Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Kurieuo » Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:39 pm

plouiswork wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Only, I've never come across someone like you whose blinders just fell off short of them coming to Christ.
Perhaps you were truly seeking with an open heart, and God opened your eyes so you could at least see the truth of his existence?


I had to give this a lot of thought, because the problem isn't I know I'm not a Christian quite yet (and could become one a bit later) but that while I could already be a Christian, I'd rather not jump the gun and claim I am only to realize I misunderstood what it means to be a Christian.

The question I ask myself is "where am I?" About a week before joining this forum, I felt I stepped into something (or perhaps it'd be more accurate to say something stepped into me). It reminded me of many things of my childhood. Nothing extraordinary or miraculous needed to be assumed, this something could even just have been an overactive imagination my part, one neuron reaching out to another or something. But the important thing is that it was my experience, and I decided to make up my mind what I would call this.

This attitude, as I've read about and questioned people here and elsewhere, seems to be one that atheists either reject or are largely uninterested in. They seem only interested in what they need to know. If they have doubts about something, they try to avoid having to have a belief about it at all. If they have beliefs in one area and beliefs in another area, connecting those beliefs with plausible, but unprovable, beliefs is "irrational." They avoid doing so as long as they can function without it, even if it means being inconsistent. (Any atheists reading this do feel free to object to my understanding of you.)

So I think in light of all that, you're quite right. I'm not here trying to disprove or dismantle anyone's beliefs, I am merely seeking to see what the inner experience is of both sides. What is it like to be an atheist? What is it like to be a theist? Was what I experienced a short time ago what Christians, specifically, experience? I still don't know the answers to any of these, but in all this seeking I came to read your words and saw a great philosophical difference in attitude between your position and of those you hoped to argue against. The more I read, the more I realized all the "data" so to speak is justifiable either way, just with wildly different implications. And from there, all I can say at the moment is your attitude struck me as truer.

You are right that they have wildly different implications.

What we have a two different lenses at looking at the world.
Perhaps a reason why my words struck you as truer is because of a large criterion I have in accepting my beliefs.

That is, a worldview must for me explain what we intuitively accept and find impossible to reject.
For example, "I" really do exist. Some actions really are morally wrong. Fairness and justice are true concepts.
Truth exists and can be known such that I am at least able to live my life in a stable, predictable and practical manner.
To not accept these things, well the fabric that glues any society together, indeed allows us to live our lives, would just become thoroughly torn.

Grant for example, that I do not exist, that an "I" is ultimately not responsible for making choices (epiphenominalism).
Well now, there is no justice, no fairness, no goodness. No one is responsible for their actions. "We" don't really exist.
Determinism for me therefore must be rejected. Any view of the world that necessarily leads to Determinism therefore must be rejected.
Therefore, Physicalism or Materialism must be rejected as I see them, and eventually so too Atheism.

Yet, many Atheists will embrace such things regardless, and without providing any metaphysical foundation or explanation other than it's obvious. BUT, I know its obviously, so I'm interested in how a worldview can coherently and logically support such things.

So a big test for me, is that a worldview must explain what is more intuitive to us
-- in other words, explain that which strikes us as true.

Another thread you might be interested in, where is did turn up the heat more than here is:
Can Atheism Stand On Its Own Two Feet?

It seems to me Atheism is just hung in mid-air. Beliefs exist in a vacuum without any explanation.
The moment an explanation is put forward, empiricism rules the roost regardless of what is otherwise a sensible explanation.
Never mind, that empiricism itself may not even be justifiable within the position, but we'll make an exception there so says many an Atheist I've had discussions with. Our rational faculties and physical experiences are a priori and so don't need an explanation.
But, such neglects that not every world view might be compatible with such.
Indeed, some positions lead to absurdities anyone with any ability to think ought to reject out of hand.
For example, if Determinism is true, then there is no room for an "I" in making decisions...

