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February 21, 2013

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I think that it is interesting that atheists, in the chaplain link above, are proponents of defining words any way that they want. I know that they are not the only ones who are in favor of doing this. The problem with this is that when any one word has any meaning that we want it to, it dilutes our lexicon in terms of strength of meaning. Every word starts to look more and more transparent until it is utterly invisible. It a word's unique nature that gives it the unique opacity that makes it easy to identify and compare to that thing in the world it represents, but having it mean anything and everything anyone has a whim about making it mean, takes away from that, causing language to slowly vanish into meaninglessness and leaving us in utter confusion. I have a suspicion that those who push for this kind of thing are doing so in order to have the world match their own lives of utter confusion and meaninglessness so that they can feel more comfortable traversing it. What they fail to do is understand the unintended consequences of their actions and how negative they are. This can often be facilitated by an improperly justified cheerful attitude of positivity. As it inevitably occurs, events catch up with such individuals or group of individuals and the reality of the world crashes around their ears and their little word game rescues them not.

People are confusing non-religion and atheism.

Atheism is (more or less strong) belief that no God or god-like creature exists.

Non-religion is not making any position about non-materialist, theological issues, either because no information exists, or because the evidence does not seem to be sufficient about any statement.

The latter is pretty much the closest thing to "neutrality" in this issue and should really be the key factor when deciding what is religious or not.

Also, watching the video response from Mr. Koukl, he is somewhat correct but is also missing one of the central points of this debate: while it is probably true that majority of humanity believes in god, they believe in all sorts of different god(s). It is obvious that average Christian handwaves the existence of Hindu or Shinto deities pretty much completely. So the question has to be made whether someone ignores the question of deities completely, or just some specific sort of deity, like Jehova or Amaterasu. The latter is much more justifiably handwaved as too unlikely if no evidence can be produced or it isn't sufficient.

Non-religion seems to be taking a position about the existence of evidence for or against theological views.

Like all views, it is incompatible with other views. Because it is incompatible with those other views, it is not neutral with respect to them.

If non-religion were truly neutral, then it would be compatible with Paul's claim that there is sufficient evidence for theistic belief in Romans 1. And that is obviously not the case.

There is no such thing as a default, neutral position on theism (or anything for that matter). It's a logically contradictory will-o-the-wisp.

    There is no such thing as a default, neutral position on theism (or anything for that matter)

So if there is no neutral position on any matter, are you ready to disbar every judge, referee, and teacher everywhere, because they are all corrupted by bias? While you are right that there is no truly "neutral" point of view, some claims are clearly more biased then others, and from religious point of view, having everyone the right to have whatever religion they want without forcing anyone seems to be the most neutral.

To clarify, the measurement whether something is neutral can basically be calculated by the number of claims about reality it makes. It's like Mr. Koukl says on the video, saying that English Rugby team is greatest is a claim about reality. Saying English rugby team sucks makes a claim about reality. Saying I don't care or I don't know what this rugby even is, does not make any claim about reality.

Saying a guy did it, is making a claim. Saying no he didn't is making a claim. Saying I don't know is not.

Every claim is incompatible with infinitely many distinct claims. So I'm not sure how we get to the view that some positions are clearly more biased than others.

As for the judges you've put your finger on one reason, among many, that Rawls characterized the law courts as examples of imperfect procedural justice. No, we can't disbar every judge, because there not only is not, but cannot be any alternative to having biased judges.

We hope that the checks and balances in our system of justice tends to mitigate the inescapable biases of judges, lawyers, witnesses and jurors. And that's the best we can do.

"having everyone the right to have whatever religion they want without forcing anyone seems to be the most neutral."

This position is impossible. There are religions that insist on the extermination of dissidents. Either they will not be free to practice their religion, or everyone else will not be free to practice theirs.

Saying "I don't know" is a claim. To see this, notice that it is incompatible with the claim "I do know".

"Non-religion is not making any position about non-materialist, theological issues, either because no information exists, or because the evidence does not seem to be sufficient about any statement."

Of course they are making a claim. Ask a "non-religious" person to side with an atheist or theist and it's pretty clear which side they will likely choose.

Darth Dutch

"Non-religion is not making any position about non-materialist, theological issues, either because no information exists, or because the evidence does not seem to be sufficient about any statement."

Erkki, would you say then that a non-religious person would have to disagree with an atheist since the atheist does, as you say, make a positive statement about deity? But they would also disagree with a theist too?

That person would seem to disagree with both the theist and the atheist (!).

