A few questions

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
zmorg
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A few questions

#1

Post by zmorg » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:16 am

Hi,

I recently discovered the "New Atheists" and all the debate going on about this. All in all that brought my belief in God into pretty rough waters - gathering "neutral" information on the topic seems pretty difficult, so I have a few questions for you.
Both sides (argumenting for or against God, like W. L. Craig and Dawkins for example) seem kind of biased to me as both have their own interests and honor to defend. Also I dislike the way they behave in debate, there is a serious amount of insults and polemic remarks going on on both sides. I understand that either of them have a lot to lose, if their belief system turn out to be wrong. So, my questions are:

a) Are there any scientists/philosophers, who are actually interested in solving the issue of the meaning of existence / creation of universe? Who weigh the arguments of both sides equally and come to some conclusions, but are not prejudiced for or against the existence of God (is that even possible)?
b) Are there any atheists, who are really unhappy about the non-existence of God? Because, if the Christian God existed they way described in the Bible, that would be a great thing. I really don't get why anybody would not want that to be true?

Please excuse my bad English and thank you for your help-

cheers,
Sven

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Re: A few questions

#2

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:44 am

Hi Sven.

Welcome to the board. Is there anything specific about the New Athiest arguements that are troubling you. Do you want to put them here one at a time and we will try and address them?

Also unfortunately bias will come into it as everyone has a worldview.

Silvertusk.

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Re: A few questions

#3

Post by zmorg » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:00 am

Hi Silvertusk,

thank you for the welcome and your invitation. I am very much interesting in doing that, but please allow me some time to structure my thoughts. In the meantime, can you (or anybody else) tackle my first two questions?

thanks,
Sven

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Re: A few questions

#4

Post by jlay » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:12 am

b) Are there any atheists, who are really unhappy about the non-existence of God? Because, if the Christian God existed they way described in the Bible, that would be a great thing. I really don't get why anybody would not want that to be true
Seriously? Moral accountability to the highest moral authority? A God who sees and judges even the thoughts of His creation. A God who is justice and poors out His wrath on anything opposed to His nature.
The reality is everyone wants to go to heaven. Some just don't want God to be there.
a) Are there any scientists/philosophers, who are actually interested in solving the issue of the meaning of existence / creation of universe? Who weigh the arguments of both sides equally and come to some conclusions, but are not prejudiced for or against the existence of God (is that even possible)?
To look for meaning would essentially exclude science. Science looks for causes. Intelligent Design presents a great case that design points to a designer. Since the universe is space, time and matter, this agent would need to be immaterial, timeless, and transcendent. Not too mention intelligent. Philosphers studying this (from a non-Christian perspective) go back to early Greek philosphers such as Aristotle and Plato. St. Thomas Aquinas' metaphysics are centuries old.
If you want to look at a text book style collection of all the evidence then I would highly recommend, Josh McDowell's, "Evidence that Demans a Verdict." Josh was a skeptic who was converted after studying the case.
If you want a more reader friendly version, then Lee strobel's "Case for ______" series is great. Another skeptic who was converted.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: A few questions

#5

Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:14 am

zmorg wrote:a) Are there any scientists/philosophers, who are actually interested in solving the issue of the meaning of existence / creation of universe? Who weigh the arguments of both sides equally and come to some conclusions, but are not prejudiced for or against the existence of God (is that even possible)?

b) Are there any atheists, who are really unhappy about the non-existence of God? Because, if the Christian God existed they way described in the Bible, that would be a great thing. I really don't get why anybody would not want that to be true?

Please excuse my bad English and thank you for your help-

cheers,
Sven
Answers

a) I do not know of any at the moment. People can say they were or are, but were they is really an another question.

b) An atheist who thought like that would not be an atheist but rather an agnostic...
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Re: A few questions

#6

Post by Stu » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:23 am

zmorg wrote:Hi,

I recently discovered the "New Atheists" and all the debate going on about this. All in all that brought my belief in God into pretty rough waters - gathering "neutral" information on the topic seems pretty difficult, so I have a few questions for you.
Both sides (argumenting for or against God, like W. L. Craig and Dawkins for example) seem kind of biased to me as both have their own interests and honor to defend. Also I dislike the way they behave in debate, there is a serious amount of insults and polemic remarks going on on both sides. I understand that either of them have a lot to lose, if their belief system turn out to be wrong. So, my questions are:

a) Are there any scientists/philosophers, who are actually interested in solving the issue of the meaning of existence / creation of universe? Who weigh the arguments of both sides equally and come to some conclusions, but are not prejudiced for or against the existence of God (is that even possible)?
b) Are there any atheists, who are really unhappy about the non-existence of God? Because, if the Christian God existed they way described in the Bible, that would be a great thing. I really don't get why anybody would not want that to be true?

