What Would You Say to Him?

YouTube has an enormous number of videos dedicated to Christianity, atheism, and every other kind of worldview.  I want to post some of these videos from time to time and ask you for your response to these videos.

The first of these, found below, is from an atheist who raises a handful of issues that he thinks should render belief in the Christian God as nonsensical.  Watch the video and comment in this blog post on any issues he raised that interested you. 

As you’re watching, ask yourself some questions.  What are his arguments?  Does he provide good reasons for his positions?  Does he really understand Christianity?  If you are a Christian, is there anything he said that reflects one of your doubts?  What would you say to him if you met him for a cup of coffee?

I look forward to your responses and will plan on making a few comments myself later on.

  • Tyler G

    First off, I would like to point out that your numbers can be strongly turned against atheism. If atheism (and perhaps agnosticism) are the only religions that do not believe in God, then, there are almost 10,000 religions that believe in God. This means that if you believe in a religion with some kind of God, your chances of being right are increased to almost 99%. With this in mind, why choose atheism?, which is in fact, the most logically improbable religion of them all because it believes in no God. On a side note, your numbers are irrelevant because religion is not a random statistical event, but in fact, the search for Truth. Think about this: the Bugatti Veyron is the fastest production car in the world. According to you, if we factor in all the cars ever made, the chances of the Veyron being the fastest is almost nil. this however, does not change the truth that it is in fact, the fastest production car in the world.

    Secondly, you add in Christian denominations. I would like to point out that almost all denominations differ on a few minor doctrines and are all in agreement when it comes to salvation. There are some denominations that do differ when it comes to salvation, but definately not all of them.

    Thirdly, you said “Maybe unicorns are on the dark side of the moon, I DON’T KNOW. I haven’t been there.” You then proceed to say, “It takes no faith to not believe in unicorns.” Wait a minute, didn’t you just say that you DON”T KNOW if unicorns are out there. Therefore, you must have at least a small amount of faith to BELIEVE, (not know) that unicorns do not exist. To know is to be certain, to believe is to take it on faith, albeit it is a small leap of faith to not believe in unicorns, but faith never the less.

    Fourth, God did forgive sin. He wants to forgive sin which is why he died on the cross for our sins. He can not tolerate sin in his prescence because he is PERFECT. This does not change the fact that He loves us, whether we love him or not. In fact, he loves us so much that He gave us the free will to be able to choose Him or not.

    Fifth, you said you wanted God to make it a little clearer. Well, in my opinion, the Bible is pretty clear about what God has done to save us from our sin. You also said “It doesn’t take faith to ask for a little evidence.” I would like to point out that yes, it does. I would ask, What validates science? Surely not science. That wouldn’t be logical. If science can’t validate science, then what can?

    A side note: just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it not true. If I don’t like the rain, no matter how much I don’t like it, I can’t simply ignore the rain just because I don’t like it. Similarly, you can’t ignore the Truth just because you don’t like what it says.

    Another side note: God doesn’t send people to hell. He gives us the free choice to either choose him or reject him and then gives a person ample opportunity to come to Christ. In the end, God simply allows a person to spend his/her afterlife where he/she wills.

    It’s as the late C.S. Lewis once said-
    “There are only two kinds of people in the end. Those who say to God, thy will be done; and those to whom God says, thy will be done.”

  • Greg Godat

    WOW, where to start???

    Has Absolute truth been turned into random statistics and games of chance? There are >195M number combinations in the Power ball lottery. Does this mean that no one can ever win?? In fact, your chances are small as an individual but the number that is picked every week is true for that week. It is not a false selection. If 300 million people claimed there was a separate answer to the equation 2+2=x, would that mean that anyone saying the answer is 4 would have a 0.000000003333 % chance of being correct? Absolutely not! Truth stands true no matter how many “other” selections one has and it is not bound by probability. Where was the slot for Atheism in his pie chart? Shouldn’t that be included in the possible choices thereby relegating the Atheist to a 0.0066% probability of being correct? Those are pretty bad odds to be betting on.

    No evidence for the Bible? Obviously he either never read New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, or he could not understand it. Claiming the book is full of untruths and not addressing a single one is a cop out. Where is his evidence for Atheism? Was it in his well postulated theory of the “Missing Unicorns”? He definitely has “faith” in being an Atheist because he admits that he has not been to the dark side of the moon, where Unicorns may very well be present, so isn’t he therefore relying on his faith in lack of Unicorns? Has he circumnavigated the universe exhaustively to dispel the notion (through evidence) that the universe is void of unicorns (or even God)?

    That video was a poor attempt of an uneducated person (in both Christianity and Atheism) to rant his way through his misguided beliefs in an attempt to convert a Christian. Is he spending just as much time trying to convert Hindus, Taoists, Muslims, New Age believers, Humanists, etc… Again, my question is, Why does he care about the well being of a Christian? If we are wrong then just let us walk around being wrong. At least we help the poor, sick, widowed and orphaned. We have a reason to make the word a better place but if he is an Atheist at heart he should keep his knowledge to the extent that it helps him live longer and populate his genes more extensively. Personally, I wish him the best because his genetics don’t give him much of a shot.

