Thursday, April 17, 2008

Atheism: An Irrational Worldview

"Clearly, atheism is not a rational worldview. It is self-refuting because the atheist must first assume the opposite of what he is trying to prove in order to be able to prove anything. As Dr. Cornelius VanTil put it, “[A]theism presupposes theism.” Laws of logic require the existence of God—and not just any god, but the Christian God."

Read more of this fine article by Dr. Jason Lisle

10 comments:

MorseCode said...

Atheism isn't a worldview.

Look up "atheism" and then look up "worldview".

If a position on a single question qualifies as a worldview, then atheism is a worldview. And so is "not believing in Big Foot."

Mark and Maki said...

Morsecode,

But I don't call myself a "Non-Big Footer". There is a massive difference.

God is about ultimate reality. Big Foot has little to do with anything, even if he did exist. God is involved in every detail of life. This is certainly a question of ultimate importance. What you do with God truly forms a complete way to view the world. Any basic philosophy class will tell you this.

By the way, did you read the article? I'd be happy to hear your thoughts in response to it.

In God's Love to you,
Mark

MorseCode said...

It certainly is an important question. But an answer to one important question does not make a world-view.

Secular humanism is a world-view. Naturalism and materialism are world-views. Atheism, while a part of all three, is not by itself a world-view. I just want to make sure you understand that.

As for the article, I have plenty of comments as I view it to be completely wrong. :) And I've heard the argument before, so I have experience refuting it.

He claims logic comes from god. Which is fine for him to think that, but I disagree. Logic is something invented by humans in order to understand an objective reality.

"He believes that everything that exists is material—part of the physical world. But laws of logic are not physical. "

This is a straw man. Materialists don't believe that everything is physical. They believe that everything is natural. Logic comes from the human brain, not some supernatural force or being.

"If laws of logic are just conventions, then they are not universal laws."

Correct. They are just conventions. However, they are conventions that also correspond with the real world. And because humans have the mental capacity to come to them independently through simple trial and error, they exist in nearly every culture. Thus appearing to be 'universal'. Morality works in the same way.

"It is self-refuting because the atheist must first assume the opposite of what he is trying to prove in order to be able to prove anything."

I have no idea what he means by this. We know that theists exist. We know that theism exists. Theism being the belief in a deity. We don't share that belief. We don't assume a god exists. I honestly have no idea how he thinks that.

Mark and Maki said...

Morsecode,

Thank you for answering to my request. I admit that I have yet to see such a polite western atheist as you! Keep it up.

I have a few comments to make in response, and I hope you do have the time to read them.

I am not sure how you cannot have naturalism and secular humanism WITHOUT atheism, it being the sole reason for the former. Thus, it is not just one simple question but THE question that determines a whole trajectory of life, and may I add, ETERNAL life.

I want that for you, and that is why I write. - Not to convince you that atheism is a worldview.

It is disappointing that even though you have heard these arguments before that your answers do so little to answer the problems raised by them.

The fact that finely-tuned working scientific laws exist at all and that the human mind is so delicately and amazingly able to understand them and even communicate about them in understandable ways bodes very ill for the unintelligent chaotic origin theory. The probabilities in short are zero. If you doubt that, look at how many times INTELLIGENT scientists have tried to make life and have failed. It is honestly embarrassing and sad.

Next, if you don't believe that everything is physical, can you prove that there is no spiritual realm? It seems that the height of arrogance is to assert that one knows for certain that something DOES NOT EXIST in the universe when one cannot BE everywhere in the universe at once. You would have to BE God to say that confidently! It makes much more sense to be an agnostic than an atheist. So why aren't you? At least they are humble enough to admit that they haven't been everywhere in the universe yet.

Christians on the other hand have had personally contact and experience with a living God. This does not take omnipresence nor omniscience on their own part.