Anyway, evidently I got involved in my post here. ;)
But, I highly recommend my other thread to you.


plouiswork wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:There is also another topic discussed there on how vastly different "belief in gods" versus "belief in God" is.
And yet, many Atheist-leaning people cry foul of Theists who write of Atheism as a more positive belief and assertion,
and then they quite freely love to talk about gods and God in the same breath (as though they're the same) to Christians.


There does seem to be a great difference between what makes something a god (of many gods) and God (of which philosophically there can be only one), regardless if we may disagree on the exact nature and teachings of God. This I think is the main area I yet have much to learn.

This is also why I find it unfortunate that Ed dropped out of that discussion without comment. I'm quite curious to know what Atheists make of the distinction between gods and God.


You know, I thought that perhaps the point sunk in.
And then I saw Ed around a fortnight later talking about his absence of belief in God. :shakehead:
Make me :crying: that my words appeared wasted on him.

It is interesting that in another thread, Kenny could develop quite a clear picture of God and what such a being ought to be like. And you know, I can agree with his picture of a good God. Many Christians can, which is why theodicies (explanations to the problem of evil in the world, pain and suffering) has always been a main area in philosophy of religion.

This suggests to me, that there is some picture we have of what we all intuitively expect God to be. And when the world doesn't conform to that picture, it strikes us as odd, wrong and so many decide to reject that God exists. Because what they expect of God, and what they see actually is, cannot be reconciled in their minds.

HOWEVER, the important point I think is this: we all appear to have a concept of a supreme being (God) who has always existed, and what such a being ought to be like. It seems rooted in our very nature. This doesn't prove such a being exists, but it should give one pause. Certainly God is qualitatively different from very anthropomorphic gods.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby patrick » Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:05 am

Kurieuo wrote:It seems to me Atheism is just hung in mid-air. Beliefs exist in a vacuum without any explanation.
The moment an explanation is put forward, empiricism rules the roost regardless of what is otherwise a sensible explanation.
Never mind, that empiricism itself may not even be justifiable within the position, but we'll make an exception there so says many an Atheist I've had discussions with. Our rational faculties and physical experiences are a priori and so don't need an explanation.
But, such neglects that not every world view might be compatible with such.
Indeed, some positions lead to absurdities anyone with any ability to think ought to reject out of hand.
For example, if Determinism is true, then there is no room for an "I" in making decisions...


This is something I've come to see too. They've been taught that their internal experience is invalid, so they attempt to start from the body of knowledge that they are pointed towards, which to their credit does have well-documented empirical evidence. The problem I have with this (which I've only just realized) is that they stop short. They don't try to resolve the empirical evidence with their experience (which is also evidence). This would be all fine and good if it worked, but even empirical evidence (their behavior) suggests their beliefs aren't even being corrected to be in line with the scientifically substantiated theories they profess. This is what I earlier called dishonesty, and while I apologize to all Atheists for making such a bald claim [opening the floor a bit to all readers of this thread], I think I (and others who I am echoing) am getting at something that really needs explanation. Wouldn't it be better to use all the empirical evidence available and reconcile it as best as possible with one's own experiential evidence (rather than rejecting either the empirical or the experiential out of hand)?

For example, let's take Free Will and Determinism. Our experience is that we have Free Will, but there's substantial evidence from neuroscience that our neurons are already firing to do what we plan to do (for basic things, like moving our arm), making it appear to be that we don't really have Free Will but are simply a by-product of our minds. One is thus presented with (apparently) one of two options: 1) The data is suspect and must be rejected in favor of our experience OR 2) Our experience is suspect and must be rejected in favor of the data (i.e. we can move ourselves to the "correct" experience as supported by the evidence). The errors here don't directly follow from Theism or Atheism, so let's call Option 1 the "Experientialist Fallacy" and Option 2 the "Empiricist Fallacy."

