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RevLogos
Jan 17th 2008, 04:54 PM
Atheists and the scientific types are constantly demanding that we prove the existence of God (or Jesus, or the accuracy of the Bible). Is this right? Where is the burden of proof?

We can look at methods of proving a hypothesis in a legal, statistical or scientific way. All are essentially the same. There is a relationship with the methods used in a court of law, and the methods used in investigative science. So I will start with a legal example.

In a court of law in Western countries we assume a person is “innocent until proven guilty”. This means we have a hypothesis that the person is innocent. Then we create the Null Hypothesis which is the person is NOT innocent (guilty). The Alternate Hypothesis is that the person is innocent.

We prove or disprove the Null Hypothesis, in law as in science and statistics. In a court of law, notice that a person is pronounced either guilty, or not guilty. No defendant is ever pronounced innocent. Why? Innocence cannot usually be proven, but guilt can. Evidence of guilt is established, not evidence of innocence. We accept or reject the null hypothesis (guilt).

Likewise in science, we have a Hypothesis but we use evidence to either accept, or reject the Null Hypothesis; we do not prove the Hypothesis. Let’s take SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) as an example. The Hypothesis is that intelligent alien life exists. The Null Hypothesis is that alien intelligence does not exist. SETI searches for radio transmissions. If they find enough they cannot explain naturally, they will reject the null hypothesis that alien intelligence does not exist. This cannot actually prove that alien intelligence does exist, only that it is probable without reasonable doubt. We cannot actually prove they exist until we meet them. ;)

Likewise with the existence of God. The Hypothesis is that God exists. The Null Hypothesis is that God does not exist. We either accept or reject the Null Hypothesis. Therefore the burden of proof is on the atheist, and the theist, to show evidence sufficient only to reject the Null Hypothesis. This means one does not scientifically prove God exists. One provides enough evidence to doubt that God does not exist.

Atheists are constantly demanding the theists prove that God exists. We can show now that this is not necessary by either a legal or scientific standard. One cannot prove God exists. We can at best, reject the Null Hypothesis, that God does not exist.

Likewise with the historical accuracy of the Bible. The null hypothesis is that the Bible is not accurate. I reject the null hypothesis by establishing some proof that it is indeed accurate. This has been done time and time again by the veracity and consistency of both Biblical and non-Biblical ancient texts and by archaeological evidence. Therefore I can reject the null hypothesis (the Bible is not accurate) but I cannot prove the Alternate Hypothesis. This requires faith.

The atheist then has to fall back to the Hume Argument that no amount of evidence is credible because we know a priori God does not exist.

I hope this is helpful on your battles with the atheists.

punk
Jan 17th 2008, 07:00 PM
Sophism.

In science, the burden of proof lies with the party making the positive claim (that is "X is the case") and not with the party making the negative claim.

You have to prove what you are asserting to exist, you do not get the benefit of the doubt.

A court of law is not a paragon of tight reasoning.

RevLogos
Jan 17th 2008, 07:35 PM
Sophism.

In science, the burden of proof lies with the party making the positive claim (that is "X is the case") and not with the party making the negative claim.

You have to prove what you are asserting to exist, you do not get the benefit of the doubt.

A court of law is not a paragon of tight reasoning.

True the burden of proof lies with the party making the assertion. But that does not help to decide how to investigate or how to prove. Atheists make the assertion God does not exist. Does that mean they are the ones making the assertion? Or are we?

Typically when an assertion is made it is the hull hypothesis that is either proved or rejected. In the case of a new cancer drug for example, the manufacturer tries to disprove or reject the null hypotheses - that the drug has no effect. If an effect is seen the null hypothesis is rejected. We think of it as proving the drug works just as we assume if someone is not guilty, they must be innocent. But what really happens is we disprove the drug does not work.

In the case of God, the null hypothesis is always that God does not exist regardless of who makes an assertion about God. We cannot prove God exists but we can reject the null hypotheses, that God does not exist, based on the evidence. The existence of miracles for example is enough to disprove that God cannot exist.

The difference is subtle, which is why I used the legal parallel to explain it. We can identify with the difference between proving someone innocent, and proving them not guilty. The difference is not so much in the end result, but in the process of arriving at a conclusion.

punk
Jan 17th 2008, 07:49 PM
Some atheists may make the assertion that "God does not exist", but more likely they are saying:

1. There is no proof that God exists
2. I assume Occam's razor, and since we shouldn't multiply concepts without reason, lacking a proof that God exists I should assume He doesn't

The point is to keep your metaphysical and physical assumptions minimal.

Look, if scientist A comes to me and says "the particles I call wowons exist", and I say, so where is the proof, and he says he has none, I'm just going to go with Occam's razor and assume they don't exist.

There'd be no good reason to suppose wowons exist, and they just add unjustified complexity to things.

Brother Mark
Jan 17th 2008, 09:03 PM
It's actually impossible to prove a negative. No one can prove that a wonton doesn't exist. Perhaps it is in a place you have not yet looked. So, in science, it will always fall to the "pro" side to prove it's point.

Having said that, when someone is seeking truth, they will find God. The key in dealing with atheist, is to deal with those that are genuinely seeking. If they are not, then all the proofs in the world won't matter. Atheist, by default, are generally not honest in their seeking of truth. They have assumed that the negative, which cannot be proven is false. That requires great arrogance on their part.

A simple question to an atheist...

Do you know everything there is to know in the universe? Do you know 50% of all there is to know in the universe? Let's presume, you are extremely intelligent and know 90% of all there is to know in the universe. Is it possible that God then exist in the 10% you know nothing about?

Atheism is a belief system that cannot be proven. Agnostics are far more intellectually honest.

punk
Jan 17th 2008, 09:23 PM
On the other hand if I asked you:

"Do invisible unicorns exist?"

You'd probably say "No", rather than "It has never been proven to me that they exist, but on the other hand the universe is vast and I don't have that much knowledge of it all."

One may say "agnostics are more intellectually honest", but if one were consistently agnostic and *never* affirmed a negative, well we'd think they were a bit daft.

Everyday we all affirm negative statements, and do not take an "agnostic" view. For instance I'd say there isn't $1000000 in my basement rather than "well I haven't been there for a couple of hours, so who knows?"

It is silly to take the atheist to task when we all participate in similar reasoning day in and day out on other issues.

Brother Mark
Jan 17th 2008, 09:34 PM
On the other hand if I asked you:

"Do invisible unicorns exist?"

You'd probably say "No", rather than "It has never been proven to me that they exist, but on the other hand the universe is vast and I don't have that much knowledge of it all."

One may say "agnostics are more intellectually honest", but if one were consistently agnostic and *never* affirmed a negative, well we'd think they were a bit daft.

Everyday we all affirm negative statements, and do not take an "agnostic" view. For instance I'd say there isn't $1000000 in my basement rather than "well I haven't been there for a couple of hours, so who knows?"

It is silly to take the atheist to task when we all participate in similar reasoning day in and day out on other issues.


Except there is FAR more evidence that God exist than do unicorns. Even nature itself declares the Godhead. I think it's safe to say that when dealing with something as big as "does God exist", a more rigorous proof is required. Hence, I will stand by the statement that agnostics are more intellectually honest than are atheist. And by default, scientist are required to take the agnostic approach over the atheistic one.

As for similar reasoning, it's more of a gamble than anything else. Tell someone that "there is $1,000,000" hidden in their house, and they won't believe you. Ask them a follow up question "Give me an hour and I can find it. Do you mind if I keep it all when I do?" and see what kind of response you get. Without ever having seen the money, most people will not agree to let you keep it all on the outside chance it exist. The same reasoning was broached with Pascal's (I think that's his name) wager long ago. Creating doubt in a negative should not be difficult with most intellectually honest people. Atheist are not intellectually honest about it because when challenged, they will still insist God does not exist.

Athanasius
Jan 17th 2008, 10:28 PM
Atheists and the scientific types are constantly demanding that we prove the existence of God (or Jesus, or the accuracy of the Bible). Is this right? Where is the burden of proof?

I hope this is helpful on your battles with the atheists.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html
We're making the claim God exists, why wouldn't the burden of proof rest with us?

If you don't mind, I've got a microscopic [Chinese] teapot to find.
Apparently it's orbiting the sun in elliptical fashion.

punk
Jan 17th 2008, 10:31 PM
Except there is FAR more evidence that God exist than do unicorns. Even nature itself declares the Godhead. I think it's safe to say that when dealing with something as big as "does God exist", a more rigorous proof is required. Hence, I will stand by the statement that agnostics are more intellectually honest than are atheist. And by default, scientist are required to take the agnostic approach over the atheistic one.

Well now you've changed your argument entirely.

Which is it:

1. There is evidence God exists and that is why one should believe in God

or

2. One doesn't know very much at all about this vast universe so how can one say God doesn't exist

I mean in the first place you are saying what one can know causes one to believe in God, in the other, all the stuff one doesn't know causes it.

Which is it, what we know or what we don't?

It is cheap to change argument in midstream.

Brother Mark
Jan 17th 2008, 10:34 PM
Well now you've changed your argument entirely.

Which is it:

1. There is evidence God exists and that is why one should believe in God

or

2. One doesn't know very much at all about this vast universe so how can one say God doesn't exist

I mean in the first place you are saying what one can know causes one to believe in God, in the other, all the stuff one doesn't know causes it.

Which is it, what we know or what we don't?

It is cheap to change argument in midstream.

It's both. Evidence doesn't mean proof. Science well knows the difference between evidence and proof. Nothing wrong with saying evidence suggest God exist while all the while saying that proving he doesn't is impossible.

And definitely, what one knows causes one to believe in God. We need go no further than the apostle Paul for that. And what one doesn't know, also causes one to believe in the possibility of God. Or said another way "God has placed eternity in the heart of man" or "even nature declares the Godhead".

To be intellectually honest, one cannot rule out God's existence. On the other hand, an inability to rule out his existence, does not mean proof has been provided. Finally, once one has experienced God, he cannot prove that experience to another. Atheism is requires more blind faith than just about any other religion. For one must believe without evidence and close his eyes to the evidence that God himself has provided. An agnostic on the other hand, can see evidence, or even a lack of it, but not be convinced. He is the more honest of the two.

losthorizon
Jan 17th 2008, 11:55 PM
Sophism.

In science, the burden of proof lies with the party making the positive claim (that is "X is the case") and not with the party making the negative claim.

You have to prove what you are asserting to exist, you do not get the benefit of the doubt.

A court of law is not a paragon of tight reasoning.
If the question being asked is in the interrogative form – “Does God exit?” - then both the theist and the antitheist are required to defend what each considers to be the correct answer – the burden falls on both parties.

RevLogos
Jan 18th 2008, 01:14 AM
It's both. Evidence doesn't mean proof. Science well knows the difference between evidence and proof. Nothing wrong with saying evidence suggest God exist while all the while saying that proving he doesn't is impossible.


True. For either the atheist or the theist, the null hypothesis is that there is no God. The atheist points to a lack of scientific evidence to prove there is no God. What the Theist has to do is provide enough evidence to reject the hypothesis that there is no God. This is how someone like Flew becomes a deist. He has rejected the null hypothesis, but still doesn't believe anything beyond that.

To me the existence of God is self-evident. But I cannot scientifically prove it.

However, it has been proven by court of law standards. Look at the work of Simon Greenleaf.

Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853): was one of the founders of Harvard Law School. He authored the authoritative three-volume text, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842), which is still considered “the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure.”* Greenleaf literally wrote the rules of evidence for the U.S. legal system.

Greenleaf was an atheist until he accepted a challenge by his students to investigate the case for Christ's resurrection.

After personally collecting and examining the evidence based on rules of evidence that he helped establish, Greenleaf became a Christian and wrote the classic, “Testimony of the Evangelists”.


“Let [the Gospel's] testimony be sifted, as it were given in a court of justice on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth.”*


[*Both quotes I use are from Greenleaf’s book or back cover]

punk
Jan 18th 2008, 03:12 AM
It's both. Evidence doesn't mean proof. Science well knows the difference between evidence and proof. Nothing wrong with saying evidence suggest God exist while all the while saying that proving he doesn't is impossible.

And definitely, what one knows causes one to believe in God. We need go no further than the apostle Paul for that. And what one doesn't know, also causes one to believe in the possibility of God. Or said another way "God has placed eternity in the heart of man" or "even nature declares the Godhead".

To be intellectually honest, one cannot rule out God's existence. On the other hand, an inability to rule out his existence, does not mean proof has been provided. Finally, once one has experienced God, he cannot prove that experience to another. Atheism is requires more blind faith than just about any other religion. For one must believe without evidence and close his eyes to the evidence that God himself has provided. An agnostic on the other hand, can see evidence, or even a lack of it, but not be convinced. He is the more honest of the two.

Well then to be intellectually honest we cannot rule out any proposition.

We cannot rule out invisible unicorns, or giant pink chihuahuas.

We cannot rule out one god, or two gods, or three gods, or a billion gods.

We cannot rule out Zeus, or Thor, or Ra, or any of the bunch.

We cannot rule out anything really.

And if we cannot rule out anything, we cannot know anything either.

punk
Jan 18th 2008, 03:13 AM
If the question being asked is in the interrogative form – “Does God exit?” - then both the theist and the antitheist are required to defend what each considers to be the correct answer – the burden falls on both parties.

You can't prove the negative. You can only prove the positive.

The burden of proof lies with the side that actually is capable of proving something.

punk
Jan 18th 2008, 03:15 AM
True. For either the atheist or the theist, the null hypothesis is that there is no God. The atheist points to a lack of scientific evidence to prove there is no God. What the Theist has to do is provide enough evidence to reject the hypothesis that there is no God. This is how someone like Flew becomes a deist. He has rejected the null hypothesis, but still doesn't believe anything beyond that.

To me the existence of God is self-evident. But I cannot scientifically prove it.

However, it has been proven by court of law standards. Look at the work of Simon Greenleaf.

Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853): was one of the founders of Harvard Law School. He authored the authoritative three-volume text, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842), which is still considered “the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure.”* Greenleaf literally wrote the rules of evidence for the U.S. legal system.

Greenleaf was an atheist until he accepted a challenge by his students to investigate the case for Christ's resurrection.

After personally collecting and examining the evidence based on rules of evidence that he helped establish, Greenleaf became a Christian and wrote the classic, “Testimony of the Evangelists”.




[*Both quotes I use are from Greenleaf’s book or back cover]

"Court of law standards" are nonsense and no proof at all.

What is being asked for is a scientific standard.

Something with some umph behind it.

Brother Mark
Jan 18th 2008, 03:18 AM
Well then to be intellectually honest we cannot rule out any proposition.

We cannot rule out invisible unicorns, or giant pink chihuahuas.

We cannot rule out one god, or two gods, or three gods, or a billion gods.

We cannot rule out Zeus, or Thor, or Ra, or any of the bunch.

We cannot rule out anything really.

And if we cannot rule out anything, we cannot know anything either.

Not true. Once I experienced God and knew him, He told me He was the one and only God. Once God himself told me that, I could, and did, safely rule out all the other ones. However, until an agnostic has the same conversation with God, I can't expect him to know what I know.

Atheism is a belief system based on lack of evidence. As a belief system, it is intellectually dishonest and arrogant. Atheism requires faith in a negative that cannot be proven. Talk about blind faith, atheism fits it to a T.

punk
Jan 18th 2008, 03:29 AM
Not true. Once I experienced God and knew him, He told me He was the one and only God. Once God himself told me that, I could, and did, safely rule out all the other ones. However, until an agnostic has the same conversation with God, I can't expect him to know what I know.

Unfortunately other people aren't privy to your private experiences.

I don't expect you to be bound by my private experiences, so why should the atheist be bound by your private experience?


Atheism is a belief system based on lack of evidence. As a belief system, it is intellectually dishonest and arrogant. Atheism requires faith in a negative that cannot be proven. Talk about blind faith, atheism fits it to a T.

As I've said repeatedly, everyone rules out propositions due to lack of evidence every day.

If we cannot rule out propositions for lack of evidence, then we'd never be able to make a decision.

You are trying to give the proposition "God exists" an entirely different epistemic standing than any other proposition, and allow it entirely different rules.

