Jul
9

Why doesn’t God just show himself?

By: Scott Youngren


godhiding

Despite the scientific and philosophical arguments for the existence of God presented on this website and elsewhere, some readers may still be haunted by a persistent question: If he is more than just an imaginary big-daddy-in-the-sky, why does it seem that God is hiding from us? It stands to reason that the inability of anyone to produce a unicorn is a pretty good reason not to believe in unicorns. Why shouldn’t the same standard be applied to God? And if he doesn’t have a physical body, why won’t he at least produce an obvious sign that he is there…like the words “I am God, I am here” written in big flaming letters in the sky?

But with a little insight, it quickly becomes apparent why God keeps a low profile and doesn’t make himself available for appearances on the TV talk show circuit. In his book Disappointment With God, Philip Yancey reminds us that God has a problem: All of the impressive displays of power in the world will not force us to love him. And if God could force us to love him, it would not really be love. Love is not love unless it is freely chosen:

“Power can do everything but the most important thing:  it cannot control love…In a concentration camp, the guards posses almost unlimited power. By applying force, they can make you renounce your God, curse your family, work without pay…kill and then bury your closest friend or even your own mother. All this is within their power. Only one thing is not: they cannot force you to love them. This fact may help explain why God sometimes seems shy to use his power. He created us to love him, but his most impressive displays of miracle—the kind we may secretly long for—do nothing to foster that love. As Douglas John Hall has put it, ‘God’s problem is not that God is not able to do certain things. God’s problem is that God loves. Love complicates the life of God as it complicates every life.’”

In short, it all boils down to free will. If God made us unable to deny his existence, we would be unable to choose to love Him. Frequent, “impressive displays of miracle” would go further than merely doing “nothing to foster love.” Rather, they would render us much less able to choose to love God. It would take a fool indeed to reject a God whose existence is completely undeniable.

And if we could not deny God, we would be nothing more than puppets. Why would God want to seek to be in relationship with puppets?

Yancey makes this point clear by quoting a parable written by the 19th century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard:

“Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her?  In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him.  But would she love him?”

“She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage…that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal…For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.”

And to be in loving relationships with people, it turns out, is exactly what God seeks. If one takes the time to review the Bible, one will quickly see that many of the stories told share this underlying theme. From God’s pursuit of the Jewish people in the Old Testament to Jesus’ command to “seek first His kingdom” in the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament, the Bible conveys that God is seeking people who will seek him.

…Indeed, the vast beauty and richness we experience in nature, human relationships, art, music, culture, etc. can be compared to “love letters” that God sends us.

But all of this is not to say that God remains completely hidden. Rather, it is to say that he communicates his presence using subtle intimations so as to not be forceful. One such intimation is that of beauty. Indeed, the vast beauty and richness we experience in nature, human relationships, art, music, culture, etc. can be compared to “love letters” that God sends us. Dean Overman notes in his book A Case for the Existence of God that beauty is one of God’s ways of pointing us toward truth:

“Physics Nobel laureates Paul Dirac and Richard Feynman were convinced that mathematical truth can be recognized by its beauty. Beauty points toward truth. Dirac was more concerned with beauty in an equation than whether the equation matched an empirical experiment because he had discovered that beauty was a more accurate indicator of truth. He credited his sense of beauty with allowing him to find the equation for the electron that, coupled with Maxwell’s equations, forms the basic foundation for the very successful quantum field theory of quantum electrodynamics. Almost every contemporary physicist knows that beauty is the fundamental indicator of truth in his or her analysis.”

“Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose also emphasizes that aesthetic criteria, not only in visual appearance but also in inherent mathematical qualities, are extremely important in his discovering truth. He notes that a beautiful concept has a greater likelihood of being true than an ugly one.”

Fortunately, though, one does not have to be a physicist or mathematician to recognize this beauty. Overman continues:

“Consistent with Penrose’s idea that a more perfect and more real world has a more profound and more beautiful reality, the beauty of music seems to come from a more sublime reality….We are bathed in beauty in this world from so many different perspectives and manifestations. Our universe is wondrously and beautifully elegant. As I have repeatedly stated, it did not have to be this way; it could have been a chaos in which there is no ability to comprehend its order and no ability to do science or mathematics. You and I behold a universe that is like a great work of art made with love. What is the source of this beauty?…As Plato noticed, beauty is suggestive of another reality, a more real and even more beautiful reality.”

One is compelled to wonder, if the universe is nothing but the mechanistic result of blind chance, why then is it imbued with so much beauty? And why does beauty so clearly point us toward truth? Atheists allege that we are nothing more than “survival machines,” glorified robots that exist for no greater reason than passing on our genes. What survival value, then, does the ability to appreciate the beauty in music and in nature, for example, provide? Was our prehistoric ancestor who appreciated the beauty of a sunset somehow less likely to be eaten by a lion than our prehistoric ancestor who did not? If beauty is not a divine expression of love, than what is it? Why did “survival machines” develop the ability to comprehend higher mathematics and physics…not to mention the beauty and order of the universe revealed therein? Did this ability somehow help our primitive ancestors escape predators or obtain food? Reasonable answers to these questions cannot be furnished from within the framework of a mechanistic, purposeless, atheistic view of the world. Hence, the atheist must engage in what C.S. Lewis referred to as “willful blindness” to avoid such unsettling questions.

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Meeting God is actually a much more common experience than perhaps most people realize, as the above video demonstrates.

Please read (and view the videos at) my post titled Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It? in order to examine the powerful evidence for God’s existence that comes from near-death experiences.

Those interested in pursuing a relationship with God are encouraged to visit the website:

y-Jesus.com

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371 thoughts on Why doesn’t God just show himself?

    • This is such bull… To argue that if he proved he existed, would make us unable to love him? That’s like saying… “I know my mother is real, and she exists, so I cannot love her.” If god WAS real (I say “was” because I myself, do NOT believe.) and he PROVED his existance, EVERYONE would love him. Because without him, we would not be. I believe in science. You know what… I’m not even going to go any further into this… all I’m going to say, Watch the discovery and history channel people. Watch the shows about “The Universe” where they have PROVEN how this world had come together and how the first forms of life came to be. Did you know that if the gravity of our beloved planet was to make things even ONE GRAM lighter, or heavier, then the needed reactions for the first forms of life… would NOT have taken place? I think not. You all read your bibles (which I think are nothing but NONFICTION stories to guide people to necessary moral values) and accept that there is an invisable man in the sky, watching over us. If “he” created us, and is alllllll knowing, and all powerful, He knows every possible outcome, of every possible situation. SO, when it comes down to people saying, “If you do not accept our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, you will be condemed to eternal suffering in hell” YOU should be going to hell for lying. If I don’t believe, he knows why, he knew why before I was born, and knowing EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING, I’m sure he can understand WHY I do not believe and accept me into heaven anyways, because I have been a good person. So if you think that I’M going to hell… why don’t you take a look in the mirror. Do you know how many religions there are? Either ONE religion is RIGHT, or you are ALL wrong. So I think I would rather be sceptical, than to believe the wrong thing, call him by the wrong name, just be plain WRONG. And on top of that… do you know how similiar most all religions are? In there history, the events, and in some cases, even peoples’ names?

      All in all… it boils down to one thing:

      You call it faith, I call it ignorance, You say, “Nope I’m right, there’s no denying it”, I say, “You good sir, are nothing more than weak-willed, to accept years of lies, than to make up your own mind.”

      Thank you for anyone who has taken the time to read my “rant”, and I apologize if I have offended/upset anyone. I was only meaning to get my point and my thoughts across. I know that when it comes to religion, people can get pretty “heated”, and I can honestly say that during the writing of this I became just that. So once again, thank you, and I sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone.

      Andrew “Orbnotacus” Bennett

      • I’m sorry I have to say one more thing. For the people who say, “Life couldn’t have been created by chance of chemicals and perfect conditions”, I have a question. How many stars do you see in the sky at night? Now times that by infinity, keep in mind the universe DOESN’T end, and thing… Our sun, is a star, many of the stars we see ARE suns just like ours. Every star is the middle of a galaxy, just like ours… with an UNLIMITED amount of suns and stars out there, you’re telling me… that there isn’t a chance that the perfect condition took place for life to form? I’m going to flat out tell you, you’re wrong. Out of an INFINITE amount of planets, it’s BOUND to happen. We are one of the VERY FEW lucky “species” in the universe. And that takes me to a WHOLE other arguement, the existance of “aliens”. Which I say they do. More and less advanced. Because like I said before… With an infinite amount of planets and galexies, it’s BOUND to heppen. Enjoy life while you have it. Because when it’s gone… it’s gone.

        Thanks again

        Andrew

        • Andrew:

          I have never met your mother, but I am going to assume that she is not an infinitely powerful being who has the ability to crush all opponents. I am quite certain that people do not feel compelled to love your mother because of her great power.

          You say that they “have PROVEN how this world had come together and how the first forms of life came to be,” on the discovery channel and history channel.

          Please read my essay about the origin of the universe titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and my essay on the origin of life titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God.

          A couple citations from the Is There A God? essay:

          “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”

          –Astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies Robert Jastrow. Please also see Jastrow’s book God and the Astronomers. Jastrow’s observations regarding the evidence for a divine act of creation are especially poignant when one considers that he is a self-described agnostic. In other words, Jastrow’s research have led him to theistic conclusions despite having an ideological basis against theism.

          .

          “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

          –Astronomer Allan Sandage, winner of the Crawford Prize in astronomy (which is equivalent to the Nobel Prize). Sandage is considered to be one of the founders of modern astronomy, and the greatest living cosmologist.

          Regarding the question of how life emerged: In the essay titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, I detail how explanations for the origin of life from prominent atheists include the following: 1) Life was brought to Earth by aliens from outer space in their spaceships (Richard Dawkins endorses this idea). 2) Life came to Earth from space without the help of aliens. 3) Life emerged as the result of a piggyback ride on crystals (prominent atheist biologist Michael Ruse endorses this one).

          No, Andrew, the universe is not infinitely large. Click on this article to see how big the universe is.

          But I will be generous and start my argument from the assumption that there ARE an infinite number of planets. There is a big problem with assuming that an infinite universe explains life: Bare probabilities are causally inert because a probability requires a causal mechanism to achieve anything. Now what the heck does this fancy statement full of big words mean?

          Let me illustrate. Take the statement, “If a person were to live for an infinitely long period of time, he would eventually win the lottery.” This statement is false because living forever does not guarantee that a person will win the lottery unless that person plays the lottery. Going to the convenience store to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis is the “causal mechanism” that enables the bare probability of a lottery win to achieve an actual lottery win.

          Therefore, an infinitely large universe with an infinite number of planets does nothing to explain the existence of life because it is the existence of the causal mechanism that needs to be explained. In a universe that is truly devoid of an intelligent and conscious foundation, there are no causal mechanisms.

          • Complete horse hockey. The “lottery is played” every time a chemical reaction takes place involving organic molecules.

          • OK, Kyle, tell me what you think the causal mechanism was that allowed life to emerge from non-life. How is it that there are organic molecules and even chemical reactions in the first place (that are involved in “playing a lottery?”) If the universe is not grounded in an intelligent cause, then how is it that these things exist? Is it the case that they “just are?”

          • May i ask a question you say that there is overwhelming evidence of gods existance and the christian bible says that he is most powerful and ruler of all things and that god is an all loving God but how can God send his children to hell and what kind of father does not communicate with his own children you cant expect people to believe blindly or by fear of being fried for eternity and God knows us best beforehand so then why is it that he did not plan or give us some sort of evidence or even a voice in your head confirming his existence when you pray and ask God to reveal himself to you why does he not and why does he choose certain people of me or others if you have a child and you see your child going in the wrong direction you obviously correct but why is it so hard for “the all powerful God “

          • Hlongwa:

            You ask, “How can an all loving God send his children to hell?” The answer is that winding up in hell is the result of rebelling against God by rejecting him and thereby rejecting his love. Hell is a place where there is a total absence of God’s love. Everything good that we experience in this world is the result of God’s love: Peace, joy, love, comfort, happiness, pleasure, etc… In the absence of these benefits of God’s love there is only pain, sorrow, discomfort, displeasure, unhappiness, etc…

            God cannot force us to accept him and his love. We must freely choose. Without free choice, there can be no love. And if we reject God, we also, by extension, reject all of the good things that result from his love. Hell is a place for those who have rejected God and who therefore can no longer experience the benefits of his love.

            Next, you ask, “Why is it that he (God) did not plan or give us some sort of evidence or even a voice in your head confirming his existence?” The answer is that God has given us OVERWHELMING evidence of his existence. I encourage you to read some of the other essays at this website where I discuss this evidence. It might be a good idea to read a few essays under each of the 3 evidence categories (science, experience, philosophy).

            If you have any questions or doubts that you would like to discuss with me after reading some of these essays, please feel free to ask me.

            When you ask why God did not give you a “voice in your head” confirming his existence, you are arbitrarily imposing upon God the means by which he must communicate with you. God is careful to respect our individuality and he therefore communicates with different people in different ways. God will choose how he will communicate with you….you will not.

            In my case, God chooses to speak to me primarily through other people and through the beauty of the natural world. For example, I very clearly realized that God was speaking to me through a man known as Howard Storm when I watched his near-death experience on YouTube. Click here if you want to watch his testimony.

            Scott

        • If you have to ask if he is real then you haven’t had a true experience , with god.What I mean by this is going to him with a sincere heart ,and asking him to come into your life.And to reveal himself to you . He says any who ask I will reveal myself, By the way something to think about u breath air to keep alive ,but u can’t see it. Luke

      • You are missing the whole point. I am not saying that “if he proved he existed, that would make us unable to love him,” as you put it. I am saying that if he proved he existed, we would be less able to choose to love him. Rather, we would be compelled to love him. Love that is not freely chosen is not really love.

        You believe in science? Good, then this should lead you to a belief in God, as it did for the majority (if not all) of the most important contributors to modern physics (as I demonstrate in my posts entitled God Is Real: Why modern physics has discredited atheism and “Some quotes to consider if you think that science leads to atheism.”)

        If you think that scientists have “proven how this world had come together and how the first forms of life came to be,” then you need to review your facts. I demonstrate in my post entitled “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?” that scientists don’t have even the first clue as to how life emerged. So clueless is science to this question, that atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion), Francis Crick and others have resorted to speculating that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space. Click here to see Dawkins endorsing the hypothesis in an interview. Click here to see an article describing Crick’s support of the hypothesis.

        Regarding the origin of the universe, scientists have all sorts of speculative theories, but no answers. But even if scientists did have a solid answer to how the universe came into existence, this would achieve nothing with regard to the question of God’s existence. For example, physicist Stephen Hawking states in his book The Grand Design that the universe emerged “naturally through natural law.” But then this leaves open the question of how natural law came into existence out of sheer nothingness.

        Do I know how many religions there are? Yes… and atheism is one of them (or you can use the term “belief system,” since religious scholars have never been able to conclusively define the term “religion,” despite their best efforts).

        You are correct that not all religions (or “belief systems”) can be right.

        I call it faith and you call it ignorance? I call atheism both faith and ignorance. Atheists often like to declare themselves to have logically based beliefs, but when one looks just a little deeper, one quickly realizes that atheism is a faith built upon a bunch of “it just is” leaps-of-faith. For example, the atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell expressed his view that the universe is a “brute fact.” This is just a fancy way of saying that the universe “just is” and doesn’t need to have its existence explained.

        • “Click here to see Dawkins endorsing the hypothesis in an interview.”

          You’re a real one-note Johnny. You’ve repeated this BS way too many times to acknowledge the plain truth.

          • OK, now I am a two-note Johnny (at least): Click on this link to see prominent atheist biologist Michael Ruse endorsing the hypothesis that life emerged from non-living matter when it “piggybacked on the backs of crystals.” Is this a better explanation for you than the aliens? If so, how did these crystals get so smart that they were able to create something so complex that it would take a supercomputer far longer than 10 to the 127th power years to do? And just by giving the molecules a piggyback ride! Wow, I wish I could get a piggyback ride like that!

            So believing in things like magical piggyback rides on crystals and aliens bringing life to earth is more logical than believing that the universe and life originated from a pre-existent infinite intelligence? And this despite the fact that many of the leading contributors to modern physics conclude that consciousness is more fundamental than matter?

        • If life were brought to Earth by aliens, then who made the aliens?

          I find this a specious argument that just pushes the problem one level back.

          At least, if you ascribe creation to a superpower, then there is some excuse to claim the superpower always existed, as a special property of being said superpower (another problem in itself). Dawkings claiming aliens are responsible; he might as well say god because I don’t see any difference in the argument.

          So either there’s a superpower, or life fell together by itself – I don’t see any other options at that level of the argument.

          For me, the question is more interesting:

          Why do we have the laws of physics that we do?

          Are the laws of physics within our observable universe the only coherent set possible, and thus they inherently exist – or did someone design them?

          Cheers,

          • Why do we have the laws of physics that we do? Laws require a lawgiver.

            There are big problems with the belief that self-existent laws of physics are responsible for our universe. Please read my post titled Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism.

            Although this essay was written to address a different topic (the origin of life), it can be applied to the laws of physics as they relate to the origin of the universe. If the laws of physics are responsible for the universe, where did these laws (which are akin to the software in a computer) come from? An atheist must believe that the dizzying complexity involved in these laws “just is.”

            Oxford University mathematician John Lennox notes the following in his book God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?

            “How does one scientifically recognize a message emanating from an intelligent source, and distinguish it from the random background noise that emanates from the cosmos? Clearly the only way this can be done is to compare the signals received with the patterns specified in advance that are deemed to be clear and reliable indicators of intelligence — like a long sequence of prime numbers — and then to make a design inference. In SETI [sponsored by NASA] the recognition of intelligent agency is regarded as lying within the legitimate scope of natural science. The astronomer Carl Sagan thought that a single message from space would be enough to convince us that there were intelligences in the universe other than our own.”

            “Writing on paper (or paint on a Rembrandt canvas) exhibits what philosopher Del Ratzsch calls counterflow — phenomena that nature, unaided by agent activity, could not produce. It is because we know that, even in principle, physics and chemistry cannot give an explanation of the counterflow exhibited by the writing, that we reject a purely naturalistic explanation, and we postulate an author. But it needs to be said that postulating an intelligent agent to explain writing is not falling into an ‘author-of-the-gaps’ syndrome; rather it is our knowledge of the nature of the ‘gap’ that demands we postulate an author.”

            My point in providing the above citations is this: If the complexity and organizational specificity contained in a long set of prime numbers and in the writing on a piece of paper are deemed, scientifically, to be the result of intelligent activity, then by what reasoning can we assume that the complexity and organizational specificity contained in the laws of physics (or the laws of chemistry, thermodynamics, etc.) is not the result of intelligent activity? Only by purely ideological (as opposed to logical) reasoning.

            Please also read my essay titled God Is Real: Why modern physics has discredited atheism. In this essay, I discuss how modern physics suggests that consciousness is more fundamental than matter. (Read: God’s consciousness)

          • syoungren:

            Can’t reply directly, nested limit reached…

            Yes, interesting stuff. I liked the BGV theorem I chanced across somewhere today too.

            Still does not answer why god does not make a habit of saying “hello” though… So, we have an intelligent designer – but we do not have a clear picture of his character, except he likes beautiful things. But alongside the flowers, we’ve got gross worms, some bloody odd marine creatures that could star in a horror film and some definitely foul and repugnant microbes.

          • Still think Dawkins is talking crap though, re aliens. The only thing he’s got going for him is he married Lalla Ward[1], smug git! ;->

            [1] Dr Who reference….

      • what was said was if he showed him self we would love him because we know hes there and he wants us to love him because we believe he is there, to love him because we want to, not because hes showed hiself to make us love him,
        and for the record im not a believer either, was just curious to see other thoughts on the subject.

        • It’s the “and if you don’t believe, you’re gonna get fried for eternity” that I find rather gross.

          If it were a toss up between “love god and live forever in heaven” vs “cease to exist upon death” then I’d be less bothered – at least if you don’t exist, you no longer suffer.

          And what about the buddists, the hindus, the muslims (the nice ones, not the nutters) – did they in all true belief and with integrity make a choice to live well, but they’re going to get fried too?

          Problem withj god not showing up in person is that we rely on the writings of ancients to tell us what to do. And the written word could be a) BS from the get-go; b) wrongly written down after decades of father to son talks.

          The Islamics have a perfectly sound written word and yet it contradicts the equally sound christian written word. Who’s right?

          • Here are a couple reasons that we know that the bible is not B.S.

            1) The remarkable similarity between the biblical and scientific accounts of creation. Click here to see MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder’s describe this remarkable similarity.

            Please also read this article by astrophysicist Hugh Ross. I have copied and pasted the conclusion below:

            Conclusion
            The more that astronomers learn about the origin and development of the universe, the more evidence they accumulate for the God of the Bible. Ironically, those who fought hardest against God as the explanation for the cosmos often were the ones whose work provided the most powerful new evidence for Him. Today, with the measuring of the creation has come the scientific equipment to make a positive identification of the Creator. Though not many who write about these new measurements acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they typically confess that the only explanation for the universe we observe is the action of an entity beyond the space-time continuum of the universe who/that is capable of design and of carrying out that design. All they typically lack is the theological knowledge or the courage to recognize that in their confession they have testified of none other than the God of the Bible.

            As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

            “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

            Similarly, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow writes:

            “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment of time, in a flash of light and energy.”

            2) The prophecies of Jesus’ arrival that were fulfilled. These prophecies appear in both the Hebrew bible and in the ancient scriptures from India known as the Vedas and Upanishads. Please read my essay titled Which God is Real? for detail.

        • Andrew Your are absolutely Right… i agree with u…. I have a question to all other believers of GOD
          You love yourr mother bcoz she has gave birth to you.. showed affection to you in your bad time..you saw her have faith in her believe her,
          Then how can we beleive GOD we have’nt saw in our whole life..wen we went wrong he didnt stoped us …then how can he send us to hell or heaven…

          • Hassan,

            The reason that you cannot “see” God is that he is an immaterial, timeless entity…and therefore does not have a physical form to see.

            For solid reasons to believe that God is real, please read several of the other essays at this website. You may want to try a couple under each category (science, experience, philosophy).

            Scott

          • ” Hassan,The reason that you cannot “see” God is that he is an immaterial, timeless entity…and therefore does not have a physical form to see.”

            Dear Scott,
            I do not understand your logic above. There has been many instances of theophany and visions of God in the Bible ( see link http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/1454-theophany). The whole point is that while a believer does not need any proof of God’s existence for the atheist no proof will suffice. Atheism too, in that respect, a religion, in the sense that its adherents “believe’ that there is no God.
            Perhaps the visions of God like the vision of everything material is illusion or Maya as the following quote from Vedanta defines…
            Vedanta declares that our real nature is divine: pure, perfect, eternally free. We do not have to become Brahman, we are Brahman. Our true Self, the Atman, is one with Brahman.

            But if our real nature is divine, why then are we so appallingly unaware of it?

            The answer to this question lies in the concept of maya, or ignorance. Maya is the veil that covers our real nature and the real nature of the world around us. Maya is fundamentally inscrutable: we don’t know why it exists and we don’t know when it began. What we do know is that, like any form of ignorance, maya ceases to exist at the dawn of knowledge, the knowledge of our own divine nature.

            Brahman is the real truth of our existence: in Brahman we live, move, and have our being. “All this is indeed Brahman,” the Upanishads—the scriptures that form Vedanta philosophy—declare. The changing world that we see around us can be compared to the moving images on a movie screen: without the unchanging screen in the background, there can be no movie. Similarly, it is the unchanging Brahman—the substratum of existence—in the background of this changing world that gives the world its reality.

            Yet for us this reality is conditioned, like a warped mirror, by time, space, and causality—the law of cause and effect. Our vision of reality is further obscured by wrong identification: we identify ourselves with the body, mind, and ego rather than the Atman, the divine Self.

            This original misperception creates more ignorance and pain in a domino effect: identifying ourselves with the body and mind, we fear disease, old age and death; identifying ourselves with the ego, we suffer from anger, hatred, and a hundred other miseries. Yet none of this affects our real nature, the Atman.

            Maya can be compared to clouds which cover the sun: the sun remains in the sky but a dense cloud cover prevents us from seeing it. When the clouds disperse, we become aware that the sun has been there all the time. Our clouds—maya appearing as egotism, selfishness, hatred, greed, lust, anger, ambition—are pushed away when we meditate upon our real nature, when we engage in unselfish action, and when we consistently act and think in ways that manifest our true nature: that is, through truthfulness, purity, contentment, self-restraint, and forbearance. This mental purification drives away the clouds of maya and allows our divine nature to shine forth.

            Shankara, the great philosopher-sage of seventh-century India, used the example of the rope and the snake to illustrate the concept of maya. Walking down a darkened road, a man sees a snake; his heart pounds, his pulse quickens. On closer inspection the “snake” turns out to be a piece of coiled rope. Once the delusion breaks, the snake vanishes forever.

            Similarly, walking down the darkened road of ignorance, we see ourselves as mortal creatures, and around us, the universe of name and form, the universe conditioned by time, space, and causation. We become aware of our limitations, bondage, and suffering. On “closer inspection” both the mortal creature as well as the universe turn out to be Brahman. Once the delusion breaks, our mortality as well as the universe disappear forever. We see Brahman existing everywhere and in everything.

          • Abraham,

            You are certainly correct about God showing himself to some people in a direct physical-like representation (theophany). I did not mean to imply to Hassan that God never does this. Rather, I meant to imply that one should not expect God to do this or demand that he do so. We cannot dictate to God (arbitrarily) how he should present himself to us.

            Regarding your comments about the Hindu concepts of God known as Atman and Brahman, I have only one objection. The concept that God and the universe (and ourselves) are all ONE is known as a “monist” concept of God. Theist concepts of God, conversely, hold that God is separate from the universe and that he created the universe.

            The problem with monist concepts of God is that they do not hold up with the insights of modern cosmology/astrophysics. For monist concepts of God to stand, it would require an eternal universe since, under monism, God and the universe are one.

            But Big Bang cosmology has very conclusively demonstrated that the universe had a beginning, and therefore the universe requires a cause separate from itself…and the observational data just continues to further validate this beginning. Therefore, a theistic concept of God is the only concept that can stand up in light of modern science. Please read my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) to delve deeper into this topic.

            Does this mean that I am anti-Hindu? You might be surprised to learn that the answer to this question is NO!

            How can this be? Roy Abraham Varghese writes in The Wonder of the World, A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God:

            Many people associate monism with Hinduism and Hinduism with monism. But this habit of thought is simply mistaken. The Hindu scriptures, says the great Hindu scholar B.N.K. Sharma, are largely theistic. He points to “the boyant realism of the Vedas, the transcendental Theism of the Upanishads and the emotional Theism of the Epics and Puranas.”

            Just as important, monism was taught by only a single sub-set of one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, a sub-set that chronologically appeared only after the first five schools. The Nyaya, Vaisesika, Sankya, Yoga and Mimamsa schools taught that there is a multiplicity of souls and that these souls are distinct from each other and the world. The Nyaya, Vaisesika, and Yoga thinkers specifically contend that God was the intelligent cause of the world.

            It would be fair, then, to characterize the association of Hinduism with monism as an error and misunderstanding perpetrated by Westerners.

            This is just one more reason why I contend (as detailed in my essay Which God is Real?) that the Judeo-Christian concept of God is actually much more than just a Judeo-Christian concept. It is in fact a transcultural and transhistorical concept (meaning that it has appeared in hundreds of cultures throughout the world and throughout history).

            Scott

          • Dear Scott,
            Thanks for your reply. No, I am not a Hindu !! The fact is I do not know what I am !!! Born into a Christian family and a practising Christian till 5-6 years back, personal setbacks and the silence I got as an answer to my prayers, makes me wonder, whether prayers, religions and belief in a personal God who responds to prayers, are for real or a feel good myth, which I used as a crutch for my psychological and emotional needs. I am still searching for an answer. My needs are more practical and not for knowledge and so I admit that I do not have your erudition nor have I read so much in depth. Therefore, I cannot say, that I am a worthy opponent for you to debate on the matter. On the contrary, I am more, using you as a sounding board to bounce of my doubts and ignorance. Therefore please do forgive gaps in my understanding of the subject or an inaccurate understanding. Also the views given below are not mine but taken from different sources ( more than what I can list for giving credits for) and in that sense plagiarized !! Furthermore, there are just my thoughts at the moment. They are fluid and not crystalised yet ( I do not think they will ever be !!). Being thoughts ( more precisely, ramblings), they might not be properly structured in a logical progression and it no way are they a rebuttal to your views. They are not a rebuttal, because I do not enough to rebutt. Okay here goes:
            1. Big Bang: Modern science takes the Big Bang to be the Origin of creation before which there was nothing. Big Bang, as I understand it, was the phenomenon where concentrated matter reached a critical mass and exploded, spreading itself into space. According to you, the governing laws for the bang to occur, existed before the bang and is the work of God? And therefore Creator and creation has to be distictly different. But it still does not explain where that matter come from ( since matter can neither be created nor destroyed) and was there space before the bang for the broken segments to spread into? How did that space come into existence? Did it exist before creation and if so, how did it come into existence ?
            2. God and Creation: Is it that God just rearranged basic matter and space (already existing) into a form of order and beauty to qualify it as a creation. In creation, there is an order and a harmony, contributing to aesthetic beauty. Now look at this created (rearranged) matter and space. It is now called Universe – a well ordered and regulated system. Look at the structure of an atom, a molecule, a crystal, a solar system, the Milky Way, the galaxies, and the whole universe in perspective – it is a gigantic, well ordered system with physical and fundamental laws governing that system. From the electron orbits to planetary motions to movement of stars to galaxies, all follow very rigid physical laws. Any ordered system involves high energy or low entropy. In order to create and maintain order, work has to be done. Thermodynamically, nature moves to a chaotic state to lower its energy; that is increase its entropy. To create an order, work has to be done which involves expenditure of energy. The universe operates within well defined Laws. Even to discover these laws of nature, intelligence is required. Then, what can we say about the universal order along with laws to create and maintain that order? Since order can only come out of intelligence, creative order involves an intelligent action. This much, we understand by examining the laws of thermodynamics. That intelligence must have all the knowledge and skills needed to create this entire universe. Thus once we have accepted the existence of universe, we can not but bring in a third factor, a creator to create this universe. All religions call that GOD. God according to all religions is the one who created this entire universe. Moreover,the creator has to be a conscious entity, since an unconscious entity cannot create. So much for atheism.
            3. Vedanta (Advaita/ Monism) : Creation requires two things- intelligence or know-how and material for the creation. Unlike Michelangelo who searched extensively for the best carrara marble to create his Pieta, God did not have the advantage of going around searching for matter, because non existed. God had to create the matter too. In other words the matter and the intelligence had to be one.The Upanishad gives an analogy: The spider projects and withdraws the material for the creation of its web i.e. it is the material cause for the creation. And the intelligence to create the web also rests with the spider. Thus material and intelligent cause for the spider’s web is one and the same.
            4. Creator: So far we have seen that according to accepted rules of physics, there has to be a creator who is a conscious, intelligent entity. We have deduced that since to begin with, there was no matter to create with, the creator had to create the matter too. This brings us to the last question and that is – Where is the creator now, after creating the Universe? The creator cannot be inside the creation or outside the creation. He cannot be outside the creation since any outside would also have to be created; then that outside would be inside the creation. Hence there is no outside of the creation. He cannot be inside the creation either. In fact anything inside the creation cannot create this entire universe. In addition, if He were inside, He would be limited by the creation. Hence, he can neither be inside nor outside the creation. The only alternative is that He and the creation cannot be separated. Not only is he the material and intelligent cause, it also follows that he is inseparable from the creation. If the creation is infinite, He has to be infinite too. Hence Vedanta says: He pervades the entire universe, both inside (here inside referring to the body of the individual) as well as outside (antar bihischa tat sarvam vyapya narayana sthitah).
            As I said before, these are just thoughts on Vedanta. I have no conviction on these thoughts and my understanding is still evolving. Not that these thoughts really are of any help to me in answering my questions viz. Is there a personal God who cares ? Does He/She see me, hear me or understand me. Is he, as the Psalmist says, ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…” ? I wonder ???

            Regards.

          • Abraham,

            Regarding unanswered prayers, I recommend that you read my post titled If God is Real, Why Is There Suffering? God often uses suffering to develop us spiritually. As I have definitely experienced in my life, suffering can result in a greater good.

            1) Regarding your question of where matter came from, I highly recommend that you read my posts titled God Is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism and The Ultimate Cart Before the Horse…Why Atheism is Illogical. The answer to your question which modern physics provides is no less than mind-blowing. Be warned, these essays are NOT light reading. The lessons modern physics has to teach us requires most people to completely reframe their perception of the world in which they live: Matter is a construct of consciousness.

            2) Another important point is that time, space, matter, and energy were all brought into existence at the Big Bang. Nobody in the scientific community disputes this. Therefore, whatever caused the universe was timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energyless. God fits all four of these criteria. Yes, you are correct when you say “so much for atheism.”

            3) I like the spider analogy. Have you read my post titled Which God Is Real?, in which I cite the Vedas and Upanishads (as excerpted from The Christ Connection: How the World Religions Prepared the Way for the Phenomenon of Jesus by Roy Abraham Varghese)? I VERY HIGHLY recommend that you read this book since it will help you greatly with your search. Below is a copy and paste of the excerpts from the Vedas and Upanishads featured in this book:


            “The Supreme Creator took a perfect human body (Nishkalanka Purusha) and offered it up as a self-sacrifice (Brihad Aranyak Upanishad 1:2:8).”

            “If you want to be delivered from the sin, which you commit through eyes, mouth, ears and mind, bloodshed is necessary. Without shedding the blood, there is no remission for sin. That must be the blood of the Holy one. God is our creator. He is our King. When we were perishing, He came to save us by offering even his own body on our behalf.” (Tandya Mahabrahmana 4.15).

            “The redemption is through shedding of blood only and that blood has to be through the sacrifice of God himself.” (Taittiriya Aranyaka, verse 3)

            “This [sacrifice] is the only way for the redemption and liberation of mankind. Those who meditate and attain this man, believe in heart and chant with the lips, get liberated in this world itself and there is no other way for salvation too.” (Yajur-Veda 31:18)

            “The Purusha was above sin, and only in knowing him does one attain immortality.” (Chandogyopanishad 1:6:6-7)

            “After giving Himself as the supreme sacrifice, this Purush resurrected himself.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28.4-5; Kathopanishad 3: 15).

            “The purpose of this sacrifice is to provide the only way to Heaven and the only way to escape from Hell.” (Rig-Veda 9:113:7-11; 4:5:5; 7:104:3).

            “His hands and legs are to be bound to a yoopa [a wooden pole] causing blood shed.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6).

            “The sacrificial victim is to be crowned with a crown made of thorny vines.” (Rig-Veda 10:90:7, Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3:9:28).

            “Before death he should be given a drink of somarasa [sour wine made of an herb called somalatha].” (Yajur-Veda 31).

            “None of His bones must be broken.” (Yajur-Veda 31:; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6)

            4) Regarding your question of where the creator is now, please remember that God does not occupy a physical space since he is immaterial, spaceless, and timeless. Matter (as I point out in God is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism) is a construct of consciousness. Please read the essay and watch the video to fully understand what this means…since it is pretty mind-bending stuff. But although it is mind-bending, modern physics has demonstrated it to be the case.

            Is there a personal God who cares? Yes, absolutely. Please read Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It? and watch the embedded videos. An excerpt:

            Researchers from the fields of medicine and psychology have come together to form the International Association of Near- Death Studies (IANDS, website iands.org) and the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF, website: nderf.org).

            In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

            “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

            “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

            Scott

      • Amen brother…religions were developed by humans to control for power for money. It’s a load of crap there is a god as we believe there is. No power in the sky looking over us. If people want to believe..go right ahead. I have no problems with that but until I see something that proves there is one and if not then it’s not real.

      • Sounds like you have got it all figured out…

        It would have been better if you were at least intellectually honest and summed it all up to “I just chose not to believe”.

        Nothing that you stated is an original idea. Everything you said has been said by others millions of times…Which tell us that you have reached your conclusions based on what other people have told you rather than actually doing the hard work of research yourself.

      • Andrew – I couldn’t agree with you more. I have believed in God most of my life. The article to which you originally replied is so ridiculous that I was actually angry just reading it. All people, good or bad, should be told by God, if He exists, that He is there. No one has to be coerced into believing. But if God really existed, He should at least let us know through our thoughts or some other way that He is there. The reason, as you said, that people don’t believe in His existence, is because He doesn’t make Himself known to us. An all knowing, all seeing God who supposedly created the entire universe and all we know, including us, should certainly know how to communicate with each and every one of us. But that never happens. If God does exist, He is a poor God. I firmly believe that there are human beings, kind and thoughtful, that could run this planet better than God. He certainly does not deserve praise.

        • Wade,

          You say, “He [God] should at least let us know through our thoughts or some other way that He is there.”

          Well, God DOES let us know of his existence through several means. One such means is through the moral code, as I detail in Why Do I Have to Believe in God to Be Good? An excerpt:

          A moral law requires a source, and this source must be external to nature…because the natural/material world is itself valueless. One cannot locate good or bad under a microscope or isolate some good or bad in a test tube. Therefore science, which exists to examine the natural/material world, must necessarily be mute with regards to morality.

          John C. Lennox notes in Gunning for God:

          Albert Einstein, in a discussion on science and religion in Berlin in 1930, said that our sense of beauty and our religious instinct are: “tributary forms in helping the reasoning faculty towards its highest achievements. You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn round and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.” According to Einstein, therefore, science cannot form a base for morality: “Every attempt to reduce ethics to scientific formula must fail.” Richard Feynman, also a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, shared Einstein’s view: “Even the greatest forces and abilities don’t seem to carry any clear instructions on how to use them. As an example, the great accumulation of understanding as to how the physical world behaves only convinces one that this behavior has a kind of meaninglessness about it. The sciences do not directly teach good or bad.” Elsewhere he states: “Ethical values lie outside the scientific realm.”

          Another means that God communicates his existence to us is (as I mentioned in this essay) through such things as beauty. A copy and paste of the citation of Dean Overman from this essay:

          “Consistent with Penrose’s idea that a more perfect and more real world has a more profound and more beautiful reality, the beauty of music seems to come from a more sublime reality….We are bathed in beauty in this world from so many different perspectives and manifestations. Our universe is wondrously and beautifully elegant. As I have repeatedly stated, it did not have to be this way; it could have been a chaos in which there is no ability to comprehend its order and no ability to do science or mathematics. You and I behold a universe that is like a great work of art made with love. What is the source of this beauty?…As Plato noticed, beauty is suggestive of another reality, a more real and even more beautiful reality.”

          So, the question is this: If there is no God, what is the source of the vast richness, wonder, and beauty that so permeates human experience (in, nature, culture, music, art, love, joy, etc., etc.)? Recall that, as I discuss in God Is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism, there have historically been two worldviews. One worldview (known as materialism or naturalism) says that the fundamental ground of reality is mindless matter and/or energy. If this worldview were true, how would you explain the existence of the vast richness and wonder of human experience? Is the love that two human beings experience for one another, for example, somehow embedded in mindless matter and/or energy.

          The other worldview, known as idealismtheism is anchored) says that mind is the fundamental ground of reality. Under this worldview, there is no problem whatsoever in explaining the existence of such richness and wonder. To this end, I will copy and paste an excerpt from Why God? Why Not Just Plain Luck? below:

          The Nobel Prize-winning Harvard University biologist George Wald, despite being ideologically opposed to theism, was forced by the weight of the evidence to make the following admission in his address to the quantum biology symposium titled Life and Mind in the Universe (also cited in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God):

          “It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”

          Wald’s above comments are eerily reflected by the physicist who won the Nobel Prize for the crucial scientific contribution of founding quantum theory, Max Planck (as cited in God Is Real… Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism).

          “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

          Very few individuals have had a greater depth of logical insight into the fundamental composition of reality than Max Planck, or for that matter, Albert Einstein, who said:

          “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

          Scott

          • Don’t you worry about everyone believing in god , soon enough the Higgs Boson and the humans controlling it will play god. We soon will have many real life not myth gods walking around. Or did god have that planned out for us to do all of this to prove that he is our comic book creation. I’m happy my family and kids are truly happy and are very successful in our lives and we do not believe in god so how is this possible without him. Choice .

          • Ryan:

            Could you rephrase your comment? The only part of your comment that seems coherent to me is your question about how you and your family could be happy and successful without believing in God.

            Could you elaborate on why you think the happiness and success of your family is relevant to discussions about the existence of God?

            Scott

    • This does not make sense at all. How am I supposed to love god if I don’t know if he even exists? I don’t know how I could. There would have to be a better way for god to make us genuinely love him than leaving us with no evidence of his existence. I mean what about the people who are raised believing in other religions, they’re obviously capable of loving a god unconditionally but the only reason they’re not Christian is because the Christian god has never made himself known to them. How is that fair? If you really want to take it down to the source, why didn’t god create us so that we love him? It’s like you’re saying emotions are beyond even gods control. But that is BS. They’re not even beyond our control. Antidepressants can change someone’s emotions and entire outlook on life, so obviously emotion is heavily influenced by the chemicals in our brain, which could have been changed by a creator at the time of creation. MDMA makes you feel an intense amount of love, it does so by increasing the serotonin and dopamine in your brain. Why didn’t god just give us more dopamine and serotonin? If he is really perfect why didn’t he create us exactly how he wanted us to be? And I don’t want to hear “because imperfection and free thoughts are what makes him love us” or some of that bs, because part of that would mean we are able to go against his rules. Why would he even make it possible to go against his rules? It’s like if you could choose an option for your kid to not be able to murder, but if you didn’t choose it the odds of him becoming a serial killer are still incredibly low, why would you not choose it? I mean it would be choosing between “definitely won’t be a serial killer” and “probably won’t become a serial killer”. And if you’re thinking “well satan is who corrupted us”, god created satan too! Why did he give him the capacity for sin?? If any knowledgeable Christian could answer these questions please do so.

      • Asdfg:

        You write that God “leaves us with no evidence of his existence.” But there is a massive amount of overwhelming evidence for God’s existence.

        If you have only read this essay, it is understandable that you could adopt this stance. But please review the following (introductory) evidence and respond:

        The evidence from cosmology
        , as presented in Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance) and OK…I want numbers. What is the probability that our universe is the result of chance?

        The evidence from biology (and the origin of life from non-living matter), as presented in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God and How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading.

        The evidence from modern physics
        , as presented in God Is Real…Why Modern Physics has discredited atheism.

        These are just, as I said, a few introductory pieces of evidence. Make sure you read essays in each of the categories (science, experience, philosophy). One of the pervasive themes present in atheist websites and forums is an a frequently repeated insistence that “there is no evidence for God,” while simultaneously ignoring the vast evidence presented. This is a logical fallacy known as Argument by Repeated Assertion.

        Regarding the Christian God not making himself known to those of other religions: First of all, the Bible is not explicit about how God judges those who are not Christian. That being said, the Bible is explicit that those who have been exposed to the Christian gospel must not reject it. And regarding God’s revelation to people of all cultures, please read my essay titled Which God is Real? I think you will find it extremely revealing.

        The imperfection and pain that we experience in this world is the result of our exercising our free will in a way that rebels against God. Why would God make it possible for us to go against his rules? Because there can be no love without free will, and God loves. God cannot love a robot, and God wants humans to FREELY CHOOSE to love him.

        Did I answer all of your questions? Sorry, I was in a bit of a hurry.

    • But these are all the views of human beings. Are people seriously suggesting that mankind actually knows all the secrets and intricacies of the universe and has stuck it on the discovery channel. Mankind is probably one of the lower, least evolved organisms in the universe as a whole. On the main topic, this does appear to be a load of cod. To love something/someone is a choice, irrespective of whether or not you can see it/them. In fact , if you cannot see something or have personal interaction with it surely you are only loving a notion.

      • Steve,

        You write that, “If you cannot see something or have personal interaction with it, surely you are only loving a notion.”

        I have to respond that you CAN have personal interaction with God, although not physical interaction because God is not physical. God, in fact, is the source of physical/material reality, as I demonstrate God Is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. Please click on the preceding link, read the essay and the many citations that follow, and watch the embedded video.

        If the fact that modern physics has conclusively buried atheism is not enough for you, then you may want to read some of the other essays.

        A few that you may want to start with:

        OK…I want numbers, what is the probability that the universe is the result of chance? This essay features the analysis of elite physicists and mathematicians who demonstrate that the universe must have been produced deliberately. A copy and paste of the citations that precede this essay:

        “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

        –Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle.

        .

        “Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”

        –Former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science Owen Gingerich, who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich is here reflecting on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.


        How atheism relies on special pleading.
        This essay demonstrates that the origin of life from non-living matter was NECESSARILY the result of a conscious and intelligent mind. Even ultra-elite atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick clearly know this, which is why they resort to the truly desperate escape-hatch of suggesting that life was CREATED BY ALIENS AND BROUGHT TO EARTH IN THEIR SPACESHIP.

        In order to suggest that having a relationship with God is “a load of cod,” you must provide a rationally constructed, fact-based rebuttal to arguments for God and furnish a logical case for atheism. Merely making a forceful assertion such as “load of cod” is of no value to rational discourse.

        Scott

    • I know for certain that if the Christian god proved his existence I would still hate him for the evil he has caused; his calling for murder and genocide, his self imposed eternal punishment for disobedience, his inaction in regard to all of the horrible evils present in this world, his unnecessary creation of horrible natural evils (diseases, disasters). I would in the interest of self preservation probably try to serve him, praise him and be obedient but then I guess he of course would know that I truly hate him anyway.

      Proving a truth does not prohibit someone from disregarding it and it does not take away their free will. When the earth was proven not to be flat, people didn’t all of a sudden lose their free will, they just said “well, I guess it ain’t flat” or continued to believe it was flat anyway. If god simple proved his existence then many would at least believe in him, many would convert to him, many would hate and rebel against him, some would probably still refuse to believe and attribute his physical manifestation to some sort of government conspiracy.

      Beyond this, being omnipotent couldn’t he simply reveal himself physically in a measurable, observable, repeatable way that purposely does not inhibit free will? He’s god he can do anything right?

      I’d love to hear a better argument for why god doesn’t just make it easy for us to measure his existence, the free will excuse just doesn’t hold up, it’s clutching at straws in the most illogical, irrational, and desperate show of denial.

      That’s my opinion anyway.

      P.s. If a non Christian, non religious based god proved his existence then quite possibly I would love him/her. Depends on their disposition and ability really.

      • Abe,

        You accuse the Christian God of causing suffering and evil. However, he has done no such thing. WE HUMANS are the ones who cause suffering and evil…WE murder, WE start wars, WE rape, WE lie, WE steal, WE cheat, etc. The suffering and evil we experience in this world is the result of actions WE HUMANS take with the free will which God has given us.

        I discuss this topic in depth in my essay titled If God is Real, Why is There Suffering. Please read and respond to this essay at your convenience.

        You also accuse God of causing “horrible natural evils (diseases, disasters).” I respond to this accusation in the above mentioned essay. An excerpt:
        ——–
        …God has a very good reason in allowing “natural evil” (such as earthquakes and tsunamis, etc.). William Dembski explains in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God In An Evil World:

        “Humanity, in becoming captive to evil, gave its consent. Humans are complicit in the evil from which God is striving to deliver us. For redemption effectively to deliver humanity from evil therefore requires us to be clear as to precisely what we have consented to in rebelling against God and embracing evil. To achieve this clarity, humanity must experience the full brunt of the evil that we have set in motion, and this requires that the creation itself fully manifest the consequences of humanity’s rebellion against God. This does not mean that the creation has to become as corrupt as it could possibly be. But it does mean that the creation must not conceal or soft-sell the gravity of sin. …In answer, then, to why a benevolent God would allow natural evil to afflict an otherwise innocent nature in response to human moral evil, we can say that it is to manifest the full consequences of human sin so that when Christ redeems us, we may clearly understand what we have been redeemed from. Without this clarity about the evil we have set in motion, we will always be in danger of reverting back to it because we do not see its gravity.”

        All of this is not to say that God plays no role in guiding worldly events or that he never intervenes in earthly affairs. Rather, it is to say that much of the time he must step back and allow us to experience the consequences of our decision to embrace evil so that we can understand what we need to be redeemed from. By allowing natural evil, God is thus responding somewhat like the parents of a 12 year-old who, upon catching the child smoking a cigarette, force him to go into the closet and finish the entire pack so that he can grasp the consequences of his choice. And if one will stop to think, people often don’t give God a fair shake. We humans are very adept at taking credit for all that is good in the world and blaming God for much of what is bad: How could God allow the holocaust? Isn’t it wonderful that we found a cure for polio? Why did God allow those children to starve? Isn’t it great that we successfully (and very narrowly) avoided total nuclear annihilation several times during the Cold War?
        ——
        Abe, you write, “If God simply proved his existence then many would at least believe in him.” The first point is that there are few things in human experience that can be proven to the extent of removing all possibility of doubt. The fact that you can express doubt about the existence of God is of no more significance than the fact that someone can express doubt about the fact that the Earth is round rather than flat.

        So proving the existence of God can only be done to the extent of proof beyond a reasonable doubt rather than proof beyond any doubt. Even the roundness of the Earth cannot be proven to the extent of removing ALL doubt…because someone can always introduce doubt, no matter what evidence someone provides. For example, someone arguing for a flat Earth could argue that satellite photos of the round Earth were faked in a computer.

        Considering this, the existence of God has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. To this end, I cite my brief essay titled OK…I Want Numbers. What is the Probability that the Universe is the Result of Chance? Since this essay is pretty brief, I will just go ahead and copy and paste most of it below:

        “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

        –Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle

        .

        “Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”

        –Former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science Owen Gingerich, who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich is here reflecting on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.

        —————————————-
        The reader of the essay entitled Is There A God (What is the Chance the World is the Result of Chance?) may be interested in knowing some hard numbers with regard to the probability that the universe occurred randomly (i.e. no conscious creator involved). Oxford University Professor of Mathematics John Lennox quotes renowned Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose:

        “Try to imagine phase space… of the entire universe. Each point in this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a ‘pin’ — which is to be placed at some point in phase space… Each different positioning of the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator’s aim depends on the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be relatively ‘easy’ to produce a high entropy universe, since then there would be a large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. But in order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy — so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics — the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result?”

        Lennox goes on to cite Penrose’s answer:

        His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power or 123, that is 1 followed by 10 to the 123rd power zeros.”

        As Penrose puts it, that is a “number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe, there would not even be enough particles to do the job.”
        ——-

        Abe, next, you write, “…being omnipotent couldn’t he simply reveal himself physically in a measurable, observable, repeatable way that purposely does not inhibit free will?”

        By demanding that a non-physical being reveal himself in a physical way, you are trying to arbitrarily impose upon God the method in which he must reveal himself. God is an eternally existent, infinite, conscious being. Consciousness (not to mention infinity) is not measurable, observable, or repeatable. Just think about it, how could you observe or measure consciousness?

        Regarding this point, I refer you to my essay titled God is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. In this essay, I explain how modern physics has shown that, contrary to the assumptions of our culture, physical reality is a construct of consciousness. Put more simply, a conscious mind comes first; and the physical, measurable, material world is the product of a conscious mind (God). A few citations from that essay (just to entice you to read it):

        “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

        The knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans, as cited in his book The Mysterious Universe.
        .
        “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

        Max Planck, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who made the crucial scientific contribution of founding quantum theory.

        Abe, lastly, you characterize the argument for God presented in Why Doesn’t God Just Show Himself as the “free will argument.” But this characterization is an over-simplification of the argument. God is seeking people who will seek him.

        Scott

  1. Well put. This is the most well articulated comment I have seen yet. I particularly like how you boiled it down to mind is the source of matter or vice versa. I may integrate this succinct and effective point into a future post. (Don’t worry, I will be sure to cite your commentary).

    Scott

  2. I have never read such rubbish. There is no evidence for god just the opposite . Look how we have evolved by natural selection , the evidence is irrifutable. The bible is full of folklore untruths, half truths and storie of those with an agenda. Life has evolved by chance and we should rejoice that we are lucky to be part of it. Think of the trillions of people who will never be born because they nrver hit the zygomatic jackpot. If their was a god ( theoretically) why allow the disasters to happen why allow millions of human beings to be killed by natural events every year. No they are natural events that occur because of the way our earth has EVOLVED.

    • Except that when you look into this issue, you will discover that your assertion is utterly false. For example, Francis Crick, the famous Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer of the DNA double helix has himself stated, “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” To overcome the huge hurdles of the evolution of life from non-living chemicals on earth, Crick proposed, in his book Life Itself, that some form of primordial life was brought to the earth billions of years ago in spaceships—by supposedly “more evolved” alien beings. This speculation is known as panspermia. (You can google “Francis Crick panspermia” to verify).

