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Atheism, Science, Higgs Boson, And The Godhead

Last week, confirmation was given (provisionally, as far as I can tell) for the existence of the Higgs Boson, the so-called “god particle”, by CERN, France.

Since then, there has been a lot of discussion as to whether this can in any was be used to prove the existence of God.  Now, my knowledge of sub-atomic physics is nearly non-existent, but I will say this, from my perspective the arguments I have heard are shaky at best, and that is probably being overly generous.

But the controversy, if one can call it that, does serve to bring one thing to light, and that is the constant tension that occurs between Christians and atheists.  Christians will stubbornly insist that their God exists, while atheists will just as stubbornly insist that there is no god, let alone the God of the Bible.

Without sufficient scientific evidence to back up their claim, Christians are left to defend their belief based on their own personal experience.  And, as one who has had his own encounters with the Almighty, I can vouch that the experience is indeed compelling.  In fact, I would go so far as to characterize it as overwhelming.

On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence supporting God’s non-existence either.  Therefore, atheists are left with such arguments as the notion that the need for a god in their scientific model is so vanishingly small as to be insignificant.  The problem there of course, is that the lack of need is far from proof, a fact which the atheist must admit. And this leaves the atheist with a very weak argument indeed.

I feel very comfortable in saying that, given the lack of evidence supporting either position that holding either one view or the other can be done only as an exercise of faith.

Another argument that I hear from atheists on occasion is that a belief in God conflicts with science.  It seems as though to some that science itself is elevated to the point where it becomes a substitute god for those who hold such beliefs.

From my perspective, there is no conflict between God and science.  But for those who have raised science to such a high position, I can see why there is perceived conflict.

The solution is simple!  There must be a hierarchy, either science belongs at the top of the pyramid, or God does, or something else does.  All conflicts that appear with science in the top spot simply vanish if God, who is the Creator of all things, including intelligent beings capable of contemplating their origin and coming up with a system of observation and experiment  that they call science, is placed in His rightful place, simply vanish away.  All conflict that result from the confusion of what belongs in the pre-eminent position, vanish!

As far as the third contender for top spot, “something else”, untilit is named, it will be left from consideration.

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July 8, 2012 - Posted by | Atheism, Christian | , , , , ,

98 Comments »

  1. As stated in the posting rules, non-helpful or off topic comments will be deleted.

    Discussion closed.

    Comment by Antoine | November 13, 2014 | Reply

    • As stated in the posting rules, non-helpful or off topic comments will be deleted.

      Discussion closed.

      Comment by johnconstitution | November 14, 2014 | Reply

  2. […] Comment by johnconstitution | December 3, 2012 | Reply […]

    Pingback by My conversation with @JnConstitution (so far) | Atheist Asshole | September 15, 2014 | Reply

  3. John,

    Powerful! I know God spoke through you. There is no doubt about it!
    It was the Holy Spirit in operation. I felt and saw it in your writing.

    Truly, you have been called to the Kingdom of God for a time as this John.

    May God forever richly bless you John.

    Love ya my brother.

    Debra

    Comment by Minister Aiken | March 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you Debra,

      I always try to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, writing on the topics and issues that God wants to express through me.

      God bless,
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | March 15, 2013 | Reply

  4. […] You can see Anton’s original post here:  https://mylordisjesus.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/atheism-science-higgs-boson-and-the-godhead/#comment-1… […]

    Pingback by A Conversation With Anton « Worship The Lord Jesus | December 27, 2012 | Reply

  5. Burden of proof. Unreliability of anecdotal evidence. That is all. 🙂

    Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 2, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Anton. Eye witness accounts are not considered “anecdotal evidence”, and they are recognized in courts of law as sufficient evidence upon which to base court verdicts/decisions. If you believe in the veracity of any historical texts that date to around 1st Century AD, then there is no logical reason for you to reject out of hand the detailed accounts of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as recounted in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, four of the most highly rated ancient documents by scholars with regard to their level of authenticity and apparent accuracy. The hundreds of Old Testament prophecies foretelling the first coming of the Messiah, which prophecies Jesus fulfilled, add significant additional evidence to the proposition that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. God sent his son into the world so that we might better know God and so that every person could experience salvation by Grace and through faith, based on Christ’s all sufficient, sacrificial, substitutionary and atoning death on the cross and subsequent resurrection – historical events that really did occur. There is no need to rely on anecdotes. Rather, we rely on history, we rely on evidence provided through the creation, and finally, based upon personal expressions of faith in Jesus Christ – faith we are more than justified in having, based on scripture, the life of Jesus, and the creation, we can begin to personally experience the presence of God as he works in our life. This last point may very often look pretty much like an anecdote when someone else is relating what God is doing in their life, but when it is what you are personally aware God is doing in your life, it becomes much more powerful evidence. Wishing you the very best Anton.

      Comment by Ged Goff @gedgoff | December 2, 2012 | Reply

      • Hi, Ged.

        Yes, I’ve heard the “eyewitness accounts” thing. The problem with this is that

        1. eyewitness accounts can be anecdotal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence) and as such,
        2. they’re often not reliable, especially without complementary empirical evidence.
        3. When used as the sole basis of evidence in court cases, those same cases have often been overturned (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_Three).
        4. Court cases are always held in order to decide verdicts on natural occurrences, never supernatural,
        5. thus to attempt to determine the fact of supernatural cases based on a standard of evidence considered the least reliable for natural cases is illogical.
        6. There’s no evidence that the gospels are eyewitness accounts; even mainstream, Christian biblical scholars admit we have no original copies nor extra-biblical evidence of any supernatural claims.
        7. Even some events within the gospels can’t be eyewitness accounts as there was no one around to eyewitness them. Jesus 40-day stay in the desert, for example.

        I don’t believe in the veracity of any historical texts which can’t be independently corroborated.

        On what do you base your assessment of the gospels as having been “highly rated ancient documents”? What are your sources? What is their method of determination?

        How have you determined that the so-called OT prophecies have been fulfilled. Why do you think that they haven’t convinced Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and countless others?

        How do you know that the events of the Christ narrative are historical events that really did occur? If there is no need to rely on anecdotes, then why do you, and what is the non-anecdotal evidence of these events? What do you mean by you rely on history? How does history provide evidence for the alleged events in the Christ narrative? What’s the evidence of the “creation”? What’s your personal experience and how did it convince you?

        Take care,

        Anton.

        Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 2, 2012 | Reply

        • Hi Anton,

          As an aside, I can assure you that in a courtroom eye witness testimony enjoys considerably more status than you apparently concede to it. Where multiple eye witnesses testify to seeing the same thing, this becomes very powerful evidence. Circumstantial evidence, by which we are asked to infer the occurrence or non-occurrence of an event, is generally a more difficult way to meet a burden of proof than direct evidence (like writings, eye witnesses, etc), but proves to be sufficient in many cases. Frequently, lowest on the evidentiary totem pole is the testimony of “expert witnesses”. These are witnesses who are paid to recreate models, demonstrations, theories and, or, other graphic depictions or experiments of what they ‘think’ may have occurred. Often, these witnesses will have very impressive scholastic and professional credentials, and command high hourly rates for their time. My preference would be three or four good citizen eye witnesses most anytime.

          After his resurrection, Jesus was seen walking about by more than 500 people. This is recorded in writings penned while a number of the eye witnesses to the events were still alive and the local populace maintained a community memory of the remarkable events that had occurred. There was no public outcry or denunciation of the Gospel writers’ astonishing claims. This may not be persuasive to someone who is generally suspicious of history, but to historians and impartial truth seekers it is very significant evidence.

          You make the point that you, “…don’t believe in the veracity of any historical texts which can’t be independently corroborated.” The Bible is a compilation of sixty-six books, written by some 40 different authors, who lived on three different continents, whose lives spanned a period of some 1500 years, who wrote in three different ancient languages, most of whom never knew the other authors, and many of whom never had an opportunity to read the works of the other authors before they penned their own book. Nevertheless, the Bible presents a beautiful, cohesive story, free from historical errors and contradictions, centered around God’s love for mankind, the provision he has made for man’s sin, and the hope and future he makes available to all men.

          Is it a wonder to you that Christians believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, a miracle in itself? If so, perhaps you would undertake this task: Go to a library of your choosing, any library, and select 66 different books. Select books written by 40 different authors, over a period of 1500 years, collectively written in three different languages, on three different continents, which contain a common theme, and contain no historical errors or contradictions. Do you think you will be able to do? The Biblical authors were able to do so, though they had no such grand scheme in mind and, in most cases, had no way to communicate with one another or in any way coordinate their efforts.

          Some ‘mundane’ things are miracles. They are so common it is easy for us to forget how incredibly unlikely they are. Included in the set of mundane miracles are such every day things as life itself, our unique individual lives, our universe, our solar system, our remarkable, life sustaining earth that daily exists on the knife edge of extinction, and the Bible. Having become numbed to the envelope of miracles within which we daily enjoy our lives, some slip into the naive view that there is no evidence for the existence of God. The brilliant apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse.” (English Standard Version.)

          In 2nd Timothy 3:7 we find this description of some latter day scholars, “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (ESV.) It is difficult to imagine a more futile way for a person to spend their life.

          Truth wants to be found. God desires to be known. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV.)

          God bless you Anton. Ged

          Comment by Ged Goff @gedgoff | December 4, 2012 | Reply

          • Hi Ged,

            Thanks for the detailed response. I’d hoped to get to this earlier, but, alas, I’m still delayed. I’ll try to get to it soon.

            Best,

            Anton.

            Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 10, 2012 | Reply

          • Hi Ged,

            Man, it’s really taken me this long. Sorry about that. Unfortunately, it’s pretty normal for me.

            I’m not denying that eyewitness testimony carries weight in courtrooms. In fact, I’d almost say that your whole point on that is completely irrelevant because, while we do submit documents such as confessions as evidence in cases, said confessions are first-person, not third-person. (Although confessions are also widely known to often be unreliable.) What I mean is, if Messenger 1 walks into a courthouse and hands a judge a written account of the JFK assassination, signed and dated by Witness 1, which accuses Suspect 1, now living in a retirement home, we don’t just go and arrest Suspect 1. We first have to corroborate the alleged testimony of Witness 1. We don’t assume that Witness 1’s testimony is true because it says that it is. We don’t assume it’s true because there’s no evidence to the contrary. We still have to corroborate the testimony regardless of any other factors. And that’s basically what you have in the gospel accounts. These are documents that relate a story, that aren’t signed, of which we have no original copies, and for which we have no corroborating evidence. You’d have a stronger point on this issue if there were four unrelated, still-living witnesses to the events described in the gospels. But even then, their claims of the supernatural would not be believed based on their testimony alone. Just as any non-Mormons can attest.

            I agree with you on expert witnesses. The issue there, though, is that sometimes, for the average jury members, there may be aspects of a case which need to be explained by experts. And just like eyewitnesses, we recognize that expert witnesses are not flawless evidence. I don’t agree on your preference. All an eyewitness can do is say “X happened.” But what if the issue at hand isn’t merely what happened? In Kitzmiller vs. Dover, the court had to determine what was meant by “science” and whether “intelligent design” fell within that definition. Relying solely on eyewitnesses wouldn’t have determined that.

