Archive for August 2008

Atheists Believe in Chance

August 28, 2008

What I mean by this is, atheists must believe that chance has the ability to be a creative force, right?  If God didn’t cause the universe then the universe “just happened to happen” and therefore God is not needed.  I sincerely thought that this was the atheistic consensus but, I guess I was wrong.  Over the past few conversations I’ve had, especially here at mormondiscussions.com, I’ve found that atheists, at least the ones I’ve been arguing with, don’t necessarily believe the universe came about randomly.  In fact, my assertion that the atheistic universe must have had a pure chance beginning was the most hotly disputed.

I wanted to explore the argument further and discover if my assumption about the atheistic position was incorrect, or if the atheists I’m talking to are being inconsistent with the necessary beliefs of their worldview. 

The American Heritage Dictionary defines chance as  “The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.” 

An Infinite Regress

This is an argument I already made in the aforementioned discussion but it bears repeating here.  In order for an atheist to say that the beginning of the universe was not a product of pure chance, the universe had to have a cause.  Being an atheist, they cannot say this cause was God so it must have been some other natural force.  Let’s give the atheist that the universe could have come about by a natural force powerful enough to cause a universe.  What was this universe causing force caused by?  An uber-powerful universe causing force?  And we haven’t even begun to suggest how these universe causing forces can account for the uniformity of nature or the anthropic principle.

If an atheist wants to claim that the beginning of the universe wasn’t random, he can’t get away from the fact that he must then believe in an infinite regress of ever increasingly powerful universe causing forces.  In attempting to describe these forces they will be attributing abilities to them that Christians attribute to God (power, design, control etc) without being able to call these forces God only because it would be impossible to do so and still be an atheist. 

The atheist will then object and say, “Well, then what caused your God?”  There are two problems with this counter-argument.  First, to make this argument the atheist must be admitting to their faith in this infinite regress and attempting to ignore the irrationality of that faith.  Secondly, God is outside of natural existence and therefore doesn’t need a causer.  In fact, His ability to not need a cause is one thing that makes Him God.  This counter-argument is also invalid because it’s completely consistent within the Christian worldview to claim God does not need a cause while it’s not consistent with the atheistic worldview to claim an infinite regress of causes.

But the REAL problem is . . .

Atheists Really Do Believe in Chance

Since these discussions took place on the internet, I wanted to consult the experts on this matter to find what atheistic thinkers actually believe. 

The University of Dublin website puts it like this:

“…at some point in the distant past, everything in the universe was concentrated into a point-like region of space called a singularity.  For some reason, and astronomers are unsure why, this singularity explanded rapidly in an explosion, releasing all the matter-energy and time –this event is what is termed The Big Bang.”  (www.csc.tcd.ie/~tass/HTML/Cosmology/cosm/html)

Big Bang cosmology dominates modern thinking, in fact “today, virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology are devoted to Big Bang Studies” (“An Open Letter to the Scientific Community”, New Scientist (Mary 22, 2004).  Now, of course, not all cosmologists ascribe to the Big Bang theory but it’s the most widely known and accepted theory. 

God didn’t cause this Big Bang.  I might have used this quote before but it fits here too, and plus I like it.  Nobel prize-winning French molecular biologist Jacques Monod put it:

“Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [lies] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution . . . The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man.  Our number came up in the  Monte Carlo game.”

Evolutionist K. Rohiniprasad, in her “The Accident of Human Evolution”:  “As the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould puts it, humans arose as a fortuitous contingent outcome of thousands of linked events.  We should humbly acknowledge the fact that any one of these events could have occurred differently and sent history on an alternative pathway” (http://sulekha.com/blogs/blogdisplay.aspx?cid=3899).  She then goes on to speak about four evolutionary turns, about those turns she says:

“It is important to realize that the above four incidents were totally unrelated and random.  Like every other phenomenon or catastrophe that changed the course of events on the earth, biological evolution trundled along without any pre-ordained plan or purpose.”

I could go on, so I will.  Bertrand Russell, perhaps the most famous atheistic thinker in history puts it:

“Academic philosophers, ever since the time of Permenides, have believed that the world is unity . . . The most fundamental of my intellectual beliefs is that this is rubbish.  I think the universe is all spots and jumps, without any unity, without continuity, without coherence or orderliness . . . Indeed there little but prejudice and habit to be said for the view that the is a world at all”. 