  • leftcoastlibrul

    No evidence for the Bible? Obviously he either never read New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, or he could not understand it. Claiming the book is full of untruths and not addressing a single one is a cop out.

    This is called ” The No True Scotsman Fallacy,” and is a logical fallacy, although I do agree that not addressing those untruths is not acceptable. It’s possible he understood the book just fine; merely coming to different conclusion from the one to which you came does not mean he didn’t.

    At least we help the poor, sick, widowed and orphaned. We have a reason to make the word a better place but if he is an Atheist at heart he should keep his knowledge to the extent that it helps him live longer and populate his genes more extensively.

    Um. Could you please explain how one follows the other? In the first place, Christians have not cornered the market on helping the poor, sick, widowed and orphans. When my step father (a deputy sherriff) was shot in the line of duty, should I have cared that one of the women who helped my mother with her finances was Wiccan and not Christian? Also, what does charity have to do with “populating genes more extensively”? And what does populating genes extensively MEAN, exactly?

    As to the video itself, I felt that while there were some good ideas contained therein, they were lost to bad editing and poor logic. This does not invalidate atheism, merely this young man’s ability to define and defend atheism.

  • Greg Godat

    Leftcoast,

    IF he read the book (which by the way is based on >25 years of research by a former Atheist) and disagrees, that does not make him right. If he has a position as to why the book is inaccurate then he should state it/them so people can respond. Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t make it not true. Truth is based on fact not opinion.

    As for the good deeds Christians are commanded to do, I will concede to you that Christians showing compassion does not in fact prove the existence of God. However, using the mathematical position of the person in the video, there are 151 major religions (I’m including Atheism) and so the actual probability that your father was actually helped by a person of the Wiccan faith is 0.0066%. Now you tell me, does that make sense knowing that this person actually helped your father? Also, I am not contrasting the compassionate Christian to the compassionate Wiccan, I’m comparing to the Atheist and the philosophy behind their fundamental belief system. Atheists have absolutely no reason to show any compassion as they are mere byproducts of random mutation. The only thing built into their genetic code is a drive to survive and thrive. They are not commanded to help, love others as themselves. A true Atheist should follow to the word the theory of Darwinian Evolution and only be concerned to see that his genetic pool is extended as much as possible. My original point about this was not to say that Christians doing compassionate things proved God’s existence but to understand why an Atheist would care that I’m a practicing Christian and would want to convert me to his opinion in the first place unless I can be used in his attempts to extend his life and pleasure in it.

    As for the good ideas contained in the video, what exactly were they? I only heard him claim that the Bible is a myth, with no specific references as to the proof, that God does not exist because unicorns do not exist (but he self defeated that statement saying he hasn’t explored the dark side of the moon and can’t be sure they don’t reside there) and his opinion that he just doesn’t agree with Josh McDowell (although he cites no specific proof that Mr. McDowell’s book is inaccurate). Those are pretty lame points at best if you ask me.

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  • leftcoastlibrul

    Thank you for the reply; I appreciate it. I apologize for not getting back sooner.

    You are quite correct. Reading the book and disagreeing does not make him right. Nor does it make him wrong. Actual facts are what are needed to back up assertions one way or the other.

    As for atheists and compassion: I am a nurse. I have as much empathy for my patients as any Christian or Muslim or Jewish or (add your religion here) nurse to which you’d care to compare me. Why does my religion even come into play? I’m a good nurse, and it doesn’t require a god to make me so. Empathy and compassion aren’t handed out at the altar. It’s more than a little insulting to be told that I have to believe in something just to exhibit a very human quality which everyone possesses.

    There is a rather silly assertion that atheists cannot have a moral base because of their lack of belief. I’m still not sure how this works. Atheists are moral because they choose to be moral, just like anyone else. They recognize that stealing and killing and torturing is wrong, so they don’t do it. It does not require the threat of retribution from on high in order to enforce that. A moral person recognizes the difference between right and wrong, regardless of religious belief. Interestingly, there are far more Christians in our prison system (even among those who were Christian before going to jail) than atheists.

    Again, as I stated earlier: the young man’s video is poorly defended and edited. That does NOT, however, disprove atheism or prove Christianity. All it does is show that some people need to work on their presentations prior to publishing them. It’s fairly clear from viewing the video a second time that what is needed are more facts.

    A follow up regarding the whole “Darwinism” meme. Please stop. Atheism is not a religion. There are no meetings at which we bow down to Darwin and worship The Origin of Species. Atheists live normal, every day lives. We’re not clockwork machines, nor do we pretend to be nothing more than part of a biological program to advance our genetics. Nor am I trying to “convert” you. Such is a typical misconception among Christians. Why should I? Everyone has their illusions, whether they admit to them or not. No, this is called “a debate.” In which two people present dissenting views and hopefully each walks away with something akin to understanding of the other. Dissenting opinion is a good thing.

    Oh, and about my dad’s death: I think you’ll find there are rather more Wiccans in the San Francisco Bay Area than, say, the midwest. But the religion of the woman who helped my mom didn’t really concern me. All that mattered was that she was there, she was kind, and she helped. I can’t imagine why anything else should matter.

