Debate: The God of the Bible is true and every other way of thinking is false. Let me prove it.

Ok, I must be in a debating mood.  This is the first official debate being held on the highplainsparson blog.  If you disagree with me, I want to hear from you.  Let’s be friendly but take it seriously.  And let’s be rational.  Here it goes.

Argument:  God is the true God.  Not just any god or religion is true, but the God of Christianity, the God who gave us the 66 books of Scripture.  Every other philosophy, system of thought, worldview, or religion is false.  This can be demonstrated without much trouble.

For the purpose of this debate, I will use the Transcendental Argument for God (TAG)–The proof for the God of the Bible, is the impossibility of the contrary.

In other words, God as revealed in Scripture is the only principle that can accurately account for the world as we know it.  Let’s debate.  I want to hear from you.  If you disagree, why and how?  I will do my best to respond and refute all competing claims.  I’ll let you go first.

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Categories: Apologetics | Tags: , , , , , | 62 Comments

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62 thoughts on “Debate: The God of the Bible is true and every other way of thinking is false. Let me prove it.

  1. I agree! Oops, was I not supposed to?

    • It looks like the atheists are scared, or maybe they’re intimidated. Or maybe they are having conferences trying to come up with a reasonable response!

      You may (literally) play devil’s advocate, if you are so inclined.

  2. I tried to come up with some arguement for your point just to have a little fun but I can’t think of one plausuble contradiction that I could honestly or even dishonestly defend.

  3. I’ll play devil’s advocate for a while.

    Why do we need the Christian God to explain the world? The world seems to get on just fine without him.

    • The world is not getting on fine without him. The world is getting on fine because he’s governing and sustaining it every moment! But for starters, can you give me example of what you mean when you say that the world is getting on fine?

  4. There is no evidence that God exists and has anything to do with sustaining the world. Therefore, until further evidence arises, I will conclude that, as far as we can tell, the universe is getting on fine without God.

    • The evidence for the God of Scripture is the impossibility of the contrary. In order for me to demonstrate this, we’ll have to pick a topic on which to start the discussion. So far, we haven’t begun to get into the evidence. I’ve made assertions, and you’ve made assertions. In order to move forward, can you please give me a specific example of how the universe is “getting on fine?”

  5. OK, how about time? Time is one part of the universe, and it seems to be going along fine, and I see no evidence that God has anything to do with it.

  6. I’ll put forward an example. The bodies (stars, planets, moons) in motion in the galaxies that we can observe operate according to fixed laws (especially the law of gravity,) resulting in predictable and recurring orbits of the lesser bodies around the greater bodies. There is a resulting order and harmony to the motion of these celestial bodies. The Bible explains that God has fixed the movements of these celestial bodies, and that they operate according to his command. Based on this testimony of Scripture, we may understand that God has created the law of gravity, and this is one of the means by which he governs the universe. Because God governs the universe by it, it is uniform in its operation and universal in its application. You can’t get away from gravity and it never changes. The Bible explains this, as I’ve noted.

    Now, I would like to ask if you can explain the laws of gravity based on your philosophy or worldview. How would you account for the law of gravity, in your system of thinking? I have given an account for it. Can you?

  7. Ultimately, we must come down to something that is simply “brute fact”–the way things really are ultimately. Even if we have an infinite regress of causes for things, ultimately that infinite regress itself would be an ultimate “brute fact.”

    I see no reason to think the laws of physics, such as the law of gravity, cannot be simply a brute fact about reality. I see no need to bring in a God to explain it–a God who will simply be yet another brute fact that one might try to explain.

    Since we both must appeal to some brute fact, why not just start with what we know (the universe) instead of bringing in something we have no evidence for (a Creator), when that something would be just as much a brute fact as that which he is brought in to explain? It doesn’t help anything, and so is an unnecessary hypothesis.

  8. Thank you for putting forward your example. I didn’t see this before I posted my last comment.

    Time: the Bible explains time as a dimension within the universe that God created. He created time, and it is under his control. All of time is present to him, always.

    Psalm 31:15a My times are in thy hand:

    Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. 3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. 4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

    2 Peter 3:8b one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    Therefore, time is defined as a condition, dimension, or constraint under which the universe operates. God the Creator, according to his testimony in the Bible, is quite independent of it. It’s origin is explained in that he created it. Its purpose is that he may show his glory in unfolding his will through the human experience of the sweep of time.

    Now, your turn. Can you explain time? What is it? Where does it come from? What is its purpose?

  9. I would say that time just may be a brute fact of how the universe operates. It is inextricably linked with space (as Einstein discovered) and is just a part of the physical universe.

    Might time and gravity be produced by something else that is beyond the physical universe? Perhaps. But I see no need for that hypothesis, for reasons I stated in my last post.

    I might also throw in some question about how an entity beyond space and time could actually affect space and time. If God is beyond time, then time is not a part of his experience. If that is so, then he could not act, for to act requires that one exist in time (one must have a before, and now, and an after). If he could not act, he could not create anything. If God is outside of space, then he is not physical. If he is not physical, then he could not exert physical force, it would seem, to create something physical. So I find the very idea of a being beyond space and time creating the universe to be suspect. But my main argument is that there is simply no evidence that there is such a being or that he made the univese–since God would be just as much a brute fact as the universe and so doesn’t really explain anything.