"If laws of logic are just conventions..."
You talk in circles here. The reason why we can speak rationally about anything is that we HAVE objective reality and laws. You cannot say that it is a convention when it is outside of you as objective reality. The question is, why do things make sense instead of making NO sense? You haven't answered that at all. Things should not have such order in a world created from chaos. Try throwing Scrabble pieces all over your living room floor and spelling out a work of Shakespeare. We have a work of Shakespeare in this universe!

Morality is the same thing. It is objective reality outside of you. Where did it come from? You cannot create something that already exists outside of you.

Atheism is not logical because you know the CONCEPT of God, yet you fail to show WHY we have that concept? To use your analogy, we have seen things that compositely look like Big-Foot - Tall, hairy, monkey-like creatures. These are all real traits that monkeys, humans and Shaquille O'Neil compositely share. : ) We understand the CONCEPT of Big Foot because we understand these other real things around us. But if there is nothing like God (as you say), where did the CONCEPT come from? What REAL things is God based on? And I ask again, why not also call yourself a Non-Big Footer instead of an Atheist, if God really is just one question?

Your friend in pursuit of Truth,
Mark

MorseCode said...

Mark,

I try my best to be polite, but I can on occasion be passionate and/or offensive. (Though I try my best never to be offensive on purpose.)

I'll try to address most, if not all of your points.

I also want to make it clear that I am only speaking for myself. If you ask ten atheists the same question, you're likely to get ten different answers.

"unintelligent chaotic origin theory. "

You'll have to explain what this is to me. Certainly I believe there is a certain amount of randomness in everything (the universe, life, their formation), but they aren't completely random. I don't want to turn this into an entirely scientific discussion, but if you need clarification just let me know.

"Next, if you don't believe that everything is physical, can you prove that there is no spiritual realm?"

Nope. All I do is look for evidence. As of now, I have seen no convincing evidence. Which is not to say that you haven't. Maybe you have. But I can't base my opinions on something as unrepeatable as someone else's personal experiences. If I had my own personal experiences, that might be different. But until then, I see no evidence, and therefore no reason to believe in a spiritual realm.

"It seems that the height of arrogance is to assert that one knows for certain that something DOES NOT EXIST in the universe when one cannot BE everywhere in the universe at once. "

Correct. Which is why I don't assert that god (or the afterlife, or the supernatural) does not exist. I merely say I don't believe in those things. It's the same way in which I don't believe in Big Foot. Big Foot may very well exist. But I don't see good enough evidence, and until I do I won't believe. I'm not asserting that Big Foot doesn't exist, I'm just not believing that he does.

It's a subtle difference, I know. But the difference is there.

"It makes much more sense to be an agnostic than an atheist. So why aren't you? At least they are humble enough to admit that they haven't been everywhere in the universe yet."

I am an agnostic and an atheist. Despite popular misconceptions, they aren't mutually exclusive. They actually respond to two different questions.

Q: Do you believe in god?
A: No.
Explanation: You're an atheist.

Q: IS there a god?
A: I don't know.
Explanation: You're an agnostic.

The difference is that one speaks about knowledge, and the other speaks about belief.

"Christians on the other hand have had personally contact and experience with a living God."

All I can say is that while I was a Christian this never happened to me. And I would encourage you, if you indeed do have contact with your god, to ask him why he only speaks to some people.

"The reason why we can speak rationally about anything is that we HAVE objective reality and laws."

We have objective reality. The laws are conventions WE make in order to EXPLAIN that objective reality.

"Things should not have such order in a world created from chaos."

What is your definition of 'order'? We live on a tiny percentage of a small planet that is mostly too hot, too cold or under water and thus unable to support life. There are several other bodies in our universe, all incapable of life as far as we know. At any moment a meteor may come and destroy the planet, or on a lesser scale and earthquake or tsunami or volcano can destroy thousands or millions of us.

This does not strike me as terribly 'orderly'.

"Morality is the same thing. It is objective reality outside of you. Where did it come from? You cannot create something that already exists outside of you."