Darth Dutch

    We hope that the checks and balances in our system of justice tends to mitigate the inescapable biases of judges, lawyers, witnesses and jurors. And that's the best we can do.

Isn't this the whole point of the system? Basically, your government acts as a check against people abusing religious power by placing limits on what sort of metaphysical claims can be used as foundation for law?

    This position is impossible. There are religions that insist on the extermination of dissidents. Either they will not be free to practice their religion, or everyone else will not be free to practice theirs.

Obviously there are practical limits on tolerance. Intolerance can not by definition be compatible with tolerance.

    Saying "I don't know" is a claim. To see this, notice that it is incompatible with the claim "I do know".

"I don't know" is a claim about personal knowledge, not about reality. "I do know" is by definition claim about reality. They are two very different sort of claims. Basically, you are equivocating two very different sort of positions on an issue, because they both have words in them, and ignoring the fundamental difference of their content.

    Erkki, would you say then that a non-religious person would have to disagree with an atheist since the atheist does, as you say, make a positive statement about deity? But they would also disagree with a theist too?

    That person would seem to disagree with both the theist and the atheist (!).

There are plenty of agnostics and non-religious people who disagree with both atheists and theists. I think the issue is that, because of the nature of their beliefs, most atheists do not see agnostics and nonreligious as any sort of opposition, and because many atheists also self-identify as agnostics, ignostic or other sort of non-religious (and vice versa) so it probably seems that these positions are interchangeable.

You are shifting the goalposts on the judges. You said that if I was right about bias, then all judges are biased. I agreed that, of course, they are, but that we have checks and balances to mitigate that.

Now, somehow you are acting as if you were always talking about the checks and balances.

On the practical limits of tolerance, aren't you just saying that we always have to be a little bit intolerant? Which leads us back to my initial point. there's no such thing as a default neutral position.

""I don't know" is a claim about personal knowledge, not about reality. "I do know" is by definition claim about reality."

Is this really what you want to say? It doesn't make much sense.

Erkki,

In your first post you say that people are confusing non-religious with atheism and that they are categorically different. In your most recent post you say that non-religious is interchangable with atheist or agnostic. Which is it?


And, the reason most atheists do not have "opposition" (your word) with non-religious is because they are both making a positive claim about there not being a god.

Darth Dutch

    You are shifting the goalposts on the judges. You said that if I was right about bias, then all judges are biased. I agreed that, of course, they are, but that we have checks and balances to mitigate that.

    On the practical limits of tolerance, aren't you just saying that we always have to be a little bit intolerant? Which leads us back to my initial point. there's no such thing as a default neutral position.

Basically, what I am saying is that not all judges are equally biased. So a relative or a prosecutor acting also as a judge can not defend himself by saying "but we are all biased". I agree with you and I admitted it in my original response that obviously no "absolute neutrality" is possible, because people are not blank slates. But it is possible to measure the relative differences between biases.

On tolerance, well that's one way to put it, but I wouldn't say that we have to be "a little bit intolerant." Basically I would say tolerance and intolerance are fundamentally incompatible at legal and political level, because obviously we cannot not protect against intolerance. If someone wants to kill people who want to make an interracial marriage, then state cannot just "tolerate" this intolerance while still claiming to be "tolerant". So demanding we have to "tolerate intolerance" makes as much sense as demanding that we should just have more married bachelors.

    Is this really what you want to say? It doesn't make much sense.

What do you mean it does not make sense? If you ask someone what kind of weather it was yesterday, and the person responds that I don't know, he can not by definition be wrong about anything, since he is not making any claim about weather in yesterday, which removes any possibility of error. A person who says, "yes, it was sunny" CAN BE wrong, because maybe it was not sunny.

For the government not to have a cross or creche on its land is not a statement. It's neutral

For the government not to have a reference to God in its constitution is not a statement. It's neutral

For the government not to print "In God We Trust" on its money is not a statement. It's neutral

You are free in the public square.

The First Amendment limits what the government may do; it places no limits on what citizens may do 'in the public square'.

The lawsuits about creches, crosses, prayers, etc. are not about what YOU may do; they are about what the GOVERNMENT may do.

    In your first post you say that people are confusing non-religious with atheism and that they are categorically different. In your most recent post you say that non-religious is interchangable with atheist or agnostic. Which is it?

Well, of course most atheists are also non-religious, as there is little motivation worshiping God or deities if you do not believe they exist. However this is different from not making any claims about God, and still ignoring religion, either because not knowing what religion is correct, or because assuming none of them are. And I was precisely saying that they are NOT interchangeable, even though most agnostics do not have issue with atheists because of large overlap.