  10. A few questions:

    What is a “brute fact”? –please define

    How many brute facts are there?

    Can you please list them?

    Can you please provide an overall philosophy or system of thought which allows for the existence of “brute facts?”

    Does the law of gravity exist? If so, is it material or non-material?

  11. What is a “brute fact”? –please define: A brute fact is a fact that has no further explanation.

    How many brute facts are there?: I don’t know. Do you?

    Can you please list them?: No.

    Can you please provide an overall philosophy or system of thought which allows for the existence of “brute facts?”: Any philosophy or system of thought had better allow for them, or it won’t work very well, since there has to be some ultimate state of reality (again, this is true even if the ultimate state of reality is an infinite series of causes and effects).

    Does the law of gravity exist? If so, is it material or non-material?: Yes, it exists. It is a characteristic of the material world. Asking if it is material is sort of like asking if “redness” is material or immaterial. It is neither, because it is not an object. It is rather a characteristic of some material objects. Likewise, the law of gravity is simply a description of how matter tends to act.

    • “How many brute facts are there?: I don’t know. Do you?” Yes, there is one “brute fact”: God.

      “Can you please list them?: No.” But I can, as shown above.

      “Can you please provide an overall philosophy or system of thought which allows for the existence of “brute facts?”: Any philosophy or system of thought had better allow for them, or it won’t work very well, since there has to be some ultimate state of reality (again, this is true even if the ultimate state of reality is an infinite series of causes and effects).” This is dodging the question. I’ll have to take it as an admission that you can’t explain or account anything in the universe, including your definition of “brute facts”, which you can’t list or number.

      “Does the law of gravity exist? If so, is it material or non-material?: Yes, it exists. It is a characteristic of the material world.” “Likewise, the law of gravity is simply a description of how matter tends to act.”

      Is it a universal?

      “Asking if it is material is sort of like asking if “redness” is material or immaterial. It is neither, because it is not an object.”

      It can’t be neither, if the law of non-contradiction holds. It cannot be neither A or non-A, if it in fact exists asyou said it does.

      I would like to point out, that your worldview, whatever it is (because you didn’t answer that question), is not able to account for, to explain or understand very basic and fundamental things about the universe in which we live. The Bible can, and does. Whatever philosophy or worldview you try, you will not be able to understand these things in any coherent way. Only by embracing Christianity will you be able to make sense out of the universe in which we live. That’s because God is the true God. He made the universe. He made you. And every contradictory claim is a lie.

  12. ” Yes, there is one “brute fact”: God.”

    But you have as of yet provided no evidence for this claim.

    “This is dodging the question. I’ll have to take it as an admission that you can’t explain or account anything in the universe, including your definition of “brute facts”, which you can’t list or number.”

    The fact that I don’t know how many “brute facts” there might be in reality is not an argument against my point of view. Why should I know that? There is no more reason why I should know that than that I should know how many grains of sand there are in the world. Knowing everything is not a requirement for having a reliable worldview.

    I wasn’t dodging your questions. I just pointed out that any philosophy that is valid will have to account for brute facts. So here is my “philosophy”: agnostic naturalism. It is this: I claim to have probable knowledge of the existence of the natural (material) world, but I claim there currently insufficient available evidence to claim to know that there is anything beyond it. I can account for brute facts in this way: Realty must have brute facts. Those brute facts just might be the universe itself and its laws. Or they might be gods or a God. Since there is no reason to think that a God is necessary to explain the universe, since there is no reason to think it cannot itself be a brute fact, there is no reason to believe in God, and so we shouldn’t. We should instead believe only in the material world, thinking that it might just be the brute reality of the universe, while acknowledging the possibility that there is something beyond it (though, if so, we know not what, nor have we seen any evidence of such a thing to date).

    “Is it a universal?”

    Gravity seems to be a universal of matter, at least in our known universe, so far as we can tell.

    “It can’t be neither, if the law of non-contradiction holds. It cannot be neither A or non-A, if it in fact exists asyou said it does.”

    It can be neither if the categories don’t apply. If you ask me, “Is the color green loud or quiet?”, I am going to say “neither.” We can only talk about objects being material or non-material (though what in the world would a non-material object be anyway?–I have no concept in my mind for such a thing). The law of gravity is not an object; it is a description of what objects do. Is “redness” material or immaterial? It is a bad question, because redness is not an object. It is a characteristic of objects.

    So far, I think my agnostic naturalistic worldview is winning this debate. We both have brute facts. I say the world itself and its laws might be brute facts; you say God is the only brute fact. You have given me no reason whatsoever why the universe itself cannot be a brute fact, and therefore no reason whatsoever to need God to explain anything. Therefore, the contest is now between two brute facts (roughly speaking)–one that we have evidence for, and one that we don’t. I’m going with what we know, and I will believe in that which we don’t know only when sufficient evidence has been presented for it.

    • I have provided evidence. Perhaps it’s not of the same sort that you are used to working with in empirical science. If it can be demonstrated that a certain presupposition accounts for all facts perfectly, to the exclusion of others, that presupposition is validated. I have submitted evidence that the things we observe and experience in the universe are able to be understood and accounted for based on the presupposition that the God of the Bible is the true God.