Actually, morality is subjective. One only needs to look at history to understand this. Things moral today were immoral one hundred years ago.

And morals are situational. You could argue that an objective, absolute moral law is that killing another human being is wrong. But even that is subjective, because if you're defending yourself from being killed and kill your attacker, you have not done something immoral.

"But if there is nothing like God (as you say), where did the CONCEPT come from? What REAL things is God based on?"

The concept came from men and women. Which is why the gods of almost every religion are incredibly human like.

All gods, in my humble opinion which could be wrong, are from the human imagination. They are essentially human, but with bits of nature thrown in. (Thunder, lightning, the sun, etc.)

"And I ask again, why not also call yourself a Non-Big Footer instead of an Atheist, if God really is just one question?"

If people who believed in Big Foot were the majority in this country, and they tried to force their Big Foot belief on others, and change legislature based on their Big Foot belief, and force children to be taught about Big Foot in public school science classes, and attempted to make Non-big foot believers into second class citizens, then I would be a Non-Big Footer.

Not saying you are doing any of the above things, of course, Mark. But many religious people do.

Cheers,

Morse

Mark and Maki said...

Morse,

About morality:
I am not saying that morals don't change in a culture in relation to the hardness of individual hearts, everyone believes that. Remember this is a sin-infected world (infecting both Christians and non-Christians alike). This also is the answer to why there are so many problems in the world - as you said. It wasn't always this way. It won't always be this way either. Just like me, you know things are not as they should be.

But why is this? Why should you make moral judgments about the world at all? They have no meaning if you have no rational standard from which to conclude that from. Why tell me this information? What if my morality is different? You know there is a standard because you use it and assume that I use the same one.

What I am saying about morality is that the whole idea of moral right and wrong has no basis without God. Why would ANYTHING be WRONG or RIGHT? How could you call anything EVIL. It has no meaning. It would just be one person's preference over another's. Who decides what is right and wrong, ultimately, if there is no God? What basis do you have for saying that Hitler was wrong? You don't, unless you have a standard giver - God. A basis for moral rightness. And to some extent, we all know this standard because God has put it into our hearts, however corrupt they may be.

About science. This is where I think your doubt in God may have started, and it is no wonder. That is why I am a Christian science teacher in Japan. I see the danger on the other side of what you wrote. I agree that putting one ideology or ONE religion into any school is a bad idea.

The ONLY ONE belief system that I was forced to learn in public school science class was that God is NOT related to origins. This is a belief, just like you said. It is not based on knowledge. In fact, naturalism in and of itself is a religious belief.

The U.S. govt. classifies atheism (the roots of naturalism) as a religion. So why do I have to pay taxes so others can be indoctrinated in a religious belief that I don't support? I have also had it up to here (pointing over my head) with the MAJORITY who wish to ban anything but their own atheistic religion from the classroom. Why not teach, as I do, both ideas and teach students to think and study for themselves!

I find that teaching ONLY Darwinism is incredibly arrogant due to the fact that even the simplest living cell (as Darwin called them) has working cellular machines inside of it more complex than the most advanced engines of today. Wouldn't it be more rational to conclude that there is an intelligence behind the origin of the cell? Darwin would likely have changed his mind by now, if he knew what we know now. Why don't you?

Morse, if you are truly agnostic and don't know if there is a God or not, why choose to believe that there is NO God. Why not choose to believe that there IS a God? And if you really don't know, as you claim, why do you have a blog all about your belief against God? It seems very strange to be so strongly spreading a belief that you admit that you don't know is true or not. What motivates you? I think you betray your own innate knowledge of God's existence. It is like you are fighting to plug your ears and shout so that you don't hear what you know to be true - namely that God does exist and that he has been speaking to you through creation since you were born.

As Romans 1:18-19 says, "men... suppress (or hold down) the truth in unrighteousness. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, by the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."

