Saturday, March 31, 2018
God is real, His existence is necessary. Many Christians and non-Christians assume that we must wait to receive enough evidence as to whether God exists. However, life happens. This is a basic presupposition to all of life's actions. Whether there are morals, whether life will escape death, whether there is objective order, are all basic presuppositions that we must have and respond to. That is the purpose of parents, we need to have a temporary worldview for simple survival.
Traditionally, Atheists have demanded that Christians or theists must prove to atheists on atheistic terms that God indeed exists. They have assumed a home field advantage because their position is negative and you can not prove a negative. This seems to be an argument from silence. God, Jehovah, was not historically a hypothesis to be tested, but instead a historical factual figure who was observed.
The Bible is a historic record of God.
God is a historic character
The Bible is the most trustworthy history of the ancient world.
Since Jehovah is not a predicted observation but instead a claimed observation, it is the responsibility of the unbeliever to show just cause for disputing the fact of God.
In contemporary times secular humanists(a.k.a atheists), have moved to evangelize others towards the naturalistic/atheistic/secular humanist worldview. As a result, modern atheist forfeit their right to sit as prosecutor and judge. When they attack the believer's faith, it is the believer who stands in judgement over their arguments.
Now one of the more seductive evidences of our Lord is the faith he gives us. It is typically dismissed as crazy by the radical anti-religious. However, I want to reveal the hidden intellectual weight behind faith starting from simple arguments to the more complex and show how belief is both right and essential before even conducting science.
Existential argument "We need God"
The purely naturalistic worldview actually reveals to us that mankind desperately needs God.
The atheistic worldview can be rewarding for the elite darwinist. Those who happen to be the highest of achievers can live a long life.
But among those who are weaker the doctrine is a handicap. There is no recovery from failure because there is no hope. We may have hope for the future generations but they will end up as fruitless as us.
The Secular generations are a broken record, repetitiously playing the song as if brand new, only to come to a shattering crash and skip back to the beginning. Without the spiritual life with God, mankind falls rather easily into despair. Is it from the numerous socialist(facist,communist, nazi) dictatorships? Is it the millions of lives lost due to drug abuse? The multitudes of suicides? Is it the dissolution of the family leading to sexually transmitted diseases, traumatized children? Or is the a half a billion unborn babies dying as a result of such rampant fornication? The desperation of secular society is amazing. I remember working at a gas station watching customers grimly spend all their money on lottery tickets, quite often spending away their checks. I kept hoping they would win assuming they would stop and be happy. But sadly, they often would spend all their winnings right there without leaving. I knew one man who actually did hit the jackpot. But instead of investing his money he would simply buy more tickets; over a thousand dollars of tickets every couple days.
But the levels of depravity on drug addiction are clearly amazing. it is enough to speak of the evils of regular drugs, then we get to see the addiction of dr. prescribed painkillers. But this is nothing to the digesting of toxic cleaning fluids. Whether it be furniture polish or tide-balls. the need for self mutilation just for some sort of high takes more and more sickening levels and the death tolls soar!
People find themselves desperate for more than the secular world has to offer quite easily. Even the rich and famous often breakdown after realizing that they will never be satisfied. It doesn't matter if you live in a cardboard box, an apartment box, a housing box, working at a warehouse or office box going to the hospital box to die in a coffin box you still will be boxed in and caged in the materialistic worldview! That is probably why we invest trillions of dollars in hopes living in an outer space with no oxygen, food and water but yet plenty of freezing and radiation.
It is quite appealing to fool over-sheltered christian kids who want to leave home. But in reality, when the going gets tough secular humanism offers nothing to survive. It may not make total sense to me or you, but it does not have to! Because our ideal of what makes sense has not proven itself completely true. And this truth is one of our essential needs.
This argument is typical proposed as existentialism. It does not prove the truth and it does not establish a complete worldview. However, it has a universal appeal to point us to the need for spiritual and inner truth. So while I may indeed argue against it if it were isolated. I think this is the first reasoning to start a journey especially with the novice.
Faith is my right
I believe in God, I am in a covenant relationship with God and He makes total sense to me. Contemporary "fundy atheists" are reacting that they could not make sense of God as if this can convince me that what I know as true can not be. The authority of their opinion stops at their own wills and not mine. How can their rejection negate my acceptance? They may retort "you don't know..." But in order to set limits on my knowledge they have to concede limits on their own knowledge.