A proposition is a proposition

Brother Mark
Jan 18th 2008, 03:37 AM
Unfortunately other people aren't privy to your private experiences.

I don't expect you to be bound by my private experiences, so why should the atheist be bound by your private experience?

As I said above, why would I expect them to know what I know if they haven't experienced what I have experienced? I don't expect them to know God until, well, they know him.


As I've said repeatedly, everyone rules out propositions due to lack of evidence every day.

If we cannot rule out propositions for lack of evidence, then we'd never be able to make a decision.

You are trying to give the proposition "God exists" an entirely different epistemic standing than any other proposition, and allow it entirely different rules.

A proposition is a propositionNah. I am keeping the rules the same. We make decisions based on risk every day. We make assumptions for actions without knowing all the facts. The risk vs reward justify such shortcuts. It is a way of life. But as Pascal pointed out, when it comes to God, the risk vs reward are HUGE and require more thought. We know this from simple investments. How much due diligence is needed for a dollar investment? How much for a $1,000,000 investment? Risk/reward makes a big difference. And knowledge of God is the ultimate risk/reward.

Comparing how one deals with unicorns to how one deals with God is like apples and oranges. Since you have experienced God, you know what I say to be true. ;)

Atheism is far more faith based than Christianity. For as 1 John says "that which we have touched, seen, heard, etc." we believe. But the atheist says "that which can never be proven, I believe" all the while requiring proof from the believer. Atheism, by it's very definition, is a dishonest view of the world. Requiring proof from everyone but themselves, they have become fools.

RevLogos
Jan 18th 2008, 03:49 AM
Not true. Once I experienced God and knew him, He told me He was the one and only God. Once God himself told me that, I could, and did, safely rule out all the other ones. However, until an agnostic has the same conversation with God, I can't expect him to know what I know.


This is actually a good argument. It comes close to personal testimony. What I said once was this:

Though I have looked at the various claims of atheists, ultimately, religion cannot be understood intellectually. Christianity is the only religion I know of were believers are asked to form an actual personal relationship with God. Christians feel that relationship and know God exists because they feel His presence in a very real and profound way. That is why people believe the Bible is true.

Ultimately no logical, scientific, or legal argument will work for those whose hearts are hardened, eyes blind and ears deaf.

Brother Mark
Jan 18th 2008, 03:54 AM
This is actually a good argument. It comes close to personal testimony. What I said once was this:

Though I have looked at the various claims of atheists, ultimately, religion cannot be understood intellectually. Christianity is the only religion I know of were believers are asked to form an actual personal relationship with God. Christians feel that relationship and know God exists because they feel His presence in a very real and profound way. That is why people believe the Bible is true.

Ultimately no logical, scientific, or legal argument will work for those whose hearts are hardened, eyes blind and ears deaf.

Correct on all accounts! It is not logic that draws one to God but rather the Father draws people to him. Peter says that people are "willingly ignorant". Even when Paul resisted, it was hard for him to kick against the pricks. It is the personal experience that makes one a believer in God. Without that experience, how can one know God? Unless God explains himself, no one can know Him.

How does a deceived man know he's deceived? It's easy to read past that statement. But think about it. How does one who is deceived, know he is deceived? It takes God to open one's eyes.

Said another way... How can I explain the color red to a man who has never seen? No matter how hard I try, or how many words I use, he will only understand once he sees. Then my words will make sense to him. So it is with explaining God. Until one experiences the most high God, they cannot know Him.

punk
Jan 18th 2008, 05:03 AM
First off Pascal's Wager is nonsense.

Pascal assumes that the choice is between oblivion and a more or less benign God prepared to reward one based on blind belief.

Why assume the latter. What reason is there for it?

Why not believe God is malicious and will punish all equally? Maybe God will reward all equally? Maybe God is just pernicious and will reward those who disbelieve in Him and punish those that do.

There are plenty of scenarios, and many many more than the two Pascal gives. And based on all the evidence Pascal gives for the alternatives (i.e. none) there is no reason to give primacy to any particular take on God.

The truth is that in Pascal's scenario as he gives it there are really so many possibilities that one finds themself unable to make any meaningful wager, as the possiblities of any is remote and there are as many good as there are bad.

...

On the issue of logic and statistics, let us recall that the OP began by appealing to logic and statistics. If we want to reject logic and statistics and scientific thinking as a way to knowing God, then fine, we may as well declare the OP overthrown and close the thread, because we are now off topic.

I suspect though that the OP was more an attempt at argument by intimidation, using jargon to try to dissuade one from looking too closely at what was really being said.

Brother Mark
Jan 18th 2008, 02:01 PM
First off Pascal's Wager is nonsense.

Pascal assumes that the choice is between oblivion and a more or less benign God prepared to reward one based on blind belief.

Why assume the latter. What reason is there for it?

Why not believe God is malicious and will punish all equally? Maybe God will reward all equally? Maybe God is just pernicious and will reward those who disbelieve in Him and punish those that do.

From a practical standpoint of knowing God, the wager doesn't accomplish much. But if given in a careful way, it is a worthwhile investigation. If God exist, man should make every effort at finding out what pleases him and do so. For the risk vs reward is great.



On the issue of logic and statistics, let us recall that the OP began by appealing to logic and statistics. If we want to reject logic and statistics and scientific thinking as a way to knowing God, then fine, we may as well declare the OP overthrown and close the thread, because we are now off topic.

I suspect though that the OP was more an attempt at argument by intimidation, using jargon to try to dissuade one from looking too closely at what was really being said.

What was your experience with God like? It would be interesting to read your testimony Punk.

Mograce2U
Jan 18th 2008, 06:42 PM
This is actually a good argument. It comes close to personal testimony. What I said once was this:

Though I have looked at the various claims of atheists, ultimately, religion cannot be understood intellectually. Christianity is the only religion I know of were believers are asked to form an actual personal relationship with God. Christians feel that relationship and know God exists because they feel His presence in a very real and profound way. That is why people believe the Bible is true.

Ultimately no logical, scientific, or legal argument will work for those whose hearts are hardened, eyes blind and ears deaf.What an interesting thread!

It seems to me that you cannot describe the color red to one who is color blind. What you might be able to convince him of is that not all men are like him and that indeed the color red exists and is glorious for those who know it. And if nothing else, leave him with a hunger to be like you... Of course the actual gospel will give him a hope that his color blindness can be healed.

ImmenseDisciple
Jan 18th 2008, 06:49 PM
I'd say the very concept of proof is a flawed one...
Surely we all know that we can't prove that God exists on any terms which an atheist would accept? To paraphrase The Book, they could see someone risen from the dead and still not accept that it had happened.

He's not out to 'prove' that He exists, which is the only circumstance under which any proof could come. Certainly it's impossible to find proof through their almighty, and they're unlikely to truly accept the inherent flaws of aforementioned science to 'prove' anything at all, much less something which exists beyond the physical plane (and thus beyond anything it's possible for science to study). That is, if they could accept that it were possible for anything to exist beyond the physical plane. But science doesn't prove that it is - so it isn't :crazy:

To think I used to be one of them... The mind boggles :D

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 12:09 AM
I suspect though that the OP was more an attempt at argument by intimidation, using jargon to try to dissuade one from looking too closely at what was really being said.

You began with an ad hominem attack (that I am a sophist) and now you think I am intentionally being intimidating. Another personal attack.

You either play the part of an atheist very well, or you should find a thread you are more comfortable with. After being beat on by atheists for a few days, I come here for a break because I don't expect such attacks.

Now for the purpose of the OP. In arguing with atheists we are constantly bombarded with "Prove God exists! To which the theist replies "Prove that God doesn't exist!" And round and round we go. People tend to think whoever makes the assertion, the theist or the atheist, needs to prove the point. This is not true.

The purpose of introducing hypothesis testing is to show what needs to be proved and who needs to prove it. What needs to happen is we accept or reject the idea that God does not exist. By default in this hypothesis, God does not exist. Evidence to the contrary needs to be found. The atheist will never look for such evidence because a) they believe there is no need and b) they wouldn't like the answer. Therefore evidence that God exists will need to come from the theist.

Western legal concepts use the same theory as science. IMHO we have sufficient legal evidence to reject the assertion that God does not exist. However we do not have such scientific evidence.

We see the complexity of life, which evolution cannot account for. To us, God is self-evident. But that isn't enough to prove anything. So we can continue this thread suggesting scientific avenues to prove God exists. Or we can continue with alternative methods to put doubt in the atheists mind - such as testimony.

Teke
Jan 19th 2008, 12:21 AM
Thomas Aquinas argued for the existence of God. Here are five of those points.


Article III. Whether God exists.

Let us proceed to the third article. It is objected (1) that God does not exist, because if one of two contradictory things is infinite, the other will be totally destroyed; that it is implied in the name God that there is a certain infinite goodness: if then God existed, no evil would be found. But evil is found in the world; therefore it is objected that God does not exist. Again, that what can be accomplished through a less number of principles will not be accomplished through more. It is objected that all things that appear on the earth can be accounted for through other principles, without supposing that God exists, since what is natural can be traced to a natural principle, and what proceeds from a proposition can be traced to the human reason or will. Therefore that there is no necessity to suppose that God exists. But as against this note what is said of the person of God (Exod. III., 14) I am that I am. Conclusion. There must be found in the nature of things one first immovable Being, a primary cause, necessarily existing, not created; existing the most widely, good, even the best possible; the first ruler through the intellect, and the ultimate end of all things, which is God.

I answer that it can be proved in five ways that God exists.

The first and plainest is the method that proceeds from the point of view of motion. It is certain and in accord with experience, that things on earth undergo change. Now, everything that is moved is moved by something; nothing, indeed, is changed, except it is changed to something which it is in potentiality. Moreover, anything moves in accordance with something actually existing; change itself, is nothing else than to bring forth something from potentiality into actuality. Now, nothing can be brought from potentiality to actual existence except through something actually existing: thus heat in action, as fire, makes fire-wood, which is hot in potentiality, to be hot actually, and through this process, changes itself. The same thing cannot at the same time be actually and potentially the same thing, but only in regard to different things. What is actually hot cannot be at the same time potentially hot, but it is possible for it at the same time to be potentially cold. It is impossible, then, that anything should be both mover and the thing moved, in regard to the same thing and in the same way, or that it should move itself. Everything, therefore, is moved by something else. If, then, that by which it is moved, is also moved, this must be moved by something still different, and this, again, by something else. But this process cannot go on to infinity because there would not be any first mover, nor, because of this fact, anything else in motion, as the succeeding things would not move except because of what is moved by the first mover, just as a stick is not moved except through what is moved from the hand. Therefore it is necessary to go back to some first mover, which is itself moved by nothing---and this all men know as God.

The second proof is from the nature of the efficient cause. We find in our experience that there is a chain of causes: nor is it found possible for anything to be the efficient cause of itself, since it would have to exist before itself, which is impossible. Nor in the case of efficient causes can the chain go back indefinitely, because in all chains of efficient causes, the first is the cause of the middle, and these of the last, whether they be one or many. If the cause is removed, the effect is removed. Hence if there is not a first cause, there will not be a last, nor a middle. But if the chain were to go back infinitely, there would be no first cause, and thus no ultimate effect, nor middle causes, which is admittedly false. Hence we must presuppose some first efficient cause---which all call God.

The third proof is taken from the natures of the merely possible and necessary. We find that certain things either may or may not exist, since they are found to come into being and be destroyed, and in consequence potentially, either existent or non-existent. But it is impossible for all things that are of this character to exist eternally, because what may not exist, at length will not. If, then, all things were merely possible (mere accidents), eventually nothing among things would exist. If this is true, even now there would be nothing, because what does not exist, does not take its beginning except through something that does exist. If then nothing existed, it would be impossible for anything to begin, and there would now be nothing existing, which is admittedly false. Hence not all things are mere accidents, but there must be one necessarily existing being. Now every necessary thing either has a cause of its necessary existence, or has not. In the case of necessary things that have a cause for their necessary existence, the chain of causes cannot go back infinitely, just as not in the case of efficient causes, as proved. Hence there must be presupposed something necessarily existing through its own nature, not having a cause elsewhere but being itself the cause of the necessary existence of other things---which all call God.

The fourth proof arises from the degrees that are found in things. For there is found a greater and a less degree of goodness, truth, nobility, and the like. But more or less are terms spoken of various things as they approach in diverse ways toward something that is the greatest, just as in the case of hotter (more hot) which approaches nearer the greatest heat. There exists therefore something that is the truest, and best, and most noble, and in consequence, the greatest being. For what are the greatest truths are the greatest beings, as is said in the Metaphysics Bk. II. 2. What moreover is the greatest in its way, in another way is the cause of all things of its own kind (or genus); thus fire, which is the greatest heat, is the cause of all heat, as is said in the same book (cf. Plato and Aristotle). Therefore there exists something that is the cause of the existence of all things and of the goodness and of every perfection whatsoever---and this we call God.

The fifth proof arises from the ordering of things for we see that some things which lack reason, such as natural bodies, are operated in accordance with a plan. It appears from this that they are operated always or the more frequently in this same way the closer they follow what is the Highest; whence it is clear that they do not arrive at the result by chance but because of a purpose. The things, moreover, that do not have intelligence do not tend toward a result unless directed by some one knowing and intelligent; just as an arrow is sent by an archer. Therefore there is something intelligent by which all natural things are arranged in accordance with a plan---and this we call God.

In response to the first objection, then, I reply what Augustine says; that since God is entirely good, He would permit evil to exist in His works only if He were so good and omnipotent that He might bring forth good even from the evil. It therefore pertains to the infinite goodness of God that he permits evil to exist and from this brings forth good.

My reply to the second objection is that since nature is ordered in accordance with some defined purpose by the direction of some superior agent, those things that spring from nature must be dependent upon God, just as upon a first cause. Likewise, what springs from a proposition must be traceable to some higher cause which is not the human reason or will, because this is changeable and defective and everything changeable and liable to non-existence is dependent upon some unchangeable first principle that is necessarily self-existent as has been shown.

Source:
From: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1907), Vol. V: The Early Medieval World, pp. 359-363.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/aquinas3.html

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 03:24 AM
You began with an ad hominem attack (that I am a sophist) and now you think I am intentionally being intimidating. Another personal attack.

On the contrary, I merely said the argument is sophism (which it is). I made no statement at all about you.


You either play the part of an atheist very well, or you should find a thread you are more comfortable with. After being beat on by atheists for a few days, I come here for a break because I don't expect such attacks.

I take an intense interest in clear, concise and correct argumentation. That is that the argument itself must work based on its own merits independent of my opinions on the conclusion.

You expect a person to go along with a bad argument just because they like the conclusion?

Do you want to learn how to argue with atheists? Or do you want some amen's from the choir?


Now for the purpose of the OP. In arguing with atheists we are constantly bombarded with "Prove God exists! To which the theist replies "Prove that God doesn't exist!" And round and round we go. People tend to think whoever makes the assertion, the theist or the atheist, needs to prove the point. This is not true.

On the simplest level if a Christian is going to do evangelical work, then the burden of proof devolves to them. If person A minding their own business is confronted by a preacher, they have every reason to place the burden of proof on the person that got in their face.

If the atheist evangelist confronts random theist A minding their own business, then the burden of proof likely devolves to the atheist.

If a theist and an atheist want to debate, well they can set the burden of proof however they want to.

From a purely scientific viewpoint though Occam's Razor would seem to advise rejecting the existence of a God unless it a God can be shown to be necessary for some reason.


The purpose of introducing hypothesis testing is to show what needs to be proved and who needs to prove it. What needs to happen is we accept or reject the idea that God does not exist. By default in this hypothesis, God does not exist. Evidence to the contrary needs to be found. The atheist will never look for such evidence because a) they believe there is no need and b) they wouldn't like the answer. Therefore evidence that God exists will need to come from the theist.

Well if the atheist doesn't want to look at the evidence, then why are you arguing with them? Shake the dust off your shoes and move on.

Bad arguments shifting the burden of proof around aren't going to make them any more likely to listen to you.


Western legal concepts use the same theory as science. IMHO we have sufficient legal evidence to reject the assertion that God does not exist. However we do not have such scientific evidence.

Absolutely not. The legal standard of evidence is far far weaker than that of science. If the scientific standard were used in a court of law, it would be very very difficult to convict anyone of anything.


