Apologetic Wednesday: College, Questions, Doubt, and Truth

When I first entered college, I was opened up to a great many new ideas. Questions I had never even thought to ask were posed to me. New worldviews I had never considered were showcased. Christianity was presented in ways that were foreign to me. I heard discussions about how people approach Christianity differently and interpret scripture in contrasting ways. I had entered a Christian college, and yet a flood of new ideas competed for a place of acceptance within my worldview. There is no place that challenges a person’s beliefs more than the university campus.

Going into college, I had questions about my faith that I was uncomfortable with. At this point in time, I had never heard of apologetics. I would discuss things with people and search for answers the best I could. At one point, I remember just suppressing the questions in my mind. I grew weary of wrestling with questions I couldn’t answer. I remember a friend describing to me that one of his friends decided to walk away from Christianity. I worried what would happen if eventually I was presented with an argument against my faith that I could not account for, so I tried to force the questions out of my mind. I think a lot of Christians do this (and not just Christians, but people from all stripes). The problem is, when we suppress questions that are extremely important to the cogency of what we believe it creates anxiety and cognitive dissonance.  Due to the anxiety and dissonance, the questions keep working their way to the surface, demanding answers.

I remember one day, feeling very pressed for certain answers. I decided that I had to seek truth, and be comfortable with following wherever truth lead me. I started talking to people about my struggles. I started looking for books that would give me understanding. Early on, I felt there were some conflicts between my faith and science. I approached a biology professor about some of my questions, and she equipped me with a strong apologetic early on. She reminded me that Science remains in a state of flux, but God is consistently God. She pointed out that we need to search for truth and seek answers, but that when we follow truth ultimately it always leads back to God. This relieved my mind some, and bolstered my confidence to find answers.

So from that day forward, I started challenging my beliefs and seeking answers to my questions. Looking back, many of my questions at that time were extremely naïve, but they were a big deal to me at the time. I found books that presented massive amounts of information. Sometimes I found answers to questions I was yet to ask, and sometimes my search for answers led me to more questions.

Over the years, certain beliefs have changed in light of new and convincing evidence. Other beliefs have solidified as I was presented evidence that was very supportive of what I believed. It has been a wonderful journey of faith, doubt, questioning, learning, and finding answers. I am so thankful that I started asking questions and looking for truth regardless of where it brought me.

I share this story for a couple of reasons. First, a big part of apologetics is knowledge driven. Debates wage back and forth. People search for answers. Books are read. Journal articles are scoured. Lectures are listened to. Books are written. Blogs are posted. Apologetics is steeped in academia and cuts across a great many fields including, but not limited to, theology, science, ethics, philosophy, etc. A mistake the apologist often makes is focusing only on this side of apologetics. We must balance the intellectual side with the personal touch. My professor took time to listen to my concerns, share her own perspective, encourage me, and point me in the right direction. We must remember to express love and give of ourselves when it comes to giving an answer for the hope that is within us. Our lives should also reflect what we proclaim to believe. We can be scholarly and present wonderful arguments for what we believe, but if we do not do so out of a heart of love we are not accomplishing anything. We become as the apostle Paul says, nothing more than a clanging symbol. As Gypsy Smith so eloquently stated, There are five Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, and some people will never read the first four.” The message must be seen in the apologists’ life before it is heard.

The second reason I share this story is to assert that we never come to a point where all of our questions are answered. I have found answers to a great many questions that I have had throughout the years, but there are some that will probably elude me until eternity. We have to be alright with not having all the answers. No worldview provides answers for every single question in a fully satisfactory way.

Apologetics is about giving the reason for our hope, and showing that Christianity has a prominent place in the marketplace of ideas, all the while exhibiting the love extended to us by Christ. For those moments where we arrive at a wall in our understanding or having our questions answered, we continue to look for truth. We pray for understanding. But most importantly, this is where the faith comes in. A certain amount of faith must be present for any belief system to operate.

We seek truth. We continue to look for answers. We rest on faith. We look at God’s faithfulness in the past and we trust Him with our future. We share the reason for what we believe and point to God’s love, mercy, and goodness. We give strong arguments for the hope that is within us.

Let’s not forget the personal side of apologetics, and let’s remember that not every question can be answered fully. One day all will be revealed. In the meantime lets seek truth and love people.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. – John 14:6

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

40 Comments

  • efchristi says:

    All things considered, the answers will always change with time, but God will always be God! Never changing always faithful and always there when we call upon Him.

    Walk daily with God at your side!

    Ed

  • Richard says:

    “Come tell us what led you to apologetics.”

    Years after I had abandoned the church, a friend of mine expressed interest in receiving salvation. As a sort of knowledgeable yet almost disinterested guide, I introduced her to a sketch of the Christian doctrine and brought her to my church, where she was soon baptized.

    This was a bit of an opening for me to try to find the fulfillment which had escaped me previously. But as I regained my walk with God, I was confronted with an overwhelming problem, namely, the question, “is any of this even true?”

    This pressed upon me, so every day, I pressed upon God, “Please, strengthen my faith!” But God did not strengthen my faith. Instead he showed me that I did not need all of the faith that I had been summoning. Visiting a new church in my area, I stumbled upon a book titled, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” by Doctor Frank Turek.

    This apologetic treatment of the Christian faith has, for the better, changed my walk with God. That Christianity is true succeeds not only as a fact but as an explicitly obvious fact; almost derivative of a local axiom.

    Now that I know it is true, doubt never reigns, and I am an emotionally and intellectually fulfilled Christian.

  • Duh says:

    Speaking of difficult questions – how did a 600 year old guy build a boat?

  • Kim Melancon says:

    Lean not on you own understanding… DUH? It is a mathimatical imposibitity that everything just happened…the first thing you learn when you get to the first grade is you cant get something from nothing.. you get to college and they try to convince you everything came from nothing.. no earthly mind can conceive what god has done…thats why we gotta have faith.. faith makes it possible to believe..

    • Duh says:

      They only tell you that in first grade because children aren’t smart enough to understand non-intuitive ideas. By the time you get to college you should be able to comprehend non-intuitive ideas. One of those non-intuitive ideas is that something cant come from nothing. This is not actually true. Look up the Casimir effect and you will see that something can and regularly does come from nothing. My previous question persists; how could a 600 year old person build a boat?

      • Josh Fults says:

        First, let’s define nothing. Matter and energy are, in fact, something.

        As to your question, this is not my area of expertise, but I will pose a simple answer to a more complex question.

        First, I have heard some biologist suggest that lifespans are not completely fixed and that selective breeding in some creatures has drastically increased the average lifespan.

        If people did live drastically longer, as Genesis states, the reason that it has been drastically reduced could be due to things such as a post flood environment, genetic drift, or mutations.

        Also, if people lived that long, we wouldn’t really know what “old age” would be considered. It should also be noted that he could have enlisted the help of his family.

        I have also read that there are ancient Greek and Egyptian records that speak of people living hundreds of years.

  • Duh says:

    Yes, matter and energy are both something. The point is that even if you have a complete and total vacuum there will still be particles popping in and out of existence at the smallest scales. These particles literally come out of nothing – that’s the idea behind the Casimir effect. The particles that pop out of the void have momentum and, collectively, they are able to produce a force that drives together metal plates suspended in a vacuum. We know that the universe was once very small – so small, in fact, that it was smaller than a proton. We already know that protons, electrons and photons can pop out of existence and reappear at a distant location an instant later with out having traveled in the intervening space. Because particles can do this today, it is at least plausible that something much smaller than a proton (the early universe) could do this too. It’s the ultimate free lunch and completely smashes the notion that Kim put forward (“It is a mathimatical imposibitity that everything just happened”).

    If humans were able, in the past, to live more than several hundred years that means that something in the environment or our genomes (or both) changed such that we can no longer exhibit this phenotype. Nowadays, we can only live slightly longer than 100 years and that’s even with our best technology so this must have been a large environmental or genetic shift. Since those alleles are now gone from our population (and we lost them over time) this literally means that humans evolved. Let me restate that for emphasis – the Bible tells a story that ABSOLUTELY requires evolution to be true. Humans used to live for hundreds of years but then we evolved so that our lifespans became short(er). If it’s true that ancient Greeks and Egyptians record multi-hundred year lifespans then that means we should be able to sequence the genomes of people we dig up in Greek and Egyptian grave sites. Then we could compare these genome to those of modern, short-living, humans and find the precise locations in the genes that caused us to die earlier. Then we could use genetic engineering to alter those specific locations to restore that phenotype. Then we just wait for the Nobel Prize money to come pouring in. If the Bible tells a story, we should be able to reliably, repeatedly, experimentally verify it. If we can’t, that literally means the Bible is lying.

