The Impossibility of Atheism: Question One

Christian apologetics is a branch of theology that attempts to rationalize the existence of God through philosophical, historical, and science-based arguments. According to Bethinking.org, the apologetics movement began around second century AD. With a history dating back to classical antiquity, one would think the evidence presented by Christians would be concise. However, one would be wrong. Seldom is the Christian argument rooted in rationality or clarity. Instead, the listener embarks on a journey of mental gymnastics, slithering through proofs meant to be intentionally complex but fold easily under the critical lens of a skeptic.

When bored, I find myself lurking around the Christian parts of the Internet in an attempt to step out of my atheistic echo chamber.  This is how I stumbled upon Inspired Walk, a YouTube channel dedicated to “teaching, equipping, and inspiring you to be more like Jesus Christ.” I knew I had found a goldmine, and the first video I clicked did not disappoint. During the next three minutes, the apologist on screen posed 10 questions that he stated an atheist could not answer. Over the course of the next few weeks, my intention is to work through the list and answer each to the best of my ability.   Let’s begin with this week’s question:

  1. Does science answer everything?

No, of course not. The thrill of science is the pursuit of truth. Humanity has an inquisitive appetite, and it’s not one that can be satiated. When one question is answered, we’ll always have another one appear. However, the gaps in our knowledge do not present a concrete teleological argument for the existence of a god. As science continues to cut through the falsities of our world, the space between what we know and what we don’t is shrinking. Science is slowly squeezing out any chance of a god of the gaps.

41 thoughts on “The Impossibility of Atheism: Question One

Add yours

  1. I love this! I look forward to seeing the rest of the series. I also find apologetics to be pretty short-coming, which is I signed up to take an apologetics class at school next semester…. that will probably be a huge waste of my time but at least it will be interesting.

    Like

  2. If the Christian god exists it is a bumbling failure. Worked six days and had to take a break. Failed with geniuses, got out foxed by a snake, decided he didn’t like how his pet project turned out. So like a petulant child it destroyed every living thing. Kept part of the old project to do the clean up work and be part of the reboot then expected a different outcome. So much for omnipotence. This bad boy seems to have run out of steam. Nobody has heard hide no hair from it for over 2K.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I understand what you are trying to do in this post. But as a Christian, I would like to just very briefly present a few of my initial thoughts about this so you can get some feedback from the Christian perspective.

    I am fairly confident that the broad-brush generalizations that you made about Christian’s providing no concise evidence (without yourself providing concise evidence for a claim like that) does some serious injustice to the highly effective and timeless works of the early Christian apologists and church fathers. Have you read or studied any of them? They are brilliant and provide very concise developments of Christian theology.

    One of the main concerns I have when Christianity is criticized is a heavy miscalculation and misinterpretation of the subject matter due to a lack of honest research. Whenever one refutes an opposing worldview, the most intellectually honest approach is to offer the actual argumentation and beliefs of those following a system before presenting a refutation, rather than merely mentioning by name and caricature the opposing beliefs.

    Furthermore, science is a methodological study to find empirical evidence. Therefore, it does not carry much weight in the realm of metaphysics aside from theory, which by nature is not scientific. As a Christian who engages in theology and apologetics, also working in ministry, and not coming from a Christian background before my conversion, I understand your concerns wholeheartedly. Especially the evidence of “gaps” not proving the existence of God. However, the same counter-argument about the “gaps” can be applied to the scientific method, or more pointedly any worldview, such as atheism. Moreover, evidence pointing toward a possible conclusion, while not proving the hypothesis, does not mean that the possible conclusion does not exist. A coin always has two sides. It is also important to note that there can only be one truth or “conclusion” to a hypothesis, not multiple.

    I appreciate your comments about the “echo” chambers we live in. As part of my continuing effort to expose myself to differing opinions and worldviews, I will likely follow this and see how you answer those questions posed by the Christian apologetics videos. I am in the process of formulating my first blog posts and am slightly nervous about my own feedback to the posts. So I commend you for freely speaking your mind on here. Thanks for sharing and I wish you the best in pursuing the answers you seek.

    Like

    1. You, unfortunately, missed the point of opening paragraph. I’m not here to refute every apologetic claim. I’m here to refute the 10 questions posed by Inspired Walk. The broad overview of Christian apologetics was to give a general definition of the term and my brief thoughts on the subject as a whole.

      As I mentioned in my most recent blog, I grew up in a Southern Baptist church. I’m very familiar with apologetics and its source material. I studied the Bible with a fervor that few Christians can claim. Stating that I’ve done minimal honest research is not only silly on your part but also presumptuous. Since we’re offering advice on how to form an intellectually honest approach, I’d like to offer this: spend less time demeaning the debater and more time tackling the ideas.

      I disagree that supernatural evidence is necessary. According to most Christians I know, God is in everything. He’s the one piece of our existence that can’t possibly be subtracted. But we know this isn’t the case because we can minus God from the equation on almost every front and things still add up as a whole. I’m not saying that we’ll ever fully prove or disprove the existence of a god; however, as we learn more, the odds for supernatural being lessen.

      With that said, I’ll bite. What supernatural evidence has been found to prove—or even hint—at the existence a god? Also, how does this evidence indicate that this metaphysical being is the Christian god and not one of the other thousand?