    And, the reason most atheists do not have "opposition" (your word) with non-religious is because they are both making a positive claim about there not being a god.

Except not all non-religious people make that claim. One may also take the opinion that existence of God is unknowable, or have no opinion at all.

I should probably also clarify that I do not by anyway mean that neutrality is always reasonable or morally correct stance. There are obviously cases where it is anything but, like saying that one does not know whether there is moral difference between actions of Martin Luther King and Charles Manson. What I am saying, that it does not make lot of sense to say that there can not be "neutral" stance in this debate.

So a person cannot be wrong about whether he has knowledge. In particular, he cannot believe that he lacks knowledge when, in fact, he has knowledge.

That's actually a controversial claim that many epistemological externalists would deny. (And externalism is the dominant view among epistemologists.)

Erkki S.

""I don't know" is a claim about personal knowledge, not about reality. "I do know" is by definition claim about reality. They are two very different sort of claims"

They are actually both claims about personal knowledge. In the one case it is a claim of affirmation and the other a claim of denial of it. At the same time, there is a something in particular that you either do know or do not know that could be part of reality. So, in both instances the issue of what is part of reality is in view. You might say that the context in both cases is the issue of reality of somthing.

"So demanding we have to "tolerate intolerance" makes as much sense as demanding that we should just have more married bachelors."

Well, the point is that, like neutrality, there's no such a thing as perfect tolerance. There are all sorts of intolerance that we can and should tolerate.

For example, some people may choose not to go to Philadelphia on vacation because of that town's active effort to encourage gay tourism. Now, I think that's a form of intolerance. But what should we do? Force people to go on vacation to Philadelphia? Obviously not, we need to tolerate it.

Everyone is an agnostic. No one knows with certainty that a God or gods exist. However, the onus is on the theist to demonstrate why his claim that a God exists has merit because everything that can be explained by an undetectable God doing it can be better explained by detectable natural means. The atheist simply claims that the evidence for a God is insufficient to justify the extraordinary claim that God exists. As Sagan said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Then again, any evidence would be a good start.

That video by Greg is absurd. He is claiming that the difference between believing in fairies and believing in God is because 99.9% of people around the world believe in God? Never mind that he pulled that statistic out of his backside, but since when is a majority view correct simply because it is a majority view? Most people in antiquity believed that the sun was a god. Heck, most people believed that time and space were absolute just 100 years ago. That doesn't make either point of view valid. Incredibly weak arguments

AJG

"No one knows with certainty that a God or gods exist. However, the onus is on the theist to demonstrate why his claim that a God exists has merit because everything that can be explained by an undetectable God doing it can be better explained by detectable natural means. "

I don't know that that's true. Can how the universe came to exist be better explained by detectable natural means? Perhaps you know something we don't. I'm willing to give you an opportunity to tell me how it was done and what detectable natural means are being incorporated to support the theory you have in mind. Do tell.

In the linked video, Koukl says there should be no atheist books if atheism isn't a claim.

This is like saying the defense should be silent at every trial since it has no obligation to prove the innocence of the defendant.

That's not how it is.

The prosecution makes a claim.
So, the prosecution must defend that claim.

The defense may make a positive case for innocence.
The defense may refute the prosecution's claim.
The defense may sit mute.

The defense is under no obligation to sit mute.
The defense is under no obligation to refute the prosecution's claim.
The defense is under no obligation to present a case for innocence.

None of these choices counts against it the defense.
The only thing that counts is whether the prosecution meets its burden of proof.

Theism is the prosecution.
Atheism is the defense.

None of these choices counts against it the defense.

should have been

None of these choices counts against the defense.

RonH

Your court analogy is not a good one because both sides are making truth claims and both must provide evidence as to their claims. That is why a debate format or analogy would be a better and more accurate one.

Atheism cannot sit idly by and simply refute what theism claims.

Darth Dutch

I don't know that that's true. Can how the universe came to exist be better explained by detectable natural means?

I would say how the universe came to exist cannot be explained at all. Yet. But saying God did it just moves the question farther back to who made God? This is the realm of philosophy not science.

Your court analogy is not a good one because both sides are making truth claims and both must provide evidence as to their claims.

How do you provide evidence for the non-existance of something? Why don't you provide some evidence for the non-existance of unicorns to demonstrate how an atheist would go about proving the non-existance of God?

