An Informal Audience with Jesus

Question from Joe:
I am a believer. However I have a really hard time with most churches and Christians. I agree on 99.9% of the points people like deGrasse Tyson, Dawkins and Hitchens make. Subjects like physics, astronomy, math, biology, etc. seem to answer more and more questions that Christianity used to simply answer with “God” before and I’m totally fine with that. In fact I love it. I do not understand why it is so hard for some to accept science and faith as not competing.
My struggle with being a Christian that dislikes most Christian “stuff” has never really bothered me though since I do not base my belief in theories about a bearded man sitting on a cloud, if god can make a really heavy rock, what caused the Big Bang, etc. but rather personal revelations and spirituality. I thought I’d tell you this to let you know where I’m coming from and maybe it will have an impact on your answer.

Let’s just play with the thought that Heaven does exist. And you die one day (hopefully of old age after a long happy life) and your soul(?) gets transported to the gates of heaven and POFF! There is Jesus himself and he tells you; “Hello, you did not really recognise me during your life. For the fun of it, I’ll let you ask me three questions about anything.” What happens afterwards is not really relevant, but if you think it is, please elaborate.

What would you ask Jesus? Would you like four questions? That’s fine.

Answer by SmartLX:
I don’t think where you’re “coming from” will change my answer much, but thanks for sharing.

Sure, it’s possible (likely is another matter) that I’m wrong and Jesus will meet me at the gates of Heaven. That’s already outside of the commonly held belief that it’s Saint Peter who mans the gates, so let’s also suppose that Jesus is willing to indulge the curiosity of an atheist using all the knowledge of God. Given all that, what an opportunity!

I’m sure that by the end of my life there would be certain things related to me personally that I’d want to know (like what happened to some hypothetical friend who vanished, for example) but for the benefit of others I’ll keep to questions about subjects of general interest. Maybe by the end of my life I’d have different philosophical priorities as well, but if it were me as I am now and I didn’t think too hard about it, here’s how it might go.

Question 1: What’s the plan, man? Is humanity serving some function for you, why do you need us for it when you’re omnipotent, and how’s it going so far?

Question 2: Why is there evil? You must know all about the attempts at theodicy over thousands of years, so I don’t need to lay it out for you. What’s the deal?

Question 3: How did the universe begin, if it had a beginning? If you caused it, what did you actually do and to what? Has its structure and nature since the start been entirely emergent or have you needed to intervene in cosmically large ways to get whatever you needed out of it?

Question 4 (if Jesus allows it): How about you yourself? How much of the Gospels is accurate regarding your life, death and resurrection? Why’d you make it all happen in that particular time and place, and only once? Why at all, for that matter?

39 thoughts on “An Informal Audience with Jesus”

  1. My view is that the whole concept of ‘god’ is ultimately incoherent; a mish-mash of contradictory concepts and claims made by people who consider it possible to define something into existence. But it’s certainly an interesting thought experiment. For me, I imagine such a conversation might go something like this:

    1. What purpose does god serve? Not what purpose(s) does god have in mind as discussed by LX, but what purpose does god serve simply by existing?

    If, as expected, god answers that there is no inherent purpose to his existence then everything in existence apart from god is necessarily subjective, existing solely because of god’s whim. Nothing objective could possibly exist, such as morality. I therefore see no reason to worship such an entity, though he might be interesting to hang out with. My next question would be:

    2. Why don’t other things exist without purpose or sine causa?

    If god answers that he isn’t an exception, then there is no need for a god to exist because it would be possible for other things to exist in the absence of a god. The natural world, for example, could be a closed system unaffected by the kind of being claimed by theism. If god answers that he is indeed the sole exception, then my next question would be:

    3. Does god know why he’s the sole exception?

    If god answers that it’s just a metaphysical brute fact, then he is evading/begging the question, simply substituting ‘brute fact’ for ‘sole exception’. If god answers that he doesn’t know then he isn’t a god, just a creator of sorts. If god answers that he does know, then I would ask:

    4. So what is it that ontologically precedes god that gave god a purpose for existing?

    Whatever answer he gave me here would be an admission that he isn’t a real god, at least as defined into ‘existence’ by classical theism.

    1. Have you heard about the scientist’s that looked up and snidely yelled to God, saying that they were now ready to create life? No, well, God looked down, and when the were ready to scoop up some primordial ooze and put it in there test tubes that they had made, and suddenly said, ” No, uh,uh, what are you doing?” To which the scientist’s replied, that they needed some to create life. To which God replied, ” well go our and make your own, ooze. That’s mine. I made it.
      Seriously, you said it yourself. If we could dissect, analyze and label who or what God is. If He could be, even a little explained, Would He really, actually be God.
      This says it all. Psalm 19King James Version (KJV)

      “19 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
      2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
      3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
      4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
      5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
      6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
      7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
      8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
      9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
      10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
      11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
      12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
      13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
      14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
      No, I wanted to add another
      It’s God showing off His sense of humor
      Job 40King James Version (KJV)
      1 Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said,
      2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
      3 Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
      4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
      5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
      6 Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
      7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
      8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
      9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
      10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.
      11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.
      12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
      13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.
      14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.
      15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
      16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
      17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
      18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
      19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
      20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
      21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
      22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
      23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
      24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
      And one more
      Psalm 8:4-8New King James Version (NKJV)
      4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
      And the son of man that You visit him?
      5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,[a]
      And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
      6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
      You have put all things under his feet,
      7 All sheep and oxen—
      Even the beasts of the field,
      8 The birds of the air,
      And the fish of the sea
      That pass through the paths of the seas.

  2. I’d like to respond to something you said in your post Joe, aside from the questions, if I may:

    “I do not understand why it is so hard for some to accept science and faith as not competing.”

    Because one is science, and one is faith. One requires that evidence and empirical data is gathered and rigorously examined and tested, and the results validated and verified independently. The other is, well, baseless belief. It makes no sense, at least to me, why anyone should have such a sudden reduction in requirements from what they accept in science compared to a faith. It’s suggests an irrational lowering of standards to shoehorn in a faith that wouldn’t pass the normal scrutiny usually applied to the rest of the universe.

    I’ve never seen the two (science and faith) as even remotely compatible.

    1. Since most scientists refuse to accept the possibility that a Creator could be a variable in the equation, then it is impossible for the two, to work together. But, if with all sincerity, the scientist is really seeking the truth, than he or she would add an Intelligence as a possible cause, and well Genesis 1:1 would say it all.

      1. It has nothing to do with a “refusal” to believe, it has everything to do with a complete lack of empirical data and evidence to support the speculation that any god creature exists, Gerald. Scientists consider what is plausible, and nothing suggests deity beings are. And of course you don’t have any proof either, or you would have posted it already…

        Gen 1 is a prime example of religious claims directly contradicting known science. Waters above the atmosphere, flying creatures before land animals, plants before the Sun, the iron-laden Earth before iron-creating stars… Why would any logical person consider the source of that information as even a remote possibility.

    2. Tim: “I’d like to respond to something you said in your post Joe, aside from the questions, if I may:

      “I do not understand why it is so hard for some to accept science and faith as not competing.”

      Because one is science, and one is faith. One requires that evidence and empirical data is gathered and rigorously examined and tested, and the results validated and verified independently. The other is, well, baseless belief.”

      Unfortunately you have decided to define ‘faith’ as a position that excludes evidence. This may indeed be a valid definition of a certain kind of faith, but it is certainly not the Christian one. ‘Faith’ or ‘belief’ is actually a response to evidence, and without it science is impossible. The scientific method itself requires a ‘belief’ that certain claims are true, which can only be assumed – and not proven – from the empirical evidence, such as: the uniformity and consistency of the laws of physics, without which no conclusion can ever be drawn from any scientific experiment or observation (this consistency can never be proven by any observation, as David Hume rightly pointed out); the existence of an external universe (yes, I know such a ‘given’ is easy to believe in, but it cannot be proven empirically, strictly speaking); the belief in the primacy of “the physical” as a method of explanation – again there is nothing in the scientific method whereby this can be proven. On this last point, it is worth noting that materialistic atheism has nothing to do with the scientific method. Atheism is a conclusion based on a belief (unsupported by any evidence) in the philosophy of naturalism, which itself results from a leap of faith into adherence to the epistemological theory of strong empiricism (“all knowledge comes via sense perception”), which is actually self-refuting, since its own fundamental claim fails according to its own method of verification. The belief that “only the physical world exists and that any inference of the existence of a reality that does not conform to this paradigm is ipso facto irrational” is nothing other than a ‘faith’ position – according to your definition of the term.