    • Joe says:

      @ DUH – “The Casimir Effect” is just an observation it does not explain how this “effect” came into existence – What Casimir observed was in essence particles with momentum(no matter the scale) – and nothing moves without a cause – An object in motion must have been “pushed” or in some way been given its momentum. The Cosmological Argument is a very good refutation of this Theory that Casimir asserted. If you are saying that everything came from nothing you are simply begging the question – because that has not been proven beyond a shadow of doubt in Science or any other realm of observation/study. The Casimir Effect simply proves Christianity’s assertion that God is the momentum giver. All Science points back to the one who created all.

      “My previous question persists; how could a 600 year old person build a boat”?

      Your assertion about this proving “evoluton” is correct – BUT we need to define our terms…… This account of Noah does not prove out the Theory of Micro’ Evolution as this is still a theory because as i said above – information does not come from nothing – An infinite regression of uncaused causes is not possible as 99% of the science world agrees to this. There is always “a cause” or more accurately asserted “a beggining” whether that beggining was personal(GOD) or impersonal(big bang) does leave room for dispute. BUT Macro’ evolution can be applied as an explanation to this issue of age regression that we have observed in History. Because this asserts that the information already existed and changed throughout time as we know it….. Again reaffirming that the GOD of Christianity is the one who started it all.

      soli deo gloria
      In Christ
      Joe

      • Josh Fults says:

        Good thoughts. I would also like to point out that the vacuum that spawns these so-called virtual particles is not nothing. It is a sea of energy. This just steps the question back and one must ask where energy and matter came from.

        Also, according to Stephen Hawking, the vacuum state out of which our visible universe might have emerged cannot be eternal in the past. It would of had an absolute beginning, which seems to point to a cause of the universe’s origin.

  • Kim Melancon says:

    apologetic Wednesdays are my favorite…

  • Duh says:

    @Joe
    The Casimir effect literally shows that things can happen without a cause. At the distance and time scales in which the effect becomes apparent, cause and effect become decoupled such that a particle can disappear from one location and reappear in another (unpredictable) location. In quantum mechanics, the idea of momentum is totally separate from the idea of momentum in classical mechanics. A photon has lots of momentum but it is NOT because the photon was pushed by something.

    The Casimir effect absolutely does not ‘prove’ anything regarding Gods, least of all that the ‘God of the Christianity’ exists. Even if it did lend some evidence to the existence of a god that evidence would be equally useful for Allah or Zeus or Mars or The Titans. And the purpose of science is not to prove something in the first place – you’re thinking of math. The purpose of science is to design experiments that test your hypotheses about the way the Universe works. This provisional truth is just that – provisional. A long time ago, very smart people thought that the Earth was the center of the Universe. Now we know that he Milky Way galaxy, with it’s hundreds of billions of stars, is just one of 100 billion+ galaxies in the observable Universe. If our entire galaxy disappeared right now, no one would notice or care. It would not change anything about the structure of the Universe except that the Andromeda galaxy would have nothing to crash into in 4 billion years.

    Now as to the evolution problem. You are right to say that evolution is a theory but, as is common among non-scientists, you don’t seem to know what a theory is. In no part of your discussion of evolution did you come close to saying anything that could rationally be called logical.

  • Joe says:

    @ DUH
    My rebuttal was sufficient – very simple – yet sufficient…… :)
    As my gracious friend Josh Fults stated above “The vacuum that spawns these so-called virtual particles is not nothing. It is a sea of energy. This just steps the question back and one must ask where energy and matter came from.” Which brings us to the questions of Quantum Foam, Universes, Multiverses, dimensional string theory, single string theory, etc and so on……. I assume that you are a naturalist/atheist maybe even an agnostic and from what i can tell probably much smarter than i would ever like to be…:)

    If you want to look at the Christian perspective on these worldviews/theories have a look at his link – http://www.christian-knowledge.com/forums/apologetics-training-f76/topic-quantum-foam-ation-t1453.html

    I simply want to say that my love for you as one of God’s creation is strong and my prayer for you is that He will help you find the truth – As only Jesus Christ can fill the void that you long for….

    Soli Deo Gloria
    In Christ
    Joe

    • Duh says:

      It is very presumptuous and honestly kind of sad that you assume I have some ‘God shaped’ void in my life that I, apparently, fill with smartness. This, too, is NOT the purpose of science.

      You seem to keep coming back to the idea of a primer mover or, I’m paraphrasing here, the momentum giver from your last post. Again, this is not the case with quantum mechanics. At the distance and time scales of the quantum foam, cause and effect become decoupled. In other words, effects can happen without a cause and a cause can have no effect at all. Since a) energy can’t be created or destroyed and b) the quantum foam refutes the cause-effect paradigm there is no need for a primer mover or momentum giver to cause electron-positron pairs to pop into existence. Likewise, since the Universe was once much smaller than a proton, there is no need to presuppose a prime mover or momentum giver for the Big Bang.

      Now, this is not to say there is no God. Even though all of these things are true that does not prove that God isn’t real. No part of science can do that because the God that Christianity presupposes exists in another Universe or dimension or something. Since there is no possibility of ever going to this place to perform experiments on this creature, there is no way to prove that he/she/it is real or not. However, this cuts both ways. Since it is impossible to design a repeatable, statistically significant experiment on God there is no way to reliably show that he/she/it is real. The only evidence we have is the book that this creature (by hijacking people’s central nervous systems) supposedly wrote. In this book there are claims of magic fruit, flying swords, winged-hominid-like creatures, giants, virgin births, zombies, whole-sale creation of matter, talking snakes and talking donkeys. All of these claims can be investigated but they are, on their face, transparently, nakedly-obviously false. Since this is the only ‘evidence’ we have of the existence of Yahweh, we can reasonably conclude that, like talking snakes and magic fruit, Yahweh is also a complete lie conjured by humans who didn’t understand where lightning came from.

    • Duh says:

      You really have no reply? This conversation had so much potential…

      • Josh Fults says:

        Sure, I am positive that replies could be forth coming on both sides, but would it really sway you at all?

        As far a Quantum Mechanics go, while things may get all willy nilly and quantum entities may behave lawlessly, we are still left to ask the question of where did matter and energy come from, as neither can be defined as “nothing”.

        While it is suggested that quantum particles can behave in this manner, nothing like this happens in the realm of every day objects.

        My understand is also that behaviors attributed to Quantum Mechanics occur in artificial laboratory settings. There is no guarantee that they actually behave this way in real world settings. There is some speculation here.

        Also, doesn’t science rest on the fact that the universe operates according to certain laws? Does Quantum Mechanics undercut science itself by suggesting that the universe is irrational and potentially not subject to certain laws?

        You are correct in asserting that it is beyond the realm of science to “prove” or “disprove” God. Just because something is beyond the realm of science does not mean it is unknowable. Those that hold to scientism overlook this fact. Science cannot tell us what makes something beautiful, why we are here, what the point of living is, what happens after we die, how did consciousness arise, etc. It cannot make moral pronouncements either. Science cannot answer some of the deepest questions. Yet, many would argue that just because science cannot answer these questions it does not mean they are unknowable.

        I also reject your premise that the only evidence we have of Yahweh is through the Bible. There is also the seeming design of nature, experiential evidence, special revelation as you stated, and historical corroboration.

        Also, to say that “Yahweh is also a complete lie conjured by humans who didn’t understand where lightning came from” is an extreme oversimplification. The whole “God of the gaps” mentality has been seen in religious and scientific circles.

        You spoke of presumption. There are plenty of presumptions Christians. I do my best to not be one. I do not think unbelievers are destined to live a life devoid of any purpose or happiness. I do think it is presumptions for a skeptic to view Theist as a lot of dolts that are swigging the opiate of the masses, that are incapable of thinking, who just don’t understand how science operates.

        There are many renowned Scientist that are, in fact, Theist. People like: Francis Collins, John Lennox, Anthony Flew, Bill Phillips, Brian Heap, John Houghton, and the list goes on. Science was built on the idea that God created nature in such a way they we could isolate laws and find order. Many of the pioneers of Science were Theist.

