Monday, January 17, 2011

Clarification Needed

Hi George. I want to give you an adequate reply to your post here, but I need some further clarification from you before I do that.

You wrote: “You will notice that I include objective morality as a possible option for the atheist.”

You also wrote: “Morality is objective in the sense that rules, whether understood by convention or natural order, are the basis for the definition of a species and how it interacts with the world.”

And also: “Morality is subjective in the sense that our choices impact our ability to survive; so the best solution is not always clear, or do not impact our survival, so that reason can transcend a rule that has outlived its merit.”

My question for you is this: is being self-contradictory objectively wrong? Or is the claim, “being self-contradictory is wrong,” a matter of personal opinion, i.e., subjectively wrong? The reason I ask is because you accused the Bible of being self-contradictory. Then later you wrote: “Are you morally obligated to follow the laws of logic? Nope. You have every right to be wrong.”

I have another question that concerns what you wrote here: “In order for the premise that subjective morality is self-contradictory to be true, man must be unable to refuse an objective moral truth by fiat.”

Whose fiat are you talking about? And so I’m clear, are you saying that the ability to disobey a law shows that morality is not objective? Or have I misunderstood you? Also, do you make a distinction between, on the one hand, whether one is able to or can break a law, and on the other hand, whether one is permitted or allowed to break a law?

You wrote: “In order for your premise to stand you must prove that man is solitary by nature, that nothing in reality transcends his personal opinion of what is moral or immoral.”

To which premise were you referring? Also, so you’re clear, I do not believe that there is nothing in reality that transcends man’s personal opinion. God is transcendent.

You wrote: “By picking and choosing what you want the definitions to be, you create black and white pronouncements from a million shades of gray.”

I was operating according to the dictionary definitions of objective and subjective. There are free dictionaries online for you to look up the meanings. Should I assume from your comment here that we should go by your definition of objective and subjective instead of the dictionary definitions of these words? If so, then I refuse. There’s no reason we can’t use the dictionary definitions of these words.

Also, you wrote: “Logic does not transcend reality, it is a slave to it. Logic is objective. .......... What transcends logic to make it objective? Reality.”

Are you saying that logic is not part of reality? If reality transcends logic, then is it impossible for logic to be part of reality?

Looking forward to your clarification so that I might give you a proper reply.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


While I await a reply from George to my post just below this one, let’s review again why the following claim is a self-defeating one: “Morality is subjective.” If we assume the claim is false, then we deny that morality is subjective. If we assume the claim is true, then the claim does not oblige anyone to accept the claim, since morality would just be a matter of personal opinion. That is, since there’s no external obligation on me to accept the claim, I can go ahead and accept the negation of the claim and hold that morality is objective.

There are a number of terrible consequences to holding that morality is subjective, i.e., that it’s a matter of personal opinion. For example, the claim, “murder is wrong,” would simply be an autobiographical comment, telling us about the person who made the claim rather than carrying with it the implied obligation not to murder.

While there are a plethora of other terrible consequences to holding that morality is subjective, let’s focus in again on what I was saying in the first paragraph but from a different angle. If one’s belief is that truth is objective, that is, it is not a matter of personal opinion, such a belief does not comport with the belief that morality is subjective. We would simply need to ask whether it is true that morality is subjective. In other words, if there’s no objective obligation to base morality on truth (so that morality might be objective), what is the value of making truth judgements about morality?

Consider the following claim. We’ll call it claim #1:
"There is no objective obligation on anyone to base morality upon truth."

Now, let’s negate claim #1 and call it claim #2:
"There is an objective obligation on everyone to base morality upon truth."

Notice that both these claims concern morality. Notice also that these claims directly contradict one another. We can’t (notice, moral obligation) accept both these claims since accepting both would constitute a contradictory position. We have to (notice, moral obligation) choose one or the other. If I don’t have to choose only one, then I’m permitted to be irrational. But what happens when we choose claim #1? If there’s no objective obligation to base morality on truth as claim #1 says, and if claim #2 is false, then I can base morality on falsehood, that is, I am permitted to base it on claim #2. What you ought to notice here is that both the acceptance and rejection of claim #1 prove that claim #1 is false.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at another claim and call it claim #3: “People have an objective moral obligation to base morality on falsehood.” First of all, who would accept such an idea? Secondly, what if the claim is true? If so, then the claim requires that I reject it because it assumes to be true and because it concerns morality! But if you deny claim #3, then on what do you base your denial? Do you believe that we have an objective moral obligation to base morality on truth? If so, then you deny that morality is subjective. And if we don’t have an objective moral obligation to base morality on truth, then we are permitted to accept claim #3 (which would be absurd).

