Want Some Answers ???
>>Was surprised to see your prompt response – thanks for taking the time. It was interesting reading, and very revealing of your own position. Perhaps you will permit me to respond to a number of your points. Comments are interspersed throughout your reply and are noted by “J.” …..J. No faith is required. As mentioned, atheism is the natural starting point, and stands by default unless or until the god hypothesis can be sufficiently proven.<<
Thanks, I can only reply as time allows. Since it made interesting reading, perhaps I might 'respond' again. I believe atheism requires the 'faith' of any half-baked religion. Regardless of any evidence, it requires faith to believe in no God. For me, a blind faith that denies any explanation of life, the facts, and evidence. You don’t want to accept that you have ‘faith’ because then you would not be able to say, with certainty, it's the right faith. You must accept the impossible, believe the ridiculous and trust the absurd. You reply,
>>J. Many non-religious would use these exact same words to describe your own position, particularly in regards to the borrowed doctrines, rituals, and stories of the Christian religion.<<
But that doesn't alter what I applied to atheism. It doesn't answered the point. Usually those who don’t believe the Bible, are those who have never studied it. Usually those who don't know much about the Bible, don't know much about God. Perhaps you might tell me about those 'borrowed doctrines' and 'stories'? I meet few Atheists who know all about 'Christians', most criticize what they haven't studied. So atheism is a belief that from nothing came everything, by itself (and without any goal or purpose). You reply,
>>J. Granted, but an atheist does not necessarily believe this. As mentioned, many atheists admit that the beginning of life is still a mystery (and may always be). <<
Yes they can't be sure and don't have the answers. In the end, all they can say is everything 'is still a mystery' and truth (as you say) cannot be 'unlocked'. So obviously, nothing is certain and nothing really knowable. This is a totally crazy notion to defend, so there is no such thing as a true atheist. It takes amazing gullibility to believe matter is eternal, and matter without life created life etc, you reply,
>>In any case, you need to be careful how you tread here, as by presenting the above list and by implying, for example, that matter isn’t eternal, you are coming dangerously close to falling into the very trap you warn of – How do you know this? Such a statement would require a ‘complete knowledge’ of the behaviour of matter over eternity, which I’m sure you will agree, is beyond the scope of our knowledge.<<
Jason modern science knows all matter originally had a beginning. And there was a time when matter came into existence. It's not eternally old as evolutionists once postulated for their theory. Evolution is a theory with serious problems. Atheism traditionally needs matter to be the ultimate reality and nothing else. What we can't see, touch, or prove (ie God) doesn't exist. I find atheists become agnostics under pressure and run for cover, because their claims crumble under examination. It's crazy to believe ‘in the beginning was nothing, and from nothing came everything’. You reply,
>>J. Agreed. Only a fool would propose ‘in the beginning was nothing, and from nothing came everything’ as a hypothesis in total without additional reasoning and explanation of how they propose this happened. I would be first in line with you to refute this theory. Some people are content to accept that our knowledge is currently incomplete in areas such as this.<<
The best explanation is a Creator with all power, wisdom and understanding created. The fact the universe exists at all, is suggestive in itself. But you don't believe that, the implications are too great, you only want to believe want fits with your ideas. Besides you would be accountable to Him. Man is by nature in rebellion to God, as the Bible says. Yet it makes sense that there could be no laws without a Law Giver, no design without a Designer, no order without someone putting things in order. That's why I base what I believe on what I know, not on what I don't know. You reply,
>>J. As do I<<
No you don't at all Jason. You don't 'know' for sure about the universe, life, cells, if 'there is no God' etc. You say 'knowledge is incomplete' we should "suspend judgment". An "honest atheist admits he does not know". Or "grasp at an answer, any answer". You base what you believe on what you don't know, not on what you do know. 'I know' the world and life has all the signs of being created, not happening by chance and you 'don't know'. An honest agnostic makes an effort to know if there is a God. Agnosticism is not grounds for rejecting Christianity, rather it is grounds for examining it.
>>J. Certainly from our limited human experience, all man-made design requires a designer. The extention of this to nature is a rather large assumption that I don’t believe can be justified.<<
So I say the odds against a naturalistic development of design are virtually infinity to one. Design, order, and laws never happen by 'luck' or chance. Humans are creators too, our minds won't allow any other explanation, even for simple things - paper-clips. A simple cell is a million times more complex. You choose not to believe the obvious and a common sense explanation. Even the simplest life-forms are far too complex to develop by chance. How could they?
>>J. A very good question, and one that shows we are not so different in what we are looking for. I would like to find this out one day. However, I am not so intellectually promiscuous as to jump at just any explanation so that we do have an explanation. Again it is all about being comfortable with admitting there are things we don’t know.<<
Yes you base what you believe on what you 'don't know', not on what you do know. As I said, atheism has no answers, explanation, hope, truth, or purpose. It believes no answer is better than the obvious answer. I'm 'comfortable' admitting there are things I 'don't know' but atheism says deny what you do know and don't believe it. "The fool has said in his heart, There is no God" (Psa.14.1). Anyone with any intelligence would acknowledge the evident fact of a living God.
