Friday, November 16, 2007

Three arguments against anti Theism. (updated title)


(Update: In recent days I have been conversing more with "Atheists" who state I have the definition of Atheist wrong. In this piece most people's understanding of "atheist" is that they do not believe in a god. I have changed it anti theist as I see it more accurately goes with their own definitions. Please as reading this also note that all people until recently have used agnostic as one that does not know if God exists or not as they do not see proof. It seems this also is differently defined as "one that does not believe a god exists". My post here was not posted out of ignorance as I have never heard these re-definitions until recently though most my encounters have been over the last 10 to 15 years. The point is not that one moves from one label to another, but that if one claims that there is no god that they will see that that is irrational and that they if honest will have to admit that there is the possibility of a god existing. Dear reader, please read the following in that context. The post itself remains unchanged except for the title.)
1. Evil

The point that one seems to understand that there is good and evil negates that God does not exist. To state that God does not exist then negates that there is also the reality of good or evil. To acknowledge evil exists then is to say at the very least there is a principle of good and evil which is higher than man. If then this principle is higher and one must acknowledge it, then it in itself is a "god" man must acknowledge. Though not a personal God, it is a type of god.


2. To even argue that God does not exist prove he does.

In the bible one must abandon that they know God exists. In the same way if God did not exist one would have to abandon that God did not exist to believe in Him. Since a person must abandon the belief in God or a god, they must rationalize Him away... but if a god did not exist this in itself would be an act of futility as most would just wonder why the need to do so is needed. To see what I mean just read Romans chapter one.


3. There is no true atheist or at least one who is a honest intellectual one.


All atheist if they really understood the logical flaw behind their assertion would realize they are actually agnostic. I have yet to meet one atheist I have not turned into an agnostic.

And here is how. Box one is all that is known in creation (yes I saw the miss spelled word but it was too late! LOL!)

Box two is a really smart person who knows as much as can be know in the known universe.



Notice though for all the white space, that there is still blue visible... in that area one must be honest enough to admit that outside of their own knowledge a God can possibly exist.

To state that one knows all that is possibly known then makes them "god" themselves.

Now, these are simplistic ways, and may admittedly be over simplistic, but sometimes the more simplistic the argument the truer it is. This also is not the ultimate in the "answer" to evil... I am no talking about he existence of evil only that it proves that God exists because we acknowledge evil exists.

I am also stating the argue that God does not exist proves He does as to argue against something that does not exist is nonsensical and truly would be a waste of time... If God does not exist then we would argue He did exist and need try to prove that.

And there is no such thing as a true atheist. The honest ones are agnostic.

So what are your thoughts?

7 comments:

Melchizedek said...

You could just as easily argue there are no true Christians, the honest ones are agnostic.

I don't get your #2 at all. Does arguing against the existence of fire-breathing dragons prove the exist?

And people often do try to prove God's existence.

iggy said...

Mel,

In a way what you are saying is true... and I think that agnosticism is a good neutral.

Yet, the difference is that if there is a God, or the possibility of one existing, then it seem that to say one does not would be less honest than one who states there is, and the one who finds that God... would find even more honesty in that they gave up the idea of "not know" to "seeking to find". An agnostic who just states "I don't really know" is not seeking to find out if it is true or not.

Now, number 2:

The difference is that man is born with an innate understanding that there is a god... and they suppress it.

Let's say man was born with an innate understanding that fire -breathing dragons existed. I would highly suspect that they either did at one time, or that they still do. But to argue against that (being innate) is still suppressing that which we are naturally born with. I am not saying that it proves that a fire-breathing dragon exists, but that the possibility they do... and in that people would be at least agnostic on the belief of fire-breathing dragons if they were most honest.

Now, as far as people trying to prove God's existence... Romans chapter 1 still teaches how man suppresses the truth... and having suppressed it people need to be told how they did that and that God does exist.

I am not saying that these are fool proof and really these are as stated very simplistic arguments. But as I ahve talked to the average so called atheist, they are unbelievably stump by these three things.

The real proof for me is so subjective i cannot use it to prove something or not. But my life was changed when I found Jesus... I became a different person.

Again, thanks for the comments. I do believe that the core of all men's soul they know that there is a god... but the only real way to prove this to men is to live out one's faith incarnationally and missionaly so that others can see Jesus alive through the believer.

iggy

David B. Ellis said...


To state that God does not exist then negates that there is also the reality of good or evil.


I'm assuming that in the above you are using good/evil in the sense of right/wrong and not benevolent/malevolent since the second usage of the terms is entirely consistent even with a total moral subjectivist view.

That being the case I would point out that you have done nothing to establish your claim that there can be no such thing as right and wrong if there is no God. And there are many well known dilemmas created by the position that moral truths are dependent on God

Surely, to name just one example, you've heard of the Euthyphro dilemma?

What solution do you propose for it?


To acknowledge evil exists then is to say at the very least there is a principle of good and evil which is higher than man.


What does that even mean? "Higher" in what sense?

