Why the Christian God?

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. 

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13 Comments on “Why the Christian God?”

  1. Eric Kemp Says:

    David

    “Actually, Mormon belief is that Jesus Christ created the earth.”

    I was under the impression that Jesus was god in Mormon doctrine.

    The page you linked me brought up a question that I’ve always wondered about Mormon doctrine. The page says that, ” Joseph revealed that the Father and the Son each have a “body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” ( D&C 130:22) .” Two questions:

    1. Does this mean that God the Father LITERALLY impregnated Mary, like with sperm and DNA?

    2. Doesn’t this contradict what the Bible says in John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him?”

  2. Nathan Says:

    Thanks for your response to my question. I appreciate you taking the time to discuss why you believe that the Christian god of Yahweh can uniquely explain the uniformity of nature and the beginning of Life. I can see why you may hold the beliefs that you do about Islam, Mormonism and Judaism coming from the Christian perspective.

  3. Eric Kemp Says:

    Nathan

    I want to thank for your thoughtful and cordial responses. However, if this blog was all about my beliefs I would consider it a phenomenal, and egocentric, waste of time.

    What about you? What is the response of your worldview, whatever it is since we haven’t discussed it yet, to the claims that I have made?

    Can you show me from what perspective outside of Christianity that the Latter-Day Saint and Islamic belief systems become more rational?

  4. Nathan Says:

    I want to preface with restating my opinion that I cannot personally imagine any individual which would be swayed in their belief system and underlying presuppositions based on a discussion that they engage in on the internet. If anyone has a counter-example, I would be greatly interested in learning of it but in my opinion the only way discussions of these types work is to basically make an implicit agreement at the outset that the other people will come out essentially unchanged in their outlooks. As long as everyone involved is in agreement on the issue that these discussions are usually fruitless in actually swaying anyone then a lot of problems can be avoided.

    With that out of the way, best way to start is for me to give a brief description of my current belief system. I would characterize my belief system as somewhat similar to that of the central tenets of the Bahá’í Faith but I do not ascribe myself to it. Specifically the beliefs I agree with are the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humankind.

    In regards to god, my belief can be summarized as the following: The entity that humans have characterized as ‘God’ exists but he is essentially unknowable. Humans in their attempts to understand God will use metaphors, analogies, half-truths, personification and many other techniques in a pathetic and ultimately futile attempt to understand that which is beyond our understanding.

    The figures which different religions characterize as ‘prophets’ or with having divine inspiration in some cases may be actual manifestations of God and in others may be false attempts at pretending to be a manifestation in order to further their own gains. Each holy book of each religion may in some cases be a legitimate attempt to help us understand that which is ultimately unknowable and in other cases are simply texts that have been illegitimately claimed as such. In both cases, the texts would have to be very specific to the time period and culture of the people receiving it and would inherently contained an extremely incomplete or in many cases false picture of the entity we so desperately wish to understand.

    In my opinion, knowing the veracity of the claims of a particular claimed manifestation or a particular text is irrelevant. Each manifestation or text either helps humanity or hurts it (likely both). I am much more interested in what we can do to help humanity, stop suffering where possible, foster peace in the world and reduce prejudice, hate, greed, and maliciousness. Since this isn’t my blog, I will avoid an even more verbose explanation short.

    This should help you understand my take on the situation. Thanks for asking me for my beliefs as I do enjoy discussing them.

  5. Eric Kemp Says:

    Nathan

    Thank you for responding and sharing about your worldview.

    “As long as everyone involved is in agreement on the issue that these discussions are usually fruitless in actually swaying anyone then a lot of problems can be avoided.”

    I’m not here to attempt to convert anyone. However, there is something you must understand about my position. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. This statement is either true or it is not. I believe it is true. Nay, the more educated I’ve become about religion, theology, science and philosophy, the more I’ve been convinced this is true. The truth of Jesus’ statement affects everything about my life, including the way I argue.

    Everything I reason through, or discuss, starts with this truth. Not only do I believe that Jesus is “The Way” subjectively for me, I believe this is objectively true for everyone. What this means for our discussions is that I believe that rationality starts with God. There can be no true rationality outside of Him. This means that if we are not thinking through issues with Him as the starting point we are wrong in our reasoning. The Apostle Paul even goes so far as to say of the unbeliever, “they became futile in their speculations.”