And, 'life always comes from pre-existent life, never non-life'. You reply,
>>J. Again, dangerously close to an assumption that you could not possibly know.<<
Again you 'don't know' so think others 'could not possibly know'. Modern science now knows 'life always comes from pre-existent life, never non-life'. Atheistic evolutionists once insisted that life comes from matter. Just leave matter long enough, with the right conditions and life will 'spontaneously generate'. They looked at worms, insects, and maggots coming out of the ground and thought they were created by materials in their environment. It was Louis Pasteur (a Christian) who refuted this with science. Today all assumptions of life beginning by itself are still unproven 'assumptions'. Even the most simple single cells are too complex just to happen.
Cells can divide and reproduce and make and use DNA, proteins and chemical energy, and carry out other complex chemical processes. Each cell has two copies of genes carried on chromosomes. If a gene is damaged the other copy can act as a back-up for gene repair mechanisms. So which evolved first (how, and how long did it work without the others) – which was first the drive to reproduce or the ability to reproduce? Which was first - the DNA or RNA to carry the message to cells part? Apart from God, there is no answer, the only answer is that the Creator gave cells whatever components they needed to carry out their functions. That’s why atheism has no explanation for life, because without God life has no sense. So there's plenty of 'proof' there is a God and it's reasonable to believe there is. You replied,
>>J. I would hazard a guess that the proof you are referring to has something to do with limited human observational experience, which is far from exhaustive and infallible.<<
No 'the proof' is based on what I know. But you are welcome to correct my 'limited human' understanding. I look forward to your words of correction. Otherwise I suspect you believe what you want, regardless of evidence.
>>J. Actually, I don’t. Which is precisely why I do not believe ‘faith’ (the belief in something regardless or in spite of reason) is a valid tool to use to determine Truth.<<
Yet you do have a "belief in" MANY things "in spite of reason". And use that as a 'tool to determine Truth'. Belief in God agrees with 'reason' and 'truth'. Without ultimate or certain truth, you have no 'valid tool to use to determine Truth' but just make it up in your head. I was told about Santa Claus when young, but I didn't grow up believing that. But millions worldwide (rich, poor, clever, young, old) do believe there is a God.
>>J. Ah, so it is correct because the majority of mankind believes it to be correct. Yes, I believe a similar argument was used by the Church in suppressing Galileo’s ‘unpopular’ view that the sun didn’t rotate around the earth…<<
So you ignore the fact millions around the world believe there's a God, & don't believe "fairies, hobbits, gremlins". Why ignore what which refutes atheism? To them 'belief' in God is not "intellectual bankruptcy" at all.
And Galileo? He was a Christian and believed in God. Galileo and Copernicus didn’t disprove the Bible. They would have been shocked at the thought. They accepted biblical authority more faithfully than church leaders today. The four main heroes of heliocentricism – Copernicus Galileo, Kepler, and Newton were all creationists and also the great astronomers Herschel and Maunder. None of these interpreted the world without God.
If the Roman Catholic Church had correctly understood the bible they would have known the ‘rising & setting’ of the sun (terms we use) are from poetry books and were not intended to teach a particular astronomical model. Yet Galileo's main opponent was not the church, it was the scientific establishment. “The Aristotelian professors, seeing their vested interests threatened, united against him. They strove to cast suspicion on him in the eyes of the ecclesiastical authorities because of [alleged] contradictions between the Copernican theory and scriptures ” (p638 The New Ency. Britannica 19.638-640. 15th ed. 1992).
>>J. I put it to you that not so many of these millions actually give the subject much thought at all. (yourself excluded, of course). A case of unquestioned inheritance through early indoctrination.<<
But millions do give it 'much thought', they commit themselves in practice, they deny themselves, they order their life, marriage, and thinking around the assurance they have. Because belief in God does not depend on I.Q., education or inheritance. It involves choice, some reject what they know. T hey ignore or reject God not because of science or reason, but because they want to. "They did not like to retain God in their knowledge " (Rom 1:28). You reply,
>>J. well of course the early Church leaders would say that! They were sort of an interested party, were they not?<<
Yes the apostles had seen and heard the resurrected Jesus. In fact, the reality of God's existence was so real they were prepared to die for Him. And they did (Yet more evidence for God's existence). The evidence for the resurrection is overwhelming, clearly the lives of the frightened believers were totally transformed after the resurrection. 2000 years later we might argue that we don't believe it, but no one can seriously suggest that the apostles who were alive at the time did not. God's actions in history, among the nations are central to Christianity and Christian theology is rooted in history. This is the one thing that sets Christianity apart from all other world religions and validates its truthfulness.
As I said, those who want to know God personally can, He has revealed Himself perfectly through His Son. Jesus Christ "has declared him" (Jn 1:18). You replied,
>>J. Sounds like the generic pap you get from your pick of major religions and that doesn’t actually add any substance to the discussion. Again, didn’t the writers of the Bible have an interest in wanting people to believe this, and doesn’t this cast doubt on their objectivity as trustworthy sources? And even if they didn’t deceive, is it not fairly likely that they could have been deceived themselves? Were they not living in particularly superstitious and credulous times? The principle of Occam’s Razor suggests that this should be seen as much more than just another possibility.<<
Well if there is a God, it would help if He revealed Himself as to who He is, what He's done and what He wants etc. This does matter 'to the discussion'. Regarding the Bible, it has been studied closer than any other book in history. All issues you mentioned above have been discussed and dismissed as without substance. Scholars who know the Bible, its characters, events, and story do not suggest the disciples had "been deceived themselves".