      The weakness of your professed worldview (although I know you are playing devil’s advocate,) is that it is stunted due to its slavish adherence to natural observation. The Christian worldview allows me to know things that you do not know yet cannot contradict based on your impoverished epistemology. Even more than that, it does not even allow for a consistent framework of natural observation. You say that there are “brute facts” which are necessary to be known to know other things, in themselves not derived from prior principles. Yet you cannot tell me what they are and how many there are, as with the “sand of the beach.” One problem this presents is that there is a potentially unlimited number of “brute facts” in your worldview. Based on this assumption, if there are “brute facts” but you cannot know them all, you cannot really know anything. If there are first principles of the universe upon which everything is based and functions, but you cannot enumerate them, then you can’t really understand anything at all in the context of its purpose, function, and origin in the universe. That’s quite an impoverished system of thought, in that it does not allow you to know very much. A reasonable person would favor instead a worldview which is able to explain and account for all things over one which cannot account for anything. The purpose of science is to increase knowledge, not to put artificial limits on what may be known.

      You said that the law of gravity seems to apply universally, but (contradicting your statement that it “exists”) it is merely a characteristic of objects. Well, I have a surprise for you. I have two physical objects in my possession which do not have the characteristic of gravity. I call them, zero-gravatons. They are invisible, so I can’t show photos of them to you. But if you come over, I’ll let you touch them. So, what do you think? Are you making airline reservations yet?

  13. Alright, first you said that you will be using the TAG (Transcendental Argument), and did not provide the argument itself, as there are a few generic variations of TAG or perhaps you are modifying it. Either way, you have not provided an argument for: A) The necessary existence for any god(s), that god is an axiom (or a brute fact). B) Why the Christian God, as the TAG only allows for the conclusion there is a god, but does not distinguish which god, so above the TAG you’d have not given any reason as to why it is the Christian God, and not Allah or a Flying Spaghetti Monster (for example).
    That being said, I shall jump to the last post. You indeed are presupposing the Bible is true, in fact you presuppose this to the extent that you are being incredulous. Science is not the pursuit of personal feelings, you seem to be making the claim that the Bible is the only source that accounts for all statements of science and fact, ignoring any other ‘World Views’ that also claim to account for the same phenomenon, certainly Mark’s ‘Devil’s Advocate’ has given an alternate view that does not validate the Bible nor the necessary need for a god.
    You claim to know things beyond natural observation and epistemology, well give us an example of a irrefutable statement of knowledge that is known to you and not a statement of natural observation or knowledge, and yet can be demonstrated to be true. You also mischaracterize the unknown quantity of ‘brute facts’, it was not said that there are an infinite number, Mark simply said, “I do not know” not that it was an absurd quantity, or even if we can make statements of absolutes. Until all things can be known by one mind, no mind can know the whole of knowledge to answer that question.
    If you have such an object as ‘zero-graviton’, you would have nothing at all as you have identified such a substance as being gravity and not gravity. But since we want to play thought experiments and ‘other worlds’ games; Can you imagine in all possible worlds that there can exist of a universe that has no god?

    • The only version of TAG that I am familiar with, and that which I am using, is the one I’ve stated several times. “The truth of the God of the Bible is proven by the impossibility of the contrary.” That is the transcendental argument for God.

      “Allah” is the Arabic word meaning, “God.” It is used of Arabic-speakers for the Christian God, or alternatively for the Islamic God (since the 7th century.) So you have to be specific which you mean. Rest assured, I am equipped to disprove any competing claims of gods other than the God of the Bible. It just so happens that no other gods (properly understood) have been put forward in the discussion at this point.

      TAG is in fact a presuppositional argument. The God of Scripture perfectly accounts for the universe as we know and observe it, and nothing else can. This God is the necessary presupposition for everything, including knowledge itself. Without the God of the Bible, nothing is possible: not knowledge, laws of physics, logic, etc.

      Mark said that “brute facts” could be multiple without causing a problem, as many as the sand at the beach. I replied that without even being able to quantify how many there are, there is no way of making sense of anything, or of knowing anything in the universe.

      “Can you imagine in all possible worlds that there can exist of a universe that has no god?” No, it is utterly and demonstrably impossible for anything to exist without the God of Scripture.

      “Until all things can be known by one mind, no mind can know the whole of knowledge to answer that question.”

      You’re stumbling on something here. True knowledge is indeed possible, because, and only because, there is One Mind that knows all things, the mind of God, and he has communicated to us in the Bible. In this way he has given us the “big picture” framework in which to understand everything, (even though the Bible does not tell us everything about everything, like your example of Newton’s discoveries, it gives us the framework and worldview in which to comprehend it.)

      “Science is not the pursuit of personal feelings,”

      Indeed, it is not. My arguments are not about feelings at all. They are about true science.

      “you seem to be making the claim that the Bible is the only source that accounts for all statements of science and fact, ignoring any other ‘World Views’ that also claim to account for the same phenomenon,”

      Not ignoring. Systematically dismantling with logic.

      “certainly Mark’s ‘Devil’s Advocate’ has given an alternate view that does not validate the Bible nor the necessary need for a god.”