We see the complexity of life, which evolution cannot account for. To us, God is self-evident. But that isn't enough to prove anything. So we can continue this thread suggesting scientific avenues to prove God exists. Or we can continue with alternative methods to put doubt in the atheists mind - such as testimony.

There has been no rigorous demonstration that evolution "cannot account for" the "complexity of life". Nor has any reasonable measure of the "complexity of life" been formulated. Life may well not be as complex as you suppose.

You are just dressing up your unscientific prejudices in scientific garb.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 03:26 AM
How bout it Punk. Give us your testimony.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 03:28 AM
How bout it Punk. Give us your testimony.

I've never understood this contemporary American need to show off one's underwear in public.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 03:30 AM
I've never understood this contemporary American need to show off one's underwear in public.

Paul gave his testimony. Revelations speaks of the giving of a testimony. Were you an atheist and then converted? Perhaps it will be useful for the thread. Scripture is full of testimonies.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 03:34 AM
Paul gave his testimony. Revelations speaks of the giving of a testimony. Were you an atheist and then converted? Perhaps it will be useful for the thread. Scripture is full of testimonies.

Well since IMHO the thread's topic is a technical one (what constitutes a legitimate argument, and where the burden of proof lies), I don't see where personal asides have any bearing.

A bad argument is a bad argument even if one thinks the moon is made of green cheese.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 03:38 AM
Well since IMHO the thread's topic is a technical one (what constitutes a legitimate argument, and where the burden of proof lies), I don't see where personal asides have any bearing.

A bad argument is a bad argument even if one thinks the moon is made of green cheese.

OK. Maybe one day. ;)

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 04:46 AM
Well since IMHO the thread's topic is a technical one (what constitutes a legitimate argument, and where the burden of proof lies), I don't see where personal asides have any bearing.

A bad argument is a bad argument even if one thinks the moon is made of green cheese.

You've stated the argument is bad several times, but never stated why. Hypothesis testing as described is accurate and useful to know. There is nothing wrong or bad about it. It is what it is. It is the method most commonly used in science, statistics, and legal. though the burdens of proof vary.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 05:20 AM
On the contrary, I merely said the argument is sophism (which it is). I made no statement at all about you.

Sophism is an extremely negative thing to say and points directly to the person making the argument. You are saying I am insincere, deceitful, using specious arguments intended to intimidate. Yes punk, that's personal.


Do you want to learn how to argue with atheists? Or do you want some amen's from the choir?My intent is to learn. I also want to give back to teach others. I thought perhaps some people would find this background into the scientific method would be useful.



On the simplest level if a Christian is going to do evangelical work, then the burden of proof devolves to them. If person A minding their own business is confronted by a preacher, they have every reason to place the burden of proof on the person that got in their face.Which is what I have been arguing.



If the atheist evangelist confronts random theist A minding their own business, then the burden of proof likely devolves to the atheist.Seems all of the atheists I run into are very evangelic. But if you tell them that they will argue it to death.


If a theist and an atheist want to debate, well they can set the burden of proof however they want to.Not in practice. They argue who is to show the proof and get nowhere.



Well if the atheist doesn't want to look at the evidence, then why are you arguing with them? Shake the dust off your shoes and move on.Agreed. In practice however, the realization the atheist is refusing to look at evidence comes somewhere in the middle of the debate.


Bad arguments shifting the burden of proof around aren't going to make them any more likely to listen to you.Agreed also. The purpose of the OP is to show this shifting of burden to the atheist will always fail.




Absolutely not. The legal standard of evidence is far far weaker than that of science. If the scientific standard were used in a court of law, it would be very very difficult to convict anyone of anything.The "concept" I refer to is obviously in developing the null hypothesis then accepting or rejecting it. Obviously the standard of evidence and the methods to obtain evidence are quite different.




There has been no rigorous demonstration that evolution "cannot account for" the "complexity of life". Nor has any reasonable measure of the "complexity of life" been formulated. Life may well not be as complex as you suppose.I don't want to get into a debate on evolution in this thread. But what I referred to as not accounted for is the absence of transitional fossil evidence.


You are just dressing up your unscientific prejudices in scientific garb.Actually, I am in fact, a rocket scientist. I do not have unscientific biases and there is no reason to believe I am "dressing up" anything. Everything I have put forth is factual and based on science and the scientific method. Would you like to back your statement up with some un-opinionated unbiased facts? You've complained this is sophism intended to intimidate. But you have yet to back this up with anything.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 05:28 AM
You've stated the argument is bad several times, but never stated why. Hypothesis testing as described is accurate and useful to know. There is nothing wrong or bad about it. It is what it is. It is the method most commonly used in science, statistics, and legal. though the burdens of proof vary.

Hypothesis testing is a mathematical process whereby one assigns a probability or likelihood of observing a set of data given a particular hypothesis.

Given that you haven't provided a list of the evidence or any sort of technique to turn the alternative hypotheses into a likelihood for the evidence given, one can only say that you are not talking about hypothesis testing.

I know what your hypotheses are, but I have no way at all to guess how likely the evidence (whatever that may be) could possibly be under the hypothesis.

You are trying to hide behind mathematical jargon when you have no mathematical model whatsoever.

All you are doing is saying there are two hypotheses: (1) god exists, or (2) god does not exist, and that for some very unclear reason it is somehow up those who assert (2) to prove their view or else (1) wins by default.

It isn't much of an argument to try to set things up at the outset that your view is going to win by default so that you simply have to argue away the alternative.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 05:47 AM
Actually, I am in fact, a rocket scientist. I do not have unscientific biases and there is no reason to believe I am "dressing up" anything. Everything I have put forth is factual and based on science and the scientific method. Would you like to back your statement up with some un-opinionated unbiased facts? You've complained this is sophism intended to intimidate. But you have yet to back this up with anything.

Do you have a degree yet? Right now I'm guessing you are an undergraduate or maybe a first year graduate student.

Anyway, I wasn't kidding when I put "simple physicist" in my tag line.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 04:27 PM
Do you have a degree yet? Right now I'm guessing you are an undergraduate or maybe a first year graduate student.


Tell me Oh wise scientist. What good can come from denigrating me yet again. What good could come from this statement? Did the Holy Spirit move you?

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 04:38 PM
If the question being asked is in the interrogative form – “Does God exit?” - then both the theist and the antitheist are required to defend what each considers to be the correct answer – the burden falls on both parties.

IT REALLY is just this simple. Any assertion must be backed. If you say "God exists" in an argument, you must provide proof. If you made the statement, "God doesn't exist" then you must provide proof. The only one off the hook is the agnostic who says "God may or may not exist." Granted, this is the lowest of the low of intellect for this could be said about anything and it is true every time. It's like me asking you a yes or no question and you say "the answer is yes or no."

I'm not sure why there have been this many posts in answer to this question.

threebigrocks
Jan 19th 2008, 04:44 PM
This is faith, everyone. Not a science experiment!

The burden of proof in faith is before us all, God has placed it in front of us. If there is any burden it's on us, humanity as a whole, to accept it. The proof is before us. The only question is what are we going to do with the proven beyond the shadow of a doubt case before us?

Please keep the pokes, jabs toward each other out of your posts. If you can't refrain from doing so, just bow out of this discussion.

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 04:48 PM
This is faith, everyone. Not a science experiment!

The burden of proof in faith is before us all, God has placed it in front of us. If there is any burden it's on us, humanity as a whole, to accept it. The proof is before us. The only question is what are we going to do with the proven beyond the shadow of a doubt case before us?

Please keep the pokes, jabs toward each other out of your posts. If you can't refrain from doing so, just bow out of this discussion.

While this is a good post and has some positive points, it is out of scope for the topic. They aren't asking for a judgment on whether the burden of proof between Atheists and Christians is a valid argument to have. The OP has set the tone saying that the sides are assertions of no and yes and which is responsible for proving. To answer "no one, for faith is the way" is not one of the acceptable answers. I'm sorry if I've misread your post.

threebigrocks
Jan 19th 2008, 04:58 PM
To answer "no one, for faith is the way" is not one of the acceptable answers.

That is always the right answer. ;)

Actually, none of us is responsible for proving the existance of God. It's up to the Spirit to reveal it to man, and that's where this has gone a bit goofy. Man cannot open someone's eyes in what is God's to reveal.

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 05:01 PM
I respectfully disagree. God charges us, as Christians, to spread the word. If that means answering the tough questions, that's what we do. At least that's what I do. Sometimes this means trying to open someone's eyes to God's existence. I'm sure God doesn't mind my effort to help him 'reveal' himself to people.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 05:01 PM
Hypothesis testing is a mathematical process whereby one assigns a probability or likelihood of observing a set of data given a particular hypothesis.

Given that you haven't provided a list of the evidence or any sort of technique to turn the alternative hypotheses into a likelihood for the evidence given, one can only say that you are not talking about hypothesis testing.

I know what your hypotheses are, but I have no way at all to guess how likely the evidence (whatever that may be) could possibly be under the hypothesis.

You are trying to hide behind mathematical jargon when you have no mathematical model whatsoever.

All you are doing is saying there are two hypotheses: (1) god exists, or (2) god does not exist, and that for some very unclear reason it is somehow up those who assert (2) to prove their view or else (1) wins by default.

It isn't much of an argument to try to set things up at the outset that your view is going to win by default so that you simply have to argue away the alternative.


ALL I have done is present hypothesis testing to people who may not be familiar with it. This is useful to understand since people arguing for God inevitably get into the who proves what conundrum. I have not provided evidence God exists, or methods one could obtain it, because that was not the intent of the OP.

I have difficulty seeing how anyone could be so upset about a description of a common method. What may be happening here is that you are letting your pride as a rare scientist on this board motivate your response. Perhaps I, someone else with a scientific background, am intruding into your domain. Adding "physicist" under your name suggests pride. It never occurred to me to put "rocket scientist" under my name.

Because of pride you argue I am a sophist and question my credibility and background. A less prideful Christian scientist who understood hypothesis testing might want to mention it's limitations or risks, or perhaps discuss alternatives such as Bayesian methods for proving God exists.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 05:05 PM
Actually, none of us is responsible for proving the existance of God. It's up to the Spirit to reveal it to man, and that's where this has gone a bit goofy. Man cannot open someone's eyes in what is God's to reveal.

God never in scripture sets out to prove himself to anyone. He has place eternity in our hearts. Anytime you find someone that doesn't believe in God, you find someone that is willingly ignorant. Here's what Peter said about them...

2 Peter 3:3-7

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
KJV


Man believes that he can discover what happened in the past by studying the present believing that things continue as they have from the beginning of creation. And this is the fallacy of science. That studying a process as it occurs today verifies how it occurred in years gone by. Carbon dating is a great example of this.

After people decide that the processes have continued the same since the beginning, they then deny the flood was a world wide event. Then they become "willingly ignorant" of the role God played in creation through his word. They are basically self deceived. How does a deceived man know he is deceived? He can't unless God shows him his deception.

Back in Peter's day, God spoke about the modern day scientist and how they would react and study. Why should we think that through logic and reason we could change one's mind who is self deceived and willingly ignorant?

Great post TBR.

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 05:11 PM
Brother Mark, you don't really believe in the flood as a face value event do you? This is one of the reasons people get into burden of proof arguments because some Christians try to argue for things in the Bible that are obviously allegorical.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 05:12 PM
IT REALLY is just this simple. Any assertion must be backed. If you say "God exists" in an argument, you must provide proof. If you made the statement, "God doesn't exist" then you must provide proof.

That is not how it works in hypothesis testing. That God does not exist is the status quo answer. Proof must be provided that God does exist.

Example: I want to see if a new cancer drug is effective. The status quo is that the drug is not effective, and hence this is the null hypothesis. Therefore one always has to prove the non status quo, or technically reject the status quo. Proving God does not exist would be like proving the cancer drug did not work, instead of proving it does work.

I know this sounds backwards, but we reject that the cancer drug does not work. We don't actually prove the cancer drug does work. Who knows? Maybe we get results because God cures those who take it.

So often with drugs if you read the detailed insert, it often says something like "the reason for this drug's efficacy is not completely understood..." meaning they have rejected that it does not work but have not proven that it does, or why it does.

threebigrocks
Jan 19th 2008, 05:18 PM
I respectfully disagree. God charges us, as Christians, to spread the word. If that means answering the tough questions, that's what we do. At least that's what I do. Sometimes this means trying to open someone's eyes to God's existence. I'm sure God doesn't mind my effort to help him 'reveal' himself to people.


We are indeed required to spread the Word. Some questions are tough, nobody can disagree with that either. But just because some things are unfathomable to our human understanding doesn't mean we apply human reasoning to it. We come up against the hard stuff, it simply means less human understanding and more guidance of the Spirit.

The flood was real. Human reasoning also says that a guy who was dead for 3 days and then have life given back physically is impossible. But isn't that the foundation of our faith?

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 05:24 PM
While this is a good post and has some positive points, it is out of scope for the topic. They aren't asking for a judgment on whether the burden of proof between Atheists and Christians is a valid argument to have. The OP has set the tone saying that the sides are assertions of no and yes and which is responsible for proving. To answer "no one, for faith is the way" is not one of the acceptable answers. I'm sorry if I've misread your post.

One of the points of the OP is to show that if we go the scientific route, the burden of proof is inevitably upon us who assert that God exists. We can say that there is no scientific evidence God does not exist, therefore we conclude God does exist. But the OP shows why that this route does not work with the scientific community.

It also shows we must provide sufficient evidence to reject that God does not exist. This distinction is subtle but may become important.

Suppose for example we were to provide scientific evidence that miracles happen. Seems to me I see these mega-churches curing people of various ills all the time. But has this been scientifically proven? Or is it all a circus? If this were scientifically proven we could reject that miracles do not occur. It doesn't prove miracles occur because God did it. There could be some real physical mechanism by which these occur, but it would be a powerful argument.

Personally the atheists I have met wouldn't believe if they witnessed Jesus descending from the clouds.

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 05:24 PM
I understand what you're saying. I know you don't know me, but I have a bachelors in biology. My point lies more in the metaphysical realm. God can neither be proven nor disproven because he is non-scientific. God is outside the realm of scientific testability so this argument falls more under philosophy than science.

I know this leaves open the flying spaghetti monster argument. What many people fail to realize is that that is a legitimate rebuttal to religion. Asserting God exists IS metaphysically the same as asserting a magical unicorn rules alternate planes of existence. That is to say, you can't prove or disprove it scientifically. This is where faith comes in.

threebigrocks
Jan 19th 2008, 05:30 PM
I understand what you're saying. I know you don't know me, but I have a bachelors in biology. My point lies more in the metaphysical realm. God can neither be proven nor disproven because he is non-scientific. God is outside the realm of scientific testability so this argument falls more under philosophy than science.

I know this leaves open the flying spaghetti monster argument. What many people fail to realize is that that is a legitimate rebuttal to religion. Asserting God exists IS metaphysically the same as asserting a magical unicorn rules alternate planes of existence. That is to say, you can't prove or disprove it scientifically. This is where faith comes in.


For those who don't believe, sure, it's a legitimate rebuttal.

So, how do we discuss the science part and get to the faith part? How can we, as in those who read here, have a descent enough arguement that we can grasp if we aren't rocket scientists or biologist or Bill Nye the Science Guy? That flying spaghetti monster sure looks like a mess to the average Joe who wants to speak well for Christ in the midts of what's flying. ;)

threebigrocks
Jan 19th 2008, 05:31 PM
Personally the atheists I have met wouldn't believe if they witnessed Jesus descending from the clouds.

Oh, I think they may just change their tune at that point! ;)

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 05:34 PM
Oh, I think they may just change their tune at that point! ;)

Yes, I too believe this to be the case. A sad day that would be, to know that we have failed them. You seem quite happy about a person who, due to following what he believed to be right, will be spending eternity in hell. Personally, it makes me sad.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 05:49 PM
For those who don't believe, sure, it's a legitimate rebuttal.