Darth Dutch,

The arguments don't convince me; I don't believe; I'm not a theist; I'm an atheist.

Do I need to provide evidence of that?

RonH

AJG
you previously stated:

"everything that can be explained by an undetectable God doing it can be better explained by detectable natural means."

Now you are saying:

"I would say how the universe came to exist cannot be explained at all."

Have you just changed your mind?

"Yet. "

I take it you mean through detectable natural means.

"But saying God did it just moves the question farther back to who made God?"

God, by definition, does not require making. In the Judeo/Christian description/definition of god, he is the uncreated creator. So, to say that god needs to be made, is a self contradiction. If he needed to be made, he would not be god. Thus your imposition of that criteria does away with god altogether. The line of thinking you are following, demands that god not exist and is thus biased in that direction without proper justification for that bias.

"This is the realm of philosophy not science."

Without starting with philosophy of science, you would not have science at all. The philosophy comes prior.

AJG

I guess I would like to expand on the view of god needing to be created in hopes of adding some clarity. If one is to assume that the Judeo/Christian definition/description of god is questionable and that he indeed needed making, then his maker also needed a maker and so on into infinity. If there is an actual infinite string of creators then following that line to the point of creation of the Judeo/Christian god could never be reached and thus he would never be created. Again, this is a biased line of reasoning that demands that god not exist.
I hope that I injected clarity rather than added to your confusion.

God, by definition, does not require making. In the Judeo/Christian description/definition of god, he is the uncreated creator. So, to say that god needs to be made, is a self contradiction.

It's only a contradiction in your mind. If God exists, where did he come from? Another God? If God need not have been created, why should the universe have been created? Merely because it is material instead of immaterial? You can't even prove that anything exists outside of the universe (i.e. God) and yet you suddenly want to claim that what you can't even prove exists has existed forever? Nonsense.

At least I can say the universe exists. Did it have a beginning? It appears so, but that does not imply that there was a God around who needed to create it. Saying the universe just popped into existance is actually less nonsensical than saying a God that was sitting around forever suddenly decided to create it.

AJG

I noticed that you completely bypassed my question. Did you change your mind?

you previously stated:

"everything that can be explained by an undetectable God doing it can be better explained by detectable natural means."

Now you are saying:

"I would say how the universe came to exist cannot be explained at all."

Have you just changed your mind?"

Darth Dutch,

There are a couple of apologetic riffs you sure be on the look out for.

Type 1: Apologists will say 'atheists claim this or that'.

Here, the apologist puts a claim of this or that in the mouth of every atheist.

Maybe some atheist has claimed this or that.

Fine. That particular atheist owes an explanation for this or that; other atheists don't.

Type 2: Apologists will claim that certain things are entailed by atheism and that, therefore, every atheist claims these these things and owes evidence for them.

For example, they will say atheism (or even Big Bang cosmology) entails that 'the world just popped into existence from nothing (no thing)'. Well, I'm sorry, but I don' t make that claim. So I don't owe a defense of it. Period.

There's a book I don't have enough faith to be an atheist. As I recall, uses these riffs a lot. It is well titled.

RonH

"How do you provide evidence for the non-existance of something? Why don't you provide some evidence for the non-existance of unicorns to demonstrate how an atheist would go about proving the non-existance of God?"

That's my point AJG. At best one could say they are agnostic and say that they do not know enough to make a claim on the existence of God. But being an atheist (or "hard atheist" as it is sometimes described) is making a qualitative definitive statement.

As to your question of the unicorn, I could list reasons why I don't believe (I have not seen on, there have not been sightings by others, etc.), but the difference is that I would be open to belief in unicorns if sufficient evidence were presented.

The difference between my stance on unicorns and your stance on God is that I am open to changing my mind if presented with sufficient evidence and have no problem admitting that. I don't mean to put words in your mouth or misrepresent you, so please do correct me if I am wrong, but I would imagine that no amount of evidence would ever convince you of the existence of God.


Darth Dutch

RonH

I agree with you on Type 1. No one wants words put in their mouth and it would be unfair for me to say that you said something when you didn't.

As you Type 2, you may not be making a particular claim, but you still must resolve the question of origins as an atheist. You may choose to ignore it and not address it, but then that's up to you. In my mind that wouldn't be intellectually honest to hold to a position for which I ignore some of the ramifications.

Darth Dutch

The other difference between the unicorn/God comparison that I think is worth pointing out is that the existence or non-existence of unicorns has literally zero impact on my life either now or for eternity. God's existence does.