Please excuse my bad English and thank you for your help-

cheers,
Sven
Hi there,

I would recommend a book by Anthony Flew called There is a God.
Written by Flew himself it describes his journey of "how the world's most notorious atheist changed his mind".

It details how Flew's commitment to always "follow the argument wherever it leads", lead him from atheism to God. If you are looking for a "neutral" assessment of the evidence at hand, well this is it.
Only when the blood runs and the shackles restrain, will the sheep then awake. When all is lost.

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Re: A few questions

#7

Post by SnowDrops » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:31 pm

Stu wrote:
zmorg wrote:Hi,

I recently discovered the "New Atheists" and all the debate going on about this. All in all that brought my belief in God into pretty rough waters - gathering "neutral" information on the topic seems pretty difficult, so I have a few questions for you.
Both sides (argumenting for or against God, like W. L. Craig and Dawkins for example) seem kind of biased to me as both have their own interests and honor to defend. Also I dislike the way they behave in debate, there is a serious amount of insults and polemic remarks going on on both sides. I understand that either of them have a lot to lose, if their belief system turn out to be wrong. So, my questions are:

a) Are there any scientists/philosophers, who are actually interested in solving the issue of the meaning of existence / creation of universe? Who weigh the arguments of both sides equally and come to some conclusions, but are not prejudiced for or against the existence of God (is that even possible)?
b) Are there any atheists, who are really unhappy about the non-existence of God? Because, if the Christian God existed they way described in the Bible, that would be a great thing. I really don't get why anybody would not want that to be true?

Please excuse my bad English and thank you for your help-

cheers,
Sven
Hi there,

I would recommend a book by Anthony Flew called There is a God.
Written by Flew himself it describes his journey of "how the world's most notorious atheist changed his mind".

It details how Flew's commitment to always "follow the argument wherever it leads", lead him from atheism to God. If you are looking for a "neutral" assessment of the evidence at hand, well this is it.
Though Flew converted to Deism not Christianity he certainly is about as unbiased as anyone is. Also, since everyone is biased (including me and you), sometimes you just have to forget about who is speaking and simply listen to the arguments from both sides.
The first step to learning is to admit that you don't know.

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Re: A few questions

#8

Post by KOGnition » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:09 pm

SnowDrops wrote:
Though Flew converted to Deism not Christianity he certainly is about as unbiased as anyone is. Also, since everyone is biased (including me and you), sometimes you just have to forget about who is speaking and simply listen to the arguments from both sides.
This is very true. But I would also add that following an argument can only take you so far. It is useful for opening up your mind and heart.
Ultimately it is faith that lead Christians to Jesus Christ. And it is faith in Jesus Christ that lead Christians to God.

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Re: A few questions

#9

Post by Echoside » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:50 pm

zmorg wrote:
a) Are there any scientists/philosophers, who are actually interested in solving the issue of the meaning of existence / creation of universe? Who weigh the arguments of both sides equally and come to some conclusions, but are not prejudiced for or against the existence of God (is that even possible)?
a) I don't think you can ever eliminate all bias
zmorg wrote: b) Are there any atheists, who are really unhappy about the non-existence of God?
To include many agnostics as well, the idea haunts us more than you know.
zmorg wrote:Because, if the Christian God existed they way described in the Bible, that would be a great thing. I really don't get why anybody would not want that to be true?

Indeed it would be a great thing. Best thing that could possibly happen, I wager.

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Re: A few questions

#10

Post by narnia4 » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:17 pm

Everyone is biased.

And while Dawkins debating techniques and language and ad hominem attacks and insulting language aren't really debatable, you can't say the same about WLC. He's always a professional, if he acted in an immature, vindictive manner he could easily draw some well-deserved laughs by mocking inane, out of date arguments put forth by New Atheists.

