The Rational Road to Becoming a Christian

The Rational Road to Becoming a Christian

1. If I am just the result of mindless forces operating on matter-energy in space-time, then I have no real explanation for why I exist as a person with a mind.

2. But I clearly exist as a person with a mind capable of observing and understanding the material world around me (including my own physical body, which includes my brain), as well as knowing other people who have bodies and minds.

3. Therefore, the first part of point #1 can’t be true.

4. Then how can it be that I exist as a person with a mind that can do what point #2 describes?

5. If there is a reasonable explanation for how this came to be, then I should accept that it’s true.

6. Christianity says that both I as a person with a mind and the universe around me were created by and are continually sustained by an Almighty Personal God. It also says that this God seeks to have a relationship with me. I also have an innate sense that these things are true. But I have been discouraged from considering that these ideas could be true until now.

7. Why shouldn’t I consider that this is true?

8. Having been told by others that I shouldn’t consider this or not wanting to consider it because I may not like the consequences if it’s true are not valid reasons for not considering it. Doing the first means I have given up my freedom to decide for myself. Doing the second makes no sense because, if it’s true that God is real and that He made me, then there are consequences of this, whether I like it or not.

9. So I ought to consider that this is true.

10. If Almighty God exists and if He made me and continually sustains my life and seeks to have a relationship with me, then I should want to have a relationship with Him.

11. If Almighty God could create me and the entire universe, He could certainly reveal Himself to the world in a written form.

12. If the Christian Bible is the only book in which God does this, then it is the most important book of all.

13. Is the Christian Bible the only book that does this?

14. The Christian Bible frequently presents God as revealing Himself, unlike other supposed holy books which don’t claim this.

15. The Christian Bible says that God is both the Almighty King of Kings and that He wants to have a personal relationship with us, unlike Islam’s Qu’ran (which only claims the first is true).

16. This agrees with my innate ideas of who God is (point #6).

17. So it is reasonable to believe that the Bible is God’s Self-revelation or Word and that I should base my life on what it says.

18. The Gospel or “Good News” of the Bible (which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament) is that God, our Eternal Father, sent His Eternal Son, Jesus Christ into the world to save us from our sins and that He sent His Eternal Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us in order to transform us to be like His Son so that we will be worthy to dwell with Him forever in Heaven.

 

Bottom-line: That all of this is true won’t make anyone consider and accept it. Each of us must be willing to do so. But everyone should be and is therefore culpable before God for refusing to do so. (New Testament Book of Romans, chapter 1, verses 18-20)

 

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115 thoughts on “The Rational Road to Becoming a Christian

  1. “1. If I am just the result of mindless forces operating on matter-energy in space-time, then I have no real explanation for why I exist as a person with a mind.”

    This is already flawed. You’re assuming that we don’t have an explanation for why we exist, when we clearly do, considering our extensive knowledge about evolution, and how we’re working on unravelling the mysteries of our consciousness.

    “2. But I clearly exist as a person with a mind capable of observing and understanding the material world around me (including my own physical body, which includes my brain), as well as knowing other people who have bodies and minds.”

    I don’t understand the “but” at the beginning of this. The “but” would imply that this premise somehow stands in conflict with premise 1, but it doesn’t. Premise 1 talks about whether we have an explanation for WHY we exist, while premise 2 talks about the fact that we clearly do exist. They are dealing with entirely different questions. One is “Do we exist?”, the other is “Why do we exist?”.

    “3. Therefore, the first part of point #1 can’t be true.”

    This cannot be true because there is no logical conflict between premise 1 and 2 that would need to be resolved like this.

    “5. If there is a reasonable explanation for how this came to be, then I should accept that it’s true.”

    No. You don’t just jump onto the first explanation that seems reasonable to you. That’s not how logic works. You need to look at all the possibilities and carefully evaluate which is the most probable, and even then you don’t 100% dedicate your life to this idea, because it might still be wrong. One can entertain an idea without believing it to be true.

    “6. Christianity says that both I as a person with a mind and the universe around me were created by and are continually sustained by an Almighty Personal God. It also says that this God seeks to have a relationship with me. I also have an innate sense that these things are true.”

    I’m especially repelled by that last sentence. It is the sentence that this whole “logical argument” is going to build upon. It is basically the only premise that is required, all the others are just eye-candy. And of course I disagree with it. No, we do not have an innate sense that these things are true. You may feel like you do, but in the end, Christianity is just another concept you learned in childhood, from your parents, in church, wherever. The religion of an individual is greatly dependent on where this person was brought up.

    “But I have been discouraged from considering that these ideas could be true until now.”

    Making baseless assumptions about peoples lifes is pretty rude. Not everyone who is not accepting Christianity has been “discouraged from considering it”.

    “9. So I ought to consider that this is true.”

    Probably the only premise in this entire wreck that I would agree with.

    “12. If the Christian Bible is the only book in which God does this, then it is the most important book of all.”

    No. Just because it is a possibility for God to reveal himself, doesn’t make this necessarily true.

    “16. This agrees with my innate ideas of who God is (point #6).”

    Here we have it. What all these 15 points were building up to was a simple appeal to emotions. It’s kinda disappointing really. There is no logical argument being made, it all just comes down to “Do you feel like God exists? Well, then he exists.”

    I’m not sure who this is supposed to convince, really. Only Christians are the ones who would agree with this “innate feeling that a God exists”. It’s basically preaching to the choir.

    • I’m glad you at least took the time to come here & reply. In doing so you show more courage than most atheists do. But your Big Problem is that you actually think that your replies “shred” my points. Your replies only show how much faith you have in what you have been taught (blind faith at that!) and how much you have embraced the dogmatic methods of those on your side. I know because I was on your side until my Junior year as a Duke undergrad.

      All of your replies are simply beliefs driven by your desire to continue resisting what you actually already know is true: that your Creator is real. I have beliefs, too. But, unlike you, I have plenty of arguments for what I believe. And I can shoot down all of the arguments your side makes. Indeed, this is what I do both in this article and other articles here and in the comments.

      This may seem arrogant, but I can say these things only because, unlike you, God has opened my eyes & mind to Him and His Truth. It is really people like you, who essentially claim to be the ultimate judges of truth, who are the real arrogant ones. And you will also lose in the end unless you change sides. I will repeat my motto: No one can stop what Almighty God wants to do in our lives, not even us. The Only Question is: Will you be with Him or against Him?

      God & His Truth will haunt people like you unless you decide to stop fighting Him and accept His Love, which is like nothing else in the universe. But if you choose to keep fighting Him He will eventually just exile you for eternity. Yes, I’m talking about Hell.

      Although God is sovereign, it’s still up to you if you want God to judge you and sentence you there or to be your perfectly-loving Father and welcome you to Heaven. This is because God has made it so that both predestination and real choice are true. You may be one of those whom God created for destruction (I truly hope not, though!), but no one can know this until they are actually in Hell. Until then you are called to turn to God and be saved. You can’t possibly know that He won’t save you. And if you ask, you will receive. But if you refuse to ask, it’s on you.

      • You know, I would really like to have a conversation with you about this, but for that to be possible you need to stay on topic, and not start preaching.

        You keep going off topic about how I have been indoctrinated, and how that is shown, when I haven’t even once mentioned any of my beliefs. In fact, they are completely irrelevant to the topic of discussion, just like it is irrelevant whether your God really exists or not. All my reply was about, was your “logical argument”, and how it fails. So please address this, and don’t try to attack my personal life or whatever else.

        God may very well exist. But this 18 point long argument, that is full of fallacies and illogical statements, won’t convince anyone. That is my point. Nothing more, nothing less.

        I can’t even reply to any of what you just said, because they are just baseless assertions anyway. You’re basically just saying “I am right and you are wrong, because that’s what I believe”. Theres nothing of substance there, nothing that in any way makes a good case for the existence of God, or at least a case about how I’m wrong.

        Please, address my argument.

      • Thanks for replying and I certainly welcome real discussions. After writing this reply I took a look at my original reply to you and now realize that it was over-heated and overly “preachy”. Sorry about that. I do hope that we can start again.

        It’s like family relationships: sometimes we get angry with others, but it’s precisely because we care so much. I admit that I am sometimes wrong when I get angry. But I am learning, too.

        But the only reason I do this is because I want others to find the Wonderful Truth that I have found. Christians like me agree with what the Bible says about becoming a believer: that it’s no less than going from being spiritually dead to being alive, even if we thought we were “spiritual” previously.

        Most of the claims of fallacies that you offered are just that: mere claims. The one exception is where you argue that my position comes from what I was taught as a child. But this isn’t correct. I was catechized in Roman Catholicism, but it never took. Instead, I embraced the Humanist perspective I was taught in my public education. I discuss this in my piece “The Question That We All Should Ask”.

        When you claim that something is a fallacy you need to explain what the fallacy is! It’s you who needs to go back and do this on at least a couple of your claims. Then we can have a discussion. Furthermore, something isn’t a fallacy simply because one doesn’t accept the premises. It is only a fallacy if the conclusion doesn’t follow even if the premises are true.

        This piece is just the train-of-thoughts which led me to faith. I hope others will be willing to follow the same path. I give reasons for my points in my “10 Widely-believed Fallacies Today” piece here. Take a look at it if you haven’t already. I suspect that you believe many of these. We need to be able to explain why we believe what we believe and why we don’t believe other things. Sometimes, when we start to explore this it leads us to realize we’re on the wrong side. I found this out as a Junior at Duke in 1982.

        Even though you haven’t told me about yourself, your replies reveal more than you may know. People are similar in many ways and fall into predictable patterns. Indeed, this is the whole basis for the “Social Sciences”, although these are not as strictly-scientific as those which focus on natural phenomena (which we used to call the “Hard Sciences”).

        If we’re going to have a discussion, rather than just a quarrel (which is rare in today’s highly-polarized environment), keep in mind that mutually-beneficial discussions require that both sides truly respect, think about and directly interact with the other’s points, not just derogatorily label and dismiss them. If this advice is unnecessary for you, I apologize. I do this partly for the benefit of other readers. Because, sadly, this is all too rare today, especially on the anti-Christian side.

        I have already shown that if you make a valid point I will freely acknowledge it. I also respect people on your side, mainly because I was on your side until I was 22. My strong disagreement with your views doesn’t mean that I don’t respect you personally. I know it may seem otherwise at times. This is because I am very passionate about the issues and also because I truly care about where you are in life.

        Christians wanting to convince others to join us is a good thing from our point-of-view. It is just wrong for others to ignore that we truly believe this just because you disagree with it.

        Thanks again for your consideration. I don’t have unlimited time to interact here, as I am working on a book. But I will give you as much as I can. Sorry that this has gotten so long. Obviously these discussions can get lengthy.

    • Sure, let’s start again. The first point you made was this:

      “Most of the claims of fallacies that you offered are just that: mere claims. …. When you claim that something is a fallacy you need to explain what the fallacy is!”

      I mean, I feel like I have explained the fallacies I was pointing at well enough, wasn’t I? I even named the biggest one you used at the end: ‘Appeal to emotion’. This is the fallacy that the conclusion of your argument is based on. This “innate sense of feeling that God exists”.

      Also, most of what you did weren’t really fallacies. They were simply illogical and inconsistent statements, and also assertions that I disagreed with. So yeah, I don’t really see what I need to point out there.

      “This piece is just the train-of-thoughts which led me to faith.”

      Well, if you call it a “Rational Road to become a Christian” then I expect it to be rational, and logically consistent. It isn’t though, and I’m trying to point out why. If this is truly the reason how you came to believe, then it is a damn bad one. I can kind of get the “appeal to emotion” part, most christians believe in God because of emotions, and not reason, but even with the emotion part included I still expect everything else to logical.

      “I give reasons for my points in my “10 Widely-believed Fallacies Today” piece here. Take a look at it if you haven’t already. I suspect that you believe many of these.”

      I don’t actually, I only believe number 6. I might make a response to that one.

      “I have already shown that if you make a valid point I will freely acknowledge it. ”

      I’m not sure yet if you have shown that, because from my perspective you haven’t even addressed any of the points I brought up in my first reply, except the one about my assumptions about your childhood, which were wrong.

      Alright, so now that we got that sorted out, I hope we can finally return to the topic of discussion, which was the concerns I raised in my very first reply.

      • What you regard as “fallacies” are just points that you disagree with, but could if you would put aside your prejudices, including your false certainty that Evolution has been proven. The mere possibility of an Intelligence with cosmic-level power (which can’t be ruled out) actually rules out the possibility of knowing that Evolution is true. That is simple logic! This is because just the possibility of this is an unknowable Variable.

        If the premises of my syllogism are true then the conclusions follow. So it is not a fallacious syllogism. You haven’t shown this at all, only that you disagree with the premises.

        The strong bias of most people on your side is one of the reasons I don’t try to appeal endlessly to those who just think they can shoot down every argument I make. Although I could be wrong, you seem to be such a person.

        One of the reasons Evolution is wrong is because it can’t answer any “Why?” questions. (We also dispute its answers to the “How?” because of the false assumption of no Intelligent influence.) We all believe there are reasons why things happen, not just how. But a universe which is ultimately only mindless forces can’t explain this. To say that our minds are an emergent phenomenon of matter is just a blind supposition. Besides, even if this were true, to describe things as “phenomena” is meaningless without the existence of observers of these.

        The so-called “hard problem” of consciousness is actually an impossible problem unless the dualistic nature of reality is admitted. But most today adamantly refuse to consider obvious facts which show that we are more than just our physical bodies. This is mainly because of the extreme anti-theistic and, especially, anti-Christian bias of most today. But this bias keeps people like you both from seeing fatal flaws in your own approach and the reasonableness of ours.

        I have now spent more than 2 hours answering you and don’t know if it’s worthwhile spending any longer. It just isn’t possible to persuade someone who is biased. However, if you would at least be willing to admit your bias and be willing to re-consider it I would be willing to continue with you. You should definitely think seriously about point #6 of my 10 Fallacies piece. But please try not to approach it with the attitude that this must be false, so I will use any argument I can to show that this is the case. That is not the way fair-minded people deal with other views.

      • Maybe, instead of having an endless debate, where you have to spend hours on each reply, which is obviously very time consuming, we could keep it very short.

        So how about I ask you only one question: How do you know God exists?

        In hope this question wouldn’t take you very long to answer. You seem to be very sure that what you believe in is the right view, is the truth. And I would like to know how you can be so sure, where you got this knowledge.

        I will answer two statements you made about this topic:

        “I admit that I would never reconsider mine in the sense of really considering going back to yours. But this is precisely because I held your position until I was 22.”

        The problem is that there are Atheists in the exact same situation: They have been christian for up to 50 years, until they’ve had the often very long process of losing their faith. And at that point, Atheists are not very prone to reconsidering their position yet again either. They know what it means to be a christian, how it is supposed to feel to have a “relationship with God”. They just feel that it wasn’t ever God, but a placebo effect.

        “The idea that people should always be willing to change their beliefs is based on the false assumption that there can be no single true worldview/philosophy/religion.”

        I don’t think this is the case. I think that the idea that people should always be willing to change their beliefs is actually founded upon the belief that everything could always be wrong. How do you know you are 100% right? Maybe your God is a placebo effect? Maybe the evidence is wrong? Maybe we’re living in a matrix? Maybe you’re having a mental disorder? Anything could happen.

        This particular sense of uncertainty about everything is what should keep people on their toes to always being able to question what they believe in.

      • I perceive that you are trying to claim superiority because I mentioned that I take longer in my replies than you. That’s just arrogance on your part. Besides, I am now able to answer you much more quickly because I have gotten used to responding to you.

        I explain why I am certain that the God described in the Bible exists in my piece “The Question That We All Should Ask”. There is no need for me to repeat it here. And I would actually agree that it’s theoretically possible that we are all being fooled by some higher intelligence (a la “The Matrix”). But God presents Himself to every one of us in our thoughts and also in the Bible. And He promises that He doesn’t lie. We can either trust Him in this or not. But if you don’t trust Him then you have no basis for certainty about anything. And no one actually believes this. And to assert that you know anything at all is to tacitly acknowledge that God exists and is not a Grand Deceiver.

        And while I have met a few atheists who renounced Christianity as adults, most I have met either never considered themselves Christians or say they were raised as Christians. But being raised as a Christian doesn’t mean you actually became a Christian. I was raised Catholic and even confirmed in it. But I never truly believed it. On the other hand, Bible-believing churches around the world are filled with ex-atheists.

        And before you do it, don’t even try to accuse me of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. I don’t claim that no true Christian (or adult Christian) ever renounces the faith. I am just asserting that this is much more rare than atheists becoming believers. I recognize that this doesn’t prove that Christianity is true, but it does suggest that it is. I would love for someone to do a survey on this because my fairly widespread experience tells me that it would show I am right in this.

    • I will start with the last part of your comment, because I think this is the most important.