  • Tyler G

    You said-

    There is a rather silly assertion that atheists cannot have a moral base because of their lack of belief. I’m still not sure how this works. Atheists are moral because they choose to be moral, just like anyone else. They recognize that stealing and killing and torturing is wrong, so they don’t do it.

    His point is why. Why would you choose to be moral? You said that atheists recognize that stealing and killing and torturing is wrong. By what objective moral standard do you make that claim? If there is no God, then our morals are based off of culture, society, and our genes. This forces the atheist into a position of moral relativism: the position that there are no objective moral truths, only subjective ones. For there to be a moral law, there must be a moral law giver. Since you hold to the position that there is none, there can be no moral law. If there is no moral law giver, and therefore no moral law, then you can not condone or even praise any moral action performed by someone else. The moral relativist is forced to accept that Hitler and Stalin weren’t morally bad; they just had different moral views from you. You also cannot praise the actions of an individual. For instance, if a firefighter saves a child from a burning building, you cannot hail him as a hero because there is no objective moral standard by which to compare his actions to.

    Since you obviously believe in morals, I implore you to consider the possibility that there is a Moral Law Giver. There is a perfect man, Jesus, by whom we learn what we should and shouldn’t do. If not, you must accept moral relativism and that your views on morality are no more right (or wrong) than people such as Jack the Ripper, or people such as Mother Theresa.

  • leftcoastlibrul

    How is a belief in a personal savior more objective than accepting the available evidence that morals seem to be an evolutionary tool developed by most tribal mammals to advance the well being of the herd? In each instance, protecting the females and the young seem to provide motivation, and those who kill indiscriminately are shunned; if not exiled, then killed themselves. Answer? It isn’t. It’s exactly as subjective, although there is more evidence for societal mores being responsible for morals than god.

    All our decisions and actions, whether we choose to believe it or not, are at least partially emotionally motivated.

    For there to be a moral law, there must be a moral law giver.

    Why? And if so, who gave god his morals? This argument is along the same lines as a creationist position. Everything must have been created by something. Fine. Who created god?

    The moral relativist is forced to accept that Hitler and Stalin weren’t morally bad; they just had different moral views from you.

    The moral relativist is not “forced” to accept anything; that’s the point of moral relativism. Whether we can accept on a philosophical level that Hitler and Stalin merely held a different moral view is quite separate from society as a whole accepting the same thing. Again, it goes back to societal morals. People’s disgust with Hitler had nothing to do with religion or his philosophy (read Mein Kampf, it is fascinating so long as you bear in mind the writer was insane), it had to do with his attempt at genocide, the hideous manner in which it was attempted, and his ruthless attempt to conquer the globe. And by invoking him, you’ve just Godwinized your argument. (Godwin’s Law) Why do Christians always fall back on Hitler? It doesn’t make any argument any stronger. In the first place, Hitler was a practicing Catholic and frequently spoke of God’s will in his ramblings (no, he was NOT an atheist, although I am aware many wish he were). And in the second, he and Stalin were hardly the only sadistic power mad monsters. They’re just the most recognized.

    You also cannot praise the actions of an individual. For instance, if a firefighter saves a child from a burning building, you cannot hail him as a hero because there is no objective moral standard by which to compare his actions to.

    Where on earth did you come up with such an idea? Of course we can hail the firefighter as a hero for saving a child. Again, all our decisions and actions are based at least in part on our emotions. Something which appeals to our emotion (such as a man saving a child in peril) will receive an emotional response. Rewarding someone who contributes to society is actually proof of those societal mores. Why would we not act like humans? The assertion is a logical fallacy.

    Now, in order to make objective moral decisions, yes, the individual is required to think about their actions. But I would submit that I would far prefer that those around me think about the moral decisions they make, rather than simply accept situational morals which were devised for a nomadic society in the Middle East some five thousand years ago without benefit of technology or government.

  • Tyler G

    “Why? And if so, who gave god his morals? This argument is along the same lines as a creationist position. Everything must have been created by something. Fine. Who created god?”

    Um… Actually I believe that the law of causality states that any effect must have a cause. In other words, anything that begins to exist must have a cause. This is why so many modern physicists are trying to come up with a feasible universe model that shows the universe as being eternal. If the universe were eternal then it would not need a creator. Unless you feel the need to discuss this further, I will not get into the evidence for the universe being non-eternal. God not only didn’t begin to exist, he is outside of time as he created time. Therefore, he does not need a cause. He is the FIRST UNCAUSED, cause.

    “For there to be a moral law, there must be a moral law giver.”
    You ask why this must be the case. Can you explain to me how you can get a moral law without a moral law giver?

    You keep ignoring my question, By what OBJECTIVE moral standard do you make the claims that killing and stealing are wrong? My point of using Hitler (you seem to have avoided the fact that I also used Mother Theresa as an example) was that societal values cannot be objective.

    How is a belief in a personal savior more objective than accepting the available evidence that morals seem to be an evolutionary tool developed by most tribal mammals to advance the well being of the herd?