Here comes the nail in the coffin.  Astronomer and cosmologist Marcus Chown comments:

Space and the material world come be created out of nothing but noise . . . According to [physicists] Reginald Cahill and Christopher Klinger of Flinders University in Adelaide, space and time and all the objects around us are no more than the froth on a deep sea of randomness.

He goes on to say:

“This is where physics comes in,” says Cahill.  “The universe is rich enough to be self-referencing.  For instance, I’m aware of myself.”  This suggests that most of the everyday truths of physical reality, like most mathematical truths, have no explanation.  According to Cahill and Klinger, that must be because reality is based on randomness.  They believe randomness is more fundamental than physical objects.                                                                            (Marcus Chown, “Random Reality,” New Scientist (February 26, 2000)).

It seems that the atheists I have been discussing with are confused about what their worldview necessitates.  In order to hold that the Big Bang, or evolution, isn’t random they must disagree with scientists in the field as well as a Nobel-prize winner and the famous Bertrand Russell.

Chance Does Not Explain Uniformity

I made this argument earlier, so I’ll be brief here.  All of our sense experience tells us that nature is uniform, and science depends upon it being so.  However, we cannot empirically test that nature is uniform because any testing we do would just be begging the question.  A chance beginning to the universe cannot account for where this uniformity came from and the atheist cannot explain how chance would lead to the universal, constant laws uniformity requires. 

The atheists, in the previously linked discussion I was in, were attempting to pass off begging the question and circular reasoning “Nature is uniform because it just is” as a rational argument.  However, it isn’t their fault because this is literally the best they can do without denying the chance element in their worldview.  They must feign apathy towards the philosophical problem of uniformity, pretend the problem doesn’t exist, or attempt to explain to themselves, and you who’s arguing with them, that “It is because it is” is viable and rational.

You see, the atheist lives by faith as well.  They must have faith that a pure chance universe created order with no outside help, that non-life randomly produces life, and that non-intelligence randomly produced intelligence.

An Unknowable God

August 22, 2008

I knew this argument existed, that God, or whatever we choose to call Him, is inherently unknowable.  I had just never run into it before until my discussion with Nathan.

The Argument . . .

as put forth by Nathan goes something like this (and this is pretty close to the Baha’i faith):  Any attempt to apply any kind of knowledge of or characteristics to God is futile.  It is not only futile as humans have so far attempted it, but there is no valid way to understand God.  He is, in his very nature, unknowable.  How could we possibly understand God with our limited human capacity? Humans, in an attempt to fulfill their desire to understand and know God, have come up with all kinds of metaphors, similes, fabrications, analogies, half-truths and distortions. 

As such, all these different manifestations of futile attempts to understand God, also known as the different religions in the world, are all equal in their misrepresentation of God.  They all, individually, may provide a unique use to humanity and a unique detriment to humanity but are all equal in their truth value (which isn’t much).  Any truth claim made by any religion is only true under their system and any claim that their truth is a “universal truth” is pure arrogance.  Instead of attempting to know an unknowable God, or fighting over which religion has “more” truth, we should attempt to better humanity and do our part to cease suffering as much as we can.

Surprise Confession

To a certain extent, I agree.  Any claim to “know” God, is only true under the human perspective, only true as far as our limited understand goes.  However, if I claim to know that “God is love” and I couldn’t possibly understand the full extent of that characteristic due to my limited capacity, that doesn’t mean “God is love” is a false claim.  It’s a true claim that my limited human brain can’t fully understand.  It’s still true.  First assuming that we can “fully” understand ANYTHING, to say that since we can’t “fully” understand God truths so therefore NO God truths exist, is irrational.  It’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Problem #1:  The Presupposition

Presuppositionsare the most basic of our beliefs.  They are pre-assumptions, so to speak, that we use to reason through any issue we come across.  They form the foundation for what becomes our worldview.  For me and Nathan, “God exists” is the most basic presupposition of our worldview.  However, Nathan adds a presupposition that is just as basic to him as “God exists”; this presupposition is, “God is unknowable”. 