So, how do we discuss the science part and get to the faith part? How can we, as in those who read here, have a descent enough arguement that we can grasp if we aren't rocket scientists or biologist or Bill Nye the Science Guy? That flying spaghetti monster sure looks like a mess to the average Joe who wants to speak well for Christ in the midts of what's flying. ;)

There are many things the Flying Spagetti Monster does not have:
A rather large book of 5000 years of Man coming to terms with God
Prophesy in said Bible that came true
Resurrection and other miracles
Witnesses who would allow themselves to be persecuted and put to death instead of recant their stories
Believers who have a very real, personal and profound relationship with the Holy Spirit
The death on the Cross which reconciles Gods perfect justice and mercyIt is very important to be able to distinguish Christianity from any other religion.

But just in case, may his noodly appendages be forever anointed in the holy olive oil of Antioch. :D

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 05:55 PM
Brother Mark, you don't really believe in the flood as a face value event do you? This is one of the reasons people get into burden of proof arguments because some Christians try to argue for things in the Bible that are obviously allegorical.

Look at the passage I quoted above. Peter mentioned the flood when looking ahead and prophesying about todays atheist and some scientist. (Although there are scientist that believe in a literal flood.)

Here's the verses again...

2 Peter 3:3-7
3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
NASB

Peter prophesied this day would come. Why should we be surprised by it? He said the day would come when people would be "willingly ignorant" (KJV) that the world was created by the word of God and that it was destroyed by water.

Peter didn't see it as an allegory nor as a local flood. Why should I?

Blessings,

Mark

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 05:57 PM
There are many things the Flying Spagetti Monster does not have:
A rather large book of 5000 years of Man coming to terms with God
Prophesy in said Bible that came true
Resurrection and other miracles
Witnesses who would allow themselves to be persecuted and put to death instead of recant their stories
Believers who have a very real, personal and profound relationship with the Holy Spirit
The death on the Cross which reconciles Gods perfect justice and mercyIt is very important to be able to distinguish Christianity from any other religion.

But just in case, may his noodly appendages be forever anointed in the holy olive oil of Antioch. :D

It is also very important to be able to recognize that many belief systems have books, prophesies, miracles, saviors, fierce believers, witnesses, etc.

It is our FAITH in our book, prophesies, miracles, savior etc. that makes it different in our hearts. The existence of these things did not start with, are no exclusive to, and will not end with Christianity.

I like the noodly appendage comment haha.

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 06:03 PM
Look at the passage I quoted above. Peter mentioned the flood when looking ahead and prophesying about todays atheist and some scientist. (Although there are scientist that believe in a literal flood.)

Here's the verses again...

2 Peter 3:3-7
3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
NASB

Peter prophesied this day would come. Why should we be surprised by it? He said the day would come when people would be "willingly ignorant" (KJV) that the world was created by the word of God and that it was destroyed by water.

Peter didn't see it as an allegory nor as a local flood. Why should I?

Blessings,

Mark

Because if Peter believes this, then Peter was a fool. There is absolutely no way that Noah got every species on the world on that ark, fed and cleaned up after them all, and kept them alive for 150 days. Thousands and thousands of species all with VERY specific biotic requirements. Did he have fresh and saltwater fish in aquariums? Where did he keep 150 days of elephant food? The sheer labor of it all is impossible for such a small number or people. How did he collect each strain of every bacteria? We (scientists) still can't successfully isolate even 1% of bacterium in pure culture. I mean, it is so monstrously ridiculous that I, as a Christian, would never dream of asserting that this is anything but allegory.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 06:05 PM
Because if Peter believes this, then Peter was a fool. There is absolutely no way that Noah got every species on the world on that ark, fed and cleaned up after them all, and kept them alive for 150 days. Thousands and thousands of species all with VERY specific biotic requirements. Did he have fresh and saltwater fish in aquariums? Where did he keep 150 days of elephant food? The sheer labor of it all is impossible for such a small number or people. How did he collect each strain of every bacteria? We (scientists) still can't successfully isolate even 1% of bacterium in pure culture. I mean, it is so monstrously ridiculous that I, as a Christian, would never dream of asserting that this is anything but allegory.

In other words, it was a miracle. Was the apostle Peter a fool?

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 06:08 PM
ALL I have done is present hypothesis testing to people who may not be familiar with it. This is useful to understand since people arguing for God inevitably get into the who proves what conundrum. I have not provided evidence God exists, or methods one could obtain it, because that was not the intent of the OP.

I have difficulty seeing how anyone could be so upset about a description of a common method. What may be happening here is that you are letting your pride as a rare scientist on this board motivate your response. Perhaps I, someone else with a scientific background, am intruding into your domain. Adding "physicist" under your name suggests pride. It never occurred to me to put "rocket scientist" under my name.

Because of pride you argue I am a sophist and question my credibility and background. A less prideful Christian scientist who understood hypothesis testing might want to mention it's limitations or risks, or perhaps discuss alternatives such as Bayesian methods for proving God exists.

But hypothesis testing isn't hypothesis testing without the mathematics.

If you don't have the models and the numbers all you are doing is dressing up something which isn't hypothesis testing as "hypothesis testing".

It would be like drawing pictures in crayon and calling it "structural engineering".

The only point I can see in calling it "hypothesis testing" is to intimidate the opponent into thinking something "scientific" is being done, so that they wont question it.

That is what I called "sophism". The end result is to misuse a technical term to intimidate an opponent into not looking closely at what really amounts to bad reasoning, and thereby win a debate because the opponent is too scared to question the bad reasoning because they are afraid they really don't understand something technical.

It is winning a debate by a kind of cheat, and not by the strength of the argument (and for the record you whole "rocket scientist" remark was still another attempt at the same sort of cheat, that is to intimidate the opponent into thinking you must know what you are talking about because of your credentials and not because you have put together a good argument).

I'll continue to call that "sophism".

But maybe you are more interested in winning than in good argumentation.

Which is more important to you?

Let's try a little experiment: try putting your original argument in plain every day English anyone with a high school diploma can follow and in as short a space as possible, and see if it still looks persuasive.

ConcernedParent55
Jan 19th 2008, 06:16 PM
In other words, it was a miracle. Was the apostle Peter a fool?

I don't remember anything Biblical stating that God did any miracles to provide food or help care for them. In fact, he charges Noah with gathering the food If i recall.

Anyway, this illustrates one major point of this thread. Any evidence that an atheist could conceivably bring to a Christian, the answer can always be 'miracle.' However, this is what makes atheists so avid. That is because what you are saying is 'I have faith, thus it is true.' While you or I may believe that, it will not work in an argument. It will lead to a stalemate and that is why, if you want to make any progress against an atheists, you must concede that either it was a miracle and the bible didn't deign to mention that or you can dismiss it as allegory.

threebigrocks
Jan 19th 2008, 06:20 PM
I don't remember anything Biblical stating that God did any miracles to provide food or help care for them. In fact, he charges Noah with gathering the food If i recall.

Anyway, this illustrates one major point of this thread. Any evidence that an atheist could conceivably bring to a Christian, the answer can always be 'miracle.' However, this is what makes atheists so avid. That is because what you are saying is 'I have faith, thus it is true.' While you or I may believe that, it will not work in an argument. It will lead to a stalemate and that is why, if you want to make any progress against an atheists, you must concede that either it was a miracle and the bible didn't deign to mention that or you can dismiss it as allegory.

What are you getting at? We cannot let unbelievers, no matter what they call themselves, dictate what is truth and what is not.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 06:22 PM
I don't remember anything Biblical stating that God did any miracles to provide food or help care for them. In fact, he charges Noah with gathering the food If i recall.

Anyway, this illustrates one major point of this thread. Any evidence that an atheist could conceivably bring to a Christian, the answer can always be 'miracle.' However, this is what makes atheists so avid. That is because what you are saying is 'I have faith, thus it is true.' While you or I may believe that, it will not work in an argument. It will lead to a stalemate and that is why, if you want to make any progress against an atheists, you must concede that either it was a miracle and the bible didn't deign to mention that or you can dismiss it as allegory.

How many atheist do you know come to the conclusion of God through science? Let's take it another step further... Jesus rose from the dead. Can we prove that one scientifically? Must we?

Should one have problems believing in the flood, I would not make it a point of contention for it is not necessary to salvation. It was simply a point in this thread that Peter had prophesied this day was coming and that the flood would be denied along with creation. We are in that day and Peter, the one you called a fool, saw it 2000 years ago.

How do men get saved? They have an encounter with God! If one looks at science with an open mind, I am confident that science can play a roll in one's salvation. But, if one is "willingly ignorant" as Peter said, then no amount of proof will matter. Abraham himself said it "even if one were to rise from the dead, they would not believe".

We think people reject Christianity because of science, or their mind, or some other reason. But that is not so. They reject because they have been blinded by the god of this world and they deceive themselves, i.e. they are willingly ignorant.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 06:41 PM
We think people reject Christianity because of science, or their mind, or some other reason. But that is not so. They reject because they have been blinded by the god of this world and they deceive themselves, i.e. they are willingly ignorant.

Let's go further in this direction.

How ought we then to evangelize?

Much of the emphasis in evangelism seems to go to reasoning (arguing) with people and persuading them to other points of view.

You make it sound like they reject God because of forces beyond their control, so who or what is there to reach out to?

Or do we drop evangelism (and thus apologetics) altogether?

Is this subforum pointless?

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 06:59 PM
Let's go further in this direction.

How ought we then to evangelize?

Much of the emphasis in evangelism seems to go to reasoning (arguing) with people and persuading them to other points of view.

You make it sound like they reject God because of forces beyond their control, so who or what is there to reach out to?

Or do we drop evangelism (and thus apologetics) altogether?

Is this subforum pointless?

This would make a great thread.

No, the subforum is not pointless. As one who came out of unbelief, science helped to greatly increase my faith after my conversion. Apologetics was wonderfully tasty to me at the time.

But to your question... I don't think arguing generally helps that much. But to answer someone's questions can help. Even an "I don't know" was helpful to me in the past. But the key, and it is a big key, is to see what God is doing in the life of a person. Let us ask God how we are to respond to each person we come in contact with.

How did God reveal himself to Paul? Or to Abraham? Or Enoch? Jesus said no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him. Salvation is a miracle. Yet, reason can play a role. We just need to hear God on it.

As for them being helpless, that's not what I meant to communicate fully. For that reason, I keep repeating the phrase "willingly ignorant". They choose to be ignorant. In other words, they come to data with a bias. Without that bias, the data would lead them to Christ and they would no longer be willingly ignorant. Now, once one becomes willingly ignorant, he also is blinded by the god of this world and becomes enslaved.

Short answer... let us work with God. We can use science as a witnessing tool when God speaks to us about it. As we see God working in the lives of others, we can speak what he tells us to speak to them. Then we work with God and can see great things.

Studyin'2Show
Jan 19th 2008, 08:03 PM
Let's go further in this direction.

How ought we then to evangelize?

Much of the emphasis in evangelism seems to go to reasoning (arguing) with people and persuading them to other points of view.

You make it sound like they reject God because of forces beyond their control, so who or what is there to reach out to?

Or do we drop evangelism (and thus apologetics) altogether?

Is this subforum pointless?Apologetics, for me, is about discussion not arguments. I don't believe you'll find any former atheists that will tell you they got argued into the kingdom. :rolleyes: Usually, what I have done in the past is to witness by my lifestyle; how I walk out my faith. Now, as I do that, many times those around me will ask me this or that and I fell that my apologetics skills have done me well in this format. We must always be ready to give an answer....;)

As to the point of the OP, yes, though some may consider it sophist :D, it could be used in the proper circumstances.

God Bless!

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 08:05 PM
Paul, one of the smartest men that ever lived said he witnessed this way...

1 Cor 2:1-5

2 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
NASB

When our words are in wisdom and in power, it is because we are speaking what God says to speak.

Great post Studyin. Indeed, the power in our life speaks volumes.

Mograce2U
Jan 19th 2008, 08:28 PM
Too bad this thread has dengenerated so quickly into "puffiness" (knowledge that puffs up...). Where is the gospel presented in scripture as needing a scientific basis anyway? God doesn't argue with man for His existence, instead He points to creation as His evidence. And in Job, mentions all the things that Job doesn't know the answer to. Which seems likely that we still don't know the answer. None of which will deter the atheist from his unbelief if he will not consider any of it.

So how can we expect any other avenue to accomplish this as if the biblical model is insufficient? The answer must lie in the fact that we are only the seed sowers and the Holy Spirit the One who plants & waters. Which seems like the best plan to me - leaving the result in His capable hands.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 09:34 PM
It is also very important to be able to recognize that many belief systems have books, prophesies, miracles, saviors, fierce believers, witnesses, etc.

It is our FAITH in our book, prophesies, miracles, savior etc. that makes it different in our hearts. The existence of these things did not start with, are no exclusive to, and will not end with Christianity.

I like the noodly appendage comment haha.

One of the arguments atheists use is: Suppose I decide God exists, then which religion do I chose? Why is the Christian God different from the Hindus, Muslims, or the others?

One answer is that these other religions, to my knowledge, do not have miracles or prophesy (especially proven prophesy), or a savior. Other religions don't even recognize a savior is needed. Also, Christianity is the only religion that reconciles perfect justice and mercy.

You're right though, for us it is faith. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is something that is real, is felt, and changes people.

I think I'll have spaghetti tonight.

threebigrocks
Jan 19th 2008, 09:42 PM
I think I'll have spaghetti tonight.

Okay, that's too funny! My husband is cooking up a batch of homemade sketti sauce as we speak.

Indeed, we need to reflect an accurate view of Christ, and we do so in all we do and all we are. That whole spaghetti reference makes me think of the fact that God is not the author of confusion. If we get terribly tangled up, we need to go back to where things got tangled in the first place. When they look as bad as a plate of pasta - we may very well have some serious backtracking to do. Not easy, but necessary.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 09:50 PM
Apologetics, for me, is about discussion not arguments. I don't believe you'll find any former atheists that will tell you they got argued into the kingdom. :rolleyes: Usually, what I have done in the past is to witness by my lifestyle; how I walk out my faith. Now, as I do that, many times those around me will ask me this or that and I fell that my apologetics skills have done me well in this format. We must always be ready to give an answer....;)

As to the point of the OP, yes, though some may consider it sophist :D, it could be used in the proper circumstances.

God Bless!

I started another thread to ask this very question. What did lead atheists to convert? I expect scientific arguments will not appear.

We cannot prove God through science, and probably never will.

We can use legal evidential arguments for the veracity of the eyewitness testimony in the Bible, but not the existence of God. Greenleaf did this.

I also found apologetics useful in countering many of the so called Biblical contradictions. Every one I ever looked into has solid reasoning why the contradiction is a non-issue. And usually there is something disingenuous in the contradiction itself. We should NOT however state that the Bible has no uncontested words or phrases. There are some minor differences in the ancient texts we have available. But these are few and none of these goes to any key point of our theology.

Investigating apologetics has actually increased my confidence the Bible is true. But one needs a strong theological stomach to debate these people.

So while apologetics has its place, it does not help in proving the existence of God.

RevLogos
Jan 19th 2008, 09:51 PM
So how can we expect any other avenue to accomplish this as if the biblical model is insufficient? The answer must lie in the fact that we are only the seed sowers and the Holy Spirit the One who plants & waters. Which seems like the best plan to me - leaving the result in His capable hands.

Agreed. The best we can do is plant a seed of doubt in the atheist, by whatever method works. Then let the Holy Spirit take it from there.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 10:03 PM
This would make a great thread.

No, the subforum is not pointless. As one who came out of unbelief, science helped to greatly increase my faith after my conversion. Apologetics was wonderfully tasty to me at the time.

But to your question... I don't think arguing generally helps that much. But to answer someone's questions can help. Even an "I don't know" was helpful to me in the past. But the key, and it is a big key, is to see what God is doing in the life of a person. Let us ask God how we are to respond to each person we come in contact with.

This would take a person taking the time to actually listen to another person and understand where they are coming from rather than talking at them and telling them how wrong they are and what the right answers are.

It is also a much more difficult approach, and generally not as gratifying to one's pride as there isn't a clear "victory".


How did God reveal himself to Paul? Or to Abraham? Or Enoch? Jesus said no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him. Salvation is a miracle. Yet, reason can play a role. We just need to hear God on it.

But on the one hand you are saying that people are bound by forces beyond their control to not listen unless other forces intervene.

If it is up to forces beyond one's control then reason is irrelevant.