      In this first response to Inspired Walk, I admit—with no hesitation—that science does not answer everything. However, unlike the Gaps argument and its lazy conclusion, science works towards an answer. In this respect, I think saying that the Gaps argument can be applied to science in the same manner is a dishonest comparison.

      Best of luck to you with your blogging endeavors.

      Like

    2. This is gonna sting a little.

      The freaky god thing is real, sort of. It manifests in the real world constantly. Well, it doesn’t come out of hiding exactly, it’s existence is solely dependent upon and reveled in the thinking and actions of its adherents, aka its flock.
      This God creature is one crazy whatever. It has this one trick it does where it creats a reality just for it’s followers to kill people cause they believe it wants them to. That’s truly mind blowing and sickeningly impressive. It also does this other thing that’s so out ah control and off it’s rocker stunt where people make themselves into bombs, walk into crowded places and detonate. Some crazy scary poo, that. A truly gentle, loving Huggie Bear to be sure.

      There doesn’t seem to be any way of constraining this thing. It has any superpower believers think an exalted one should have. One of those powers this hidden agent has is to monitor the thoughts and behaviors of all of it’s flock. Ye old supreme hobbyist, prime mover and mind bender is also a necromancer that reanimates its chosen dead into an existence of permanent servitude. What a fantastical role model to organize a life around. This is some wacko scary world view to raise children to believe.

      Some “all mighty” it turned out to be. It required a day off after working only six. Other than spying on believers it hasn’t worked that much since. It managed to get outsmarted by a snake even though it knows everything. Things seem to go wrong with ever product it creates and so like a petulant child it wiped out all life. Again, faulty logic and poor decision making. Instead of making a clean sweep and starten fresh with a new and improved world it inexplicably kept one of the failed batch to do the cleanup and expected a different outcome. So much for omnipotents. Try, try then try again. You can see the light bulb going on in it’s head. Blood sacrifice. That’s the ticket. Those ungrateful creations of his superiorness. So its craftiness assumes a corporeal form and does a bate and switch. It’s a new and improved self on one hand then in fine print says all that old crazy stuff still applies. Then commits suicide by cop.

      Even when the flock is trying to do good, the deeds come with strings attached. Proselytize! What a freak show. There’s no getting around it, institutionalization warps critical thinking. What else could explain belief in one of the worst stories ever told?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, ‘Nation’. The only thing missing from the Bible is the phrase ‘Once Upon A Time’.

        Now, Jake (above) is convinced he has evidence for his imaginary friend/mentor and uses the ‘science-y’ word metaphysics to demonstrate his intelligent ‘take’ on religion. That assertion somehow lends credibility to the basic idea that supernatural spirits really DO exist and that Jake’s god is (of course!) THE god. . . The creator. It gets wearisome reading through the accounts of believers who try their best to pass themselves off as learned and intelligent people who are convinced they are right. In reality, all they have is faith (belief without evidence) based on emotion. In essence, they have convinced themselves that the imaginary is real and in the US, in particular, the social dynamics serve to promote this bizarre idea.

        There are powerful psychological reasons for believing in (holy) ghosts and you might want to peruse Andy Thompson’s video on that. Problem is, some of us have actually researched, read, and applied critical thinking. We’ve ended up recognizing the ruse; the greatest fiction ever perpetrated.
        Jake, you’re obviously still stuck in the bubble of self-delusion. Depending upon how much you have to lose for actually doing critical thinking, you’ll either choose to stay in the comfortable bubble or examine the criticism and come to the conclusion that many of us have – that the biblical tale is a myth; Jesus – if he actually existed – was probably an end-times prophet, (like many others of his day) an ordinary man who was fathered by another man, not a ghost. Take a deep breath and face facts. You’ve been bamboozled, like countless others.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m fairly new to blogging and it’s a blast. Only, at times it’s so darn easy I feel just a very little guilty. Akin to making fun of the reasoning dysfunctional. How do you deal with the guilt?

        Like

      3. “Nationofnope”, I understand that there are questions that arise when, at least while talking about the Christian God, we consider the “why” behind His actions. I have taken a lot of time to work through and ponder these issues. So I get what you are saying, but no, that actually didn’t sting. I have had similar questions and concerns. But I will say, much of your narrative about how God works is mixed and constructed differently than how He is presented in the biblical text. It also carries many presumptions of the most negative nature.

        I am empathetic to your disillusionment with God. And I’m sorry on behalf of any Christians who may have misrepresented Him to you, which can happen, since Christians are imperfect and make mistakes, even in their attempt to live for God. Also, going to church and saying “I’m a Christian” doesn’t make someone a genuine Christian. There was quite a bit of material you mentioned in your post which would take a long time to address. And there truly are answers to many of your questions. If you have a specific question and are open to an answer, I’m willing to give it my best shot. Feel free to private message me.

        Carmen, you must be attacking a straw-man that you have placed in front of me with a post-it note reading “Jake” on it… Because you certainly aren’t refuting much, if any, of what I’ve posted here. You presume a variety of beliefs that I personally hold even though I have not mentioned them. And thinking through issues and utilizing “sciency” words does not necessitate or equate delusion… Since you are kind of calling me (and all Christians) delusional, I guess I should tell you that I did not grow up as a Christian, I did not attend church for most of my life until I was converted, and I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree and am in my sixth year of higher education. I do care deeply about these topics and I have heavily researched my beliefs and the beliefs of others.