      “I have now spent more than 2 hours answering you and don’t know if it’s worthwhile spending any longer. It just isn’t possible to persuade someone who is biased. However, if you would at least be willing to admit your bias and be willing to re-consider it I would be willing to continue with you.”

      Yes, I admit that I am biased. Everyone is, that is just unavoidable. But I am trying to be the kind of person that is always open to other ideas, if they are presented in a persuading way, if they’re logical, if they’re presented as evidence and as facts. But, the problem is, I don’t see you do that. I only see you making assertions. If you could back up these assertions, or at least explain what you mean, be more specific, then I would be able to get more out of this.#

      So, onto the statements you make that I have some problems with.

      “What you regard as “fallacies” are just points that you disagree with”

      Well, some of them, yes, and I’ve admitted that myself in my last comment. I don’t know why you are still hung up on this.

      ” but could if you would put aside your prejudices, including your false certainty that Evolution has been proven. ”

      I don’t have any such prejudice.

      “The mere possibility of an Intelligence with cosmic-level power (which can’t be ruled out) actually rules out the possibility of knowing that Evolution is true.”

      Uhm, no. I disagree. This is definitely not a logical statement. There are two problems with this:

      1. The possibility of such an intelligence wouldn’t rule out the possibility of knowing that evolution is true, because who is to say that those two can’t coexist? We could know that evolution is true, and still have the possibility of a cosmic-level intelligence that coexists with evolution. The knowledge of the occurence of evolution, and the possibility of such an intelligence, are not mutually exclusive.

      2. If you are talking about an intelligence that is NOT mutually exclusive with evolution, aka the christian God, as he supposedly created humans, then how do you know we can’t rule this specific intelligence out? We can, by knowing that evolution is true, making this particular deity impossible.

      “If the premises of my syllogism are true then the conclusions follow.”

      Except the premises in your “Rational Road to become a Christian” are not true.

      They are either baseless assertions (e.g. “I also have an innate sense that these things are true.”, “But I have been discouraged from considering that these ideas could be true until now.”)
      or they are simply not logical, for example how you try to rule out the first part of premise 1, by saying that premise 1 and premise 2 are in conflict with each other, when they are clearly not.

      “You haven’t shown this at all, only that you disagree with the premises.”

      The mere fact that I can disagree with them already shows that they fail. A rational argument is supposed to take facts, that everyone accepts, and use them come to a logical conclusion. If you take opinions as your premises, then there is no rational argument that could follow. If it’s all about opinions anyway, then why even try to make a rational argument? Why not just present the opinions?

      “One of the reasons Evolution is wrong is because it can’t answer any “Why?” questions.”

      I don’t see how this is relevant. To evolution, the question of “why” is meaningless. And I don’t see how this renders evolution untrue. How can this make it untrue, if it is not evolutions purpose to answer these questions?

      “We all believe there are reasons why things happen, not just how.”

      No. I don’t. And with that this statement is already false. Not everyone believes there are reasons why things happen. In fact, haven’t you wrote an entire article on how humanism is the most widely spread worldview, and how it promotes that there is no deeper purpose to our existence? So why are you still making this assertion?

      “To say that our minds are an emergent phenomenon of matter is just a blind supposition.”

      It’s actually a fact, considering how we can measure which brain areas are responsible for creating consciousness, and that, if we deactivate these brain areas, consciousness disappears. We can deactivate and manipulate our “mind” by interacting with our brain. Our brain is what produces the mind.

      “The so-called “hard problem” of consciousness is actually an impossible problem unless the dualistic nature of reality is admitted. ”

      Can you prove this assertion?

      ” But most today adamantly refuse to consider obvious facts which show that we are more than just our physical bodies. ”

      And these facts are? Can you give me the sources on these facts?

      • OK, I have now spent another couple hours answering you. Please don’t try to claim that I don’t address your assertions and back my own! First, your objections in points 1. and 2. are well-stated and would be valid except for one thing: Evolution is based on the assumption that only natural forces can exist. Not only are they all that we have observed to this point, but they are considered to be all that can exist. Honest people must admit this! So it is exclusive of any explanation in which a Higher Intelligence would have an influence on a cosmic-scale. That is, it is philosophically and methodologically anti-supernatural.

        So even if Jesus was “coming on the clouds with great glory” (as is prophesied in the New Testament) people who are fully committed to evolution would be inclined to dismiss this as an hallucination or to try to explain it in some other way other than what it appears to be. This is because their worldview would rule out the possibility that what they are seeing is what it appears to be.

        And because Evolution is inherently anti-supernatural it is logically impossible that it will ever be known to be true. This is because it makes an unprovable negative universal claim. Many Bible-believing Christians do believe in Theistic Evolution. But it’s because they fail to understand that evolution is inherently anti-Creator (not just anti-Creation). Carl Sagan was expressing consistent evolutionary Naturalism when he declared: “The Cosmos is all there is and all there was and all there ever will be.” This is as much a declaration of faith as any religious creed!

        “A rational argument is supposed to take facts, that everyone accepts, and use them come to a logical conclusion. If you take opinions as your premises, then there is no rational argument that could follow. If it’s all about opinions anyway, then why even try to make a rational argument? Why not just present the opinions?”

        The problem here is that it begs the question. What the facts are is exactly the issue between Evolution and Creation (as well as between Humanism and Christianity overall). We say that many things Evolution-believers consider facts are merely opinions and, indeed, opinions which are extremely unlikely to be true, at best. This includes believing that DNA could be formed without being designed and engineered. Intelligent Design advocates provide countless other examples of this.

        “To evolution, the question of “why” is meaningless. And I don’t see how this renders evolution untrue. How can this make it untrue, if it is not evolutions purpose to answer these questions?”

        If the question of “Why?” is meaningless to Evolution then you are conceding that Evolution fails as a comprehensive explanation for all that exists. And that is what it is presented to be. This is because “Why?” is most certainly not a meaningless question in countless ways. Even clinically-insane people don’t claim that everything is meaningless.

        “. . . we can measure which brain areas are responsible for creating consciousness, and that, if we deactivate these brain areas, consciousness disappears.”

        That we can now see how our brain chemistry corresponds to different aspect of our consciousness doesn’t prove that the first causes the second. First, this shows conclusively that the two aren’t one and the same, otherwise we couldn’t speak of both and discuss cause and effect relationships. So our brains and our minds are clearly two distinct things.

        And the same research also shows that the cause and effect relationships go both ways. We can now see how our thoughts change our brain chemistry so specifically that we can use this for advanced prosthetic devices. So it is absurd to say that when we think something that this is just an out-working of brain chemistry. We initiate changes in our brain chemistry in countless ways. Cognitive behavioral therapy also depends on this being true.

        To say that this isn’t the case would turn us into robots who have no ability to make real choices and, therefore, should not be held accountable for our actions. But no one can seriously argue this. Otherwise we should just release all of the murderers and convicts imprisoned around the world and shut these facilities down. I know that Artificial Intelligence zealots believe that we will eventually be able to re-program sociopaths. But AI thinking is compromised by the same denial of human uniqueness, including our unique freedom to think, say and do things. Unlike machines, which must always be programmed ahead-of-time (even ones with so-called “learning abilities”), we are capable of making up entirely new things. Our ability to be creative is why self-driving vehicles will never be able to anticipate what human drivers may do.

        The Christian view is that Mind came before matter, namely, the Mind of God. And the Christian view that we are minds/souls housed in bodies is completely consistent with what Neuroscience discovers, whereas Materialism/Naturalism actually isn’t. It is only today’s dogmatic resistance to this possibility that causes people to dismiss this possibility

        Finally, it is not true that when areas of the brain are not functional that consciousness disappears. Cognition and other functions may disappear but not consciousness itself. This is even the case with people who are unconscious. Many people report to having consciousness while being in an unconscious condition even though they cannot communicate this to others.

        And, yes, Humanism does promote that there is no deeper purpose for human existence. This is why the value of human life inevitably goes down when Humanism reigns (as in Marxist dictatorships). But the reality is that Humanism, if consistently held, would rule out all human purpose and meaning as illusory. But no one actually believes this. So, again, this show why this view can’t be true.

        I appreciate you prompting me to respond more carefully to you. It helps me understand both my position and yours better. I pray and hope that it will do the same for you, especially so that you will come over to the winning side as I did 35 years ago! Though you haven’t seen it thus far, you really don’t have anything of value to lose in doing so.

        I may want to use this exchange in the book I am currently working on. I ask your permission to do so. I can do so without using your real or user-name unless you would like me to identify you.

        Respectfully,
        Chris

    • You spent HOURS on these replies? How does that work? For me it takes like 30 minutes at most.

      ” Evolution is based on the assumption that only natural forces can exist.”

      Well, It’s not so much based on the assumption, as it is that we simply don’t have any other way of viewing things at the moment. There is no scientific indication that anything supernatural exist. In fact, supernatural is, by definition, things that are beyond the natural, and therefore can’t be detected.

      But I mean, even if the supernatural did exist, that wouldn’t automatically render everything we know wrong. The natural world will still act the same way it did before. Objects still get pulled by gravity, organisms still evolve, and so on. That wouldn’t change.

      “Not only are they all that we have observed to this point, but they are considered to be all that can exist. Honest people must admit this!”

      Sure, I admit this. But you see, the problem is that it really is irrelevant to us whether the supernatural exists or not. Because we will never ever interact with the supernatural in any way. If we did interact with it, then the interaction would be detectable, and then it wouldn’t be supernatural anymore. It would be natural. So… who cares?

      In fact, since you think that God interacts with the natural world, this automatically makes God a natural being, and should be detectable.

      “So it is exclusive of any explanation in which a Higher Intelligence would have an influence on a cosmic-scale. That is, it is philosophically and methodologically anti-supernatural.”

      Why? Just because evolution is built upon natural observations doesn’t mean that, if the supernatural exists, it will automatically be shown to be wrong. These natural observations will still be true.

      This doesn’t change my statement in any way: Supernatural things and evolution are not mutually exclusive. They are able to coexist in this universe.

      “So even if Jesus was “coming on the clouds with great glory” (as is prophesied in the New Testament) people who are fully committed to evolution would be inclined to dismiss this as an hallucination or to try to explain it in some other way other than what it appears to be.”

      Well, if you speak about Jesus and the christian God in particular, the one who created Adam and Eve, then I would agree, that he can’t coexist with evolution. But you see, if evolution is known to be absolutely true, then this means that the christian God can’t exist. This way the idea of the christian God can be falsified.

      “And because Evolution is inherently anti-supernatural”

      I don’t agree with this statement. Evolution is not “inherently anti-supernatural”. The supernatural can indeed exist, and it can be completely irrelevant to evolution. The only way in which those two things can stand in conflict with each other if this supernatural includes the christian God.

      But in that case you would have to rephrase your statement to “Evolution is inherently anti-christian” or “anti-creationistic”.

      “This is because it makes an unprovable negative universal claim.”

      No. It doesn’t make a negative claim. It makes a positive claim, which is that evolution is true, and then it follows logically that everything that stands in contradiction with this claim is untrue. But it doesn’t in itself make a negative claim.

      By this logic, we would never be able to know anything. If we made an experiment testing gravity by letting an apple fall to the ground, which would prove that Gravity exists, would you accept the statement “Gravity can’t be known to be true, because it makes a negative claim about the non-existence of anything that contradicts Gravity”? Of course you wouldn’t.

      Just like Gravity can be known to be true, which automatically rules out all possibilities that contradict it, so can evolution also be known to be true, which automatically rules out all possibilities that stand in contradiction to it, including the christian God.

      “This is as much a declaration of faith as any religious creed!”

      Sure, I agree with this.

      “What the facts are is exactly the issue between Evolution and Creation (as well as between Humanism and Christianity overall).”

      Facts are not decided by people and their ideological standpoints. Facts are merely repeated observations. There can not be any controversy about observations. They either happen, or they don’t. They are either objectively true or not. That’s it.

      “This includes believing that DNA could be formed without being designed and engineered.”

      I have never met anyone who claimed this is a fact. This is merely speculation, with some evidence to back it up, but not enough yet. It is the most probable answer we have at the moment, but it is far from being certain.

      “If the question of “Why?” is meaningless to Evolution then you are conceding that Evolution fails as a comprehensive explanation for all that exists. ”

      Yes. I am conceding that. Evolution never has and never will be a comprehensive explanation for all that exists. And it was never supposed to. All that Evolution is, is the change of the genetic allele frequency in species over generations. All the Theory of Evolution is, is an explanation for the diversity of life. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less.

      “And that is what it is presented to be.”

      By whom?

      “This is because “Why?” is most certainly not a meaningless question in countless ways. Even clinically-insane people don’t claim that everything is meaningless.”

      Didn’t you write an entire article about how the most widely spread modern worldview, humanism, sees the human existence as without a deeper purpose? Because I am a humanist, and I do.

      “We can now see how our thoughts change our brain chemistry so specifically that we can use this for advanced prosthetic devices.”

      I’m pretty sure the point is that our thoughts ARE our brain chemistry. Our thoughts are the little electrical currencies that are shooting through your synapses.

      “To say that this isn’t the case would turn us into robots who have no ability to make real choices and, therefore, should not be held accountable for our actions.”

      This is absurd. How would this make us robots with no real choices? I mean, if you want to get technical, you could say we already ARE robots. Our decisions are based on our personality, past experiences, our current mood etc. All things we can’t influence. But, we’re getting too deep into determinism here.

      Let’s just say, since we can actually measure exactly the brain areas that are at work at certain times in your brain, and that we can control your thoughts and can deactivate your consciousness at will, this there is a strong correlation between the mind and the brain, and that it is the most probable answer that one causes the other. Okay? Good.

      “And the Christian view that we are minds/souls housed in bodies is completely consistent with what Neuroscience discovers, whereas Materialism/Naturalism actually isn’t.”

      Yeah okay, this is just a baseless claim, I could ask you again to cite your sources on this but I’m just gonna guess you won’t.

      “Many people report to having consciousness while being in an unconscious condition even though they cannot communicate this to others.”

      I’m sure you’re talking about coma here, which is different than being unconscious. Have you ever slept? That’s what it’s like to be unconscious. Also, I’m talking about the deep sleep phases, not the ones where you can dream and your consciousness is partially active.

      “So, again, this show why this view can’t be true.”

      Sorry, but just because a worldview is either “bad” in your eyes or not widely believed, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Truth is not dependent on how humans interact with it.

      “I may want to use this exchange in the book I am currently working on. I ask your permission to do so. I can do so without using your real or user-name unless you would like me to identify you.”

      Sure, go ahead, You can either keep me anonymous or use my real name, I don’t really care all too much.

      Jonas

      • Thanks for your permission to use this discussion. I will just point out 2 things from your reply. On one hand, you claim that you limit Evolution to biogenesis. But your whole way of arguing shows that you are absolutely committed to anti-supernatural Naturalism/Materialism across-the-board. This means that you are also committed to cosmic Evolution.

        That’s the real issue. People believe in the evolution of life mainly because of their faith in Naturalism and cosmic Evolution, which is inherently anti-supernatural and, thus, fundamentally flawed.

        I have already provided enough so that you should be able to see clear flaws in your perspective. But you just won’t look at your own view critically. I know because I was once the same. Your reply is filled with non-sequiturs. Perhaps the biggest is that you claim there is meaning to human existence even though you hold a worldview which says that this is really only an illusion.

        I truly wish you well, but I just don’t have the time to continue arguing with you. Besides, experience tells me that it won’t move you a bit from your position. And I am quite comfortable in mine, having previously been in yours. Clearly you aren’t yet open to considering that you may have the wrong “Big Picture”, even though you may think that you are open.

        I can tell from Twitter that you are just one of those people who wants to quarrel endlessly with Christians. You really should ask yourself what you hope to gain by doing this. If this changes I would be glad to resume discussion with you.

        I will end by stating how we see people like you: As with most of us originally, you have been deceived that it’s best to deny your Creator and to live as though He doesn’t exist, even though you actually know in your mind that He does. It’s up to you to take an honest look at where you are. I pray and hope that you will and will come over to the Winning Side while you still can.

        Chris

    • I actually agree with you that we should end this debate here, and for a similar reason than you.

      Because you see, I can turn everything you just said around you. And I don’t even need to spy on your twitter for that. All I need is this:

      “As with most of us originally, you have been deceived that it’s best to deny your Creator and to live as though He doesn’t exist, even though you actually know in your mind that He does. It’s up to you to take an honest look at where you are. I pray and hope that you will and will come over to the Winning Side while you still can.”

      If you keep expecting me to look at my own view critically, but won’t even attempt to do the same, referring to your view as “the winning side”, if you can’t hold out in a debate for longer than 3 days, because you expect to have won by then, heck, if you can’t even comprehend the concept of someone simply having a different world view than you, without this meaning that they are being deceived, then I don’t think you should participate in debates like this.

