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September 06, 2016

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Step 1 for me would be to challenge the notion that God is "just an invisible being with magic powers" and instead describe him as the greatest conceivable being and ground of morality. Next I would probably use the Kalam argument or similar to argue that the universe could not exist without a space less, timeless, uncreated, all powerful, personal entity. It would be up to the atheist to decide where the discussion goes from there.

I would question his knowledge: "By saying there is 'no evidence' you are implying that you have seen all the evidence and properly evaluated it. That is a claim to omniscience. How did you get to know everything there is to know?"

I would follow on that with "Is there anything you ever denied that you later came to see as true?" (Of course there is.) "How can you be confident this is not one of those things?"

The claim that there is no evidence is an astonishing broad claim and impossible for anyone to make without a claim of omniscience. If he or she were to say, "I have seen no evidence" or "There is no evidence that I know of," then we have a different kind of conversation.

I might follow up with, "What kind of evidence are you prepared to accept for the existence of God?"

I would also put the argument that there is no God back to the one making the claim. Nobody has unlimited knowledge, so to make a sweeping claim that there is no God is unwarranted and beyond the scope of finite beings.

I would then probably appeal to the cause and effect argument to demonstrate that everything that exists, e.g. the universe, must have an adequate cause greater than itself.

It would also be good to ask, "how did you come to that conclusion?" to ascertain why they hold that view.

People who say that there is "no evidence for God" don't understand what evidence is.

There is a huge difference between evidence-per-se and perceived evidence. For example, one could correctly say that the universe has always been full of evidence for “Newton’s law of gravity”. But it is a fact of history that nobody perceived any of it as evidence for such a law until Sir Isaac. For evidence-per-se to become perceived evidence, there needs to be the expectation of a manifestation of a causal relationship between the-thing-that-there-might-be-evidence-for and the evidence itself. When there is no such expectation, there cannot be any (perceived) evidence. When atheists claim that there is no evidence for God, they are not at all saying that there is no evidence-per-se for God. Rather, it is simply tautological: they have no expectation of the necessary causal relationship, therefore there is no perceived evidence.

First, I would not allow an unbeliever to dictate the terms of, nor control the conversation. I would begin by saying the Scriptures call you a lair. And perhaps show them this verse.

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Romans 1:20)

And that their denial is proof of the extent to which liars will go to deny the truth.

“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!” (John 8:44–45)

And so on.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yDKt3xUhiI42BqU8NhhCv5c20ei1MhWVE2I-x5PvRAE/edit?usp=sharing

I invite you to read this essay I wrote. Also, there are hieroglyph's from before the Israelites were in Slavery that have yahweh's (the Christian God) name on them

@ David Yancy;

Thanks for the article. I hope it is OK to copy and use it? I found it interesting but believe there is another dimension that makes the case for believers befor physical evidence comes into play.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)

There are two points that I like to make when someone claims there is “no evidence” for the existence of God. First, I assert that the Bible is evidence for the existence of God, and point out that he has either dismissed it without due consideration or else judged it to be unsatisfactory. We can stand on common ground and discuss the quality of various evidence for the existence of God, but a dogged commitment to the “no evidence” claim is unreasonable and illogical. If the atheist persisted in making this claim, I would probably discontinue the conversation politely; his unbelief is a matter of choice.

Secondly, and especially since he brought up the example of fairies, I would distinguish between cases that demand a verdict or judgment (as is the case with God) and those that do not (as is the case with fairies, or Zeus, or what have you). The existence of God is a question that demands a verdict because of the danger of damnation. Even an infinitesimally small chance that the infinitely bad might occur demands a serious consideration of (drumroll please…) the evidence. And there are worse places to start than by studying the Bible, both its content and its context.