There is a third option though, which you and many others (even some Atheists here to a degree) seem to take which is an attempt to reconcile both experiential and empirical evidence. In this case, my proposed synthesis would be to assume that while we do have Free Will, we only have it retroactively, as we are subjected first to our bodies and only after do we have the power to reorganize ourselves. Put another way, which came first: the consciousness or the body? My point is that morally-culpable consciousness arises within the body long after it has begun to develop, so it does seem reasonable that we are first subjected to our bodies. But the thing is we learn from our mistakes and make new choices in the future. There's nothing these studies contain to suggest we (as consciousness) don't mold the behavior of the body from within after the fact.

This paltry theory of course raises as many questions as it solves. Why do I still feel I am in charge of even my basic experiences? Or from the Empiricist perspective, why would we assume that it isn't just the body that is learning? Both strict Experientialists and strict Empiricists would have their misgivings and may feel this is nothing but a compromise. But that's the point: this hypothesis doesn't just create a new empirical question that, once answered, can explain more empirical things, it also creates a new experiential possibility that may explain other experiential things once embodied.

Anyhow, enough rambling on that.


Kurieuo wrote:Yet, many Atheists will embrace such things regardless, and without providing any metaphysical foundation or explanation other than it's obvious. BUT, I know its obviously, so I'm interested in how a worldview can coherently and logically support such things.

So a big test for me, is that a worldview must explain what is more intuitive to us
-- in other words, explain that which strikes us as true.


I agree a great deal with this.

I would even concede to Empiricists that an Atheistic philosophy may be more reasonable if only they could explain and embody one themselves. But all I've seen so far are ones who either are quite consistent but have an inconsistent philosophy or have a consistent philosophy but are not themselves consistent with their philosophy. They are unable to conform to their beliefs. Yes, the materialist philosophy provides an explanation for the material that is quite elegant, but their assumption that they have knowledge for anything beyond the material is misplaced by the very definition of their philosophy. They try to apply philosophy (the burden of proof) where it by definition does not apply. They are quite welcome to change their philosophy so that it does apply, but they are almost categorically unwilling to do so, despite even the empirical evidence that is their behavior. The fact that a bunch of nominal Christians don't live up to this ideal either does not excuse Empiricists from contradicting themselves. They have to make the better case. Only a few good examples would do, yet none have subjected themselves to this task.

This is why I am almost immediately disheartened about convincing Atheists on this issue. I think you put it quite aptly earlier, "they seriously cannot see." They have defined their philosophy of knowledge so that they by definition cannot see. It will only be when the simplest empirical explanation requires some concept of God that they ever will be able to see. Unfortunately, I don't believe that will ever happen.

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Nils » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:53 pm

Hi Kurieuo,

In a thread some days ago you wrote "Maybe you can take up my old challenge in a post elsewhere, to put on the table the nature of reality as you see it and your justification for such." I accept your challenge and will try to give an answer here but I must admit that I am a bit scary. The other atheists that you discussed with in this thread didn't answer satisfying if I understand you. I only can hope that I will fare better and not being discarded as being boring and inconsistent or intellectual dishonest (and note that there is nothing original!)

First I have to make some statements. I am an atheist according to my own definition that goes: A person that doesn't believe in any God and is rather certain about it and has a worldview that doesn't include any God.
Some in this thread requires that you are sure (100% ?) that there is no God to count as an atheist, but I think that such a definition isn't useful. I have never met or heard about any atheist that is 100% sure. Dawkins, for example, says somewhere that he is not 100% sure (Perhaps 90%, I don't remember). By the 100% definition there may be no atheists at all.

Then I don't like the term "atheist" in this discussion. My worldview is materialistic (or physicist), that there is only matter and energy. That implies atheism but not the other way around. There are worldviews that are not materialistic but still does not include any god. However this is not a big deal. If you want to use the word "atheist" in our discussion I can live with that provided you accept that I only is about 95% sure.