      Imagine it like this. Do you think I have provided you with enough to see flaws in Christianity? No? Well on my side it is the exact same. Putting yourself in my shoes, imagining my side of the discussion might be helpful sometimes.

      Onto the statements you made.

      “But your whole way of arguing shows that you are absolutely committed to anti-supernatural Naturalism/Materialism across-the-board.”

      Oh yeah, I as a person am committed to these ideas. But my, or other peoples views of the world, are irrelevant to evolution. Evolution is a process, a concept. Some people might both accept evolution and be invested in naturalism. But that doesn’t mean one follows from the other. There are enough people who accept evolution and are not naturalists.

      “People believe in the evolution of life mainly because of their faith in Naturalism and cosmic Evolution”

      Thats a pretty strange generalization considering the majority of christians accept evolution.

      “which is inherently anti-supernatural and, thus, fundamentally flawed.”

      How is it fundamentally flawed?

      “Your reply is filled with non-sequiturs.”

      Maybe it would be helpful to, you know, point them out.

      “Perhaps the biggest is that you claim there is meaning to human existence”

      I have looked through all of my replies and I don’t see me making this statement anywhere. In fact, I repeat several times that I believe there is no deeper meaning to human existence.

      “Besides, experience tells me that it won’t move you a bit from your position.”

      It’s not just always about converting people. You don’t immediately have to go all the way. I do these debates to get insights into certain things, how others think the world works etc.

      “And I am quite comfortable in mine, having previously been in yours.”

      Just like how many Atheists are comfortable in theirs, having previously been christian.

      “You really should ask yourself what you hope to gain by doing this.”

      Insight.

      • Congratulations, you have prompted me to give you another response. What I always hope for with these discussions is not a debate in which each side seeks to win, but a respectful dialogue in which both sides seek to learn about what the other side thinks for the benefit of both parties. I have had such discussions with atheists. And I have learned from you. You have actually helped me strengthen and clarify my position and helped me learn how to answer an obviously intelligent atheist. But I don’t get much of an indication that you have learned anything from me (at least not in any positive sense).

        Winning a debate is meaningless from my point-of-view. It certainly should be from yours! Discussions are valuable insofar as they help us grow in understanding. And they should be about finding important truths, unless you don’t believe there really are such things. But, if this is the case then, once again, what is the point of arguing?And my main goal is to get you to consider taking a path similar to what I followed so that you can find the same riches that I have found on the path.

        As I already said, I could keep arguing with you endlessly, but it is not worth the time to me. I don’t want to win a debate. I want to get people like you to reconsider your position. I admit that I would never reconsider mine in the sense of really considering going back to yours. But this is precisely because I held your position until I was 22. The idea that people should always be willing to change their beliefs is based on the false assumption that there can be no single true worldview/philosophy/religion. This is another faulty universal negative claim. But people who become Christians come to see that it is the only view that works and that it is also the only one that explains why all of the other views are wrong. When you get to this point there is no reason to look elsewhere.

        I don’t have to “spy on” your Twitter feed to know that you are a person who likes endless arguments. I have interacted with you previously and have also been getting notifications of your tweets for the past couple weeks. I also know that atheists almost always love to argue endlessly.

        Christians are simply inconsistent when they accept Evolution, mainly because they have been misled to believe that it is the only scientific approach and because they fail to see the inherently anti-theistic nature of cosmic evolution & the Naturalist bias and methodology of pro-evolution scientists.

        Finally, as for the question of meaning, I believe you admitted that you see meaning in life, just not “deep meaning”. But your view can’t explain meaning or knowledge at all. It ultimately reduces all human experience to mindless chemistry. It is only because God exists that there is such a thing as meaning and it is only because He made us to know Him and many other things that we can experience and know anything and have any meaning in our lives.

    • I seem to have managed to somehow fuck up this comment chain, it’s all mixed up now. Oh well.

      Nono, I’m not trying to claim superiority in any way. I simply recognized that your main objection with keeping this debate going is that it costs a lot of time, so I want to cut down on that factor.

      Also all right, seems like I’m gonna write another reply to “The Question That We Should All Ask” then.

      “But if you don’t trust Him then you have no basis for certainty about anything. And no one actually believes this.”

      My point was that God isn’t a basis for certainty either. You can have trust in him, sure, but that doesn’t mean you can be 100% sure about his existence.

      “And to assert that you know anything at all is to tacitly acknowledge that God exists and is not a Grand Deceiver.”

      How so? I can definitely know things to a specific degree of certainty without God, for example if I hold up a pen, and let it fall, then I have the knowledge that I just dropped a pen. Theres no God required for this.

      ” I don’t claim that no true Christian (or adult Christian) ever renounces the faith. I am just asserting that this is much more rare than atheists becoming believers. I recognize that this doesn’t prove that Christianity is true, but it does suggest that it is.”

      No. That’s an ‘argument from popularity’ fallacy. Just because an idea is easy to believe, doesn’t make it more likely to be true.

      • Hi Jonas. Actually, if we are all victims of a Grand Deceiver (a la “The Matrix”) then you would even be deceived about what happened when you dropped your pen! The movie makes this clear.

        And I didn’t claim that the fact that more adult atheists become Christians than adult Christians becoming atheists is proof that Christianity is true. It would be a fallacy if I did this. It is just evidence supporting Christianity being the reasonable choice. I offer other arguments which show that denial of the God of the Bible is illogical (and psychologically wrong), so belief in Him is logical.

        Besides, it is never necessary to prove the existence of Someone we already know, even if we don’t want to know Him. The latter is always the real issue. I believe that every human being who has ever lived has known his or her Creator exists because of my own pre-Christian experience and the testimony of other Christians, as well as what the Bible says (in Romans 1:18-20 and other places).

        And, yes, it ultimately does boil down to faith. But faith in God works day-by-day for millions of Christians, many of whom previously tried to live without faith in Him (like me). And it’s not a matter of whether or not one will have faith. All of us live by faith in one way or another. The Big Question is: Is our faith justified? Does it account for everything and is it internally coherent? I have looked at most of the options out there and found that only Christianity (rightly understood, that is) passes this test.

        You are the type of person who could benefit from Jason Lisle’s book “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” and also from the video documentary “Evolution’s Achilles Heels” (put together by 15 scientists who became ID-believers). I was wondering if you had ever come across these.

        Chris

    • “Actually, if we are all victims of a Grand Deceiver (a la “The Matrix”) then you would even be deceived about what happened when you dropped your pen!”

      Yeah, that’s why I said “to a specific degree of certainty”, making clear that I meant that one can never be 100% sure we’re not in a matrix.

      “Besides, it is never necessary to prove the existence of Someone we already know, even if we don’t want to know Him.”

      You’re asserting this “innate sense of the existence of God” again. I obviously don’t agree with this, so I don’t know why you keep bringing it up.

      “I believe that every human being who has ever lived has known his or her Creator exists because of my own pre-Christian experience and the testimony of other Christians, as well as what the Bible says”

      Yes, and this is a dangerous pithole. This makes it way too easy to simply dismiss the opinions of others. After all, they agree with you anyway right, they just deny it. This just invokes ignorance.

      “And, yes, it ultimately does boil down to faith.”

      Is there anything one cannot have faith in? Could I have faith in the existence of Allah? Or Buddha? Or Zeus?

      “But faith in God works day-by-day for millions of Christians, many of whom previously tried to live without faith in Him (like me).”

      But this is not about what works for people, this is about what’s true.

      “All of us live by faith in one way or another.”

      I don’t.

      • You may not agree with my claim that you have an innate sense of God’s existence. But I would say that you are just resistant to this sense because you don’t like its implications, as I did until God helped me see that I was wrong about Him.

        And the Christian claim of exclusivity does not promote dismissing of other views or ignorance. It does promote comparing them and trying to persuade others. But that is just what everyone does! We all think that our views are correct and other views are wrong. But this doesn’t mean that everyone is equally right.

        And you absolutely do live by faith that your Naturalist assumptions are correct and that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist. You cannot prove this, so you cannot know that you are right. Atheists sometimes try to argue that they don’t have a belief about God & other things. But this is just dishonest. Believing God doesn’t exist is a belief, along with many other unprovable beliefs that non-religious people have. (Actually, Humanism was admitted to be the functional equivalent of a supernatural religion in the first Humanist Manifesto. You could look it up.)

        Another thing atheists tend to assume is that religious claims cannot be rationally-compared. But that is obviously wrong. It’s actually quite easy to compare various religions and philosophies, including comparing the previously-dominant philosophy of the developed world: Christianity and the one which supplanted it: Humanism (which is based on metaphysical Materialism/Naturalism and the epistemology of Empiricism).

        BTW, this reply took only about 15 minutes.

        Chris

    • “You may not agree with my claim that you have an innate sense of God’s existence. But I would say that you are just resistant to this sense because you don’t like its implications, as I did until God helped me see that I was wrong about Him.”

      Of course you believe this. But please don’t bring it into this debate.
      This debate is about whether or not God exists. So using an argument that is dependent on God’s existence doesn’t really make sense.

      “And you absolutely do live by faith that your Naturalist assumptions are correct and that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist.”

      No. You see, I don’t claim that God, or the supernatural doesn’t exist. I am in the position where I listen to your claim that these things exist, and then reject that claim, because we have never detected these things. I am fairly neutral on the subject. I just look at the evidence of our surrounding world, and then apply occam’s razor, making naturalism the most probable answer. I don’t infer that it is the absolute correct answer. I work with probabilities, not absolute certainty.

      Another point to be made would be that we can’t differentiate between the supernatural and non-existence. Since it seems to be that the supernatural is by definition non-detectable through natural means, then that means it possesses the same properties as non-existence: None at all. There is no way to know whether something doesn’t exist, or is supernatural. So to me, something supernatural might as well not exist, until we can prove that there is a difference between the supernatural and non-existence.

      Also, it depends on the kind of God. Any vague God could definitely exist. But the God of the bible stands in direct contradiction with the Theory of Evolution.
      So in that particular case, I don’t believe that he exists. I could even say I know that he doesn’t exist, to some degree of certainty, based on my knowledge about evolution.

      “You cannot prove this, so you cannot know that you are right.”

      Well I’m not saying that I am 100% right. But I think that my answer is the answer most likely to be true.

      • I am only going to address one point from your last post. I feel that I have given you plenty which should get you to question your position, if you become willing to do so, as you should. I said at the outset that I don’t do endless debates. They end up going over the same ground over and over.

        The claim atheists often make that their position is supported by Occam’s Razor is completely ridiculous! With the evolutionary view it takes billions of years of accrued accidental events to supposedly “create” the amazing complexity that we observe, especially in living things. It really is akin to believing that if a wind blows through a junkyard filled with aircraft parts long enough, it will assemble a Boeing 747. IT’S NOT UNLIKELY IT’S F’ING ABSURD!!!

        Occam’s Razor points to the far simpler explanation: that we and the world were created by an Intelligent Designer, the same God Who reveals Himself in our minds, in the world around us and uniquely in the Bible.

        You really need to ask yourself why you want to keep arguing with Christians endlessly. What do you hope to gain? I could be wrong, but I think it’s mainly because you want to feel better about what you believe. If so, that’s your choice. I can’t make you do otherwise. But you really don’t know what you’re missing. And it’s both liberating like nothing else and life-altering!

        We are not in equivalent positions. I was educated in your view and embraced it into my college years. But then I began to question it and soon found it to be fundamentally-flawed, eventually finding the one that works. It seems clear that you are still committed to today’s dominant worldview. If this changes then we can have a different conversation, in which we seek to help each other, not argue with each other. I can only pray that God will do what I can’t: help you to re-think your position. You need Him to open your mind and eyes, but are culpable if you aren’t willing to let Him. Until then, Adios! (which is literally “To God”)

    • “I feel that I have given you plenty which should get you to question your position, if you become willing to do so, as you should.”

      Oh no, not this again. How have you given me enough to question my position, especially since I have disputed every single one of your points so far? If I don’t agree with any of what you say, since we’re mostly talking about opinions and philosophy anyway, how is there anything of substance that would make me question my position?
      Heck, I thought this wasn’t about making each other question their position, I thought this was about things like gaining insight?

      ” I said at the outset that I don’t do endless debates. They end up going over the same ground over and over.”

      Sure, you can end this debate whenever you want. But don’t expect me to just question my position if you haven’t given me evidence, or a good logical argument that I can’t refute.

      “The claim atheists often make that their position is supported by Occam’s Razor is completely ridiculous! With the evolutionary view it takes billions of years of accrued accidental events to supposedly “create” the amazing complexity that we observe, especially in living things.”

      I was talking about naturalism when I talked about occam’s razor, not about evolution. I don’t accept the theory of evolution because of occam’s razor but because of the mountains of evidence supporting it.

      “It really is akin to believing that if a wind blows through a junkyard filled with aircraft parts long enough, it will assemble a Boeing 747.”

      This analogy is flawed because of two reasons:

      1. Because an aircraft assembling by wind is impossible, because wind cannot manipulate the parts in a way that would make them stick together. Wind cannot screw in screws. But we know that evolution occurs.

      2. Because it’s only variable is randomness. Evolution is not completely random.

      We KNOW that the process of evolution occurs, we have observed and demonstrated this many times, in a lab environment like in the e.coli long term experiment, or using examples of nature, like Darwin’s finches, and other ring species. We know that evolution occurs, and that it can change populations of organisms a lot. Now the only difference between these examples and macroevolution is literally just time.

      “IT’S NOT UNLIKELY IT’S F’ING ABSURD!!!”

      Yeah exactly, that’s why it’s a bad analogy.

      “Occam’s Razor points to the far simpler explanation: that we and the world were created by an Intelligent Designer”

      How is an all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible, supernatural being, the most complex thing that has ever and will ever exist, simple? It isn’t.
      It’s the most complicated way to describe anything ever. If you were to compare two ideas using Occam’s razor, one of them including God, then the one with God will always fail.

      ” in the world around us”

      How does he reveal himself in the world around us?

      “You really need to ask yourself why you want to keep arguing with Christians endlessly. What do you hope to gain? ”

      Sigh. Insight. I also hope to clear up some misconceptions about concepts like the theory of evolution. I guess in a way I want to educate too. And insight helps me do this better.

      “I could be wrong, but I think it’s mainly because you want to feel better about what you believe.”

      Oh sure, why not. That’s always a bonus.

      “But you really don’t know what you’re missing. And it’s both liberating like nothing else and life-altering!”

      This just makes a good argument for why people find it so easy to believe in this. Sometimes Christianity really feels like wishful thinking to me. You know, that we’re special, that we have someone who is always by our side and always loves us, that we don’t have to fear death and instead go into a fantasyland where we live forever. It feels incredibly dishonest.

      “We are not in equivalent positions. I was educated in your view and embraced it into my college years. But then I began to question it and soon found it to be fundamentally-flawed, eventually finding the one that works.”

      How do you know I haven’t made the same progression, but in the opposite direction? Many Atheists, especially in the USA, have done so. Why do you assume we’re not in equivalent positions?

      “You need Him to open your mind and eyes, but are culpable if you aren’t willing to let Him”

      This sounds a lot like the placebo effect to me.

      • I am ending this discussion, as it is going nowhere. You seem to enjoy going round and round in circles, both here and on Twitter. But I don’t.

        The efforts of atheists like you are likened to the vanity of chasing after the wind in the second chapter of Ecclesiastes (a book that applies every bit as well to the futility of unbelief in the 21st century as it did to the generation in which it was written). Or to put it in an even stronger way (as I did today on Twitter): Atheists who constantly resist their Creator (Whom they know is there) are like someone who thinks he can withstand a tornado with a windbreaker!

        If you reply, I may give you the privilege of having the last word, depending on what you write. But I will not respond further. As I said previously, if in the future you want to have a discussion rather than a debate I will welcome this.

        Chris

    • I was willing to give you the last word, but your ridiculous charge at the end of your last post ends leads me to exercise my prerogative to have the last word with you. You do argue in circles, in which you simply dismiss my challenges repeatedly and then try to change the subject. Again, you really need to ask yourself what you hope to gain by endlessly arguing with Christians.

      The Main Reason Christians like me have no interest in going back to what we believed previously is because no sane person would throw away the Most Valuable Gift anyone could get – being welcomed into God’s Family as a beloved adopted child. Of course, you assume that Christians are deluded to believe this. But we who were on your side know that it is you and those on your side who have been deceived to suppress your knowledge of your Creator and to embrace the false assumption that we can’t possibly be right.

      God offers the same Gift to you and everyone else. You would actually lose nothing that is truly of value by accepting His offer and would gain immeasurable riches. And while I am going to have the last word here, it is your Creator Who will have the real last word to you if you refuse His offer to the end.

    • I have posted below the reply I made to this video on YouTube.