The astute philosopher will ask Nathan, “How do you know ‘God is unknowable’?”.  Once this question is asked, one immediately realizes that Nathan’s position is self-defeating.  Let me demonstrate.  Nathan’s position is that “God is Love” or any claim of that nature is a futile claim, inherently pointless in our attempt to understand a characteristic of god.  However, “God is unknowable” is claiming to understand a characteristic of God!  It’s a claim equal in structure and nature as “God is Love”, a claim Nathan says is futile!  Bottom line is this; using his own argument, Nathan can’t know that “God is unknowable”.  But further than that, it is an absolute attribute of his own construction that he is forcing upon God.

Problem #2:  The Worldview is What it Argues Against

What this Baha’i worldview objects the most to is each religion’s assertion that they have “THE truth”.  Islam, Christianity, Judaism etc are projecting their “truth” on the rest of humanity.  Unfortunately, the Baha’i faith’s worldview is no different.  Nathan is projecting the “truth” of his “God is unknowable” view on the religions of the world!  If I said to Nathan, “Jesus is the Christ, the savior of humanity”, Nathan would counter with “Don’t force your truth on me because God is unknowable, you can’t possible know that Jesus is the Christ.”  But Nathan, aren’t you forcing your view that I “cannot know” that Jesus is the Christ upon ME?

To Nathan

I want to directly respond to Nathan in order to give his previous post it’s due respect and also to show great examples of his worldview in action.

“I believe that all attempts to understand God become soiled by our limited human capacity for understanding.”

As I stated above, I agree with that.

” “God is Love” is one of the many examples of strategies we use to try to explain an essentially unknowable entity.”

This is your presupposition in action, a presupposition I showed to be self-defeating

“Unfortunately, in the process of translating and interpreting these truths, people have often misconstrued or misunderstood even the limited pieces that God has revealed and often they are twisted to suit particular people’s agendas.”

I agree, but to take this and say, “therefore there is no truth” is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

“Religion has been revealed progressively from the same God through different prophets/messengers, who at different times through history and in different locations come to provide the teachings of God to help us carry forward an ever advancing civilization.”

Although this is a completely different topic in itself, I will respond to this briefly.  In order for religious revelation to “progressive” it must also be un-contradictory.  However, the truth claims of Joseph Smith, Mohammad and Jesus are completely opposite.  Joseph told us we could all become gods just like Elohim while Jesus claimed there is only One God.  Muhammad told us to slay infidels where we find them while Jesus told us to turn the other cheek and “as far as it depends on you, be at peace with ALL men” (emphasis added).  These revelation can’t possibly be progressive as they are obviously contradictory.  And frankly, Nathan, to claim otherwise is to be ignorant of the theology of each religion.

“I interpret it as you being unable to see that the Bible is simply one of God’s manifestations that was useful and is useful for particular reasons known only to God.”

In this Bible, Jesus claimed to be “THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life,” in contrast to what you are saying which is that Jesus is A way and A truth.  Jesus’ claim to be “THE” is either true or untrue.  There is no “progressive revelation to humanity” type of middle ground with this claim.  It’s either true or not, Jesus is either lying or crazy or correct.  Jesus also said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”  How does this “No one” claim mesh with your “progressive” position?  It doesn’t.  It’s another “either/or” claim that you must decide is either true or untrue.  It can’t be both. 

“I believe by belittling God and assuming he is so simple as to be revealed in a single text is extremely limiting to the advancement of our understanding and our progress.”

You are the only one asserting that God can be seen as “simple” and “limited” as He is described in the Bible.  This is not how the Bible describes God.

I am also glad to continue this conversation until one of us decides we have reached that point where there is no purpose in carrying on.  Like I said, this is a different view point that I’m happy to explore with you.

Why the Christian God?

August 16, 2008

Lately I’ve been addressing, following the logic of the atheist universe, the atheist’s inability to explain the uniformity of nature.  First showing that science depends on the universal nature of absolute physical laws, which we cannot expect to have if the universe has a random beginning as atheists claim.  Then showing that the atheist must use the Christian worldview to expect an orderly universe, in order to make science viable, to then use that science to reject God.  As if science in and of itself could give them the ability to rationally do so. 

