Thank you for posting this. I would request in the future, it could help if you placed a date in the title too. It is my fault, not yours, and it is of little consequence either way, but I saw this last night, only to find out is was last Friday, and I am now a week behind. Oh well, thanks again for the post.
Yes it will, I greatly enjoy these things. Though I haven’t watched it yet, I wanted to read some of the comments here and respond to them. I have heard some of these arguments before and have watched Shermer debate before.
I like this quote, though I think it could help to add a bit to it or qualify some wordings further. I wouldn’t say it always “lies beyond totally demonstrative proofs.” Rather if something is out of reach at this moment, it doesn’t always mean it will be out of reach. Knowing the age of our universe was out of reach 1000 years ago, but that doesn’t mean it was impossible to know, we just didn’t know it yet.
And it could be considered a waste of life to wait 1000 years (which we obviously can’t, but if we could would still be a waste) or even to wait 50 years to make a decision on something, because one is waiting to be within reach.
That is what faith is, having a limited amount of knowledge, and leaping (the leap of faith over the void of knowledge to get to a destination), making a decision based off of the current knowledge had, because life is too short to wait around for some things to be in reach, and some things will never be in reach in your lifetime.
Should I go to college? It can help me in the future endeavors of my life, but I also might die in 1 year and all of that knowledge and time spent will have been wasted when I could have just enjoyed the simpler life and family and friends. I don’t know when I will die. I am lacking 100% of information, some decisions have more information than others, but pretty much all decisions require a leap of faith. Or else we could sit here wasting time gathering more information and more information, and it take 50 years to come to the conclusion to go to college or not. And now it is too late. And even after 50 years, you still didn’t have 100% of the information known, you still had to make a leap of faith, it was perhaps a smaller leap.
There needs to be a balance between being pragmatic and having faith. Obviously with no thought into out actions is foolish, but not making and action and parallelization via rationalization is just as foolish.
And realistically we all live throughout that spectrum of faith.
I don’t know if science can measure that. Why do some think little, and why do some think more before making decisions? Is faith real?
He definitely used this argument before. And I agree. My rebuttal to it would be that I equate all other religions and gods to atheism. I think one of the things that lead me to Christianity would be what is our purpose here, why, what is the meaning of life. Which brought me to the God of creation. This God of creation and love brought me to the Biblical God whom had the most logical argument.
The Biblical God is One who loves me, is amazingly powerful and brilliant, who is always good, and craziest of all, wants to know me and my heart, not just the actions I commit(again back to the why and much deeper and intimate than just the what I do), and cares about who I am (and still loves me in spite of who I am) and says there is no fathomable way that we could even attempt to make an idol or an image of Him.
And I believe all other religions are just like atheism, in they lack purpose of life, a higher calling or meaning for being here, it’s too shallow for me. This god wants me to obey these rules, this god wants me to obey those rules, this god wants me to actually take care of it and adorn it’s representation of it in gold and even says I have the capability of capturing its ‘essence’ in an idol that I can make with my hands. These guys say there is no god and so why even live, what is the point? These guys say they are not sure of a higher power, seems too impersonal to me. These guys say all paths lead to god, which again is too impersonal for me. These guys say there is a god that brings me heat and love and water ect, which again are too impersonal, nor did they create me. Some say we live a bunch of ‘test’ lives and get promoted or demoted conditionally based off of our accomplishments and keep completing these ‘test’ lives until we reach the end and become nothing? Then some say we are all god and one in the universe, I still see no deeper purpose in life. Some its the pursuit of truth, but still why? They just don’t appeal to my logic, they seem so shallow and meaningless.
So yes, I greatly agree with Shermer’s assertion there.
But I would wager that Shermer isn’t an atheist, rather his god is the physical world and science is his ‘bible’.
If you look at a God from the Biblical perspective, God is one who created us, which atheist (assuming Shermer represents all atheist, though I am sure he doesn’t and there is probably a great difference in atheist just like there is in Christianity) could argue science/bible shows the the big bang (a physical thing) created us.
The God is one to be worshiped. worship is basically the thing you put desire, obey and need. We were told not to make idols, but also told to worship God and him only. When we turn to money and desire it, and need it, and obey (live according to its merits, perhaps be immoral to attain more), you then worship money. If we desire, obey and need God, then we know He will take care of us, and though He can use money to help us, it is God’s provision that is helping us, not the money, and God needs to be in who we trust, not money (ironic that is on our money, as a reminder of this?) We don’t always realize what we are doing, but it is too frequent we worship other gods before our One true God. What does an atheist obey, need and desire, for the physical world to be true, and for science to prove it.
God is one who can’t be changed. The physical world can’t be changed, science proves this along with math, which makes us aware of some things that science hasn’t discovered yet.
Thanks I will enjoy watching this when I get the chance.
It can be very useful on multiple facets. It can always good to just see how others see the world, what makes up their world view.