The bible is the real thing, a true record, and proven correct. Yet atheism is a belief that cannot be believed with any certainty. You reply,
>>J. Apparently I was not clear enough. The theist is proposing the existence of god. The atheist therefore does not need to disprove god in order to justify his status quo position. The onus is on the theist to convince the atheist, or alternatively, to leave him to his worldview.<<
No 'the burden of proof' is on the atheist to explain away the evidence or he is not creditable. Obviously there is much you "don't know", you don't have any good answer so you can't do that. Is it possible of the 99% of the knowledge you "don't know", there is ample evidence to prove God's existence? Since I already know God exists, and you wrote to correct my so-called "intellectual bankruptcy" the onus is on you to justify your unbelief. I've given plenty of reasons why I believe, which you reject by simply saying "I don't know". That's NOT good enough.
The fact is there is no nation or tribe in the world which does not in one form of another believe in a god, a spirit or a being which is superior to itself. This applies to the most isolated jungle tribes who have ever had contact with culture, let alone the gospel. Why? Because all have the intellectual capacity to deduce from the wonderful visible creation which surrounds us that there is an invisible creator. Nobody believes that a car, watch, button or even a paper clip just happened. Creation shows me there is a Creator. I couldn't ask for better proof that a Creator exists. All I need is eyes that can see and a brain that works.
So Paul in the New Testament writes, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so men are without excuse (Rom.1.20).
So as you admit, no one can dogmatically insist with any 'proof' that there is no God. It is just simply impossible to disprove God. So the atheist "does need to disprove God in order to justify" his unbelief. If you want me to take you seriously. To say 'God does not exist' is a universal negative. You reply,
>>J. Not if it is stated in the context of rational reasoning, which is open to subsequent review if further evidence requires it.<
But it is stated with 'rational reasoning' and open for your review to supply evidence to prove it (God doesn't exist). To say 'God does not exist' is a statement by one who must know everything. No human has all knowledge That’s why there is no proof for atheism. It's impossible to prove a universal negative, so atheism is false and impossible to defend [unless you have complete knowledge of everything]. You reply
>>J. We are coming dangerously close to the ‘believe in everything until it can be disproved’ problem.<<
No, we agree, there are things we can say don't exist - on the evidence. I am not asking you to believe 'in everything' without reason. But saying claims of God's existence, can only be silenced by facts or evidence proving He doesn't exist. You reply,
>>J. Again I ask: Have you sufficiently disproven the existence of Zeus, or fairies?<<
But we already agreed. There are things we can say don't exist - on the evidence. So I don't need to disprove anything, atheists are the ones trying to 'disprove'. I already know God exists, why should I try to disprove "Zeus or fairies"? I have already denied them by arguing God's existence. And millions worldwide agree they don't worship fairies because God's existence is sufficiently proven. Atheists have nothing worth believing. And its only intelligible in a theistic context. It can only be seen as real where God has been seen as real.
>>J. Oh dear. Surely I have misunderstood you here. Are you suggesting that god must exist because otherwise how could we talk coherently about him? Need I really respond by saying that this is possible due to conceptual abstraction and a healthy imagination, and by wondering how you manage to talk about fairies and Zeus without accidentally ‘discussing’ them into existence?<<
No I am saying that belief goes way beyond 'talk' and 'imagination' into the realm of facts, reasonable evidence and what we know. As I said, I base what I believe on what I know, not on what I don't know. It's you who have the problem of not knowing.
When I look at the beautiful flowers - butterflies - birds of Paradise - tropical fish - or a hundred other such beauties, I say “they are truly wonderfully made”. I can't deny their obvious beauty. But if what you say is true, they are not beautiful, then a battlefield of dead bodies is not ugly either; it’s just all in our heads. Which is just what atheistic evolution says - death and suffering are good and the means evolution advances.
To me belief in God’s existence is in harmony with history, mans mental and moral nature, as well as the nature of the material universe.
>>J. I see Galileo putting his hand up again. It appears that a belief in the rotation of the sun around the earth was a view that was “in harmony with history, mans mental and moral nature, as well as the nature of the material universe” (as perceived by man at that time).<<
I can see God put His hand up. You simply reveal what you 'don't know' (again). The Bible refers to circle of the earth (Isa.40:22). From every point in the earth it appears as a circle, which it must, of course, if it is a sphere. Christ's Second Coming will be at the speed of light (Lk.17.24). Some are asleep in night and others working in day. A clear indication of a revolving earth with day and night at the same time. Science didn't "know" (discover) this until the 15th century.
Speaking about the sun, the Psalmist (800 BC) said "his going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it. And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Psa.19.6). For many years critics scoffed at this verse, claiming it taught the idea of egocentricity (ie the sun revolves around the earth). Scientists at that time thought the sun was stationary. However, it has been discovered today the sun is moving through space approx 600.000 miles per hour in a large circle.
Belief in God's existence is the most logically and feasible world view there is. You reply,
>>J. You may think that. Many don’t.<<
And I'm not the only one. Yes, many don't "think" and "don't know". Hence atheism doesn't claim to be the most logical and feasible world view. It solves no problems, answers no questions, while God's existence is like a magical key that fits the facts of Scripture, knowledge and science.