But maybe you could be more specific and people here could help you out. Your questions don't really seem to be directed AT the issue, namely whether or not God exists. What arguments have these atheists put forth that bothers you? Or is it their mere presence and confidence that they must be right, which frankly often is the case? When you dissect their words and arguments, I personally don't see a lot that's special about them. But if you've just recently been exposed to them, their "Theists are SO stupid and misguided and they've been proven wrong so many times!" routine can be alarming if you go just by that.

Since you seem to put value in respect, keep in mind that I'm only addressing this specific, insulting group. Not putting every unbeliever into that group, only those who identify with that group.
Young, Restless, Reformed

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Re: A few questions

#11

Post by rstrats » Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:49 am

B.W.,

re: “b) An atheist who thought like that would not be an atheist...”

How so? Are you saying that the person in (b) believes - is convinced - that a supreme being exists?

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Re: A few questions

#12

Post by Echoside » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:18 pm

rstrats wrote:B.W.,

re: “b) An atheist who thought like that would not be an atheist...”

How so? Are you saying that the person in (b) believes - is convinced - that a supreme being exists?
I may be wrong, but he seemed to be implying that atheists are all driven in part by a hate of God, and therefore they do not wish for God to exist.

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Re: A few questions

#13

Post by Ivellious » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:32 am

My answers/opinions:

a) Well, no scientist can really explore the meaning of life scientifically, because it's not a scientific issue. It's an opinion almost, or an idea, or something even more abstract, and probably well beyond humankind's ability to understand. Philosophers have and still are attempting to answer it but we haven't made much progress over that time, so..
The creation of the universe is more sensitive. That typically boils down to a "creation story/religious view vs. big bang theory/science" problem. And that's something in a realm of theoretical physics that I really have no place arguing, so I'll leave it at that.

I'd also agree that a completely unbiased individual or set of individuals to mediate the evidence and come up with the answer is sadly not existent, or else we would already have all the answers.

b) That would obviously vary individual to individual. Everyone has their own beliefs and reasons for believing. I can see how an atheist might be disappointed to realize (in their mind) that a deity or higher power doesn't exist. But typically I would assume that deciding to be an atheist means one has accepted other reasons for living and so on, so I don't think it would bother most atheists.

I would say this though. Yes, in some ways the Christian God might be nice to have watching over us as the Bible describes. But I could also easily argue that having a number of other belief systems in place could be equally pleasing. That's kind of the point of religion, isn't it? To have a happy, promising, and safe belief system in place? Granted, the Christian God could also be described as cruel, a hypocrite, testy, angry, unfair, and numerous other unflattering terms. So could Zeus or Shiva or your ancestral spirits. So there's no reason to believe in God if only because he might be nice to have around.

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Re: A few questions

#14

Post by SnowDrops » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:14 am

Ivellious wrote: That typically boils down to a "creation story/religious view vs. big bang theory/science" problem.
How is Biblical creation (or any creation theory for that matter) against the Big Bang theory? And how can anything be against science? Science is simply a method.
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Re: A few questions

#15

Post by Stu » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:46 am

SnowDrops wrote:
Ivellious wrote: That typically boils down to a "creation story/religious view vs. big bang theory/science" problem.
How is Biblical creation (or any creation theory for that matter) against the Big Bang theory? And how can anything be against science? Science is simply a method.
The way I see it, based on scripture, is that the Bible is compatible with the Big Bang and an old earth, but not with old plants or animals / dinosaurs.

I base this upon the first few sentences in the Bible:


1___.In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now
_____the earth was became formless and empty, darkness was over the
_____surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4God saw
_____that the light was good, and he separated the light from
_____the darkness. 5God called the light "day", and the darkness he
_____called "night". And there was evening, and there was morning -
_____the first day.


So the sentence "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" could well have taken place over millions or billions of years; but from "And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light." onward, if we are to interpret the Bible as if it had been written for the average person to be able to read and understand, a day is a day.


Edit: Ok so it seems Exodus 20:11 nullifies my above theory, so ignore it :)
11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
It would seem that a Big Bang lasting billions of years is not compatible with the Bible.
Last edited by Stu on Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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