Category Archives: Atheism

The Unperceiving Fruit of the Pseudo Intellectuals Has Ripened

‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance; we wailed in mourning, yet you did not weep.’

 

Update: Looks like an honest naturalist, materialist, atheist has beat me to the punch on this.

Bravo! Must Read!

 

It feels useless to “debate” the existence of God online. It seems that 95% of the non-believers’ arguments boil down to, if they are not outright, ad-hominem, argument from authority, question begging, fallacy after fallacy — but almost never an attempt on the non-believer’s part to actually reason for themselves. It is very strange since it would appear that, otherwise, such posters are often actually smart, well educated, intelligent people.

Perhaps this should be no surprise, however, since the “high intellectual debates” that top scientists, professors, and philosophers take part in to defend naturalism, materialism, and atheism, also show clear signs of an intellectual breakdown occurring in this area. There is, for whatever reason (sin???), a serious disconnect.

I think a large amount of the disconnect for the layman can be linked to what I see as the main fallacy advanced as arguments by atheists — the argument from authority.

Although within any particular argument there may be other fallacies advanced, it seems that most are assured, finally, in the fact that they are able to cite that so-and-so teaches such and such. And this indicates a big problem indeed: a vast number of people, even very smart people, are not willing or not able to think through these questions for themselves and come to coherent conclusions, one’s they are confident enough about to advance “in the heat of battle” and have them subjected to scrutiny.

Time and time again arguments for the existence and coherence of God, as well as for the incoherence for the non-existence of God and atheism, are just shut down without argument whatsoever. Again, for whatever reason, people are unwilling or unable to formulate and articulate their own reasoning for their position.

But, neither, I think, should this be surprising. For decades now our society has been inundated with the philosophy that materialism has been scientifically established, as if material can account for itself apart from a cause; that naturalism explains everything, from the cosmos to our brain functions. In short, no appeal to God is necessary to answer the big questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?

What is very unfortunate, however, is that, because of this inundation, so many have simply shut-off from even contemplating these questions for themselves (I mean really contemplating them), as well as contemplating the far reaching implications of the materialistic, naturalistic answers they’ve already been spoon-fed.

This, I submit, is the ripened fruit that has come from the years of pseudo intellectualism advanced in the halls of “higher” education. Group think, at least in this area, has been deemed sufficient. The authorities have marked this ground out of bounds for any serious thought or contemplation by “normal” people.

How have they done this? I suspect a very big part has been accomplished quite easily enough. When we ship our kids off to college, professors have it as their aim quite often to ridicule any thought of God. Professors attack viciously those who show any belief in God, and in many cases dare Christians to defend themselves. And what kind of effect does this have on the bystanders? A quite profound one. After all, would a college professor be so aggressive toward religious belief without a good cause? Surely, they would think, the professors are simply being the leaders they are expected to be and using ruthless methods where need be. If God has been disproved, well, Christians should be ridiculed, shamed, and any other thing necessary to “help” them get over their delusion.

The only problem? Well, God has not been disproved; not even close. In fact, the “intellectuals” are often misled themselves. But the effect on the bystanders is on display everywhere it seems. Ridicule for any displayed belief in God is now the most common and “normal” reaction. Outright hostility toward religious belief hardly surprises anyone these days. In other words, what has been happening on college campuses for decades is now on our front lawns. And I suppose you can take that quite literally, too, since even our front lawns are subject to vandalism and lawsuits these days if there are any religious symbols displayed, even around Christmas for crying out loud!

It’s as if the whole notion of actually thinking about the question has been forgotten. It’s treated as a foregone conclusion by atheists nowadays that God has been disproven. Ask them to reason that out, however, and you’ll get some “facts” thrown at you — like the “fact” that there is no evidence for God — some ad-hominem attacks frequently, a sprinkling of Dawkins warmed over, and often enough vitriol directed at God, the ancient Jews, and the Bible. But when a believer actually engages these “arguments”, atheists don’t know where to begin to reason things through coherently using their own brains. Clearly, most have not seriously thought any of this out; not even the elementary things.

This is why I say the “unperceiving” fruit has ripened. The layman atheists have been content to adhere to arguments from authority for so long that they are in many cases just not able to perceive that the actual arguments for naturalism and materialism are self-refuting. In the end, all of the arguments cut off the branch they are trying to rest on. This may be a hard fact to bring oneself to consider, much less accept, for who would advance such arguments if they were not valid? But the question of the existence of God is one question where we ALL have a dog in the fight. It matters at the most personal level possible. It would be a great mistake to dismiss the emotional influences that otherwise upright people are swayed by in this debate.

