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« You see, we should all be more tolerant | Main | "No matter what people think about me, I know I'm a human person" »

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


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tim, The Godless Heathen

Interesting, Rick…but of course I have some issues with it.

First, one must believe in a God to find it reasonable to believe that the only explanation for the beginning of the universe was a higher power. One can have faith, pun intended, that it all started by something other than God.

That being said, it’s a tremendous argument, no doubt. And one I myself admit gives me pause on my atheism.

Still, the point here of “reason“ being the only explanation for this unbelievably complicated bit of speculation, the start of the universe, that in fact cannot be disproved or proved, by not believing, or believing, in what I believe is to believe…what I believe. Or you’re wrong. (Phew.) Yup, intentionally complicated to show that the argument goes around and around.

All intertwined in a slightly backhandish (yes, it’s not a word) way of giving a compliment to the unbeliever by saying it takes “faith” to not believe. Because, the theory is, that to not believe something so obviously factual, (to the believer at least) actually involves setting aside reason and instead involves uses the tool of the theist, faith, to not believe. Touché.

All which is a perfect example as to why the great debate will always continue. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe it’s all a little joke on us all, by…?

Lastly, I’d love to see Penn Jillette and this guy, or the wonderful priest whom you’ve posted a couple of his videos, have a quiet, dignified, respectful debate. I’d watch. Might even learn something.

Morgan K Freeberg

I see it as a simple mapping. We have...

1. An intelligent and powerful force created the universe,
2. That same intelligent and powerful force is present today, keeping tabs on us, and things we do meet with its approval or disapproval, which has something to do with our destiny or destinies;
3. 1 and 2 are both wrong, we+everything we know are accidents of cosmic history.

The conventional wisdom is that 1 and 2 are products of faith, and 3 is a product of reason. The point this fellow seeks to make is that 3 can only be the product of faith, and 1 can be a product of reason as well as of faith. My contribution to this would be: It is necessary to divide 1 from 2 to have a coherent discussion about it. I think the professor has met his goal in demonstrating that 1 comes from reason at least as much as 3 does, perhaps moreso, and that 3 requires more faith than 1.

But, the 2 is a product of faith-alone as well. If we're speculating scientifically, and we already concede that some intelligent force got things started and that this happened some 13.4 billion years ago, then we must be talking about a living thing, and the less extravagant and more likely science would suppose that living thing has long since perished.

So, no, my belief in God is not completely based on reason, for I believe in the 2 as well as the 1. Faith is a big part of it. It's supposed to be.


Amen Morgan... and I think Mr. Kreeft would agree frankly...

tim, I'm with you on seeing that debate... and the priest's name is Father Robert Barron... he is outstanding...


Well, if you guys would take Dinesh D'Souza and Michael Shermer as stand ins for Kreeft and Jillette... here is an excellent debate on the motion, "Science Refutes God." I think the theists won the debate although the audience voted differently. I have thought long about why. I think the audience has different definitions of "science" and "refutes" and perhaps even "god". I think the conflation of Science and philosophical naturalism is pretty well settled in the modern mind. While the theists attempted to separate the two in order to keep science pure, they were unable to convince the audience. Then, for most of the audience it seems "refutes" doesn't mean "contradicts" or "makes impossible" but it means merely that it convinces me.

Here is a link to that debate...

I would be interested in your take on the whole thing.


It's important to remember that most theism apologists follow the example of Thomas Aquinas who held that, while you can NOT prove all the aspects of the Judeo Christian understanding of God by natural reason alone, you can prove a substantial slice of them.

So you can show that God is eternal (outside time) and creative and First Mover and whatnot. But you cannot demonstrate that God is merciful and loving through philosophy, for example. That requires some form of revelation; although one could perhaps appeal to historical evidence for the Incarnation and the Resurrection; reason from that to the Jesus' identity claims; and reason from THAT to the veracity of what Jesus said about God. That would be "natural reason" in the sense of not relying on revelation in the typical Bible-passage or papal-encyclical sense...although Christians regard the entire episode of the Incarnation to be one big honkin' revelation, so in another sense it would constitute reliance on revelation.

What I think all persons, atheists and theists alike, can say is this:

1. Since space and time are intertwined both derive from the Big Bang, it follows from natural reason that whatever created either the universe or the multiverse is either outside time or belongs to a different timeline (as well as a different extent of space;

2. If the cause of our universe is outside time and space, yet still caused the existence of our universe, then nothing spatially or temporally distinct from it caused it to cause our universe to come into existence. It is therefore the primary (uncaused) cause of our universe, and was not pushed into causing our universe by something else.

3. If the cause of our universe merely belonged to a different space-time, then the question arises of what caused THAT space time; and this question can be repeated again and again for that cause, and its cause, and so on...but one must in the end terminate the chain of instrumental causation in an uncaused primary first cause (or else nothing would exist now). And that uncaused primary first cause must again be outside space and time having nothing distinct from itself.

4. At this point atheists and theists alike would be pointing to an uncaused first cause which causes the universe (or multiverse), and the primary divide between atheists and theists would be on whether this cause was in any sense personal: having will, intent, activity, and the kinds of attributes that would allow love, mercy, et cetera.

5. This personal quality of the first cause could only be known by either (a.) being in -- or observing that others are in -- personal relationship with it, thus proving it has that capacity; or else, by showing that no others are plausibly in such a relationship. This last would indicate that the cause either is incapable or unwilling to relate to humans on a personal level.

Item #5 obviously represents multiple challenges and conundra. Perhaps it cannot be resolved by natural reason, but only by experience. But my point was to clarify what most apologists thought could, and couldn't, be demonstrated from natural reason about God.


I actually followed all that R.C...

But now I have a headache.

Fascinating stuff.

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