      The empirical scientific method sits very well with a belief in an intelligible universe resulting from the actions of an objective ultimate intelligence. The assumptions at the heart of science imply that reason is objectively valid, and that there is a moral requirement to choose the rationally sound position. Reason is not amoral. There is an ‘ought’ without which reason cannot function. Reason can only function if we believe that it is right to accept the rational and coherent position, hence the outrage expressed by atheists such as Prof. Dawkins at the audacity of those who apparently choose to subscribe to irrational views. (Why the outrage? Why the moral indignation, if the universe is itself amoral?) This moral requirement – and indeed the objective validity of reason itself – makes absolutely no sense if intelligence is nothing more than an emergent property of the evolving human brain (and morality therefore merely a subjective construct) within an ultimately mindless and meaningless universe. If nature is the source of all ideation, then no idea is superior to any other, being directly generated by the same deterministic source (and no, science is not the ultimate means to sift the so called ‘true’ from the ‘false’, because, as I have already explained, the scientific method itself relies on certain metaphysical ideas. How then do you decide between the merits of different metaphysical claims? The metaphysical idea of ‘God’ has no less merit within the philosophy of naturalism than the idea of “philosophical naturalism” itself, thus logically demonstrating that this philosophy is self-refuting – and thus obviously false). Atheism, being based on the self-refuting philosophy of naturalism, is thus deeply irrational, and is an absolute “leap of faith”, given that self-refutation is the ultimate “anti-evidence”. There is nothing in the scientific method – i.e. proper science that deals with what we can actually observe and measure (rather than wild speculations and extrapolations about the distant past for which we have no direct observational evidence) – that contradicts belief in God. There is nothing about science which can prove, demonstrate or even imply that atheism is true (and if it ever could, one wonders what exactly the word ‘truth’ even means within the atheist view of reality).

      1. Allistair, You’ve packed a lot into your post, most of which has completely ignored what you have been informed of previously. I’ll comment for now simply on your comments re your highly selective definition of faith.

        You wrote: “Unfortunately you have decided to define ‘faith’ as a position that excludes evidence. This may indeed be a valid definition of a certain kind of faith, but it is certainly not the Christian one. ‘Faith’ or ‘belief’ is actually a response to evidence, and without it science is impossible.”

        What we have here is a paradigm example of the kind of presuppositionalist postmodernist claptrap that has unfortunately successfully invaded some sects of Christianity. Back in the 19th century, Mark Twain wrote:

        “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

        If faith had always been considered as a viable and reasonable response to evidence, why would he even write that? Would it not equally make sense to write “science is a response to evidence that you know ain’t so”? Of course not! Even then, no-one would find that an acceptable statement. What does it even mean to say “faith is a response to evidence”? Surely the word ‘faith’ is wholly redundant here. Evidence can be empirical, mathematical, or logical. These are all completely different and be wholly contradictory. For example, we have logically sound evidence that is empirically untrue and empirical evidence that is logically unsound. Which type of evidence do you mean? All of them together, one of them only, or two of them? Does the sun rise in the East? Yes. Are you sure? If you are travelling at more than 1600 km/hr westward at the equator, the sun will set in the East! So your problem here arises precisely because of the inherently relativistic nature of evidence. But you’re insisting on simplistic precision which, of course, openly invites refutation, e.g., :

        “I have seen God face to face” (Genesis 32:30)
        “The Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
        “No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18)

        I don’t care what twisting and turning and ‘contextual interpretation’ or ‘theological interpretation’ or whatever the current postmodern jargon is that you may care to apply to these Biblical passages, the fact remains that they are contradictory. Full stop. Just as you would expect from mythology. Similarly, just as historically, the definition of faith is contradictory; it can mean opposite things; belief based on evidence in one context and belief without evidence in another context. Let’s look at some examples across the ages where your theistic brethren have considered that, contra your claim, faith is not synonymous with, but a substitute for evidence:

        “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29)

        “If you chance upon anything [in Scripture] that does not seem to be true, you must not conclude that the sacred writer made a mistake; rather your attitude should be: the manuscript is faulty, or the version is not accurate, or you yourself do not understand the matter.” (St. Augustine)

        “I don’t understand to believe but rather I believe to understand.” (St. Anselm)

        “If all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.” (Kurt Wise)

        “The less evidence you have for your position, the more faith you need to believe it (and vice versa). Faith covers a gap in knowledge.” (Norman Geisler)

        “There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well………..It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. Please don’t idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it.” (Todd Wood)

        “Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.” (William Lane Craig)

        “If your faith is big enough, facts don’t count.” (Victory Tabernacle Church)

        Furthermore, you not only are historically dishonest but logically disingenuous conflating ‘faith’ with ‘belief’. This is not a view accepted by, for example, the vast majority of psychologists. Belief is medically defined as an involuntary mental state. You cannot believe, simply by choice, something that you do not already believe. You cannot disbelieve, simply by choice, something you currently believe. Belief is highly sensitive to evidence. Faith is not. Belief precedes faith. Belief requires evidence, and faith requires belief. They are NOT synonymous. For example, if it is logically possible that all these statements are true, then faith and belief cannot be synonymous:

        (i) Bill has faith in object X, therefore Bill believes that object X actually exists.
        (ii) Bill has faith that event P will obtain for object X, therefore Bill believes that event P actually exists.
        (iii) Bill has faith that event P will obtain for object X which he believes to exist, but Bill does not have faith in object X.
        (iv) Bill believes that it is possible that event P will obtain, but has faith that event P will not obtain

        Similarly, if it logically possible that these statements are untrue, then faith and belief cannot be synonymous:

        (v) Bill believes in the existence of object X, but has no faith in object X
        (vi) Bill believes in the existence of God, but prefers that God not exist
        (vii) Bill has faith in object X, but does not believe that object X exists
        (viii) Bill has faith in object X, but prefers that object X not exist

        Next, it is possible to believe something to be true and be apathetic as to its ontological reality, but it is not possible to have faith in something and be apathetic as to its ontological reality:

        (ix) Bill believes in the existence of the Yeti, but if it were the case that the Yeti did not exist Bill would not care
        (x) Bill has faith in the existence of God, but if it were the case that God did not exist Bill would not care

        If faith and belief are synonymous then logically, faith can be partly constituted by belief, or belief partly constituted by faith, in which case faith requires belief (and vice versa). But it obviously does not entail that faith is always partly constituted by a specific belief which in turn is informed by evidence:

        (xi) Bill’s faith in the existence of God obtains and is partly constituted by his belief that the virgin birth actually occurred
        (xii) Bill’s faith in the existence of God obtains but Bill has no belief whatsoever that the virgin birth actually occurred because of the scientific evidence that it cannot obtain

        Faith in event P necessarily requires that a positive attitude obtains toward event P, but belief in event P does not necessarily mean that a positive attitude necessarily obtains. Consider the following statements:

        (xiii) Bill’s belief that his heart surgery will be successful does not give him comfort
        (xiv) Bill’s faith that his heart surgery will be successful does not give him comfort

        Although faith that object X exists or event P will obtain necessarily implies a disposition to belief, a belief that object X exists or event P will obtain does not imply a disposition to faith. Consider the following statements:

        (xv) Bill’s belief that event P has occurred is due to his faith in the obtained alpha level of p<.0001
        (xvi) Bill’s belief that event P has occurred is due only to the obtained alpha level of p<.0001

        1. Gary: “Allistair, You’ve packed a lot into your post, most of which has completely ignored what you have been informed of previously.”

          Such as? I don’t recall any of these points ever being refuted. In fact, it is difficult to imagine how you plan to refute the self-refuting claims of the philosophy of naturalism, on which the claim of atheism depends.

          “I’ll comment for now simply on your comments re your highly selective definition of faith.
          You wrote: “Unfortunately you have decided to define ‘faith’ as a position that excludes evidence. This may indeed be a valid definition of a certain kind of faith, but it is certainly not the Christian one. ‘Faith’ or ‘belief’ is actually a response to evidence, and without it science is impossible.” ”

          Actually I was charging you with promoting a highly selective definition of faith, exemplified by your Mark Twain quote: “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

          If you seriously think that Mark Twain is the fountain of all wisdom and that his rather absurd definition of faith is definitive, then I rather wonder why I am even trying to debate with someone who has such a low view of reason. Mark Twain came out with some great one-liners, but he was a humorist, and I find it rather troubling that you take seriously what was clearly a tongue-in-cheek satirical comment. I don’t know of any Christian who has faith in God precisely because he or she ‘knows’ that God does not exist or that He exists but is not worthy of trust etc. Atheists may come out with all sorts of judgments regarding those they term (rather cutely) ‘religious’, and some may even resort to the “mental illness” prejudice when describing those who believe in God, but really… claiming that theists only have faith in something because they KNOW it is not true. That is just an absurd thing to say. So we can fairly easily dismiss Mark Twain’s comment as having no validity whatsoever. If you are such a fan of Mr Twain, and take his satirical writings literally, then perhaps you would like to explain to the German people why their language is so ridiculous (when, in fact, it isn’t!). I assume you are aware of Mark Twain’s views on German?