            How do we know that the gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection are accurate? Because people wrote about it within decades of its alleged occurrence? If such an event were so important and impressive, you’d think that the authors would write it down, I dunno, the night it happened. I realize this isn’t evidence against the alleged event, but it does strain its credibility. More to the point, if this is your standard of evidence for determining an event to have occurred, then you must believe the claims of Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, and countless other faiths and folktales because they all make the same claim. Judaism claims that not only did Moses witness miraculous events, but that he took part in them, then wrote them down. Mormonism claims that there really were golden tablets that Joseph Smith translated. And they have the signatures to back up their claims.

            I don’t understand why you mention “community memory.” There’s “community memory” of all kinds of things. That’s how folktales are created and preserved. Do you believe all folktales?

            I’m no expert on the public outcry, denouncement of claims, or lack thereof, but to quote William Lane Craig, “Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.”

            I’m not suspicious of history. I’m skeptical of unsubstantiated claims in general and supernatural claims in particular. I don’t believe that Odysseus visited the underworld, that Cleopatra had poetic parting words to Antony, or that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree because there’s no evidence to support these claims.

            I don’t mean this as an insult, but I wonder where you get your assessment of the Bible. You wrote, almost verbatim, what others have told me as if it were lifted from some apologetics site. It’s not an issue, but it does strike me as odd. Anyway, I largely can’t comment on your assessment of the Bible and its merits as what you say is largely opinion and I can’t prove or disprove your opinion. For example, we could debate all day long whether the Bible is “free from historical errors and contradictions.” You’re convinced that it isn’t and even if I were to cite evidence that it is, it wouldn’t convince you otherwise. I will point out, however, that I’m not convinced of the claim that it’s “centered around God’s love for mankind.” While this is a message contained in the Bible, I’ve encountered plenty of despicable ones such as Lev. 20:13 (well, most of Leviticus and Deuteronomy) and Col. 3:22.

            I wonder how you define “miracle.” I ask because the religious tell me all the time that miracles happen. When I ask for examples, I hear everything from, “I couldn’t find my car keys, then I prayed and found them” to, “My grandmother was dying of cancer, I prayed, and it went into remission.” Again, i don’t mean to be insulting, but it seems like “miracle” is “something slightly unexpected occurs.”

            Given my lack of a definition, I won’t comment on all your miracle citations, but I will say that we know why and how life exists. There’s really no mystery there. This is largely the same for the universe, definitely the same for the solar system, and the Earth. And if you’re going to say that “stuff being here” is evidence of God, then I guess I’d have to ask how it’s not also evidence of Zeus or a massive, Matrix-like virtual reality simulation. What I mean is the “stuff being here” argument contains no logical imperative. You can’t go from “stuff is here” to “therefore God exists” no more than “stuff is here” to “therefore Magic, Pink Universe-Creating Goblins exist.” In fact, if you replace God references in Paul and Timothy (or anywhere else you’d care to), you’ll see what I mean. “For Zeus’ invisible attributes…” and so on.

            I really don’t understand statements containing phrases like “God desires.” “Desire” implies a want without knowledge of whether the want will be met. But if God is omniscient, He already knows whether anything He might want can be or will be met, so the emotion would never exist for Him.

            Best,

            Anton.

            Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 21, 2012 | Reply

            • Well said Anton.

              Just to add that the highest form of evidence in a courtroom is in fact falsifiable, repeatable scientific evidence such as fingerprints, DNA, decay times, soil types etc… and there is very little evidence of that for the bible (perhaps some carbon dating of documents) and there is absolutely none for the supernatural events.

              Also, the idea that Matthew 27:52-53 documents many people rising from the dead but is only mentioned in one of the four gospels and has no one else wrote about such an event seems a little suspicious.

              Andrew.

              Comment by Andrew Wilson (@Stooshie) | January 7, 2013 | Reply

              • You seem to place a whole lot of faith in the idea of falsifiability, which which is by the way, applicable to a theory or hypothesis. I’m not sure where you got the idea that it was applicable in other areas as well.

                One problem with falsifiability is that it is in itself limited.

                Let’s use your own words: ” the highest form of evidence (in a courtroom) is in fact falsifiable”, is, in itself not subject to falsification.

                That leaves one who makes such claims in the position of having no proof that their claims are in fact correct, and, if they also refuse any other form of evidence, they also close themselves off to ever finding their way out of their dilemma.

                My prayer is that the Lord will open your eyes to your own shortsightedness.

                By the way, I did want to thank you for posting your comments here. This is a much better forum for discussion than twitter.

                God bless,
                John

                Comment by johnconstitution | January 7, 2013 | Reply

  6. >On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence supporting God’s non-existence either.<

    I always take these apologists' attempts to divest themselves of the burden of proof of their extraordinary claims as evidence that they know their claims are fraudulent.

    Why should I not do so this time?

    Comment by Rosa Rubicondior | November 29, 2012 | Reply

    • Actually Rosa, many Christian apologists do not “divest themselves of the burden of proof” regarding the existence of God. If they did there would be very few debates on the existence of God between Christians and atheists as atheists consistently refuse to assume any burden of proof for their position that there is no God. Their common stance is to simply dismiss their need to provide any evidence in support of the proposition that there is no God by saying “you can’t prove a negative” and perhaps by making reference to Russell’s fanciful, orbiting teapot. However, the fact that anything exists, from the beautiful complexity and diversity of the life we know, to our astonishingly fine tuned planet, to our incredible, expanding universe, puts atheists’ in a logically awkward position before anyone on either side utters a word. Do you really believe it all came from nothing? Something from nothing is not a viable scientific proposition. I believe you are likely aware of the work of Christian and Philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig. My suggestion to you would be to take a deep breath and approach his work with the purpose of seeing if you can learn something from it. Particularly, study with care his Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God (it is not his only argument) and see if, after having honestly and seriously done so, you are still comfortable with the statement, “I always take these apologists’ attempts to divest themselves of the burden of proof of their extraordinary claims as evidence that they know their claims are fraudulent. Why should I not do so this time?” (Answer: You should not do so because there are Christian apologists who regularly overwhelm their atheist opponents with facts, science and logic in debates on these very issues. You may be aware that Richard Dawkins refuses to step foot into the debate ring with William Lane Craig, and has consistently declined numerous invitations to do so – the most recent being a debate opportunity at Oxford earlier this year.)

      Knowledge of truth is wonderful because it leads people from the Kingdom of darkness and death to the Kingdom of light and life. That’s good news for everyone.

      Comment by Ged Goff | November 29, 2012 | Reply

      • I really appreciate your efforts to get Rosa to think about the real, substantive philosophical arguments regarding the existence of God, but to no avail. I have concentrated on videos of John Lennox at the Veritas Forum. If you are not familiar with these lectures, search for them on YouTube. I have found them fascinating.

        As for Rosa, I continue to pray that God will shine through the darkness of his mind and begin to reveal Himself in a way that cannot be discounted.

        On a side note, one atheist who read this article and initially rejected it has since begun a real investigation of various Christian thinkers. He recently commented to me that he had no idea of the universe of thi=ought that exists on the subject. Please join me in prayer for “AJ” that the Lord will guide his investigation and that he will find his way to Jesus.

        God bless,
        John

        Comment by johnconstitution | November 30, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Rosa,

      I continue to pray for you that you will one day realize that the idea of god’s existence is not far fetched at all. There is in fact a wealth of thought on the existence of God that you have not even begun to investigate.

      I pray the Lord will open your mind to these ideas and that you will eventually find your way out of darkness and into the Lord’s wonderful Light!

      God bless,
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | November 30, 2012 | Reply

  7. God and science are not mutually exclusive. In my opinion, philosophy is the study of why God does something. Physics is the study of how God does something. The bible tells us He created everything not how He did it. Its an instruction manual for how we should live our lives not a manual on universe creation.

    Comment by senseicris | October 6, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your additions to the discussion.

      While I agree with you for the most part, I would say that the Bible should be considered the primary source of knowledge for why God does something.

      In Isaiah 55:9 we learn that: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Therefore, as far we rely on the limited mind of Man to understand Godly things, we risk missing the mark entirely.

      In some areas, such as physics, as you mentioned, the Bible is more or less silent. Man will always pursue knowledge, and that’s fine, as long as we realize that the tools of our pursuit are limited by our own limitations.

      For instance, some people feel that the sciences are sufficient to prove that God does not exist, or that “the likelihood of His existence is so small as to be insignificant.

      And that possibility I reject entirely. Romans 11:33 teaches “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”.

      One of the main points of my initial post was to show that Man’s pursuits such as science and philosophy, which are limited by our own understanding, are not sufficient in themselves for learning about God, and even less for attempting to prove He does not exist. Romans 1:20 teaches” “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”. So, even before anyone begins the effort of proving God’s non-existence, His existence has already been proven by creation itself, and any effort to prove otherwise is simply a denial of what is all around them.

      Again, thanks for stopping by, and God bless,
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | October 6, 2012 | Reply

      • I fully agree to what you’ve written John and they are reflected in my articles as well. Unfortunately, there will always be divisions of people(as prophesied by Jesus in Luke 12:49-53). To conclude my comment, we as believers can spread the good news and let God judge those who have turned away from the truth.

        Comment by Alan Zou | October 12, 2012 | Reply

        • I agree Alan,

          But I will never stop striving for Jesus’ desire, that we, The Church, The Body of Christ, be one, even as Jesus is One with The Father.

          God bless,
          John

          Comment by johnconstitution | October 13, 2012 | Reply

  8. Great topic John! This topic has been around and will always be around for a long time for there are still many atheists that refuse to believe in God and thus, find themselves supporting science. I’ve written article on ‘God’s Existence’ pretty recently also and it can be found here: http://wordofgrace.wogibook.com/2012/08/gods-existence-part-1.html

    Comment by Alan Zou | October 1, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks Alan, I will definitely check that out. God bless!
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | October 1, 2012 | Reply

  9. Both sides are wrong. God and science are one. God is the Ultimate Scientist. He “invented” science. The laws of science are all His and those laws obey His dictates.

    Comment by Rob | October 1, 2012 | Reply

    • From your perspective, I don’t disagree with anything that you say, except that it seems to me that f you call God and science one, you are giving science the attribut of deity, which I do not think is justified.

      From the perspective of the article, I would say that science is an invention of Man, and therefore on a lower level of importance or authority than God.

      God bless,
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | October 1, 2012 | Reply

      • The way I see it is this: God created science, so it is one of his creations. But one does not worship the works of God. Only God Himself. Yet Science (capital “S”) is still described as a divine thing because it was created by God. See what I mean?

        Comment by Rob | October 1, 2012 | Reply

        • I get what you are saying, but I am still not sure that Science is not better described as a creation by Man to try to understand his universe.

          But at this point, I don’t see it making a great deal of difference either way.

          God bless,
          John

          Comment by johnconstitution | October 1, 2012 | Reply

  10. your idea of atheism is flawed. atheism is not a belief that god does not exist, rather a lack of belief because of a lack of sufficient evidence for the existence. most atheists will say (when context is allowed instead of quote-mining) that the gods presented for existence do not exist. christianity, judeism and islam are not the only religions with a god, and none have presented their case convincingly, thus no belief in …not a belief of ‘not.’ there is quite a difference. ‘Science’ refers to the use of the scientific method, and thus it is not the atheists responsibility to ‘prove’ the inexistence, rather it is the believers responsibility to ‘prove’ existence. you’re creating an argument that doesn’t exist to promote a stance that is insufficiently founded.

