Conflating Questions

There has been a lot of debate against my recent articles that stems from a common mistake made by atheists. This article is a little more in depth, but if you can get this you will really have something good to chat about with your atheist friends.

Many of you who are Christians may struggle with the arguments made by atheists against our beliefs. You’ve heard it before that believing in God is the same as believing in Unicorns, Fairies, Santa Claus and the like. An opponent challenged me to prove that God wasn’t just another one of these superstitious characters.

Atheists will use these superstitious characters in one of two ways usually: 1) They will show the absurdity of believing in imaginary creatures and use that as an analogy for believing in God, or 2) They will ask you if you believe in Unicorns, Fairies, and Santa Claus and when you say, “no” they will try and turn the tables on you and say, “see, now you show me your evidence for not believing in those things.”

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Another very popular argument was born in Stephen F. Robert’s statement made to Theists in 1995 (later popularized by Richard Dawkins) that, “I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

This is a common misunderstanding and conflation of 1st and 2nd order questions. Listen up. This will help you.

A first order question for our purposes explores the “what” of God. In other words, what is the general idea of a being that is God? An answer from Alvin Plantinga explains that this idea of God is something “having an unsurpassable degree of greatness—that is, having a degree of greatness such that it’s not possible that there exist a being having more.”

It is impossible to have two beings (or more) that possess an infinite degree of greatness. It is a metaphysical impossibility.  A universe with two or more omnipotent, or supreme, or infinite beings is absolutely impossible.

Now,

A second order question explores types or the “who” of God. The answer can be many possible conceptions of God.

A Theist rejects all other conceptions of God without being an “atheist” about Thor, Odin, etc. because what makes a person a Theist is not the “who” or type of God but the “what” or nature of God. Rejecting the Thor and Odin “who” type conceptions of god goes hand in hand with the positive accepting of the Theist “what” type of God. I’m not just disbelieving in the others. I’m believing in One that eliminates the others altogether. It’s like killing a thousand birds with one stone.

So when you ask me to show that God is not a superstition or ask me to prove that Thor isn’t God, you are conflating the “what” is God and the “who” is God questions. The Christian God is outside of time, without matter, and is not confined by the material universe. Unicorns, fairies, Santa Claus, Thor, Odin, Wotan, Zeus, Ashara… are technically still possible in a logical sense, but since they are within time, composed of matter and confined by the universe, they are inferior.

Finally, most people who reject God are rejecting a figure that I would reject also. The “what” of God is often times assumed, as if we Christians believe in a Family Guy type god who sits on a cloud, wears a white toga, and smites people. If we can get on the same page about what God is, a lot of these common questions will answer themselves or just not be applicable.

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67 replies
  1. Robert says:

    The arguments put forth on this blog just get weaker and weaker and weaker… Prove something can exist outside of time. Prove omniscience is even possible. Prove the concepts of omnipotence and omnipresence are not imaginary human concepts and really do exist. You must really be sick of being hammered by atheists in debates. The only way for this to stop is for you to stop engaging atheists or become one. Join the good guys. We will welcome you with open arms. Or we will crush your religious superstitions if you don;t. Stop beating your head against then wall. We won this war a hundred years ago when Christian colleges and universities began teaching evolutionary theory.

    Reply
    • Gil Gatch says:

      Robert I’m not really sure where to start with your objections. They are all over the place. Science shows now that time, space, and matter had a beginning. So let me ask you this. How did time, space, and matter come into existence. What’s your theory?

      Reply
  2. Robert says:

    First it is absolutely false that science has shown the universe had a beginning. People who posit supernatural explanations have lost the right to appeal to science anyway. The universe as we now observe it may have and a beginning. However the modern cosmological model says that matter and energy have always existed in some form. If God could always have existed then so could have matter and energy. So your precious First Cause Argument is nothing but a great example of Special Pleading. The burden of proof falls on the person making the claim that at one point in the past absolutely nothing existed. So prove that there was nothing at all at some time in the past. But before you do that you must define nothing. Be careful because as soon as you give nothing any properties it becomes something. Go ahead. Your move.

    Reply
    • Gil Gatch says:

      Robert. It’s like you want to be a case in point example of logical fallacies. I’ve lost the right to appeal to science bc I posit supernatural explanations? Goodness gracious. So I guess all of the christian doctors, research scientists, astronomers, etc should lose their jobs because they posit supernatural explanations? I’m seriously SMH.

      I don’t even know where to start with your absolute statement about the universe being eternal. Best of luck to you Robert.

      Reply
      • Matt says:

        Gil, I can understand that Robert is irrationally committed to his worldview and appears to have a shaky grasp of logic and modern scientific theory; however, I think you can do a lot better than saying you don’t know where to start with Robert’s objections, and then tell him “best of luck”. This is an apologetics website for Pete’s sake! At least take a little more time to show where Robert is in error. Besides, it could be a great demonstration of the craft of apologetics.

        Reply
        • Gil Gatch says:

          Matt. Feel free to reply to Robert if you have something to add. As you said Robert isn’t concerned with the evidence. He’s committed to his stance beyond reason or argument. There’s nothing left for me to say. I hope he finds what he’s looking for.

          Reply
    • Terry L says:

      First it is absolutely false that science has shown the universe had a beginning.

      Do you have a reference for this statement. Last time I checked, the Big Bang theory was still accepted science, and it does show a beginning to time, matter, space and energy.

      The universe as we now observe it may have and a beginning. However the modern cosmological model says that matter and energy have always existed in some form.

      So can you explain, if that is true, how we still have usable energy, in direct contradiction to the second law of thermodynamics?

      People who posit supernatural explanations have lost the right to appeal to science anyway.

      If God could always have existed then so could have matter and energy. So your precious First Cause Argument is nothing but a great example of Special Pleading.

      You don’t understand the point here, sir. If matter and energy are eternal, then they are a part of this universe, and the second law of thermodynamics must be applied over an infinite timespan… which would result in the loss of all usable energy in our universe an infinite amount of time ago.

      God is understood as a being outside of, separate from, and the origin of our universe. Therefore, he is not dependent on any of the physical laws that constrain matter and energy as we know them.

      The burden of proof falls on the person making the claim that at one point in the past absolutely nothing existed.

      You’re almost right. You just said too much!

      The burden of proof falls on the person making the claim.

      Which is why I’m asking you to defend your claims above!

      So prove that there was nothing at all at some time in the past. But before you do that you must define nothing. Be careful because as soon as you give nothing any properties it becomes something. Go ahead. Your move.

