Doubts...


#1

My bf says that he isn’t sure that God really exists and that if there was scientific evidence then it would be easier for him to believe. I asked him if he believed Jesus existed and he said yeah, because there is scientific evidence, but he still wasn’t sure…I told him that if Jesus was real then God had to be real because Jesus is God and that you cannot prove everything with science and that you just have to have faith in some things…but he is still remains skeptical…I am not sure what to say to him about this…does anyone have any better advice? I am only still in the learning process with my faith so my advice may not be entirely correct but I am trying the best I can to help him, I just don’t know yet how to go about it in the most helpful way…thanks everyone!


#2

Neither of you can win a straight up debate of Jesus vs. skepticism–at least that is probably not the best way to go about it. Remember he does have faith–faith that science can explain even the non-scientific. The radical skeptic questions everything except his skepticism. G.K. Chesterton said he never read a line of Christian apologetics, even after converting. He converted because he read the anti-Christian skeptics and found them wanting. Don’t debate. Rather, put your light on a lampstand and pray. A devoted Christian is more convincing than thousands of apologetics books. In the face of such devotion, those skeptical rationalizations start to sound like noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.

Scott

P.S. This is not meant to say that apologetics is a worthless endeavor.


#3

Many of the Jews who stood there and watched Jesus perform miracles were the same ones who called for His exocution. If Jesus himself could not convince some people that He is God, how much harder do you think it is to convince a skeptic 2,000 years removed from the original events. That is why St. Francis of Assisi said “Witness constantly, if necessary, use words.” You life and what Jesus has done for your life is a better witness to the saving power of Christ than any arguement that you can muster. Pray, and give thanks, for the testing of your faith will bring perseverance, which will make you perfect.

[quote=Scott Waddell]Neither of you can win a straight up debate of Jesus vs. skepticism–at least that is probably not the best way to go about it. Remember he does have faith–faith that science can explain even the non-scientific. The radical skeptic questions everything except his skepticism. G.K. Chesterton said he never read a line of Christian apologetics, even after converting. He converted because he read the anti-Christian skeptics and found them wanting. Don’t debate. Rather, put your light on a lampstand and pray. A devoted Christian is more convincing than thousands of apologetics books. In the face of such devotion, those skeptical rationalizations start to sound like noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.

Scott

P.S. This is not meant to say that apologetics is a worthless endeavor.
[/quote]


#4

I recommend the following articles by Peter Kreeft:

Arguments for God’s Existence:
[list]
*]Can You Prove God Exists?
*]Argument from Design
*]Argument from First Cause
*]Argument from Conscience
*]Argument from History
*]Argument from Pascal’s Wager
*]Argument from Desire
*]The Divinity of Christ
[/list]
I also recommend The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God by Lee Strobel


#5

From my personal dealings with people I would have to say the best answer anyone could give you is this:

PRAY. Pray to our Lady of Perpetual Help, ask his guardian angel to help him, pary to whichever saints you feel comfortable praying to but PRAY for your bf. Offer little suffrages for him. maybe fast a day for him…

(It was just revealed to me a few years ago that someone I know was praying a rosary for me everyday since I was 7…this led to a conversion!)

The power of prayer! :thumbsup:


#6

Ask your boyfriend to read this debate:

[/font]http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-smith_harvard00.html

Or better yet read it with him as it is quite lengthy and he might not persevere, or end up skimming through it.

I used to be an atheist whose first step to conversion was because of intellectual reasons. There ARE a great many logical and SCIENTIFIC arguments (although not experimental proofs) for the existence of God.

A good book I just started reading is C.S. Lewis’ *Miracles. *It presents intellectual reasons for not believing that the material world is all there is.

I don’t know what your boyfriend is like, but if he’s anything like I was reading those things could really help him. They helped me A LOT because growing up in this culture I never thought of how ILLOGICAL atheism is.

I’m going to send you a private message with a letter I wrote to another atheist about why I converted, maybe it’ll help.

Edit: actually I’ll e-mail it to you because it’s too long to message.


#7

[quote=Heather07]My bf says that he isn’t sure that God really exists and that if there was scientific evidence then it would be easier for him to believe. I asked him if he believed Jesus existed and he said yeah, because there is scientific evidence, but he still wasn’t sure…I told him that if Jesus was real then God had to be real because Jesus is God and that you cannot prove everything with science and that you just have to have faith in some things…but he is still remains skeptical…I am not sure what to say to him about this…does anyone have any better advice? I am only still in the learning process with my faith so my advice may not be entirely correct but I am trying the best I can to help him, I just don’t know yet how to go about it in the most helpful way…thanks everyone!
[/quote]

Amy Wellborn has a series of books called “Prove It”… one is about God, another about Jesus, another on the Church. If you are still in the learning process and he is too, these books might be a good starting point. You can find them online at Amazon.com or a local bookstore could order them for you.