      Biologist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, has also endorsed this notion of space aliens bringing life to earth. You will find a link to a video of him expressing this belief in my post entitled “Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False?” You will also find a link there to a video which describes what the fossil record really shows.

      In short, nobody who knows anything about biology still believes that “life evolved by chance” from lifeless chemicals. When it comes to the question of how the first living things emerged, there are only various versions of “intelligent design,” even by such hugely prominent atheisitic figures as Crick and Dawkins. It is only the source of intelligence that varies (God vs. space aliens). The reader should find enormous entertainment value in observing the contorted mental gymnastics that atheists such as these will undergo in order to avoid the clear implications of a creator…involving such non-scientific, pseudo-religious speculations as panspermia.

      Furthermore, even if it could be demonstrated that life was brought here by aliens, the question then becomes: Where did the aliens come from? Such a silly suggestion only kicks the can down the road rather than answering the question of the origin of life.

      If you read my post entitled “Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False?,” you will learn that, to quote MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder, “no less an authority on evolution than Ernst Mayr, professor emeritus of zoology at Harvard University, former curator at the American Museum of Natural History, and avowed lifelong advocate of Darwinian evolution, has finally come to admit that the origin of our species is a “puzzle” (to use his word) that may never be solved. The link that leads directly to Homo Sapiens is missing. That should not be a surprise. Such direct ‘links’ are not abundant in the fossil record.”

      I encourage you to read Evolution: A Theory In Crisis by molecular biologist Michael Denton and The Deniable Darwin by mathematics and philosophy professor David Berlinski for more detail on this subject matter. Please forgive me if it feels like I am ridiculing your beliefs. You are not to blame…science as it is presented in the media often lags far behind what is known by cutting-edge scientists.

      As far as your second question, about natural disasters, you will find my answer in the post entitled “If God is Good, Why Do Evil and Suffering Exist?”

      • Scott I must insist that just because the chances of something is so small does not mean that it is impossible there for everything in the universe CAN happen by CHANCE and does not require a creator

        • No, the universe requires a creator because the only alternative is for there to be infinite past time (an eternal universe). This is not possible as I have demonstrated in my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator).” Please read and then click on the links provided.

          And, as I explain in Why God? Why not just plain luck?, bare probability, alone, can never accomplish ANYTHING…let alone create a universe or a living thing, etc.

          Scott

          • Scott

            Yes that may be true but your argument assumes that the big bang theory is correct however many leading scientists – even the ones who came up with the theory are starting to question it with many more thories some of which seem to be and edless cycle with no beginning or end.

          • The “endless cycle with no beginning or end” you are referring to is known as the Oscillating Universe model. But this model runs afoul of the 2nd law of thermodynamics (amongst other problems). This article discusses what I mean. An excerpt:

            To understand the second part of this paper we need to understand the Second Law of Thermodynamics; The Second Law of Thermodynamics asserts that as time advances the universe progresses from a state of order to a greater state of disorder. This law also declares that the energy available to perform work in the universe progresses from a state of order to a state of greater disorder and decrease in usable energy is called the development of “entropy.” Therefore, when applied to the universe, the second law predicts that the orderliness of the universe is steadily decreasing and it is cooling off. An example will help you fully understand this law.

            If you take a deck of cards in bridge order, (A new deck cards is always arranged in bridge order. In bridge order the cards are arranged in order from aces, kings, queens, jacks, etc… down to the two cards from top to bottom.) and begin to shuffle them, you will notice that the orderly arrangement of the cards will quickly become random and disordered. Common sense tells us that it would never go the other way. In fact the Second Law is so certain, that if you did observe a random deck of cards go into bridge order with shuffling, you could be certain you were experiencing a time reversal!

            Some cosmologists have asserted that the Second Law does not apply to the universe as a whole. However, there is not one shred of evidence for such a claim. In fact, the evidence from decaying stars (novae [exploding stars] and supernovae) indicates just the opposite. The universe is wearing out and winding down!

            So, put another way, the “endless cycle with no beginning or end” (Oscillating Universe) is impossible because, as the 2nd law of thermodynamics states, things become more disordered over time, not more ordered. Believing in an Oscillating Universe scenario is like believing in a deck of cards that organizes itself.

          • “The only alternative is an infinite universe”
            That is not the only alternative. There could be an infinite number of universes. There are many theory’s that don’t include god or an infinite universe. A “miracle” to me is just something that occurs against all probability, but if you have enough time then a “miracle” is possible without the need for a god. Good example is actually something I had a devout Christian tell me, she said “the probability of all of this coming about by chance is like rolling enough dice to fill an entire football stadium and having them all land on 3″, it might be hard for some people to imagine that is possible, but if you kept rolling those dice again and again for an infinite amount of time eventually there would be a time they all landed on 3. It might take trillions and trillions of tries, but it would happen, and would happen again, eventually you could hit every possibility. Science is a lot more flexible than religious people think. If you look at quantum mechanics it’s technically possible that one day you could walk through a wall randomly, but the probability is incredibly low. But that still doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and that’s not god, its physics.

          • Asdfg:

            I am glad you made this comment about chance. I wrote an essay about why chance is not an alternative explanation to God titled Why God? Why Not Just Plain Luck? Please read and respond at your leisure. Pure chance, alone, cannot explain ANYTHING, let alone the origin of the universe.

            Regarding multiple universes (such as an infinite number of universes), I have written several essays that address this topic. One such essay is titled On the Bible and Fairy Tales…Atheist Fairy Tales. Please read and respond. A excerpt from that essay:

            Pointing out the absurd improbability of a universe capable of producing life occurring by chance is known as the anthropic fine tuning argument (discussed in more depth in Is There a God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?)). In order to counter this argument, atheists have resorted to postulating multiple universes. So many universes exist—goes the atheist argument—that it should be no surprise that a universe such as ours, with the absurdly improbable constants and values necessary to enable life, exists. London Times science writer Clifford Longley points out that the desperation of this counter argument illustrates in just how tight of a spot atheists find themselves, in his article Focusing on Theism, (London Times, January 21, 1989, p. 10):

            “No such argument can ever be absolutely conclusive, and the anthropic fine-tuning argument stops just short of knock-down proof. For there could’ve been millions and millions of different universes created each with different settings, of the fundamental ratios and constants, so many if fact that one with the right set was eventually bound to turn up by sheer chance. We just happened to be the lucky ones. But there is no evidence for such a theory whatsoever.”

            “On the other hand the evidence for the truth of the anthropic fine-tuning argument is of such an order of certainty that in any other sphere of science we would regard it as absolutely settled. To insist otherwise is like insisting that Shakespeare was not written by Shakespeare because it might have been written by billions of monkeys sitting at billions of keyboards over billions of years. But so it might.”

            “But the sight of the scientific atheist clutching at such desperate straws has put new spring in the step of the theists. For the first time in more than a hundred years, they no longer feel the need to apologize for their beliefs. Perhaps now, they should apologize for their previous apologies.”

            It must be emphasized that there is no inherent conflict between theism and the hypothesis of multiple universes. From the vantage point of theism, it should seem entirely reasonable that an infinite God might choose to create, well…infinitely. The point of contention, rather, is whether the existence of other universes can serve to explain the fine tuning of our universe…especially when no alternative explanation for the source of these universes has been proposed.

        • Mrfence97, your comment reminds me of a scene from a movie I saw once:

          Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me… ending up together?
          Mary: Well, Lloyd, that’s difficult to say. I mean, we don’t really…
          Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
          Mary: Not good.
          Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
          Mary: I’d say more like one out of a million.
          [pause]
          Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s a chance… *YEAH!*

          The movie was called “Dumb and Dumber”….

      • “God has a problem: All of the impressive displays of power in the world will not force us to love Him. And if God could force us to love him, it would not really be love. Love is not love unless it is freely chosen.”

        Well, god has lots of problems, in common with all non-existent beings. But with regard to this one in particular, which also reveals what a shallow insecure god the people that made him up have decided he must be, one unanswerable question springs to mind:

        If god requires us to love him freely out of choice, why did he command Abraham to sacrifice one of his sons TO PROVE HIS FAITH? Seems a bit bullying really, and shoots your claim that he stays tantalisingly out of reach so we can choose to love him down in flames.

        I await your response with interest but no great anticipation.

        • Well you have certainly stated your opinion. But you have done nothing to provide logical support for your views. Any particular rebuttal to any of the posts?

          You seem awfully angry at God for a person who doesn’t even believe that he exists. Do you get this mad at Santa Claus?

          I don’t see how your comment about Abraham relates to the topic of God keeping a low profile. God didn’t make any impressive displays of power in this case either.

          • Scott, even someone as blinkered as you can’t argue that commanding someone to KILL THEIR SON IN COLD BLOOD is “keeping a low profile”.

            The secure psychiatric facilities of the world are filled with people claiming that voices in their head commanded them to kill people.

            The logic of this rebuttal is clear. Which part of it don’t you understand?

          • You are missing the point altogether. God keeps a low profile so that we can choose to engage him in a relationship. God has no reason to maintain such a low profile to a person who has already chosen to engage him in a relationship.

          • I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I don’t know what a “hig profile” is or what “got any snaps?” means.

          • “You seem awfully angry at God for a person who doesn’t even believe that he exists. Do you get this mad at Santa Claus?”

            LOL! No, but I’ll bet he’d be furious at Santa Claus worshipers if they were consistent advocates of irrationality who, if they got their way, would initiate a new Dark Age, not to mention consistently demonize rational people while being as deceptive as humanly possible.

    • I read a facinating lecture some years ago which examined DNA and compared it to both Language and Binary Code, the similarities are striking. In fact, DNA is both a language and binary code that replicates, self-corrects, stores memory and information, etc. The idea that a language, and therefore DNA (the language of life as we know it) could happen by accident is as ludicrous as thinking the computer in front of you popped into existence out of nothing and evolved into what it is now!

      • Well put. In fact, I will add that Richard Dawkins (atheist numero uno and author of The God Delusion) himself said, “The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer like.” Where did this computer-like code come from? Did it evolve randomly from non-living materials through Darwinian natural selection?

        Not even Dawkins would be bold enough to make such a preposterous assertion. Dawkins agrees that this computer-like code must have come from an intelligent source. He just thinks that this intelligent source is aliens from outer space. Click here for the link to the video where Dawkins expresses this belief if you haven’t already seen it in one of my posts.

        Scott

        • Scott, just curious, have you read “The God Delusion?” Or are your comments based on Christian reviews of the book?

          I’m sure you’ve read “Darwin’s Black Box;” so have I. I recommend reading up on your opposition’s views to help strengthen your argument.

        • “Where did this computer-like code come from? Did it evolve randomly from non-living materials through Darwinian natural selection?”

          Why yes, it did. You (shocking, I know) appear to be completely unfamiliar with the research into this matter. It’s young, but already yielding some intriguing hypotheses.

          “Dawkins agrees that this computer-like code must have come from an intelligent source. He just thinks that this intelligent source is aliens from outer space.”

          Keep that Big Lie comin’, efftard!

          • Kyle:

            Thanks for this. Calling me an “efftard” just demonstrates your inability to respond to the logical arguments presented. Making a personal attack against the person making an argument, rather than responding to the argument itself, is the Ad Homimem Logical Fallacy. Please click here to watch Richard Dawkins endorsing the life-came-to-Earth-when-space-aliens-brought-it-here hypothesis. You can call it a “lie” until you are blue in the face, but the truth will still be right there staring you in the face.

            You suggest that life could have emerged through Darwinian natural selection from non-living matter. But this is patently absurd because the Darwinian mechanism is random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring. Non-living matter has neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Did you forget?

            Scott

        • When danno asked if you;d actually read “The God Delusion”, you replied, on 1/25/11, “No, not yet.” You’ve had six months now. Are you still dismissing it based upon the hearsay of professional liars for Jebus or have you actually read it now?

      • Infact Tony it is now a generally accepted theory in quantum mechanics (that has been proven with experimental evidence) that anything that could ever be created will – the chances are small but still – will exsist in the universe for about 0.001 seconds in the form of virtual particles meaning that yes technically DNA could just pop into the universe – and if it interacts with some kind of matter it could stay.

      • If DNA was binary it would have two states – not four. That’s a little trick called mathematics. Its well worth you stopping the comparison to Binary as it only demonstrates you don’t understand the differences between the two.

        Also, to strengthen your argument – don’t compare a natural chemical capable of reproduction with variation with an inanimate object that is not. Mentioning a computer popping into existence makes you sound a little confused, and does not give credibility to any conclusion you may eventually present.

        The are many reasons why representing DNA as a language is intellectually dishonest, and that level of apologetics has the air of desperation about it. Its often used by people with very little understanding of either – You are obviously well educated and I’m sure do understand them – but ‘sharing’ an argument with people are not is unlikely to make your voice heard in the scientific community.

        As an example, You have to mis-use the word “language” to attempt such a false analogy [DNA=Language] and I’d expect it will only convince the most uneducated of your audience.
        For example, DNA isn’t a language because it has no intent to communicate. For DNA to be recognised as a language you must establish at least the first party. There are many more problems, but this is the easiest flaw and the others are really irrelevant until its resolved.
        Using “DNA is complicated therefore its a language therefore god did it” is a tired regurgitation of circular reasoning more commonly presented in the form: “god made DNA therefore DNA proves there is a god”. An assertion that is presented without evidence can fairly be dismissed without evidence.

        It is entirely reasonable to expect nucleic acids to be self-assembling given what we have discovered about amines and peptides. Its entirely unreasonable to refer to such chemical reactions as ‘accident’.

        Your assertion that DNA self-corrects is a misnomer. RNA transcription and DNA do not replicate perfectly and errors do occur, these errors – or ‘mutations’ give rise to reproduction with variation such that a child is not genetically identical to the sum of its parent(s).

        Your statement that DNA is a code that stores memory makes no sense.

        • Scientists do not agree with your comment that “representing DNA as a language is intellectually dishonest.” This article demonstrates my point. Further, the Atheist-Biologist-In-Chief, Ricard Dawkins, openly admits: “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.” Please read my essay titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God for further exploration of this topic.

          No, DNA doesn’t have any intent to communicate, but neither does computer programming code, but the metaphorical term “language” is nevertheless applied in this case as well. Perhaps scientists use the term “language” in reference to DNA because it contains information, like language.

          You need to educate yourself more about the origins of life if you really honestly believe that “it is entirely reasonable to expect nucleic acids to be self-assembling.” Please read the post entitled “Can Life Evolve From Lifeless Chemicals?” Mathematicians, physicists, and information theorists have demonstrated that this is impossible.

          Further, if prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick really believed that this was plausible, why then do they instead propose that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space? (As I demonstrate in my post entitled “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many people unconvinced?”)

          I don’t know what Tony meant by “binary,” but I can guess that he was referring to the double-helix nature of DNA.

          • “Further, if prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick really believed . . .”

            You’ve got this Big Lie thing down pat; it all relies on ceaseless repetition.

    • My counter argument is as follows:

      If god exists and loves everyone, why is the world full of crappy miserable people?

      If they are not cheating, swindling or committing genocide, they are struggling to maintain their existence, whether it be a starving man looking for food, or a rat-race office worker spending 12 hours a day out of the house, to maintain said house and eat, so he can go back to work the next day and do more of the same.

      Until he dies.

      If god loved people, everyone would die painlessly at the age of 10 while they were still optimistic about the world and people in general.

      • Below is a pertinent quote form the essay that needs re-emphaisis in order to answer your question about why suffering is allowed:

        William Dembski explains in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God In An Evil World:

        “Humanity, in becoming captive to evil, gave its consent. Humans are complicit in the evil from which God is striving to deliver us. For redemption effectively to deliver humanity from evil therefore requires us to be clear as to precisely what we have consented to in rebelling against God and embracing evil. To achieve this clarity, humanity must experience the full brunt of the evil that we have set in motion, and this requires that the creation itself fully manifest the consequences of humanity’s rebellion against God. This does not mean that the creation has to become as corrupt as it could possibly be. But it does mean that the creation must not conceal or soft-sell the gravity of sin.”

        So, in other words, if God came to the rescue every time human evil was about to cause suffering, we would never adequately grasp the consequences of our evil.

    • I’ll give you that. The old testament is completely at odds with the new. God smites loads of people back then, but didn’t smite Stalin. Hilter, Pol Pot etc before the body count of victims racked up to ridiculous proportions.

      I do find the church apologists attempts to explain such things as generally weak to say the best.

      Sometimes it would be better to just say “I don’t know”.

      Going a bit off topic, I chanced upon a youtube vid of some catholic priest yapping on about the appropriate lengths of womens’ skirts in church. This, from the church racked with scandals of kiddy fiddling priests (UK, recently) and daughter shagging popes (Borgia, allegedly). And he’s worried about the lengths of skirts! This is why I am deeply cynical and skeptical about anything a churchman says unless he can prove it… Anglicans aren’t much better.

      So given the bible has been in the custody of such loathsome types, I do have some suspicions….

  3. It is my beleif, that for the most part people don’t want to really believe in GOD SIMPLY because it will hamper their selfish lifestyles,you know,anything goes!!!!

    • Exactly….Freud’s “wish fullfilment” (where God is a product of the imagination designed to help weak-minded people avoid the hard facts of life) is a double edged sword. Denying God is “wish fullfilment” because it allows people to do away with burdensome moral constraints. As I noted in one of my posts, the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said “all is permissible if God does not exist.”

    • So your ‘beleif’ is that I’m an Atheist because I really enjoy sin?

      I always though it was because I have a functional mechanism for determining reality from fantasy based on evidence and strong inference.

      Whether or not one WANTS god to exist does not determine if god DOES exist. Whatever you want to believe is irrelevant if its unjustifiable. Rather then relying on a faith based assumption of an immoral, murdering magical sky daddy I like in a world where I can make evidence based conclusions about morality, learn from the past and not be chained to bronze age mythology.

      • So how do you justify your belief that there is no God? Evolution? Please read my evolution post. Then watch this video that demonstrates what the fossil record really shows. When you are done, please respond.

        Any reasonable person’s “functional mechanism for determining reality from fantasy” would determine that when prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick hypothesize that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space (click here and then here), their logical basis for using evolution as a rationalization for atheism is a “fantasy.”

        Or was your rationale for disbelieving in God something else? Please educate us about the “evidence and strong inference” that you have which does away with God. I am all ears.

        Further, I recommend my post entitled “Is there a God? (What is the chance our world is the result of chance?). This post (among others) demonstrates that belief in God is highly justifiable. As further evidence, you can visit my post entitled “Some Quotes to Consider.” I cite many prominent scientists (many who have won the Nobel Prize) who have used their “functional mechanism for determining reality from fantasy” to deduce that there is a God.

        • “Any reasonable person’s “functional mechanism for determining reality from fantasy” would determine that when prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick hypothesize that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space . . .”

          (face->palm)

          You will never, ever allow yourself to admit the true, AND DEAD OBVIOUS, context of Dawkins’ response in that video, EVEN THOUGH THE CONTEXT IS PROVIDED IN STEIN’S QUESTION – I_N_ _T_H_E_ _E_F_F_I_N_G_ _V_I_D_E_O_!_!_!

          • Look Kyle, just spell out what you want to say. I have watched the video before many times. Dawkins (and several other prominent atheists) hypothesize that life on earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens. If that pulls the rug out from under your worldview to some extent, I am sorry…. but facts are facts.

            There is not missing context here… Dawkins and several other highly prominent atheists seriously entertain this weird hypothesis and then fail to explain where the aliens came from. THAT IS REALITY… get used to it.

  4. See what Jean-Paul Sartre said is a valid argument. If god did not exist then there would be no consequences for our actions, how would we be able to understand right from wrong? But we do understand right from wrong, we do suffer the consequences of every action. That is because we have a lawgiver, a moral code. You cant have laws wit out a lawgiver. But we all have morals/laws, therefore god does exist. moral constraints exist whether you ignore them or not. So does god. He exists.

    • No, god is not our lawgiver. Not the god of the bible anyway.
      I can’t honestly believe that anybody who has read gods laws would think god is our lawgiver.

      Thankfully we have been able to read and reject the laws and morals of the bible because our understanding of the people, society and humanity has improved since the time it was written.

      • Humanity has improved since the time it was written? Please recall the mass genocides that have happened in recent times…..the Nazis, the communists, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, etc., etc., etc… I think it is accurate to say that humanity has only gotten worse since it was written.

        So God’s laws such as “thou shalt not kill” or “thou shalt not steal” would not benefit humanity if we obeyed them?

        Click here to see how doing away with belief in God (and his laws) have served humanity.

  5. I am a believer that there may be a higher being or force in the universe that may control things but it is certainly not a god in the sense of Adam and Eve and the bible. If someone wrote a book now with similar events to the bible nobody would believe it, the bible has been taught by parents to young impressionable people its called brainwashing,if it was not taught to children then they would have no idea of any god. The trouble for me with religion is when you ask someone to show you evidence of god the first thing they say is that you have to have faith, and that the evidence is all around us ,ie god made the grass god made the trees etc
    This is far too simplistic for anyone with an inquisitive mind. As for morals we do not need any religion to teach us that, we just need good parents to teach us when we are young what is right and wrong in our societies. Science certainly leaves as many questions unanswered as it does answer such as the dual slit wave particle duality experiment, it would be easy to say it is proof of god and be close minded or in my case I would say it is fascinating and we do not know why it occurs but one day we might find out. It also blows my mind of the vastness of the universe but isn’t it an easy way out to say “God made it”.

    • You say that “if someone wrote a book now with similar events to the bible nobody would believe it.” I would revise that to say, “very few people would believe in biblical stories such as Adam and Eve in a purely literal sense.” The bible sometimes uses stories such as Adam and Eve to communicate truth in a metaphorical fashion…rather than literal or purely historical. Please review the post at this site entitled “Isn’t Christianity a Myth?” for a more in depth understanding of this subject matter. As far as your comment that, “as for morals we do not need any religion to teach us that, we just need good parents,” I will respond by quoting David Bentley Hart from his book Atheist Delusions:

      “There is something delusional…in [the] optimistic certainty that human beings will be able to choose altruistic values without invoking transcendent principles. They may do so; but they may also wish to build death camps, and may very well choose to do that instead. For every ethical theory developed apart from some account of transcendent truth–of, that is, the spiritual or metaphysical foundation of reality–is a fragile friction, credible only to those sufficiently obstinate in their willing suspension of disbelief. If one does not wish to be convinced, however, a simple ‘I disagree’ or ‘I refuse’ is enough to exhaust the persuasiveness of any purely worldly ethics.”

      Put another way, because “love thy neighbor” is a concept that is grounded in spiritual and transcendent principles, it is intrinsically morally superior to a concept such as “exterminate entire ethnic groups.” Do I need to remind you what society it was that lost its grounding in the transcendent (enacting officially anti-religious policies) and thereby adopted a morality that allowed for just that…exterminating entire ethnic groups?

      In response to your comment, “it is an easy way out to say ‘God made it,'” I will say that in many cases you are correct. There is much to be gained from exploring a deep understanding of natural phenomna such as grass and trees. However, I will remind you that life itself (and the universe itself) could only have originated from two possible sources: 1) random chance or 2) an intelligent, conscious source (read: God). If there is a third option, nobody has ever mentioned it.

      In my posts entitled “What Is the Chance the World is the Result of Chance?” and “If the Evidence for God Is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Unconvinced?,” I demonstrate that scientists and mathemeticians have definitively ruled out random chance in both cases.

      You say that you believe that there is something like a God or higher power out there somewhere. I submit to you that there is and that this God is personal in nature. Further, I submit that your relationship with this God should be the most important thing in your life. If you doubt me, please review my post entitled “Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It?” Here you will see further strong evidence that there is a God, and that he is personal in nature.

      Please be very careful about putting God “somewhere out there” or making him “perhaps just an impersonal force” in order to avoid the perceived inconveniences associated with acknowledging his existence. The foremost such inconvenience would be the loss of moral autonomy.

    • How did your parents know right from wrong, or their parents…isn’t natural selection’s tennent that the strong survive? Wouldn’t stealing from or murdering your neighbor increase your chance of survival as you both compete for the same food? Yet we know intrinsically that these things are morally wrong…why? I am amazed at the unbelief in the world. As simply as the scientific community seems to think they can explain the origins of life, they can’t reproduce said life…and NEVER will. I have worked with some brilliant scientists and have learned one fact in my experiences…scientists are fools. So smart in their particular field they have no common sense and can’t see the bigger picture. I am speaking of my job when I say this. I frequently worked side by side with top scientists for several years developing new equipment for our EOD soldiers safety. These scientists knew their mathmatics, physics, followed the scientific method religously, held citations of their brilliance, yet I constantly had to explain things to them like they were children because their heads were so far in the weeds, they could not see the impractical implications of their solutions. To put it succinctly, they were nothing but tools to be USED so that we could make up our minds what was needed…yet we listen to these brilliant idiots concerning the origins of life…which is a MACRO “out of the weeds” topic. They provide evidence, but we make up our own minds. I have read ad naseum about evolution and believe Macro-evolution to be a pipe dream. I don’t believe their is ANY evidence for it…what they claim as evidence is Micro-evolutionary evidence they are ascribing to Macro…total BS! I know God because I prayed to him and he answerd in a life and death situation in combat. I will never doubt his existance. I was not brainwashed…once I received the spirit, the bible “which seemed like non-sense to me for years, was opened up to me and I saw the truth. Combine that with my experience with all knowing scientists, and I dont’ trust anything they say…think about that for awhile…tadays theory is tomorrows failed hypothesis. Even something as simple as eating eggs…one year the yolks are scientifically proven to raise cholesterol, the next year they are good for you….this item causes cancer one year and prevents it the next. God frustrates the efforts of the “wise”. The wisdom of the world is foolishness. The bottom line is if you don’t want to believe, that is your choice…just stay away from me because I don’t turn the other cheek.

  6. Thanks for the reply. You are clearly a very intelligent and articulate man and obviously passionate about religion. Although I am not religious myself I find the subject fascinating. I would class myself as agnostic not atheist as I feel it is arrogant and stupid to say that ‘there is no god’ without something to back up the statement.
    I find it difficult to accept the belief that morals need to be given to us by a higher being or god.You talk of extermination camps and people killing each other yet millions of people are killing each other in the name of religion everywhere in the world and have done so for centuries.You may retort that they are not true christians or muslims, but they would say the same of you, so who is right? Why are you certain that your god is the real god when billions of muslims believe otherwise and vice verca. Surely if there were a god he would make this clearer. I find it very conceited that someone of any religion believes that their religion is the only one and that the other religions are all wrong they use phrases such as “burn in the fires of hell” surely this is a bullying tactic to scare people into following a religion, this may have worked hundreds of years ago when there were no alternative explanations of life the universe and everything.

    I find it interesting that you say that the story of Adam and Eve may be metaphorical. You may be correct but there are also millions of people who see it as fact which is another example of the problem of people’s interpretation of all religions. I believe that it is better to be a good person than to be a religious person.If you can be both then that is good. I would point out that
    most religious people I know are kind and nice people and that is a good thing, I also believe that in most christian societies the morals taught are a good foundation for civilised society. My wife is a muslim and I also see the good morality in her religion too.

    Regards

    David Carter

    • Yes, you are correct, people have been killing others in the name of God for centuries. I would stop short of saying “millions” however. It should not be considered coincidence that the two regimes in history which have killed the most people by far are the two which have strayed the furthest from transcendent, spiritual values. The communists adopted state-sponsored atheism, and if you google “how many people did communism kill?,” you will find that estimates of how many people died as a result of communism run as high as 100 million. Nazism, although not officially atheist, adopted officially anti-religious policies. There is no need for me to revisit the history of the nazi’s bloodlust.

      Further, if a person kills in the name of a religion with a bible that says “thou shalt not kill,” that person is clearly perverting that religion. No such perversion is necessary under a religious/philosophical system that rejects transcendent truth. With the loss of the transcendent value of human life that is implicit in these atheist (or anti-religious in the case of the nazis) regimes, it becomes much easier to kill people in mass numbers. This is the primary reason that these are the two murderous political systems in history.

      Regarding your comment that, “I find it very conceited that someone of any religion believes that their religion is the only one,” I will relply by quoting Timothy Keller from his book The Reason for God:

      But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because, “There can’t be just one true religion,” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts. If you went to the Middle East and said, “There can’t be just one true religion,” nearly everyone would say, “Why not?” The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt, therefore is based on a leap of faith.

      Keller goes on to ask the skeptic:

      How could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have?

      Somewhat rephrased, Keller is here saying that the belief that no religion can have a “comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality” is really nothing more another religious/philosophical belief.

      If you “find it difficult to accept the belief that morals need to be given to us by a higher being or god,” as you say, then I challenge you to furnish a counter explanation. Please remember that there is a world of difference between merely stating “I find it difficult to believe” something, and actually furnishing a logically constructed rebuttal. This subject matter is so important that you must be very careful to distinguish between beliefs for which you have a logical basis and those which you have merely passively absorbed from your social environment. Below is an excerpt from my post entitled “Aren’t All Morals Relative?” which begins with a quote from Oxford professor C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity:

      Everyone has heard people quarreling. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”–”Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm.”–”Come on, you promised.”

      Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard…It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality…about which they are agreed.

      In other words, if there weren’t a universal moral law, I could come over to your house, smash your fingers with a hammer, and then merely claim that it fits within my morality to do so when you expressed your outrage. There is not and never has been a culture in which this behavior (or many other such immoral behaviors) would be considered acceptable. Indeed, being a scholar of antiquity, Lewis was eminently qualified to observe that, “if anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teachings of say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own.”

      Lewis rightfully recognized this as a very powerful argument for the existence of God. After all, for there to be a universal moral law, there needs to be someone to have established that law. The French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre also realized this, which is why he said, “all is permissible if God does not exist.”

      Please take the time to read the essays at my website which I have mentioned in this and my previous post. You seem to be intelligent and to have an intellectual curiousity. I am confident that you will find them stimulating.

      • The article you provide does nothing to address the argument that Richard Weikart (From Darwin to Hitler) makes that atheist philosophy killed so many people because it devalues human life to that of a “survival machine.” Your article says that nobody ever killed “in the name of atheism.” Nobody is disputing this. Rather, the point that Weikart makes is that atheist/Darwinian philosophy has resulted in so much killing because it degrades the value of human life, not because atheists are somehow killing “in the name of atheism.”

        Your article does not even discuss this topic. It only attempts to refute the idea of “killing in the name of atheism,” which I have never argued occured.

        Further, your statement that the article “destroys the concept of state-sponsored atheism” is absurd. The communists regimes declared themselves to be officially atheist. This is just an historical fact, not a concept that can be destroyed.

    • David,

      Your comment compelled me to compose a reply.

      I think there should be a distinction made between religion and God as often times it’s been my experience that the latter is often given a bad rap by the former.

      God, by definition, is both omnipotent, and omniscient. Therefore, to claim one religion is right and another religion is wrong is foolish, because it restricts the capacity of a force that is all powerful.

      To put it another way, it is within His power for all religions to be correct, or incorrect, or any combination of the two simultaneously.

      God sets up the rules of the game, and then we play it. If we break the rules, we suffer the consequences.

      As far as hell is concerned. I wouldn’t think of it as a place so much as that feeling you get when you know you’ve missed out on something special because of a bad choice you’ve made. Have you ever hurt someone close to you by your own conscious actions? That feeling you get afterward is hell.

      I agree with you that it’s better to be good than religious. I believe in God, and as such do my best to strengthen my relationship with Him by living my life how I perceive He would want me to. I don’t go to church and don’t follow any specific religion.

      My girlfriend’s boss goes to church every Sunday. She’s heavily involved in the church. She lies, steals, cheats, and all the rest.

      Sounds to me you like you’ve got a pretty good head on your shoulders. I would encourage you to try strengthening your relationship with God by continuing to be the best person you can be, and maybe just talking to Him when you get the chance. You may find the quality of your life improves in the process.

      Thanks,

      CD

    • Mr Carter, your response was logical, coherent and respectful on a manner that indicates your developed sense of awareness. Especially of that which no one can be certain.

  7. I am under the impression that communism and particuarly Stalin killed people for control and power and the same with the Nazi’s. I do not believe their goal was to kill in the name of atheism. Yet the crusades, Northern Ireland, and extreme radical muslim’s are examples of people who have killed in the name of religion at least to start off with, maybe later in history these goals became more political and about power. Now you may say that they are not following christian or muslim values but as I said in my previous post this is a question of interpretation and if you were to ask these people who carried out these atrocities they would quote verses from the quoran and bible to justify their actions. I am from the UK and was a member of the armed services, you mentioned a verse in the bible “thou shall not kill” yet it always struck me that when I went to a church parade that our chaplin would say god is with you go out and fight the enemy, and I always thought to myself, I belt the enemy’s chaplin is saying the same thing to his congregation. How can this be moral? I now believe killing is wrong full stop. It is sometimes necessary, but will always be wrong.
    You challenged me to show you evidence that morals are given to us by a higher being but could I not counter challenge you to prove to me that they were given to us by a divine being because I learn’t my morals from human beings and have to abide by the laws of my country. If I grew up in an enviroment where killing was accepted and practised that’s what I would become, If I were living in another country my morals and laws would be different. If you came over to my house and smashed my fingers with a hammer you would be punished by the laws of that particular country, if I was in the middle east and I had stolen something with the fingers that you smashed with a hammer then that would be deemed acceptable. Can you show me the ten commandments given to moses in the story of the bible. Human beings do share similarities from whatever country they come from I do not see this as an example of proof that this behaviour must be divine intervention. Thank you for your invitation to read some more extracts from your web site, I will read on. I am currently studying late in life for a degree in Chemistry and have studied Physics at university level, these science subjects answer lots of questions but also leave so many unanswered which is why I am of inquisitive nature and not narrow minded. There is obviously much as human beings that we do not know.

    Regards
    David

    • No, the communists certainly did not kill in the name of atheism. The point that I am trying to make is that the communists (and nazis) killed so many more people than any other political system (or religion) because their denial of the transcendent (and therefore the transcendent value of human life). When you deny that humans have transcendent value, and are therefore nothing but glorified animals, human life becomes cheapened to the extent that killing a human is no more problematic than sending a cow to the slaugterhouse. This is why atheistic (or anti-religious in the case of the nazis) regimes have killed FAR FAR more people than all of the world’s religions combined throughout all of history.

      A note about Christianity….Adopting the Christian faith does not magically transform you into a saint incapable of killing. Rather, Christians have varying degrees of success in adhering to the principles of their faith. Would joining your local football club automatically transform you into an excellent player? Ultimately, a religion or philosophical system must be judged by the principals establshed by its founder…not by the success or failure of its individual members in adhering to its principals.

      Focusing only upon the failures of the less successful adherents to Christianity is a phenomenon that can be compared to “accounting from one side of the ledger.” You are from the U.K: Do you realize that the anti-slavery movement in your country was spearheaded by Christians, foremost of which was a Christian man named William Wilberforce? Further, do you realize that virtually all anti-slavery movements throughout history (including the abolition movement in the USA) were spearheaded by Christians?

      Christianity teaches that we human beings are evil to the core and it is our duty to combat this evil. There is not and never will be a religion or philosophy which will count among its members only those who do not kill. It is profoundly naive to suggest otherwise. Psychologist M. Scott Peck suggests (in his book Further Along the Road Less Traveled) that evil people are likely to join a church or religious organization because it provides them with a way of disguising their evil from others and from themselves. The BTK serial killer in the USA, for example, was a deacon at his church.

      You say that “human beings do share similarities from whatever country they come from, I do not see this as an example of proof that this behaviour must be divine intervention.” The point that C.S. Lewis and David Hart are trying to make is that if certain morals are universal to all cultures, they must be grounded in something that transcends culture. What is it that transcends culture that you would suggest these universal morals are grounded in? By not furnishing a counter-explanation, you are commiting the all-too-human error of exposing your own views to less scrutiny than opposing views.

      • So you’re saying that because the communists and the nazis (well supported by the catholic church in Germany and the Vatican itself in the form of a cringe-worthy grovelling pope) killed MORE people than the combined efforts of “holy” crusades and sectarian violence in all the other places where it has been found, and continues to this day, that this somehow proves that if you don’t believe in god you do even worse things than if you do have faith?

        Or perhaps that even if the things you do are no less despicable – and let’s face it boiling in oil and slowly roasting people, to name but two favoured methods of your ilk, are pretty horrific ways to kill people that happen not to share your beliefs – at least they didn’t do them to quite so many people?

        Does that mean that if I (who knows there is no god) manage to kill 100 million people, you (who believes there is) can kill – how many – 99.999 million and that proves that without god people do worse things? And therefore you need god in order to be good? And because people are good that means there’s a god?

        Does that excuse the thousands of raped, sodomised and sexually-abused catholic boys by the godly catholic priests? I think not.

        • Your statement that the nazis were “well supported by the catholic church” is not justifiable. Here is the wikipedia article about the subject which contradicts your assertion. Below is a pertinent excerpt:

          “With the sole exception of the southern part of the state of Baden,[4] Germany’s Catholic population, particularly in rural areas, consistently withheld support from the Nazi Party until its takeover of power in 1933.
          Before Hitler rose to power, many priests and leaders in the German Catholic Church vociferously opposed Nazism on the grounds of its incompatibility with Christian morals.”

          Please back up your assertion that people who believe in God have killed 99.999 million with a scholarly reference. I have backed up my assertion that atheists have killed FAR FAR more people than all religious groups combined with scholarly references in my post entitled “Doesn’t religion cause killing?”

          No…you can be good without God, but you would have to adopt Judeo-Christian concepts of morality to do so.

          Catholic priests who have raped and sodomised are clearly in violation of Christian precepts….which teach that children are precious. Please remember that adopting a set of religious beliefs does not guarantee that one will be successful in following the precepts taught by that religion. Would joining your local football team automatically make you an excellent player?

          • You not only fail to refute my statement, you endorse it – not that I’d treat anything in Wikipedia with anything but great suspicion. You admit that part of Germany’s catholic population supported the Nazis before they came to power, and acknowledge that all of the German catholics gave support AFTER they came to power in 1933. Pope Pius XII rushed to Berlin to offer support to Hitler and his thugs with indecent haste and much grovelling – as documented by the church and the Nazis, not Wikipedia.

            Re: which group of misguided idiots killed more people in the furtherance of their beliefs – please read the post. I merely highlighted the specious nature of your argument that, because people who don’t believe in (a) god have killed more people than those that do, this somehow excuses all the atrocities carried out in the name of religion (which continue to this day). It’s like being caught speeding and saying – I’m not the worst; another motorist was going 1kph faster than me.

            Re: having to adopt “Judeo-christian concepts of morality” in order to be good – that’s utter rubbish. You have no claim on “goodness” and can’t even pretend to be the guardian of the concept. Man is driven by two urges – the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Having learned over millennia (many more than you think) that pain is unpleasant we have modified our behaviour to fit within a code of what is considered acceptable by the society in which we live. These codes are also known as Laws and we’ve been taught from a very young age that if you do the right i.e. good thing you won’t be punished but if you do the wrong thing you will receive pain (in whatever form that may be). To suggest that “god” has anything to do with this is to fly in the face of logic – there is no god.

            Re: the football club – what a fatuous analogy. Come on, it’s not hard to follow any teaching that says “Don’t rape and sodomise children.” The standard of behaviour (using those good old Judeo-christian morals that are so dandy) required to avoid child rape, abuse and the invariable cover-ups and parish-shuffling that allowed it to continue for decades is not particularly high. Not quite the same as missing an open goal, is it?

          • Yes, I have my doubts about Wikipedia as well. But your response to my post is bizzare. How could my response be construed to endorse the view that the Catholic church supported the Nazis? Here is a pertinent excerpt from that post:

            In the 1930s, the Catholic Church was faced with the dilemma of how to respond to the rise of totalitarianism. After initially making an effort to negotiate a modus vivendi with such regimes in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, it found such accommodation increasingly difficult to maintain in the face of ever more aggressive challenges to its rights by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. After a series of protests made against such infringements of its prerogatives, the Vatican felt it necessary to issue two encyclicals opposing the policies of Mussolini and Hitler: Non Abbiamo Bisogno in 1931 and Mit Brennender Sorge in 1937, respectively. Mit Brennender Sorge included criticisms of Nazism and racism. However, the exigencies of the geopolitical situation constrained the ability of the Vatican to act in opposition to these regimes.

            John Cornwell asserts that Hitler was continually preoccupied by “the fact that German Catholics, politically united by the Center Party, had defeated Bismarck’s Kulturkampf — the “culture struggle” against the Catholic Church in the 1870s”. According to Cornwell, Hitler was convinced that his movement could succeed only if political Catholicism and its democratic networks were eliminated.[3] As evidence that Hitler was justified in fearing the Catholic Church, Cornwell reports that…
            Into the early 1930s the German Center Party, the German Catholic bishops, and the Catholic media had been mainly solid in their rejection of National Socialism. They denied Nazis the sacraments and church burials, and Catholic journalists excoriated National Socialism daily in Germany’s 400 Catholic newspapers. The hierarchy instructed priests to combat National Socialism at a local level whenever it attacked Christianity.

            Further, your replies are heavy on characterizations and assertions (“fatuous,” “rubbish,” “there is no God”) and light on fact based, logically constructed arguments.

            For example, we still eagerly await such a fact based, logically constructed rebuttal from you regarding my point that the proof that the universe is not eternal deals a fatal blow to atheism. Please review my “Isn’t the Universe Eternal” post before fashioning your response.

            When you are done, you can try to rebut the arguments in my “Can Life Evolve From Lifeless Chemicals” post…another fatal blow to atheism. Please review the points made at this forum and post your reply.

            If you continue to address peripheral elements of this discussion (i.e: whether the Catholic church supported the Nazis, etc.) and ignore the core issues (eternal vs. finite universe, the origin of life) we will have no choice but to assume that you are trying to divert attention from the fact that you do not have a solid response to these core points.

        • Hey IM a young christain and i must admit that this debate is really interesting. I I hope I find the truth and Im beginning to study the bible furiously because I as a human being have many questions..To all those who don’t believe….
          The next time you go out and purchase that new automobile{eviromentally friendly of course}You would probably purchase insurance with that just in case it gets damaged or stolen etc..A preacher once told me that faith in christ is like insurance and instead of it being your car its on your soul or spirit…When you have passed from this earth we will then see whos insurance claim is rewarded THINK ABOUT IT…PEEEEAAAACCCE

      • What those making these tired charges always neglect to perceive is the obvious fact that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Empire, as well as other totalitarian regimes, co-opt the very same human weaknesses behind religion for the purposes of the state. So rather than being anti-religious, they were quasi-religious themselves – calculatedly so.

        These arguments are always a nice opening for a discussion of the dangers of the religious modes of thinking; the appeals to authority, circular reasoning, demonization of the “other”, etc.

        Thanks, dude!

        • Ok, so the Soviets and Nazis were religious? That’s fine, considering that religious scholars have never been able to agree upon a definition of “religion,” one could certainly make a case that the Soviets and Nazis were “religious.”

          But the problem is that this is a website about the existence of God. Are you trying to argue that believing in God causes people to kill more people? The Soviets were ardent atheists (officially so) and the Nazi’s had a very strange belief system but did not worship God. In fact, they heavily persecuted the Christian church. The communist Chinese are also officially atheist.

          The communists and nazis are by far the two most blood-drenched political systems in all of human history.

          • Yes, believing in god causes people to kill other people – I’m glad you’ve finally woken up and smelled the explosives.

          • Except that atheism clearly has much much more blood on its hands than Christianity….as I demonstrate in my post titled “Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?” (in the “short takes” section).

      • Sir: I admire your search to find answers to questions I believe cannot be answered with certainty by any person on this planet. Sometimes to admit that you might not have all of the answers reflects more inner awareness and natural intelligence than an argument for every scenario
        Regarding the issue of genocide, Stalin and the Nazis etc. I believe they were initially discussed as a response to how we have evolved since the “Biblical era”
        What is your reasoning for the Crusades and my understanding that it is taught that tens of thousands of Christians were killed? How does that fit in to your argument that we have somehow lost our way when we don’t feel certain of God’s existence? I am relatively certain that no one is certain regarding such matters and never will be in the earthly human existence that we know.
        Regardless, thank you for this very interesting thread of discourse.

        • I am not totally sure what you are asking, so if I answer the wrong question, please let me know, and please rephrase the question so I can better understand.

          But I will go ahead and answer the question that I think you are asking: One of my favorite sayings is that “a church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints.” Just because one adopts the Christian belief system does not mean that one will behave in a way consistent with the teachings of Christianity…much as going to the hospital does not ensure one will be cured of one’s illnesses.

          The illness that all of us humans has is an evil, sinful nature. Christianity does not teach that we immediately (or ever completely) lose this evil, sinful nature during this life. Hence, it is entirely reasonable to expect that many people professing to be Christians will behave in ways inconsistent with Christian teaching. I would be a fool to suggest that I always behave in a manner consistent with Christian principles.

          Can you please explain what you mean by: “Regarding the issue of genocide, Stalin and the Nazis etc. I believe they were initially discussed as a response to how we have evolved since the ‘Biblical era.'”

    • David, you’re an exploded star turned nebula, the elements to which form new systems, those of every atom you are made of, leaving behind an earth-size diamond space rock. You ARE a ROCK STAR!

      My professors always taught me that you know nothing unless you know your opposition’s views as well as you know your own. I admire your thirst for knowledge.

  8. Hi Simon

    I agree with some of your points about evil people from all walks of life including religious people which is why I said to you earlier that it is of my opinion that it is better to be a good person than a religious person, why is it that so many religions insist that a person be religious be it praying or attending church etc. Why do they threaten us with horrific death’s if we do not do this, surely if there were a god he would recognise that there are truely kind good people in this world who are not religious. You talk of morals as though they could only come from divine intervention yet we have learned morals over centuries, we learn what is good and bad over time and morals and laws change It was not long ago that we would burn people who carried out scientific experiments under the guise of sourcery and witchcraft. If God gave us these moral standards hundreds of years ago why has it taken us so long to all gel together and find this common ground. My explanation for the common ground is based upon the study of human behaviour which is a science which we certainly do not understand but it is evolving, my mind is open and I do not have an answer and do not pretend to.
    I believe your explanation has not evolved for hundreds of years and as such is non progressive as you have not demonstrated how these morals have been handed down to us humans. The difference between science and religion is that in order to be progressive and creditable someone’s scientific theory has to be proved. With all due respect you just seem to have quoted religious scholar’s who have pointed out that because certain human behaviour is observed all over the world that this is proof of a god. How is this open to scrutiny?

    Regards

    David

    • David:

      You seem to agree that there are a common set of moral standards to which all cultures recognize. What I am trying to elicit from you is a counter-explanation for why these common morals exist. You ask in your last sentence “how is this open to scrutiny?” I am urging you to scrutinize my view that they are imparted by God by providing me with this counter explanation.

      Did they evolve? If they did, what survival advantage would be gained by such things as caring for the sick, poor, and elderly? It would seem to benefit the species (and individual human) more to let these people die. What survival advantage would be gained by making anonymous donations to charitable organizations (as surely many millions of people do every year)?
      Further, besides the moral law, how did the laws of physics or the laws of thermodynamics come into existence if not by the actions of a divine lawgiver?

      Did they evolve? From what, and through what process? Science does not have even the most speculative explanation for this. Philosopher of science Peter Medwar comments in The Limits of Science:

      That there is indeed a limit upon science is made very likely by the existence of questions that science cannot answer, and that no conceivable advance of science would empower it to answer…I have in mind such questions as:

      How did everything begin?

      What are we all here for?

      David Bentley Hart, in a similar vein comments:

      Even if theoretical physics should one day discover the most basic laws upon which the fabric of space and time is woven, or evolutionary biology the most elementary phylogenic forms of terrestrial life, or paleontology an utterly seamless genealogy of every species, still we shall not have thereby drawn one inch nearer to a solution to the mystery of existence.

      This is why the great paleontologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould referred to science and religion as “non-overlapping magesteria.” Gould recognized that science exists to study the natural world, but not to discuss how the natural world (or universe) exists in the first place.

      Science, in short, is not equipped to EVER answer such questions. They are questions that lie beyond the scope of science.

      Your last comment was, “With all due respect you just seem to have quoted religious scholar’s who have pointed out that because certain human behaviour is observed all over the world that this is proof of a god.” In reply I must point out that C.S. Lewis was not a religious scholar, he was a professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at Oxford and later Cambridge. David Bentley Hart is an historian…also not a religious scholar.

      Furthermore, even if they were religious scholars, this does not absolve you from the responsibility of countering their arguments. Without furnishing a counter-explanation, you are merely stating your belief with absolutely nothing to back it up. This is the practice of holding your own views to a lower degree of scrutiny than that of opposing views (which I mentioned in my previous reply).

      These common morals did not take a long time to “gel together” as you say. They have been in existence since the very first records we have from the very first civilizations (Babylonians and Egyptians), as pointed out by C.S. Lewis in my previous reply.

      Scott

      • “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” — Richard Dawkins.

        “We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” — Richard Dawkins.

        Richard Dawkins is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008. Notable Awards include the Zoological Society Silver Medal (1989), the Faraday Award (1990), and the Kistler Prize (2001).

        Dawkins was awarded a Doctor of Science by the University of Oxford in 1989. He holds honorary doctorates in science from the University of Huddersfield, University of Westminster, Durham University, the University of Hull, and the University of Antwerp, and honorary doctorates from the University of Aberdeen, Open University, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and the University of Valencia. He also holds honorary doctorates of letters from the University of St Andrews and the Australian National University, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997 and the Royal Society in 2001. He is one of the patrons of the Oxford University Scientific Society.

        How can we argue with a fellow so well studied, with such impressive credentials? This icon (albeit, not for some) said it, so it must be true.

        [I thought of all of this. Although I did cut and paste from Wikipedia and other sources for quotes. And, I confess, I do agree with him. But it’s true ’cause he’s an authori-tay.]

        • Richard Dawkins is a guy who believes that life might have been brought to earth by aliens from outer space. Watch this video of him expressing this belief in an interview. Dawkins is a biologist and he frequently makes claims that lie outside of his field of expertise. For example, Dawkins insists that life ultimately originated from random processes working on lifeless chemicals. But deciding the probability of this is the domain of a mathemetician, not a biologist. You can click on this link to see what an actual mathemetician (Roger Penrose, also from Oxford) thinks of this probability. Hint: Not good.

          Dean Overman was a Templeton Scholar at Oxford University and he wrote an excellent book called A Case for the Existence of God that I very highly recommend..

          Here is what two much-smarter-than-Dawkins guys said about God:

          1) “I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.” [Emphasis added]

          Albert Einstein, as quoted in Antony Flew’s book, There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.

          2) “Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”

          Max Planck, (the Nobel Prize physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory, and one of the most important physicists of the 20th century).

          Here are some more quotes from some smart people relating to God’s existence.

          Scott

          • Well then Dawkins is a cop-out…he clearly has faith that the universe “just is” and that the material world is all that exists. This is despite the fact that these notions have been discredited by physics and cosmology. The universe had a clear beginning (the Big Bang) and therefore requires a cause.

            Materialism has been completely discredited by modern physics, as I demonstrate in my post entitled “What it all boils down to.”

            You ask “the lack of knowing is cause for believing?” When you ask this, you fail to notice that you and Dawkins fill in the blanks created by “lack of knowing” with beliefs. You believe that the universe “just is” and that random unintelligent processes can explain the origin of life….despite the fact that this violates the second law of thermodynamics (which says that, left alone, things become less organized over time, not more). This law explains why dead bodies decompose rather than re-compose.

      • Hi. U have some interesting views and make some very compelling arguments on this site and i look forward to exploring more of it. Now i dont want 2 call myself an athiest per se because i have no logical, irrefutable way to prove god doesn’t exist but i have none to prove ‘he’ does either. At the end of the day, both athiests and thiests’ have filtered biased views to some degree despite the ‘wealth’ of evidence to support either argument. The bottom line is there is NO IRREFUTABLE WAY TO PROVE GOD DOES OR DOESN’T EXIST. Its all subjective. None of us know for sure and i think it is incredibly arrogant and naive 4 us to believe otherwise.