    Um… if morals are the result of evolution, they cannot be objective. They are the result of random mutation and natural selection and therefore can develop differently in different areas of the world and in different people. The whole point of objective moral values is that they are true for all people at all times everywhere. Societal values obviously do not meet those requirements. They are subject to change from society to society and that was my point at using Hitler and Mother Theresa as examples. I was trying to show how there can be two opposing societal values. If you believe in objective moral law, then which one of them was correct and why? If you do not believe in objective moral law then you have to accept that both of them were right.

    Please answer this question-
    By what OBJECTIVE moral standard do you make the claims that killing and stealing are wrong?

  • leftcoastlibrul

    But I did answer your question (again, sorry for being away so long…work.). In my last post. Our “moral” standard against killing (either someone else or even ourselves) is enforced by our evolutionary drive to protect the tribe. Indeed, it has been seen time and again in other mammals (ones who don’t worship god). Those who kill are exiled or killed themselves. It threatens the health of the tribe; as a result, it is shunned. The only difference remains in our species’ justifications for certain killings.

    Are you asserting that a belief in god stops people from killing? If so, I’d like to remind you of things like the Crusades, the Inquisition and the entire first half of the bible. Not to mention Waco, Jonestown, Jeffrey Dahmer….do I really need to continue?

    Actually I believe that the law of causality states that any effect must have a cause.

    Very well. Please show, with physically available data, that the universe is an effect of an action. Because I certainly can’t. We don’t have that information. If you have ANY information aside from the bible that sheds some light on the subject, I know everyone would be terribly relieved to see it. We know, thanks to the LHC, that there was an action that caused what is now known as the Big Bang. We do NOT know that was the beginning of the known universe, or even what happened prior to that.

    God not only didn’t begin to exist, he is outside of time as he created time. Therefore, he does not need a cause. He is the FIRST UNCAUSED, cause.

    Y’know, at least I’m honest enough to say “I don’t know.” Why are you so afraid of that phrase?

  • Tyler G

    You said— But I did answer your question (again, sorry for being away so long…work.). In my last post. Our “moral” standard against killing (either someone else or even ourselves) is enforced by our evolutionary drive to protect the tribe.

    Lol please answer my question. As I have already pointed out, morals produced by evolution are not OBJECTIVE. they are SUBJECTIVE. Please tell me by what OBJECTIVE moral standard you say killing is wrong. And if morals are to better the “tribe”, then what is morally wrong with killing people who have diseases or disabilities or imperfections that you don’t want passed on to the next generation?

    You said—Are you asserting that a belief in god stops people from killing? If so, I’d like to remind you of things like the Crusades, the Inquisition and the entire first half of the bible. Not to mention Waco, Jonestown, Jeffrey Dahmer….do I really need to continue?

    Um… no I am not asserting that. However, if (the Christian) God exists then murder is morally wrong as stated by the Bible. Does that mean there won’t be any Christians who don’t commit murder? Absolutely not! Of course Christians will sin. We’re not perfect and we don’t claim to be. I’m not sure what point you were trying to make there.

    You said— Very well. Please show, with physically available data, that the universe is an effect of an action. Because I certainly can’t. We don’t have that information. If you have ANY information aside from the bible that sheds some light on the subject, I know everyone would be terribly relieved to see it. We know, thanks to the LHC, that there was an action that caused what is now known as the Big Bang. We do NOT know that was the beginning of the known universe, or even what happened prior to that.

    Actually, with the current Big Bang model of the universe, we know that after the point of singularity, not just everything in our universe, but space-time itself was created. Also, once again, ANYTHING THAT COMES INTO EXISTENCE MUST HAVE A CAUSE. I would like to point out to you The Second Law of Thermodynamics which is also known as the Law of Entropy. This shows that the universe cannot be eternal. **Also, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem establishes that any universe which has on average over its past history been in a state of cosmic expansion cannot be eternal in the past but must have a spacetime boundary. Therefore, it must have come into existence at some point. Therefore, it follows that the universe has an external cause. Conceptual analysis enables us to recover a number of striking properties which must be possessed by such an ultra-mundane being. For as the cause of space and time, this entity must transcend space and time and therefore exist atemporally and non-spatially (at least without the universe). This transcendent cause must therefore be changeless and immaterial, since timelessness entails changelessness, implies immateriality. Such a cause must be beginningless and uncaused, at least in the sense of lacking any antecedent causal conditions, since there cannot be an infinite regress of of causes. Ockham’s Razor (the principle which states that we should not multiply causes beyond necessity) will shave away further causes. this entity must be unimaginably powerful, since it created the universe without any material cause.**

    **Excerpt from the book Reasonable Faith, author: William Lane Craig. For more on God’s relationship to time, see Craig’s book- Time and Eternity.

    You said— Y’know, at least I’m honest enough to say “I don’t know.” Why are you so afraid of that phrase?

    I said—God not only didn’t begin to exist, he is outside of time as he created time. Therefore, he does not need a cause. He is the FIRST UNCAUSED, cause.

    Considering the above excerpt, please tell me how my statement is illogical.

  • leftcoastlibrul

    Wow, lots of logical fallacies. This should be fun.