What’s going on here? The point I’m making is that rationality is not possible if truth claims don’t imply or presuppose the moral obligation to accept them, nor is rationality possible if moral claims don’t imply or presuppose truth. In the Christian worldview, truth claims do imply the moral obligation to accept them. In the Christian worldview, morality must be based on truth. Therefore, as long as atheists continue to claim that morality is subjective, not only do they have no basis for calling Christians wrong, but they have no basis for calling themselves right. What is the point of reasoning, speaking or listening if no one is morally obligated to be rational? What is the point of insisting on rationality if your insistence is based on a personal opinion that no one is morally obligated to accept?

But if atheists want to claim that morality is objective, then I’d really like to hear how they justify or account for that, given their rejection of the omniscient, immutable, omnipotent, sovereign God.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2nd Reply to George

George is nothing if not entertaining. He thinks he has me on the horns of a real dilemma, namely, that either I accept it’s ok to apply capital punishment to a child who curses his parent (Lev. 20:9), or if I don’t, I accept that my Christian worldview is inconsistent and self-defeating.

I’m a shakin’ in my boots.

While atheists may find it odd that capital punishment is applied to a much lesser number of sins in the New Testament after the coming and work of Jesus Christ as compared to the Old Testament, they should actually find it odd, given the Christian worldview, that capital punishment is not applied to any and every sin, whether in the New or Old Testaments. God warned Adam concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that from it “you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). God says in Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul who sins shall die.” The point is this: death is the penalty for every sin. Most people take the fact that they’re alive for granted, but it should actually be amazing that after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they did not die that day. God had every right to destroy the world but did not. Instead He enacted His plan of salvation. He allowed mankind to continue the project of culture and civilization, although He put mankind and creation under the curse (see Gen. 3), and mankind became depraved as a result of his original sin. Mankind was still allowed to live a short life on this earth, relatively speaking. And why? To give people the opportunity to repent of their sins and call upon God for salvation; to allow for the people He would save and redeem to be born; to ensure that His Son would one day be born and accomplish the work of salvation that was set out for him to do.

And why is capital punishment applied to far fewer situations (such as a child cursing his parent) in the New Testament as compared to the Old Testament? It has to do with the “day of salvation” or “year of the Lord’s favour” prophesied by Isaiah and reiterated by Jesus Christ in Luke 4:16-21. This time (figurative day or year) is a further and expanded time and opportunity God provided and still provides for people to repent of their sins and seek salvation because of Jesus Christ. It’s an act of grace and mercy. It is one of the most crucial reasons as to why capital punishment is applied to far fewer situations in the New Testament and beyond. A good example of this occurs in John 8:1-11, where a woman caught in the act of adultery (and thus liable to capital punishment) was brought to Jesus by the Pharisees and scribes. They asked Jesus concerning the very same thing that George is asking me about a child cursing his parents: “In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?” (Interestingly, the following verse says, “They were using the question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him”). Jesus said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Notice that Jesus did not say that the law of Moses was invalid. Rather, he shed light on the motivation behind what the Pharisees (and George) were trying to do, and to show them what their standing before God really is, namely, that everyone deserves death for their sin.

Now, I have been patient and forbearing in giving a response to George about the Christian worldview and the teaching of the Bible. It’s time for me to turn my sights on him.

George, as an atheist, cannot account for how God or myself might be wrong. For him, morality is subjective, that is, it’s a matter of personal opinion. Of course, if that’s true then there really is no such thing as right and wrong – it’s just one person’s opinion vs. another. And if morality is not objective, as it is in the Christian worldview, then rationality is not even possible since no one is obligated to reason according to the truth or communicative truthfully. There’s no obligation to do that unless it’s your personal opinion – but even then we know that people can be wrong. But how do you know if someone’s wrong if no one is obligated to be right?

Should a person have a worldview that’s coherent and consistent, as George says I should (and I agree)? If morality is subjective then no one’s under obligation to do that. But in the Christian worldview, people are obligated to be coherent and consistent. That’s why I argue that George’s argument against me proves Christianity, since he is presupposing that I must be consistent and coherent, which is a Christian position. But it’s a position that atheists cannot account for since, in their worldview, no one has any objective moral obligations. George has to presuppose the truth of Christianity in order to attack it, and thus he unwittingly proves Christianity.

