Saturday, October 31, 2009

Arguments against God - 5

The last and final argument from Ron the realist is, "There's no good physical evidence for god's existence." Well, what if God is not physical as descried in the bible (John 4:24, Acts 17:24)? Ron's problem is that he is not able to follow the evidence wherever it leads. He rejects the possibility of the supernatural a priori, because his mind is made up that only the natural world exists.

If the supernatural exists, which Ron denies, then he is in no position to find the answer to truth, because of his flat out denial of the supernatural. It is interesting that the bible describes that God can be discovered through natural revelation (Psalm 19:1-2, Romans 1:20). And, if this God, who is a spirit, exist, then it is perfectly logical to explain how the created order came to be.

We know the universe started with a big bang, but it would be impossible for the created order to come from nothing. Things don't just pop into existence. God is described as an eternal, non-material being. It is therefore, logical to believe that the universe is the product of this uncaused causer of all. Until someone is willing to forgo preconceived assumptions, like Ron's belief that the physical is all their is, then they will never be able to consider all the possible evidence in order to arrive at the best conclusion. Ron and other naturalist simply do not want the truth, because as the famous movie line goes, they "can't handle the truth."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Arguments against God - 4

The fourth argument against God, by Ron the realist is listed as follows, "Religions never make testable claims about god."* He further states, "Every scientific claim is made specifically to be disproved, so that the right answer can be deduced logically." Ron makes two separate claims that I would like to address.

Claim number one is a popular claim concerning religion. Many today say that Christianity or any religious claims are invalid a priori because it does not fit within the realm of testable science. For the record not all scientific claims are testable. For example, Darwinian evolution is itself non-testable. I am not inferring that evolution does not not take place, for we have evidence of evolutionary changes through genetic manipulation. There is also evidence of evolution within the fossil record (look at horses as an example). What I'm discounting as a testable claim deals with the big picture of Darwin's view, that all life has started as a single celled organism. How is this big picture of Darwin's view of biological evolution ever going to be tested? The biggest problem with Darwin's view is how did life suddenly appear from non-life. This view of spontaneous generation has been tested already and found wanting.

The second point is that science makes claims that can be proven or not proven and that logic can be used to determine truth. Well, it seems to me Ron wants to have his cake and eat it too. How do you test logic empirically? One of the big assumptions of some naturalistic thinkers is that if the scientific method cannot be used then the claim itself cannot be tested and should not count on how we obtain knowledge. What about the scientific method? The scientific method cannot even stand up to its own scrutiny. The scientific method itself is not testable.

What needs to take place is an examination of all the evidence and to argue for the position that best fits the evidence and matches up with what we know to be true. You are aiming at truth here, not what can only be explained from a naturalistic standpoint. Intelligent design is not considered today, because the claim is made that it cannot be tested. The naturalist rejects any supernaturalism from the get go and this hinders their ability to find the best explanation. Any investigation should revolve around the best evidence and not be blocked by any assumptions, such as only naturalistic explanations are acceptable.

Today, as we discover more and more about the universe, the picture is becoming more clear that the universe springing into existence by chance is just not a viable option. If Ron or others are not willing to accept the argument that best explains reality, I say they are fighting a battle with both arms tied behind their back. It is like arguing from a position that you have already accepted as true and at the same time you are never willing to follow the evidence where it leads. This is exactly what is wrong from a naturalist perspective.

* Houston Chronicle, Belief section, June 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Arguments against God - 3

The third argument against God from, Ron the realist, revolves around "religious inheritance." The argument basically states that if someone grows up in a Catholic family, they will most probably gravitate toward the Catholic faith or if someone grows up Buddist, they will in fact accept Buddism as a worldview.

Ron is absolutly correct in his statement, but once again this is no argument. If this logic is followed through then an individual who grows up in an atheistic home will most likely turn out to be atheist, but again this does not argue for one's worldview. The real question that needs to be addressed by Ron is which view best corresponds to truth or which worldview has the best expanitory power. Ron has basically put forth three statements as opposed to arguments that support his belief that God does not exist.

* Houston Chronicle, Belief section, June 26, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arguments against God - 2

Continuing with the top five arguments against God, Ron the realist offers this second jewel: "Inconsistencies with religions. The only consistent claim is that they are all the one truth." While it is true that Christianity is offered as the truth (see John 14:6), not all religious claims are the same. Some worldviews posit that truth cannot be know or that there are multiple truths. Christianity's truth claim was made by Jesus (John 14:6) and his followers (Acts 4:12). The truth claims of Christianity primarily deal with the path of salvation, in that, salvation is only found in the person of Jesus Christ.

What Ron fails to realize is that Christianity or any worldview can be tested to see if the claims that are put forth match with reality, or they don't. Those views that do not correspond with reality can be discounted as false views. His second great argument turns out to be no argument whatsoever. In fact, his argument contradicts his own view. He is trying to argue that you can't claim exclusive truth, when the heading of his article is, "The top five reasons to believe that God does not exist." In other words, Ron is making a truth claim himself while implying in his second argument that no truth claims can be made.

Ron's second argument turns out to be self-refuting and does nothing to help his cause. So far, Ron's first two arguments are no arguments at all and no valid reason has been given to show the non-existence of God. That's two pitches and two strikes Ron. It makes me wonder if Ron is being truthful in calling himself the realist?