    Lol please answer my question. As I have already pointed out, morals produced by evolution are not OBJECTIVE. they are SUBJECTIVE. Please tell me by what OBJECTIVE moral standard you say killing is wrong.

    I’m sorry you don’t like my answer, but that doesn’t mean my response was not directly relevant to your question. *shrug* You can accept it or not. Perhaps our disconnect lies in your definition of subjective and objective.

    Morality in general, I think is a universal inherited in animals that has its roots in the natural selection of cooperation over competition… mutual altruism. As humans evolved and external pressure selected those that were more selfless WRT those dominating the future of survival, the dominating pressures (be they minority, or majority, aren’t always the ideal in terms of individual, or group survival, and happiness) would eventually coagulate for better or worse until they are dismembered via internal or external competition.

    I fail to understand how an inherent trait driven by natural selection is subjective; could you explain your reasoning?

    I would like to point out to you The Second Law of Thermodynamics which is also known as the Law of Entropy. This shows that the universe cannot be eternal.

    Sure… but who said it would be? In the first place, I said “we don’t know” what the cause was. YOU asserted god. The onus is on you to prove that. In the second, the second law states that entropy exists in a closed system. Would you care to expound on your hypothesis of how you came to view the universe as a closed system? To our knowledge (to date) it is both open and closed; there is a constantly expanding edge, which causes entropy to collapse on itself.

    Therefore, it must have come into existence at some point. Therefore, it follows that the universe has an external cause.

    This is a logical fallacy called Petitio Principii, or begging the question. AKA a circular argument. In fact, it’s been around SO long, it’s even used as an example on the Wikipedia page:

    # 1) The writings in question are true on all specific points we can verify. (With arguments in each case.)
    # (2, from 1) Hence, we have good reason to assume that they are completely truthful throughout.
    # (3) The writings describe many events that demonstrate the existence of God.
    # (4, from 2 and 3) Hence, these descriptions must be truthful, so God must exist. (It actually suffices for just one of them to be truthful.)
    # (5) If the writings had been authored by man, they would not have been true on all of these points. (With arguments in each of these cases.)
    # (6, from 1 and 5) Hence, they must have been authored by someone other than man.
    # (7, from 2 and 5) Hence, we have good reason to assume the existence of someone who, unlike man, is completely truthful, and who authored these writings.
    # (8, from 7) This someone is God.

    Which is a very good way to go wrong with logic, which also shows that while your statement may be logical…it isn’t especially factual. You can be logical and arrive at the incorrect conclusion.

    While all your statements are reasonable, they lack one rather key scientific component: verifiable fact. Observable astronomical bodies such as planets do not prove god. They prove matter and space. It’s as simplistic as my pointing to one of those pics from space with a Carl Sagan quote and saying “See, all you see from the ring of Saturn is a tiny speck where the Earth is! How is any being supposed to see us from outside that? There is no god.” You’d scoff at such a transparent argument, even if it is logical. You’d insist I at least support my assertion better. Surely you can understand why I, in return, would appreciate corroborating evidence to your assertion that God is the first uncaused cause.

  • Tyler G

    oh hey, i just realized that you ignored my other question. Can you explain to me how you can get a Moral Law without a Moral Law Giver?

  • Tyler G

    You said— As humans evolved and external pressure selected those that were more selfless WRT those dominating the future of survival, the dominating pressures (be they minority, or majority, aren’t always the ideal in terms of individual, or group survival, and happiness) would eventually coagulate for better or worse until they are dismembered via internal or external competition.

    Usually the humans that were more selfless would tend not to survive as well. Remember, “Survival of the Fittest”, not “Survival of the Selfless”. Humans that are willing to give their lives up to save others are not going to live quite as long as those who kill all the dominant males so they can reproduce. Also, are you trying to say that morals are passed on through genetics?

    You said—I fail to understand how an inherent trait driven by natural selection is subjective; could you explain your reasoning?

    As I have stated earlier, an objective moral is one that is true for all persons at all times no matter whether they believe it or not. Obviously, not everyone thinks it is wrong to kill. If it is in fact, wrong to kill, by what MORAL STANDARD do you make that claim? Now, if life is “survival of the fittest” aka Natural Selection, then once again I ask you what is wrong with killing of weak or diseased members of the “tribe” to prevent them from reproducing?

    Ok, using the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem we know that our universe must have come into existence at some point in time.
    There are three possibilities here:
    1. The universe caused itself
    2. Nothing caused the universe
    3. Something caused the universe

    It would help me to better understand where you are coming from if you tell me which of these three ideas you prescribe to.

    You said— Would you care to expound on your hypothesis of how you came to view the universe as a closed system? To our knowledge (to date) it is both open and closed; there is a constantly expanding edge, which causes entropy to collapse on itself.

    Our universe is closed because it is everything there is and there is nothing outside it. Also, just because space is expanding doesn’t mean that the Second Law doesn’t apply. New energy is not being created ex nihilo to counteract the effects of entropy. The First Law prevents that.

    You said— Observable astronomical bodies such as planets do not prove god. They prove matter and space.

    I would like to pose a question to you- “Why is there something instead of nothing at all?”

