Parts of my atheism versus Christianity debates with Eric A
Just to be clear your argumentative choice here is the actual argument stopper “Or that since science doesn’t have an answer for this(yet), God must’ve done it”
If you wont acknowledge science has particularly specialties and that there are other ways of knowing (things that departments other than science will gladly acknowledge).
The new atheists have determined to:
1) increase polarization & hate
2) increase misinformation & myth & stereotype about religion.
3) to actually decrease true dialog on the issue.
For science, indeed any field requires a certain humility about focus and methods of knowing, and types of data it is best at achieving. Unfortunately, without acknowledging it we force the circular peg of God in the square peg of scientific understanding. And to be fair…..thats not really the science getting in the way….thats the boundry producing ideology of the reductionists at play (initially Huxley I believe, but certainly every arbitrary imposition of the demarcation between science and the other fields). Without acknowledging its weakness in the area of
ethics, purpose, and meaning–you simply search endlessly for whats not important and not meaningful–and preach the false religion that life on planet earth has no purpose. Sure, it maybe that the planet in the abstract doesn’t have much of a purpose. It does seem fertile versus the other planets and it does have oxygen. Why might that oxygen be there? Why is the earth distinct from the entire rest of the galaxy? Why consciousness and not robots? Why humans and not vampire zombies? Could we ended up on other planets? Wouldn’t we have died the instant we got there? What about the initial oozee, how did it get here? How did it evolve? Where did the constants of the universe come from? Where did Fibonaccis sequence come from? Why is there so much order admists the randomeness? Why is this chaos organized? What is human life like? Why are families important?
I don’t know what you think….those questions are fundamental to why were are here, what makes us unique, and are in some respects vital to an understanding of the human enterprise–the human story….
At almost every turn…the skeptic is forced to admit our radical contingency in the universe without a divine power–unfortunately the skeptics are also forced to admit without the Divine power its like we hit the cosmic jackpot (given the extreme probabilities involved)….like we are the receiving end of the greatest miracle in history.
I’m not here to deny evolution….I’m just here to say that the universe didn’t just plop it into existence by itself. Because, like you, I know what disorder looks like. I’ve seen kindergarden kids create disorder….I’ve seen small animals in cages create disorder…..and I know what order, design, and the fingerprint of an intelligence….a Divine Designer looks like. Again….I would reference the Da Da’ist painting and the
There are 1000s of amazing photos of the micro world….those just happened by nearly random chance.
There are equally 1000s of amazing photos of the starry heavens…..those just happened by nearly random chance to.
Whats the most gorgeous natural destination you’ve been to? Haven’t there been even human designs that would fall on their face in comparison to that natural design. In fact, you have the science of engineering based on the design of natural objects called biomimicry. Its pretty facinating actually. These are better designs than humans can make. The natural landscape, though doesn’t have so much evolution to account for its beauty, art, order, disorder, and sublimeness. When I’m outdoors walking on trails….sometimes I’m overcome by the vastness of nature….the vastness of life…..the amazing vistas that we are blessed to experience…..that far outstrip anything man-made or planned by the hand of man alone. Those all point me in the direction above. Those are fingerprints….evidences of a Divine Creator. One who blesses us over and over again. And one who sent his son Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sins. One who I may not always understand….but that I’m humble enough has gone the distance in fighting for my heart, my admiration, and my love. And I realize that if I don’t want to spend eternity in Hell….then maybe I should live my life in submission to his principles of love and virtue. And help bring those to others to whatever extent I can. Through Him….the whole world opens up….and its purposes and my purposes become crystal clear.
Much of this would pass for courtroom evidence. And you have to put naturalism under the microscope. Its premises are essentially circular and non-scientific.
[see Alvin Plantinga and every indictment of naturalism and materialism and reductionism ever written]
Also, the assertion there is no knowledge outside of science (aka part of scientism) is likewise pretty ridiculous. So the entire academy is pretty much a waste? Also it contravenes the way in which knowledge builds. The design practice IDEO concedes we need T-shaped people–which is to say a specific kind of well roundedness and I’m sure more innovators and scientists would admit that interdisciplinary study was a positive benefit in their lives–making them better thinkers and scientists.
You can’t keep repeating the cant there is no evidence, there is no evidence, when I provided plenty of evidence. Its just not evidence that passes the de-marcation test.
Unfortunately, the evidence falls both inside and outside the demarcation. Unfortunately, like suitcase bag that has pant legs hanging out…..you cut off the pant legs to make your reductionism “work”–to re-ify its stability and coherence in your mind. While realizing the cognitive dissonance of being in a worldview that fundamentally leaves big question marks when it comes to purpose and meaning and value. Not to mention is anti-freedom. You have folks like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking towing the party line that its all physics and chemistry…..but thats positively absurd. Its only because they are way, way too close to the picture or too far back. That distorts the meaning you find. And their books deny purpose….when that would give them no purpose to discover or reason to even want to live another second or breath another breath.