        And Carmen, I have no idea why you personally, strongly oppose, the idea of God and Christianity. But, I do know the questions and concerns people have about Godl, and they are valid concerns. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Either He was a total liar, or He really was the Son of God teaching us about the truth of our reality. You are free to believe as you wish of course. But know that if there is a real God and Jesus really did what He did (which I believe there is and He did), and as much as saying this might irritate you, know that God loves you and died for you on the cross too. And that is true for everyone on this thread and in the world. If I didn’t know that to be true, I would not care enough to say it. If you have specific questions for me and would openly receive an answer, I am more than willing to engage with you about this in a private message.

        I assume that “Good without gods” would appreciate us moving this conversation elsewhere.

        Like

      4. Oh, my. I thought last night, “I’ll bet Jake’s ‘credentials’ are from a place like Liberty U”. Checked out his blog this morning and – lo and behold! – Jerry Falwell’s ‘Bible college’ is just where he got his ‘education’.

        Need I expand on this observation? 😉 . . . shaking my head. . .

        Liked by 1 person

      5. A couple of questions from your last reply though Jake. Just what is a ‘genuine Christian’? It seems to me that there are a multitude of answers to that one, making it a meaningless title.
        Also, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make with the reference to not growing up christian — not sure what that would have to do with the fact of your delusion (and yes, it is a delusion to believe there’s something where there’s nothing). Do you mean that since you’ve embraced christianity you see yourself as enlightened? The irony is obvious here.
        Jake, since you seem so sure that (your) god, Yahweh loves me it must also follow that Allah must love you. ..I mean, since I don’t believe in Yahweh (or any other god) I will assume you don’t believe in Allah. . .or do you?

        Oh, and this ‘died on a cross for you’ business. Someone said this the other day on a blog. “The very concept of eternal punishment and judgement by an entity who created us this way, knowing we would fall, and placed in an already fallen world is a vile and evil story – and it IS a story – in itself.

        Created Sick
        Commanded to be Well”

        Awful stuff. My stomach rebels. Yet you promote this toxic doctrine.

        Finally, no, I am not the least bit interested in conversing with you in private. Since GWG has created a public blog, I am assuming he welcomes all comments from the public. It goes without saying, eh? Besides, he has stated quite succinctly that “Christian argument (is never) rooted in rationality or clarity. Instead, the listener embarks on a journey of mental gymnastics, slithering through proofs meant to be intentionally complex but fold easily under the critical lens of a skeptic.” I’m sure he’s quite grateful to you for providing examples of his very assertions.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Wow! I’m in error, how blind to the truth I’ve been. You really are delusional. No flood, no exodus, no plagues, no Genesis, no miracles, no virgin birth. Almost everything in that book of fiction and was plagiarized from myths from antiquity.
        The Horus myth is indistinguishable from the Jesus myth. Read a book for gods sake.

        Like

      7. I apologize for the late response, I have been busy with finishing up the term for school as well as work.

        Well, as I indicated before, it is apparent that you both have a very set idea of what you believe Christianity looks like and have assumed my beliefs, whether correct or incorrect. In fact, you have posed questions and answered them yourselves according to what you think to be true. This communicates to me that you don’t care to hear an answer. Although, I don’t entirely believe that’s true. I do not think addressing the ad hominems, strawmen, and red herrings will be conducive to the discussion I am trying to have on this thread. Perhaps my blog post would help you understand my perspective on this a bit more- https://jakebyrd.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/bridging-the-gap/

        Carmen, what I meant by “genuine Christian” was essentially that there are many people who attend church, but they don’t believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, they go for the religious “benefit” or the comfort it gives them, but yet they have not submitted their life to Christ and are not striving to follow Him. Rather, they live no differently than someone who isn’t a Christian and they don’t represent Christ’s character to others.

        Yes, you can assume I don’t believe in Allah. Allah and Yahweh are not the same God, therefore they both cannot exist at once since they both claim to be the one true God. For more on this, here is an article about the differences- http://www.truthortradition.com/articles/what-are-the-differences-between-allah-and-the-god-of-the-christian-bible

        If you mean by “enlightened” that I think I am somehow “better” than everyone else… Absolutely not. Just as you believe you have exclusive claims to the truth, I believe the same. If this necessitates that I’m carrying myself as “enlightened”, then that would mean you are “enlightened” as well. And therein lies the rub, can we both be right? If not, then what is the truth?

        And also, you assume that Christianity holds to the premise that we are placed in an already fallen world. This is untrue for “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31). Humanity was created in a good world, without sin and death, and with the freedom to choose to love and obey God or not. And man chose and continues to choose to disobey God and love His creation rather than the Creator. And if He created us without the freedom to choose to follow Him, then we would essentially be robots living out a simulation. You may well think “but God made it to be that way!” However, He chose to allow us to choose evil or good. Therefore, would we not bear the responsibility of the choices we make and with that freedom?

