What are your best arguments for and against theism? Do not mention any specific religions.

Posted: December 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

I cannot help but at least nod occasionally to the Christian God, because he has attributes that no other “god” has, but I will try to keep my arguments as non-sectarian as possible.

  1. Existence exists. Either the universe had a beginning, or it has always existed. If it had a beginning, there would have been a first cause. Either the first cause was ex nihilo, “There was nothing, then there was something”, that’s all we need to accept; or something or someone brought the universe into existence. I submit that the first cause was the act of creation by a God who exists (“I AM”), but who by nature exists outside ALL of the confines of his creation, including the demands from his creation for “proof”*. If you cannot understand that the creation declares the existence of a Creator NO AMOUNT OF “OBJECTIVE” TRUTH WILL SUFFICE to prove the existence of God. If the universe is infinite, the Law of Entropy surely would mean that we would be in a state of infinite heat death. Time would be irrelevant; it would not exist. We could not say, “we would be in a state of infinite heat death by now because “now” would be meaningless. Imagine an infinite number of red books, and an infinite number of blue books; now, completely destroy one of the red books (I’m not arguing that anything can or cannot be completely destroyed…annihilated, so don’t go there!). Are there now more blue books than red books? Does the sentence ∞ > ∞-1 make sense? Yes. It makes grammatical sense, but does it really mean anything? Not really.
  2. The moral argument. Let me say right away that I do not argue that atheists cannot be moral people. I would never say they do not know right from wrong. In a limited way, God has written morality on each person’s heart. What I will argue is the atheists have no foundation for their morality that is not the philosophical equivalent of quicksand. They cannot justify morality. If there is no objective measurement of evil, then it becomes merely an opinion; actions become “bad” based on feeling, either emotional or physical. It has been claimed that Nietzsche’s path to insanity (apart, perhaps from his syphilis), began when he saw a man beating a horse. “…While in an open air market in Turin, Nietzsche witnessed a merchant flogging a horse. He ran to the animal and yelled for the beating to stop. He threw himself between beast and whip, and hugged the equine’s thick neck. This frail and sickly philosopher who gave us the Übermensch and slave morality, then collapsed, weeping.”(1) How odd that the man whose philosophy would bring the death of tens, even hundreds of millions of human beings and who decried the “soft” morals of Christianity, holding high the “hard” morals of the superman, would “lose it” just by seeing a horse beaten. Was not the beater of the horse simply exercising his own Übermensch morality? Indeed, who is to say that those who consider killing animals, especially for sport or food, “murder” are wrong? Further, who really cares? It’s all a matter of opinion. Consider this exchange between Richard Dawkins and Justin Brierley:

JB: When you make a value judgement don’t you immediately step yourself outside of this evolutionary process and say that the reason this is good is that it’s good. And you don’t have any way to stand on that statement.
RD: My value judgement itself could come from my evolutionary past.
JB: So therefore it’s just as random in a sense as any product of evolution.
RD: You could say that, it doesn’t in any case, nothing about it makes it more probable that there is anything supernatural.
JB: Ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we’ve evolved five fingers rather than six.
RD: You could say that, yeah.(2)

Image result for nietzsche's insanity beating horse

There are plenty of other arguments for the existence of God. There are certainly a number of excellent apologists out there who do an excellent job offering a defense for the existence of God. What they will ALL say is, in the, end, the fundamental problem is spiritual, not physical, scientific, logical, rational, reasonable, etc., even though all of these were given to us by God as road maps, guides…tools, so to speak. I would submit that even if we do not always call him God, every one of us at some point in our lives accepts that he exists, but our will steps in the way. Our desires become greater than his. We become angry with him over injustices or cruelties or great evils, but never pause to think, “How did I know those things were evil in the first place?” We know what injustice looks like because we know what justice looks like; we know what cruelty looks like because we know what kindness and mercy look like; we know what evil looks like because we know what good looks like. But again, if there is no objective standard of these things outside of our own feelings and desires, then they are too easily whittled down into mere subjective opinions.

“In one of her letters, Helen (Keller) told Bishop Brooks that she had always known about God, even before she had any words. Even before she could call God anything, she knew God was there. She didn’t know what it was. God had no name for her — nothing had a name for her. She had no concept of a name. But in her darkness and isolation, she knew she was not alone. Someone was with her. She felt God’s love. And when she received the gift of language and heard about God, she said she already knew.” Phillips Brooks and Helen Keller

I am often asked, “If objective proof could be presented that God did not exist, would you become an atheist?” I won’t answer that here; I’ve answered it elsewhere and I’ve Gish-galloped enough, I think! But I would like to ask this question of the atheist: “If objective proof could be presented that Christianity were true, would you follow Jesus?”

*People will claim theists are arguing for “special pleading”: “Applying standards, principles, and/or rules to other people or circumstances, while making oneself or certain circumstances exempt from the same critical criteria, without providing adequate justification.”(3) We absolutely are. What, then, is the justification? Over and over again, throughout the Bible, we are informed that God is absolutely sui generis: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 45:5); “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?” (Isaiah 23:19); “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) None of this was established in “modern” times as a neat little philosophical trick to sidestep “enlightened” man’s desires for “scientific evidence” or “objective proof”; these writings are thousands of years old, accepted by people who were not always initially receptive to their message. The point is, IF there is a God, he is, again, BY NATUREabove, outside, beyond, entirely other than everything in his creation. Compare the Mycoplasma genitalium (which “has one of the smallest genomes of any free-living organism in the world, clocking in at a mere 525 genes [4]) with Homo sapiens, with approx. 21,000 genes. As immeasurably different as the two are, their differences pale in comparison to the differences between Creator God and everything else in his universe. Indeed, we have more in common with the singularity at the center of the black hole, J1342+0928, 13 billion light-years away than we do with God.

Related image

(1) Hugging the Horse’s Head

(2) The John Lennox – Richard Dawkins Debate

(3) https://www.logicallyfallacious….

(4) To Model the Simplest Microbe in the World, You Need 128 Computers

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s