Then my worldview in short: The world started at Big Bang and has developed according the physical laws that were created together with energy. The sun and earth were created according the physical laws and chance four billions year ago and after some hundred million years self-replicating life happened to be created. From that point evolution started and all living things including man developed. As a part of evolution emotions and morality developed in man and higher animals and in man only the experience of a "self", rational thinking, language etc. The world may be deterministic or not but it is not teleological, everything that happens is by circumstances and chance.

My belief is that natural science partly has and in the future will explain most of how the universe developed from Big Bang up to including how human function. I think that my view is defendable, coherent, even if we go into details. This is of course debatable but I think that a detailed discussion is for another thread. Here I will primarily concentrate on two questions you brought up, the question about reality and the question about what caused Big Bang.

There are as far as I can see three options about what happened before Big Bang. A common understanding has been that there is some entity, e.g. God, which created the universe with the intention to create an environment for mankind. The classical materialistic scenario is that everything including time started at BB out of nothing. A problem with this view is the apparent fine-tuning of laws and parameters of the laws. If there is only one universe it seems totally improbable that the universe by chance could be so fine-tuned. The third view is the multiverse view in which an infinite number of universes are/were created with different characteristics and our universe is one of the few that happens to be habitable for humans. If you are a Christian and for some other reasons than the problem of universe creation believes in God you, of course, should go for the first option that God created the universe. But if you don't accept these reasons and don't believe in God it is natural to go for the muliverse solution. The first option needs an entity that not only is able to create a universe but also has the knowledge to be able to evaluate the future outcome of a set of physical laws to be able to fine-tune them. Indeed an extremely difficult task. In the multiverse there is only needed a mechanism for creating a universe but no further knowledge. The rest is chance. A materialist should go for the simplest case i.e. the multiverse.

However, the question remains what created the multiverse, a question that Christians often put forward. The materialist answer is that there is no need for an answer. The question about the beginning of our world will never be answered. If there is an entity that creates the universe or the multiverse it can always be asked: What created that entity etc. Some Christians say that there is one entity for which that question is not valid namely God; God is without cause by definition. Then the materialist says: Yes God and the multiverse are without cause, by definition. The Christian: No, only God. The materialist: Why only God. The Christian: Because only God can be without cause. The materialist: Why etc. And there is a stalemate in the discussion. (A similar dialogue would occur if we discuss entities that do not need a creator, i.e. have always existed).

Now, this is metaphysics and probably we will never get any evidence about which solution is correct. Anyway I think that this discussion is interesting and I hope that you don't find it boring.

The second question I will bring up is the nature of reality. You write,
Page 4 Mon Oct 28, 2013:
"I'm happy with this third-person definition:
Reality: the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

This definition does not cover the first-person reality of subjective experience, but I think generally describes "reality" as I'd intend it."

I also think that this definition is OK so that could be the end of the discussion. However, I think there i more behind the question. In the OP you states the question: "Q: How do you know what you experience is true?" That introduces the concepts or truth and experience and that makes the discussion much more complicated. My belief is that there are truths, the way things actually exist, but I can never be 100% sure what the truth is, only more or less certain. Descartes talks about a Guarantor that guaranties that some of his experiences are true and that the Guarantor is God. Being a materialist I don't have that resource of a truth-making guarantor but I have the scientific method which I think is as powerful. It has produced knowledge that is impressing even if it never produces truths, only descriptions that are supported by much evidence and therefore are held true. For instance, few doubt the law of gravitation even if is not proved to be true.

There is a last question in your OP: "Q: How is it possible for someone to come back from the dead?"
I don't understand why it is important to you but my answer is:
In my materialistic view there has never been any living thing that has come back from the dead, by definition. But if I am mistaken and there is a God that created the universe and the laws I can't see any problem for him to wake somebody up from the dead or doing any miracle he wants.

There are lot of other interesting discussion in the thread e.g. the discussion at the end between you and Patrick but I have to wait. This post is long enough.

Nils

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby patrick » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:13 pm

This is still my favorite thread btw. Anyway, I'm sure K can speak for himself, when he has the time to answer, but I wanted to mention something about the following.