Here is my advice, which I hope you will take. Begin to seek to know God instead of trying to suppress your knowledge of him. We all sin and don't want God in our knowledge. That is why I pray that God would have MERCY on you and show you His truth and love, deep in your heart through the Scriptures. No one deserves his mercy, and not all receive it. I pray you do. Without it you will continue to want to suppress God in unrighteousness. God is not obligated to give you or me mercy, but I pray that he gives you eyes to see His truth and beauty as you study His Word. I could wish for nothing better for you.

Working with you for your future joy,
Mark

MorseCode said...

"What I am saying about morality is that the whole idea of moral right and wrong has no basis without God."

Really? So if you didn't believe in god, you'd go around killing, raping and stealing?

I certainly hope not. But if that is true, stay a believer.

"Why would ANYTHING be WRONG or RIGHT? How could you call anything EVIL. It has no meaning. It would just be one person's preference over another's."

Incorrect. We can use logic and rationality to see what is write and wrong. Simply but studying harm and benefit, which we can study scientifically, we can understand what is good and what is bad.

And then we form a society with other people who share our definition of what is right and wrong. And if others break those rules, we either don't let them join our society or we punish them.

This is how the world works. Morals don't come from the arbitrary commandments of some sky god. They come from you and me and everyone.

"So why do I have to pay taxes so others can be indoctrinated in a religious belief that I don't support?"

If I hand you a piece of paper that has nothing written on it, is that paper promoting atheism?

The schools are secular, not atheistic. They promote nothing...not even atheism. Just because you're not allowed to promote your beliefs doesn't mean that atheism is being promoted.

"Wouldn't it be more rational to conclude that there is an intelligence behind the origin of the cell?"

No. The cell formed through natural selection. It has been shown and confirmed countless times in countless labs by countless scientists.

"if you are truly agnostic and don't know if there is a God or not, why choose to believe that there is NO God."

Simple. No evidence. Given no evidence, I don't believe. This is true with anything.

"What motivates you? I think you betray your own innate knowledge of God's existence"

Already told you. If religious believers didn't try and force their beliefs on others, I wouldn't care.

I'm glad that apparently you can read minds, though. By all means, share your trick with others.

I think you betray your own innate knowledge of god's nonexistence.

I enjoyed talking with you Mark. I'm sorry, however, that you refused to continue to talk and discuss and instead reverted to preaching and quoting scripture.

I sincerely hope that one day you realize that your superstitions are just that, superstitions, and you begin to actually live your life.

Mark and Maki said...

I feel sorry for Morse.

I gave him many clear reasons for why his belief in no God makes no sense. Of course he failed to answer clear questions and repeated the same things many times. It is like the old preacher who while writing his message wrote in the margins, "Argument weak here, shout louder."

Ultimately Morse showed the truth of Scripture in that without the transforming grace of God we are blind to God. It encourages me to pray that God would open the eyes of my friend Morse, as well as so many others who are deceiving and being deceived. (2 Tim. 3:13) It saddens me that Morse actually believes he has lived a better life without anyone else determining what is right and wrong, except himself. This is the exact lie that Adam and Eve believed and has been the downfall of the human race.

Let us remember the words of Scripture, "In his (God's) presence is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore."

I can say that I have known both ways - living for myself and living for God. And for my part, I would never return.

Mark

Mark and Maki said...

Oh, lastly, I just couldn't let his slide:

Morse said,
"The cell formed through natural selection. It has been shown and confirmed countless times in countless labs by countless scientists."

This shows a complete ignorance of science and proves my point about how the public school science class has brain-washed millions into atheism - including Morse. Christians, it is time to wake up to the battle going on for our children.

FACT: NO LIFE COMES FROM NON-LIFE.

Natural selection selects information within a genome of a living creature, it cannot select what is not there.

I-am-an-atheist said...

Without any disrespect to the "atheist" who commented above...his argument was weak.

Please visit my site. I've only got one post so far. But I hope you'll leave a comment (or many).