      Nothing: (n) A complete and total absence of time, space, matter, and energy as we know them in this universe.

      All of these four things, per our best data, came into existence at the point of the big bang. None of them existed “before” (by which I mean, “ontologically prior to”) the big bang. That state in which none of these existed is a state of nothingness.

      And notice that this definition does not grant any attributes to nothingness. As you correctly stated, Nothingness has no attributes; there’s nothing there to hang them on!

      Rather than me offering my proof, I’ll refer you to Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin (who is no theist): “But now Vilenkin says he has convincing evidence in hand: The universe had a distinct beginning — though he can’t pinpoint the time. After 35 years of looking backward, he says, he’s found that before our universe there was nothing, nothing at all, not even time itself.” (Ref: discovermagazine.com/2013/september/13-starting-point)

      Reply
    • Terry L says:

      (Reposted in an easier-to-read format.)

      First it is absolutely false that science has shown the universe had a beginning.

      Do you have a reference for this statement. Last time I checked, the Big Bang theory was still accepted science, and it does show a beginning to time, matter, space and energy.

      The universe as we now observe it may have and a beginning. However the modern cosmological model says that matter and energy have always existed in some form.

      So can you explain, if that is true, how we still have usable energy, in direct contradiction to the second law of thermodynamics?

      People who posit supernatural explanations have lost the right to appeal to science anyway.

      If God could always have existed then so could have matter and energy. So your precious First Cause Argument is nothing but a great example of Special Pleading.

      You don’t understand the point here, sir. If matter and energy are eternal, then they are a part of this universe, and the second law of thermodynamics must be applied over an infinite timespan… which would result in the loss of all usable energy in our universe an infinite amount of time ago.

      God is understood as a being outside of, separate from, and the origin of our universe. Therefore, he is not dependent on any of the physical laws that constrain matter and energy as we know them.

      The burden of proof falls on the person making the claim that at one point in the past absolutely nothing existed.

      You’re almost right. You just said too much!

      The burden of proof falls on the person making the claim.

      Which is why I’m asking you to defend your claims above.

      So prove that there was nothing at all at some time in the past. But before you do that you must define nothing. Be careful because as soon as you give nothing any properties it becomes something. Go ahead. Your move.

      Nothing: (n) A complete and total absence of time, space, matter, and energy as we know them in this universe.

      All of these four things, per our best data, came into existence at the point of the big bang. None of them existed “before” (by which I mean, “ontologically prior to”) the big bang. That state in which none of these existed is a state of nothingness.

      Rather than me offering my proof, I’ll refer you to Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin (who is no theist) when he says, “But now Vilenkin says he has convincing evidence in hand: The universe had a distinct beginning — though he can’t pinpoint the time. After 35 years of looking backward, he says, he’s found that before our universe there was nothing, nothing at all, not even time itself.” (Ref: discovermagazine.com/2013/september/13-starting-point)

      Reply
  3. Robert says:

    Oh and I almost forgot. Don’t sidestep my questions. Prove something can exist outside of time. Prove omniscience is even possible. Prove the concepts of omnipotence and omnipresence are not imaginary human concepts and really do exist. I love how your creationists ignore the objections to your claims and then just repeat the same argument over and over and over again as if no objections to it were ever raised. Deal with my objections please. I know you can’t but I want to see you try.

    Reply
  4. Martin says:

    “…what is the general idea of a being that is God? An answer from Alvin Plantinga explains that this idea of God is something ‘having an unsurpassable degree of greatness—that is, having a degree of greatness such that it’s not possible that there exist a being having more.’ ”

    Does this not leave open the possible existence of multiple (even an infinite number of) gods none of which has a greater degree of greatness over another?

    “It is impossible to have two beings (or more) that possess an infinite degree of greatness. It is a metaphysical impossibility. A universe with two or more omnipotent, or supreme, or infinite beings is absolutely impossible.”

    True, but this idea does not follow from the Plantinga quote.

    Reply
  5. Stephen B says:

    The analogy I use for my problem with the ‘I just reject one more God than you’ idea, is this:
    Three people disagree on the culprit in a murder trial, but all are convinced the evidence points clearly to murder. A fourth person claims it was just a tragic accident that left the victim stabbed fifty times, with ‘DIE!’ written in his blood on the wall, and then attempts to convince the others by saying: “We all reject at least two of the culprits as being responsible, I just reject one more than each of you!”.

    Now, I disagree that the evidence for God is as strong as the evidence that murder was committed, but the point remains that it’s two difference questions – the evidence for a God, and then the question of what God it is.

    That said, if you want to hear arguments against your own God that have convinced non-atheists, it’s instructional to hear apologetics from other faiths. Jews will explain why they’re convinced Jesus cannot have been the son of God. And you may have what seems like great reasons why the Koran must be false, but you really need to run them by some Islamic scholars first.

    Reply
  6. Robert says:

    Gil,
    Whether scientists believe in God or not they NEVER posit magical explanations. Science must reject all supernatural explanations for many reasons. First, there is no evidence for anything supernatural. Next, no one has ever come up with a useful definition of supernatural. Most importantly the only way we could ever accept a supernatural explanation is to first eliminate all naturalistic explanations. However we could never be sure we have actually eliminated all the naturalistic explanations. Any supernatural explanation would be useless anyway. And we can’t let scientists make claims that cannot be tested. Once supernatural explanations get accepted scientific progress would grind to a halt, exactly what you wish would happen.

    Well that’s never going to happen. Science will never accept or posit supernatural explanations and this is why your religion and science will always bump heads until one of them disappears. Obviously your religion is disappearing faster than the ice in Greenland. Why anyone would jump on the sinking ship of Christianity at this late date is beyond me. Good luck with that Gil.

    I knew you would not have a response for me. You can’t prove any of your claims but religious people never can. That is because all your claims are false. Well I accepted your challenge and you folded. One more victory for the good guys.

    Reply
    • Louie says:

      Scientists never accept magical explanations? Really? Like life crawling out of primordial soup and finding a mate isn’t magical? I place that under the magical heading, and cannot find any reason to believe that claim than I can some of the claims on this wesite. Either way takes leaps of faith.

      Reply
  7. Robert says:

    Does anybody see the sheer absurdity of this conversation between Gil and me? This guy tells us all he’s some kind of expert at debating atheists and he pretends to give advice on how to handle we atheists in a debate. So he’s a bully and as we have now seen he has all the courage of a bully. One single atheist silenced him and quickly too. He’s probably busy trying to figure out how to get my tire tracks off his back right about now.