        As far as morals and everything, i dont believe it is a matter of devine intervention or evolution in any darwinian context, rather the enviromental conditions and social stimulus assosciated with a particular geographic location that we as people experience in our maturation from childhood to adulthood which ultimately determines whether we turn out “good” or “evil” or make good or bad choices. If a child sticks his hand in a fire he’ll get burned and the pain associated with that burn will leave the child less inclined to repeat such action. Now this doesnt account for mentally or psychologically defficient people such as pyschopathic serial killers who have no compassion, moral compass or regard for human life, but that doesn’t prove any supernatural/religious eplanation for it. I dont believe that people are born good or evil but rather with the capacity to do both. I dont believe there is a difference between a Ghandi baby and hitler baby. The fabric of human behavior is woven by the moral fibers of subjective interpretations of what is right or wrong as determined by that individual’s enironmental and social conditioning.

        Those who live in poverty stricken community’s, where the neccessities required to meet the minimum standards of living are scarce or outright unavailable (i.e. decent paying jobs, quality education, affordable healthcare, etc…) will be more inclined to behave aborrently or become criminals robbing and selling drugs to make a profit to cover their costs of living and survive. Its not due to any religous duality such as good and evil. Its nothing more than an instinct triggered by the conditions they live in.

        • Correct…there is no irrefutable way to prove God does or doesn’t exist. But try to irrefutably prove that the ocean is comprised of mostly water.

          There is no way to irrefutably prove that your employer will continue to pay you on payday. But it would not be wise to use this as an excuse to quit going to work. You would probably be fired pretty quickly.

          In a similar fashion, it is not wise to use the inability of human kind to irrefutably prove or disprove God as an excuse for living life like there is no God.

          It is about the preponderance of the evidence, not about unassailable proof.

          True, some allow poverty to rationalize behaving abhorrently. But if “abhorrently” is a subjective term, as you insist, how is it that you can judge their acts as “abhorrent?” Could you be appealing to some universal standard of right and wrong?

          Moreover, wealthy people behave abhorrently and criminally all of the time. Just look at the fraudster Bernard Madoff. Or look at CEOs in the tobacco industry who basically sell death in a carton to make a profit. The list goes on and on.

          As far as your comment “human behavior is woven by the moral fibers of subjective interpetations of what is right and wrong,” I demonstrate why this is false in my post entitled “Aren’t All Truths, All Morals, Relative?”

      • “What survival advantage would be gained by such things as caring for the sick, poor, and elderly?”

        “What survival advantage would be gained by making anonymous donations to charitable organizations?”

        It makes perfect sense for people to do both of the things you mentioned for the simple reason that it may benefit them in the future. Even you may one day be sick, poor, or elderly and you’ll be grateful for being part of a society that cares for the less fortunate (not that ll societies do this, which shows that god must’ve accidentally missed some cultures).

        When you boil it all down, people often make donations (privately or otherwise) to religious charities in the hope and expectation that they will be viewed more favourably on judgement day.

        Perhaps you started this website to get a few more cosmic brownie points that might just bump you up to business class when the great rocket ship takes off for heaven.

        The interesting thing is that the two examples you offered prove David’s point and demolish yours. Morals, laws and what society deems to be acceptable behaviour have evolved hugely over the millennia, with the greatest changes coming in the last 100 years. The fact that they have evolved differently and at different rates across nations and cultures is further proof they are man-made and not divine.

        What is your counter-argument?

        • Oh boy, I love this.

          Don’t you remember?: The mechanism by which evolution works is random mutation and natural selection. An organism with beneficial random mutations survives to pass on its genes. What survival advantage, then, does the random mutation that causes anonymous giving to charitable organizations bestow? How is it that the human organism that makes such donations has a survival advantage over the human organism that does not?

          How does the random mutation that causes the human organism to “make donations to religious charities in the hope and expectation that they will be viewed more favorably on judgement day” provide a survival advantage over the human organism that does not?

          How does the random genetic mutation that causes a person to take care of the sick or elderly provide a survival advantage?

          Realizing that a behavior may benefit a person in the future is not the mechanism that drives evolution. Survival advantage through beneficial random mutation is.

          If morals and laws evolve, as you say, what is the mechanism by which moral and legal evolution occurs? Is a survival advantage given to the organism that behaves more morally? If so, what determines what is moral and what is not?

          • Scott

            So, to sum up: you have no counter-argument. I see.

            You seem to be deliberately confusing evolution, that takes place for the main part without conscious thought over millions of years, with decisions that ordinary people make – sometimes for selfish reasons – involving much shorter time frames.

            Now that we’ve crawled out of the primordial swamp and discovered fire, invented the wheel, established civilisations, invented gods, made up religions, learned to navigate, built machines, learned how to mass-produce food and developed laws (among one or two other minor developments), we no longer need to kill or be killed. We don’t have to fight for our food each day (well most of us) and we certainly don’t have to make decisions based on whether they offer a “survival advantage”.

            Nobody in history has ever had to make a decision based on the perceived survival advantage (other than the short term expediency of being chased by a predator or having a Messerschmitt 102 up your backside) of the species. Never. Not once. Evolution and natural selection happen at a much much smaller level than that – cellular and molecular – and are not the product of a conscious decision whether to support a charity or care for a sick person.

            To help you understand this I strongly recommend you read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. Some of the words might be a bit long but if you persevere you’ll get there. No apology for your false logic required.

            A decent counter-argument for once, or (and I know this is a stretch) some evidence of god might make me think differently. Good luck.

            Perhaps you fail to understand that

          • Mike

            I am the one confusing evolution with the decisions that ordinary people make?!

            Let us start from the beginning since you seem to have gotten lost. Below I have broken the discussion down into a few questions. Please answer them so we can understand your position:

            1) You believe that human beings are “survival machines” that have evolved entirely through the mechanism of random mutation and natural selection from a common ancestor. True or false?

            2) You believe that human behaviors and thought processes exist in their current state because they were the human behaviors and thought processes that provided our ancestors with an enhanced chance of survival (or “survival value”). True or false?

            3) If your answer to question #2 is “false,” then what is your alternate explanation for how human behaviors and thought processes came to exist as they do today?

            4) If your answer to question #2 is “true,” then what survival value was provided by human behaviors such as the tendency to make anonymous donations to charity and the tendency to care for those who are too old or sick too pass on their genes?

            Changing the subject for a moment, I have to reply to your allusion to the “primordial swamp.” The notion that life emerged from non-life through random processes is a notion without any logical support. Please read my post entitled “Can Life Evolve From Lifeless Chemicals?” for detail.

            The famous atheist biologist Francis Crick said:

            “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”

            Physicist and information theorist Hubert Yockey, the leading author of the text on the application of information theory to the origin of life, writes in The Journal of Theoretical Biology:

            “Since science does not have the faintest idea how life on earth originated….it would be honest to confess this to other scientists, to grantors, and to the public at large. Prominent scientists speaking ex cathedra, should refrain from polarizing the minds of students and young productive scientists with statements that are based solely on beliefs.”

            Perhaps this is why prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick have resorted to using aliens from outer space bringing life to earth as an explanation. Click here to see Dawkins endorsing the hypothesis in a video. Click here to see Crick’s endorsement of the hypothesis (known as “directed panspermia”) in an article.

          • Why shouldn’t there be a God of some sort? He doesn’t neccessarily have to be the God of Christianity or Islam. Why shouldn’t there be a God of the Big Bang, or God of the Space Age? If you reject religions, there is still a question of a non traditional idea of God. I have trouble with some of the traditional ideas of religion, but this does not dispense with the questions of origins and God. Einstein, it would seem, was no atheist. The man who gave us one of the most profound scientific revelations in history, believed in some form of Deistic God.

            There’s a highly revered Roman Catholic and Brown professor of Biology, called Ken Miller. He has authored books on evolution in defense of Darwin and is by no means the only scientist to have faith. Religion and science are not completely irreconcilable. This is not evidence for God, but is good evidence of respected intellects considering the possibility of God. The biggest question for me is, ‘why is there anything?’ Why? I don’t have the answer, but how can we be sure that there is no God?

          • Would you consider the possibility that the problems you have with traditional Christianity are rooted in cultural contexts and mistaken assumptions? Would you consider, for example, that Christianity actually gives you a greater freedom than you can conceive rather than taking away freedom…as modern society suggests. I strongly recommend that you read The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. (This is the guy from whom I shamelessly borrowed the Darth Vader quote).

            The question of “why is there anything?” is a philosophical question that can never by answered by science. Since I know that you have a high degree of intellectual curiousness, I suggest that you read the philosophical proofs for the existence of God in New Proofs for the Existence of God by Robert J. Spitzer. This book is not light reading by any stretch, but it is highly rewarding intellectually.

          • I have perused a little of Spitzers work. From what I have seen, he seems to engage in some of the more cosmological arguments about God. This would cover many of the subjects discussed in your other article about why there is something rather than nothing.

            Having been a little skeptical of him initially, perhaps if he constructs some decent arguments on these issues I could give his book a chance. I think that there are legitimate talks that can be had over origins and I believe that he may cover some of these discussions with regards to physics and philosophy. This general area is interesting and evolving all the time, with progression coming from the likes of Stephen Hawking and his research into theoretical physics, so is a fascinating place for investigation.

            On a slightly different note and from what I have found of his so far, I get the impression that he accepts Darwinism and evolution, although not materialism as he is obviously a Jesuit. Am I right about his views on evolution?

            If he argues convincingly about God, as you give him such a strong reference, how would you interpret his views on Darwinism/evolution (if my understanding of him is correct)? Surely his views would conflict with some of yours on Darwinism.

  9. I believe I did answer your question, in the sense that we have laws and morals that have evolved over time. We have learn’t over time what is right and wrong.You mentioned slavery in a previous post, you mentioned that Christian leaders helped abolish it but at one time they did accept it so this is an example of morals changing or evolving over time. If God gave everyone moral standards in ancient times why did people not adopt them thousands of years ago. As I said previously we were burning people a few hundred years ago due to ignorance and stupidity and this was sanctioned by the church. The Babylonians and Egyptians might have had rules and laws this made them civilized, but of all the countries of the world at that time they were the minority,in fact it could be argued that a lot of morals and civilizations have come about by the few successful countries that conquered other countries and left behind their mark such as the Romans.
    You mentioned about evolution and used it in the terms of Charles Darwins theory of evolution and the survival of the fittest, this does not apply to human beings as apart from genetic selection which we make of our own free choice when choosing sexual partners we do not allow people to suffer and die such as in the animal world. I mean’t that morals had evolved in the sense that over time people’s values have changed and what people consider to be right and wrong has also changed, racism and sexism would be two examples.

    Your comments about Physics, Thermodynamics etc just typify the standard theme that I find with religion and that is “God made it, end of story” no neeed to think about it anymore or worry about it. Of course there are limits to science there are limits to everything and while science does try to understand the universe no scientist that I know states they have all the answers, unlike religion.

    I will not add anymore posts I will let you have the last word as this is your web site and I think the discussion has gone as far as it can go. It has been a pleasure

    Take care

    David

    • It wasn’t morals that evolved over time. It was society’s recognition and compliance with these morals that evolved. If you look at the very first legal code (that of Hammurabi, which dates to 1770 B.C.), you will see that people recognized such moral precepts as “do not commit robbery” and “do not make false accusations” since the beginning of history.

      Why do I suspect that it is society’s recognition of these morals that has evolved, and not the morals themselves? Do you think that there was ever a point in time where someone would gladly accept becoming a slave or hand their family members over to be slaves? Certainly not…people always knew it was wrong, but society was willing to overlook what it knew was wrong in the name of selfish interests.

      You suggest that saying “God made it” is an easy out. I suggest it is actually much easier to say, “science hasn’t figured out how the laws of physics and thermodynamics came to be, but it will someday.” Why do I say that it is easier? Because implicit in your argument is the idea that the universe is the product of unintelligent, random process at work in a purely material reality. But random processes do not underlie the framework of the universe. This is why Max Planck, the founder of quantum physics, said:

      “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.“ Planck also said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

      And what do you suppose I am getting at when I quote Planck referring to consciousness as the ground of all reality? Hint: Albert Einstein said, “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest is just details.”

      Therefore, your idea that science will one day find an explanation for everything in terms of dumb, random processes at work in a purely material reality has already been shown to be false by science. The ground of all existence is consciousness and intelligence (read: God). To cite an idea that has already been dismissed by science in order to support your beliefs is an easy out indeed.

      I hope that you have not taken any offense at any of my comments. I am just trying to help people avoid making what I perceive to be a grave philosophical mistake. You are very gracious to let me “have the last word.”

      Considering the content of our discussion over the last few days, I would like to recommend that you click on and read the following posts:

      Sincerely,

      Scott

      • Scott,
        Where do you get all of your info? are you a student or a professor? you seem to be a really smart man. I thank you for the time you take to try and help those of us who need answers. I’m sure you get a smile from some of those ridiculous thoughts and feed backs to your post. I love the way no matter how someone tries to explain away the existence of there being a God, you are able to correct thier ignorance. Good work keep it up,Eric.

    • Marvin:

      Can a mathematical concept be seen? No. Does it exist? Yes.

      And, no, the writing down of that mathematical concept on paper in the form of an equation is not the concept itself. Rather, it is a visual representation of that concept. The concept itself cannot be seen.

      The stance that “if it cannot be seen, it does not exist,” which you express, is actually a philosophical school of thought known as “logical positivism” that has been examined and then soundly rejected by philosophers.

      If you click on the link above (to a wikipedia post on logical positivism) you will see at the bottom that it says, “Most philosophers consider logical positivism to be, as John Passmore expressed it, ‘dead, or as dead as a philosophical movement ever becomes.'”

  10. I believe God does exist but only to those who wants to believe in him. People spend too much time trying to force religion on those who do not want to believe and have no intentions of believing in him. There are so many different religions, which scares people off. There are also many guidelines, rules and regulations associated with each religion. Each one of these religions try to justify the their guidelines, rules, and regulations according to the Bible. I personally believe in God not necessarily because of what someone else tells me but because I can feel his presence all around me. You do not have to go to a church to get that feeling. I do not know much about the Bible , so it has not influenced me tremendously. I am beginning read it chapter by chapter and I doubt that I will fully understand everything but I do know that will continue to believe in God’s existence.

    • By saying that “God does exist but only to those who want to believe in him,” and “people spend too much time trying to force religion on those who do not want to believe” you are yourself trying to impose your own religious/philosophical views on others.

      If you think about it, all religious/philosophical views must by their very nature be dogmatic. When someone says, “it is wrong to impose your religious/philosophical views on others,” that person has done just that….imposed their religious/philosophical views on others. Specifically, that person has expressed their dogmatic belief in the idea that truth is relative.

      This is a seperate issue from tolerance. One can hold their own views but respect those of others, but nevertheless, everyone holds a specific set of beliefs that will be at odds with others. Even the agnostic who says “truth is unattainable” holds a dogmatic belief system.

    • Cassandra, I recommend reading “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman before you read the bible so that you can keep the bible in context. This book simply discusses how the bible came about; not a theory of how it was formed, but conclusive evidence derived from passionately extensive research by a then devoit Christian.

  11. Fantastic artical, and website.

    To reply personally to the “question” posed by the title of this page “If God is there, why doesn’t he just show Himself?”, to me the answer has always been obvious… God has and continues to show Himself in His Creation. The very existance of the Universe, to me, has always been proof of God.

  12. It is true that most people will ask: “IF GOD IS REAL, WHY CAN’T WE SEE HIM?” Well, i can answer that question for you. God, the ruler of the heavens, is a holy spirit. Do u know what it means to be a SPIRIT. Well, obviously we CAN’T see spiritual creatures like God. Just because we can’t see him doesn’t mean that he is hiding. We as humans don’t have the ability to see spirit creatures. But i do believe that God is REAL and EXISTS. The proof is all around us! If you look outside your window, what do you see? Tress? Sand? Mountains? Lakes and oceans? God created all those things! Don’t believe me? In the Bible, if you read all the scriptures in GENESIS, then you will find the answer. For it says: “God created ALL living things.” God even created each and every one of us. What a loving, caring God we have :)

    • That kills and maims in his name, and tells priests they can’t have sex and makes them rape, sodomise and abuse small boys for generations, and created cancer and leprosy and weapons of mass destruction, and is the cause of unspeakable atrocities continuing even as I write this. Yeah, he’s a prince alright!

      • Nah, we’re the cause of most of that, and I would guess that (assuming his existence) God’s even more pissed off about all the crap that people do in his name than you are.

  13. Danno
    I apologise for an earlier comment,I probably meant CD.I must have had a bit too much of the amber nectar of the gods(BEER) HA!
    Thanks for the advice on the books.

  14. Hi, Danno. My name is James. I am friends with Bob, who is off in NY doing some research. He introduced me to this site, and I really enjoy the in-depth arguments Youngren offers (I am agnostic). Anyway, I just read your question then gave Bob a call to see what his response might be. He said clearly and succinctly that if God responded to everyone’s prayers exactly as they wanted them to be, we could pray on anything and simply show God’s existence; in other words, if everytime you wished for a hundred dollar bill, it appeared in you hand, there would be no doubt that something marvelous was happening for you. If this happened repeatedly for everyone, it would eliminate faith (and free will), which is the core of Christianity. We both hope this helps answer your question. — James

    • James, that’s a pretty convenient out, isn’t it? God COULD easily show himself and prove his existence, but he prefers to stay tantalisingly out of reach, without a shred of evidence proving his existence. And all because he’d spoil the trick of making us love him based purely on faith i.e. without evidence. What a shallow, insecure god he must be!

      I’m also intrigued to know how Bob has such a direct line to the big fella, that he can speak with such authority on the reasons why god does or doesn’t do something. Are we supposed to believe his pronouncements because he made them clearly and succinctly? Did he read them from some golden tablets behind a blanket in his kitchen, and then return them to heaven? Is that how he knows?

  15. Your articles are not straight-forward. I still cannot find a single article that includes scientific evidence for God. Either I’m not looking hard enough or you’re simply trying to misdirect. Please provide some links for such articles, I’d really like to have a look. I’ve come to a point in life where my faith hangs in balance, as a former Sikh I’m desperate to find ways to return to my former religion or atleast become agnostic. Thanks.

    • You apparently have missed some articles.

      You should start by reading God Is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism because this article describes the role that science can play in determining whether God exists or not.

      From there read, “What is the chance that the world is the result of chance?” Then read the post entitled “Is the universe eternal?” The concept of an eternally existing universe is absolutely crucial for atheism because it is the only way to do away with the need for a Creator.

      When you are done with that, read the snippet entitled “OK, I want numbers…”

      From there you should read “Why is there something rather than nothing?” and then continue to explore the site.

      Ultimately, this subject matter is too complex to be covered by a few articles. This website was intended as a launching pad for deeper reading (such as the books that I reference) rather than as a comprehensive source of information on the topic.

      Scott

      • I’ve read all your posts and references – not a shred of EVIDENCE exists. Wild supposition, convenient manipulation, rapid changes of argument to fit irrefutable new facts, but no evidence.

        I think you should change the website and call it “If god exists, why is there nothing instead of something?”

        • Well, Mike, these are a bunch more characterizations and assertions in lieu of rationally constructed, fact based counter-arguments….like I mentioned in a previous reply.

          Please point out exactly where I make “wild suppostions, convenient manipulations, and rapid changes of argument.” If you cannot justify these assertions by pointing out specifically where I do this, and by providing a detailed reason why specific arguments I make can be labeled in such ways, we must assume that you are trying to divert attention from the fact that you are unable to pose a counter-argument.

          Here is the 1st piece of evidence that I would like you to reply to: 1) The anthropic fine tuning evidence presented in the “Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?)” essay. Please recall that, as astrophysicist Hugh Ross points out, “astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare.”

          Are the majority of astronomers making such “wild suppositions, convenient manipulations, and rapid changes of argument?”

          Would you like to accuse, for example, the physicist Paul Davies of this when he says:

          “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. . . It seems as though somebody has fine tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. . . The impression of design is overwhelming.”

          “It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”

          Physicist Paul Davies, winner of the 2001 Kelvin Medal issued by the Institute of Physics and the winner of the 2002 Faraday Prize issued by the Royal Society (amongst other awards).

  16. We as christians know and believe what the word of God says because it is the truth and weather you believe it or not is up to you but I know you were created in the image of God therefore you are precious in his eyes I pray the vail would be torn from your eyes and you would come to your senses and know you need a savour his name is Jesus Christ he died for you even though you forsake him in your heart and mind I think that amazing in itself but God bless you that you still have time to repent because of his mercy you still breath and have time to change your heart we love you with the love of God from a brother in the body of Christ

  17. Hey,
    I am 15 and trying to explore my faith and this website is amazing!One question which my father asks, “Is there any hard evidence which i can see that God is real?” He also asks even after i told him about your section on why doesn’t he show himself he says” Without us knowing he he is there what makes is want to love him?” That pretty much endorses the first question in a way.
    But besides that, this website has brought my faith and life a big step further and i thank you for that.

    • Isaac,

      I just wrote a reply to another reader’s post that I have copied and pasted below because I think it will be useful to your dad:

      The origin of the universe and of life can be distilled to a philosophical proof that philosophers refer to as a “disjunctive syllogism” (the latin name is modus tollendo ponens).

      Here is a simple example of a disjunctive syllogism:

      Bill’s pet is either a cat or a dog.
      Bill’s pet is not a cat.
      Therefore, Bill’s pet is a dog.

      With regards to the origins of the universe and of life, we can compose the following disjunctive syllogism:

      The universe (and life) resulted from either randomness or intentionality.
      The universe (and life) did not result from randomness (as I have demonsrated in my posts).
      Therefore the universe and life resulted from intentionality.

      And intentionality requires intelligence.

      Simply put, because there are only two options with regard to this issue, ruling out one option necessarily implies the other.

      The only ways to invalidate this philosophical proof are the following: 1) Demonstrate that there exists a third option to randomness vs. intentionality (which is impossible because there cannot be a third option). 2) Demonstrate that the universe or life resulted from randomness or that the universe is eternal (thereby doing away with the need for an origin). I have effectively eliminated both of these options in my posts.

      If your dad wants to know in which posts I demonstrate that the universe and life did not originate randomly, you can direct him to the following:

      Is there a God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?)

      God Is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism.

      Can life evolve from lifeless chemicals?

      OK…I want numbers. What is the probability that the universe is the result of chance?

      Another great piece of evidence (that does not relate to the above disjunctive syllogism) appears in the post entitled, “Has anyone ever met God and returned to tell about it?”

      Thanks very much for the compliment about my website! This sort of stuff keeps me encouraged that I am making a difference.

      Scott

  18. This is a great site. Just wanted to say thank you to the author. I believe in God most of the time, it’s normal to ask questions though and wonder which is why I’ve ended up here, and probably why god inspired the Bible to be written. Science still can’t answer the question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg”, and evolution certainly doesn’t answer it. We are evolving over time but that doesnt’ explain creation.

  19. Have you ever considered, David, the possibility of God—who clearly understood the faith of Abraham—simply assisting Abraham in understanding himself and his own true faith of such a complex subject? In the end, he did not kill Isaac. Though it must have been a bit of a trauma for Isaac when he realized his father intended on burning him alive; however, Isaac’s life did go on with great strength and many accomplishments. I also thought it rather amusing that Abraham, who was quite old at the time, loaded Isaac down with the wood needed to burn him. Perhaps it was simply done to wear Isaac (a man by then) down so Abraham could later subdue and tie him up when they reached the top of the mountain. Anyway, the point is that one does not truly know oneself without facing life’s challenges, and Abraham’s challenge of complete faith in God, and thus leading many people in this faith, was greater than life itself could ever offer. It’s just a thought, David. –Bob

  20. “that makes you a lair (so am I)” – what on earth do you mean by this? I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Do you seriously mean to tell me you’re an animal’s home?

  21. great article-
    If i may…
    IMO God offers only love. He’s not going to perform miracles or to show Himself with power displays. He offers only love. He’s one weapon- love.
    All the power to create a univers and more, yet He chooses only to use love. If He used that power we’d all be so scared that freewill wouldnt really exist.

    Even as our mothers cant cure us with a miracle if we get sick, they love you, and knowing that helps. God does the same. We may suffer but suffer knowing that God/Christ loves us.

  22. To believe or not to believe ?, that is the question.

    For some time now ; weeks or months, my faith and belief in God slipped away. I wanted to but, I had to acknowledge that I no longer believed in God. One identifiable trigger was a church service where the words of worship said that ‘God protects’ the weak, the hungry and the vulnerable. I couldn’t see it.

    My nephew had died of leukaemia, and the TV’s news seemed a repeat of corruption and catastrophe. I responded in anger that if God had any love for a child, the weak or the infirm, then he would not allow such things to happen. And if he were all powerful then He could easily stop that suffering. Why is it that the weak are always the one who suffer most, the poor who cannot afford good health care, and the broken who fall into compulsion or crime.?

    Although I’ve so often wanted to, just last night I looked to God. Perhaps prompted by an ulterior motive – a Christian lady I’d met via the internet, or simply my being tired of life being a struggle.

    Whatever, I Google searched on the internet “what does it take to believe in God ? “. The links I found led me through a trail of questions, answers and disbelief that was familiar from my early steps into Christianity. Having lost the way – I’d been taken back to the beginning.., and that then led to the trigger – which brought me to feel that there was no God : “Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen to Good People?” The answers didn’t satisfy me, but in turn they led to “If God is there, why doesn’t he just show himself ? “… Although paraphrased – I had been asking the same for years.

    Together these questions and the sequence of arguments and counter arguments led me to realise that the answer comes in a series of familiar expressions : ‘God gives us free choice’, ‘We suffer because we are sinners’. ‘We inherit the sins of our (fore)fathers’. Personally, like many, I’ve always had difficulty in accepting that we should suffer for what Adam and Eve did, or indeed for what my father did. And again, like many, I’ve a problem with God being in absolute control, and yet He allows sin to exist (and that includes empowering those who abuse on a one-to-one level – right through to notorious tyrants).

    ‘He’ then allows delectable temptation to come into our homes and daily lives (indeed whether chocolate, alcohol, collectables and other material possessions, or pornography ; they each trigger psychological, physical and/or chemical responses that are incredibly hard to restrain). And on top of all that ; He allows natural disasters to strike communities which include the innocent, the infirm, and even those who are selflessly there trying to help others – in God’s own name.! It really didn’t ever make sense. Indeed to become a Christian one has to take a positive leap of faith into the dark abyss of unknowing and trust that ‘He’ (the all knowing) knows best and would reveal all – if not now then in an after-life.

    So what revelation did the holy spirit pour over my sceptical mind. Well, if it was a spiritual revelation then I can assure you it was no bright light, nor even the whisper of an angel, simply my own thoughts came to understand a rational and blindingly obvious (excuse the pun !) hypothesis.

    Starting from you and I : We each probably give a little of what we have to charity. We might even give some to charities like cancer research. Some people are much more generous, others are less so. This is normal. In the big picture of how many £1000’s we earn in a year (salary plus expenses, perks and gifts, perhaps rental income, plus whatever ‘stuff’ we might happen to sell over the year, plus the paltry interest on savings), or in a lifetime (including inheritance(s) – what do we give ?

    Who, if anyone, tithes a full 10% of everything they have ever earned.? No-one I’ve known, certainly not me, nor my father, nor any of my family, nor direct fore-father’s, as far as I’ve known. Who then gives 10% of their TIME to helping others ?

    The fact of the matter is ; If – in a hypothetical utopia – everyone gave 10, 15, 20% of everything they ever earned (keeping plenty for themselves :-)), and of their expertise in time – to aiding strangers.., and if there was a low-level cap on what any one person or organisation could own, then simply ; there would be no poverty, no wars over territory ? medicines would be inexpensive and freely available, and we would have worked together to avoid many of the natural disasters that have struck – because of economic constraints (a sea wall not quite high enough to protect the coastal ports and Japanese power station from a Tsunami ?).

    Given the resources tied up in your and everyone else’s savings, in unwanted ‘things’ in your loft, in warehouses and in vaults around the world, Given the expertise of every individual and corporation working together – all poverty and most diseases could (in reality – not fiction) be eliminated. If, just if, everyone was in a mindset to give, then there would be no greed. Crime and power struggles in work, in politics would be worthwhile because of the limit to what you might own. The money now being spent on police and military, would go into the aiding anyone in need pot. The time wasted arguing, in exchanging hurtful messages, in clearing up the mess could all be put to fun and good use. If every country and every religion had a zero tolerance of crime, of anti-social behaviour, of abuse, would it be so bad.?

    If everything was made to be long lasting and then recyclable, if fashion and glamour and millions were not the driving forces of capitalism, if we stopped buying things we didn’t really even want, or throwing things away that could easily be repaired, but instead we invested in a culture of self betterment and integrity – then would it be such a bad universe.? Star Trek, Robin Hood, and a thousand other folk tales, legends, and movies proposed such standards. Communist ideals along with every Religion proclaim such a philosophy. And even the hardened criminal or terrorist, would prefer to be healthy, have friends, to have good food on the table and security for their families, and to live in peace and have fun.

    If in our thoughts we can imagine such a utopia, and work through the pitfalls – then it is possible.! The argument is that : God gives each and every one of us the choice. And that same choice to generation after generation before us. They chose, and we now choose to simply look after ourselves and not to give even 1% to aide a stranger. That is a sin.! You have inherited the consequence of that same sin from every generation of your and my forefather before you. And unless we change, your children’s children will inherit the consequence of your and my choice.

    Only when we each stop saying : I’ll do it when everyone else does, then God might talk to us. After all how often would you stop to talk to someone who is being abusive and being repulsive in his or her behaviour.? Even if you did stop to talk, are they listening or do they simply ridicule you for being a goody-goody preacher. A certainty is that those in, and who use (abuse) power will not choose to give it up, the choice / the movement has to be from the silent majority, from the shop floor, from the beaten down. It’ll take fortitude, but now and possibly for the first time in history – we are FREE to make it happen.

    Is giving 10 or 20% way too much, then take a first step. Simply take everything from your home, loft, garage and closets – (that just may be of use to someone else) that you have not used in over two years and give it to charity. It’ll cost you nothing !!!

    Next year and every subsequent year for ten years – give 1% (more) of your salary, together with gift aide, to a charity which helps complete strangers who can’t, help themselves.. Explain to your children, your nephews and nieces what and why you are doing it, and encourage them to make the same choice, and to tell their friends. Your family could go down in history as beginning of a new way of thinking, a world without crime, violence or hunger, a world where medicine is freely available to all, where natural disasters are anticipated and minimised as never before, and where man took stock of where development had brought them and where self betterment was possibly going to take them. It only takes a generation or two to make the difference universally felt. If you don’t believe in God now, then believe in your own dreams – for your children.

    • PeterB,
      You really do mean well and are a decent person looking for mental comfort and peace of mind.
      SO! Why are you dependent on supersticious hocus pocus to give you this comfort. What Scott
      and his ilk is actually doing is brain washing you lot, you lot that are weak and gullible because you cannot think and reason for yourselves, but are willing to be led by sheep in believing in a mythical and all powerful but immensely flawed being who presides over this horrible, violent
      and ferrile selfish world, and the only excuse he has is that he gives us a free will to behave as we wish.Gods are myths,fantasies and a weapon to rule the lives of the weak, gullible, stupid, ignorant,unread Cretins of this world

  23. I agree more and more scientists are coming around to the fact that there is an order to things in the universe, they will not however say the creator is the christian god, they are coming up with many theories as to whats going on.

    One thing that stands out leaning toward the christian god being the creator is the events at Fatima. Witnessed by nearly 100,000 people and categorized as the greatest UFO event ever. Even the Skeptical Enquirer magazine that slams everything states “something happened.” Skeptics, some of whom were reporters that up until the event where making fun of people for going to see this nonsense claimed something spectacular happened. You can’t claim it was mass hallucination, thats absurd. It was seen by some nearly 20 miles away. So ok you can say it was something else, there are theories as to what created the phenomenon. But what are the odds that it would happen at the moment it was claimed a sign would be shown. Also what about all the predictions the child made that absolutely came true?

    I am not a bible pounding christian, I have my doubts at times, but you can’t dismiss this, I must admit..

  24. “It all boils down to free will.” If there were no consequences for not loving God, that would be free will… God would be much easier to love if there was no eternal punishment either way.

    • Do you have any replies to the arguments presented in the various essays? Start with “Is There A God? (What is the chance our world is the result of chance?)” or “What it all boils down to” or “Has anyone met God and returned to tell about it?” or “Some quotes to consider.”

      By saying, “This is complete bull… God does NOT exist,” you are forcefully stating your belief, but you aren’t responding to any of the specific arguments. What do you mean by “the sign?”

  25. For the the most difficult thing to accept is that a loving, compassionate God made such terrible things as plague bacilli, malaria protozoans, and a host of other pathogens. In some infections there is even a kind of quasi-intelligence, utterly malign: the quorum-sensing ability of Anthrax bacilli is an example. Once in the blood-stream they quietly multiply until they are in the ascendency; sensing this they switch on genes which pour out toxins, begin sporulation and kill the host. Only a mindless process of natural selection could do this.

    It’s difficult to believe in an anthropic deity in the face of a mechanistic and painful world. Even now there is a likelihood that the pathogen Chlamydophila pneumoniae is circulating in your bloodstream within peripheral blood monocytes. It likely causes many degenerative diseases; coronary artery disease; strokes; multiple sclerosis; arthritis. And it has the small, degenerate genome of a obligate parasite. Was this made by a compassionate God?

      • Scott,

        I appreciate your valiant attempt at explaining the contemporaneous existence of a perfect God and an imperfect (and even malign) world. Human evil can certainly be posited as a product of free-will. But I’m afraid even here you don’t entirely convince me.

        One example. During the 1920s and 30s an unusual epidemic swept the world: Encephalitis Lethargica. It could sometimes affect little children. It often altered them, changing them from loving, appreciative children to demonic creatures who stole, flew into rages, committed crimes, shouted obscenities, and, on reaching adolescence, became sexually predatory and even sadistic. There is not much evidence of free-will here: the children were infected and their psyches were changed as a result. The pathogen (whose identity is still uncertain) affected the central grey nuclei in the brain. There was nothing they themselves could do about it.

        So, on looking at the world, I should prefer a world without a God rather than a world containing evil created by God.

        Another example. The genome of Mycobacterium leprae, the germ which causes leprosy, is small and corrupt; so corrupt that the bacillus has not been convincingly grown in vitro. The genome demonstrates the reductive evolution characteristic of obligate parasites; only half its genes are functional. The germ can grow in human peripheral nerves, however; it is able to cause the nerve-sheath cells (Schwann cells) to multiply to increase its own growing-area. The result is the numbness which causes the leprosy sufferer to burn his or her hands, the loss of proprioception which causes gross damage to joints, and the disfiguring swellings following the course of superficial nerves.

        On another topic, one of the most convincing pieces of evidence for an evolutionary process between species are the existence of endogenous retroviruses. These are pieces of DNA which enter the genome of germ-cells. We as humans share many of these ERVs with chimps; somewhat fewer with other primates; less still with monkeys. This applies to all mammals, and shows the interconnectedness of mammalian species: the closer our relations, the more the shared ERVs. (Of course, you could contend that God placed each ERV in place, one by one, some of them functional, some of them apparently not – some of them potentially damaging. I’ve never much liked the idea of God as a bodger.)

        I tried to read your second essay but found its drift difficult to follow.

        • You have not replied to the arguments posted in my essay entitled “If God is good, why do evil and suffering exist?”

          An important excerpt:

          William Dembski explains in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God In An Evil World:

          “Humanity, in becoming captive to evil, gave its consent. Humans are complicit in the evil from which God is striving to deliver us. For redemption effectively to deliver humanity from evil therefore requires us to be clear as to precisely what we have consented to in rebelling against God and embracing evil. To achieve this clarity, humanity must experience the full brunt of the evil that we have set in motion, and this requires that the creation itself fully manifest the consequences of humanity’s rebellion against God. This does not mean that the creation has to become as corrupt as it could possibly be. But it does mean that the creation must not conceal or soft-sell the gravity of sin.”

          “…In answer, then, to why a benevolent God would allow natural evil to afflict an otherwise innocent nature in response to human moral evil, we can say that it is to manifest the full consequences of human sin so that when Christ redeems us, we may clearly understand what we have been redeemed from. Without this clarity about the evil we have set in motion, we will always be in danger of reverting back to it because we do not see its gravity.”

          All of this is not to say that God plays no role in guiding worldly events or that he never intervenes in earthly affairs. Rather, it is to say that much of the time he must step back and allow us to experience the consequences of our decision to embrace evil so that we can understand what we need to be redeemed from. By allowing natural evil, God is thus responding somewhat like the parents of a 12 year-old who, upon catching the child smoking a cigarette, force him to go into the closet and finish the entire pack so that he can grasp the consequences of his choice.

          Regarding your comment about endogenous retroviruses, I do not contend that “God placed each ERV in place, one by one,” as you suggest. We do share many commonalities with chimps and other primates, but this does not demonstrate that we share a common ancestor. Rather, it demonstrates that we share a common creator. As a metaphor, Ford models share many similarities with Lincoln models because both cars are produced by the Ford Motor Company.

          The simple fact is this: The fossil record completely and utterly contradicts Darwin’s theory and, as Oxford University and University of Massachusetts biologist Lynn Margulis points out, not a single biologist can cite a single unambiguous example of a new species emerging from an accumulation of mutations. Please review my posts entitled “Doesn’t evolution prove the biblical account of creation to be false?” and “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?” Please view the video about “what the fossil record REALLY shows.”

          What essay did you have difficulty following?

          • I find I can’t argue with you. You claim a benevolent God (I wish I could) yet I could show you photographs of a child who had died of septicaemia due to infection by Neisseria meningitidis. Did a benevolent God make this bacterium to deny a child’s life? No. On all counts. Why then a God? I want your answer, not quotations from others. I want a clean, simple answer, with evidence: Why don’t you give this answer? Why do you always seem to hide behind the quotes of others?

          • Do you or do you not have a reply to the post entitled “If God is good, why do evil and suffering exist?” and to my previous reply?

            I don’t understand why you suggest that I have not given an answer. Ben, you seem to be hiding behind the excuse that I have quoted other people in my reply. This is bizarre. Quoting other people is common practice. Either reply to the argument or admit that you can’t.

            Seriously…”hiding behind the quotes of others“?!?! This is a strange and bewildering suggestion. When Richard Dawkins writes something that involves a quote from Charles Darwin, can I just dismiss everything Dawkins writes because he is “hiding behind” Darwin quotes?!

  26. I am going to go for broke and point out your illogical illogicalness to your illogical views.

    You claim that it will take away our free will if God used *force* yet how are we suppose to *Love* a God who won’t prove he exists for us to love?

    Looks like the same old Christian loop hole is being played again and again besides there is no historical evidence of a Jesus anyways. There is no records of a man who considered himself as equal to God and got killed by the church as an example of extreme sinners. Plus there is no record from the man who killed Jesus to prove he died and there is no record of the other criminals that died with Jesu yet Christians do not find that the least bit odd?

    • God gives very abundant evidence for his existence that only those determined to not see it can deny. Sadly, there are many many people who are determined to not see it. This is because belief in God places what many people perceive to be inconvenient moral restrictions upon their lives.

      Please read my essay titled Is There A God? What Is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance? and my essay titled What It All Boils Down To just for starters, if you want to see some of this plentiful evidence.

      There are no historical evidence of a Jesus? Where did you get that one from?!

      Actually, there are historical accounts of Jesus’ life from several non-Christian historians. These include Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, Lucian, etc… Please read this article to learn more.

      The stance that Jesus’ life was not a true historical event is not taken seriously by professional historians. Some amateur historians perhaps, but that is all.

  27. SYOUNGREN PWNED YOUR LIVES!!!
    Everyone sounds retarded whilst arguing with you!!
    Plus their limited vocabulary made me LOL!
    I tak wlasnie jest, jak nie rozumiecie noto nic nie bedziecie wiedziec!
    =] carpe diem.

  28. Here is the problem with your thinking and logic on the whole, “If god proved his existence would could not choose to love him”. That whole premise was shot down when Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels rebelled. They had absolute knowledge of god, his power, his will, his authority and still used their free will to rebel.

    • Your point only demonstrates that full knowledge of God is not necessarily enough to prevent angels from rebelling.

      A third of the angels had full knowledge of God, but chose to rebel anyway. How does that detract in any way from my point that God chooses to keep a low profile so that we can choose to love Him rather than feel compelled to love Him? It is possible that some people would rebel against God even if they were compelled to love Him. But that being said, it is in God’s best interest to not compel us to love Him.

  29. If god hides from us now because he’s worried about coercing us into loving him, why did he manifest as Jesus and perform miracles in order to persuade the disciples 2000 years ago? For that matter, why did god ever present himself to anyone?

    If what you say is true, then god would also never interact in the world at all for fear of intimidating us.

    • I am not suggesting that God completely hides from us. Rather I a suggesting that he is gentle and subtle in his revelation of himself. If you read the essay, you would see that I suggest that God DOES reveal himself, but he is careful not to be forceful.

      Revealing himself in the form of a humble carpenter is one such way in which he avoids being forceful in his revelation of himself. God surely did not have any reason to fear that would intimidate himself by reveling himself as a humble carpenter. The miracles he performed clearly were not intimidating to many people because many people who witnessed the miracles still rejected him..

      • But this doesn’t answer why god would feel the need to prove his divinity to the disciples through miracles and resurrection? If the original believers were provided with demonstrations of water-walking, food transformation and healing incurable diseases, why shouldn’t everyone expect something comparable? That’s not a fair setup, in my opinion.

        • This website is not intended to explain why God does things the way he does. Rather, it is intended to demonstrate that God exists.

          Attempting to use human reasoning to understand the mind of God is a pointless venture. If God has infinite intelligence (as theism tends to suggest), why should we think that we can use our limited human understanding to judge God’s actions?

          Further, we may not experience the kinds of miracles exhibited in the Bible, but we DO experience miracles on an everyday basis. The love of one human being for another, the intense beauty and richness present in nature as well as in art and culture and music (etc.), the fact that we still exist as a species even though we have thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other, the joy and wonder of childhood…these are just a few of the miracles that people experience on an everyday basis.

          We should not expect the sorts of miracles that Jesus performed because Jesus no longer walks the Earth in a human body.

          • But you DO attempt to explain why god does what he does — that’s the entire point of this post, unless I’m missing the point.

            This is the kind of thing that drives atheists crazy…

            You: God doesn’t show himself in the world because he doesn’t want to force our love.
            Me: Why did he have to prove himself to the disciples, then?
            You: Uh… We can’t know his motivations! And he DOES prove himself in the world today – look at the butterflies and listen to the Beethoven!

            So which is it? Does he prove his existence or not? You can’t honestly claim rainbows and puppy dogs as sufficient proof of god, especially when contrasted with hurricanes, disease and famine. Even so, those things are certainly not sufficient proof of Jesus Christ’s divinity.

            And that’s the problem: your religion DOES force us to believe in his divinity, but doesn’t provide sufficient proof. You try to avoid this dilemma by saying that proof would be coercive, but that doesn’t make sense when even Jesus had to perform tricks to convince a handful of followers.

          • God does not prove his existence. Rather, he makes his existence an unavoidable conclusion to anyone who is not determined to deny his existence.

            I do not consider “rainbows and puppy dogs” to be proof of God. This is your crude caricature of my argument, not my actual argument. “Hurricanes, disease and famine” are completely consistent with the biblical concept of a “fallen” world.

            God cannot be proven. But the belief that the sun will rise tomorrow cannot be proven either. In fact, there is virtually no human belief that cannot be subjected to some degree of doubt. It is therefore not about proof, but about preponderance of evidence…. And herein lies another crucial point. Atheists such as yourself apply two different levels of scrutiny. There is an extremely high level of scrutiny applied to evidence for the existence of God, on one hand; and an extremely low level of scrutiny to supposed evidence against God, on the other hand.

            As an example of the extremely LOW level of logical scrutiny applied to supposed evidence against God, consider the following: Atheists such as Richard Dawkins insist that the Darwinian mechanism of random mutation and natural selection is mindless and that, therefore, we can extrapolate mindlessness into the origin of life from non-living matter. This is despite the fact that non-living matter has neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. In fact, atheists such as Dawkins think that we can extrapolate from this putatively mindless mechanism for the diversification of life to a completely mindless cause of the universe. I discuss this topic in detail in I Believe in Science! Why Do I Need Religion?!

            And with all due respect, what “proof” do you provide that the universe is the result of yet-to-be-discovered unintelligent mechanisms? And don’t forget that if these unintelligent mechanisms are eventually discovered, atheists are then left to explain where these mechanisms came from.

            You insist that there is not sufficient evidence for God while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I provide. You seem to think that your personal assessment that the evidence is “not sufficient” can substitute for a rebuttal to the evidence presented. Your ideologically based perceptual filter seems to disregard any evidence that I provide.

            Here is some of the evidentiary basis for theism that I mentioned in a previous reply to one of your comments (but which you have failed to respond to):

            1) Three decades of research into near-death experiences have shown an encounter with God to be a common thread of the experiences. I discuss this topic in Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It?. Atheistic attempts to explain away these encounters with God away have been completely inadequate.

            2) The origin of life from non-living matter clearly did involve intelligence, as I discuss in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. This essay describes how atheists have become so desperate to explain away the clear involvement of intelligence in the origin of life that they have resulted to such explanations as aliens bringing life to earth in a spaceship and life emerging through a piggyback ride on crystals.

            3) The account of the origin of the universe given by modern cosmology is remarkably consistent with the biblical account of the origin of the universe, as I demonstrate in my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and my essay titled Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False?.

            4) Modern physics has demonstrated that consciousness is fundamental and that matter is derivative from consciousness. I discuss this topic in detail in my essay titled What It All Boils Down To and I provide additional philosophical support for this conclusion in The Ultimate Cart-Before-the-Horse (Why atheism is illogical).

            In conclusion, you seem to think that atheism is some sort of default position that does not require its own evidentiary basis. But atheism makes many positive claims….such as the claim that as-yet-to-be-discovered unintelligent mechanisms can be cited for such things as the origin of life and the origin of the universe. And even if such mechanisms were to be discovered by science, you would be left with the need to provide an ontological (or meta-scientific) explanation of where these mechanisms came from.

          • God does not prove his existence. Rather, he makes his existence an unavoidable conclusion to anyone who is not determined to deny his existence.

            That’s quite a setup. You place the burden of proof on the denier (rather than believer) and set the bar so low that it’s impossible to miss. No matter how open a person is to evidence for god, you could call them intractable or obstinate if they don’t accept the criteria you define as sufficient proof of god.

            So what evidence do you accept?

            The love of one human being for another, the intense beauty and richness present in nature as well as in art and culture and music (etc.), the fact that we still exist as a species even though we have thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other, the joy and wonder of childhood…

            All of those things have natural explanations. What’s absurd to me is that you’re willing to give credit to god for preventing a nuclear Holocaust, but exonerate him for the actual Holocaust? Bieber fever is an act of god, but tornadoes and hurricanes are the unfortunate result of a ‘fallen world’? When children play with dirt it’s miraculous, but when they die of cancer it’s because Eve ate a piece of fruit? Humanity is responsible for all the bad things in the world, but god is responsible for all the good? I’m not caricaturing your argument, I’m distilling it to specific examples. You made the assertion that beauty is proof of god.

            Again, the actual disciples required more evidence of Jesus’ divinity than you’re telling me I need for god’s existence. If they required magic tricks before they were convinced to follow Christ, why can’t we all demand something remotely comparable? Your only answer is that you can’t explain god’s motives – yet your original post appears to do just that.

            Regarding “the evidentiary basis for theism that I mentioned in a previous reply to one of your comments (but which you have failed to respond to)”, I must admit that I didn’t see any of those themes in your two previous replies to my first comment. Either way, here’s a quick debunking of your evidence:

            1. NDEs are no more proof of god than alien abduction dreams are proof of aliens. Many people believe in gods, so hallucinating or dreaming of a god interaction is perfectly understandable. It might be more impressive if all cultures reported the exact same god in their NDEs rather than just a loose “common thread”.
            2. Life does not necessitate an intelligent designer – there’s no evidence that life is analogous to human engineering or that life must have been designed. The idea behind ID is merely postulation. Either way, it doesn’t matter. How life emerged from non-living matter is not something atheists need to prove to you in order to refute your god. Even if life was designed, why couldn’t it be Vishnu who designed it?
            3. Your religion’s description of the creation of the universe bears poor resemblance to scientific explanation of our world. Why is there no mention of the billions of other galaxies and trillions of stars? Why is water created before land in Genesis? Why no mention of the enormous span of time before humans when dinosaurs ruled the earth? Why were concepts like E&M, QM and relativity completely absent from god’s description of creation?
            4. Your conclusion is incorrect. Quantum weirdness does depend on observation, but not necessarily consciousness. Even if it did depend on consciousness, that’s not evidence that consciousness must have existed before matter.

            You’re right about my stance on atheism when you say: “you seem to think that atheism is some sort of default position that does not require its own evidentiary basis”. I don’t need to present evidence against your god, although I have plenty. You are the one claiming a god, so the burden is on you to provide evidence. I might play along if you’d be willing disprove every god but your own. You can start with Thor, Zeus and Ptah and work your way up to Shiva and Allah.

            You falsely assume that any position needs to fully describe the universe and all creation mechanisms in order to be valid or tenable. Why can’t we say “we don’t know how the universe began” or “we don’t know how life began” without defaulting to “Jesus Christ did it”?

          • That’s quite a setup. You place the burden of proof on the denier (rather than believer) and set the bar so low that it’s impossible to miss. No matter how open a person is to evidence for god, you could call them intractable or obstinate if they don’t accept the criteria you define as sufficient proof of god.

            So what evidence do you accept?

            Well, I am not really placing the burden of proof on the denier. Keep in mind that if you disbelieve in God, you must necessarily believe in some other cause for the universe and some other explanation for such things as the origin of life from non-life. So your belief system necessarily also involves some set of positive claims…as opposed to merely a negative claim as to the existence of God. For example, many atheists (perhaps yourself included) seem to think that the universe and life can be explained by some set of yet-to-be-discovered natural mechanisms. But, in addition to the failure to produce evidence for these mechanisms, the atheist fails to explain where these mechanisms came from.

            What evidence do I accept for God? Well, how about the first few pieces of evidence that I cited in one of my previous replies (for starters). A copy and paste:

            1) Modern physics has demonstrated that consciousness is fundamental and that matter is derivative from consciousness. I discuss this topic in detail in my essay titled What It All Boils Down To and I provide additional philosophical support for this conclusion in The Ultimate Cart-Before-the-Horse (Why atheism is illogical).

            2) Three decades of research into near-death experiences have shown an encounter with God to be a common thread of the experiences. I discuss this topic in Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It?. Atheistic attempts to explain away these encounters with God away have been completely inadequate.

            3) The origin of life from non-living matter clearly did involve intelligence, as I discuss in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. This essay describes how atheists have become so desperate to explain away the clear involvement of intelligence in the origin of life that they have resulted to such explanations as aliens bringing life to earth in a spaceship and life emerging through a piggyback ride on crystals.

            4) The account of the origin of the universe given by modern cosmology is remarkably consistent with the biblical account of the origin of the universe, as I demonstrate in my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and my essay titled Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False?.

            All of those things have natural explanations.

            All of those things have natural explanations? The problem here is that you continue to frame the debate as natural vs. supernatural explanations. You can have as many natural explanations as you want. I have no reason to debate you on natural explanations. What you seem to be failing to realize is that these natural explanations also require an explanation. In other words, if life was caused by natural mechanisms, where did these mechanisms come from? As I mention in my “short take” titled Riddles for Atheists, Albert Einstein once wrote:

            “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way… the kind of order created by Newton’s theory or gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”

            What I am looking for from you (or any other atheist) is an alternate explanation for this “high degree of ordering of the objective world,” an explanation for why the world is ordered rather than chaotic. Please note that this is an ontological rather than scientific question. Science discusses matters of intermediate causation (such as natural mechanisms) and ontology discusses ultimate causes (such as God, etc.).

            What’s absurd to me is that you’re willing to give credit to god for preventing a nuclear Holocaust, but exonerate him for the actual Holocaust? Bieber fever is an act of god, but tornadoes and hurricanes are the unfortunate result of a ‘fallen world’? When children play with dirt it’s miraculous, but when they die of cancer it’s because Eve ate a piece of fruit? Humanity is responsible for all the bad things in the world, but god is responsible for all the good? I’m not caricaturing your argument, I’m distilling it to specific examples. You made the assertion that beauty is proof of god.

            You think it is absurd to exonerate God for the holocaust?! Who put the millions of people in the gas chambers?! Was it people (the nazis) or was it God?

            You suggest that children die because “Eve ate a piece of fruit,” but this is a deliberate mischaracterization on your part. The Bible uses a variety of different literary devices, some of which are literal and some of which are metaphorical.