      It is another view, but it is not a viable alternative. It is not systematic. It cannot account for basic facts of the universe. It does not give us a reason to expect uniformity in the laws of nature and physics, things that we know intuitively. It cannot even explain how it is possible for us to have this conversation right now by using words in a way that we can both comprehend. If naturalism is true, then we might as well stop having this discussion because there is no basis for logic or the law of non-contradiction.

      “You claim to know things beyond natural observation and epistemology, well give us an example of a irrefutable statement of knowledge that is known to you and not a statement of natural observation or knowledge, and yet can be demonstrated to be true.”

      The truth of the God of the Bible is proven by the impossibility of the contrary.

  14. I should further clarify the ‘zero-graviton’, if I say I have a particle that I shall call a zero-charge electron, I cannot have an electron.. I perhaps have a neutron, but a neutron is not simply a zero-charge electron, its not an electron at all. You maintain that this ‘zero-graviton’ is in fact a something, then this thing has mass… therefore has gravity. But all we have really identified is an empirically observable, reacting with other matter… so if the Bible already told us about gravity then why did the World have to wait for Newton and only the past 400 years before we knew about it? Also if the Bible claims that gravity is this divine and harmonious force, then certainly it should also explain why God chose to create Black Holes or any other event where gravity is the least harmonious force in nature.

  15. Well I could blindly believe your claim, or I can reserve judgement and remain skeptical of any such objects. In this case simple belief is not sufficient for a personal belief, you would need to provide some sort of demonstration of their existence. Now, I said skeptical, I am suspending a positive or negative belief until sufficient evidence is provided for me to be… a ‘zero-gravitonist’ or ‘anti-zero-gravitonist’. Since I have no proof or knowledge to say they do or do not exist, I must default to say I do not posit a belief in their existence as well.

  16. Suspending belief, eh? So are you booking a flight right now to come and test my objects?

  17. “The truth of the God of the Bible is proven by the impossibility of the contrary.” so your argument is the premises that is also the conclusion?

    “Without the God of the Bible, nothing is possible: not knowledge, laws of physics, logic, etc.” Can you please demonstrate why this is necessarily true? How can you know this, or is this a belief statement you are making seem as if it is irrefutable? Seems like you would be setting up a False Dichotomy excluding any other explanation of ‘first cause’ without providing why (evidence) as to why this is the only option other than.. well your word for it.

    I replied that without even being able to quantify how many there are, there is no way of making sense of anything, or of knowing anything in the universe. I grant that, this is why some epistemological claims state that you can never have actual knowledge, whereas ‘Brute-Truth’ seems to be closely defined as an axiom. And yet TAG operates on the premise that there is such a thing as ‘properly basic knowledge’ that supported by the virtue of itself, ‘god’ has been argued to be such an axiom, but the God of The Bible clearly demonstrates attributes, which by definition that God cannot be properly basic.

    If naturalism is true, then we might as well stop having this discussion because there is no basis for logic or the law of non-contradiction. This is Special Pleading, simply because you can imagine that Logic, and Laws of Logic seem to be coming from a transcendent, external mind, does not mean that it is the case at all.

    To be fair, and in the spirit of a good debate Ill give you the basic rundown of the TAG:
    P1. There are some objective logical absolutes.
    P2. We have concepts of these logical absolutes.
    P3. Logical Absolutes are not physical
    P4. If not physical, Logical Absolutes are conceptual
    P5. Concepts require a mind
    P6. Since Logical Absolutes are true everywhere, they must exist in an infinite mind.
    P7. That infinite mind is God.
    C1. Therefore, God exists
    or
    P1 Logic is Rational, but atheism presupposes everything is material
    2 Logic is not material, so atheism lacks any source for objective logic
    3 Without a source for logic, atheism cannot employ logic.
    C Therefore, Atheism is self refuting
    P4 Since Atheism is self refuting, theism must be true.
    C2. Therefore god exists.

    There is also a far longer TAG on CARM.org

    • ‘“Without the God of the Bible, nothing is possible: not knowledge, laws of physics, logic, etc.” Can you please demonstrate why this is necessarily true?’

      I am in the process of doing so when it comes to Mark’s devil’s advocacy of agnostic naturalism. Each system of thought fails at different points, so the task of the one making the TAG is to logically dismantle them one by one as they are presented to him. On the other hand I have begun to demonstrate from the Bible, that it does accurately account for all the facts of the universe, unlike anything else.

      “I replied that without even being able to quantify how many there are, there is no way of making sense of anything, or of knowing anything in the universe. I grant that, this is why some epistemological claims state that you can never have actual knowledge,”

      Now we’re getting somewhere. You have just admitted that true knowledge is not possible with the type of agnostic naturalism that Mark put forward. I have demonstrated that true knowledge is possible based on the presupposition of the God of the Bible. But knowledge does exist. We know this intuitively. Agnostic naturalism cannot be the basis of it, but the Bible is. Is this the point where I put down agnostic naturalism and say, “Who’s next?!”

