Arguments for God http://www.cis.org.uk/forum/categories/arguments-about-god/feed.rss Thu, 18 Dec 14 05:34:55 -0500 Arguments for God en-CA The historicity of the resurrection http://www.cis.org.uk/forum/discussion/15/the-historicity-of-the-resurrection Sat, 29 Oct 2011 08:09:32 -0400 stevencarrwork 15@/forum/discussions
Can you imagine a scientist trying to persuade Ken Ham that evolution happened by producing a fossil that 25% of paleontologists claimed was a fake?

Would that not be a source of laughter and a suitable choice to appear for ridicule on the Daily Show with Jo Stewart?

Here is Craig blustering his way around the fact that the 'evidence' for Christianity is so weak that you would not get an insurance company to pay for a new windscreen if they had the same sort of 'evidence'


CRAIG
In a bibliographical survey of over 2,200 publications on the resurrection in English, French, and German since 1975, Gary Habermas found that 75% of scholars accept the historicity of the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb and that there is near universal agreement on the post-mortem appearances.

Since New Testament critics do not simply confess these facts but rather acknowledge them on the strength of the historical evidence (which I detail in my published work), I think it is fair to speak of them as established facts about Jesus that need to be explained. That doesn’t mean that they are certain or indubitable (though N. T. Wright at the end of his voluminous study on Jesus’ resurrection opines that the empty tomb and post-mortem appearances of Jesus have a historical probability so high as to be “virtually certain,” like the death of Augustus Caesar in A.D. 14 or the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70!), but merely that they have a degree of credibility comparable to other commonly accepted facts of ancient history.

So if your friends maintain that these are not historical facts, you should ask them what source of information they have that leads them to disagree with over 75% of the trained scholars who have studied this question. How did they come by such insight? How would they refute the evidence which has led so many scholars to the contrary conclusion? I’d be interested to learn what they say.

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William Lane Craig on Hawking's "The Grand Design" http://www.cis.org.uk/forum/discussion/5/william-lane-craig-on-hawkings-the-grand-design Thu, 20 Oct 2011 11:03:21 -0400 AnthonySmith 5@/forum/discussions
http://www.bethinking.org/science-christianity/rft-2011-lecture-william-lane-craig-on-hawkings-the-grand-design.htm]]>
William Lane Craig at Manchester http://www.cis.org.uk/forum/discussion/13/william-lane-craig-at-manchester Thu, 27 Oct 2011 14:53:53 -0400 Geoff 13@/forum/discussions
What is below is on the basis of what I heard last night and not anything else that Craig or Atkins may have said elsewhere. I’ve added comments on occasions that occurred to me at the time. ‘Silence’ is not meant to indicate tacit agreement or disagreement.

Craig’s Initial Arguments
There are good reasons for theism and there are no good reasons for atheism. He expected Atkins to answer the 2nd question, (which he didn't actually do so, which he probably wouldn't have been able to do so in the time available and doesn't worry me.)

Craig's argument for theism were
his version of the cosmological argument. My only comment here was that Craig seemed to think that he had to demolish the idea that the universe could have had infinite time, which he did through his specific take on the maths of infinity. From my limited understanding of cosmology, it would seem that no-one these days would argue scientifically for an infinite universe as Hoyle did. (There was no mention of the idea of cyclic universes by either Craig or Atkins. This seems to be Penrose’s current option.)

Craig also made the point that multiverses needed a beginning and also that a vacuum state is not nothing.

WLC for me slipped to easily from showing that universe had a cause and that this cause was a transcendent God. (That may be as much my slowness in thinking rather than the poverty of his argument.)

Moral argument as usually expressed.

resurrection of Jesus
Craig argued that 3 facts needed explaining:
a) empty tomb (he said most Biblical scholars would accept this.) b) post-mortem-appearances
c) origin of disciples belief in resurrection as no 1st century Jew would have connected Messiahship & resurrection together.

Atkin’s initial arguments
Atkins gave the impression that he needed to fight on two fronts a) theism b) philosophy

He was as much anti-philosophy as anti-theism, even though the two don’t have to go together.

He could not prove that God doesn’t exist but he can show evidence that God is not a necessary explanation for the universe. To say ‘God did it’ was lazy. Also he said that ‘belief’ has been used as crowd control.

(Listening to Craig on the night, it would be easy to get the impression that no one who was a theist would ever look to science in order to find knowledge. To me, the history of science and contemporary experience would say otherwise and also that theist on the whole would be happy to accept the findings of science from atheists. It is the metaphysical baggage that atheists bring that causes theists a problem, but Atkins gives the impression that science is free of metaphysical baggage.)

Atkins went onto say that science would, if cannot do so, would be eventually be able to explain everything, but we might need new findings that could suggest new models before that could happen.

Peter Atkins had 6 arguments against the existence of God

Contingency
At the moment science doesn’t have a clue but it could through observation not philosophy.

There are 2 ideas to consider

universe A giving rise to daughter universes B, C, D etc. This could be because of quantum fluctuations. He did think that this was necessary relevant to ‘why is there something rather than nothing’ because we are dealing with the origin of 2ndary universes.
The coming into existence of an initial universe.
He said this is contingent but it could still be an uncaused event. He argued that we shouldn’t use our current ‘laws of nature’ because they may not apply to the early universe (presumably before that 10 to the power -43 secs or there abouts that we do know of.)