        And Nation, I had merely pointed out that you misrepresented how the Bible and God’s workings throughout history are to be interpreted. But as I mentioned, you have valid questions and concerns. I don’t think you know nothing and are wrong about everything at all. And yes, I know of the Horus myth, which is in fact myth. Which brings up your assumption that Jesus’ ministry and existence was also a myth. What evidence can you provide that would prove Jesus is a myth? If you are referring to the Zeitgeist video, I’ve seen that and it’s argumentation about mythologies of the ancient times. However, the arguments for Jesus just being a regurgitation of previous myths has been thoroughly disputed and found to lack authentic evidence. Here are some videos for that-
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh84h7Caf_E https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5KHA9f6kHs

        Again, for the sake of time and efficiency, I am willing to work through any questions you may have one by one in a private message thread.

        Like

      8. Jake,
        First question – where’s the ad hominem? I’ve looked through my responses and I can’t identify it. Unless, of course, you consider any questions about your beliefs to be ad hominem, which many theists do. Ad hominem, as I understand it, is name-calling and belittling a person. Again, please identify where I did that.

        Secondly, the straw men and red herrings – please also identify so I can clarify.
        I read through your first link and what I read suggests that you ought to take your own suggestions seriously – do take your own advice on not “selfishly preserve(ing) our beliefs by shutting down the dialogue we wish to avoid”. Accusing others of using ad hominem, straw men and red herrings is an attempt at same.

        I have to laugh when I see the old canard, “angry secularist” thrown in there. In context, however, you suggest that they may have a reason to “want to get rid of christianity” and that it should be discussed. I think our blog host is doing just that by attempting to answer the questions.

        Your attempt at identifying what it is to be christian has failed. In my opinion, christians get divorced, they cheat on their spouses, they abuse others, they commit serious crimes, they get themselves incarcerated, they say outrageous things on a daily basis (I read their nasty comments every day on blogs), they are determined to strip women of their reproductive rights and if you want a very powerful example of their negative behaviour you might want to remind yourself that evangelicals (I assume they want to be referred to as christians) just voted someone who has the morals of an alley cat into the highest position one can attain, in your country. They’ve made a laughing stock of millions of others. In other words, you’ve got your own definition, which is completely subjective. (it also may give you an idea why there are ‘angry secularists’ out there)

        Your opinion on the existence of Jesus is just that. He may have been an actual person who lived but all we know – definitively – is that he was crucified by the Romans in first century Judea. Everything else is pure myth and recorded by Paul. Since your definition of christianity seems to hinge on belief in the divinity of Jesus (specifically that he was the product of an invisible ‘spirit’ having sexual relations with a young woman) we are at odds.
        Or rather, you refuse to consider the implications — I know, it kind of knocks the house of cards over, doesn’t it?

        So essentially, Jake, your faith (belief without evidence) is what inspires and propels you. You know, the same faith that propels Muslims — the ones whose god you completely reject, for the same reasons I reject your god. Oh, and I read through that link, which basically says, “Muslims are wrong, christians are right. We’ve got the real god for REALZ – the Bible says so!”. You believe all that. I don’t. For good reasons. You know, the ones not dependent on FAITH.

      9. Carmen, I do not think that a question about my beliefs is a personal attack whatsoever. I welcome it and the ability to dialogue about it. Contrarily, the nature of the ad hominem is that it does not address the actual subject matter being discussed but attacks the person presenting it. In fact, the definition of ad hominem is “argumentation directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining”. While you didn’t name call, you certainly attempted to “belittle”. I don’t really care to get into the “he said, she said’s” about silly ad hominems. But I suppose I can show you you some examples of what you’ve used since you asked. Here’s a few I found: attacking my use of logic and critical thinking as “trying to pass myself off as intelligent”, mocking where I received my education as to discredit my knowledge on the subject, and a repetitive inference that I am “delusional”. I would think you would desire to know my actual beliefs in order to confidently claim my “delusion”, but assumptions are primarily what you have presented, including an assumption of my “delusion”.

        If you don’t think you have used straw man and red herring arguments, then we can agree to disagree on that. But here are the definitions of the two with an example from you: Straw man- an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument. A prime example would be “all they have is faith (belief without evidence) based on emotion. In essence, they have convinced themselves that the imaginary is real” and the nonsense about the Holy Spirit having sex with Mary (Quite the distortion). Red herring- an irrelevant topic introduced in an argument to divert the attention of listeners or readers from the original issue”. And an example of that would be “Do you mean that since you’ve embraced christianity you see yourself as enlightened? The irony is obvious here” or perhaps bringing Allah and Islam into the mix. I get your frustrations, and I forgive you for the ad hominems. You may be surprised what Christians really believe and how often there is more to the story than the one projected to you.

        Therefore, I am not blindly accusing here. And I am not shutting down your argument simply by calling out your efforts to shut down mine (ad hominems and such). That’s me just trying to keep you honest. Nor am I seeking to avoid the subject. Rather, I am trying to have a discussion on the actual topic.

        I appreciate you looking at my article. However, the “hypotheticals” about what a Christian or non-Christian might think that I presented is exactly that, a “hypothetical” based on the wrong way of looking at things. By no means did I imply how you interpreted that.

        Has my attempt at identifying what a true Christian is to be truly failed? Or have you simply rejected any attempt to reconsider your presupposed view before the discussion on that really begins? Oddly enough many of the things you say Christians do that is wrong or hypocritical I do not disagree with. In fact, several of those very things are what either gives evidence to the fact that they may only be Christian by name, or that they are young in their faith and made a mistake, or perhaps have backslidden into immoral behavior. Which does not justify that behavior. My future blog posts will be on several of those issues!