The one thing they don't have is MY KNOWLEDGE! So they Don't Know if I know God other than my testimony which says that I do know God. ( I have had several experiences spiritual sensations answers to prayer miraculous deliverance etc.)
So essentially this is nothing more than a bluff and in fact it reveals an insecurity on the part of the atheist. What motivation does the atheist have for targeting and pressuring the believer to abandon faith? Could it be that seeing someone confident in their knowledge and relationship with God brings them doubts of their naturalism?
You see their premise is that God has failed because he has not provided them a means of communication. They have to rest in the assumption that God is not knowable for them to justify not knowing God.
But if they find a true believer then it becomes apparent that God does allow people to become convinced and believe in Him. It begs the unbeliever why they have failed to produce the required faith.
Now this line of reasoning is typically understood more as defensive and not used for positive argumentation. Yet the defense is stronger than it appears. Their are also issues of epistemology but they are more better classified in the section on pre-suppositionalism.
Our faith is evidence
There is a universal need for mankind to transcend itself. There is a need for meaning not found in the animal kingdom. This need motivates us and yet if it is not met then the result is often death and destruction.
So what has been the answer? What has worked to fulfill this need? The vast majority of the World operates under monotheism, the belief in one God. We see this in Judaism, christianity, Islam, deism and Sikhism.The vast majority also focuses their faith in a messianic mediator. This includes the pagans and the Buddhist. The Person of Christ is the most respected of all religious figures, even among non-christians. Muslims see him as a prophet, Hindus see him as a deity and the Jews and Atheist see him as a revered teacher. It is then not a surprise that Christianity which combines these principles is the worlds most popular religious option.
Within Christianity we see people from about every nation on earth. We see every social class represented. Overcoming thousands of cultural and linguistic barriers and transcending generations for two thousand years stacked upon several thousand years of Judaism.
So in summary we see millions upon millions of testimonies giving weight to the reality of Christ as the solution for life's problems. As the number of believer's tends to build; the evidence for faith in Christ grows in objectivity.
So then as we see the evidence of the stability of the christian witness, what we are observing is the effect. The effect(Christianity) is evidently true in the subjective experience of billions of people. If the effect is true then it implies that the cause is true. What is the cause of christianity? The gospel is the cause of christianity and the christian faith. Without the gospel there is nothing for the christian to have faith in. The gospel is enshrined in the Holy Bible.
So, now we have gravitated from a god, to the christian God Jehovah. While this evidence is subjective, it is still true that we have evidence for God and this God is rooted as a historical fact.
You don't know my God!
Some of the "fundy atheist" arguments are seriously insulting. Not because they are hard to answer, but because they show a complete ignorance of basic theology.
The 2 arguments put for most often are really not informed arguments as much as straw-men. "The flying spaghetti monster" and "Where did God come from?"
This is offensive in the sense that God by definition is eternal and is not a created being. This is not just a christian principle either but essential to EVERY form of monotheism even Aristotelian! Theologians have spelled out this doctrine for thousands of years, So it is very blatantly false.
The only purpose for the argument I imagine would be to disrupt the theist in anger, boost the confidence of the fellow atheist through boasting and ridicule and to intimidate the novice.
If this were an honest tactic it would reveal quite a level of ignorance as to the definition of God.
But this reveals the fact that atheists not only lack the proper understanding of the doctrine of God but are intellectually prohibited from properly understanding it as they would have to concede the Lord's existence!
Now the Ontological argument was first proposed by the theologian Anselm, but I prefer the way Rene Descarte organized this argument and I will give my rendition of that.
Rene was dealing with the conundrum of Skepticism. What can survive doubt? Couldn't reality just be a dream or illusion? How do we know what is ultimately true?
Descarte pondered this deeply and was headed for a logical breakdown when he realized that since he was thinking about the subject it was obvious that he had to be real or he wouldn't really be thinking.
Now I wouldn't be absolutely sure that one could not be imagining they were somebody else who wasn't real. However, in practical terms it was obvious that he was real and there was reality. However, most people only hear this much without the reasoning as to how this became a concrete logic. Admitting His existence was admitting to himself the existence of a limited person.
What do we know about limited people?
Well, in every way they are limited!