        As far as the Bible goes, I will end with a quote I have written before by Ravi Zacharias. “This is what I believe it boils down to: If you are determined to find flaws in the Bible, you will find them, especially in a book that has been around for so many centuries, was written by such diverse authors over a great period of time, and has been translated into so many versions and languages. So it is with the texts on almost any subject. It can be done. Ideas are easy to quibble over, debate, dissect, and reject. One has to start by looking at the big picture, at the overall truth being asserted. Then one puts the main ideas of the argument to the tests….and sees how they have been borne out in life, in history, and in personal application.”

        • Duh says:

          …”nothing like this happens in the realm of everyday objects.” Lasers are everyday objects.

          “My understand is also that behaviors attributed to Quantum Mechanics occur in artificial laboratory settings. There is no guarantee that they actually behave this way in real world settings.” Superfluids not only exist on Earth in physics labs but also in the trillions of neutron stars all over the Universe.

          “Also, doesn’t science rest on the fact that the universe operates according to certain laws? Does Quantum Mechanics undercut science itself by suggesting that the universe is irrational and potentially not subject to certain laws?” No, quantum mechanics operates according to discoverable laws just like everything else. There is no reason to invoke a God to explain anything in science because the Universe operates according to certain laws.

          “…Science cannot tell us what makes something beautiful, why we are here, what the point of living is, what happens after we die, how did consciousness arise, etc. It cannot make moral pronouncements either. Science cannot answer some of the deepest questions. Yet, many would argue that just because science cannot answer these questions it does not mean they are unknowable.”

          A) Beauty – We do know what makes things beautiful – symmetry is aesthetically pleasing to humans. But even if we didn’t know that it wouldn’t matter because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

          B) Why we are here/point of life – Life only exists in order to propagate itself. Life forms are the physical manifestations of DNA molecules and everything life does in an attempt to make more copies of that DNA. That’s why viruses infect bacteria, that’s why bacteria infect humans and that’s why humans spread all over the globe. DNA wants to make more copies of itself. But even if we knew none of that it wouldn’t matter because you as an individual can make a decision as to why you are here and what the point of your life is.

          C) Consciousness – Science has a very deep understanding of how consciousness arose. It appears to be an emergent property of the complexity of animal brains. Humans appear to have the highest order of consciousness but other animals including, but not limited to, chimps, dogs, dolphins, elephant and many more appear to have some level of consciousness. In fact, any animal that can look into a mirror and recognize the reflection as itself can be said to have consciousness. It is in no way a human exclusive phenomenon.

          D) Moral Pronouncements – Science can make moral pronouncements. Let’s say that you have two hypothetical human populations. In one of those populations you have a cruel, autocratic dictator that cares nothing for his people and barely gives them enough to live off of. Now imagine that the other population has a kind, caring ruler that draws his power and authority from the popular support of his subjects. This ruler builds libraries, schools, roads, bridges and enacts policies that support trade. These two populations could be studied by scientists in many ways. One prediction that could be tested is that the life expectancy of the average person in population A would be lower than in population B. Another would be the GDP per capita, another would be infant mortality, another would be the ability to read and write. There are many, many, many metrics that science could investigate in order to make the moral pronouncement that societies more similar to population B are qualitatively and quantitatively better than societies that resemble population A.

          “I also reject your premise that the only evidence we have of Yahweh is through the Bible. There is also the seeming design of nature, experiential evidence, special revelation as you stated, and historical corroboration.”

          A) “the seeming design of nature” – “Seeming” is the key word here. It appears as though there is design in the world but, upon investigation, we can plainly see that the apparent design in living systems in entirely due to natural selection, evolutionary pressures and environmental change that work to give rise to the diversity we see today. Again, there is no reason to posit a creator when you have repeatable, experimentally verifiable facts to depend on.

          B) experiential evidence/special revelation – None of this can be submitted to repeatable, experimentally verifiable investigation so it’s meaningless.

          C) historical corroboration – you mean talking donkeys and flying swords? How about magic fruit or 600 year old men? What about turning water into wine or the other examples of the wholesale creation of matter? These things are iron-clad proof that the Bible was written by humans who didn’t know why earthquakes happened. And this is not an oversimplification – they didn’t know any (or very few) of the laws that govern the phenomena that play out on the Earth or in the Universe. Where did rain come from – windows of heaven. Where did lightning come from – angry God. Where did earthquakes come from – angry God. Why does the Sun shine – merciful God. None of this makes ANY sense and it’s because they did not have science.

          “There are many renowned Scientist that are, in fact, Theist. People like: Francis Collins, John Lennox, Anthony Flew, Bill Phillips, Brian Heap, John Houghton, and the list goes on. Science was built on the idea that God created nature in such a way they we could isolate laws and find order. Many of the pioneers of Science were Theist.”

          You forgot Isaac Newton. He was a singular giant in science who gave us Universal gravitation, optics and many other things but he also believed in alchemy. He actually thought that you could take lead and do basic chemistry on it to turn it into gold. This is obviously a lie and proves that even geniuses are susceptible to believing things that are baseless and wrong. This argument does not hold water.

          “As far as the Bible goes, I will end with a quote I have written before by Ravi Zacharias. “This is what I believe it boils down to: If you are determined to find flaws in the Bible, you will find them, especially in a book that has been around for so many centuries, was written by such diverse authors over a great period of time, and has been translated into so many versions and languages. So it is with the texts on almost any subject. It can be done. Ideas are easy to quibble over, debate, dissect, and reject. One has to start by looking at the big picture, at the overall truth being asserted. Then one puts the main ideas of the argument to the tests….and sees how they have been borne out in life, in history, and in personal application.””

          This is my exact point. How can you be expected to believe in something that actually states animals have the ability to speak. This is obviously a lie. How could you be expected to take something seriously when it says that humans were created out of dirt and rib bones. This is transparently false. How can you be expected to believe, with your eternal future, in a book that says people can come back from the dead. This is simply not the case. The Bible would have you believe all of these lies and sentence you to an eternity in flames if you do the sensible thing and reject it.

  • Joe says:

    @DUH – If someone were to present a case for God’s existence that you accepted – What would you accept as valid evidence? Give me some examples.
    Soli Deo Gloria
    In Christ
    Joe

    • Duh says:

      Only if that evidence were based on repeatable experimentally verifiable facts. If the claims can be supported by repeatable experiments then I will accept them as provisionally true.

  • Joe says:

    I have two responses to this for now:
    Verifyable Facts
    1.) There are many historical figures(persons) and or events that we take as fact even though we cannot prove they existed because today many of those people have simply died and the witnesses of those things or people have died as well. We simply have books, legends passed down, or manuscripts as evidence of their existence. So we cannot discount the Holy Bible’s New Testement in its validity simply by not being able to do experiments on the people or events described therein. –The NT has over 5000 supporting Greek manuscripts existing today with another 20,000 manuscripts in other languages. Some of the manuscript evidence dates to within 100 years of the original writing. There is less than a 2% textual variation in the NT manuscripts.
    -Some of the supporting manuscripts of the NT are:
    i.John Rylands MS written around 130 A.D., the oldest existing fragment of the gospel of John.
    ii.Bodmer Papyrus II (150-200 A.D.)
    iii.Chester Beatty Papyri (200 A.D.) contains major portions of the NT.
    iv.Codex Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) contains nearly all the Bible.
    v.Codex Sinaiticus (350 A.D.) contains almost all the NT and over half of the OT.

    Nothing in all of the ancient writings of the entire world approaches the accuracy of the biblical documents.

    2.) You asking me to verify my God by experiment:
    The Christian God is outside of the Natural Realm his very Definition in these terms is SUPERnatural – So being able to verify His existence by this particular method will not work.
    I am not trying to be presumptive but i get the feeling you are somewhat of a Scientific naturalist.
    i.Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. If all things were explainable through natural laws, it does not mean God does not exist since God is, by definition, outside of natural laws since He is the creator of them.
    ———-

    We can debate the accuracy of Scripture which has many fulfilled prophecies and describes the Virgin Birth the ministry of the God man Jesus Christ and His ressurection – this is one of the strongest evidences for Gods Existence.