If reason is relevant then a person has more control than your earlier post would indicate.


As for them being helpless, that's not what I meant to communicate fully. For that reason, I keep repeating the phrase "willingly ignorant". They choose to be ignorant. In other words, they come to data with a bias. Without that bias, the data would lead them to Christ and they would no longer be willingly ignorant. Now, once one becomes willingly ignorant, he also is blinded by the god of this world and becomes enslaved.

But we all come to all data with a bias.

We have to or else we couldn't make any decisions.

This is again an attempt to say that the proposition "God exists" should be held to different standards from other propositions.


Short answer... let us work with God. We can use science as a witnessing tool when God speaks to us about it. As we see God working in the lives of others, we can speak what he tells us to speak to them. Then we work with God and can see great things.

I'd recommend not using science as a witnessing tool unless the speaker is competent in the science.

Bad science is worse than no science at all.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 10:08 PM
Apologetics, for me, is about discussion not arguments. I don't believe you'll find any former atheists that will tell you they got argued into the kingdom. :rolleyes: Usually, what I have done in the past is to witness by my lifestyle; how I walk out my faith. Now, as I do that, many times those around me will ask me this or that and I fell that my apologetics skills have done me well in this format. We must always be ready to give an answer....;)

As to the point of the OP, yes, though some may consider it sophist :D, it could be used in the proper circumstances.

God Bless!

There's a certain dishonesty in cheap rhetorical tricks.

Mograce2U
Jan 19th 2008, 10:20 PM
Agreed. The best we can do is plant a seed of doubt in the atheist, by whatever method works. Then let the Holy Spirit take it from there.I know what you mean here but thought I should clarify that we do this by planting seeds of TRUTH, which hopefully will cause them to doubt their own unbelief.

Mograce2U
Jan 19th 2008, 10:32 PM
I guess this to Punk (I am trying to understand) -
Since both sides have a bias, is the point then to show that a bias exists, since neither side can "prove" it either way?

I always wondered why it is so important to the atheist to "believe" that no God could possibly exist. I do understand the theological reasons we are given, but the atheist has his "own reasons". I am guessing he thinks this makes him free to live his life as he pleases, to do what seems right in his own eyes without having to answer to anything but his own conscience. Which of course leaves "nature" outside his control, and of course death is unavoidable. Perhaps these are better avenues of discussion to take?

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 10:44 PM
I guess this to Punk (I am trying to understand) -
Since both sides have a bias, is the point then to show that a bias exists, since neither side can "prove" it either way?

We all have a bias. It is called "prior knowledge".

Generally we rely on our knowledge and experiences to evaluate our belief in any proposition.

Do giant pink unicorns exist?

Most of us will say "no". Why? Because we've never seen any, no one we know has ever seen any. There's never been one on TV and so on.

We don't approach the giant pink unicorn question with an "open mind" and treat it as "50/50 either way", we take our past knowledge and experience and assign a very low probability to the existence of giant pink unicorns.

This is how you make decisions. Otherwise every choice would be as good as another, and you'd be left flipping coins to make decisions.

If the goal is to get everyone to admit they have a bias, then the answer is an easy "yes" which gets you nowhere. Do theists have a bias, and do they believe in a god - yes. Do atheists have a bias, and do they disbelieve in a god - yes.

They are in exactly the same epistemic boat.

But note, if you go there, what are you really saying?

If the theist gets the atheist to say "okay, I have a bias to disbelieve in god, and in fact I disbelieve in god," and then you argue "shouldn't you be more open-minded?" they'll just come back with "okay, but you also have a bias to believe in god, and in fact believe in god, by your own argument you also should be more open-minded, and admit you could very well be wrong. but now you are arguing I should believe in something you by your very own admission aren't terribly sure about anyway, and if you aren't terribly sure, then it can't be all that important."

Not much good is going to come out of that tack, and arguing the agnostic position only forces you yourself to become an agnostic as well.


I always wondered why it is so important to the atheist to "believe" that no God could possibly exist. I do understand the theological reasons we are given, but the atheist has his "own reasons". I am guessing he thinks this makes him free to live his life as he pleases, to do what seems right in his own eyes without having to answer to anything but his own conscience. Which of course leaves "nature" outside his control, and of course death is unavoidable. Perhaps these are better avenues of discussion to take?

Give the atheist a little credit - perhaps they believe that it is genuinely true that there is no god, and also consider it a moral imperative not to believe in what isn't true. There are people that would rather believe in harsh truths than in comforting lies.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 10:58 PM
This would take a person taking the time to actually listen to another person and understand where they are coming from rather than talking at them and telling them how wrong they are and what the right answers are.

It is also a much more difficult approach, and generally not as gratifying to one's pride as there isn't a clear "victory".

Correct. And, victory or winning the argument is not the point in witnessing. It is much more desirable to please the Lord and in the process, to hopefully win the person. Rarely does winning an argument ever win a person.


But on the one hand you are saying that people are bound by forces beyond their control to not listen unless other forces intervene.

If it is up to forces beyond one's control then reason is irrelevant.

If reason is relevant then a person has more control than your earlier post would indicate.As I said earlier Punk, it's both. Scripture says that they are both willingly ignorant and that they are blinded by the god of this world. The parables in Mark 4 of the sower and the seed explain some of what I am getting at. But reason does enter into the equation at times. God told Isaiah "come now, let us reason together".


But we all come to all data with a bias.

We have to or else we couldn't make any decisions.

This is again an attempt to say that the proposition "God exists" should be held to different standards from other propositions.We do come to data with bias. All the more reason to try and overcome that bias if we desire truth. As for the last statement, of course the proposition "God exist" needs to be dealt with differently. Just as I deal with a penny differently that I deal with a $100 bill. While it's all money, it's not exactly of the same value. Using the same standard of proof or decision making for whether Japan is going to attack the US as we do for which grocery store to shop at is not very wise. I am all for consistency in reasoning. However, as you pointed out, we have to make decisions daily without having all the facts and in this way, we get through life. But when making our most important decisions, we gather more facts than for the most mundane decisions. No one treats them the same.


I'd recommend not using science as a witnessing tool unless the speaker is competent in the science.

Bad science is worse than no science at all.I'd not recommend using science at all as a witnessing tool unless the seeker is indeed genuinely searching. I fear that far too many Christians simply try to convert one who is not interested in being converted. Unless the Lord tells us to speak to one who is not ready, why should we speak? But at the same time, we must be ready to give a testimony of the hope that is within us. When we work with God, our work is much more fruitful.

Mograce2U
Jan 19th 2008, 11:00 PM
Punk,
Well that seems to leave us with arguing for creative design vs evolution. I came to understand that God must surely exist when I saw that evolution could not be true from observing my own garden for 3 years. Granted I didn't know Jesus as my Savior at that point, but I did become convinced that God was a reality.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 11:05 PM
If the goal is to get everyone to admit they have a bias, then the answer is an easy "yes" which gets you nowhere. Do theists have a bias, and do they believe in a god - yes. Do atheists have a bias, and do they disbelieve in a god - yes.

They are in exactly the same epistemic boat.

But note, if you go there, what are you really saying?

If the theist gets the atheist to say "okay, I have a bias to disbelieve in god, and in fact I disbelieve in god," and then you argue "shouldn't you be more open-minded?" they'll just come back with "okay, but you also have a bias to believe in god, and in fact believe in god, by your own argument you also should be more open-minded, and admit you could very well be wrong. but now you are arguing I should believe in something you by your very own admission aren't terribly sure about anyway, and if you aren't terribly sure, then it can't be all that important."

Not much good is going to come out of that tack, and arguing the agnostic position only forces you yourself to become an agnostic as well.

Not really true Punk. For someone like me, I have experienced God. It would be like someone arguing that your mother doesn't exist because they have never seen her. Yet, you have touched her, felt her, talked to her, etc. All their arguments would not convince you that she did not exist. So it is with God. We have experienced God and all the arguments cannot change that experience. So getting one to admit he doesn't know is a good step towards learning the truth. Here's a verse that speaks to that...

John 9:39-41
39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.
NASB

Jesus came that those who think they see, might remain blind. But once a man starts to wonder and admits he doesn't know, then he becomes a candidate to have his eyes opened.


Give the atheist a little credit - perhaps they believe that it is genuinely true that there is no god, and also consider it a moral imperative not to believe in what isn't true. There are people that would rather believe in harsh truths than in comforting lies.

Oh, no doubt some are sincere. As Paul said "there will come a time when you will desire to kill me thinking you do God a favor". But we know from experience that they are sincerely wrong. Our desire is not to shame them, win an argument with them, or control them. Rather, our desire is to see them come to a knowledge of the truth of God and to experience His power, love, forgiveness and kindness.

Studyin'2Show
Jan 19th 2008, 11:06 PM
There's a certain dishonesty in cheap rhetorical tricks.I'm not sure what can be considered dishonest about walking out our faith and offering answers when questions are put to us? :confused You'll have to explain this one to me. :hmm:

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 11:07 PM
Punk,
Well that seems to leave us with arguing for creative design vs evolution. I came to understand that God must surely exist when I saw that evolution could not be true from observing my own garden for 3 years. Granted I didn't know Jesus as my Savior at that point, but I did become convinced that God was a reality.

I don't understand how you got to that we are left "with arguing for creative design vs. evolution."

What were the intervening steps?

I'd argue that design vs. evolution is a pointless rabbit-trail all on its own.

If God exists, then God exists right now, why argue about things that may or may not have happened thousands if not millions or billions of years ago?

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 11:11 PM
I'm not sure what can be considered dishonest about walking out our faith and offering answers when questions are put to us? :confused You'll have to explain this one to me. :hmm:

There's a dishonesty in using tricky and ultimately false reasoning to get there.

I mean, I suppose I could convince someone to believe in God on the promise that they'll get $1 million in a year's time. Of course I have no reason to think they'd get that million, and in fact I've every reason to think they wont. Basically I'm using an out and out lie to get them over to a point of view.

Even if it works, does the end justify the means?

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 11:13 PM
There's a dishonesty in using tricky and ultimately false reasoning to get there.

I mean, I suppose I could convince someone to believe in God on the promise that they'll get $1 million in a year's time. Of course I have no reason to think they'd get that million, and in fact I've every reason to think they wont. Basically I'm using an out and out lie to get them over to a point of view.

Even if it works, does the end justify the means?

Sophist means more than just using trickery, though it can mean using trickery. I don't think S2S wasn't referring to the dishonest sophist.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 11:13 PM
Not really true Punk. For someone like me, I have experienced God. It would be like someone arguing that your mother doesn't exist because they have never seen her. Yet, you have touched her, felt her, talked to her, etc. All their arguments would not convince you that she did not exist. So it is with God. We have experienced God and all the arguments cannot change that experience. So getting one to admit he doesn't know is a good step towards learning the truth. Here's a verse that speaks to that...

Okay, so if you think you can treat the proposition "God exists" in a certain way given your experience and not have to become an agnostic in the course of the argument, then the atheist is perfectly justified in doing the exact same thing and use their personal experience to not become an agnostic.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Again, you are trying to treat the proposition "God exists" in a way differing from other propositions.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 11:15 PM
We do come to data with bias. All the more reason to try and overcome that bias if we desire truth. As for the last statement, of course the proposition "God exist" needs to be dealt with differently. Just as I deal with a penny differently that I deal with a $100 bill. While it's all money, it's not exactly of the same value. Using the same standard of proof or decision making for whether Japan is going to attack the US as we do for which grocery store to shop at is not very wise. I am all for consistency in reasoning. However, as you pointed out, we have to make decisions daily without having all the facts and in this way, we get through life. But when making our most important decisions, we gather more facts than for the most mundane decisions. No one treats them the same.

But we do use the same standard. Different situations bring with them different past information, and different priors, and result in different degrees of belief.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 11:17 PM
Okay, so if you think you can treat the proposition "God exists" in a certain way given your experience and not have to become an agnostic in the course of the argument, then the atheist is perfectly justified in doing the exact same thing and use their personal experience to not become an agnostic.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Again, you are trying to treat the proposition "God exists" in a way differing from other propositions.

The problem is in dealing with a negative. A positive can be experienced and that is solid proof. A lack of experience is not. I have never met your mother nor had any experience with her at all! But that is not a valid reason for me to doubt her existence.

It's sound reasoning. For instance, when one says there is no God, he HAS to assume his experience in his small realm of influence is valid throughout the entire universe. Yet, when one experiences the God of the universe, and God tells him he is the God of the universe, then is one not justified in believing God?

Of all positions, I continue to propose that atheism requires the most faith and the least reason. Why? Because it is based on a negative which cannot be proven and therefor, blind faith is required.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 11:20 PM
But we do use the same standard. Different situations bring with them different past information, and different priors, and result in different degrees of belief.

Really? You use the same standard of facts/decision making to decide if a local dive is a good place to eat that you do when you are writing a physics paper?

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 11:34 PM
The problem is in dealing with a negative. A positive can be experienced and that is solid proof. A lack of experience is not. I have never met your mother nor had any experience with her at all! But that is not a valid reason for me to doubt her existence.

Here's a negative proposition:

"It is not true that any of the gods of the Greek pantheon live on a moon orbiting Saturn"

I suspect you have no problem affirming it.

Negative propositions are a dime a dozen and we have no problem making firm affirmative or negative stances on quite a large chunk of them.


It's sound reasoning. For instance, when one says there is no God, he HAS to assume his experience in his small realm of influence is valid throughout the entire universe. Yet, when one experiences the God of the universe, and God tells him he is the God of the universe, then is one not justified in believing God?

If you go there, then you have to be agnostic on any and all propositions I can dream up.

You have no reason to think Thor doesn't exist. You have no reason to think Zeus doesn't exist. You have no reason to think Cthulhu isn't waiting in the sunken city of R'lyeh to emerge and destroy us all.

Nevertheless I suspect you have no trouble taking a firm side on these.

The only issue here is that there is a proposition here that you believe in strongly that another person rejects for reasons you would find perfectly valid for other propositions, but don't want to acknowledge for this proposition.

So you are pretending you can hold it to a different standard.


Of all positions, I continue to propose that atheism requires the most faith and the least reason. Why? Because it is based on a negative which cannot be proven and therefor, blind faith is required.

Well it is good to know you believe in the possible existence of every deity humanity has ever dreamed up.

punk
Jan 19th 2008, 11:35 PM
Really? You use the same standard of facts/decision making to decide if a local dive is a good place to eat that you do when you are writing a physics paper?

No, I use the facts appropriate to the situation, but the way I use the facts to arrive at a conclusion doesn't vary.

Brother Mark
Jan 19th 2008, 11:43 PM
So you are pretending you can hold it to a different standard.

Well it is good to know you believe in the possible existence of every deity humanity has ever dreamed up.

Your proposition is only correct for someone who hasn't experienced the one true God. God himself tells us there is no God but Him. So while I don't know everything there is to know in the universe, God does. He is completely honest and what he says is true. So I have no need to believe in those other God's. I have more than some philosiphy to guide me at this point.

See Punk, the difference is, I am using what God teaches me in his word as well. It is full of power. No matter how we slice it, we can't ignore scripture.

Now, if I had not experienced God and he had not revealed himself to me, then perhaps you could persuade me that the Greek myths were possibly god in some form. But I have experienced him and that changes everything!

Unless one knows all there is to know in the universe, one cannot possibly KNOW that God does not exist. For this reason, it is a decision based on faith even if some small evidence is used to reach the conclusion.

Punk, I would like to ask you a couple of questions. Why is it not OK to use the facts we have from scripture in our science model? For instance, we know the greek gods are not gods because of what the bible tells us. Why do you leave out such facts in the arguments? The standard I am using does not require me to believe in all gods. Nay, it requires me to believe in only one God. I don't hold the atheist to any standard that I am not holding myself to as well. I know those gods don't exist because of the facts I have before me. Are those facts not valid?

Studyin'2Show
Jan 20th 2008, 03:00 AM
There's a dishonesty in using tricky and ultimately false reasoning to get there.

I mean, I suppose I could convince someone to believe in God on the promise that they'll get $1 million in a year's time. Of course I have no reason to think they'd get that million, and in fact I've every reason to think they wont. Basically I'm using an out and out lie to get them over to a point of view.