#8

C.S. Lewis is another atheist-convert to Christianity, and his books are very good, not too lenghty, and are written to be read by normal people, that is, they are not hard on the brain:

The following C.S. Lewis books helped my atheist wife convert to Christianity…

The Abolition of Man
The Great Divorce
Mere Christianity
Miracles
Problem of Pain
Screwtape Letters

Another book I bought but have not had the chance to read yet is by William Dembski, called Intelligent Design - The Bridge Between Science Theology


#9

I didn’t believe in God either when my husband and I first started dating. We were 5 yrs. into our marriage before I started believing in God, so don’t give up on him unless he is intolerant of your belief.

I’d like to mention one line of thought that might get him thinking a little about scientific evidence not being the way to prove everything. How does he know that love exists? You can’t see it. Some things are done out of love, but there could be alterior motives, so how does he know that love exists. This may open a door to believing in something that can’t be seen and can’t really be proven without a doubt, but he should hopefully be certain of love’s existence. Then, later, hit 'em with the thought that God is love.

Also, I wonder if he has a good relationship with his Dad. I’ve heard that sometimes it affects a person’s ability to accept God. Some people have harsh feelings towards their Dad and therefore, may be drawn to the Church by studying Mary first. I don’t know though, just stuff that I’ve read here and there.


#10

The Church teaches that the existence of God can be demonstrated, and, therefor, known with certainty by the natural light of human reason.

For your part, simply pray (I suggest a novena to St. Thomas Aquinas!) that your boyfriend will encounter someone who can and will demonstrate (i.e., prove) the existence of the Creator to him - sounds like it’s probably not a good idea for you to try it yet (it takes some training).


Remember that proving the existence of God DOES NOT “prove” the truth of Christian Revelation - i.e., we can prove that God is, but not that Jesus is God (though we can refute any claim that he is not), nor can we 'prove" that God is Triune.


#11

He just wants scientific evidence - from the author of all that is science itself?

To see how impossible this demand is, think of him reading a book by Sinclair Lewis, looking at you and saying “I don’t think this Sinclair Lewis fellow exists.”

And you say well, you’re pretty sure he does, after all, he wrote that book you’re reading.

And your boyfriend says “yeah, but nowhere in the book does he say that he wrote the book.”

I advise staying away from proving the existence of God. If the life, death and resurrection of Christ is not enough, nothing will be.

I find it much more compelling to consider the way that coming to Christianity has transformed so many millions and millions of lives for the better.

No mere social club, or philosophical fad, or self-help book, has such a portfolio of personal transformation of so many people, always following the same basic pattern, of course each with his own unique story to tell.

I like the poster who pointed out that Chesterton didn’t read apologetics. I’m with him. I read the enemies of Christianity like Bertrand Russell and Nietzsche and others, and I find that their objections are stunningly feckless.

God’s peace to you.


#12

[quote=Heather07]My bf says that he isn’t sure that God really exists and that if there was scientific evidence then it would be easier for him to believe. I asked him if he believed Jesus existed and he said yeah, because there is scientific evidence, but he still wasn’t sure…I told him that if Jesus was real then God had to be real because Jesus is God

[/quote]

Believing that Jesus existed (as in was a real person) doesn’t mean you automatically believe that he was the son of God. For instance Islam attests to Jesus’ existence but see him as simply another prophet. Perhaps a bad example because of course Islam does believe in God. As a better example there are people who believe Jesus was a real mystic but not supernatural and did not ressurect.

Depending on what precisely your boyfriend meant a belief in Jesus doesn’t have to mean a belief in God.

and that you cannot prove everything with science and that you just have to have faith in some things

You are certainly right that you cannot prove everything. Science cannot answer the question of whether god exists or not. It is indeed a matter of faith.


#13

[quote=Heather07]My bf says that he isn’t sure that God really exists and that if there was scientific evidence then it would be easier for him to believe. I asked him if he believed Jesus existed and he said yeah, because there is scientific evidence, but he still wasn’t sure…I told him that if Jesus was real then God had to be real because Jesus is God

[/quote]

Believing that Jesus existed (as in was a real person) doesn’t mean you automatically believe that he was the son of God. For instance Islam attests to Jesus’ existence but see him as simply another prophet. Perhaps a bad example because of course Islam does believe in God. As a better example there are people who believe Jesus was a real mystic but not supernatural and did not ressurect.

Depending on what precisely your boyfriend meant a belief in Jesus doesn’t have to mean a belief in God.

and that you cannot prove everything with science and that you just have to have faith in some things

You are certainly right that you cannot prove everything. Science cannot answer the question of whether god exists or not. It is indeed a matter of faith.