>>J. Any explanation, as long as there is one right? As for fitting the facts: Scripture (well duh), knowledge (the religious kind, of course), and science (you’re kidding right? Christianity has consistently stifled the progress of honest, disinterested science since it’s inception, often with violence, and especially where findings conflict with the archaic 1st Century human view of the world as presented in the Bible)<<
No only the correct explanation is the right one. I would expect one who can't say (with certainty) 'God doesn't exist', to have no good explanation. But yes God's existence does fit the facts of scripture, science and knowledge. Of course you are confused about this and 'don't know'. In fact, I would expect men to be generally confused about their neighbors, about God, love, right and wrong, good and bad, as it is evidence of a fallen world.
Yet there are plenty of PhDs from all fields of science who believe there is a God. And many who believe the earth was created just as the Bible says. The founding fathers of modern science were Bible-believing Christians. They expanded our scientific knowledge. To name a few, Charles Babbage (Computer science). Robert Boyle (Chemistry). Wernher Von Braun (Rocket scientist). George Washington Carver (chemistry) Georges Cuvier (paleontology) Leonhard Euler (Mathematics, Physics) Michael Faraday, John A. Fleming (Electronics). James Joule (Thermodynamics) Johannes Kepler (Astronomy) Carl Linnaeus (biology) Sir Joseph Lister (surgery) Matthew Maury (Oceanography) James Maxwell (Electromagnetics) Gregory Mendel (Genetics). Samuel Morse. Isaac Newton. Louis Pasteur (Bacteriology). Lord Kelvin (thermodynamics). Lamb Glacial (geology) Francis Bacon. David Brewster (mineralogy). Leonardo da Vinci. John Dalton (Atomic theory) Humphrey Davy (Thermo kinetics). Henri Fabre (Entomology). Arthur E. Compton (Physics) Joseph Henry (Electric) John Herschel (Astronomer) William Herschel. William Huggins (astronomy). Richard Kirwan (Mineralogy). Louis Agassiz (Biology) Blasé Pascal (hydrostatics). William Prout (chemistry). William Ramsay (chemistry). John Ray (Biology). Bernhard Riemann (geometry). James Young Simpson (gynecology). Nicolaus Steno (Stratigraphy). George Stokes (Fluid mechanics). Lord Rayleigh (Inert gases). Percy Tait (Vector analysis). Rudolph Virchow (Pathology). John Woodward (Paleontology).
Today qualified scientists still believe the same. Dr. Werner Gitt (Physics, Information Technology). Dr. W. Frair (Biochemical Taxonomy, Biology, Zoology). Dr. D.T. Gish. (Biochemistry)Dr.J.D Sarfati (geology, physics, chemistry, nuclear physics). Dr George Javor (biochemistry). Dr. A. McIntosh (Mathematics). Dr.G. Parker (biology, geology) Dr Arthur Wilder-Smith (chemistry, pharmacological science) Dr R Jones (one of Australia's top scientists).Dr I. Macreadie (Microbiologist). Dr J. Baungardner (electrical engineering, geophysics & space physics). E. Boudroux (physical chemistry). M. Giertych (Ph.D Head of Genetic Institute of Dendrology Polish) J. Bergman (biology, chemistry, psychology). T.Wood (biochemistry). J. Woodmorappe (geology). M.J.Oard (atmospheric science). D.Down (archaeologist) Dr R. Humphreys (Nuclear physics, geophysics). Dr B. Stone (engineering). Dr R. Porter (Orthopedic Surgery).
Further more, men know intuitively there’s a God. You reply,
>>J. Some certainly think they do.<<
They insist they do. Why should they listen to one who doesn't know? Men are born with this intuitive knowledge, its part of their nature, a "religious instinct". You reply,
>>J. That’s debatable. As mentioned, I believe it is based on education during the important formulative years of childhood, and general credulity and wishful thinking throughout adult years.<<
I disagree; belief in God is not subject to a persons IQ, or lack of education, or childhood. There are too many examples that prove that true. Why ignore this fact? People who believe, yet come from an atheistic background. Some were once without hope, some were crooks, liars, thief's, murderers, drug-pushers, etc. God has changed their lives, given them purpose and reason for living. More evidence of God's existence. An all powerful God working in the lives of men. Think what He can do for you.
So men know intuitively there’s a God. They generally believe in a god or gods and if they don’t find or accept the true God, they make their own, to satisfy their intuitive knowledge. This makes men worship something or someone. You reply to this,
>>J. Sounds dangerously close to admitting it is true because it fulfils a desire or need in man… J. Some certainly do.<<
If 'it fulfils a desire' for a "need in man" then you agree I am right. If man is a created creature made for fellowship with God and sin has ruined that relationship, men will try and fill the gap with anything. And Chesterton's dictum? 'When people stop believing in God, they do not believe in nothing they believe in anything'. You say,
>>J. Certainly a clever play on words, but otherwise completely unfounded. Non-religious philosophy and science gives the atheist a rational guide as to how they should filter information in order to determine what they should believe in.<<
Its not unfounded but true. If men don't believe there is a God, that means they could believe anything instead. If they only have a "limited" guide "how they should filter information in order to determine what they should believe in", they will believe in anything. Without God there are so many serious unanswered questions, men will want answers.