    My main point is to show how “futile” reasoning outside of God is. I hope you see that this is not me attempting to force my “opinion” on anyone else, but me being merely consistent with my position, and what God has told me about Himself and the reality He created. In fact, if I truly believe that Jesus is the only Way to salvation for all of humanity, I have an imperative to argue this way.

    That being said, I’d like to ask you a few questions regarding your worldview. Feel free to do the same in my direction at any point.

    “The entity that humans have characterized as ‘God’ exists but he is essentially unknowable.”

    When I say, “God is Love”, you may find this futile, or even arrogant for me to think I could know such a thing. However, I am merely repeating what God has told us about Himself. On the other had, your statement of “God is unknowable” is an absolute statement which you are forcing upon God! You are taking your idea of God and telling Him, “Nope! You can’t possibly tell us about yourself! Don’t even try! It’s futile!”

    Isn’t it more futile to force an idea of yours onto God? God created the capacities that our minds have to comprehend the relatively limited amount we can. Do you find it rational to assume that God absolutely did not create us with the capacity to understand Him, even partially? Now, I agree that it is futile to attempt understand God fully with our human minds, however it is just as futile to assume that we can’t possibly know anything about God.

    “Humans in their attempts to understand God will use metaphors, analogies, half-truths, personification and many other techniques in a pathetic and ultimately futile attempt to understand that which is beyond our understanding.”

    I’m honestly a bit confused here. Are you saying that the Bible is never straight forward about a truth God reveals to us, or that the Bible absolutely CAN’T be straightforward about a characteristic of God?

    “The figures which different religions characterize as ‘prophets’ or with having divine inspiration in some cases may be actual manifestations of God and in others may be false attempts at pretending to be a manifestation in order to further their own gains.”

    Jesus’ crowning achievement was his death on the cross. What earthly “gain” did Jesus recieve from doing this? Also, all but one of the apostles died violent deaths for a man they say they saw rise from the dead, what did they “gain” from doing this? Especially if it was a lie?

    Would God create us with a desperate desire to get to know Him and at the same time make Himself absolutely unknowable? If so, I wouldn’t consider this god benevolent, I would consider him a cruel, malevolent child. Is this your view of god?

    “Each holy book of each religion may in some cases be a legitimate attempt to help us understand that which is ultimately unknowable and in other cases are simply texts that have been illegitimately claimed as such.”

    To what standard are you comparing “unknowable”. Like I said, I agree that not everything about God, or everything in the Bible for that matter, can be fully understood, but I am wondering what you consider “knowable”, what the characteristics of that “knowing” are, and how each religious text falls short. Again, I am challenging your absolute statements about truth being “unknowable”.

    “In both cases, the texts would have to be very specific to the time period and culture of the people receiving it and would inherently contained an extremely incomplete or in many cases false picture of the entity we so desperately wish to understand.”

    So are you of the opinion that truth is completely relative to the culture, time, and place in which that truth is given? Or can truths be trancendent of subjective realities?

    “I am much more interested in what we can do to help humanity, stop suffering where possible, foster peace in the world and reduce prejudice, hate, greed, and maliciousness.”

    If those were my goals, I would be in constant fear and apprehension that I’m not actually doing those things. I mean, how would you know that you are really helping humanity? What is your standard that you compare your actions, or the actions of others, that qualify them for the label of “helping humanity”? Also, what is your standard of “suffering”? How do you decide what is suffering worth stopping? How could you possibly force people to stop hating, stop being greedy, stop being mean, or stop being prejudice?

    I say this because I care about you hearing the truth: I find it the supreme of arrogance that you believe your ideas to be superior to God’s in how to end those evils as you see them. God provided for the salvation of humanity, but no, you know better and reject the text that leads humanity to this salvation. God’s provision provides the ultimate, eternal end to all suffering in an eternity in heaven after death, as well as changing the hearts of His followers to be more like Jesus on this Earth (sanctification, which also ends that kind of suffering you mentioned). How does this compare to your efforts to end suffering, even if such a thing is possible or you could know that you were doing so, in this fleeting temporary existence?

    I hope you see that I am telling you the truth and challenging you to rationally think through your position.

  6. Nathan Says:

    Hey Eric,

    Thanks for your response. I explained my position which is the thing I wanted to do. I will try to touch on a few of the things that you said. First off, I do want to acknowledge the fact that from the Christian perspective, I can understand your compulsion to share the truths of Jesus with others.

    “When I say, “God is Love”, you may find this futile, or even arrogant for me to think I could know such a thing. However, I am merely repeating what God has told us about Himself. On the other had, your statement of “God is unknowable” is an absolute statement which you are forcing upon God! You are taking your idea of God and telling Him, “Nope! You can’t possibly tell us about yourself! Don’t even try! It’s futile!”