      What you have represented are just of an infinite number of ways to argue the TAG. The subject of TAG can be the laws of logic, or rationality, or literally anything, because everything proves God, and nothing could exist without him. That is why I will sometimes let the one I’m debating choose the starting topic or subject, and go from there. TAG works from any topic in the universe. But the essence of it is this: The truth of the God of Scripture is proven by the impossibility of the contrary. That is the claim of TAG. The method of argumentation is quite flexible. The only essential thing to keep in the method of TAG is that the God of Scripture must be proven presuppositionally, and not as a conclusion to which one builds through the accumulation positive evidence. If you do that, it’s not TAG.

  18. Ah, I think I understand your argument. You presuppose God, specifically that of the Bible. I reiterate a previous statement
    “The truth of the God of the Bible is proven by the impossibility of the contrary.” so your argument is the premises that is also the conclusion?
    This argument is invalid, is is completely circular, I do not accept the argument as a properly basic statement. If I were to say “Unicorns are real because I presuppose the existence of unicorns” does not mean that unicorns do exist, nor does it give any particular reason as to why anyone should accept the presupposition.
    Consider: The truth of X is proven by the impossibility to the contrary.
    Let X be Zeus
    Therefore Zeus is prepositional, and is proven by the impossibility of the contrary because both the Iliad and Odyssey say Zeus is a god. For all of you blasphemers, the Greeks talk about Zeus, the Greeks exist therefore Zeus must also.

    • But the evidence is in the actual demonstration 1. That the universe presupposes God and 2. That all other systems of thought, (Naturalism, Zeus, etc.) are false.

  19. I can also go as far as to counter any argument you make to say: The Iliad and Odyssey are two entire books, where as the God of the Bible is in one, 2>1 therefore Zeus > God of the Bible. I am not trying or intending to offend, I am showing a reductio ad absurdum

  20. ‘evidence is in the actual demonstration 1. That the universe presupposes God’ I do not agree premise and conclusion that the universe presupposes such an entity.

    • Of course the universe presupposes God. He created it. If not for him, it could not exist. I think that I have shown this regarding a few things, like the law of gravity, time, etc. Only he can explain and account for these things. I dare anyone to name one thing that could exist without the God of the Bible.

  21. Challenge accepted: The God of the Bible

  22. Zach said, “Challenge accepted: The God of the Bible”

    I suppose this is in response to my statement, “I dare anyone to name one thing that could exist without the God of the Bible.”

    Well, God exists in and of himself. So, no, God cannot exist without himself.

  23. The problem, Riley (continuing my devil’s advocate point of view), is that you still have not presented any actual evidence for the Christian God. Your claimed evidence is that only God can account for the universe, but you haven’t shown that by ruling out all other possibilities.

    I have put forward one such other possibility: the space-time universe itself, with all its laws, is the ultimate reality, the ultimate brute fact. I can see no reason why this cannot be so. I admit that I do not know with certainty that it IS so, but I can see no reason why it CAN’T be so, and so it remains on the table as a possibility. As long as it remains thus on the table, you cannot claim to have shown the impossibility of the contrary and thus that God is the only possibility.

    You complain that agnostic naturalism (we’ll call it AN for short from now on) doesn’t give any knowledge. This is not true, but let’s say for a moment that it WAS true. This is not an argument against it. Perhaps we have no knowledge. Why is that not a possibility worth considering?

    You will probably respond by saying that we know intuitively that we do have knowledge. And I agree. How do you know you have knowledge? Well, for example, you can see that you exist, because you can perceive your own thinking, following Descartes’s line of reasoning: “I think, therefore I am.” I agree that this is valid. The fact that something exists, and the fact that I exist, are known to me with certainty as self-evident facts. I can know with probability (but not certainty) that you and other people and an external world exists, on the grounds that it looks like they exist and I see no reason to doubt it. All of this can be known directly, and we need not appeal to any God to know these things. They are self-evident, or inferred by reasonable probability. They very well may be simply brute facts. I see no reason, and you have presented no reason, why we need to posit God to explain them. As I said earlier, if God exists, he would just be another brute fact. Again, why can’t the universe itself with all that it contains be the ultimate brute fact instead of God? I see no reason why it can’t fill that role, and so I see no need for God.

    You said that if I don’t know how many brute facts there are, I can’t know anything. This is not the case, because I can know something with self-evidence and other things with reasonable probability, as I’ve shown. And, again, no need to refer to God to do this that I can see.

    In short, I posit that the universe and all it is and contains could be the ultimate brute reality. You posit God as the ultimate brute reality. But you have now shown why the universe cannot be that reality, and until you do, you have not shown the impossibility of the contrary.

  24. That is, “But you have not shown . . .”

  25. Granted that you are playing the devil’s advocate… but have you ever considered playing on my side more often!? lol

  26. I’m glad you like my Agnostic argumens, Zach. 🙂

  27. Mark, I’m responding now after a hiatus, when I was on vacation. 🙂

    As to why it is impossible that the universe which exists and all its laws can be the ultimate, self-existent reality (which I think is a form of pantheism, not naturalism) this would violate the laws of the universe, namely the law of causality. In our universe, every effect must have a cause, and so the universe as we know it, which is governed by this law, cannot itself be uncaused.