However an astute questioner, Nathan, discovered the gap in my argument.  Why the Christian God?  Why not any of the other intelligent designers out there? 

Why Can We Expect Uniformity?

By explaining the nature of God, the things He has told Us about Himself, we are able to explain uniformity.  Frankly, only the Christian God tells us we can expect uniformity.

Note:  Wether an individual believes the Bible is the Word of God or not is irrelevant to this topic.  We are doing a worldview comparison, and I am defending the Christian worldview.  The Christian worldview holds that the Bible is the literal Word of God, and so using the Bible to defend why the Christian, and only the Christian, can expect uniformity is merely defending the Christian worldview.

Colossians 1:16-17For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Notice that the word “all” was used in this passage four times.  This shows the totality of God’s creation and points to the totality of uniformity.  Paul also tells us that, without exception, all things visible and invisible, were created by God.  To us, that means that physical matter and their invisible, absolute and universal laws that govern them were created by God. 

Not only was the universe created by God but it was created for Him.  The universe does not exist on it’s own, is not self-contained and self-explanatory.  It has meaning, significance and purpose as a God-created, God-glorifying entity.  To humanity, this means that the universe cannot be understood correctly without reference to the God who created it and gives it meaning. 

In verse 7, we see that Jesus “is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”.  The Greek word sunistemi (“hold together”) is derived from histemi (“to stand”) and sun (“with”), it literally means “to cause to stand together.”  Jesus causes the universe “to stand together” as a harmonious whole.  “In the modern era, Newtonian physics and the scientific investigation of the ‘laws of nature’ were premised on a similar axiom.”  (Dunn., James D.G.  The Epistles of the Colossians and to Philemon. pg, 94).
 
Hebrews 1:3 supplements the Colossians passage by telling us that Jesus “upholds all things by the Word of His power”.  Not only does Jesus uphold the universe by raw power, but does with his “word”, which points to the effortlessness of the action of upholding.  “Word” also points to the rationality and coherence of that upholding. 
 
“Since God created the rational, coherent universe by His sovereign, willful plan, and since He created man in His image to function in that world, we see clear relevatory evidence for the foundation of that which scientists call ‘the uniformity of nature’.” (Pushing the Antithesis, pg. 196)
 
(In fact, most of the text under the heading “Why Can We Expect Uniformity” is derived from my understand of, or verbatim from, Pushing the Antithesis:  The Apologetic Methodology of Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen pg. 195-196).
 

Assumption

The question of how the Christian can expect uniformity has been answered, however the question “Why JUST the Christian God?”, hasn’t been addressed.  However, the question also can’t be taken at face value.  The question can be asked in more detail like this, “Why doesn’t the Allah of Islam, the God of Mormonism, and the Elohim of Judaism also explain this uniformity?  Why would a person, who just realized their atheistic worldview isn’t viable, choose Christianity over the other three?”  This question assumes that the truth claims of the religious texts of each of those faiths is equal to the truth claims made in the Bible.  This is not the case.

All Intelligent Designers Aren’t Created Equal

As this is not a comparative religion blog, I will not go into great detail about why the truth claims of those three fall short of Christianity.  However, desiring to be a complete apologist, I would love to discuss each with anyone who asks.  I cursory treatment of the foundations of two of those religions will suffice for this topic.

Islam:  The Qur’an was written over the course of 23 years starting in 610 CE until Muhammad’s death in 632 CE.  The Qur’an was originally written upon pieces of wood, bone, leaves, flat stones, pieces of leather and of course, papyrus, and wasn’t compiled into a book until the fourth leader of Islam, Caliph Uthman.  So, by the time the Qur’an was finished, Christianity had been established for about 700 years.  Christianity had been the state religion of the Roman Empire for over 350 years.  The Qur’an contains many Biblical figures (even if the accounts of those individuals do not mesh with Biblical accounts), and any Muslim will claim that the Christian God and Allah are one and the same. 

Where do you think Muhammad got his idea of Allah or the notion of Biblical figures?  If someone wants to follow a religion derived from Christianity, who’s founder married a thirteen year old girl, formed an army with which to kill you unless you converted, and who’s followers (not all of them of course, but followers none less) still behave this way, then be my guest.  As for me, I’ll follow Jesus Christ who died for me. 

