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William Lane Craig comes to Denmark!

Does God Exist?Yesterday we had a wonderful opportunity to witness the long-awaited debate between Prof. Klemens Kappel and Prof. William Lane Craig trying to answer the question: Does God exist? Over 600 people gathered in Bethseda building in Copenhagen. Both theists (Christians, Muslims…) and atheists under one roof in expectance to find some answers for their questions that would support their worldview as more rational. The debate had its traditional form:

2 x 20 min presentation (positive case goes first)
2 x 12 min rebuttal
2 x 8 min rebuttal
2 x 5 min closing statement
Break
Q&A

First one to present his positive case was Prof. Craig, who guided us through 3 reasonable ways of inferring that something might be one way rather than the other.

  1. Logical argument
    1. Cosmological argument
  2. Argument from the Best explanation
    1. Fine-Tuning of the universe
    2. The origin of the universe
  3. Historic explanation
    1. Resurrection of Jesus Christ (and the 3 indisputable facts rooted in historic sources)
      1. The empty tomb
      2. Post-mortem appearances of Jesus
      3. Strong faith of disciples that even lead them to die for their cause

After this Prof. Kappel compared God to other mythical beings like Thor or Aphrodite in effort to show the absurdity of such reasoning. Afterwards he explained that we ought to give space to science and common sense that tells us that such creatures do not exist and even though there are areas that science cannot yet give account for, we ought to stay careful in filling them with God. He stated that he will not respond to the arguments given by Prof. Craig for we should not give them so much credit, rather he will only give reasons to show why atheism is a better option. For it is most likely impossible to show somehow with arguments that God does not exist. Quote: “Not to persuade you, but to illustrate“. Then he presented some kind of dialectical issue in which we deal with two people who come to different conclusions based on the same evidence. However they are so convinced that their explanation is the right one that they are beyond the reach of reasoning and no debate will persuade them otherwise, thus only some sort illustrations can bear meaning. At last he elaborated on the origin of belief stating, that the reason why people believe in various religions is to large degree the background in which they were born to and raised in. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in News, Reasonable Faith, Reviews

 

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Sense the nonsense

Some time ago I was browsing web and I found this short comic on the topic of atheism.

While I was slightly amused by an awkward position to which this christian couple was put to, knockout that author intended to show is however certainly not as sharp as it appears.

One of the roots of the problem around the question “Who is an atheist?” is it’s very definition. We should not continue to solve this issue without first defining the word atheist.

According to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary atheist is: “one who believes that there is no deity.

Thesaurus: “someone who denies the existence of god.”

American Atheists (self-definition): “Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be. Humankind is on its own.

Other: “the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

This meaning of the word “atheist” is in its root of origin very similar to the word “atypical”. For in both cases we only added letter “a” in front of the original word. a-theist / a-typical, which changed the value of the word to its opposite meaning.

Reading the comic with these definitions in mind, we are one step closer in seeing why is it just a nonsense, rather than a witty blow to Christians.

Mathematically speaking: If Jeremy says that he believes, that 349*825 is 287925 then you have three basic options to choose from.

  • Check his claim whether what he is saying is true. After doing your math you can either come to the same conclusion and agree with him. (Christian – theist)
  • or come to a different one and disagree with him while having or at least assuming a different result. (Muslim – theist)
  • Disagree with him while saying that a result does not exist (dividing by zero is impossible) (Atheist)

We see that in the example above, not everyone can be right, we can all be wrong, but we can’t all be right. Here all three options represent position, standpoint, belief or opinion which has or ought to have a value in for one who is seeking the truth.

Therefore when a Theist says that an Atheist has a belief (faith) that there is no God, he holds a valid standpoint. However when an Atheist is trying to do the same, by pointing at the fact that a Christian (Theist 1) does not share the same view (does not have a belief in the same God) as Muslim (Theist 2) therefore he has 2 beliefs or holds 2 opinions, he is simply committing the usual “non sequitur” fallacy (conclusion does not follow from the premises).

Surely it logically follows, when a person believes that 2+2=4 he believes not that 2+2=5. Yet the second is not a belief by itself, but only a logical necessity following from the primary belief. This cannot be said about a belief that 2+2 has no true result, for this is the primary belief in itself and all the other (2+2=4 or 2+2=5) “disbeliefs” are thus logically necessary.

 Other Definitions

However, today we can find other, new definitions of the word atheist such as “the absence of belief in any gods.” or “disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.” This position is also called a “weak atheism” and is often called also agnostic atheism. For it is very similar (if not the same) to a view called agnosticism that holds no commitment to any opinion whatsoever, perhaps only that the ultimate reality is unknown and probably unknowable (Merriam Webster).

Now, having this definition in mind I guess we in fact do have a fourth option and that is to say: “I do not know and probably I don’t even care.” This is surely a position, however at this point it seems that any further discussion is unnecessary. At least until one truly opens himself to the sort of questions, which has been sought to be answered by the many generations before us, namely: “How did it all start? What is our purpose? Where are we heading?…” To find the best possible explanation is one way to do it, which does not commit anyone to the inevitable verity of his conclusions only proposes rationality behind them over the reasonableness of its rival hypothesis.

 
 

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