        Christians are still sinful people. Meaning they have the capacity to sin even though they are in Christ. Unfortunately, I myself sin more than I would like. We strive not to sin, though we may fall. But actual conformity to the person of Jesus will produce a changed life that constantly grows further in remorse and avoidance of the sinful things that God detests, and in effect draws us closer to the person and likeness of Christ.

        I do have a few questions I’d appreciate your answer on:

        1) You have accounted for the times where Christians or “supposed” Christians have slipped up, so tell me what evidence you see that shows the goodness of Christianity? What do they get right, if anything?

        2) Since you claim that all “we” know of Jesus is that He was crucified, I challenge you to provide evidence supporting that claim. If Jesus’ ministry was a myth, then what happened to cause Him to be crucified? If He was crucified, what happened to His body and why were so many willing to die for their belief in Him?

        3) What do you believe to be at the very core of your worldview? What is it that “inspires and propels” you?

        Like

      10. You’re nothing if not persistent, Jake! 🙂 I will, however, take responsibility for my faux pas and offer an apology for them.

        You see, it gets frustrating – after four years of reading comments like yours from christians – when faced with the kind of zeal and absolute conviction of the religious. Delusion, Jake. There’s no other word for it. The certainty that there is something where there is nothing, that Jesus was the divine product of a SPIRIT having ‘relations’ with a human — or did you have some other interpretation? Isn’t that a tenant of christianity? Believing that as FACT? Perhaps you can elaborate on that, since you have pointed out that I really don’t know what you believe.

        “Christians are still sinful people”. No, Jake. Humans are imperfect. We make mistakes, that’s the way we learn. It’s the human condition.

        What do christians get right? Well, I suppose one could argue that churches provide a social avenue for many and provide a feeling of ‘family’, that cannot be denied.

        Your second question, “. . . why were so many willing to die for their belief in Him?” is one I have seen before. As another person commented, there have always been people willing to die for their beliefs. It does not prove anything other than the fact that those people had the same conviction you have; the same conviction that the men operating the planes who flew into the Twin Towers had. That conviction does not prove anything about Jesus being the ‘son of god’. It comes down to faith, Jake. You know, belief without evidence.

        Your third question as to what inspires me. Well, I guess I am just a believer in people, Jake. Real people, not any kind of spirit. Nature also inspires me. I live along the shore and my scenic surroundings never fail to give me pause and make me appreciate my good fortune of living in a place that has clean air and water, and good people around me who are committed to being good neighbours. If I had to pinpoint any worldview I’d say I strive to be a humanitarian -with a moral of kindness, benevolence, and sympathy extended to all human beings. Note I said, “strive” – I make mistakes, admittedly.

        All any of us can do is try to make the world a better place and try our best to be nice. Some days I can pull it off, other days I can’t. 🙂

        You need to realize that no matter how reasoned and logical you put your arguments forward for your imaginary friend, I have looked at both sides of the story. I find your side lacking in facts, heavily dependent on speculation and wishful thinking, and – quite frankly – the god of the Bible to be not someone worthy of praise or worship.

        You know something else, Jake? I’m betting you are a great fellow who may be perplexed at what you see as my cynicism. The thing is, I’m probably twice as old as you and have had years to develop my outlook on life. At one time, I thought much the same as you do now. I grew up thinking that religion was a key component to my own development and that my own children ought to be brought up the same as me. Things have changed and, at this stage of the game, I’m happy that our numerous grandchildren are being raised by loving parents, learning respect for themselves, their environment and others, and practicing kindness early in life – without any mention of the supernatural. It’s not necessary for a productive and happy life, I have learned.

        (P.S. You might want to check out the site RaviWatch . . .Ravi Zacharias has been discredited as a bit of a huckster. The man who loves the sound of his own voice has decided he ‘talks’ up his own credentials, it seems.)

        Like

      11. Lol touch’e about persistence! I notice we have that in common. Well, I appreciate the apology 🙂 I also LOVE nature and enjoy fellowship with people. I particularly love the beach and mountains. I’m sure we have more in common than you may think.

        About your questions: 1) the Christian position on the miraculous conception of the Son of God by Mary is no different than how God beautifully forms life inside of the womb. Except he left out a man in the equation. If God has the power to create the Universe, he can circumvent the natural laws of nature (that he designed) to form a child. Ths (being void of some strange sex act) was the only way that God could come live the life of a man, live a perfect life, be both God and man, and be a worthy savior sacrificed for our sins. If you disagree, we can agree to disagree on that.

        2) In Christian martyrdom, the martyrs die for their belief that Jesus is God, and that belief alone. They do not try and kill as many who disagree with them as they can in the process. Nor do they try to impose their religion forcefully (as in violently) on others and try killing them. They surrender because they know Jesus to be truly God who came to die for our sins. And that non-violent death IS a powerful testimony to the legitimacy of their subjective belief in this truth which gives evidence that if it is worth dying for, it may very well be true.