    Gil if you took one of Frank Turek’s apologetic courses I think you have good grounds to demand a refund. Really man, Frank sent you to a gun fight with a dull knife.

    For you other atheists who think I’m too tough on these guys, just listen to how Frank Turek lies about us and puts us down on his show. I’m sick of that and I’m only giving them back what they dish out on the radio, on this blog and in their literature, the difference being that I am honest.

    Reply
  8. Joshua says:

    Hello Robert
    I appreciate your participation and interest in the conversation and I see you have some doubts about the basic claims made the the author of this post.I don`t see your point however.Your response and first post hardly reinforces your position.Namely that you have made clear and evident any good reasons against the case for Christian Thiesm.You seem to start your post as many athiests do.Making broad ad hominem attacks on Gil himself.One can hardly mistake the true bully here.

    Doubtlessly you see yourself as a reasonable person.I have one question for you.If the God of the Bible appeared to you (as you seem only to seek for some visible tangible manifestation )as proof of existence ,would you then bow down and willingly serve him.Be honest,as I know you seen by you comments about Him that you value honesty and reason.

    re

    Reply
  9. Joshua says:

    Hello Robert
    I appreciate your participation and interest in the conversation and I see you have some doubts about the basic claims made the the author of this post.I don`t see your point however.Your response and first post hardly reinforces your position.Namely that you have made clear and evident any good reasons against the case for Christian Thiesm.You seem to start your post as many athiests do.Making broad ad hominem attacks on Gil himself.One can hardly mistake the true bully here.

    Doubtlessly you see yourself as a reasonable person.I have one question for you.If the God of the Bible appeared to you (as you seem only to seek for some visible tangible manifestation )as proof of existence ,would you then bow down and willingly serve him.Be honest,as I know you seen by you comments about Gil that you value honesty and reason.

    Reply
    • Stephen B says:

      I’d believe in such a deity given sufficient evidence, but why should I bow and serve? Would you bow and serve Allah if proof of his existence were provided? Whence the obligation?

      Reply
      • Terry L. says:

        Be careful that by claiming to seek “sufficient evidence”, you’re not actually looking for “evidence on my terms”. Any amount of clear and compelling evidence can be termed “insufficient” simply by setting one’s personal threshold of “sufficient evidence” so high that it cannot be reached. After all, we have people who are supposedly great thinkers who now disbelieve their own existence!

        I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about your “why bow and serve” question, and I got what I feel is a push in the right direction from, of all people, a Jehovah’s Witness!

        You see, the JW’s believe that Jesus was a created being. They believe him to be the first and only being created by God… then he created everything else. That leads to several problems, not the least of which is this:

        Luke 24:25-26 says, “25 So he [Jesus] said to them: “O senseless ones and slow of heart to believe all the things the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” (NWT, emphasis added)

        Now if Jesus is a created being, where did he get “his” glory? It’s obvious that as a created being cannot be eternal, any glory such a being has must have been given to him by God.

        But in Isaiah 48:11, God says, “11 For my own sake, for my own sake I will act, For how could I let myself be profaned? I give my glory to no one else. * (NWT, emphasis added)

        It seems obvious to me that a created being has nothing of his own. If Jesus is a created being and Jesus has glory, then God had to have given that glory to him. But the Bible says that God shares his glory with no one else. Therefore, Jesus must be God and must own his glory eternally.

        But this principle can be extended to us as well. None of us would claim that we have always existed. Therefore, there was a time when we had nothing, not even life or existence. Everything we have has been given to us.

        Does it not seem ungrateful to say, “At one time I had nothing, but you gave me existence and life. You allowed me the privilege to learn, laugh, love. BUT I OWE YOU NOTHING! For all you have given me, I have no reason to offer you anything in return. Just stay away from me and let me live this life you gave me as I want!”

        I’ve seen children treat their human parents that way, and honestly, such ingratitude and selfishness turns my stomach!

        But, God has given us the freedom to say exactly that! If we don’t want him, he will allow us to live (and die) without him.

        The choice is yours.

        (I don’t normally use the NWT, as I find it to be a horrible translation, but it’s helpful to be familiar with it when speaking with Jehovah’s Witnesses, as they reject any other translation.)

        WATCHTOWER. New World Translation (nwt-E) (Kindle Locations 78051-78053, 55847-55849). Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc..

        Reply
        • Toby says:

          ““At one time I had nothing, but you gave me existence and life. You allowed me the privilege to learn, laugh, love. BUT I OWE YOU NOTHING! For all you have given me, I have no reason to offer you anything in return. Just stay away from me and let me live this life you gave me as I want!””

          Very well and good, but what could you possibly give? If everything is given to you, then you can give back nothing of value. Especially to a creator that’s “perfect”. Why should a perfect being want anything? Wanting is lacking. Lacking is imperfection, or so it seems to me. And besides that it doesn’t matter whether we do or don’t worship this being because nothing we could possibly do would cause it to be greater or cause it to be lessened. It seems pretty pointless. Gratitude seems destined to only matter to creatures in which it can increase greatness.

          Reply
          • Terry L says:

            >> If everything is given to you, then you can give back nothing of value.

            So you don’t expect small children to be grateful for things given to them?

            What they can give back that is of value is gratitude, love, respect, honor, obedience….

            >>…nothing we could possibly do would cause it to be greater or cause it to be lessened. It seems pretty pointless.

            I actually agree with this point… partially. Whether we honor God or not doesn’t change and unchangeable being at all. But you left out the other side of the equation. Honoring God doesn’t change Him, it changes US!

            >>Gratitude seems destined to only matter to creatures in which it can increase greatness.

            Really? That’s your reasoning behind why you’re grateful to someone? Your gratitude somehow makes them greater?? There can be no reason to be grateful to a maximally great being, regardless of what that being did for you? You show gratitude to persons because of their greatness, not because of the greatness of the actions they take on your behalf?

            Sounds rather egotistical to me! How does the actions of one (showing gratitude) enhance the greatness of another?

            Were that true, then would your benefactor to whom you show gratitude not owe gratitude to you for increasing their greatness? Wouldn’t their gratitude then increase your own greatness? Wouldn’t you then owe them further gratitude…. and so on ad nauseam!

            But actually your position does sound like the position a lot of persons take. I’ve just never heard anyone say it so plainly! Someone who believes this could easily say, “Ok, God, you pour out all the blessings on me you want, and I’ll take and take and take, but because you couldn’t possibly NEED anything that I can give, I’m never going to offer you anything in return!”