      As the writer of the piece, I thank-you for responding to it, despite your complete prejudice against it, so that you can only think about how you might refute each point and never once consider that something I have written could be true. You are obviously pretty smart, but that only makes you a more elaborate rationalizer for your foolish denial of your Creator. You are also blind to how arrogant you come across (though I suspect that you don’t care).

      I could answer every one of your points. They are all straw-men from an totally prejudiced person. I could also provide justification for each point in this line-of-reasoning. This piece is merely a laying out of the train-of-thought which led me and others to become Christians. It is not a full-blown argument for these points. Nevertheless, people who are open-minded to considering these points will easily be able to see that they are true. Of course, people who are absolutely certain that Christianity is BS will never be able to do this.

      I don’t do debates because debates are very time-consuming and rarely change any minds. Rather, I seek people who are humble enough to consider that they may be wrong about God and Christianity (though there aren’t many people like this today, and that is actually sad). I don’t waste my time trying to argue with people who are so certain that they are right and that no Christian claim could possibly be true.

      If people like you want to claim victory because I won’t argue with you, go ahead. It’s not about winning debates, it’s about what is true. And even you and the most zealous atheists know in your inner thought-life that The Creator God is real. It is perhaps The Greatest and Saddest Irony of Humanity that if you and others continue ignoring your Creator (Who also does sustain you moment-by-moment), you actually turn God into your Enemy, when He would be your loving Father, Son and guiding Holy Spirit.

      I have said what I’ve said. Open-minded people will be willing to consider the line of reasoning in this piece, not just say: “This is obviously wrong.” and then come up with anything you can to try to show this. My arguments in this piece and others on my site are sound. But people must be willing to be open to consider the logic, not arrogantly assume that it’s all BS and that people who believe it are fools. I, myself, did this until I was a Junior at Duke in 1982, when God opened my mind and eyes to see that He really does exist and that knowing Him and His love is the greatest experience possible for any human-being.

      • So in other words, no, you don’t have a response and you’re just praying that someone reading your article will be so open-minded that their brain has fallen out. Fair enough and concession accepted.

  2. I’ll try to be as nice as I can but I make no promises I cannot keep… the first wrong thing isn’t even on the list but the intro text. “Reason and Science, along with logic, morality and everything else that exists, including you and me, only exist because the God described in the Bible existed first.” Wrong. For you to believe in any sort of deity, you must abandon logic and reason. In this case, since Christianity has been scientifically disproven over, I dare say, the centuries, if not millennia, what you said is wrong. For more information look up the origins of Christianity. Hint: Paganism and Middle Eastern Folklore. The legend of Gilgamesh described the so called “Noah’s flood” at least 1000 years before the bible did, and we know, due to science, no such thing happened… let’s get to the list…

    “1. If I am just the result of mindless forces operating on matter-energy in space-time, then I have no real explanation for why I exist as a person with a mind.”
    Why? Are so void of free will you can’t create your own future? “A strong man doesn’t need to see the future, he makes his own”. There’s more wisdom in this single quote from Metar Gear Solid for the PS1 than the entire list…

    “2. But I clearly exist as a person with a mind capable of observing and understanding the material world around me (including my own physical body, which includes my brain), as well as knowing other people who have bodies and minds.”
    We go back to the need to abandon logic and reason in order to believe in deities. Fath means belief without evidence, and a book written by supersticious Middle Eastern folk based on local folk tales is not evidence of anything but a twisted and weak mind. Are you really sure you understand the world around you? Because you don’t seem to, that’s why you’re a theist. “I can’t explain said phenomenon, therefore God”.

    “3. Therefore, the first part of point #1 can’t be true.”
    Except it is. At least to some extent. Bacteria and Microbes can survive billions of years and in the vaccuum of space, and replicate and reproduce. There’s nothing mindless about it. See why I asked if you understand the world around you?

    “4. Then how can it be that I exist as a person with a mind that can do what point #2 describes?”
    Chimps only lack the anatomical parts to pronounce words. Otherwise, they can do everything a human does, including communicate in sign language. Horses and elephants are the animals with the best memory on our planet. Dolphins are among the most intelligent mammals on the planet. What do they have in common? None believe in a deity. P.s: Not every human can do the exact same things, for various reasons.

    “5. If there is a reasonable explanation for how this came to be, then I should accept that it’s true.”
    There is, and God ain’t it. Physics, biology, natural selection, evolution, bacteria, microbes, RNA, DNA, mutations, cellular replication, gases in space… in short, SCIENCE. But you do not accept it because it’s not the easy way out. The first scientists and biologists in history started as theists, looking to explain and understand God’s creation. They ended up as atheists soon after. And they didn’t need all the tech we have today.

    “6. Christianity says that both I as a person with a mind and the universe around me were created by and are continually sustained by an Almighty Personal God. It also says that this God seeks to have a relationship with me. I also have an innate sense that these things are true. But I have been discouraged from considering that these ideas could be true until now.

    7. Why shouldn’t I consider that this is true?”
    Since 6 and 7 are related, the short answer, again, it’s because you’re lazy and look for an easy explanation for an extremelly complicated situation. You don’t cure scizophrenia by drillin’ a hole through a skull, just like you don’t understand the world around you by reading religious books written by desert dwelling mysoginistic psychopaths during the bronze age, perhaps even earlier since troglodytes already worshipped their own deities.

    “8. Having been told by others that I shouldn’t consider this or not wanting to consider it because I may not like the consequences if it’s true are not valid reasons for not considering it. Doing the first means I have given up my freedom to decide for myself. Doing the second makes no sense because, if it’s true that God is real and that He made me, then there are consequences of this, whether I like it or not.”
    God never gave His creation free will. “Worship me blindly and ignore everything else or die a horrible death and be tortured for eternity”. At least that’s what the new testament introduced, since the old doesn’t mention heaven nor hell but still has the same psychopathic God that kills men who don’t cut their foreskin. By the way, do you work on the Sabbath, eat shellfish and wear mixed fabrics? ‘Cause the 10 commandments say you should not do those… and Jesus didn’t abolish them. “I did not come to abolish the laws of the prophets but to fulfill them”. This means the old ways are still the laws Christians should follow. And you should hate your father too, “For I came to turn father against son”. Both quotes are somewhere in Mathew.

    “9. So I ought to consider that this is true.

    10. If Almighty God exists and if He made me and continually sustains my life and seeks to have a relationship with me, then I should want to have a relationship with Him.”
    It ain’t true but then again, faith is belief without evidence, and like I said, the bible isn’t evidence. Cancer was never cured through praying, only controlled radiation-based treatments. Limbs were never restored through praying but surgery, along with very intelligent men who developed prostetic limbs for victims of amputations. God doesn’t seem to care about his worshippers in the Middle East who keep being viciously murdered by Muslims, tortured, mutilated… He sure takes his time revealing himself, and since humans wrote the bible, I’d say revealing himself in written form didn’t happen either. And will not happen… ever. So points 11 – 14 are also gone.

    “15. The Christian Bible says that God is both the Almighty King of Kings and that He wants to have a personal relationship with us, unlike Islam’s Qu’ran (which only claims the first is true).”
    Wrong again… first, Yaweh – Judao-Christian God – and Allah are the same, since Islam is a branch of Christinaity and Judaism. Both paint god as a spiteful, jealous psychopath who you either blindly worship or suffer a horrible death… at least Muslims have the decency to be honest about it while Christians paint a loving God who kills children who make fun of a bald guy by the way of bears. When you go to the Christians version of heaven, you serve God, you’re not his right hand – you are forever his servant, a glorified slave for all eternity. Again, Muslims are honest about it, for “Islam” means submission.

    “17. So it is reasonable to believe that the Bible is God’s Self-revelation or Word and that I should base my life on what it says.”
    Point 16 isn’t worth adressing… Again, the bible was written by mere desert dwelling psychopaths during the bronze age, not God.

    “18. The Gospel or “Good News” of the Bible (which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament) is that God, our Eternal Father, sent His Eternal Son, Jesus Christ into the world to save us from our sins and that He sent His Eternal Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us in order to transform us to be like His Son so that we will be worthy to dwell with Him forever in Heaven.”
    History begs to differ… the old testament’s a bunch of local folk tales and empty promises of greatness to the Jewish peoples… and porn. Lots of porn in Soloman’s book… cunnilingus included… read through it, it’s all there. The wife, the cuncubines… oh and inbreeding, but that’s not in Soloman. The new testament was a way to keep those same people in line since it was written at least sixty years after Jesus’ supposed death and since those same promises and prophecies never came to pass. (By the way, Jesus never existed, and the crucifiction was just a Roman form of public humilliation for criminals, not this special thing your hero went through). Had a holy spirit really been sent to inhabit our metaphorical hearts, we wouldn’t have psychopaths, pedophiles, peoples with all sorts of ridiculous convictions, Feminists, SJWs, the United States, North Korea… you get the idea… and if a holy spirit can’t change your will, then it’s not sent by an all-powerful being. We’ve already established there’s no free will under Christianity – it’s either God or punishment by eternal fire. That’s not free will. So by definition, that same God or holy ghost would have the power to change our metaphorical hearts with a snap of his fingers if he trully cared about us and wanted us by his side… which doesn’t seem to be the case. If he isn’t able nor willing to prevent evil, why call him God?

    These points have been debunked countless times, yet you lot stick to it like a Feminist to the wage gap. Both are bullcrap created to indocrinate weak minded fools.

    • Your entire post only shows your own unjustified beliefs and prejudices. I could show you this point-by-point (I have actually done so for most of your points in other discussions here.) But, in my experience people who respond as you do are waaaay too certain that you are on the right side. You really are blind to the fact that you can’t even bring yourself to consider any of my points. All you can think about is how you can debunk them all. This is what close-minded people do.

      This is not entirely your fault, as it is both a natural tendency of human-beings to resist God and also what most people are taught today. But you are culpable for not questioning what you were taught and for not being open to what we believe and also to God’s call to you in your mind to stop running away from Him and to acknowledge Him as your Creator so that He can show you His immeasurable love.

  3. Allow me to butt in here… having read your article and your subsequent discussion with Vanitistic, who went to considerable lenghts to appear as if he respected your position (I’m not that kind of atheist, so I apologize in advance), the crux of the matter is you didn’t present, as your title promised, a rational road to Christianity (or Protestantism, as I would call it as someone who grew up in a Catholic environment). Instead you just made a number of assertions, laced with some logical fallacies.

    So here’s the thing about logic… it’s our best method for determining whether something is true or not without starting to doubt reality is reality. And herein lies the problem: you can’t make an argument for your position without suspending reality and thus committing logical fallacies. This has been known since, roughly, 481BC.
    And any fallacy means your argument has failed and you’re back to square one. You can either now fix your argument (hint: people have been trying to do this for the better part of 2500 years and have all failed) or admit you have an untenuable position but prefer to believe it anyway.

    • Then I will ask you to do what Vanitistic could not do: Point out an actual fallacy in what I have written. We say that it is the Materialist view which is reality-denying, claiming that human consciousness and all of our experience and knowledge are actually only mindless chemical functions in our brains.

  4. “1. If I am just the result of mindless forces operating on matter-energy in space-time, then I have no real explanation for why I exist as a person with a mind.”

    The first time I read this, I misread “why” as “how” for some reason, which would have made this first point self-refuting. I’m glad I caught my mistake before I responded. As for “why” you exist, I can’t help but wonder why you need some external purpose for your own existence.

    • I appreciate your question. It is a good question. What I am referring to is that the Materialism worldview held by most today has no real room for the question “Why?”. If Nature is all that exists, then things just are what they are by natural necessity. Quantum fluctuations don’t change this, they only make a mindless system less predictable than was previously believed. But none of us can live on this basis. We all believe we have minds and make real choices. So, our practice contradicts our stated beliefs. I hope this helps.

      • So you believe life needs to have an external purpose. What about an internal purpose? Can the facts of how a living, sentient being exists not be separate from where said being gets its sense of meaning and purpose?

      • Another good question. The real issue is whether or not there is any purpose in the universe. Today’s dominant worldview says that all that exists is matter-energy and mindless forces in space-time. But if this is true, then purpose and meaning are only illusions. Mind-less forces and matter-energy don’t have purpose and meaning, only mechanical necessity.

        However, no one actually believes that our sense of meaning and purpose is all illusion. And, even if all of our experience was an illusion (a la “The Matrix”), we still must still exist as the subjects of the illusion. To claim that this is illusory is the just absurd.

        A worldview which can’t explain our existence as rational subjects (also as moral beings) can’t be true. But Christian Theism, the previously-reigning view, explains this and also explains why the physical universe exists, why it is that we can understand how it works, how we have reliable knowledge of ourselves and other people (which includes God), why it is that some things are absolutely wrong and why human-rights are real and not arbitrary.

      • What about us? Do you think anyone believes that we, as a collective of sentient beings, are a mindless force? And if we aren’t, then even if we came about as a result of mindless processes, could we not, as mindful, self-evaluable beings, provide our own meanings and purpose?

      • Thanks, again. I like short replies like yours. You are correct that everyone agrees that we have minds. But this contradicts the Materialism worldview, which says that only mindless forces of Nature are real. We cannot at the same time say that we have minds but, also that we are governed only by mindless forces. Do you see the contradiction in this?

        The Materialism view can’t be true precisely because we have minds. Of course, some do claim that mindless forces worked to create minds through the process of Evolution. But, if so, then mindless forces are not all that exists (not anymore, at least). And, if human minds are real, then the Materialist objection to the existence of a Greater Mind (God) cannot be maintained. And this also disproves Naturalism (that only natural forces are responsible for what exists).

        You should ask yourself why you prefer to think that we only have minds due to mindless forces and that we create our own meaning rather than to consider that we have minds because we have been created by a Greater Mind to have minds that work like His (though in a limited way) so that we can understand the universe which He also created and the purpose for which He created it and us (which is our ultimate source of meaning).

      • So what you call the “Materialism worldview” says that only mindless forces of nature are real, and you also admit that generally people believe that we, human beings collectively, have minds. Does it not stand to reason then that you do not actually believe people believe what you call this “Materialism worldview?” If this is the case, then isn’t it irrelevant?

      • You are still missing my point. Most intellectuals do advocate the Materialism worldview and deny the worldview which it has replaced, Dualism, the view that both matter and mind exist (or bodies and souls). Dualism is not just the Christian view, but also the view of other religions. But Materialism is assumed by millions of people in the developed world. In fact, if you are not a religious person it is virtually certain that Materialism is what you believe (that souls or other immaterial entities, including God, can’t exist).

        But my primary point is that people believe this view in spite of the fact that it undermines a lot of other things that they believe. For this reason Materialism should be rejected and mind/body Dualism should be restored as the basic view.

        I would point especially to the fact that most of us believe that we really exist as observers and knowers. But this means that we are not just “brain-chemistry observing itself” (as many claim). For example, we can now observe our own brain-chemistry. This alone proves that we are more than our brain-chemistry. For it takes 2 parties for knowledge: a knowing subject and what is known. To reduce the former to the latter is simply absurd.

      • So you’re saying that “intellectuals” deny that human beings are sentient creatures? Going by the definition you’ve given as to what “Materialism” is, this is what you’re saying.

      • Forgive me if it seems as if I’m asking you to repeat yourself. I simply want to be sure if I understand. You see, if it is indeed true that you are claiming people who you have referred to as “intellectuals” are advocating for a belief you have called “materialism” (which you have defined as the idea that minds, and therefore, sentient beings, do not exist), then I can appreciate and mutually agree with you about that mindset being absurd. Likewise,
        I would also be appreciative that, as you have also claimed that, generally speaking, people on the whole do not subscribe to it. However, for all of my research and personal experience, I do not recall ever having encountered anyone, atheist or otherwise, who actually advocates for it. I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide an example; perhaps a Youtube link or an article with direct quotations or something of that nature.

      • I don’t at all mind you continuing this line of discussion. A very large percentage of people today (even many people who would say that they are Christians) would agree with the following statements in principle (although, in practice, they can’t live consistently with it):
        1. That the universe ultimately consists only of matter-energy and mindless forces of Nature in space-time.
        2. Immaterial entities, including souls, spirits, God or gods don’t exist.
        3. Belief in these things was part of a worldview which Science has shown to be false.

        Any Christian who tries to persuade people that God and souls exist will encounter many people who will object to us on this basis. But I am glad that you appear to be one who doesn’t reject that we are souls, as well as bodies.

        If you were educated in public schools in the developed world it is virtually certain that this is the view you were taught. But, on the other hand, no one really lives as though we are only machines which are controlled only by mindless forces (which is what this view implies). And, once again, if we admit that our minds are real, then we have contradicted the 1st statement above. It won’t work to try to claim that our minds are just some sort of “emergent phenomenon” of matter. This is because it denies the distinction between us as subjects who observe the material universe and the universe itself. Human subjects just can’t be reduced to what we observe.