    Secondly, your assertion that you may have “knowledge” as a first principle apart from a consistently theistic worldview does not hold water. You cannot rule out the possibility that what you “know” is merely a figure of your own subjective imagination, as Kant and others have shown. Therefore, your worldview does not permit you to know whether true knowledge is even possible, simply based on your self-perception.

    Knowledge is only possible in reference to the omniscient God who has communicated to us in creation and in the Bible. Because we are created to think his thoughts after him, there can be absolute truth, true knowledge, and we can understand how we fit into life in this universe which he created.

  28. Nicole

    I think the reason atheists aren’t taking you up on your offer of debate is not because they’re afraid of your arguments, but because they know the futility of such an action. I know that literally nothing you can say can convince me that god as he is described in the bible exists, and that literally nothing I can say will convince you that he doesn’t.

    And maybe it’s just me being a grad student, but I have neither the time nor the energy to engage in fruitless fights.

    • Nicole, I’m glad you read some of my blog, even if you think it would be fruitless to engage. You are welcome to comment anytime.

      Let me ask you a serious question. If it could be logically demonstrated that atheism is irrational, but that biblical Christianity is rational, would that conversation be of interest to you?

      • BRC

        It would be grandly entertaining to watch you try and make that case. Faith is be definition belief in the absence of evidence or reason. It required the suspension of reasoned thought and acceptance of that which should be untrue. So how can you possibly make that the more rational option.

        Also, a note on a post you made above- I wouldn’t use “time as an example”. Time isn’t a real thing, nobody created it because it doesn’t exist. Time is an abstract concept put in place by humans so we could catalog and monitor the events around us. The closest thing the universe has to time is decay (in fact the actual unit of measure of a second is derived from observing the radiological decay of cesium), which is by its very nature irreversible.

      • I’m supposing that you did not get your definition of faith from a Christian. Christianity is a reasonable and rational faith based on the evidence of God’s own self-revelation.

        You have an interesting view regarding time, but I think its existence is proved by the succession of events. If there were no time, there could be no chronological sequencing. Everything would happen all at once.

      • BRC

        Correct, that is the definition of the word faith as pulled form a dictionary, I did not ask for anyone’s personal opinion of faith. And your description of time is wholey innacurate. A measurement does not affect a thing, it observes it. If I said we didn’t have distance, the universe would not compress to a single point, there would still be space between two things, we just wouldn’t know what to call it. The universe moves, acts, changes, and decays at the speeds governed by the physical laws and chemical properties of the objects and materials within it. Saying that an hour is an hour, is NOT what makes an hour pass, its just how we measure it.

        And I would still very much like to see how and why the Christian world view is the more rational choice.

      • Read some of the comments on this thread where the rationality of Christianity is explained and other world views are logically debunked.

        So, explain to me why we are having this exchange today and not yesterday.

      • BRC

        As I am an athiest I don’t often find myself looking for Christian blogs. I do frequent CNN’s Religion boards though, saw your site, and figured I would take a look.

        Also, nothing above debunked anything. You make arguments you consider convincing because of your personal bias, and that’s fine, but you have not, by hard evidence or objective logic disproved any other world view, and you certainly haven’t proved the truth of Christian theology.

        I give you a simple question. If there was no “God”, and not just that you hadn’t been told of him (because there are plenty of people in the world who have never heard of “God”) but that the Christian theology really was wrong, would 2 +2 still equal 4? I posit that it would.

  29. Of course 2+2=4, even for atheists, because their minds are created by God, and they live in his world. But what consistent philosophical basis does atheism provide for the statement 2+2=4 to be either universally true or meaningful? In order to make anything out of 2+2=4, or to believe it is true, the atheist is required to selectively borrow from the Christian worldview. Yes, he can do this without having heard of Christianity because he lives in the world created and ruled by the God of Christianity, and he still (though an atheist) bears the marks of having been created in his image.

    • BRC

      That’s not the question I asked. 2+2=4 is not a belief, it’s a factual observation. if I have 1 rock and I find a second rock I have doubled by number of rocks, this is a basic physical principle. If there had never been any “God”, if the universe was not Created by the Christian God, but is in fact the result of gravitational force condensing all matter to the point that the energy became super critical, causing the big band and sending matter hurtling out into what became space- if that is how things came about, would the principle of putting one obeject next to another doubling the number of objects be any less true? If the world WASN’T created teh way Genesis was, wy wouldn’t the world physically work the way we observe it to?

      • You think that 2+2=4. Can you please rationally demonstrate, from an atheist worldview that 1. this is universally true today 2. It will be true tomorrow 3. that it isn’t a figment of your imagination 4. that this principle has meaning which may be communicated to and understood by any rational person. Based on atheism, you can’t. You assume these things are true because you are looking at things according to universal laws. But your naturalism does not provide a philosophical basis for natural laws, like the laws of mathematics or the law of gravity, to exist. Without God, non of these laws can exist.

      • BRC

        Physical laws do not require a philosophical basis. You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) conflate physics, and metaphysics. I don’t need to put an athiest world view filter on why having 2 of something is twice as much as having one of something. The human brain is capable of taking in visual and tactile stimuli (you can say because “God” made it that way but you can’t prove it). If it sees or feels one thing, and then it sees or feels 2 things, it will categorically recognize that the two things was more than the one. There is no necessaity for a divine being in this exchange. There is no theology in physical observations, they are unnecessary. Theology, much like philosophy is an attempt to understand the why, it is unnecessary for the what adn generally for the how (though it does put forward some proposals).

