A (without) Theism (Belief in God).Atheism means simply "without a belief in God". On occasion a theist might try to debate an atheist from the mistaken position that atheism means "no God" or "without God" when a more accurate understanding would be the definition above without belief in God. This is important because clarity of the position can then lead to discussions and an appropriate defense for the reasons for such a belief, just as a theist can give a rational argument for why he or she believes in a God.
Atheism has been passed down over the last few centuries via teachings and writings mostly from the enlightenment period of the late 18th century. This belief struggled within itself: while its adherents would cling to the belief that there was no God in existence whatsover, they were at a complete loss to explain how humans came into being in the first place. They would struggle with the frustration of wanting to believe in something so bad while there was no evidence to support or even to speculate how we all got here.
Some significant milestones in the relatively recent development of the atheist belief system:
- I. George Hegel – God needed the world as much as the world needed God, therefore rendering Him as unnecessary and ultimately imaginary. (embraced by Feurbach, Sartre, Frederick ‘god is dead’ Nietzsche)
- II. Hegel w/ Feurbach influenced Karl Marx, an avowed atheist, responsible for much of the humanism and atheism found in Eastern Europe and Asia today.
- III. Charles Darwin, the Theology major, writes, The Origin of The Species, a sort of "borrowed" manuscript from his grandfather's, Zoinomia. This is addressed further down in the reading.
- IV. Humanist Manifesto created in 1933 and signed by all prominent secular humanists of the day.
Humanist Manifesto(1933) – Based on 15 concepts:
________2. Man is a result of a continuous natural process.
________3. Mind is a projection of the body and nothing more.
________4. Man is molded mostly by his culture.
________5. There is no supernatural.
________6. Man has outgrown religion and any idea of God.
________7. Man’s goal is the development of his own personality,
____________which ceases to exist at death
________8. Man will continue to develop to the point where he will
____________look within himself and of the natural world for the
____________solution to all of his problems
________9. All institutions and/or religions that in some way impede
____________this “human development” must be changed
________10. Socialism is the ideal form of economics
________11. All mankind deserves to share in the fruits from following the above tenets.
________12. Religious forms and ideas of our fathers are inadequate.
________13. The quest for the good life is still the central task for mankind.
________14. Man is alone responsible for the realization of his dreams.
________15. Intelligence and will bring the good life (fulfilled dreams) about.
Atheists often times will say, "Where extraordinary claims are made, extraordinary evidence is required" which sounds quite logical at first but upon further thought, a theist could actually make an identical argument claiming the atheist's belief in the ‘non-existence of a god of any kind, any where, on any planet, and in any galaxy’ is itself an "extraordinary" claim that requires “extraordinary evidence”.
In the end both "extraordinary” arguments negate each other and the theist and atheist alike must then move on from a "show me the money" position to a more intelligent discussion whereby they directly discuss their reasons for either belief or disbelief . So an atheist might intelligently defend his position utilizing the following types of arguments:
1. Moral Concepts argument against God – The Christian God being all-powerful and the God of love could not (some argue 'would' not - completely different argument) allow evil.
a. If God was all-powerful, he could destroy evil.
b. If God were all-good, he would destroy evil
c. Evil exists, Therefore, God doesn’t
d. Theist Refutation: 1st premise is good, 2nd one fails to take into consideration the possibility that the good God may have some use for the evil to bring about a greater good.
- Also fails to consider the aspect of time. God might use/allow evil for a time then ultimately destroy it.
- Often times there is a confusion between good/evil and personal happiness
- The events we condemn and the moral law by which we condemn them are both traceable to the same source.
2. Scientific Methods argument against God – used by atheists and skeptics
a. FIRST - God is man’s wish: man is inadequate and requires someone/thing greater than himself to rescue him from his dilemmas.
b. God arises from this desire and is therefore without objective reality.
c. Refutation: Whether or not a man ‘wishes’ is no evidence for whether a thing exists or doesn’t exist!
- Could we assume that since atheists wish for God to NOT exist, that He therefore does exist!?
d. SECOND - God is a result of superstitious belief: Natural laws explain everything, we no longer need a God to explain things.
Therefore, God does not exist.
e. refutation: genetic fallacy – assumes a point proven merely by virtue of tracing it to its source.
- Could we assume that since a particular science arose out of magic or alchemy that it implies that science is invalid today?
3. Logic argument against God
a. FIRST - God’s all powerfulness is contradictory. If God is all powerful,
He should be able to do all things but in doing all things
he may thwart his own omnipotence. Therefore, God does not exist.
b. Refutation: This comes from a misunderstanding of the omnipotent
attribute of God. God’s power can do all the things that power CAN do.