        3) Regardless of the controversy over “honorary” doctoral degrees or some credentials, I don’t believe the message Ravi brings is unsound. Not that this doesn’t concern me. Also, I listened to the podcast. And it was awfully one-sided, but even if Ravi screwed up, I do not find my value, faith, or identity in his teachings or message. There are plenty of credible Christians that I can cite for you if you’re open to listening to them. William Lane Craig for one. I recommend reading his book “Reasonable Faith” or visiting his website. Also, I suggest reading “Christian Apologetics” by Norman Geisler. These will give you a more fair view of the Christian position.

        But as you kind of said again, you seem to think you have fairly evaluated both sides and now require no argumentation, regardless of its substance, to convince you of an opposing view. In other words, you have closed your mind to Christian arguments. Honestly though, I am not just saying this, much of what you have stated that I must believe is not entirely accurate which is why it seems as if you have not fairly evaluated Christian theism. Or you have bore witness to a skewed version of Christianity.

        In a different way, I understand your concerns and where you are coming from. I used to be the one mocking the “religious”. I used to think the claims of Christianity were just for weird spiritual people who were slightly, if not fully, delusional. And then I tasted the brokenness of life more and more. I could no longer see the rational grounding in my humanistic and atheistic approach to life as something that could actually be sufficiently reconciled with what we see in reality regarding meaning, purpose, origin, and morality. Nevertheless, it was not sustainable, because life is more complicated that mere observable “facts”. For instance, it could not sufficiently explain love, the purpose of life and death, morality, evil, etc.

        I noticed that you managed to avoid answering almost the entire second section of questions regarding Jesus that I posed. So I will ask you again:

        *Since you claim that all “we” know of Jesus is that He was crucified, I challenge you to provide evidence supporting that claim. If Jesus’ ministry was a myth, then what happened to cause Him to be crucified? If He was crucified, what happened to His body…?

        And you told me that you essentially value “goodness” , “being nice”, and “kindness” in life. But why? What do you define as “good” and how do you know it to be good?

        Like

      12. Here’s what another blogger just put on a blog today. His name is Gary (he’s a Doctor) and he was a hard-core Lutheran until he started debating with a ‘deconverted’. He says it in a different way but we are of the same mind, as you can see.

        “I have been debating Christians regarding their supernatural claims for the last three years, ever since my deconversion from conservative Christianity in 2014. I have come to the conclusion that no matter how much objective evidence we skeptics present, the overwhelming majority of Christians are going to hand wave it all away due to the SUBJECTIVE evidence each one of them experiences, each and every day, in their “hearts”.

        And because of the perceived reality and intensity of this subjective evidence, these people cannot imagine that their belief system is simply an ancient tall tale. Therefore they construct very elaborate, very sophisticated-sounding explanations for why this ancient tale MUST be an historical fact, and if you challenge the rationality of their claims, they dismiss you as “uninformed”, regardless of the number of books you have read on the subject.

        It is a ghost story, folks. That’s all it is. A ghost story.

        No matter how many contorted, sophisticated-sounding rationalizations they construct, just remember…and remind THEM over and over again…it’s just a ghost story, and ghosts are not real.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I genuinely appreciate your response and your willingness to discuss this further. I do fully understand that you are not trying to disprove every apologetic claim (I wouldn’t expect you to) and are reflecting on a particular video series. I also fully understand that you are aware of Christian thought and have a background of involvement with the church. Also, my real assumption is actually that you likely have done a decent amount of research on the subject. Although, I think you are reading into my general observations a bit too much and have misinterpreted some of them.

    My general reflection was essentially that, yes, it seems that you rather swiftly painted across the issue in this post with a very broad brush dipped in your choice of truth-claims with almost no evidence or argumentation for the claims you made or representing the actual Christian position. Understand that not everyone will watch those videos or know the Christian side of the argument. The prime example of this would be just about everything you said here:

    “…one would think the evidence presented by Christians would be concise. However, one would be wrong. Seldom is the Christian argument rooted in rationality or clarity. Instead, the listener embarks on a journey of mental gymnastics, slithering through proofs meant to be intentionally complex but fold easily under the critical lens of a skeptic.”

    So yes, I think that it is intellectually dishonest for anyone to make broad-brush claims, especially in a post that is set up as a refutation. So if that made you feel demeaned in any way, that certainly was not my intention, but I was simply calling out the lack of support for truth-claims. Also, I was critiquing the presentation of ideas, not demeaning you personally. What I said is merely how the post is received by myself and likely others, even if you yourself aren’t dishonest or attempting to be.

    Therefore, I accept that you probably do have knowledge of the subject, however, this doesn’t justify unsupported truth claims in a refutation. I merely wanted to point this out and I hope you understand at this point what I mean. I definitely don’t desire to discuss this point further, but if you feel the need or that I’m being unfair, feel free. Although, I’m unsure how I could better explain my reflections and clarify my point to you.

    Furthermore, I actually don’t recall nor can I see a time where I mentioned the necessity of supernatural evidence. But I can engage with you about that, sorry if I gave that impression. And with the comments I made about science, what I was attempting to explain was that while putting God in the “gaps” may not prove God’s existence, science at the same time carries little weight on the metaphysical side of things (I’m aware that depending on you presupposition’s that is debatable. For instance: Some believe that scientific or humanistic efforts can ultimately evolve to solve every problem presented to us).

