conceptual analysis uncovers at least some of the characteristics of that something. It brought about time so it would timeless. It brought about space so it would be spaceless. It created matter so it would be immaterial, etc. One could then ask whether it were personal or impersonal.

Modern cosmologists say Hawking for example, loved as he is by Theists, suggests that it possible that something can be created from nothing. He makes a very good case for it. They do have very good Theories which are as good as proven and little doubt remains in the minds of those who take the time to understand them as to the veracity. No faith is required. Some recent experiments and observations have shown that “something can come from nothing”. Particles have been shown to suddenly appear and vanish inside “empty space”.

You know as well as I do that "empty space" ain't so empty! Neither is the Quantum Vacuum. But the premise is that "Something cannot come from nothing uncaused". "Nothing" cannot do anything! There is not even potential in nothing! There is not the potential for change in nothingness. Therefore, one is left with saying "nothing caused something" which is absurd. Nothing means "not anything". One cannot logically say, "Nothing caused particle X to move from state A to state B".

One cannot construe nothing as something. "Out of nothing" does not mean "taking a handful of nothing" and making something out of it! It just means that there was no thing and then there was something.

More later...

 

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