A while ago, I wrote a post called “How to Dismantle Christianity” where I explained why I am a Christian and how, if you were so inclined, you would be able to persuade me to abandon my beliefs. Due to the fact that “apologetics” was a central player in my conversion story, the logical and rational defense of the Christian worldview is not something I stumbled upon after being a Christian for several years.
A little while after I posted it, @ArchAngelMike had some questions for me (those can be found here). Its been a long time coming (life sorta… happened, you know how it is), but here are my brief answers to Mike’s questions. For the reader, I’m going to try to make it so that you don’t have to jump back and forth between posts. I hope I’m at least partially successful.
Mike asks a LOT of questions. And these questions come with significant philosophical baggage that needs to be sorted out. As an example, imagine a child asking “how does a plant eat?” There is a lot there to unpack, isn’t there? (Also, I’m not calling AAMike a child) For this reason, this post is probably going to be much, much longer than the posts I usually write. Every single one of these questions could easily be a lengthy blog post in itself. Continue reading →
About 6 months ago, I wrote a post called “Arguments and Evidence – Should an Argument Be Considered Evidence?” where I examined the relationship between arguments and evidence. The conclusion of my analysis was this: Evidence is used in justification for certain truth-bearing propositions. An argument is a series of truth-bearing propositions, logically leading to a conclusion. If the premises of an argument are justified by evidence, and the argument is both valid and sound, the conclusion logically follows. That logical conclusion from the evidence is also evidence for a certain conclusion. So, an argument is evidence. However, this is not meant to be a bifurcation between the concepts. Arguments and evidence are interdependent upon each other.
I think my point is rather trivially true, but not everyone seems to agree with me.
I think its because they don’t actually understand my point. I did my best to respond in the comments section of the previous post, but I received a blog response from @nonprophetess titled “An Argument for Evidence“. This post highlights the primary misunderstanding behind the rejection of my conclusion.
She didn’t particularly like the evidence for my mortality, in the form of this argument: 1. All men are mortal. 2. Elijiah is a man.
3. Therefore, Elijiah is mortal.
As usual, yet another blog post is being inspired by twitter conversations. Twitter gives me such great #BlogFodder
If you’ve spent any time discussing the existence of God or the truth of Christianity online, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
This is how it might go:
1. An atheist (or group of atheists) will demand evidence for God.
2. You respond by giving them evidence for God.
3. They just label it a fallacy (or worse, say that ‘arguments are not evidence‘) and repudiate it.
4. They ask for evidence again.
5. You reply with, “I just gave you evidence, you didn’t address it. What do you mean by evidence?”
6. The atheist(s) reply, “STUPID CHRISTIAN! DON’T TRY TO REDEFINE EVIDENCE! GIVE ME EVIDENCE!!!11”
For whatever reason, the term freethinker has become associated exclusively with being skeptical of religious claims. No more. No less.
If you are skeptical of religion… then congratulations, my friend; you are thinking freely.
The presumption is that if you look at the world through a critical lens, you will undoubtedly agree with the atheists and conclude that “There’s Probably No God”.
There seems to be something inherently wrong with this idea, and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that not all atheists are freethinkers, and not all freethinkers are atheists.
Being able to ‘think freely’ shouldn’t commit you to any position. If it did, in what way would it be considered free? Freethinking, it seems to me, is more of an approach to knowledge… an epistemological endeavor. Like skepticism, ‘free thought’ should be thought of as a methodology, not a goal. Continue reading →
I’ve recently been in several discussions where I defend what the Bible says against skeptics. Now, you might be thinking, “um… yea, that’s what apologists like you do”, and you’d have a point.
But this is different.
I’m not only defending what the Bible says; I’m defending the idea that the Bible actually says anything at all.
The skeptics aren’t denying that there are words on the page, of course. But they are denying that there is a proper interpretation of those words. They are [apparently] under the impression that the Bible isn’t actually saying anything objective at all, and that all (or most) interpretations are somehow equally valid.
As a side note, I am amused by this. These same skeptics are the ones who point to passages in the Old Testament in an attempt to say that God is behaving immorally. But their arguments rely upon the fact that there is an objectively correct interpretation of scripture. Consistency, guys. Either the Bible does have an objective meaning, or it doesn’t. You can’t have both.
If the Bible is saying something objectively testable, our goal (and the goal of proper hermeneutics) is to understand what the Bible is actually saying. The Bible claims to be making statements about [historical, spiritual, theological, etc] reality, and can therefore be tested. Continue reading →
Let me start this discussion with a conversation that I’ve had with a large handful of atheists. It goes a little like this:
Me: “God exists”
Atheist: “I want evidence”
Me: “Define ‘evidence’ for me”
Atheist: “Facts or information indicating whether or not a belief is true” Me: “I agree with that definition of evidence. Do you analyze arguments?” Atheist: “An argument is not evidence”
So, the burning question here is: What exactly is the relationship between evidence and arguments? ***
First, lets start with definitions.
What is evidence?
What is an argument?
This video was just put out by the YouTube channel, drcraigvideos. It explains the basics of the KCA wonderfully, so I felt the need to transcribe it and post it here. The words are not mine, they are directly from the video. I take no personal credit for the information.
For more information on the youtube channel, drcraigvideos, click here.
For more information on ReasonableFaith (Dr. Craig’s website), click here.
Here it is:
“Does God exist, or is the material universe all that is or ever was or ever will be?
One approach to answering this question is the cosmological argument. It goes like this:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Is the first premise true?
Believing that something can pop into existence without a cause is more of a stretch than believing in magic. At least with magic you’ve got a hat and a magician.
And if something can come into being from nothing, then why don’t we see this happening all the time? Continue reading →