            Regarding the question of evil and suffering, please read my essay titled If God Is Good, Why Do Evil and Suffering Exist?. I am not suggesting that people are not responsible for any of the good in the world. But if people are able to commit the holocaust (and many other such genocides), how can one possibly argue that people are fundamentally good?

            Again, the actual disciples required more evidence of Jesus’ divinity than you’re telling me I need for god’s existence. If they required magic tricks before they were convinced to follow Christ, why can’t we all demand something remotely comparable? Your only answer is that you can’t explain god’s motives – yet your original post appears to do just that.

            Here, again, we see an excellent illustration of the two different levels of scrutiny which atheists such as yourself apply. You apply an intensely HIGH level of scrutiny to evidence for God by insisting that miracles similar to those displayed to Jesus’ disciples be displayed to you, and by rejecting the miracles that ARE displayed to you, such as the miracle of life (which I discuss in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God).

            But when it comes to evidence for atheism you apply an extremely LOW level of scrutiny. For example, you seem to think that you can provide no explanation whatsoever for the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” (that Einstein marveled at), and yet insist that you have done away with God. Please explain why no explanation whatsoever for this ordering is a better explanation than God. Do I misrepresent your view? Do you have an ontological explanation for this “high degree of ordering of the objective world”?

            1. NDEs are no more proof of god than alien abduction dreams are proof of aliens. Many people believe in gods, so hallucinating or dreaming of a god interaction is perfectly understandable. It might be more impressive if all cultures reported the exact same god in their NDEs rather than just a loose “common thread”.

            OK, then how do you explain the numerous NDEs experienced by atheists, in which these atheists encountered God? (such as the ones I link to in my post titled When I Die Is That It?) Click on the following links for review: atheist NDE 1 , atheist NDE 2 , atheist NDE 3

            Also, how about the NDEs where people who were born blind experience vision for the first time during their NDE? Click on the following links: Born blind NDE 1 Born blind NDE 2. How could these possibly be hallucinations?

            By saying, “It might be more impressive if all cultures reported the exact same god in their NDEs,” you are making a positive claim that different cultures experience a fundamentally different God in their NDEs. Can you provide evidence for this claim? Or do you think that you can just make an assertion and have it count as evidence?

            2. Life does not necessitate an intelligent designer – there’s no evidence that life is analogous to human engineering or that life must have been designed. The idea behind ID is merely postulation. Either way, it doesn’t matter. How life emerged from non-living matter is not something atheists need to prove to you in order to refute your god. Even if life was designed, why couldn’t it be Vishnu who designed it?

            How about the evidence I provide in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God? A copy and paste from that essay:

            Richard Dawkins writes in River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life:

            “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

            Elsewhere, Dawkins writes:

            “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

            What is your explanation for the codes and languages involved in DNA? How can unintelligent processes allow for the coding and decoding of information? Please read the essay and respond.

            When you say, “How life emerged from non-living matter is not something atheists need to prove to you in order to refute your god,” you provide yet another EXCELLENT illustration of the two levels of logical scrutiny that you apply. You apply an extremely LOW level of logical scrutiny to atheism when you suggest that it should just get a “pass” on explaining the origin of life from non-life. But then you apply an extremely HIGH level of logical scrutiny to theism by insisting that miracles similar to those displayed to Jesus’ disciples be displayed to you.

            Why couldn’t life have been designed by Vishnu? If you think it was Vishnu who created life, then please make a case. I have provided large amounts of evidence that the God of the Bible is the best explanation (such as the evidence presented in Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False?)

            4. Your conclusion is incorrect. Quantum weirdness does depend on observation, but not necessarily consciousness. Even if it did depend on consciousness, that’s not evidence that consciousness must have existed before matter.

            So are you asserting that observation does not require consciousness? That would be a novel assertion. I am not talking about “quantum weirdness.”

            Regarding the question of whether consciousness is a pre-existent irreducible property, or if it is nothing but the result of brain activity, physicist Stephen Barr writes in Modern Physics and Ancient Faith:

            Cognitive scientists talk about neurons, for example. But “neuron” itself is an abstract concept that arose from the researches of biologists. For the materialist, then, even this concept of “neuron” is nothing but a neurological creation; it also is a pattern of neurons firing in someone’s brain. If this sounds like a vicious circle, it is. We explain certain biological phenomena using the abstract concept “neuron,” and then we proceed to explain the abstract concept “neuron” as a biological phenomenon—indeed, a biological phenomenon produced by the activity of neurons. What we are observing here is the snake eating its own tail, or rather its own head. The very theory which says that theories are neurons firing is itself naught but neurons firing.

            …Why should anyone believe the materialist, then? If ideas are just patterns of nerve impulses, then how can one say that any idea (including the idea of materialism itself) is superior to any other? One pattern of nerve impulses cannot be truer or less true than any other pattern, any more than a toothache can be truer or less true than another toothache.

          • Keep in mind that if you disbelieve in God, you must necessarily believe in some other cause for the universe and some other explanation for such things as the origin of life from non-life.

            I’m not sure quite how to respond… This statement is horrifyingly wrong, but it sounds like you’re sincere. Do you really believe that I MUST believe in a specific cause of the universe? Why can’t I just not know?

            Do you know what causes sleep? Do you believe god puts you to sleep every night? Or is it some physical process? What if I told you that it’s the sleep fairy? If you don’t believe me, does it make sense for me to require you to provide a specific answer, otherwise force you to concede my assertion?

            Do you see how absurd that sounds? Of course we can freely say that we don’t know exactly what causes sleep — we don’t need to believe in a cause of sleep, even if there were millions of people who told us it’s the sleep fairy. The sleep fairy doesn’t necessarily exist just because you can’t disprove her or don’t have an immediate answer for why humans need sleep. Likewise, I have no obligation to hold a specific belief about the cause of our existence — I can simply not know.

            The NDE links you posted are laughable, to be honest. One guy sees darkness and one light. A blind man ‘sees’ a train in the snow. So what? I’ve seen Reverend Storm recount his perceived brush with hell before, and there’s absolutely no reason for me to believe it’s a factual account of an encounter with an afterlife.

            You made no attempt to counter my point that there’s just as much ‘evidence’ of alien abductions, as for an afterlife. Take a look at these videos:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msSpu_z8WG8
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWah_PX7WRE
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1ENUbO156A&feature=related

            The bar you set for evidence is so low that you would have us believing in yetis, unicorns, and UFOs. I’m sorry to tell you that hearsay is inadmissible in court for a reason: it’s not reliable as evidence.

            What you seem to be failing to realize is that these natural explanations also require an explanation.

            Wrong again. You can’t back out of the argument this way. You don’t provide any meaningful evidence, so you attempt to say that everything must have a cause. Address my points about evidence you presented yourself, instead of wriggling your way into another (already debunked) theological argument.

            You think it is absurd to exonerate God for the holocaust?! Who put the millions of people in the gas chambers?! Was it people (the nazis) or was it God?

            Of course it was people – that’s my point! You appear to have missed the first part of that sentence where I say, “you’re willing to give credit to god for preventing a nuclear Holocaust…” You take different sides of the argument from one post to another, switching from a world where man is the master of his fate to a world where god is. Which is it? It’s silly to claim that god is responsible for everything good while man is responsible for everything evil.

            If God made us unable to deny his existence, we would be unable to choose to love Him.

            Unfortunately, you STILL haven’t answered my original point. If you do nothing else, stop and answer this:

            If god chooses not to force us to believe in him, why did Jesus perform magic tricks to seduce his original followers? Why, according to your myth, would Jesus show himself to his disciples after his resurrection to prove he had returned? Would it not have sufficed to disappear from the tomb and let his followers decide for themselves? Surely Thomas was compelled to believe after touching the would for himself. Did Thomas lose free-will after that interaction?

            Your god doesn’t prove himself to us because he doesn’t exist, not because he’s afraid of forcing our love.

          • I’m not sure quite how to respond… This statement is horrifyingly wrong, but it sounds like you’re sincere. Do you really believe that I MUST believe in a specific cause of the universe? Why can’t I just not know?

            Well, then you apparently believe in an unknown cause of the universe. I don’t mean to imply that you believe in some specific cause of the universe, I am just suggesting that you believe in some cause (apparently unknown) that is not God. But if you believe in an unknown cause for the universe, this immediately begs the question: What is the logical basis for your emphatic denial of God? If your emphatic denial of God is not based upon a specific alternate explanation, then what is it based upon? And why is it so emphatic and certain? Do we have any choice but to assume that your opposition to God is purely ideological (as opposed to logical), since it is not an opposition based upon an alternate explanation? Why would somebody strongly disbelieve an explanation for something (for logical reasons) without having that disbelief rooted in a strong belief in a counter-explanation? I am sure that somebody can disbelieve something without having at least a hypothetical counter-explanation, but only for ideological, as opposed to logical, reasons.

            The sleep fairy doesn’t necessarily exist just because you can’t disprove her or don’t have an immediate answer for why humans need sleep. Likewise, I have no obligation to hold a specific belief about the cause of our existence — I can simply not know.

            You compare God to the sleep fairy, but how many encounters have their been with the sleep fairy? A copy and paste from Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It? The conclusions of a 3 decades of research:

            “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981).  Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

            “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening.  The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will.  The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

            There is a great wealth of documented and researched experiential evidence for the existence of God contained in these NDEs. Since the “sleep fairy” has absolutely no evidence behind it whatsoever, you comparison of God to the sleep fairy is a transparent attempt to dodge the evidence with a bluster, rather than engage with it.

            But the best experiential evidence for the existence of God is not contained in the NDE. As I point out in So Whose God Is Best?, the concept of a supreme being with the following attributes has emerged over and over again in culture after culture and throughout history:

            1) Eternity,  2) Omniscience,   3) Beneficence,   4) Morality,   5) Omnipotence,   6) Creative power,   7) Giver of the moral code,   8)Author of moral rewards and punishments.

            So what is your explanation for the constant re-emergence of a God with the above attributes in cultures completely isolated from one another by time and distance? A hallucination? Why would the same hallucination occur over and over again throughout history in cultures isolated from one another? And if NDEs are just hallucinations, why do they share so many commonalities? Can you administer a hallucinogenic drug to a large group of people and expect many of them to have an encounter with a purple leprechaun or a “sleep fairy”?
            Of course you can’t because the content of hallucinations is unique to the individual, and unique even when the same individual has hallucinations on two separate occasions.

            The UFO phenomenon is unique to modern times. We do not see reference to aliens (let alone aliens with the same attributes) appearing in cultures that cannot communicate with one another because they are separated by time (or distance, without communication capability or mass culture). Further, as Patrick Glynn states in God: The Evidence (and as I cite in Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It):

            “The majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”  

            Can you say the same with the UFO phenomenon or with alien abductions? Moreover, what other evidentiary bases does the UFO phenomenon have besides scattered testimonials that have never been subjected to comprehensive research? The case for the existence of God has support from several other evidentiary bases. And since you have labeled the evidence for God as “insufficient,” it would be valuable for your case against God to provide SPECIFIC, POINT-BY-POINT, LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED rebuttals to the evidence that I provide, rather than issuing sweeping and facile denials that do not even engage with the evidence presented to you. So I will again present to you three pieces of evidence:

            1)The evidence from cosmology and astrophysics as presented in my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) Please note, for example, the citation from astrophysicist Hugh Ross: “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare…” If you respond to the evidence that has convinced the majority of astronomers without really engaging with the evidence, and merely issuing a sweeping and facile evaluation such as “insufficient evidence,” then do you really have an argument at all? How many intelligent third party observers of this debate do you expect to convince with that?

            2) The evidence from modern physics which strongly suggests that consciousness is fundamental, and that matter is derivative from consciousness (as presented in What It All Boils Down To). In a previous comment, you stated that, in this essay, I am “playing tricks with a series of quotes.” This is despite the fact that I present some of the research and philosophical reasoning that has led physicists to these conclusions. One citation from that essay: The knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans says (in his book The Mysterious Universe)…

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.  Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter.  We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”

            I am going to assert that, if the majority of the key contributors to modern physics have been convinced by the facts of physics that there is a God, then the facts which led to such theistic conclusions need to be seriously engaged with rather than being casually dismissed as “insufficient evidence”. Is this too bold of an assertion?

            So far, your rebuttal appears to consist of two key points: (1) I am “playing tricks,” and (2) One can imagine other hypothetical explanations (but which have no evidentiary basis). Since I want to make sure that I am not leaving anything out or mischaracterizing your argument, please correct me if I am wrong and your counter-argument is really more substantive than that.

            3) The evidence from the origin of life from non-life, as presented in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. In a previous comment, you said, “Life does not necessitate an intelligent designer – there’s no evidence that life is analogous to human engineering or that life must have been designed. The idea behind ID is merely postulation.” Here, again, we see you attempting to respond to the evidence presented with a sweeping and facile denial that does not even logically engage with the evidence. Even the prominent biologist and atheist ideologue Richard Dawkins admits:

            “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology.  The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

            The problem with explanations for the origin of life that disregard the role of intelligence is that codes and languages cannot even in principle be accounted for as the result of unintelligent processes. As I mention in the essay, prominent atheists such as the biologist Francis Crick and the chemist Leslie Orgel have tried to get around the clear involvement of intelligence in the origin of life by citing aliens from outer space as the source of this intelligence. Other prominent atheists such as the biologist Michael Ruse have tried to get around the clear involvement of intelligence in the origin of life by citing a piggyback ride on crystals, as I demonstrate in the essay.

            So maybe, as an atheist, you should not dismiss the UFO phenomenon off hand…as space aliens may come in handy as a way to do away with God in such matters as the origin of life. And in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God I link to a video where Richard Dawkins (who is perhaps the most prominent atheist biologist) cites space aliens as a possible explanation for the origin of life.

            These are just the FIRST THREE of many evidentiary bases that you must logically engage with and respond to in order to convince any intelligent third party observers of this debate that your views stem from logical conclusions…as opposed to rigid ideological presuppositions. If you do not actually engage with the evidence logically (by issuing point-by-point, fact based, logically constructed rebuttals), but instead rely on sweeping and facile denials such as “There is not sufficient evidence” or “You don’t provide any meaningful evidence” or “I don’t know the answer, but why can’t I just not know?,” then who do you expect to convince?

            Just to reiterate, every time you assert that there is not sufficient or meaningful evidence, even though I present you with evidence (and reasoning) that has convinced numerous prominent experts in their respective fields, you are exposing the lack of logical support for your views for all to see. Please further note that the evidence and reasoning does not rely on these expert evaluations, but is accessible to non-expert evaluators. In other words, I am not merely arguing that these arguments must be true because a bunch of experts say so. I present the expert evaluations merely to compliment the evidence and reasoning.

            The NDE links you posted are laughable, to be honest. One guy sees darkness and one light. A blind man ‘sees’ a train in the snow. So what? I’ve seen Reverend Storm recount his perceived brush with hell before, and there’s absolutely no reason for me to believe it’s a factual account of an encounter with an afterlife.

            I strongly caution against resorting to harsh terms such as “laughable,” because when you do so, it makes it clear that you are trying to use strident rhetoric to compensate for the deficiency of your argument. Persuasion results from the coherence of one’s reasoning and evidence, not from the forcefulness (or repetitiveness) of one’s assertions. Persuasive arguments do not need strident rhetoric to support them…they are able to stand up on their own based upon their evidence and reasoning.

            The point of the man experiencing visual phenomena in his NDE (despite the fact that he was born blind) is to demonstrate that his NDE cannot be casually dismissed as a hallucination. The man in this “born blind” NDE had no memory of any visual phenomena with which to judge what a train is. And yet, in his NDE, he was able to visually identify a train. There are plenty of other such “born blind” NDEs which serve to compliment this man’s experience. I provide another in my last comment. This is another point that you need to logically engage with, rather than casually dismissing…so as to avoid creating the clear impression that you can’t logically engage with the information.

            You say, “I’ve seen Reverend Storm recount his perceived brush with hell before, and there’s absolutely no reason for me to believe it’s a factual account of an encounter with an afterlife.” Here, yet again, you try to substitute a facile denial (that does not even engage with the evidence) for a rationally constructed, fact based rebuttal. One of the reasons that you should take the NDE phenomenon seriously is the wealth of research behind it. Please re-read Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It? and watch the accompanying videos. When you have done so, please provide any rebuttals you may have for the research conclusions that are presented. Moreover, Rev. Storm’s NDE is only one of the hellish NDEs that I present.

            You take different sides of the argument from one post to another, switching from a world where man is the master of his fate to a world where god is. Which is it? It’s silly to claim that god is responsible for everything good while man is responsible for everything evil.

            Here, you attempt to frame the argument as an either/or dichotomy where either “man is the master of his fate” or “god is.” Nothing in my previous comments suggests that I perceive the situation as such an either/or dichotomy. This is something that you have injected in order to try and frame the debate in such a way that can be used to support your views. Further, there is nothing in my previous comments that suggests that “god is responsible for everything good while man is responsible for everything evil,” as you say. I have made no such claim.

            Unfortunately, you STILL haven’t answered my original point. If you do nothing else, stop and answer this:
            If god chooses not to force us to believe in him, why did Jesus perform magic tricks to seduce his original followers? Why, according to your myth, would Jesus show himself to his disciples after his resurrection to prove he had returned? Would it not have sufficed to disappear from the tomb and let his followers decide for themselves? Surely Thomas was compelled to believe after touching the would for himself. Did Thomas lose free-will after that interaction?

            You are suggesting that Jesus’ showing himself to his disciples amounts to forcing them to believe. But since they already believed, how could showing himself after his resurrection amount to forcing them? How can one force someone to believe something that they already believe? This does not add up. Perhaps you could try to apply the spin that God was forcing belief on people if Jesus chose show himself to disbelievers after his resurrection. But he did not do this.

            Thomas never disbelieved that Jesus was the son of God. He merely doubted that Jesus rose from the dead. So if you try to spin it so that Thomas was being forced to believe something, it was not Jesus divinity that he was forced to believe…just his resurrection.

  30. You compare God to the sleep fairy, but how many encounters have their (sic) been with the sleep fairy?

    Two things:

    1. Obviously, I wasn’t arguing that there is a sleep fairy. I was trying to demonstrate the fallacy of asserting that I MUST believe in a specific cause of something (namely the universe or sleep). You didn’t address that point. Do you still think I need to believe in a specific cause of the universe? Why can’t I be agnostic about it?

    2. The original argument in this post actually works against your point here: you say that god does NOT show himself because it would undermine our ability to love him freely. Yet, you complain that nobody has seen the sleep fairy. What if I told you that this is exactly why the sleep fairy doesn’t present herself directly? You see, she doesn’t want to force you to believe in her!

  31. Sorry, I missed your first paragraph….

    Well, then you apparently believe in an unknown cause of the universe. I don’t mean to imply that you believe in some specific cause of the universe, I am just suggesting that you believe in some cause (apparently unknown) that is not God. But if you believe in an unknown cause for the universe, this immediately begs the question: What is the logical basis for your emphatic denial of God? If your emphatic denial of God is not based upon a specific alternate explanation, then what is it based upon? And why is it so emphatic and certain? Do we have any choice but to assume that your opposition to God is purely ideological (as opposed to logical), since it is not an opposition based upon an alternate explanation? Why would somebody strongly disbelieve an explanation for something (for logical reasons) without having that disbelief rooted in a strong belief in a counter-explanation? I am sure that somebody can disbelieve something without having at least a hypothetical counter-explanation, but only for ideological, as opposed to logical, reasons.

    I don’t have time now, but will respond to your points soon — sorry I missed it earlier!

  32. Well, then you apparently believe in an unknown cause of the universe. I don’t mean to imply that you believe in some specific cause of the universe, I am just suggesting that you believe in some cause (apparently unknown) that is not God. But if you believe in an unknown cause for the universe, this immediately begs the question: What is the logical basis for your emphatic denial of God? If your emphatic denial of God is not based upon a specific alternate explanation, then what is it based upon? And why is it so emphatic and certain? Do we have any choice but to assume that your opposition to God is purely ideological (as opposed to logical), since it is not an opposition based upon an alternate explanation? Why would somebody strongly disbelieve an explanation for something (for logical reasons) without having that disbelief rooted in a strong belief in a counter-explanation? I am sure that somebody can disbelieve something without having at least a hypothetical counter-explanation, but only for ideological, as opposed to logical, reasons.

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say completely… but I don’t believe in an unknown cause of the universe. I don’t even believe that the universe necessarily had a cause. It seems likely, as something coming from nothing is hard (if not impossible) to fathom, but I don’t have a firm belief in anything unknown. Even if it had a cause, you would have to presuppose god to think a deity was more likely than any other possibility, such as a black hole from another universe or the sneeze of a universe sized beast.

    If you want me to claim a belief, then the closest you’ll get is this: I believe that natural causes of things are much more likely than supernatural causes. We have constantly found natural explanations for phenomena, despite our history of looking to gods for answers. From thunderstorms to diseases, from waves to sunsets, humans have consistently replaced gods with natural causes. Just because science still hasn’t fully explained consciousness or the big bang doesn’t mean we need to default to god.

    My denial of gods in general isn’t as emphatic, perhaps, as my denial of specific gods (e.g. Yahweh, Christ, Allah). I do find the god of the Bible to be about as incredible as Thor or Ptah. The god that Einstein describes seems more likely, if there is a god behind the creation of our universe. However, the idea of a god who currently acts in the world — one who answers prayers and hosts an after-party for those who worship him — that just doesn’t follow from observation and reason.

    And that brings me back to the point of the above essay, which was to say that god does NOT prove himself in the world. He doesn’t reliably answer prayers. He doesn’t show up on the talk-show circuit, as you say.

    Either your god proves himself, or he doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways. If he doesn’t, then all such gods are equally likely. If he does, then it’s subtle enough that requiring our belief and devotion is entirely unreasonable.

    • I don’t even believe that the universe necessarily had a cause. It seems likely, as something coming from nothing is hard (if not impossible) to fathom, but I don’t have a firm belief in anything unknown. Even if it had a cause, you would have to presuppose god to think a deity was more likely than any other possibility, such as a black hole from another universe or the sneeze of a universe sized beast.

      The 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume is one of the most important atheist philosophers of all time. After realizing that he had embarrassed himself by, at one point, suggesting that something might come into existence without a cause, he lamented, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause”. The idea that something that began to exist can come into existence without a cause is philosophically unsupportable. What creative power does a black hole or a “sneeze” have?

      Recall that I asked you what your ontological explanation is for the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” that Einstein marvelled at. Is a black hole or a sneeze your fundamental source for this ordering? Is that the best case for atheism that you can make?

      If you want me to claim a belief, then the closest you’ll get is this: I believe that natural causes of things are much more likely than supernatural causes. We have constantly found natural explanations for phenomena, despite our history of looking to gods for answers. From thunderstorms to diseases, from waves to sunsets, humans have consistently replaced gods with natural causes. Just because science still hasn’t fully explained consciousness or the big bang doesn’t mean we need to default to god.

      Above, you are committing a basic logical fallacy which is known by philosophers as a “category mistake” or a “category error.” Oxford University mathematician John Lennox provides excellent commentary on this logical fallacy as it relates to your (and other atheists’) reasoning:

      But in some quarters the very success of science has also led to the idea that, because we can understand the mechanisms of the universe without bringing in God, we can safely conclude that there was no God who designed and created the universe in the first place. However, such reasoning involves a common logical fallacy, which we can illustrate as follows. Take a Ford motor car. It is conceivable that someone from a remote part of the world, who was seeing one for the first time and who knew nothing about modern engineering, might imagine that there is a god (Mr Ford) inside the engine, making it go. He might further imagine that when the engine ran sweetly it was because Mr Ford inside the engine liked him, and when it refused to go it was because Mr Ford did not like him. Of course, if he were subsequently to study engineering and take the engine to pieces, he would discover that there is no Mr Ford inside it. Neither would it take much intelligence for him to see that he did not need to introduce Mr Ford as an explanation for its working. His grasp of the impersonal principles of internal combustion would be altogether enough to explain how the engine works.

      So far, so good. But if he then decided that his understanding of the principles of how the engine works made it impossible to believe in the existence of a Mr Ford who designed the engine in the first place, this would be patently false – in philosophical terminology he would be committing a category mistake. Had there never been a Mr Ford to design the mechanisms, none would exist for him to understand. It is likewise a category mistake to suppose that our understanding of the impersonal principles according to which the universe works makes it either unnecessary or impossible to believe in the existence of a personal Creator who designed, made, and upholds the universe. In other words, we should not confuse the mechanisms by which the universe works either with its cause or its upholder.

      The basic issue here is that those of a scientistic [not to be confused with “scientific”] turn of mind like [prominent atheists] Atkins and Dawkins fail to distinguish between mechanism and agency. In philosophical terms they make a very elementary category mistake when they argue that, because we understand a mechanism that accounts for a particular phenomenon, there is no agent that designed the mechanism. When Sir Isaac Newton discovered the universal law of gravitation he did not say, “I have discovered a mechanism that accounts for planetary motion, therefore there is no agent God who designed it.” Quite the opposite: precisely because he understood how it worked, he was moved to increased admiration for the God who had designed it that way.

      However, the idea of a god who currently acts in the world — one who answers prayers and hosts an after-party for those who worship him — that just doesn’t follow from observation and reason.

      And that brings me back to the point of the above essay, which was to say that god does NOT prove himself in the world. He doesn’t reliably answer prayers.

      Please recall that God is a being and not a machine or a mechanism. Suggesting that God’s response to prayer should be reliable or predictable like a machine is not reasonable. God answers or does not answer a prayer based upon his own reasons that are often beyond human comprehension. You are again taking the unsupportable stance that the infinite mind of God can be subjected to human study.

      Either your god proves himself, or he doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways. If he doesn’t, then all such gods are equally likely. If he does, then it’s subtle enough that requiring our belief and devotion is entirely unreasonable.

      And one of the main points of this essay is that God does NOT prove himself. Please provide your reasoning behind your stance that if God does not prove himself, “then all such gods are equally likely.” Your reasoning is not clear to me. My essays titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False? demonstrate that the biblical and scientific accounts of creation are remarkably similar. This is strong evidence for the God described in the Bible. And in my essay titled So Whose God is Best?, I demonstrate that a God with the same attributes as the God of the Bible has emerged repeatedly throughout history and in a very large variety of cultures. Can you say this of Thor or Ptah?

  33. I wouldn’t worship a god who had 42 children brutally ripped to pieces because they called a guy bald. Even if he did exist, it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t love someone one who does, even BRAGS about doing such horrible thing in his ‘book’. Not his book? Great. If he’s all powerful don’t you think he’d make sure that his book was the one constant thing human beings had? Nope, thousands of holy books, millions of different religions throughout humankind: all contradicting each other in various ways. Its laughable that people claim (their very recently invented religion, in the scheme of all time) is the one TRUE way, yet for some reason god made the choice not to give all of humankind on every corner of the earth this knowledge. And for most of time, the earth didn’t exist, not to mention human kind: what was all those billions of years for? Of course this all runs contrary to how the bible describes the creation of the universe. If you think these myths aren’t hurting anyone: what kind of effect to you think having 50% of young people actually believing ‘biblical’ accounts of reality: things such as humankind being right there among the very first species on earth, and that we’ve all been here 6,000 years. Do you really think its good to fill kids’ heads with that kind of nonsense and teach them to automatically believe what they are told and not to question?

    If there is a god, it is quite possible that the REAL test for us here on earth is to see through this garbage. I don’t know if there is a god, but I know that the one in the bible is NOT a just or moral being worth worshiping. When you look at some of the horrible stories in the bible, you must know this is not right, somewhere deep inside. I always did, ever since I could read. I knew I could never stone anyone to death for who they loved or turn away a handicapped person or a man who had his testicles crushed from my community gathering, because he was ‘unclean’, or beat my slave to an inch of his life whether he knew what he did was wrong or not (actually the bible says can beat your slave to death as long as s/he lives for a few days, then if they die, its no biggie, since they’re only property anyway). And I’m not alone. There is a reason we don’t do these things anymore, and a reason slavery and extreme patriarchy have been eliminated from most societies: because they were bad ideas then, they are still bad ideas now. The problem with them being part of the word of god: well, god would have known that they were bad ideas from the get-go.

    The bible itself says ‘there is no fear in love’, yet we are to fear god? If he is just why would we fear him? Why would you be in a relationship with someone you feared, unless they were abusing you? Sure, my love has the power to kill me, but I don’t fear this, because I know they would never do this. So its not about having the power and not using it, its about never using that power to hurt someone you love. Is this fear perhaps because eternal hell is never just? Honestly, is there anything someone could do to you that you think would warrant ETERNAL punishment for ALL TIME? You say we have free will: but is “LOVE/BELIEVE IN ME OR SUFFER FOR ALL TIME IN HELL” really a choice? Considering that love and belief can’t be forced, its actually just sadistically cruel. I am not the best person in the world, but if it were up to me I could never send anyone to hell for all time, no matter what they did during they very short lives. And any person with a heart would not be able to enjoy themselves in heaven while they knew fellow men and women were suffering unimaginable pain every second of every day for all time in Hell. And to do that to so many people you claim to love: that’s absolute insanity.

    Perhaps you should pray for someone to beat my head in with a hammer until I can love someone who damns all these people he claims he loves unconditionally to eternal torture (I think torture is always wrong, especially the eternal kind: which doesn’t even have a point). That way I won’t end up in this hell, because it might knock out the one decent brain cell in my head that screams: NO, its not okay to torture humanity for eternity for being exactly how YOU made them to be, especially since you knew their fate before you even made them, and still made them that way!

    • I wouldn’t worship a god who had 42 children brutally ripped to pieces because they called a guy bald. Even if he did exist, it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t love someone one who does, even BRAGS about doing such horrible thing in his ‘book’. Not his book? Great. If he’s all powerful don’t you think he’d make sure that his book was the one constant thing human beings had? Nope, thousands of holy books, millions of different religions throughout humankind: all contradicting each other in various ways.

      Thousands of holy books? Millions of religions?  Not even close.  

      Further, in my essay titled So Whose God is Best?, I demonstrate that a concept of God having the same key eight attributes has emerged over and over again in culture after culture and throughout history.

      Also, Timothy Keller comments on this subject in his book The Reason for God:

      But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because, “There can’t be just one true religion,” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts. If you went to the Middle East and said, “There can’t be just one true religion,” nearly everyone would say, “Why not?” The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt, therefore is based on a leap of faith.

      Keller goes on to ask the skeptic:

      How could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have?

      So, put another way, your apparent claim that there cannot be just one true religion is itself a claim that YOUR religion (or “worldview” if you prefer) is the ONE TRUE RELIGION.

      Its laughable that people claim (their very recently invented religion, in the scheme of all time) is the one TRUE way, yet for some reason god made the choice not to give all of humankind on every corner of the earth this knowledge.

      I will again direct you to my essay titled So Whose God Is Best?  in which I demonstrate that the Judeo/Christian concept of God is utterly transcultural and transhistorical.  Further, the Bible states that we exist in a state of rebellion from God.  This rebellion should be cited as a large component in the diversity of religions.  And lastly, your argument assumes that written text is the only way that God can reveal himself to people.  But what would be the basis for this assumption?  Perhaps God uses different means to reveal himself to different people.  I, for one, see God’s revelation in the vast beauty and richness present in nature as well as in music, art, and culture…among other things.

      And for most of time, the earth didn’t exist, not to mention human kind: what was all those billions of years for? Of course this all runs contrary to how the bible describes the creation of the universe. If you think these myths aren’t hurting anyone: what kind of effect to you think having 50% of young people actually believing ‘biblical’ accounts of reality: things such as humankind being right there among the very first species on earth, and that we’ve all been here 6,000 years. Do you really think its good to fill kids’ heads with that kind of nonsense and teach them to automatically believe what they are told and not to question?

      Actually, this is a complete misunderstanding.  The biblical and scientific accounts of creation are REMARKABLY consistent, as I demonstrate in Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False?  The discrepancy in time scales between the scientific and biblical accounts of creation is the result of a pre-Einstein understanding of time.  Einstein showed that time is relative to the position and velocity of the observer.  In order to understand what I mean, you will have to watch the videos linked to that essay which feature Gerald Schroeder, who has the unique qualifications of being a physicist (formerly on staff at M.I.T.) and a biblical scholar.  There will be a time investment involved in watching these videos, but it is well worth it.

      Also, the Bible in NO WAY states that humankind was “right there among the very first species on Earth,” as you say.

      If there is a god, it is quite possible that the REAL test for us here on earth is to see through this garbage. I don’t know if there is a god, but I know that the one in the bible is NOT a just or moral being worth worshiping. When you look at some of the horrible stories in the bible, you must know this is not right, somewhere deep inside. I always did, ever since I could read. I knew I could never stone anyone to death for who they loved or turn away a handicapped person or a man who had his testicles crushed from my community gathering, because he was ‘unclean’, or beat my slave to an inch of his life whether he knew what he did was wrong or not (actually the bible says can beat your slave to death as long as s/he lives for a few days, then if they die, its no biggie, since they’re only property anyway). And I’m not alone. There is a reason we don’t do these things anymore, and a reason slavery and extreme patriarchy have been eliminated from most societies: because they were bad ideas then, they are still bad ideas now. The problem with them being part of the word of god: well, god would have known that they were bad ideas from the get-go.

      As David Robertson points out in his book The Dawkins Letters, “Much of the Bible is descriptive rather than prescriptive.  In other words, it is telling us what went on rather than what should have happened.”  These terrible things that you describe happening in the Bible did not happen because God willed them to.  Rather, they happened because depraved human beings (that is ALL of us, by the way) caused these things to happen. Atheist rhetoric which accuses the God of the Bible as being mean and viscious relies on taking biblical stories out of context and by assuming that God approved of the evil acts that the humans in the stories committed.

      The bible itself says ‘there is no fear in love’, yet we are to fear god? If he is just why would we fear him? Why would you be in a relationship with someone you feared, unless they were abusing you? Sure, my love has the power to kill me, but I don’t fear this, because I know they would never do this. So its not about having the power and not using it, its about never using that power to hurt someone you love. Is this fear perhaps because eternal hell is never just?

      The problem here is that you need a better understanding of what “fear” means in this context. Click here to read an article that delves into this topic. A key excerpt:

      “Now as to the Fear of the Lord, here too a distinction is to be made between servile fear (fear of punishment) and filial fear (whereby a son fears to offend his father or to be separated from him) (II, IIae 19.10) Now it is not servile fear but filial fear that is the gift of the Holy Spirit and which Scripture commends.”

      Honestly, is there anything someone could do to you that you think would warrant ETERNAL punishment for ALL TIME? You say we have free will: but is “LOVE/BELIEVE IN ME OR SUFFER FOR ALL TIME IN HELL” really a choice? Considering that love and belief can’t be forced, its actually just sadistically cruel. I am not the best person in the world, but if it were up to me I could never send anyone to hell for all time, no matter what they did during they very short lives. And any person with a heart would not be able to enjoy themselves in heaven while they knew fellow men and women were suffering unimaginable pain every second of every day for all time in Hell. And to do that to so many people you claim to love: that’s absolute insanity.

      God does not send people to hell just because they fail to love him.  Rather, God sends people to hell because they rebel against him and will not turn from their rebellion by accepting his gift of forgiveness.  The suffering of hell is what occurs in the absence of God’s love.  Everything good that we experience here on Earth is an outgrowth of God’s love:  Joy, happiness, tranquility, love for one another, beauty, comfort, fulfillment, peace, satisfaction, etc….all of these things are the symptoms of God’s love.  So when we reject God’s love, we reject all of these things.  The suffering of hell results from the absence of God’s love much like darkness results from the absence of light. 

      We as a species exist in a state of rebellion against God, but we often fail to realize it because we are so accustomed to our wrongdoing.  Our rebellion against God is manifest in the evil things (sins) that we commit.  Have you ever told a lie? I’ll bet you have, and that makes you a liar (me too).  Have you ever stolen anything? I’ll bet you have, and that makes you a thief (me too).  Imagine if a judge just forgave every guilty criminal that came in his courtroom without any punishment.  Would that be a just judge?  Certainly not.  

      But God offers us the “good news” of the Gospel that he has taken the punishment for our sins on himself by taking human form and dying a horrible death on the cross.  This gift of atonement for our sins and forgiveness, however, is only available to those who will accept the gift.  Why should he force this gift on someone who refuses to accept it?

  34. I strongly caution against resorting to harsh terms such as “laughable,” because when you do so, it makes it clear that you are trying to use strident rhetoric to compensate for the deficiency of your argument.

    I’m sorry you were offended by my use of “laughable”, but you asked me to watch over 2 hours of youtube videos to support your belief in god. They looked like infomercials in production value and presentation: more slanted toward selling a position than examining NDE stories critically.

    I don’t think it’s fair for me to have to debunk every single anecdote you put forth, so I’ll address them as a category. The subjects reported bright lights, voices, other figures walking, and out-of-body experiences — things typical of near-death experiences (except for the blind man who reported seeing a train in the snow). Most of these have been reproduced using drugs such as ketamine, where death was not imminent.

    According to Dr. Karl Jansen, who has researched NDEs and related drugs extensively:

    Ketamine administered by intravenous injection, in appropriate dosage, is capable of reproducing all of the features of the NDE which have been commonly described in the most cited works in this field…

    There’s also evidence that NDEs are results of brain activity induced by various physiological factors, such as high blood CO2 levels. The fact that atheists and the blind have experienced similar neurological effects is not surprising or cause for belief in a god.

    The point of the man experiencing visual phenomena in his NDE (despite the fact that he was born blind) is to demonstrate that his NDE cannot be casually dismissed as a hallucination. The man in this “born blind” NDE had no memory of any visual phenomena with which to judge what a train is. And yet, in his NDE, he was able to visually identify a train. There are plenty of other such “born blind” NDEs which serve to compliment this man’s experience. I provide another in my last comment. This is another point that you need to logically engage with, rather than casually dismissing…so as to avoid creating the clear impression that you can’t logically engage with the information.

    I didn’t intend to say that NDEs were strictly “hallucinations”, but brain activity that can be explained without reference to something supernatural. This NDE provides zero evidence of a god. He doesn’t report seeing god, or experiencing anything resembling a deity — he simply reports having what he describes as visual input of a train and snow. So what? Science has proven that the brain can interpret and augment actual sensory input (that is see and hear things that it didn’t actually see or hear). A vision of a train in snow doesn’t mean there’s a god.

    Can you say the same [that NDE experiences are authentic] with the UFO phenomenon or with alien abductions? Moreover, what other evidentiary bases does the UFO phenomenon have besides scattered testimonials that have never been subjected to comprehensive research?

    You dismissed the alien abduction videos without any serious discussion. I don’t expect you to debunk them all individually (just as I can’t be expected to examine every NDE ever reported), but you should know that there HAVE been serious scientific inquiries into reports of alien abduction. There are actually some shared attributes of alien abductions and NDE/OBE experiences. Harvard Psychologist John Mack studied alien abductees for years and determined that they were mentally competent and appropriately skeptical about their experiences. That is, the experiences seemed authentic to those reporting them.

    Alien adbuction stories and NDEs aren’t proof of aliens or gods, but that our brains are quite capable of playing tricks on us.

    • I’m sorry you were offended by my use of “laughable”, but you asked me to watch over 2 hours of youtube videos to support your belief in god. They looked like infomercials in production value and presentation: more slanted toward selling a position than examining NDE stories critically.

      I don’t think it’s fair for me to have to debunk every single anecdote you put forth, so I’ll address them as a category. The subjects reported bright lights, voices, other figures walking, and out-of-body experiences ― things typical of near-death experiences (except for the blind man who reported seeing a train in the snow). Most of these have been reproduced using drugs such as ketamine, where death was not imminent.

      According to Dr. Karl Jansen, who has researched NDEs and related drugs extensively:

      Ketamine administered by intravenous injection, in appropriate dosage, is capable of reproducing all of the features of the NDE which have been commonly described in the most cited works in this field…

      I wasn’t offended by your use of the word “laughable.” Rather, I said that using harsh terms like this constitutes trying to substitute rhetoric in the place of reasoning, and I think that any intelligent third party observer will be aware of this.

      Some of the elements of NDEs have been reproduced by Ketamine, but what does that demonstrate? Recall that many of these NDEs have been demonstrated to have occurred after complete cessation of brain activity. If some of the elements of NDEs also happen as the result of Ketamine use, then Ketamine use is another way to separate the mind from the brain so as to induce an NDE. So what? As this link describes:

      “But when studies show that psychedelic drugs, meditation, and other methods can be used to induce non-ordinary states such as a NDE, this does not negate the Afterlife Theory. It only shows that there is a biological component involved in the brain. When experiments can be reproduced in the laboratory, such as inducing a NDE with a psychedelic, it means that the phenomenon has satisfied the criteria for scientific evidence according to the scientific method. Proving that there is a biological component in the brain does not negate the Afterlife Theory nor does it prove that NDEs are purely biological. NDEs can be induced many ways. My Triggers of the NDE section of my website lists the many ways that a NDE can be induced. The fact that NDEs can be induced in the brain by certain triggers does not mean that NDEs are not real. On the contrary, it proves they are real.”

      I’m glad that you mentioned Karl Jansen, because the above link also reveals that:

      “It is interesting to note that Karl Jansen, a ketamine researcher, not only felt that NDEs and ketamine induced visions were the same, but became convinced that BOTH induced real visions of a real god. He has become very spiritual as a result of his ketamine research.”

      I am not asking you to watch 2 hours of YouTube videos. Where did you get that idea? I’ll tell you what, just watch the 2 featured videos in my essay titled Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It?…a total of 13 minutes. In the first featured video, the Harvard University neuroscientist who had an NDE says (5:00 into the video), “I do not believe that there is a good neurophysiologic explanation for what happened to me.”

      And in the second featured video (4:00 in), researcher Jeffrey Long says, “If NDEs were culturally determined, then people that had never heard of NDEs would have a different experience, but we’re not finding that. Whether you know or don’t know about NDEs at the time it happens, has no effect on whether the experience happens or not or what the content is.”

      There’s also evidence that NDEs are results of brain activity induced by various physiological factors, such as high blood CO2 levels. The fact that atheists and the blind have experienced similar neurological effects is not surprising or cause for belief in a god.

      You are distorting the issue. It is not the fact that atheists have NDEs that is surprising. Rather, it is the fact that they routinely encounter God during their NDE that is surprising. This defeats the notion that NDEs are a projection of one’s religious views. And it is not the fact that the blind have NDEs that is surprising. Rather, it is the fact that those born blind have NDEs where they experience visual phenomena that they are able to recognize, even though they have no recollection of visual phenomena in their memories. How could a man born blind see a train in his NDE, and know what it was, even though he has never experienced any visual phenomena before? You have failed to answer this.

      I didn’t intend to say that NDEs were strictly “hallucinations”, but brain activity that can be explained without reference to something supernatural. This NDE provides zero evidence of a god. He doesn’t report seeing god, or experiencing anything resembling a deity ― he simply reports having what he describes as visual input of a train and snow. So what? Science has proven that the brain can interpret and augment actual sensory input (that is see and hear things that it didn’t actually see or hear). A vision of a train in snow doesn’t mean there’s a god.

      No, in the video he does not report seeing God, but then, the video does not include a complete account of his NDE. The video is a snippet from an NDE taken to demonstrate that NDEs cannot be declared to be the result of chemical / electrical activity in the brain because people born blind are able see and recognize specific visual phenomena during their NDEs. The lack of a specific reference to God in a snippet from an NDE can in no way detract from the conclusions of 30 years of research in this area. A copy and paste from The Handbook of Near Death Experiences which summarizes the conclusions of 30 years of research, again:

      “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981).  Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

      For most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening.  The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will.  The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

      How could chemical and electrical activity in the brain explain such NDEs when a person born blind has no recollection of any visual phenomena? How could chemical and electrical activity in the brain provide such a person with a recognition of the visual impression of a train? Of course brain activity can cause a person to see and hear things that one does not actually see or hear. But how can it cause a person to see things in his head when he did not even understand what it means to see, let alone what a train looks like, prior to the experience? How could he possibly visually recognize a train (or snow)? Do the chemicals and electricity in his head somehow make him understand what visual phenomena are and what a train looks like? If this is what you are claiming, then please elaborate.

      When you say “this NDE provides zero evidence of God,” you deliberately distort. It wasn’t meant to provide evidence of God, only evidence that the NDE cannot be dismissed as nothing but a brain event.

      I don’t expect you to debunk them all individually (just as I can’t be expected to examine every NDE ever reported), but you should know that there HAVE been serious scientific inquiries into reports of alien abduction. There are actually some shared attributes of alien abductions and NDE/OBE experiences. Harvard Psychologist John Mack studied alien abductees for years and determined that they were mentally competent and appropriately skeptical about their experiences. That is, the experiences seemed authentic to those reporting them.
      Alien adbuction stories and NDEs aren’t proof of aliens or gods, but that our brains are quite capable of playing tricks on us.

      I cited NDE researcher Jeffrey Long’s reasons that NDEs cannot be culturally conditioned, above. Here are some other reasons (from my “short take” titled How to Evaluate an NDE Skeptic’s Materialist Explanations for the Phenomenon):

      Lucid death:  NDErs report highly lucid experiences while clinically unconscious or clinically dead.  Such experiences often include witnessing an emergency room crew working on one’s own body after the heart has stopped and brain activity has ceased.  Many conscious experiences have also been reported while an individual was under carefully monitored general anesthesia, which is intended to bring about loss of consciousness.

      Life review:  Commonly reported is the phenomenon in which everything significant from the NDEr’s life is reviewed.  This includes experiencing the emotional impact that one’s actions had upon others, from the perspective of the other person.  The review is sometimes in a three-dimensional panoramic view.

      Very young children report NDEs: A common retort from NDE skeptics is that NDEs are the result of the dying brain bringing to mind the results of years of religious and cultural conditioning.  But, as Long reminds us, “most five-year-olds have not yet started elementary school, where cultural influences are accelerated…very young children are practically a blank slate when it comes to the subject of death.”  Nevertheless, these very young children (under 5) often report the same encounters with deceased loved ones, God, angels, and Jesus cited above.  In fact, children under five “have had every NDE element that older children and adults have had,” according to Long.

      Can you provide any reasons why alien abduction experiences are not merely culturally conditioned? You say that I “dismissed the alien abduction videos without any serious discussion.” But here is a copy and paste from my last comment (did you miss it?):

      The UFO phenomenon is unique to modern times. We do not see reference to aliens (let alone aliens with the same attributes) appearing in cultures that cannot communicate with one another because they are separated by time (or distance, without communication capability or mass culture). Further, as Patrick Glynn states in God: The Evidence (and as I cite in Has Anyone Met God and Returned to Tell About It):

      “The majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training―many of whom started out as skeptics―have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”  

      Can you say the same with the UFO phenomenon or with alien abductions? Moreover, what other evidentiary bases does the UFO phenomenon have besides scattered testimonials that have never been subjected to comprehensive research? The case for the existence of God has support from several other evidentiary bases. I will further call attention to the fact that you have not responded to the first three of the evidentiary bases that I have presented, so I will again copy and paste them below:

      1)The evidence from cosmology and astrophysics as presented in my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) Please note, for example, the citation from astrophysicist Hugh Ross: “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare…” If you respond to the evidence that has convinced the majority of astronomers without really engaging with the evidence, and merely issuing a sweeping and facile evaluation such as “insufficient evidence,” then do you really have an argument at all? How many intelligent third party observers of this debate do you expect to convince with that?

      2) The evidence from modern physics which strongly suggests that consciousness is fundamental, and that matter is derivative from consciousness (as presented in What It All Boils Down To). In a previous comment, you stated that, in this essay, I am “playing tricks with a series of quotes.” This is despite the fact that I present some of the research and philosophical reasoning that has led physicists to these conclusions. One citation from that essay: The knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans says (in his book The Mysterious Universe)…

      “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.  Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter.  We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and
      governor of the realm of matter.”

      I am going to assert that, if the majority of the key contributors to modern physics have been convinced by the facts of physics that there is a God, then the facts which led to such theistic conclusions need to be seriously engaged with rather than being casually dismissed as “insufficient evidence”. Is this too bold of an assertion?

      So far, your rebuttal appears to consist of two key points: (1) I am “playing tricks,” and (2) One can imagine other hypothetical explanations (but which have no evidentiary basis). Since I want to make sure that I am not leaving anything out or mischaracterizing your argument, please correct me if I am wrong and your counter-argument is really more substantive than that.

      3) The evidence from the origin of life from non-life, as presented in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. In a previous comment, you said, “Life does not necessitate an intelligent designer – there’s no evidence that life is analogous to human engineering or that life must have been designed. The idea behind ID is merely postulation.” Here, again, we see you attempting to respond to the evidence presented with a sweeping and facile denial that does not even logically engage with the evidence. Even the prominent biologist and atheist ideologue Richard Dawkins admits:
      “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology.  The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

      The problem with explanations for the origin of life that disregard the role of intelligence is that codes and languages cannot even in principle be accounted for as the result of unintelligent processes. As I mention in the essay, prominent atheists such as the biologist Francis Crick and the chemist Leslie Orgel have tried to get around the clear involvement of intelligence in the origin of life by citing aliens from outer space as the source of this intelligence. Other prominent atheists such as the biologist Michael Ruse have tried to get around the clear involvement of intelligence in the origin of life by citing a piggyback ride on crystals, as I demonstrate in the essay.

      So I will ask again: What other evidentiary bases are there to support the UFO phenomenon besides personal testimonies? And what evidence do you have that UFO testimonies are not culturally conditioned?

  35. Recall that I asked you what your ontological explanation is for the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” that Einstein marvelled at.

    Humans notice ‘order’ in the world because it’s how we think. Order doesn’t require a creator — it merely requires an interpreter. If you place random letters on a table, most people will find words when asked to examine the letters long enough. That doesn’t mean there is order amongst the letters, but merely order in the interpretation of the arrangement.

    Above, you are committing a basic logical fallacy which is known by philosophers as a “category mistake” or a “category error.”

    Wrong. I’m not arguing that there isn’t a god because science has answered questions about how the world works. I’m saying gods are not good defaults for unknowns.

    And one of the main points of this essay is that God does NOT prove himself. Please provide your reasoning behind your stance that if God does not prove himself, “then all such gods are equally likely.”

    It’s simple: you expect me to believe in your god, not because of concrete proof, but because of circumstantial evidence combined with the notion that concrete proof would be coercive. The same could be said for any deity that doesn’t manifest in the world. Can you disprove the sleep fairy? If you eventually find a cause of sleep, I can simply say that that cause was created by the sleep fairy. And the sleep fairy doesn’t show herself in the world because she doesn’t want to force you to love her! There you have a deity that’s unfalsifiable and just as likely as the holy trinity. Disprove the sleep fairy and I’ll give you a dozen other gods to debunk before we can even think about settling on yours to debate.

    Please recall that God is a being and not a machine or a mechanism. Suggesting that God’s response to prayer should be reliable or predictable like a machine is not reasonable. God answers or does not answer a prayer based upon his own reasons that are often beyond human comprehension. You are again taking the unsupportable stance that the infinite mind of God can be subjected to human study.

    You make a good case for why it’s a waste of time to contemplate your god. Perhaps you’re right — he is beyond human study. You’ve defined him as unfathomable. We cannot understand him. We are but ignorant humans living in the massive universe he created. We should spend my time studying things we can understand: the world around us. Your god is beyond comprehension and I, for one, would be happy to never hear about him again. Well said!

    • Humans notice ‘order’ in the world because it’s how we think. Order doesn’t require a creator — it merely requires an interpreter. If you place random letters on a table, most people will find words when asked to examine the letters long enough. That doesn’t mean there is order amongst the letters, but merely order in the interpretation of the arrangement.

      So, apparently, by your logic, there was no order before humans existed on Earth because human interpretation is responsible for order. Then what is responsible for the order that exists in the human brain and human body? How could we interpret that order into existence if human interpretation is responsible for order?

      Wrong. I’m not arguing that there isn’t a god because science has answered questions about how the world works. I’m saying gods are not good defaults for unknowns.

      Yes, I FULLY AGREE with you, gods are not good defaults for unknowns. But here we get into a key problem with the arguments of atheist ideologues like Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, etc. They too often attack a straw man caricature of Christian beliefs rather than responding to the arguments that prominent Christian thinkers like John Lennox, John Polkinghorne, Keith Ward, Alister McGrath, etc. ACTUALLY MAKE. I challenge you to show me instances of prominent Christian thinkers arguing that the gaps in scientific understanding constitutes one of the best pieces of evidence for God. In fact, I have never met a Christian who believes this…atheists who suggest that this is a Christian argument are attacking a straw man of their own creation. Sure, there may be Amazonian tribesmen who are theist and whose beliefs, at least at face value, vaguely resemble a God-of-the-gaps view. But if atheistic arguments are so strong, why the big emphasis on debunking an argument that Christians in their own society don’t even make?