Darth Dutch

"everything that can be explained by an undetectable God doing it can be better explained by detectable natural means."


Not everything can be explained, either in naturalistic or supernaturalistic terms.


Now you are saying:

"I would say how the universe came to exist cannot be explained at all."

Have you just changed your mind?"


Not at all. How the universe came to exist is one of those things that cannot be explained. Yet. If if can eventually be explained, it will be explained by naturalistic means. In the meantime, scientists will continue to investigate and Christians will continue to lob charges of "scientism" at them. One group will continue to make progress in answering the questions that matter and providing solutions to the problems that plague us. The other group will continue to cling to superstitious notions while hypocritically accessing the benefits of the labor of scientists while giving the credit to an imaginary God.

Saying "God did it" is not an explanation because then the question becomes "How did God come to exist?" If you say God always existed, why not say the universe has always existed? At least we can detect the universe. God seems to be hiding in perptuity.

That's my point AJG. At best one could say they are agnostic and say that they do not know enough to make a claim on the existence of God. But being an atheist (or "hard atheist" as it is sometimes described) is making a qualitative definitive statement.

I already answered this at 2/21 3:24. You should go back and read it. Everyone is agnostic. Some people want to believe in a God so they do so even though there is ZERO evidence that it is so. An atheist is an agnostic who admits there is no evidence for God. Nothing more, nothing less. Anyone who claims they know anything with certainty is lying to you and/or themselves.

I'm a former evangelical who knows all the arguments for God. None of them are compelling at all. I was raised to believe in Christ so I did, even though I doubted the most ridiculous parts of the Bible (Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, etc.) were true. When I finally was able to break free of the indoctrination my parents had subjected me to, life became a miracle. I finally was able to apprecitate reality and reject myth. Myth is not all bad; it often contains much wisdom and insight into the human condition, but it should never be confused with reality.

I don't mean to put words in your mouth or misrepresent you, so please do correct me if I am wrong, but I would imagine that no amount of evidence would ever convince you of the existence of God.

My mind is always open to truth. Rationals are quick to jettison ideas when they are no longer tenable, unlike theists who cling tighter to dogma when it is shown to be false. I'd be open to accepting a God but I can't imagine what those circumstances would be. Why has Christ been hiding for 2000 years if he was resurrected, especially since he told his disciples some of them would not taste death before his return? Are they still alive in hiding somewhere too?

AJG

"Not everything can be explained, either in naturalistic or supernaturalistic terms."


You have made a clear statement earlier that contradicts the above position.

"everything that can be explained by an undetectable God doing it can be better explained by detectable natural means."

You not only stated that it can be explained, but that it can do so better. Yet, you insist that you have not changed your mind or position. I am utterly stunned and struck speechless.

AJG

Someone managed to find me some smelling salts and I regained consciousness so that I can respond. It would seem to me that a supernatural omnipotent and omniscient transcendent being is indeed a sufficient cause for the effect of the universe coming into being. So, it would seem that the universe coming into existence can be explained by such a supernatural being exercising his will and power and knowledge to accomplish such a thing. Why you claim that this is simply...what? Not an explanation? It kind of looks like one to me.

Your statement that " if can eventually be explained, it will be explained by naturalistic means." is simply a faith statement. You believe that this will happen and I don't know why you want to wait 6000 years, when you have to make a decision on this in one lifetime, for an explanation that is based on naturalism. I doubt that you are likely to be around then for starters. But it does seem to me that based on your statements, and not my speculation, you have a deep commitment to naturalism that prevents you from even considering a supernatural option when an explanation of that nature is offered and is sufficient for the effect. So, it seems that your prior commitments prevent you to consider any possibility outside of the naturalistic philosophy. I'd like to be wrong in this...but I suspect that I am not.

You not only stated that it can be explained, but that it can do so better. Yet, you insist that you have not changed your mind or position. I am utterly stunned and struck speechless.

I don't know how I can be any clearer. Everything that CAN be explained can be better explained by natural means than supernatural means. The origin of the universe cannot currently be explained by EITHER natural or supernatural means. One day it is possible, BUT NOT GUARANTEED, that the origin of the universe will be explained by natural means but it will NEVER be explained by supernatural means.

If you can't understand that, then I can't help you. The problem is your reading comprehenstion, not my argument.

But it does seem to me that based on your statements, and not my speculation, you have a deep commitment to naturalism that prevents you from even considering a supernatural option when an explanation of that nature is offered and is sufficient for the effect. So, it seems that your prior commitments prevent you to consider any possibility outside of the naturalistic philosophy. I'd like to be wrong in this...but I suspect that I am not.