        If we have a worldview which we can’t live with consistently, then we need to reconsider our worldview and find one that is consistent with what we know. The Christian worldview succeeds in this where Materialism fails.

        Materialism is actually part of the comprehensive philosophy of Humanism, as its metaphysical foundation, that is, its definition of what exists. And Empiricism is the epistemology associated with Materialism. A metaphysic defines what exists, while an epistemology defines how we know what exists.

        As for material on Materialism, it is not hard to find. Wikipedia has an article on it, also on Naturalism (which is focused on the “natural-forces only” part, denying the existence of an super-natural forces), Humanism and Empiricism. The American Humanist Association presents this view in a series of manifestos. And just doing word searches on these terms will also give you many articles. The book which I am currently seeking to publish will deal with this rather extensively, too. But the basic concepts, as I have laid them out here, are actually very simple.

      • According to wikipedia, materialism is defined as “a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions” with an addendum that reads “Modern philosophical materialists extend the definition of other scientifically observable entities such as energy, forces, and the curvature of space” to be included as “matter.” This definition is very similar to the one you’ve provided. To quote you: “Materialism…says that only mindless forces of Nature are real.” However, there are some key differences between these two definitions that I’m not sure you’ve noticed. I want to think you didn’t, as the alternative implies intentional misdirection (i.e. lying) and I try to avoid presuming the worst in people.

        Do you know what these differences are? I’m also curious as to what your definition of “natural” is.

      • I am disappointed that you are suggesting that I might be engaging in misdirection in this discussion. Why in the world would I spend my time doing this?

        You seem to be operating under the assumption that here is a “definitive” definition of Materialism and other philosophical concepts (as if there were a Bible for such things). But there isn’t. I use a simple definition which I believe accurately reflects the basic view of the universe held by most non-religious people today. I am not really concerned with how others define the term or other terms. What matters is whether or not the definition I have given fits what people believe. If so, then my criticisms of it are relevant for these people.

        You have expressed that you are not certain that matter-energy, mindless forces and space-time are all that exist. But you don’t seem to see the simple problems I point out with the view which says that they are. If you did, then you would have to conclude that there is more to the universe than this and realize that body & soul Dualism must be true. This would be an important step away from Humanism and toward Christianity.

        Rather than focus on other definitions of Materialism or Naturalism, I believe it would be better to focus on where you disagree with what I have presented as the Christian worldview.

      • It’s not that I care about definitions so much as I care about usages. Throughout this discussion, you’ve made clear exactly what you mean by the word materialism and I’ve worked with that. Using your definition, your claims make sense and I agree with you to an extent. If that’s what people who claim themselves to subscribe to materialism believed, it would be silly for reasons you’ve outlined, yourself. But when I told you I’d never come across anyone who actually believed that for myself and thus, asked for corroboration or example, you specifically pointed me to wikipedia, where the definition is different from the one you’re using. This tells me that you mistakenly believe that the wikipedia definition and your given definition are the same thing; but if they’re not. This fact raises several problems with your line of reasoning. Can you see that?

        Now, if we were to disregard the wikipedia definition you pointed me to, your position would make sense, but it wouldn’t line up with what people actually believe (unless, of course, you were to provide a better example of your given definition of this word). On the other hand, if we were to apply the definition wikipedia gives instead, it would fall in line with what people who claim a position of materialism seem to actually believe, but your concerns would make no sense. Which definition should I consider you to be using?

      • I would prefer for you to stick to the definition I gave. I have defined the term as I have as a working definition in order to clarify what you and others believe. Regardless of any differences in definitions which others have given, I do believe that most unbelievers do share the same basic set of beliefs which I have described – that only matter-energy, mindless forces and space-time really exist.

        I didn’t suggest Wikipedia because it is a definitive source for this issue. It was just one place that introduces Materialism. There are many other places where Materialism is discussed and defined in somewhat different ways. But I believe that my basic definition is consistent with most or all of them. However, I do believe that I am actually doing some ground-breaking work in my critique of Materialism.

        But, again, the important thing is: What do you believe and why don’t you believe in Dualism and Christianity?

      • The way you phrase the latter half of what you call the important question implies you believe I am neither a dualist nor a Christian. I have made no claim as to what my beliefs or disbeliefs are. As such, I owe you an explanation.

        They are irrelevant. My original comment was a question pertaining to the first premise of your article and my subsequent comments have merely been more questions that have arisen from the answers you’ve given in an attempt to follow the rationale behind your position to see if it stands up to scrutiny. Regardless of my position, I have motive for doing this: Let’s say I’m a non-Christian. In which case, if you can fill in the holes I point out in your reasoning, I have good reason to consider you may be right. Now let’s say I’m a Christian. In which case, if you can fill in the holes I point out in your reasoning, I now have not only reaffirmation of my beliefs, but also a new potential argument in favor of God, should the need arise. So my beliefs don’t matter. Your premise should be able to stand on its own. And as it turns out, it does. There is, in fact, an internal consistency to your reasoning. The only flaw is how well it fits reality, based on how common your definition of materialism actually is within the beliefs of people who call themselves materialist. You say it’s common, but this is literally the first I’ve heard of it.

        No materialist I have ever come across makes the claim that there only exist mindless forces in space-time.

        Now, since you asked, I’ll tell you this much to satiate your curiosity: I have never considered myself a materialist, nor do I believe that only mindless forces exist.

      • I didn’t actually go back to check, but I seem to recall that you did say earlier that you agreed with the Materialism view as I described it except that you were not certain that this is all that exists. But if you read any recent atheist material (such as books and articles by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and others listed on Wikipedia’s “New Atheism” page) you will find that many people do openly assert precisely this.

        It is also true that most people today aren’t conscious of their belief in Materialism and their corresponding rejection of Dualism and the existence of immaterial entities, mainly because most of us were taught that this is just the scientific view of reality, which every reasonable person should accept. As a result, most do just accept this. Ask your non-religious friends and I am quite sure that you will find that this is the case for many, if not most of them.

        But I believe you will agree that there are some clear problems with this view. As always, I appreciate this discussion and hope that this helps.

        Chris

      • When I speak to people who identify as materialist, they generally define materialism in much the same way that wikipedia does. I’ve also read the works of many New Athiests such as Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, who do much the same (As well as the works of their critics. Your position actually reminds me of Edward Feser). Perhaps you could provide a quote? Otherwise, the problem still stands. As well, if it continues to stand, I might have to recommend that you consider that you might be attacking an idea that simply doesn’t exist in the magnitude you believe it to.

        Ultimately, if I may be so bold as to make a tentative comparison, I think your reasoning fails to apply to reality precisely because it doesn’t take into account how the people you’re looking at think. To give an example: I actually spoke recently with an acquaintance of mine who openly called herself a materialist and asked her if she believed in the supernatural. She said no. I then asked her if she believed in ghosts, to which she said “I don’t know.” Then I asked her if she ever saw an actual, provable-as-real-as-reasonably-possible ghost, would she then change her mind about believing in the supernatural. She said no. When I asked her why. She explained to me that, as she understands it, “supernatural” refers to “speculated things that are not currently known to be part of the natural world.” “The natural world,” she elaborated, “being reality and everything in it. Therefore, if something can interact with reality in any measurable, identifiable way, then it is part of the natural world, and thus, not supernatural. Even if ghosts were proven to exist, they’d be part of the natural world.” I told her that that’s not really what I imagined when I think of the word “supernatural.” She told me that that may be true, but if I were to think of all the things that I considered to be supernatural, and looked at them from her perspective, the one thing they all would have in common would be how indistinguishable they all are from pseudoscience, mythology and fantasy. Hence why she uses that definition and why it applies both in reality as she and others like her understand it and in her own internally consistent reasoning.

        Let’s take someone like this person now and apply your definition of materialism to her. 1) Yes, she believes in matter and energy and mindless forces in action across the universe, but she also believes that she has a mind. That, while her mind is a product of her brain, it is a marvelous thing that she can appreciate for its various abilities. From her perspective, there is no reason why a high-enough functioning brain couldn’t be able to examine itself by means of thought-based self-reflection. 2) She’s not averse to the idea that gods, magic or the like could exist, she just hasn’t come across anything to suggest they do. What’s more, if they did, then they’d, by definition, exist in the natural world. She does not say that they do not, however. As that would be a claim of knowledge she simply can’t back up with evidence. Finally, 3) I’ve asked her directly what she thinks of people who believe in things that are presently within the category of “supernatural,” to which she said: “Nobody knows everything. Everybody’s allowed to believe whatever they’re convinced is true.”

        In conclusion, she calls herself a materialist, but lacks the extremisms your definition describes. By your definition, she is not a materialist.

      • You correctly describe the fact that many people do define “natural” as whatever exists. But this makes it a fairly useless word for categorizing things. “Naturalism” is somewhat different in that it does represent the view that only mindless forces of nature are responsible for what exists. In other words, it represents those who don’t believe in supernatural forces.

        But for someone to say that a supernatural force would simply be natural if observed misses the key difference between natural and supernatural forces: that the former don’t have intelligence behind them, they are governed only by fixed laws of nature in a fashion which results in a “natural necessity”. (Some resort to the idea of “quantum flux” to explain variability and uncertainty. But this is still different from how our minds work. This introduces only randomness, not choice.)

        But supernatural entities differ from the preceding in having minds and intelligence. Indeed, in one sense, human-beings are supernatural if it is allowed that we are governed not only by mindless forces of nature (though this is how our bodies function), but also by our minds and the intelligence and choices which these entail. Without our minds and their unique characteristics, human freedom would be an illusion.

        Again, that we are not really free, but are controlled by fixed laws of Nature is something which some people claim to be true in principle, but no one really believes in practice. Once again, this is self-contradictory inconsistency which points to a fatal flaw in one’s worldview. Without real human freedom we have no real choices. But if we have no real choices then we can’t be held responsible for anything that we do. But, if this is true, then both morality and human-rights are only arbitrary, a mere matter of opinion. (Actually, though, the bigger problem is that all concepts, along with consciousness and everything on the side of human experience are immaterial entities, which are not reducible to material ones.)

        Your example simply points out how inconsistent people are, which is partly my point. Believing that a complex enough brain can become self-aware is a common belief today. But it runs into the problem of how an object can become a subject, which I have discussed with you already. My point is that if we don’t begin with subjects (you, me, us) we will never be able to find them in objects (our brains). This is why Dualism is necessary.

      • Her definition of natural works perfectly fine for categorizing things. It creates 2 distinct, mutually exclusive categories describable as such: That which demonstrably exists, and that which has yet to be proven to exist. Anything that falls into one category definitively cannot be in the other. The inconsistency you’re worried about only exists if she were to include “having a mind behind it” as part of her definition of being supernatural. She does not, so she has no inconsistency. You claim she’s missing the key difference between natural and supernatural forces, but according to her definitions, the key difference has nothing to do with minds. It has to do with whether or not something has been demonstrated to exist. You are ascribing a mindset to her that she does not hold.

      • But my point is that her mindset is inadequate in the ways which I have been discussing with you. It has become common with 21st century post-modernism to say that all mindsets are acceptable. But they just aren’t. Views such as the one this person holds (and yours) are incomplete and self-defeating in the most literal sense – in denying the real existence of ourselves!

        I would add that most people who hold the “every mindset is OK” view consider my worldview quite unacceptable. So, such people contradict their own basic principle.

        I feel that this discussion has gone far enough. It seems to me that you are overly concerned with defining terms and I suspect that you are doing this in order to avoid actually considering the problems I have raised with your position. I have given you plenty to go on. But you must be willing to think carefully and critically about your assumptions and be willing to really consider that you should embrace the Christian worldview. I pray that God will help you to do this. But you must be willing to let Him.

        Respectfully yours,
        Chris

      • I never in any way implied that every mindset is okay. Even my acquaintance can tell me that there are people whose internal model of reality is more inaccurate than others’. I also never gave my position on anything. As far as you know, I am a Christian. But then, since you seem content to give your final words for this discussion, I guess this will, in all probability, be my last message here as well.

        My final words will be a message to anyone who may happen to read through this article and this subsequent conversation: My need to define terms comes directly from my need to acknowledge what it is we mean when we use words. To not do so is to render our positions and arguments ambiguous, thus denying ourselves and each other true understanding. The fact that this person is bothered by this suggests to me that he doesn’t care about understanding. His attempts to force his definitions onto subjects that do not meet the criteria for them (i.e. people who disagree with him) further suggest that his true goal is to create a straw man. He has systematically demonstrated his process of describing a hypothetical mindset, breaking it down for all its absurdities, and then labeling people who demonstrably do not hold said mindset with it.

        He probably doesn’t realize it, but he also demonstrated at the very beginning of this conversation exactly how rational he is not about this whole subject. My first question of his first premise in this article is a question of his insistence on the need for a “why.” Specifically, the question of “why [he] exists.” As if that has any bearing on the truth. The truth, as those that actually care about knowing things that are true know, doesn’t itself care about how you feel. What is true is true whether you like it or not. But the entire reason he makes this argument in the first place is exactly because he feels (and I quote) “Life is meaningless and sad without.” This is his bias. This is his basis. He needs there to be a why so the end result is not “meaningless and sad.” This means that he will not allow himself to conceive of any conclusion or train of thought that doesn’t include some purpose for his own existence, even if said conclusion allows him the freedom to invent his own purpose (regardless of what that purpose may be). In conclusion, this man is either unknowingly mistaken or lying to himself and others. He offers no rational road to Christianity. To those who seek the truth, I hope that you find it.

        Taso Canido

  5. [1. If I am just the result of mindless forces operating on matter-energy in space-time, then I have no real explanation for why I exist as a person with a mind.]

    What is a “real explanation?” Why does it matter whether you have one? Where has it been demonstrated that “mindless forces operating on matter-energy” cannot produce a mind? Absent such a demonstration, how is your first point anything more than an unsupported assertion?

    • First, “The Rational Road” is just an outline of the line of thinking which led me to abandon the Materialism view I had been taught and, eventually, to embrace the view which it had replaced as the dominant view: Theistic Dualism. It is not a detail explanation of this. I provide arguments in support of Dualism elsewhere (especially in points 4-6 in my piece on this site: “10 Widely-believed Fallacies Today”). But I do so much more extensively in a book I am preparing.

      As for your specific questions. The question of burden-of-proof falls on someone making a claim, such as today’s common claim that mindless forces operating on matter-energy did produce minds. There is no evidence that this did happen. Without this, there is no explanation for the existence of our minds. That’s just a simple fact.

      But the primary reason most people hope to find one, along with the hope that abiogenesis (spontaneous creation of life from inanimate matter) can be demonstrated, and also the hope that a unified “theory of everything” can be found is the hope that the alternative: that there is a Creator and Creation, can be disproven.

      We Christians have simple explanations for all of the Big Questions. But people who have been indoctrinated against Christianity usually reject these out-of-hand. But to do so is not reasonable.

      • So the burden of proof cant be on the people that assert their beliefs are true? Thats pretty severely hypocritical wouldnt you say? No where in science does the origin of life claimed to be “from nothing” thats an outright lie.

        Here is a link to a moderate sized youtube personality going through your post point for point.

      • I am well aware of Logicked’s rant against my “Rational Road” and have responded to multiple people in the comments for this video. And my point is that the burden-of-proof is on everyone who makes truth claims, including atheists who claim that the God of the Bible and other gods don’t exist.

        I ask you: Who doesn’t assert that their beliefs are true? Everyone does! But a negative universal claim like the atheist belief that God doesn’t exist can’t be proven. So, amazingly, it is simple logic that atheism is not a logically untenable position. On the other hand, skepticism as traditionally understood, which is to doubt that God exists but not to be certain about this, is a logically tenable position. But reasonable people should be able to move from doubt to belief in God.

        And you are confusing two points I made. Evolution is based on the belief that life evolved from inanimate matter, though this has never been observed or created in a lab. But Big Bang evolutionary cosmology does posit that the entire universe somehow came from a Singularity of unknown origin and by an unknown mechanism. This is an argument from ignorance compared to the rational notion that there was a Creator.

  6. Christopher:

    I would like to offer a follow-up to your stated intention and purpose in engaging in interfaith dialogue:

    “I seek people who are humble enough to consider that they may be wrong about God and Christianity (though there aren’t many people like this today, and that is actually sad). I don’t waste my time trying to argue with people who are so certain that they are right and that no Christian claim could possibly be true.”

    I am an atheist who occasionally, and sometimes frequently, explores possible ways in which some form of God could exist, within and/or without the known universe as we currently understand it. However, I continue to remain unconvinced that I can know with certainty that a creator god exists. I also remain open to the possibility of being convinced that certain objective truth claims of Christian doctrines are accurate. However, I have not yet found an argument put forth by believers that I find convincing, and it is not for a lack of giving serious concentrated mental effort to consider the other’s position.