And what of the laws of logic? George may want to charge me with being irrational or illogical. But according to what standard or standards does he make that judgement? According to the laws of logic? Do people have an objective moral obligation to abide by the laws of logic? Or is that just a matter of personal opinion? If you’re an atheist, how do you account for the laws of logic? Are they immaterial or material? If they’re immaterial, how do you make sense of that if you’re an empiricist or materialist? Are the laws of logic abstract? Are they just electro-chemical processes that happen in the brain? Do any two people have the exact same brain? Are they just a matter of convention? If so, why am I morally obligated to follow the convention? If they’re a matter of convention, then why can’t anyone adopt whatever convention they feel like? And if they’re not a matter of convention, then how does the atheist prove this? If rationality is measured against the laws of logic, then shouldn’t they be objective, immutable and universal? But if the laws of logic can change, whether over time or from one place to another, then why should anyone reason according to the laws of logic? How does the atheist prove that the laws of logic were the same many years ago as they are today? How does he know they’ll be the same in the future? And if he doesn’t know whether the laws of logic are constant, then why even bother reasoning according to them?

These questions about the laws of logic are not a side show. If George wishes to employ the laws of logic against me or the Christian position, then he better have a pretty good answer concerning them, or else he should stop using them. But in the atheist worldview, are you really morally obligated to do that, one way or the other? What is rationality if it's not based on universal and invariant laws?

Monday, January 10, 2011

1st Reply to George

George: “Thanks for taking a position. It only took you four days and eight requests. Did you really have to think about it that much?”

I have a job. I work for a living. I can’t be at your beck and call.

George: “Killing is wrong. I agree with you.”

Do you believe that killing is objectively wrong or subjectively wrong?

George: “If there are some exceptions to that rule does that not make it by nature subjective, in that it requires context?”

The Free Online Dictionary provides the following as the primary definition of subjective:
a. Proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world: a subjective decision.
b. Particular to a given person; personal: subjective experience.

This might not be the best definition of subjective, but I’m providing it for you anyway because I’m not sure that you understand what you’re saying. However, I do believe that context is a key component in considering the morality of an action. But so also is motivation, effect and, of course, the standard by which an action is deemed right or wrong.

George: “Unless you only consider murder a moral question and not killing? Killing seems to me to be a moral question, I wonder if you agree?”

In the Christian worldview, every action or deed is a moral matter, since everything we do is either to God’s glory or to our own glory.

George: “... I wonder if we are even able to agree on the definition of morality out of the gates.”

Probably not as the Christian position is that morality is not a matter of subjective or personal opinion.

George: “You state, in your answer, that killing is not a moral question.”

I did not state that. It is a moral question. But as you said, we likely disagree on the definition of morality.

George: “So you can kill at will, so long as you are justified in doing so?”

There is a distinction between killing at will and killing when you are justified in doing so. Perhaps what we need to clarify is when killing is justified. I gave three examples already as to when it is justified: self-defence, just war and capital punishment. Of course, even these three examples need further clarification and explanation. For example, I hear both atheists and theists say they’re in favour of capital punishment. I hear both atheists and theists say they’re opposed to capital punishment. Also, people might disagree over what constitutes a just war as opposed to a unjust war.

George: “If you killed me today, because God told you to do it, you would not be morally culpable?”

Since the close of the canon of Scripture, God no longer speaks in a direct fashion as He did, for example, to the prophets of the Old Testament. I know that may sound weird to you, but there it is for you anyway. Yes, it would be wrong for me to kill you, unless you were trying to kill me.

George: “I'm struggling to follow your logic, because I suspect there is none to follow.”

Are the laws of logic universal and invariant? Or are they a matter of convention?

George: “So we are clear, Christianity only comports with child killing, as long as God told you to do it. Your words. So if God decided to tell you to kill your children, then you are morally right to do as he says. Glad you cleared that up for us.”

You are not clear.

George: “How, then, are we to know what God told you? Does He give you a receipt? If someone kills their children and tell you that God commanded it, are you morally bound to believe him? What is the procedure?”

God reveals Himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. He also reveals Himself in creation. Now, you may not agree with that and you may not like that, but that is how God reveals Himself. It’s not magical and it’s not cryptic. If you want to know what God reveals and who He is, then go watch a sunrise, watch the frost form on a window, go see the northern lights, go and read the Bible.