      It’s simple: you expect me to believe in your god, not because of concrete proof, but because of circumstantial evidence combined with the notion that concrete proof would be coercive. The same could be said for any deity that doesn’t manifest in the world. Can you disprove the sleep fairy? If you eventually find a cause of sleep, I can simply say that that cause was created by the sleep fairy. And the sleep fairy doesn’t show herself in the world because she doesn’t want to force you to love her! There you have a deity that’s unfalsifiable and just as likely as the holy trinity. Disprove the sleep fairy and I’ll give you a dozen other gods to debunk before we can even think about settling on yours to debate.

      Here, again, you fail to respond to points that I have made in previous comments and you attempt to persuade with repetition rather than coherence of argument. There is virtually no human belief whatsoever that can be proven concretely. Not even the belief that the sun will come up tomorrow can be proven concretely. It is about the preponderance of evidence.

      We talked about the sleep fairy before. I asked you to provide some lines of evidence for the sleep fairy and I provided you with several lines of evidence for the God of the Bible. I will just copy and paste these lines of evidence that you have not responded to below:

      My essays titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False? demonstrate that the biblical and scientific accounts of creation are remarkably similar. This is strong evidence for the God described in the Bible. And in my essay titled So Whose God is Best?, I demonstrate that a God with the same attributes as the God of the Bible has emerged repeatedly throughout history and in a very large variety of cultures.

      If you continue to compare the evidence for the God of the Bible to the evidence for the “sleep fairy” (or the evidence for other gods) without responding to the evidence for the God of the Bible that is provided to you, and without providing comparable evidence for the “sleep fairy” (or other gods), what choice do we have but to assume that you are NOT ABLE to respond to the evidence presented to you? Once again, persuasion results from coherence of argument, not from repetition of argument. Your “sleep fairy” argument does not become more persuasive merely because you have repeated it multiple times. You must actually defend it.

      And, here, yet again, we see a perfect illustration of the two different levels of scrutiny that you apply. You demand “concrete proof” for God even though there is virtually nothing that humans can know concretely. This is the ultra HIGH level of scrutiny that you apply for evidence in support of God.

      But when it comes to evidence for atheism, you apply an ultra LOW level of scrutiny by apparently adopting the view that atheism is some sort of default position and that atheism does not need to provide answers to important questions. What is your evidence for atheism? In other words, what is your evidence that our world is the result of an unintelligent source? You don’t seem to feel any responsibility to furnish any.

      You make a good case for why it’s a waste of time to contemplate your god. Perhaps you’re right — he is beyond human study. You’ve defined him as unfathomable. We cannot understand him. We are but ignorant humans living in the massive universe he created. We should spend my time studying things we can understand: the world around us. Your god is beyond comprehension and I, for one, would be happy to never hear about him again. Well said!

      Here, you attempt to deliberately obfuscate. The full contents of God’s mind are not fathomable to humans. Because we cannot fully understand him with our limited human understanding, does this in some way constitute evidence that he does not exist?

      Yes, we should continue to study “things we can understand: the world around us.” Who is disputing that?

      Just because we cannot understand everything about God doesn’t mean that we can understand nothing about God. We should focus on understanding as much as we can with what we have.

      • So, apparently, by your logic, there was no order before humans existed on Earth because human interpretation is responsible for order. Then what is responsible for the order that exists in the human brain and human body? How could we interpret that order into existence if human interpretation is responsible for order?

        You misunderstand me. I’m not saying that order didn’t exist before human interpretation, but that your measure of order is subjective. There was actually more order in the universe before humans arrived on the scene. When you look at the earth or life around you and say “wow, that is highly ordered!”, you’re not reporting an actual measure of entropy, but your interpretation of it.

        If I drop a bowl of alphabet soup on the floor, the entropy of that soup has increased, yet you look at it and see levels of order within the mess. If you had never seen soup inside a bowl, you might look at what’s on the floor and think it was incredibly ordered. Being predisposed to notice order, you may look at the jumble of letters and marvel at the places where words appeared.

        That’s not to say that there isn’t order around us, but the total entropy (amount of disorder) has increased constantly since the beginning of time. You’re sitting in the middle of a big mess of alphabet soup, marveling at how ordered the letters are around you.

        • I don’t see anything wrong with your statement that “the total entropy has increased since the beginning of time.” That would be the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

          But I don’t see how your comments answer my question about what is the source of the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” that Einstein marveled at. The low entropy state of the early universe is something that needs MORE explanation, not less.

          You seem to agree that there is this “high degree of ordering” around us, and you seem to agree that this ordering exists objectively (independent of human perception). No?

          Whether or not my measure of order is subjective does not have any bearing on whether there exists ordering. Can you specify what you think the source of this ordering is?

  36. Interesting website.

    In response to your quote:
    “Did they evolve? If they did, what survival advantage would be gained by such things as caring for the sick, poor, and elderly?”
    it is beneficial to keep the elderly alive because they can care for children and need less calories (slower metabolism) to do so. There is no danger of investing too much time in trying to keep them alive because there is very little one could do for an old person in the stone age. The same is true for sick people: For most of human history, it would be beneficial to keep sick people alive because it was much harder to distinguish between minor illnesses that will go away in a week and terminal incurable disease than it is today. Therefore the investment in energy to keep them alive would increase the populations chances of survival.

    One thing that puts me off about your writing is that it feels like a sales pitch. you might want to tone that down if you want me to love god “willingly” and not out of fear.

    You should be accepting of the possibility you are wrong. Being open to being wrong is very important, and I find a conspicuous lack of willingness to be wrong in your writing. If you are not open to the possibility of being wrong, then you have no grasp of the basic nature of knowledge and logic. The entire purpose of logical progression is to go from a place of doubt to a place of relative confidence. If you start off a logical argument with a certainty, then you can go no further with it without employing circular reasoning.

    In summary: you cannot employ logic if you do not allow for the possibility of being wrong, without using circular reasoning.

    your unwillingness to possibly be wrong showed when you were not satisfied with the notion that it is impossible to prove that god exists, you went on to compare a lack of faith in god to a lack of faith in everyday material things. This seems like a sales pitch. Mathew 6:5 states that one should not pray out in the street, for the attention you get is all you will ever receive for it. I have no problem discussing religious things in public, but because you are not willing to discuss the problem as a religious one, but instead an explicitly christian one, you are a preacher on a street corner. As long as you use the label “transcendental” to distinguish acceptable leaps of faith from unacceptable ones, and use the christian scripture as the line between transcendental and acceptable (circular logic), you are preaching christianity in a public forum. People come here expecting to hear a defense of the idea of god, not the emotional defense of an obstinate christian.

    The best constructed arguments happen when passions are checked at the door. However, your oversensitivity to your own possible erring never allows the conversation to get past the first stages. You get what you put in, and because you are unwilling to be wrong, no one will ever admit to you that you showed them their own error. In fact, they might not realize it themselves, because they will be too busy defending themselves from a person who sees his own ideas as superior from the get-go.

    Because you are not meeting doubters half way, you are asking them to take a leap of faith that you are afraid to take yourself. Other people have converted to christianity by taking a leap of faith that you yourself are unwilling to take: If you had been born a muslim, you would most likely stay one for all the reasons that today you not only stay a christian, but a preacher.

    • Your theory about how we evolved the practice of caring for the sick and elderly is interesting, but I have to point out its flaws. First off, our primitive ancestors (for the vast majority of the time that our species has existed) were nomads that hunted and forgaged. This required a great deal of mobility. As you know, sick and elderly people are not very mobile, and they are consumers of resources rather than producers of resources. You suggest that the evolutionary advantage of taking care of sick and elderly people is that these people could care for children. But what evolutionary advantage would this provide that would be more adventageous than just taking care of children directly and letting the sick and old die?

      If you think that human beliefs (such as the belief that taking care of the sick and elderly is good) evolved, then how did your beliefs about the evolution of human beliefs evolve? What survival value did believing that human beliefs evolved provide to our primitive ancestors?

      I am sorry that you are put off by my writing, and I am certainly willing to accept any advice that you have that would make my writing more palatable. You suggest that my writing sounds like a “sales pitch.” Could you elaborate on this? How is my writing any more like a sales pitch than the writing at an atheist website, or any other website where an argument is being presented?

      You suggest that I am not satisfied with the notion that it is impossible to prove that God exists. But this is inaccurate. I have stated in replies to several skeptics that it is basically impossible for a human being to prove anything. This is because there is virtually no human belief that cannot be subjected to some degree of skepticism. For example, try to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. You can’t do it. This is because no matter what you say and no matter what arguments or evidence you provide, someone can always expose your evidence and arguments to some degree of doubt. This is why the God debate (and every other debate for that matter) is about proponderance of evidence, not about proof.

      Regarding what you say about not meeting doubters half-way and about my arguments being “the emotional defense of an obstinate Christian,” can you provide specific examples? Can you point out specifically where I use emotion instead of logic? Perhaps you can, and I would appreciate it if you would do so because I in no way believe that my writing is perfect. I would love to make my writing more gracious to doubters while at the same time not giving slack where no slack is due.

      I cannot meet a doubter half way when his or her argument has no merit whatsoever. When an argument is full of holes, I feel a responsiblility to point out those holes…I need to call a spade a spade. For example, when an atheist argues that there is no need for God because life evolved, I have to point out how empty this argument is due to the fact that evolution does not begin with mud (lifeless matter). Rather, it begins with single-celled organisms that are several orders of magnitude more complicated than anything humans have ever produced. In other words, the Darwinian mechanism or random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring cannot apply to lifeless matter because lifeless matter has neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Please read Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God and Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism for more detail. In the latter of these two essays, I demonstrate that Charles Darwin agreed with me on this point.

      And when an atheist then responds that life could have been brought here by space aliens, or come here from space without the help of aliens (as several very prominent atheist biologists have done, as presented in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God), it is my reponsibiity to point out how empty such arguments are considering that we then need an explanation for how these aliens emerged or how life emerged in space.

      Can you point out to me specific examples of where I have not given a doubter credit when credit is due? I am not suggesting that you cannot, rather, I am suggesting that I need to see these specific examples if I am to improve my writing.

      And in my defense, I can point out examples of where I believe that I have met doubters half-way. For example, unlike some Christians out there, I do not suggest that Darwinian evolution has no truth whatsoever. Rather, I mostly object to the philosophical add-ons that so often accompany Darwinian evolution (such as the idea that Darwinism can be extrapolated to apply to non-living organisms, as I discuss above).

      As a second example, atheists often resort to multiple universe theories to try to explain away the fine tuning of our universe (as discussed in Is There A God. What is Chance Our World Is the Result of Chance?) And even thought there is no observational or experimental evidence to support such multiple universe theories (because we cannot observe other universes), I really have no objection to the idea that there are multiple universes. In fact, as a theist, I suspect that an infinite God would probably create, well…infinitely. My objections to these multiple universe theories, once again, relate to shoddy philospophical add-ons that atheists attach.

    • It is beneficial to keep the elderly alive because they can care for children and need less calories (slower metabolism) to do so. There is no danger of investing too much time in trying to keep them alive because there is very little one could do for an old person in the stone age. The same is true for sick people: For most of human history, it would be beneficial to keep sick people alive because it was much harder to distinguish between minor illnesses that will go away in a week and terminal incurable disease than it is today. Therefore the investment in energy to keep them alive would increase the populations chances of survival.

      Your argument has a fatal flaw: Why would taking care of the elderly and sick (so that they can care for children) be more beneficial than just caring for children directly and letting the elderly and sick die? Caring only for the children would obviously require fewer calories than caring for the elderly, the sick, and for children. Please explain.

      While you are at it, here is another one for you: Why is it that so many people choose to not have children? What evolutionary advantage does this provide to a human organism?

      Your unwillingness to possibly be wrong showed when you were not satisfied with the notion that it is impossible to prove that god exists, you went on to compare a lack of faith in god to a lack of faith in everyday material things.

      Quite the contrary. I completely accept the notion that it is impossible to prove that God exists. This is because it is basically impossible for a human being to prove ANYTHING. Simply put, there is virtually no human belief whatsoever that cannot be exposed to some degree of doubt. For example, try to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. You can’t do it, and neither can anyone else.

      This is why it is about preponderance of evidence, not proof.

      One thing that puts me off about your writing is that it feels like a sales pitch. you might want to tone that down if you want me to love god “willingly” and not out of fear.

      You should be accepting of the possibility you are wrong. Being open to being wrong is very important, and I find a conspicuous lack of willingness to be wrong in your writing. If you are not open to the possibility of being wrong, then you have no grasp of the basic nature of knowledge and logic. The entire purpose of logical progression is to go from a place of doubt to a place of relative confidence.

      I am sorry that you are put off. But please explain something to me. How is my writing more like a sales pitch than any other writing where a view is being argued? Are the written arguments at atheist websites some how less of a sales pitch? In what way? How about, for example, Richard Dawkins writings? Are they less of a sales pitch? What exactly do you mean by a sales pitch?

      I am certainly not always right. But if I am wrong, I need to be shown how. Please show me which of my SPECIFIC arguments are wrong, and how.

      If you start off a logical argument with a certainty, then you can go no further with it without employing circular reasoning.

      Well then, please show me a SPECIFIC place where I start off an argument “with a certainty.” Yes, this is a challenge.

      People come here expecting to hear a defense of the idea of god, not the emotional defense of an obstinate christian.

      Well then, please show me a SPECIFIC place where I use an “emotional defense.” Yes, this is a challenge.

      The best constructed arguments happen when passions are checked at the door. However, your oversensitivity to your own possible erring never allows the conversation to get past the first stages. You get what you put in, and because you are unwilling to be wrong, no one will ever admit to you that you showed them their own error. In fact, they might not realize it themselves, because they will be too busy defending themselves from a person who sees his own ideas as superior from the get-go.

      Once again, I need SPECIFIC examples of where I am oversensitive to being wrong. My writing is not perfect, I agree. But I cannot really respond to a general claim of being oversensitive to being wrong. In order to respond, I need a specific example.

  37. So far the only satisfactory explanation i’ve found for God not showing His presence clearly towards humanity is plausable deniability in our favour. We can’t be held as responsible for not accepting a God that hasn’t made Himself all that clear. That gives scope for a greater level of compassion and forgiveness on His behalf. As we all know willful, deliberate actions are perceived as worse than an unknowledgeable actions.

    After a while I suspect we probably would also become familar with God and start to test Him to gauge His reaction. You know the saying about familarity breeds contempt.

    However on the other side of the coin. There are people blowing themselves up in “god’s” name. Would this not be avoided if God’s presence was clearly known? Wouldn’t the world’s behaviour, especially towards each other in general be greatly improved? – even if just out of fear. Wouldn’t manipluation in God’s name decrease? Woudn’t the poor and the innocent might be better off? I suspect this can be answered with the “end game” arguement. That in the long run, with eternity in mind, no.

    I’ll be reading this article and others in this site with intrerest.

    Take care.

  38. Kyle, I’m glad you hope for a God, but I would suggest you carefully consider making promises like that. I’m sure there were similar people who promised to believe in God if a vaccine for polio or smallpox were found, or a way to replace a failing kidney or liver were discovered, or if WWII ended. I’m equally as sure a lot did not follow through on this promise. I have heard first hand from a number of people that went through this process with other promises.

    Can I also suggest to you and others so quick to reject Christianity, read C.S Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain”, which builds on some of Scott’s ideas. One of the key things Lewis discusses is the myth that all Christians believe in a God that created a world, created people, created laws for people to obey, then withdrew to let them figure it out blindly. He also dispels the idea that either you obey and are rewarded with a really nice life in heaven, or don’t obey and are eternally punished in the fires of hell.

    The truth described by Lewis (which I believe in) is very different. God created humans to be the object of His love, desiring not just blind love in return, but freely chosen love. In order for us to have free will He gave us a natural world in which choices had to be made. In order for these choices to be genuine the possibility of making wrong choices must exist. Our wrong choices have resulted in pain and suffering. You say that if a loving God existed He would just fix our mistakes, or show Himself so that no one would want to make mistakes. If this were true though, we wouldn’t really have a choice. A football game with every move predetermined to produce a perfect result involves no choice on behalf of the players, the game may as well not take place.

    However, this is not the whole story. God does have a solution to overcome our inadequacy, His infinite mercy. If we choose to accept God’s freely given forgiveness, and strive to follow Him, He honours this choice by accepting us into eternity with Him. If we follow our own desires and turn away from Him, then He honours this choice also, and we are left to an eternity without Him, an eternity devoid of all the good that God designed us for.

    There may be Christians who believe in the world view you vehemently object to, but not all do. In order to reject Christianity and reject God you must know what you are rejecting. The way I see it, Scott’s essay it not an attack on non-Christians, or an attempt to prove why you should agree with him to avoid eternal damnation. It is an attempt to describe to you the truth you so eagerly reject.

    As an aside, the idea that science has proven the origin or the workings of the universe or the history of humans is laughable. After studying theoretical physics under the country’s top scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner, the main thing I took away is that there is very little we can be certain about.

  39. One of the primary responsibilities of San women, who are nomadic and the oldest population on earth, is to take care of the elderly. Even if there was no pragmatic reason for this, there is emotional attachment, which is itself imperative to survival. Humans (and all great apes) live in groups. Emotional attachments keep these groups together. An emotional attachment strong enough to survive life’s difficulties is not one that is easily broken, and it is illogical to imagine a scenario where an individual in a low stress, stable relationship would suddenly break of an attachment in order to let someone die and save a bit of effort. An attachment that weak would not be functional as a staying force in a family group or tribe. And it is a relatively low stress environment: these tribes had more free time than the average modern american.

    For the same reason that your notion that emotional attachments are not necessary for survival is false, so is your earliest assertion that enjoying a sunset is pointless. Someone who did not enjoy a sunset WOULD be more likely to be eaten by a lion, because a sunset is a link in the matrix of the reward pathway of the brain. Someone who does not enjoy a sunset is probably depressed, and relatively unmotivated to stay alive.

    As for your next question, “What survival value did believing that human beliefs evolved provide to our primitive ancestors?” You seem to be implying that every belief I have, such as “believing that human beliefs evolved”, has been shared by our distant ancestors. You yourself don’t seem to believe that human beliefs evolved, so why would our distant ancestors? Am I missing something?
    This is akin to suggesting that our ancestors has a similar opinion of Darwin’s theories, or Mozart’s music. This is absurd.

    I understand that you are frustrated by varied and sometimes ludicrous theories regarding aliens and multiple universes. However, I did not mention any of these, so its really a straw man argument within the context of our correspondence. The reality of discovering exactly how non-life became life is complicated. It probably won’t happen any time soon. This is partly because all of the intermediate steps, the so called missing links between inorganic and organic life have been extinct for years, driven to extinction by more complex descendants. More important than this, it is extremely complicated. It is somewhat analogous to creationists of yesteryear demanding that darwinists produce every single hominid missing link immediately, or their theories were rubbish. It took years to establish the dozens of species that collectively tell the story of human evolution. It will be many more years before scientists are able to produce the first fully self replicating proteins. However, progress is being made. Here is a website if you’re interested: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html. Lack of 100% proof is different from “having no merit whatsoever”.

    You often use various formulations of the following emotional defense on this website:
    (not an actually quote of yours):

    ***Atheists claim that science has superseded religion, but science fails to answer a fundamental question: what is the point of life. Rather, they kick the can down the road by giving highly complex, but ultimately unsatisfying answers to what life really is***

    To me, the idea of a divine being offers nothing but the same unsatisfying ultimate answer, and excuses one from trying to find more satisfying answers. But again, this is an emotional issue, not a scientific or logical one. It is illogical to use either of these arguments in a logical debate. This is why I am suspect of your ability to discuss these questions with the dispassion they deserve. You are completely satisfied by the idea that god did everything. To you, that is an end point to the question of why. To many, including the scientists you cite as espousing quasi-religious/agnostic views, such as Planck and Einstein, it is not. Therefore you are too emotionally compromised to carry out rational investigations of the type on this website.

    • If the fundamental composition of the universe is mindless matter, and if human beings are nothing but robot “survival machines” that exist to pass on genes (as atheists such as Richard Dawkins suggest), then why would a survival mechanism such as emotional attachment evolve? In other words, why not a more robot-like or machine-like mechanism rather than the distinctly personal and consciousness based mechanism of emotional attachment? Why would such a complex mechanism evolve when a much more simple one would clearly be sufficient? In other words, instead of being emotionally attached, people could just be mindlessly attached…much like two robots marching in formation. If you do not agree with atheists such as Dawkins, then what is your explanation for why conscious, intelligent, and personal beings such as ourselves exist?

      The fundamental question is this: If we are just mindless robot survival machines that exist to pass on genes, then why do we behave like conscious, intelligent, personal beings instead of like mindless robot survival machines? This is what is known as a performative contradiction.

      You write, “Someone who does not enjoy a sunset is probably depressed, and relatively unmotivated to stay alive.” And of course you are right, but this just takes for granted the phenomenon of enjoying sunsets. It is the origin of this phenomenon that needs explanation. More fundamentally, why is human experience imbued with such vast richness and wonder if we are “survival machines.” A survival machine could survive just fine without experiencing any emotions whatsoever, much like an android.

      You write, “Someone who did not enjoy a sunset WOULD be more likely to be eaten by a lion, because a sunset is a link in the matrix of the reward pathway of the brain.” But, once again, a robot “survival machine” could avoid predators and find food just fine in a machine-like way, without experiencing any enjoyment. Your views suffer a clear performative contradiction.

      And you have not responded to my other example: What evolutionary purpose did the now widespread phenomenon of couples deciding not to have any children provide?

      You write: You seem to be implying that every belief I have, such as “believing that human beliefs evolved”, has been shared by our distant ancestors. You yourself don’t seem to believe that human beliefs evolved, so why would our distant ancestors? Am I missing something?

      No I don’t believe that human beliefs evolved, but I thought that you did. Why is it that the majority of people who have ever lived have been theists of one brand or another? Did this evolve? How do you know which behaviors and beliefs evolved and which did not? How did the beliefs and behaviors that did not evolve come to be?

      And once again, why is it that we are conscious, personal beings? What survival advantage would this provide above and beyond a robotic or machine-like human being? As an analogy, mindless robots do a much better job than humans in such tasks as manufacturing. Why couldn’t avoiding predators and finding food be done mindlessly much like manufacturing tasks? Mindless, impersonal robots are capable of ever increasingly complex tasks.

      You write: “The so called missing links between inorganic and organic life have been extinct for years, driven to extinction by more complex descendants.” Very startlingly, you fail to notice that for something to be extinct, it must have at some point been alive. Further, you are clearly extrapolating the mechanism of random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring to that which has neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, non-living matter.

      If you are not performing this completely impossible extrapolation, then what is the mechanism that eventually produces life from non-life? Random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring requires genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select. But the phenomena of having genetically codified information (in the form of genes) and reproductive offspring are the very phenomena that need explanation!

      Lastly, and most importantly, your very suggestion that scientific explanations are an alternative to God reveals that you confuse science and ontology (as I detail in The God of the Gaps: Why God and science are not competing explanations). Whenever you cite a natural mechanism as an explanation, you are left with the need to provide an explanation of where natural mechanisms come from.

      You write: “This is why I am suspect of your ability to discuss these questions with the dispassion they deserve. You are completely satisfied by the idea that god did everything. To you, that is an end point to the question of why. To many, including the scientists you cite as espousing quasi-religious/agnostic views, such as Planck and Einstein, it is not. Therefore you are too emotionally compromised to carry out rational investigations of the type on this website.”

      Here, you have provided us with an absolutely textbook example of an ad hominem argument…trying to discredit an argument by trying to discredit the person making the argument rather than the argument itself. The only plausible reason to attack the person making the argument, rather than the argument itself, is that you are not able to logically discredit the argument. Resorting to an ad hominem is a clear “flag” that your argument has fallen apart and that you are trying to stay in the debate.

      Finally, I am not satisfied with “the idea that God did everything.” Science should continue to try to answer scientific questions, but science cannot, by itself, produce answers to ontological questions. Science is never finished and cannot produce final answers to such questions as “why do we exist?” without the involvement of ontological reasoning. Scientific questions demand scientific answers, and ontological questions demand ontological answers. Your view that science is an alternative to God clearly illustrates that you confuse science and ontology.

      • It’s disapointing that you begin your repsonse with the very same emotional argument, asking “why consciousness ?”, “why do we feel?”, that I ended my previous response with. This is an emotional argument, not a rational one.

        The science I know and love IS NOT claiming to have the answers to these questions. I repeat: abiogenic theories are not trying to explain consciousness.

        You use top down logic to try to discredit a bottom-up theory. That is impossible. You claim that I use a performative contradiction by not accounting for consciousness as unique to humans. Wanting me to explain consciousness in order to talk to you about abiogenesis is absurd and irrational.
        We are not meeting each other halfway. Unfortunately for you, all of science, and much of ontology, is based on bottom-up thinking. You are on the wrong side of the river, so to speak, to invoke top down thinking. There’s no place for it in scientific theory, or logic for that matter.

        You devote much of the response to a mindless-robot argument. Please excuse me for anwersing it only once.
        Here are some problems with the mindlessly-attached theory:

        In order to mimic the complexity of animal social hierarchies, the robots would have to adapt behvaior that would be comparable, in complexity, to actual animals. All of the complexities that we see: physical contact, emotionally expressive vocalization, social hierchy, all play important roles in survival. We don’t know what robots that could function as complexly as animals would look or sound like. Robotics is far from being advanced enough to tell us that. If creating a mechanism that could survive by hunting and gathering was simple, it would have
        been done by now.

        You seem to think that survival machines should be simple. Why do you think this? It seems like this is a convenient way to attack the idea that evolution accounts for the complexity of behavior.

        Any invocation of the invalidity of the “survival machine” argument is irrelevant because you fail to understand that science is not trying to use this theory to explain the mysteries of consciousness.

        ” Very startlingly, you fail to notice that for something to be extinct, it must have at some point been alive”
        Extinct:
        1.(of a species, family, or other larger group) Having no living members.
        2. No longer in existence.

        Wow you were really startled by my using the -gasp- second definition of extinct? I’m truly sorry to hear that. Maybe you should take it easy with reading scientific literature if slight linguistic ambiguity is startling to you. Many words have more than two meanings.

        “Further, you are clearly extrapolating the mechanism of random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring to that which has neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, non-living matter.”

        The line between living and non living is not clear. Look at nanobes, nanobacterium, viruses, prions. The idea of a dichotomy of living and

        non living is obviously necesarry for a christian fundamenalist to believe. Science disagrees. Are you able to put your biases away for long enough to educate yourself about these things?

        Self replicating proteins do not have genes, yet they probably will be able to mutate. There are already proteins that can replicate partially, and progress is made every year. Did you read the article I sent you? I guess not, as you devoted the entire tenth paragraph to how replication without genes is impossible.

        You write: “Science should continue to try to answer scientific questions, but science cannot, by itself, produce answers to ontological questions.”
        How is this relevant to any arguments that I have made? In a lot of ways, ontology gave birth to the relativism that the church has found so threatening. You try to turn this into a philosophical discussion only because you cannot respond to my arguments of scientific rationality. What about abiogenesis? What about self replicating proteins? what about the “survival machine”? What is wrong with the theory besides the fact that you think it should explain the purpose of consciousness? It shouldn’t, and doesn’t and never will.

        Please try to respond without asking me why science can’t explain the purpose of consciousness. Knowing the purpose of consciousness is irrelevant to understanding abiogenic theories. Your reasoning suffers from top-down thinking. You are resistent to theories that rely on systems that begin at a lower complexity, and become more complex. You want the most complex question, “what is the point of consciousness”, answered first. In the words of Michael Schermer “life and economies are not intelligently designed from the top down; they spontaneously arise out of simpler systems from the bottom up”. You have to understand that in order to counter this argument, you must at least understand it, which you do not. That is why you keep asking me to show you where science explains the purpose, meaning, and conception of consciousness, or admit that all sciencitific theories regarding abiogenesis (which is only peripheraly related to conscioueness) are rendered null and void. This is absurd. The meaning of consciousness is not relevant to abiogenic theories.

        • Regarding our discussion, the most important thing to grasp is this: The question of God’s existence (which is the theme of this website) is not a scientific question. Rather, it is an ontological question. Theism and atheism are opposing ontological stances. They are not opposing scientific stances. This is one of the main points of my essay titled The God of the Gaps: Why God and science are not competing explanations. Did you read it?

          By citing abiogenesis theories as an alternative to God (if that is indeed what you are doing), you are committing what is known as a category error in philosophical terms. To see why this is the case, consider the following:

          If your theories are 100% correct, and life really did emerge as the result of physical and natural laws, then you have provided a scientific description for how life emerged. But this would still leave you with the need to provide an ontological explanation of 1) Where physical/natural laws come from, and 2) Why it is that mindless matter can be compelled to do anything, much less follow a physical/natural law.

          What are your answers to the two above questions?

          The theistic answer to these two questions are simple: God is the source of natural/physical laws and mindless matter follows these laws because matter is a manifestation of the mind of God. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it: “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added] Boyle also put it another way. He said, “God [is] the author of the universe, and the free establisher of the laws of motion.”

          Or as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it: “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

          Or as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans, put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

          “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

          This is why abiogenesis is, ultimately, a tangential issue. But just to demonstrate how absurd atheistic abiogenesis explanations are, I wrote Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. If you read this essay, make sure to watch the video of Richard Dawkins endorsing the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship hypothesis for the origin of life. Also watch the video of prominent atheist biologist Michael Ruse endorsing the piggyback-ride-on-crystals explanation for the origin of life.

          As you mention, abiogenesis theories do not try to explain consciousness. But that is not the issue. The issue is why we have consciousness, intelligence, and personhood when these are not necessary for survival. If a human being is really just “a survival machine….a robot vehicle blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes” (to quote the atheist biologist Richard Dawkins from The Selfish Gene), then why do we not behave like machines or robots? Why do we have personalities and consciousness? This is an open-and-shut performative contradiction.

          A performative contradiction occurs when one performs in a way that contradicts one’s propositions. As a further example, one of the implications of humans being “robot survival machines” would be that our actions and behaviors would be determined by our genes. In other words, we would not have free will to choose our actions and behaviors…they would be chosen for us by our genes. But if this is the case, why do we even have a criminal justice system? What would we punish people for actions and behaviors for which they are not responsible?

          An atheist who believes that we are “robot survival machines” is committing a performative contradiction any time that he complains about being treated poorly by another person. For example, an atheist would have no reason to get angry at a person who burglarized his house. Why get angry at a person who is behaving in ways that are involuntarily controlled by their genes?

          You write: “You seem to think that survival machines should be simple. Why do you think this?” No, I don’t think that survival machines would be simple. It is just that survival machines do not require consciousness or personhood. Complex behavior is an entirely separate issue from consciousness and personhood. Neither are required for exceedingly complex behaviors.

          You suggest that I am using “top down logic to try to discredit a bottom-up theory.” But the real problem is that the bottom-up (mindless matter eventually produces consciousness) model is completely backwards. I demonstrate this is The Ultimate Cart-Before-the-Horse: Why Atheism Is Illogical.

          Lastly, you suggest that the line between life and non-life is not clear. OK, fine. If you want to believe that, go ahead. (Personally, I believe that reproductive capability makes a very clear line, but I will for the moment ignore this). A blurred line between life and non-life would do nothing to answer the impossible extrapolation that I mentioned in my previous post. If life evolved mindlessly from inert matter, then at some point there must have been nothing but inert matter (mud). How can you apply the mechanism of random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring to that which has neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, mud?

          • I think that philosophy is a bad joke. I think the fact that it is college curriculum is really pathetic. I think that it is a way of turning unfortunate, baseless doubts about oneself on the outside world. I think that religious people turn to philosophy because it’s reputation is mystifyingly neutral to positive in the world of academics. I think that good philosophers are working to destroy philosophy from the inside out.

            I don’t want to insult you, but I think that you should know that you seem to be impenetrable when it comes to certain ideas. For example, the idea that protein may be able to replicate without you seem to be able to ignore for a while, then acknowledge, and then forget that you acknowledged it, as you went right back to talking about “mud” as though you were onto something.

            Another example of this selective memory of yours is when in one paragraph, you ask “then why do would we not behave like machines or robots”. A few paragraphs later, you admit that survival machines would be complex, and somehow turn the issue again into a consciousness argument.

            You also fail to keep yourself from invoking arguments about the nature of consciousness several more times. I can see why your mind does this. It is convenient.

            As a person who believes that right and wrong are important concepts, as a person of morals, I would be worried about my own ability to function in a moral way if my ability to forget inconvenient things was so strong.

            I guess if your only philosophical leg to stand on is that science can’t explain consciousness, it seems like you should just come out and say that, as a disclaimer, at the beginning of every argument. I am convinced that you are utterly unable to talk about the merits of science without pointing out this weakness, however irrelevant.

          • You think that philosophy is a bad joke? How is it that you failed to notice that “philosophy is a bad joke” is itself a philosophical statement?! So your philosophy is apparently that philosophy is a bad joke. Interesting.

            If your above statements are not philosophical, what are they? Scientific? If so, can you cite the scientific research which has demonstrated that “philosophy is a bad joke”? What sort of scientific research has produced such a conclusion? A chemistry experiment involving a bunsen burner and test tubes? A biology experiment involving a microscope and petri dishes?

            I am so glad that you have made these statements because I wrote an essay titled I Believe In Science! Why Do I Need Religion?! which addresses this topic directly. Please read and respond! I am very eager to hear your responses. In order to stimulate the debate, I am going to be deliberately provocative and suggest that you will try to avoid responding to this essay. If I am wrong, congrats to you!

            I don’t want to insult you, but I think that you should know that you seem to be impenetrable when it comes to certain ideas. For example, the idea that protein may be able to replicate without you seem to be able to ignore for a while, then acknowledge, and then forget that you acknowledged it, as you went right back to talking about “mud” as though you were onto something.

            Your grammar was a little off here, but I think I can piece together what you were talking about: Are you saying that I am denying that protein can replicate? I don’t recall either admitting or denying that protein can replicate. Go ahead and copy and paste for me where I either admitted or denied that protein can replicate. I’ll bet you can’t.

            But the crucial point here is that it is utterly irrelevant to this debate whether or not a protein can replicate. You have glossed over the points I made in my previous reply by launching a philosophical attack on philosophy. Therefore, I will repeat one of those critical points: Demonstrating that a protein can replicate would do absolutely nothing to address the question of God’s existence because you would be left with the question of where the physical/natural laws came from that allow for such a process to happen. You would also be left with the question of why it is that inert matter can be compelled to do anything, much less follow a physical/natural law.

            A copy and paste from my previous comment:

            If your theories are 100% correct, and life really did emerge as the result of physical and natural laws, then you have provided a scientific description for how life emerged. But this would still leave you with the need to provide an ontological explanation of 1) Where physical/natural laws come from, and 2) Why it is that mindless matter can be compelled to do anything, much less follow a physical/natural law.

            What are your answers to the two above questions?

            The theistic answer to these two questions are simple: God is the source of natural/physical laws and mindless matter follows these laws because matter is a manifestation of the mind of God. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it: “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added] Boyle also put it another way. He said, “God [is] the author of the universe, and the free establisher of the laws of motion.”

            Or as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it: “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

            Or as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans, put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

            This is the theistic explanation of where physical/natural laws come from and for why it is that inert matter follows physical/natural laws. So I will lay down the gauntlet again and ask you very directly: WHAT IS THE ATHEISTIC EXPLANATION FOR WHERE PHYSICAL/NATURAL LAWS COME FROM AND FOR WHY INERT MATTER FOLLOWS SUCH PHYSICAL/NATURAL LAWS?The only atheist answers to these questions that I have ever encountered are 1) physical/natural laws exist because they just are and 2) inert matter follows such physical/natural laws because it just does. These amount to arbitrary assumptions (or just-so storytelling) which expose a gaping hole in the atheistic explanatory framework.

            Another example of this selective memory of yours is when in one paragraph, you ask “then why do would we not behave like machines or robots”. A few paragraphs later, you admit that survival machines would be complex, and somehow turn the issue again into a consciousness argument.

            There is no “turning of the issue” involved here. Survival machines could be exceedingly complex…just like robots. It is not this complexity that needs explanation. Rather, it is consciousness and personhood that need explanation. Why are you trying to persuade me that survival machines would be complex when this is not the issue? The issue is why “robot survival machines” would have consciousness and personhood.

            You also fail to keep yourself from invoking arguments about the nature of consciousness several more times. I can see why your mind does this. It is convenient.

            Well, here I go yet again: Why would “robot survival machines” have consciousness and personhood? Yes, it is very convenient for me to do this…you are correct. And the reason that it is so convenient is that consciousness and personhood cannot be adequately explained from within the atheistic explanatory framework. This is a gaping hole in the atheist worldview.

            As a person who believes that right and wrong are important concepts, as a person of morals, I would be worried about my own ability to function in a moral way if my ability to forget inconvenient things was so strong.

            Please go ahead and tell me what I have forgotten.

            I guess if your only philosophical leg to stand on is that science can’t explain consciousness, it seems like you should just come out and say that, as a disclaimer, at the beginning of every argument. I am convinced that you are utterly unable to talk about the merits of science without pointing out this weakness, however irrelevant.

            No, actually there is a lot more to the argument for God’s existence than just the whole consciousness/personhood thing. Here are just a few of the other lines of evidence:

            1) The anthropic fine tuning data as presented in my posts titled OK…I want numbers. What is the chance that our universe is the result of chance? and Is There A God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?

            2) The moral argument, as presented in Why Do I Have to Believe In God to Be Good?

            3) The transcultural and transhistorical nature of the belief in a God with the same attributes of the God of the Bible, as presented in Which God Is Real?

            When you are finished responding to these, there are several other lines of evidence.

  40. god is an energy not a person, the way you stated god in your article makes him seem like a human full of emotion because he would shy away or be worried if his people would be forced to love him? i mean dude god is GOD, the creator of our world? even if u think “HE” is a living being like a human then he wouldnt shy away or be worried god would be more practical and not emotional, plus u cannot use the word HE for god, i mean how do you know that god is HE? there is an energy that created us, the big bang for example? its a theory but that pretty much proves my point, people who dont believe in god are right too and it doesnt make them bad people cuz after all seeing is believing, the term god doesnt have to be stated to a PERSON that created us it can also be a chemical or a reaction of two elements that formed compunds which led to humans, those elments are then our gods. and what are the 4 elements of life? land, fire, air and water. not all the planets in our universe have these only some of them do. the ones which do have these are habitable. no one knows who god is or what god is everything is a theory about him, the only one who is sure about god is god itself, not us humans.

    thank you :)

    • In a way, I agree that there is no rational reason we should refer to God as a “he,” as if God were a being of the male gender. When we refer to God, as “he” or “him,” it is with the understanding that God does not really have a gender. Reference to God as “he” or “him” is really a reflection of the limitations of human language. So it is not for rational reasons that we refer to God as a “he,” but rather for practical reasons. The Bible was written in the context of very patriarchal societies…and therefore God was referred to as a “he” rather than a “she.” If you prefer to refer to God as “she,” I guess that I do not have any logical basis to argue that you are wrong in doing so.

      However, I cannot agree with your idea that God is an “energy.” Please recall that energy does not have creative properties, nor do chemical reactions. Only conscious and intelligent beings have creative properties. Further, please recall that energy came into existence at the Big Bang…as did matter, space, and time. A property that came into existence at the Big Bang cannot be responsible for the Big Bang.

      People who do not believe in God are bad people…but so are people who DO believe in God (including me). One of the key points of the Bible is that we ALL have evil inside of us, and that we therefore need redemption with God. We also have good in us, but we fall drastically short of a God who is perfectly good. Just think about it…all of us have lied, hurt other people deliberately, cheated, stolen, etc. How can any of us really declare ourselves to be truly “good?”

      Regarding your view that “nobody knows who God is or what God is,” I will refer you to my essay titled Which God Is Real?, in which I demonstrate that a very specific concept of God has emerged in hundreds of cultures that are separated from one another by time and distance. I will also refer you to my essay titled The Ultimate Cart Before the Horse: Why Atheism Is Illogical, where I illustrate why it is illogical to believe that conscious, intelligent, and personal beings such as ourselves could have emerged from a source that is not itself conscious, intelligent, and personal.

  41. Here is the question I keep getting stuck at in my research:

    If there is an intelligent designer, how does that make the bible the inerrant word of the creator of the universe?

    Also, there are some connections between things written in the bible and what scientists are now finding, how does this have to mean that the bible is true?

    • Ryan,

      I’m very glad you asked that question. My reply will require you to to some reading (and video viewing), but I assure you it will be well worth it:

      You statement that, “There are some connections between things written in the Bible and what scientists are now finding” does not even begin to do justice to the convergence of scientific and biblical wisdom. Actually, the last seven words of the previous sentence are the subtitle to one book that I highly recommend: The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom by Gerald Schroeder. The author has the very unique qualifications of being a physicist (formerly on staff at MIT) and a biblical scholar.

      One startling fact that Schroeder points out is that the author of the Bible apparently understood the flexibility of the flow of time thousands of years before Albert Einstein described this phenomenon as “time dilation.” Please read this article from Shroeder’s website http://www.geraldschroeder.com.

      Please also view the videos at the end of my essay titled Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False. The first video just provides a review of “time dilation” as was first demonstrated by Albert Einstein, and the second video summarizes some of the points Schroeder makes in The Science of God.

      After reading this book, you will realize that you have to decide between a couple alternatives:

      1) The author of the Bible was a really really really smart person who understood the flexible of flow of time (an exactly how the rate of this flow is governed by velocity and gravity) thousands of years before Einstein.

      2) The Bible was divinely inspired.

      And the flexible flow of time (time dilation) is just one of several convergences of scientific and biblical wisdom that Schroeder point out in his book.

  42. YOUR MISSING THE POINT AND YOU WANT TO MISS THE POINT.

    This is not your mom..its God who is going to separate the lost from the saved. Do you take the cookie from the jar when your moms in the kitchen or after she leaves? You reveal yourself when you believe authority cant see you. If God lived in your house–knowing the punishment of the lost you would certainly follow him. The problem is you would follow the devil as well.

    God offers a way out of the punishment of all your supposed unseen sins. Turn to him in faith. That option is not open to you if you are certain he is there. There can be no saving faith if it is a fact. There has to be a balance of evidence and doubt. This way hell is not a threat that causes pretenders to follow God to escape punishment. Those who hear Christs works and love his words go to God for the truth–all others are supplied with just enough doubt to say its all BS. This way their is no coercion–you are allowed to fully reveal yourself.

    No clever argument will save you though. You have heard Christ hundreds of times and he moved you not. This is not rocket science–its about the heart. You have no faith that God is good and does what is right even if you dont understand it. Im sorry..but unbelievers dont turn to God and thats why they cant understand.

  43. I didn’t read all the responses, so I hope I’m not beating a dead horse here, but I just have to question your logic. Regarding the Kierkegaard quote, it seems like an entirely different situation to me. In the instance of a king deciding that one girl in his kingdom is the person that he wants to love, sure, she wouldn’t have much of a choice, even if the king tried to convince her that she had the freedom to say no, albeit that’s still a pretty weak case to make because with enough insistence and with the king being on the God-level of kindness and power, she’s eventually gonna get the message that it truly is her choice, and then make her decision accordingly. However, when applied to the typical atheist/agnostic question of “why won’t God show himself,” this answer seems to fall flat, mainly because they’re not asking for God to pursue them, but rather for some obvious proof that there is a God, a position from which they would be able to make a firm choice to love or not, regardless of the personality of said God. If the God was the one described in the bible, and all else was the same up to this point in the universe other than the perpetual certainty, be it by flaming words in the sky or some other irrefutable evidence, of that God’s existence, that hardly strikes me as a forced choice, but rather a choice that could be made in a rational manner knowing full well what the choice entails, rather than a choice made based on the claims of a bunch of people thousands of years ago that isn’t verifiable in the present age, and based on a book making such claims as “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can tell this mountain to get up and move and it will do so,” or that the followers of that religion will be able to drink poison or get bit by a snake and be fine, but with no sane person in the present age doing so even for demonstrative purposes of the veracity of their God.
    And in response to your claim that beauty leads to truth, I’m sorry, but I find that hard to understand or believe. First of all, beauty is subjective, a word which I know has negative connotations in Christianity, but alas, a girl I find pretty won’t be viewed as pretty by nine other guys. A style of house that I like won’t be appreciated by a lot of other people. There are very few things that people unanimously believe are beautiful. So what of sunsets? Posing something like this as evidence is a little odd, because obviously any reason that I give that people find sunsets beautiful would be based around speculation, because I don’t think the “like sunsets” gene has been found yet. However, here are some possibilities that might explain it. 1) people like a broad array of rare colors, which, depending on the part of the world a person is from, they might experience a color that they wouldn’t normally get to see in a sunset, so it’s a treat. 2) people know that bright, vivid colors often signify poison in an animal, so knowing that this spectrum of bright colors is far away from them and up in the sky, and in fact is slowly leaving, puts them at ease.
    I don’t know. Insert any number of possibilities. My point is, there are, possibly, more things in heaven and earth than your philosophy may dream, and more explanations than you may conceive of while writing a quick blogpost.
    Sorry if this was too long… I just switched from a lifetime of Christianity to a semi-flimsy agnosticism yesterday… *shrug* I’d love to see an actual reason for why God never answered my thousands of pleas for him to just show even a shred of evidence.

    • You write, “She [the humble maiden] is eventually gonna get the message that it is truly her choice and then decide accordingly.” Here, you are missing the point entirely. The king wants to be loved for who he is, not for his power. This is why the king does not use flashy displays of power.

      And this is why God does not use flashy displays of power…because he wants to be loved for who he is, not for his power. The beauty that he displays in his creation is an expression of who he is. Of what benefit would it be for him to use flashy displays of power? Would it provide undeniable evidence of his existence? If God provided absolutely undeniable evidence of his existence, then we would be much less able to CHOOSE to pursue a relationship with him. Rather, we would feel compelled to pursue a relationship with him. No one would rationally choose to reject an all powerful God. To make his existence undeniable would make us “cringing subjects.”

      Regarding the element of subjectivity in the perception of beauty: True, perception of beauty has a subjective element…undeniably. But of what relevance is this? Even though we do not perceive beauty in exactly the same way, and from the exact same sources, the simple fact remains that we ALL experience beauty. Further, the subjective element does not subtract from the fact that we experience beauty in remarkably similar ways. For example, virtually all human beings experience rainbows and flowers as beautiful, but virtually no human beings experience dead rats or sewage as beautiful.

      You suggest that there are very few things that humans universally consider to be beautiful. But this is absurd. Why do you suppose that beachfront and lakefront real estate is usually more expensive than real estate in the middle of Nebraska? Why do you suppose the government decided to establish national parks at Yosemite and Yellowstone instead of in the middle of corn fields in Iowa? Did they just pick those spots randomly by throwing a dart at a map on the wall?

      And regarding your 2 point speculation about how the perception of beauty may have evolved in humans: As I point out in Why Atheism Is Self-Defeating, the only thing which is necessary for human survival is appropriate neuro-physiological (NP) responses to environmental factors. So, with regard to your example of bright colors signifying poison, as long as the appropriate NP response of avoiding animals with poisonous venom is accomplished, survival is achieved.

      Therefore, perception of beauty is completely superfluous to survival. In other words, why would perception of beauty be necessary to achieve the appropriate NP response of avoiding colorful (and therefore potentially poisonous) animals, when the simple perception of color (without the perception of beauty) would be entirely adequate to stimulate the NP response necessary for survival?

      Your evolutionary speculations fall flat.

      Lastly, you assert that God does not provide “even a shred” of evidence for his existence. But absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. I encourage you to explore this website further by reading a few essays under each of the three main headings (arguments for God from (1) science (2) philosophy and (3) experience). Perhaps a place to start would be my essay titled God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism, where I demonstrate that the conclusions of modern physics are highly supportive of theism, and completely incompatible with the materialist/naturalist worldview (in which atheism is rooted). After that, you may want to read an essay such as Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, where I demonstrate that an intelligent creator is the only plausible explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter. As I point out in this essay (as well as in Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism), the theistic explanation for the origin of life is the explanation that Charles Darwin himself adopted.

      Please be very careful about falling into the trap of asserting that there “is no evidence for God,” while simultaneously failing to respond to immense evidence presented to you. Many “skeptics” seem to think that forcefully and/or repeatedly asserting “there is no evidence for God” can substitute for a rationally constructed rebuttal to the evidence presented to them. If there is no evidence for God, then what is your rationally constructed, fact-based rebuttal to the two above mentioned essays (for starters)?

      • “The king wants to be loved for who he is, not for his power. This is why the king does not use flashy displays of power.” My point here wasn’t that she wouldn’t know about the king’s power, but rather that if this king were, as God is, all powerful, all knowing, etc, then it wouldn’t be hard for Him to make known to this maiden that it was ultimately her choice, rather than him forcing her to love him. You’re saying that the sheer knowledge of this ultra-powerful being existing and people knowing about it objectively would lead to them losing their choice to love said being. If this were the case, then if, say, Allah, whom you’ve no doubt built up quite a hatred of, seeing as I’m assuming you think he’s nothing but satan’s attempt at undermining Christianity, presented himself in an objective fashion, would you immediately get rid of all your years of stored up Christianity to follow him, because you were instantly compelled to by the knowledge that this all-powerful being existed, even though it wasn’t your all-powerful being? Or would you possibly have to think about it, reasoning out the possibility that in fact this wasn’t an all powerful being, and you were being tricked by demons, or whatever other reason that you might come up with, strikingly similar to how you justify atheists are atheists by willfully denying something that you think is so obvious? I only use Allah as an example so you get my point about it being something not fundamental to someone’s character, as no doubt God is to yours. You wouldn’t instantly be made a cringing subject, but rather someone who would have to make a choice about whether this is a being you could love, despite being a Christian for so long and despite Allah’s rules being different from the ones that you’d set up for yourself, or rather that God had set up for you.

        There are very few things humans consider truly beautiful. This is not absurd. Babies, for instance, trigger the same response in a viewer across the entire spectrum of humanity, because we’ve evolved such that the proportions of their faces trigger nucleus accumbens in any viewer, providing for their protection and societies desire to protect them. That’s why, as you said, “For example, virtually all human beings experience rainbows and flowers as beautiful, but virtually no human beings experience dead rats or sewage as beautiful.” These things are beautiful or not to humanity as a whole based on their evolutionary value to us as whole species. Therefore you don’t prove me wrong in my assessment of rainbows by saying that “the simple perception of color (without the perception of beauty) would be entirely adequate to stimulate the NP response necessary for survival,” because evolution in humans works such that the possible chemical responses within us are what trigger certain responses to certain stimuli, such as sewage being perceived as ugly, and in fact physically so by its smell. Smell, in fact, which isn’t inherent to sewage. Smell isn’t an intrinsic element to an object, but rather is our evolved response to certain things which will harm us, such as sewage (disease), or which will attract us to things that are advantageous (a delicious pie). Whether we assign “ugliness” to sewage without the smell is harder to say, because I’ve never encountered sewage without smelling it, and even the word triggers the sensation I get when I smell it, so I’m repulsed. Sewage, though, isn’t inherently ugly, just like pie isn’t inherently beautiful, or a good looking woman isn’t inherently beautiful. Whether a woman is good looking depends on a number of factors, ranging from things like skin color (which could signify wealth in some countries), or weight (either way depending on the culture and time), breast size or hip size, which reference fertility. Facial characteristics indicate health and genetic traits, not intrinsic beauty.

        In your essay “God is Real…Why..”, I found that you referenced numerous physicists who display a theistic view of the universe, such as Einstein. I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the whole essay because it’s quite long and it’s finals week for me (and I can’t believe how much time I’m taking to respond… it’s because I actually care, though, so I’d appreciate if you didn’t talk down to me so much with phrases like ‘this is absurd,’ or ‘your… speculations fall flat,’ which I would have scorned you for even when I was still a completely convinced Christian.. but I digress). In any case, your next essay, in which you talk about how ridiculous it is to think that life could have evolved from non-living matter, is a bit odd, considering that what we call living beings are heaps of inorganic matter that came together chemically (chemically here meaning processes between non-living entities, ex atoms and molecules) and, over billions of years, has come to a point where the chemical processes are so advanced that they can do logic puzzles about the universe, even coming to conclusions about things within the universe, such as themselves, or the force of gravity, or any number of other interesting attributes. I didn’t phrase that very well, but I hope you get my point. This thing that you call the miracle of life makes sense from a materialistic standpoint, as much as inorganic molecules make sense. We’re just those molecules interacting with each other in a different way than, say, the molecules in the sun interact with each other.

