Ultimate argument for God?


#1

The argument from conscience. Is this not the best argument for the existance of God? Where can this authority from natural law come from other than God? I’ve seen that many unbelievers frequently visit these boards. What flaws would unbelievers see in this argument? I’m curious.


#2

[quote=Brown10985]The argument from conscience. Is this not the best argument for the existance of God? Where can this authority from natural law come from other than God? I’ve seen that many unbelievers frequently visit these boards. What flaws would unbelievers see in this argument? I’m curious.
[/quote]

They will typically make statements that your conscience is merely a product of your parents and/or society and/or evolution. In other words, purely earthly sources. My experience has been that they are really not open to faith (despite their claims to the contrary), and you certainly cannot argue someone into belief. They either accept the gift of faith from God or they don’t. Ultimately, because you cannot study God in a laboratory, they won’t (or can’t) believe in Him. They will not (or can not) accept that certain truths can be demonstrated through non-physical means.

With that, I’m stepping out of the thread. No doubt one of the atheists will join the thread and give you a more extensive answer. God bless.


#3

I would guess that atheists would say that “natural law” evolved as a means of social coherence: rape, for example, would be destructive to emerging societies and thus eventually became “taboo”. Of course, there are problems with this explanation, and so I doubt it’s an argument that atheists would tend to focus on as it’s easy to poke holes in.


#4

From what I have heard, I think an athiest would probably first deny that there was any universal conscience or natural law, going along with what the other posters said about conscience being the result of societal or evolutionary processes. An athiest would probably point out that there have been different marriage customs in different societies, so monogamy is not universal. He might continue pointing out things like that. Now, this argument ignores that there are even deeper evidences for a universal natural law. No society encourages treachery, cowardice, etc. I’m not going any further into it because I’m sure others here know more than I do. Actually, this was part of C.S. Lewis’s argument in Mere Christianity, which gives a much more in-depth and persuasive argument than I am capable of making.


#5

The other posters so far have outlined it quite well. Conscience has evolved, both genetically and through civilisation. Humans live in groups (herds, families, clans, nations, communities, societies). Groups cannot function without rules (morals). Therefore humans with a built-in conscience have a survival advantage.

Side note: That is not an argument for God, but for an external or supernatural source of conscience. That (the Christian) God or even some god of any kind is ultimately responsible for a conscience, is a non sequitur, even if there was no natural cause for it.


#6

The book “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis (not a Catholic) offers a good treatement of this topic.


#7

[quote=AnAtheist]The other posters so far have outlined it quite well. Conscience has evolved, both genetically and through civilisation. Humans live in groups (herds, families, clans, nations, communities, societies). Groups cannot function without rules (morals). Therefore humans with a built-in conscience have a survival advantage.

Side note: That is not an argument for God, but for an external or supernatural source of conscience. That (the Christian) God or even some god of any kind is ultimately responsible for a conscience, is a non sequitur, even if there was no natural cause for it.
[/quote]

Peter Kreeft responds to this objection in Handbook of Christian Apologetics:
The objection reduces morality to a biological instinct, learned through trial and error. Cooperation “works” so it becomes “the herd instinct.” this reduction of obligation to instinct simply does not square iwth our moral experience. We do not experience morality as an instinct, but as a law which tells us which instinct to follow in which situations. No instinct is in itself always right, but morality is always right, therefore morality is not just an instinct. Rather, morality transcends instincts, as sheet music transcends the notes on a piano. Instincts are notes; the moral law tells us how and when to play these notes.
It is also logically impossible to reduce morality to biological instinct because that would be deriving more from less, “ought” from “is.” the premise or ground or source of morality for the instinctualist is simply “this is an instinct,” and the conclusion is “therefore this ought to be done.” But this syllogism is invalid unless you add the second premise “all instincts ought to be followed.” that premise is obviously false and impossible, since our instincts often contradict each other.


#8

Instincts are “hardwired” strains of reasoning, they ought to help you survive and react very fast (i.e. without much thinking) to dangerous situations. That there some contradictions is due to the complex environment we have evolved in.
Not following your instinct is not wise. When you touch something hot, your instinct draws the hand away. Ignore the instinct and you’ll get surely burned. Your second premise is valid and no way “obviously” false.


#9

When I was an Atheist, I argued that because one could not “see” God He did not exist. I thought the bible was a real “cool” book of alot of wars (Old Testement) and I never paid any attention to the New Testement at all.

I completely believed in MACRO evolution, (still believe in MIRCO).
then one day, I tried to “trace” back living things to the beginning, I did this in my head, so the “trip” was scary. :smiley: . Once I got past the ape to human, Single cells coming out of the water and so on.

It finally hit me. :rolleyes: WHERE DID THAT SILLY LITTLE SINGLE CELL COME FROM. :confused:

The BIG BANG? Sure, it’s possible. But then I asked,WHERE DID THE GAS COME FROM FOR THE BANG :confused:

For me, the diversity of life was just to VAST to be explained away by mear chance or MACRO evolution.

There was more that went into my thought process, but you get the drift on how I reasoned things out.


#10

[quote=Brown10985]Where can this authority from natural law come from other than God?
[/quote]

I don’t recognize an “authority from natural law” so from my perspective you’re assuming a false premise and therefore your argument is unsound.


#11

[quote=Brown10985]Where can this authority from natural law come from other than God?
[/quote]

I don’t recognize an “authority from natural law” so from my perspective you’re assuming a false premise and therefore your argument is unsound.


#12

God is a human concept. Created and written down by humans. That is the argument against god. You can’t prove there is a god or a soul. Perhaps, down the road of life, if science ever proves there is a god, then our side (atheists) could be considered wrong. Then again, if science proves there is no god, then organized religion will crumble. My personal view, is that theists tend to put faith in something they cannot control, where Atheists tend to put faith in themselves.


#13

Actually, what strikes me as the best argument for God is the creation of life from non-life. Usually the scenario involves a complex, primordial “soup” getting a bolt of lightning or some such thing, and—voila!—life. However, the very first cell would have had to have reproduction (a very complex “dance”, even in simple one-cell organisms) programmed into it, or it would have died without reproduction, and the lightning bolt would have had to strike again. That’s pretty amazing when you think of it: the simplest form of life HAD to have the instinct to reproduce already formed. That pre-programming suggests a programmer.


#14

Brown10985, C.S. Lewis makes a very similar argument to what you just made regarding instinct in Abolition of Man.

The question I always ask atheists is, exactly what kind of evidence it is that you are looking for?


#15

[quote=AmericanAtheist]God is a human concept. Created and written down by humans. That is the argument against god. You can’t prove there is a god or a soul. Perhaps, down the road of life, if science ever proves there is a god, then our side (atheists) could be considered wrong. Then again, if science proves there is no god, then organized religion will crumble. My personal view, is that theists tend to put faith in something they cannot control, where Atheists tend to put faith in themselves.
[/quote]

Which they cannot control.

Peace


#16

St. Thomas Aquinas’
5 Proof’s of the
Existence of God

  1. Motion: Since no thing (or series of things) can move (change) itself, there must be a first, Unmoved Mover, source of all motion.

    If the red lights flashed, the gates came down, and you stopped your car at the train crossing, what would your reaction be if only an empty freight car passed by? You wonder what was making that freight car move. What is in motion must be put in motion by another and that by another again.

.2. Causation: Nothing can cause its own existence. There must be a first cause that is not caused by anything else and that contains in itself the sufficient reason for its existence.

*No one can ever borrow a book if each lender had to borrow it first from someone else ad infinitum*.
  1. Necessity and Contingency: Whatever exists must have a sufficient reason for its existence. If there was ever a time when there was nothing, there could never be anything. From nothing, nothing can come.

    Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be is existence which is absurd.

  2. Perfection: Real degrees of real perfections presuppose the existence of that perfection itself (the Perfect Being).

    Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum of heat, is the cause of all hot things.

  3. Design: Design can be caused only by an intelligent Designer. Mindless nature cannot design itself or come about by chance.

    Nobody could possibly believe that their wrist watch just “fell together”. On the contrary, it was obviously designed by an intelligent designer. How much more so with the human body, the world, and the universe? They all give evidence of an intelligent designer.
    in his Summa.


#17

JR, consider post #15. It maybe that natural science cannot prove to everyone that God exists, but there are many things natural science cannot prove to everyone. Post 15 proves Gods existence.


#18

[quote=Drew98]I don’t recognize an “authority from natural law” so from my perspective you’re assuming a false premise and therefore your argument is unsound.
[/quote]

Your lack of recognition is not proof that there is no authority. Nor does it make natural law false. You are simply saying your perspective only is sound.


#19

mkw said - The BIG BANG? Sure, it’s possible. But then I asked,WHERE DID THE GAS COME FROM FOR THE BANG

A simple analogy in a book by RC Sproul did it for me. In the book Sproul comments on it being a neat trick to pull a rabbit out of a hat but to pull a rabbit out of a hat when you don’t have a rabbit or a hat is the work of God.

Mike


#20

What about the most important aspect of our conscience?
Love?

Love often inspires many people to defy the logical instincts of "survival"
Love inspires people to give away what they have. To do without.
To sacrifice.
Even to sometimes offer their life in place of another.

Do atheists experience true love?
And what do they think about it?


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