Even if we take Allah as a seperate entity than the Christian Elohim, Allah only tells us that he created the universe, he does not tell us that he created it uniformly. 

Mormonism:  In Mormon Doctrine, the god they worship actually only helped create this world.  In fact, it was a council of gods that decided to create Earth.  And all those gods were once human as we are right now.  So if the universe was created by fickle, formerly-human gods, how can we expect uniformity? In fact, how can we expect those gods to have the power to create the universe at all? 

Judaism:  I’m including the Jewish Elohim in my argument.  Elohim is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God that allows the Christian to explain the uniformity of nature.  The only difference is that I believe the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, has come and the Jews missed him, and only orthodox Jews are still looking for him.

Conclusion

Atheists must believe in miracles without a reason for doing so.  They must believe not only did chance create everything but that that random beginning led to the coherent order we see around us.  Chance creating law. They must also believe that non-living chemicals gave rise to life.  The non-living creating life is certainly a miracle.  And the atheist can give no reason or explanation for it.  The Christian worldview, and only the Christian worldview, can explain the beginning of the universe, the beginning of life, and of course, the uniformity of nature. 

Response to Cubik’s Rube

August 12, 2008

(I don’t know why the text in this post is so small.  Actually, I have an idea of what I did wrong, but I don’t know why I can’t change it.  I apologize for any squinting that must be done.)

I had every intention of posting this on Cubik’s Rube’s blog in the comments section but, as I am want to do, I just wrote too much for that to be viable.  This is a conversation that started on “Banned from Atheist A Go-Go!” and continued with a post on his blog.  I don’t actually expect anyone to read this or to be following our conversation (if you don’t read his last post on his blog you’ll be lost), this is mainly to provide a clear format with which Cubik can read my response.  However, I find this conversation interesting and worth reading/carrying on because Cubik is a good, thoughtful writer and brings up some important objections to the Christian worldview and defenses of the atheistic worldview.  Cubik

First of all, I don’t think “false dichotomy” is the logical fallacy you’re trying to accuse me of.”

Hmm, perhaps you are correct.  I’m talking about the claim of being able to interpret facts that lead to a “no God” conclusion without using “no God” as a presupposition.  Perhaps I am saying you are equivocating the word “conclusion”, or like you said, disregarding/denying a premise.

Whatever it’s called, your point seems to be that my godless worldview is one I’m working from by default, a priori…Which, to an extent, is true.”

Thank you for being honest about this.  Most atheists I’ve talked to wouldn’t even admit this much and would blindly continue to use this a priori, denying it all the way.  I never said doing this was “bad”, just that everyone should recognize they are doing it.

But only to the extent that any worldview is a construction by which we interpret and understand everything we see. As you’ve said, belief in God is similarly a presupposition, which affects the way you see the world.”

Exactly and yes.

“Or, you could use “no Zeus”, or “no Flying Spaghetti Monster”, and these would be just as true. These are things that I imagine you and I both generally assume to be true . . .”

True.  I see where you are going with this and I’ll object when you get there.

” Even though everything has to go through our squishy human brains for processing, there are things we can do to try and increase the efficacy with which we approximate reality, and move our understanding closer to what’s actually going on.”

True.  But that “increasing the efficacy” isn’t even close to “brute facts”.

“The world doesn’t need us to observe it in order to carry on doing its thing; whatever the physical laws that keep the world moving are, they are there, regardless of whether we notice or understand them.”

I even disagree with this (in a certain sense) but that’s not what we’re talking about so I’ll let it go.  We are talking about “meaning”.  So the physical laws exist, ok, what does that mean?  An atheist, with their “no God” presupposition would say, “Well the physical laws are just what came about as a result of the unknown, random beginning of the universe,”  while a Christian would say, “God designed those laws to work together, and hold the universe together, like they do.”  Both conclusions come directly out of “physical laws exist.”  So, then, what is the point of discussion?

This is the MAIN QUESTION:  What worldview is able to explain the natural laws?

Keep in mind that this is the main question I’m asking, this is what I’m discussing.