A recent example of this came on a forum where the debate comes up often, but which threads are usually deleted by moderators. An obviously very smart and well educated fellow (“he” came across as a “fellow”, anyway) said that it was patently obvious that, since God didn’t exist and nature, produced from the Big Bang is all there was, that every event in the universe was predetermined by the events preceding them, all the way back to the initial bang. Well, I agree with him. IF God doesn’t exist, then, yes, all events can be explained by simple cause and effect. But, the topic (I don’t remember specifically) was about things we believed and why, and his argument was supposed to be taken as a disproof of the existence of God (which also makes it circular). Yes, it is an obvious and inevitable conclusion to think that all events in the universe are predetermined if naturalism is true, but that obviously includes our thoughts and “reasoning”. Yet, he was advocating this position as if he had real insight. But what insight can he claim to have if his own position is actually true? None! His “insight” was just the cause of certain particles of matter bouncing around in the right combination to produce the thoughts he had in his brain.

When I pointed this out to him, however, he cited the “authorities” who have written books on the matter, and it was therefore obviously correct, and that my “ass” (his word), on an internet forum, was in no way going to be able to refute it. Now, I still hold very strictly to my position, but it sure would have been nice to be able to actually dialogue with him and see if I may have overlooked something that would undermine my point. But he simply shut off and either would not, or could not, reason it out himself.

I’m reminded of the very well known classic, How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. In it he said that, until you can take what you’ve read and put it in your own words, you don’t understand it. I’m strongly inclined to agree. And from the looks of it, many atheists don’t understand the arguments for their own declared position.

Now, I expect that last comment to be strongly taken issue with. But, what I said was that many atheists don’t UNDERSTAND the arguments! Not that they don’t confidently and very vocally boast in their position and belief in their arguments. There’s a big difference. It’s when they are challenged on those arguments that the lack of understanding and perception becomes evident.

Grounding Morality: The Atheist’s Problem

Note: Pasted from a post to “Liz” on Uncommon Descent.

Concerning the source of a binding morality, Liz said:

I’d say there are three related sources:

1.The fact that we are social animals and therefore interdependent.
2.The fact that we have “theory of mind” capacity, and can understand how the world is perceived from another person’s point of view (both literally – it probably starts with “shared gaze” capacity – and metaphorically).
3.Our language capacity, and with it, our capacity for “mental time travel” and thus the capacity to reify distant goals as they affect both others and ourselves, and thus make choices that are not solely determined by immediate personal reward.

In short, it evolved. But whether you agree with me that it evolved, or argue that it was implanted in us as a gift from God, it is undeniable that we have it, because every language has a word for “ought” AFAIK, and I know of no culture in which “duty” is an unknown concept.

– Emphasis mine, B.

But this is very problematic. First, Liz’s 1, 2, and 3 are not descriptions of source in the sense of where they came from ultimately, but only how we may realize their existence. It is simply giving an account of how we may come to realize them, or probably more accurately, how we can conceive that altruism (something that Liz said she thinks is another, perhaps better, term for morality) may be beneficial. But that seems in a roundabout way to imply one knows they are not “from above” and may potentially not actually be binding.

But, I don’t think we need to argue about that, for Liz also said, “in short, [morality] evolved”, and it seems that her three points are meant to be taken as a description of parts of that process, then.

But, if morality evolved, then it isn’t from a higher source. Even if Nature, somehow, evolved these rules apart from man, it still isn’t permissible to say that they are binding, for man is a part of Nature as much as (really, more than, being the only rational beings) anything else. So just as a man can tell Liz that she isn’t an authority over him, she being a mere co-human, a man can also say that Nature is no authority over him because he is co-Nature with Nature herself. In other words, I have the valid option of telling Nature to go take a flying leap.

But of course, Liz doesn’t believe in a teleological Nature anyway, so she would have further trouble in arguing that Nature “knows what’s best” for us. At any rate, her three points above make it sound like she is saying that these binding morals evolved from man (again, which is really the same as saying from Nature, man being part of that Nature).

So, she hasn’t shown a coherent way for these morals to be binding, for:

If man is the source of the moral law, then man governs the moral laws, and the moral laws do not govern man.

Now, the problem is what I emphasized above in quoting Liz, “it is undeniable that we have [a binding morality]”. Well, yes, it is. She has it, you have it, and both she and you know it’s binding. That isn’t the problem in itself. The problem is that when I say, “You have no grounding for your morals, to make them actually binding upon us rather than arbitrary.”, your inner “moral indignation” rises up and says, almost rightly, “Hey! I have binding morals just like you, you creep!”

But it’s only almost right. The reason isn’t that you don’t have the morals claimed, but that it is answering what wasn’t asked, or defending against what was never blamed.

Analogy:

Three Men Walking

One normal guy walks up. I ask him to jump. He does.

Another guy walks up. He is as normal as the first guy, with one exception. He is walking in the air. I ask him to jump. He tries, but cannot. He is not grounded.

A third guy walks up. He is as normal as the other two, with a different exception. He is walking on the ground, but says that he doesn’t believe in the ground. I ask him to jump. He does.