* Houston Chronicle, Belief section, June 26, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Arguments against God - 1

In the June, 2009 Belief section of the Houston Chronicle, Ron the realist gives 5 reason why someone should not believe in God. His first reason is, "the steady increasing naturalistic explanations," which use to be attributed to supernaturalism, such as lightning and the rising of the sun. Let's think about this; does this prove that God does not exist? Absolutely not, for any one can see that this is not even close to an argument. It seems to me Ron should change his name to "Ron the worshiper of naturalism without a clue of how to present an intelligent argument against the Creator of the universe."

There is great evidence of design in the universe today. In fact, I would say that science is doing more to support the case that the universe is the product of a Designer, than the contrary. Ron's view is that science will answer all questions, but this in itself is not an argument. This "science of the gaps" view does nothing to argue against the existence of God. Science, today is actually revealing more of how the universe was designed, as opposed to contradicting the existence of God. The design evidence for the existence of God is so powerful today that one the the most prominent atheist (Anthony Flew) converted to Theism (belief in God) due to the scientific evidence alone. The bottom line is that Ron's first argument against God is actually not an argument at all, but special pleading.

* Houston Chronicle, Belief section, June 26, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bart's blunder

Recently, I listened to a debate between Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Bart Ehrman. The debate took place a few years ago and revolved around the question, "Did Jesus rise from the dead?" Craig took the affirmative position while Ehrman the negative position. Ehrman's big hang up with the resurrection dealt with the fact that miracles are out of the question. He pointed out that any natural explanation should be considered over the supernatural explanation, because the supernatural explanation is always the least probable. Ehrman seemed to reject the possibility of miracles a priori.

Ehrman's rejection of miracles is somewhat like David Hume's argument, in that, miracles should never be believed unless 100% certainty could be given. For the record, 100% certainty is rarely needed in today's culture. Craig, on the other hand, was interested in what best explained the evidence of the empty tomb.

The debate was spirited, but I did notice one thing about Ehrman's presentation during the debate. Ehrman never explained what we are to do with the empty tomb until his closing comment, and he only did this for a minute. Most of Ehrman's effort was to question the biblical documents, without addressing the best explanation for the empty tomb. When Ehrman did finally put forth a theory for the missing body of Jesus, it was a view that has been repudiated already. Ehrman put forth the story that the body of Jesus was put in a common burial site and decayed rapidly. This would explain the empty tomb. Some of the followers of Jesus later had hallucinations of seeing Jesus, and presto, you have the beginning of Christianity.

This ludicrous view has been debunked time and time again, but Ehrman's big blunder was that he never presented his view until the very end. Ehrman's main offensive was to attack the documents of the past in order to show that they can't be trusted. His other big offensive was the denial of any supernatural explanation. While Ehrman was very good and passionate in the debate, he did nothing of substance to help his cause. Craig was able to give solid points in order to show that the best explanation for the empty grave and start of Christianity was most likely that Jesus rose supernaturally from the grave.

You can listen to the debate here:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The burden of proof

A new article* by Gary Habermas highlights the hypocrisy of a group referred to as the new atheist. The new athiest are called so because of their almost evangelistic passion for the atheist worldview. Some of the major players in the movement include: Christopher Hitchens, who wrote a book called "God is not great," Richard Dawkins, who penned "The God delusion" and Sam Harris who's book is called "Letter to a Christian nation." Although, I have not read the books, Habermas does an excellent job of critiquing the books of Harris and Hitchens (see link below).

I have noticed a common thread that runs through every person who calls himself an atheist, the arguments for the atheist worldview simply do not exist. Harris tries to dodge the fact of the atheist worldview by saying that atheism is a non-worldview because it denies the existence of God, but as Habermas points out, "The truth is that all views have an agenda, atheism included," and that is exactly the point. Atheism has strong views, especially the new atheist', as to how thing are in the world, but there is a void of any explanation or argumentation as to why atheism should be accepted as the best explanation.

This brings me to the central point of the new or old atheist. If you are willing to tell the world how things really are, especially with the passion of the new atheist, then you better be ready to defend your view. The fact of the matter is, the atheist' has nothing of substance, as far as arguments go, to hang his hat on. Again, if you want to tell other how this universe works, you better be ready to give specific evidence to that means. Pete Townsend, of "The Who," once wrote, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," and like the lyrics of Townsend, the new atheist offers no evidence as to why anyone should accept the atheistic worldview. If the new atheist wants to be taken seriously, then they must assume the burden of proof as the Christian apologist does for the Christian worldview.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

What kind of God?

People's idea of God is many times hindered by their own creation of who God can be. For example, Bart Ehrman, who is the head of the religious department of the University of North Carolina and a skeptic can't fathom how Jesus could be raised from the dead. According to him, dead people don't rise, so therefore miracles are out of the question. In other words, only naturalistic explanations will suffice. He is following in the same path of the philosopher David Hume, who himself would not concede that miracles are even possible.

C.S. Lewis once commented on an individual that stated, "I can believe in a God all right, but what I can not swallow is the idea of Him attending to several hundred million human beings who are all addressing Him at the same moment."* To be honest, I can't fathom that either,If I could, God wouldn't be God, would He?

We live in a time today where more and more individuals craft their own God in their image. For the atheist, their God is the natural world, because how could the supernatural exist? For many who call themselves Christian, their God is sometimes crafted according to their own personal beliefs. If you don't like Hell, well then the God of Pluralism is for you. If you like to promote abortion or homosexuality and still call yourself a Christian, then the God of this world is for you (John 8:42-47). So the question becomes, what kind of God do you serve?

* C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Ch. 3, P. 145