    A final note- From science about the beginning of the universe, you can infer that there is a Personal entity/being/creator who is; uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful. As for which “god” that was, you then move into the field of Christian Evidences, or evidences that what the Bible said is true and that it is historically accurate.

  • leftcoastlibrul

    Am back. Thank you for the questions, I think they further communications more than do statements, don’t you agree?

    Usually the humans that were more selfless would tend not to survive as well. Remember, “Survival of the Fittest”, not “Survival of the Selfless”. Humans that are willing to give their lives up to save others are not going to live quite as long as those who kill all the dominant males so they can reproduce. Also, are you trying to say that morals are passed on through genetics?

    I’m saying that there are some social traits which are inherent, some which are not.

    I may be misunderstanding you, but it appears as though you may have misinterpreted evolutionary theory. I specifically stated “the dominating pressures (be they minority, or majority, aren’t always the ideal in terms of individual, or group survival, and happiness)…” meaning the dominating and surviving pressure may be cooperation; that the trait which evolves may not be the ideal, or even one which is held by the majority or the individual. How we evolve does not necessarily mean the exact same thing every single time. “Survival of the fittest” means survival of the fittest at the time. In a hunter/gatherer society, it was more advantageous to work cooperatively and find codes (or morals) that allowed that society to work to the benefit of the tribe.

    As I have stated earlier, an objective moral is one that is true for all persons at all times no matter whether they believe it or not. Obviously, not everyone thinks it is wrong to kill. If it is in fact, wrong to kill, by what MORAL STANDARD do you make that claim? Now, if life is “survival of the fittest” aka Natural Selection, then once again I ask you what is wrong with killing of weak or diseased members of the “tribe” to prevent them from reproducing?

    Not at all. Again, I think you may have misinterpreted evolutionary science and genetic traits. Brown eyes are dominant; why then do we see people with blue or green eyes? Red hair is a recessive gene; I’m the first in two generations of my family to have it. People are not machines. We’re not cookie cutter. It is simplistic in the extreme to expect everyone to turn out exactly the same every single time. Similarly, it is a virtual impossibility to expect that inherent morals which are shared by the majority of the populace of most civilizations should be shared by 100% of the population in order for it to be an objective moral value. The fact that it is shared by such a large percentage of the population dating back in history prior to a time when those civilizations interacted, it can safely be called an objective moral observation. I would call that “Anthropology.” And…til very recently, we HAVE sacrificed members of society that we view to be sick. In fact we still do. It’s called “the death penalty.”

    Ok, using the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem we know that our universe must have come into existence at some point in time.

    There are three possibilities here:
    1. The universe caused itself
    2. Nothing caused the universe
    3. Something caused the universe

    It would help me to better understand where you are coming from if you tell me which of these three ideas you prescribe to.

    I would say that I subscribe to the third hypothesis.

    Our universe is closed because it is everything there is and there is nothing outside it. Also, just because space is expanding doesn’t mean that the Second Law doesn’t apply. New energy is not being created ex nihilo to counteract the effects of entropy. The First Law prevents that.

    How do you know our universe is closed and there’s nothing outside it?

    A final note- From science about the beginning of the universe, you can infer that there is a Personal entity/being/creator who is; uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful. As for which “god” that was, you then move into the field of Christian Evidences, or evidences that what the Bible said is true and that it is historically accurate.

    No, I really can’t. Because I haven’t seen anything that has shown the beginning of the universe. Yet. I still feel “I don’t know” is the most honest answer.

  • Tyler Godat

    Questions unanswered-

    1.What is the moral standard by which you claim that killing is wrong? Don’t give me that society views it wrong. That is not an objective moral standard.

    2.Now, if life is “survival of the fittest” aka Natural Selection, then once again I ask you what is wrong with killing of weak or diseased members of the “tribe” to prevent them from reproducing?
    -when i said this, I had in mind people with physical disabilities or mental disabilities such as autism. And people who are subject to the death penalty are being punished because they broke the law. Not because we don’t want them to reproduce. I asked you what was wrong with killing mentally or physically ill people because we don’t want them to reproduce.

    3. Why is there something instead of nothing at all?

    You said—–
    Similarly, it is a virtual impossibility to expect that inherent morals which are shared by the majority of the populace of most civilizations should be shared by 100% of the population in order for it to be an objective moral value.

    I’m sorry that you don’t like that but that is the requirement for an objective moral value. If you applied what you said to truth then it would’ve been absolutely true that we live in a geocentric universe. Almost the ENTIRE known world believed that at one time. What makes it not an objective truth? The fact that WHETHER OR NOT WE BELIEVE IT, IT IS STILL TRUE. It doesn’t even have to be held by a measly 1% of the population; If it’s objective truth, then it’s true for EVERYONE.

    You said—-
    How do you know our universe is closed and there’s nothing outside it?

    Is there proof that there’s anything outside the universe? If not, then why don’t you believe in God? You claim that there is no proof for him and this gives you reason to not believe in God. If there is no proof for anything outside our universe, then I am rationally justified in not believing in it.