Re. The information written on the DNA code. The existence of information is one of the strongest evidences of God's existence. Information is not matter, and matter or energy cannot generate information. Information is a non-material thing. There can be no information without a code. No information without a sender. No information without a will. You reply,
>>J. This is almost entirely unintelligible, and is riddled with assumptions that beg the question – How on earth could you know this? Again be careful of stating as fact that which you could only know with complete knowledge.<<
Read and think again. Information is written in the DNA. The DNA is a code of information – books and books of info. Information how to make eyes, ears, hands, brains etc. Information on how cells are made. It must be pre-written - without mistakes or there is no life.
There is so much information that – "If all your DNA strands were stretched out, they would reach to the Moon 6,000 times " (p.25 Science Facts for kids G Campbell & M Devins Egmont Books Ltd. Great Britain 2002). "If all the DNA in a human body was laid end to end it would stretch 50 billion kilometers (from the sun to the edge of the solar system) Each cell in the human body contains more information than the entire 30 vol. set of the Encyclopedia Britannica" (p.64 Investigate June 2002 Ian Wishart). This is not assumptions but proven science.
It is much more reasonable to believe that the words you are reading here had no writer, than to believe that there is no creator of information. Who in his right mind would ever believe that no one wrote these words, no one put the letters together, and no one typed them. All happened by chance... from nothing. No processor, no hands, no keyboard, and no mind. All words came to be (from nothing), then fitted themselves into perfectly sorted slots. They all fell into place, for coherent sentences, and formed numerical order with sense. After that an email posted read and understood.
The fact that there was a writer is axiomatic (self-evident), so it would be intellectually insulting to even begin to argue for the case of the writer's existence. For the same reason, the Bible does not enter into the case for God's existence. It simply begins by stating, "In the beginning God”. (Gen.1:1)
Any wonder even those who come from non-religious homes will insist God exists?
>>J. True, because it fills a need. Atheists, however, are a little more discerning as to what they will believe in. They realise that this need in man may be so strong as to influence their credulity (look at palmistry, tea leaf readings, astrology, etc).<<
This doesn't answer my point. The fact is, people who believe in God come from all walks of life and believe for many reasons. I've met some and they do not just believe in anything, (as you imply). They don't just seek a "need" to be filled, but they know God is real. Atheists don't discern "what they will believe". They offer nothing, for our need. They expect everybody to believe like them. So even those who come from non-religious (and atheist) backgrounds will insist God exists. You reply,
>>J. Sounds like a rather confused person – believes in a god but doesn’t have a religion. Perhaps you are referring to Deism.<<
No, there are those who come from non-religious (and atheist) back-grounds and insist God exists. Maybe no decent education or decent up-bringing but that doesn't change anything. I've met some, they are not 'confused' but intelligent people. One doesn't need to be religious before believing in God. I didn't need parents, school, or the media to tell me God exists, I know that certainty myself. God has found me and I have come to know Him. He speaks, answers prayer and I have a living relationship with Him. I wonder at His creation, the beauty is awesome. You reply,
>>J. I’m happy for you. Interestingly, according to the Bhagavad-Gita of Hinduism, it does not matter which god human beings worship; it is Krishna who answers their prayer. Disproving that one, as your logic requires, is going to be hard.<<
Obviously if you don't know what's true, you can't 'disprove' anything. And that is the sad state of atheists, they are forever trying to 'disprove' what they 'don't know'. They should know everything because they deny everything. Instead, they can only play one belief off against another and think they are clever.
I have found the truth about Hinduism years ago. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me". There is only one way to God and only one God. When you come to know Christ as your Saviour, you have the Truth. Act 4.12 "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Ac.17.30 "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world ."
True Christianity is different from religion. Religion hinders from knowing God. Religion attempts to reach up to God, Christianity is God reaching down to man. Religion is man’s ultimate search for God; Christianity is God’s search for man. True Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship, a focus on One Person. In all sects and cults their leaders point a way to God, but in true Christianity Jesus points to Himself as God. Christ has brought God down to earth religion tries to bring man up to God.
I have a meaning and purpose to life second to none. It began when I was born-again. I knew what the Bible said was true.
>>J. Now this really interests me. Why do you think the Bible is true? What distinguishes it, say, from the Quran and other sacred books that claim miracles, revelations, and prophesies? Are the followers of these other religions deluded? Do they not feel as strongly in their convictions as you? For arguments sake then, is it not possible that you have been misled also? The Christian dismisses 99,999 religions as fraud.<<
Why? Because when I was born into God's family, His Holy Spirit entered in heart. God began to speak to me through His Word and reveal His will. I asked questions, read, studied, and found answers. The Bible say "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God." (1 Co 2:12). Also "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor.2:14). Obviously you cannot understand without God's Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes the bible and opens its pages. It provides answers to the inner most cry of the heart, strength, direction, faith and hope.
I believe a God has inspired and preserved the bible. The most influential book of the ages, with the most beautiful literature and the most perfect moral code ever devised. Anyone seriously investigating the Bible will find the claim of divine inspiration (over 3,000 times) justified. Its genuine and critically examined yet survived with greater dependability. The historical accuracy of the Bible is superior to the written records of Egypt, Assyria, and other early nations.
