The case for Christianity

I’m not quite sure how to articulate this, but after quite a bit of deliberation, it just seems as though an atheist worldview can give more eloquent/logical answers to the questions that plague humanity. Additionally , all the inconvenient little holes in Christianity begin to add up it seems. For example, numerous inconsistencies throughout The Bible, God’s seemingly immoral actions, and other things such as the olivet discourse’s prophecies being unfulfilled, or even the underwhelming “miracle” of liquefying the blood of St. Januarius. Also, the concept of faith is inherently illogical because it essentially means believing in something despite a lack of evidence. I’m not saying that there is no answers to the aforementioned questions/points, but that it creates quite the hurdle for logically believing Christianity. So I suppose I wanted to hear why you guys believe your worldview to be the most intuitive/logical worldview.

I help with a discovering Orthodoxy class in my parish and we have a former atheist in the class. He said the opposite, that living as an atheist was a dark and sad place to be.

Have you seen Becoming Truly Human? It’s an Ancient Faith Ministries production and looks at the number of “nones” in our society, which is almost 25%. I believe the documentary is still on Amazon Prime video if you have that.

ZP

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I meant more from a logical standpoint as opposed to how it helps a person’s mental health. It makes sense that it is easier for a person to hold the belief that they are loved infinitely by an omnipotent, eternal God. Even though being a disciple of God is a very challenging path to walk down.

I’m unclear about all the “little holes”…

What’s your biggest objection?
That would be a good place to start.

Or if you’d like a book to peruse, either Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft, or Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.

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With these sorts of questions (not even theologically speaking), it can often be helpful to look at the question in reverse.

So for me, what would my life be like if I didn’t view the world through a ‘Catholic lens’? Ha! Very different; I wouldn’t be insulted for my faith, I wouldn’t feel afraid defending Our Lord from blasphemies, I would do more thing of what I (the carnal part of me) want, I wouldn’t worry about my fate for eternity etc. I’m not painting the best picture here, but that’s the whole point of it.

Remember those many, many times when Jesus said, “Being a Christian is like, super easy, dude. There’s like literally zero problemos in your life when you follow me [clicks fingers]”. Faith is about the truth - when I fall/fail, my eyes naturally look to God; when I sin, my heart feels weak and heavy and horrid when I’ve turned my back to God; I feel elated when I pray a ‘focused rosary’ (one without distractions).

I have many atheist friends and have debated with them with my view is right and why theirs is wrong using ontological arguments, teleological arguments, etc. And I’ve stopped that because they don’t really work so much as the ‘argument from feeling and humanity’.

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I think your doubts are understandable. As several atheist speakers have put it, scientists don’t stand around chanting “I believe in gravity!” or “I know water contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom!” In other words, no one asks you to have faith in those claims, the evidence is readily available and it would be foolish to deny it.

Therefore, I would suggest not only looking at the intellectual resources as others have mentioned, but TRY PRAYING. Can’t hurt, right? If God is out there, he can respond, as countless people say that he has, and does.

Peace to you as you consider these difficult questions. :sunrise:

The creation of the universe is history, and you can’t change history.

Either God the creator of the universe exists fully and totally, or there is no creator god. You could be 100% right or wrong on the flip of a coin.

There cannot be a maybe or probable god.

Now prove that the universe and life came to be purely by natural means.

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Sometimes I just wish I had all the time in the world.

The scientific worldview does resolve many of the world’s mysteries. However, when one subjects the methods of the scientific method to critical examination, neither naturalism nor any type of reductive nor elimination materialism provide sufficient explanation for the power of the method, in my view (and that of many others). The pursuit for intelligibility leads to theism.

The Bible is a work written by and copied by human persons. And I think we need to review any alleged inconsistencies on a case by case basis. Some of the ones I’ve seen presented elsewhere take a very fundamentalist approach to scripture and don’t account for the genre of the work. Others are, admittedly, not as easily resolved as that.