Even if it works, does the end justify the means?Why would I, as a believer, use tricky or false reasoning? When did you see me say that? Because I walk out my faith and am ready to give an answer to any and all who come asking? As to the OP, if someone comes my way and challenges me by saying that God does not exist, they have made themselves the one offering the hypothesis and thus they are the ones who would need to back their statement up. Exactly what is the trouble with that? Contrary to what you may assume, I don't go looking to trip up atheist, but if they come looking to trip me up, they've got another thing coming! :P

God Bless!

punk
Jan 20th 2008, 07:10 PM
Your proposition is only correct for someone who hasn't experienced the one true God. God himself tells us there is no God but Him. So while I don't know everything there is to know in the universe, God does. He is completely honest and what he says is true. So I have no need to believe in those other God's. I have more than some philosiphy to guide me at this point.

But you are confusing two entirely distinct things:

1. What you believe about a particular proposition
2. What conclusions it is reasonable to reach about any proposition in general.

I'm talking about the second. You are basically saying that you have a strong belief concerning a particular proposition (God exists), the why of it doesn't matter, and as a result some entirely different person should hold that particular proposition to an entirely different standard because of that.

You are saying: "I believe strongly that God exists and that is enough to require that everyone else should treat that proposition as more likely as a result"

Then you are saying that the atheist is particularly pernicious in taking a certain attitude toward the proposition "God exists" even though you yourself take that very same attitude toward propositions you don't believe in for lack of evidence.

But you see, other people aren't bound to adjust their take on things simply because you believe strongly about something.


See Punk, the difference is, I am using what God teaches me in his word as well. It is full of power. No matter how we slice it, we can't ignore scripture.

No the difference is, I am reasonably saying that the atheist is doing nothing different in the case of the proposition "God exists" from what I do in the case of a myriad of other propositions.

If I think I am reasonable in those cases, then the atheist is reasonable in this case. If I think the atheist is unreasonable in this case then I am unreasonable in the other case.

As noted above, if I assert the latter, then I really have no way to make any decision about anything.


Now, if I had not experienced God and he had not revealed himself to me, then perhaps you could persuade me that the Greek myths were possibly god in some form. But I have experienced him and that changes everything!

Again, why should some third party base their beliefs on your experiences?


Unless one knows all there is to know in the universe, one cannot possibly KNOW that God does not exist. For this reason, it is a decision based on faith even if some small evidence is used to reach the conclusion.

Well unless you know all there is to know in the universe, you cannot possibly KNOW that Zeus, Thor et. al. don't exist.

I assume you aren't claiming omniscience.


Punk, I would like to ask you a couple of questions. Why is it not OK to use the facts we have from scripture in our science model? For instance, we know the greek gods are not gods because of what the bible tells us. Why do you leave out such facts in the arguments? The standard I am using does not require me to believe in all gods. Nay, it requires me to believe in only one God. I don't hold the atheist to any standard that I am not holding myself to as well. I know those gods don't exist because of the facts I have before me. Are those facts not valid?

You can use all the facts you want to argue what you want. I'm not objecting to that.

I'm objecting to the trick of trying to pretend the atheist isn't being reasonable, when the atheist isn't doing anything different from what you and I do in different issues.

punk
Jan 20th 2008, 07:12 PM
Why would I, as a believer, use tricky or false reasoning? When did you see me say that? Because I walk out my faith and am ready to give an answer to any and all who come asking? As to the OP, if someone comes my way and challenges me by saying that God does not exist, they have made themselves the one offering the hypothesis and thus they are the ones who would need to back their statement up. Exactly what is the trouble with that? Contrary to what you may assume, I don't go looking to trip up atheist, but if they come looking to trip me up, they've got another thing coming! :P

God Bless!

But my point is, and has always been, that the OP is discussing what amounts to tricky or false reasoning.

Brother Mark
Jan 20th 2008, 08:21 PM
But you are confusing two entirely distinct things:

1. What you believe about a particular proposition
2. What conclusions it is reasonable to reach about any proposition in general.

I'm talking about the second. You are basically saying that you have a strong belief concerning a particular proposition (God exists), the why of it doesn't matter, and as a result some entirely different person should hold that particular proposition to an entirely different standard because of that.

You are saying: "I believe strongly that God exists and that is enough to require that everyone else should treat that proposition as more likely as a result"

Then you are saying that the atheist is particularly pernicious in taking a certain attitude toward the proposition "God exists" even though you yourself take that very same attitude toward propositions you don't believe in for lack of evidence.

But you see, other people aren't bound to adjust their take on things simply because you believe strongly about something.

Oh baloney Punk. Pure bunk. I have reiterated over and over again that as the cost goes up, the way people reason changes. When dealing with the ultimate, it requires a little more thought than a simple question about unicorns existence. You know this even if you refuse to admit it.


No the difference is, I am reasonably saying that the atheist is doing nothing different in the case of the proposition "God exists" from what I do in the case of a myriad of other propositions.

If I think I am reasonable in those cases, then the atheist is reasonable in this case. If I think the atheist is unreasonable in this case then I am unreasonable in the other case.

As noted above, if I assert the latter, then I really have no way to make any decision about anything.

If you insist on making decisions the same exact way on everything, that is certainly OK with me. I think it far wiser to do more due diligence when investing a soul than for investing a dollar.


Again, why should some third party base their beliefs on your experiences?

Already answered that one. But I will again. They shouldn't. On the other hand, lack of experience is not a very valid use of data either. It's like saying "I have never seen anyone walk on the moon, therefor no one has walked on the moon." It's a bad premise for moon walking and for does God exist.


Well unless you know all there is to know in the universe, you cannot possibly KNOW that Zeus, Thor et. al. don't exist.

I assume you aren't claiming omniscience.

Already answered that one too. The God of the universe says they don't exist in the way that the Greeks described him. God is omniscient so he would know. Since he's truthful, then no reason I shouldn't take his word as fact. It's not that hard.


I'm objecting to the trick of trying to pretend the atheist isn't being reasonable, when the atheist isn't doing anything different from what you and I do in different issues.


Atheist can say there is no god all they want. It is as unreasonable as one who walks across a highway blindfolded while saying cars do not exist. Both are foolish.

Punk, you know the scriptures. Psalms says that the fool has said in his heart, there is no God. Are atheist foolish?

Studyin'2Show
Jan 20th 2008, 08:21 PM
But my point is, and has always been, that the OP is discussing what amounts to tricky or false reasoning.punk, I think maybe you need to read the OP again. The OP never said to go use trickery or falsehoods.
This means one does not scientifically prove God exists. One provides enough evidence to doubt that God does not exist.

Atheists are constantly demanding the theists prove that God exists. We can show now that this is not necessary by either a legal or scientific standard. One cannot prove God exists. We can at best, reject the Null Hypothesis, that God does not exist.See, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to prove God exists to an atheist. So, basically they're saying that we should NOT bother getting into it with atheists and trying play their game. If they insist on proof, explain that it goes both ways. If they can understand that there is NO WAY to disprove His existence, they should be able to grasp that there is NO WAY to prove (to an unbeliever) His existence. Hence the point of the OP. :rolleyes:

I think you must be thinking the OP said, "Hey go out and throw this out to all atheists". No, that wasn't the point at all. ;)

God Bless!

punk
Jan 20th 2008, 10:11 PM
punk, I think maybe you need to read the OP again. The OP never said to go use trickery or falsehoods. See, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to prove God exists to an atheist. So, basically they're saying that we should NOT bother getting into it with atheists and trying play their game. If they insist on proof, explain that it goes both ways. If they can understand that there is NO WAY to disprove His existence, they should be able to grasp that there is NO WAY to prove (to an unbeliever) His existence. Hence the point of the OP. :rolleyes:

I think you must be thinking the OP said, "Hey go out and throw this out to all atheists". No, that wasn't the point at all. ;)

God Bless!

Hmmm...

What I got out of it was:

1. We cannot prove God exists
2. We can however reject that God does not exist

That's not tricky?

In fact this as an attempt (as I've said before) to put a different standard to the proposition "God exists". By Occam's Razor we just blanket assume things aren't the case that we don't have evidence. It is up to the person making the universe of belief more complicated (by adding a proposition to it) to prove their case.

This is what we do in all other cases.

Brother Mark
Jan 20th 2008, 10:59 PM
Hmmm...

What I got out of it was:

1. We cannot prove God exists
2. We can however reject that God does not exist

That's not tricky?

In fact this as an attempt (as I've said before) to put a different standard to the proposition "God exists". By Occam's Razor we just blanket assume things aren't the case that we don't have evidence. It is up to the person making the universe of belief more complicated (by adding a proposition to it) to prove their case.

This is what we do in all other cases.

Let's throw something else out there. Scripture says that nature itself is evidence that God exist.

Rom 1:20

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
NASU

So tell me Punk, where are the atheist that study natural sciences making their mistake? God says that nature reveals his eternal power and divine nature. Where are the scientist that are atheist missing God? Somewhere, they are messing up in their studies. Where is it?

Studyin'2Show
Jan 20th 2008, 11:06 PM
Hmmm...

What I got out of it was:

1. We cannot prove God exists
2. We can however reject that God does not exist

That's not tricky?

In fact this as an attempt (as I've said before) to put a different standard to the proposition "God exists". By Occam's Razor we just blanket assume things aren't the case that we don't have evidence. It is up to the person making the universe of belief more complicated (by adding a proposition to it) to prove their case.

This is what we do in all other cases.I believe you have misread the post. Number 1 is correct, number 2 is not. Really, look at it again. Revolvr, did NOT say that we CAN reject that God does not exist as if to say we could satisfactorily do so in a court case or to appease an atheist. What Revolvr DID say was that AT BEST we can reject this null hypothesis. But (Revolvr correct me if I'm wrong), this is on a personal level. We can NEVER PROVE God's existence to the atheist which is pretty much the point that you seem to be missing. I believe you read the OP in the wrong spirit and it's pretty much gone downhill from there. There is absolutely nothing deceitful intended here. Put Occam's Razor away as that was never the point.

God Bless!

RevLogos
Jan 21st 2008, 12:49 AM
I believe you have misread the post. Number 1 is correct, number 2 is not. Really, look at it again. Revolvr, did NOT say that we CAN reject that God does not exist as if to say we could satisfactorily do so in a court case or to appease an atheist. What Revolvr DID say was that AT BEST we can reject this null hypothesis. But (Revolvr correct me if I'm wrong), this is on a personal level. We can NEVER PROVE God's existence to the atheist which is pretty much the point that you seem to be missing. I believe you read the OP in the wrong spirit and it's pretty much gone downhill from there. There is absolutely nothing deceitful intended here. Put Occam's Razor away as that was never the point.

God Bless!

Got it!

Mainly the OP was to resolve the question: In discussions with atheists, must we prove God exists, or must atheists prove God doesn't exist? Some people think that whoever makes an assertion must own the proof. Not the case. We must prove God exists if we go the scientific route.

Let's suppose I were a scientist interested in determining if God existed.

I would design an experiment for which the outcome, the effect, is observable and measurable and could not have happened (to a low probability) without God's intervention, which results in rejecting the hypothesis that God does not exist.

All science looks for cause and effect. Science stops at creation. This is why ID could be true but is not considered science. I see no way to scientifically prove God exists, though I suppose it could happen.

In a courtroom we can look at whether or not the authors of the NT are guilty of lying, making up a fictional story. Are they guilty or not guilty? I believe this has been done by Greenleaf. In this hypothetical courtroom we reject the negative (not guilty) as opposed to proving the positive (they are innocent), illustrating the subtle distinction between the two.

punk
Jan 21st 2008, 01:15 AM
Let's throw something else out there. Scripture says that nature itself is evidence that God exist.

Rom 1:20

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
NASU

So tell me Punk, where are the atheist that study natural sciences making their mistake? God says that nature reveals his eternal power and divine nature. Where are the scientist that are atheist missing God? Somewhere, they are messing up in their studies. Where is it?

That would fall under the Christian's argument.

Note, I'm making a point about the structure of beliefs, propositions and so on.

Everybody is perfectly reasonable in assuming the absense of something for which they are aware of no evidence. Everyone does it all the time.

It is not only silly but insulting to say that the atheist is being unreasonable in assuming the absense of something they've never seen any evidence for.

That's it. That's how we all think and approach evidence.

Anyway, if you are interpreting the passage correctly then it should be simple for you to construct a persuasive argument for the existence of God. You shouldn't need to go into all this gibberish of "You can't say God doesn't exist because there is so much you don't know". You should just go ahead and construct the argument.

It strikes me that if you need to go into this "You must acknowledge that there is so much you don't know" nonsense, that means that you are having trouble constructing the positive argument, and that means that the obvious evidence of things you think the passage implies is lost on you as well.

If you can't construct the argument, then you must have trouble seeing all this obvious evidence.

:lol:

punk
Jan 21st 2008, 01:24 AM
Got it!

Mainly the OP was to resolve the question: In discussions with atheists, must we prove God exists, or must atheists prove God doesn't exist? Some people think that whoever makes an assertion must own the proof. Not the case. We must prove God exists if we go the scientific route.

Let's suppose I were a scientist interested in determining if God existed.

I would design an experiment for which the outcome, the effect, is observable and measurable and could not have happened (to a low probability) without God's intervention, which results in rejecting the hypothesis that God does not exist.

All science looks for cause and effect. Science stops at creation. This is why ID could be true but is not considered science. I see no way to scientifically prove God exists, though I suppose it could happen.

In a courtroom we can look at whether or not the authors of the NT are guilty of lying, making up a fictional story. Are they guilty or not guilty? I believe this has been done by Greenleaf. In this hypothetical courtroom we reject the negative (not guilty) as opposed to proving the positive (they are innocent), illustrating the subtle distinction between the two.

In that case you've simply changed the question.

Originally we were talking about whether God exists, but now (per the above) we are instead going to talk about whether the authors of the NT believed what they were saying, and pretend that has something at all to do with the existence of God (which it doesn't).

Heck I can go downtown in a major city and find people that genuinely believe the strangest things (such as government mind-control lasers picking through their brains).

But honestly? I don't really care if someone sincerely holds a belief. People believe honestly in all sorts of things.

Most atheists aren't going to give a rip if the authors of the NT sincerely believed what they were writing (I'd wager most religious texts are written by people that sincerely believe what they are writing).

I'll acknowledge that I misunderstood the OP, but now it is looking like a bait-and-switch.

Studyin'2Show
Jan 21st 2008, 01:29 AM
It's a concept, not a strategy! Usually, you're pretty hip on getting into the philosophical, punk! :D

RevLogos
Jan 21st 2008, 02:39 AM
In that case you've simply changed the question.

Originally we were talking about whether God exists, but now (per the above) we are instead going to talk about whether the authors of the NT believed what they were saying, and pretend that has something at all to do with the existence of God (which it doesn't).

Heck I can go downtown in a major city and find people that genuinely believe the strangest things (such as government mind-control lasers picking through their brains).

But honestly? I don't really care if someone sincerely holds a belief. People believe honestly in all sorts of things.

Most atheists aren't going to give a rip if the authors of the NT sincerely believed what they were writing (I'd wager most religious texts are written by people that sincerely believe what they are writing).

I'll acknowledge that I misunderstood the OP, but now it is looking like a bait-and-switch.

Punk,

The point is talking about the existence of God. If we go to a legal argument which we have also discussed, then we would look at the testimony of the NT authors, not the existence of God. We cannot put God on trial. I was simply contrasting the two.

Why is it everything you read has to have some ulterior motive, full of lies and deceit, pretense, trickery, dishonesty or now, bait and switch? Why do you feel the need to constantly attack people personally? None of the posts on this thread have been any of these. But it seems you cannot see anything else.

RevLogos
Jan 21st 2008, 02:47 AM
Heck I can go downtown in a major city and find people that genuinely believe the strangest things (such as government mind-control lasers picking through their brains).

But honestly? I don't really care if someone sincerely holds a belief. People believe honestly in all sorts of things.

Most atheists aren't going to give a rip if the authors of the NT sincerely believed what they were writing (I'd wager most religious texts are written by people that sincerely believe what they are writing).



Yes they will give a rip. The authors were persecuted and murdered for their beliefs. They could simply have recanted. But died instead. No one dies for a hoax or a work of fiction. It is a very powerful belief indeed when you are prepared to die rather than recant. Thus a powerful argument for the truth in the Bible.