        Still, because you asked. Yes, the demonstrabable universal characteric that now two pieces of mater can occupy the same space at teh same time (proven at a molecular level as this is called fusion, creates and enormous energy discharge and in fact creates a new element from the original atoms) says that when I have one rock in front of me it si just one rock. Today, as tomorrow ad infinatum. The universal characteristic that a single object, cannot occupy two physical positions at the same time (though we can be uncertain of an object’s exact physical position in relation to any number of fereence points) says that when my senses identify a second rock, it is in fact a different rock. Today, tomorrow, and forever there after. I have now shown, through my athiest world view, that when I have one object, adn find another, I have doubled the number of objects, and I have no need for “God” in any of it.

      • BRC

        Sorry, awful typo in there should read “that no two pieces of matter can…”

  30. Are the laws of physics physical or metaphysical?

    You’ve just demonstrated that you don’t have a philosophical basis for the laws of physics. Thank you. You can only accept that they exist, but there is a disconnect between what you know about them and your stated worldview, which is atheism. You cannot explain, or define them based on atheism. In fact, you cannot even give a philosophical basis for the phenomenon we are experiencing right now, that is, communicating in a meaningful way based on language and abstract concepts like the laws of physics, in a logical debate. Atheism doesn’t support any of these things.

    Have you personally observed all matter in the universe? If not, how can you be sure that the laws of mathematics are universal? How can you substantiate, based on atheism, that 2+2=4 will be as true tomorrow as it is today?

    In fact, you cannot substantiate even the existence of such a thing as a true statement (like 2+2=4) from an atheistic worldview. What you claim to observe could be all in your own mind. You see, metaphysics is what gives meaning to the physical that we observe. Without the God of Scripture having created everything for his own purpose, you cannot have any knowledge or meaning in any of human experience.

    • BRC

      “Are the laws of physics physical or metaphysical?”
      They are physical, really REALLY obviously physical. It’s in the name.

      Also of note, atheism isn’t a world view, it is the singular belief that there are no gods. It doesn’t even precluse a belief in the supernatural, it simply means without gods; a – theist. So it isn’t a view that needs to be applied to annything else. The functions of natural laws and the physical properties of the universe are BEST understood by direct observation, how could anything else possibly be better.

      Lastly, I understand how important the concept of “God” is to your beliefs, and I have no desire to change them, but the simple fact is that you have yet to give one single shred of evidence as to why he “must” have done anything. Your reasoning is circular. For the Bible to be completely true, yes the Christian “God” must exist. But there is absolutely nothing that says the Bible is true. In fact, our own knowledge of the physical world and the scientific observations we can make, are in oposition to the Genesis account. So the only way that the bible is true, is if during the course of events “God” went out of his way to specifically bend and break teh physical laws of the universe, laws that you claim the Bible is the only clear way to understand. Now why would that make sense?

  31. So, if the laws of physics are physical, how much do they weigh? Or how much energy is contained in their matter (of these laws)?

    I’m trying to find out whether you have a comprehensive and consistent worldview (that accounts for the observable facts of human life) including the tenet “there is no God”, or whether such a worldview can exist in harmony with such a tenet. So far, it appears that it cannot, because you can’t even give an account of anything in the universe which allows for meaning or knowledge.

    The observation of facts is meaningless without being able to interpret them within the framework of a consistent view of the universe. Since atheism (or, if you prefer, a worldview that consistently includes the tenet of atheism) cannot account for things like the laws of physics and other observable laws, traits, phenomena, and things in the universe, it cannot be true. Universal laws can only exist because there is one mind which has ordered the universe. This mind, this God, has spoken to us in the Bible. Now, doesn’t that make more sense than just saying, “we observe that there are laws of nature but we don’t know why or how”?

    • BRC

      Okay, and with that I think I’m going to call it a day. People in these discussions should never have an expectation of changing the other person’s mind, they should be about making people think, but your responses seem to be intentionally obtuse.

      “So, if the laws of physics are physical, how much do they weigh? Or how much energy is contained in their matter (of these laws)?”

      That is an absurd statement and question. A rule describing the physical interaction between two objexts, or how to types of energy interact (for example heat adn pressure exchanges) describe physical actions and attributes, they are part of the physcial world, observable and measurable. the rules themselves have no pressence or weight, as they are merely descriptions of processes.

      “The observation of facts is meaningless without being able to interpret them within the framework of a consistent view of the universe”

      This is of course patently false. Boiling water is at 212 degrees F at sea level and water is VERY good at transfering thermal energy, methane is explosively combustible, and mercury is toxic in anything higher than extremely small doses of exposure. These are 3 completely observable facts, that have very useful aspects and can be remarkably pertinant, and require absolutely no “larger world view”. Knowledge in and of itself is good. Just because you don’t have all the knowledge in teh universe, doesn’t make what you do have less valid, it simply makes it incomplete. Setting aside that knowledge for something that offers unproven adn unprovable facts is a poor thought exercise.