Also, the reason I asked the question about the difference between a human killing a human and a lion killing a zebra is because the atheist worldview says that man is just an animal that evolved from animals. But in the Christian worldview, man is created in God’s image. Yes, man shares certain similarities with animals, but in the Christian worldview man also shares similarities with God, such as the ability to reason, to imagine, to create, to be self-aware, to make choices, etc., etc. Why is the difference between humans and animals so astronomically huge? The Christian worldview can account for that whereas the atheistic worldview cannot.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In conclusion

The reason I ended my debate with Jason over here is because Jason actually admitted his own defeat. More on that in a bit.

I had argued that Jason’s rejection of pedophilia does not comport with his atheism since his atheistic view of morality cannot account for universal and invariant laws of morality. For Jason, all morality is a matter of subjective opinion. It’s just one man’s opinion vs the next. Of course, Jason thinks that morality should be based on “the facts,” however he also stated that no one is obligated to accept the facts as facts. When you go to apply this understanding to pedophilia we see that, first, people are under no objective moral obligation not to engage in pedophilia, and second, people are not obligated to accept the fact that pedophilia is harmful to children. But why, according to atheism, should people not harm children? You see, the atheistic worldview allows for pedophilia. Jason even admitted that it’s possible some society might accept it.

Later Jason stated that people have to agree to live according to the rules of their society (which is disgusting when you read that in light of the previous sentence). But is this a moral obligation, which he believes is subjective opinion? Or is this a fact, which Jason says people are not under any obligation to accept? Ouch. Should people live according to the rules of society because society says so? Not only is this circular reasoning, but societies can be wrong. But if you can’t account for objective morality then you can’t account for when a society is “wrong,” especially when people, according to Jason, are not required to accept the facts as facts. Or should we obey the rules of society or allow people to be punished even when those rules are wrong?

You see, if morality is subjective, then there is no such thing as morality because there are no prescriptions to which people are bound regardless of their own opinion. So not only does atheism have no basis for morality, but in this case the atheist would rather construct his worldview to allow for pedophilia than to reject his own atheism. That’s both sick and sad.

Not only is Jason’s position irrational, since it allows for morality to be arbitrary, but it’s also self-defeating. If morality is a matter of subjective opinion and if people are not obligated to accept the facts as facts, then no one is required to listen to Jason, no one is required to adhere to or agree with anything he says because no one is morally obligated to do anything. His position is that you don’t have to agree with his position. That’s why I said Jason admitted his own defeat and that’s why I ended my debate with him.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Well, I have the proof in black and white that atheism allows for pedophilia. See Jason's comments and my replies in the comments section of this post at the Lousy Canuck.

Second reply to Jason

I responded to Jason again over here but I'm also posting it below. I continue to maintain that although the atheist may want to say that pedophilia is wrong, his atheism actually provides the basis for allowing pedophilia:


Jason wrote: “You have a logical fallacy in suggesting that morals that are subjective are self-defeating because one doesn’t have to accept that fact. I’m not saying that FACTS are SUBjective, or that all sociological concepts are OBjective. I’m saying that facts are OBJECTIVE — they are either facts or they are not, independent of what we would wish them to be — and that sociological concepts like morals are subjective, because they depend on the society they came from.”

Hi Jason. Thanks for clarifying your position. I hope our discussion is mutually beneficial. But if we were debating this in a Tim Horton’s, I would offer to buy you the next coffee since I believe you need some more time to think through the logical consequences of your position.

You said that morality is subjective yet you say that facts are objective. But consider the following claim: “Pedophilia is morally wrong.” According to you, is this a fact, or is this a subjective opinion? Please take some time to consider your answer while enjoying the coffee I just bought for you.

To put it another way, Jason, do people have an objective moral obligation to believe that morality is subjective? Or, do people have an objective moral obligation to believe the facts?

Also, you write: “… sociological concepts like morals are subjective, because they depend on the society they came from.” But from what society does this claim itself come from? If this claim came from one society but not another, am I morally obligated to believe this claim? If there was a society that believed pedophilia was right, would that society be wrong? Does the rightness or wrongness of pedophilia depend on the society it comes from? Really?