Comparing this belief to someone who believes in the latest fashionable conspiracy theory is a false and meaningless comparison.

punk
Jan 21st 2008, 03:46 AM
Punk,

The point is talking about the existence of God. If we go to a legal argument which we have also discussed, then we would look at the testimony of the NT authors, not the existence of God. We cannot put God on trial. I was simply contrasting the two.

Why is it everything you read has to have some ulterior motive, full of lies and deceit, pretense, trickery, dishonesty or now, bait and switch? Why do you feel the need to constantly attack people personally? None of the posts on this thread have been any of these. But it seems you cannot see anything else.

My father is a lawyer and I have extensive training in mathematics.

Looking for holes in arguments is second-nature to me.

:lol:

Brother Mark
Jan 21st 2008, 03:48 AM
That would fall under the Christian's argument.

Note, I'm making a point about the structure of beliefs, propositions and so on.

Everybody is perfectly reasonable in assuming the absense of something for which they are aware of no evidence. Everyone does it all the time.

It is not only silly but insulting to say that the atheist is being unreasonable in assuming the absense of something they've never seen any evidence for.

That's it. That's how we all think and approach evidence.

Anyway, if you are interpreting the passage correctly then it should be simple for you to construct a persuasive argument for the existence of God. You shouldn't need to go into all this gibberish of "You can't say God doesn't exist because there is so much you don't know". You should just go ahead and construct the argument.

It strikes me that if you need to go into this "You must acknowledge that there is so much you don't know" nonsense, that means that you are having trouble constructing the positive argument, and that means that the obvious evidence of things you think the passage implies is lost on you as well.

If you can't construct the argument, then you must have trouble seeing all this obvious evidence.

:lol:

The whole point of getting someone to where they will admit they don't know everything is that until they reach that point, there is no real hope for them. Call it a silly argument if you must, but Jesus makes essentially the same argument. God makes the same argument with Job in Job 40.

John 9:39-41
39 And Jesus said, " For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind." 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, " We are not blind too, are we?" 41 Jesus said to them, " If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ' We see,' your sin remains.
NASU

So you see, until a man admits he doesn't know, he will be deceived. Whether you desire to admit it or not, it is the height of arrogance to proclaim knowledge of that which one does not know. Atheist declare such things that they do not know. It is a great place to start because God himself uses the same line of reasoning in Job 40, and he is smarter than both of us. Before God affirmed the positive to Job, he made sure Job realized how little Job knew.

But again, why not answer the question above. Where are the scientist missing it Punk? Scripture says that nature reveals clearly that there is a God. So why can't they see it? In your opinion, where are they making their mistakes?

punk
Jan 21st 2008, 03:50 AM
Yes they will give a rip. The authors were persecuted and murdered for their beliefs. They could simply have recanted. But died instead.

Most religions have their martyrs. So what? Even the Nazis and Communists had martyrs, and they're both basically atheist groups.

People die for all sorts of things.


No one dies for a hoax or a work of fiction.

People died for Hitler, and they died for Jim Jones.


It is a very powerful belief indeed when you are prepared to die rather than recant. Thus a powerful argument for the truth in the Bible.

Unfortunately this argument makes just about every religion true.


Comparing this belief to someone who believes in the latest fashionable conspiracy theory is a false and meaningless comparison.

Actually I was comparing it to a random crazy person.

But the crazy person is nonetheless sincere.

RevLogos
Jan 22nd 2008, 02:07 AM
Most religions have their martyrs. So what? Even the Nazis and Communists had martyrs, and they're both basically atheist groups.

People die for all sorts of things.



People died for Hitler, and they died for Jim Jones.




I’m not surprised you came back with this exact argument. But the point is different. Atheists like to believe the stories of the early Christians, as recorded in the Bible, are fictional stories. It never happened, often Jesus never existed. Their martyrdom is powerful evidence that these stories were NOT fictional. Why? Because people don't die for a lie. Look at human nature throughout history. No conspiracy can be maintained when life or liberty is at stake. Dying for a belief is one thing, but numerous eye-witnesses dying for a known lie, a lie they created, is quite another. It doesn’t happen.

Christian persecution didn't slow the growth of the Christian faith during the first few centuries after Jesus. Even as its early leaders died horrible deaths, Christianity flourished throughout the Roman Empire. How can this historical record of martyrdom be viewed as anything but powerful evidence for the truth of the Christian faith - a faith grounded in historical events and eye-witness testimonies?

Darren
Jan 22nd 2008, 03:46 AM
in the fourth chapter of the book of colossians, we read, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.”


when teaching the basics of evangelism, i often refer to these thoughts that paul penned in the word of god.


"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without,..."

paul was simply saying be wise(alert, aware, self-conscious) when in the company of the lost, do not be a stumbling block.


"...redeeming the time..."

take every opportunity you have to share your faith, and don’t ignore when god opens a door to someone’s heart.


"...Let your speech be always with grace..."

do not forget where you came from!! god delivered you from an assortment of wretched behaviors and choices, and therefore we should leave the judgement of the lost to the one true judge.


"...Let your speech be..., seasoned with salt..."

pepper your dialogue with christ when in the presence of the lost, or if you like, sprinkle your conversations with the flavor of the savior, and it will leave those around you thirsting more for the things of god.


"...that you may know how you ought to answer every man...”

if you do these things the bible says you will be prepared to answer any man. this is as near a formula as prescribed by the word of god. if we would just allow god to show us the way to plant the seed of faith in those he places before us; our life, our faith, and our heavenly reward will be greatly enriched.

if you do as the verses above ask, the burden of proof will fall to the only one it rightly should---god.


---darren

threebigrocks
Jan 22nd 2008, 03:59 AM
My father is a lawyer and I have extensive training in mathematics.

Looking for holes in arguments is second-nature to me.

:lol:

Worldly arguements can work well in a court of worldly law. But we must see our faith through the eyes of God and His purpose for us outside of our existence in the world. These arguements don't build the faith, but it's a method of turning it on itself. That doesn't prove anything for Christ, Punk. It adds division.

Teke
Jan 22nd 2008, 02:10 PM
I'm objecting to the trick of trying to pretend the atheist isn't being reasonable, when the atheist isn't doing anything different from what you and I do in different issues.

Which is decide if it is a rational or irrational belief.

losthorizon
Jan 22nd 2008, 11:13 PM
...Then you are saying that the atheist is particularly pernicious in taking a certain attitude toward the proposition "God exists" even though you yourself take that very same attitude toward propositions you don't believe in for lack of evidence.

But you see, other people aren't bound to adjust their take on things simply because you believe strongly about something.

My father is a lawyer and I have extensive training in mathematics.

Looking for holes in arguments is second-nature to me.

Here’s a challenge for you, punk – I will ask the interrogative, “Does God exist?” Now I “believe strongly” that the Judeo-Christian God who has revealed Himself in the Bible does indeed exist so I will join those who take the affirmative position that “yes, God exists”. We can present our supporting argument as to why we think He does exist. You join with those who hold the atheistic negative position – “no, I do not believe God exists” and you can help present the evidence needed to support the alleged non-existence of God.

Remember – in the case of a question asked in the interrogative form the burden of proof must be “shouldered” by both sides of the question. What do you think – are you willing to use your "extensive training in mathematics" to mount a defense for the negative position? ;)
When Christians and atheists engage in debate concerning the question, Does God exist? atheists frequently assert that the entire burden of proof rests on the Christian. This, however, is a false assertion. As Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has stated, when an interrogative such as Does God exist? is debated each side must shoulder the burden of proof and provide support for what they consider to be the correct answer. This is unlike debating a proposition such as God does exist, where the burden of proof rests entirely with the affirmative side. It follows then that when debating the question of God's existence, both the Christian and the atheist are obligated to provide support for their position. The Christian should insist that the atheist provide proof as to God's alleged nonexistence. ~ Kenneth R. Samples

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:14 PM
Worldly arguements can work well in a court of worldly law. But we must see our faith through the eyes of God and His purpose for us outside of our existence in the world. These arguements don't build the faith, but it's a method of turning it on itself. That doesn't prove anything for Christ, Punk. It adds division.

Well if you don't care about consistency...you don't care about consistency.

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:16 PM
Here’s a challenge for you, punk – I will ask the interrogative, “Does God exist?” Now I “believe strongly” that the Judeo-Christian God who has revealed Himself in the Bible does indeed exist so I will join those who take the affirmative position that “yes, God exists”. We can present our supporting argument as to why we think He does exist. You join with those who hold the atheistic negative position – “no, I do not believe God exists” and you can help present the evidence needed to support the alleged non-existence of God.


Remember – in the case of a question asked in the interrogative form the burden of proof must be “shouldered” by both sides of the question. What do you think – are you willing to use your "extensive training in mathematics" to mount a defense for the negative position? ;)
When Christians and atheists engage in debate concerning the question, Does God exist? atheists frequently assert that the entire burden of proof rests on the Christian. This, however, is a false assertion. As Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has stated, when an interrogative such as Does God exist? is debated each side must shoulder the burden of proof and provide support for what they consider to be the correct answer. This is unlike debating a proposition such as God does exist, where the burden of proof rests entirely with the affirmative side. It follows then that when debating the question of God's existence, both the Christian and the atheist are obligated to provide support for their position. The Christian should insist that the atheist provide proof as to God's alleged nonexistence. ~ Kenneth R. Samples

Occam's Razor would require we deny the existence of the proposition without compelling evidence.

There is no need to prove anything on the negative side.

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:17 PM
Well if you don't care about consistency...you don't care about consistency.

Speaking of consistency... let me ask again.

Where do the atheist that study nature (i.e. scientist) make their mistake? Scripture says that the attributes of God are clearly seen by what he has made. Yet, they deny him. So, in their studies of nature, what mistake are they making that keeps them from recognizing God?

threebigrocks
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:20 PM
Well if you don't care about consistency...you don't care about consistency.

Consistency in faith I do with all my heart my friend. With common sense - street smarts - and the sense to ask questions and be teachable, the rest falls into place.

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:26 PM
Speaking of consistency... let me ask again.

Where do the atheist that study nature (i.e. scientist) make their mistake? Scripture says that the attributes of God are clearly seen by what he has made. Yet, they deny him. So, in their studies of nature, what mistake are they making that keeps them from recognizing God?

I'm waiting for you to present all this overwhelming evidence. You don't even need to be in this debate since for you, as the evidence is overwhelming, there is no need to shift the burden of proof anywhere.

You can just take the burden of proof on yourself and run with it.

Let's see you do that run.

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:31 PM
I'm waiting for you to present all this overwhelming evidence. You don't even need to be in this debate since for you, as the evidence is overwhelming, there is no need to shift the burden of proof anywhere.

You can just take the burden of proof on yourself and run with it.

Let's see you do that run.

Actually, Punk, God was the one that said it.

Rom 1:20
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
NASU

So, where are the atheistic scientist making their mistake? God says the evidence is there and his divine nature can be clearly seen. Where do you think they are missing it?

Studyin'2Show
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:35 PM
Occam's Razor would require we deny the existence of the proposition without compelling evidence.

There is no need to prove anything on the negative side.Yes, punk, but it goes both ways. To make the statement, "God does not exist," is by default to say, "The universe and everything in it came about with no outside cause." Using Occam's Razor here is to either PROVE that the statement is correct or accept the antithesis.

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:36 PM
Actually, Punk, God was the one that said it.

Rom 1:20
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
NASU

So, where are the atheistic scientist making their mistake? God says the evidence is there and his divine nature can be clearly seen. Where do you think they are missing it?

Okay, so let's see you do it.

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:37 PM
Okay, so let's see you do it.

Oh, come on Punk. Here's your chance to show us where those guys are going wrong and what we can do to better witness to them.

How come you don't want to answer the question?

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:39 PM
Yes, punk, but it goes both ways. To make the statement, "God does not exist," is by default to say, "The universe and everything in it came about with no outside cause." Using Occam's Razor here is to either PROVE that the statement is correct or accept the antithesis.

One shouldn't confuse an application of Occam's razor with a proof. It obviously isn't a demonstration of anything. It simply sets a bar that propositions must meet before they are accepted.

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:39 PM
Oh, come on Punk. Here's your chance to show us where those guys are going wrong and what we can do to better witness to them.

How come you don't want to answer the question?

Well I'm not convinced you are reading the passage correctly.

So let's see you prove you are reading the passage correctly by actually doing what it implies you can do.

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:43 PM
Well I'm not convinced you are reading the passage correctly.

So let's see you prove you are reading the passage correctly by actually doing what it implies you can do.

Ah, then what do you think the passage is saying?

Studyin'2Show
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:43 PM
So, where are the atheistic scientist making their mistake? God says the evidence is there and his divine nature can be clearly seen. Where do you think they are missing it?I think a better question might be WHY are they missing it. The quick answer would be because they choose not to recognize it. What do you think?

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:44 PM
Ah, then what do you think the passage is saying?

I have no idea.

There are plenty of passages in the Bible that I don't pretend to understand.

But you could convince me that your reading is correct by doing what you claim the passage says you can do.

losthorizon
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:51 PM
Occam's Razor would require we deny the existence of the proposition without compelling evidence.

There is no need to prove anything on the negative side.
It appears your “extensive training in mathematics” has failed you once again, punk. You obviously do not understand what an interrogative question means and who has the responsibility for providing the burden of proof to such questions. I will understand from your non-answer that you are not capable of mounting a defense for the atheist position that “no, I do not believe that God exists.”

For one who toots his/her own horn claiming to be an expert in “looking for holes in arguments” you fail to recognize the hole you have dug yourself into. Of course your dodge and inconsistency was expected. The fact remains - you have no good reasons for disbelieving in God – do you?;)

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:54 PM
It appears your “extensive training in mathematics” has failed you once again, punk. You obviously do not understand what an interrogative question means and who has the responsibility for providing the burden of proof to such questions. I will understand from your non-answer that you are not capable of mounting a defense for the atheist position that “no, I do not believe that God exists.”

Fair enough:

What does an "interrogative question" mean?

Moreover, how is it different from a regular "question", since usually "interrogative" is more or less synonymous with "question"? What would be an example of a "non-interrogative question"?

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:57 PM
I have no idea.

There are plenty of passages in the Bible that I don't pretend to understand.

But you could convince me that your reading is correct by doing what you claim the passage says you can do.


Oh there will come a time for me to answer, but right now, I keep hoping that you will step to the plate. Why avoid the question? There are other scriptures where God says his creation shows his glory. If I thought they would help, I would list them.

I really did expect you to engage the question. Why avoid the spiritual aspect of the science debate?

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 08:58 PM
Oh there will come a time for me to answer, but right now, I keep hoping that you will step to the plate. Why avoid the question? There are other scriptures where God says his creation shows his glory. If I thought they would help, I would list them.

I really did expect you to engage the question. Why avoid the spiritual aspect of the science debate?

Well, I really don't think the passage should be interpreted the way you are claiming it can.

That, and I have the suspicion what you are referring to as "spiritual" would be better referred to as "subjective, nondemonstrable, and otherwise unprovable opinion".

Studyin'2Show
Jan 23rd 2008, 09:22 PM
One shouldn't confuse an application of Occam's razor with a proof. It obviously isn't a demonstration of anything. It simply sets a bar that propositions must meet before they are accepted.You are misunderstanding my point. From the beginning it has been your assertion that there is something tricky or deceitful in expecting atheists to come to the table with the burden of some level of proof. In claiming that God does not exist, one is by default making a positive statement concerning the universe and all that is in it. With that positive statement comes the onus to prove it. ;)

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2008, 09:39 PM
Well, I really don't think the passage should be interpreted the way you are claiming it can.

OK. Discussing that verse and others like it would be an interesting exercise.


That, and I have the suspicion what you are referring to as "spiritual" would be better referred to as "subjective, nondemonstrable, and otherwise unprovable opinion".

Nah. Just biblical stuff. Jesus rising from the dead really isn't subjective is it? ;)

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 09:47 PM
OK. Discussing that verse and others like it would be an interesting exercise.

Agreed.

It'll be interesting to go into after you attempt to put your interpretation into practice and make your demonstration.