            Oh, they might not say it like that… most just simply never acknowledge, and even actively deny, the very existence of their benefactor. But for the purpose of the question, you have to assume the existence of God.

            That what I like about you Toby! You’re brutally honest about the implications of atheism. For example, you’re one of the few atheists on here that I’ve seen that would say plainly that you don’t believe in absolute morality.

            I still think you’re wrong, but I appreciate your honesty!

        • Stephen B says:

          “I’ve seen children treat their human parents that way, and honestly, such ingratitude and selfishness turns my stomach!”

          I’ve seen kids with absent dads, men who deliberately never met their kids. At least those kids still know their dads exist. But for an absent dad to moan at lack of gratitude from their child would be a bit rich, no?

          Reply
          • Terry L says:

            “I’ve seen kids with absent dads, men who deliberately never met their kids. At least those kids still know their dads exist. But for an absent dad to moan at lack of gratitude from their child would be a bit rich, no?”

            You’re the one who brought in the “absent dad”. An absent dad doesn’t match the example I gave. Do you mean to imply that God is an “absent dad”?

            I can tell you first-hand, that’s not my experience, nor is the teaching of Christianity. In every other religion, man seeks after God. In Christianity, God came seeking after man.

            >>men who deliberately never met their kids.

            God is ready and waiting to meet you. Are YOU willing?

          • Stephen B says:

            “Do you mean to imply that God is an “absent dad”?”

            If the world is divided into huge groups with vastly differing ideas about who He is, or even if he exists at all. Yes – absent.

          • Terry L says:

            Seems to me that says more about the kids than the father!

            No human can deny the existence of their biological father. That would be the mark of sheer ignorance, willful ignorance, or insanity. I submit that denial of God’s existence is the same.

            Now one may not know who their biological father is, but that’s settled by examining the evidence.

            And if you don’t know who he is, how can you claim he’s been absent? Perhaps he’s been watching over you the entire time, keeping you safe, bailing you out of trouble you didn’t even know you were in, “greasing the skids” of your life without overtly stepping into your path because you’ve made it clear you want nothing to do with him, but ready to meet you–if and when you change your mind?

            I don’t think your response is logically sound.

        • Stephen B says:

          “you’re not actually looking for “evidence on my terms””

          For who else’s terms should I be looking? My point wasn’t about how much evidence is required but that even GIVEN sufficient evidence it still doesn’t mean I should just worship automatically. The point was that a deity shouldn’t get automatic worship simply because it’s a deity or even THE deity.

          “Any amount of clear and compelling evidence can be termed “insufficient” simply by setting one’s personal threshold of “sufficient evidence” so high that it cannot be reached”

          Correspondingly, any feeble evidence can be termed sufficient simply by setting one’s threshold very low!

          BTW: My threshold for the Christian God is the same as for Allah, Ganesh or any other deity.

          Reply
  10. Robert says:

    Joshua,
    I’ll be glad to answer your question but first you must answer mine.
    Doubtlessly you see yourself as a reasonable person.I have one question for you. If the God of the Koran appeared to you (as you seem only to seek for some visible tangible manifestation )as proof of existence ,would you then bow down and willingly serve him? Don’t avoid the question if you want to see me answer yours.

    Brandon take off the religious blinders so you can see things more clearly. As long as the evil ones have you convinced you’ll burn in hell for asking certain questions you’ll never see anything but your own fear.

    Reply
    • Joshua says:

      Robert,I
      The answers are based on a responses to a number of questions.First,I you have to consider why Allah best represents the basic truth about life and reality.From what I have seen,I’m convinced that Christianity best answers those questions .The answer should be based upon what best represents the way things are.How can I serve Allah if he does not meet at least one requirement.

      I know though based on the response above to your response to the last person you replied too you are out own God.And will under no circumstances serve the God of the Bible no matter how much evidence is put forth.
      I hope you will respond.I enjoy hearing from you, and the dialogue back and forth.I hope all is well Steven.

      Reply
      • Joshua says:

        Robert,
        The answers are based on a responses to a number of questions.First,I you have to consider why Allah best represents the basic truth about life and reality.From what I have seen,I’m convinced that Christianity best answers those questions .The answer should be based upon what best represents the way things are.How can I serve Allah if he does not meet at least one requirement.

        I know though based on the response above to your response to the last person you replied too you are your own god.And will under no circumstances serve the God of the Bible no matter how much evidence is put forth.
        I hope you will respond.I enjoy hearing from you, and the dialogue back and forth.I hope all is well Steven.

        Reply
        • Stephen B says:

          “First,I you have to consider why Allah best represents the basic truth about life and reality”

          The question was what if Allah appeared before you and convinced you he was God. It’s the same question Robert and I were given about Jesus/The Christian god.

          Reply
          • Louie says:

            Interesting conversation. But, Stephen, I think Joshua’s response was complete. A visit alone would not make him worship Allah. He’d be shallow rooted in his faith to just fall down and worship at the sight of Allah. He would need to investigate what was said in conversation, and compare it to what he knows and sees around him. Then, based on that analysis, he’d choose to worship or not, if it were demanded of him. Same with you, someday you may turn to christianity, but it will be because it is proven to you beyand a shadow of a doubt. That is because you have deep roots and need proof and truth to change your stance, this is commendable. If you simply flip flopped all the time then you’d be weak, no matter what your stance.

  11. Robert says:

    Joshua,
    See what happens when you borrow Frank Turek’s arguments and present them to an atheist? You’re stuck and have no answer to my objection and counter question. This is because none of Frank’s arguments stand up to even the tiniest amount of scrutiny. Frank Turek knows this but he also knows his listeners and followers will not scrutinize his arguments. However you can see what happens when a little common sense and logic is applied to Frank’s arguments. They go POOF.

    Reply
    • Joshua says:

      Robert,
      You have no answers to my questions or counter responses.You dodge Christians questions,providing no counter argument yourself.And then in a trademark way you insert the phase “Since you have no answer to my question or any counter argument” or “I know you have no response “as you do with others.Dude,Are you even reading the posted questions?

      I don’t believe I insisted on any of Frank Turek’s arguments when I responded to your question.This might surprise you but Turek is not God either.He responds to atheists based upon a curriculum he has formulated based on his field in Christian apologetics.

      I know this may seen a bit dry and repetitious but so are your arguments.Your kind of like a Frank Turek of atheist apologists yourself.