          “What we have here is a paradigm example of the kind of presuppositionalist postmodernist claptrap that has unfortunately successfully invaded some sects of Christianity.”

          Ah yes, when someone has the audacity to question the claims of atheism, it is not long before he is condemned as a “presuppositionalist”. This seems to imply that there are no presuppositions to any point of view, theist or otherwise. Have you ever actually studied philosophy? If you have, then I am very surprised that have never heard of such a thing as a presupposition. Quite how you conclude that presuppositions are somehow inherently wrong is beyond me. Perhaps you would care to show me your argument to support such a contention? As for the charge of postmodernism, well, that is just a buzz word that has absolutely nothing to do with anything I wrote. I am reasoning, but resorting to subjective impressions, typical of postmodernism. Given postmodernism’s scepticism towards objective reality and reason, then I cannot imagine a person LESS postmodern than myself!

          Your comments about evidence and logic are highly questionable. For example, you say: “Evidence can be empirical, mathematical, or logical. These are all completely different and be wholly contradictory. For example, we have logically sound evidence that is empirically untrue and empirical evidence that is logically unsound. Which type of evidence do you mean? All of them together, one of them only, or two of them? Does the sun rise in the East? Yes. Are you sure? If you are travelling at more than 1600 km/hr westward at the equator, the sun will set in the East! So your problem here arises precisely because of the inherently relativistic nature of evidence.”

          You only give one example to support your claim that empirical, mathematic and logical evidence can be contradictory. This is the claim that the sun rises in the East. You then ‘debunk’ this by giving the example of people travelling at more than 1600 km/hr westward at the equator. The problem is that you are arguing on “the basis of a false…dare I use the word…presupposition, namely, that the concept of the “sun rising in the East” is an absolute claim. It is not and never has been. It is only absolute within a particular well defined context. I am not going to accuse you of dishonesty here, just naivety. (By the way… I notice that you have accused me of dishonesty on another point – well done for bringing morality into the argument – from which worldview did you derive such an idea as ‘honesty’? Certainly not a worldview which affirms that the universe is inherently amoral, and thus any moral code is entirely subjective!).

          But anyway, let us suppose (as a thought experiment) that you are right to say that empirical, mathematical and logical evidence can be contradictory (rather than merely APPARENTLY contradictory, because, of course, sense perception can certainly deceive us). If that is the case, then you are tacitly admitting that YOUR view of reality is a position of ‘faith’ (according to YOUR definition of faith). You cannot have it both ways: either evidence gives us real insight into the nature of reality or it does not. If evidence is faulty, then so must your view of reality be faulty. Also, your view of evidence seems to make a mockery of your accusation that I am a postmodernist! It is the postmodernists who are sceptical of objective evidence. Are you, in fact, in their camp?

          You then assume the position of a competent expositor and exegete of the Bible, and tell me that there is a contradiction between certain verses. You are attempting to compel me to accept this on the basis that…”I don’t care what twisting and turning and ‘contextual interpretation’ or ‘theological interpretation’ or whatever the current postmodern jargon is that you may care to apply to these Biblical passages, the fact remains that they are contradictory. Full stop.” Your confessed lack of care for something has no bearing on what should be accepted as correct exegesis (or perhaps you see yourself as important as the ever reliable Mark Twain!). So you have made an irrelevant point there. But even if you are right to read these texts in this way, and ignore forms of language, then so what? It is completely irrelevant to the argument I presented and my critique of atheism. It is almost like saying: “we atheists only need to find ONE contradiction in theism – and theism’s sacred text – and, hey presto, that PROVES that atheism is true by default.” Nonsense, of course, as any intelligent person well knows.

          But since you have taken it upon yourself to construct an argument based entirely on the fact you “don’t care” for something, then please allow me to indulge in the same methodology: I don’t care for the views of Augustine, Anselm, Kurt Wise, Norman Geisler, Todd Wood and certainly not William Lane Craig, and Victory Tabernacle Church. But if you feel that I must agree with these people, then let me assure you that atheism works according to EXACTLY the same method. How many times have I heard atheists say when faced with a difficulty of evidence, say: “Well, science will work it out one day…” – the implication being that the atheistic materialistic view of reality will one day in the future be vindicated, and they put their ‘faith’ in science and the progress of science to deliver this (‘progress’, of course, subjectively defined according to an atheist trajectory). Thus they are utterly and totally closed minded to any explanation that challenges this particular quasi-religious ‘faith’ position. Now it may be that they feel it is honest to say “we don’t know”, but “for us the best explanation is the one which accords with the philosophy of naturalism, and we just stick with this in the absence of anything better, despite the difficulties”. This is very common. This, I would suggest, is exactly the attitude of many believers in God, such as those you have listed: “we don’t claim to have all the answers, but we are sufficiently convinced of the truth of the fundamental claims of the Bible, that we see no reason to question its validity, and when presented with difficulties, we are honest enough to say ‘we don’t know'”. Now I can imagine that an atheist would retort that that is not good enough, because these theists have been presented with evidence contrary to the claims of the Bible, which is irrefutable, and thus they should concede to this. My response to that is as follows: there is very little evidence that can be said to be ‘irrefutable’. Certainly the ‘irrefutable’ truths of reality, such as the fact that the earth orbits the sun and not vice versa, which can be observed and measured by proper experimental science, do not contradict the claims of theism. In fact, such obvious truths confirm that we live in an intelligible universe, not a mindless one. The kind of evidence, however, that is often adduced to ‘disprove’ the Bible, is provisional pending further discoveries. A good example is archaeological evidence. No sensible believer in the Bible will categorically state that the Exodus from Egypt never happened on the basis of the insistent demands of atheists who remind him that there is no archaeological evidence to support it. The Bible believer will say that he will suspend his judgment until such time as it can be proven that ALL the evidence is in, and given that he is already sufficiently convinced of the reliability of the Bible, then he will fall back on trust in that of which he already possesses some measure of certainty. As I say, this is exactly what atheists do with regard to the philosophy of naturalism. So your charge against believers is, at best, ill thought through, and, at worst, hypocritical.

          There is, of course, one kind of evidence which is irrefutable: the evidence of self-refutation. An idea simply cannot be true if it contradicts itself. The philosophy of naturalism can easily be shown to be self-refuting in its epistemological underpinnings and implications, but I don’t expect atheists will be lining up to repent of their position which says: “if any evidence is presented which contradicts the atheistic philosophy of naturalism, then I will believe that philosophy and not the evidence.”

          “Furthermore, you not only are historically dishonest but logically disingenuous conflating ‘faith’ with ‘belief’. This is not a view accepted by, for example, the vast majority of psychologists. Belief is medically defined as an involuntary mental state. You cannot believe, simply by choice, something that you do not already believe. You cannot disbelieve, simply by choice, something you currently believe. Belief is highly sensitive to evidence. Faith is not. Belief precedes faith. Belief requires evidence, and faith requires belief. They are NOT synonymous.”

          You say that “belief is highly sensitive to evidence”. Well, it’s good that we agree on something at last. And you also then go on to say that “faith requires belief”. If faith requires belief and belief is sensitive to evidence, then it follows that faith requires evidence! But you also claim that faith is not sensitive to evidence.

          I really think you are quite muddled and confused. In certain contexts ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ are synonymous (remembering that a synonym does not mean an exact equivalent, unless you want to condemn all editions of Roget’s Thesaurus, which audaciously lists as synonyms words which are not exact equivalents, but rather have almost equivalent meanings but with shades of difference, emphasis and tone). And I hope you understand enough about language to recognise that we do not live in a 1984-style dystopia in which simple Newspeak has replaced the richness of human communication. It is quite wrong to claim that every word has a single simple meaning covering every context in which it is used. Language does not work like that. It is quite possible for someone to say “I believe you” and then to continue… “and I believe IN you” – the former being rather more an intellectual response than the latter, which is more personal. The word ‘believe’ is used in both instances. Clearly the latter use is synonymous with the idea of ‘faith’. The latter, of course, depends on the former. You cannot “believe IN someone” without also ‘believing’ the truth of what they say. And such belief involves being convinced that what they say is actually true.