    Likewise, I have read every post of yours on this site and remain unconvinced of your position. I will not here describe my specific objections to what you have written, as you have made it clear that this style of conversation, in more of a debate format, is not the type of dialogue in which you prefer to engage. (I would like to observe, however, that your presentation of your position in the style of a logical argument does invite criticism and debate-style responses.)

    I will take the bait here. 😉 I am willing to consider that I might “be wrong about God and Christianity.” How would you therefore proceed in dialogue with me without referring me to your other articles or previously-made points that I find unconvincing?

    Thank you for your time. I notice that you are intensely motivated and spend a great amount of time and effort in your writing.

    • I truly appreciate the “spirit” of your reply (pun intended). I have total respect for anyone who says that they are unconvinced, as opposed to people who are completely certain that they are right and Christians are wrong (and, often, stupid and/or immoral, too). Sadly, this is the norm these days. But you appear to be a welcomed exception.

      I welcome specific questions and problems from people like you. I have already answered your first one from your other post. I always like to deal with specific issues one-at-a-time and begin with short answers, expanding on these as necessary. I just see this as the way good dialogues unfold.

      I thank-you again for your thank-you and look forward to having a mutually-beneficial dialogue with you, regardless of whether I convince you now or not (though I hope that I can because I believe it would be so wonderful for you). Good dialogues also help others reading them, too.

      Sincerely,
      Chris

      • Great. I always appreciate open and respectful dialogue. I will also comment that, from my experience, it is rare that I experience genuine dialogue such as this with fundamentalists, conservative apologists, etc. (Before I assign you an inaccurate “label”, do you consider yourself a fundamentalist, would you prefer the term evangelical, or neither?)

        I am not sure which supposed other post of mine you’re referring to. I remember only posting this comment on this site. (Although my memory isn’t always the greatest lol.)

        Perhaps let’s just start by focusing on your first premise here: “If I am just the result of mindless forces operating on matter-energy in space-time, then I have no real explanation for why I exist as a person with a mind.”

        I might need more clarification from you and I don’t wish to assume too much about what you mean; however, first I would like to highlight your use of the word “why” rather than “how”. As you seem to be aware, Western Science does not claim to be able to offer any “why” explanations. Rather, it seeks to create “how” explanations. (Lawrence M Krauss discusses this in his purposely mis-titled book “A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing”, in which he states and explains that the more scientifically-accurate title would be “How There Is Something Rather Than Nothing”, as he as a physicist is unable to comment on a “why” for the existence of matter-energy and space-time.) Many atheists stop right here and conclude that there most likely isn’t a “why” explanation and appear to largely be comfortable without an overall purpose for the universe’s existence. However, some atheists, such as myself, still enjoy contemplating metaphysical interpretations of reality, including different ways of knowing, and acknowledge that Western Scientific methodologies are not the only ways to obtain knowledge of the universe and existence. My position currently is that there is so much mystery involved in philosophical and metaphysical musings and so much of it is relegated to one’s subjective experience that it’s very difficult to say that one person’s “why” explanation is necessarily more accurate than another’s. It can be disheartening and incredibly unnerving to take a position of not knowing. It’s hard not to be nihilistic sometimes, even for Theists. Therefore, not to misrepresent your position, but I do hold that many believers act–at least in part–out of a need to be certain and confident that their beliefs are right about the nature of things–the “why’s”, for example–because it resolves the anxiety of uncertainty. I would argue that the same would be true of a minority of atheists who would say that they’re certain that there is no god, or no “why” explanation for the existence of the universe. It’s rare that I ever encounter an atheist who will say this, as even many of the most militant and arrogant atheists will still put themselves at a 6 on Dawkins’ 7-point scale.

        Second, I want to clarify that I am correct in assuming that you are particularly, in this argument, concerned with the question of “why” and not “how”. If I am correct, I needn’t rabbit trail here. I would then like to observe that many to most unbelievers are not going to be concerned with not having a “why” explanation and will likely disregard this argument’s value at this premise. Again, to be clear, I am not arguing that it’s pointless to ask “why” questions and consider the possibility of the universe’s existence having a purpose, but I do want to explain why arguing from this point is unlikely to appeal to people who don’t believe that the universe needs a “why” for its existence.

        I’d like to start here. I don’t desire to add too much content immediately as I would rather have a “quality rather than quantity” discussion with you.

        Also, if you don’t mind a moment of shameless self-promotion, if you or anyone reading these threads are interested, I would like to invite you to check out a podcast I co-host with a friend of mine. It’s called “The Religious Nut and Hellbound Sinner”–he’s an Anglican monk and I’m an atheist psychotherapist. The show is dedicated to open and respectful dialogue between people holding divergent views. We’re open about our perspectives, but still value the other. https://soundcloud.com/james-gadomski

        Again, thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to our continuing, evolving dialogue. 🙂

      • Unfortunately, I am now interacting with too many people to spend the time giving you a detailed response. However, all too often these discussions become needlessly complicated. In short, the main problem with your approach is that it categorically excludes all “whys”. And it’s not a matter of desiring whys. The truth is that no one can really live without many meaningful whys. The fact that real whys undeniably exist (for example, there are real reasons why I should not kill my neighbor, even though I don’t like him) is enough to prove that the Materialism view is an Epic Fail!

  7. Pingback: Another apologetic – No Apology

    • That you would ask this question only shows how thoroughly brainwashed you are! Christianity was the worldview on which modernity was built, yet you appear to be completely ignorant of this. You also appear to be ignorant of the fact that many brilliant people have been Christians, both today and in the past.

      It is not your fault that you have been indoctrinated in ignorance of Christianity and anti-Christian bigotry. But you are culpable for uncritically swallowing your indoctrination and not questioning it. It took me until I was 22 to do this, but I wish that I had done it much earlier. May God open the minds and eyes of millions like you. But you are also culpable insofar as you resist Him.

      • I am very aware that there have been brilliant people who believe Christianity, just as I am aware that there are many brilliant people who completely reject Christianity, but that has zero relevance here. I was asking if this specific piece is satire or not. I’m still not convinced either way, but I’ll continue as if it actually is the genuine beliefs of the author, because like any good Poe, even if they were just joking, there will be others who actually do think it’s real.
        I’m not going to go through the list point by point as others have already done so, suffice to say all of the points made are either unsubstantiated claims, or logical errors.
        The thing that interests me is in every response made to people refuting this post you claim they are indoctrinated, in psychology this is called projection. Something that describes you, but instead of admitting that, you claim it’s others who have this flaw. Interestingly enough, I actually was indoctrinated into a belief system when I was growing up, Christianity (which I am now thankfully free of). I started noticing contradictions and mistakes in the bible, when I asked adults about them I was either given wholly unsatisfying answers, or was just told off for asking. The more I looked into the subject, thought about it, and rationally analysed my findings, the less I believed. By the time I was in my mid-teens, I had completely dropped Christianity. I am open to there being gods, existing somewhere, we’ve yet to discover, I just don’t see the point in believing something exists when there is absolutely zero evidence it actually does.

      • My experience was the opposite of yours. I was raised to reject Christianity in favor of Humanism. And as someone who was a non-Christian until I was 22, I now know that it is your side that falsely projects what you do on Christians like me.

        My suspicion is that you abandoned Christianity not for intellectual reasons, but because you wanted to do your own thing. That’s understandable. But I would suggest that you never properly understood the Christian message. To this end, it might help you to read the piece “The Relationship of Faith and Works to Salvation” on this site. My suspicion is that you think Christianity works according to the 3rd model, not the 4th.

        There are no mistakes or contradictions in the Bible. There are always either clear or, at least, possible readings which avoid these. But you must want to see these in order to see them. Most objections to the Bible are based on the assumption that the God of the Bible can’t exist. But this is an unknowable assumption. And if this God exists (as we say He must), then the Bible is credible from cover-to-cover.

        Furthermore, to say that there is no evidence for Christianity is just silly! Literally millions of pages have been written which argue for Christianity being true using evidence. But, again, the problem is that you just don’t want to look at any of it. Rather, you want to view everything on the assumption that Christianity is false and its God non-existent.

        At the same time, though, you actually know in your mind that your Creator does exist. But you suppress this knowledge because it goes against your desire for independence. However, none of us can be independent of the One Who made us and sustains our lives moment-by-moment.

        So, the wise person will seek reconciliation with God. Those who do find a peace which no one estranged from God can know in this world and can also be confident of the blessings of Heaven after our present lives in this world. But those who persist until the end of their days resisting God’s offer of forgiveness and everlasting blessing will have, in effect, chosen Hell instead of Heaven.

    • “My suspicion is that you abandoned Christianity not for intellectual reasons, but because you wanted to do your own thing. That’s understandable.”
      Then you suspect wrongly, I rejected it because it didn’t hold water. All christians choose which parts of the bible to follow and which to reject (it’s impossible not to) so they can do their own thing, I just went that tiny step further and rejected all of it.

      “But I would suggest that you never properly understood the Christian message.”
      You claim Atheists are arrogant, but then go on to say that you understand what is going on in their heads better than they do. We’re back to that old psychological projection again aren’t we?

      “To this end, it might help you to read the piece ‘The Relationship of Faith and Works to Salvation’ on this site. My suspicion is that you think Christianity works according to the 3rd model, not the 4th.”
      Actually no, I don’t accept the concept of salvation at all, so they are all fabrications.

      “There are no mistakes or contradictions in the Bible.”
      Are you seriously going to claim that? It contradicts itself internally, the Gospels don’t even agree on the day of the crucifixion. It also contradicts reality, it tells us there are talking snakes/bushes/donkeys, that people can live inside fish, insects have four legs, every plant and tree which yield seed are edible, there were giants on the earth at one time, rabbits chew cud, the cure for leprosy involves incantations and the blood of a bird, and the bodies of dead saints can go for a stroll around town, to name but a very few.

      “There are always either clear or, at least, possible readings which avoid these.”
      If you need to perform extreme mental gymnastics to justify *OBVIOUS* errors, you are the one that has problems with what is actually real and what is not.

      “But you must want to see these in order to see them.”
      Exactly, if you want black to be white hard enough, you’ll believe it is, that doesn’t mean it actually will be though.

      “Most objections to the Bible are based on the assumption that the God of the Bible can’t exist.”
      But as described in the Bible, he can’t exist, he preordains everything, then gets pissed off when things don’t go as planned, he knows everything, unless the story requires him to not know something, one of his main defining characteristic is his unchangeability while drastically changing from story to story. The character as written couldn’t possibly exist.

      “But this is an unknowable assumption.”
      No, it is knowable. Saying “There may be godlike creatures somewhere in the Universe that we don’t currently know about” is unknowable, and unprovable. However, as I’ve pointed out above Yahweh’s existence as described in the bible is logically impossible.

      “And if this God exists (as we say He must)…”
      Nope

      “…then the Bible is credible from cover-to-cover.”
      And as I’ve shown above, the Bible is *NOT* credible (and there are many, many, many more examples of this than the few I gave).

      “Furthermore, to say that there is no evidence for Christianity is just silly!”
      Then why has nobody ever presented any credible evidence?

      “Literally millions of pages have been written which argue for Christianity being true using evidence.”
      You seem a little confused over what constitutes evidence and what constitutes the claim. The plural of anecdote is not data.

      “But, again, the problem is that you just don’t want to look at any of it.”
      Wrong again, I’d love to see credible evidence, I’ve just never been given any.

      “Rather, you want to view everything on the assumption that Christianity is false and its God non-existent.”
      Nope, I’m completely open to changing my position, are you?

      “At the same time, though, you actually know in your mind that your Creator does exist.”
      There’s that magic (non-existent) mind-reading ability again LOL

      “God’s offer of forgiveness and everlasting blessing will have, in effect, chosen Hell instead of Heaven.”
      The good old carrot or the stick option that is so popular with religions around the world.

      I’m honestly still undecided if you are actually a genuine believer or a reasonably good Poe, but regardless I don’t see this ‘debate’ going anywhere. If you want to continue, I’m happy to do so, but it’s also fine to just drop it.

      • You are probably correct that this debate won’t go anywhere. I was hesitant to even respond to you to begin with. This is because your initial question indicated that you are so brainwashed against Christianity (YES, BRAINWASHED!!!) that you actually can’t even begin to consider that a reasonable person, much less an intelligent person, could seriously believe it. Such an extreme bias is always a hallmark of a brainwashed person. (As a recovered victim of this, I know.) In order for a brainwashing to be successful what is being done to the subject must be completely hidden. In this respect the indoctrination in anti-Christian Humanism by the dominant culture in the developed world for the past 50 years or so has been the most successful indoctrination campaign in history.

        But God has helped some of us escape it. I suspect that you are one of many who was programmed against Christianity either in college or high school. Either way, it is your responsibility to question the worldview which you have been taught. It will actually fall apart quickly once you start actually applying critical-thinking to it. And what you have been taught to be critical of is not real Christianity, but a straw-man caricature of it. All of your objections to the Bible assume the faulty worldview which you have been taught. If the God of the Bible exists then all of the things you consider impossible in the Bible are possible! It’s that simple. And not only must the God of the Bible exist, you even know He does in your mind, but would do anything not to admit it and will look anywhere else for answers.

    • “…you are so brainwashed against Christianity”
      So instead of commenting or attempting to disprove any of the points I made, you’re just going straight to projecting your brainwashed state onto me?

      “…that you actually can’t even begin to consider that a reasonable person, much less an intelligent person, could seriously believe it.”
      Again you seem rather confused, I *DID* consider it possible that somebody could (somehow) believe these poorly thought out attempts at reason. That’s why I asked if it was satire or not. Rather than just having a giggle and move on.

      “Such an extreme bias is always a hallmark of a brainwashed person.”
      But I’ve already stated I’m happy to change my opinion, you have refused to say the same, a sure sign that you are the brainwashed one, not I.

      “In order for a brainwashing to be successful what is being done to the subject must be completely hidden.”
      Not relevant to the discussion, but this is actually also wrong.

      “I suspect that you are one of many who was programmed against Christianity either in college or high school.”
      Yet again, you seem very confused, I have already said (just a little further up this very page) how I came to reject Christianity. It was actually reading the bible, the *VAST* majority of my school-friends and teachers were very much against atheism, not encouraging of it.

      “Either way, it is your responsibility to question the worldview which you have been taught.”
      I did question it, and when the answers were found wanting I rejected it, this is exactly how I became an atheist. To this day I read and watch lots of religious material (from many religions, not just one like you), and I still find the answers given by them unconvincing at best and ludicrous at worst.

      “It will actually fall apart quickly once you start actually applying critical-thinking to it.”
      Why do you not apply this to your own beliefs? (actually, never mind, thinking about the above article, it’s clear you really don’t understand critical thinking)

      “And what you have been taught to be critical of is not real Christianity…”
      Yet again, I wasn’t taught to be critical of Christianity, I read into it and analysed the claims and the proposed answers myself.

      “…but a straw-man caricature of it.”
      Please go back and reread my earlier posts, I *WAS* a christian! I’m not straw-maning anything.

      “All of your objections to the Bible assume the faulty worldview which you have been taught.”
      Then please feel free to point out which of my points about the Bible are incorrect.

      “If the God of the Bible exists then all of the things you consider impossible in the Bible are possible!”
      And if the Norse god Thor existed, there would be no frost giants. If Harry Potter existed, Hogwarts would be real. If was real, then would be true. You are jumping ahead, you first have to prove (or at least justify the possibility of) your chosen deity’s existence.

      “And not only must the God of the Bible exist, you even know He does in your mind”
      Back to the magical non-existent mind-reading

      “but would do anything not to admit it and will look anywhere else for answers.”
      Yet again, I have said several times now, I’m open to changing my mind, just give me a good reason to do so. If you can’t, just admit it. (and again I note you are still unwilling to make the same offer).

      If you can refrain from projections, ad homonyms, and unsubstantiated assertions long enough to attempt to refute any of the points I made I’ll respond. Otherwise, I’ll assume you have nothing and just leave it at that.

      • The truth is that it’s you who has given no real specific rebuttal of any of my points. You have only given unsubstantiated assertions of your point-of-view and ad hominems. The most obvious example of the latter is your ridiculous charge that I, who had become a complete Skeptic as a Philosophy student at Duke (as I explain in my “The Question That We All Should Ask” piece) don’t understand critical-thinking.

        I, on the other hand, have already answered why you assume the Bible is filled with impossibilities – because you assume that the God described in it can’t exist. If He does, then all of the supposed physical impossibilities fall away. You simply dismiss this simple and reasonable point and then make analogies that are just silly.

        And your demand that the existence of The God described in the Bible, Who both made you and sustains your life moment-by-moment is the most absurd thing that a person can do. The nature of this God is such that, if He exists, then He is The Ultimate Elephant in the Room. So, proving that He exists is entirely unnecessary. One either accepts His existence or not.