Making the mistake of conflating God with humanity, among other things.

and other things such as the olivet discourse’s prophecies being unfulfilled

That is an extremely simplistic take that doesn’t account for (a) the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD and (b) the nature of ancient Jewish apocalyptic literature as a genre.

or even the underwhelming “miracle” of liquefying the blood of St. Januarius.

I really don’t know much about these types of miracles, so I’ll leave this to others.

Also, the concept of faith is inherently illogical because it essentially means believing in something despite a lack of evidence.

That’s just false. The Church professes that there is evidence for theism and Christianity and denies any approach that puts faith in opposition to reason. It’s just not the type of evidence that is subject to repeated testing, and I’d caution against verificationism and positivism as epistemic limitations on truth claims, as both are self-defeating principles.

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What I meant by illogical was that it is not subject to repeated testing that is able to yield scientific, empirical evidence for it. I suppose I could have been more specific in terms of that, as I’m no empiricist. So here’s my revised claim: to have faith means to hold a belief despite a lack of scientific evidence. In fact here’s the definition, “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”

Could you elaborate what you meant by this?

Why?

For the rest, I really, really am not able to articulate why I included them so I guess just toss all those out until I can figure out how to express what I meant in words :slight_smile:

If you’re determined to find holes in Christianity, seems to me like the whole “dead guy raised from the dead (but not a zombie)” thing is a rather large one, no?

Do you have kids? If so, then I’m puzzled as to why this is a question of faith. If not, then I totally get it.

Again…dude was dead, then He’s alive. Not logical. But neither is a beautiful sunset, or a Bach violin concerto, or a Kurasawa film, or walking your daughter down the aisle, or watching Amen Corner played in November. Perhaps there’s a better tree to bark up (maybe a magnolia?).

I think that is an unusual way to use the term illogical. Logic falls within the purview of reason, so most people would understand by the term illogical something like “contrary to reason.“ That is to say, if something is illogical, somewhere along the way a mistake or fault of rationality obtained.

A person could ask, what doesn’t fall outside of these strictures? The list of your beliefs that have a lack of scientific evidence supporting them is about a thousand miles long. How does one scientifically confirm that someone loves her? Or that she loves anyone else? What does science have to do with law or justice or government or courage or history or numbers or philosophy or poetry or beauty or liberty or the will or wisdom or even logic itself?

Also, most of your most significant beliefs are not grounded in scientific experiments. They are grounded in testimony (some authority told you so) reason and introspection.

Better. I think of faith as trust. Trust in the truths God has revealed to humankind even though they are not evident to the senses. However, that doesn’t mean we have faith without evidence. We think the historical evidence does point towards God revealing these truths, and that it is therefore it is reasonable to assent to them.

Scientific tests are done on samples under controlled conditions. A sample is representative of a kind we are researching. We expect that what we learn about the sample applies to all other things of the same kind, under the same conditions. And if it turns out that the sample does not end up predicting what we thought, we assume either something about the sample differed from the kind we were studying, that some conditions were different or not controlled for well, or some other error.

Yet naturalist and materialist metaphysics (often favored by atheists) go so far as to explicitly deny that there are kinds of things at all. They also deny the notion that A can be said to have a tendency towards B (instead seeking to explain everything in terms of B was produced by A). But if we deny the existence of kinds or that any kind A tends towards result B, that would seem to indicate that anything we learn about a particular sample can not be representative of a kind nor can it have any predictive power about what the sample does under any conditions.

So what must be true of the nature of natural things if we do expect a sample to represent and provide predictive power? If there is such a thing of causality? These types of questions require critical reflection in themselves, unless we just uncritically take them for granted, and that’s the realm of philosophy.

I’m painting with a broad brush in a tiny space, so forgive my generalizations.