#14

[quote=itsjustdave1988]I recommend the following articles by Peter Kreeft:

Arguments for God’s Existence:
[list]
*]Can You Prove God Exists?
*]Argument from Design
[/list]
[/quote]

This argument is nonsense. Popular nonsense, but nonsense just the same. As an example take a look at a fractal. It has amazing properties but it is not designed. It is a consequence of certain properties mapped out. Similarly a snowflake is the consequence of chemistry and geometry and shows what you might think of as design were you not educated as to how crystals grow on their own.
The design argument is simply anthropomorphification of geometry and the often symmetrical forces of nature. In other words its a function of pride not logic.

[list]
*]Argument from First Cause
[/list]

Also nonsense. Things happen without “cause” all the time at the microscopic level. Particle-antiparticle pairs form and annihilate each other for instance.

[list]
*]Argument from Conscience
[/list]

again this "argument’ is worthless. Even if we posit that each individual feels the need to be good that can be easily explained that each individual defines good differently so “good” is simply a label we apply to how we wish to see ourselves. Expressed like that the argument here becomes an obvious tautology proving nothing.

[list]
*]Argument from History
[/list]

The first sub argument is based on an assertion (life is a story) for which no proof is offered. The second relies on arbitrarily drawing lines in history to support it’s position, we can easily choose other lines that completely disprove the starting position so the argument is clearly not a proof of anything except the dangers of a poor education in reasoning. The third argument relies on the misunderstanding of coincidence along with events for which there is no actual proof. The fourth, and they claim strongest proof is laughably bad, it claims miracles prove god’s existence, and yet the miracles themselves are unproven and if proven only prove something unexplainable happened! Did God cause it or Thor? If we could explain it it wouldn’t have been a miracle, but not explaining it we can never know how to attribute it. The fifth argument fails to acknowledge the possibility that tales get exaggerated as they get repeated. The sixth argument is as bad as the fourth claiming joy proves God, perhaps the author should try heroin then. Joy proves nothing, it can come from any number of sources. The seventh argument breaks down when you compare christianity to all the other successful religions. The eight argument doesn’t even pretend to be an argument, it simply says if you go looking for something you’re likely to find it, or believe you did (well duh any psychologist can tell you that).

[list]
*]Argument from Pascal’s Wager
[/list]

Not a proof only an argument to have faith.

[list]
*]Argument from Desire
[/list]

Another argument which at best proves something and he assumes that something must be God. And yet the argument itself could as easily prove Thor or Damballah or Purple Griznacks from Beyond.

[list]
*]The Divinity of Christ
[/list]

Once again he assumes that everything attributed to Christ was actually said by him. Such an assumption is a matter of faith, not proof. It is in fact counter-rational as such tales always change as they get handed down over generations. Only through faith can a person believe the bible is anywhere close to a 100% accurate description of what happened. In other words from the very start this argument leaps away from any real pretense of proof and is simply another reason to have faith.

As I said there is not and never can be proof of God. That doesn’t mean God can’t exist, only that it has to be a matter of faith. If you can’t have faith in a God without proof then Christianity isn’t for you.


#15

Heather:

If unrefutable scientific proof was available to all it would remove the need for Faith and Belief. Our Lord spoke in parables only explained to the disciples. All those that hear will not understand. I’m reminded of the parable of the mustard seed, and the parable of the wheat cast on various ground. It is Faith, deep rooted and flourishing through the Grace of God that is the wellspring.

Though Faith based, a more logical, scientific and philosphical approach (in my humble opinion) that may satisfy Reason is to look to Catholic Dogma. I highly recommend “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” by Dr. Ludwig Ott published by TAN. I hope this helps.

In the end it is Faith and Grace; Prayer, Faith, Hope and Love. Trust in Our Lord.

Dominus Vobiscum.


#16

It has amazing properties but it is not designed.

Who says?


#17

It has amazing properties but it is not designed.

Who says?


#18

Particle-antiparticle pairs form and annihilate each other for instance.

Of course. By design.


#19

As I said there is not and never can be proof of God. That doesn’t mean God can’t exist, only that it has to be a matter of faith. If you can’t have faith in a God without proof then Christianity isn’t for you.

I disagree. A “proof” is a “cogency of evidence.” By “proof,” it was not meant to mean “scientific proof.” That was what Peter Kreeft meant in the first article I linked to.

As such, there are many “proofs” for the existence of God and the Divinity of Christ which do not rely upon faith. They may be philosophical proofs, and not scientific proofs, or they may rely upon trusting the historical witness of others people’s experiences, and they may not always be convincing to everyone, as not everyone has the same gift or faculties of reason, but nonetheless, these are proofs that have been convincing for many who, while lacking supernatural gift of faith, have come to be convinced of the existence God.


#20

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Who says?
[/quote]

Because it’s simply the result of plotting a given equation.

If i type in 1+1 on my calculator did I design “2”? Of course not, I simply discovered a fundamental law of the universe.


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