    Comment by Jason Widerstrand | August 22, 2012 | Reply

    • I am left wondering if you even read the article. Or, if you did, were you so certain of what it would say that you saw exactly what you expected to see?

      I would suggest you read it again, and try not to read into it the “standard Christian stereotypes”.

      By the way, it is not up to me to prove anything. God has already provided proof sufficient to anyone with eyes not blinded by this present age that we live in. It is up to me, as a disciple of the Living God, to proclaim His truth. It is up to you to either listen to the truth, or ignore it.

      Comment by johnconstitution | August 22, 2012 | Reply

      • yes, john, i read the article. the title lead me in. it’s a topic i love discussing.
        with that said, i took your suggestion to read it again, and again i come to the same conclusion.
        my first point – flawed perception of atheism – “…while atheists will just as stubbornly insist that there is no god …” That is incorrect. although MANY atheists will use those words, i believe context is precedent. A more appropriate, clearer, specific statement (without assuming participant’s understanding of contextual precedence) would be “insist the g(G)od(s) presented do not produce (or their followers do not produce) sufficient evidence to back the claim, thus warrant individual denial (based on ‘evidence’) and a negation on the overall existence, despite “…no scientific evidence supporting God’s non-existence either.”

        -“Without insufficient scientific evidence to back up their claim, Christians are left to defend their belief based on their own personal experience.” i am going to assume you meant to say ‘with insufficient’ or ‘without sufficient,’ and will thus continue. you’re correct that this leaves the christian (or ANY other follower of any other deification) to defend based on personal experience. that’s where that problem lies — personal experience is subjective and it is up to the individual to fit it objectively, thus is reliable only as far as that individual’s existence and perception take them.

        -“Therefore, atheists are left with such arguments as the notion that the need for a god in their scientific model is so vanishingly small as to be insignificant. The problem there of course, is that the lack of need is far from proof, a fact which the atheist must admit. And this leaves the atheist with a very weak argument indeed.” The “need for a god” has also not been demonstrated in order to be used in the scientific model, other than any study in psychological perception. i would almost dare to bet one would not find an atheist scientist (not backyard experimenter) associate a ‘need’ with ‘proof,’ toward negation or affirmation. also, again, we are not ‘proving’ god doesn’t exist. deity followers are in the position of ‘need’ing to prove their god exists. science is not there to prove what is not, but what is. ‘what is’ will usually weed out ‘what is not.’ just as with any approach to a scientific matter, the scientific method is “we know ‘x’ and we suspect ‘y’ now we test.” not “we suspect ‘y’ regardless of ‘x’ now we enforce.”

        -“…holding either one view or the other can be done only as an exercise of faith.” understanding the christian perspective you are coming from, your bible defines ‘faith’ as “the substance/assurance of things we hope for, and a conviction of things not seen/realized” [jwiderstra’s paraphrased version]. with that definition, holding to a scientific approach (that which can be demonstrable or in the very least has extraordinary evidence to suggest) does not require ‘faith’ whatsoever. now, for those in the atheist community who follow every whim or theory without credibility, ‘faith’ could be said to be used. gravity is a theory i have personal experience dealing with, has been demonstrably evidenced, and has agreement with other sciences, without fail. aliens are not. god is not (assuming the unitarian/triunitarian angle). multiple gods are not. but what can be sufficiently and scientifically explained/exposed/revealed provides much greater evidence against the existence of the aforementioned produced gods than any subjective ‘experience’ combined with stories.

        -“Another argument that I hear from atheists on occasion is that a belief in God conflicts with science. It seems as though to some that science itself is elevated to the point where it becomes a substitute god for those who hold such beliefs.” this one i will have to let stand, since i too have heard such argument and seen evidence to support the probability of ‘substituting for god,’ but will note that, atleast in my opinion (for what it’s worth), a belief in god does not necessarily conflict with science, unless that scientist’s belief in god denies what is demonstrable.

        sorry this was so long. i look forward to your response, or anyone else’s. jwiderstra on yahoo and facebook.

        Comment by Jason Widerstrand | August 22, 2012 | Reply

        • *hoping my posts are read in an extremely mild tone. it is of no intent to be read in a condescending manner. lo, the inadequacy of text.*

          Comment by Jason Widerstrand | August 22, 2012 | Reply

        • Hi Jason,

          You’ve gone into a very detailed analysis of what I have written and I thank you for the time you took in your effort.

          I would like to reiterate what was, for me, the main points I was trying to make in this post, which is:

          – God is an infinite being who created everything, including Man
          – Man, as a creation of God, if a finite, limited creature
          – Science is the creation of Man
          – As such, science is an inadequate tool for determining the existence of God

          Some will insist on using science in the pursuit of God, but they will be frustrated in their effort, because science is an inadequate tool for the purpose.

          But science is not needed anyway. That which may be known of God is already known, because God has shown it to us in His creation. It is the choice of every man whether to acknowledge or deny what is already known.

          Comment by johnconstitution | August 23, 2012 | Reply

          • hi john,
            i’ll agree that science is a tool created by man (i.m.o. one of its finest), and would agree that it is “inadequate …for determining the existence of God.” But, science isn’t trying to determine the existence or inexistence of god. people are. atheism is solely a stance that sufficient evidence has not been provided for the existence of a god (presented by people or ‘god’) thus does not warrant a belief in one (or many). the claim of god and creation also is not new (relative timing). LOOOOoooong before Abraham …LOOOOoooong before the supposed judeo-christian creation story, other stories of creation and the involvement of deities existed. the abrahamic faiths are actually diversions/retellings of much older sumerian beliefs/stories.

            “It is the choice of every man whether to acknowledge or deny what is already known.” to that i say, amen. but that doesn’t include the necessity of a god, and as things are revealed through observation of nature (to include its complexities), the idea (or at least the picture presented by most christians using science to prove their point) that their is a divine order of these things makes no sense given how hostile the natural environment actually is to itself.

            i’m not saying not to believe in a god/gods, but when even the natural order of things is contradictory to the belief, the belief must be wrong. not because god is wrong, but man is. god is also (i.m.o.) a tool devised of men.

            with all this, i thank you for taking the time to respond to my criticism of your article. don’t stop writing, but i would recommend further thought and research, to include in your scripture. i still read the christian bible from time to time (not just for these such discussions, lol). as i see it, there are more discrepancies in the books of the christian bible than between different publishings of entire encyclopedia sets, all without a doubt written by man.

            Comment by Jason Widerstrand | August 24, 2012 | Reply

            • Thank you for your further comments! As for continuing writing, I most definitely will, just as long as The Lord wants me to.

              I am glad to hear that you read the Bible from time to time. It means there is still hope for you. 😉

              God bless,
              John

              Comment by johnconstitution | August 24, 2012 | Reply

  11. Man becomes better, reliable & effecient when he choose God’s way, if a man rely on his own way that will cause and bring conflict. Knowledge is so abundant while there is scarcity of Wisdom here on Earth. God never brought conflict to my life but He keeps guiding me to get over life’s giants. Atheists are just troubled. They need to replace their EGO with HUMILITY. We are created to glorify His work. Going beyond that means you’re questioning His authority. Life is so complicated when you rely on your own, you’re making a curious mind tangled up. JUST BELIEVE earthlings! In fact believing in HIM will not cause problem it will cure the problem. The problem here is atheists are afraid to accept the truth. Most atheists are secured with their wealth they aren’t struggling but enjoying the pleasure they can have. So that’s why they are scared of dying and want to live forever here on Earth. He gave us science to enjoy life and to know how great His work is.

    Comment by Ruvik Ferrer | August 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Ruvik,

      Thank you very much for stopping by and for adding your comments. I’ve never really considered science as a gift from God so that we may have some understanding of His greatness, but I suppose you are right!

      God bless you in all that you do for Him!
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | August 7, 2012 | Reply

    • You are right. Atheists are troubled, but only because all of us are troubled in some way or another. But it is not ego that leads them to believe there is no God. It is the fact that the evidence that has been presented to them does not justify belief in their minds. If tomorrow, a telescope was invented that could see so far that it revealed Heaven and Angels and God to us all, and we saw the evidence as plain as day, then whoever remained an atheist at that point would be ridiculed. But that has not happened yet, and until some proof is shown, not just a book, then there will continue to be atheists. The only thing a book proves is that people are able to write, and not believing in God does not make you a bad person, or confused, or egocentric or hateful. Period.

      Comment by Jason Alan | August 14, 2012 | Reply

      • Such a telescope is not necessary, for God has already revealed Himself to all people in His creation, sothat we are without excuse.

        “18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-20

        Sure, you are free to use your book excuse all you want in order to justify unbelief in your own mind, but when the day comes, all the excuses in the world will make no difference before God.

        Comment by johnconstitution | August 14, 2012 | Reply

        • With all due respect, choose your words carefully. My ‘excuse’ is not an excuse at all. It is solid fact. A book proves nothing except that it was written. That’s all. And quoting scripture does not sway those who do not believe in it in the slightest.

          Comment by Jason Alan | August 14, 2012 | Reply

          • With all due respect, you misunderstand me. I used the scripture only to point to the reality of God’s creation. It is the fact that His creation makes His existence and power clear and unmistakable to all that leaves us without excuse.

            In other words, we all have been provided with solid fact, the fact of His creation. What we do with that fact is what is of crucial importance.

            Comment by johnconstitution | August 14, 2012 | Reply

            • Alright, then where is this proof of God’s existence that you refer to?

              Comment by Jason Alan | August 14, 2012 | Reply

              • You really don’t see it, do you?

                The proof is all around you. It is in the nearly infinite variety in nature. How is it that every person is unique? Or ever dog? Or tree? etc. etc.

                Look into the night sky and use the most powerful telescope ever created and see an infinite variety there as well.

                Or, go to CERN where they hope to answer questions about reality and existence by smashing subatomic particles together at nearly unimaginable levels of energy. For every answer they find, there are two more questions. Man, in his ever wider questing for meaning and answers is continually confronted by the glory of God’s infinite creation and all he can do is pat himself on the back for his cleverness in being able to discover these things while ignoring completely the implication of their discovery.

                I know, you will say that it’s all just random interaction of mindless particles, but I submit to you that you are wrong in that assessment.

                Comment by johnconstitution | August 14, 2012 | Reply

                • I’m not saying that it’s all random, but infinite variety, beauty and complexity of life and the universe is not proof. We know that 1 + 1 = 2 because we put one thing with another and we get two of them. But putting God in a space that science has yet to answer is merely conjecture, not proof. Nice try, though.

                  Comment by Jason Alan | August 14, 2012 | Reply

                  • Are you familiar with John Lennox? Try a google search for “John Lennox at Veritas” and you will find videos like this one. I know it’s somewhat long, but I find it fascinating listening to one as articulate as Lennox. I hope you will enjoy it as well.

                    Comment by johnconstitution | August 14, 2012 | Reply

                  • So, if it is not random, there must be some sort of order. If there is nothing behind that order, how is it explained?

                    Comment by johnconstitution | August 14, 2012 | Reply

                    • I don’t know. I’m agnostic. I’m ok with not knowing and I’ll find out when I die, but I’ll check out the John Lennox thing.