        And I challenge you to cite a single specific contradiction in the Bible, instead of just asserting that the Bible is filled with them. Of course, even if you provide one, it is almost certain that you will have no willingness to consider how it may not be a contradiction because of your strong bias. But, go ahead and try. Perhaps you may surprise me and be willing to actually consider my response and not just reject it out-of-hand.

        Also, atheists love to demand that we admit that we may be wrong also. But this demand presupposes that no one can ever get to a point of really knowing the truth. We say that this is possible for all who want this and say that whereas we once didn’t know (or, more accurately, suppressed that we knew), now we do know (or, we no longer suppress our knowledge of our Creator, in contrast with all other counterfeits and approaches which deny Him).

        Doubt is only a virtue if there isn’t a way to know something. We say that every human-being who has ever lived has actually known that the Creator exists and has the choice either to admit this or keep denying it.

        Finally, give up the projection charge. It’s just as easily thrown back at you. Besides, your attitude toward the Bible strongly suggests that you never really believed in it in any significant sense. It seems clear that you did give assent to it for an extended period. But this is not the same thing as tested and committed belief. A lot of people have thought they were Christians and claimed that they were, but really weren’t (including me growing up, even though I was being indoctrinated in anti-Christians Humanism from kindergarten on, mainly because my family was Catholic).

        Don’t even try to make the “no true Scotsman” charge here. It only applies if I claim that no true believer ever renounces the faith. I don’t make this claim. In fact, I hope that you aren’t one who is described in Hebrews 6:4-6 as having been enlightened, but then rejecting Christ. Because, if so, it says that there is no hope for you.

        Finally, about the “carrot and stick”. I have actually been thinking recently about this specifically. Most Christians appeal to people based on the blessings that becoming a Christian will bring, based on our own experiences in this world, along with what the Bible promises about the future. But I also appeal to what will happen to those who stubbornly refuse until the end God’s offer to be your loving Father, Savior and Lord rather than your Judge. Warning someone about this is not a threat, it’s a well-meant warning. This would be the case even if we were wrong about the destiny of those who reject our God. If you have even the slightest willingness to actually think about my point-of-view, you should be willing to at least recognize this.

  8. Your argument fails immediately, since #1 means nothing. Just because you don’t know something, that only means that you don’t know. Anything else is just an argument from ignorance logical fallacy.

    If you don’t know what the Sun is, that doesn’t mean it has to be your god driving a golden chariot across the sky. It just means that you don’t know. And no amount of not knowing can make some other explanation true by default.

    • You miss my point entirely. It’s people like you who claim to know what I express in this point who don’t really know what you claim to know. The entire enterprise of anti-theistic Science today is fatally compromised by the fact that it can’t answer the most basic questions of human existence. Not that it hasn’t yet answered them. It can’t answer them even in principle because it categorically denies our existence as moral rational beings, not biochemical machines.

      What you really need to do is to ask yourself why you are pre-disposed to view my perspective as wrong from the get-go. I didn’t ask myself this for my first 20 years, but I wish I had done so much earlier.

      • You made an argument. It failed immediately, on the very first premise. I’m not “pre-disposed to view your perspective as wrong.” I didn’t even know what your perspective was. (I’m not sure I know even now, since you seem to use language to confuse, rather than to clarify.)

        But if you’re going to make an argument, it needs to be a valid argument. That one fails spectacularly. You can’t blame me for that. That’s all your doing.

      • My argument doesn’t fail at all. It works just fine for anyone who isn’t pre-disposed to reject it out-of-hand, as you do. The fact that you can’t actually refute it, only dismiss it, shows this. You need to start questioning the worldview which you have been taught. If only you would be willing to do so you would quickly come to see that it has fatal flaws. And you might become willing to actually consider the Christian alternative.

        My language may seem designed to confuse to you, but what it really does is show that when Materialism and Humanism are seen clearly their inherent confusions become clear.

      • I already explained why your argument failed right from point #1: Just because you don’t know something, that only means that you don’t know. The only thing that demonstrates is that you don’t know.

        I didn’t reject it out of hand, and it has nothing to do with a “worldview.” You simply made a bad argument, and I showed you why it was wrong (at least, one way, since an argument only has to be wrong once to be invalid).

        Note that you haven’t replied to that. You haven’t acknowledged my objection at all. You’ve just made vague claims that you’re right. Well, maybe you should have done that in the first place. After all, it’s hard to argue against vague claims. A bad argument, on the other hand, is very easy to argue against.

      • Sorry, but you’re the one whose logic fails. Your objection is invalid because I don’t claim in my first point that the existence of our minds proves that the Christian view is correct. In fact, my point is precisely that we don’t know why we have minds on the basis of the Materialism view. And you have already admitted this.

        This was just the first step in my intellectual progression. (I don’t even claim that this is an airtight logical syllogism. Rather, it is an outline of the steps which led me eventually to being persuaded that Materialism and Humanism fails, but Christianity succeeds.) But the next rational step was to realize that since viewing the universe as ultimately mindless can’t explain the existence of our minds, then we need to look elsewhere for an explanation of this. This should include being open to the Christian alternative.

        It is not a “matter” (pun intended) of us having not yet found a way to explain the existence of our minds. For, if you believe that all that exists is matter-energy and mindless forces of Nature in space-time then you categorically deny the existence of minds. The law of non-contradiction dictates requires this.

        You can’t have it both ways. Either our minds are real and Materialism (in the sense of believing that only matter-energy, mindless forces and space-time exist) is therefore wrong. Or our minds don’t really exist. But those who assume the latter will always be trying to explain away the existence of our minds in one way or another (even though we obviously have minds) rather than explaining them.

        And your commitment to the Materialism/Humanism worldview is precisely why you are predisposed to reject the alternative Christian Dualism approach and to try to refute all of my points, rather than actually considering them. Again, I know this because I did the same thing until I was 22. (And I will keep going back to this critical fact until you acknowledge it, as you should.) That you are either unaware of this or just refuse to admit it makes no difference. You need to become aware of your indoctrinated bias or, at least, be honest and admit it.

      • “I don’t even claim that this is an airtight logical syllogism. Rather, it is an outline of the steps which led me eventually to being persuaded”

        So, you were “persuaded” by a bad argument? You don’t claim that the argument makes logical sense, but you were persuaded by it anyway? It’s pretty clear that you’re just trying to find excuses to believe what you really want to believe, isn’t it?

        Since #1 fails, as I’ve already explained, #3 fails as well. (“Therefore, the first part of point #1 can’t be true.”) Note that your argument has already failed, so it’s a waste of my time to go any further.

        But if you insist, I’ll point out that #5 fails, too. (“If there is a reasonable explanation for how this came to be, then I should accept that it’s true.”) You should not accept anything as true without evidence that it is true.

        Leprechauns aren’t a “reasonable explanation” as long as you have no good evidence that leprechauns even exist, let alone that they did what you want to claim they did. Well, gods are the exact same way. Your god explanation has no more explanatory power, and is no more “reasonable,” than a leprechaun explanation, and neither has any good evidence backing it up.

        I could go on and on, because your entire argument is bogus. #6 – “I also have an innate sense that these things are true.” So, since I feel that those things are not true, I guess that my innate feelings prove you wrong, huh? (Later on, you talk about “indoctrinated bias.” Could that be any more clear in your argument here?)

        Or #7 – ” Why shouldn’t I consider that this is true?” Consider all you like, but you shouldn’t believe that any of it is true without evidence! Why should I consider that leprechauns created human consciousness through magic? Well, perhaps because I have zero evidence that any of that is true?

        Your whole argument is like that, but as I said, it’s a complete waste of time to go through all of it. A failed argument is a failed argument, no matter whether it fails once or a million times.

        “But the next rational step”

        The next rational step was to start over, because an argument that fails from the very beginning cannot be used – not rationally – as the basis for another step down the same path.

        “since viewing the universe as ultimately mindless can’t explain the existence of our minds”

        Evidence? Please back up that claim with evidence.

        If you mean that we can’t explain the existence of our minds now, then that is simply an argument from ignorance. It’s just the god of the gaps. But if you mean that we’ll never be able to explain the existence of our minds without the supernatural, you’ll need to provide evidence of that.

        “This should include being open to the Christian alternative.”

        I’m open. Do you have any evidence that Christianity is true? No, I didn’t think so. (I’ve known a lot of Christians!) Note that I’m equally open to the leprechaun alternative. I don’t believe that, either, for the same reason: no good evidence backing it up.

        “if you believe that all that exists is matter-energy and mindless forces of Nature in space-time”

        I never claimed that. I’ve never claimed to know “all that exists.” I don’t even claim that leprechauns don’t exist, but only that I don’t believe they do (given the lack of good evidence). You are building a strawman to argue against (apparently because your failed argument requires a strawman, huh?).

        “then you categorically deny the existence of minds. The law of non-contradiction dictates requires this.”

        Bullshit. Is this why you were building that strawman? Heh, heh. You’re trying to define your god into existence using word games?

        “And your commitment to the Materialism/Humanism worldview”

        Note that I haven’t said one word about Humanism, so I guess that’s just something else which gets your knickers in a twist? Hmm,… indeed, I haven’t said one word about my “worldview,” either, or about “Materialism.”

        And we haven’t agreed on a definition of any of those terms. This is all just a strawman argument. You tell me what I believe and then you tell me that it can’t be true (without providing any evidence, note). Your entire argument is a complete joke.

        “rather than actually considering them”

        I have considered your points. They failed, in multiple ways. I’ve described some of those ways here. You just don’t want to accept that someone might disagree with you.

        “You need to become aware of your indoctrinated bias”

        Fuck you. I was raised Christian. I’ve been surrounded by Christians my entire life. Maybe you should think a bit about your “indoctrinated bias.” Weren’t you taught this stuff as a child, before you’d developed any critical-thinking skills at all?

        At any rate, I’m done here. I’ve wasted far too much time on you. Your argument fails in many different ways. Even you seem to acknowledge that (“I don’t even claim that this is an airtight logical syllogism.”), but that’s not going to stop you from believing what you really, really want to believe, is it?

      • You are obviously far too biased to be able to truly think about my point-of-view and my arguments for it. This is not really your fault. But you need to recognize your bias and you need to ask God to help you overcome it. And, contrary to what you’ve been taught and contrary to your natural inclination, you can do this if you are willing because you know in your heart that your Creator exists, because every human-being God ever created has known this (not one of 1000’s of deities humanity has created to take His place). Until you are willing to do this we will not get anywhere in this discussion, as you yourself have recognized.

  9. Christopher, you seem accepting of quantum mechanics of all things. A little surprising. Seeing as you appear very learned and well versed in Christianity perhaps you can tell me what does Christianity has to say about randomness: Is randomness real or just a perception?

    • It’s not so much that I subscribe to quantum mechanics, but I recognize how Materialists use it to try to avoid an absolute mechanical determinism while avoiding resorting to an Intelligence behind the universe and maintaining their Materialist worldview. But, in reality, it doesn’t succeed. All it does is make randomness, rather than laws of Nature, what determines everything.

      Randomness is real, but only as a lack of design and order. But Materialism denies the reality of design, despite the fact that we function as designers constantly. It is true that Nature sometimes creates order (as in the way storms like hurricanes organize, whether this occurs “automatically” due to God’s design of the laws of Nature or due to His on-going influence is unclear). But, in general, it takes intelligent input to create orderly systems. Without this, systems usually become less orderly, not more. I often like to point out that anyone who never cleans their house or apartment proves this. I’m no expert on quantum mechanics, but I hope this helps.

      • Christopher, thanks for the reply.

        Firstly dealing with your view of Randomness

        If I understand you correctly your view of Randomness primarily revolves around notions of order and disorder and whether it was intended or not.

        You note that the Laws of Nature (which are mindless) can give rise to patterns which we might perceive as order. In these cases it is unclear if order occurs by direct or indirect design. But either way this seems to imply that if there is order then ultimately there must be design behind it.

        However in subsequent comments you seem to soften on this position, saying that order is only generally the result of design and disorder is only generally the result of a lack of design.

        So I am trying to distill the essential tenets of your position but can’t decide between the following two lists:
        A:
        Order can only arise from Design
        Disorder can arise from Design or a Lack of Design

        B:
        Order can arise from Design or a Lack of Design
        Disorder can arise from Design or a Lack of Design

        Hope you can clarify.

      • I would say that A reflects my view. There are 2 types of order which we observe: Order which we clearly create and order in Nature. But we understand the 2nd as also being the result of God’s Design. This is so even on the Deist understanding that the universe (that is, the physical universe, at least) is akin to a gigantic watch which God crafted and then “wound-up” so that it would run by its own internal mechanism.

        To reject that there was a Designer behind the reliable processes which we observe in Nature (as well as behind our own creative abilities) is to reject an entirely credible understanding in favor of an argument from ignorance. And we would say that this is so in a particularly literal way because it is based on deliberately ignoring the idea of a Creator.

      • Thanks for the clarification. And I am glad that I am understanding your position.

        I am going to be a stickler for the sake of accuracy and clarity:

        If A reflects your view then isn’t the comment “…in general, it takes intelligent input to create orderly systems” incorrect because the term “in general” implies exceptions exist, which would contradict the tenet that order only comes from Design?

        And by the same token, isn’t the comment “Without this [Design], systems usually become less orderly, not more” also incorrect because the term “usually” implies exceptions exist, which would also contradict the tenet that order only comes from Design?

      • Your question has actually helped me clarify my understanding for myself. So I thank you. There are 2 ways in which God or we influence things: by designing and constructing systems and by directly altering natural systems or systems which we constructed.

        God, The Original Mind (in 3 Persons) designed and constructed both the system of Nature and other minds, including ours, which He decided to put into the physical world of Nature by putting us into bodies. (Some time ago I created a diagram with a large circle which can be found on the site that depicts this. It’s called “The Duality of Creation”: https://christianityistrue.org/the-duality-of-creation.)

        Even for God, creation involved applying intelligence to unformed material, which He created at The Beginning. This is what is referred to in Genesis 1:2 when it says that the world was “formless and empty” (NIV translation). This was an original randomness of raw material.

        God created the entire universe, including all of the laws which would govern it during the Creation period and set this system into motion. The system includes some built-in organizing ability (like weather systems and crystallization) but also a degenerating tendency. The latter is probably a result of the corruption of Nature which was part of the Curse which original humanity incurred by failing to pass the test God gave them and disobeying His direct command. (This is depicted in Genesis 3. The corrupting affect on Nature is referred to in Romans 8:20-21, in the chapter of the Bible which many consider to be the high-water mark of God’s entire verbal revelation to us.) It’s likely that Nature would have been much more self-organizing and self-preserving if God hadn’t altered it and that we will see this in “the New Creation” to come.

        But all order actually requires intelligent input either at the beginning (system design) or later (maintenance). But, again, the latter may not have been necessary if not for the fact that both we and Nature came under a just punishment because our 1st Parents rebelled against their Maker.

        Despite the fact that we are under a Curse, we still operate in a way analogous to how God creates and maintains order. We both turn random matter into systems and we both need to preserve these systems so that they don’t revert back to random matter. So, both for us and God randomness is the opposite of order produced by intelligence.

        Finally, I would add that efforts to extrapolate back to the beginning by observing how Nature works today in order to determine how everything came to be (the Naturalist approach) won’t work. This is because God created in a supernatural fashion and set the System He created in motion. So, we can extrapolate into the past to some extent (although this is limited by our inability to know the original conditions, to know for certain that we know all of the relevant forces and that we know them adequately enough, and insofar as the natural forces didn’t change in ways we can’t detect). But, in any event, we can only go back as far as the end of the period of God’s supernatural activity of Creation.

        A startling consequence of this is that we can’t determine how old the human race, the earth and the universe are. I personally believe that the original Creation period was just 6 ordinary days, as this is the straight-forward reading of Genesis 1 and there is no specific reason why God couldn’t have done it this fast. So the age of the universe is only about 6000 years (as the genealogies of Genesis 5 & 11 also seem to make clear). This is only seen as ridiculous (along with everything else people can’t accept in the Bible) because it is presumed that The God of the Bible can’t exist.

        If God exists, the Bible is credible. And not only is it possible that He exists, it is actually necessary that He does, or else neither we nor anyone or anything else would exist. Because of all of this we need the help of God’s revelation to us in the Bible both to understand how things began and also what will happen in the future (which will also involve some major supernatural intervention by God).

      • Christopher, I am glad my questions made things clearer for you. Establishing clear, accurate and unambiguous language for describing a world view is very helpful especially if you genuinely want people to understand you.

        It is also helpful if you stick to using disambiguated language as much as possible which unfortunately you did not do in your latest reply.