But if there existed a concept of limitation it is only understood verses the concept of unlimitation.
For How do we know if we have a limit unless there exist a thing which unlimited to compare the measurement with? For instance how do you know if a glass is half full? By knowing that there is a half of full.
Thus we have the concept of the infinite.
Atheism can not harmonize with the concept of infinity. the materialistic worldview is limited and yet has not concept of unlimited and so ultimately will retire to the concept of theism or pantheism.
When we consider the question of God's existence there are only three possibilities.
1.God does not exist, because God is a contradictory concept.
2. God does not exist because God is a figment of the imagination.
3. God does exist.
In recent years, many "new atheist" Have resorted to the argument that God is impossible.
This has been easy to debunk in the sense that there is an entire field of study called theology. For several centuries men have studied this field and even obtained masters degrees and doctorates. (including myself). So you have a large historic institution where men are trained and instructed to understand God, and in fact where men are recognized and rewarded for their studies in this field. To be frank you would think that these people would nottice if in fact they had no comprehension of God at all.
The only people who are claiming to not understand God are those who impose the doctrine of agnosticism upon everyone else. But generally even atheist do not want to claim to be ignorant of a topic, they can not live with the self inflicted insult that they are not even capable of defining the God which they are denying.
So then the obvious resort is to claim that God does not exist because He is a myth/figment of our imagination.
So is the definition of God a figment of our imagination??
Look at God's attributes
1. God is eternal
2. God is immutable (unchanging)
3. God is all powerful
4. God is all knowing
5. God is Holy
6. God is everywhere
7. God is transcendent
If God were a product of man's imagination he would have none of these attributes! In fact God would possess not only none of them, but he would not have any scale of them genuinely. To the point that to refer to the imagination is not to refer to God in any sense. This is why it is common practice to lowercase pagan "gods" and uppercase Jehovah God, because they are entirely different concepts.
God is not a oblivion, God is the plenum or maximum. God is not zero, God is infinity. now many would argue that this is only a mental trick and that you could replace the perfect God with the "perfect Island" and this concept also applies to pantheism where everything is infinite god. However neither are by definition omniscient because neither are even intelligent. Thus the definition of God is peculiar to God.
If God is not by nature irrational and not by nature a fantasy, then God is existent. But not simply existent, and this is where the fallacy begins. God is not limited to the universe, but indeed transcends it. Thus when rules are placed upon the existence of God they often do not apply. God is not just "existent" He is "necessarily existent". In other words the universe not only does not support God's existence, but instead the universe is upheld by God's existence. Who wrote the laws of nature? What makes things the same or different? God establishes that reality and therefore the universe is contingent upon Him.
Moral Argument: God is good, all the time!
Morality is self evident and a necessity. Some may assume "Let's not argue over morality but instead focus on the truth."
If truth is not good, then why does truth matter? And if truth is doubted then how would we go about logic? or dialogue?
In order for mankind to get along there must be an agreed moral base. Because the moral base will be the authority to drive the basis of truth. Some Atheist have began to argue against the notion that they lack morality. While even the bible agrees that the gentile is capable of moral actions.
Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: "
However, they are handicapped having no moral base.
jonah 4:11 and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"
The reason that atheists and other secularist do not have a moral foundation is the fact that they can not prove whether there morality is moral!
If morality is not good how can it be moral?
If morality is not subjective then what is it subjective too?
John 18: 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?"
And so the circle of life ends in death.
Now typically the greatest intellectual threat to christianity has always been the problem of Evil. If God is a Good God why to evil thing happen to good people? Or innocent people? Or Why is there Evil at all?
In dealing with this I am confronting the logic of the argument. Obviously emotions and experiences if traumatic can take years to heal from.
God is Transcendent) Many times this accusation is made implying God's Direct involvement. Yet God is not doing any evil immanently in the world So the suggested punishment often does not fit the crime.
God created a very good world) God created earth as a paradise. The evil death and suffering we see in the present world was not the work of His actions.
God and free Will) Creation is superior if it has a Will to show the greatness of the creator. In order for the Will to be free The wrong answer must be present and possible.
God is Sovereign) All creation is God's property, He has a write to destroy all that is unrightesous and Set up the Laws to govern the World.