    You said—-
    No, I really can’t. Because I haven’t seen anything that has shown the beginning of the universe. Yet. I still feel “I don’t know” is the most honest answer.

    You just said that “something caused the universe”. Using thermodynamics, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, and logic; we know that the universe has not existed eternally. Therefore, it has to have come into existence at some point.
    I would ask you, what do you believe was this “cause” of the universe?

  • leftcoastlibrul

    *sigh*…. I understand you are frustrated, but I did answer your questions. I believe that killing is wrong because it is a moral imperative imposed by our society as an evolutionary imperative to protect the tribe. I’ve answered your question with the same answer in every manner I know possible. It won’t change.

    2.Now, if life is “survival of the fittest” aka Natural Selection, then once again I ask you what is wrong with killing of weak or diseased members of the “tribe” to prevent them from reproducing?

    At one point, that is precisely what was done. Today we have evolved beyond the point that we kill just because someone is “other” or perceived weak or diseased, with certain exceptions. However, it is interesting to note that those who are “weak or diseased” have less chance of attracting a mate because of those exact reasons. Natural selection.

    Why is there something instead of nothing at all?

    I don’t know. But then again, I don’t really think that’s the right sort of question. I am far more interested in knowing what caused the something. To date, we have very little information that answers that question, but I do believe we’re closer to answers than we have ever been.

    I’m sorry that you don’t like that but that is the requirement for an objective moral value.

    Actually, no it isn’t. And asserting that it is simply verifies that you have a very minor understanding of scientific method. Repeating the first and second laws of thermodynamics and then misapplying them does little to advance your case.

    The fact that WHETHER OR NOT WE BELIEVE IT, IT IS STILL TRUE. It doesn’t even have to be held by a measly 1% of the population; If it’s objective truth, then it’s true for EVERYONE.

    Aside from “we all live here on Earth” and “we are all the result of sexual reproduction,” there is very little that is 100% true for every single person. Sorry. Some things are common in many, some things are common in only a few. But there is no moral value that is 100% true for everyone. Very few people kill because they “made a mistake.” What about those who enjoy killing? Or those who simply don’t believe there’s anything wrong with it? Once upon a time, it was thought they were possessed. Families went to the church to “exorcise” the demons. The only demons were in the people’s brain chemistry. Sociopathy and other mental disorders are diseases that reside entirely in our chemical makeup.

    You just said that “something caused the universe”.

    Available evidence would point to this, yes.

    Using thermodynamics, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, and logic; we know that the universe has not existed eternally. Therefore, it has to have come into existence at some point.

    No. Again, misunderstanding of the laws of thermodynamics and the scientific method in general. There is no evidence that time even existed prior to the existence of the universe. We do not “know” these things because there is no proof of these things.

    I would ask you, what do you believe was this “cause” of the universe?

    Again, I do not know. But I don’t think it’s a failing to not know. The great thing religion has contributed to science is the driving question “why?”. Every time a gap is found, religion asks “Why is that the way it is? You don’t know! It must be god!” And scientists look, and research, and find the reasons. And do you know…it has never been god. I’m not sure science would be nearly as advanced as it is, were religion not there, goading it along.

  • Tyler Godat

    You said—-
    Actually, no it isn’t. And asserting that it is simply verifies that you have a very minor understanding of scientific method. Repeating the first and second laws of thermodynamics and then misapplying them does little to advance your case.

    First of all, I didn’t even mention thermodynamics when I was talking about objective moral values. Second, that is the requirement for an objective moral law. If it’s not true for everyone, it becomes subjective. Third, you keep telling me that natural selection provides an objective moral standard. You then proceed to say that societal morals have changed over time. You are contradicting yourself. Objective moral values cannot change; if they do, they are not objective; they are subjective.

    I asked— Why is there something instead of nothing at all?
    You said—-
    I don’t know. But then again, I don’t really think that’s the right sort of question. I am far more interested in knowing what caused the something.

    You said that you are more interested in what caused the “something”. That is precisely what I just asked you. The “why” implies a cause. Why are words appearing on this screen in front of me? BECAUSE, I am hitting keys on a keyboard that send signals to the processor that are then translated into letters in front of me.

    You said——
    Aside from “we all live here on Earth” and “we are all the result of sexual reproduction,” there is very little that is 100% true for every single person. Sorry. Some things are common in many, some things are common in only a few. But there is no moral value that is 100% true for everyone. Very few people kill because they “made a mistake.” What about those who enjoy killing? Or those who simply don’t believe there’s anything wrong with it?

    Ok. There is a lot that is true for every person. For instance, most truths that seem subjective are really objective. consider the following-
    1. I like ice cream.
    It applies to my taste, is true for me but perhaps not for you. it is a subjective truth.
    However, It is objectively true for everyone everywhere who has ever existed, that I, Tyler, like ice cream.
    -Similarly, if it is true that at exactly 4:51pm eastern time, I typed this sentence; then it is objectively true for everyone that at 4:51pm eastern time, Tyler typed this sentence.