My lack of belief in the Christian God is a default position, just like your lack of belief in Thor, or in the Invisible Pink Unicorns, or in my ability to turn cheese into polonium with the power of my mind. Most of these are probably things you’ve never thought to seriously consider, and your experience of the world is unaffected by the possibility that any of them might be real, but that doesn’t mean you’re seeing things in an unreasonably biased way.”

Ok, you got there and now I’ll disagree.  You are taking the Michael Shermer/Richard Dawkins approach and equivocating the word “God”.  “God” in the sense of the Judeo/Christian Elohim about whom all the stories are written, and therefore can be technically classified in literature as “myth” stories equal with Thor and Osiris, is NOT what we are talking about.  We are talking about God in the sense of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God who I am claiming explains the origin of the universe . . .

In fact, let me bring in your other point because it all ties together . . .

“Your second reason given for being a Christian is that “any other position just doesn’t make any sense”. Presumably (though do clarify if I’m getting it wrong) this means that an atheistic worldview doesn’t seem to match up so well with your experiences.”

I will clarify.  I didn’t actually explain myself here, so I didn’t expect you to get it right.  This ties in with my “main question”:  What worldview is able to explain the natural laws?  Put another way, what worldview can ACCOUNT for the uniformity of nature?  My claim is that no other worldview besides the Christian worldview can account for the uniformity of nature (several other phenomena could be inserted in place of “the uniformity of nature” and I’d make the same argument).  Let me elaborate:

Let’s say you were arguing with someone who believed that Odin (the norse god of Thor) created the universe.  All you’d have to do is point out that Odin (if I remember correctly) isn’t all powerful (based on the Norse religious texts or myths) and therefore couldn’t create the universe in which he dwells, and that person’s argument falls apart. 

Similarly, right now, you are arguing with someone who claims that the universe was created and is sustained by an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God who revealed Himself to us in His Word.  Some of the things He told us about Himself is that He Created the universe and sustains it and “saw that it was good”.  The point is this, wether or not my statements are “true” in your worldview is irrelevant to the question at hand.  An all-powerful Creator God who said He sustains the universe absolutely allows the Christian to explain our sense experience, to explain the apparent uniformity of nature. 

The atheist worldview, on the other hand, is built on a chance universe.  The beginning of the universe was a completely random occurence and the phenomena we observe with our senses are a chance construction.  They exist because that’s just how they ended up.  Our existence is also based on a random role of the biochemical dice.  Random is the opposite of law-like.  A random universe cannot explain absolute laws such as the uniformity of nature.  It doesn’t make any sense that a random, unguided beginning would somehow lead to absolute, universal laws.  And yet, that’s what we see around us.  All of our sense experience tells us that nature is uniform.  The atheistic universe cannot explain our sense experience, cannot account for the uniformity of nature.

“Is your belief in God similarly based on circular reasoning, or have you taken that position based on what you consider to be the most likely truth about the world?”

The only way to account for/explain the uniformity of nature, morality, universals in general and human dignity is with the Christian worldview.  But we’re only discussing the first one.  If this wasn’t so I wouldn’t believe in Christianity. 

“Doesn’t your belief filter everything that you experience in the same way? Don’t you use it as a basis for anything new you experience, because you consider it so well-established that it doesn’t need to be constantly questioned?”

Absolutely.  However, the Christian’s ability to explain the most basic assumptions of being human makes Christianity a viable worldview while the atheists inability to account for those same assumptions forces the atheist to borrow the idea of an orderly universe, which is inconsistent with correct atheism.

Banned from Atheist A Go-Go!

August 9, 2008

Well, I was attempting to be respectful to the individual of whom I was speaking about in Atheistic Destiny.  In fact, our discussion on his blog, Atheist A Go-Go, was all but over.  But, now, I don’t feel the need to be secretive any longer.  Gregory, who writes the Atheist A Go-Go blog, wrote a post called “Homo Sapiens Idaltu“.  I responded to some misconceptions I percieved in his post and asked him some questions.  Gregory responded and I responded back (the exchange can be seen here). 

