« More Late-term Abortions | Main | Facebook Friends »

June 16, 2009

Comments

Amy, great point. The assumptions in the arguments are important to pinpoint.

Does anyone else know of other examples from scripture of people making mistakes with logic? (especially if you can label the fallacy).

"If God really existed, He would appear to everyone and prove He exists."
When someone says that, you should ask him what God should do with people who still refuse to believe? If the person says give more proof, then they have passed judgment on themselves!

Daniel: Michael Ramsden (RZIM) illustrates a number of logical fallacies (by Sadducees and Pharisees) from the Gospel narratives in the following talk
http://store.rzim.org/product/tabid/61/p-112-introduction-to-apologetics-conversations-that-count.aspx

This is exactly what I think I hear someone explain why they don't believe in God. It seems to be more that they indeed have a perception of God, but their perception doesn't match their experience. However, their perception about God might ultimately be false.

E.g., God would have given me a car when I prayed for it. Since I did not receive a car, God does not exist. Or, God would not have let my friend die. Since my friend died, God does not exist.

"What good can come from Nazareth"

"If the Christian God were real, He would [X]. However, He does not [X], therefore He is not real."

Thats essentially how religion is created. Men trying to imagine what they can do for god.

Powerful verse!

>> Thats essentially how religion is
>> created. Men trying to imagine what
>> they can do for god.

It seems to me that we're talking about men imagining what God can do for them. What does this have to do with what men can do for God?

This is exactly what the popular "argument from non-belief" is based on:

1. If God exists, then he would see to it that everybody believes in him.
2. Not everybody believes in him.
3. Therefore, God does not exist.

To argue for premise 1, they point to verses such as 1 Timothy 2:4, which says that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." If God has this desire, and he also has the ability, there's no reason everybody shouldn't believe.

There's a big difference in how a Calvinist and how an Arminian would answer an argument like this. A Calvinist would just deny the first premise on the basis that God doesn't INTEND for everybody to believe in him.

Some Arminians, such as Paul Copan and Bill Craig, argue that everybody has the opportunity to hear the gospel so long as they respond positively to whatever information God provides to them. The reason not everybody believes is not because God was unwilling or unable to convince them, but because some people reject any knowledge God provides for them that would've lead up to eventual faith in Christ.

I don't think the form of the argument is necessarily fallacious, though. First of all, it IS logically valid. Second, I think there are some things we CAN reasonable expect God to do assuming he exists just because the Bible tells us so. One of my biggest reasons for doubt is that it isn't obvious to me that God answers prayers in quite the way we should expect if the New Testament is true. When you look at certain statements by Jesus (e.g. Matthew 7:7-11, Matthew 21:22, John 14:13-14, etc.), you get the impression that God will answer just about any prayer with a "yes." These scriptures give you a reasonable expectation that if God exists, he should answer prayers. So you could make this argument:

1. If God exists, then he should answer prayers.
2. God does not answer prayers.
3. Therefore, God doesn't exist.

Of course you can attack both of the premises. You could attack premise (1) on the basis that the New Testament qualifies Jesus' bold statements about prayers by saying it must be according to his will, we have to have faith, and sin hinders our prayers. These qualifications certainly explain when it doesn't seem like God is answering prayers. Who among us is without sin, after all? And who among us honestly believes that God is going to miraculously cure somebody? And how do any of us know what God's sovereign will is in every situation? This answer to the first premise is not very satisfying because Jesus' statements are so qualified that they are almost completely nullified.

Premise (2) can be answered with anecdotal evidence. Even if it appears that God doesn't answer many prayers, if he answers even ONE prayer, that would disprove the second premise and defeat the whole argument. I've heard lots of anecdotes where people received answers to prayers that it would be almost credulous to suppose there's some explanation other than that God answered the prayer. But I don't think I've ever had a prayer answered that couldn't have been explained away by appealing to coincidence or something.

Thankfully, when it comes to God's existence or anything else that I believe, I look at the preponderance of the evidence. This prayer argument seems to me to be one of the strongest arguments against the God of Jesus, and it causes me the most doubt, but I'm still pretty convinced that God exists just because of other arguments that far outweigh the argument against God from unanswered prayers.

" But I don't think I've ever had a prayer answered that couldn't have been explained away by appealing to coincidence or something."

Ive long thought on something similar, that being the appearance of Synchronicity. On the contrary I would say that although I could appeal to coinsidence, the consistancy and utter peculiarity and exactness of these coinsidences are in some instances far too objectively underwhelming to appeal to a godless force. Nevertheless, I think one of the biggest questions ill have for Jesus upon my passing is a discussion about this strange phenomena of synchronicity. Excuse me if ive spelled that word wrong!

Jesse, im reffering to the fact that religion generally consists of "if god were god, he would do this". And in my opinion, one of the strongest arguments for the Christian God is much of the things in the Bible are so strange in terms of human conceptualization, or how humanity generally speaks of itself on varying sensative issues, that it would be utterly bizzare to have been contrived within the minds of mankind. And I was stretching that to the point of religion (in its current sense, as at one time perhaps that word ment something), is very obviously a humanistic and conception of god, often echoing of ones own personal desires, which of themselves are not neccessairily bad, but have gone too far over a certain line. And have been dieified into an ultimately false god. Even if the intention was "good".