    Also the bible has the following:
    8.Scientific Accuracies
    A.The spherical shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
    B.The earth is suspended in nothing (Job. 26:7).
    C.The stars are innumerable (Gen. 15:5).
    D.The existence of valleys in the seas (2 Sam. 22:16).
    E.The existence of springs and fountains in the sea (Gen.7:11; 8:2; Prov. 8:28).
    F.The existence of water paths (ocean currents) in the seas (Psalm 8:8).
    G.The water cycle (Job. 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:16; 38:25-27; Ps. 135:7; Ecc. 1:6-7).
    H.The fact that all living things reproduce after their own kind (Gen. 1:21; 6:19).
    I.The nature of health, sanitation, and sickness (Gen.17:9-14; Lev. 12-14).
    J.The concept of entropy, that energy is running down (Psalm 102:26).

    If we can debate on these terms and with this kind of proof – then Christianity has much to offer…..

    Soli Deo Gloria
    In Christ
    Joe

    • Duh says:

      ” There are many historical figures(persons) and or events that we take as fact..”
      Which events? Why do you simply take “them as fact”? Science does not require that you take something as fact – rather it demands that you be sceptical of everything. That is why science is a self correcting entity and religion is not. Let’s take the example of people coming back from the dead. When Jesus was executed it is said that the graves of many people were opened up and dead people climbed out and roamed the streets and were seen by many. This is nakedly obviously false and yet it is part of the crucifiction story that Chistians are obligated to simply “take as fact”.

      “Nothing in all of the ancient writings of the entire world approaches the accuracy of the biblical documents.”
      Citation needed and this doesn’t really mean anything in the first place.

      “You asking me to verify my God by experiment:
      The Christian God is outside of the Natural Realm his very Definition in these terms is SUPERnatural – So being able to verify His existence by this particular method will not work.”
      Actually I didn’t ask you to verify god by experiment. In fact I lamented that it is impossible. I am not required to provide evidence that god CANNOT exist (even though I can and have); you are required, as a believer, to provide evidence that god CAN and does exist. From a previous post of mine…
      “Now, this is not to say there is no God. Even though all of these things are true that does not prove that God isn’t real. No part of science can do that because the God that Christianity presupposes exists in another Universe or dimension or something. Since there is no possibility of ever going to this place to perform experiments on this creature, there is no way to prove that he/she/it is real or not. However, this cuts both ways. Since it is impossible to design a repeatable, statistically significant experiment on God there is no way to reliably show that he/she/it is real. The only evidence we have is the book that this creature (by hijacking people’s central nervous systems) supposedly wrote. In this book there are claims of magic fruit, flying swords, winged-hominid-like creatures, giants, virgin births, zombies, whole-sale creation of matter, talking snakes and talking donkeys. All of these claims can be investigated but they are, on their face, transparently, nakedly-obviously false. Since this is the only ‘evidence’ we have of the existence of Yahweh, we can reasonably conclude that, like talking snakes and magic fruit, Yahweh is also a complete lie conjured by humans who didn’t understand where lightning came from.”

      “We can debate the accuracy of Scripture which has many fulfilled prophecies and describes the Virgin Birth the ministry of the God man Jesus Christ and His ressurection – this is one of the strongest evidences for Gods Existence.”
      The ” fulfilled prophecies” are actually just written after the fact to create the illusion of being fulfilled. This is common in Biblical history. As far as the accuracy of of birth, life, death and ressurection of Jesus there are many many many flat-out contradictions in the Bible regarding these stories. How many people were at Jesus’ tomb? The Bible, in several places, says there was 1) a single woman 2) two women 3) many women 4) women and an angel 5) women and many angels that were in the tomb 6) women and many angels outside of the tomb etc… How can all of these contradictory things be true? They obviously are all lies.

      A.The spherical shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
      The earth is flat – “End of the earth” or “Corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7:1, Daniel 4:11)
      The earth is flat – Satan takes Jesus on a high mountain and shows him all the kindoms of the earth which is only possible if the earth is flat (Matthew 4:8)
      B.The earth is suspended in nothing (Job. 26:7).
      Actually the earth is not suspended at all. Not only that, the earth is not surrounded by an empty void.
      C.The stars are innumerable (Gen. 15:5).
      This is a compete lie. If the stars were actually innumerable the sky would be brighter than the sun all the time because all points in the sky would have a star in them.
      D.The existence of valleys in the seas (2 Sam. 22:16).
      Water is clear – they could have seen this from the surface or dove down.
      E.The existence of springs and fountains in the sea (Gen.7:11; 8:2; Prov. 8:28).
      Any bubbles comming to the surface of the water would give this away.
      F.The existence of water paths (ocean currents) in the seas (Psalm 8:8).
      Sit long enough in a boat and you will notice this.
      G.The water cycle (Job. 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:16; 38:25-27; Ps. 135:7; Ecc. 1:6-7).
      I’m taking D-G together. I’m not sure what this is supposed to prove. This is mostly experiential information that people could have gathered on there own.
      H.The fact that all living things reproduce after their own kind (Gen. 1:21; 6:19).
      This is a genetic law and, again, is experiential.
      I.The nature of health, sanitation, and sickness (Gen.17:9-14; Lev. 12-14).
      Is this the same Bible that says you are not suppose to touch a woman who is having her period because it will make you unclean? This is also that same Bible that though illnesses (both physical and mental) were caused by demons that have to driven out, into pigs for example. Give me a break.
      J.The concept of entropy, that energy is running down (Psalm 102:26).
      According to the Bible the value of pi is exactly 3.0 (1 Kings 7:23) – I would not trust what the Bible says about entropy on my physics test. Aside from that, this is also experiential.
      None of these things prove that God wrote the Bible or that any information came from a supernatural source. How can you be expected to believe in something that actually states animals have the ability to speak. This is obviously a lie. How could you be expected to take something seriously when it says that humans were created out of dirt and rib bones. This is transparently false. How can you be expected to believe, with your eternal future, in a book that says people can come back from the dead. This is simply not the case. The Bible would have you believe all of these lies and sentence you to an eternity in flames if you do the sensible thing and reject it.

  • Joe says:

    Which events? Why do you simply take “them as fact”? Science does not require that you take something as fact – rather it demands that you be sceptical of everything.
    –History in General – are you saying you do not believe that anything written down in the past is TRUE?? I wouldnt die on that hill….. We have History Teachers in schools all over the world teaching the subject of History as fact based on Historical documents alone. AGAIN – i wouldnt die on that hill……

    Citation needed:
    as i posted above
    -Some of the supporting manuscripts of the NT are:
    i.John Rylands MS written around 130 A.D., the oldest existing fragment of the gospel of John.
    ii.Bodmer Papyrus II (150-200 A.D.)
    iii.Chester Beatty Papyri (200 A.D.) contains major portions of the NT.
    iv.Codex Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) contains nearly all the Bible.
    v.Codex Sinaiticus (350 A.D.) contains almost all the NT and over half of the OT.
    This will need to delt with it cant be dismissed by your constant presupposed statements of the scripture.

    This doesn’t really mean anything in the first place.
    — This means a lot – with my above statement being FACT – the accuracy of the Biblical documents carry more weight than any other peice of Historical literature that we know of – this in itself deserves not only a place in this dialogue but a place in HISTORY. For some odd reason the Holy Bible is the number one selling NON FICTION book ever. No this may not mean anything to the scientific realm of this conversation but it holds water and you cant turn a blind eye to it.

    The ” fulfilled prophecies” are actually just written after the fact to create the illusion of being fulfilled.
    –Then what you are saying is that the New Testament writers lied about Jesus. He really didn’t rise from the dead, and all those miracles about Him are really false, right?
    I could see your point, but there is just one problem. How do you account for the writers of the New Testament teaching about truth, love, honesty, giving, etc. all based on lies? Why would they suffer hardships like beatings, starvation, shipwreck, imprisonments, and finally execution for nothing but lies? What you are saying doesn’t make sense, and raises more questions than it answers.
    The only logical explanation is that the fulfilled prophecies really did happen. Jesus actually rose from the dead. He performed miracles, and He forgave sins. He forgave sins then, and He can still do it now. My sins are forgiven, are yours?
    I will also say that many cult members will die for their faith as well.(before you even bring it up) But they die for something they believe in, not for something they have actually seen. Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses all die for their faith. But the New Testament believers died for what they saw and believed, not for what they believed only. That is a big difference. The N.T. writers died claiming that they had seen the risen Lord. The cult members die for what they believe, and we know that believing doesn’t make it true.