The bible offers so much proof of inspiration is hard to know what to tell you. But note these below. The redemption plan in the Old Testament, fulfillment in the New Testament. The New was written 500 years after the Old. So there is no way this happened by chance (this is a short list) -
Concerning Christ, He came, (1) As the Son of God [Ps 2:7] Fulfilled [Lu 1:32,35]. (2) As the seed of the woman [Ge 3:15] Fulfilled [Ga 4:4]. (3) As the seed of Abraham [Ge 17:7 22:18] Fulfilled [Ga 3:16]. (4) As the seed of Isaac [Ge 21:12] Fulfilled [Heb 11:17-19]. (5) As the seed of David [Ps 132:11 Jer 23:5] Fulfilled [Ac 13:23 Ro 1:3]. (6) His coming at a set time [Ge 49:10 Da 9:24,25] Fulfilled [Lu 2:1]. (7) His being born a virgin [Isa 7:14] Fulfilled [Mt 1:22,23 Lu 2:7]. (8) His being called Immanuel [Isa 7:14] Fulfilled [Mt 1:22,23]. (9) His being born in Bethlehem of Judea [Mic 5:2] Fulfilled [Mt 2:1 Lu 2:4-6]. (10) Great persons coming to adore him [Ps 72:10] Fulfilled [Mt 2:1-11]. (11) The slaying of the children of Bethlehem [Jer 31:15] Fulfilled [Mt 2:16-18]. (12) His being called out of Egypt [Ho 11:1] Fulfilled [Mt 2:15]. (13) His being preceded by John the Baptist [Isa 40:3 Mal 3:1] Fulfilled [Mt 3:1,3 Lu 1:17]. (14) His being anointed with the Spirit [Ps 45:7 Isa 11:2 61:1] Fulfilled [Mt 3:16 Joh 3:34 Ac 10:38]. (15) His being a Prophet like to Moses [De 18:15-18] Fulfilled [Ac 3:20-22]. (16) His being a Priest after the order of Melchizedek [Ps 110:4] Fulfilled [Heb 5:5,6]. (17) His entering on his public ministry [Isa 61:1,2] Fulfilled [Lu 4:16-21,43]. (18) His ministry commencing in Galilee [Isa 9:1,2] Fulfilled [Mt 4:12-16,23]. (19) His entering publicly into Jerusalem [Zec 9:9] Fulfilled [Mt 21:1-5]. (20) His coming into the temple [Hag 2:7,9 Mal 3:1] Fulfilled [Mt 21:12 Lu 2:27-32 Joh 2:13-16]. (21) His poverty [Isa 53:2] Fulfilled [Mr 6:3 Lu9:58]. (22) His meekness and want of ostentatious [Isa 42:2] Fulfilled [Mt 12:15,16,19]. (23) His tenderness and compassion [Isa 40:11 42:3] Fulfilled [Mt 12:15,20 Heb 4:15]. (24) His being without guile [Isa 53:9] Fulfilled [1Pe 2:22]. (25) His zeal [Ps 69:9] Fulfilled [Joh 2:17]. (26) His preaching by parables [Ps 78:2] Fulfilled [Mt 13:34,35]. (27) His working miracles [Isa 35:5,6] Fulfilled [Mt 11:4-6 Joh 11:47]. (28) His bearing reproach [Ps 22:6 69:7,9,20] Fulfilled [Ro 15:3]. (29) His being rejected by his brethren [Ps 69:8 Isa 63:3] Fulfilled [Joh 1:11 7:3]. (30) His being a stone of stumbling to the Jews [Isa 8:14] Fulfilled [Ro 9:32 1Pe 2:8]. (31) His being hated by the Jews [Ps 69:4 Isa 49:7] Fulfilled [Jn.15:24,25]. (32) His being rejected by the Jewish rulers [Ps 118:22] Fulfilled [Mt 21:42 Joh 7:48]. (33) That the Jews and Gentiles should combine against Him [Ps 2:1,2] Fulfilled [Lu 23:12 Ac 4:27]. (34) His being betrayed by a friend [Ps 41:9 55:12-14] Fulfilled [Jn 13:18,21]. (35) His disciples forsaking him [Zec 13:7] Fulfilled [Mt 26:31,56]. (36) His being sold for thirty pieces silver [Zec 11:12] Fulfilled [Mt 26:15]. etc,
There is no way to explain this by chance. The only explanation is that God was responsible. There are 100's of similar examples I could mention, too many to record here. The bible is another reason for God's existence. Its true in what is says. Men are sinners who have rebelled. The earth is a sad and suffering place as a result of our first parents who turned away from God. You reply,
>>J. Now this is a particularly poisonous view of human life that is entirely irrational.<<
Why is this a 'poisonous' view of 'human life'? The Bible says God cursed the “ground” when man fell into sin. Why should a disobedient creature like man live in a paradise he doesn't respect? To say the earth is not cursed defies the evidence. The natural disasters, storms, earth quakes, deserts, all prove the earth is cursed. An omnipotent and omniscient God would have created a perfect paradise without faults. He would not make a groaning creation of suffering, death and disease. All these are signs something is wrong on earth, not signs of normality. The Bible tells us why things are wrong.