"or how humanity generally speaks of itself on varying sensative issues,"

Add 'in the area of religion' to that

Echo, I agree completely. We're often told that we invent God to comfort ourselves, as an object for hope in this ultimately hopeless existence. Seriously though, what kind of person seeking comfort invents a Holy God, to whom he will be held accountable?

But I was referring to Gran Torino's comment, which I took to imply there is no God, only gods which we have invented by projecting our human needs with our imaginations.

Actually Jesse, Echo expanded very well on what I was getting at

>>""If the Christian God were real, He would [X]. However, He does not [X], therefore He is not real." The problem with a person using this kind of reasoning is that he presumes to know what God would do..."

My little cousin always uses this argument on me when I tell her that her invisible friends don't really exist.

"Don't sit there Tony!"
"Why not"
"My invisible friend is sitting there!"
"I'm gonna sit here anyway. Ha ha I squashed her!!!"
"Nooo! Oh it's ok. She moved to that other seat really fast."
"No she didn't! You said she was sitting here."
"My friend is her own person. You and I don't know what she's gonna do next."

Amy's version of the argument: "If the Christian God were real, He would [X]. However, He does not [X], therefore He is not real."

I know what you're saying. Personally, this seems like a better version of it:

Given the breadth of claims regarding the proposed God, if He is real then it seems likely that He would [X]. However, He does not [X], therefore He does not likely exist.

Nobody can say what another being can or should do. But when given information about a proposed being that happens to be invisible or is hiding, we have to evaluate a much wider range of criteria than visible beings.

We know its very easy for humans to propose beings that also happen to be invisible or are conveniently hidden. Remarkably, even though they are invisible or currently hidden, these proposed beings will have a whole host of qualities, character attributes, and purposes.

When evaluating these claims, it seems reasonable to me to consider the logical cohesiveness of the proposed invisible being. You know, to see if one considers the being to even be logically possible.

Isn't this just a normal part of considering such claims?

Jim,

Given the breadth of claims (by whom?) ... it seems likely (to whom?)

Its also fair to consider that invisible being (x) is doing quite a number of things, person (a) either refuses directly or by nature of 'lifestyle' (for lack of a better word), refuses invairably.

Quite possible.

There may indeed be a myriad of other unseen factors at play in our universe.


"One of the biggest moral bombshells handed to Billy by the Tralfamadorians, incidentally, had to do with sex on Earth. They said their flying-saucer crews had identified no fewer than seven sexes on Earth, each essential to reproduction. Again: Billy couldn't possibly imagine what five of those seven sexes had to do with the making of a baby, since they were sexually active only in the fourth dimension.
The Tralfamadorians tried to give Billy clues that would help him imagine sex in the invisible dimension. They told him that there could be no Earthling babies without male homosexuals. There could be babies without female homosexuals. There couldn't be babies without women over sixty-five years old. There could be babies without men over sixty-five. There couldn't be babies without other babies who had lived an hour or less after birth. And so on."

- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five

If no God does exist. Then every arguement made arguing for a God would never be valid, ever. No matter how convencing the arguments might seem, would not make for there being a God.

From the stand point of there not being a God. What absurdities should this present? None.

Existence has no beginning and no end. Nothingness never existed. The universe is everything which is in existence.

what we observe as our universe has a apparent beginning and an apparent end. But existence in which our observable universe resides has neither.

Paul: "If no God does exist. Then every arguement made arguing for a God would never be valid, ever. No matter how convencing the arguments might seem, would not make for there being a God."

It sounds like you're saying that God's existence is unfalsifiable. If so, then even if God did NOT exist, we couldn't know it.

Paul: "If no God does exist. Then every arguement made arguing for a God would never be valid, ever. No matter how convencing the arguments might seem, would not make for there being a God."

It sounds like you're saying that God's existence is unfalsifiable. If so, then even if God did NOT exist, we couldn't know it. --Sam

Existence is not falsifiable. What is not true is falsifiable. Not by proving a negative. But by showing what is in fact to be true as opposed to what is falsely supposed to be true.

Supposing something to be true, which is not, is falsifiable.

Therefore if there not being a God, the concepts of there being God would be falsifiable. By reason the supposed concepts can not be proven without pre-supposing what is not true to be true first.

Sam,

Theism is that God is knowable. And that God has revealed Himself. Genuine Christians know God personally and so have eternal life and know it. (John 1:12,13; John 7:17; John 17:3; 1 John 5:9-13.)

Jim,

Taking your hypothetical one step further, I understand the charge to be:

- The Bible says given this set of circumstances, God does [x];
- Given those set of circumstances, God did not in fact do [x];
- Therefore, the God of the Bible does not exist.

Either our understanding of what the Bible says God will do is incorrect, our sense of what God did is incorrect, or there are other verses that bear on the relevant verses and the real-life scenario. Or, the syllogism stands.

I think the problem comes down to personal suffering (injustice, tragedy, unanswered needs) that seem to belie the promises of Fatherly protection. Reconciling grievous, prolonged, senseless suffering with God's beneficence is no simple task. It would be extremely presumptuous to make light of this challenge.

Jim,

Which is not to suggest you were taking any of these things lightly. My last comment was general.

The comments to this entry are closed.