Given that naturalism has explained EVERYTHING that we currently know, and has actually replaced almost every supernatural explanation that was held previously (e.g. mental illness instead of demonic posession), I'd say naturalism has a track record of success. What supernatural explanation is better than a natural explanation in your opinion? Can you prove it? If not, you're just speculating.

Look Louis, I get the faith thing. I practiced it for over 30 years. Belief in God is not rational and it can't be demonstrated rationally. The whole exercise of Christian apologetics seems absurd to me. Faith is an inherently irrational exercise. Any appeal to supernatural authority is pure speculation because we live in a universe governed by NATURAL laws. Supernatural explanations have historically been refuted as man has gained more knowledge about the natural world. A few areas are still largely unknown frontiers, the biggie in my opinion being consciousness, but given an informed historical context, there is no reason to believe that supernatural explanations are anything other than ignorance about how the world really works.

To me, faith is better described as hope. Hope that in the end there's someone who will put things to right. There's comfort for many in such a thought, and unlike Richard Dawkins, I don't think the world would be better off without faith. But there's no rational reason to believe a God exists. It's just hopeful speculation.

AJG

"I'm a former evangelical who knows all the arguments for God."

Don't let this come as a shock to you, but there is a huge difference between knowing and understanding. I think this is the gap that apologists try to bridge.

I've known folks who could remember just about everything without much effort and thus they knew a whole lot more than I did. But when it came to understanding what they knew...I had the trumped every time. Knowledge can be a very shallow gulch and understanding deeper than the deepest ocean.

AJG

" Faith is an inherently irrational exercise. "

Then why did you make a statement of faith that I pointed out earlier? Are you now admitting to responding in an irrational manner through that statement? Why would you do that?

"Any appeal to supernatural authority is pure speculation because we live in a universe governed by NATURAL laws. "

Do you know that these NATURAL laws are the same throughout the universe everywhere? I don't know how you could have such a position when we do not have access to assess this. It seems to me that any appeal to universal NATURAL laws is also pure speculation. Yes, you have some evidence, but we have evidence that god exists also. There is certainly historical evidence that he even walked among us. So, neither of us is without evidence that we consider somewhat reliable. Saying that, we are either justified in saying that the point of view of the other is pure speculation or because of the evidence, neither of us is.

But that was not the issue. I offered a supernatural explanation of the universe and you shot it down as a non-explanation. Ok, fine, but I don't think you are justified in doing that out of hand without considering the particulars.

Yes, you have some evidence, but we have evidence that god exists also. There is certainly historical evidence that he even walked among us.

Well, there's evidence that Jesus did, but no evidence that God did.

Anonymous written accounts that detail events that occured decades prior and that contradict each other do not constitute evidence. I suppose you'll use the old "the disciples wouldn't have died for a lie" even though there is no evidence that they did other than church tradtion, which of course had a vested interest in promulgating this line of "evidence".

Certainly, Paul believed what he wrote, but there's no reason to think he just wasn't a mystic. He wouldn't be the first in history. He's the real founder of Christianity, not Jesus. He took a story about an apocalyptic prophet and turned it into a new religion.

AJG wtote:

"Saying "God did it" is not an explanation because then the question becomes "How did God come to exist?" If you say God always existed, why not say the universe has always existed? At least we can detect the universe. God seems to be hiding in perptuity."

You claim elsewhere in this thread to have "heard all the arguments for Christianity" and yet you seem to really stumble with one of the most basic.

Louis gave a very lucid answer already.

You are arguing against the Mormon view of God, not the Christian view. Does this make sense?

You claim elsewhere in this thread to have "heard all the arguments for Christianity" and yet you seem to really stumble with one of the most basic.

What, that there is something rather than nothing, and therefore, a first mover is required? That's nonsense. Just because you want to define God the way the Bible does - as the great I AM who has always been and always will be - doesn't make it true or even a good argument. There's no good reason to believe this is the case. So a collection of ancient writings says so. That makes the assertion true or even good in what way exactly?

We know that the universe exists, at least as far as we can know anything exists. There is no reason to introduce a creator into the equation for whom no evidence exists. Doing so might seem like a reasonable idea, but there's no compelling reason to do so.

"An atheist is an agnostic who admits there is no evidence for God."

An agnostic is one who says they don't know. An atheist is one who says they do know and the answer is "no". Big difference, I think, both in terms of who each is and the claims they are making.

Darth Dutch

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