All one has to acknowledge so far as I can tell is that such statements as "its wrong to inflict unnecessary pain on others for your own amusement" are true and don't just express a personal dislike of cruelty.


I wont even on comment on argument no. 2 since its basically gibberish.

As to your elaboration on in the comments saying that people have a natural knowledge that God exists which they suppress:

What evidence do you have for this claim?

Suppose a wiccan said you have a natural knowledge that nature spirits exist and you are just suppressing it?

Anyone can make such a claim but for you to have an actual argument going here you need to provide some basis for thinking the claim is likely to be true.


3. There is no true atheist or at least one who is a honest intellectual one.


All atheist if they really understood the logical flaw behind their assertion would realize they are actually agnostic. I have yet to meet one atheist I have not turned into an agnostic.


Actually, most of us who refer to ourselves as "atheists" do not claim absolute knowledge that God does not exist. I am an atheist in the sense of being absent any belief in any God or Gods (weak atheism as opposed to strong atheism). In that sense, most of us atheists are, yes, agnostics.

But, then again, neither you nor I can disprove the existence of fairies. Nor reincarnation. Nor werewolves. So, strictly speaking, we might call ourselves agnostic on these issues---and I, for one, do---I'm willing to be convinced on any claim if real evidence is offered---no matter how wildly implausible it may be.

And that, of course, includes the God of your religion.

iggy said...

David,

Thanks for your comments... Sorry I did not get back to you sooner as I was out of town.

I confess that I am not one that has taken a lot of time and thought about giving an answer to atheists... and I suppose that these are over simplistic of answers and will not satisfy one who has dug much deeper.

Yet, as a believer, and one that is not just a believer by mental assent but by having experienced the Living God in my life. This is not just unique to me but to people like me throughout the centuries. In that this seems to be an experience that so many have gone through that it should be all the proof one needs.

Now, also I will not address you as most who would as I am not a modernist in my thinking. I say all this as I hope we both can agree that we are most probably both entrenched in our belief systems so any "argument" would most likely just affirm your experience and knowledge that you have as "proof" for belief.

Now, I will attempt to answer your questions here but again I do not assume it will give you all the answers to persuade you to come over to my side! = )

Iggy>To state that God does not exist then negates that there is also the reality of good or evil.

David> I'm assuming that in the above you are using good/evil in the sense of right/wrong and not benevolent/malevolent since the second usage of the terms is entirely consistent even with a total moral subjectivist view.

That being the case I would point out that you have done nothing to establish your claim that there can be no such thing as right and wrong if there is no God. And there are many well known dilemmas created by the position that moral truths are dependent on God

Surely, to name just one example, you've heard of the Euthyphro dilemma?

What solution do you propose for it?

Iggy -> I will deal with it as both good/evil and right/wrong for both come out of an ideal of morals. If one has an ideal of morals they came from somewhere. Even if that be a construct of our own collective agreement on these as good/evil or right/wrong it then becomes the something men subject themselves to. I will go into this a bit later in your other question.

As far as the Euthyphro dilemma I see that if a “god” is a god that created all things, then that god has the right to decide what is good/evil or right/wrong. In that that god created all things, it is like a potter who created a pot that is for one purpose and another for something else. If this pot decides to state, “What right do you have to make so?” it seem a little out of place and ridiculous.

Let me explain it a bit more this way.

I created a bunch of chairs… and some are as I wanted but some are not as I wanted… I as the creator of that chair can throw the one I did not like… that did not live up to my standards into the fire place.

Now, if a god created all things, and then set out that some things are good and some are evil and that there is a right and a wrong… then he has the right to set the standard as he pleases. As created “things” we need to either see these as what is desired to please that god or that these things are for are best… either that be a god of goodness or a god of benevolence.

The dilemma seems to appear when we see that we try to second guess a god that is so far above us by our own limited understanding that we think we can reason on the level of that god’s reasoning level… and to say we can would be that like an ameba trying to explain to Einstein the theory of relativity if we think on terms in reverse. Or say that newborn child try to reason the checkbook and help with the family finances… it is just not able to even conceive the concept of how much far above out own thinking that god must be.

So there is the element called “trust” which is out of “faith”… one can have faith in science that changes it’s mind every week which is still a trust in the idea that some “absolute” is higher than man, or we can place faith in a god… or gods.


Iggy> To acknowledge evil exists then is to say at the very least there is a principle of good and evil which is higher than man.


David > What does that even mean? "Higher" in what sense?

All one has to acknowledge so far as I can tell is that such statements as "its wrong to inflict unnecessary pain on others for your own amusement" are true and don't just express a personal dislike of cruelty.


I wont even on comment on argument no. 2 since its basically gibberish.

As to your elaboration on in the comments saying that people have a natural knowledge that God exists which they suppress:

What evidence do you have for this claim?

Suppose a wiccan said you have a natural knowledge that nature spirits exist and you are just suppressing it?

Anyone can make such a claim but for you to have an actual argument going here you need to provide some basis for thinking the claim is likely to be true.