However, just after I posted my response on “Homo Sapiens Idaltu”, I read a new post of his called “My Meaning is Mine“.  After reading this, I realized arguing with Gregory was pointless, not because he’s stupid or mean, but only because his atheism is rooted in an emotional response, not a rational one.  I also regretted the time I spent on the response in “Homo Sapiens Idaltu” because Gregory’s blog is not meant for discussion, but just for his opinion.  I told Gregory as much in a response on “My Meaning is Mine”, admitted the amount of sarcasm I used in the response, and took my leave from his blog.  Instead of leaving it as is, Gregory BANNED ME FROM HIS BLOG!!  I’ll repost my response on “My Meaning is Mine” and you let me know if you think it’s worthy of a banning.  Please read his short post first (here), otherwise my response won’t make any sense.

“Gregory

“You know what I say in this hypothetical situation? F***. Him.” (Censor added).

As you’ve just shown, your atheism is not rooted in a honestly believing God doesn’t exist, or that you have an honest disgust for religion (a disgust we share btw). The basis for your atheism is that the possibility of a Creator God telling you to do something GREATLY offends you. This might just be your most basic reason for being an atheist.

I will admit that this has some sarcasm, but what follows is an honest apology. I apologize attempting to force you to think through your beliefs. This is not something you want to do. This is evidenced by your assertion that “slavery is wrong” is obvious to everyone and therefore you won’t discuss it. Nothing in thought, philosophy, or discussion is “obvious”, you must defend every statement and belief. Your goal here is to merely display your beliefs as an atheist, not to be self-reflective or rational about them.

Feel free to not respond to my post on homo sapiens idaltu. I would not have posted it if I had read this first.”

Gregory responded with:

“That word hypothetical just went flying right past your head, didn’t it? And I can’t help but notice that you defend nothing. You certainly don’t bother to address a single point that I bring up. You didn’t even have the decency to actually address substantive content in the original post. No, you had to grind your ax, like a good little Christian trying to gain extra points for evangelizing.

And that, my friend, is it. You’re done. Feel free to not stop by again.”

Banned after 3 posts and alittle sarcasm!! 

To Gregory

The “hypothetical” situation you created (although I disagree that the point of Christianity is “happiness”) is the correct Christian situation.  Feigning innocence for saying in essence “F*** God” in your “hypothetical” that you know exactly mirrors the Christian position, is humorous.  To claim that I didn’t address a “single” point and that I “defend nothing” is curious since my responses to you were quite lengthy and took some time to write.  I’m sure I did not defend or address “everything” but to use the word “nothing” is being disingenuous.  

Evangelizing would entail attempting to convert you, or dissuade you from your atheistic position.  I did neither.  You said yourself that I am being banned for offering a differing opinion.  More specifically, our differing definition of the word “worldview”.  I’ll quote you from “Things that confuse me“:

“People also never understand this simple, simple fact — some of us just don’t believe. It’s just that simple . . . More importantly, though, is just the feeling — I don’t *Feel* the need for God in the situations that people claim to feel a god in.”

Just as I said in “My Meaning is Mine”, your atheism is not based on rationality.  You’ve stated here that your atheism is based on feeling.  To say “I don’t believe, why?  Because I just don’t”, is the most un-philosophical statement I’ve ever heard.  This statement, in essence, outlaws all query and disagreement. You don’t need me to tell you this, you said it yourself:

“The type of people that most need to understand that are the type of people that will just utterly refuse to believe it, and will insist on their little beliefs about me. Which is fine, but it does mean that they will probably find themselves banned in pretty quick order.”

So, for questioning and, attempting to understand, your position I was banned.  Got it.

Atheism IS a worldview

Allow me to defend my claim that atheism is a worldview just as Christianity is.  I will specifically take exception to this statement by Gregory:

“Christianity, now there’s a world view — because it’s not just theism — it’s a whole moral, ethical, and spiritual construction . . . Atheism doesn’t do that.”

What is the most basic tenet of Christianity, without which it’s system of morals, ethics and spiritual truths are meaningless?  That a knowable all-powerful, all-knowing Righteous Creator God exists and revealed Himself to us.  So when atheism denies this most basic tenet of Christianity, they are creating for themselves a whole new system.