      Do you see what I’m getting at?
      You believe in trillions of miracles.I only believe in a few.It seems to be more reasonable?

      Reply
  12. Robert says:

    Terry,
    Watch what happened to William Craig when he tried to insist that the universe must have had a beginning in the Sean Carroll debate. Unless you can’t stand to see a grown man cry. It’s no wonder Craig’s followers kept taking the debate down,. Hilarious!

    Reply
    • Terry L. says:

      Robert,

      I didn’t quote WLC; I quoted Alexander Vilenkin, a recognized expert in the field of Cosmology. Your response doesn’t address anything I wrote (much less the evidence he provides), and is in fact, a straw man argument, as you attack an argument other than the one I presented…

      And although you didn’t ask this of me, I’ll give you my answer anyway:

      If the God of the Koran appeared to you (as you seem only to seek for some visible tangible manifestation ) as proof of existence ,would you then bow down and willingly serve him? Don’t avoid the question if you want to see me answer yours.

      My answer is going to be similar to the one you received above. The short answer is “no”. I require more evidence than a magician’s parlor trick. If the Quran presented evidence for Allah being the Supreme God of the Universe that was more convincing as what I find in the Bible regarding Jesus, then my answer would be “yes”. I believe one should follow truth, whatever that truth is. Do you agree?

      We don’t define truth, we discover truth. The truth doesn’t change just because you or I do not like what it is. That’s called wishful thinking.

      Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        There you go then. So why do Christians keep asking us if we’d worship Jesus if he appeared to us?

        By the way, google your way to Christopher Hitchens’ interview on Wretched Radio to hear some great answers to the ‘you should be grateful’ argument. Just search for ‘hitchens wretched radio’.

        Reply
        • Terry L says:

          That wasn’t MY question… I was answering an atheist!

          The question is actually a poor formulation of a more appropriate question: “if it were proven to you beyond a reasonable doubt that Christianity is true, would you become a Christian?”

          It’s easy to simply say, “Yes… but I haven’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” Thus my point in my yesterday’s post. But if you’re moving the goalposts halfway around the planet to make this claim, then you’re willingly rejecting the evidence you have. You’re demonstrating that, in spite of your words, that you don’t WANT God to exist, and you don’t want God!

          Here’s the bottom line; both Christians and naturalistic atheists believe in things that cannot be explained scientifically. Christians believe God created the universe; the atheist believes it came from nothing, or has always existed. Christians believe in a supernatural being who grounds morality; the atheist believes that morality doesn’t exist or that atoms can somehow establish an “ought”. And so on. We’ve been over this before… no point in the two of us rehashing old arguments.

          I find it a much smaller violation of Occam’s Razor to believe that a supernatural God is behind the things that science cannot (not HAS not… CAN not) explain, rather than believe in myriad improbable causes. Beyond that, I find good evidence to believe that God exists, that the Bible is His word, Jesus is His son, and that they are one in essence–evidence that is more compelling than the baseless claim that something can come from nothing.

          This isn’t God of the Gaps. I’m not looking to God to explain an absence of knowledge; I’m looking to God as the explanation of immaterial realities that matter itself cannot cause. I’m looking to God as the explanation of the knowledge we HAVE!

          And regarding Hitchens… if I have a chance, I’ll take a look, though I’ve probably already read or heard that response. He was a fascinating individual… someone I think I would have liked to have known. However, I find his argumentation to be mostly emotional, not logical. He was angry with the God whose existence he denied. Every interview I’ve ever heard him do demonstrated that.

          Reply
  13. Charles says:

    Atheists are certainly not the enemy here but it is atheism that is anti-Christ as it seeks to pull faith away from believers. It is a spiritual thing. Christians understand that the “..fight isn’t against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…” that influence people all created in the same image. So to prove God doesn’t exist plays into the scheme of the real enemy. Likewise also; trying to prove, empirically, that God does exist accomplishes, essentially, the same thing. Atheists are mocking superstition and antiquated misunderstandings of spiritual things. How many times (especially on this website) have we heard atheists state that even if the existence of God were proven that they wouldn’t serve, obey or love Him?

    God is a spirit and not some staff wielding “sky daddy” perched on a cloud. He is the one consciousness that all consciousness is derived from and eventually will return to. This is the mystery. As believers we say we have such and such evidence and reason to believe in a Creator yet the atheist sees the same thing and denounces any “evidence” as myth and disingenuous slave mongering. Scientists follow theories and are often met with more questions than answers. Consciousness has yet to be explained and there are no viable instruments to measure it yet there is no question on either side of its existence. Believers say a Creator while atheists say DNA, chemicals and a lump of grey fat cells.

    So, atheism is now attempting to attribute consciousness to material in saying that it is merely electrochemical reactions that occur according to DNA instructions. This would mean that life is determined via processes evolving from hominid ancestors and thus we have no reason to believe in free will. If atheism is successful with this approach the very concept of faith will be rendered virtually obsolete. With no faith hope’s demise would soon follow. Why hope for what we already experience? With no faith and no hope there is little reason to love. We would merely strive to survive by any means we deem necessary. Without faith, hope or love then is there any good reason for anything to exist; let alone Truth? I would think not. The world has already made him a prince so this would be the enemy’s “check mate” to get access to the Throne. If atheism can steal faith it can destroy hope and kill what love we have. This is why without faith it is impossible to please God.
    In order to please Him we must first know that He is (exists). He is willing to accept His creation and He created us with part of His consciousness (“written on our hearts”) which is initially our spirit; the essence of who we are. God knows what and who He creates. We create our ego and with it we can reason out His existence to ourselves. If this happens He can say with all truth that He never knew us because He didn’t create our ego. This is precisely the reason why unbelief is the only unforgivable sin.

    Reply
  14. moose says:

    charles-i don’t know if there is a god or not and neither do you. if god is real, i do not know anything about that god and neither do you. the last sentence “this is precisely the reason why unbelief is the only unforgivable sin” is one of those obnoxious claims made by christianity–murder, rape, kidnapping, etc is forgivable, but not kissing god’s a– is such a horrendous offense–sure, amen

    Reply
    • Charles says:

      Moose,
      Your dismissal is clearly a sign that you see words but aren’t reading. Say what you will but you cannot expect to discount millions, if not billions, of personal testimonies worldwide that there is something more to reality than material. Atheism is simply a cop out. I’m not denying evolution, cosmic beginnings or expansion. I am not denying any scientific “revelation” or advancement either. There is; however, a perspective that encompasses faith and the nature of reality. There are, in fact, many theistic scientists who hold to the very same ideas as atheist scientists. The fact is science does not disprove God any more than it proves Him. Science is merely a tool.