    -Also, you seem to be completely passing over what I am saying about objective moral values- You said—–
    But there is no moral value that is 100% true for everyone. Very few people kill because they “made a mistake.” What about those who enjoy killing? Or those who simply don’t believe there’s anything wrong with it?
    As I have already stated, an objective moral law/value is one that is true WHETHER OR NOT YOU BELIEVE IN IT. If murder is objectively wrong; it is wrong for EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE. Just because people kill doesn’t mean killing is wrong. Even people who know that killing is wrong sometimes kill; this just shows that everyone (Christians included) are not perfect and are influenced by their sin nature.
    When you say “But there is no moral value that is 100% true for everyone.”, you are correct insofar as you refer to subjective moral values. Objective moral values however, are always true, always have been, and will never change.

    You said——
    No. Again, misunderstanding of the laws of thermodynamics and the scientific method in general. There is no evidence that time even existed prior to the existence of the universe. We do not “know” these things because there is no proof of these things.

    Wow. In one of my earlier posts I said
    “For as the cause of space and time, this entity must transcend space and time and therefore exist atemporally and non-spatially”.
    I also said
    “God not only didn’t begin to exist, he is outside of time as he created time.”
    I also said,
    “with the current Big Bang model of the universe, we know that after the point of singularity, not just everything in our universe, but space-time itself was created.”

    Obviously, I do not believe that time existed before the universe. Also, you seem to be all over the board here. I’m not sure what your position is; you seem to agree that the universe has a cause but not that it began to exist. Please elucidate your view for me if I am misinterpreting you.
    Note- If the source of confusion is that I said “have come into existence AT SOME POINT.”, what I meant was that the universe has not existed eternally. Obviously it did not come into being at a moment in time, for before the universe was created/caused, there was no time.

    You said——-
    “Every time a gap is found, religion asks “Why is that the way it is? You don’t know! It must be god!” And scientists look, and research, and find the reasons. And do you know…it has never been god. I’m not sure science would be nearly as advanced as it is, were religion not there, goading it along.”

    You know, I recently watched a debate where almost the exact same thing was said to D’nesh DeSouza. He replied something to the extent of “You always here about the ‘God of the Gaps’. What you never hear about is the ‘Atheism of the Gaps’. When scientists can’t answer an important question, they accuse theologians of filling in God where He is not necessary. What you never see is that the atheists themselves are filling in the gap with the hope/faith that science one day will be able to answer the question.” I’m not sure if those were his exact words but it’s close.

    Also, in a similar note towards science,
    Here are five things that science cannot account for:

    1. mathematics and logic (science can’t prove them because science presupposes them),
    2. metaphysical truths (such as, there are minds that exist other than my own),
    3. ethical judgments (you can’t prove by science that the Nazi’s were evil, because morality is not subject to the scientific method),
    4. aesthetic judgments (the beautiful, like the good, cannot be scientifically proven), and , ironically
    5. science itself (the belief that the scientific method discovers truth can’t be proven by the scientific method itself)

  • leftcoastlibrul

    Wow. Again, I think you are misunderstanding several things, especially scientific method and natural selection.

    When scientists are faced with a question they’re not able to answer they say pretty much the same thing: “we don’t know…yet.” As I have said here. There is much science cannot account for. Yet. But just because we don’t know doesn’t automatically mean “god did it.” That’s the only point I was trying to make. the unknown does not prove god. Period.

    I’m … not really sure where else to go with this, as you don’t really seem open to communication so much as insisting on being right, so I’ll leave you with that, as I’m sure you’re very sure of your right-ness. It’s been…interesting.

  • Tyler Godat

    I never said specifically that “the unknown proves God”. I am just pointing out to you that science can only account for so much. However, there must be some “cause”. You have offered no cause of the universe, just “I don’t know (yet)”. Also, the argument that I used earlier about the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is not circular at all. The conlcusion – “the universe must have an external cause” – is not at all presupposed by the premises- “everything that begins to exist has a cause”.
    You also tell me that I misunderstand natural selection and the scientific method. How so?

  • Leftcoast,

    I hope you guys don’t mind me jumping in here but I would like to ask you a question. You said:

    “I believe that killing is wrong because it is a moral imperative imposed by our society as an evolutionary imperative to protect the tribe.”

    Given this, would you be willing to then say that if a society did not deem killing morally wrong, that for that society killing is morally ok?

    Darrell

  • Kelliann

    1. The percentage circle is not an accurate picture because there is not an equal number of believers of each believer in each religion. Christianity & Muslim are the top 2 religiouns. Therefore, the statistics here are grossly misleading. Ironic that both of these religions can be traced all the way back to Isaac & Ishmel in Genesis.
    2 McDowell’s resource is loaded with basic facts about the bible & the misconceptions that are given typically by people who have never read it.
    3. Over and over again I explain to people hell was NOT created for people. It was created for Satan and his adversaries. People may CHOOSE to follow Satan therefore they follow his final out come. This guy forgot, in all of his biblical studies, Bible 101 the part in John 3:16 ” that NONE would perish”

  • Andrew Ryan

    “Given this, would you be willing to then say that if a society did not deem killing morally wrong, that for that society killing is morally ok?”

    Darrell answers his own question here. If they don’t deem it morally wrong then for them it is morally ok.