    I hope that what I have said helps you to better understand my initial post. If we could slow things down a bit for the sake of time, I will attempt to tackle the questions you posed.

    Regarding any supernatural evidence that would prove a God (Assuming more specifically the Christian God), I most likely should begin with the question of the reality of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And first I would ask you, what thoughts/conclusions do you have regarding the question of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection? In this question, there is a lot at stake. Namely, the reality and validity of the Christian faith itself, the reality of a significantly supernatural event in human history, and how the question of its reality gives significant value to the human response to it.

    Like

      1. Lol… nifty article, I suppose that whether Christians use critical thinking, blind faith, or both they can’t avoid being delusional and wrong? That’s just silly.

        I actually never once mentioned a “metaphysical” or” personal” Jesus… I was asking about the question of the historical reality of Jesus and the possibility of that being evidence for a supernatural act of God. And I surely will not apologize for being educated, thinking critically about these issues, and also being a Christian.

        Like

    1. Let’s make one thing clear: “truth-claims” is a troubling term. Truth is neither a choice nor relative to our individual existences.

      As far as the reader is concerned, I sincerely doubt that someone would be interested in reading a blogger’s attempt to answer Inspired Walk’s questions without watching the four-minute video. Regardless, I present the question exactly how it’s asked.

      I stand by what I originally wrote. My support for the “truth-claim” comes in the following paragraph, where I address the God of the Gaps and how it collapses easily under the most gentle of prods. While you may disagree with brevity, I don’t see the benefit of writing a novel for something that can be dismissed within a few sentences. The best writing is to the point and free of ramblings. To be completely honest, I probably gave the Gaps argument too much thought. My original post should have been “Religion: I don’t know; therefore, God. Science: I don’t know; therefore, let’s find out.” While I’m being a little cheeky in this reworking, it truly does give the barebones of the argument.

      In regards to the metaphysical comments, I guess I’m not clear on what you mean. When someone uses metaphysics, especially in the realm of religion, they are pointing to supernatural things—e.g., God vs. the Big Bang. When you say, “…science is a methodological study to find empirical evidence. Therefore, it does not carry much weight in the realm of metaphysics aside from theory…,” I’m assuming that you’re saying only metaphysical (supernatural) evidence can prove the existence of a god.

      Again, I’m not really sure what you’re asking in the matter of Jesus. Are you asking where I fall on the historical debate? If so, I’m not sure. David Fitzgerald has posed some interesting questions regarding the existence of Christ, but I haven’t researched the topic enough to really have an opinion. With that being said, stories of a resurrection do not qualify as evidence for the Christian God. Every religion has its magical tales, so a resurrection does nothing to set Christianity apart.

      Let’s pose the question this way: I’m no longer an atheist. Think of me as a religious free agent. My mind is a blank slate, waiting to be molded. What evidence can Christianity present to me that no other religion can?

      Like

      1. As I mentioned in a comment directed toward others on this thread, I apologize for the late response. I have been busy this week with school and work.

        If I am understanding you correctly, you are describing truth as it is properly defined, at least objectively, which is that it is a constant reality that doesn’t conform to our subjective experiences. WIth that I would agree. However, I am unsure how that is troubling in any way.

        Regardless of the objectivity or subjectivity of the claims, in stating that Christians hardly produce a rational argument that is concise, this is merely stating what you believe to be true- “truth claim”. Typing this out, I know it sounds condescending, but I’m not trying to be. More or less, I am simply conveying my line of thought. I fail to see how a very brief paragraph with a sentence about the “gaps” provides actual support for those claims. I don’t see any substantial indication of why Christians don’t have rational and concise arguments which in effect does no justice to the authentic Christian arguments and position. Basically, I think the statements seem a bit unfounded. But hey, we can agree to disagree.

        By mentioning metaphysics, I was trying to communicate that science can indeed find answers about the reality that we live in and even produce magnificent theories based on acquired knowledge , but it cannot itself answer all of the questions we are confronted with in life (e.g. metaphysical questions).

        I am not implying that supernatural evidence can objectively prove God’s existence. And importantly, neither can science objectively disprove God’s existence.

        The term “metaphysical” does not only apply to “supernatural” in the religious sense. (In fact, we could probably use supernatural and miraculous acts interchangeably based on their definitions from here on.) The term “metaphysical” itself refers to “abstract reasoning transcending matter or the laws of nature”. For instance, why is good actually good and how do we know what is good? That question is metaphysical in nature. We can observe and study the outworking of moral actions, but we do not have an objective and empirical proof of the source.

        About Jesus, yes, I was asking what you think of the reality of Jesus historically, including His works (life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension). Regarding the question you posed, the very claim that God chose to come to earth as a man because He loved us, to live a perfect yet human life, to sacrifice Himself for humanity in a humiliating death, and be raised to life and thus grant forgiveness of sins and eternal life, is exclusively Christian. That is why I started with the resurrection of Jesus. Regarding specific evidence for those claims, I don’t want to regurgitate what experts have made available with far better explanations than what I can provide here (trying to avoid writing a novel every time haha). Therefore, I highly recommend that you watch this video of Dr. Ravi Zacharias in about Christianity being distinct (there are plenty of videos/books that are more exhaustive than this)

        And more specifically, about the claims of the “resurrection” of Jesus I would highly recommend that you watch this video (a little longer) by Dr. William Lane Craig

        In their videos and writings, these men provide far more substantial evidence regarding the Christian position than what you found in the brief videos by “Inspired Walk”. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

        Like

      2. No worries, Jake! I’ve been busy working on the Good Without Gods podcast, so I understand.

        Right, you understood correctly, and that’s why I’m disinterested in using “truth-claim” as a term, at least in the context of your response. It allows for too much subjectivity and puts the assertion of God on equal footing as science. I’m not in the business of cherry-picking when it comes to reality. Either something is true or something is not, and while we do have subjective filters that can shade our eyes from veracity, if a person is open to evidence and reason, truth will always find a way to break biases.