The Christian position is that pedophilia is morally wrong for any person in any place at any time. Pedophilia is wrong regardless of the society you come from, regardless of your subjective opinion on the matter. But since the atheist can’t account for universal and invariant laws of morality, he’s left with the absurd position of saying that pedophilia is morally wrong on the one hand and saying that morality is subjective on the other hand. Thus, the atheist position gives the pedophile the loophole he needs to justify pedophilia, since he can appeal to the atheist position that moral claims concerning pedophilia are just a matter of subjective opinion and can’t be said to be objectively binding.

The next coffee is on you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Atheism, subjective morality, and pedophilia

First of all, my apologies to Jason for getting his name wrong in the previous post.

I do need to clarify two things before I proceed. First, Jason wrote: “I consider the link there and accusation that I support pedophilia to be a hit-and-run, so I'm okay with making a hit-and-run in return.” Unfortunately Jason misunderstood me. I was not accusing him of supporting pedophilia. In fact, I even wrote: “I don’t mean to suggest that the Lousy Canuck, [Jason], supports pedophilia.” But I guess there’s no need for getting upset about it since I also misread him and got his name wrong. I’m not accusing Jason of supporting pedophilia, rather, I’m saying that his rejection of pedophilia does not comport with his atheism, since atheism cannot account for universal and invariant laws.

Second, I’m not a defender of a “god,” or some kind of deity, but rather the one and only true God revealed in creation and the Bible. I am not a supporter of “religion” as it is often understood. (Many atheists like to lump Christians in with Muslims under the category of “religious people” – which is to beg the question.) I believe that Christianity is religion, and anything else that goes by the name of religion is really just idolatry.

Unfortunately for Jason, he has already lost the debate in his first reply. He writes: “...all morality is subjective.” But this claim is self-defeating. If all morality is subjective, then no one is obligated to accept the claim that all morality is subjective, since the claim is not objectively true – it would just be a matter of subjective opinion. But if Jason says that the claim is objectively true, then all morality is not subjective. Do I have a moral obligation to accept the claim that all morality is subjective? If yes, then morality is not subjective. If no, then I reject the claim and instead embrace the claim that morality is objective. Saying that all morality is subjective is analogous to saying there’s no such thing as truth – which is a ridiculous idea since the claim presupposes that it is true.

When we go to apply Jason’s idea of morality to pedophilia, we see the disastrous results, namely, that pedophilia cannot be said to be objectively wrong, since our atheist friend Jason believes that morality is subjective. This is why I said that Jason’s rejection of pedophilia does not comport with his atheism. The atheist in Jason wants to say that morality is subjective, but the part of him in his heart of hearts that knows God wants to say that pedophilia is wrong regardless of human opinion on the matter. Or does Jason actually believe that if most humans supported pedophilia then it would be ok? Really?

The atheistic notion of morality actually provides the very justification for pedophilia that pedophiles want, even if atheists don't intend it. The pedophile can argue that pedophilia is right because it can’t be said to be objectively wrong. Unfortunately this is where atheism takes you.

There are other comments Jason made that I want to deal with but I don’t want this to drag on too long, so just one last thing. If Jason is correct (objectively or subjectively, I’m not sure) that “all morality is subjective,” then someone should ask him if people have an objective moral obligation to embrace atheism. If yes then, well, you see what I mean.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Atheism and sexual self-contradiction

I don’t mean to pick on this Lousy Canuck, I just kind of randomly came across his blog while seeing what the atheists were up to these days. But I found a good launch pad for discussion concerning atheism’s basis for morality. Justin writes in this post here that "... we should all just have sex the way we want with the types of people we want and *enjoy* it, because enjoying it makes it awesome." But in an earlier post he writes concerning pedophilia that "... we have empathy for other human beings, and we understand that as children sexual advances would empirically harm if not destroy a child’s psychological state, it seems obvious that we’d endeavour to protect these children from these acts with or without some deity’s say-so."

How does the atheist square this circle? Now, I don’t mean to suggest that the Lousy Canuck, Justin, supports pedophilia, but rather that his embrace of atheism does not comport with his rejection of pedophilia. If, as Justin says, we should all just have sex the way we want with the types of people we want and enjoy it, then why shouldn’t people have sex with children? On the basis of the Christian worldview, we can make sense of our rejection of pedophilia, as we believe in universal, invariant laws of morality based upon God’s character. But if you’re an atheist, how do you account for universal, invariant laws of morality – concerning sexuality, for example?