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I don’t think there’s any way I can fit this into a single paragraph or post. Continuing a little bit from above, any non-theistic answer ultimately relies on there being ontological brute facts, things that just are without reason or explanation (and I don’t just mean “no reason we know”, I mean there is no reason or explanation, full stop, whether we can know it or not), and that is more magical or miraculous than anything theism proposes. Or in more charitable terms it results in some level of reality being unintelligible and irrational, which makes everything after that point ultimately unintelligible and irrational. It’s like saying the book is held up by a shelf, and the shelf is held up by brackets, but don’t ask what the brackets are being held up by, because there’s no wall nor anything there we need to rely on. If that’s true, then ultimately we have no explanation for how the book is kept from falling at all.

Broad strokes and general statements. It’s a deep topic, requires reading books and an interest in the questions. But ultimately I moved away from religion because I thought I had learned to think critically with the power of science. And science is all well and good, but I later learned that there were a lot of things about the power of science I was taking for granted. Not that there’s anything false about the scientific method, but there was a whole lot more to think critically on regarding it. And that is philosophy. And I’ll add that not every philosopher is a theist. There are atheist ones out there. And some good atheist philosophers. The important thing for me, at least, is that these questions be reflected on and given critical thought, and not just think that applying the scientific method and falling into the pop-philosophical acceptance of verificationism and positivism is the end of the critical thinking journey. Edit: That’s just a general comment, not personally about you.

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Wesrock has tackled a lot of what I’d wanna point out, but (s)he probably said it better than I would’ve.

Januarius’ blood liquefying is not anywhere near what Catholicism is based on, and is perhaps nowhere near the most convincing miracle we have (healings, Eucharistic miracles, etc.)

Judging by what you’re saying, I have a strong feeling that you are reading/looking at atheist’s arguments without looking at Christian responses/refutations. For instance, you seem to indicate that anything not verified by the scientific method is “illogical” (hinting of scientism, a self-contradicting worldview). Faith (fide in Latin) is probably where we get faithful or fidelity. It’s like loyalty.
You have difficulties with the Bible? Excellent! As well you should. It’s an invitation to look more deeply and grow in the Faith.

We are what we eat, so if you’re just looking at certain arguments from one side it’ll start looking very attractive because it’s all from one side. So my suggestion is looking at Christian responses to your questions or the case for Christianity (essentially, if we can show good reason for believing the Resurrection, we show good reason for being Christian). But as Catholics we are blessed with a rich historical depth that goes back all the way to Christ and His apostles, their students, etc.
If you have specific questions you wanna talk about, I’d recommend making a thread on it here if you can’t find Christian responses already (or maybe bring it up in this thread, if you’d want).

Of course there may be things that seem one way or that may be a stumbling block. Many left Christ for His hard sayings. Yet, when forming a worldview, we have to see if there are answers to the stumbling blocks, different ways of looking at things, etc. If there is no answer at all, then it wouldn’t look good for that world view. If there is a way for things to “click” and be internally consistent, then that worldview is indeed possible.

Not really :flushed:

I didn’t mean for it to reply to Eric

Everyone has to deal with confirmation bias to some extent, I don’t think I am particularly biased though. I made this thread to hear a wider variety of opinions in fact. Also I think both world-views are believable, I just have a hard time deciding which is more believable.

Philosophy has been one of my main interests for a while, especially metaphysics, in fact I’d like to major in it someday. So your ventures into philosophical thinking is not lost on me!

Kind as in a classification that a particular belongs to by exemplifying certain universals? For example, something can be said to belong to the kind sphere by being round, solid, and three-dimensional (among other things) or a window by being clear, smooth, and solid (among other things)?

Or a different kind of kind.

Sort of a worry then about all the interest in the origin of ‘species’. And the periodic table.

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Atheists just don’t believe in god(s). We have nothing else in common, still less a ‘world view’.

Some things are harder for atheists than some types of theists. If your child dies and you believe s/he went to heaven you feel better than an atheist. But is your child died and you think it probable s/he went to hell, the atheist feels better than you. Though still not good.

I think observation of the role religion plays in society is the best way to understand it rather than delving into philosophical speculations.

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