The fact is that evidence is neutral. What's not neutral is the presuppositions that we bring to evaluate the evidence. I think God planned it this way so that the presupposition of faith is necessary to properly evaluate the evidence. So you can give the evidence all day long and the adamant unbeliever will dismiss it all day long just like a crooked judge will dismiss evidence in a trial. The greatest fact is something they may never admit to you, and something they are probably only vaguely aware of themselves, and that is their own bias against God. They know the intent of their heart. On more than one occasion I have called individuals to examine their own motives. I tell them that I don't need them to tell me what their motives are. This puts them off the hook and keeps them from making any spoken lie regarding their motives to be a commitment for them to defend. But if they make a commitment to faithfully pursue the truth over and against any bias otherwise, they might be willing to investigate the evidence with you further. I've found that approach most fruitful for disarming vehement bias against God.

Three helpful words in defining evidence:

Latin:

reductio
ad
absurdum

English:

reduction
to
absurdity

Plural:

reductiones
ad
absurdum


I'd be interested to know whether arguments count as evidence.

If so, then there certainly are challenging arguments for the existence of God, and there is no off-hand atheist answer to all of them. In that case, the atheist's claim is unwarranted. At least, not until he has thoroughly examined and refuted all of the arguments that theists have found compelling for thousands of years.

On the other hand, if arguments do not count as evidence, but only empirical observations do, then, of course, there cannot be decisive evidence for God...no observation can establish that there is an omnipotent being, for example. The most you could conclude is that there is a really powerful being. OK. +1 for the atheist.

The only problem is that there is, by that account, no evidence for arithmetic. -∞ for the atheist.

G.R. stated the following:

Quote:

You stated earlier, "Feel free to point me in the direction of evidence for a non-materialistic view that is not simply a thought experiment."

What [we are] giving is *arguments*. That you do not grasp them, much less refute them is your problem. Calling them “thought experiments” as if somehow it disqualifies them is sheer intellectual dishonesty.

“Thought experiments” embody *arguments*. Einstein very famously grounded both the special and the general theories of relativity in thought experiments.

At this point, this is beyond ridiculous....

End quote.

Joel Primacy, a cosmologist at UCSC, once asked Physicist Neil Turok: "What is it that makes the electrons continue to follow the laws?" (Col 1:17)

If we live in a digital universe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEDOQHisahM), who or what is the GPU that redraws the fingers of the atheists on the screen of reality when they type that there is no God?

How does the atheist account for the fact that the universe is governed by a very precise subset of mathematical and chemical parameters?

Joel Primack.

there certainly are challenging arguments for the existence of God, and there is no off-hand atheist answer to all of them.
I don't know what this means, but all the arguments I've heard have been well answered.

I would reply that it's certainly a stretch to say that there is no evidence for God.

Our universe had a beginning, therefore a cause. This cause is either rational or arational.

Based on the fact that this universe is governed by precise parameters, and that life is based on a complex digital code, I'd say there's plenty of evidence that leads to a rational cause behind the universe.

In fact, the rational cause is more plausible than the arational one.

Francesco,

What evidence is there that the Universe had a beginning?

At some point, you say, there was nothing but your God.

What evidence is there of that?

Attention, everybody! We're starting the move over to our refreshed site, and comments are up and running over there. If you want your comments to last, head over to the post on our main website. I'll be shutting down the comments here soon, so wrap up your current conversations. Thanks!

Hey Amy,

Can you get the (updating / current) number of comments on the new format's main page?

Ron,
Assuming that the standard model of the Big Bang theory is correct, the age of the Universe is measured to be 13.799±0.021 billion years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

Technically speaking, I did not say that at one point there was "my" God. I only said that the evidence of a universe that has a beginning and that features a complex digital genetic code makes a rational cause more plausible than a non-rational one.

If at one point there was nothing but my God, we cannot determine with science, since it would be a category mistake to use science to investigate the metaphysical.

I think the evidence for my God lies in reason and history; it may not be conclusive, but it's pretty good, certainly more convincing and internally consistent than the competition.

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