          Faith involves trusting in what you believe to be true, and this belief is itself based on intellectual conviction. Mark Twain’s definition is impossible. I have ‘faith’ in the chair on which I am sitting, that it will bear my weight. Is my ‘faith’ in this chair based on the fact that I KNOW it is on the verge of collapsing at any moment? If you really seriously think that that is what faith in God involves, then, to put it mildly, you are very seriously deluded. I have never met one single person in my fifty plus years of life, who has faith in God because he or she KNOWS that God does not exist or KNOWS that he is utterly malicious and unreliable (and I have considerable knowledge and experience of Christians and the Christian Church both here and abroad). It is actually psychologically impossible to put your trust in something you know to be untrue. Of course, a person can have faith in something which turns out to be untrue, and that is because that person has been deceived, but that is not the import of Mark Twain’s comment.

          I think I’ve written enough for now. It is clear that your criticism of my post is without any kind of rational merit.

          1. Correction to para. 7:

            “I am reasoning, but resorting to subjective impressions, typical of postmodernism.”

            Should read: “I am reasoning, but NOT resorting to subjective impressions, typical of postmodernism.”

  3. Like Tim, I have never seen science and faith as even remotely compatible.

    For example, when doing science, when your causal or explanatory hypothesis isn’t supported by the data you’re forced to either modify your hypothesis or shift to a new hypothesis; it’s simply not tenable to persevere with the old hypothesis. Science progresses via failed hypotheses.

    However, when doing religion, when your causal or explanatory hypothesis isn’t supported by the evidence (i.e., you harbour strong doubts and waning faith) you’re generally dissuaded from modifying the hypothesis given to you by your particular sect and you certainly are never advised to shift to a new hypothesis; you’re encouraged to persevere, to immerse yourself ever more deeply in your particular brand of ‘faith’. Religions too often deny that they even have failed hypotheses.

    So you can attend a scientific conference and listen to experimental reports about things that were unheard of 50 years ago, while you attend a theological conference and many people still think a medieval view on e.g., causality, is cutting edge stuff.

    Obviously, incompatible approaches to reality.

  4. I’m sorry guys. But I believe, in fact I know, that, in as much as the type of faith and science that you are referring to, one needs to have a little or a lot of faith. Let me try to explain.
    In science, one is already at a disadvantage, because you need to have some kind of idea of what you are expecting as an affect, in order to be able to know what kind of look for an affect. For example, the known universe, verses the unknown universe. If one exists then why not the other? And taking the one that does exists, science uses variables from what now exists, which had to have been, or probably were different than the ones that existed when before the universe existed. So all the extrapolations that is being computed or analysed could possibly way off the mark because of the unknown variables that have failed to be imputed.
    So, going into science one has to at least have enough faith that the cause that they are looking for can be found, even if they may not have all the variables.
    And for religion, there is a certain amount of faith. Inside each of us, or at least most of us, there is a voice that cries out how did I get here. How did everything begin. I don’t believe that ” I think, therefore I am” will suffice. But, if we take a moment and think about it. I am here, should cause us to ask the question, who? Who put me Here? Not what.
    Huh. You find it easy to accept the fact that there was a primordial ooze around in the beginning, but find it impossible to at least banter the possibility, that there was an intelligence either before the ooze or with it. Why not both since we have to accept at least one, why negate that one because we refuse to accept the other.
    Now, if we go one step further, and suppose both possibilities were possible, than we need to accept the fact that ooze has no intelligence of its own, noting that if you refuse to accept an ooze of no intelligence, then you are leaning to the side that the ooze did have some sort of intelligence and that that ooze decided that it wanted to leave a legacy.
    Or you need to another possibility, that the ooze has always been there for hundreds, thousands, possibly, millions of what time, and then accept the fact that since that ooze has been as it has always been, than the conditions for a legacy, could never ever happen, and so we are not really here.
    So, we have a conundrum. Why believe any of the possibilities. Well, we do have the affect, we are here. The universe is here. And we do have the query, how.
    What is more likely, that the ooze had some sort of intelligence? Well, do we see any ooze around, for one. Not, so you’d notice. And even if we did have some ooze in our pocket, Why, hasn’t more legacy been, brought forth. What, the conditions aren’t right. Well then how’d it get right in the, ” in the beginning”. Ok, What does that leave us. Right, the ooze and the Intelligence were around at the same time and so the Intelligence decided to change the conditions, He, She or It, decided to upset the status quo, and bang, legacy in affect.
    Maybe, this may be a little easier to swallow for those who, would rather that the “status quo” that has always been maintained for who knows how many bits of time, was all of a sudden got enacted upon, by some unknown variable, but now we would have a double conundrum, having to decide what, who was this unknown variable. And then, the vicious circle starts all over again.
    But, lets delve upon the third possibility, that the Intelligence was around before the ooze or for the sake of argument, at the same time as the ooze, and the Intelligence was the variable, knowing how to measure, and mix and shake and bake. Knowing when to shock and awe. Until, the words were heard, ( Ok the words were thought) Yea, I gotta say it, ” It’s alive “,
    Well, I did say for the sake of argument.
    Yes, I believe that there is a Creator. No, I just don’t have enough faith to believe that a lab experiment, not only happened by itself, but one that had no supervision of any kind just happened to be successful, ( well, I guess, that would be a little presumptuous of me to believe that we are successful, yet one mans goose is another mans gander, and the proof is indeed in the pudding. or at least it will be when the fat man sings.” Ha. yea that was deliberate.
    But, being someone who believes that He loved us so much, that He wanted to share that love, and give us that chance to created our own and share our love. Making us more than you think at least with another, more like Him.
    Tell you what? Tell me how all the obstacles, especially the first one of that stale, stagnant, unchanging, matter being at rest tends to want to remain at rest, ooze, all of a sudden, became enacted upon and viola legacy came about.
    Then tell me what, or who, was the unknown variable that came into play, upsetting the status quo and then legacy came into being.
    Well, I guess I have given enough to wile away the hours. Let me know what you think, that is if you really have the ability, since maybe we aren’t really here, and we may be a figment of some piece of primordial ooze, wiling away its existence.

    1. Gerald, I appreciate that you mean well, but you have to understand that ignoring specific arguments, and quoting Bible passages and making assertions is always going to be a futile exercise with non-believers. Coherent arguments backed up by sound evidence is what counts. Let me try to give a counterpoint argument to what I think you are saying.

      Many years ago, people looked up at the sky and they saw the sun (and the visible planets and stars) rise over the horizon, travel across the sky and disappear below the horizon. Quite naturally, they thought that the Earth stood still and the sun etc moved relative to the Earth’s fixed position.

      Then some bright spark said, hang on a moment, we could be wrong about this. If the Earth itself was moving and the sun etc stood still (relative to the Earth) then we would observe the exact same thing! So, how do we know we’re correct in our assumption that the Earth holds a fixed position?

      Well the only way, of course was to collect suitable data. Some other bright sparks invented gadgets such as optical telescopes and orbiting satellites and over several centuries they carefully collected and compared data. They concluded that the Earth doesn’t hold a fixed position. It really does move relative to the sun etc. And the sun etc also move relative to the Earth. We now have the heliocentric model and because of this are able to accurately calculate the regularities of the motions of astronomical objects.

      This is a fine achievement, is it not? Yet you write:

      “In science, one is already at a disadvantage, because you need to have some kind of idea of what you are expecting as an affect, in order to be able to know what kind of look for an affect.”

      Well, that’s not entirely true. Some science is done without any expectation of the result. Take last years New Horizon spacecraft’s flyby of Pluto, for example. But in any case, how is “expecting an affect” a disadvantage? When we send a spacecraft to Pluto we do indeed “need to have some kind of idea of what you are expecting as an affect”, otherwise the thing wouldn’t have got there. You then go on to say:

      “science uses variables from what now exists, which had to have been, or probably were different than the ones that existed when before the universe existed. So all the extrapolations that is being computed or analysed could possibly way off the mark because of the unknown variables that have failed to be imputed.”

      Yes, they could possibly be “way off the mark”. But Gerald, isn’t this the point of doing science in the first place? To identify “unknown variables”? You’ll recall that I wrote “you can attend a scientific conference and listen to experimental reports about things that were unheard of 50 years ago”. Isn’t the very success of science measured by identifying “unknown variables that have [previously] failed to be imputed”? You also state:

      “if with all sincerity, the scientist is really seeking the truth, than he or she would add an Intelligence as a possible cause”

      Why? Other than to pander to belief? When what we now call science first started it’s purpose was to investigate God’s purported creation. As more and more experiments and field studies were done it gradually became obvious that this view was not sustainable: the data were all explainable by natural processes. No matter how down we looked, into the microscopic world, or how far outward we looked toward the cosmos, the data we have collected are either all explainable by natural processes or as yet remain unexplained. All coherent explanations for physical phenomena have involved natural processes. We know they are coherent because we can use them to make successful predictions.