:lol:



Nah. Just biblical stuff. Jesus rising from the dead really isn't subjective is it? ;)

Hmmm, and here I thought we were discussing the "spiritual" meaning behind some verse being presented as having something to do with science and the pernicious willfulness of atheists.

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 09:52 PM
You are misunderstanding my point. From the beginning it has been your assertion that there is something tricky or deceitful in expecting atheists to come to the table with the burden of some level of proof. In claiming that God does not exist, one is by default making a positive statement concerning the universe and all that is in it. With that positive statement comes the onus to prove it. ;)

Not at all.

You are assuming some proposition along the lines of:

If god doesn't exist then the universe and everything in it came about with no outside cause

How do you know that that proposition is true? Where is the proof?

If it is true then sure, denying God exists affirms the rest.

But first prove the expression in italics.

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2008, 10:58 PM
Agreed.

It'll be interesting to go into after you attempt to put your interpretation into practice and make your demonstration.

:lol:

I can do that a little. Here's a starter. Since God said his divine nature can be seen in nature, we might look there and find something interesting. Also, the KJV translates theiotes as Godhead. That's interesting.

Here's just one. Space is made up of three axis, yet it's one space, just as the Godhead is three in one. That's a just a teaser.


Hmmm, and here I thought we were discussing the "spiritual" meaning behind some verse being presented as having something to do with science and the pernicious willfulness of atheists.


Oh, the willfulness of atheist is discussed in scripture in several scriptures. This one in particular is not just about atheist, but idolaters as well. Peter also has something to say about them.

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 11:21 PM
I can do that a little. Here's a starter. Since God said his divine nature can be seen in nature, we might look there and find something interesting. Also, the KJV translates theiotes as Godhead. That's interesting.

-head is an older form of the suffix -hood, so a more contemporary form would be "godhood' that is "divinity". What is interesting about that?


Here's just one. Space is made up of three axis, yet it's one space, just as the Godhead is three in one. That's a just a teaser.

Space is 4-dimensional, a particular observer resolves it into 3+1 dimensions, though this exact resolution into 3+1 dimensions varies from observer to observer. In fact these are nothing more than a particular gauge of the su(3,1) symmetry of gravity.

Where does the other dimension fit in?

Even leaving time aside, "space" isn't absolute but is defined by the frame of reference of the particular observer. Do we then conclude that God varies from observer to observer?

losthorizon
Jan 23rd 2008, 11:34 PM
Fair enough:

What does an "interrogative question" mean?

Moreover, how is it different from a regular "question", since usually "interrogative" is more or less synonymous with "question"? What would be an example of a "non-interrogative question"?
"interrogative" - a sentence of inquiry that asks for a reply. In grammar, a clause that is in the interrogative, or in the interrogative mood, has its subject following `do', `be', `have', or a modal verb relating to verbs in the so-called interrogative mood; "not all questions have an interrogative construction". ~ TheFreeDictionaryI am not stating the proposition that “God does exist”, punk - I am presenting an interrogative - “Does God exist?” And in an interrogative “each side must shoulder the burden of proof and provide support for what they consider to be the correct answer.” I answer the question in the affirmative and I am prepared to provide support for my position. You answer in the negative – are you prepared to support your position, i.e., can you defend your position that you believe my God does not exist? If not – why not?

Have you always disbelieved in the existence of God or is this something you have come to believe after careful study? Can one be a Christian and reject the existence of God at the same time? If Jesus Christ is not God Incarnate as presented in Holy Writ (John 1:1, etc) who is He?

punk
Jan 23rd 2008, 11:43 PM
I am not stating the proposition that “God does exist”, punk - I am presenting an interrogative - “Does God exist?” And in an interrogative “each side must shoulder the burden of proof and provide support for what they consider to be the correct answer.”
Why must each side "shoulder the burden of proof and provide support for what they consider the correct answer" exactly?

I missed that part.

Anyway, for any question "Does X exist?" there are more answer than just "Yes X exists", and "No X does not exist". There are answers like:

"I don't know if X exists."
"I have no reason to believe X exists."

There are more answers than just "yes" and "no", and many of them don't carry a burden of proof (such as "I don't know if X exists").


I answer the question in the affirmative and I am prepared to provide support for my position. You answer in the negative – are you prepared to support your position, i.e., can you defend your position that you believe my God does not exist? If not – why not?

I never answered in the negative. I never said "God does not exist", I said that the atheist is perfectly reasonable in saying "There is no good reason for supposing God exists" or something of that form, and that doesn't carry a burden of proof.



Have you always disbelieved in the existence of God or is this something you have come to believe after careful study? Can one be a Christian and reject the existence of God at the same time? If Jesus Christ is not God Incarnate as presented in Holy Writ (John 1:1, etc) who is He?

Again, where did I say God doesn't exist?

Brother Mark
Jan 24th 2008, 12:06 AM
Space is 4-dimensional, a particular observer resolves it into 3+1 dimensions, though this exact resolution into 3+1 dimensions varies from observer to observer. In fact these are nothing more than a particular gauge of the su(3,1) symmetry of gravity.

Where does the other dimension fit in?

Even leaving time aside, "space" isn't absolute but is defined by the frame of reference of the particular observer. Do we then conclude that God varies from observer to observer?


So you are one who uses time as a dimension in space. That's OK, it works with time as well... past, present, future, three in one. And you know that light is both particle and wave, just as Jesus is God and man. The trinity is shown in many ways through nature itself.

But let's bring scripture back into it.

Rom 1:20-21
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
NASU

We know that those that deny Christ have had their "foolish heart" darkened. Peter says it another way.

So tell me Punk, how is God's eternal power and divine nature been seen, since the creation of the world, through what has been made?

punk
Jan 24th 2008, 12:22 AM
So you are one who uses time as a dimension in space. That's OK, it works with time as well... past, present, future, three in one. And you know that light is both particle and wave, just as Jesus is God and man. The trinity is shown in many ways through nature itself.

Again there is no such thing as "past" "present" or "future" except from a particular point of view. What is present is past in some points of view and what is future is present in some points of view.

No absolute just the sort of thing like a green apple looking black under red light.

Time itself has no "past", "present" or "future", any more than any spacial dimension has an intrinsic "right", "center" or "left".

And I don't know how anyone would make a jump from the quantization of the photon to christology.

This is all just silly.


But let's bring scripture back into it.

Rom 1:20-21
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
NASU

We know that those that deny Christ have had their "foolish heart" darkened. Peter says it another way.

So tell me Punk, how is God's eternal power and divine nature been seen, since the creation of the world, through what has been made?

You keep trying to assume you are reading it correctly and failing to demonstrate that your reading is correct.

losthorizon
Jan 24th 2008, 12:28 AM
...Why must each side "shoulder the burden of proof and provide support for what they consider the correct answer" exactly?

I missed that part.

If the interrogative is being asked in a debate format then both sides have the burden to support their position – that’s the part you wish to misunderstand. It really is not a hard concept to understand.


Anyway, for any question "Does X exist?" there are more answer than just "Yes X exists", and "No X does not exist". There are answers like:

"I don't know if X exists."
"I have no reason to believe X exists."

There are more answers than just "yes" and "no", and many of them don't carry a burden of proof (such as "I don't know if X exists").
Again, you are missing the point. One is obligated (in debate) to defend their position. The question that still goes begging – can you defend the negative position? I think not.


I never answered in the negative. I never said "God does not exist", I said that the atheist is perfectly reasonable in saying "There is no good reason for supposing God exists" or something of that form, and that doesn't carry a burden of proof.

Again, where did I say God doesn't exist?
Well then – why don’t you present your thinking on the matter? Do you believe God as presented in the Bible exists? Who is Jesus Christ – is He God Incarnate; “was” He a mere “mortal man” who claimed to be God; or is He a fictional character. Are you a Christian?

Answer the questions and we can avoid any confusion and move on.

Brother Mark
Jan 24th 2008, 12:40 AM
Again there is no such thing as "past" "present" or "future" except from a particular point of view. What is present is past in some points of view and what is future is present in some points of view.

No absolute just the sort of thing like a green apple looking black under red light.

Time itself has no "past", "present" or "future", any more than any spacial dimension has an intrinsic "right", "center" or "left".

And I don't know how anyone would make a jump from the quantization of the photon to christology.

This is all just silly.

But the point of view, in this case, is the one that shows the divine attributes of God. ;)

Ps 19:1

19 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
NASU

Imagine that, we just found something else we don't agree on. Oh well, if one chooses to believe there is no God, he does so to his own detriment.

Just for your reading pleasure, here are a few more verses around the Romans scripture quoted earlier.

Rom 1:18-23

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
NASU


Grace to you Punk!

punk
Jan 24th 2008, 01:16 AM
If the interrogative is being asked in a debate format then both sides have the burden to support their position – that’s the part you wish to misunderstand. It really is not a hard concept to understand.

Well a debate is nothing more than a game. They have very little to nothing to do with the genuine pursuit of truth.

Debate is more about rhetorical tricks than sound reasoning.

The professional politican will beat the expert every time, so what?

I apologize if I misunderstood an OP about how to game the rules of a debate for a genuine interest the pursuit of truth. My bad.


Again, you are missing the point. One is obligated (in debate) to defend their position. The question that still goes begging – can you defend the negative position? I think not.

Well just like in chess one is obligated to move the knight in a certain fashion, then sure one abides by the rules of the debate.

Of course in this case the negotiation of the burden of proof at the outset is going to determine the winner, so why bother with the debate afterwards?


Well then – why don’t you present your thinking on the matter? Do you believe God as presented in the Bible exists? Who is Jesus Christ – is He God Incarnate; “was” He a mere “mortal man” who claimed to be God; or is He a fictional character. Are you a Christian?

Answer the questions and we can avoid any confusion and move on.

I believe the questions of what constitutes sound reasoning are independent of my personal beliefs.

Or do you advocate I should use different forms of reasoning with respect to the shape of the earth depending on whether I have a prior bias to it being round or flat?

punk
Jan 24th 2008, 01:26 AM
But the point of view, in this case, is the one that shows the divine attributes of God. ;)

I don't think anyone would ever be pursuaded to believe in God by the sorts of "arguments from nature" you've presented. They are the kind of thing that only tickles the committed believer, but in the end they are little better than a bad pun.

But then I've heard whole sermons built on what amount to bad puns, so it is hardly novel to see this sort of thing.

Brother Mark
Jan 24th 2008, 01:34 AM
I don't think anyone would ever be pursuaded to believe in God by the sorts of "arguments from nature" you've presented. They are the kind of thing that only tickles the committed believer, but in the end they are little better than a bad pun.

But then I've heard whole sermons built on what amount to bad puns, so it is hardly novel to see this sort of thing.

Oh, but I wasn't suggesting they would convince anyone. Scripture never said that. It just said it was evidence but they choose to ignore the evidence.

In the end, it takes God to open the eyes of an unbeliever. But if one is a believer, and looks, he can see God's divinity in nature.

But back to a previous point that I simply dropped. You proposed that one who doesn't believe in unicorns is no different than one who doesn't believe in God. Do you really think we should approach our decisions about unicorns in the same exact way we approach decisions about God? Not believing in unicorns has little or no impact on one's life or soul. But, the same is not true when one considers God. In other words, the risk, reward, and scope of an issue should play into how well it is thought out, would it not?

Brother Mark
Jan 24th 2008, 01:39 AM
Of course in this case the negotiation of the burden of proof at the outset is going to determine the winner, so why bother with the debate afterwards?

An even more telling question... Why refuse to provide an answer about how to witness to atheist when their very soul is at stake? and instead insist instead on mocking those that are concerned enough to reach out to the atheist?

Food for thought. ;)

Teke
Jan 24th 2008, 02:00 AM
I believe the questions of what constitutes sound reasoning are independent of my personal beliefs.


I agree.:)

If I understand your line of reasoning.
Proposition and evidence should be addressed <period>.
But I don't see anyone presenting that. Or maybe parameters need to be addressed. Some have been identified as creation and scripture. Maybe that needs to be demonstrated as usable or unusable material for parameters of evidence.:hmm:

losthorizon
Jan 24th 2008, 02:03 AM
Well a debate is nothing more than a game. They have very little to nothing to do with the genuine pursuit of truth.

Debate is more about rhetorical tricks than sound reasoning.

The professional politican will beat the expert every time, so what?

I apologize if I misunderstood an OP about how to game the rules of a debate for a genuine interest the pursuit of truth. My bad.

Then your final answer is – “no I cannot defend the belief that God does not exist.” That was what I thought all along. And yes – it is your bad. ;)


Well just like in chess one is obligated to move the knight in a certain fashion, then sure one abides by the rules of the debate.

Of course in this case the negotiation of the burden of proof at the outset is going to determine the winner, so why bother with the debate afterwards?
Ditto – per above. Your true motive is showing and it is very revealing.


I believe the questions of what constitutes sound reasoning are independent of my personal beliefs.
Are those really hard questions for a Christian to answer? I think not. I will continue to believe that you do hold the negative position. But that is just my opinion.


Or do you advocate I should use different forms of reasoning with respect to the shape of the earth depending on whether I have a prior bias to it being round or flat?
Yeah – I would recommend that you radically modify your "forms of reasoning" - and do it quickly before it is too late.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish..." John 3:16

RevLogos
Jan 24th 2008, 02:56 AM
But back to a previous point that I simply dropped. You proposed that one who doesn't believe in unicorns is no different than one who doesn't believe in God. Do you really think we should approach our decisions about unicorns in the same exact way we approach decisions about God? Not believing in unicorns has little or no impact on one's life or soul. But, the same is not true when one considers God. In other words, the risk, reward, and scope of an issue should play into how well it is thought out, would it not?

One would think that a true atheist would approach discussions about God with the same tenacity one would approach discussions about pink unicorns. That is, none.

That's not what I see. Most atheists are evangelists. They want to argue it and appear to want to gain converts. Why would this be? I don't talk to people about my non-belief in pink unicorns. On the other hand if somewhere deep in my heart I really thought pink unicorns might exist, and I really wanted them not to exist and I felt insecure about it and wanted to talk to others to validate my belief, I might engage in arguments about pink unicorns. Perhaps this is why atheists feel the need to argue God so often?

Brother Mark
Jan 24th 2008, 03:10 AM
One would think that a true atheist would approach discussions about God with the same tenacity one would approach discussions about pink unicorns. That is, none.

That's not what I see. Most atheists are evangelists. They want to argue it and appear to want to gain converts. Why would this be? I don't talk to people about my non-belief in pink unicorns. On the other hand if somewhere deep in my heart I really thought pink unicorns might exist, and I really wanted them not to exist and I felt insecure about it and wanted to talk to others to validate my belief, I might engage in arguments about pink unicorns. Perhaps this is why atheists feel the need to argue God so often?


You mean, they might deny what is in their heart? Like what this verse says?

Rom 1:18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
NASU

I think you are on to something there. Scripture also says God put eternity in the heart of man. Man not only has to deny nature, he has to deny what his heart tells him about God too.

RevLogos
Jan 24th 2008, 03:21 AM
Well a debate is nothing more than a game. They have very little to nothing to do with the genuine pursuit of truth.

Debate is more about rhetorical tricks than sound reasoning.

The professional politican will beat the expert every time, so what?

I apologize if I misunderstood an OP about how to game the rules of a debate for a genuine interest the pursuit of truth. My bad.


A scientific investigation looks for quantifiable, measurable evidence God exists. A "debate" however would require evidence on BOTH sides of the argument. As you say often debates are nothing more than rhetorical tricks. Political debates especially. Perhaps we see too much political debate; I would like to think a more intellectual debate would be less about tricks and rhetoric and more about ideas.

Regardless, any debate about God will involve the subjective. As Christians we see evidence of God everywhere, in anything that was created by the hand of God. We see design. Good examples useful for debate are not hard to come by. And who knows, perhaps a good rhetorical argument might instill doubt among non-believers.

RevLogos
Jan 24th 2008, 03:22 AM
You mean, they might deny what is in their heart? Like what this verse says?

Rom 1:18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
NASU

I think you are on to something there. Scripture also says God put eternity in the heart of man. Man not only has to deny nature, he has to deny what his heart tells him about God too.

Yes. Amazing how well the Bible describes those who will not believe. It's as if it were written today. :)