    This is common in Biblical history
    — Citations needed

    As far as the accuracy of of birth, life, death and ressurection of Jesus there are many many many flat-out contradictions in the Bible regarding these stories. 1) a single woman 2) two women 3) many women 4) women and an angel 5) women and many angels that were in the tomb 6) women and many angels outside of the tomb etc… How can all of these contradictory things be true? They obviously are all lies.

    –I cant respond to alleged contradictions without citations

    –This wasnt for proof of God’s existence it was more to show you that Science is in line with Scripture. I do agree with most of what you said about the majority of the citations were experiential; This simply helps to put a personal feel in the writing. But the scriptures you used to try and show contradictios were not valid as Scripture never contradicts itself you simply have a very novice understanding of the word of God – The Bible was written by men under the influence of the Holy Spirit – which reveals the very Nature of the Living and Only God – He cannot contradict himself. the law of non-contradiction states that something cannot be both true and false at the same time. So if one of the two of us proves our position as True then the other position is automatically negated.

    My main issue with what you assert about God – is that things that are hard to understand in Scripture automatically makes God False. You know that this is begging the question.
    “Yahweh is also a complete lie conjured by humans who didn’t understand where lightning came from.”
    Your assertions are like a machine gun – they have intent to kill but their accuracy is poor.

    I do not have enough Faith to believe in Science – Intelligence from Non-intelligence – life from non-life –

    Christianity at least has a standard at wich we can measure all things – you said yourself that science is a self correcting entity – this in itself is a blatant admission to a false reality with no standard at which you can measure anything – you sound just like the CULTS of the false religions( which Science is by the way) the reason we have false prophecies in the past is because the “Light is getting brighter” It takes a great deal of faith to believe what you do.

    How can you be expected to believe, with your eternal future, in a book that says people can come back from the dead. This is simply not the case. The Bible would have you believe all of these lies and sentence you to an eternity in flames if you do the sensible thing and reject it.

    —- If i am wrong by your world view i just cease to exist so I am not worried @ all
    — if you are wrong by my world view then you spend eternity in torment in a place called Hell

    Eternity is a long time to be wrong.

    Soli Deo Gloria
    In Christ
    Joe

    • Duh says:

      “…Scripture never contradicts itself you simply have a very novice understanding of the word of God…” and “So if one of the two of us proves our position as True then the other position is automatically negated.”

      I’m glad you pointed this out.

      1)
      God commands, approves of, and delights in burnt offerings, sacrifices and holy days
      Ex 29:36/ Lev 23:27/ Ex 29:18/ Lev 1:9
      God disapproves of and has no pleasure in burnt offerings, sacrifices and holy days
      Jer 7:22/ Jer 6:20/ Ps 50:13,4/ Is 1:13,11,12

      2)
      God accepts human sacrifices
      2 Sam 21:8,9,14/ Gen 22:2/ Judg 11:30-32,34,38,39
      God forbids human sacrifice
      Deut 12:30,31

      3)
      God cannot lie
      Heb 6:18
      God lies by proxy; he sends forth lying spirits to deceive
      2 Thes 2:11/ 1 Kings 22:23/ Ezek 14:9

      4)
      Killing commanded
      Ex 32:27
      Killing forbidden
      Ex 20:13

      5)
      Slavery and oppression ordained
      Gen 9:25/ Lev 25:45,46/ Joel 3:8
      Slavery and oppression forbidden
      Is 58:6/ Ex 22:21/ Ex 21:16/ Matt 23:10

      6)
      The wearing of long hair by men sanctioned
      Judg 13:5/ Num 6:5
      The wearing of long hair by men condemned
      1 Cor 11:14

    • Duh says:

      How many people were outside the tomb?

      1) One woman (John 20:1)
      2) Two women (Matt 28:1)
      3) Three women (Mark 16:1)
      4) Many women – more than 3 (Luke 24:10)
      5) Many women and two angels outside the tomb (Luke 24:4)
      6) Many women and one angel outside the tomb (Matt 28:2-5)
      7) etc (John 20:11-12)
      8) etc (Mark 16:5)

    • Duh says:

      Have you have a chance to look up those verses?

      • Joe says:

        have been on vacation – am back now – these arent problems – i will reply this week. – Like i said the Bible never contradicts itself.

  • Joe says:

    -DUH,
    1)
    God commands, approves of, and delights in burnt offerings, sacrifices and holy days
    Ex 29:36/ Lev 23:27/ Ex 29:18/ Lev 1:9
    God disapproves of and has no pleasure in burnt offerings, sacrifices and holy days
    Jer 7:22/ Jer 6:20/ Ps 50:13,4/ Is 1:13,11,12

    — offerings and sacrifices dealt with the Law of God in Old Testament (Genesis – Malachi) In the New Testament (Mathew – Revelation) We do not see this particular thing reiterated – we see a new era – the Age of Grace –
    Galatians 2:21 – I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
    Galatians 4:5 – to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

    2)
    God accepts human sacrifices
    2 Sam 21:8,9,14/ Gen 22:2/ Judg 11:30-32,34,38,39
    God forbids human sacrifice
    Deut 12:30,31

    — Are you kidding me?? did you even read these?? No problems here whatsoever.

    3)
    God cannot lie
    Heb 6:18
    God lies by proxy; he sends forth lying spirits to deceive
    2 Thes 2:11/ 1 Kings 22:23/ Ezek 14:9

    Heb 6:18 is correct
    2 Thes 2:11/ 1 Kings 22:23/ Ezek 14:9 – these scriptures deal with our creators sovereignty – he predestines salvation or any other work to fulfill His plan – these scriptures have nothing to do with God lying.

    4)
    Killing commanded
    Ex 32:27
    Killing forbidden
    Ex 20:13

    — Killing is accepted in many cultures including here in the USA – it is payment for wrong doing
    Ex 20:13 – is correctly translated Murder – which is the unlawful taking of one’s life.

    5)
    Slavery and oppression ordained
    Gen 9:25/ Lev 25:45,46/ Joel 3:8
    Slavery and oppression forbidden
    Is 58:6/ Ex 22:21/ Ex 21:16/ Matt 23:10

    Perfect example of Scripture being taken out of context – the NT has not promoted neither oppression or slavery so it does not apply to Christianity today.

    6)
    The wearing of long hair by men sanctioned
    Judg 13:5/ Num 6:5
    The wearing of long hair by men condemned
    1 Cor 11:14

    You are grasping at straws…….

    How many people were outside the tomb?

    1) One woman (John 20:1)
    2) Two women (Matt 28:1)
    3) Three women (Mark 16:1)
    4) Many women – more than 3 (Luke 24:10)
    5) Many women and two angels outside the tomb (Luke 24:4)
    6) Many women and one angel outside the tomb (Matt 28:2-5)
    7) etc (John 20:11-12)
    8) etc (Mark 16:5)

    — What is a Contradiction? A contradiction occurs when one statement makes another statement impossible when both statements deal with the same topic at the same time. For example, in my right pocket is a set of car keys. In my right pocket there is no set of car keys. Both statements cannot true at the same time. Therefore, to state that both were true is to state a contradiction
    If one gospel account says two people went to Jesus’ tomb and another says that one went, it is not a contradiction because the accounts do not say that only one went or only two went. If one account said that only one went, then two could not have gone and that would be a contradiction.
    None of these verses in context contradict each other

    I do not mind defending the Bible as its been on trial for many years – it has been written it doesnt change – you can take the whole of it and do your best to pick it apart but it has stood the test of time.

    I have answered your objections and so called contradictions – go back and look at my last response – and you will see why your world view is Bankrupt – you have no standard at which to Judge anything – anything you say is simply your opinion or another persons perspective. your FAITH system is ever changing and by your own definition will never have a standard – no atheist does. Science glorifies God when understood in its correct place.

    Soli Deo Gloria
    In Christ
    Joe

    • Duh says:

      Fine.

      1.
      “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
      The Earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22)

      “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
      The Earth is flat (Matthew 4:8)

      2.
      “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
      The father of Salah was Arphaxad (Gen 11:12)

      “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
      The father of Salah was Cainan (Luke 3:35,36)

      3.
      “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
      There were but thirteen generations from Abraham to David (Matt 1:2-6)

      “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
      There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David (Matt 1:17)

      4.
      “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
      Two blind men besought Jesus (Matt 20:30)

      “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
      Only one blind man besought Him (Luke 18:35-38)

      5.
      “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
      Satan entered into Judas while at supper (John 13:27)

      “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
      Satan entered into him at another time (Luke 22:3-7)

      And there are many more…

      • Joe says:

        1.
        “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
        The Earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22)

        “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
        The Earth is flat (Matthew 4:8)

        — The meeting with Jesus and Satan was that of the Supernatural – this is not teaching flat earth – Satan was trying to tempt Christ in an attempt to make him stumble ….. This could never happen but it was about Tempting the King and taking His majesty to lofty places for him to be tempted. No problems here.