- Power cannot do the intrinsically or logically impossible
- such things cannot be done at all”
- How much power is required to make 2+2=6? 4 atom bombs?
Power has nothing to do with mathmatical equations
c. SECOND – God’s attributes contradict each other: love and wrath,
all loving yet all knowing; absolutely good yet absolutely free.
These contradict each other logically.
d. Refutation of ‘c’ – assumes that above attributes are mutually exclusive.
A loving father disciplines his child in loving punishment.
All knowing shows love of the person to make choices to learn
Agnosticism – ‘a’ without ‘gnosis’ (knowledge)Agnosticism believes there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the existence or nonexistence of God. Criticizes theist for their dogmatism based on assumption.
____I. Two types of agnostic
________a. agnostic I – leaves the possibility open for incoming facts but defers their
____________conclusion until that time. Their statement would be,
____________“we do not know all the facts…”
________b. agnostic II – (like a hard skeptic) is much more dogmatic in that the facts do not
____________exist for them simply because this agnostic says,
____________“we cannot know the facts, not now nor in the future” (Immanuel Kant)
____II. David Hume – skeptic who said “Belief is not to be confused with ultimate truth,
________which is unknowable.”
________a. Hume suspends accepting anything as truth until sufficient ‘facts’ are in
Agnostics might utilize the following arguments to support their particular belief system:
____1. Language argument Against God, from Agnostics, skeptics
________a. two types of statements: purely definitional (all triangles have 3 sides)
____________and empirical (this is a triangle)
________b. One cannot make definitional statements about God without showing He exists
________c. because God is not empirically verifiable, we cannot make empirical
____________statements about Him.
________d. Therefore, talk of God is nonsense.
____Theist Response: This language argument is self-refuting, the statement itself is
________________neither ‘definitional’ nor ‘empirical’ (factual), which, in effect,
________________condemns this line of reasoning as nonsensical.
____2. Knowledge argument against God, from agnostics, skeptics
________a. We can know a thing as it is ‘to us’ due to imperfect senses,
________b.but we cannot know a thing as it ‘truly’ is.
____Theist Response: like the Language argument, the Knowledge argument is self refuting
____________– “we cannot know the real” means that we cannot know this statement itself!
Warren Young, “Man not only can be deceived by his senses but often times he KNOWS he’s
________being deceived and then applies reason to compensate for the possible deception
William Lane Craig writes in his book, Reasonable Faith, “The trouble with the Language and
________Knowledge arguments is that the agnostic assumes some knowledge about reality
________in order to deny ANY knowledge of reality.
Despite the holes in the primary arguments used by atheists and agnostics in the 18th century, their cause would receive a shot in the arm in the early 19th century when a theology major named Charles Darwin wrote a book called "Origin of the Species". This book was actually based primarily on the work of his grandfather’s Zoinomia, and was not as “original” as some would (and still do) claim. Many quickly embraced the new "Darwinist" theory in haste in order to justify how such complex life came to be. A long-standing and troublesome bit of “evidence” presented by theists as empirical evidence of a Creator. Unfortunately, in their haste to embrace Darwin’s ‘Zoinomia’ re-write, there was a failure to investigate yet even more holes in this new theory of Evolution:
– From the Latin evolutio and evolvere - (an unfolding)Some significant points to consider regarding the relatively recent development of the theory of evolution:
____I. Charles Darwin, theologian, wrote Origin of The Species. He assumed the role of
________‘naturalist’ with no education in the field. He also claimed that if transitional forms
________were not found in the next 100 years, this ‘theory’ should be abandoned.”
____II. Fossil record: Scientists say “show abrupt appearance + stasis” (which, ironically,
________is the very definition of creation - Darwin on Trial)
____III. Transitional Forms – There are none. No cogs or dats just dogs and cats
________a. Evolutionists say, “there are transitional forms but they have been ‘eroded”
____________and “rapidity/short bursts don’t leave transitional forms
________b. Museums use ‘artistic license’ to make these forms up to substitute for scientific
____________evidence. i.e. the bone fragment that is sculpted into a gorilla with the eyes
____________of a philosopher.
____IV. Archaeological “Missing Link” Frauds
________a.Ramipithicus – Jaw + several teeth – more was later found to reveal that it more
____________resembles an orangutan than a human
________b. Homo Erectus ‘Java Man’ – supposedly showed ‘expansion of th brain’.
____________Java man is composed of a skull fragment plus a pelvic bone that was found
____________yards away from it without any indication that these belonged to the same
________c. Australopithecine – ‘Lucy’ – said to walk upright due to a hip bone and knee
____________supposedly found with the skull. The hip bone and knee were found a mile
____________away and 2 feet deeper in rock (difference of several years); Even pygmy
____________chimps walk upright all the time.
________d. Piltdown Man – Human skull – with the jaw of an orangutan – teeth were filed
____________and presented as the “missing link” due to tooth shape. Needless to say, this
____________“find” was then embarrassingly deemed a hoax and brushed under the rug by
____________those of the science community with a disposition toward humanism.
________e. Neanderthal Man – Bones were stooped – turned out to have rickets/arthritis
____________and was quickly reclassified to ‘homo sapien’.
________f. Nebraska Man – a single tooth found on a farm in Nebraska and was quickly
____________turned into an entire skull, person, etc. this took place at about the same time
____________as the “monkey scopes” trial was taking place. Interestingly enough, this tooth
____________turned out to be the tooth of a rare pig. “Nebraska man is a case of a pig
____________making a monkey out of an evolutionist”- Norman Geisler
Theism – Belief in Deity (theos)The theist, many times, utilizes the following arguments to support a belief in a God:
Teleological Argument For The Existence of God– ‘telos’ design; ‘logos’ rational thought/word
- A. Infers an intelligent designer of the universe just as we infer an intelligent designer for any product in which we discern evidence of purposeful adaptation of means to some end
- B. Thomas Aquinas (13th cent) – Stated that all things operate in order toward some end, even though they lack consciousness (c.f. acorn example). Nothing that lacks consciousness tends toward a goal unless it is under the direction of someone with consciousness and direction. (c.f. syllogism of this)
- C. William Paley (18-19th cent.) – Argued from the position of Intelligent Design If one were to trip over a rock in a field, one could say it has lain there forever. If one were to trip over a watch, no one would say it has "lain there forever" because its parts are framed and assembled for ONE integral purpose: to tell time! We need not ‘see’ the construction process to recognize a designer. Like ancient works of art, we acknowledge a designer. We cannot infer that this watch is merely one in an infinite series of watches because we still have no account for the (original) design itself! In nature, even greater design exists (human eye) which is even greater evidence for a designer.
Cosmological Argument For The Existence of God– ‘cosmos’ universe; ‘logos’ rational thought/word; first Cause as sufficient reason of the cosmos.
- A. Al Ghazali – Muslim (11-12th cent.) – Kalam argument
- Anything that begins to exist, does so at a certain point in time. But since prior to things existence, all moments ar alike, there must be some cause that determines that the thing comes to exist at that moment.
II. Premise 2 – The world is a being with a beginning - It is impossible that there should be an infinite regress of events in time, for if this were so we could never have arrived at today and that is absurd.
III. Conclusion – Therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning
- B. Thomas Aquinas (13 cent.)
II. First Cause – Nothing can be self-caused because then it would have to bestow existence on itself. Therefore, there must be a first cause which is simply uncaused. This, everyone calls “God”.
III. Absolute Necessary Being – In the world there are both possible beings
(those that come into and pass out of, existence) and necessary beings
(those that always exist). - presupposing the past eternity of the earth,
all possibilities would be realized and that all possible beings would come to be
and pass away, making it possible that the process would arrive at the
‘nothing exists’ possibility (since its had an eternity to realize all possibilities)
then there would be nothing in existence today,
____________(since from nothing comes nothing),
this is absurd because, things still exist today! Therefore, necessary beings must
exist in that at least ONE being has to continue to exist throughout all the coming
into and passing out of existence of the many possible being.
Moral Argument For The Existence of GodThe position that there is the existence of a being which is the embodiment of the ultimate good, which is the source of the objective moral values we experience in the world. 8
____• A. Thomas Aquinas – There exists, a gradation of values: some things are more good,
_______true, and noble than others, the varying degrees of which increase to approach a
________I. whatever possesses a property more fully than anything else is the cause
____________of that property.
________II. Hence, something is the cause of superlative standard of good, true,noble
____________things: which we call, God
____• B. William Sorley (19-20th cent.) – God, as the grounds of natural and/or moral
_______orders, best provides for a rational unified view of reality.
________I. Reality is characterized by an objective moral order, which is as real and
____________independent of our recognition as the natural order of things is.
________II. On the same grounds that we assume the reality of the world of objects, we
____________assume the reality of the moral order of objective value.
________III. Only persons have intrinsic value, because meaningful moral behavior
____________requires purpose and will.
________IV. But no person has ever realized all moral behavior. The moral ideal is
____________nowhere fully actualized in the finite world, even though it is presently
____________binding and obligatory for the finite world!
________V. If the moral ideal is to be valid for reality, it must be fully realized in an
____________existent that is both personal and eternal, that is, God.
________VI. The problem of evil for both atheists and theists is that the natural order
____________and moral order seem to be working at cross-purposes: the natural
____________order often fails to realize the good that ought to be realized.
____________• This is a result of confusing moral purpose with personal happiness