    I understand that we are at odds on this position. I believe that all attempts to understand God become soiled by our limited human capacity for understanding. “God is Love” is one of the many examples of strategies we use to try to explain an essentially unknowable entity. We can say “God is Love” or “God is Justice” or “God is Truth” or “God is All-Powerful” and in many ways this helps us feel closer to God and can be beneficial to our progress. These are essentially metaphors and analogies to help us try to feel closer to an entity which is far outside our current realm of understanding.

    It is no secret humans like to know answers and we have an innate desire to satisfy our unquenchable curiosity. For this reason, it is no surprise that we have all felt the need to try to explain and understand that which is greater than us by “bring it down to our level”, personification, attributing traits we can all understand such as Love or Justice. 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.

    Also, I do NOT believe that the entity we call ‘God’ never attempts to help us understand him. Exactly the opposite, I believe he has been sending manifestations of himself for a very long time and will continue to send manifestations as long as we exist to receive them. Each manifestation of god is necessarily sent to a particular culture with a particular level of understanding at a particular point in time. Each one is also often helping understand different parts of himself as we become able to understand them. At these various points in time, based on a large number of factors, the entity has chosen to impart information to us which will help us progress and improve ourselves. 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.

    Because humanity is so limited in our capacity to understand the entity called God (which is hard to contest), instead God would work to help us advance ourselves and improve our condition by sending manifestations down to various cultures globally, each manifestation expertly crafted to be understood based on the culture and society that it is revealed to. It is not that God is deceiving us, he is simply revealing a very small fraction of himself in a limited form that is best understood by those receiving the message.

    “I’m honestly a bit confused here. Are you saying that the Bible is never straight forward about a truth God reveals to us, or that the Bible absolutely CAN’T be straightforward about a characteristic of God?”

    As I said before, essential differences here between us will prevent a reconciliation of our ideas. Your beliefs and understanding of God come straight from the Bible. In your worldview, the Bible is the beginning and end of God’s manifestations and that the Bible is our only source of information about God from which we must draw all our understandings. You also make the assumption that the Bible is essentially a complete picture of everything all cultures and all times would need to know about God.

    I believe the Bible to be a collection of texts compiling the limited human understanding of a select few of the manifestations of God from a particular set of time and cultures in history. In my view, the Bible is far from the complete picture. Rather, the bible is simply a limited account from a few contexts, cultures and in a small time-span. In other words, the entity of God decided to reveal a specific set of knowledge of himself for that particular group to understand. The limited text of the Bible today is simply a compilation of those manifestations interspersed with faulty understanding and incorrect interpretations of the information. God simply sends manifestations, and it is up to us to record them to text and canonize them. During this process, a great deal happens which modifies and alters the original message of the manifestation (itself being limited to a particular set of items God gives us to help guide us and teach us to our limited capacity).

    “Would God create us with a desperate desire to get to know Him and at the same time make Himself absolutely unknowable? If so, I wouldn’t consider this god benevolent, I would consider him a cruel, malevolent child. Is this your view of god?”

    You have a very different belief system here than I and it is clear from the way you frame this question. It is not that God cannot be understood by us in a limited context but simply that Humans are always progressing and our ability to understand things is always changing. God cannot reveal every intimate aspect of himself to us and believing he could seems hard to defend. To believe we would be able to handle a complete and thorough picture of God is somewhat arrogant.

    Instead, think of humanity as likened to a child that grows and needs training at various stages. Religion, therefore, is like a school, where the pupil (humanity) goes through various courses and various grades. Similarly, religion is the ongoing education of humanity. The earliest forms of religion are seen to be like early school. Concepts which may have been appropriate at an earlier time, then, might be quite inaccurate when one has sufficient context. Is it not that these earlier beliefs were wrong, since they were sufficient to the capacity of humanity at the time.

    “If those were my goals, I would be in constant fear and apprehension that I’m not actually doing those things. I mean, how would you know that you are really helping humanity? What is your standard that you compare your actions, or the actions of others, that qualify them for the label of “helping humanity”? Also, what is your standard of “suffering”? How do you decide what is suffering worth stopping? How could you possibly force people to stop hating, stop being greedy, stop being mean, or stop being prejudice?”