        2.
        “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
        The father of Salah was Arphaxad (Gen 11:12)

        “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
        The father of Salah was Cainan (Luke 3:35,36)

        –Cainan was left out of Genesis. Perhaps it was a copying error, of which we have identified a few. These do not materially impact anything in the doctrines of the Faith( nor do any of these supposed contradictions you have listed). It is also possible that it was purposefully left out of this genealogy. While this would appear unusual, there are a few kings left out in Matthew 1:8. It also appears that in the Jewish tradition, the designation “son” was somewhat flexible. There are multiple instances in the scripture where a grandson is called a son or a son in law is called a son.

        3.
        “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
        There were but thirteen generations from Abraham to David (Matt 1:2-6)

        “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
        There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David (Matt 1:17)
        David is listed twice…..
        –http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/02/16/contradictions-problems-with-basic-math

        4.
        “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
        Two blind men besought Jesus (Matt 20:30)

        “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
        Only one blind man besought Him (Luke 18:35-38)

        –Matt. 20:30 mentions two. Luke 18:35, 38 only mentions one. A certain one. Luke probably was acquainted with him and so mentions him specifically. He may have continued to follow the Lord and even been among the 120 later, whereas the other may not have. At any rate Luke doesn’t say that the blind man was alone, just that he was there and received his sight.

        5.
        “…in my right pocket is a set of car keys.”
        Satan entered into Judas while at supper (John 13:27)

        “In my right pocket there is no set of car keys.”
        Satan entered into him at another time (Luke 22:3-7)

        — in both of these accounts the Last supper is either happening or about to happen — when two men’s accounts of the same event are not exactly the same it does leave room for dispute. But if you read John and know that he and Christ were the closest of the 12 this would give valuable insight on his perspective and how and when Judas was entered by satan. Lukes perspective of this account may of been squed because of his angle. Either way it doesnt take away the power of the Gospel and or any of the doctrines of the FAITH.

        Are you going to continually grasp at straws??

        Like i said Scripture does not and cannot contradict itself

        ——-If someone were to present a case for God’s existence that you accepted – What would you accept as valid evidence? Give me some examples.
        –your answer – Only if that evidence were based on repeatable experimentally verifiable facts. If the claims can be supported by repeatable experiments then I will accept them as provisionally true.

        This dialogue is never going to help you because you wont accept what i have to say.

        you are in my opinion wise and intelligent.
        Matthew 11:25(NASB)
        “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.

        God resists the proud – your arrogance keeps you from truth.
        there’s an overriding principle you must grasp if you’re ever going to understand what makes truth absolute.

        Truth is a Person, not a set of principles or facts to which everyone, including God, must adhere. Another way to say it is this: Truth is subject to God, not God to truth.

        Soli Deo Gloria
        In Christ
        Joe

        • Duh says:

          Absolutely stunning; you will contort yourself into any “logical” pretzel just to keep from having to admit that the Bible is internally (within itself) and externally (in conflict with repeatable experimentally verifiable science) contradictory. You don’t even seem to notice that you yourself have admitted this to be the case…

          “There is less than a 2% textual variation in the NT manuscripts.”

          and

          “Perhaps it was a copying error, of which we have identified a few.”

          If, as you clearly outlined, the Bible is not 100% invariable that proves beyond any shadow of any doubt that it is 100% man-made and a work of fiction (Historical fiction perhaps but fiction nonetheless). After all, as the good book says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)”

          How can you be expected to believe in something that actually states animals have the ability to speak. This is obviously a lie. How could you be expected to take something seriously when it says that humans were created out of dirt and rib bones. This is transparently false. How can you be expected to believe, with your eternal future, in a book that says people can come back from the dead as supposedly happened after Jesus was crucified. This is simply not the case. The Bible would have you believe all of these lies and sentence you to an eternity in flames if you do the sensible thing and reject it.

          “…Another way to say it is this: Truth is subject to God, not God to truth.”

          This is just the kind of jaw-dropping doublethink that Orwell was writing about in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Simply staggering…

  • Joe says:

    “Absolutely stunning; you will contort yourself into any “logical” pretzel ”

    — You portray me as if i am systematically self destructing…… When i have challenged your world view on many accounts to no avail – because you continue to dodge and make subjective statements about the scripture. By no means have i become a logical pretzel i simply am not afraid to approach and answer questions about the scriptures. Every one of them has an answer and this is why i continue to hold on to this FAITH- It is the most logical thing to do. I notice that you seem to have a good grasp on quoting scripture(out of context) but none-the less a good grasp. Have you studied the bible w/o the angle of trying to debunk its claims?? Or do you simply approach it as a way to evangelize science. There are many men smarter than you and i (scientist included)who hold to the reality of theism and some go even further to narrow it down to Christianity. This alone has weighty substance that cannot be denied…

    “just to keep from having to admit that the Bible is internally (within itself) and externally (in conflict with repeatable experimentally verifiable science) contradictory. You don’t even seem to notice that you yourself have admitted this to be the case…”

    —my God’s mind is Logical and the very laws of Logic are transcendent. Also my moral standard at which i measure morals are also Transcendent and cannot be verified by the Scientific method.(as well as the existence of numbers, integrity, etc.)

    Scientific Method–
    The method of investigation used to gain knowledge using observation, logic, theorization, testing the theory, modifying the theory, testing, and developing a hypothesis to explain how things work in reality.
    Questions to you.(some or all rhetorical)
    –How do you verify the scientific method as being true? If you say it is true because it works, you aren’t using the scientific method to verify the S.M., you’re just saying it works so it must be true.
    –If you use the Scientific Method to validate itself, then you assume the thing to be true that you’re trying to prove. This is called begging the question.
    –Can you verify the scientific method using logic? But the Scientific Method presupposes the validity of logic in its methodology. So, you have to presuppose the validity of logic to assume the validity of the Scientific Method, thereby not using the Scientific Method to verify what is true.
    –Ought scientists report their findings honestly? To say yes is to apply moral requirements upon those who use the Scientific Method. But why “ought” scientists report their findings accurately while using the Scientific Method? If you say there is a grand “ought” out there, you inadvertently appeal to a transcendent moral law.
    –Can the scientific method measure and establish what is morally superior in different situations?
    MORE QUESTIONS–
    –Do you admit that scientists and atheists who appeal to the scientific method make assumptions (validity of logic, requirement of honest reporting) in doing so?
    –Do you admit that scientists who use the scientific method “ought to report their findings honestly”? If you do, then why? Do you appeal to a universal “ought” out there to which they must adhere? If so, you support the idea of transcendent morality.
    –Is atheism a bias when using the scientific method?
    –Are there things that the Scientific Method cannot address? Of course, it cannot test, weigh, quantify what is morally superior, what integrity is, or measure the Laws of Logic, the mind, etc.
    –Do you (atheists) acknowledge that the scientific method presupposes naturalism, that all things can be understood and explained in naturalistic means?
    –Can naturalism be falsified if its assumptions are that only naturalistic explanations are acceptable?
    –If naturalism cannot be falsified because NO supernatural evidences are allowed, then the naturalists are essentially hiding in a corner and saying, “There can’t be a God. There can’t be a God.”

    Speaking of Pretzels – I am hungry.

    Soli Deo Gloria
    In Christ
    Joe

    • Duh says:

      1) You seemed to have glossed right over the fact that you admitted previously that the Bible is not 100% invariable. There are difference within and between the different versions and translations of the Bible. a) Extra (or missing in the case of Lamentations) books in the Ethiopian Bible b) differences in the wording or phrasing or presence or absence of verses in the KJV. This means that if God latched onto people’s nervous systems and wrote the Bible through them he did a bad job.

      “If, as you clearly outlined, the Bible is not 100% invariable that proves beyond any shadow of any doubt that it is 100% man-made and a work of fiction (Historical fiction perhaps but fiction nonetheless). After all, as the good book says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)”

      2) I have studied the Bible as I was (or am; see John 10:28 vs Heb 6:4-6) a Christian. The reason I know the Bible’s claims are false is because they do not stand up to critique. Do you actually believe that donkeys and snakes can talk? Do you actually accept that zombies walked the streets after Jesus was crucified? Do you actually affirm that the Sun can occasionally freeze in its position in the sky? Of course not – these are all lies and the Bible is jam-packed overflowing with them.