      Fact: There is not a single example of any experiment that was previously explained by the heliocentric model that we have later found to be false and better explained by some other process.

      Fact: There is not a single example of any experiment involving physical phenomena that was previously explained by a natural process that we have later found to be false and better explained by some other, supernatural process.

      What you are suggesting is that we continue to accept natural explanations when it is convenient to do so while continuing to consider supernatural explanations as “a possible cause”. Really, how is this any different to accepting the heliocentric model because it is convenient to do so, while continuing to consider non-heliocentric models as “a possible cause”?

      You are, in effect, suggesting that we abandon scientific methodology. This attitude is dangerous; it would plunge us back into the dark ages.

      For intelligence to be considered as a “possible cause” shouldn’t we have acquired some data, some actual prior evidence beforehand that intelligence has actually acted as a cause of some natural phenomena? Take the Zika virus as an example. The growing occurrence of birth deformities is observed in a small geographical area. So, when using the scientific method we investigate “possible causes” based solely on previous confirmed observations made.

      But according to you this is wrongheaded: “In science, one is already at a disadvantage, because you need to have some kind of idea of what you are expecting as an affect”

      But, thankfully, science doesn’t listen to you and so we investigate plausible causes. Genetics? No. Toxic substances in the environment? No. Bacterial infection? No. Viral infection, yes! Now we can make progress with treatment and eradication.

      But your claim is, we’re doing it wrong. We’d be better placed equally expending our resources on investigating the possibility of intelligent, supernatural causation…………

      What you don’t seem to appreciate, Gerald, is that scientists don’t not consider intelligent causation because they have “faith” in naturalism. They don’t consider it because they test hypotheses. They don’t just accept ideas because they sound convincing or are emotionally appealing or fill someone’s psychological need. That would not be a sincere pursuit of the truth. If research adequately demonstrated intelligent supernatural causation and yet scientists ploughed on with naturalistic explanations regardless of those findings, now, that really would be “faith”. It would also be insincere.

  5. No, I am suggesting that to say that the natural balance of what is the heliocentric model, is not explained by some explosion of what ever to bring it to where it is, and where we are. All that is seen is balanced in such a way that it took an intelligence to have placed everything where it is. To ascertain that all of what we see is explained by an accident, is to ignore the fact that we can depend on what come and goes to such a degree that we can plan our days and nights and set our clocks. How many experiments have any one attempted to create a similar model of lesser degree that would confirm that the cosmos happened by accident. All one at best has are assumptions that it happened a certain way, with no, I repeat no evidence that it is in any way possible.
    Once again. To say that it is possible to have matter around for thousand or millions of years and disallow the possibility that an intelligence should be allowed the same chance of being. Then to stretch the point, if I may, that all of a sudden that matter that had been, ” at rest for who knows how much time would have had to pass, would in and of itself, performed the act of making the cosmos, is without reason, let alone that some how it got the life, of what ever some scientist and evolutionists, part right. You, are suggesting that this all happened by chance. But the very principle of anything that has not happened for a length of time would would there for be even less likely to happen the more that time passes. The catalyst that would have been needed to have initiated the cosmos has not even been settled on in the ranks of those who ignorantly, believe that all this is possible, while they stick their heads in the sand, and take poc shots, at those who willingly admit that all, yes all of what is around, seen and unseen, had to have an intelligence behind it.
    You say they test hypothesis, where are the testing. How are they testing. All of what we see, you say happened eons ago. You don’t even have a test tube large enough. You don’t even have an idea of what was around that long ago, let alone what changes that would have had to take place to have caused what could have been used to create planets and then life, because surely, with what would have been needed to cause such a cataclysmic happening, life would probably have followed a cool down of some period. I am not even a scientist of any caliber yet I can fathom all kind of things that would need to be explained in order to explain how all of what you say happened by accident even happened. Yet you say that science has all of it verified, and has put it in the ” it is a fact section”, but is all based upon ” i think and assume.
    Sure science, when dealing with something that one can sink their teeth into, can prove and aid. But when you are dealing with items that are more philosophical, then one has to broaden the realm of the possibility, and that would need to include an intelligence quotient.
    Notice that when you talk about the infections, that an intelligence is needed to find a cure. Yet, and I will stray from my first thought, to this one, which is that given enough time our bodies may be able to isolate and defend itself. As they have done for so many years, yet we have to try and fail with our intelligence but our bodies have an innate capability of doing so built in. Why, how. It is all written on our DNA.
    Please. You write as though you have some intelligence. Why do you willingly, doggedly, ignorantly, continue to hold on to an assumption, that is less able to carry sand, let alone air.
    The balance of this cosmos, screams out a Creator, and when we get down to the smallest particles of the universe, the noise is deafening.

  6. Hi Gerald,
    I understand that you cannot explain something to someone who has a vested interest in its not being true. So, I don’t expect you to change your mind when I reply to you but of course other people do read the posts and it might help them to think more deeply and more rigorously about these kinds of issues….and, hey, I had some time to kill.

    What particularly concerns me about your previous post is that people might erroneously think that the scientific statements you’ve made actually support your arguments. They don’t because they’re wrong. Gerald, the thinking behind scientific investigations, the methodologies employed and the results and interpretation of the data (even the statistical analyses) is all openly available information. So, if you sincerely want to broaden your knowledge and understand these issues why not undertake a course of study in one of the sciences yourself? You do your beliefs no service by resting your arguments on misinformation. Unless, of course, you’re only intending to convince the scientifically illiterate……..

    “You say they test hypothesis, where are the testing. How are they testing.”

    Maxwell’s equations led to predictions of electromagnetic waves and the constant speed of light; Dirac’s equations led to predictions of anti-matter. Hubble’s work predicted the expanding universe. Experiments that have specifically confirmed Big Bang theory are those that have predicted and measured accelerating universe, Higgs boson, gravitational waves, cosmic background radiation. Quantum vacuum observations lend support. Undoubtedly, there is more to come with dark matter and dark energy research. BTW, it wasn’t an explosion, it was a rapid inflation. But why am I telling you this? You can find all this out by yourself if you were really concerned with being informed.

    “You don’t even have a test tube large enough. You don’t even have an idea of what was around that long ago, let alone what changes that would have had to take place to have caused what could have been used to create planets”

    Gerald, have you any idea how wrong you are in this statement? We can actually observe what the universe looked like at all stages back to about the first 10% of the history of the universe. When you look up at the sun, you don’t see the sun as it is now. You see it as it was 8 minutes and 20 seconds ago. When you look up at the stars with the naked eye you see them as they were a minimum of 4 years ago. And those awe-inspiring images from the Hubble telescope? The farthest images are of events that occurred about 13.2 billion years ago.

    “It is all written on our DNA.”

    No, it isn’t. DNA is NOT a blueprint, like the design drawings for a building. Genomes are more like a cake recipe with anything from thousands to billions of ingredients that you can’t fully predict and that come out slightly different every time because the ingredients and the baking are tweaked by the environment. For example, each newborn baby has about 100-130 physical differences in their DNA that do not exist in the DNA of its parents and the quality of the in-vivo environment regularly affects gene expression. Physical changes in DNA occur (and accumulate) during an organism’s lifetime. DNA can even move from one organism’s genome to deposit itself in another’s genome (even a different species). Genome sizes can double or even triple within a single generation (in plants).

    There is no guarantee whatsoever of fixed information in DNA; nothing is indelibly written, it’s highly malleable and in most species much of it is either redundant or does nothing at all.

    “Experiments designed…….by intelligence”

    Your analogy does not work. Your claim is that the universe is fine tuned because it was planned and executed; thus the outcome IS SPECIFIC and KNOWN in advance. An experiment, on the other hand, is certainly designed and executed by intelligence but the outcome IS NOT SPECIFIC and NOT KNOWN in advance. A better analogy would be a casino; designed and fine tuned by an intelligence that knows full well what the outcome will be (albeit in statistical terms). Ironically, it doesn’t stop dumb people from thinking that they know better……..

    “The balance of this cosmos, screams out a Creator, and when we get down to the smallest particles of the universe, the noise is deafening.”

    OK, Gerald, let’s run with this: let’s grant that you’re right and the evidence demonstrates that the universe is designed, finely tuned etc. What can we glean from that fact alone?

    Well, it doesn’t necessarily point to a single, omni-everything personal God, does it? It points just as plausibly to a panentheistic or pantheistic explanation for the universe. It perhaps suggests that at least one intelligent being MAY BE SUFFICIENT to create a universe. But it doesn’t demonstrate that intelligent beings ARE NECESSARY to create a universe.

