Posted tagged ‘Discussion’

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.