        Also, I may have misspoken. It’s not so much that there isn’t evidence for God, as that God is an answer to questions that could, potentially, have other answers. Therefore, I’m completely willing to give my life to God, if I know that that’s what’s going on. But, because, as your title indicates, God doesn’t normally show himself, I am able to come up with any number of, just as plausible, explanations for those questions that I can’t provide an immediate answer to, like where did the universe actually come from in the first place. Why is “God” a more valid answer than, like you make fun of in your life article, other beings in another dimension making us, even though they don’t know where they originated from, or in fact that this has always existed, this being matter/etc, or that “insert any other number of theories/speculations here.” My point is, I agree that there needs to be a cause for our universe, but why designate that cause as God, when he’s not readily available to ask?

        • Jason, I have copy and pasted pertinent sections of your comments (in bold). My responses appear below in unbolded font.

          You’re saying that the sheer knowledge of this ultra-powerful being existing and people knowing about it objectively would lead to them losing their choice to love said being. If this were the case, then if, say, Allah, whom you’ve no doubt built up quite a hatred of, seeing as I’m assuming you think he’s nothing but satan’s attempt at undermining Christianity, presented himself in an objective fashion, would you immediately get rid of all your years of stored up Christianity to follow him, because you were instantly compelled to by the knowledge that this all-powerful being existed, even though it wasn’t your all-powerful being?

          Please recall that God is an infinite, eternal, non-physical being, and that we humans must utilize concepts in order to conceive of this being…because we cannot experience God as completely as we can experience, say, a physical object. In order to determine if Christians and Muslims are speaking of different gods, it is necessary to examine the Christian and Muslim concepts of God (by examining the attributes which these two religions assign to God). Although I do not have a complete knowledge of the Muslim concept of God, both the Christian and Muslim (and Jewish, for that matter) concepts of God share the same key 8 attributes. As I discuss in Which God Is Real, a concept of God which includes these 8 crucial attributes has emerged in culture after culture, again and again throughout history. These 8 attributes (as discussed by Wilhelm Schmidt in his seminal book titled The Origin of the Idea of God) are:

          1) Eternity, 2) Omniscience, 3) Beneficence, 4) Morality, 5) Omnipotence, 6) Creative power, 7) Giver of the moral code, 8) Author of moral rewards and punishments.

          Since Christianity and Islam are two of the religions which endorse concepts of God that include these 8 crucial transcultural and transhistorical attributes, it would be hard for a Christian to make a case for the Islamic god (Allah) being completely false. True, Muslims do not accept the concept of the trinity, but, as a Christian, I certainly do admire and respect Muslims for getting so much right (from a Christian perspective). When you suggest that I have developed a “hatred” of Allah, you are putting words in my mouth.

          Why would I be filled with rage if God declared to me that I got some things wrong about him?

          Much of your first paragraph is a little hard for me to decipher, so if I failed to respond to any of it, would you please rephrase and ask me again?

          These things are beautiful or not to humanity as a whole based on their evolutionary value to us as whole species. Therefore you don’t prove me wrong in my assessment of rainbows by saying that “the simple perception of color (without the perception of beauty) would be entirely adequate to stimulate the NP response necessary for survival,” because evolution in humans works such that the possible chemical responses within us are what trigger certain responses to certain stimuli, such as sewage being perceived as ugly, and in fact physically so by its smell.

          Here, you have failed to respond to my point that evolution selects for neuro-physiological (NP) responses only…not for emotional/experiential states associated with those NP responses. Evolution cannot explain why NP responses have emotional/experiential states attached to them. When you say that “evolution in humans works such that the possible chemical responses within us are what trigger certain responses to certain stimuli”, you are proposing an explanation for why humans have NP responses to external stimuli.

          So, with regard to the sewage example, evolution attempts to explain why we have the NP response of avoiding sewage (or dead rats, etc.), but it does not explain why there is an experience of ugliness or disgust associated with this NP response. Put another way, if we really are “survival machines….robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes” (to quote the atheist biologist Richard Dawkins from The Selfish Gene), then why do we have emotions and experiences? Emotions and experiential states are superfluous to robots because robots do not need emotions or experiential states in order to respond to stimuli.

          Further, it is unclear how you have responded to my point that an element of subjectivity to the perception of beauty does not subtract from the fact that humans have remarkably similar concepts of beauty. What, for example, is your explanation for the fact (as I pointed out) that the government has picked such locations as Yosemite and Yellowstone to put national parks…rather than in the middle of empty fields in Iowa? What (I will ask you again) is your explanation for why oceanfront and lakefront property is almost always the most expensive? Why do apartments in New York overlooking Central Park cost so much more than apartments overlooking crowded streets? Why do diamonds and gold cost so much? Why do scuba divers tend to choose diving near coral reefs instead of near barren rocks? Why do people tend to choose tropical fish for their aquariums instead of brown carp? Do none of these phenomena have anything to do with a common human perception of beauty? Please explain.

          Do you really think that sewage is not ugly to most people without the smell? If we showed people up-close video of sewage coming out of a pipe, would most people not be repulsed? If we showed people pictures of dead and decaying rats, would most people not be repulsed?

          In your essay “God is Real…Why..”, I found that you referenced numerous physicists who display a theistic view of the universe, such as Einstein. I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the whole essay because it’s quite long and it’s finals week for me (and I can’t believe how much time I’m taking to respond… it’s because I actually care, though, so I’d appreciate if you didn’t talk down to me so much with phrases like ‘this is absurd,’ or ‘your… speculations fall flat,’ which I would have scorned you for even when I was still a completely convinced Christian.. but I digress). In any case, your next essay, in which you talk about how ridiculous it is to think that life could have evolved from non-living matter, is a bit odd, considering that what we call living beings are heaps of inorganic matter that came together chemically (chemically here meaning processes between non-living entities, ex atoms and molecules) and, over billions of years, has come to a point where the chemical processes are so advanced that they can do logic puzzles about the universe, even coming to conclusions about things within the universe, such as themselves, or the force of gravity, or any number of other interesting attributes.

          When you have time to read and respond to God Is Real..Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism, please feel free to do so.

          Forgive me if it seems that I am talking down to you. I apologize if you felt insulted. However, it is often necessary for me to call a spade a spade. And when you have found time to read and respond to Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, please feel free to do so. Your statement that you find my assertion that life could not have evolved from non-living matter as “a bit odd, considering that what we call living beings are heaps of inorganic matter…” makes some grave oversights:

          The building blocks for life are not really what need explanation (i.e. inorganic matter). What needs explanation is how inorganic matter could have become living things without intelligent intervention. Just as the processes by which the building blocks for a computer (silicon, plastic, aluminum, etc.) actually became a computer is in need of explanation, the processes by which the inorganic building blocks for life actually became life is in need of explanation.

          And when you suggest that life could have evolved from non-living matter, you overlook the fact that the Darwinian mechanism for evolution involves the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring. But the problem is, non-living matter has neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Therefore, it is impossible to apply the Darwinian mechanism to non-living matter. To try and do so would be an enormous over-extrapolation resulting from a projection of materialist/naturalist philosophy. As I point out in my essay titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, explanations for the origin of life from non-living matter promoted by the most elite of atheist biologists include the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation (called “directed panspermia”) and the life-came-to-earth-from-space-without-alien-intervention (“panspermia” minus the “directed”) and the piggyback ride on crystals explanation. Please read and respond to this essay when time permits.

          Let me give you a taste of that essay right here and now: You cite “billions of years” for natural processes to bring about life from non-living matter. But, as I point out in this essay, it is universally recognized by scientists that life emerged almost immediately on just-cooled earth. An excerpt:

          MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder writes:

          “…and then there is the uncontested reality that life started immediately on just-cooled earth and not after billions of years as had been once posited. Elso Barghoorn, while at Harvard University, discovered this fact that changed the entire emphasis in origin of life studies. Barghoorn discovered that the oldest rocks that can bear fossils already have fully formed fossils of one-celled life. And most amazingly, and yet by necessity, those first forms of life already had the ability to reproduce. Reproduction is not something that can gradually evolve. The first cell to survive had to have all the mechanisms for mitosis the first time around since all the attempts at life that came before (if there were other attempts) died without leaving any heritage simply because there was no succeeding generation prior to reproduction.” [italics added]

          This is no doubt one reason that ultra elite atheist biologists such as Francis Crick have resorted to citing space aliens as an explanation for the origin of life on earth…and, in the essay, I link to a video of Richard Dawkins endorsing the plausibility of this explanation.

          In your last paragraph you cite “other answers” to such questions as the origin of life from non-living matter. Would you like to support one of the “other answers” which atheists have proposed, and that I mentioned above (life coming from space by intervention from space aliens, life coming from space without alien intervention, or a piggyback ride on crystals)? If not, would you like to propose some new atheist explanation? I am curious to hear.

          Why is “God” a more valid answer than, like you make fun of in your life article, other beings in another dimension making us, even though they don’t know where they originated from, or in fact that this has always existed, this being matter/etc, or that “insert any other number of theories/speculations here.” My point is, I agree that there needs to be a cause for our universe, but why designate that cause as God, when he’s not readily available to ask?

          God is a more valid answer than other beings from another dimension because everything with a beginning requires a cause (this is the law of causation, without which, science would be impossible). Thus, other beings from another dimension would themselves be in need of an explanation. But an eternally existing being would not be in need of an explanation because something which exists eternally does not have a cause. Further, as I point out in God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism and The Ultimate Cart-Before the Horse (Why Atheism Is Illogical), the view that mindless matter came first and eventually gave rise to consciousness (materialism/naturalism) is completely incompatible with modern physics. Theism, however, is strongly supported by modern physics.

  44. Hmm… this almost works perfectly with the free will defense and the solution to the euthyphro dilemma. If God is summum bonum (the greatest possible good) and this lies within him, not from some other source, then by revealing himself we would have no other choice but to accept him. We almost could not have the moral option of choosing evil with a full relevance of God because he “is” the good. It really would be him forcing us to choose Him/summum bonum which is not truly free.

    Do you think that lines up pretty well Scott?

    Blessings.

    • Reading this over it felt kind of jumbled. Basically…
      God revealing us in order to choose him wouldn’t allow us to freely choose good.
      Im not sure if im on to something or not

  45. Uh, Danno, I think two things are in order:

    FIRSTLY, People are not predestined. Not most of them, anyway. If God predestined most or all people, why would God choose for so great a portion of them to suffer His wrath? An action that a person cannot prevent is an action that said person cannot be held responsible for; If I push you, and you bump into Scott, knocking him over, you are not the one at fault, I am.
    There are other problems with the Predestination Thesis: why does God plead with sinners to repent? Why are there so many divine laws that must be obeyed? The people are not responsible, so these become nonsensical.

    SECONDLY, This event can be argued as something other than a sign from God. You probably already think so, but I’m just giving a data-point on why your friend’s effort is misconceived. The Bible says that any attempt to test God will fail! Your friend’s desire for a sign is not going to happen; if God did intervene for his father, it was not to convince your friend, it was for the father’s sake.

    Parable of the Beautiful Day. Inspired by Dan Lietha, of Answers in Genesis
    An atheist was finally fed up with God, and so challenged Him. Outside, presumably in his backyard, he demanded “Give me a sign!”
    Behind him, the sun was setting. The sky changed from light blue to darker and darker shades, gradually revealing the stars. The transformation was completed, and the sky was a rich dark-purple velvet.
    Night came, the moon rose and was full, surrounded by a halo of ice particles high up in the atmosphere.
    Then, ten hours later, the sun rose over the trees, giving the sky a mixture of reds, which gave the clouds a delicate pink, shaded into royal purple, and became normal light blue. The birds began to sing.
    The atheist, however, was not convinced. Into the sky he shouted triumphantly, “I’m still waiting!”

    Your friend shouldn’t need a sign.

  46. It is sad that upon reading the comments, the first scientist one sees is “Dawkins” – people who go running to Dawkins usually have no understanding of any science. Dawkins is one scientist amongst millions who just happens to be popular because he writes books that people who are angry with God buy to further impress in their own minds the reason that they don’t believe is because they are just that: mad.

    What of scientists like Isaac Newton or Michael Faraday or Boyle or the countless other mathematicians and scientists who wrote extensively on Christianity as well as their own areas of expertise? Scour any greatest scientist lists and you will find that 95 – 100% of them were all Christian. No, Dawkins isn’t in there, he specialises in a very specialised field of science that the general public wouldn’t fully understand the technicalities of, and it has even less to do with his mass ramblings.

    I was surprised at one of the last comments, by a certain Kyle who claims he will believe in God when there is a cure for cancer? How could that even be considered a valid form of reasoning? That sounds more like being pained by cancer or watching someone die and then concluding illogically that God doesn’t exist.

    Long before our time, our ancestors were plagued by various diseases, go read up on a certain Edward Jenner who made the cure for smallpox in a time when it was ravaging many people, what if he decided to sit on his bum and claim he will start believing when there’s a cure?

    If ever I needed to go to one great scientist as an inspiration it would be Isaac Newton, he saw, understood and did more than any one in this present day would, that man’s insight is from God himself, and his faith unshakeable. Why do some of you even insult the sciences by bringing up Dawkins? I’ll tell you why, because you don’t know any better.

  47. Scott Youngren, you’re just one awesome man. You have an incredible mind. I wish I had professor like you when I was attending undergraduate school. Great to read your articles.

      • Forgot to mention, I also believe in God and your articles and answers to people on this site helped me to Strengthen My Faith. Thanks Scott.

        • Boris:

          I find it immensely rewarding to hear that my site has strengthened your faith! If you know anyone else who could benefit from the website, please let them know about it. Also, if you ever have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask.

          Scott

  48. Exhausting….this argument amongst men that God for some reason never intervenes. It will continue as long as a debate in which one says there is a green two headed monster and I’m dumb enough to engage them. I’d put it like this..and which I’m quite certain is true…It is impossible that an intellectual being capable of feeling would create an existence knowing that any ONE intellectual being would suffer eternally. Not possible…you’ve been lied to and have accepted a disease that leaves you in a horror story in which your fellow species are doomed and deserve eternal pain. How about a billion trillion years of tormenting flames? No, not enough..a katrillion zillion gadillion? Nope …still screaming in pain. Over what 60-80 years on earth? Is it any wonder people hate Christians? It’s not out of jealousy or fear…it’s like when someone is lying but they know they’re caught…but they still continue…and continue…and eventually you get to the point where enough is enough and just want to shut them up. Imagine someone following you around saying there’s a guy behind you with a bat…it gets old. Give it up already and enjoy life. The real designer Is.

    • Who ever said that “God for some reason never intervenes”? How could one ever conclude that God never intervenes?

      You write, “It is impossible that an intellectual being capable of feeling would create an existence knowing that any ONE intellectual being would suffer eternally. Not possible…you’ve been lied to and have accepted a disease that leaves you in a horror story in which your fellow species are doomed and deserve eternal pain.”

      We were created to be in relationship with God. Everything good comes from God’s love…pleasure, joy, comfort, happiness, peace, etc., etc.

      Humanity exists in a state of rebellion from God. We want to be the kings of our own castles…answerable to no higher authority. But when we reject God, we also reject everything good that comes from God’s love. Hell is a state of absence from God’s love, much like darkness is an absence of light.

      Too often, we humans think that we should be able to have our cake and eat it too. In other words, we think that we should be able to reject God, and yet still enjoy all of the good things that come from God’s love. Hell is a place for those who have rejected God, and therefore, by extension, have rejected all of the good things that come from God’s love.

      You speak of hell as being “a billion trillion years of tormenting flames.” But, eternity is a state of existing outside of time. Eternity is not an infinitely long time period.

      In your second-to-last sentence, you betray the true motivations behind your rejection of God. You write, “Give it up already and enjoy life.” Here, you reveal that you wish to avoid God in order to avoid the moral constraints that come with the existence of a higher moral authority. In other words, you want to be the king of your own castle, free to enjoy a life with full moral autonomy…answerable to no one. But when human beings have full moral autonomy, they just cause havoc and destruction. Hitler, for example, thought it perfectly reasonable to fashion his own morals. I discuss the desire for moral autonomy (and other psychological causes) that motivate atheism in If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?

      Scott

  49. Yes , I have my logic, but before going into it, I would like to ask something, Were you born in a christian famility? or How you got into christianity? Have you read the Tao te King? the Quran ? the Upanishad? or any of the other religous/phylosphycals book in history? Have you read everything and came to the conslusion that christianity is the only reasonable choice? I will find time to read your other posts to understand your views , But I tell you that I give more credit to originality than quoting other people, because if you want i can quote scientists who belive that ancient religous texts, other than the bible, are more accurate given the recent discoveries in quantum mecahnics…

    • I don’t see why you are going to put off logical arguments so you can make rhetorical ones.

      Were you born into an agnostic home??
      Whether a person is born into a particular religious tradition is not important; what is important is why they stay in that religious tradition.
      Why do you continue to be agnostic? I’ve read your posts, they are all rhetorical in nature. What is the raison d’etre of this skepticism? Just asking those questions is vacuous.

      • That’s the reason why I ask the questions, to know who I’m talking to,and No , fortunately I was born and raised free from any dogmas , at least at parent level (Both my grandmother’s were devout catholics)My ideas come from my own observations, and then I found that other people think the same.Maybe is not important what religion you where born into, but then you have to forget everything we know about psychology and other stuff.This guy in this blog is trying to justify his views because if he found just one bit of information contrary to it, he’s world would fall apart.As I’m not religious and I’m into philosophical concepts, like taoism, if I’m proved wrong I could change my views.There are many books in the world, and the bible is not one of the best.Also people want to believe because can’t cope with reality or are afraid of death.In my case , I understand death is a certainty , and I’m not afraid, and never will be, why should I care of an after life? THIS IS REALITY, HERE, NOW, FOR US HUMANS AND LIVING CREATURES.And I don’t see any logic in citing the bible and saying false statements like ‘Most of the best scientist are Christians':The lack of respect and ignorance of other believe systems is really annoying and only shows a closed mind.Also , and this is for the blog writer, Atheism is not a believe system , and there isn’t a sacred book or set rules, implying that also shows great Ignorance.

        • Mm Hmm. Right. You can change your views, yet somebody like Scott can’t?

          Why must you state your literary opinion (“The Bible is not one of the best [books]”) as though it were fact? If the Bible challenged its critics to produce something of superior quality (as the Koran does), I’d have something to worry about; any book that attempts to prove itself using subjective truth over testable facts is not focusing on real life, and so not worth the effort (not so sure about books that feature no facts to test on yet, but the Bible make testable claims).

          I wonder how much time you spend actually analyzing what you say at this point. If people believe as they do to cope, who is to say that you are not an agnostic just to cope? Afraid of death?? I certainly wouldn’t fear non-existence, that’s what Epicurus and I happily agree on!
          The way you constantly attach emotional feelings onto the positions of other people is merely to make straw men.

          This is reality. Nobody here is saying otherwise, captain.

          Firstly, nobody here is citing the Bible. Secondly, if you want to convince others that the God of the Bible does not exist, you must attack the “Real” God of the Bible, rather than a straw man.

          You are still welcome to show us your logic, as you haven’t done it yet.

    • Yes, I was born into a Christian family, but I was an agnostic for over a decade. Yes, I have read the Tao te Ching (not Tao te King, as you put it). No, I have never really read the Quran. Yes, I have read segments of the Upanishads and Vedas. And I am SO GLAD that you mentioned the Upanishads!! As I write in Which God is Real:

      Roy Abraham Varghese cites excerpts from the Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas and Upanishads, which predate (by hundreds of years), and very convincingly seem to prefigure, the life and mission of Jesus, in his book The Christ Connection: How the World Religions Prepared the Way for the Phenomenon of Jesus. The Vedas date to at least 1200 B.C. and the Upanishads to around 500-400 B.C. Below are a few of these passages:

      “The Supreme Creator took a perfect human body (Nishkalanka Purusha) and offered it up as a self-sacrifice (Brihad Aranyak Upanishad 1:2:8).”

      “If you want to be delivered from the sin, which you commit through eyes, mouth, ears and mind, bloodshed is necessary. Without shedding the blood, there is no remission for sin. That must be the blood of the Holy one. God is our creator. He is our King. When we were perishing, He came to save us by offering even his own body on our behalf.” (Tandya Mahabrahmana 4.15).

      “The redemption is through shedding of blood only and that blood has to be through the sacrifice of God himself.” (Taittiriya Aranyaka, verse 3).

      “This [sacrifice] is the only way for the redemption and liberation of mankind. Those who meditate and attain this man, believe in heart and chant with the lips, get liberated in this world itself and there is no other way for salvation too.” (Yajur-Veda 31:18)

      “The Purusha was above sin, and only in knowing him does one attain immortality.” (Chandogyopanishad 1:6:6-7)

      “After giving Himself as the supreme sacrifice, this Purush resurrected himself.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28.4-5; Kathopanishad 3: 15).

      “The purpose of this sacrifice is to provide the only way to Heaven and the only way to escape from Hell.” (Rig-Veda 9:113:7-11; 4:5:5; 7:104:3).

      “His hands and legs are to be bound to a yoopa [a wooden pole] causing blood shed.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6).

      “The sacrificial victim is to be crowned with a crown made of thorny vines.” (Rig-Veda 10:90:7, Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3:9:28).

      “Before death he should be given a drink of somarasa [sour wine made of an herb called somalatha].” (Yajur-Veda 31).

      “None of His bones must be broken.” (Yajur-Veda 31:; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6)

      Please review this article from the Indian newspaper The Hindu, which makes the same points as Varghese.

      Several years ago, I was an agnostic with pantheistic leanings (much like you, apparently). There were many problems I found with pantheistic views of the universe. Here is an excerpt from the essay Tough Questions About Evil by Ronald Rhodes which excellently expresses one of the problems with pantheism:

      If it is true that “all is one” and “all is God,” as the New Age worldview holds, the distinction between good and evil ultimately disappears. New Ager David Spangler affirms that New Age ethics “is not based on…dualistic concepts of ‘good’ and “bad.’”32 There are no absolute moral wrongs and no absolute moral rights. Everything is relative. Of course, philosophers have long pointed out the philosophical weakness of such a viewpoint, for it amounts to saying that it is an absolute truth that there are no absolutes. When a New Ager tells me there are no absolutes, I always ask him if he is absolutely sure about that.

      A major problem with the New Age pantheistic worldview is that it fails to adequately deal with the existence of real evil in the world. If God is the essence of all life-forms in creation, one must conclude that both good and evil stem from the same essence (God). In other words, such things as World War I and II, Hitler, murder, cancer, rape, and other manifestations of evil are a part of God.

      Please provide any arguments that you have regarding how “ancient religous texts, other than the bible, are more accurate given the recent discoveries in quantum mecahnics.” And please recall that you must cite the reasoning behind the scientist’s opinion, rather than just the scientist’s opinion by itself.

  50. Y’know, I’ve always wondered why atheists always pose questions like this. Even if God really did reveal Himself (somehow), would they believe that really was God? What would they do? Atheists are really vague on how they would be convinced they just saw God.

    A second question is, what kind of natural science (excluding physics) would support the existence of an immaterial, omnipresent, sentient being? Those studies are completely different fields of reasoning. It’s like asking a historian about the literary themes of a book or a theologian on animal behavior. What a category error.

    My final question: If no arguments theists make satisfy atheists, why bother searching for them? Either they really hope someone will provide an answer they like or they’re just huge trolls (making people mad online for laughs).

    • Nate:

      This is a website regarding logical arguments for the existence of God. If you have a logical argument against the existence of God, please feel free to present it…as this is an open forum.

      Further, please be aware that calling God “imaginary” is merely an assertion that does nothing to respond to the logical arguments for the existence of God presented in the various essays.

  51. This argument is not sound. God showed himself to Adam and Eve, and that did not stop them from going against his wishes. God, in the person of Jesus Christ, showed himself to people before and after his resurrection, apparently not concerned that this would somehow corrupt their ability to make a free decision of faith, rather than by compulsion, fear, or even peer pressure.

    Certainly, God making himself visibly known would not prevent someone from truly loving him with the pure love he seeks. And God would certainly be able to tell the difference between fake love and charity. The problem the analogy of the king and the common bride is a problem in which the king (being human) would not be able to truly tell whether the bride is genuine about her feelings. It does not apply to an omniscient God.

    • Lee:

      The argument is not that God NEVER reveals himself in a direct fashion. God only has a reason to withdraw from revealing himself directly and undeniably in the case where people are living in a state of rebellion from him. Adam and Eve were not originally living in a state of rebellion from him, and so he had no reason to conceal himself from direct and undeniable revelation. In the unique circumstances of the Garden of Eden, God still gave Adam and Eve a means of choosing to accept him or rebel from him. The fact that God gave Adam and Eve a different means to make this choice (under a different set of circumstances) is not significant.

      Regarding Jesus, please recall that Jesus appeared in human form. His appearing in human form still left people with the opportunity to deny him. Please also recall that after his resurrection, Jesus revealed himself to his followers. These are people who have already chosen to follow him, and so have already made “a decision of faith, rather than by compulsion,” as you put it.

      No, the king analogy is not perfect. But keep in mind that it is a human analogy applied to God. It is very difficult to apply human analogies to God. Yes, unlike the king, God is aware of everyone’s thoughts. But the important point of the analogy is not whether the king was AWARE of the maiden’s thoughts. Rather, the important point is the the king gave the maiden a CHOICE…just like God gives us a choice.

      Scott

      • You cannot claim to perceive some truth about the existence of a God as revealed in nature or in human analogies if you disallow other people the ability to explain how human analogies suggest that God does not exist. If you choose to use logical arguments, then your arguments must stand on their own merit, and not on the merit of the claim that, “God is God, so humans can’t really explain him with their human reasoning, though I can.” The problem is that every charlatan, fraud, and con artist uses the same argument for anything they try to sell. Reasonable, intelligent, and well-meaning honest seekers of truth see through this “fog and mirrors” explanation. This, respectfully, is the problem with ALL proofs of the existence of God. The only real thing you have proven, if anything, regarding the existence of God would be the deist argument that he exists, but could really care less about human dealings.

        • Lee:

          In no way do I intend to “disallow other people the ability to explain how human analogies suggest that God does not exist.” Please feel free to “explain how human analogies suggest that God does not exist,” as you put it.

          You write, “If you choose to use logical arguments, then your arguments must stand on their own merit, and not on the merit of the claim that, ‘God is God, so humans can’t really explain him with their human reasoning, though I can.’”

          Below are some logical arguments for God that stand on their own merit. Please feel free to furnish any rebuttals to them that you can. I welcome discussion on this subject:

          1) The cosmological argument, as presented in Is there a God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance? and in OK, I want numbers? What is the probability the universe is the result of chance? A couple citations from the second of these essays:

          “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

          –Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle

          .

          “Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”

          –Former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science Owen Gingerich, who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich is here reflecting on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.

          2) The argument from modern physics, as presented in God is real: Why modern physics has discredited atheism and in The ultimate cart-before-the-horse: Why atheism is illogical. A citation from these essays:

          “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

          –The knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans, as quoted in his book The Mysterious Universe.

          Lee, these are just 2 of many logical arguments for the existence of God. Why don’t you respond to these 2 first, and then I will present others.

          Lastly, you mention deism. The deist concept of God fails for at least a couple reasons:

          1) Deism says that God created the universe and then left it alone. But life originated on Earth more than 10 billion years after the creation of the universe…and the origin of life from non-living matter can only be explained as the result of God (as I demonstrate in Why life could not have emerged without God and Why God? Why not just plain luck?). The origin of life, then, contradicts the deist account of a God who created the universe, and then left it alone.

          2) The NDE accounts of encounters with a “personal God” as described in Has anyone met God and returned to tell about it? An important excerpt:

          An entire field of research has sprung up to analyze this phenomenon. Researchers from the fields of medicine and psychology have come together to form the International Association of Near- Death Studies (IANDS, website iands.org) and the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF, website: nderf.org).

          In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

          “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

          “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

          In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.” The strategy most often pursued by skeptics is to declare the NDE to be a hallucination…most often a hallucination produced by the eroding neural environment of the dying brain.

          Scott

      • By the way, the argument that Jesus was in human form, and therefore could not have a “God-effect” on their free will also falls short of explaining why such an effect did not exist when the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus.

        Certainly the scriptures are filled with examples of God visiting people, though not necessarily showing himself. Apparently, God was not concerned with skewing these individuals’ abilities to be honest in their love for him. Why would he not do the same for everyone, so that everyone could make an honest decision on whether or not to follow him, rather than having to depend on the same approach that con-artists must take to convince people.

        • Lee:

          The Bible does not say that Jesus appeared to Saul in human form on the road to Damascus.

          You miss the point of the essay. God makes his existence completely clear to everyone. But he does not force himself on anyone. When Saul experienced God on the road to Damascus, he still had the opportunity to deny God. He could have dismissed his encounter as a hallucination, for example.

          • There is no double-edged sword. There is no higher authority that can apply any righteous judgment unless such an authority first reveals itself specifically to the specific person or specifc community over which it is asserting itself. Such a revelation does not have to be a “human form,” but it does have to be “real,” and not just “perceived,” considering that perception is not evidence in any measure of a righteous court. The evidence you provide for God can also be put forward as evidence for any number of theories presented by any given person based on that person’s perceptions. Your evidence is only evidence that we exist, and not that anything specific created us.

            Your problem is that true faith, the kind of faith that the Bible talks about is not based on evidence. And yet you, and others like you, insist on making Christianity an “evidence-based” religion. By doing such, you try to make Christianity a science, which it is not. And the God of the Bible never meant it to be. By doing such, you are forced to convince yourselves using circular logic that God exists. All the while, the God of the Bible, if he does exist, is telling you that what he really wants from you is faith… a life lived in such a way that it enables you to come to terms with your own mortality through a hope that there is a life after death and that you will be saved in heaven, and through an active charity (the true love of Christ) for all men. If you really believe these things, then living with such faith, hope, and charity have nothing to do with evidence.

            Meanwhile, there are those who are living similarly good lives in a form of charity toward all people, though they do not have a hope for a life after death. And if God does exist, and would prefer that such people credit their charitable living to Him rather than to their own good sense and sensibility, all he need do is show himself in ANY form. It does not have to be “human” form, and it does not have to be forceful. But it would have to be present to each person (rather than some reference in some ancient text), and it would have to be real.

          • Lee:

            You write, “There is no higher authority that can apply any righteous judgment unless such an authority first reveals itself specifically to the specific person or specifc community over which it is asserting itself. Such a revelation does not have to be a “human form,” but it does have to be “real,” and not just “perceived,” considering that perception is not evidence in any measure of a righteous court. The evidence you provide for God can also be put forward as evidence for any number of theories presented by any given person based on that person’s perceptions.”

            Please indicate how the following pieces of evidence for God “can also be put forward as evidence for any number of theories,” as you put it.

            1) The evidence for God from experience, as presented in the essay Has anyone ever met God and returned to tell about it? Albert Einstein once commented that, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Even scientific knowledge is really just an accumulation of experiential knowledge. An excerpt from the above mentioned post:

            The accounts given by individuals who have had such “Near Death Experiences,” or NDEs, (of which there are many thousands) have revealed some startling and fascinating patterns.

            An entire field of research has sprung up to analyze this phenomenon. Researchers from the fields of medicine and psychology have come together to form the International Association of Near- Death Studies (IANDS, website iands.org) and the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF, website: nderf.org).

            In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

            “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

            “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

            In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

            Below is one of the phenomena that have been repeatedly reported by many NDE experiencers from Evidence for the Afterlife by Jeffrey Long, MD.

            “Reunion with deceased loved ones and with God, angels, Jesus”

            2) The evidence for God from the origin of the genetic code, as presented in How atheism relies on special pleading. An excerpt:

            Even the world’s most outspoken atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins, concedes that DNA is a language very similar to a computer language. In his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes:

            “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

            Elsewhere, Dawkins writes:

            “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

            Stephen Meyer (who holds a PhD in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University) explains in a DVD set titled Does God Exist? Building the Scientific Case that Charles Darwin’s methods of reasoning lead to the conclusion that life emerged from God. Darwin learned his method of investigating the remote past from Charles Lyell, his mentor. The very wordy title of Lyell’s book explains in a nutshell what makes an explanation best: Principles of Geology: Being an attempt to explain the former changes of the Earth’s surface by reference to causes now in operation.

            So, by the method of investigation used by Lyell and Darwin, if you are trying to explain some event in the remote past, you don’t invoke some exotic hypothetical cause that no one has ever seen. Rather, you invoke a cause which is ALREADY known to produce the effect in question….that is, a cause “already in operation”. Indeed, Darwin cited the cause known to to be now in operation of natural selection of reproductive offspring and the random mutation of genes. He did not cite any exotic hypothetical causes. (Whether or not one believes that Darwin’s theory succeeds in explaining the diversification of life from a common ancestor is an entirely different subject matter).

            So if we apply Lyell’s and Darwin’s principle to the computer-like language of DNA, the question becomes: What is the cause NOW IN OPERATION that is ALREADY known to cause codes and languages?

            There is only one plausible answer: INTELLIGENCE. To this end, Meyer cites information scientist Henry Quastler: “The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” Natural processes such as wind and erosion do not create codes and languages, even very simple ones…let alone codes “far, far more advanced than any we have ever created,” in the words of Bill Gates.

            So I will ask you very bluntly, Lee, WHAT IS YOUR ALTERNATE THEORY for the origin of the computer-like language of DNA? To assist you in answering this question, I will first advise you of answers that other atheists have proposed:

            As I detail in Why life could not have emerged without God, the prominent atheist biologist Francis Crick (famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix) proposed a theory known as “directed panspermia,” which says that life on Earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought to earth by space aliens. Click here to read an article about Crick’s endorsement of the theory in his book Life Itself (it is also endorsed by the atheist British chemist Leslie Orgel). And click here to view the atheist biologist Richard Dawkins endorsing the theory in an interview.

            Other atheists (such as the British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle and the “astrobiologist” Chandra Wickramsinghe) have dropped the “directed” from “directed panspermia” to endorse just plain “panspermia.” This theory says the life on earth can be explained by the fact that it came from outer space…but does not cite any explanation for how it emerged.

            Which of these do you endorse? Or is there a different explanation that you endorse?

            In what way does any of the evidence for the existence of God that I have presented constitute “circular logic,” as you put it? Remember that when you make such a claim, you must actually make a case for the claim. To allege “circular logic,” without actually explaining where or how “circular logic” is committed, is meaningless. So I will lead by example an demonstrate how YOU are committing circular logic.

            1) You begin with the assumption that there is no God.
            2) From this beginning assumption, you reason that the evidence for God that I present must be explainable by some other theory. In your words, the evidence I present “can also be put forward as evidence for any number of theories presented by any given person.” (Notably, you do not actually furnish any of these alternate theories).
            3) Because the evidence I present could potentially also be presented as evidence for other (undisclosed) theories, you reason that there is no God.

            You write, “And yet you, and others like you, insist on making Christianity an ‘evidence-based’ religion. By doing such, you try to make Christianity a science, which it is not.” No Christianity was never meant to be a science. Rather it is a worldview…and so is the materialist/naturalist stance which underlies atheism.

            Your statement, “If you really believe these things, then living with such faith, hope, and charity have nothing to do with evidence” does not agree with the Bible. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” In no way does the Bible ever endorse reasonless faith.

            I will end by responding to your comment that, “It (God) would have to be present to each person (rather than some reference in some ancient text), and it would have to be real.” What I am suggesting is that God CAN be present to you (and to each person), and that you are actively rejecting the opportunity to know God even though his existence is clear. When atheists such as Dawkins and Crick choose an aliens-from-outer-space explanation for the origin of life (in favor of God), they are ACTIVELY REJECTING GOD EVEN THOUGH THE TRUTH OF GOD’S EXISTENCE IS CLEAR.

            If God is not present to you, Lee, then I will suggest that he will BECOME present to you if you sincerely ask him to be.

          • You are making some major assumptions that are preventing you from communicating in a way that might reach me and convince me of your position. I never said I was an atheist. I never said I believe in Darwin’s evolution or that any evidence has been provided to support it. I consider myself to be an agnostic. I would like to know there is a God. Such a thought is comforting, assuming God is righteous. However, I do not have a perfect knowledge, because I cannot. God has not presented such perfect knowledge to me, nor has he to you, unless you are claiming to be a prophet to whom God has revealed himself. Note, such revelations that are documented in the Bible did not require human form, but did require SOME supernatural form. Because no such supernatural appearance has been presented to me, I have doubt. However, the Bible indicates that such doubt could actually be used to build my faith, because it would require me to live my life in godliness, despite my doubt. This would suggest that the actual evidence would weaken my faith, which claim you have made in your writings, stating that God revealing himself would destroy faith. So, if such evidence would destroy faith, then why do you insist so much that it exists. It may be your personal knowledge, i.e., something that you have convinced yourself of, but it is not proof otherwise you would be faithless, according to your own claims. This is your circular logic. It is a result of you trying to reconcile science and faith, which is impossible, as they are separate philosophical pursuits, once requiring evidence, and the other not requiring evidence.

            The following link is to a TED talk of Lesley Hazelton, who takes a position that agnostics who accept there doubt as a natural part of living a life of faith and hope in their existence actually have more faith then people who claim to be grounded in a perfect knowledge of God. See if you can listen to the entire thing with your thick skin intact.

            http://www.ted.com/talks/lesley_hazleton_the_doubt_essential_to_faith.html

            What you present as evidence of God may give you a comfort of your personal knowledge, feeling that it is enough convince you. However, it is not scientific evidence of an ultimate cause (i.e. God). Also note that I do not have to have a scientific knowledge of how the universe functions or of how humans came to exist in order to know that the universe and humans do exist and do function according to a pattern. The evidence reveals the patterns, as you indicated in your examples. It is not a huge stretch of logic and of an understanding of physics to conclude that a universe that did not function in a predictable pattern would not exist long and would disintegrate. The fact that the universe has not disintegrated and functions in predictable patterns that suggest an intelligence behind it does not logically lead to a truth that an intelligence did create it, scientifically speaking. If a natural series of events led to a stable universe being created, then the universe would still exist with no supernatural intelligence involvement. “I think, therefore I am” does not logically lead to, “I think, therefore God created me.” However, according to your position, I could have faith that a God did create this universe and has power over it without God having revealed himself to me. So why is it that your claim of evidence is important?

            Your “evidence” therefore becomes a crutch that you use in an attempt to hide a limp that would reveal your doubt, because you perceive doubt as a religious weakness. You fail to realize that your own religion tells you that it is your doubt that enables you to exercise your faith. So, apparently, by using this crutch, you lose the opportunity of exercising, and thus strengthening your faith.

            So what is it that you really believe? If you believe there is evidence, then that means that God has revealed himself to you and all of us, which therefore destroys your faith (and our ability to gain that same faith), and which destroys the work of God. If you do not really believe this is evidence, then God has not revealed himself to you, and you can continue to exercise the faith that saves you.

            If the things that you accept as evidence of God’s revelation to you do not ruin your faith, then why should the things that I would accept as evidence ruin my chance at faith?

          • In short, I am agnostic, not atheist. I have doubt. This seems to be necessary for the faith that the Bible describes. According to your position, a supernatural appearance of God to me (and anyone else) that would provide evidence of his existence would eliminate faith, and would therefore ruin God’s work. However, you say there is evidence that prove’s God’s existence, and you imply that this evidence does not eliminate faith and ruin God’s work. This looks like what my Godly mother would call, using her Pennsylvania German and Dutch wisdowm, “Wanting to have your cake and eat it too.”

            If God can provide evidence and not ruin my faith, then why can’t such evidence be more public, more visible, more direct, more supernatural, less attributable to a natural (non-God-made) pattern, as the burning bush with Moses or the manifestation of Jesus Christ to Saul?

          • Lee,

            Sorry if some of my comments come across as less-than-polite. It is very difficult for me to balance being polite with communicating my points directly and effectively. I should mention that I am in no position to criticize you for being an agnostic since I was an agnostic myself for many years. Therefore, please understand my blunt comments to be imploring rather than criticizing. When I see someone making the same mistakes that I once made, I tend to write with an imploring tone.

            Where do I argue that “a supernatural appearance of God to [you] (and anyone else) that would provide evidence of his existence would eliminate faith”? I do not understand how you interpreted my writings to mean this. This essay does not try to argue that God does not reveal himself. Rather, it argues that God DOES reveal himself very thoroughly, but not forcefully. He always gives us an opportunity to reject him. And many many people choose to reject him despite the overwhelming evidence of his existence.

            For example, in a previous comment, I mentioned how extremely prominent atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have endorsed the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (called “directed pansperima”) since they are no longer able to hide themselves from the fact that the origin of life very definitely was the result of intelligent activity. What other interpretation can there be for their endorsement of such a bizarre theory than that THEY ARE TRYING TO AVOID THEISTIC CONCLUSIONS AT ALL COSTS? Why is this theory bizarre? Not just because it involves aliens, but because it does not even try to explain where the aliens came from. In How atheism relies on special pleading, I discuss the even more bizarre, God-evading theory presented by the prominent theoretical biologist Stuart Kaufmann.

            When you demand that God’s revelation to you be a “more public, more visible, more direct, more supernatural, less attributable to natural (non-God-made) pattern,” you are setting up an arbitrary set of criteria, and then demanding that God meet these criteria. Why should God conform his revelation to YOUR arbitrary criteria when he has already provided overwhelming evidence of his existence to you?

            Further, you use the words “less attributable to natural (non-God-made) pattern.” I will again request that you explain the “natural (non-God-made) pattern” responsible for the origin of life. Please pick from one of the below choices:

            1) The life-came-to-earth-from-space explanation (“panspermia”) endorsed by prominent atheist scientists such as Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramsinghe. Please note that this explanation avoids the question of HOW life emerged by changing the subject and commenting on WHERE life emerged.

            2) The aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation (“directed panspermia”) endorsed by prominent atheist scientists such as the biologists Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins, and the British chemist Leslie Orgel.

            3) The fourth law of thermodynamics explanation presented by the prominent atheist theoretical biologist Stuart Kaufmann (as discussed in How atheism relies on special pleading).

            4) Some other explanation that I have not mentioned. If this is the case, then please provide your explanation.

            Particular emphasis must be given to the point that the belief that the origin of life was the result of God is NOT an “argument from ignorance.” This is because INTELLIGENCE is the ONLY plausible explanation for the genetic code and for the specified information contained in DNA. Again, please refer to How atheism relies on special pleading to explore this topic in more depth.

            Further, the theistic explanation has a vast amount of experiential evidence behind it. In a previous post, I cited Albert Einstein as saying “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Even scientific knowledge is really just an accumulation of experiential knowledge. And in my previous comment, I cited the vast amount of human experiential knowledge of God’s existence from the NDE phenomenon. A copy and paste:

            In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

            “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

            “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

            In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

            Below is one of the phenomena that have been repeatedly reported by many NDE experiencers from Evidence for the Afterlife by Jeffrey Long, MD.

            “Reunion with deceased loved ones and with God, angels, Jesus”

            But the vast experiential knowledge of God’s existence does not end with the NDE phenomenon. My post titled Which God is Real? points out the trans-cultural and trans-historical nature of what (in this culture) we refer to as the “Judeo/Christian” concept of God. An excerpt:

            Well, the first crucial point is that the Judeo/Christian concept of God has emerged throughout history in far more instances than just in Judaism and Christianity. In fact, the Judeo/Christian concept of God is utterly trans-cultural and trans-historical:

            Roy Abraham Varghese notes in his book The Christ Connection: How the World Religions Prepared the Way for the Phenomenon of Jesus:

            “No one has chronicled the belief of…primeval peoples in as much detail as [Wilhelm] Schmidt in his twelve-volume The Origin of the Idea of God. Schmidt points out that the African and Asiatic Pygmies believed in a supreme being. The same is true of the Bushmen in South Africa; the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego in South America; the Aboriginies of Australia; the Samoyeds, Koryaks, and Eskimos of the Arctic; and major Native American tribes. The notion of a supreme being is truly global. The names most commonly given to the supreme being, says Schmidt, denote his ‘fatherhood, creative power and residence in the sky.’ The primeval peoples also highlight key attributes of the supreme being:

            1) Eternity, 2) Omniscience, 3) Beneficence, 4) Morality, 5) Omnipotence, 6) Creative power,

            7) Giver of the moral code, 8) Author of moral rewards and punishments.”

            These same above eight attributes are the crucial attributes of the God of the Bible. Considering this, one would be inclined to ask: If the concepts of God emerging in separate cultures have the same attributes, by what means could one reasonably argue that these cultures are referring to anything other than the same God?

            Lee, when I was an agnostic, I realized that agnostics and atheists usually apply a double-standard of scrutiny. When theistic arguments are analyzed, an extremely high degree of scrutiny is applied. Conversely, when non-theistic arguments are analyzed, an extremely LOW degree of scrutiny is applied. The scrutiny level must be turned WAY down for theories such as the above mentioned non-theistic explanations for the origin of life slip through the cracks.

            At this is, in my view, the PRIMARY LOGICAL FAILURE present in atheist and agnostic reasoning…the failure to apply the same degree of scrutiny to both theistic and non-theistic arguments.

          • Lee,

            As I mentioned in my other comment, I am sorry if the bluntness of my comments comes across as critical or harsh. Please interpret the bluntness my comments as trying to IMPLORE you, rather than CRITICIZE you. As I also mentioned in my other reply, I basically CANNOT criticize you since I myself held agnostic views for many years.

            As the English playwright Robert Oxton Bolt put it, “A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind.” Put another way, a belief is a set of assumptions that lies beneath the level of one’s awareness, UNLESS a person is careful to bring those subconscious assumptions to the surface…so as to expose them to the same level of scrutiny as the subconscious assumptions made by people of other belief systems.

            My observation has been that non-theists fail to apply the same level of scrutiny to their own set of assumptions as they apply to theistic assumptions. I am not sure how your TED video regarding Islam relates to me since I am not a Muslim. However, I will say that I fully agree that “doubt is essential to faith,” as the title of the video suggests. Doubt is necessary in order to bring one’s critical reasoning faculties to bear.

            I have absolutely no idea how you interpreted my writings to mean that, “Actual evidence would weaken [your] faith, which claim [I] have made in your writings, stating that God revealing himself would destroy faith.” Again, God reveals himself very thoroughly, but not forcefully.

            There is no circular logic since in no way do I ever endorse a view even remotely similar to the idea that, “Actual evidence would weaken [one’s] faith.”

            You write that I am “trying to reconcile science and faith, which is impossible, as they are separate philosophical pursuits, once requiring evidence, and the other not requiring evidence.” Please recall that neither theism, nor atheism, nor agnosticism are scientific conclusions. Rather, they are ontological conclusions derived (in part) by an examination of scientific data.

            The term “faith” is very often misapplied by non-theists. NO worldview (theism, atheism, agnosticism, etc.) results from an simple examination of scientific data. All worldviews are interpretive frameworks which are used to make sense of scientific (as well as other) data. The question is WHICH interpretive framework is able to make the most sense of the scientific (and experiential, etc.) data that we have available. In what way could theism be termed a “faith,” whereas atheism and agnosticism are not “faiths”? The view that theism is a faith (but that atheism and agnosticism are not) is a narrative which is a peculiarity of modern culture. It does not have any basis in logic.

            My essay Why believing precedes knowing and EVERYONE has a faith is here pertinent. I recommend reading the whole essay, but here is an important excerpt:

            Timothy Keller deftly points out that even the most hardened “skeptic” has a faith, in The Reason for God:

            But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because, “There can’t be just one true religion,” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts. If you went to the Middle East and said, “There can’t be just one true religion,” nearly everyone would say, “Why not?” The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt, therefore is based on a leap of faith.

            Indeed, when it comes to examining the truth claims made by atheism (such as materialism and naturalism), it is the Christian who is the skeptic and the atheist (or agnostic) who is the true “religious” believer.

            Next, I want to respond to your comment, “The evidence reveals the patterns, as you indicated in your examples. It is not a huge stretch of logic and of an understanding of physics to conclude that a universe that did not function in a predictable pattern would not exist long and would disintegrate. The fact that the universe has not disintegrated and functions in predictable patterns that suggest an intelligence behind it does not logically lead to a truth that an intelligence did create it, scientifically speaking. If a natural series of events led to a stable universe being created, then the universe would still exist with no supernatural intelligence involvement.”

            The conclusion that the universe resulted from an eternally existent consciousness is not derived from an observation of a “fact that the universe has not disintegrated and functions in predictable patterns.” To understand how cosmology and astrophysics leads to theistic conclusions, I recommend my essays titled Is there a God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and OK…I want numbers. What is probability that our world is the result of chance? Just to tempt you to read these essays, I present a few citations from them below:

            “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”

            –Astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies Robert Jastrow. Jastrow’s observations regarding the evidence for a divine act of creation are especially poignant when one considers that he is a self-described agnostic. In other words, Jastrow’s research have led him to theistic conclusions despite having an ideological bias against theism.

            “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”

            –Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God)

            In order to understand how modern physics leads to theistic conclusions, I recommend my essays titled God is real. Why modern physics has discredited atheism and The ultimate cart-before-the-horse (Why atheism is illogical).

            In order to understand how biology leads to theistic conclusions, I recommend my essays titled How atheism relies on “special pleading” and Why life could not have emerged without God.

            Lee, I will conclude by saying that I have absolutely no idea how you came to the conclusion that I “perceive doubt as a religious weakness,” in your words. Again, it is doubt that encourages us to fully engage our reasoning faculties.

          • I have been reading a lot of blogs, and likely attributed the “evidence destroys faith” concept to you incorrectly. I apologize.

            I do not subscribe to the three scientific theories proposed by the atheists you cited. I think they, too, are wrong headed in trying to use science to disprove a God exists. And by science, I mean scientific method. Cause-effect observation. This is the same reason why I cannot accept evolution as a valid “scientific” theory, because the majority of the theory is not built upon direct observation of cause-effect. My interpretation of what is real science, what is quasi-science, and what is pseudo-science is pretty strict.

            I do not know of any scientific theory that can completely explain the existence of this universe and of humans in it. As I think you pointed out, based upon the leading theories of physics and astrophysics, the probability of this universe coming into existence without intelligent involvement is infinitesimally small. Thus, what do scientists do? They propose a “theory” that says that there must be a multi-verse made up of a theoretically unlimited number of universes that flash into and out of existence, and that this would then allow for a probability that at least one of those universes would produce stable enough patterns to continue to exist and generate life. Even though this might explain our universe, it is not a true scientific theory, because there is no way to test it. It is not possible to detect the presence of one of the other universes, therefore one could never prove nor disprove that it exists. So, I have a problem with theories that are proposed by scientists as scientific theories, when in fact they are not. They are possible explanations at best, fiction/fantasy at worst.

            This is the same trouble with attempting to use science or existential observation to prove that God exists. In the end, all of the things that you claim to be evidence that God created the universe cannot be tested to actually detect God. One cannot use science (yet; I will never say never) to prove or disprove that a God created the universe. However, one could have faith that a God created the universe without scientific evidence of it.

            I am differentiating between information, facts provided or learned about something or someone, and evidence, the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. My argument is that I do not think that faith requires me to have a lack of information, and that no amount of evidence short of a test that actually detects the God causation can make of for the lack of information. And I don’t think a righteous God would judge me harshly for not accepting second hand information as true information. I also do not accept that I can have first-hand information through a touch of the Holy Spirit, considering that psychology has proven that people can induce both wellness and sickness in themselves, as well as any emotion they subconsciously wish to have. I do not accept near-death experience as sufficient information, because, (1) it is second-hand information to me and (2) even it if we scientifically prove that a person could only have seen something in the hospital room if they left their body at the moment of death, this still does not detect God.

            I think it is a convenient position to say that God cannot reveal himself to us puny humans, because we would not be able to stand his perfected glory and something bad would happen to us. If God is all powerful, he could certainly take on a form that would enable him to reveal himself to us folks who are currently alive, and could show sufficient power to help us see that we are effectively powerless compared to his power. He could tell us things about ourselves that no one could possibly know but ourselves. He could show such an incredibly large amount of patience and forbearance in that he Would treat people kindly and generously (with charity) despite our thinking that he might really be an alien from space rather than truly a God, and despite our attempts to fight him with military force. He could make our military forces useless against him, and still show the love a father has for his children in how he then treats us. And he could do this with everyone instantaneously and concurrently, considering he has the ability to be omnipresent. And even with all of this, we, as any child, could decide to not follow him, because we think we know better or because we just don’t have the energy or the time to do everything he then asks us to do immediately following his revelation to us (just like every prophet had to do upon revelaion to each such prophet). So, faith would still be required.