Satan and Adam) Lucifer brought evil upon Adam and Adam perpetuted evil and death to the rest of creation
God's Middle Knowledge) There are an infinite amount of possibilities God Caused the reality that would be most productive.
Christus Victor) All Evil is going to be reconciled
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
How can we wander the earth trying to weigh out every option of every decision we have to make? More importantly how do we prove that we searched out every option without proof that we did that?
In all of the universe how much of it do we actually know?
There are parts of the earth we have still never explored.
We are completely incapable of objective judgements.
God is objective, He does know all things and so His revelation in scripture should not be doubted.
Thus the christian worldview then is presupposed.
But how does that connect to the unbeliever?
The unbeliever carries their own presuppositions and worldview. They judge everything by their worldview. If you give them evidence they are typically going to reject your conclusion only because it is not matching their worldview.
So the final solution to interacting is appealing to the law of non-contradiction. Revealing that their worldview is incapable of certainty.
In polytheism there are multiple gods. At Which point one must ask "Which god possesses objective truth?"
In hinduism/Buddhism reality is an illusion, but isn't then your understanding an illusion as well?
In Atheistic materialism, everything in the universe breaks down to matter. How does matter provide us with the laws of science?
Many religions rely on mystical and ecstatic experiences, But when they contradict, which ones are true?
In rationalism how are we certain that our logic is flawless? What if we have a mental or neurological defect?
In empiricism we often observe things by sight alone but sight is ultimately 2 dmensional. When this is the case how do we know the distances?
When making measurements we have no absolutely perfect standard of measurements.
For instance if we take two 12inch rulers side by side they may seem identical, but under a microscope, we will find much difference. If you could place rulers in order all the way to Neptune(which is actually impossible due to rotation!) Then the differences would be many miles. and of course that would magnify as we try to measure stars. All our mathematics are reduced to estimations and all mathematical certainty falls apart.
The scientific method is useful in debunk various theories. But it is subjective in the sense that it starts with a hypothesis which is an educated guess. We could come up with the wrong hypothesis and simply repeatedly offer the wrong hypothesis?
Even if an experiment works it is still Subjective because the explanation may be correct in that particular circumstance and yet a competing hypothesis could pass the same experimental results and offer a better explanation in other areas.
Remember, this is all assuming the moral integrity of science. It is not counting false reports or fudged data which can alter future assumptions.
If objectivity or absolute truth can not be attained then certain truth ultimately has no base. All man's knowledge is thus a house of cards and it collapses into nihilism.
By presupposing biblical Christianity, we have the only worldview with a case for objective truth. If no other worldview has certainty then what authority does it have to debunk Christianity?
This is the most powerful base for Christian philosophy and theology. Yet it communicates poorly. if theoretically the Heathen has poor logic then why would they concede christian truth? Plus, it requires an educated person to know that the other worldviews true have not obtained this level of certainty. Thus requiring a great amount of patience, which the public does not have. Thus the preceding arguments operate as a chain to finding this base.
The following arguments move from faith presupposing God to faith presupposing science. There are 3 major arguments that I have not pursued because they are post propositional science. The cosmological argument
If God were not real then nothing would be.
All reality bows down to time, it all changes, and it eventually wears down. But when we deal with God or the infinite godhead(substance of God) we are dealing with timelessness. If there is not an infinite base, then there is no frame of reference to know that all else is temporal and thus we have the concept of "things" things that have limits. This is the reality we live in. Otherwise we have no understanding. This is the flaw of monism within eastern pantheism and it ultimately breaks down in western pantheism as well.
Science studies things. It divides things up and classifies things by divisions of other things. the destruction of differences is the destruction of science.
Evidence as evidence
We live in reality because God is real, In order to trust reality enough to understand it we must place faith in it being understandable. We know there are things undetected by one and even all our senses and we have developed tools to detect this. But what if we never had the tools? What if there things through which we will never have the tools to make such detection
All the major branches of science started from a creationist perspective. I believe this was part of that process... by design!
Time is limited, There is no study long enough to be certain without faith and doing the study only waste a life guaranteed to end. Typically the atheist world offers liberation but only until consequences reveal reality. beyond that it offers no foundation for hope, morality or justice. Atheism has no hell accept for the fact of death. But he can not punish the unbeliever. So only unbelief bears consequences in eternity.
logically applied, belief is inevitable.