My first issue regarding ED’s (EddyDeepfield) article “Found! Evidence against God - the God notion de-constructed” is with the very title. Not unlike cheap tabloid headings which are deliberately designed to shock and mislead his title seems intentionally constructed to create the false impression that God has been dealt the death blow. So, all believers should throw away their Bibles immediately as the whole thing has been decisively disproven. Oh, really?
Anyone who has ever given the debate regarding God’s existence any serious thought will recognize immediately that you leave yourself wide open for criticism when you title an argument that way. (As we shall see, however, ED’s arguments do not amount to much anyway)
The question of God’s existence is light years from being settled. Even Richard Dawkins is careful not to make absolute claims like this. He is honest enough to entitle chapter four of “The God Delusion”: “Why there almost certainly is no God”. As you might guess, I feel very comfortable asserting that there almost certainly is a God. I have experienced Him and tasted Him. I cannot, of course, prove this assertion any more that its negation can be proven by ED or anyone else. However, that does not mean that no compelling evidence and arguments for God’s existence exist. In fact, quite the opposite is true and the cumulative case for the existence of God is so strong that no serious thinker can legitimately ignore it. Thus, anyone who suggests that a knockdown argument can be tendered by either side of the debate betrays a prejudice and a lack of understanding of the subject.
The second challenge ED has to deal with is one of Truth. He talks about wishy-washy news24 readers who are “fantasy dwellers” and not “truth seekers” like himself. I share this lament with him as I also find it quite sad that so few are interested in truth and a general apathy about it seems to rule in society. However, I also find this rather ironic coming from him. ED is clearly a strong believer in atheistic evolution and therefore a materialist. Thus, he must by definition embrace the view that nature is all there is and that he has no immaterial mind; only a brain. Here is what philosopher Douglas Groothuis has to say about this idea: “Nature is mindless and purposeless. His (the naturalist’s) ideas are thus determined entirely by the biological and cultural forces that shape us. The notion that with our minds we can transcend these forces and discover the truth about a reality that exists apart from our perception of it is thus nonsense. If we have no immaterial mind that exists independently of our physical brains and if natural reality is all there is then there is no basis for affirming or comprehending truth. You can only apprehend social constructs of human brains as they are acted upon by nature.” Philosopher Richard Rorty says it this way: “The idea that one species of organism is, unlike all the others, oriented not just toward its own increased prosperity but toward Truth, is as un Darwinian as the idea that that every human being has a built in moral compass- a conscience that swings free of both social history and individual luck” Question: How does ED then succeed to rise above this and to disentangle himself from the realm of fantasy dwellers to the realm of Truth knowers? Only he knows. Charles Darwin himself asked the question why, if he essentially has an evolved monkey brain should he trust it? It seems to me that atheistic naturalism has a built in flaw that has not occurred to ED.
Next I would like to respond to ED’s assertion that the Bible teaches nothing and that all theological pronouncements are doctrinal interpretations from cherry-picked texts. This is simply ill-informed and betrays a serious ignorance. It is also untrue. The Bible teaches, among many other things, the following:
1. 1. Humans beings are sinners and our hearts are desperately wicked (The depravity of man is at once the most unpopular of the Christian doctrines and yet the most empirically verifiable – Malcolm Muggeridge)
2. 2.We must love our enemies
3. 3.Evil exists and must be fought and resisted
4. 4.God is the Author of life and deserves worship
5. 5.The Universe had a beginning
6. 6.The Universe will come to an end
7. 7. Life does not end at the grave
8. 8.God is just
9. 9.Jesus was sent to die for our sins
10. 10.Jesus was crucified
11. 11.Jesus was raised from the dead
12. 12.We can be forgiven for our sins if we believe and accept this
13. 13.There is a heaven
14. 14.There is a hell
The fact that there are many different denominations is hardly a valid argument against the existence of God. The central Christian Church for the most part professes these teachings mentioned above and instances where denominations differ are seldom of any real consequence, as in the case of sprinkling versus full baptism. These are mere “family squabbles” if you will. There are of course “churches” like the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” (The Mormons) who, despite their name, depart completely from traditional Evangelical doctrine and they are, as a result, regarded as outside the “Body of Christ” because they depart from accepted Biblical teaching and rely instead on their own prophetic revelations and their own writings. This, however, does nothing to impair the veracity of the teachings of Christ as understood from the Bible since the first century.