    Just as importantly, there are no discernibly insurmountable logical or computational barriers to prevent sentient beings from creating a universe, are there? The universe might have been constructed by sentient beings in such a way that logic has been programmed into the universe or invented by the inhabitants by observing the inherent regularities. What would then stop the inhabitants of the universe from constructing logical proofs for an imaginary omniscient and omnipotent God and some of them concluding with certainty that such an entity existed and it was logically and metaphysically necessary that he exist? They would be wrong, but have no way of knowing that they were wrong. Sound familiar?

    The sentient creators of a universe could even incorporate a non-physical being within their cosmos that they have given the illusion of being an omni-everything creator god and have planted into its mind the idea and memory that it had created a universe itself. That being might then act toward the physical inhabitants of the universe as if it were in actual fact a God. It would have no way of knowing that it wasn’t a god. And neither would the other inhabitants of the universe who would proceed to justify its existence and its supposed benevolence by devising logical and empirical proofs for its existence and engaging in apologetics.

    Ordinal polytheism might even be true. The sentient creators of the universe might have actually been created themselves by a bona-fide God who cares nothing for us and takes no interest in us because we aren’t its creation. Thus the universe would seem to treat us in an indifferent fashion. Sound familiar? Yet it’s as logically sound as any cosmological or design argument for a single god.

    I’m not saying any of this is true, I’m merely pointing out some of the diversity of possibilities and speculations that logically and plausibly follow from recognising a designed universe. So, if the universe really is designed and finely tuned, how would you know that any of this weren’t true? How would you go about finding out whether it was or wasn’t true? What hypotheses would you generate to test?

    Or would you continue to apply the same mental gymnastics that have led you to be so prematurely certain that we live in a designed universe created by a single, appropriately defined god in the first place?

    1. lm 19:1-3New King James Version (NKJV)

      The Perfect Revelation of the Lord
      To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

      19 The heavens declare the glory of God;
      And the firmament shows His handiwork.
      2 Day unto day utters speech,
      And night unto night reveals knowledge.
      3 There is no speech nor language
      Where their voice is not heard.
      Psalm 139:14New King James Version (NKJV)

      14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[a]
      Marvelous are Your works,
      And that my soul knows very well.
      John 1New King James Version (NKJV)

      The Eternal Word
      1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend[a] it.
      Plus all the people past and present who have claimed that they have had and are having a live changing relationship with God.
      Plus all the unexplained miracles that not only take place that do so, when things do not happen as the have always happened, and especially after they were asked to happen by those who, believed that ” King James Version
      Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23
      Every culture on this earth, people who you and other say came from some kind of unthinking one celled organism which came from some cosmic accident. Every culture on every Continent of this planet, has some history, of a belief in a deity of some kind. Have you ever heard of the saying ” where there is smoke there is fire”
      Sure its a hard to believe, but so was the way that many species are able to navigate their way back to the place where they were born. How, do they do it. Yes, it is written in their, DNA. But HOW! Since I think you would agree that every one of these species would have needed this info, from day one in order to make these treks, and possibly to assure their survivals, how could this info been put off for the until however later of time it would have taken to have it placed some where down the road.
      But, why can’t it not be, that deep down, somewhere written down on some part of our DNA, there is a part of our genetic code that causes us to want to ” go home”

  7. Hello Gary. First off I don’t want to give anyone the idea that science used by those who truly seek to know what ever the outcome and not that which they had anticipated. As we both know, there are those in the scientific community who ferociously defend a theory, even when the facts do not bare them any evidence of support. In fact, the theory of Evolution, is being pushed on tv, in schools, and being made out that the vote is in and there is no doubt about it anymore, yet there are different theories of evolution which shows that even Evolutionists are not sure about their own theories. Even more, evidence has been made up to glean accolades and monies for grants. And I would suspect to fool others into believing the Evolutionary lie. And with the fact that I am a Christian, I would even say with out a doubt that Satan is using them to try to get God’s creation to doubt the God who created them. But that’s a different wandering.
    But, I was trying to point out the Science dealing with something tangible and dealing with that item after having been witness to the natural of it’s ebb and flow, they can then predict with some certain degree of confidence about what was before. But, in dealing with how the Universe was brought into being, there is nothing that was around at that time that led to the ” result” of what is now. There is only supposition, but with no witnesses or anything tangible to handle, then all that is being imagined is simply that, that of the imagination. And that is being touted as the real deal.
    Especially when that which Dawkins has just spouted, about Nothing having been in some way encouraged into farting fourth the Cosmos. If Nothing is supposed to be nothing, then where did the Something come from that irritated the bowels of that Nothing, causing it to regurgitate the Cosmos into existence. You see, this type of intellectual insanity, is not befitting of the brilliance that Dawkins is supposed to have been endowed with. It shows that the idea was not thought through. Because it leads to the idea that that very Nothingness may as well as have been called god.
    And the idea that some how gravity had something to do with it. Well, how can there be gravity, when there was nothing. Add to this, the fact that how could all of the Cosmos, with all that is seen now, could ever produce worlds barren, and lush at the same time. Heat as that of the sun, and cold. Sure, there are plenty of ” I thinks or I propose” to go around but nothing that would answer all the questions with out also, negating most of the other answers.
    As I said, the only thing that fits, is that an Intelligence, put it all into motion, and guided the results, and yes that Intelligence didn’t do it as a whim but as a way to prepare a wondrous home for His crowning act of the creation, man.
    Sorry got to go for now.

  8. Antony Flew, 87, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies
    By WILLIAM GRIMES
    APRIL 16, 2010
    Antony Flew, an English philosopher and outspoken atheist who stunned and dismayed the unbelieving faithful when he announced in 2004 that God probably did exist, died April 8 in Reading, England. He was 87 and lived in Reading.

  9. His death was confirmed by Roy Abraham Varghese, with whom he wrote “There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind,” published in 2007.

    Mr. Flew, the son of a Methodist minister, embraced atheism as a teenager. “It just seemed flatly inconsistent to say that the universe was created by an omnipotent and perfectly good being,” he told The Sunday Times of London in 2004. “Yet there were evils in abundance which could not be put down to a consequence of human sin.”

  10. Falsification,” a short paper presented to the Socratic Club at Oxford and published in 1950, brought him immediate attention. In a little more than 1,000 words, it argued that the idea of God is philosophically meaningless, since it cannot be falsified — that is, believers cannot posit an instance that would cause them to deny the existence of God. Genuine assertions, by contrast, can be falsified.

    1. Gerald – According to that reasoning we would have to say that the idea of the philosophy of naturalism is also philosophically meaningless, as it is unfalsifiable. Every aspect of reality is ‘explained’ by recourse to this philosophy, despite the huge difficulties, and any problems that arise (for example, the problems of free will, moral choice, the validity of reason, the reality and nature of consciousness and the ultimate origin of the universe) are all either explained away or shelved until “science can get its act together in the future”. The idea of ultimate intelligent causation is perfectly meaningful. Can the same be said of ultimate non-intelligent causation? Certainly the idea that human reason and intelligence MUST have been caused by non-intelligence is about as absurd a claim as one could ever imagine.

      1. “The idea of ultimate intelligent causation is perfectly meaningful. Can the same be said of ultimate non-intelligent causation? Certainly the idea that human reason and intelligence MUST have been caused by non-intelligence is about as absurd a claim as one could ever imagine.”

        Thanks once again for pointing out this delicious false logic loop that cultists use without understanding it’s self-defeating component. Intelligence has to come from intelligence? So what intelligence created the intelligent god creature that supposedly made the Earth?

        1. Tim: “So what intelligence created the intelligent god creature that supposedly made the Earth?”

          Oh dear. So you are suggesting that intelligence MUST have derived from non-intelligence on the basis that there must exist an infinite regress of causes, and therefore intelligent causation fails because it can only exist as a result of an infinite regress of intelligent causes? This is fallacious logic, for the obvious reason that your argument – if valid – would apply just as much to non-intelligent causation as to intelligent causation. If human intelligence is the effect of non-intelligent forces, then what caused those forces, and what caused those prior forces and so on ad infinitum…?

          This “what created God” argument is one of the weakest objections atheists come out with, and that’s saying something! Whatever one’s worldview, it is clear that there is a necessity for a first cause. To argue that theism’s requirement of a first cause undermines its legitimacy is a hypocritical argument, because naturalism also requires a first cause. If you think it does not, then please could you explain how a temporal infinite regress works (counting back sequentially FROM infinity), or explain how everything is caused by nothing (and I mean ABSOLUTELY nothing).