Perhaps Justin would say that the sex has to be consensual. Agreed. But why? Says who? Or why should the atheist care about "a child’s psychological state?" To what universal and unchanging standard does he appeal to make his case? Or, why for the atheist is pedophilia wrong even if the child consents to it? If atheism is true, and when you die and I die that's the end and everything is forgotten because you're dead and everyone else will die and that will be their end, then why should anyone care about children? With what part of what Justin says would a pedophile disagree: "... we should all just have sex the way we want with the types of people we want and *enjoy* it, because enjoying it makes it awesome."? Reading it in that light makes me sick, but this is where atheism takes you, dear friends.


Almost three years. Unbelievable. I'm baaaaack! This design definitely needs a tune up.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Links and things

I added a couple of new links in the sidebar. The first is a link to a blog by Vincent from Singapore called Viva Vox Dei. The second is to Matt's blog, Resistant to Change. Check 'em out.

In my next post I'd like to respond to some of the comments that Anonick has made about science and the laws of nature (that, by the way, evidence the "I don't know but I do know" contradiction in atheist thought). But I've been busy lately, and I'm not sure if I'll get to that today.

In the meantime, check out Bahnsen's Defending the Christian Faith lectures:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Knifed in the back: evolution turned upside down

Controversy! Uproar!

What else could you say about possible reaction to the new book, The Upright Ape: A New Origin of the Species, by Aaron Filler?

Apes evolved from man? Wow. Evolutionists are far more foolish than they sound, to say the least.

Problems for Unbelieving Worldviews

Atheists and Christians alike would do well to watch the following videos:

Problems for Unbelieving Worldviews (9 Parts)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Worldviews in Conflict: A Second Rebuttal to Samuel Skinner.

When I refer to a "worldview" I am referring to a person's basic or foundational assumptions about life/reality. I suppose it doesn't necessarily have to be termed "worldview." You could also call it one's "basic ideology" or "theory of reality" or "philosophy of life." A worldview is a network of presuppositions concerning metaphysics (what is real? what is possible? what is existence?), ethics (what is right? how do we know what is right or wrong?), and epistemology (what is knowledge? how do we know? how is truth determined?). Related to this are a person's beliefs about where we came from, who we are, what our purpose is, and where we are headed. A worldview is a set of assumptions or presuppositions by which we reason and interpret our experiences.

Some people haven't given a whole of thought to their worldview or tried much to articulate it; some have. Some don't even care much to think about it; some do. But everyone operates according to a worldview. For example, if someone says something like, "Stealing is wrong," the reasons they give for upholding that statement begin to reveal something about their worldview as is pertains to ethics. Or if I say something like, "A truth proposition has the opposite value from its negation," my explanation for believing that begins to reveal something about my worldview as is pertains to epistemology.

A person's worldview is most poignantly revealed when the issue of God's existence arises. This is because one's belief about God is at the centre ("center" for my American friends) of one's worldview. In fact, what a person believes about God conditions his beliefs about metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology. One's beliefs about God have a significant bearing upon what one's worldview will be. This is the case for the Christian theist like myself and for the atheist. But when the theist and the atheist debate the existence of God, they do so in accordance with their worldviews. Both regiment their worldview when they reason about and debate God. This means, therefore, that the debate over God's existence isn't just a debate over isolated claims (e.g. God exists, Jesus rose from the dead), rather, it is actually a clash of entire worldviews.

Recall what I just said, that our worldviews are determined by what we believe about God. And yet, we use our worldviews as a basis on which to reason about everything, including God's existence. Both the atheist and the theist can be found reasoning in a circle. What the theist deems acceptable evidence and argumentation for God's existence will not always be found compelling by atheist because the atheist operates according a different epsitemology informed by his rejection of God. The only way to solve the dispute between the theist and the atheist is to place the one worldview beside the other and reason about them on their own terms to see which one can provide the necessary outlook on life to know or prove anything whatsoever.

The problem for the non-Christian, then, is that if you're going to reject God, if you're going to write off the Bible and Jesus Christ as superstition, can you come up with a worldview that makes sense out of reality? Can you account for right and wrong, truth and falsehood, possible and impossible, given your rejection of the God who created you and calls you to repentance for your sin? The problem for the atheist is that, if he's consistent with his atheism, it's not possible to come up with a workable worldview that offers a foundation for knowing or proving anything.