      3) Josh tried to pull the “smarter people than you accept X, Y, Z” therefore if you don’t accept it then you are not smart. Nice try. This alone has no substance and can be completely denied.

      4) I’m not quite sure what you are trying to say about your morals being transcendent but it has been established time and again that humans and other animals have innate morality. We do not require lessons about morality from a book that forces widows to marry the brothers of their husbands (Deut 25:5-6).

      5) Plagiarism is not allowed (http://carm.org/science) and at any rate this line of accusation is moot because science is an entirely self correcting endeavor unlike religion which is still somehow willing to admit with a straight face that 600 people can build boats, people can occasionally walk on water and people can live in fish stomachs with no food, water or air for three days. This is madness.

      “Are there things that the Scientific Method cannot address? Of course, it cannot test, weigh, quantify what is morally superior..”

      Yes it can. I already addressed this argument when Josh mentioned it previously.

      • Josh Fults says:

        1) You seemed to have glossed right over the fact that you admitted previously that the Bible is not 100% invariable. There are difference within and between the different versions and translations of the Bible. a) Extra (or missing in the case of Lamentations) books in the Ethiopian Bible b) differences in the wording or phrasing or presence or absence of verses in the KJV. This means that if God latched onto people’s nervous systems and wrote the Bible through them he did a bad job.

        Perhaps you have a misunderstanding of inerrancy. There are differences between translations. Inerrancy holds that the original autographs are free of error or defect. Copying translations happen due to scribal errors. I once purchased a bible where the manufacturer left out a whole chapter. That wasn’t God’s fault. All things considered, we have a wealth of ancient manuscripts that are extremely consistent. Yes, there are variant readings, but most of the differences are dismally inconsequential and amount to: spelling errors, grammatical problems, missing words, or inverted phrasing. The New Testament does boast an accuracy level of 99.9% and the remaining .1% does not affect any core tenets of Christianity.

        “If, as you clearly outlined, the Bible is not 100% invariable that proves beyond any shadow of any doubt that it is 100% man-made and a work of fiction (Historical fiction perhaps but fiction nonetheless). After all, as the good book says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)”

        No biblical scholar argues that there are not variant readings. Again, the original autographs are only held to be inerrant. Why would you quote James 2:10 here? This verse is appealing to the inability of man to live a righteous life. It has nothing to do with the point you are trying to make.

        2) I have studied the Bible as I was (or am; see John 10:28 vs Heb 6:4-6) a Christian. The reason I know the Bible’s claims are false is because they do not stand up to critique. Do you actually believe that donkeys and snakes can talk? Do you actually accept that zombies walked the streets after Jesus was crucified? Do you actually affirm that the Sun can occasionally freeze in its position in the sky? Of course not – these are all lies and the Bible is jam-packed overflowing with them.

        I do not affirm that these events take place according to the laws of nature. We know how things work according to natural laws and these would be impossible. I do appeal to the fact that I do not think the universe is a closed system. I think God can intervene. This is why these events are called miracles. Laws of nature function a certain way unless acted upon by an outside party.

        3) Josh tried to pull the “smarter people than you accept X, Y, Z” therefore if you don’t accept it then you are not smart. Nice try. This alone has no substance and can be completely denied.

        My point was not that you are not smart if you don’t accept X, Y, and Z. I was also not appealing to other intellectuals as evidence for God’s existence as this would commit a logical fallacy. My point was that there are those smarter than us both that accept Theism and oppose it. Maybe answers are not as air tight as you feel they are. Maybe there is more to consider. I did find it entertaining that you dismissed many of the bright minds that affirm Theism by appealing to Newton and his belief in Alchemy. What about the modern scientific minds that believe in God? Francis Collins, John Lennox, Anthony Flew, Bill Phillips, Brian Heap, etc?

        4) I’m not quite sure what you are trying to say about your morals being transcendent but it has been established time and again that humans and other animals have innate morality. We do not require lessons about morality from a book that forces widows to marry the brothers of their husbands (Deut 25:5-6).

        Innate morality? Could we get some more information here? Altruism and morality are entirely different. There are plenty of instances of rape, plundering, etc within the animal world. What do we anchor morality to? One persons morality may differ from another. Some cultures affirm cannibalism? When in Rome do as the Romans?

        • Duh says:

          1) If, as you think, ” the universe is [not] a closed system” and “God can intervene [in it]” then why did God do such a bad job of communicating his thoughts and actions to the scribes that were working on the random pile of ancient texts that would someday be cobbled together to produce the Bible? Let’s say that God can, from where ever He/She/It is, reach into our Universe that literally take command of someone else’s nervous system. Presumably this God, who has unlimited power, could control the nervous systems of many people simultaneously. Wouldn’t God have a vested interest in making absolutely certain that every single one of the texts that were used to cobble together the Bible hundreds of years after the fact would be identical so that people like me would have no excuse? I’ll say it again – if the Bible is not 100% truth it is by definition not true. Now that both of you have freely admitted that the Bible is NOT 100% invariably consistent with itself I think that can be the stopping point for this line of questioning. I quoted James 2:10 because lying is part of the law and the Bible lies about things – i.e. magic fruit , talking snakes, rib-bone women… It therefore fails its own test.

          2) Let’s take one of these claims to its natural conclusion. “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day (Joshua 10:13).” In order for the Sun to appear to have stopped moving (the Sun doesn’t actually to the moving) the Earth would have to stop rotating suddenly. All the motion and momentum of the Earth would have to, in an instant, cease and then start up again a day later. The Earth has a rotational kinetic energy of 2.138×10^29 J (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotational_energy) and this is roughly equivalent to 1000X the total output of the sun (on a per second basis). If all of this energy from rotation were to stop in an instant it would all be transferred somewhere else. This would result in truly unimaginable earthquakes, tidal waves and the complete destruction of the ENTIRE planet. This cataclysm would then be repeated a day later when God (presumably) added another 2.138×10^29 J to the Earth to get it rotating again (so that the Sun could appear to be moving across the sky). Make no mistake, this combine assault would utterly annihilate the planet so the fact that the planet is still here is proof positive that this is A COMPLETE LIE.

          3) I absolutely stand by my previous statement.

          Newton “was a singular giant in science who gave us Universal gravitation, optics and many other things but he also believed in alchemy. He actually thought that you could take lead and do basic chemistry on it to turn it into gold. This is obviously a lie and proves that even geniuses are susceptible to believing things that are baseless and wrong. This argument does not hold water.”

          4) Infants have an innate sense of fairness (https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/24202/Sloane_Stephanie.pdf?sequence=1)

          Dogs can sense inequity
          (http://www.pnas.org/content/106/1/340.full)

          Monkeys reject unequal pay
          (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6955/full/nature01963.html)

          Mammals appear to have a reliably consistent, observationally and experimentally verifiable ability to notice unfair treatment. This is the innate sense of right and wrong which is the true basis for morality and when expectations are violated mammals notice and respond. Why would God give dogs and monkeys the ability to tell right from wrong? Did the talking snake trick them into eating the magic fruit too? Do they go to hell for not believing that zombies walked the Earth after Jesus was crucified?

          5) Science is an entirely self correcting endeavor unlike religion which is still somehow willing to admit with a straight face that 600 people can build boats, people can occasionally walk on water and people can live in fish stomachs with no food, water or air for three days. This is madness.

          6) Why do I hate God? Why do you think I do?

      • Joe says:

        2) I have studied the Bible as I was (or am; see John 10:28 vs Heb 6:4-6) a Christian. The reason I know the Bible’s claims are false is because they do not stand up to critique. Do you actually believe that donkeys and snakes can talk? Do you actually accept that zombies walked the streets after Jesus was crucified? Do you actually affirm that the Sun can occasionally freeze in its position in the sky? Of course not – these are all lies and the Bible is jam-packed overflowing with them.