          So that’s cleared up that one. But we can infer that human reason must have an intelligent cause, because of the nature of reason itself. If human reason and intelligence is merely an emergent property of the (putative) evolving or evolved human brain, then reason exists for an entirely utilitarian purpose. It doesn’t take much intelligence to work out that utility does not validate the truthfulness of ideas. An idea is not true simply because it works to provide utility. If that is the case, then philosophical naturalists can have no objection to the claim that God exists, because that idea ‘works’ and has worked for billions of people, therefore, ACCORDING TO NATURALISTIC EPISTEMOLOGY, it must be true! But philosophical naturalism denies that this idea is true, and thus demonstrates its own self-refuting nature. Only objectively valid reason can beget objectively valid reason. Therefore mind is the result of mind. Mind, by definition, cannot be the result of mindlessness. Anyone who thinks it can has either never thought the issue through, or is anti-rational.

  11. Are you actually that there actually no reason to look at the viability of a Creator as one of the way we and this cosmos are in existance?
    Why I would have thought that because since all the other explanations that science has theorized and which to date have crashed and burned leading only to dead ends or causing them to abandon ship, would be enough of a reason to look more closely at the God being the Creator tbeory.

  12. In 2004, however, he announced on a DVD titled “Has Science Discovered God?” that research on DNA and what he believed to be inconsistencies in the Darwinian account of evolution had forced him to reconsider his views. DNA research, he said, “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved.”

    In “There Is a God” he explained that he now believed in a supreme intelligence, removed from human affairs but responsible for the intricate workings of the universe. In other words, the divine watchmaker imagined by deists like Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

  13. In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph of London in 2004, he described “the God in whose existence I have belatedly come to believe” as “most emphatically not the eternally rewarding and eternally torturing God of either Christianity or Islam but the God of Aristotle that he would have defined — had Aristotle actually produced a definition of his (and my) God — as the first initiating and sustaining cause of the universe.”

  14. Please let me know to what you are referring. God needed to make the nothing so that He could make everything else from that nothing.
    And after you inform me as to what you are talking about, you can answer me how do you think that there could have been, what ever was around that you consider a better probability for the Cosmos, as a better explanation for the Cosmos, and not accept the possibility, that there could have been an Intelligence of some kind. Why accept the one and not the other, when you have no proof that anything existed, except for the fact that we are here. And all you and any of us can do is imagine and surmise, theorize, the possibilities. And yet, the one thing that is certain, it takes an intelligence to build, and all we see around us are machines of one type or another.

  15. Every time I read your piece, It seems to me so incredulous. How can you even think the possibility that an unthinking, not even here yet cosmos, brought itself into existence, and still argue with the possibility that there could have been some form of Intelligence around or almost around. Come on. To even begin to admit the one, should on that same plane of theorizing, allow the possibility, of the other to be possible. Since there is no evidence, at least what you are willing to allow as evidence, that either is possible, except for the impossible to ignore fact that we and all around us is here. All any one has to speculate with are nothing more than maybe’s and I thinks.
    Going your argument, means that you would need to cancel out the one just to deny the other.
    And at least those of us who, consider the possibility of there being at least a superior intellect if not a supreme intellect, we have at least more of a reason to know why we are here than someone who are only willing to accept that we all are here by an accident.
    When was the last time that an unthinking accident ever brought something intelligent into being?

  16. I think I agree. I’m almost certain that it is being said here, that since no one was there when things started happening, that to assume that everything started without an intelligence has almost as much weight as saying what those who believe in an Intelligence has always said, that an intelligence started the ball rolling. I said almost because since we can see that since it takes an intelligence to make and invent what there is now especially that which is almost as complex as that which was created in the past, we can deduce that an an Intelligence played a part in the ball rolling in the past

  17. Pretty good comment. If Atheist would only take the time to collect all the evidence on what science has provided which shows that there are so many holes in the theories that Evolutionists and Atheists use to dispute the possibility of intelligent design, they would not be in so much of a hurry to condemn Theists.

  18. It stands to reason, that there are a few individuals who are reading these posts. And it also stands to reason that due to those readings, some conclusions have been made, or at least you are leaning to some conclusions. But I do hope that you are leaning to the distinct possibility of there being an Intelligent designer, who loves and cares for you. He does so much, that He came and died that you and I and every one in His creations may live with Him for ever. So, I’d like to invite you to worship this next Sabbath, to your nearest Seventh Day Adventist Church. And know that until the time when we meet together around the throne of God, I will be praying for you.

    1. Or they could accept Zeus, or Odin, or Osiris instead. Maybe they should become Hindus, after all the Vedas text started even earlier than the Bible. There are a lot of other god creatures to choose from after all.

      Gerald forgot to point out that his flavor of god loves you so much that you had no choice in being born into it’s universe, and if you don’t follow it’s rules then you will be punished for all eternity. His petty, jealous, attention-needing deity wanted playthings, and you are one of them…

  19. I agree. And we don’t see Atheist running up and claiming to have met “philosophy” Christians and some of them who use to be Atheists are all saying that they are having a warm, vibrant and personal relationship with Christ.
    Thank you for your testimony, and lifting up Christ. He did say ” and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me” John 12:32

  20. You know. Many find it easy to accept the inanimate rocks and asteroids that most of the times fly by. They think nothing of it to accept the possibility that maybe there has been some sort of life laying in wait to infect just the right biosphere. But they gag at the possibility of an intelligence that was before it all, and that His exsistance was due to no action of any thing or anyone else.
    But everything does point to someone who put it all into motion at one time. Like it or not we came either from nothing which exsisted or didn’t exist before, rocks that have been around and we can’t explain how they came into exsistsnce along with the possibility of rocks or that same nothing that created the rocks brought some kind of organism into exsistance yet from where did this unintelligent nothing come from? Who gave it the ability to bring things into exsistance? Or, or, well you know God did it. And if nothing and rocks and possibility some ki d of simple organism has been allowed the possibility to have an eternal exsistance, why can you not grant God the same possibility of having in Himself eternity?

    1. Gerald writes: [But they gag at the possibility of an intelligence that was before it all, and that His exsistance was due to no action of any thing or anyone else.]

      Why shouldn’t they gag? There is evidence for things flying around in space. There is exactly zero data or empirical evidence for “an intelligence that was before it all”. And I mean exactly zero, as in none, zilch, and nada. When you consider how many “intelligent” agents humans have worshiped over time, it becomes particularly ludicrous to think that your flavor of design creature is any better than any other creator being that humans pray to.

      [But everything does point to someone who put it all into motion at one time. Like it or not we came either from nothing which exsisted or didn’t exist before, rocks that have been around and we can’t explain how they came into exsistsnce along with the possibility of rocks or that same nothing that created the rocks brought some kind of organism into exsistance yet from where did this unintelligent nothing come from?]

      The universe IS nothing. When you add up all the positive and negative energies they cancel out. The net charge of the universe is zero. The net momentum, the net spin, etc is all zero. The universe is literally nothing broken up into a lot of pieces. How and why that happened is one of the big questions in science right now. The fact that we can’t explain how or why, however, does not in any way lend credence to the tale that there is a supernatural explanation for it. There is no evidence for the supernatural and therefore no reason to consider it a plausible possibility.

      Why is it such a big deal that there is now life in the universe? Stars didn’t always exist, but now they do. They are made up entirely of stuff from this universe. Galaxies didn’t always exist in the universe, they do now. They are made up entirely of stuff from this universe. Life didn’t always exist, it does now. It is made up entirely of stuff from this universe.

  21. Where is your proof that the Universe is nothing. Especially when we see so much in this Universe.
    As I said and I think you missed my logic, is that you do not think twice in accepting that what ever made up the Universe has always been there. Yet, you gag and rant when some one says that there could have been an Intelligence that has always existed. You have no proof that anything has always existed, yet you speak as if you were there when nothing existed, denying that there was some kind of Intelligence. You, have a problem separating your ” I would like this to be true, from what you actually have proof of.” There is no proof that life can come form inanimate objects without some kind of action from an intelligence. There is no reason that nothing would ever produce something on its own whim of fancy, or flatulence, yet alone be able to reason within itself on how to maintain the life produced within some incubated area. Why not to good sense before you lose every opportunity, and later will fall for what ever irrational thought that comes to your door. You have for so long listened to others and their irrational, unproveble theories, that you have lost the ability to accept what is reasonable. Life, begets life. It was proven with the guy that when he saw maggots, on something that he had viewed previously a few days earlier, when the maggots were not present, that person concluded that the maggots mysteriously, appeared.
    Later to have his theory proven wrong.

    1. Before I begin, do you think you could try a little harder to assemble all your thoughts into one post? I fear I sometimes miss part of your responses when you post multiple times to the same thing. I don’t want anyone to think I am avoiding something you wrote, but honestly I can’t always tell which post is a reply to me verses to other people…

      Now, Gerald writes: [Where is your proof that the Universe is nothing. Especially when we see so much in this Universe.]