      It is, perhaps, frustrating to individuals like yourself to know so many people appear duped into believing something as silly as a creator, right? But; you can’t discount the experiences of other people made in the exact same fashion you were. We are just as smart, just as educated, just as inciteful, literate, funny, attractive and generous as any atheist. We are also just as human and subject to the same flaws as any atheist.

      So the problem isn’t faith or some corporate conspiracy of lies from some religous group bent on enslaving the world. The problem exists when the spirit is overruled by the heart. We all know within our consciousness that murder, rape, kidnapping, etc. is wrong but people are particularly capable of making bad decisions. Does this mean all debt should be unforgivable? Why?

      In any case, how can the Creator forgive unbelief if we have free will? It is impossible because our beliefs dictate our thoughts and if we have no thought of the Creator then to us He isn’t there. If He isn’t there then what is there to forgive? Nothing; right? So anything goes? And; if free will doesn’t exist then, my friend, we are already slaves to whatever our DNA has determined for us.

      Reply
      • moose says:

        charles-i will say it again-i don’t know if there is a god or not, and neither do you. if there is a god, i don’t know anything about that god and neither do you. you talk about “personal testimonies”–when i was a christian, i thought i had those things too. if “god” is meddling in your life or your consciousness somehow–how would know it? (you don’t).

        you say atheism is a cop out?–how so? (i call myself agnostic btw), but how is it a cop out–it is not a worldview–we just dont have or worship invisible friends–an invisible friend who may or my not exist. but again the comment about unbelief being unforgivable—that is flat out obnoxious–those kind ot statements are just one of the things made me (and others) give up religion–the idea that we deserve to go to hell (where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched) just for not worshipping invisible gods or not believing a certain way. i don’t know if there is a god who judges us when we die–and neither do you–the perverted, disgusting idea of “hell” makes the christian god unworthy of any attention. we do deserve to be held accountable for our actions in this lifetime, on this earth, but again the idea that we are deserving of a 2nd punishment in an afterlife is just beyond disgusting–obviously there is no reason to believe it, or anything the (un) holy bible says–the )un) holy bible authored by who?-ancient cavemen

        Reply
  15. Megan says:

    I just stumbled upon this blog while searching for essay prompts for my students, so bear with me for a moment. I don’t know Frank or Charles, but I do know Gil.

    As I see it, here is the missing component in all of your arguing: God reveals Himself to us supernaturally. Gil and I have a mutual friend named Naeem Fazal. He grew up in Kuwait as a faithful Muslim but came to the US to either convince his brother — who had become a christian — to come back to Islam or to kill him. Instead, Naeem had a supernatural experience that left him utterly convinced in the existence of both God and Satan. Late one night, he was suddenly pinned to his bed by a supernatural force that left scars on his shoulders. When he prayed and trusted his fate to Jesus Christ, he was finally released. There are many, many such stories coming from former Muslims in the Middle East, men whose conversions could mean certain death. A friend of mine was unconvinced as many of you are and said he would never believe in God without seeing a miracle for himself firsthand. He traveled with a missionary to Africa, where he watched cataracts slide off a woman’s eyes and down her cheeks as grayish slime. He was left immobilized and speechless. When God shows up, you notice.

    We cannot hope to understand God’s ways or even His nature. Not fully. But to deny his existence in a world where supernatural events like these happen every day is foolish. Go to Africa with a YWAM missionary and find out for yourselves whether the supernatural exists or not. These tales like The Exorcist did not pop up out of someone’s imagination. They came from the annals of church history. I don’t know if Frank T even believes in what I am saying, as I have heard and read here mostly intellectual arguments pro and con. And frankly, if I had not been healed of a disease as a child, I don’t know if I’d believe all this about God and Jesus either. Once it happens to you, it becomes undeniable.

    What might be helpful is to get off the internet, go somewhere quiet, and ask God to reveal Himself to you. He may or may not. I don’t know. But when He does, you discover that His personhood (for lack of a better word) is nothing like what most christians and even the Bible have described. He is so much greater. How does one describe an all-powerful yet all-loving being? Some say it’s as if liquid love has been poured over you when you finally receive salvation. Others say it’s like a gentle breeze wafting over your skin. Still others are knocked off their feet by the power of God. Ask Him to do that for you and see what happens. If nothing happens, you’re none the worse for wear, so to speak.

    Reply
    • moose says:

      megan–did you see the “supernatural” experience of your friend? or are you just believeing it because this friend is making the claim?

      i flapped my arms and flew to the moon and back yesterday. do you believe me?

      Reply
      • Terry L says:

        [sarcasm]
        “In other news, spontaneous generation of living organisms was observed yesterday after lightning strikes a mud puddle behind Richard Dawkins’ house. Details at 10.”
        [/sarcasm]

        Sorry, but I couldn’t resist! 😉

        And no, Moose, I don’t believe you. It would take at least a week to make that trip! 😉

        (I need some sleep… everything’s funny to me now. Bye!)

        Reply
  16. Robert says:

    “You believe in trillions of miracles.I only believe in a few.It seems to be more reasonable?”

    > Name just one miracle that I believe in. Your just exposed how much you know about science: nothing.

    Terry,
    I knew it. So my answer is the same. The short answer is “no”. I require more evidence than a magician’s parlor trick. Oops there’s another one of Frank’s silly arguments in the dustbin. I don’t know how anyone can be blind enough they can’t see through Frank Turek’s ridiculous arguments. But you are.

    Reply
    • Terry L says:

      Got a little more time to answer now…

      In the first place, your post to me seems to have nothing to do with your cut/paste. So I can only assume you’re referring to my response to your question of the “God of the Koran appearing to me”.

      So you say your answer is the same as mine: “The short answer is “no”. I require more evidence than a magician’s parlor trick.” In that case, I have some questions for you:

      1. Do you understand that this isn’t an “argument”, but a question? Answering a question is hardly a refutation of a “ridiculous argument”

      2. Can you show me where Frank has asked that question? If you cannot, then you’ve “refuted” a straw man of your own creation. (He does ask a similar question, but the premise is completely different, which makes it an entirely different question.)

      3. You’ve implied, by agreeing with my answer, that you are open to evidence. Where then is your threshold of “proof”? What evidence would it take to convince you?