      “Since atheism cannot account for things like the laws of physics and other observable laws, traits, phenomena, and things in the universe, it cannot be true”

      There is no coherent logic anywhere in this sentence. It is false in every way that a declaritive sentence can be false (oddly enough your paranthetical was quite a good description of how to summarize a non-religious world view by simply saying atheism). What’s more, it is JUST as applicable to your Christian theology. Ready, here’s how. Where in the bible does it describe the functions of the Strong Nuclear Force, teh Weak Nuclear Force, or Electricity and Magnetism. Science is able to observe adn study each of those things, adn is steadily deeloping a better and better understanding of their effects at a subatomic level (I can quite clearly explain EXACTLY electricity and magnetism work). Since that information isn’t in the Bible, by your own strange qualifications, doesn’t that make biblical knowledge incomplete, adn there for untrue?

      We don’t have to agree, and noone needs to change their minds, but when you change the meaning of words, ignore information that is tested, proven, adn widely known, and use false concepts like “philisophical explanations” for physical laws and actions, you are being intellectually dishonest, and the conversation benefits noone. You were wondering why at teh very beginning of all this you weren’t getting any challengers. This is why. Because most of us, after years of having these conversations, have realized that it’s just going to break down. I’m too stubborn to giev up takling to other people, but most other people are smart enough to see that it’s going to lead nowhere.

      • I was attempting to get you to consider intellectually things that people most commonly just take for granted, in order to show you that in a world without God, the things we take for granted would not be possible. If you don’t want to make an attempt to understand my argument, it’s not going to be very helpful to you.

        The laws of physics are either physical (meaning they have mass, energy, or both), or non-physical. Obviously the laws of physics are not physical entities that we can measure in terms of mass or energy. So they are metaphysical. But we never got there because you are trying to insist that the laws themselves are physical. They can’t be physical without mass or energy.

        ‘“The observation of facts is meaningless without being able to interpret them within the framework of a consistent view of the universe”

        This is of course patently false. Boiling water is at 212 degrees F at sea level and water is VERY good at transfering thermal energy, methane is explosively combustible, and mercury is toxic in anything higher than extremely small doses of exposure.’

        These bare observations are not meaningful without some philosophical framework governing our interpretation of them. Again, can you demonstrate based on your worldview that 1. Your claim about boiling water is universal 2. It will not change tomorrow 3. Your explanation of an observed phenomenon can be understood by me as you intend it, based on a common human language and laws of reasoning 4. It is not a figment of your imagination ? Without universal, unchanging laws of physics, laws of human logic, reason, and language, or an objective reference outside of your own mind, your statement above is meaningless. My framework based on the Bible provides for all of these things. You take these things for granted but you cannot substantiate or support them based on your worldview.

        ““Since atheism cannot account for things like the laws of physics and other observable laws, traits, phenomena, and things in the universe, it cannot be true”

        There is no coherent logic anywhere in this sentence. It is false in every way that a declaritive sentence can be false (oddly enough your paranthetical was quite a good description of how to summarize a non-religious world view by simply saying atheism).’

        In that case, will you please demonstrate to me that my statement is false by showing how, from an atheistic worldview, you can substantiate and account for the things I mention above?

        “What’s more, it is JUST as applicable to your Christian theology. Ready, here’s how. Where in the bible does it describe the functions of the Strong Nuclear Force, teh Weak Nuclear Force, or Electricity and Magnetism. Science is able to observe adn study each of those things, adn is steadily deeloping a better and better understanding of their effects at a subatomic level (I can quite clearly explain EXACTLY electricity and magnetism work). Since that information isn’t in the Bible, by your own strange qualifications, doesn’t that make biblical knowledge incomplete, adn there for untrue?”

        The Bible does not tell us everything about everything. God also gave us the book of nature, which is where natural science is useful to explain things. What the Bible does is give us a consistent and workable framework for understanding the things of natural science that we observe in the world around us, including the things you mention. God created the universe in all its complexity, diversity, and harmony. He governs the universe by certain principles and laws that never change, just as he never changes. This accounts for the laws and forces you mention above.

      • you can not describe any thing until you have the LAWS OF LOGIC to do a description and you can not get the LAWS from sensation, So you have to have the LAWS prior, and your atheist worldview does not provide the preconditions.

  32. Nice whitewashing, HighPlainsParson. 🙂 Almost as good as Tom Sawyer’s effort with the fence. Zack and Mark (an agnostic, no less), have done a pretty good job at dismantling you, but I know you won’t admit it, because you can’t – or won’t – see it.

    That said, what TAG (and all other presuppositional arguments) fails to do is account for the actualization of logic, and it fails to understand both the natures of both evidence and knowledge acquisition. Presuppositionalism is rooted in abduction, which Charles Sanders Pierce called, “guessing.”

    The presuppositionalist position is the same thing as a prosecuting attorney saying to the jury in his opening remarks, “The defendant stole $500.00 from the victim’s wallet, and the proof is that the victim stated on this complaint form that the defendant stole $500.00 from his wallet.”

    (The only problem is, the investigating officer apparently didn’t check to see if the $500.00 was still in the wallet.)

    Sure, the victim may have had MORE than $500.00 in his wallet, but that’s irrelevant to the prosecutor’s statement. Get my point? 😉

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