Posts Tagged by atheism

Herr Professor Strikes Back: atheist Deacon Duncan takes issue with my arguments

I noticed the other day that someone had taken the time to respond at length to my post discussing trancendence, immanence, logic and superlogic. Then I woke up this morning to find out he had posted again on it! Herr Professor, this is just too much! 🙂 Herr Professor, now going by Deacon Duncan, knows that I prefer to have extended discussions on my discussion forum but he has sufficiently stroked my ego that I think a post or two is warranted. It is not every day that I am described as smart and sophisticated and that my arguments are clever. However, since the Professor already is two posts ahead of me he will have to be patient as I catch up. Below is part one. Please read this to the very end, or not at all.

For this entry I am responding mainly to his first article, ‘Can God do Nonsense?’

From the start, I’d like to point out that H. Professor admitted one of my contentions as reasonable. I had argued that an evaluation of God’s ‘omni’ nature doesn’t require that he performs nonsensical demands, like making a rock he cannot lift. I said that even atheists can accept this, and H. Professor did.

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Transcendence and Immanence, Logic and Superlogic- and Sublogic

Orthodox Christianity holds that God is both a transcendent entity and immanent. If you understand what Christians propose to be true about God, you understand why both attributes follow necessarily. All religions boil down to some expression of one of these two attributes, usually to the exclusion of one to the other. Deism, for example, emphasizes transcendence and despises immanence. Various forms of paganism emphasize immanence, that is they identify ‘God’ with the universe and reject that there is a God ‘outside’ it. Even atheism takes a position here: naturalism is just another variation on immanence and ‘God’ is just another label for the ‘universe.’

Christianity insists that God is both transcendent and immanent.

At any rate, there are some implications of this and I think it would be helpful to understand some arguments regarding Christian theism. I can begin with by trotting out the old ‘Can God create a rock that he cannot lift or move?’ line. The contention is that if God is all powerful he should be able to do this but in doing so he would simultaneously undermine his own omnipotence. Most of the time this is answered by pointing out that some statements are just nonsense and God’s omni-characteristics do not require him to be able to achieve the nonsensical. To understand how this is nonsensical we might take on the next line in this attack, “Can God make a round square?” We see in this case that what is involved is simply definitional. If round is properly and consistently defined and asked to apply to a square, also properly and consistently defined, then the request is nonsensical. Something doesn’t become reasonable just because you insert ‘Can God’ in front of it.

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Santa Claus is Real and so is Jesus

Christian apologists are constantly asking skeptics and genuine seekers to hold to the question of God and Jesus the same standards of evidence they hold anything else. The question of Jesus being also a question of history, we are satisfied if non-biased standards of historical research were employed. Usually, it is the skeptics employing ad hoc standards based on priorly held beliefs about reality.

On this basis then, we see that one cannot dismiss the idea that there was really a man named St. Nicholas just because 350 years separates him from the (current) best sources. On that reasoning we’d have to ditch much of what we know about a great many historical figures, including big ones like Alexander the Great. So, let it be agreed: Santa Claus existed; it is a fact of history.

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Religion (ie, Christianity) requires higher scrutiny because it demands massive commitments

In the last week or so I had two exchanges where the debate turned on why the atheist/agnostic was demanding a higher level of scrutiny for ‘religious’ claims than other kinds of claims. In one of the cases, the really odd thing is that the person(s) had admitted that science, being limited as it is to the natural order, is unable to touch the supernatural and yet continued to say that science nonetheless remains the best way to learn about the world. This is not coherent. When pressed, in this case they again admitted that science couldn’t prove or disprove the supernatural but continued to insist that we use science to investigate the question. Truly, this world leaves me scratching my head.

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The Gospel According to the Movie Toy Story: YOU. ARE. A. TOY!

That the movies end with the toys coming to terms with the fact that they are toys and finding immense satisfaction in their created purpose is one of those wholesome lessons that proves that however much Hollywood and secular humanists try, theological messages resonate. (See also Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty)

So, are we toys?

We don’t like to think so. We would like to think that if we merely declared that we were completely independent and autonomous from any creator it would be so. We would like to think that assigning ourselves whatever value we like means that we really have that value. There is the theory and then there is the reality.

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Atheists begin Christmas Advertising Campaign, Buses in DC

I suppose a lot of you have already heard about this new advertising campaign? The purpose of the campaign is to “to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.” If they succeed, they will initiate a wave of conversions to Christianity. Why? Check out the slogan:

Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake!

Any rational person will immediately ask himself just how one knows what ‘good’ is, anyway.

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Transforming the Culture by Transforming People: Apologetics

There is again a clear correlation between beliefs and the one receiving the vote. I don’t perceive this as particularly insightful: it isn’t brain surgery to deduce that one’s beliefs impact where one puts their vote. However, my proposed solution doesn’t seem as obvious to the Christian church as it does to me: if you want to transform the culture, raise up more educated, informed, passionate Christians.

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