>>Forgetting for a moment the rather archaic and dubious ethics which find justice in visiting the sins of the father upon the sons for generations to follow, I wonder how Adam and Eve could have been expected to comprehended the implications of their actions having no concept of wrong, evil, punishment, suffering, pain, death, etc prior to their indiscretion. Sounds like a bit of a trap, that is if you interpret it as a literal historical event.<<
All the 'generations' that follow have the same sinful nature of our first parents. We all die, suffer, and all live in the same fallen world. We are all sons of Adam and sinners by nature. Adam and Eve were told 'the implications ' of disobedience - death. We learn that rejecting God's words results in more evil. Their responsibility was greater, more was expected because of the closer relationship they had with Him. The bible describes mankind as progressively descending into sin and the world becoming worse. Sin leads to hell. But God has not forsaken mankind but sent His Son. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (Jn.3.16).
All need a spiritual birth to be right with God or understand spiritual realities and the truth. You reply,
>>J. Yes I accept that as a natural sacrifice in holding my position. Much as how I give up the opportunity of experiencing wonderful hallucinations by choosing not to indulge in drug-taking.<<
That's your choice you make. Thankfully I had the freedom to become a Christian. It's a reasonable, plausible and common sense position. God is good, try and see. "He rewards those who seek Him". If there’s no place for God, there’s no place for man, beauty, morals, or love. When you come to this place you have a sea without a shore. Everything is dead, everything becomes a nasty hallucination. Self indulgence rules into bondage. So what is the truth to you?
>>J. An honest man is always searching. It concerns me that you appear to be certain that you have found the Truth – such a claim can reveal a subsequent complacency of thought - a closed mind, if you will.<<
The one who doesn't have an answer 'is always searching'. He who doesn't know with any certainty to 'have found the truth' cannot stop searching. My 'complacency of thought' (as you put it) is not 'a closed mind '. But if you will, a satisfaction of having been blind but now I see. Of having questions answered. Jesus said, when you "shall know the truth, the truth shall set you free". However, if there is no God, there’s no absolute truth. You reply,
>>J. There is an absolute truth, but we can only comprehend it to the degree that our limited knowledge and senses will allow, and through subjective filters of existing assumptions that can sometimes lead us astray.<<
If there is "an absolute truth" there is a God. Yes men have a limited understanding. But in order for something to be always true, regardless of what men think, there needs to be something true apart from men. So men know intuitively there are absolutes. If there is any absolutes, there is a God. Without absolutes, everything becomes subjective, assumptions and interpretation. Man is a moral creature like His Maker. He understands there are greater moral principles that are always right. You reply,
>>J. You may find that a discomforting thought but it is absolutely true. We live in a grey world where black and white morality is of little practical use. “Thou shalt not kill”, but what about in self-defence? “Thou shalt not steal”, but what about bread to feed your near-dead starving child? “Thou shalt not bear false witness”, but what about lying to the Nazi officer who is demanding you tell them the whereabouts of a Jew you are hiding? Life is not straight-forward. You can’t just overlay the same moral template to every scenario – the morality of each case must be judged on its own merits. Now you may very well have existing views on the scenarios I have presented, but to say that they should be closed to ethical discussion and debate altogether is ridiculous.<<
Yes I see what you mean. Right and wrong are unclear in the minds of men. Sometimes breaking a moral law seems right for a greater good. All part of the moral problem in which man finds himself. Those issues are not "closed to ethical discussion and debate". Regardless how confused sinners might be over moral issues, there are still ultimate values that are always right. There is a higher 'moral template' overlaid by God. So if 'everyman does what's right in their own eyes' they can still be wrong. Nations can do what's right in their eyes and still be wrong. But only if there is a God who overlays a higher moral 'template'.
If atheism rules, man’s self-determination does away with life when it suits. In the end, direct or indirect killing is considered good when justified by irrational thought. Which has more value than life. A person has no value as a person. It’s not surprising Christians know the value of life. If we are created in ‘God’s image’ all men derive value from that origin. If made in God’s “likeness” what a contradiction to atheism. And what true sanctity and dignity to life there is.
>>J. You don’t appear to have much confidence in the inherent goodness of man! Contrary to what you may believe, atheists do not automatically turn to hedonism and anarchy. To suggest that you find it impossible to believe that a person can be virtuous without being morally constrained by a religion indicates, quite frankly, just how deep-seated your own morals are.<<
Yes I have little confidence in fallen man. Even a 'virtuous' sense of right and wrong is 'limited' by human nature and prone to error. The bible concludes, "all are under sin, all are sinners, none are righteous". All are guilty before God. Better see yourself as God does, a sinner needing repentance and to be washed clean. Then there's hope for you. Rather than self righteous or virtuous.
>>J. Luckily, we have the benefit of non-religious philosophers to point us in the right direction (particularly of the Greco-Roman era immediately prior to the inception of Christianity.<<
Are these the "non-religious philosophers" who practiced hedonism and paganism? Men's ethics are flawed. I prefer the moral code given by God, true for all men, in every century.