Next ED makes this statement referring to uninformed church goers: "They think that the original Greek or Hebrew is the original source, but of course that is not true, for where did they get it from" ED calls it a falsehood and a shaky foundation. He backs this wild statement up by exactly no evidence except his “say so”. Once again, hardly an argument we need to bother with.
Next he makes the claim that the notion of God is logically incoherent. Again, this is just an assertion along the lines of “Trust me, I’m an atheist”. No evidence, no argument - just an assertion. If it is so easy to demonstrate why does he not show us? I suspect he is referring to something like the old stone paradox question “Can God create a stone that He cannot lift?” The idea is that if He can create it then He cannot lift it and hence is not omnipotent. If He can’t create it then He is also not omnipotent because there is something He cannot do. This is a question no thinking atheist bothers with anymore because it is a nonsense question. It uses mutually exclusive terms and is therefore a non-issue. It is the equivalent of a married bachelor, a sunny night or a wet desert. Once again, hardly an argument against the existence of God we need to take seriously.
The next interesting bit in ED’s attack has to do with what he calls a losing battle some Christians fight to disprove galactic evolution. I find this wonderfully interesting! When, during their famous debate, atheist philosopher Bertrand Russel was asked by the Jesuit priest Frederick Copleston where the Universe came from, he replied: “It’s just there”. The reason for this reply was, of course, that a Universe that could be proven to have had a beginning was anathema to the atheist mind as it had possible theological implications. Today we know that the Big Bang is very, very likely, if not proven, to have happened and that we can legitimately infer a cosmic beginning. Just like the Bible says.
A further aspect of this is that Russel inadvertently recognized the fact that somewhere one has to reach bedrock. So by implication we can legitimately say of God: “He’s just there”, can’t we? Something has always been around and God by definition is not a contingent being. One simply cannot posit infinite contingency without leading to absurdities. So, it’s either chemicals or Intelligence. There is clearly intelligibility in the Universe, so I opt for the latter.
This also leads to the old schoolboy question: “Who made God?” or “Who designed the Designer”. This is, once again, a non-question if not a wilfully stupid one. Because one can just as easily ask: “who evolved the evolver?” as the chemicals in the early universe did not evolve. They are assumed to be “just there”. They just popped into existence, at the Big Bang, finely tuned beyond human comprehension to support life. Where did this come from? Who put it there? According to ED the answer can only be: “It came out of nothing and by nothing. It just happened inexplicably for no reason and with no purpose in mind” One must have a lot of faith to believe such nonsensical explanations.
So when ED says that the Cosmological argument fails, it boggles the mind.
The argument, simply stated, says:
1. 1.Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. 2.The Universe began to exist
3. 3.Therefore the Universe has a cause
That sounds reasonable. What I would like to know is what ED’s explanation is for the coming into being of the Universe. But, once again he just asserts without evidence or argument - “Trust me, I’m an atheist!” Yeah right.
He also mentions the ontological argument. The strength of this argument hinges on the possibility of God’s existence. Even the most hardened skeptic, if he is honest, has to concede that it is at least possible that God exists. If ED wants to deny this he must first demonstrate that the idea of God is logically incoherent – something he has talked about but has not been able to do, thus far. And if it is even possible that God exists then the ontological argument cannot be discounted out of hand.
Next ED expresses incredulity at the idea of spirit. He says: “If a spirit being were to exist it would consist of nothing. It would have no matter, just empty space. So how can something which is nothing interact in a natural world?” Please note that this is coming from someone who believes that the entire natural world as we know it came into being out of absolutely nothing! Do you see the problem?
Lastly ED bemoans the fact that God seems eternally undetectable and elusive. He says: “His silence is deafening and his inertness in the presence of suffering, horror and evil is unbelievable.” A couple of things can be said about this. Firstly, if it is even possible that God can have sufficient moral reasons for allowing evil in the world and for hiding His presence from most of us for most of the time it does not disprove His existence in the least. On the Christian view this world with its transience is not ultimate reality. This is a tiny, albeit significant drop in a bucket of immense and timeless proportions.
Secondly, whose Moral Law does ED appeal to when he talks of horror, suffering and evil? Does he assume an objective set of moral laws according to which he can make moral judgments? If so, where does he get this from? Joseph Stalin, the Buddha, Hugh Hefner? As a naturalist, materialist and atheist ED has no absolute moral law to legitimately appeal to except his own relativistic assumptions concocted by his own evolved physical brain. And why should anyone trust that?