Its a philosophy that sees causal relationships and assumes every decision every is strictly deterministic. Yes, the universe has rules. But those rules resemble stop lights or rules in the game of basketball–especially when it comes to individuals which consciousness, deliberation, emotion, imagination, self-reflection, and memory. Pre-suppossing the universe is that deterministic—almost of necessity presupposes some immaterial natural or super force that controls it all. Someone or something behind the curtain pulling all the levers. But back to the point….the fact that deterministic worldview takes goals, purpose, meaning, responsibility, human choice, human freedom, and human dignity off the conceptual map–it evaporates everything and evaporates every objection to Christianity (aka who cares?). But who cares or it doesn’t matter is nihilistic….thats not a world we want to live in….its a world where genocide and every atrocity known to man and women is justified because life doesn’t matter–we’re all one big chemical blob from space and all just cells and electrons and protons from a microscope. Thats a backwards and fundamentally unsustainable worldview. But Christianity offers an alternative….
Jesus. The love, empathy, and forgiveness of one who sacrificed his life on the cross for us. Thats a much, much better answer than the nihilism and non-meaning which contravenes our most basic experience (aka evidence) of how life works and operates. We know we are more than just chemicals. At that level…milk and human beings are the same. Maybe thats because thinking at that level of analysis isn’t where you find purpose and ethics and value….if you go looking in the wrong place….you probably aren’t going to find it. If you go looking for love in a whore house….not gonna happen. Apparently, it happens in the movies to Richard Gere….but he’s Richard Gere and its the freaking movies.
First, you have to see that behavior in the context of the larger picture. God created the earth and everything on it.
Second, hes being very honest about it.
I’m in a position where I ultimately have to trust God. I realize that there is someone looking out for me–and the reason I’m alive and breathing (….and beyond that there are just too many times when I’ve been within potentially seconds of death either driving or otherwise….some that I recognize and others that I may not even).
Jesus went through massive pain. First, he sacrificed enough to remain sinless. Second, he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Third, his experience of the cross was incredibly grueling. And moreover, God’s sacrifice was putting his son into an imperfect world–and watching his son through the suffering. Sure, he to some extent choose that–but that was none-the-less a sacrifice.
Forgiving criminals who understand what they’ve done to be bad and who are genuinely repentant and humble–don’t necessarily deserve Gods grace or forgiveness–but he gives it any. The state of our hearts is what is ultimately important.
Its like someone gave a gift to you and left it on your doorstep–and the creation of the world and everything in it is an incredibly complex process. To me, God is the best explanation of the world we have and live and breath in every day. The rules to the universe don’t make sense without a designer to make rules. The order in the universe doesn’t make sense without God. The way the sooo much fits together…..only makes sense because its not all random. Random is like a the Dadaist paintings (and their random art work). If you compare a DaDaist to a naturally created fractal the differences are radical. The world we see and live in mostly resembles a Rembrant or a Michaelangeo or any of the Renassainsse painters far, far, more. There has to be cause for order. Just because its a spiritual or immaterial cause doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Science is there to help with material based causality….not with immaterial based causality. Beyond that we have the work of historical science–which would at least allow some testing and comparative evaluation of competing arguments around the existence of God and creation.
We have a home here on earth compared to the rest of the known universe. That didn’t just happen. When we were kids we didn’t know that things that just appeared actually required effort, choice, foresight, and sacrifice on the part of those who gave it to us. Our forefathers and mothers went through an extreme amount of sacrifice….but we don’t often have movies or even pictures of that sacrifice because it went on beyond the scope of our vision…..and they were doing it because they loved us (sometimes even when we weren’t there)–we were just a vision in our parents minds–with no material reality.
Unfortunately, the individualism in our modern society causes us to view the world through a particular lens, not seeing the networks of influence and relationships which undergird all of existence.
Much of the time…in our ego and pride…..we like to think that we boot-strapped our way to where we are. But….we’re blessed….we’re incredibly blessed…….in fact we may just be blessed beyond imagination. And in some ways thats our problem–because we don’t realize an alternative course….we don’t realize what it would have been to not be bless. It could have been otherwise…..radically so (for instance if we live on Mars versus Earth…that one singular small change would make 1000x changes in the way we live and breathe)….but our senses aren’t fully capable of realizing it. In America there are a couple days where we realize some of this gratitude. The probably most common is on Thanksgiving. We realize–in humility–that we have 100s of blessings–including getting up in the morning and breathing to be thankful for.
Ultimately, God wants good things for you:
1) He wants you to develop your talents (the parable of the talents)
2) He wants you to more fully realize whats out there. He wants you to learn with science and the other disciplines, but he also wants you to learn in wisdom (something science and its data isn’t fully capable of delivering on).
3) He wants you to be a better person. I want to be a better person–I don’t know about you.And if He created us….he certainly knows what we are at our essence–our core selves–at the very core of our beings (at the DNA of us).
Thats why I try to live as a better human being. Thats why I’m getting up to go to church tomorrow. And thats why I’m writing you now.