        John 10:28
        New American Standard Bible (NASB)
        28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

        This is Correct! and what a powerful verse of scripture it is….. This verse is dealing with Salvation – I am of the reformed Church movement and i would back up this verse with the doctrine of Predestiantion – (http://www.calvinistcorner.com/predestination.htm)

        Hebrews 6:4-6
        New American Standard Bible (NASB)
        4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, [a] since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

        — This verse is not dealing with Salvation it is dealing with a person who has been introduced to it and never been saved or in my opinion was never predestined to do so. I get this from the Scripture written in the following:
        1 John 2:19
        New American Standard Bible (NASB)
        19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

        So i conclude in my obviously pea sized brain that those that leave the faith had decieved themselves into thinking they were saved on an emotional whim – only the elect will be saved from the righteouss Judgement of the Lord God.(Mark 13:27)

        My question is this – are you saying you fall into this group in Hebrews 6??

        5) Plagiarism is not allowed (http://carm.org/science)

        — Matt’s Site Carm.org has made it clear that all of the information therein is up for grabs and can be used for copy paste material. I do apologise for not capturing the URL i was in error – Matt by God’s Grace deserves props for the work he has done on CARM….

        Why do you hate God so much??

        Joe

  • Josh Fults says:

    .
    1.) I said no such thing as “the bible is invariably consistent.” I said there have been transmission and coding errors over the centuries. Inerrency is only claimed of the original writings. God did not “hijack nervous systems” of scribes in the transmission process. I think people will refuse to believe if they want to refuse to believe. There are no contradictions in the Bible. There are telling of events from different perspectives. Such as this seems to indicate that the writers of the gospels did not all meet in a room and corroborate their stories. I would encourage you to do some more reading on inerrancy, textual variants, and the reliability of the gospels (which is overwhelming) if you are interested.
    Why does God do certain things the way he does? Sometimes I don’t have an answer. But to paraphrase Lawrence Krauss, sometimes we just have to accept what is instead of demanding how we want things to be.
    Also, I believe the Bible is 100% true. But I believe your all or nothing logic here is fallacious. Can we hold you to the same standard? If you are not 100% true, you are by definition not true. If you have ever told a lie, then why should anyone believe anything you say?

    2. I understand what you are saying, and you are correct. Many of the miracles reported would wreak havoc, IF the natural laws were to function as they normally do. The appeal to miracles is that the natural order is overridden. So, when the Bible reports that the Sun stood still (earth stopped rotating) I would also assume that the normal effects of such were overridden as well. If God can override physical laws, and he intervened, stopped the earth from rotating, would he not also curb the effects of such? To appeal to miracles is to say that the natural workings of nature are overridden. You tend to approach the miraculous act still within somewhat of a naturalism framework.

    3) Again, here, I was not making a case for people smarter than you affirming theism so you should too. I believe you hit the nail on the head when you said, “even geniuses are susceptible to believing things that are baseless and wrong.”
    Is it impossible that you are wrong here? Do you get a pass on the potentiality for being wrong? I will absolutely say that there are plenty of brilliant atheists that are much more intellectual than me. The same goes with theists that are much more intellectual than you, and I do not mean that in a demeaning way at all. My point all this time is that we should be open to following the truth. If you feel you are honestly doing that then great. I can honestly say I feel I am doing the same. I think it is easy, however, to always assume we are right without taking a look at what others are saying. I had a discussion with a former atheist not too long ago and he told me, “I realized my atheistic assumptions were based on my thoughts and beliefs from my adolescent years and I hadn’t let them catch up to my adult thought life. So I re-examined my beliefs and realized they weren’t as air tight as I thought. This lead me down a long path that ultimately lead to belief in God.” Perhaps at times we interpret things from a certain understanding and we need to adjust our perspective. There are plenty of scientists that are theists. Research by Elaine Ecklund shows that about 50% of scientists are religious. I see no reason that science and Theism are at odds. It is in fact, Theism and Naturalism that are discordant.

    4)Mammals having the ability to notice unfair treatment is not quite the same as morality. This isn’t concern for others, it is concern for promoting self. One can sense inequity, but what does one do with that information? Americans are very well aware of the inequity between standards of living in America and third world countries. Does this make them moral? Morality comes in to play when they act on that inequity and help their less fortunate fellow man.
    If we are going to stick with the theme of animals and morality what do we do with the fact that in the animal kingdom rape, murder, aggression, and plundering take place? If we take the good (sensing inequity) must we also not take the bad? Where is morality rooted? For these events take place in men as well? Who says its wrong to steal, kill, rape? Where do we ground morality? Are we not as Dawkins says, “Dancing to our DNA?” Wouldn’t naturalism have us do whatever promotes survival? Sure, in our modern cultures fair play and back scratching is the means of survival, but it has not always been that way. Yet still, if a person can steal, rape, etc without anyone knowing because they are “dancing to their DNA” is that alright? I think naturalism has a serious problem here when it comes to morality and dealing with evil.

    5.) As far as you hating God, I will make no assumptions on this. I will say this though, God cares for you. I have the feeling (assumption I know, and I said I wouldn’t make any) that you have had some bad experiences with Christians. Maybe this isn’t an assumption because I have had some bad experiences with Christians. I have learned to separate God’s followers from God. I hope that I have never come across to you as rude or condescending. That has never been my intention. Discussing things, especially issues as big as this, via the internet often leaves room for interpreting neutral statements as attacks or condescension.

    Thanks for this very enjoyable dialogue.

    Blessings,
    Josh

    • Joe says:

      I agree with this completely Josh – My only issue in this response from “DUH” is that to say because donkeys talking, magic fruit being magical, and etc being etc makes God obsolete. This is essentially committing a logical fallacy. The Genetic fallacy states that if the source is flawed (and it isnt) this doesnt make the argument or the point being argued false(God). So i simply say that this kind of argument is irrelevent when debating God’s existence. If any sort of diologue is going to be made then DUH needs to agree on taking the evidence presented researching it and then giving a logical refutation – not more answering questions with questions which to me is just an attempt to create a red herring. I am not trying to be a prick in saying this – i just feel like DUH is keeping the Christian’s on this thread in the defensive when our World View is not the one on trial.

    • Duh says:

      1) If God didn’t hijack people’s nervous systems then how else could He have done it? That’s not the worst part. Since God lives outside our Universe He, by definition, cannot interact with us since that telepathic message would have to propagate no faster than the speed of light. If, however, the atoms in people’s brains can be entangled with the atoms (for the lack of a better term) of God then this telepathic message could have traveled faster than the speed of light. But even if it’s entanglement, how and when were the atoms entangled? Was it immediately after they were produced the explosions of stars billions of years ago? Was it as the atoms were being incorporated into the breast milk of their mothers? Was it while they were growing up? If God is all powerful then He certainly could have done anything, including magic, to make sure that His word was transmitted faithfully no matter what. He should have known when He created the Universe that I would bring this up.

      “Also, I believe the Bible is 100% true.” Really? Even the dead people digging themselves out of their graves and walking around talking to people?

      “Can we hold you to the same standard?” NO! I never said that if you decide to not believe what I tell you that you will be tortured in flames for eternity.

      2) The appeal to miracles a) requires more explanation than it addresses b) raises more questions than it answers and c) is just a logical contortion so that you can say the Bible isn’t nakedly obviously lying about something. The Bible is nakedly obviously lying about the Sun stopping in the sky – period. If the Earth stopped rotating there’s no reason to assume that the Moon would stop orbiting. This would further exacerbate the problems of massive tidal waves and would utterly destroy the planet.

      3) I’ll take that story you told me and report the exact opposite. “I realized my Christian assumptions were based on my thoughts and beliefs from my adolescent years and I hadn’t let them catch up to my adult thought life. So I re-examined my beliefs and realized they weren’t as air tight as I thought. This lead me down a long path that ultimately lead to disbelief in God.”

      4) “Mammals having the ability to notice unfair treatment is not quite the same as morality.” I didn’t say it was. I said it’s the basis for morality. The ability to recognize inequity in a situation is the foundation for rational reasoning about the rightness or wrongness of something. We have more advanced sensibilities about morality because we have more advance brains. The frontal lobe and cerebral cortex work to give us the higher order thinking that allowed us to have a more nuanced version of morality but the basis is the same as we can see in other mammals. We do not need a God who would commands genocides to tell us what is right and wrong.

      5) “I will say this though, God cares for you.” He most certainly does not. (2 Chronicles 15:13 — All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.)

      “I hope that I have never come across to you as rude or condescending. That has never been my intention. Discussing things, especially issues as big as this, via the internet often leaves room for interpreting neutral statements as attacks or condescension.”

      I don’t care about that. I’m having fun too.

  • I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
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