    I did not say that was my goal as if I believe I can single handedly force people to do anything. I am not nearly that arrogant. I apologize if that is how it came out. I simply said that rather than spend my time trying to determine the validity of a specific text compiled at a specific time-span from a particular manifestation, that I would rather focus on humanity moving forward and becoming unified as a people rather than spending our time dividing people by being blinded by a particular manifestation. I believe in the unity of God and the unity of humanity. I believe we should all evaluate particular sects and religions and realize that each religion is like a blind-man attempting to understand an elephant by touching a particular part of his body. The truths of each religion seem to contradict but are instead simply different manifestations, different metaphors if you will to help very different people establish a particular covenant that is relevant to a particular place, culture and time.

    “I find it the supreme of arrogance that you believe your ideas to be superior to God’s in how to end those evils as you see them. God provided for the salvation of humanity, but no, you know better and reject the text that leads humanity to this salvation.”

    As you can see, our differing worldview make this statement seem very different when you wrote it versus how I interpret it. 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. The information imparted by the manifestation was there to help humanity in a specific way but to believe it is the only useful manifestation and that God only reveals himself in a single way in a single compiled text is in my view the supreme of arrogance. 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. Instead, by realizing that God has revealed things in small doses in different ways at different times to help us all understand him and ultimately come together unified as a people is more beneficial than artificially declaring a particular text as being the only one of any and complete truth value.

    I am happy to continue the discussion for as long as you want and I don’t believe that I am particularly skilled at putting my beliefs into written form. As such, I would recommend exploring the ideas of the Bahá’í Faith but not because I wish to convert you or believe I even can. Instead, I ask you to check it out merely so you can understand and learn about my beliefs from a source that perhaps is better at explaining them than I.

    http://www.bahai.us/core-beliefs

  7. Eric Kemp Says:

    Nathan

    I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you. I’m working on the response your post deserves, and reading up a bit on the Bahai Faith. I’ll get back to you maybe later tonight but definetly by tomorrow night.

  8. forknowledge Says:

    You seem to be confusing a possible answer for the correct answer. God is certainly one way to explain the apparent uniformity in nature, but without some substantial evidence in ‘his’ support, I see no reason to believe that he is the answer. Can you give me a good reason to not wait for more scientific evidence, which might clarify the situation?

    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 no less) still behave this way, then be my guest. As for me, I’ll follow Jesus Christ who died for me.

    I try to remain civil in these discussions, but this is really, really shoddy work. Honestly? You should be ashamed of yourself for this kind of underhanded, appeal-to-emotion ploy.

  9. Eric Kemp Says:

    forknowledge

    Thank you for taking the time to respond and for being honest about God’s ability to explain uniformity. The problem with “wait for more scientific evidence” is 1: You are assuming that science will one day figure it out. That is, you are assuming the naturalism/empiricism can account for everything wether we know it now or not. 2: This is a Naturalism-of-the-gaps argument, “well we don’t know but I have faith science can describe it”, in fact it’s a cop out because 3: It doesn’t absolve you of making the most rational choice right now. 4: Any empirical observation attempting to prove the uniformity of nature begs the question. What’s the most rational choice, a God who explains the uniformity of nature we see around us or “we don’t empirically know it yet but one day we will. And we are assuming all the time that it CAN be empirically known.”?

    “I try to remain civil in these discussions, but this is really, really shoddy work. Honestly? You should be ashamed of yourself for this kind of underhanded, appeal-to-emotion ploy.”

    I agree, I think civility is the only way a productive conversation can take place but I wouldn’t begrudge you any sarcasm or incredulity that comes with your arguments because I enjoy partaking in those from time to time as well. Unfortunately, here, all I have is your incredulity. While I admit that paragraph was an unprevoked shot on Islam, I didn’t say anything untrue. Also, if you’d like to discuss the truth of those comments I’d love to do so buy I didn’t want to put a lengthy comparison in the article itself as this is not a comparative religion blog.

    Eric

  10. forknowledge Says:

    The reason why I called your work shoddy is because the paragraph has no bearing on whether Islam, as a religion, can explain uniformity in nature. That it was accurate is irrelavent in this case and doesn’t change the fact that it was a cheap, emotionally-driven ploy.

    1: You are assuming that science will one day figure it out. That is, you are assuming the naturalism/empiricism can account for everything wether we know it now or not

    I am doing no such thing. I’m fully open to the possibility that the scientific method may come up against a brick wall in this regard, or may simply fall apart once it tries to reach beyond its own capabilities. I’m also fully open to the possibility that there are components of the Universe that science cannot explain, and will never be able to explain. I haven’t come across any yet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.