Nils wrote:However, the question remains what created the multiverse, a question that Christians often put forward. The materialist answer is that there is no need for an answer. The question about the beginning of our world will never be answered. If there is an entity that creates the universe or the multiverse it can always be asked: What created that entity etc. Some Christians say that there is one entity for which that question is not valid namely God; God is without cause by definition. Then the materialist says: Yes God and the multiverse are without cause, by definition. The Christian: No, only God. The materialist: Why only God. The Christian: Because only God can be without cause. The materialist: Why etc. And there is a stalemate in the discussion. (A similar dialogue would occur if we discuss entities that do not need a creator, i.e. have always existed).

Now, this is metaphysics and probably we will never get any evidence about which solution is correct. Anyway I think that this discussion is interesting and I hope that you don't find it boring.


There actually are explanations of why only God, namely that God is simple (composed of only one part) and unchanging. For anything that is not simple and unchanging, there remains an explanation of what caused the entity or object to begin changing.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, one of the key reasons that the 100% sure atheist metric came up is that "I don't know, and I don't have enough evidence to guess" is a position of agnosticism that many self-proclaimed atheists retreat to, despite claiming knowledge enough to critique the theistic position. Not that I've seen you make this waffle, but "there is no need for an answer" seems to appeal to the same kind of attitude.

And FWIW, in case this turns into a bigger discussion, I'd just like to point out that I only take a gnostic position with regard to an impersonal God. With regard to the personal God of Christianity, I am intellectually agnostic, and don't have a lot to say debate-wise despite my identifying with the culture and general sentiments.

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Justhuman » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:10 am

Trying to explain the as yet non-understandable to what seems the most plausible, without having the knowledge to the (one and only) truth, will yield in explanations that mimic the understanding of the non-understandable to it's best educated guess.

One such thing is trying to explain our universe through the Hand of God. Since there is neither evidence nor proof that God exists, the theory of an allpowerfull superintelligent God is just as valid as the theory of materiality.

Suppose God exists, than how can a theist answer/explain/refute materialistic dilemmas?
Suppose materiality is true, than how can a materialist answer/explain/refute metaphysical dilemmas?

Take for example the so called finetuning of the universe. Is the universe really finetuned, or is that terminology introduced to explain something that couldn't be understood? And finetuning has this almost magical aura of being something very special. So special, it's cause can only be of intelligent origin.

If you can't accept things the way they are, you have to 'conjure up' things that aren't.

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Nils » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:17 pm

patrick wrote:This is still my favorite thread btw. Anyway, I'm sure K can speak for himself, when he has the time to answer, but I wanted to mention something about the following.

Nils wrote:However, the question remains what created the multiverse, a question that Christians often put forward. The materialist answer is that there is no need for an answer. The question about the beginning of our world will never be answered. If there is an entity that creates the universe or the multiverse it can always be asked: What created that entity etc. Some Christians say that there is one entity for which that question is not valid namely God; God is without cause by definition. Then the materialist says: Yes God and the multiverse are without cause, by definition. The Christian: No, only God. The materialist: Why only God. The Christian: Because only God can be without cause. The materialist: Why etc. And there is a stalemate in the discussion. (A similar dialogue would occur if we discuss entities that do not need a creator, i.e. have always existed).

Now, this is metaphysics and probably we will never get any evidence about which solution is correct. Anyway I think that this discussion is interesting and I hope that you don't find it boring.


There actually are explanations of why only God, namely that God is simple (composed of only one part) and unchanging. For anything that is not simple and unchanging, there remains an explanation of what caused the entity or object to begin changing.

You say that God is simple (composed of only one part) and unchanging. Complexity can be defined in different ways. One is by form as you do, another is by function as I did. I prefer the latter because the only thing we know about an assumed God or multivers is their functions, by definition. We have no knowledge about the form of God as far as I understand. Besides I could as well say that I assume that the superverse/ multiverse (the entity that creates the infinite number of universes) also is simple and unchanging.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, one of the key reasons that the 100% sure atheist metric came up is that "I don't know, and I don't have enough evidence to guess" is a position of agnosticism that many self-proclaimed atheists retreat to, despite claiming knowledge enough to critique the theistic position.