                      Comment by Jason Alan | August 14, 2012

                  • I see we’ve run into the reply level limit. Next time you respond, assuming you choose to, why not make a fresh response to the blog post so we have a little more room. I’m curious what you will make of the John Lennox video and I’d like to hear and understand your views on it.

                    Comment by johnconstitution | August 14, 2012 | Reply

  12. Knowing God myself and the many challenging topics atheist bring to the table—God is going to “blow their mind” once more, like He did when they put the Space telescope in the heaven. God produced more solar systems then could be counted, when they peered deep into the ends (or their so-called ends) of the universe. Now as with then, they are trying to pry open a door that God has kept shut for so long. But God is as mysterious as those who are trying to find the so-called god particle. They at CERN will be awoken with the same complexity of variations of sub-atomic particles as there were universes that stretched across the chasms of space. Then where will they go from there?

    Comment by Bob Gustafson | July 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Bob, thanks for stopping by and posting your thoughts. I can definitely agree with you that God will be blowing some minds as CERN is used more and more.

      What many people fail to grasp about science is its limitations. i\It is as if they are looking through the wrong end of a telescope, and all the while believing they are seeing the whole picture. The truth is, they are seeing but a tiny part. Not that we, as Christians see a whole lot more, but there is one thing that we do know:

      Science is the invention of man, and therefore can be no better than man with his limitations. God, on the other hand is the creator of man, and therefore greater. Some expect to be able to measure God with the ruler of science, which is a ridiculous idea on the face of it.

      Again, thanks for stopping by, and God bless!
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 23, 2012 | Reply

  13. I see so many people who do not seem to really grasp what science is. That is pretty understandable if you are American and don’t have a graduate degree in science, because our education system is really poor at getting it across.

    This is terribly important.

    Science is not a collection of information or body of knowledge, but rather it is the multifaceted way we discovered it.

    What many people, even scientists, refer to as science in colloquial speech are actually either the *findings* of science or one of the scientificly derived branches of knowledge. Biology, physics, geology, astronomy… none of those are science, per se. But rather scientific enterprises. People just aren’t as verbose as necessary to be taht precise in every day speech.

    So, what is science…

    Science is mental toolkit for digging for the truth about the world without fooling yourself, and that is much harder than you might expect. If you look closely at all those things that I labeled as “scientific enterprises,” you will find they share a common way of investigation despite their increibly different fields of study. THAT common core, that is what science is. That remaining core is often referred to as “critical thinking.”

    Like I mentioned above, we are very good at fooling ourselves. We have many biases in our thinking that habitually bring us to wrong conclusions. These things have been studied and documented. The first step in avoiding them is having that self knowledge that you are prone to them. Here is a handy list of many of them – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases and little on what we can do about – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias_mitigation For a fuller treatment of this topic, I would HIGHLY recommend Carl Sagan’s “Demon Haunted World.” So, step one is to get a handle, as best we can (and no one escapes them entirely) on our known errors in reasoning. So, who could think that, in any way, a “bad thing”? It is also worth noting that we are terrible witnesses and observers and our memories of events are easily corrupted. For a fun demonstration of your OWN weakness in observation, try this selective attention test – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo

    As further guard against our own errors, the scientific enterprise is deliberately set up as a hostile or adverserial process. When you think you have figured out something important, you publish in a journal of your peers. It is not their “pet idea,” they are not inclined to treat it kindly. But if your work and reasoning is solid, it will stand on its own and survive their prodding. Again, how could this be a bad thing?

    The next key idea is the supremacy of evidence. Evidence, in science, means something you can share, often something others can re-create on their own following specified procedures… something anyone can examine for themselves. Because of the known and well demonstrated weaknesses in observation, personal testimony and anecdotes are the very lowest valued evidence… or many would say not evidence at all.

    Next to understand is the odd asymetry in what can and cannot be known “for sure.” In a nutshell, we cannot know for sure what *is*, but we can often be very certain of what *is not*. This is an odd idea for many people when they first encounter it, but can be easily demonstrated. When we guess or deduce some rule or idea to explain the way the world works, if it is consistent with 100% of the evidence in which we are aware, we tenatively consider it true. But we must always remain open to more and new evidence which may eventually contradict what we think is likely the best explanation. But once we have well cooraborated evidence that contradicts that idea, that idea is false. Forever. Period. Contradictory evidence doesn’t just evaporate.

    Let’s consider an example of above, for clarity…
    Pretend you are trying to deduce the laws of gravity. It becomes clear to you right away that as two bodies are moved further apart, the force between them becomes weaker. It also is obvious that it is not a linear progression. The force falls off much faster than the rate at which the bodies are moved apart. So, right off the bat, observation has ruled out any linear (first order) relationship between gravity and distance. We now know that is not true, forever, amen. How about trying some calculations with the force diminishing as the cube of the distance. Again, the calculation do not match observation. That idea (explanation) is wrong, forever, period. Then you try varying the force by the square of the distance. Bingo. Perfect match. You’ve nailed it. And this would be Newton’s formulation of gravity. And for several hundred years, we found no discrepancy between his formulas and observation, but that did not hold forever. Astronomers noticed, for instance, that Mercury’s orbit did not quite perfectly follow predictions based on Newton’s laws. The descrepancy was small, quite small, but it was persistent. No mistakes could be found. And boom, Newton’s gravitation is wrong, forever. It was very good, it advanced our understanding enormously, and was a tremendous advance in our knowledge… but it is not strictly true. (General Relativity eventually was its replacement. As yet, it is still compatible with all observation)

    So, science is really just a mental toolkit, with which one arms himself to (hopefully) prevent self-deception while investigating the world.

    Isn’t this exactly where one should be begin before consideration of the many thousands of purported gods that humanity has invented?

    Science is to be humble and intellectually honest.

    Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

  14. >And, as one who has had his own encounters with the Almighty<

    See if you can think of some perfectly natural causes for your 'encounters'. You may need to hone up on your knowledge of basic neurophysiology and psychology.

    I can think of several. None of them involve magic, mysteries or supernatural entities.

    Comment by Rosa Rubicondior | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Yes, I can think of several as well. However, as you may already know, the fact that a thing can be explained by one means is not the same as saying that it MUST be explained by that means. The fact that there may be several possible explanations does not mean that another explanation is not the correct one.

      Therefore, the fact that you can come up with several explanations is irrelevant.

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 9, 2012 | Reply

      • sorry, gotta chime, lol.
        -“The fact that there may be several possible explanations does not mean that another explanation is not the correct one.” that’s agreeable, except that it must also be reasoned that a possible explanation may not be the correct one. that’s what the scientific method is for. as evidence is built and built upon, the correct explanation will become clearer, and siding with one possible explanation while discarding other possible explanations without sufficient reasoning is arrogant. until it is ‘known’ it is ‘unknown.’
        -“Therefore, the fact that you can come up with several explanations is irrelevant.” actually, coming up with several explanations (as long as they’re sufficiently founded) is extremely relevant to the claim. if several are presented sufficiently, that ONLY means more information is needed to make a more exacting claim, therefore all claims are speculative/conjectured, hypothetical, and still unknown.

        Comment by Jason Widerstrand | August 22, 2012 | Reply

  15. “On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence supporting God’s non-existence either”

    Completely untrue, at least for the god you are interested in. The God of Abraham is reliably excluded as his purported revelation is demonstrably fiction, and frankly disgusting in so many ways.

    True, there is no evidence to rule out all possible beings one might label “god,” but even if scientists proved tomorrow that our universe was spawned by a deliberate creative act of a powerful intelligence, Abrahamic faith would be supported not at all. It is a very common dishonesty to pretend argument for any ol’ generic “first cause” is a reason to believe in the very specificly defined God of Abraham.

    If you are going to push a Christian belief, you need to provide evidence of the Christian god. Nothing else will do.

    Comment by Scott | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • You push a Christian belief with everything you say.

      “I have been a follower of Jesus Christ since 1980. With the grace of God, I do my best to make Him the center of my life in all things.”

      And for the God you DO push all the time, we have concrete proof it is fiction. How about asking about that?

      Comment by Scott | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Content inappropriate.

      Comment by Dillon | July 9, 2012 | Reply

      • Dillon, I do not tolerate ad hominem attacks or profanity on this site and you have used both in your comments. I give only one warning, so any further remarks of this nature will see you banned.

        Thank you for posting within the guidelines and God bless you.

        Comment by johnconstitution | July 9, 2012 | Reply

      • You asked for it.

        There is much much more, but the easiest to convey is that the Torah (you know, the first five books of the Bible, aka the Books of Moses) are essentially 100% fiction. How do we know? A few decades back Israel sent a small army of archaeologists into the desert to find her “title deeds” as it were. To their own chagrin, they proved quite the opposite. It is now the mainstream historical view (meaning you can check this with any history department in any top tier university for yourself, among other places) that the Exodus is fiction and Moses is a myth. Even high quality SEMINARIES no longer teach the Exodus and Moses as historical (check with Princeton Theological Seminary for yourself).

        Think on that a second… The entire section of history in which the original and primary revelation were supposed received is mythical. It never happened. We cannot possibly believe that while the mundane history is completely false, the embedded supernatural history is somehow still true.

        And just a tiny bit to get you started on verifying this for yourself…

        LA Times story on the incredibly well known Rabbi David Wolpe breaking the news to his flock…
        “The truth is that virtually every modern archeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all,” Wolpe told his congregants.
        http://articles.latimes.com/2001/apr/13/news/mn-50481

        For a pretty complete overview of what archeologists have found, and plenty to get you prepared to really research the question on your own, watch this PBS Nova special.
        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/bibles-buried-secrets.html

        (deleted)

        Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

        • I leave you with the same warning I gave to Dillon.

          I will tolerate no ad hominem attacks or profanity on this site. This is your only warning.

          Comment by johnconstitution | July 9, 2012 | Reply

          • Please point out ANYTHING that could be consider ad hominem or profane in that post. A quote would do nicely.

            What you deleted on the end was quoting Dillon’s words to me and asking for an apology after, in my opinion, doing exactly what he said I could not do.

            Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

            • And that quote contained an ad hominem attack, the target of the attack makes no difference, such attacks are not to be tolerated on this site.

              Comment by johnconstitution | July 9, 2012 | Reply

              • Content deleted as unnecessary and off topic.

                Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

                • Further comments along this vein will be deleted without further comment.

                  Please keep further comments on topic.

                  Comment by johnconstitution | July 9, 2012 | Reply

        • So, these “scholars” have completely discounted the Ebla Tablets then?

          Comment by johnconstitution | July 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Scott,

      You may have noticed that I deleted my comments in this conversation. That is because I realized that they were not pleasing to the Lord. Therefore I apologize. I am sorry that I posted as I did.

      At your request, I will delete your comments as well, otherwise they will stand as is.

      Blessings and regards,
      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 9, 2012 | Reply

      • I would prefer that your comments be put back, actually.

        Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

  16. It is difficult for me to accept the argument that there is no god. All that talk about god particle is crap. If there is no god, how can there be a god particle? Scientists manipulate science to prove their theory, but they cannot manipulate God Almighty.

    Comment by Noel Williams (prhayz) www.prhayz.com | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Noel, thanks for stopping by. You don’t accept any such argument, nor do I. That is because you and I know enough to put science, which is, after all, only a construct of Man, into its proper place.