    2: This is a Naturalism-of-the-gaps argument, “well we don’t know but I have faith science can describe it”, in fact it’s a cop out because

    By this reasoning, the scientists of fifty or one hundred years ago should have stopped their research and simply plugged the holes in their knowledge with the best evidence or guesses of the time. This is what you’re asking me to do; plugging God into my own ignorance in order to fill it. With the mysteries now ‘explained’, would you also have me stop attempting to make new scientific discoveries in this area?

    3: It doesn’t absolve you of making the most rational choice right now.

    Indeed, it does not. And as I see it, the most rational choice right now is to say ‘I don’t know’. I don’t know if nature is uniform (more on that below). As I’ve said already, your ‘answer’ to these questions – a guess – is certainly not the equal of those three words.

    4: Any empirical observation attempting to prove the uniformity of nature begs the question. What’s the most rational choice, a God who explains the uniformity of nature we see around us or “we don’t empirically know it yet but one day we will. And we are assuming all the time that it CAN be empirically known.”?

    To repeat a tired analogy, if you drop a stone one thousand times and it falls, is it safe to assume that it will fall when dropped one more time? We’ve dropped an awful of stones over the years, and they’ve fallen every time. It seems safe to assume that they always will, given conditions we’re knowledgable of, so long as we always keep in mind that this is a useful assumption and not some iron-clad, perfect truth. Scientists are not necessarily trying to prove that nature is uniform – as I said, they assume it based on thousand of previous observations – but if the evidence seems to lead them to the conclusion that it is not uniform in some way, they’ll follow it.

    Furthermore, I submit that it’s impossible to prove that nature is uniform with total, perfect knowledge of everything that could conceivably be called ‘nature’. It wasn’t my intention to give you the impression that this is what scientists are trying to do, and when I spoke of waiting for scientific evidence to ‘clarify the situation’, I meant that it’s possible that scientists could either discover empirical evidence for the existence of God or discover that nature is not uniform. Until either of those things happen, an assumption based on evidence seems like a rational way to go.

    I find it extremely puzzling that you think I should be impressed by your recommendation to fill my ignorance with God. I can’t think of a single reason to throw my hands in the air, proclaim it all a mystery, and put absolute faith in a wild guess.

  11. Eric Kemp Says:

    Forknowledge

    “The reason why I called your work shoddy is because the paragraph has no bearing on whether Islam, as a religion, can explain uniformity in nature. That it was accurate is irrelavent in this case and doesn’t change the fact that it was a cheap, emotionally-driven ploy.”

    Right, but it had bearing on “Why Christianity?”. The founder of Christianity died for me while the founder of Islam would kill me unless I converted. Which one will I choose? I don’t have to think very long about that one. Cheap? Maybe. Ploy? Sure. Emotionally driven? Not really, more like rationally driven, answering the question of “which makes more sense?”.

    1. “I’m fully open to the possibility that the scientific method may come up against a brick wall in this regard, or may simply fall apart once it tries to reach beyond its own capabilities. I’m also fully open to the possibility that there are components of the Universe that science cannot explain, and will never be able to explain. I haven’t come across any yet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.”

    You can say this all you want, but every time you claim that “there is no evidence for God” and say something like, “one day science will know the answer so I see no reason to believe in some magical god”, betrays your true naturalistic assumption.

    2. “By this reasoning, the scientists of fifty or one hundred years ago should have stopped their research and simply plugged the holes in their knowledge with the best evidence or guesses of the time.”

    That is a false dichotomy. We’re not discussing a scientifically verifiably phenomena. We are talking about something in the unobservable past. Let me ask you: At what point in the future will we be able to observe, test or falsify how our universe would be created naturalistically? How could such an observation or test be even possible for us? Don’t you see what you have faith in? That one day we will be able to observe the beginning our own universe in order to test it and discover it’s cause. This is rational?

    3. “And as I see it, the most rational choice right now is to say ‘I don’t know’. I don’t know if nature is uniform (more on that below).”

    Please don’t fool yourself, you are not merely saying “I don’t know”, you are having faith in that blatant irrationality that I described above.

    4. “It seems safe to assume that they always will, given conditions we’re knowledgable of, so long as we always keep in mind that this is a useful assumption and not some iron-clad, perfect truth. Scientists are not necessarily trying to prove that nature is uniform – as I said, they assume it based on thousand of previous observations – but if the evidence seems to lead them to the conclusion that it is not uniform in some way, they’ll follow it.”