Now, when I and others say you (an atheist) have no grounding for a binding morality, you think we are claiming that you are the second “guy”. “But”, you say, “Look! I can jump just as well as you!”, and you can.

But I am not claiming you are the second guy at all. I’m claiming that you’re the third guy. You are grounded, and can jump as well as anyone. It’s not your grounding that’s the problem in the physical and practical sense, it’s your thinking about the ground that is wrong. Your thinking is irrational and incoherent on this point. You are denying the ground from which you can, still, jump.

You can jump from now until the cows come home, but until your thinking about the ground changes, you’ll never have correct understanding of an obvious fact.

You can, and do, have correct and binding morals, just as the third man can jump, but your thinking, also just like the third man, is simply incorrect.

The Missing God

I didn’t used to like reading, but now I do. I read. I read the Bible, blogs, books, and many other things. I read about science. I read about atheism, naturalism, Darwinism, and it seems like a lot of other “isms”. One of the titles that often appear when one reads on such things is something like, “The God Delusion” or, “Is God Necessary”, or “No God Needed”.

Now it may be obvious, but I am interested in the debate about God’s existence. There was a time when I feared listening to what atheists had to say. I’m a Christian, and I was born again without high-flying intellectual arguments to support what I knew God was doing in my life. Later, when I caught wind of some of the things atheists would say, I was confident that they were wrong, but I frankly didn’t know how to answer them. One day, however, I took a dive into the deep end and listened to what leading atheists were really arguing. Boy, I was relieved!

I didn’t have answers for everything I heard, but I had enough. What I’ve come to find out, almost as a rule, is that if you listen to an atheist’s arguments for long enough, they will give you the answer themselves. And, if you listen to various top atheists, you will learn something else; they cannot agree on how to argue against the existence of God. Where one concedes one argument, another concedes yet another, and like dominoes, before you know it, they’re all lying flat. Eventually the vitriol bubbles over and, consequently, the often heard quip that, “if atheists don’t believe in God, why do they hate Him so much?” Before his conversion, C.S. Lewis, if I remember correctly, was quite put off by the idea that there should be a God in the universe, but was equally angry at God for not existing.

So with that quite long introduction to what I’d really like to talk about (being my first post it’s also a bit of an overall introduction to the blog as well), let me attempt to deal with one argument that comes up often, the missing God. Atheists are pretty confident in their assertions that, if God existed, certainly He would want people to know it and do something extraordinary to prove Himself. This argument is often couched in a more subtle form, I think, when atheists say simply that there just isn’t any evidence for God. But clearly the position is one and the same. They want some form of tangible evidence for God like we have for air, gravity, or magnetic forces.

This position has many weak points. Firstly, it should just be pointed out that perhaps, for reasons we cannot understand, God does not want to make Himself known in any more clear terms than a Book, the Holy Spirit, and Christians sharing their testimony. To take the position that He must want to make Himself known unmistakably by some sign or signs is not supportable. It is simply guesswork to say, “I don’t believe in God because if He did exist He would make it plain to me or everyone.” How could this be known if God didn’t want it known? It seems a pretty haughty position to say that God doesn’t exist because I know what He’d do if He did. Either way, haughty or not, it simply has no legs to stand on. But I’ll get back to this.

Further, there are many things that we accept as true, and scientific even, that we do not have direct tangible evidence for. I’ve already mentioned gravity and magnetic forces. We believe in them because of their effects, not because we can observe them directly. And if the universe was created by God, then everything! is an indirect measurement of, and evidence for, GOD! So saying that God would make Himself more plain or that we’d have more evidence if He existed has to presuppose the nonexistence of God. Needless to say, presupposing the nonexistence of God isn’t an argument against His existence at all.

Now these are a couple of reasons I’ve had for some time that show this particular position fails. But I write about it now because I had a thought this morning, while reading something an atheist said no-less, about what the Scriptures say on this matter. I’d bet that most atheists are familiar with this part of the Bible narrative as well, as it sits at the very root of our human nature and sin. I’ll quote the portion below.

 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? *
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. *
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. *
 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. *
 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Genesis 3:1~10

Now, back to my first point about not knowing what God would do in order to make Himself known. If you take note of the italicized in the quoted text, you see that God was not present with Adam and Eve. He was not there before, during, or immediately after they sinned (they had time to sew fig leaves and then also hide). This is very significant. This tells us that God is not unwilling to be left open to the charge of not being present! There was a time, even BEFORE Adam and Eve sinned and created a barrier between themselves and God (Isaiah 59:1,2), that God was not present and deemed it necessary to leave Adam and Eve to themselves. It also shows that the argument that God would certainly do more to prove His existence is false!

There are other implications of this fact of the Bible narrative as well, but for this discussion, and the integral atheist, it shows that one of the common arguments against God’s existence needs to be judged as the serpent was; without legs.