            Such a true revelation would then not require science at all. Such a revelation wold not be a scientific observation. It would not be an experiment of cause and effect. It would be an interaction of intelligence, God’s intelligence with our intelligence, which is a completely different sphere than science. It is the sphere in which we take the information we have been provided to come to terms with our own mortality. The additional information of the type of revelation I explain above would actually seem to have better results than the information that you say is evidence. I would think that more people would join the faith and that they would join it willing, considering God wuold not force them. This then would give them time and give God time to help them learn charity through how they deal with their fellow men (after all, their fellow men are not Gods and can be very frustrating and difficult to deal with). And it is this process of learning charity through the added benefit of God’s present grace that would actually save us… as Peter calls it, “Having our calling and election made sure.”

            I have typed a relatively quick stream of thought. Given more time, I could probably construct the above argument in a more clear fashion. Hopefully, you understand the essence of what I am saying, and perhaps the frustration I have with God, if in fact he exists. Yes, Paul says that we must be able to reason together. I think I am being reasonable. I just do not see why the evidence of Gods existence (as information and not scientific proof) cannot be more clear, less debatable, and allowable within his plan.

          • Lee,

            I am impressed by how open-minded you are. You are clearly conscientious about trying to be objective.

            You write, “In the end, all of the things that you claim to be evidence that God created the universe cannot be tested to actually detect God. One cannot use science (yet; I will never say never) to prove or disprove that a God created the universe.”

            I fully agree with you here. God can neither be completely proven nor disproved. But, if you think about it, there is virtually NOTHING in human experience that can be proven. In other words, there is virtually NOTHING that cannot be exposed to some degree of doubt. Even Descartes famous maxim “I think, therefore I am” has been doubted by very many people. You cannot PROVE that you actually exist and I cannot PROVE that I actually exist.

            But although your (or my) existence cannot be proven, virtually all reasonable people will accept that you exist…merely by observing the messages you have typed. Sure, it is possible that you are really somebody other than who you say you are (not that I actually think this), but all reasonable people would accept that SOME human being is behind the messages that are attributed to you. But in order to accept this premise, these reasonable people must make a leap-of-faith, albeit an very small leap of faith.

            Thus, it about preponderance of evidence rather than PROOF.

            You say, “My argument is that I do not think that faith requires me to have a lack of information, and that no amount of evidence short of a test that actually detects the God causation can make of for the lack of information.”

            How would one “detect” a timeless, space-less, matter-less, energy-less, dimension-less being like God? Recall that God is proposed by theists to be a consciousness that exists independent of all of these properties. All of these properties (time, space, matter, energy, etc.) are properties of the physical/natural world. An excerpt from my essay How atheism impersonates science is here pertinent:

            Notably, theists and atheist physicists such as Lawrence Krauss (author of A Universe from Nothing) seem to be in agreement on a few key points: Because matter, space, time, and energy are properties of the universe, they cannot be the cause of the universe. Therefore, whatever the cause of the universe is, it must be immaterial, space-less, timeless, and energy-less. Both God and nothing, if one stops to think, are just that…immaterial, space-less, timeless, and energy-less.

            But since science is not and never will be capable of examining things of a immaterial, spaceless, timeless, and energy-less nature, deciding whether God or nothing is the best candidate for the cause of the universe can, ultimately, only be done philosophically. So we must decide whether an eternally existent consciousness (God), or nothing, is the best candidate for having creative properties. And unless one is an ideologically driven atheist, the choice is clear. Indeed, I point out in God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism how (and why) the majority of the most important contributors to modern physics (FAR more important contributors than Krauss and the like) have concluded that God is the best explanation. Theism is the view which is by far most compatible with modern physics.

            Lee, I think the essay God is real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism will help you understand why theism is the interpretive framework that makes the most sense of the available data. Both atheists and theists tend to accept that there must be a prime reality (or “ultimate reality”)…which can also been referred to as a “non-reductive primitive.” A prime reality can be simply defined as a “something from which everything else comes.” As excerpted from the above essay, Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell explanation of why an eternally existent (timeless) consciousness (a.k.a. God) is the best candidate for the prime reality (or “ultimate reality”) in their book The New Story of Science:

            “In the New Story of science the whole universe––including matter, energy, space, and time––is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

            Another couple citations from the above mentioned essay:

            “Materialist philosophers argue that consciousness is a construct of matter. But Plato and almost all the great classical philosophers, East and West, suggest the opposite. Matter, at least as it appears to us, is a construct of consciousness.”

            “…Consciousness is real and creative. It is not just a by-product of the world we perceive. Without consciousness, that world, the world we perceive, would not even exist. Another quantum physicist, John von Neumann, said, ‘All real things are contents of consciousness.’ This is about as far from materialism as you can get – and it is an interpretation of modern physics, not some weird religiously inspired theory.”

            ––Keith Ward, retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London, and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy (mentioned above), as quoted in his book Is Religion Irrational?

            “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

            Max Planck, (the Nobel Prize winning physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory, and one of the most important physicists of the 20th century…indeed, of all time).
            Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937) Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers,trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp. 184

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

            Sir James Jeans, the knighted physicist, mathematician, and astronomer, as cited in his book Mysterious Universe.

            Next, Lee, I want to respond to your following comment:

            “If God is all powerful, he could certainly take on a form that would enable him to reveal himself to us folks who are currently alive, and could show sufficient power to help us see that we are effectively powerless compared to his power. He could tell us things about ourselves that no one could possibly know but ourselves. He could show such an incredibly large amount of patience and forbearance in that he Would treat people kindly and generously (with charity) despite our thinking that he might really be an alien from space rather than truly a God, and despite our attempts to fight him with military force. He could make our military forces useless against him, and still show the love a father has for his children in how he then treats us. And he could do this with everyone instantaneously and concurrently, considering he has the ability to be omnipresent.”

            What you are missing here is my point that God seeks people who seek him. When you set up arbitrary criteria for how God should reveal himself (such as the above), you are basically asking God to jump through YOUR flaming hoops. God has already made the first move by making his existence overwhelmingly obvious, now it is YOUR move. You must take a step to SEEK him. If you do, it is certain that God will (at some point, not necessarily on YOUR time-frame) make himself more present to you. In fact, I submit that God will tell you things about yourself that not even you know about yourself. But you must seek him genuinely.

            I further submit that refusing to accept the existence of God—until he takes on a physical form and grabs you by the lapels—is a way to avoid the inconvenience of having to accept the implications of having a higher power in authority over you.

            P.S: Our military forces already are useless against him. How would military forces be applied to a non-physical, timeless, omnipotent consciousness?

          • Lee’s Response: I have embedded my responses within your last posted message, below. My responses are in bold (hopefully the HTML tags I have embedded will work). If the bold does not work, then you can find my responses framed between “Lee’s Response:” and “[End Response].”

            ——————————————-

            Lee,

            I am impressed by how open-minded you are. You are clearly conscientious about trying to be objective.

            You write, “In the end, all of the things that you claim to be evidence that God created the universe cannot be tested to actually detect God. One cannot use science (yet; I will never say never) to prove or disprove that a God created the universe.”

            I fully agree with you here. God can neither be completely proven nor disproved. But, if you think about it, there is virtually NOTHING in human experience that can be proven. In other words, there is virtually NOTHING that cannot be exposed to some degree of doubt.

            Lee’s Response: The implication that, because God cannot be proven to exist, therefore nothing can be proven to exist is a non-sequitur logical fallacy. Do not confuse “doubt” with “measurement error.” The scientific method can be used to prove local, physical cause and effect laws, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and Force, and can prove such laws within the random error of measurement. This does not mean that such laws are exactly the same in every location in the universe. However, scientific laws are not required to be the same everywhere. Scientific laws are applicable to very specific conditions that are stipulated within the statement of the law. [End Response]

            Even Descartes famous maxim “I think, therefore I am” has been doubted by very many people. You cannot PROVE that you actually exist and I cannot PROVE that I actually exist.

            Lee’s Response: True, the laws and theories of physics are all based upon the ability to measure position in space, which has two assumptions associated with it. Both of these assumptions require existence, the lack of which would make the laws of physics moot. Also, if I do not exist, then I do not have a God who created me, so it does not really matter if God exists. The entire point of God’s existence would be moot. [End Response]

            But although your (or my) existence cannot be proven, virtually all reasonable people will accept that you exist…merely by observing the messages you have typed. Sure, it is possible that you are really somebody other than who you say you are (not that I actually think this), but all reasonable people would accept that SOME human being is behind the messages that are attributed to you. But in order to accept this premise, these reasonable people must make a leap-of-faith, albeit an very small leap of faith.

            Lee’s Response: There is no need for faith that the messages that I write are written by me. Though you cannot prove at the very moment of reading that I have written this reply, whether I have written it can be falsified. We can arrange a time to meet somewhere where I can confirm to you that this reply was actually written by me. You can also observe at that very meeting that I can write messages by watching me write more messages. Such is not the case with God. The best you can get is someone claiming to have written messages that they say were given to them by God. They can even demonstrate to you by writing a message in front of your very eyes that they say is being given to them in their mind that very moment from God. However, unless you see someone claiming to be God writing the message, and unless that being also provides information indicating that being’s omniscience and omnipotence it is not proof of God. [End Response]

            Thus, it about preponderance of evidence rather than PROOF.

            Lee’s Response: As I stated above, evidence that I have written messages can be gathered directly from me. No such evidence exists that anything came directly from God. Though you speak of preponderance, you can’t even come up with one direct evidence of God’s existence. [End Response]

            You say, “My argument is that I do not think that faith requires me to have a lack of information, and that no amount of evidence short of a test that actually detects the God causation can make of for the lack of information.”

            How would one “detect” a timeless, space-less, matter-less, energy-less, dimension-less being like God? Recall that God is proposed by theists to be a consciousness that exists independent of all of these properties. All of these properties (time, space, matter, energy, etc.) are properties of the physical/natural world. An excerpt from my essay How atheism impersonates science is here pertinent:

            Notably, theists and atheist physicists such as Lawrence Krauss (author of A Universe from Nothing) seem to be in agreement on a few key points: Because matter, space, time, and energy are properties of the universe, they cannot be the cause of the universe. Therefore, whatever the cause of the universe is, it must be immaterial, space-less, timeless, and energy-less. Both God and nothing, if one stops to think, are just that…immaterial, space-less, timeless, and energy-less.
            But since science is not and never will be capable of examining things of a immaterial, spaceless, timeless, and energy-less nature, deciding whether God or nothing is the best candidate for the cause of the universe can, ultimately, only be done philosophically. So we must decide whether an eternally existent consciousness (God), or nothing, is the best candidate for having creative properties. And unless one is an ideologically driven atheist, the choice is clear. Indeed, I point out in God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism how (and why) the majority of the most important contributors to modern physics (FAR more important contributors than Krauss and the like) have concluded that God is the best explanation. Theism is the view which is by far most compatible with modern physics.

            Lee’s Response: I think we can say that if God truly is as described by Catholic Christian doctrine (external to the universe, trinity, etc. etc.), we would not be able to measure him. However, the statement that God is timeless, space-less, matter-less, energy-less, dimensionless, and exists beyond all of these properties is not even a hypothesis. It is hypothetical, in that you cannot prove it. At least with a scientific hypothesis, it is framed within the context of how one would test whether the hypothesis is correct. The logic you use is a tautological fallacy, in that you essentially state, “God can’t be measured, therefore God can’t be measured.” Who says that God must exist outside of this realm of existence? I can take a hypothetical position that a powerful being came into existence within this universe and gained sufficient power over it that he/she/it was able to create our solar system and us humans within it. I can take a position that the human soul is an everlasting form of energy that can survive beyond death and find refuge with its creator within the bounds of this universe. I can take a position that such a being is a God. I can form a religion around it and “convince” people using logical fallacies that it is true. However, if such a God does not exist, there would be no chance ever of measuring or detecting him/her/it, and therefore there would never be any proof. I should not expect people to accept an argument that he left the universe immediately after creating us, and therefore cannot be detected any longer. I also should not expect people to accept evidence hidden in paleontological or archeological remains, considering such remains are open to interpretation, as with the theory of evolution. So why should I accept an argument that he exists but can’t be detected or proven? [End Response]

            Lee, I think the essay God is real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism will help you understand why theism is the interpretive framework that makes the most sense of the available data. Both atheists and theists tend to accept that there must be a prime reality (or “ultimate reality”)…which can also been referred to as a “non-reductive primitive.” A prime reality can be simply defined as a “something from which everything else comes.” As excerpted from the above essay, Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell explanation of why an eternally existent (timeless) consciousness (a.k.a. God) is the best candidate for the prime reality (or “ultimate reality”) in their book The New Story of Science:

            “In the New Story of science the whole universe––including matter, energy, space, and time––is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

            Another couple citations from the above mentioned essay:

            “Materialist philosophers argue that consciousness is a construct of matter. But Plato and almost all the great classical philosophers, East and West, suggest the opposite. Matter, at least as it appears to us, is a construct of consciousness.”

            “…Consciousness is real and creative. It is not just a by-product of the world we perceive. Without consciousness, that world, the world we perceive, would not even exist. Another quantum physicist, John von Neumann, said, ‘All real things are contents of consciousness.’ This is about as far from materialism as you can get – and it is an interpretation of modern physics, not some weird religiously inspired theory.”

            ––Keith Ward, retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London, and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy (mentioned above), as quoted in his book Is Religion Irrational?

            “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

            –Max Planck, (the Nobel Prize winning physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory, and one of the most important physicists of the 20th century…indeed, of all time).

            Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937) Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers,trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp. 184

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

            –Sir James Jeans, the knighted physicist, mathematician, and astronomer, as cited in his book Mysterious Universe.

            Lee’s Response: It only makes the most sense to a person who has been raised within the context of the Catholic Christian tradition (Catholic/Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical). None of the above quotes consider Restorationist Christian theology (mostly American in formation), and none of them consider the theologies of non-Christian religious traditions. The argument above is all very Renaissance European. I feel that you are using an “Appealing to Authority” logical fallacy. I do not put any more validity in the word of a renowned scientist than I put in your words. Regardless of who makes the argument, the argument must be sound and logical. [End Response]

            Also, in order for God to be the Prime Cause, there would have to be some interface allowing the universe to be an effect. The Law of Cause-Effect requires this. Such an interface would have to be able to connect with the space/time/material/dimension aspects of the universe. Such an interface would make differentiation between the universe and God effectively moot. God would be “a part” of the universe through such an interface and, if he continues to interface with the universe through contact with humans, would be detectable through such an interface. Any position that such an interface exists, but cannot be detected would be a special-pleading/ad-hoc-reasoning logical fallacy. You are using the same logical fallacy if you take the position that the Law of Cause-Effect does not apply to God and God can just make the universe “happen” without a connection. With such an argument, you really cannot define God as a “cause.” The creation would defy explanation, because one would have to exist in God’s reality to explain it. Thus, again, God creating the universe could not be proven. [End Response]

            Next, Lee, I want to respond to your following comment:

            “If God is all powerful, he could certainly take on a form that would enable him to reveal himself to us folks who are currently alive, and could show sufficient power to help us see that we are effectively powerless compared to his power. He could tell us things about ourselves that no one could possibly know but ourselves. He could show such an incredibly large amount of patience and forbearance in that he Would treat people kindly and generously (with charity) despite our thinking that he might really be an alien from space rather than truly a God, and despite our attempts to fight him with military force. He could make our military forces useless against him, and still show the love a father has for his children in how he then treats us. And he could do this with everyone instantaneously and concurrently, considering he has the ability to be omnipresent.”

            What you are missing here is my point that God seeks people who seek him. When you set up arbitrary criteria for how God should reveal himself (such as the above), you are basically asking God to jump through YOUR flaming hoops. God has already made the first move by making his existence overwhelmingly obvious, now it is YOUR move. You must take a step to SEEK him. If you do, it is certain that God will (at some point, not necessarily on YOUR time-frame) make himself more present to you. In fact, I submit that God will tell you things about yourself that not even you know about yourself. But you must seek him genuinely.

            Lee’s Response: Your criterion that God seeks people who seek him is the only arbitrary position being taken. Why should that be true… because your theology says so? That is the weakness of your position. A God who you can’t prove exists told someone back in history who founded your religion that God seeks those who seek him. However, my criterion is based on the human experience. All I know is how people treat me who say they love me. All I know is my own sense of what righteous love is and what righteous love is not. Righteous love is not silence, absence, or threat of divorce. Righteous love does not expect a person to seek it out with no hope of ever finding it, because it has purposefully hidden itself for some undisclosed or illogical reason. Righteous love does not require a person to first be genuine before revealing itself. Righteous love, as sensed by humans, must have human qualities, so that they can sense that it is righteous. Indeed, righteous love is as described by Paul, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” [End Response]

            Though I was raised in an Evangelical Christian Church, attended a Christian college, and was a diligent seeker of him through the last 20 plus years, there has been no response to me that I can detect, measure, or sense. I certainly had moments of feelings, but such feelings can be driven by my own desire and by psycho-emotional environments engineered by humans. You can say that he has done so for you, but until I see him with you and he provides direct evidence of his love for you, I have nothing to go on to differentiate you from a fraud, fake, or con artist. You can tell me all about scripture that says how much God loves me and tells me everything he has done for me. I could go along for a period of tie or for my whole life, believing this. But no one would be able to prove that my successes or failures, my health or illness, my prosperity or poverty is due to the presence or absence of any God. One would not be able to prove that God indeed loves me, though he has allowed some horrible thing to happen to me for some purpose. It would all be speculation without direct information from God himself regarding his omniscience/omnipotence, his love, his care, and his purpose. In point of fact, if you say that we can sense the existence of God through various evidences in the universe, I can say that there is evidence that everything is random or human driven or that God is actually chaotic and evil. [End Response]

            I further submit that refusing to accept the existence of God—until he takes on a physical form and grabs you by the lapels—is a way to avoid the inconvenience of having to accept the implications of having a higher power in authority over you.

            Lee’s Response: You are correct that it would be inconvenient to believe in a God who does not exist. It would also be inconvenient to give all of my money to the next con artist who comes along saying that they have authority from God, and God has told them that I am to give them all of my money. I would indeed be stupid to not recognize such authority (note the sarcasm). Why would a righteous God require me to subject myself to questionable authority, when such logic would subject me to all of the abundant evils of the world. You have said that God expects us to reason. Your position is not reasonable. Again, I ask you, are you a prophet? What is your authority to tell me that I must submit to a God who meets your definition? How can you prove to me that your definition is correct and that submitting would be in my best interest? Why wouldn’t just living a humanistic life, a good life in charity with my fellow man be an acceptable offering to such a God, even if such an offering was made in the doubt of whether such a God exists? [End Response]

            P.S: Our military forces already are useless against him. How would military forces be applied to a non-physical, timeless, omnipotent consciousness?

            Lee’s Response: Then I guess a second coming and millennial reign is out of the question.

            Again, I would love for the existence of a righteous God to be true. If God does exist and is righteous, I think he would take into account my living a life charity as described in liberal Christian doctrine (and, by the way, the liberal teachings of every religion in the world, except for Satanism, which, by definition, is counter humanity) and would accept the fact that human religion, to date, has been filled with evil men that use and abuse those who think God does not want them to reason, but just accept whatever the humans who are running His church are willing to dole out on them. In fact, is not this the reason why there are many religions: because men of good conscience have left the evil practices of their prior religions? So, now my religion is agnosticism, which allows me to live a liberal Christian life in doubt of the existence of God but knowing that it is the best life to live from a community and human interaction perspective, bowing to no religious human authority, nor providing any such body any of my resources. [End Response]

          • Lee,

            I will insert my replies between your (copied and pasted) comments in italics:

            Lee’s Response: The implication that, because God cannot be proven to exist, therefore nothing can be proven to exist is a non-sequitur logical fallacy. Do not confuse “doubt” with “measurement error.” The scientific method can be used to prove local, physical cause and effect laws, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and Force, and can prove such laws within the random error of measurement. This does not mean that such laws are exactly the same in every location in the universe. However, scientific laws are not required to be the same everywhere. Scientific laws are applicable to very specific conditions that are stipulated within the statement of the law. [End Response]

            Yes, “the implication that, because God cannot be proven to exist, therefore nothing can be proven to exist” is a “non-sequitur logical fallacy,” as you point out. But I have not implied anything of the sort. MY point is that because God’s existence can neither be proven nor disproven, it is a matter of preponderance of evidence rather than PROOF. You are creating a straw-man argument.

            Bo Jinn comments in Illogical Atheism:

            It is not enough to simply say “It was not God” in response to the question “Where did everything come from?” The atheist [or agnostic] must substitute another hypothesis in God’s place in order to justify his rejection of God, and furthermore he must provide evidence for that hypothesis.

            We have a set of facts, in which the corpse of victim ‘A’ was found at the scene of the crime. We have a prosecutor and the accused. The prosecutor’s job is to bring evidence to support the hypothesis that the accused killed victim ‘A’. Ask yourself; is it enough for the counsel for the defence to simply express skepticism toward all the evidence presented by the case for the prosecution? Obviously not. Assuming the suspect values his liberty, he might either provide an alternative explanation for how the victim was killed, or else demonstrate by way of an alibi that he couldn’t have possibly been the killer. Either way, abstinence from engaging the case isn’t going to get our suspect very far. Not only that, but the accused must provide his own evidence in support of his explanation. If the plaintiff can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the best explanation of the facts is the hypothesis that the accused murdered the victim, then the guilty verdict is produced.

            So, I will ask you point blank, Lee: WHAT IS YOUR EXPLANATION FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE?

            You state that “The scientific method can be used to prove local, physical cause and effect laws, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and Force…”

            In a previous comment, you wrote, “My argument is that I do not think that faith requires me to have a lack of information, and that no amount of evidence short of a test that actually detects the God causation can make up for the lack of information.”

            Jinn responds to this:

            Whatever the explanation for the universe is, it simply cannot logically be scientific. Because as soon as it becomes scientific, it becomes a part of the universe; and therefore ceases to be an explanation. We can understand this in the form of the following argument for the limits of science:

            Premise 1: The explanation for something ‘A’ cannot be ‘A’ itself. In other words; the statement “if ‘A’, then ‘A’” is a circular argument and not logically valid.

            Premise 2: Therefore, explanation for the universe cannot be the universe itself. One cannot say; “the universe is an explanation for the universe.”

            Premise 3: Science is concerned only with the universe.

            Conclusion: Therefore, science cannot explain the existence of the universe …Therefore, any recourse to scientific argumentation for or against the existence of God, or any claim to the effect that “science disproves God” is to indulge in the exercise of an epistemic category mistake. It would be like trying to find out the color of a physical object by tasting it. It is just not going to work.

            Another example of a category error would be the statement “most bananas are atheists.” This statement is a category error because bananas do not belong to a category of things which can be said to have beliefs.

            Lee, when you demand a “test that actually detects God”, you have provided a perfect example of the confusion of science and ontology that so thoroughly permeates atheist and agnostic thought. As Bo Jinn demonstrates above, the explanation for the existence of the universe cannot be directly produced by scientific measurement or observation. However, scientific knowledge can assist us in reaching an ontological conclusion. In other words, we can take what we have learned from science, and apply ontological reasoning to this scientific knowledge in order to reach a reasonable conclusion with regards to the explanation for the existence of the universe. Suggesting that the explanation for the existence of the universe could be produced directly by scientific proof is an epistemic category error, as Jinn points out.

            Physical laws such as Newton’s laws can be tested and observed directly by science because they are part the universe. The explanation for the universe cannot be part of the universe, and so cannot be tested and observed directly. It can only, ultimately, be accessed through reason. Thus, by demanding a “test that actually detects God” (or some other explanation for the existence of the universe) you have made an epistemic category error.


            Lee’s Response: True, the laws and theories of physics are all based upon the ability to measure position in space, which has two assumptions associated with it. Both of these assumptions require existence, the lack of which would make the laws of physics moot. Also, if I do not exist, then I do not have a God who created me, so it does not really matter if God exists. The entire point of God’s existence would be moot.
            [End Response]

            But you believe that you exist, and so the question of God’s existence is not moot.

            Lee’s Response: There is no need for faith that the messages that I write are written by me. Though you cannot prove at the very moment of reading that I have written this reply, whether I have written it can be falsified. We can arrange a time to meet somewhere where I can confirm to you that this reply was actually written by me. You can also observe at that very meeting that I can write messages by watching me write more messages. Such is not the case with God. The best you can get is someone claiming to have written messages that they say were given to them by God. They can even demonstrate to you by writing a message in front of your very eyes that they say is being given to them in their mind that very moment from God. However, unless you see someone claiming to be God writing the message, and unless that being also provides information indicating that being’s omniscience and omnipotence it is not proof of God. [End Response]

            Yes, there is a need for faith in the assumption that the messages were written by you. Even such basic assumptions are made on faith and can be exposed to doubt. For example, how could you prove that both you and I did not just pop into existence 5 minutes ago with all of our present memories? How can you prove that you and I are actually living, breathing people, as opposed to a brains in a vat being stimulated by a mad scientist? You can’t.

            Once again, most people would accept that we did not just pop into existence 5 minutes ago and that we are actually living, breathing people. But, even though most people would accept this, it cannot be proven.

            Lee’s Response: As I stated above, evidence that I have written messages can be gathered directly from me. No such evidence exists that anything came directly from God. Though you speak of preponderance, you can’t even come up with one direct evidence of God’s existence. [End Response]

            Lee, you apparently haven’t read any of the other essays at this website. (Please note that I don’t blame you for this because you are probably very busy like most people). God’s existence is by far the most reasonable conclusion that can be reached by taking what we know from science and from experience, and applying ontological reasoning. Below is a copy and paste of a few introductory pieces of evidence that I presented to another commenter:

            1) The mind-boggling specificity which was necessary to produce a universe capable of producing intelligent life (as I describe in Is there a God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and OK…I want numbers. What is the probability that our world is the result of chance?

            In fact, the majority of astrophysicists accept theistic or deistic explanations for the origin of our universe for these reasons. A citation from the first above essay:

            Anyone who probes into the origins of our universe soon becomes overwhelmed by the evidence that “the universe is a put-up job” (or, the product of deliberate, conscious intent), in the words of Cambridge University physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle.

            So compelling, in fact, has become the case for the universe as the product of a conscious creator that astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God) that:

            “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”

            2) The evidence from modern physics, as presented in God is real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism. A couple excerpts:

            Virtually everyone is familiar with the popular conundrum, “Which came first…the chicken or the egg?” But probably very few people realize that the question of God’s existence, in a very real sense, boils down to what is likely the ultimate chicken-or-the-egg conundrum: Which came first, mind or matter? In other words, is mind (or “consciousness”) the product of matter, or is matter the product of mind? Is our universe—at its core—a material universe, or is it a mental (or spiritual) universe?

            Well…when Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory) says…

            “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

            and Albert Einstein says…

            “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

            and the Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner says…

            “When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again; it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness,”

            and

            “The content of consciousness is an ultimate reality.”

            and the great physicist Sir Arthur Eddington says…

            “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”
            [“Logos” is defined as “the word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order.”]

            and the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans says (in his book The Mysterious Universe)…

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”(italics added)

            …there can be no question on which side of this debate modern physics falls.

            3) The evidence from experience, as presented (in part) in Has anyone met God and returned to tell about it?. Albert Einstein said that “the only source of knowledge is experience.” Even scientific knowledge is really just an accumulation of experiential knowledge. A couple excerpts from the above essay:

            An entire field of research has sprung up to analyze the near-death experience (NDE) phenomenon. Researchers from the fields of medicine and psychology have come together to form the International Association of Near- Death Studies (IANDS, website iands.org) and the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF, website: nderf.org).

            In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

            “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

            “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

            In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

            Evidence for the Afterlife by Jeffrey Long, MD cites, “Reunion with deceased loved ones and with God, angels, Jesus” as one of the most frequently reported phenomena from NDEs.

            Lee’s Response: It only makes the most sense to a person who has been raised within the context of the Catholic Christian tradition (Catholic/Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical). None of the above quotes consider Restorationist Christian theology (mostly American in formation), and none of them consider the theologies of non-Christian religious traditions. The argument above is all very Renaissance European. I feel that you are using an “Appealing to Authority” logical fallacy. I do not put any more validity in the word of a renowned scientist than I put in your words. Regardless of who makes the argument, the argument must be sound and logical. [End Response]

            I just don’t see how citing different schools of theology has any relevance to this discussion. Could you please elaborate?

            You are misunderstand the “Appealing to Authority” logical fallacy. This logical fallacy is only committed when one argues that a point must be true purely because an expert or experts say so. In other words, the fallacy is committed when one presents an expert’s opinion without also presenting the reasoning behind that opinion. So, for example, imagine that I was trying to argue that smoking is dangerous to your health. If I cited the following, would I be committing the “Appeal to Authority” logical fallacy?”:

            SURGEON GENERAL WARNING: Smoking causes heart disease, lung cancer, and my complicate pregnancy.

            No, of course I wouldn’t be committing the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority, because I am not merely arguing that smoking is dangerous because an expert (the Surgeon General) says so. Rather, I am arguing that smoking is dangerous because scientific data, as REASONABLY interpreted by experts, suggests that smoking is dangerous. This reasoning must be evaluated, and cannot merely be accepted because certain experts accept it.

            I have noticed that atheists and agnostics frequently cite such “logical fallacies” in an attempt to sweep information under the rug which is inconvenient to their beliefs.

            In point of fact, if you say that we can sense the existence of God through various evidences in the universe, I can say that there is evidence that everything is random or human driven or that God is actually chaotic and evil.[End Response]

            Yes, you could certainly say this, but could you actually produce any logic to support your claim? As I point out in Why God? Why not just plain luck?, chance can only work upon an underlying structure, or order. For example, pure luck (alone) cannot explain how a person can win the lottery. In order for a person to win the lottery, there must first be a lottery, and there must first be such a thing as money to win. The lottery and monetary system are the underlying structure (or order) upon which chance operates.

            Lee’s Response: You are correct that it would be inconvenient to believe in a God who does not exist. It would also be inconvenient to give all of my money to the next con artist who comes along saying that they have authority from God, and God has told them that I am to give them all of my money. I would indeed be stupid to not recognize such authority (note the sarcasm). Why would a righteous God require me to subject myself to questionable authority, when such logic would subject me to all of the abundant evils of the world. You have said that God expects us to reason. Your position is not reasonable. Again, I ask you, are you a prophet? What is your authority to tell me that I must submit to a God who meets your definition? How can you prove to me that your definition is correct and that submitting would be in my best interest? Why wouldn’t just living a humanistic life, a good life in charity with my fellow man be an acceptable offering to such a God, even if such an offering was made in the doubt of whether such a God exists?[End Response]

            When you ask, “What is your authority to tell me that I must submit to a God who meets [my] definition?”, you are implying that I am trying to support my arguments by weight of my own authority. But this is another straw man argument. I am supporting my arguments with reasoning, not by trying to assume some position of authority.

            Why wouldn’t it be acceptable offering to God to life a “humanistic” life while doubting the existence of God? Because by fashioning your own morals and ignoring the existence of God, and God’s laws, you would be rejecting God.

            Lee’s Response: Then I guess a second coming and millennial reign is out of the question.

            Here, I do not know what you are talking about. Could you please elaborate?

            Again, I would love for the existence of a righteous God to be true. If God does exist and is righteous, I think he would take into account my living a life charity as described in liberal Christian doctrine (and, by the way, the liberal teachings of every religion in the world, except for Satanism, which, by definition, is counter humanity) and would accept the fact that human religion, to date, has been filled with evil men that use and abuse those who think God does not want them to reason, but just accept whatever the humans who are running His church are willing to dole out on them. In fact, is not this the reason why there are many religions: because men of good conscience have left the evil practices of their prior religions? So, now my religion is agnosticism, which allows me to live a liberal Christian life in doubt of the existence of God but knowing that it is the best life to live from a community and human interaction perspective, bowing to no religious human authority, nor providing any such body any of my resources.[End Response]

            Yes, there is no doubt about it…human religion (to the extent that “religion” is a meaningful term) has been filled with evil men. This would include the religions of atheism and agnosticism. If, as the Bible says, human beings have an evil nature, then it should be of no surprise that people would insert evil into ALL religions…Christianity being no exception.

            Lee, I think the key words in your above comment are “allows me to live a liberal Christian life.” I suspect that your doubts are fueled by the desire to live your life on your own terms and fashion your own morals. You don’t like the idea of having to answer to a higher authority. This is one of the primary motivators of atheism and agnosticism.

          • You lost me on this last response when you said that I am “creating a straw-man argument.” I have done nothing of the sort. Though you deny it, you did make a non-sequitur argument when you said (bold text highlighting where you fell off the logic wagon), “I fully agree with you here. God can neither be completely proven nor disproved. But, if you think about it, there is virtually NOTHING in human experience that can be proven.” I then pointed out how science actually does prove things within the context of how the scientific method works.

            You have greatly mistaken my motivation. I did not come here to debate with you in order to tally a score at the end to see who won. I am truly looking for a reasonable, logical, infallible explanation of the existence of God. I identify logical fallacies in your reasoning in order to try to get you to provide a more reasonable, logical, infallible explanation for the existence of a God. Instead of rising to the occasion, you have sunk into double talk. You use political debate tactics rather than Christian instruction and edification. This is not “reasoning together.” For it to be reasoning together, you must be willing to admit when your logic is flawed, and you must be willing to admit when you do not really know the answer. Perhaps then, and only then, can we both be edified.

            If you wish to continue the discussion and hope to win me over, then please review and revise your last response to be more in line with a spirit of openness and truth. Also, please do not quote from other people’s writings anymore. In general, I find such writings to be nothing but political dogma. You can certainly paraphrase in order to put information you glean from such writings within the context of a logical statement.

          • Lee,

            Please give me an example of something that science has “proven.” You cited Newton’s laws as having been “proven.” But Newton’s laws have shown to be highly provisional. In other words, Newton’s laws have been shown by more recent science to be just special cases rather than universal laws.

            In particular, Newton’s laws have been shown to not apply at the subatomic level. This is what necessitated the advent quantum physics, which tries to explain physics at the subatomic level. Newton’s laws also have been shown to not apply at speeds approaching the speed of light and with strong gravitational fields. This is what necesitated Einstein’s theory of relativity.

            Further, some scientists have speculated that the laws of physics could be different at different parts of the universe. Nobody has PROVEN that the laws of physics which we experience here are the same at all points in the universe. So what exactly has been PROVEN about Newton’s laws (or any other science for that matter)?!

            I recommend a book titled The Trouble With Physics by physicist Lee Smolin.

            If you study the history of science, you will see that ALL scientific theories are provisional (subject to being superseded). For example, Newtonian physics superseded Aristotelian physics. An excerpt from the Wikipedia post for “Aristotelian Physics”:

            According to Aristotle, the elements which compose the terrestrial spheres are different from the one that composes the celestial spheres.[2] He believed that four elements make up everything under the moon (the terrestrial): earth, air, fire and water.[a][3] He also held that the heavens are made of a special, fifth element called “aether”,[3] which is weightless and “incorruptible” (which is to say, it doesn’t change).[3] Aether is also known by the name “quintessence”—literally, “fifth substance”.[4]

            Did Aristotle ever “prove” that “everything under the moon” is composed of the elements of “earth, air, fire, and water”? No, because what he did was present a PROVISIONAL scientific theory. And much like Aristotle’s physics, Newton’s physics have proven to be just that…a PROVISIONAL scientific theory.

            You accuse me of making the “non-sequitur” argument that “because God cannot be proven to exist, nothing can be proven to exist.” But since I have in fact never made such an argument, you are committing a straw-man fallacy.

            But let’s not get sidetracked. You said that you are “truly looking for a reasonable, logical, infallible explanation of the existence of God.” I can provide a reasonable and logical demonstration for the existence of God. Have you read the essays that I have cited in my previous comments? If not, why don’t you go ahead and do that so that we can discuss any objections you may have.

            Regarding a bullet-proof, infallible proof for the existence of God…such a thing cannot be produced. However, an infallible proof for ANY explanation for the existence of the universe cannot be proved. As I said, it is a matter of preponderance of evidence…as in a murder trial (as I detailed in one of my previous comments).

            You say, “please do not quote from other people’s writings anymore. In general, I find such writings to be nothing but political dogma.” So, the writings of physicists (such as Einstein, Planck, etc.) that I quote are “nothing but political dogma”? The logical arguements I cite from Bo Jinn are nothing but “political dogma”?

            Here, you are trying to substitute a characterization of an argument in the place of a rationally constructed rebuttal to an argument. Merely making a characterization (“political dogma”) of an argument can never substitute for a REBUTTAL to an argument. If this were acceptable, rational discourse would be impossible.

            If you are truly a truth-seeker (and I hope that you are), then you will respond with rationally constructed rebuttals (so that we can have a rational discussion). Trying to get around arguments that are inconvenient to your worldview with characterizations (“political dogma”), and with arbitrarily imposed restrictions (no quoting other people) is harmful to rational discourse.

          • By the way, I could not help but read your last sentence. “I suspect that your doubts are fueled by the desire to live your life on your own terms and fashion your own morals. You don’t like the idea of having to answer to a higher authority. This is one of the primary motivators of atheism and agnosticism.” One great non-Christian failing of many Christians is to judge other people, completely contrary to the liberal teaching of the New Testament to (and I paraphrase) “do not judge, or else you will be judged in this same way by God.” And yes, this is a liberal teaching, as opposed to conservative pseudo-Christian dogma that drives many so-called Christians to judge other people today. You do not know me. I have lived with Christian values my whole life. Though I have sinned (as defined by the Christian tradition… and who hasn’t), I try everyday to closely model a Christ-like life, trying to keep biblical commandments because I believe them to be the right thing to do and the best way to live. I even paid 10% tithe for most of my life, which is likely more than can be said for most “active” Christians. So you are wrong when you say that I am trying to avoid being subject to a higher authority. Though I readily admit that I will never be subject to and misled by another human authority who claims know the truth, when in reality, they are enriching themselves through the preaching of “fried froth.” You are also wrong when you imply that the teachings of Christ are not “liberal.” His teachings were very liberal in his day, and they are very liberal when compared to today’s political Christian right-wing. So, are you converted to Christ or to a political party?

            In addition to ceasing the double-talk and avoidance strategies, you also must cease this accusation game if you wish to have any hope of keeping me engaged in discussion long enough for you to find your way to a convincing argument that would reduce my doubt of God’s existence.

          • Lee,

            I really can’t judge you for wanting to live your life on your own terms and fashion your own morals. This is because, like all other human beings I ALSO have the desire to live life on MY own terms and fashion MY own morals.

            But I have realized that this is not a good idea. I am trying to get you to realize this too. When we humans try to fashion our own morals, we just get ourselves into trouble and ruin our lives.

            You may be surprised to learn that, when you say that Christ’s teachings were liberal, I actually think that you are not going far enough. Christ’s teachings were RADICAL, not merely liberal. The Romans of Christ’s day, for example, believed that a person’s worth as a human being was determined by such things as their social status. A person who had “face” (social status) would, for example, get more leniency in the court system…as a matter of official policy. It was Christ who introduced the RADICAL teaching which said that all people have an intrinsic worth in God’s eyes. A person with more social status does not have more intrinsic worth than a person with less social status.

            Yes, there is no doubt about it…the Christian right-wing does not always do Christ’s teachings a favor. Perverting God’s word to fit our own view of the world is one of the things that we humans do best. Our fallen nature causes us to pervert EVERYTHING, Christ’s teachings being NO EXCEPTION. Prior to the civil war, for example, some “Christians” even tried to use a perverted interpretation of the Bible to support slavery.

            But the solution to bad Christianity is GOOD Christianity, not NO Christianity.

            Please do not interpret any of my comments as an “accusation game.” I will admit that I am not always the most tactful person…tact is not one of my strong suits.

            If any of my logic is flawed, I just ask that you point out how it is flawed. I encourage you to read more of the essays at this site if you are truly seeking evidence for God’s existence.

            Scott

          • You said, “I really can’t judge you for wanting to live your life on your own terms and fashion your own morals,” and “Perverting God’s word to fit our own view of the world is one of the things that we humans do best. Our fallen nature causes us to pervert EVERYTHING, Christ’s teachings being NO EXCEPTION.”

            This is the heart of the matter, isn’t it? I AM living my life in accordance with the teachings of the Bible (I do not pay a tithe right now, but some would argue that was a commandment of the Mosaic Law and the Prophets that was fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice). And yet, because I cannot say that I know God exists and that Jesus Christ is risen and is my eternal savior, Christians are willing to judge me by saying that I am living my own set of morals. Considering, as you said, that we humans pervert everything, who is to say that any Christian organization or movement has interpreted the teachings of Christ correctly? Why would my interpretation of the morals taught in the New Testament be more perverted than any organized Christian religion or any individual Christian? You guys can’t even agree among yourselves. Essentially, you and all other Christians have no basis for saying that I have gotten it wrong, because you are speaking from a position of your own self-acknowledged fallen state. Just because I have doubt and voice my doubt does not mean I am anti-Christ. I am all for the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, if indeed they all were his original teachings, considering that the gospels were written by people who did not even know him, and who were also humans in a fallen state. So, in this context, if there is a God, am I saved in my doubt? Does the grace of Jesus Christ cover me? Again, various interpretations by fallen humans of Biblical teachings come to different conclusions on this matter.

            It would appear that God, if he exists, has given us an unsolvable problem. We do not have enough information. So how does this get resolved? Considering that this same conundrum exists with every individual, I would suggest that more information directly from God to every individual human is what would be required. And until that happens, every human who has ever lived on the Earth and will ever live on the Earth should not be subject to a judgment. Such a judgment would be unrighteous, because there is no basis, no standard set of rules that everyone knows to be authoritative. Again, because we humans are in a fallen state and so could not possibly get all of the laws correct based upon a book that was written by people who are no longer alive and which has not authoritative Supreme Court for its interpretation, God must be present and in active, visible control of his moral commandments for anyone to really know what it is that any individual should be doing to please God, and thus gain a favorable judgment.

            My own position is that, if there is a God, and it is the Biblical God, I will have a chance to bow my knee at his presentation and acknowledge the touch of his Holy Spirit that tells me at that very moment that he is truly God, acknowledging at that moment that Jesus Christ is my savior. That appears to be the minimum Biblical standard for being saved. I would also think that this ability would also apply to the Buddhist, the Muslim, the pagan native, and the most hardened atheist.

            So, why does God not just show himself? Regarding the Christian tradition, I must conclude that either God does not exist or that everyone who acknowledges his authority and accepts the atonement of Jesus Christ at any time, even after death, even at the very judgment seat, is saved.

          • Lee:

            You say, “Who is to say that any Christian organization or movement has interpreted the teachings of Christ correctly? Why would my interpretation of the morals taught in the New Testament be more perverted than any organized Christian religion or any individual Christian? You guys can’t even agree among yourselves. Essentially, you and all other Christians have no basis for saying that I have gotten it wrong, because you are speaking from a position of your own self-acknowledged fallen state.”

            There are certainly areas where Christians disagree with each other, but the Christian Bible does not leave much ambiguity with regards to many moral issues. The Ten Commandments, for example, are very explicit and do not leave much wiggle-room for interpretation.

            Recently, I have been reading Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller. I found the following excerpt to be very valuable:

            In Romans 1: 21-25 Saint Paul shows that idolatry is not only one sin among many, but what is fundamentally wrong with the human heart:

            For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. . . . They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator. Romans 1: 21, 25

            Paul goes on to make a long list of sins that create misery and evil in the world, but they all find their roots in this soil, the inexorable human drive for “god-making.” In other words, idolatry is always the reason we ever do anything wrong. No one grasped this better than Martin Luther. In his Large Catechism (1529) and in his Treatise on Good Works he wrote that the Ten Commandments begin with a commandment against idolatry. Why does this come first? Because, he argued, the fundamental motivation behind lawbreaking is idolatry. We never break the other commandments without breaking the first one.

            Why do we fail to love or keep promises or live unselfishly? Of course, the general answer is “because we are weak and sinful,” but the specific answer in any actual circumstance is that there is something you feel you must have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God himself. We would not lie unless we first had made something—-human approval, reputation, power over others, financial advantage—-more important and valuable to our hearts than the grace and favor of God. The secret to change is to identify and dismantle the counterfeit gods of your heart.

            Unfortunately, many people (including many Christians) think that following Christianity means obeying a set of rules. This is what is sometimes termed “legalism,” and it is very easy to fall for. I myself have fallen for it in the past.

            Keller goes on to point out that counterfeit Gods ALWAYS disappoint:

            In the late 1980s, Cynthia Heimel wrote, “The minute a person becomes a celebrity is the same minute he/ she becomes a monster,” and then gave the names of three well-known Hollywood stars she had known before they became famous. They had been “once perfectly pleasant human beings . . . now they have become supreme beings and their wrath is awful.” She went on to say that under the pressure of fame and celebrity all your character flaws and miseries become twice as bad as they were before. 18 You might be curious who these 1980s stars were, but you don’t need to know that. Right now, there are any number of “boldface names” living out the same patterns on the front pages of the newspapers. The names change but the pattern is permanent.

            The Inevitability of Idolatry Why is getting your heart’s deepest desire so often a disaster? In the book of Romans, Saint Paul wrote that one of the worst things God can do to someone is to “give them over to the desires of their hearts” (Romans 1: 24). Why would the greatest punishment imaginable be to allow someone to achieve their fondest dream? It is because our hearts fashion these desires into idols. In that same chapter, Paul summarized the history of the human race in one sentence: “They worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1: 25).

            Lee, I like to compare human beings to moths. You have no doubt seen moths (and other bugs), at night, attracted to light bulbs. The moth seems to think that if he can just get to the source of the light, his desires will be fulfilled. But, in truth, there is nothing there that can satisfy the moth.

            We humans—much like a moth trying to get to the source of the light—think that if we just had enough money, enough sex, enough power, etc….then we would be satisfied. And it is true that these things can bring a high measure of satisfaction, but ultimately, they leave us unfulfilled and empty. Have you ever read what happens to lottery winners? Many of them wind up on drugs and miserable. Many say that winning the lottery was the worst thing that ever happened to them. Click here to read an article about how winning the lottery can actually make people miserable.

            So my main point is that, instead of trying to live your life by a rule book, you (and I, and everyone else) should try to satisfy ONE rule (seek God first) and then the other rules will fall into place. Trying to obey a set of rules when your heart is pursuing a false god (like money, sex, power, recognition, etc.) is destined to be a frustrating and futile pursuit.

            When you say, “It would appear that God, if he exists, has given us an unsolvable problem. We do not have enough information.” I could not disagree more. The evidence for God is absolutely overwhelming. It is not easy for me to present this evidence in the context of a comment reply, so I am going to insist that you read the essays which I mentioned before. Have you read them?

            Let me give you a few tidbits in order to motivate you to read the essays: The overwhelming nature of the evidence for the existence of God is perhaps best illustrated by the desperate lengths that atheists will go to in order to avoid the evidence.

            As I mention in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, extremely prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick have resorted to citing intervention from space aliens in order to explain the origin of life from non-living matter. Click here to view Dawkins endorsing the hypothesis in an interview and click here to view a description of Crick’s endorsement of the idea in his book Life Itself. Please also read How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading, as it is a closely related essay.

            In Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?), I cite the Imperial College of London astrophysicist C.J. Isham:

            “Perhaps the best argument…that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas…being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his or her theory.”

            What sort of “scientific” ideas is Isham referring to? Well, take the idea presented by atheist physicist Lawrence Krauss that the universe emerged from nothing. Not only is this idea unscientific (since the methods of science and scientific instruments will never be able to analyze nothing), but it violates a basic rule of logic. What rule of logic am I referring to? The rule that, from nothing, only nothing comes. The atheist philosopher David Hume (perhaps the most important atheist philosopher of all time) admitted that he regretted his decision to assert that something could come from nothing when he said, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause.”

            Below, I will copy and paste the ENTIRE content of the essay titled OK…I Want Numbers. What is the Probability that the Universe is the Result of Chance?, so that you do not even need to click on it:

            “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

            –Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle

            .

            “Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”

            –Former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science Owen Gingerich, who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich is here reflecting on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.

            —————————————-

            The reader of the essay entitled Is There A God (What is the Chance the World is the Result of Chance?) may be interested in knowing some hard numbers with regard to the probability that the universe occurred randomly (i.e. no conscious creator involved). Oxford University professor of mathematics John Lennox quotes renowned Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose:

            “Try to imagine phase space… of the entire universe. Each point in this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a ‘pin’ — which is to be placed at some point in phase space… Each different positioning of the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator’s aim depends on the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be relatively ‘easy’ to produce a high entropy universe, since then there would be a large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. But in order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy — so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics — the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result?”

            Lennox goes on to cite Penrose’s answer:

            “His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power or 123, that is 1 followed by 10 to the 123rd power zeros.”

            As Penrose puts it, that is a “number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe, there would not even be enough particles to do the job.”

            And the only alternative to the universe arising from chance is for it to have arisen deliberately. Deliberate action requires a conscious creator (read: God). And for those who are still tempted to conclude that our universe is just the result of a very extremely improbable accident, I explain in Why God? Why not just plain luck? why bare probability (chance), alone, can never cause anything….let alone the creation of a universe.

            Lee, since you have asserted that “we do not have enough information” to convincingly demonstrate the existence of God, I AM GOING TO VERY FORCEFULLY INSIST THAT YOU LOGICALLY AND SPECIFICALLY POINT OUT HOW THE ABOVE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE “ENOUGH EVIDENCE.”

            In a previous comment, you tried to dismiss this evidence as “appeal to authority,” but I demonstrated how you have misapplied this logical fallacy. Merely citing authorities in support of one’s argument does not constitute “appeal to authority.” In order to commit this logical fallacy, one must assert that their stance must be correct merely because an authority (or authorities) say so. But the above evidence is not merely based upon expert opinion. It is based upon research and mathematical calculation. YOU MUST RESPOND TO THIS EVIDENCE. YOU CANNOT MERELY DISMISS THIS EVIDENCE IN A CASUAL MANNER AND STILL ASSERT THAT YOU HAVE A LOGICAL BASIS FOR DENYING THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.

            You write, “Because we humans are in a fallen state and so could not possibly get all of the laws correct based upon a book that was written by people who are no longer alive and which has not authoritative Supreme Court for its interpretation, God must be present and in active, visible control of his moral commandments for anyone to really know what it is that any individual should be doing to please God, and thus gain a favorable judgment.”

            But God’s laws do not exist only in the Bible. Rather, they exist in your own heart. An excerpt from Aren’t All Truths, All Morals, Relative?

            …But this is not our only avenue to discovering the existence of moral absolutes. Perhaps the best place to search for them is inside of your own mind. What do I mean by this? The late Oxford professor and author C.S. Lewis provides a very eloquent answer in his book Mere Christianity:

            Everyone has heard people quarreling. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”–”Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm.”–”Come on, you promised.”

            Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard…It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality…about which they are agreed.

            In other words, if there weren’t a universal moral law, I could come over to your house, smash your fingers with a hammer, and then merely claim that it fits within my morality to do so when you expressed your outrage. There is not and never has been a culture in which this behavior (or many other such immoral behaviors) would be considered acceptable. Indeed, being a scholar of antiquity, Lewis was eminently qualified to observe that, “if anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teachings of say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own.”

            Finally, you write:

            “My own position is that, if there is a God, and it is the Biblical God, I will have a chance to bow my knee at his presentation and acknowledge the touch of his Holy Spirit that tells me at that very moment that he is truly God, acknowledging at that moment that Jesus Christ is my savior. That appears to be the minimum Biblical standard for being saved. I would also think that this ability would also apply to the Buddhist, the Muslim, the pagan native, and the most hardened atheist.”

            Do I know that you will not have such a chance after death? Of course I don’t. But if you spend your life pursuing false gods, what convincing reason is there to assume that you will be given such a chance? Is it really worth the risk…considering that pursuing false gods only leaves you ultimately empty?