      Be aware that if you ask for something miraculous you’re probably not going to get it. God is not obligated to give you more evidence than he’s already given. Besides, you’ve already practically admitted that a gigantic figure appearing holding lightning bolts in his hand crowned with fire claiming, “I am the Almighty God” would not convince you.

      Your only other option is to look for less dramatic evidence in more mundane places. Have you looked for that evidence in those places?

      But let’s dispense with the ad hominem attacks against Frank and myself. They only make your own position look weaker. Frank is not stupid, I’m not blind, and the “argument”, or rather, the question, as YOU presented it is indeed “silly”. However, you and I agree on the answer to your question, but then you call me “blind” because of my answer.

      Would that not make you blind as well?

      Reply
  17. moose says:

    terry-your statement “god is not obligated to give you any more evidence than he’s already given”—statements like that just shows the arrogance of religion/christianity. how do you know what “god” is or is not obligated to do or not do?– what is the evidence god has given for anything? arrogant statements like that is just one of the reasons that 3/4 youths are walking away from the church

    Reply
    • Terry L. says:

      how do you know what “god” is or is not obligated to do or not do?

      Simple. For me to claim that God “owes” me more evidence is akin to a toddler claiming that mommy and daddy “owes” her a trip to Disneyland! Far from arrogance, the statement recognizes the simple truth that He’s God; I’m not.

      what is the evidence god has given for anything?

      I’m not taking the bait here. I know from past experience that whatever evidence you’re presented with will be insufficient for you. I’ve given you evidence upon evidence, and you choose to mock and reject it out of hand rather than making a rational argument against my point, or for your own.

      And so, you help to prove my original point: What further obligation do I have to offer you more evidence for God’s existence when you will not (or cannot) seriously discuss what I’ve given already? NONE! You don’t get to say what I must do; why on Earth would you think you could demand that God appear and give you more evidence than he’s given to all men? THAT is the epitome of arrogance!

      Reply
  18. Robert says:

    Terry you have admitted that no amount of evidence would ever make you believe in the God of the Koran. So as it is with every other Bible believer, evidence means nothing, facts mean nothing when you have enough blind faith in your own religious dogma. What more is there to say? Moose already destroyed your argument anyway.

    Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        Odd thing to say. Man-influenced climate change is backed up by reams of testable evidence. Tell the flooded people in Miami that it’s not happening.

        Reply
    • Terry L. says:

      Terry you have admitted that no amount of evidence would ever make you believe in the God of the Koran.

      Really? Where?

      On May 16, if you look above, I said:

      If the Quran presented evidence for Allah being the Supreme God of the Universe that was more convincing as what I find in the Bible regarding Jesus, then my answer would be “yes”. I believe one should follow truth, whatever that truth is. Do you agree?

      …evidence means nothing, facts mean nothing when you have enough blind faith in your own religious dogma.

      If God does not exist, I do myself no favors by following a lie. If God does exist, you do yourself no favors by not following Him.

      Clearly, one of us is wrong, and is living life based on a lie… and I don’t want to be wrong on this issue. I’m open to any evidence you have to present. So, what evidence or facts do you present to show that God does not exist? Convince me! I promise you I will consider any (serious) evidence you offer.

      What more is there to say? Moose already destroyed your argument anyway.

      Now that is hysterical! No offense intended, but Moose doesn’t make arguments; he just follows Dawkins’ advice and ridicules what he doesn’t understand. And one can’t destroy an argument unless one makes a counter argument.

      Sadly, Robert,you’ve shown by this statement that you’re not interested in serious discussion about these issues. If you think Moose’s rantings are a stronger argument than those put forth by the theists on this thread, then you’re just simply not interested in truth. You’re only interested in insulting Christians. Insults and ridicule are not rational arguments!

      I’m willing to engage any atheist or other non-Christian in civil dialog on this site; however a dialog must be two-sided. You haven’t answered any of my questions; you haven’t presented any rational defence of your arguments. Instead, you’ve thrown them out there and cowardly left Stephen, Toby, et. al. to defend them.

      If you aren’t afraid of a genuine discussion, here are some of the questions you haven’t answered:

      * I believe one should follow truth, whatever that truth is. Do you agree?

      * Which one of Frank’s arguments do you believe you put “in the dustbin”?

      * You’ve implied that you are open to evidence. Where then is your threshold of “proof”? What evidence would it take to convince you that God exists?

      Reply
    • Terry L says:

      If you desire something then by definition you lack something that you want.

      I think “want” is the key word here.

      What I lack, in this case, is something that I desire, not something that I require. I would prefer to see you come to know Jesus; but in the long run, my desire for this is for your good. Your rejection of Him makes no difference to my relationship with Him. Your actions do not alter who or what I am; neither do our actions alter who or what God is.

      We know that God doesn’t always get his way. The Bible says that he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to him in repentance. Does that happen? Obviously not. Therefore, God doesn’t get everything he “wants”.

      Why then doesn’t that make him less than maximally great? Simply because he chooses to forgo his desire that no one perish to fulfill the greater desire to grant us freedom of will.

      When multiple wills are involved, even God must sacrifice some things he “wants” for more desirable outcomes. Why should this imply less than maximal greatness?

      Why can’t a less-than-maximally-great being such as you, me, my mother or my dog be totally altruistic?

      Only a maximally great being who has need of nothing and can reap no benefits from those to whom he does good is capable of being good for Good’s sake.

      Who among us can say we always do good, even though we know we will reap evil? If you can’t say this, then you cannot consider yourself to be totally altruistic. Your good is done for the benefit it can bring you, even if that benefit is only the good feelings you get by doing good. I think I’ve even heard you or someone else on this site say as much, while trying to defend morality without God.

      I ask you again: which is greatest?

      1. The man who does good for a reward.
      2. The man who does good for no reward.
      3. The man who does good knowing his good will reap pain, mockery and rejection by those who receive the good.

      It’s easy to account for case 1. All of us will do good to others when there’s something in it for us. And many of us will do good for others when we know we will receive no direct benefit for doing so.

      But only love can motivate case 3. A friend of mine is now loving his daughter in this way; doing his best to do what is best for her, while she rejects him and tells him she hates him. She’s fallen in with drug abusers and has abandoned her own children. Still, her father loves her and tries to help, knowing that she will repay him with pain.

      As Toby has pointed out, we can’t do anything to God’s benefit. Yet in spite of our inability to repay him or to offer him anything in return, he continues to love us… even those of us who, like you, reject, and mock him.