        I’m honestly surprised that you are championing the argument of the Gaps so passionately. Most Christians distance themselves from the idea because, as I’ve stated in previous replies, it’s a losing battle. That being said, I’m not sure what you want for support. Do you want me to go through all advances in science that were once attributed to a god or supernatural forces (evolution, weather, disease, mental illness)?

        In regards to metaphysical arguments, burden of proof lies in the court of the person making unfalsifiable claims. I’m sure you’re aware of Russell’s teapot analogy and how it illustrates an argument from ignorance isn’t a logical one. Unlike Christianity—or any other religion—atheism is the default position. We don’t deny the possibility of a god. Rather, we refute that there is compelling evidence for one. Without compelling evidence, why base my life’s philosophy on something that may not be true, especially when the teachings of that particular deity do so much harm? To borrow from Dawkins, why base my morality on a god that is jealous and proud of it; a god that is homophobic and misogynistic; a god that is an unjust, unforgiving control freak? Why would I want to be a follower of something as horrific as the teachings of Christianity without verifiable evidence?

        Until I’m able to look further into the existence of Jesus—mainly, reading David Fitzgerald and Bart Ehrman—I’m not comfortable debating those points. However, I’ll definitely watch the videos when I get a moment. Thanks!

        Like

      3. I am not saying that not knowing the answers to every question, namely metaphysical in nature, necessitates filling those gaps with God. But I am trying to communicate that since there are gaps, and we don’t have empirical answers that can sufficiently address those gaps, we often insert what we find to be the best evidence for an answer to those questions. That is, what we believe to be a presupposition that can effectively fill those gaps based on known evidence. Although, at times these presuppositions may not be based on empirical data, but experiential and philosophical data as well since we can’t answer all the questions in life with the discipline of science itself.

        Yet often times the discipline of science can be championed as if it were itself a “god” wherein the adherents to its “superiority” unkowingly assert their own metaphysical presuppositions that are baseless, not scientifically proven, metaphysical in nature, and in essence are faith claims based on theorizations at best. And then they point their finger angrily at Christians or theists for doing the same sort of thing.

        For instance, the Big Bang… No I am not arguing for or against it, nor am I saying you believe everything I’m about to say. But for the sake of argument, many believe in this as a foundational proof for their humanistic and evolutionary presuppositions. Regardless of accuracy, it is often given as a basis for proof. First of all, a Big Bang would suggest a point of origin for the Universe. So if God is not at that point of origin, then what? Nothing right? And second, there is nothing beyond theory that proves that somehow already existing matter would be the cause of this beginning. What about the law of causality? This is nothing more than a faith claim about a presupposition. Therefore, the anti-dogmatic arguments for non-theism typically become themselves quite dogmatic.

        Also, evil exists in this world. I assume that you would agree. But how do we know what is truly evil? The very acknowledgement of evil throughout history and among all peoples gives credence to the fact that objective morality exists. Do you yourself believe there are standards of good and evil? If so, then how would you prove this to be true? Better yet, where would those morals find their origin? With questions such as these it seems apparent that scientific method may sufficiently observe the effects of the possible presupposition upon our reality, and maybe even the process, but not the cause of these metaphysical observations about our reality. Aside from theories, which is no different than theorizing that God exists in those gaps, science does little to contribute to our knowledge of the truth of our reality in regards to these important metaphysical questions. Can another worldview, such as atheism, give a more reasonable answer supported by evidence for the existence of evil?

        Regarding the negative views of God that you mentioned. I think that by fairly looking through the lens of Christian presuppositions as they are stated by proponents of the view, and better yet, from study of the Bible itself will help clear up much of your negative assumptions. That does not mean some of your questions are not legitimate.

        I appreciate that you won’t speak on the historical Jesus until you have learned more. Reading Fitzgerald and Ehrman will certainly give you some reasonable perspectives on this topic. However, I would recommend you do not limit yourself to their views which appear to assume the negative view of Jesus. I would suggest also reading Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”. He was an atheist in investigative journalism who set out to disprove Christianity. I’d also suggest viewing some good debates about that.

        If you are interested in really investigating Christian claims, then I would also suggest starting with the newest editions of “Reasonable Faith” by William Lane Craig and “Christian Apologetics” by Norman Geisler. I believe these would give you a fair representation of the Christian side of the argument.

        Like

      1. Haha, thank you! I haven’t had time to read fully through everyone’s replies yet or respond, but i’m hoping to have some time today. Also, I’m pretty sure I was able to turn off the approval requirement for comments, so you shouldn’t run into that issue again.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: