That’s right, but there is a fierce credence about it, because that’s really all that’s left unless we become entirely skeptical about knowledge. Although the certainty in science has loosened considerably as postpositivism gained acceptance. There are very few atheists as deliberate as a Nietzsche or a Sartre, who treat reality like an existential game and hold no pretense about knowledge as an objective truth.
Allow me to quote someone I personally feel is wittier and more intelligent, Carl Sagan:
GK Chesterton’s statement is predicated entirely on a presupposition, that not only was the universe formed by an all-powerful sentient entity, but that this entity is the God of Christianity. It begs the question to say one is denying the truth of the sentence. Yahweh is neither provable nor falsifiable, and so we can not say with any certainty that God created the universe (and thus created atheists).
That is simply not true. Was there a man named Jesus that was crucified around that time? Maybe, even probably. Can it be substantiated that he rose from the dead? No, especially when the four gospels have irreconcilable differences regarding the story.
You’ll find that most atheists don’t say that the story is impossible, but instead that no concrete evidence has been presented to make them believe it. We do this all the time when we are presented with a tale. We will tentatively reject it barring future evidence. The grander the tale the more proof is needed.
We can extrapolate how 2+2=4, but we don’t have a similar throughline of evidence to say the same for the claims made by Christianity.
But let me give you a larger example, one that more matches the scope of the question being asked. You would agree that the millisecond that this post gets added to CAF there are a specific number of fish in the Atlantic Ocean. We know from basic math that the number must be odd or even. Imagine if I were to tell you with absolute certainty that there was an even number of fish at that time. There is no way you or I could have counted those fish or worked backward to determine that number, yet I’m steadfast in that it was an even number.
That’s like what we have here with Christian claims. And my answer to the question of how many fish there were is merely an unfounded assertion bereft of evidence. Is my alleged answer of even better than an answer of “I don’t know”?
Western methods of knowledge developed in part in Christian societies, but weren’t formed on the basis of Christianity. We know this because Christianity is predicated on faith, whereas our ways of knowing are all about testing and verifying.
Other faiths also claim the mantle of supernatural truth, yet they differ in many ways with that of Christianity’s version. Christians obstinately deny the supernatural truths of other faiths, and so by what you’ve said they are not using pure reasoning. What many atheists are obstinate about are 1, asking for evidence for a god akin to that we use for other things in our lives and 2. not believing first and then making a mad scramble to find things that even slightly confirm that belief.
Catholicism uses that very term, mysteries, to describe things that it believes but can not explain. The difference being science has encountered mysteries that it has solved. The speed of light was once a mystery. Smallpox was once a mystery. Some mysteries simply won’t ever be solved, and there were always be new mysteries, but don’t mock science because there are mysteries that have not been solved. The amount of knowledge we’ve gained on cosmology has been astounding. Dark matter and dark energy is another hurdle to overcome. You have to give cosmologists time to work it out.
You do understand that the scientific method involves employing methodological naturalism, right? Why would scientists assume God in the equation when they haven’t yet ruled out natural causes? Scientists aren’t ruling out God, just not assuming it because they’re desperate for any answer right or wrong. Imagine how foolish it would be to have attributed something to God that we now know has a simple scientific explanation.
How foolish is affirming both?
I guess it depends on what the something is. Let’s take the world of medicine. If science comes up with a cure for a disease, we can concretely attribute the cure to science. Religion may wish to claim a piece of that credit (“It was God that inspired the doctors who came up with the cure.”) and that claim is not provable or falsifiable.
When I describe a foolish attribution it would be something where a result is claimed to be supernatural nature and later found to be very natural. Again staying in the medical world, imagine someone saying a person’s behavior was caused by demons and then later it was something like epilepsy. Or someone says a person’s cure was due to prayer, yet ignoring the medical professionals that were involved.
There are no irreconcilable differences. That aside, compare the account to a trial. Multiple witnesses may differ on some details, but if they all corroborate a material fact of an event, that further substantiates the claim.
What evidence would you accept?
So you collect corroborating testimony from multiple witnesses of an event and say, “This isn’t enough, we need more” — based on what exactly? How much evidence is enough?
How so? I’m not following the analogy. Did you see all these fish?
Western metaphysical axioms developed into modern science in Christian societies. Naturalist atheism doesn’t offer anything new, it only rejects theism, and undercuts the axioms.
We share a lot in common with other religions, and do not claim to be the only ones with supernatural truth. Where other religions deny the Resurrection though, then they don’t have a truth that we do.
- What evidence and how much?
- Confirmation bias can affirm or deny evidence.
TBF, dark matter and energy might be explained scientifically some day.
However, there are things like justice, truth and beauty, that can’t be ground down, weighed and measured in a lab.
But pretty much everybody believes they exists.
I’m a big Carl Sagan fan. He’s pretty smart, although he tends to fray around the edges when it comes to religion.
He claims that it is “temporizing” to conclude that there could be a First Cause.
Seems to me like a pretty big jump.
Christianity involves coming to an authentic loving relationship with God, creation, ourselves and each other through a new, unique, and philosophically robust worldview.
To enter into that worldview, you have to surrender your own, current worldview. That requires a leap of faith. In science you see and then you believe. But in changing your worldview and gaining faith you believe and then see.
The death and resurrection of Jesus is the door by which one enters into that world.
As is clear from many of the threads on this forum, some people are able to trust Jesus and take that leap of faith, others not.
I don’t believe you can be argued into believing. Faith is faith.
Maybe we misunderstand atheism because we assume that the only thing that can be said about atheists is that they don’t believe in God.
But like everyone, agnostics and atheists believe in something, they all have a frame of reference or ‘worldview’. It’s only by having this that any of us can navigate and makes sense of the world. We can’t ‘know’ everything, so we all make assumptions based on axioms.
Maybe it’s a Christian worldview, materialism, scientism, or even nihilism, but we each have one, as the social sciences have proven.
So in my mind it is better to understand the others’ worldview rather than argue about the existence of God.
Unusually I like this excerpt from Wikipedia…
One can think of a worldview as comprising a number of basic beliefs which are philosophically equivalent to the axioms of the worldview considered as a logical or consistent theory. These basic beliefs cannot, by definition, be proven (in the logical sense) within the worldview – precisely because they are [axioms](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiom), and are typically argued from rather than argued for . However their coherence can be explored philosophically and logically.
Most people are established in their worldview by the time they reach young adulthood, and once established such is the security gained from it that it takes a major crisis in which this worldview is seen to have failed before they are open to alternatives.
Hence the saying you have to break down before you can break through. And Jesus saying that you can’t put new wine in old wineskins.
Since you seem to be an Atheist can you reply to this comment?
Even if matter always existed in some form (as many of them claim) it still doesn’t account for the complexity and “fine tuning” of the universe. There are so many things that had to happen in the perfect order, in the perfect conditions, with the perfect amount of elements/matter/chemicals, in the perfect location, at the exact perfect time, for life on earth as we know it to exist in such a precise way that it is statistically impossible for it to have happened by chance.
And even then, the explanation may be satisfactory only to some. The standard scientific explanation for going from no life to life is currently more or less: yeah, you have all these chemicals lying around and then BY CHANCE they fit together perfectly and boom! you have a living cell. Therefore this should be happening in many parts of the universe… well guess what? they haven’t found any other life outside earth so we still live in the best of all possible worlds.
A naturalist would find Sagan witty and its prophet. Others find him circular.
It’s like if I have a million dollars from a friend and you ask where did he get it from and I don’t know other than he always had it, you then doubt I have it. It is like us tossing out naturalism because you don’t know from whence it all started.
We both say the other guy has the problem of the next “unanswerable question”. Us we don’t know where God came from. You don’t know where “nature” came from. I think the term temporizing can wrongly be applied to both views. I also think both sides see it as prejudicial when it is flung at them.
Both sides have made a decision. One operates in search of understanding from a designer/maker (God) point of view, and one does not but just from what is (nature alone). So right away by definition temporizing is wrong word, for a decision has been made by both sides.
Furthermore, our point of view kind of has answered, or at least is not concerned with the “next question”, being incongrous with our premise.
We do not ask where God comes from because by definition He has always been. You do not ask where it all began except from the premise or definition of naturalism, like that is all there has ever been. We are not stumped, and you are not stumped, except when we view the other. You do not temporize nor do we according to the rest of it’s definition, of a time factor or waiting for a better answer.
And perhaps we reject naturalism not because you cant’ answer the “question”, but because it conflicts with what we believe already, and vice cersa.
It is like a roulette wheel but instead of 40 positions, there are (many more than) 10^40 possibilities. We are just at the time which had (much less than) 1/10^40 chances of occurring. A probability of
0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000…00000000000000000001 is not zero especially if the assumption is that matter always existed.