>>Some good reading on this subject can be found in “What is Good – The Search For The Best Way To Live” by AC Grayling, and also “The Closing of The Western Mind – The Rise of Faith and The Fall of Reason” by Charles Freeman). They arrive at the Golden Rule ("Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” - the only really salvageable moral guide in the Bible), without the need for invoking the baggage of superstition.<<
I don't need to search "the philosophers" to find meaning in life. I have something far better. Since God is the Author and Creator of life He knows what's best for man, He offers better guidelines for living. Men are made in the image of God, Love your neighbor as yourself, don't steal, don't kill, give to the poor, do what is right, don't be selfish, don't repay evil for evil, respect authority, etc. Not only is God's Word a 1000 times better, but it comes with good answers.
Philosophers that have no absolutes have no basis on which to judge and reality falls apart. So 'superstition' is indistinguishable from reality.
>>Besides who would want to be lectured on morality by a person who is ethically satisfied that someone else (a god, no less) can take the burden for their sins? What an absolutely abhorrent concept.<<
To you the gospel is 'abhorrent' to me wonderful. God Himself, becomes a man, and lays down His life on the cross to pay for my sins. And He offers forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift to any who will accept it. Christ paid for my sin with His blood, took my place. That's wonderful, good news. Why not accept it?
>>I find this offensive to my sense of ethics and personal responsibility for my own actions.<<
You are 'responsible for your actions' but you can't get right with God by works. Christ died for you, and you must come to God on His terms. So as I said, the atheist doesn't know about life. He can't be certain about anything or offer anything,
>>J. I don’t understand how you came to this conclusion.<<
As you said the "honest atheist admits he does not know". Atheism leaves men floundering in a sea of human concepts and ideas, and expects them to seek and follow what sounds right. In the end, atheism can benefit no class of people. You reply,
>>J. Atheism attempts to rid the world of the yoke of superstition and religious prejudices that taint our intellectual processes and blind us to the important issues in the world. This can be of immense benefit to mankind.<<
There is no benefit. Atheism is a self-centered religion where man becomes god in his own eyes. And other men become animals to put-down. It supports euthanasia ... killing the old and sick and abortion ... killing human life in the womb. It robs hope and answers about life. Has no explanation to the order, design and laws we see around us. Or the evil on earth (but accepts it as normal). No explanation for the complexity of life, or the origins or ending of life.
It wants to rid society of any system of belief in God. What's wrong with belief - belief in tolerance and open-mindedness. Shall we shut down the church social services? (and hospitals and schools all founded on Christian principles to help others). And ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ – ‘turn the other cheek’ – all just a facade? Atheism is anti-Christian. It wants to replace all belief with its own belief. And any who take it serious and commit to it will go completely mad. In the end, you can't even be sure of what you say. You do 'not know' what the Truth is. You reply,
>>J. On the contrary, I try to only say what I am sure of – a subtle, but important, difference.<<
Now you are 'sure', next you 'don't know'. As I said, the truth according atheism is unknowable, its whatever you want it to be. And it changes with the next philosopher that comes along.
>>J. Much like your god, right? I believe Truth is knowable, but that does not necessarily mean we will ever find all the keys to unlock it in its entirety. And it is certainly not whatever we want it to be (This, however, is a charge that can be squarely aimed at the Christian position of “faith”-based Truth.). Excellent. Nice talking to you, Mark Regards Jason<<
The truth that 'is knowable' in atheism is redefined according to 'whatever' atheists 'wants it to be'. Yet it's never unlocked 'in its entirety' because its subject to limitation and changes like the wind. It demands traces of Christianity and references to God be removed from life. So it lies about man, love, right and wrong, death and life and God.
In the end, it is only ‘head thought’ and nothing more. It begins and ends with man. If you eliminate God, we are no wiser than animals, but include God, we have value and dignity, life has meaning. You can’t say for sure anything is really right or wrong. Why assume Christianity wrong and atheism right? One believes life precious, the other believes abortion and euthanasia is okay. Atheism is a cold nasty belief, which endorses the taking of life from the innocent and sick, just as evolution - red in tooth and claw.
Thanks for writing I 'hope this has been of some help to you in understanding of atheism'. keep on 'your search for truth'.
Reply. Jason posted 40 page reply, too large for this website.
Thanks for the reply. Looks like you tried to make it too long to answer. When people send me such emails its usually because they don't want a reply, or hope I can't do 'justice' to their comments. I read it (some 40+ pages). And note the large quotations, the numerous one-line interjections and superficial questions and comments. Not as good as your first emails by far. Every point can be answered but it's not worth it for two reasons (1) you will "refrain from counter-responding in future" (2) you won't admit God exists regardless of evidence. Your mind is made-up no one can change it.
So I'll conclude by saying that God is real to me (and millions of others). When I accepted Christ as my Saviour, the Holy Spirit entered my heart. And I now walk with God and He with me. He has character, mind and personality as any person. When you really know someone personally, their existence isn't questioned. Try Him and see.
When it comes to this world, trying to understand life, God, right and wrong from a purely human perspective makes a very confusing and contradicting world view with no answers. Just what atheism is all about, you refuse to realize that. The only reasonable explanation for life, is God's existence.
You will say, that's a religious interpretation. I respond by saying, I see design, order and laws in great abundance in this world. Design is not a religious viewpoint but a statement of observation and fact. I understand design order and laws because I use them everyday with my mind and work. I know they don't just happen by chance. The evidence is better supported by God's existence. For that, I don't even need 'faith', all I need is eyes that can see and a brain that works. So I base what I believe on what I know, not on what I don't know.
Thanks for the replies, write any time.