Purpose
He asked why did God make the universe - because he was bored, he wanted someone to acclaim him etc.?

Science can explain universe without ascribing a purpose to it. (I agree but ascribing a purpose or not to an object, process to me seems a metaphysical decision. Also it may be that we don’t see the purpose unitl the process is completed. I am not saying that is what God has done but just trying to suggest that PA’s argument is not necessarily as watertight as it seems.

Miracles
These involve a suspension of law and have never been observed. (Obviously following Hume.)

He thought more cogent explanations of resurrection could be a coma or a coverup. (I liked his term Golgathagate.)

He also said the Gospels were unreliable and written long after the events. (Later on in the evening, he did suggest a time of 60 years later, which to me still seems to be in the memory span of witnesses.)

Theodicy
Why does God allow evil or uses a process of evolution that uses natural selection

Morality
Consequence of evolution and adaptation for survival. Also involved the fact that humans had the emerging ability of being able to reflect on life.

Belief in God is a comfort blanket and form of control. (I agree that religion has been used for both, but does it apply to all believers. For some believers, belief brings danger (and I don’t mean going out and becoming a suicide bomber.)



Points brought up during the rebuttals.

WLC said that PA had admitted that he cannot prove the existence of God, therefore he is an agnostic rather than an atheist.

WLC repeatedly said that he was using evidence to establish his cosmological argument whereas had none for his ideas. PA didn’t at one point say he was exercising faith.

WLC saw no inconsistency between God existing and evil existing . God could have moral sufficient reasons for allowing evil. (He did not attempt to suggest what these reasons could be.

PA said theology invented to make philosophy presentable, but both were into obfuscation.

PA said to suggest that atheist were not moral was disgusting. (WLC made it clear that he had not made that claim but only that atheism couldn’t provide a basis for immorality. One could still act morally even if one doesn’t have a good reason as to why. (I have been at another conference 6th months ago had said he could really give an answer to the question as to why we should act morally. I think it would be difficult for any one to make a case that SInger does not act morally even if one doesn’t always agree with some of his actions.)

WLC argued that Hume’s understanding of miracles is flawed. Only reason that he gave was that Hume had misunderstood the probabilistic calculus. WLC implied that in an earlier debate with Professor Peter Millican, Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford University, Millican had agreed with him.

As to resurrection, PA likened the appearance accounts to those people who had seen Elvis and that more had claimed to see jesus than Elvis. WLC replied that there was still the problem of the empty tomb, even if the disciples were hallucinating.

PA said that religion caused people to do evil things and cited some recent examples of believers who had given up medication following their pastor’s advice. He was challenged as to whether this indicated that he believed in objective moral values.

There was also some technical discussion about what ‘nothing’ meant. At one point PA seemed to indicate that if you do the sums, there is no energy in the universe.

Some initial conclusions
I went expecting less of WLC and more of PA than actually happened.

As already mentioned, PA seemed to think that he had to wage both against theology and philosophy, and that science based on observation would ultimately bring about explanation. He was also very negative about anyone who was not a scientist and he gave the impression that anyone with an interest in theology as way of finding truth would automatically reject scientific answers.

WLC didn’t make any statements that would upset any moral sensitivities and tried to let the evidence and the logic do the talking, though I don’t think he always succeeded.

I bought books both by WLC and PA so as to get a clearer picture of their views. I hope that is something on this forum that we always prepared to do ie get the original thinking rather than possible biased interpretations.


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Origins of religions http://www.cis.org.uk/forum/discussion/6/origins-of-religions Thu, 20 Oct 2011 14:16:31 -0400 Geoff 6@/forum/discussions
As we cannot (as yet) time travel, there would seem to be no way we could check this out. It is purely a surmise.

Perhaps a better surmise would be that early humans had transcendent experiences. We know they had music and art. Could it be that in some of these experiences they met with God.

Geoff]]>
Should Christians make the world a better place? http://www.cis.org.uk/forum/discussion/14/should-christians-make-the-world-a-better-places Fri, 28 Oct 2011 04:49:36 -0400 stevencarrwork 14@/forum/discussions
I mistyped the title.

I meant to type - 'Should God make the world a better place?'

How would he set about doing that, if the Christian god existed?

Should he turn water into wine, for example, if people run out?]]>
The omniscience of William Lane Craig http://www.cis.org.uk/forum/discussion/10/the-omniscience-of-william-lane-craig Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:17:13 -0400 stevencarrwork 10@/forum/discussions
Who wouldn't be?

William Lane Craig's proof of the existence of Yahweh starts 'Everything that begins to exist has a cause'.

How does Craig know that everything that begins to exist has a cause?

Easy. Craig knows about literally everything. No wonder Dawkins can't compete. Does he know about literally everything?

Scientists are spending 5 billion dollars in Cern trying to find out about the origin of the Universe.

All those years of education and not one of them has the common sense to ring William Lane Craig , who can tell them about everything that ever began to exist....]]>