      Google it. The universe adds up to nothing. That doesn’t mean you can’t see stuff in the universe – obviously you can. But when you add everything within the universe together, it cancels out. We are talking about the totality of the universe here. As Stephen Hawking said, the “universe is a free lunch”.

      [As I said and I think you missed my logic, is that you do not think twice in accepting that what ever made up the Universe has always been there.]

      I never said whatever made up the universe has always been there. No one knows for sure if the universe is finite or not, if something else triggered it’s existence or it just happened on its own. I’ve told you this many times before too, this is not the first time I have explained myself.

      [Yet, you gag and rant when some one says that there could have been an Intelligence that has always existed.]

      I’ve never claimed with 100% certainty that there is not a creative intelligence. What I’ve said to you before, and am happy to reiterate now, is that there is no evidence of such a thing. There is literally no rational reason to think that the claim of a designer creature has any truth to it. It’s a claim full of contradictions and false logic loops. But since no one can prove a negative, I can’t say for sure it doesn’t exist. All I can say is that there is no reason to think it does.

      I’ve explained the logic problem of this particular scenario you mention above to you before, Gerald. If an intelligent agent exists, and it has always existed, it can never reach a point in its existence where it creates a universe. There is no middle to infinity, so it would take an infinite existence before it could create the universe, and obviously that means it could never reach the point where that creation occurs. The concept of an always existing creator immediately precludes that creator from being able to create the universe…

      [You have no proof that anything has always existed, yet you speak as if you were there when nothing existed, denying that there was some kind of Intelligence.]

      You’ve misstated my argument, and also used false logic. On the misstatement – I’ve not claimed that everything has always existed. I’ve explained myself above so I’ll not repeat here. On the “nothing existed” – what I’ve repeatedly explained is that the universe adds up to nothing. Viewed from the outside, the universe still IS nothing. It was never “something”. 1-1=0 is nothing. 1+1-1-1 is nothing as well, just in a different format. 1+1+1+1-1-1-1=0 is another version of nothing. The universe, when added up together, is also = 0.

      On top of all that, whether the universe is something, nothing, finite, or infinite, has no connection to whether or not there is an “Intelligence”. Do you see the disconnect there? None of those possibilities (something, nothing, finite, infinite) requires Intelligence. None of those possibilities automatically eliminate the possibility of Intelligence either. They aren’t related things, yet you try to make them so in your statement.

      [You, have a problem separating your ” I would like this to be true, from what you actually have proof of.”]

      I don’t have any likes or dislikes. My dismissal of god claims has nothing to do with what I want or don’t want. It’s entirely about evidence and empirical data and rational thought. There is no evidence for god creatures, or creative beings, or the supernatural. Since there is no evidence, there is no logical reason for me to consider any of that as a possible explanation for the universe.

      [There is no proof that life can come form inanimate objects without some kind of action from an intelligence.]

      Two answers to this. 1) You once again forget the logic loop you create with this statement. If intelligence requires intelligence (and life requires life) to exist, then you can’t ever have intelligence OR life existing. Think about it…

      2) There is, in fact, evidence that life can come from non-life. We have the fossil record for example. We have viruses, which are not alive but yet they aren’t totally inanimate either. We know there are self-replicating molecules in the universe, which are inanimate yet make copies of themselves, and living things are just large conglomerations of molecules that can make copies of themselves. I freely admit we can’t replicate how living things began, but that doesn’t mean there is “no proof” about how life first started…

      [There is no reason that nothing would ever produce something on its own whim of fancy, or flatulence, yet alone be able to reason within itself on how to maintain the life produced within some incubated area.]

      Self-replicating molecules do not have whims and fancies – they are inanimate. Yet they make copies of themselves. It’s a property that those particular molecules have. It’s a chemical fact, Gerald. Reason has nothing to do with it. It isn’t an exercise in logical thinking. These are cold, hard chemical facts in our universe. Anyone that ignores that is intellectually dishonest.

      [Why not to good sense before you lose every opportunity, and later will fall for what ever irrational thought that comes to your door. You have for so long listened to others and their irrational, unproveble theories, that you have lost the ability to accept what is reasonable.]

      My point of view is scientific, Gerald. That’s the beauty of it, because in science you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. I’ve seen some of the chemistry I’ve mentioned. I can do any of the experiments myself (and have done some of them) and prove to myself that these things are true. Science is an open book, and every single thing is reviewed and validated by others. You literally don’t have to assume anything about any scientific claim, ever. You can verify each one yourself. You can prove EVERYTHING yourself. Have you done any of your own research, or have you “listened to others and their irrational, unproveble theories” and fallen “for what ever irrational thought that comes to your door” from your preacher and your creationist masters at their ID websites? How much science have you verified, Gerald?

      [Life, begets life.]

      Which makes a first life form rather impossible, doesn’t it, since all life must come from another life…

      [It was proven with the guy that when he saw maggots, on something that he had viewed previously a few days earlier, when the maggots were not present, that person concluded that the maggots mysteriously, appeared.
      Later to have his theory proven wrong.]

      That was Pasteur, and he was not commenting on the origins of life. You have a misunderstanding of the context of what he was saying.

      [ And yet we are here. As phenomenal as we are, should at least get a second look at the possibility at having been created by a Creator.]

      If I may explain to you again, existence is NOT evidence of a creator. Existence is also NOT evidence of naturalism either. The only thing existence proves is that we do indeed exist. It does not tell us how or why there is life, and how life began. Our complexity also does not prove creationism or naturalism. There is nothing in the laws of chemistry, physics, or thermodynamics that prohibits complex groupings of molecules from existing (obviously, or we couldn’t exist in this universe). That complexity does not explain the source of living things. You have once again connected intelligent design claims to unrelated topics.

  22. “The fact that we can’t explain how or why, however, does not in any way lend credence to the tale that there is a supernatural explanation for it. There is no evidence for the supernatural and therefore no reason to consider it a plausible possibility.” And yet we are here. As phenomenal as we are, should at least get a second look at the possibility at having been created by a Creator.

  23. Tim must we remind all those who are Scientists about”Spontaneous generation
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    This article is about historical theories on the ongoing emergence of life. For the origin of life, see Abiogenesis.
    Spontaneous generation or anomalous generation is an obsolete body of thought on the ordinary formation of living organisms without descent from similar organisms. Typically, the idea was that certain forms such as fleas could arise from inanimate matter such as dust, or that maggots could arise from dead flesh. A variant idea was that of equivocal generation, in which species such as tapeworms arose from unrelated living organisms, now understood to be their hosts. Doctrines supporting such processes of generation held that these processes are commonplace and regular. Such ideas are in contradiction to that of univocal generation: effectively exclusive reproduction from genetically related parent(s), generally of the same species.

    The doctrine of spontaneous generation was coherently synthesized by Aristotle,[1] who compiled and expanded the work of prior natural philosophers and the various ancient explanations of the appearance of organisms; it held sway for two millennia. Today it is generally accepted to have been decisively dispelled during the 19th century by the experiments of Louis Pasteur. He expanded upon the investigations of predecessors (such as Francesco Redi who, in the 17th century, had performed experiments based on the same principles). However, some experimental difficulties were still there and objections from persons holding the traditional views persisted. Many of these residual objections were dealt with by the work of John Tyndall, succeeding the work of Pasteur.[2]

    Pasteur’s experiment is generally known to have refuted the theory of spontaneous generation in 1859.[3] Disproof of the traditional ideas of spontaneous generation is no longer controversial among professional biologists. By the middle of the 19th century, the theory of biogenesis had accumulated so much evidential support, due to the work of Louis Pasteur and others, that the alternative theory of spontaneous generation had been effectively disproven. John Desmond Bernal suggests that earlier theories such as spontaneous generation were based upon an explanation that life was continuously created as a result of chance events.[4][5][6]” Pasteur showed that live begets life. So, to think that a non living emptiness, nothingness, or any other nonliving thing could produce any other form of life, no matter how simple, is to forget that that ship has all ready sailed and shown that live begets life. So Science needs first to over come that one small leap as to show that your nothingness was able to produce life. And that is after all the years that all the supposedly intelligent scientists have tried and tried and tried again to form some sort of life and always failed. So, it should be widely accepted that it takes someone or something with life to make some one or some thing with life.

  24. “existence is NOT evidence of a creator. Existence is also NOT evidence of naturalism either. The only thing existence proves is that we do indeed exist.” Tim, so what do we learn from the over and over, uninterrupted occurrence, wherever life springs up, it has always come from something else that has life. Nowhere has that chain of events ever been changed. So, why would someone expect that is was any different in the past, or future?

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