    The problem with this has already been explained, everytime we test something at one particular instant of time and place, we assume the events who hold true for every single time and place. Every time we make a scientific conclusion about a particular phenomena we are assuming that nature is uniform because we can’t test that same phenomena every where and every time.

    Also, I agree with you that all of our sense experience tells us that nature if uniform. I agree with you. However, the uniformity of nature as a universal, constant law is inherently an assumption. One that we must depend upon, and one that atheism cannot explain their belief in.

    “I meant that it’s possible that scientists could either discover empirical evidence for the existence of God or discover that nature is not uniform. Until either of those things happen, an assumption based on evidence seems like a rational way to go.”

    You are again assuming that no empirical evidence for God has been discovered.

    “I find it extremely puzzling that you think I should be impressed by your recommendation to fill my ignorance with God. I can’t think of a single reason to throw my hands in the air, proclaim it all a mystery, and put absolute faith in a wild guess.”

    Really? Is that what I’m doing? You admitting that you have no explanation for the uniformity of nature and yet I do, and I’M the one making a wild guess. Come again?

  12. forknowledge Says:

    Right, but it had bearing on “Why Christianity?”. The founder of Christianity died for me while the founder of Islam would kill me unless I converted. Which one will I choose? I don’t have to think very long about that one. Cheap? Maybe. Ploy? Sure. Emotionally driven? Not really, more like rationally driven, answering the question of “which makes more sense?”.

    The fact that Jesus supposedly ‘died for you’ is not a point in favour of Christianity’ veracity. You’re essentially saying ‘Well, Muslims are bad, therefore their religion is wrong’. Actually, strike out the ‘essentialy’ – that’s exactly what you’re saying. The ‘argument’ is driven by nothing but emotion.

    You can say this all you want, but every time you claim that “there is no evidence for God” and say something like, “one day science will know the answer so I see no reason to believe in some magical god”, betrays your true naturalistic assumption.

    You’re putting words in my mouth. I’m not assuming that science will one day have the answer. I think it could one day give us all the answers, but by no means am I assuming that this will definitely happen or even that it’s very likely.

    That is a false dichotomy. We’re not discussing a scientifically verifiably phenomena. We are talking about something in the unobservable past. Let me ask you: At what point in the future will we be able to observe, test or falsify how our universe would be created naturalistically? How could such an observation or test be even possible for us? Don’t you see what you have faith in? That one day we will be able to observe the beginning our own universe in order to test it and discover it’s cause. This is rational?

    Again, I believe that one day we might be able to discover the origin of the Universe. However, if there is one area where science will fail utterly to provide an answer, this is it. At the moment I think the latter outcome may actually be more likely.

    However, none of this is a reaosn to believe in your guess. On one hand I have science, which in this case is ignorance; I don’t know the Universe began, and neither does any scientist living today. On the other hand I have…what? A myth? A fanciful story? Is it even right to call your ‘explanation’ an explanation, when it barely serves to explain anything? When you can only justify your fanciful story above all others by falling back on personal preference and (apparently) nothing more? Apparently, I have a choice been ignorance that may be temporary and ignorance that is doomed to last forever.

    The problem with this has already been explained, everytime we test something at one particular instant of time and place, we assume the events who hold true for every single time and place. Every time we make a scientific conclusion about a particular phenomena we are assuming that nature is uniform because we can’t test that same phenomena every where and every time.

    Also, I agree with you that all of our sense experience tells us that nature if uniform. I agree with you. However, the uniformity of nature as a universal, constant law is inherently an assumption. One that we must depend upon, and one that atheism cannot explain their belief in.

    Yes, I’m aware that uniformity is an assumption. Mainly because…well, I said it was an assumption. I also fully agree that nobody can explain nature’s apparent uniformity (remember, your fanciful story, one of dozens, doesn’t count).

    You are again assuming that no empirical evidence for God has been discovered.

    Well, I’ve never seen any. Do you have any? I’d be awfully interested in seeing it.

    Really? Is that what I’m doing? You admitting that you have no explanation for the uniformity of nature and yet I do, and I’M the one making a wild guess. Come again?

    When your ‘explanation’ is a wild guess, swimming in a sea of wild guesses, then you’re making wild guesses. So far you’ve done nothing to convince me that your fanciful story is worth taking seriously. The failure of science to explain the origins of the Universe does not immediately make your story correct; this is the central fallacy of Creationism, and you seem to have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.


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