The reason that the atheist has successes in acquiring knowledge, making predictions, and accomplishing various tasks is only because reality is what God created it to be. The extent to which the atheist has any successes in his reasoning is only to the extent that he assumes the truth of the Christian worldview. In fact, even the attempt to prove atheism assumes the truth of theism. Both the attempt to prove and disprove Christian theism proves Christian theism because of the impossibility of the contrary. The atheist can't come up with a consistent, workable worldview. They can't account for the preconditions of intelligibility that make proving or knowing anything possible, in which case they can't prove atheism, and even the attempt to prove atheism ends up proving the truth of the Christian worldview.

(Wow, I've used alot of space and I haven't even replied to your comments about science or logic yet. But I'm more than willing to discuss these things if you want. In fact I'd like that because I still don't think you gave an adequate answer to the last paragraph in the previous post about gaps in knowledge. I'll even buy you the next cup of coffee, so to speak. Or perhaps a beer. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about how the laws of logic require God's existence, see this post here.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Is God the God of the gaps? A rebuttal to Samuel Skinner.

In the comments section of the previous post Sam wrote,
God contradicts logic, so I don't see how one would butress the other. Additionally this is the classic how do you know it exists if you can't see it, aka if you doubt god, why do you believe in love? The basic flaw is saying that god is an answer, instead of admitting that it is simply a gap in knowledge. In short this is a god of gaps arguement. (Atheists can't explain x, but theism can. Therefore atheism is false) It is the same as saying history doesn't teach you how to play the flute so history is false.
This deserves a reply.

The Christian position is not that we simply refer to God to explain gaps in knowledge. To say that this is the Christian position is to argue against a straw man. Rather, the Christian position is that all knowledge presupposes the existence of God. The Christian position is that nothing whatsoever can be explained unless God exists. God is the God of the gaps and the non-gaps because He is the God of everything. Both the explained and unexplained cannot be account for unless God exists. That's the position the atheist will have to contend with if he wants to argue against Christianity (though we hope repentance and submission to Jesus Christ will be preferred -- and I don't say that lightly).

Let me add two clarifications. The Christian position is not that the atheist can't explain things or that he doesn't believe things which are true, rather, we say that the extent to which the atheist has any successes in his reasoning and explanation of things is only possible to the extent that he assumes the truth of the Christian worldview. The other clarification is this: there are no gaps in knowledge, not for God. There are gaps for human beings due to our finitude and the noetic effects of sin, but not for God.

Now that we've set forth the Christian position, let's turn our attention to Sam's position. In response to the previous post he admits that the atheist cannot arrive at a proper explanation of the laws of logic: "... it is simply a gap in knowledge." This is a devastating concession of cosmic proportions. One must eventually ask the atheist whether the laws of logic apply to that quote itself. How can laws of logic, which for the atheist are unexplainable, be applied to a gap in knowledge about the laws of logic which can't be explained by the atheist? Sam's position is self-defeating. In fact, Sam can't know whether anything he says whatsoever is true because it can't be known to him wether the laws of logic have been properly applied (since for him the laws of logic are a gap in knowledge.) Thus, Sam has no basis for saying, "God contradicts logic ... ."

He also wants us to think that the following is faulty reasoning: "Atheists can't explain x, but theism can. Therefore atheism is false." Well, it depends what you mean by "explain." I've said that atheists can explain things but only to the extent that they assume the truth of the Christian explanation of things. If the atheist doesn't assume the existence of God, he can't explain anything whatsoever. Therefore, because of that, atheism is false. Therefore, because of that, Christianity is true.

One final point about gaps in knowledge. The atheist believes that there are things unknown. This poses a problem of cosmic proportions for the atheist. If that which is not known can be known though it isn't yet, we have to wonder whether that unknown knowledge will affect the very process of knowing itself, in which case the atheist can't be certain whether he rightly knows anything now. And if that unknown is to become known, can we know it from our current method of knowing? These aren't silly philosophical games here, rather, it highlights the absurdity of the atheist position. The atheist is left not being able to know anything for certain because he can't eliminate the possibility that the unknown will change the very foundation or basis of knowing. But the Christian worldview can make sense out of knowledge and gaps in knowledge because everything is known by God. Everything is interpreted. Everything is analyzed. Everything is explained. Everything is accounted for because God is omniscient. Human beings can't know everything but they can have knowledge since God reveals knowledge through general and special revelation. In the Christian worldview, the human unknowns can't change the preconditions of knowing because God always is who He is. But for the atheist to admit there are gaps in knowledge is to admit his own defeat.