          • Note that this is my second recent post. Make sure you read the one just before this one. Our discussion seems to have split into two threads, one (let’s call it Thread 1) being from the perspective of the philosophy of religion and the other (let’s call it Thread 2) being from the perspective of the philosophy of science. I would like to continue both discussions with you as separate discussions. Let’s not mix the two, considering that I think that a religious proof cannot be used for science and a scientific proof cannot be used for religion. From here on out, I will type “Thread 1” or Thread 2” at the beginning of each post, so we can keep the separate discussions within their separate contexts.
            Thread 2
            Scott, You said, “Please give me an example of something that science has “proven.” You cited Newton’s laws as having been “proven.” But Newton’s laws have shown to be highly provisional. In other words, Newton’s laws have been shown by more recent science to be just special cases rather than universal laws. In particular, Newton’s laws have been shown to not apply at the subatomic level. This is what necessitated the advent quantum physics, which tries to explain physics at the subatomic level. Newton’s laws also have been shown to not apply at speeds approaching the speed of light and with strong gravitational fields. This is what necesitated Einstein’s theory of relativity. Further, some scientists have speculated that the laws of physics could be different at different parts of the universe. Nobody has PROVEN that the laws of physics which we experience here are the same at all points in the universe. So what exactly has been PROVEN about Newton’s laws (or any other science for that matter)?!”
            To give you more of my background, I am a physicist. I have a knowledge of (or, at least have my own interpretation of) the physics that has been developed to date. I also have what I would say is a better-than-average understanding of the philosophy of science, even compared to the population of scientists. Most scientists I know have not given any thought to science as a philosophy, but only think about their own specific scientific discipline. Any given scientist, when asked about whether scientific law is universal or not, would more likely say “yes,” and this only because they haven’t really thought about it and they are only basing their answer on having heard someone else say that scientific law is universal. I have purposefully studied the philosophy of science and, within this philosophy, the scientific method and the model of theorizing. I have a different understanding.
            Scott, you are trying to make the scientific method do more than it was designed to be able to do. You would be correct that the scientific method is a failure if the standard is indeed that it must be able to produce universal laws. You did not read the entirety of my previous post. I said, “Do not confuse doubt with measurement error. The scientific method can be used to prove local, physical cause and effect laws, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and Force, and can prove such laws within the random error of measurement. This does not mean that such laws are exactly the same in every location in the universe. However, scientific laws are not required to be the same everywhere. Scientific laws are applicable to very specific conditions that are stipulated within the statement of the law.”
            I think you, and many scientists, are confusing scientific law with scientific theory. There is a difference between them. Scientific laws are proofs of local cause-effect pairs under a limited set of specified conditions. Scientific theories are broad, conjectural statements that are based upon a collection of scientific laws. So, whereas scientific laws are NOT universal and are not in doubt within measurement error and within the context of their stated conditions, scientific theories TEND TO BE universal statements that have lots of doubt inasmuch as their scientific law basis is patchy and filled with holes.
            Let’s do some thought experiments. Let us say that we wish to establish a scientific theory for the existence of God. What scientific laws would be used as the basis for this God theory? I am familiar with the theory of intelligent design. I am also familiar with the multiverse theory. My position regarding theories of the creation of the universe is that they are all filled with far too many un-testable holes that will never have any scientific laws to patch them up. It is not creation theories that I am wanting to discuss. I am asking about a scientific theory of God him-/her-/itself. What experiment would we perform to detect God such that we could establish a scientific law that could be used to support a God theory?

          • Lee:

            You write, “Let’s do some thought experiments. Let us say that we wish to establish a scientific theory for the existence of God. What scientific laws would be used as the basis for this God theory? I am familiar with the theory of intelligent design. I am also familiar with the multiverse theory. My position regarding theories of the creation of the universe is that they are all filled with far too many un-testable holes that will never have any scientific laws to patch them up. It is not creation theories that I am wanting to discuss. I am asking about a scientific theory of God him-/her-/itself. What experiment would we perform to detect God such that we could establish a scientific law that could be used to support a God theory?”

            I am aware of the distinction between scientific theories and scientific laws. However, I do not think this distinction is very important for the purposes of this discussion. This gets back to what I mentioned in a previous comment about the confusion of science and philosophy (specifically ontology). It also relates to your comment about “trying to make the scientific method do more than it was designed to be able to do.”

            When you ask “What experiment would we perform to detect God?…”, you are confusing science and philosophy. God cannot be “detected” because science only “detects” things that are part of the physical/natural universe. But theists do not assert that God is part of the physical/natural universe. Rather, he is the CAUSE of the physical/natural universe. An excerpt from Bo Jinn’s book Illogical Atheism:

            The law of gravity and Newton’s Laws of motion are to God and the universe what binary strings and electronics are to Alan Turing and the computer processor.   Function and agency account for two entirely different explanations as to how and why something exists. Aristotle explained this over two thousand years ago: Aristotle’s treatises on physics, metaphysics and ethics all revolved around his centerpiece theory of “The 4 Causes”.  Aristotle stated that everything in the universe could be understood in terms of:  

            A formal cause, a material cause, an efficient cause and a final cause.  

            Science accounts for only two of those causes; the formal and the material.  

            If we were to apply Aristotle’s theory to the Harrier jump jet in the allegory above:                    

            -The Harrier’s material causes are the components from which it was constructed.                  

            -Its formal causes are the laws of mechanics, aerodynamics and internal combustion.                  

            -Its efficient causes are Ralph Hooper, Sir Sydney Camm and Sir Stanley Hooker [the aircraft’s designers]                

            -Its final cause is to be flown in dogfights.

            Only the first of those categories of causes were open to the scientists in the story. Only the first two of those categories are open to science in the study of the universe. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. On the Aristotelian model, at least; a cause implies all four causes, not just two.   What the “God of the Gaps” argument basically does is misattribute the wrong causes to God. That is Dawkins’ first mistake. His second mistake is that he then proceeds to dictate that science can explain all the formal and material causes behind the universe (ie. Fill in all the gaps). The efficient and final causes (agency) which comprise God’s actual role are left completely neglected since, as Dawkins maintains; the universe has no final purpose. Ergo, the “theory” of God is not meant to fill the same gaps that science is meant to fill.  The God of the Gaps argument is, once again, constructed on a category mistake. We can reduce the argument to its logical format in order to pinpoint the mistake:

            Premise 1: God is an explanation for how the universe works

            Premise 2: Science is also an explanation for how the universe works

            Premise 3: As science explains more, God explains less

            Premise 4: Therefore, as science advances, God retreats.

            Premise 5: Science is advancing.

            Conclusion: God is retreating.

            The argument blatantly confuses the explanatory power of God with the explanatory power of science. God is a causative explanation for why the world is (A final and efficient cause), not how the world works (material and formal cause). This has always been the monotheistic view. In fact, the God of the gaps argument is somewhat suicidal on the Aristotelian model, since if something works it logically follows that it has a material and formal cause, and therefore also a final and efficient cause. And this isn’t just my reasoning either; this was the logic of virtually all of the patriarchs of modern science. People like Isaac Newton, Thomas Bayes, Kepler, Bacon, Leibniz, Faraday, Lord Kelvin, Max Plank and even Einstein; these were all men who saw no conflict whatsoever between science and God.  

            On the contrary, their science was driven by their belief in a creative God. As the immortal C.S. Lewis put it: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in law giver.”  

            For this reason, most atheist philosophers today are compelled to reject the Aristotelian model. To even suggest that science can be done is to imply intelligibility, and intelligibility implies intelligence. In other words, if science could not be done, it would logically imply that there is no order in the universe and it would actually lend to atheism. The fact that we can do science at all flies in the face of the supposed purposelessness of the universe. The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible at all- that it functions according to an apparent order [as Albert Einstein pointed out].

            Lee, in your reply to your question, “What scientific laws would be used as the basis for this God theory?”, the only answer can be ALL LAWS (scientific, moral, etc.).

            How could there be laws without a lawgiver?! An excerpt from my post titled Riddles for Atheists is pertinent to this topic:

            How can an inanimate thing be made to follow a law? (Such as the laws of physics, chemistry, or thermodynamics). How can such a structure of laws (or “regularities” if you prefer) that govern the universe exist in a truly random world? Please note that this is a question that science can never answer because it is not a scientific question. Rather, it is an ontological question.

            In the theistic model, it is immediately obvious why matter follows natural laws: The same mind that creates matter (God’s mind) also directs it. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it: “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added]

            Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it: “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

            Or, as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

            What answer does the atheistic model provide to the question of how an inanimate thing can be compelled to follow a law? Only various versions of “matter follows laws because it just does.” But matter following laws because it just does is an arbitrary assumption that points to a grave explanatory failure of the atheistic model.

            Scott

          • Scott,
            Please do not forget that I am not your enemy. I am honestly seeking for an answer. However the answer must be demonstrable within human reason. I would like for us to try to keep the religion and science arguments separate. Religion and science are two different philosophies that were developed based upon different proof methodology. When the scientific method was developed, it was specifically developed to be different from any other pursuit of human reasoning, and specifically different from religious method. Humans run into problems when we try to mix the two methodologies. Though many people have lived throughout history who have practiced a scientific method, the actual philosophy of science as a uniquely separate field of study was not firmly established until the 1600’s. It was established for the very reason that neither pure philosophy nor religion could be used as a basis for technological advancement. Philosophical and religious arguments were mixing with politics to cause lots of civil unrest. In one particular case, King Charles II of England proactively put a firewall between the scientific thinkers and the philosophical and religious thinkers. Everyone working in the Royal Society were required to provide proof of their claims using a method of demonstrating physical cause-effect chains that could be repeated by other neutral skeptics, which we know today as the scientific method. If you can’t accept this basic separation, then I am afraid we have no solid rules upon which to base our reasoning, and either of us at any point can switch to a different method and avoid answering a difficult question.
            Thus, I attempted to break our discussion up into two threads. Howver, you have included scientific discussion in the first thread that was meant for religious discussion. I will respond to both of your responses in one message, to make sure that I respond to everything you have said. Howver, I will still keep the threads separate. I will address thread one first.
            Thread 1: From the Perspective of the Philosophy of Religion
            In response to my statement, “Who is to say that any Christian organization or movement has interpreted the teachings of Christ correctly? Why would my interpretation of the morals taught in the New Testament be more perverted than any organized Christian religion or any individual Christian?”
            You said, “There are certainly areas where Christians disagree with each other, but the Christian Bible does not leave much ambiguity with regards to many moral issues.”
            Ambiguities (just for starters):
            1. Are Christian works necessary or not to be saved? Isn’t keeping a moral code a type of “work?”
            2. At what point is it too late to be saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ? Can one escape living a moral code and then claim Christ’s saving grace by calling upon his name in the end?
            3. Is it necessary to have your calling and election made sure? Is their a higher level of morality that must be reached for this? Does this make a difference in eternity?
            4. Who is a prophet? Do prophets dictate morality? And if prophecies fail, as Paul stated, then why should we believe anything in the Bible or any person claiming to be a prophet?
            5. What does it mean for there to be one faith, one hope, one baptism? Is baptism part of the moral code?
            6. Do Christians have a right or an authority to judge other people? Is it morally right to judge?
            7. Is tithe necessary? Am I being immoral if I do not pay it? If so, then to whom do I pay it?
            However, I do not wish to discuss these ambiguities. I am simply pointing out that you are wearing rose-colored glasses.
            You said, “So my main point is that, instead of trying to live your life by a rule book, you (and I, and everyone else) should try to satisfy ONE rule (seek God first) and then the other rules will fall into place. Trying to obey a set of rules when your heart is pursuing a false god (like money, sex, power, recognition, etc.) is destined to be a frustrating and futile pursuit.”
            One challenge is with the “and then the other rules will fall into place” argument. The ambiguities I stated above are the very things that “fall into place” differently for different Christians. And there are theologians who are quick to pick sides as to who is right and who is wrong, even going so far as saying that the people who interpret the ambiguities different than the given theologian are damned to hell. Isn’t it possible that various theologies could be false gods worshiped by theologians? Is it not right for me to be skeptical of religious claims?
            I have said that I have doubts. But I hope that you can see that I am seeking God. It does not really matter whether you can see that in my efforts, except for my hope that I can use your unique perspective on life to find information that no one else has been able to give to me. Many people start from a position of believing that there is a God, and they just want to know which religion is the true religion. I am just starting from a position of doubt that God exists. Does my starting point somehow make me less worthy or able to find God?
            You said, “When you say, “It would appear that God, if he exists, has given us an unsolvable problem. We do not have enough information.” I could not disagree more. The evidence for God is absolutely overwhelming. It is not easy for me to present this evidence in the context of a comment reply, so I am going to insist that you read the essays which I mentioned before. Have you read them?”
            In this thread, I am approaching our discussion from the perspective of religion, not science. I will discuss scientific evidence in Thread 2. When I say we do not have enough information, I am providing a religious argument on the basis that no one seems to have authority of their claim of what is scripture or the interpretation of such scripture when such people also believe they are in a fallen state. If they are in a fallen state, then their perceptions and beliefs are perverted.
            You then state, “But God’s laws do not exist only in the Bible. Rather, they exist in your own heart…. In other words, if there weren’t a universal moral law, I could come over to your house, smash your fingers with a hammer, and then merely claim that it fits within my morality to do so when you expressed your outrage. There is not and never has been a culture in which this behavior (or many other such immoral behaviors) would be considered acceptable. Indeed, being a scholar of antiquity, Lewis was eminently qualified to observe that, “if anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teachings of say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own.””
            I agree with you that the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth regarding how we should treat each other are very much common sense. I have practiced these and continue to practice them as the best way to live. By the way, my Buddhist friends agree with me. The question is regarding how I know this. Is it the Light of Christ that fills the world, is it a universal spiritual force that we all came from and will all return to, or is it the environment in which I was raised? Is it a supernatural Force of Good that drive me to this conclusion, or have I been persuaded that it is the best way to live because I see that people respond in a more positive way to interactions I have with them when I love them as I love myself? One could argue that the basis of a moral code is a God, but one could also argue that it is a social common sense of right and wrong based upon an economy of social costs and social benefits.
            You also said, “Do I know that you will not have such a chance after death? Of course I don’t. But if you spend your life pursuing false gods, what convincing reason is there to assume that you will be given such a chance? Is it really worth the risk…considering that pursuing false gods only leaves you ultimately empty?”
            You are again making a claim that I am somehow different from you in that I am sinning in some way that you currently are not. What false Gods do you think I am worshiping that you think you are not worshiping? You do not know me well enough to make any such claim. I do not worship the Bible. I do not worship dead apostles or prophets. I do not worship any religious denomination or sect. I do not worship the edifice of a multi-million dollar church building. I do not pay homage to any particular pastor, evangelist, or prophet. I do not worship my own self-righteousness or Christian pride. Nor do I think I worship any of the other “wordly things that Christians like to finger-poingt, such as money, professional position, political power, or my car. I do not even worship my own religious doubt as some badge of honor. I do not believe that my success is an indication of how much more God loves me than other people who are less successful. I told you that I feel I am honestly seeking for the truth, but that I have doubts. I told you that I am keeping the Christian commandments that are, as you indicated, a common moral code as much as I feel is possible, with the exception that I do not know whether there is a God to receive my love and I do not pay tithe to anyone. In fact, I think I actually love my neighbor as myself with a non-selfish attitude, which would seem to be the higher gift of charity that Paul says will be the one thing that will not pass away and the one thing that actually saves people.
            You did not answer why you believe you or any other Christian is in a position of authority to even judge me or anyone else. I might actually have it more right than any of you. Who would know? Who could judge? Who has the true information?
            Perhaps we should discuss this from the basis that I know God has not visibly revealed his person directly to me, and he likely has not revealed his person directly to you. I do not think that it is valid to say that his love prevents him from revealing himself to me, or that revealing himself would somehow cause me to love him less. Nor do I think it is a valid claim that God’s revealing of himself to me would make me unable to have the faith that is somehow necessary to be saved. You can try to explain God’s lack of personal revelation to me from either of these positions, but I already have religious arguments against both of these claims. However, you may have a better explanation for either of these claims than others have given me. You can also try to explain any other reasoning you might have for why God does not provide personal, visible revelations to all individuals, and, in fact, the entirety of the world.
            Thread 2: From the Perspective of the Philosophy of Science
            You said, “When you say, “It would appear that God, if he exists, has given us an unsolvable problem. We do not have enough information.” I could not disagree more. The evidence for God is absolutely overwhelming. It is not easy for me to present this evidence in the context of a comment reply, so I am going to insist that you read the essays which I mentioned before. Have you read them?”
            I am not sure why you keep implying that I have not read your other essays. I have. I am honestly looking for good explanations, so I have no reason to not read your essays.
            Note that I discussed the lack of information from a religious perspective in thread one. Religious information and scientific evidence are two different things. Scientific evidence is observations and tests that demonstrate physical effects that follow from physical causes. In my Thread 2, I asked you to describe an experiment that we could perform to detect God such that we could establish a scientific law that could be used to support a God theory. I have previously read your essays. I read them again. I see no description of an experiment that would establish God as the cause of the universe. If there is one that I missed, then please explain just that experiment to me. Do not jump off at this point and start typing a response. Read on. I have a further discussion of this.
            You said, “The evidence for God is absolutely overwhelming. It is not easy for me to present this evidence in the context of a comment reply, so I am going to insist that you read the essays which I mentioned before. Have you read them? … [Text removed for brevity.] … What sort of “scientific” ideas is Isham referring to? Well, take the idea presented by atheist physicist Lawrence Krauss that the universe emerged from nothing. Not only is this idea unscientific (since the methods of science and scientific instruments will never be able to analyze nothing), but it violates a basic rule of logic. What rule of logic am I referring to? The rule that, from nothing, only nothing comes. The atheist philosopher David Hume (perhaps the most important atheist philosopher of all time) admitted that he regretted his decision to assert that something could come from nothing when he said, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause.””
            I do not support atheists who make scientific claims without performing or at least describing an experiment that would provide their claims to be true. Richard Dawkins’ claim of intervention from space aliens has no cause-effect experiment to support it, and therefore is a mere hypothetical discussion. There is also a difference between being able to explain how a God might use a Big Bang to create a universe as a thought experiment and proving by experiment that a God truly was the cause of a universe. A theory without an experiment to back it up is pre-scientific philosophy at best and science fiction at worst, regardless of whether it is an atheist who proposes it or a deist/theist. In order to provide a scientific proof, we must move from a purely philosophical discussion to a procedure that uses the scientific method.
            You said, “Below, I will copy and paste the ENTIRE content of the essay titled OK…I Want Numbers. What is the Probability that the Universe is the Result of Chance?, so that you do not even need to click on it: “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”… [Text removed for brevity.] … Lee, since you have asserted that “we do not have enough information” to convincingly demonstrate the existence of God, I AM GOING TO VERY FORCEFULLY INSIST THAT YOU LOGICALLY AND SPECIFICALLY POINT OUT HOW THE ABOVE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE “ENOUGH EVIDENCE.””
            Considering we are now discussing this under the philosophy of science, the burden of proof does not rest upon me to disprove your claim. The burden rests upon you to prove your claim using the scientific method. You can voice your claim as forcefully as you can by yelling or using bolded-all-caps text. However, such tactics do nothing to prove your claim. I have reverted to similar tactics in the past, but have found it does nothing to advance the discussion (thus my position in religious philosophy that it is better to love my neighbor as myself than to yell at my neighbor for being thick-headed). So let’s lower our voices, speak calmly, and reason scientifically (this is Thread 2).
            Making a statement that the probability is too small that our universe exists without the interaction of a God is another claim. I acknowledge that the body of science recognizes the problem of a single Big Bang creating a universe with life. However, this reasoning does not lead to a scientific conclusion that a God must therefore have created it.
            The multi-verse theory eliminates the probability problem proposed by Roger Penrose and makes our universe possible based upon the posited existence of a very great quantity of universes. Until recently, there was no proposed way to detect the existence of other universes. Thus, the multi-verse theory was no better than a purely philosophical discussion or science fiction. However, a scientist has recently proposed a way to detect the existence of other universes. Considering that we can see cases of galaxies colliding in our universe, it could be that two universes could collide within a multi-verse. If so, then such a collision could show up as an interference pattern in the three-degree-Kelvin background radiation. So, now scientists can start looking for such an interference pattern. Below is a video link to a talk given by this scientist. The part where he starts talking about how to confirm the theory starts at time 16:40 in the video.
            http://www.ted.com/talks/brian_greene_why_is_our_universe_fine_tuned_for_life.html
            You said, “In a previous comment, you tried to dismiss this evidence as “appeal to authority,” but I demonstrated how you have misapplied this logical fallacy. Merely citing authorities in support of one’s argument does not constitute “appeal to authority.” In order to commit this logical fallacy, one must assert that their stance must be correct merely because an authority (or authorities) say so. But the above evidence is not merely based upon expert opinion. It is based upon research and mathematical calculation. YOU MUST RESPOND TO THIS EVIDENCE. YOU CANNOT MERELY DISMISS THIS EVIDENCE IN A CASUAL MANNER AND STILL ASSERT THAT YOU HAVE A LOGICAL BASIS FOR DENYING THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.””
            You still have not provided evidence. For the God theory to be a valid scientific theory, you must at least propose an experiment that could be used to detect God as the cause of the universe. You have provided claims for the existence of God. In science, the burden of proof for the claim resides on the claimer, not upon skeptic. You are saying that I have taken a position that I have not taken. I have never denied the existence of God. I cannot deny his existence scientifically, because I cannot scientifically prove that God does not exist. I have provided an alternative explanation for the existence of a universe with life in it that eliminates the probability problem. I have also identified that there is a proposed experiment for detecting other universes. You have not proposed an experiment for detecting God. Therefore, any claims made by popular or respected scientists of the creation of the universe by an intelligent designer without any experimental basis for detecting that cause-effect chain are just philosophical claims, and not scientific proofs. Therefore, considering they have not provided a scientific proof, claiming such scientists have actually provided scientific proof suggests that the claim is based upon their recognition as scientists. In short, “So and so (pick a name) is a respected scientist and has provided a philosophical proof for the existence of God, therefore the philosophical proof is a scientific proof.” This seems to me to be a logical fallacy, and maybe even an “appeal to authority” logical fallacy. In fact, it is the same logical fallacy that many scientists fall for in evolutionary theory. No one has actually observed evolution from one species to another species, so making such a claim that inter-species evolution is what brought about today’s diversity has no scientific proof behind it, and is therefore accepted by the masses of humanity simply based upon the authority of the scientists.
            You said, “When you ask “What experiment would we perform to detect God?…”, you are confusing science and philosophy. God cannot be “detected” because science only “detects” things that are part of the physical/natural universe.”
            I am not confusing science and philosophy. I have asked you for scientific evidence of the existence of a God, not a purely philosophical explanation. A philosophical explanation does not require physical evidence. It only requires a logical argument without fallacy. Thus, there are many alternative philosophical explanations for our existence, none of which can be established as the one truth. However, a scientific proof does require physical evidence. However, you just stated that God cannot be detected. Therefore, you cannot provide physical evidence. And if I accept your claim that there is no physical evidence of the existence of a God, then I must assert that such a God could not be scientifically proven, because such a proof would require an interface between the universe and God through which God’s active imfluence could be detected, or, if it was a momentary past influence ofjust the creation aspect, such an interface would have left a residue, a fingerprint, if you will. Let’s assume that God exists, that he created the universe through such an interface, and left a residue. What would this residue look like? Would we recognize it as “God stuff?” Even if you claim that such a God is not made of the same stuff as the universe, His stuff would have to be able to interact with universal stuff in some way as to make God the Prime Mover. Such an interface would have to be detectable, and God would have to be detectable through that interface. Requiring such an interface is a valid requirement for scientific proof. The lack of meeting this requirement does not invalidate your claim philosophically, but it does mean that your claim cannot be proven scientifically. Thus, though you may have a purely philosophical basis for God (and maybe even a religious one, depending on how our discussion proceeds under Thread 1), you have no scientific basis for the existence of God.
            You said, “But theists do not assert that God is part of the physical/natural universe. Rather, he is the CAUSE of the physical/natural universe. An excerpt from Bo Jinn’s book Illogical Atheism: The law of gravity and Newton’s Laws of motion are to God and the universe what binary strings and electronics are to Alan Turing and the computer processor. Function and agency account for two entirely different explanations as to how and why something exists. Aristotle explained this over two thousand years ago: Aristotle’s treatises on physics, metaphysics and ethics all revolved around his centerpiece theory of “The 4 Causes”. Aristotle stated that everything in the universe could be understood in terms of: A formal cause, a material cause, an efficient cause and a final cause. Science accounts for only two of those causes; the formal and the material. … Only the first of those categories of causes were open to the scientists in the story. Only the first two of those categories are open to science in the study of the universe. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. On the Aristotelian model, at least; a cause implies all four causes, not just two. What the “God of the Gaps” argument basically does is misattribute the wrong causes to God. That is Dawkins’ first mistake. His second mistake is that he then proceeds to dictate that science can explain all the formal and material causes behind the universe (ie. Fill in all the gaps). The efficient and final causes (agency) which comprise God’s actual role are left completely neglected since, as Dawkins maintains; the universe has no final purpose. Ergo, the “theory” of God is not meant to fill the same gaps that science is meant to fill. The God of the Gaps argument is, once again, constructed on a category mistake. … The argument blatantly confuses the explanatory power of God with the explanatory power of science. God is a causative explanation for why the world is (A final and efficient cause), not how the world works (material and formal cause). This has always been the monotheistic view. In fact, the God of the gaps argument is somewhat suicidal on the Aristotelian model, since if something works it logically follows that it has a material and formal cause, and therefore also a final and efficient cause.”
            I am not going to get into a purely philosophical debate with you on this matter. I will discuss this with you from a religious perspective and a scientific perspective. However, debating pure philosophy established possible truths, but does not establish the truth, and would therefore not resolve my doubts. I do not subscribe to Dawkins misguided explanations for the non-existence of God. But I also do not accept an Aristotelian philosophy as scientific proof. It may a logical, philosophical proof, but as such, it is one of many and cannot be proven to be the truth. If God is not detectable from scientific methods, then God cannot be proven or disproven scientifically, and we have no reason to continue the discussion on a scientific basis.
            You said, “And this isn’t just my reasoning either; this was the logic of virtually all of the patriarchs of modern science. People like Isaac Newton, Thomas Bayes, Kepler, Bacon, Leibniz, Faraday, Lord Kelvin, Max Plank and even Einstein; these were all men who saw no conflict whatsoever between science and God. On the contrary, their science was driven by their belief in a creative God. As the immortal C.S. Lewis put it: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in law giver.” For this reason, most atheist philosophers today are compelled to reject the Aristotelian model. To even suggest that science can be done is to imply intelligibility, and intelligibility implies intelligence. In other words, if science could not be done, it would logically imply that there is no order in the universe and it would actually lend to atheism. The fact that we can do science at all flies in the face of the supposed purposelessness of the universe. The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible at all- that it functions according to an apparent order [as Albert Einstein pointed out].”
            You appear to be appealing to authority again. But, as I said, I do not wish to have a philosophical debate with you. These men may have believed the philosophy of the existence of a God, but that is different from proving God exists scientifically. Just because they were respectable scientists does not make their purely philosophical claims true, nor does it make such claims scientific. The claim that physical law implies a law maker is a philosophical argument that could be made without logical fallacy. However, this particular philosophical claim is beginning to look less and less as the way the universe actually came into being.
            The scientific method establishes laws that have very specific conditions. A scientific experiment is, by definition, limited to the conditions in which it is performed. In order to get meaningful, cosistent results, the scientists must establish controls on all variables except for the one variable the scientist is testing. Thus, conditions are placed on any law that might be derived from the experiment. For example, Ohm’s Law of Electrical Resistance only applies to certain materials and only applies within certain voltage ranges for any given material.
            However, when we begin to look at very large scales and very small scales, we begin to see less fixedness in legal frameworks. Quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and string theory all suggest that our universe is a result of a random selection of properties, and not a single possible result. The mulit-verse theory then proposes how a single universe that happens to have the properties needed for life to exists could come into existence as one of an incomprehensibly large number of universes that have come into existence. But as such, it was not produced out of order, but rather out of random generation. And as I noted earlier, the multi-verse theory now has a proposed method for how to test the existence of other universes. So, this theory stands against the philosophical claim that an orderly universe had to be created out of order.
            In summation, is it still possible that God exists and created a multi-verse? Sure it is. There is nothing to disprove that this is the case. But I am looking for proof that God exists. If, as you admitted, the scientific method cannot prove that God exists because God is not physical, then we cannot discuss this from the scientific perspective. However, who says that God is not physical? Is it not possible for God to have a physical aspect within a physical universe, and thus be physically detectable? And if so, then wouldn’t God be detectable using our five senses and the extension of our five senses using sensors that we develop using scientific progress?
            By the way, it seems just as philosophically plausible to believe in a multi-verse that had no beginning and no end as it is to believe in a finite universe that was created by a God who has no beginning and no end. But I have no interest in discussing pure philosophy. I just think that if God truly exists, there should be a way to prove this with either religious reasoning or scientific method. I don’t know of any other way to get to truth.
            Lee

          • Lee,

            I am going to keep this as terse as possible so that the thread doesn’t become so huge as to be impossible to follow. Your comments appear in bold and italics, and my replies reply below.

            I would like for us to try to keep the religion and science arguments separate. Religion and science are two different philosophies that were developed based upon different proof methodology. When the scientific method was developed, it was specifically developed to be different from any other pursuit of human reasoning, and specifically different from religious method. Humans run into problems when we try to mix the two methodologies.

            Science is grounded in reason, and, as this website intends to demonstrate, belief in God is also grounded in reason.

            Religion and science are not two different “philosophies.” Rather, philosophy permeates both scientific and religious reasoning. Please read my essay titled Why Believing Precedes Knowing and EVERYONE Has a Faith.

            A citation from that essay:

            “Anybody who has seriously been engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with… Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. That is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of nature and therefore a part of the very mystery that we are trying to solve.”

            .
            Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory, and who is therefore one of the most important physicists of all time.

            “Who is to say that any Christian organization or movement has interpreted the teachings of Christ correctly? Why would my interpretation of the morals taught in the New Testament be more perverted than any organized Christian religion or any individual Christian?”
            You said, “There are certainly areas where Christians disagree with each other, but the Christian Bible does not leave much ambiguity with regards to many moral issues.”
            Ambiguities (just for starters):

            …The ambiguities I stated above are the very things that “fall into place” differently for different Christians. And there are theologians who are quick to pick sides as to who is right and who is wrong, even going so far as saying that the people who interpret the ambiguities different than the given theologian are damned to hell. Isn’t it possible that various theologies could be false gods worshiped by theologians? Is it not right for me to be skeptical of religious claims?
            I have said that I have doubts. But I hope that you can see that I am seeking God. It does not really matter whether you can see that in my efforts, except for my hope that I can use your unique perspective on life to find information that no one else has been able to give to me. Many people start from a position of believing that there is a God, and they just want to know which religion is the true religion. I am just starting from a position of doubt that God exists. Does my starting point somehow make me less worthy or able to find God?

            With regards to the issue of disagreement among Christians about certain issues: If you choose to throw out Christianity because Christians disagree on certain issues, then you must also necessarily throw out science because scientists disagree on certain issues. For example, you would have to throw out the entire theory of evolution because some scientists think evolution occurs gradually (classical Darwinism), whereas many other scientists think that evolution occurs in rapid spurts that are followed by periods of “stasis” (“punctuated equilibrium”, which is sponsored by the likes of Niles Eldgridge from Columbia, and Stephen Jay Gould from Harvard).

            I have said that I have doubts. But I hope that you can see that I am seeking God. It does not really matter whether you can see that in my efforts, except for my hope that I can use your unique perspective on life to find information that no one else has been able to give to me. Many people start from a position of believing that there is a God, and they just want to know which religion is the true religion. I am just starting from a position of doubt that God exists. Does my starting point somehow make me less worthy or able to find God?

            There is absolutely nothing wrong with having doubts. In fact, doubts are to be expected.

            However, I would encourage you to be very careful about applying the same level of scrutiny to atheistic arguments that you apply to theistic arguments. If there is one common thread I perceive atheists (and other “skeptics”) to share, it is a fluctuating scrutiny level. Theistic arguments are exposed to extreme scrutiny, whereas atheistic arguments are allowed all sorts of weaknesses and unanswered questions.

            And I fear that you have failed to notice that disbelief in God can only be done from the vantage point of SOME OTHER BELIEF, not from the vantage point of no belief whatsoever. An excerpt from Why Believing Precedes Knowing and EVERYONE Has a Faith:

            Timothy Keller deftly points out that even the most hardened “skeptic” has a faith, in The Reason for God:

            But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because, “There can’t be just one true religion,” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts. If you went to the Middle East and said, “There can’t be just one true religion,” nearly everyone would say, “Why not?” The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt, therefore is based on a leap of faith.

            Usually, disbelief in God is done from the vantage point of BELIEF in a worldview referred to as naturalism or materialism (which says that only the world of material things is real). So when we are examining naturalism/materialism, it is the CHRISTIAN who is the SKEPTIC and the atheist who is the TRUE RELIGIOUS BELIEVER.

            When I say we do not have enough information, I am providing a religious argument on the basis that no one seems to have authority of their claim of what is scripture or the interpretation of such scripture when such people also believe they are in a fallen state. If they are in a fallen state, then their perceptions and beliefs are perverted.

            Lee, I am glad that you asked this question. I have written an essay on this topic titled Which God is Real? (under the heading of “evidence for God from experience). Please read it so that we can discuss.

            One could argue that the basis of a moral code is a God, but one could also argue that it is a social common sense of right and wrong based upon an economy of social costs and social benefits.

            I hate to cite Bo Jinn again from Illogical Atheism, but here it goes:

            “If human minds are the only personal agents in existence, it follows that all truth judgments based on reason are completely relative. The question is; does atheism, as we have properly defined it, comprise a scientifically verifiable set of facts? As we speak, there are atheists the world over insisting that atheism is a conclusion which intelligent people come to on the basis of reason.”

            “But, if atheism is true, then human reasoning has no validity at all, because valid reasoning implies a standard of truth that can be reasoned toward and a sufficient reason for believing that human reasoning works in the first place. That guarantee is non-existent in an atheist world. Since the universe is a self-evident brute fact which exists (like us) for no purpose in and of itself we, in effect, become our own standard of truth and reasoning is thus rendered completely invalid. If the very possibility of maintaining a true judgment instantly evaporates, then the belief in atheism evaporates also, because in order to prove the truth of any statement one might make, one can only possibly refer back to oneself, completing the vicious circle. Effectively, the individual human subject becomes his/ her own fundamental axiom- or rather his/ her own ‘god’. The entire notion of truth disappears, and the very belief in atheism itself gets caught in the middle of an inescapable paradox.”

            “Theism reasons to and from an objective standard of ultimate truth grounded in an absolute mind (God) which gives validity to rational beliefs, and atheism reasons to and from a completely subjective standard that cannot give validity to any belief (ourselves). We cannot reason to the conclusion that our reasoning is valid, since it is as circular as the proposition; B → B”

            So, Lee, with regards to Jinn’s above comments, I will ask you the following question: SCIENCE IS GROUNDED IN REASON. IN WHAT IS REASON GROUNDED?

            In what are moral judgements grounded? An economy of social costs and social benefits (as you put it)? In what are the concepts of “social costs and social benefits” grounded? In other words, who or what what determines what is a social cost or social benefit? Human reason? Once again, in what is human reason grounded? Recall that science is grounded in reason, and NOT vice versa. Atheism does not provide any grounding for reason.

            Jinn continues:

            “Truthfully, on the logic which follows necessarily from the nihilistic paradox of atheism, if the Nazis had conquered the world, then everything we recognize historically as humanity’s greatest shame would be at once transformed into our greatest triumph. There would be no disputing the marvelous splendor of the Holocaust or the great glory of the many prodigious massacres carried out on behalf of the Aryan descendants to Mother Earth. These immortal goods would be true for all, and therefore true in fact.”

            You are again making a claim that I am somehow different from you in that I am sinning in some way that you currently are not. What false Gods do you think I am worshiping that you think you are not worshiping? You do not know me well enough to make any such claim. I do not worship the Bible. I do not worship dead apostles or prophets.

            I am not making such a claim about me not sinning in some way that you are. I think you, like everyone, has SOME sort of ‘god’ in their life. What that god is I can not say since I do not know you. But as long as you do not have the true God in your life, you are pursing a false god.

            But I am not claiming that there are no false gods in my life. Rather, I am in the process of asking God to help me discard them. Something becomes a “god” when we take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing. Sex, money, recognition, etc. are all good things. But when we make them ultimate things, we make them into false gods.

            You did not answer why you believe you or any other Christian is in a position of authority to even judge me or anyone else. I might actually have it more right than any of you. Who would know? Who could judge? Who has the true information?

            I do not believe that I or any other Christian am in a position to judge you. Only God can judge.

            Who has the true information? I am not attempting to make the claim that I have a monopoly on truth. A belief system is much like a map. The map provides a representation of the territory…it is not the territory itself.

            What we are trying to do is decide which “map” provides the most accurate representation of reality. Further, it is important to realize that ALL TRUTH CLAIMS ARE EXCLUSIVE. Even the truth claim that “truth is relative” is an exclusive truth claim since it excludes truth claims which are not relative. Still further, it is a self-contradictory truth claim because the claim that “truth is relative” must necessarily, then, be a RELATIVE TRUTH.

            Perhaps we should discuss this from the basis that I know God has not visibly revealed his person directly to me, and he likely has not revealed his person directly to you. I do not think that it is valid to say that his love prevents him from revealing himself to me, or that revealing himself would somehow cause me to love him less. Nor do I think it is a valid claim that God’s revealing of himself to me would make me unable to have the faith that is somehow necessary to be saved. You can try to explain God’s lack of personal revelation to me from either of these positions, but I already have religious arguments against both of these claims. However, you may have a better explanation for either of these claims than others have given me. You can also try to explain any other reasoning you might have for why God does not provide personal, visible revelations to all individuals, and, in fact, the entirety of the world.

            Lee, God DOES reveal himself to each and every individual. The problem is that we humans live in a state of rebellion from God, and so we deliberately put on blinders so that we can hide from the truth of God’s existence.

            For example, God reveals himself to us in the origin of life from non-living matter. I recommend my essays titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God and How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading in order to explore this topic more fully.

            As I mentioned before, atheistic attempts to get around the fact that intelligence was involved in the origin of life from non-living matter are hilariously lame. I already mentioned how extremely prominent atheist scientists such as Francis Crick, Leslie Orgel, and Richard Dawkins have endorsed the life-was-brought-to-earth-by-aliens-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (called “directed panspermia”).

            There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to get around the fact that intelligence was responsible for the origin of life. IF YOU HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR THE ORIGIN OF LIFE THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE INTELLIGENCE, PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT IS. I WOULD BE VERY CURIOUS TO HEAR IT.

            And as I mentioned in the essay, God reveals himself to us through beauty. If beauty is not an expression of God’s love, than what is it? Did the ability to experience beauty somehow make our primitive ancestors more likely to find food or less likely to be eaten by a predator? PLEASE EXPLAIN.

            Lastly, I must mention that it is not reasonable to think that you can arbitrarily dictate the manner in which God should reveal himself to you. You cannot say, for example, “God should show up in my living room manifested in human form. If God does not do this, then I have no reason to think that he exists.”

            I suspect that you might think that God’s revelation to you should be in the form that you arbitrarily decide.

            I see no description of an experiment that would establish God as the cause of the universe.

            Lee, once again, scientific experimentation can only be applied to the physical/natural world. Perhaps nobody has ever asserted that God is a part of the physical/natural world.

            Recall that the universe (or multiverse, if you prefer multiple universes) had a beginning. Time, space, matter, energy…all of these properties originated when the universe (or multiverse) emerged. Therefore, the source of the universe (or multiverse) is timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energy less. How could scientific experimentation be applied to something which is timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energy less?

            Please read Isn’t the Universe Eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator?). An important excerpt:

            …in 2003, physicists Borde, Vilenkin and Guth corroborated to formulate a proof that demonstrates that an eternal universe is not possible. It is known as the BVG theorem. Alexander Vilenkin is very blunt in regard to the implications of this proof:

            “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
            (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

            It should be noted that this proof applies to any proposed “multiverse” or “oscillating universe,” etc. in which our universe may be situated. Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow (the founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) echoes Vilenkin’s above comments:

            “The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future.“

            It is for this reason that atheist physicists such as Lawrence Krauss have had to resort to suggesting that the universe came from nothing. In other words, Krauss realizes that the cause of the universe must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energy less. In order to avoid invoking God, Krauss invokes NOTHING. But the problem with citing “nothing” as the cause of the universe is clear: It violates the principle of sufficient reason which says ex nihilo nihil (from nothing, only nothing comes). Even a theory or belief that has no evidence whatsoever behind it is superior to a theory or belief that violates the laws of logic (logically incoherent).

            Considering we are now discussing this under the philosophy of science, the burden of proof does not rest upon me to disprove your claim. The burden rests upon you to prove your claim using the scientific method. You can voice your claim as forcefully as you can by yelling or using bolded-all-caps text. However, such tactics do nothing to prove your claim. I have reverted to similar tactics in the past, but have found it does nothing to advance the discussion (thus my position in religious philosophy that it is better to love my neighbor as myself than to yell at my neighbor for being thick-headed). So let’s lower our voices, speak calmly, and reason scientifically.

            Lee, when I use all caps, I am trying to place particular emphasis on something that needs particular emphasis. Please do not interpret this as me trying to criticize or shout at you. Rather, consider it as me trying to IMPLORE you. If this is a “tactic,” it is only a tactic to get you to stop ignoring crucial questions.

            These men may have believed the philosophy of the existence of a God, but that is different from proving God exists scientifically. Just because they were respectable scientists does not make their purely philosophical claims true, nor does it make such claims scientific. The claim that physical law implies a law maker is a philosophical argument that could be made without logical fallacy. However, this particular philosophical claim is beginning to look less and less as the way the universe actually came into being.

            I am going to use all caps in order to implore you, NOT criticize you: HOW COULD THE EXISTENCE OF GOD (OR ANY OTHER EXPLANATION FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE) BE PROVEN SCIENTIFICALLY?! Because time, space, matter and energy originated with the universe (or multiverse, if you prefer), the cause of the universe must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial and energyless. HOW COULD THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD BE APPLIED TO SOMETHING THAT EXISTS OUTSIDE OF TIME AND SPACE AND DOES NOT HAVE MATTER OR ENERGY?! THIS IS A CRUCIAL QUESTION THAT YOU MUST ANSWER!

            Whatever the explanation for the universe is, it simply cannot logically be scientific.   Because as soon as it becomes scientific, it becomes a part of the universe; and therefore ceases to be an explanation.   We can understand this in the form of the following argument for the limits of science:

            Premise 1:   The explanation for something ‘A’ cannot be ‘A’ itself.   In other words; the statement “if ‘A’, then ‘A’” is a circular argument and not logically valid.
            Premise 2:   Therefore, explanation for the universe cannot be the universe itself.   One cannot say; “the universe is an explanation the universe”
            Premise 3:   Science is concerned only with the universe.
            Conclusion:  Therefore, science cannot explain the existence of the universe

            RATHER THAN REPEATING YOUR REQUEST FOR A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT TO PROVE GOD, YOU MUST RESPOND TO THE ABOVE ARGUMENT!! Further, you must provide scientific proof for your counter-explanation for the existence of the universe. Is the universe eternal? What scientific proof do you have for this?! None, because science strongly contradicts the claim the the universe is eternal (the BVG theorem, for example).

            Another CRUCIAL question that you have failed to answer:

            How could there be laws without a lawgiver?! An excerpt from my post titled Riddles for Atheists is pertinent to this topic:

            How can an inanimate thing be made to follow a law? (Such as the laws of physics, chemistry, or thermodynamics). How can such a structure of laws (or “regularities” if you prefer) that govern the universe exist in a truly random world? Please note that this is a question that science can never answer because it is not a scientific question. Rather, it is an ontological question.

            In the theistic model, it is immediately obvious why matter follows natural laws: The same mind that creates matter (God’s mind) also directs it. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it: “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added]

            Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it: “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

            Or, as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”
            (italics added)

            What answer does the atheistic model provide to the question of how an inanimate thing can be compelled to follow a law? Only various versions of “matter follows laws because it just does.” But matter following laws because it just does is an arbitrary assumption that points to a grave explanatory failure of the atheistic model.

            LEE, IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THAT MATTER AND ENERGY FOLLOW PHYSICAL/NATURAL LAWS BECAUSE OF A LAWGIVER, THEN YOU MUST PROVIDE AN ALTERNATE EXPLANATION RATHER THAN SIMPLY CASUALLY DISREGARDING THE QUESTION AS “PHILOSOPHICAL” OR BY THROWING AROUND “LOGICAL FALLACIES” SUCH AS APPEAL TO AUTHORITY. This is a meta-scientific question that demands a meta-scientific answer.

            And therein lies one of the key flaws of your reasoning: You are exposing theism to enormous scrutiny and then turning the scrutiny level way down when examining non-theistic explanations. For example, you are applying virtually no scrutiny whatsoever to the fact that the atheistic model cannot explain why matter and energy follow physical/natural laws.

            You appear to be appealing to authority again.

            Lee, I asked you this before and you did not respond, SO I WILL ASK YOU AGAIN:

            If I were trying to argue that smoking is dangerous and, to bolster my case, I cited the following:

            SURGEON GENERAL WARNING: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and may complicate pregnancy.

            …would I be committing the logical fallacy of appeal to authority? Would I be appealing to the Surgeon General’s authority?

            YOU MUST ANSWER THE ABOVE QUESTION RATHER THAN DISREGARDING IT!!!

            I have asked you for scientific evidence of the existence of a God, not a purely philosophical explanation. A philosophical explanation does not require physical evidence. It only requires a logical argument without fallacy. Thus, there are many alternative philosophical explanations for our existence, none of which can be established as the one truth. However, a scientific proof does require physical evidence. However, you just stated that God cannot be detected. Therefore, you cannot provide physical evidence. And if I accept your claim that there is no physical evidence of the existence of a God, then I must assert that such a God could not be scientifically proven, because such a proof would require an interface between the universe and God through which God’s active imfluence could be detected, or, if it was a momentary past influence ofjust the creation aspect, such an interface would have left a residue, a fingerprint, if you will. Let’s assume that God exists, that he created the universe through such an interface, and left a residue. What would this residue look like? Would we recognize it as “God stuff?”

            Lee, again, it would be impossible to provide physical evidence for ANY explanation for the existence of the universe…not just God. Your thinking is deeply entrenched in materialism. What physical “residue” would be left behind by “nothing” if “nothing” was responsible for creating the universe…as atheists physicists such as Lawrence Krauss have suggested?

            Here is an important point that you do not seem to be getting: Science is grounded in reason, NOT vice versa. Reason justifies science, but what justifies reason? The theistic answer is simple…the mind of God is the prime reality (or the something-from-which-everything-else-comes).

            How does atheism justify reason? It can’t.

            Quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and string theory all suggest that our universe is a result of a random selection of properties, and not a single possible result. The mulit-verse theory then proposes how a single universe that happens to have the properties needed for life to exists could come into existence as one of an incomprehensibly large number of universes that have come into existence. But as such, it was not produced out of order, but rather out of random generation. And as I noted earlier, the multi-verse theory now has a proposed method for how to test the existence of other universes. So, this theory stands against the philosophical claim that an orderly universe had to be created out of order.

            Once again, the BVG theorem demonstrates that any multiverse in which our universe may be situated HAD TO HAVE A BEGINNING.

            Further, WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT IS “RANDOMLY GENERATING” UNIVERSES? I am EXTREMELY curious to hear your reply. An excerpt from Is there a God? (What is the chance that our universe is the result of chance?) is here pertinent:

            Regarding multiple universes, the esteemed former Cambridge University astrophysicist John Polkinghorne notes in Questions of Truth:

            “Answering an argument by a suggestion is hardly conclusive. One problem is that we don’t just need a hundred other universes, or even a billion, but an utterly immense number—some string theorists suggest that there are up to 10 to the 500th power other universes. If you are allowed to posit 10 to the 500th power other universes to explain away otherwise inconvenient observations, you can “explain away” anything, and science becomes impossible.”

            Further, as Oxford University professor of philosophy Antony Flew facetiously observes in There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind:

            “If the existence of one universe requires an explanation, multiple universes require a much bigger explanation: the problem is increased by the factor of whatever the total number of universes is. It seems a little like that case of a schoolboy whose teacher doesn’t believe his dog ate his homework, so he replaces the first version with the story that a pack of dogs—too many to count—ate his homework.”

            So I will ask you point blank, Lee: WHAT PHYSICAL EVIDENCE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE 10 TO THE 500TH POWER UNIVERSES NECESSARY TO EXPLAIN AWAY THE ANTHROPIC FINE TUNING OF OUR UNIVERSE? WHAT “PHYSICAL RESIDUE” DID THESE UNIVERSES LEAVE?

      • Adam and Eve (especialy EVE, that b….) do not represent the human race in any way shape or form. They forced their decision on us, and what we are going through is a group punishment. Group punishments are against the Geneva conventions, if I am not mistaking, because of the sheer injustice of it all. I am ginding it hard to buy the whole Adam and Eve story.

      • What adam and eve did was initiate a group punishment on the human race. Worse, they forced this on a people who had no possible control over what happened. This is why I find the whole adam and eve story hard to believe. Last I checked, group punishments were barred by the Geneva conventions because of the sheer injustice of them. I like to think God’s jusice is greater than Geneva’s

  52. All of the impressive displays of power in the world will not force us to love him. And if God could force us to love him, it would not really be love. ….Quote from Your Blog above.

    Dear Scott,

    If that is the only reason why God remains elusive, he should have remained so. But in the Old Testament we see many instances where God manifests himself to people…to Abraham, to Moses, to Jonah, to Elijah, to David, to Solomon…and many more. Probably, what we need is a reaffirmation of his existence.We look around us and what do we see… greed, corruption, lust, war, poverty,violence and everything that goes against the basic tenets of what is a good moral life. And the people who indulge in these, not only go unpunished, but are often glorified. And this is not a new thing but has existed from time immemorial. As Samuel 18:7 says “”As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”” If a King abdicates and his kingdom goes into anarchy, then it is the mistake of the King. God first created angels and one third of them revolted against God. Later he created man and one can see what man’s plight is today. So if there is a Creator and His creation goes bad, whose mistake is it. The Creator’s or the creation. If I buy a Toyota car and it goes dead would I blame the car or do I blame the Toyota company. Who do I go to for warranty. Basically one gets a feeling that God is always in the forefront to take credit for the good that is happening and for the bad and the evil, He points a finger at His creation.

    • Abraham:

      I can certainly relate to your displeasure with the presence of suffering in the world. I wrote an essay titled If God is real, why is there suffering? Below is a brief excerpt:

      ——-
      Boyd labels the pervasive viewpoint that God is responsible for everything that happens in this world “the blueprint worldview” and calls attention to the philosophical and theological flaws this viewpoint contains:

      “Scripture confirms human and angelic freedom and that this is how God’s creation became the war zone that it presently is…Of course he (God) could have created a world where we have to do his will, but it would be a creation devoid of love.”

      In other words, if the world were such that we had to do God’s will, it would be nothing more than a puppet show God was putting on for himself. And how could God love a puppet? God created us to be independent free agents that he can love and be in relationship with. Relationships can only occur between free agents, not between a free agent on one hand and a puppet on the other. And in order for us to be free agents, we must be able to choose between good and evil. Sadly, we all too often choose evil.
      —–

      Blaming the Toyota Motor Company for problems with their products is reasonable because Toyota does not create free agents with free wills. Rather, Toyota only creates inanimate objects. Therefore, the analogy is not applicable.

      You mention that we need a reaffirmation of God’s existence. But we get reaffirmations of his existence every day. For example, in How atheism relies on “special pleading” and Why life could not have emerged without God, I point out how God’s involvement in the origin of life is undeniable. As another example, in Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?), I point out how cosmology and astrophysics point unmistakable to God. A citation from that essay:

      So compelling, in fact, has become the case for the universe as the product of a conscious creator that astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God) that:

      “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”

    • I’m also having a hard time with what seems to be the “love me or burn” doctrine that so many people seem to believe. Love is an emotion that comes naturaly, and it usualy for someone that the person can see or at least knows for sure is real. Being elusive does not help me to love the person doing the eluding, but rather works directly against it. This is why I wish God would show himself. I like God (even though I do feel pissed at him from time ti time because of the state of the world), but I just don’t feel any strong loving emotion twards him. Does this make me a bad person? I don’t believe so, simply because my mind is not 100% sure if he even exists and is not wired to love someone who does not even directly reveal whether he exists or not. Does this make any sense?

      • Plateshutoverlock,

        It is a misrepresentation to suggest that God says “love me or burn.” Everything good we experience in this world comes from God’s love: Pleasure, comfort, joy, happiness, love for one another, relaxation, etc., etc. Hell is a place for those who have rejected God’s love, and therefore have rejected all of the good things that result from God’s love. Since God’s love is not present in hell, there is no pleasure, comfort, happiness, relaxation, etc. etc.

        If you are having difficulty believing 100% in God’s existence, I recommend that you read some of the other essays at this website…and watch the embedded videos. Having doubts about God does not make you a bad person.

        Scott

  53. Here is something to think about. If we say our religion is real then your saying another is not vice versa