I am not sure which atheists you are discussing but my general opinion is that everybody should be allowed to describe his or her ideological position so I don't understand your use of the word "self-proclaimed". Also, I think it is reasonable to criticise elements in an opponents view even if you arn't 100% sure of you own position. In both cases being "almost" sure should be enough.
Not that I've seen you make this waffle, but "there is no need for an answer" seems to appeal to the same kind of attitude.

I have to clarify. A materialistic world-view should, to be coherent, be able to explain everything in the world. But it is not required that it explains how the world came into existence. That question is outside the scope of materialism and in that sense there is no need for an answer. But my world-view includes the existence question and therefore the question is important to me

Nils

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby RickD » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:47 pm

Nils wrote:
I have to clarify. A materialistic world-view should, to be coherent, be able to explain everything in the world. But it is not required that it explains how the world came into existence. That question is outside the scope of materialism and in that sense there is no need for an answer. But my world-view includes the existence question and therefore the question is important to me

Isn't that self-defeating?

If one who holds to a materialistic world-view admits that something is outside the scope of materialism, then how can materialism hold water?
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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Philip » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:55 pm

Since there is neither evidence nor proof that God exists, the theory of an allpowerfull superintelligent God is just as valid as the theory of materiality.


First place, asserting that there is no evidence of God is as naive and arrogant a statement as can be made. Physicists, cosmologists, and astronomers around the world, for centuries, have been astounded at the complexity and razor's edge fine-tuning of the universe and world, and many, many parameters. Einstein got it - he realized that some incredible entity was eternal, supremely powerful, and that it must be eternal, even though he rejected that it was a personal God who cares about the affairs of man. Are you smarter than Einstein, in making such a statement???!!!

Science has long been fixated on how the pre-physical realm produced the physical one. How astonishing things like atoms and molecules, immediately came into being, in mere moments, immediately showing strict adherence to specific laws, and how all such elements immediately revealed designed and necessary interactivity. These are stunning things - so stunning, that every year, with incredible new insights, we realize just how stunning the universe and world is, and how little we knew, only the year before. If God exists, THERE is your evidence - so amazing that scientists around the world are reveling in its mysteries - especially the biggest one - what was the source, how did it acquire such incredible intelligence, and eternally so. These are incredible things - question is, how are they possible if they are not the product of an intelligence? How can an invisible realm INSTANTLY (remember, those first things did not evolve slowly, but in mere moments!) revealing things that check every box gauging an intelligence and awesome precision? WHATEVER one wants to call that first Entity, one must admit it has, what can only be described as, "God-like." Now, none of that proves the God of the Bible, but they certainly are amazing evidences that match up with God-like power and intelligence.

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Philip » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:58 pm

If one thinks that the material/physical world explains everything, think again!

https://youtu.be/LW6Mq352f0E%20video%201

https://youtu.be/4C5pq7W5yRM%20Video%202

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Philip » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:25 pm

Patrick: With regard to the personal God of Christianity, I am intellectually agnostic, and don't have a lot to say debate-wise despite my identifying with the culture and general sentiments.


I'm not sure what you are saying, but "identifying with the culture" or "general sentiments" of Christianity do not make anyone a Christian! Confessed faith in and desire to follow Jesus, along with believing in His Resurrection from the dead, believing that He took on flesh, died on the Cross, arose again, and that He is GOD - believing those - and only those things - are what make a person a Christian! The rest are mere cultural trappings common in today's post-Christian era.

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Kurieuo » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:58 pm

Justhuman wrote:Trying to explain the as yet non-understandable to what seems the most plausible, without having the knowledge to the (one and only) truth, will yield in explanations that mimic the understanding of the non-understandable to it's best educated guess.

