Dear Determinist, (Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, or whoever reads this first)

I’m sorry, but you’re not a real person. You don’t have your own thoughts, make your own decisions, or control your own actions. If you stand here and argue with me, I can only regard it as the universe arguing with itself. One part of the universe argues and says “A” is true and “B” is false, while another part of the universe declares “B” true and “A” false. The universe declares “A” and “B” to be both true and false, therefore truth is incoherent in this universe. In the absence of a standard outside of the universe, there is no truth for beings who are just another part of this incoherent universe.  So, determinist, you’ll have to excuse me if I can’t believe anything you say.

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Why Atheists sometimes lose effectiveness in Theistic discussions

Observed truth or truth we discover, is ultimately inadequate to affect absolute certainty within man. Having no deeper foundation other than our own fallible faculties, our beliefs must deliver a standing invitation to all competing ideas until all possibilities are exhausted. If, then, our beliefs stand, they can only hold certainty in the sense of having withstood all other ideas our current day and age can muster and for which we are able to understand. Thus, our beliefs can only hold a current temporary certainty while holding a respect for such a time in the future that mankind is able to obtain a greater understanding of those beliefs. Thus, absolute certainty can never be reached by mankind. It has the effect of silencing the free exchange of ideas and creating a tyranny upon other men who hold differing beliefs.

Truth, as a Being with person-hood, is entirely in the position to produce a greater degree of certainty within man than he could reach alone. For Truth, having personality, could relate with man, instruct, and cleanse man of error he could not have eliminated on his own. That is not to say that man would then have an infallible understanding of the truth. The best he could do is present to others a representation of this Truth-Being or a representation of some external truth the Being has communicated. The representation would still be subject to the fallible faculties of man and therefore must deliver the same standing invitation to other representations. Otherwise, tyranny will result. Furthermore, whatever refined beliefs man contains inside himself must be held in a progressive truth-seeking manner with a respect for some newer revelation communicated by this Truth-Being in the future. For it is absurd to believe that man has perfect understanding of truth the first time it is communicated to him.

Therefore, the only difference realized by man, either in truth discovered solely by man or truth received from this Truth-Being, is the deeper ground on which he stands when receiving communication from this Being. Those who criticize representations of this Being without standing in deeper ground themselves will compete with any self-authenticating witness this Being has produced inside the man standing on the deeper ground and will, thus, be only marginally effectual in an argument. Effectiveness can be obtained either by developing a greater understanding of the representations or moving onto deeper ground.

Let Truth grapple with Falsehood in the streets

 

Is there anything more basic than faith in the God of creation? Faith that he provided forgiveness and a way for us to be together? Indeed, many atheistic debaters say it is too simple. It’s when we use reason to describe him or what he wants that we have natural contention. To this, I say, “Bring it on.” Let truth grapple with falsehood in the streets. But, let us not bring our “isms” to the fight, these warped windows that we see the world through. Let us not use modernity as our foundation for argument, for it changes all the time. By all means, however, let the lies test the truth. The truth will be stronger as a result. But, let us not allow these things to corrupt our relationship with God. Once inferior ideas are understood to be inadequate, let us drop them and reject them as idols so that there is only the individual and God. If we are to stand before God and give an account, we will not be able to blame our “isms” or modern ideas. Faith saves In the end not reason, philosophy, theology, or intellect. This is the only equality that matters to mankind throughout history, the equal opportunity of faith in God to all people at all times. For no other equality reaches the eternal.

A Letter to Bob

Bob, you are right. Simply looking at the beginning of everything we cannot draw a God-conclusion or a non-God-conclusion. However, before I go further let me point something out.

We are in a game of chess that can never really end with one of us taking the king, neither can we put each other in checkmate. Don’t get me wrong, there has been some damage done. Here and there a pawn or bishop has been taken. And your last argument may seem like a pretty good ending argument. But, there is still more ground to cover. We can just end it here, and agree to disagree, or keep going. So, if you would like to go further, here is my next move:

The next logical place to go in this argument is whether or not truth exists, and whether or not we can know it. To say that it does not exist presents a logical fallacy. For the statement itself is presented as a truth. Either the statement, “There is no truth.”, is truth itself making the statement silly, or it is false making truth itself a reality. And what are we trying to do here if not live the truth we see and hope it matches with reality. Now, if we are agreed that truth exists, we must also be agreed on its nature. That nature is exclusivity. A rock cannot be a duck. A tree cannot sing the blues. A black car is black and not gray. We call these things truth, for they remain the same to all who perceive them.

Now, there can’t be a God and not a God at the same time. One statement is true and one statement is false. But, can we know the truth? If we can find truth in our day, we must look for clues that point to that truth. As I said before, it is not the job of science to either point to the existence of God, or the existence of evolution. It is our bias that we are stating if we say that it does. We attain our bias through choice. So, before we even see the evidence, our perception is already guided in a direction of our own choosing. It would then follow that what we perceive and how we do it is very important.

Some people look at the world and see order. Others see chance. Although it is your right to hold either perception, one of them is wrong and one is right. I can do nothing about someone else’s perception, but I can make mine as reasonable as possible. I think you already know my position. I see order, and therefore perceive that this order points to a Creator. I’m sure you can pick up the argument from here.

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A Recent Conversation

 “So, what about all these end of the world movies?”

 “Ya, I know. It’s a hot topic nowadays. I wonder why.”

 “My pastor says the world is going to end before 2018. I don’t like it when people put dates on this stuff… makes them look like a quack. You know, there was book called 88 reasons God is coming back in 1988. That didn’t pan out well. The next year there was another book called 89 reasons God is coming back in 1989. I wonder if the author just ported over most of the previous reasons for the new book. Stupid huh?”

 “I think the end of the world is popular because the Mayan calendar only goes up to 2012. Hence the movie.”

 “Let’s see… there is 2012, I Am Legend, all the zombie movies… what else?”

 “The Day After Tomorrow.”

 “Ya, that was a good one. The reason my pastor says the world will end on 2018 is because there is something in the Bible about God coming back within one generation of Israel becoming a nation. And a generation in the Bible is 70 years… supposedly.”

 “I like Nostradamus. He had some interesting predictions. He said something about World War II: flying machines with pig faces. Pretty accurate.”

 “Ya well… not all of his predictions came true. If he’s not 100% accurate then he’s no good.”

 “No one can be 100% accurate.”

 “True.”

 “Do you believe the Bible to be 100% accurate?”

 “Yes. I do.”

 “It was written by men you know. Jesus didn’t write it. It can’t be 100% accurate.”

 At this I rolled my eyes. “Not another Bible error conversation.” I thought.

 “What’s wrong?”

 *sigh* “It’s just I’ve had too many of these conversations and I’m tired of them. I know what I believe and why I believe it. I don’t need another person telling me how inaccurate the Bible is.”

 “Well, I look at things differently than most people.”

 “I’m sure you do.”

 Post Script:

 I really don’t need men to show me whether the whole Bible is accurate or not. Only a few verses need to be accurate. The ones where God says he has preserved his word. If those verses are good then the rest of the Bible is good.