      How can a mere construct of Man be greater than God Himself? The question, of course, is rhetorical.

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 8, 2012 | Reply

      • Uh…. there is no “God particle.” The was to be titled “That Goddamn Particle” because it was so difficult to find.

        “God Particle” is the result of non-scientists editors and publishers…

        Comment by Scott | July 8, 2012 | Reply

        • You are wrong. Simple as that.

          I’m now sure you’ll happily stay that way. I’ll stop wasting my time.

          Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

          • The ORIGINAL title was “That Goddamn Paritcle”

            That was HIS title. It was changed by the editor/publisher.

            “It wasn’t even Lederman’s choice. “He wanted to refer to it as that ‘goddamn particle’ and his editor wouldn’t let him,” says Higgs.”
            http://eyeonicr.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/that-goddamn-particle/

            You are wrong. Just like I said before.

            Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

            • And that is your problem It is not splitting hairs in any way.

              You are simply disrespectful of truth.

              Comment by Scott | July 9, 2012 | Reply

      • You have said it perfectly John.

        Comment by Noel Williams (prhayz) www.prhayz.com | July 8, 2012 | Reply

  17. Wonderful site filled with lots of information….I believe you will bring many to your site and to Christ with post like “Atheism, Science, Higgs Boson, And The Godhead”…I pray you plant any seeds and draw the lost closer to Christ….Be Blessed and be a blessing…Pastor Mike

    Comment by Pastor Mike | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you Pastor Mike for your comments and for your blessings!

      I will be honest, the more I do this, the less adequate I feel. I know I can only do this through the power of God. Of my own efforts, my words are as sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. I pray only that I might remain true to the Spirit that lives in those who believe.

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 8, 2012 | Reply

      • As men of God all we can do is trust in the Lord…Remember there are sheep in wolves clothing…what I am trying to say is don’t let anyone discourage you or your writing…Sometime we need a straightforward approach, an approach that gets directly to the point…I feel you writing reveals exactly this…Too many times preachers sugar coat the Gospel and the reality is sometimes people need to hear about the consequences of their sinful actions….Keep up the good work….I will be following your blog…I think its awesome…In Christ Pastor Mike

        Comment by Pastor Mike | July 8, 2012 | Reply

  18. I am an agnostic atheist, and I agree with some of what you’ve said here. I think it’s pointless to try to use science to disprove the existence of God or any other god. The whole point of science is to make sense of the universe in an orderly manner, not to refute faith.

    Also, as an atheist, I don’t believe in a god not because I don’t want to submit to one, but because of the lack of evidence. But, like you said, the absence of proof does not mean the nonexistence of a god.

    That said, I remain open to the idea that there could be a god. All I need, really, is proof.

    This was an interesting post. And, er, may your God continue to bless you. 🙂

    Comment by Rigel Ordinario | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you very much for your comments Rigel, I can appreciate where you are coming form.

      This is the dilemma that people such as yourself, from my perspective, find yourself in. If God exists, and He is the god that Christians say He is, then He is the creator of the universe, and therefore, greater than the universe. He is greater than science, because science is only an invention of Man. If He so chose, He could easily avoid detection by Man’s science, and this, I believe, He has chosen to do. Why? So that we humans will have no choice but to seek Him out by faith.

      In that case, the only way to know that God is real is to believe that He is real. I know, to the unbeliever that sounds like so much self-deceptive mumbo-jumbo, but that is the way that God has left to us. But when we believe, God rewards us with more confirmation of His existence that could possibly be the result of self-deception.

      There is one thing you might consider though. Try meditating on the complexity of the natural world, of the human body, of the delicate balance of nature, of the nature of beauty and the grandeur of nature. then consider the universe. I believe the Bible said it best in Romans 1, verses 19-20 where it says:

      “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made.”

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 8, 2012 | Reply

      • Thank you. And I’ve never looked at it from that standpoint. 🙂

        Comment by Rigel Ordinario | July 8, 2012 | Reply

  19. Great perspective! I have heard this type of thought-process before, but never written so neatly. I agree with you completely when you say that there must be a hierarchy, and thus someone or something at the top of the pyramid. Obviously we as Christians know that this is God, but Atheists are still struggling to keep that position open. They don’t want to submit to a God, so they try to argue that He doesn’t exist.

    Comment by Aimee | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you Aimee, I appreciate your compliment. To God be the glory!

      I appreciate your comment that “Atheists are still struggling to keep that spot open”, but I would go further in saying that some, at least, have elevated science into that top spot, and therein lies is the source of their problem.

      I definitely agree though that many just plain don’t want to submit to God, and denying His existence is the easiest way to avoid that, even though it is merely an exercise in self deception.

      God bless, and may we all grow in our knowledge of god and in His will for our lives.

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • I’m always amused when the religious assume to know our thoughts and feelings. 🙂 As an atheist, my position has nothing to do with my willingness, or lack thereof, to “submit.” In fact, as a Christian, I was completely willing. My lack of faith is entirely due to the fact that for every claim made of any gods, there’s no evidence. All believers have is logical fallacy.

      Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 2, 2012 | Reply

      • Anton, I won’t disagree with you that the ‘religious’ can be presumptive and, if not ‘amusing’, at least sometimes bemusing. But it is important to keep in mind that there is quite a huge difference between the merely religious and disciples of Jesus Christ. Seek to hang around and dialogue with the latter.

        You wrote, “My lack of faith is entirely due to the fact that for every claim made of any gods, there’s no evidence. All believers have is logical fallacy.” That is a very inclusive statement, and expresses a lot of faith in your personal belief system. It also says much more about you than it does about God or believers. It is unfortunate that the mere facts of life, love, beauty, your personal sense of right and wrong (whether right or wrong), thought, language, DNA, water, cells, atoms, laughter and untold other wonders don’t provoke you to reconsider your position that there is no evidence for the existence of any god. Maybe they will. In another reply to an earlier post of yours, I mentioned the strength of the eye witness historical record for the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah (Christ). Apparently, you dismiss those eye witness accounts despite the overwhelming evidence for their veracity. Still, in all likelihood you accept without serious question various biographical accounts of other historic figures for which much less reliable documentation exists. The most important historical figure by far is Jesus. That’s the one person you need to be thorough about in determining whether he lived and if what we know about him is true.

        It sounds like you have, at some point in the past, attended a church and considered yourself a Christian. Now you don’t. So, apparently, your previous involvement with church/religion was disappointing/unsatisfying to you. Still, you are on this website discussing, in a sense, religion/Christianity/gods/God, etc, and that’s a good thing. Sometimes the best way to proceed when infiltrating foreign territory is not to make a lot of declarations, but rather to gather information. Without a doubt there are a number of people on this blog site that will be more than happy to answer every honest question you may have about Christianity, or at least point you to where you may find quality information relating to your question.

        I see you as a seeker Anton, and I pray you find truth and life.

        Comment by Ged Goff @gedgoff | December 2, 2012 | Reply

        • Hi Ged,

          What’s a “disciple of Jesus Christ” and what’s the difference between that and the “merely religious”? Why is the former superior to the latter?

          What do you mean by “belief system”? What does that have to do with my lack of faith? Lack of faith, by definition, is not a belief. If by “belief system,” you mean facts I accept as real, then the term “belief system” isn’t applicable as facts such as gravity, evolution, and relativity aren’t a question of perception or opinion. They’re always true, no matter who observes them or what the observer thinks of them. If by “belief system,” you mean debatable topics such as philosophy and morality, then yes, I hold a number of positions which aren’t necessarily demonstrable; however, my lack of faith in gods is just like my lack of faith in ghosts, demons, vampires, or any other supernatural phenomenon you’d care to throw in there. Until proved, I see no reason to believe in any of those either.

          Everything you mentioned, life, love, beauty, sense of right and wrong, etc., either has already been proved through science or science has already provided an explanation. Let’s take life. First, what is life? Is it an organism that self-replicates? Are crystals life? Is it an organism that’s self-aware? Are animals, then, not life? Is it an organism that has what we call feelings? Animals are out again. I look at it as a bit of a spectrum. There are some organisms whose entire existence seems to be almost exclusively focused on self-replication. Then there are much more complex organisms that have identifiable societies. And for al of it, sciences such as chemistry, biology, and evolutionary biology have proved or explained just about every aspect so as to leave no mystery of how or why life occurs.

          Love, I think, is a much simpler issue. I like the fact that the Greeks had a bunch of words for it because they recognized that there are multiple emotional states and circumstances under which we experience pleasure as it relates to other people and things. And in fact, what modern society considers “love” has changed drastically over the centuries. We tell ourselves nowadays that we should love our parents, our kids, our partners, our friends, but in each of those cases, there are plenty of exceptions. Abused children don’t tend to love their parents. Married couples who once “loved” each other very frequently get divorced. So it’s really sort of a cultural myth that this magical, mysterious thing called “love” even exists.

          The religious assertion that religion and more particularly God provide morality I find truly baffling as the traits that people assign to morality–compassion, self-sacrifice for the greater good, etc.–have all been found among “lower” forms of life. Chimpanzees take care of their elderly, sick, and weak. Vampire bats voluntarily give their own food so that their fellows might eat. And I don’t think I’ve heard of a single documented case in the wild in which a member of a species voluntarily kills a fellow member of the same species. Certainly not over divorce proceedings or a lost job. Nor is there a single case in the animal kingdom in which a member of a species owns another member. That can hardly be said of humans. To the question of what is morality and where does it come from, I think the answer is again quite simple. Morality is a continuum of behavioral guidelines that a society generally agrees provide the maximum amount of benefit to the maximum number of its members. I use vague terms such as “guidelines” and “generally” because we obviously support plenty of grey area depending on the situation.

          I’m so glad you brought up language as I’m a linguist myself. It is a truly amazing thing and I can almost understand how some might consider it miraculous. But it isn’t. It’s a demonstrable, testable, reproducible, and, to some degree, predictable phenomenon as with any other scientific concept. From ancient “click” languages of remote south African tribes to modern French slang, all language operates in the same way. Yes, some languages have more complex vocabulary than others. Yes, some languages have simpler grammar than others. But all languages follow rules, laws, and adapt to their environments just as an organism would. In fact, I’d argue that language is, by necessity, more adaptive to its environment than any organism you could point out. So much so that languages such as Old English, separated by only a few centuries from Modern English, are nearly incomprehensible to modern ears.

          Where did language come from? We don’t fully know. But, as with any other science, just because we don’t know right now doesn’t mean it’s unknowable. Although with language, I feel it may ultimately be unknowable simply because recorded language is a modern invention. Without records, it’s really hard to piece together the past.

          Your premise seems to have been “There are lots of nice things, they’re all mysterious, yet seem to be necessary, therefore a god made them for us,” but with the “mystery” taken out of that and the explanation not relying upon a god, then there’s no reason to include said god into the equation, unless one simply wants to. But desire for a thing doesn’t equal evidence of a thing.

          To answer your sort of unanswered question, no, none of things you’ve mentioned have made me reconsider my lack-of-faith position; they’ve only made me want to know more about science.

          I’ve already covered your points on so-called eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, but I’ll briefly say that no, I don’t trust any alleged historical biographies as being true until proved. This goes for Socrates, Moses, Remus, Romulus, to some degree Shakespeare, Jack the Ripper, and yes, the alleged still-living Elvis.

          While I feel I’ve been thorough in my research on the claims made of Jesus, if you can point me to evidence about which I was previously unaware, I’m happy to consider it. Please don’t mention William Lane Craig or Lee Strobel as I’ve heard what they have to say.

          You’re absolutely right. I was once a Christian. I no longer am. You’re wrong, though, that my experience was disappointing/unsatisfying. I loved it, in fact. But as I said initially, all claims my church made had no evidence to support them. The more I explored the church’s claims, the more I found there was no basis for them whatsoever. Not only that, but my parents made absolute claims about the validity of other faiths, including other Christian sects, and I found no basis for their certainty of those claims. For example, I was told that born-again Christians were crazy for taking the Bible literally, but if the Bible is the Word of God, I didn’t see why taking it literally were crazy.

          Yes, I’ve been on this site. Two reasons for that. One, I find religion fascinating. The certainty with which you make your claims is identical to the certainty with which Muslims make their claims, or Mormons make their claims, and yet not one of you has a shred of evidence to back up those claims. You all use the same rationalizations. You all use the same fallacies. Not only that, but each of you is just as certain that those of other faiths are wrong.

          Two, John had made a correlation/causation fallacy (I think) regarding the Higgs Boson, so I was intrigued by that.

          Oo, I’m so glad you invited me to ask questions! 🙂 I have tons, but I won’t dump them all right here. Where’s an appropriate place to ask them?

          Best,

          Anton.

          Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 23, 2012 | Reply

          • Anton, let me see if I can combine some of your questions with my responses in a dialogue type format:

            Anton: What’s a “disciple of Jesus Christ” and what’s the difference between that and the “merely religious”? Why is the former superior to the latter?
            Ged: A disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who has committed their life to Christ, acknowledges Him as their Lord, and seeks to live their life according to the teachings of Christ, in a manner that is pleasing to Christ. As to the difference between a disciple of Christ and the ‘merely religious’, you know there are many different religions (and denominations and/or sects within the various religions), and these various religions, necessarily, cannot all be equal and/or true. Each of the world’s major religions espouses certain essential teachings/beliefs and/or denies certain essential teachings/beliefs of the other religions, so that commitment to one religion has the effect of rejecting the other religions. This is not a problem per se, but rather a necessary consequence of the existence of competing spiritual concepts. Regarding discipleship to Christ and mere religion, sometimes you will hear it said in the Christian community that ‘religion’ is man’s search for God, but Christianity is God’s search for (or outreach to) man.

            Anton: What do you mean by “belief system”?
            Ged: Everyone believes in a variety of things. Everyone exercises faith in a number of ways each day of their lives. The sum total of a person’s beliefs, coupled with what one chooses to put their faith in, combine to form a ‘belief system’ for that person. If a person is unable to reconcile and harmonize various aspects of what they believe and what they have faith in, then that disharmony in their lives may lead to various mental states, from simple unhappiness or confusion, to anger, fear, despair, delusion, neurosis, psychosis, etc.

            Anton: Everything you mentioned, life, love, beauty, sense of right and wrong, etc., either has already been proved through science or science has already provided an explanation.
            Ged: Science is unable to create life. On atheism and naturalistic evolution there is no objective basis for a moral law.

            Anton: So it’s really sort of a cultural myth that this magical, mysterious thing called “love” even exists.
            Ged: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

            Anton: Morality is a continuum of behavioral guidelines that a society generally agrees provide the maximum amount of benefit to the maximum number of its members. I use vague terms such as “guidelines” and “generally” because we obviously support plenty of grey area depending on the situation.
            Ged: Yes, this is where man tends to end up once having rejected God, that is, with subjective morality. Such a system is wholly inferior to what God has provided to man.

            Anton: Where did language come from? We don’t fully know.
            Ged: Man’s language was divided into different tongues at the tower of Babel several thousand years ago. You can read about the reasons for the same in the Bible.

            Anton:To answer your sort of unanswered question, no, none of things you’ve mentioned have made me reconsider my lack-of-faith position; they’ve only made me want to know more about science.
            Ged: True science is a worthy endeavor for anyone – free from prejudice and preconception as to what cannot be a cause for what is. Contrary to what you might believe, many scientists are Christians.

            Anton: …I don’t trust any alleged historical biographies as being true until proved. This goes for Socrates, Moses, Remus, Romulus, to some degree Shakespeare, Jack the Ripper, and yes, the alleged still-living Elvis.
            Ged: The Bible rates extremely high in relation to other ancient texts in regard to apparent veracity. If you accept no ancient texts then, yes, it will be difficult for you to gain much knowledge from history.

            Anton: …I feel I’ve been thorough in my research on the claims made of Jesus, if you can point me to evidence about which I was previously unaware, I’m happy to consider it.
            Ged: Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover with care and thoughtfulness?

            Anton: You’re absolutely right. I was once a Christian. I no longer am…I loved it, in fact. But as I said initially, all claims my church made had no evidence to support them. The more I explored the church’s claims, the more I found there was no basis for them whatsoever. Not only that, but my parents made absolute claims about the validity of other faiths, including other Christian sects, and I found no basis for their certainty of those claims. For example, I was told that born-again Christians were crazy for taking the Bible literally, but if the Bible is the Word of God, I didn’t see why taking it literally were crazy.
            Ged: What church did your parents take you to? It sounds like it was one that did not believe the Bible is literally true, the word of God to man. That’s very unfortunate. I would submit to you that a church that does not believe the Bible, at least in major part, is not a Christian church. Also, being a member of a church that calls itself ‘christian’ does not make one a Christian.

            Anton: The certainty with which you make your claims is identical to the certainty with which Muslims make their claims, or Mormons make their claims, and yet not one of you has a shred of evidence to back up those claims. You all use the same rationalizations. You all use the same fallacies. Not only that, but each of you is just as certain that those of other faiths are wrong.
            Ged: Actually, there are huge differences between the Islam and Christianity, including but not limited to: their teachings, the historicity for their claims, their apparent veracity, and most importantly the change that comes about in the life of a person who becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ and one who becomes a disciple of Allah.

            Ged: I notice that you did not go to a library of your choosing and endeavor to compile a list of 66 books that generally fulfill the characteristics of the Bible that I previously described to you. I can understand that, as it would be an impossible task.

            Merry Christmas to you and yours Anton. I trust 2013 will be a good year for you.
            Ged

            Comment by Ged Goff @gedgoff | December 23, 2012 | Reply

            • Hi Ged,

              Sorry, but I’m not gonna duplicate your formatting. Before I get started, I have a couple of basic questions which I should’ve already asked.

              1. Do you accept the scientific method as the best means by which to discover and understand the universe?
              2. Are you concerned with accepting factual information as such even if it contradicts information you’d previously accepted as factual?

              It seems I was a bit unclear in my usage of “religious.” In general, I use it to mean anyone who believes in a god or gods and any formal or informal doctrines that may follow. By this definition, I agree with your assessment–that there are many religions, etc. It sounds, though, that your definition of a “disciple of Christ” is what I would call a “Christian.”

              I don’t agree with your premises on “belief” and “faith.” While it’s true that there are things that I accept as true, such as that the sun will rise tomorrow, these things aren’t dependent on any kind of doctrine; they’ve been demonstrated. So to say I “believe” that the sun will rise tomorrow, while conversationally sound, isn’t quite accurate as I know that it will rise. As for “faith,” if by it you mean something I trust, such as a faith in humanity, then yes, I’m quite faithful. But if by “faith” you mean accepting something as true either without evidence to support that acceptance or with evidence to the contrary of that something, then no, I’m not faithful at all.

              So back to the initial comment, that I put a lot of faith in my belief system, this isn’t the case as I don’t have a “system” of belief and I don’t put “faith” in it. I accept reality based on objectively verifiable, falsifiable, testable, reproducible evidence. If a hypothesis lacks such evidence, I reserve my judgment until evidence is provided.

              It’s interesting, too, that you’d make such an initial statement as you also have put a lot of faith in your personal belief system. You’re a Christian for a reason. Presumably, something about Christianity convinced you that its claims of reality are factual. I don’t know what that something might’ve been, but whatever it was, it was enough to convince you that Christianity not only is factual, but that any other interpretation of similar concepts is false. I wonder what it was that gained such confidence in you.

              To say that science hasn’t created life isn’t entirely true. Per the Miller-Ury experiment, the basic building blocks of life were created.

              However, the claim that science hasn’t created life is irrelevant as no one’s ever claimed that it has or should. Science also hasn’t created stars, planets, or black holes, and yet I trust that you accept the conclusions science has derived of them.

              That there is or should be a “moral law” is presuppositional. The evidence is that we have societies that have systems which we call “morals.” But even within those systems, we have great variation and exceptions. As a society, we say that it’s wrong to kill. And yet we send young people off to wars to kill other young people. We execute criminals. Certainly, we can come up with justifications for these actions, but the fact remains that the “moral law” is that killing is bad and yet it only is so under certain conditions.

              What’s the explanation for this evidence? As I already mentioned, societies develop systems of behavior which tend to favor the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people.

              But this is already superior to what Yahweh is alleged to have done. The killing of every first-born male child in Egypt is evidence enough. If the goal was to punish Pharaoh for not releasing the Hebrews, why not just punish Pharaoh? There was no need to murder his son, or anyone else’s. All those children were innocent of Pharaoh’s crimes. And yet Yahweh killed them. You may say that all that Yahweh does is just because Yahweh is always just, but then that raises the question of what justice is. And that’s a separate discussion.

              I completely agree with you that atheism is not a basis for objective morality; however no one ever said it was. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That’s all. It makes no claims. It has no further philosophical value. I think what you were implying, however, is that without a fear of a god or a law given by a god, there is no morality. To that, I’d not only cite my above Pharaoh example, but I also cite myself. I’m a moral person because being so is beneficial to me and to my community. No further justification is required. And you’ll find that “naturalistic evolution” by which I think you meant “evolution,” supports this. The fact is that groups of organisms are more likely to survive and pass on their genes to the next generation if they work to support each other.

              I don’t understand why you quoted John 3:16. Was your point that the concept of love existed when that verse was written down? If so, I’m not denying that. But having a concept doesn’t equal evidence of that concept’s existence. All aspects of “love” that can be attributed to it: compassion, affection, self-sacrifice, have all been explained by science, some right down to the chemicals involved in the brain, or they’ve yet to be determined. But remember what we said about an unknown. Just because it’s currently unknown doesn’t mean it’s unknowable.

              You state that “subjective morality” is “wholly inferior to what God has provided to man.” Talk about putting a lot of faith in your belief system! 🙂 How so, exactly? And what, specifically? I hear all the time from some Christians that it’s God’s law that gays shouldn’t get married. I hear from a bunch of other Christians that Jesus did away with that law with his arrival. Which is it? And how do we know?

              By the way, I don’t wholly support an entirely subjective morality. That’s why I called morality a spectrum. For example, I don’t think we should stone children to death if they misbehave. Deut. 21:18-21. I also don’t think that women should be compelled to marry their rapists. Deut. 22:28-29.

              The question on language was where it came from, not how it diverged. Your citation of the Tower of Babel is puzzling as its account only explains (part of) language division. We know from DNA evidence (which you cited earlier) that people emerged from Africa in successive waves of migration and spread across the Earth over dozens of millennia. We know from this evidence and from comparative linguistics (the existence of cognates in multiple territories) that the spread of language began probably around at least 50,000 years ago (depending on whom you ask). I say “probably” because, as I said earlier, we don’t have original source documents from this era. The archaeological evidence has shown that the earliest written forms of Hebrew appeared around 6,000 years ago. Before you shout, “Ah ha! That supports creation!” remember that the earliest written forms of Greek also appeared around the same time. Even if we were to assume the Tower of Babel narrative to be true, that wouldn’t explain how fully-formed Greek appeared at exactly the same time as fully-formed Hebrew. Not to mention fully-formed Chinese.

              But let’s say the Tower of Babel narrative is true. This means that all language diverged in Babylon as a direct result of man attempting to reach God. But the actual process of language divergence takes much longer, was not localized to that area, and didn’t happen at that time. To the first point, I cite Latin and its descendent Romance languages, which diverged and developed over many centuries, not in one single event. To the second point, I cite the fact that not all language is related to the Mesopotamian Semitic languages. Some languages, like those found in the Native American tribes all across the Americas, are completely unrelated to the Semitic languages. As are all sub-Saharan African languages, all Sino-Tibetan languages, all isolate languages, and so on. To the third point, I re-cite the facts that the DNA record shows human migration as occurring much, much earlier than the Tower of Babel narrative establishes, and not in the area in which the narrative establishes.

              The most I could grant your citation is that it explains how some dialects of some Semitic languages diverged in a ridiculously fast amount of time in an area of Mesopotamia, but this still leaves much left to speculation, which is inconceivable considering the source is alleged to be the inerrant, literal Word of God.

              Regarding Christian scientists, yes, I’m very aware of their existence; however this proves nothing as to the truth of the supernatural claims of Christianity. For example, while Sir Isaac Newton established many physical laws and was a theologian, he was also an alchemist. And yet I trust you don’t accept alchemy simply because he practiced it. In fact, I trust you don’t accept alchemy as a valid science at all. Why is this? Newton practiced valid science. Why don’t you trust his theories on alchemy? Because his practice of valid science doesn’t automatically grant validity to his pseudoscience. So, too, the existence of Christian scientists who do valid work proves nothing as to their claims of Christianity. Just as it wouldn’t for Muslim scientists. Or Jewish ones. Or Hindu ones. Or atheist ones.

              I think, though, that your greater point was that the existence of interesting and complicated things such as life, DNA, and stars supports the notion of a god because they’re complicated and couldn’t have arisen on their own. If this is what you were saying, I’ll simply point out that this is a very tried and true apologetics reliance on an appeal from complexity and an argument from ignorance. While complex things do exist, many of them natural, it’s an a priori assumption to state that they “must have been” created or guided. This claim, like any other positive claim, would have to be proved. Merely stating one’s opinion on the matter doesn’t prove one’s convictions on the matter.

              It’s an argument from ignorance because what it means is because we don’t either immediately see or know the cause of something, then that cause must be a god. But not knowing the cause of something doesn’t mean anything other than its cause is unknown. Every single step in science that we’ve taken has started with an unknown. And for every single step that we’ve taken, the answer has been natural. There has never been a time in scientific history in which the cause of something was discovered to be supernatural. The most anyone could’ve said in any alleged supernatural case was either that the answer was, in fact, natural, or we simply didn’t know.

              But let’s pretend for a second that the grandeur of existence does prove a god. This speaks nothing to what god or what interpretation of that god. As we’ve already cited, there are multiple faiths in the world. Not all of them can be right. This means that the evidence you consider in support of your interpretation of a god doesn’t convince the average Jew, Muslim, and so on. Neither vice versa. But the fact remains that one group must be right and the others wrong. How is this “rightness” determined? You might cite faith, but remember, they’ll do the same thing.

              You keep stating things like the Bible rating highly as an historically accurate document, but you’ve yet to say how. Does it hold facts that have been externally corroborated such as the existence of some historical figures, places, and events? Certainly. I’ve never denied that. But the veracity of the part doesn’t equal the veracity of the whole. And if you think it does, then I wonder if you also believe every supernatural claim made in the Odyssey. There really was a Troy. There really is a Greece. If you think that alleged eyewitness accounts is sufficient evidence, then I wonder why you’re not a Muslim, because they make the same claims of the Koran. If you rely on your faith to tell you what of the Bible is true, then I’d wonder why your faith in the Bible’s claims is any more valid than that of other faiths. That, and if you’re going to believe something based solely on the fact that you want to, I’d wonder why you’re concerned with evidence to begin with.

              It’s inaccurate to claim that any ancient text is a valid source of verifiable information. While the Epic of Gilgamesh is clearly a myth, it does grant insight into Mesopotamian culture of the time. So, while I don’t accept the literal details of Gilgamesh to be true, I trust that the picture the narrative gives of the culture is generally true. Also remember that I said I don’t trust any historical biography until it’s proved. Generally, biographies of figures such as Napoleon, Henry VIII, or Hitler are supported by multiple sources of multiple kinds. Collected, these sources provide a relatively reliable picture of the figures in question. Is every last detail said of them literally true? Of course not. People lie. People embellish. People get things wrong. But if the goal is to get a general picture of an historical figure, then obviously the goal, in many cases, can be accomplished.

              Biographies of figures such as Moses are unreliable because there are zero extra-biblical sources that support his existence and details of his life. In fact, according to Israel’s leading archaeologist, there’s zero physical evidence that the Hebrews were ever in Egypt. There is, however, evidence that they’d always been in Canaan. If the question is was there a Moses as depicted in the Old Testament/Torah, my answer is I doubt it. If the question is, however, was there a uniting leader of the ancient Hebrews who possibly led them out of some literal or figurative strife and into a new era of prosperity, my answer is very possibly.

              To your question of whether I’ve ever read the Bible cover to cover with care and thoughtfulness, I ask have you ever read the Koran cover to cover with care and thoughtfulness? Your question seems to imply that if I were to do so, I’d somehow gain something that I currently lack. You’ll have to explain what that is as I’m obviously only able to assume. But to this, I’d also add that I’ve known plenty of Christians, born-again and not, who have never read the Bible cover to cover. Thus, what’s the purpose of your suggestion? And what do you mean by “care” and “thoughtfulness”? If I were to say “yes” to having read the entire Bible and yet maintained my atheism, you could easily say, “You haven’t read it carefully or thoughtfully enough.” If I got some compendium Bible that made every possible footnote and comment and yet maintained my atheism, you could repeat the same claim. To make such suggestions or ask such questions is to presume that your reading of the Bible is the proper one and to that I’d ask how you know that. If I make an erroneous claim of gravity, we could test it. If I make an allegedly erroneous claim of the interpretation of the Bible, how would we test it?

              My parents first took me to an Episcopal church, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is generally accepted to be a “Christian” church. I’m not certain that the Episcopal church teaches that the Bible is literally true. As far as I know, the church teaches that the Bible contains plenty of symbol and allegory. Is the Episcopal church, then, in your eyes, not a real Christian church?

              My parents later took me to a Unity church. While it could easily be argued that Unity isn’t a mainstream church, this would still lead us back to the question of what defines a mainstream church. Some churches say to be saved, you must be baptized. Others say that to be saved, all you need to do is accept Jesus. Which is it? And how do we know? Additionally, the Mormon church has millions of members. You may think they’re all wrong, but they might say the same thing about you and neither you nor they can prove the claim.

              I wonder what your definition of “Christian” is as if it doesn’t entail being a member of a church, then what does it entail?

              I agree that there are huge differences between Islam and Christianity. I should’ve been more clear. What I meant was the certainty with which Muslims make their claims is identical to the certainty with which you make yours. And yet you and they are both 100% certain that the other is wrong.

              As to the historicity of Muslim claims, they’re also identical. Islam teaches that there was a historical Mohammed, that he was God’s prophet, that he performed miracles, that he ascended into Heaven. At least one of these points can be objectively verified. I don’t know which Muslim claims you believe are not historically valid, so I can’t comment on that.

              I’m not sure what you mean by “apparent veracity” of Muslim claims. A claim is either true or it isn’t. Muslims believe their claims to be true. You don’t. But the opposite position is also true.

              You can’t invalidate the change that happens in a Muslim’s life by accepting Allah no more than a Muslim can invalidate the change that happened in your life by accepting Jesus. The Muslim believes (among other things) that Mohammed is Allah’s prophet. Do you have evidence against this?

              You’re right that I didn’t go to a library to assess 66 books and compare them to the Bible, but I’ve already stated that I disagree with your premise. You claimed, essentially, that the Bible maintains a consistent message of God’s love for man and man’s salvation through Jesus Christ, but this is your subjective opinion, not an objective fact, and so I can’t comment on it. What did you think of the verses I posted which don’t seem to fall into your characterization of the Bible?

              Best,

              Anton.

              Comment by Anton A. Hill | February 18, 2013 | Reply

      • Hi Anton,

        Let me say that I am glad that you have stopped by this site for discussion about the Lord Jesus. Please continue to feel welcome here and to express your thoughts and questions whenever you like.

        I’d like to share a little about myself, if I may. I grew up in a Christian church, and went there with my parents throughout my youth. But when I struck out on my own as a young adult, I left my parent’s religion behind as I felt it added nothing to my life and I really didn’t believe all of the stories I found in the Bible anyway.

        Several years later though, I had an experience that one could liken to that of the Apostle Paul, though certainly not so dramatic ( See Acts, chapter 9). I was confronted in a very real way with the living Lord Jesus. Not as a theoretical being who may or may not have lived and done what the Bible claims, but as a living person who is exactly what the Bible claims He is.

        I have been a disciple of His since that day, now over 30 years ago ( I am 60 years old). In thinking over the events of my youth, early adult life, and my coming to faith in Jesus, I realized, what I had been missing all of those early adult years was a relationship with Jesus.

        As a church goer, I knew a lot about Jesus from all that I had heard, but I did not KNOW HIM. When H e confronted me with His Life, all of the head knowledge that I had previously rejected as suspect, became heart knowledge that I could not deny, any more than I could deny the existence and reality of my wife.

        I hope that you will begin or continue to seek the Jesus that lives forever and seeks to inhabit your heart and life as He does with all who would seek Him.

        Comment by johnconstitution | December 3, 2012 | Reply

        • Hi John,

          Sorry for my delay, and as I told Ged, this is unfortunately how it goes for me.

          I have a couple of questions for you. What kind of church did you grow up in? How was it different from your faith now? How were you confronted with “the living Lord Jesus”? How was this relationship missing in those early years? What do you mean Jesus confronted you with “His Life”? What do you mean by “heart knowledge”?

          Sorry, but I have intention on beginning to seek Jesus no more than I intend to seek Heracles or Thor. I already sought Him, didn’t find him, and realized that was because, like Heracles and Thor, there is no Him.

          Best,

          Anton.

          Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 23, 2012 | Reply

          • Hi Anton,

            I would like to adopt GED’s style in answering your questions. I can appreciate the questions you have asked, and I hope that I can do justice in my answers.

            Anton: Sorry for my delay, and as I told Ged, this is unfortunately how it goes for me.

            John: That’s quite all right Anton, we all have lives, and I can quite understand how delays, even long ones, can develop.

            Anton: I have a couple of questions for you. What kind of church did you grow up in?

            John: I grew up in a Methodist Church. In fact, my Father, a carpenter who helped to build the church building, and my Mother, were founding members.

            I attended that church from as early as I can remember, probably about 4, until I made it quite clear to my parents that I wanted nothing more to do with the church, at the age of 12 or 13. The problem was, they weren’t telling me anything I wanted to hear, it was all just a bunch of meaningless ritual. I thought it was worthless at the time, and my opinion of the ritual hasn’t changed, it is still worthless as far as I am concerned.

            Anton: How was it different from your faith now?

            John: The only things I knew then were the stories of the Bible, the rituals that I mentioned already, and the preaching of the Pastor, telling me how I needed tobe a better person and such. There was never any mention of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, no mention that Jesus is a living person that I could have a relationship with, and no mention that I was a sinner in need of salvation, all things that I consider to be of primary importance today.

            Anton: How were you confronted with “the living Lord Jesus”?

            John: In high school and in my years of “higher education” I learned to think analytically and pursued a well-paying and highly technical career path. Even in my early years I considered myself successful. I was able to provide myself with pretty much anything I wanted, and in my youth that ended up being partying, which meant alcohol and drug consumption, and relationships with women. I was involved in that lifestyle for over 10 years. I wasn’t hurting anyone, and I felt justified in what I was doing. After all, I was doing just as I pleased.

            The only problem was, I was not happy. My solution was, of course, to immerse myself more and more in my chosen lifestyle. But that was no good either. You see, I was beginning to become convicted of my actions. I knew, from my early training, that adultery and fornication were sins. I knew that lying was a sin, and if you’ve ever been involved in drug use, you are probably familiar with how easily one lies when it suits him or her. I also was in heavy rebellion against my parents, and I knew that my behavior was not at all honoring to them.

            I did not know it then, but it was Jesus who was convicting me, and I was not able to escape His conviction. I was on a downward spiral, and when I reached the bottom, Jesus was there. I was at a point in my life where I did not want to live it any longer. I was not suicidal, but I desperately wanted to change my behavior, and was trapped!

            And it was then that Jesus showed me the way out. Jesus showed me that He died for my sins, those that were in the past, and those yet in the future. He showed me that all I needed to do was to admit my need for a Savior, and to trust in the sacrifice He had made on my behalf , His death on the cross, He died for me, taking the punishment I deserved.

            Anton: How was this relationship missing in those early years?

            John: In my earlier encounter with church, I knew only a religion, a dead religion that had no ability to give life. What I learned much later had nothing to do with religion, or even with church, but with a relationship with Jesus. Note that this relationship only began after He revealed Himself to me.

            Anton: What do you mean Jesus confronted you with “His Life”?

            John: See above

            Anton: What do you mean by “heart knowledge”?

            John: As I am sure you are aware, the reality of Jesus’ existence is not something that can be proven objectively. One either believes that He lives, or he does not. I, through the interactions I have had with Him am thoroughly convinced that He lives, even though I have not seen Him. I have “heard” His voice many times in prayer and He has communicated with me in many ways. How can it be that I would believe He is real without any evidence? One might well ask me another question: “How can you be sure this Anton fellow exists, without any real evidence?”. And my answer would be the same, “Perhaps you have not proof that Anton exists, but I know in my heart that he is real.”.

            So, you see? Many things in our lives we know by faith, from the mundane to the supernatural. Think about it some time, and you might surprise yourself how much faith you have that various things are true.

            Anton: Sorry, but I have intention on beginning to seek Jesus no more than I intend to seek Heracles or Thor. I already sought Him, didn’t find him, and realized that was because, like Heracles and Thor, there is no Him.

            Best,

            Anton.

            John: I understand your position entirely, and I will not ask that you seek Him. Always keep in mind though, I never sought Him either. The fact of the matter is, Jesus was the furthest thing from my mind, but He sought me, and found me.

            Perhaps one day He will seek you out as well. My prayer is that if that day comes that your heart will be open to His prompting.

            My best wishes,

            John

            Comment by johnconstitution | December 27, 2012 | Reply

            • Hi John,

              Sorry for the extreme delay. As with Ged, I won’t adopt your dialogue style. Sorry, just too complicated for my tired, old brain.

              I wonder what you consider “ritual.” Is prayer ritual? How about baptism?

              I find it strange that a Methodist church never mentioned the gospels nor the doctrines of sin and salvation. I thought those were pretty standard. Also, I’m a little confused. You say Jesus is a living person. Do you mean this literally like I’m a living person? If so, I wonder where he resides, what he eats, etc., as a living person has certain physical requirements.

              You say you encountered the “living Lord Jesus,” yet you don’t say how. You state that he convicted you, that he was at the bottom of your downward spiral, that he showed you the way out, etc., but you don’t say how. Did Jesus literally present himself to you in the flesh and have a face-to-face conversation with you? I ask because many times, people use metaphors to describe these things and I’m unclear as to whether your description is metaphoric or not.

              Interesting you make such disparaging remarks about the church as it’s safe to say that without it and its developments, you’d have nothing. Even the doctrine of a “personal relationship” was developed (by the Pietists I think). Do you consider your faith independent of these developments or the pinnacle of their achievement? Or something else?

              Also, I really wonder about many Christians’ criticism of their own church. I hear often, “I’m not religious; I’m a Christian.” This then begs the question, “What’s the difference?” As near as I can tell, the only difference between the former and latter is a lack of formal ritual in the latter. Is that true? Am I missing something?

              I’m glad that you admit that Jesus can’t be proved objectively. Many Christians are dishonest in the claim that he can be. What specific interactions did you have with Jesus that convinced you of his existence? How do you know that these interactions were necessarily with Jesus and not with something else or nothing at all?

              Now wait a minute. You said earlier that you met Jesus, but you admit here that you’ve never seen him? What kind of interaction can you have had with him, specifically one that proves to you that he’s a living person, if you haven’t physically seen him?

              You say you’ve “heard” his voice, but you put “heard” in quotes. Did you hear Jesus voice or not? If so, what did it sound like? What were the other ways in which he communicated to you?

              One might very well ask how you know that I exist, but that’s irrelevant (thought I’ll get to that in a second). The question is how you know Jesus to exist without any evidence? If your answer is “I know in my hear he’s real,” then I’d have to ask what that means.

              But back to me, yes, given almost all of our interactions so far, there is little way of immediately proving that I exist as a living, breathing person. You’ve only interacted through a medium by which a computer might be able to run. At the same time though, claims made of me could be falsified. For example, were you so inclined, you could figure out what I look like (confirming my image in my picture), where I live, how I sound, etc. There are many forms of evidence and verification of that evidence you could embark on were you to choose to do so. Please tell me what the equivalent of this process is for Jesus.

              Unfortunately, I reject your claim that we know many things, mundane and supernatural, by faith. I’d suggest that actually, we know nothing supernaturally because nothing supernatural has been proven to exist, and we know nothing mundane through faith because mundane things can be proven to exist.

              Here’s an interesting challenge. How about you suggest something to me that you think I may only know through faith. I think it’d be a fun challenge.

              Certainly, my heart would be open to Jesus prompting. It sounds like I’d have nothing but great things to gain, well, except for non-accepting loved ones who’d go to Hell and suffering to continue in the world… Hmmm. I don’t know that I’d stand to gain much, but I’d still be open to prompting.

              Best,

              Anton.

              Comment by Anton A. Hill | April 11, 2013 | Reply

              • Hi Anton,

                Skipping to the very end of your post, the Bible promises that if we seek God from the heart that He will be found. So, if you are sincerely open to Jesus’ prompting, and not simply playing word games, then I am confident that He will answer you personally in a personal way.

                I pray God’s greatest blessing be yours,
                John

                Comment by johnconstitution | April 11, 2013 | Reply

                • Hi John,

                  Why did you skip to the end? It seems pretty rude to blatantly ignore my sincerely posed questions and points. Christians (and the Bible) have told me that it’s a Christian’s duty, obligation, to convince the unconvinced. Why do you think this obligation doesn’t apply to you?

                  I understand that you think the Bible promises that if we seek God from the heart that he will be found. I’m telling you I did that for many years from early childhood to adulthood and I never encountered Jesus nor God. I was absolutely sincere in my seeking. I wasn’t trying to prove or disprove anything. I wasn’t cynical. I wasn’t skeptical. I was completely open to it. And yet I received nothing. I understand that you’re confident that if I seek, God answers, so what’s your explanation for the fact that he never did? He’s waiting? If so, for what?

                  Thanks in advance for your opinion,

                  Anton.

                  Comment by Anton A. Hill | April 15, 2013 | Reply

                  • Hi Anton, I am not trying to be rude, but my obligations are not something that are open for debate.

                    As for why I skipped to the end of your previous post, to be completely honest, I am not interested in continuing this discussion further.

                    You see, at the beginning of this year I made a resolution not to involve myself in (what I consider to be) pointless discussions, and that is what I feel this one has devolved into.

                    Again, I am not meaning to be rude, and if I seem so, then I apologize.

                    God bless,
                    John

                    Comment by johnconstitution | April 15, 2013 | Reply

                • Hi John,

                  Sorry for the delay. I was out of the country. And it seems you’ve gone ahead and judged our conversation as “devolving,” which I find unfortunate and surprising as I was asking sincere questions and making sincere statements. I can’t control how you feel about things nor what action you’ll take, however, so if you choose not to allow this, then obviously that’s up to you.

                  With that said, I’d like to be clear that I wasn’t looking for a debate with regard to your obligations. I was merely asking about them. The reason I was asking was that many Christians have told me that it’s their God-given duty to convince the “lost.” I was merely trying to confirm this with you. If you disagree with the claim, that’s fine, I have no issue with that. I only wanted your opinion.

                  I don’t understand why you’re no longer interested in the conversation. You made specific claims and asked specific questions. I asked about your claims and attempted to answer your questions. While it’s true that I’m skeptical of your ability to convince me of the validity of your claims, it remains that I find your perspective fascinating and I’m genuinely interested in learning more about it.

                  I’m not sure why you call our discussion “pointless.” Is it because you determined you were likely not going to convince me of the validity of your claims? If so, then yes, I have to agree that if that were the point, then the conversation had reached an end. I wonder, though, what’s the point of your site, then? It’s called “Worship the Lord Jesus.” That’s an imperative. An order. The obvious question is why? If you’re unwilling to answer the question, I wonder why you have that title for the site, and more specifically why you have the site.

                  I also have to wonder why you chose to follow me on Twitter in the first place. What was the purpose of that? I’m honest about my atheism on my Twitter page, so you must have known about it. The only conclusion I can reach is that, on some level, you did suppose that you could convince me of the validity of your claims.

                  Regardless, I appreciate the amount of conversation you did engage in and if this was our last exchange, then be well.

                  Best,

                  Anton.

                  Comment by Anton A. Hill | June 3, 2013 | Reply

  20. I really like the way you worded the following thought, “holding either one view or the other can be done only as an exercise of faith.” I absolutely agree.

    Comment by Charity G | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you Charity, I do my best to write as the Spirit leads. God bless!

      Comment by johnconstitution | July 8, 2012 | Reply


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