One such thing is trying to explain our universe through the Hand of God. Since there is neither evidence nor proof that God exists, the theory of an allpowerfull superintelligent God is just as valid as the theory of materiality.

Suppose God exists, than how can a theist answer/explain/refute materialistic dilemmas?
Suppose materiality is true, than how can a materialist answer/explain/refute metaphysical dilemmas?

Take for example the so called finetuning of the universe. Is the universe really finetuned, or is that terminology introduced to explain something that couldn't be understood? And finetuning has this almost magical aura of being something very special. So special, it's cause can only be of intelligent origin.

If you can't accept things the way they are, you have to 'conjure up' things that aren't.

I liked the general fairness demonstrated towards both sides. Though I disagree with you that the there is no evidence for God (or by the same token, I take it from what you are implying Materialism also can't be proven), that is, proof such either being the ontological basis of reality (i.e., fundamental nature of reality). I believe evidence and reasons do exist for intelligent beings like ourselves to discover and see, and much is quite obvious and only clouded by a thick fog of denial.

The immaterial aspects found in the world, including our priviledged first-person experiencing of the world around us wherein we know, no matter what we know about things external to us, that we are conscious being directly experiencing something. That much we know is real -- and yet the sophisticated stupidity of some who hold close to a materialistic worldview try to argue even our self consciousness isn't really real, "we" have no real say, such is but a mirage ultimately determined by particles bouncing around and chemical reactions.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Kurieuo » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:59 pm

Nils, also I haven't overlooked your post. I'm short of time lately, but I appreciate anyone opposite to my position who does try take up the challenge to justify their view of the foundational nature of reality.

I'm not sure what reasons were offered that swing you towards Materialism/Physicalism (which we might use interchangeably), but right now I've just skimmed your post and will examine your words more closely when responding.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby patrick » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:58 pm

Philip wrote:
Patrick: With regard to the personal God of Christianity, I am intellectually agnostic, and don't have a lot to say debate-wise despite my identifying with the culture and general sentiments.


I'm not sure what you are saying, but "identifying with the culture" or "general sentiments" of Christianity do not make anyone a Christian! Confessed faith in and desire to follow Jesus, along with believing in His Resurrection from the dead, believing that He took on flesh, died on the Cross, arose again, and that He is GOD - believing those - and only those things - are what make a person a Christian! The rest are mere cultural trappings common in today's post-Christian era.


Yeah, sorry, but there are too many questions surrounding those sorts of things for me to know about being a Christian by your standards. I have an active hope in what I understand of the message Jesus left us -- if that's not enough for you, feel free to consider me not a Christian.

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby patrick » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:18 pm

Nils wrote:I am not sure which atheists you are discussing but my general opinion is that everybody should be allowed to describe his or her ideological position so I don't understand your use of the word "self-proclaimed". Also, I think it is reasonable to criticise elements in an opponents view even if you arn't 100% sure of you own position. In both cases being "almost" sure should be enough.


I don't have a problem with people critiquing someone else's view when they're not sure of their own. I do have a problem with people critiquing when their position is "I don't know, and I don't have enough evidence to guess." It would be like trying to point out the flaws in string theory while claiming you don't know enough about physics to guess what a better theory would look like.

And I simply use the word "self-proclaimed" to point out that they call themselves atheists, in case someone wants to tell me that the people I speak of aren't really atheists.

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Re: Nature of Reality: A Challenge to Atheists

Postby Philip » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:32 pm

Patrick: Yeah, sorry, but there are too many questions surrounding those sorts of things for me to know about being a Christian by your standards. I have an active hope in what I understand of the message Jesus left us -- if that's not enough for you, feel free to consider me not a Christian.


Patrick, the criteria is not mine, but is found across Scripture. One's faith and confession must be in and to the Jesus of history, who was resurrected and will come again. See Romans 10:9. Also see John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God."


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