Iggy-> By higher I mean as I was stating above of the idea that whether by construct or by divine creation a sense that “something” is of a higher and greater “being” than themselves. It can be of construct of human creation, but if it be a universal principle… like to say “sexually abusing infants is wrong” then most will bow to that in submission as if it was a god, and thus if becomes a god.

Now to say that to suppress a innate understanding that a god exists is rubbish I say that it is more ridiculous to speak of a none existing god and prove he does not exist… I see that as a total waste of time and energy. I think that it would be in and of itself self evident that there is no god and no real need to “prove” true.

As far as the wiccan question. I would agree that that statement is true, but that the wiccan is worshiping the creation and not the creator and that in that, has lowered themselves below the standard God set for man. Meaning as we are created the image of God, then to worship a principle is worship of something created and less than the God of creation.


3. There is no true atheist or at least one who is a honest intellectual one.


All atheist if they really understood the logical flaw behind their assertion would realize they are actually agnostic. I have yet to meet one atheist I have not turned into an agnostic.


Actually, most of us who refer to ourselves as "atheists" do not claim absolute knowledge that God does not exist. I am an atheist in the sense of being absent any belief in any God or Gods (weak atheism as opposed to strong atheism). In that sense, most of us atheists are, yes, agnostics.

But, then again, neither you nor I can disprove the existence of fairies. Nor reincarnation. Nor werewolves. So, strictly speaking, we might call ourselves agnostic on these issues---and I, for one, do---I'm willing to be convinced on any claim if real evidence is offered---no matter how wildly implausible it may be.

And that, of course, includes the God of your religion.

Actually, as I have stated before I agree… yet, again you proved my point… you are not an “atheist” you are agnostic as you state, yet hide behind the false cloak that you are an atheist. It would be like me saying I am a “Christian” then go to a Buddhist monastery and worship my ancestors… it is not being consistent to what I really am. I am a Christian so I follow the revelation of Jesus and who He is. I strive to contend for that faith and to be consistent with the teachings of my Savior.

Again, I hope I am being respectful to you and that I have not stated anything to offend you. I think you have taken time to think about your beliefs which is more than what many people of my own faith have done. I am not out to change you but do pray that God reveals Himself in a way that is real to you. I believe that if you sincerely seek Truth, you will find my God I serve.

iggy

iggy said...

David,

BTW... very cool art on your site... you are very talented!

= )

iggy

David B. Ellis said...

Hi, Iggy, Thanks for the compliment.

There's too many topics covered in your post for me to address in one sitting. I'll try to respond to some the the points I miss tonight later.


Yet, as a believer, and one that is not just a believer by mental assent but by having experienced the Living God in my life. This is not just unique to me but to people like me throughout the centuries. In that this seems to be an experience that so many have gone through that it should be all the proof one needs.


The argument from religious experience. The problem with it, though, is pretty obvious:

that there's no reliable criteria for determining when (if ever) an experience is an actual contact with a supernatural agent and when its simply a creation of the believers own imagination.

After all, we know that at least some religious experiences have to be delusional because believers have utterly different and contradictory experiences. One person has a vision in which Krishna shows him some of his past lives. Another sees Mary, Mother Of God.

You get the idea. The content of religious experiences can be utterly at odds.

Some of them must be false.

By what means do you propose as a reliable means to determine which category your religious experiences fall into?


I say all this as I hope we both can agree that we are most probably both entrenched in our belief systems so any "argument" would most likely just affirm your experience and knowledge that you have as "proof" for belief.


No. I'm actually willing and able to have my mind changed.

Its happened before (I used to be christian). Its happened several times since then on a variety of religious, philosophical and theological issues.


Now, if a god created all things, and then set out that some things are good and some are evil and that there is a right and a wrong… then he has the right to set the standard as he pleases.


If morality is determined by Gods preference then if God had been cruel rather than caring then cruelty would be morally right.

Even worse, following such a meta-ethical system, it logically follows that if you are mistaken about Gods character (that he is sadistic rather than benevolent) that sadism is right and kindness wrong.


To put it another way, on your meta-ethical system, within logical space (the set of all logically possible propositions) there are logically possible realities in which sadism is morally good (those where a sadistic diety created the universe) and those where kindness is morally good (presumably you think our reality is located somewhere in this "region" of the set of all logically possible universes).

And that makes morality arbitrary....and amounts to a pretty extreme form of moral relativism.


Actually, as I have stated before I agree… yet, again you proved my point… you are not an “atheist” you are agnostic as you state, yet hide behind the false cloak that you are an atheist.


If you're married to the idea that the term "atheist" should only be applied to the narrowest, most absolutist possible version of the concept then I think you're skirting close to attacking a strawman....since it doesn't describe about 99.9% of the people I know who self-identify as atheists. There are a wide range of much more nuanced positions legitimately describable as atheistic.

But its just a semantic issue and I won't waste a lot of time on it. There are too many substantive topics you've brought up for that. Call me a nontheist if you prefer.

iggy said...

David,

I need to take a bit more time in giving you an answer. I have a lot on my plate and worked last night... but I do not want to shine you on.

I am enjoying the conversation.

ig