      Reply
  19. Robert says:

    Did you hear Frank Turek admit on the radio that he knew nothing about the science behind climate change. Yet he doesn’t believe in it because well, er, ah, Jesus controls the weather, yea! We can all be happy to know how history will judge Frank Turek and the other Christian apologists. And how the law will judge convicted hoaxer Dinesh D’Souza. Another one bites the dust.

    Reply
  20. Toby says:

    “So you don’t expect small children to be grateful for things given to them?
    What they can give back that is of value is gratitude, love, respect, honor, obedience….”

    Do those things given back effect the one that receives them? Yes. But a perfect, unchanging being would get nothing. Pretty pointless.

    “I actually agree with this point… partially. Whether we honor God or not doesn’t change and unchangeable being at all. But you left out the other side of the equation. Honoring God doesn’t change Him, it changes US!”

    How is this of any greater value than someone choosing to lead a humble, giving existence without believing in a god? Other than an insurance policy against eternal enslavement, I don’t see that it is of any greater value.

    “Your gratitude somehow makes them greater?? There can be no reason to be grateful to a maximally great being, regardless of what that being did for you?”

    Yes, gratitude elicits a surge of emotions that make a person feel contented and happy and sometimes elated. I assume you’d call those things “good” and the ontological argument supposes a maximally good being with good/great making qualities. So if that being is maximally good, then it cannot experience these things and thus these things are of no value to it. Or so it would seem.

    ““Ok, God, you pour out all the blessings on me you want, and I’ll take and take and take, but because you couldn’t possibly NEED anything that I can give, I’m never going to offer you anything in return!””

    or there are no blessings and it’s all just the game of life and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad.

    “…you’re one of the few atheists on here that I’ve seen that would say plainly that you don’t believe in absolute morality.”

    Hurray me!

    Reply
    • Terry L. says:

      So if that being is maximally good, then it cannot experience these things and thus these things are of no value to it. Or so it would seem.

      Let’s suppose you’re correct; God cannot benefit in ANY way from our gratitude, love, or anything else that we offer Him, because He is a maximally-great being.

      But only a maximally-great being can be totally altruistic… doing things solely and completely for the benefit of others with no thought of any benefits He would reap for his actions. God, AS a maximally-great being would desire what was best for his creation, regardless of what it cost him, and regardless of his inability to benefit.

      And that’s EXACTLY what we see in scripture; God gave everything he had… suffering death on a cross… to reach mankind and make a way for us to return to fellowship with Him.

      How much more should we be grateful to a being who, when he can receive nothing in return, gives everything for us?

      Your logic is leading you directly to the God you reject!

      Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        “God, AS a maximally-great being would desire …”

        How can a max being DESIRE anything? Desire suggests a lacking.

        “But only a maximally-great being can be totally altruistic”

        Who says? How so? Prove it.

        Reply
  21. Terry L says:

    Stephen… is it greater to do good to someone because of what you will get in return, or to do good to someone when you can receive nothing in return? What about when those to whom you do good reject you and your love for them? Which of the three is greatest?

    How can a max being DESIRE anything? Desire suggests a lacking.

    How so?

    I desire for you to know God as I know him. How do I lack because of this desire?

    Reply
  22. Stephen B says:

    “I desire for you to know God as I know him. How do I lack because of this desire?”

    If you desire something then by definition you lack something that you want.

    “But only a maximally-great being can be totally altruistic”

    Why can’t a less-than-maximally-great being such as you, me, my mother or my dog be totally altruistic?

    Reply
    • Terry L says:

      (Posted earlier under the wrong post)

      If you desire something then by definition you lack something that you want.

      I think “want” is the key word here.

      What I lack, in this case, is something that I desire, not something that I require. I would prefer to see you come to know Jesus; but in the long run, my desire for this is for your good. Your rejection of Him makes no difference to my relationship with Him. Your actions do not alter who or what I am; neither do our actions alter who or what God is.

      We know that God doesn’t always get his way. The Bible says that he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to him in repentance. Does that happen? Obviously not. Therefore, God doesn’t get everything he “wants”.

      Why then doesn’t that make him less than maximally great? Simply because he chooses to forgo his desire that no one perish to fulfill the greater desire to grant us freedom of will.

      When multiple wills are involved, even God must sacrifice some things he “wants” for more desirable outcomes. Why should this imply less than maximal greatness?

      Why can’t a less-than-maximally-great being such as you, me, my mother or my dog be totally altruistic?

      Only a maximally great being who has need of nothing and can reap no benefits from those to whom he does good is capable of being good for Good’s sake.

      Who among us can say we always do good, even though we know we will reap evil? If you can’t say this, then you cannot consider yourself to be totally altruistic. Your good is done for the benefit it can bring you, even if that benefit is only the good feelings you get by doing good. I think I’ve even heard you or someone else on this site say as much, while trying to defend morality without God.

      I ask you again: which is greatest?

      1. The man who does good for a reward.
      2. The man who does good for no reward.
      3. The man who does good knowing his good will reap pain, mockery and rejection by those who receive the good.

      It’s easy to account for case 1. All of us will do good to others when there’s something in it for us. And many of us will do good for others when we know we will receive no direct benefit for doing so.

      But only love can motivate case 3. I know a man now who is loving his daughter in this way; doing his best to do what is best for her, while she rejects him and tells him she hates him. She’s fallen in with drug abusers and has abandoned her own children. Still, her father loves her and tries to help, knowing that she will repay him with pain.

      As Toby has pointed out, we can’t do anything to God’s benefit. Yet in spite of our inability to repay him or to offer him anything in return, he continues to love us… even those of us who, like you, reject, and mock him.

      Reply
  23. Evan says:

    This post seems to redefine theism out of the realm of useful discourse. If only one particular type of God is possible to be meant by “theism”, then the poster is claiming that no polytheists have ever existed.

    On the plus side, this at least means that the poster would need to agree that a wider variety of religions would now be considered atheistic, like Taoism, most forms of Buddhism, animism, etc.

    Reply
  24. David says:

    A friends rebuttal says …Wait wait wait…metaphysical impossibility? That isn’t the case with god, which christians seem to cherry pick their arguement for. God is not governed by metaphysics, god is supernatural, right? So why would you bind your explanation in the physical world? If that’s the case then there should be adequate evidence for god to be displayed in the physical world. Since there isn’t evidence, none sufficient enough to be beyond a simple debate, we can keep god in the supernatural world. And therein lies the problem, because Santa Claus may be more powerful than god, we aren’t meant to know. And why are we describing god with human systems? Why does Plantinga assume to know what god is? Why would any human assume to know about god?

    Reply

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