  1.  A lack of belief in God is still a belief.
  2. The atheistic position of “there are no moral absolutes” is absolute, moral position.
  3. The atheistic position of “ethics come from society” is an ethical belief
  4. The atheistic position of “the spiritual is a mere human construction” is a metaphysical belief

The extremely brief description above is an atheistic moral, ethical and spiritual belief system.  Is Gregory attempting to say that atheists have no morality or ethics?  I don’t think so because Gregory himself considers slavery to be wrong, so he must be subscribing to some system of morality.  Wether or not that system is rooted in his own construction or in Christianity from which he is stealing, it’s still a system and a worldview.

Atheistic Destiny

August 8, 2008

This will be the first time I will publish my slightly edited ramblings.  Every other post on this blog has had a firm basis in an apologetic or philosophical framework or was rooted in scientific evidence.  This post, however, will come from me attempting to reason through a subject of genuine confusion for me.  

The Origin of the Confusion

During a recent discussion with an unnamed atheist, let’s call him Bob, here on wordpress, Bob made the claim that he preferred his own plan to God’s, even IF God really did create him (hypothetically of course). When questioned about what this “plan” would be, Bob claimed that he would “create my own destiny”. Evoking the word “destiny”, and being an atheist at the same time, confused me greatly.  How can an atheist believe that God doesn’t exist, believe that only matter exists, and yet still think the word “destiny” has meaning?

Destiny

What does destiny even mean?  I quickly looked up a definition and like how the American Heritage Dictionary put it:

  1. The inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined; one’s lot.
  2. A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control:

Once I saw the definition of the word “destiny” I realized that the claim, “I will make my own destiny” is a contradiction in terms.  However, let’s put aside that fallacy and compare the “inevitable fate” of the Christian and atheist worldviews.  

Worldview Comparison

In the Christian worldview, God created the human race for a purpose, to serve Him.  In that service, God demands our righteousness while also giving us free will.  The Righteousness of God and our free will are in constant battle, resulting in God’s justice and wrath being upon unrighteous humanity.  In Christianity, your “inevitable fate” is to choose.  Jesus Christ, with his last breath said, “It is finished”. The salvation of mankind was finished.  Now mankind must choose to allow Christ’s death save them from God’s wrath or to reject Christ’s sacrifice.  The choice determines your “inevitable fate”.

In the atheistic worldview, the human race was not created for a purpose.  It was not created at all.  Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist Jacques Monod said,

“Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [lies] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution. . . The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man.  Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game.”

The human race, and everything we see around us, came about by pure chance.  Therefore, the words “purpose”, “plan” and “destiny” are not universal ideas.  Those words have no meaning in a universe that was brought about by random chance, especially when humans, who were brought about by that same random chance, are the ones contemplating that universe.  Randomly occurred beings contemplated a randomly occurred universe makes universals impossible.  

In his own worldview, the only thing Bob is “inevitably fated” to is complete annihilation.  It doesn’t matter what “purpose”, “plan” or “destiny” Bob creates for himself, or if he is a rapist, a priest or a rapist priest, Bob will be annihilated.  Bob’s destiny includes absolutely no choice in the matter but to be annihilated, while, in Christianity, Bob at least has a choice.

How Can an Atheist Live Like This?

I am truly confounded by how an atheist can live with any kind of hope in the atheistic universe.  If Bob was to follow his worldview correctly, the words “plan”, “purpose” and “destiny” are meaningless.  They are mere subjective constructions of his own mind which allow him to put one foot in front of the other in this life.  In essense, Bob creates those concepts to fool himself into marching ever close to his inevitable annihilation.  For all he knows, they are Naturally Selected constructs that fool all humans.  They evolved so that the human race wouldn’t kill themselves and eachother without first passing on their DNA.  Meaning is a farce meant to further the evolution of the human race.

But no atheist feels this way do they?  Of course not.  No atheist follows their worldview to this degree.  They all believe that “meaning” and “purpose” means something.  They are living in the Christian universe whether they deny it or not.  They are borrowing the Christian concepts of a universal meaning in order to put one foot in front of the other. 

My confusion has, for he most part, subsided.  I understand it now.  It seems that the atheist must steal Christian ideals give life any meaning at all.