        It was hard work but I managed to unpack a number of new and confusing terms you threw into your reply. For the benefit of other readers I outline them here:

        “..degenerating Tendency [of Nature]”: This is not a suggestion of decay with the Design of Creation. From its use in the sentence it means the opposite of “organizing ability” or tendency towards Order. So “degenerating Tendency” simply means a tendency toward Disorder not decay.

        ..the “Curse”: the introduction of a mystical term here is used simply for effect. In reality the term has a very simple meaning which has nothing to do with mysticism: the “Curse” was ‘cast’ because of the disobedience and sins of the first parents. The Curse is explained as God’s response to this disobedience: God decided to punish all of Creation by taking the Design of Creation and “alter[ing] it”, presumably, so there is a greater tendency towards Disorder than there would have otherwise been. So “the Curse” distills down to simply meaning the altered (more punitive) Design of Creation.

        “…corruption of Nature”: Again this is not a suggestion of decay with the Design of Creation. The term is said to relate to “the Curse” and represents the change between the previous (more benevolent) Design of Creation and the altered, more punitive Design of Creation. So “Corruption” is simply the difference between the current and former Designs of Creation, not some kind of decay.

        Now, the term you introduced that confounded me was “Maintenance”.

        “…Maintenance [of the Design of Creation]:: Initially I thought this may have meant the occasional reassessment by God of the Design of Creation based on our ‘good behaviour’ but you clarify the term as the work needed to “preserve” the Design of Creation from “revert[ing] back to random matter”. Also for ‘good behaviour’ we will apparently get a “New Design”.

        Now, in human endeavours designs do require maintenance because they are born out of finite resources, information and foresight during the planning phase, limited capabilities and technologies during in the implementation phase, and the uncontrollable effects of Randomness during the operational phase. It seems absurd however for such mundane problems to afflict the work of a Deity. And in fact we recognize that considering these as hurdles for God are inconsistent with attributes of a Christian God. So there must be a more profound notion to Maintenance when it relates to Divine Design.

        In trying to reconcile it with the ideas from List A I am forced to reconsider your concepts of Design and Lack of Design which we clarified as the drivers of Order and Disorder but now must also account for the unintended decay of God’s Designs.

        The process of Design seems straight forwards: God decides exactly how He wanted the Universe or aspects of the Universe and He made it so.

        But what about Lack of Design: This means that God didn’t engage in this process. He may have skipped the process entirely or at least some part of it.

        From those skipped parts there is a clear implication that there are parts of Creation which are not the design of God.

        I understand the Christian view is that God is responsible for the act of creating according to a Design. To resolves where the design for those un-designed parts comes from there are only two possibilities: either another agent exists also capable of Design or a more profound concept of Randomness is required, such as the one furbished by science, perhaps.

      • I believe I used “maintenance” for what we need to do in a “fallen Creation” which is subject to decay. And I would say that decay is always a breakdown from order to disorder in one way or another. I did not use maintenance with respect to what God does.

        Decay (which is a breakdown of order) was not part of God’s original Creation. But it could be said to be part of God’s overall Plan, in which He knew that His creatures would rebel and also knew what He would do in response to this. As a Calvinist, I would say that He not only fore-knew it and everything else, He actually fore-ordained it all (which is really the reason why He fore-knew it). As such, it was certain to happen.

        But what is certain to God is not certain to us. And from our point-of-view the certainty of God’s fore-ordination does not take away our freedom (though this is admittedly mysterious for us). I believe I may have used the analogy of a novelist writing a story with you, in which the characters are free within the context of the story even though the writer has determined everything they do. And although our actions are real (unlike the story in a novel), it could still be the case that God exists in a “meta-reality” analogous to the relationship between the world the novelist lives in and the “world” within his novel.

        But even apart from randomness due to decay, I already cited that there was randomness in the “raw material” God created at first, before He began giving it order. This seems adequate. I just don’t see any need for Science to furnish a concept of Randomness, especially as the ultimate condition of the Cosmos (as many seem to want to do). After all, the desire to do so directly reflects their bias against the existence of Design and a Designer.

      • Quite the contrary, Christopher. We’re still far from an adequate resolution.

        The “raw material” God created first, may have been in a random state but we obviously account for this as Disorder arising from Design (List A, point 2).

        So the issue remains: you made us aware that in the subsequent steps of giving Order to this “raw material”, aspects of the Design were “Lacking”.

        The conflicting implications of this are plainly clear and to resolve them we need to invoke an alternative agent of Design or a more profound notion of Randomness.

        Now, I personally don’t see an issue with you adopting the scientific notion of Randomness, it would resolve your issue, but I understand you are prejudice against its truth. Maybe I should remind you that Science has corrected many religious dogmas in the past and it will no doubt continue to do so in the future.

        In fact it is ironic you should be resistant to the suggestion given that your “train of through” is referenced (dare I say hitched) to the famous scientific discovery of space-time and the relatively modern scientific terms of matter and energy in its very first premise.

        Perhaps it would be helpful if you can point out to all of us where in the Bible this Christian notion of Randomness is explained so we may understand it directly from the source ourselves.

      • There is probably one more thing that can be said at this time: if the scientific notion of Randomness resolves this issue of “Lack of Design” then it represents a reasonable explanation and as you noted yourself : “If there is a reasonable explanation for how this came to be, then I should accept that it’s true.”

      • While we wait for a response from Christopher on this outstanding issue I would like to return to the matter of “Maintenance”: You said you were not using this term in relation to Design however it appears to me that “Maintenance” does have a strong relevance to God’s Design. However I think this I would best be discussed over in the forum discussing your article “What’s wrong with Homosexuality!”…see you there…

    • If you really think this is satire, it only shows how brainwashed you are. You are either ignorant of the fact that there are 100’s of millions of people who believe as I do. Or you are such a presumptuous fool that you think we’re all stupid!

      • People like Matthew who mistake my site for satire show that they are hopelessly brainwashed because they can’t believe that any sane person can actually be a Christian believer. Or if they sarcastically accuse Christians of satire it is a way of mocking us. Either way, it is more than just thinking I am wrong.

        This is my site. If I went on your site I would respect you as the host as well as your wishes. Your “Being stupid is entirely up to you.” comment and your challenge to my manhood are uncalled for.

        I have said all along that I am not interested in debating, even though I could debate with the best of them and could shred all of your points. But debates take more time than I can spare. Besides, they rarely change minds. You have shown that you are not interested in reconsidering your position. You are only interested in winning a debate. But, even if you did, it wouldn’t prove that you are on the right side.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Matthew.

      It is disappointing to see Christopher thinks so poorly of you that he is presumptuous enough to assume you think him stupid – I would only dare attribute the view that you think him wrong.

      It’s also disappointing to see Christopher thinks Truth is somehow a popularity contest. How on Earth did we ever grow out of other popular misconceptions such as the Earth being flat or the Earth being at the center of the Universe, the Sun goes around the Earth, Witchcraft…etc…etc.

      Perhaps the fact that popularity has no bearing on the Truth of most matters is too subtle a point for some.

      Remember to share it with your friends.

  10. Wow.
    Never have I seen an author so crushed by his own work.
    My favorite part of this is how everyone here fully understand the logical fallacy of the first premise, and when it’s easily pointed out how this premise fails, the author merely resorts to ad homs and personal attacks.

    Seriously kid, take a philosophy class, this is embarrassing to read.

    • Of course, you fail to state what the supposed logical fallacy is. You’re the one who needs to take a Logic class, smart-ass! A premise which you don’t agree with does not make a statement a logical fallacy. My line of argumentation is logical in that, if the premises are true, then the conclusions follow.

      I happen to have a B.A. in Philosophy from Duke, a Masters & completed Ph.D. coursework. So, dismissing me as you do only shows your own presumptuousness and ignorance, which is sadly rampant among atheists today.

  11. I find myself fascinated with this article for reasons I don’t really understand. I would like to discuss your argument with you. I hesitate to call it an argument, though. As I appreciate it, your intention in writing this was not to lay out a formal argument but rather to express the steps you took in your own journey of belief. I would, though, like to walk with you through your points and see if I can understand what you are saying, and maybe reform it as needed into a more formal format for clarity.

    But, “baby steps,” if that is ok with you. Let’s just start with the first 4 points. Here is my restatement of the reasoning behind them:

    1) I exist as a person with a mind capable of reasoning
    2) A mind capable of reasoning cannot be just the result of mindless forces
    3) Therefore, my existence must be the result of something more than just mindless forces.

    Is that a fair restatement? Is there any way in which it is inaccurate?

    • I would say that my reasoning at this point in my thinking was slightly different than what you lay out. It was really that my existence as a person with a mind proves that there are not just mindless forces in the universe (as Materialism claims). I would say that it is impossible that mindless forces alone could produce a mind, but I only came to this conclusion later on, based on coming to realize that our minds are not material entities (although they do work in conjunction with our physical brains, as well as the rest of our bodies).

      • I created a Gravitar account just so I could use my avatar pic here. 🙂

        So, this article WAS your thinking, but isn’t now? Is there an article that expresses your current thinking? Maybe I should read it.

        Also, I am not seeing the distinction between what I laid out and what you are saying here. What am I missing?

        So, is it this?
        1) mindless forces alone cannot produce a mind
        2) I have a mind
        3) Therefore, there must be something in addition to mindless forces that explains my existence

      • Perhaps this will help you see the distinction I tried to make. There is a difference between arguments which lead someone to conclude that one position is more reasonable than another and a strict logical proof. My arguments for Christianity are the former. But I suspect that you are seeking the latter.

        However, this is unreasonable for at least three reasons. First, your own view (regardless of what it is) could not meet this demand. Second, The God described in the Bible does not need to formally prove His existence to anyone. This is because His Presence is actually inescapable for every human-being who has ever lived (though it is deniable). That God’s Presence is invisible (for now, at least) doesn’t change this. You wouldn’t demand that another human-being who is standing in front of you logically prove his or her existence to you, would you? Or, if you prefer something else that is invisible, do you demand that the air in the room you are in prove its existence to you before you will breathe it?

        Third, His existence, as The Original Logical Mind, is presupposed in the use of logic itself. Because this is the case, it is absurd to think that this must be logically proven. Unfortunately, though, even many Christians fail to realize this. I will say it again, The Creator God is the ultimate example of the proverbial “elephant in the room”. It is possible to ignore Him, but utterly foolish.

  12. As you can tell from my screen name, I am not Christian, and I strongly value Reason. However, I hope you give me the benefit of the doubt. I’m not trying to play word games or catch you in some kind of “gotcha.” I am seeking clarity. Using slightly more formal logical statements help a lot to make an argument clear. I was trying to state what I thought your argument was and hoping you could tell me what I am missing. I was seeking to understand your point of view.

    I would discuss your position with you, if you are willing to, but first I want to make sure I understand it. I was trying to give your argument the greatest amount of charity I could, making your argument as strong as I could in my restatement. I am not interested in “beating” you. I am interested in Truth.

    I was trying to make sure I understood your most basic, fundamental point. You have an 18 point argument in the main article, and I was still trying to make sure I had a clear grasp of the very beginning of it. But, you’ve said it no longer represents your view, and your latest reply seems to abandon it altogether. So, I take it we are no longer trying to understand the article. We are moving on to other things.

    So, moving on… You said that you suspect that I am seeking strict logical proof, and that it is unreasonable for me to expect it. I don’t see a difference between strict logical proof and just “logic.” The only purpose “strict proof” serves is to clearly demonstrate that logic is being applied. Kind of like showing your work in math.

    It is fair to say that I do expect logic and I try to only be persuaded by well-reasoned arguments. Is that unreasonable?

    “First, your own view (regardless of what it is) could not meet this demand.”

    By my “view,” what do you mean? My position in any given argument? I think you must mean something broader than that. Maybe, the sum of all of my opinions and positions?

    If so, I think you are probably right: we humans are terrible at being rational. It is virtually impossible to hold completely logical views on all matters. We don’t make decisions logically for the most part. We make then emotionally, and then try to defend our decisions with logic after the fact. Trying to use Reason is hard. It does take a lot of work, and where I do discover that my position is not rational, I try to correct it.

    But, within the confines of a specific argument and specific issue, surely we can apply logic to analyze the soundness of our positions. Why would this not be the case?

    “Second, The God described in the Bible does not need to formally prove His existence to anyone. This is because His Presence is actually inescapable for every human-being who has ever lived (though it is deniable). “

    No, I suppose He wouldn’t need to prove His existence. But, then, without proof, He couldn’t reasonably expect me to accept his existence as fact, could He?

    “You wouldn’t demand that another human-being who is standing in front of you logically prove his or her existence to you, would you? Or, if you prefer something else that is invisible, do you demand that the air in the room you are in prove its existence to you before you will breathe it?”

    No, I wouldn’t. I can see the person in front of me. I can inhale the air. I can test for their presence and they would pass every test. So, no demands needed. Actually, I don’t think I am “demanding” proof of God… am I? I am content to go on believing as I currently believe. I would only need reason and proof if I were being asked to adjust my beliefs. And that is what is being asked of me, isn’t it? I assume the point of this article, and any attempt at persuasion over anything, would be to change someone’s mind about something, right?

    “Third, His existence, as The Original Logical Mind, is presupposed in the use of logic itself. Because this is the case, it is absurd to think that this must be logically proven.”

    Hmmm….

    You know, after giving it much thought, there is one way I would actually agree with this. I am going to step out of the safety of not making any claims, and going ahead and staking a position.

    “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” In Greek, the word for “word” is “logos.” It also means “logic.” So, one way to interpret this is: “in the beginning, there was only logic. Logic itself is God.” In my reading of the Bible, I would replace “God” with “logic” or “Reason” or “natural law.” The revelations you get from it then are quite different.

    So, I can agree that the existence of logic proves the existence of God because Logic is, in fact, God-the-Creator. That is my faith-based claim. It is supported by the religious texts of my faith such as the Corpus Hermeticum and Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Logic and natural law predate the gods themselves.

    • I appreciate the time you have devoted to thinking about these things, as well as the tenor of what you write. I would say, however, that what you are doing is a classic case of making things unnecessarily complicated.

      My 18 points are by no means the number of steps needed to become a believer. Only one step is actually necessary: to trust that the Almighty Creator God exists and that He made you so that you would have a relationship with Him. Everything changes as soon as you do this.

      Although I didn’t realize this until after I had put my trust in Him, I now know that I actually knew that God existed all along, but was inclined to suppress this knowledge and seek other explanations. I was also encouraged to do this by others. This is also what Romans chapter 1, verses 18-20 says.

      All people always know that their Creator exists, because God made us to know Him. But we all also have the same tendency to suppress this knowledge.

      Again, I didn’t understand why this is until after I had become a believer. And, again, the Bible alone explains why this is: because of the sin of Adam and Eve, which turned them into the progenitors of a rebellious race, of which we are members. This is one of the ways in which the Bible shows itself to be God’s revelation to us, not humanity’s own thoughts about God. It would be extremely unlikely, at best, that any one of us would have come up with this explanation. And, remember, the Pentateuch is at least 3000 years old.

      So, the choice for everyone is always whether or not we will accept God’s existence as our starting premise and then view everything accordingly, or to deny this and view everything on the premise that this God doesn’t exist.

      And I would say that assuming God’s existence and proceeding from this assumption is akin to trusting that there is breathable air, not deadly gas in a room you are entering. If you trust that God exists then you will be able to proceed successfully. If you don’t, then you will not go into the “room” that you should enter, but will remain ignorant of what is in it.

      People suppress their knowledge of God because they don’t want to acknowledge this. This can be for any number of reasons, but especially because we don’t want to admit that there is Someone Greater than us to Whom we are accountable. But this Someone Greater wants to love us like no other.

  13. The first two conditions fail to support the conclusion.

    A: If I am the result of the random operation of the universe, then
    B: I cannot have an explanation for my existence
    C: I exist
    Therefore, it cannot be true that I was created through a natural operation of the universe.

    …or, to rewrite it a second time…

    A: If the universe was created by random happenstance, then
    B: It is not possible to explain the origin of the events that caused said happenstance to occur
    C: I exist
    Therefore, it is not true that the universe was created by random happenstance

    Error: C is possible while B is false
    Just because you exist, doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to explain the origin of the creation of the universe as it happened through randomness. Additionally, it is possible to exist and be incapable of explaining said existence, you don’t need an explanation for your existence in order to exist. Furthermore, if B were true, it would be logical to dismiss every single explanation for the origin of human existence, and the greater existence of the universe itself, including creationist assertions, because “humanity can never know the truth for unknown reasons.”

    • Read my discussion with rationalpagan here. This piece is not meant to be an airtight case for Christianity, but only a summary of my own intellectual journey. There is no need to prove God’s existence because everyone already knows He exists, but most have been misled to believe that it is better to deny this. I made this mistake for my first 22 years and have been celebrating being loved by God as my Father, Savior and Lord for the past 35 years. God is only the Judge of those who refuse His offer to be under His loving care.

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