It can also be good to have the opposition ‘throw a rock’ at your ‘belief castle’. they might end up using a massive boulder that causes catastrophic damage. It causes you to look inward and reflect on why you believe something. Many times I am hit with a boulder that makes me look introspectively. I wonder why do I believe this, is it actually in the Bible, or was this just something I was unknowingly indoctrinated into? If you are born with blue glasses on, and someone says they sky is blue, you say it is normal, not blue. It isn’t until those glasses get a rock thrown at them and break, so you take them off, and begin to see the blue sky. There are unfortunately so many things we unknowingly absorb, and it is great to learn which things you believe because they are Biblical, and which you believe because of unknowing indoctrination. Though I need to qualify this first, that you need to have a strong foundation, before inviting stones to be thrown at you, as nothing can harm your foundation. 1 Cor 3:2. You don’t give steak to babies. If you are not mature enough in your spiritual walk with God, it might be unwise to go for steak, which can make us really strong if we can handle it, but if we are too young, we choke. But I definitely don’t look down on you if you could only digest milk, nor on one who is not even a born again.
Thanks to God and not myself, I feel as if I have the strongest foundations known to man (God). You can throw a rock at me, a boulder at me, a mountain at me, a continent at me, a planet at me, a galaxy at me, NOTHING can shake my foundation, which is anchored to God. The Bible isn’t even a foundation. If conclusive scientific evidence proved that all writers of the Bible were on mind altering drugs wren they wrote it and all scriptures are invalid. THAT still would NOT shake my foundation. The Bible was a tool a used to obtain the truth of God, to allow me and reveal to me the things I do know now, but I believe them to be logical and true, regardless of what the Bible says. It pointed me to the truths I know, it isn’t the truths I know.
I am trying not to make this too long, but you can read about my foundation on this thread if you wish, here Genesis Movie Trailer. An Exciting-Looking Film Forthcoming From Our Friends At AIG!
It can also be seen as a ‘scrimmage’ to hone your skills before the game. Watching tapes of the apposing team or sorts. They might argue a point, that the opponent in the debate comes with a great response you can add to your ‘quiver’, or if they don’t provide a good response, it can give you time to formulate a good response for a future opportunity.
Another facet, is that life isn’t so serious, it can be jovial and enjoyed too. Like in a football crowd when the QB gets sacked hard and you here (both teams usually) shout, “ooooooo”, “uuuuuuuw”. There are ‘zingers’ and moments of humor that can be enjoyed just from a jovial or experiential standpoint.
All of that being said, this generally has to be accomplished in a mature and structured manner. Or else it turns into ‘smear the queer’ (that is what it was called growing up, sorry for having to use that language to draw an analogy, I don’t what else to call it or a better analogy to use) and not a football game, like so many unstructured and immature comments that anonymity tends to bring about in the youtube section generally speaking, where you are right, there is not much to be learned or gained from that. Which if you are not familiar with smear the queer, it was a game that came about (I assume the title mostly because it rhymes more than hate towards homosexuals) where who ever has the ball, gets chased and beat down and dog piled, until they give up, and the ball gets released and a new person becomes the queer that needs to be smeared. Not a whole lot of structure. I wasted so much time and words to describe that, which is unfortunate we need to do in today’s society to not trigger some, but back on topic…
And onto what I deem is the most important facet of a reason to debate an atheist, especially in public, is so that God can use one simple thing you say as a tool to bring one who is earnestly seeking Him, on a path that leads them to come to know Him.
@AndrewF It is also possible that this type of ministry isn’t for you. There are some with blind faith, that is arguably more admirable than faith backed up with logic. I would sit next to someone in the hospital if asked, but hospitality is not my passion, for some it is. The hand is no more important than the foot or the elbow. We all all called by called and given specific gifts and passions to worship God with and lead others to God with. The fact that you are here shows that you probably do have passion for these things. But I just wanted to put it out there to show, we are all blessed with different passions and gifts to honor the Father.
In equating this to a nice QB blindside, watching it is definitely different than reading about it. But yea, to each there own.
This sounds to me more like the beliefs of a gnostic? I thought atheist were certain of no God. Though again, I guess there are different ‘denominations’ of atheist just like in Christianity.
A skeptic wants to believe but is holding back belief (holding their breath if you will), until they can obtain sufficient evidence to make that leap of faith due to waiting for that leap to be smaller and thus acceptable to them.
Someone indifferent, would not be holding their breath, they would live their lives putting the burden of proof on the theist. You come to me when you get something, which I might believe, but as of now, you are wrong, and I am not holding my breath.
Is an atheist skeptic or indifferent?
Analogy- You are innocent until proven guilty, and guilt is a stance of no reasonable doubt in my mind you are guilty. Innocence isn’t always proven, BUT if reasonable doubt is introduced, one can’t be voted as guilty. Atheism see theism as a guilty verdict? Or do you see theism as an innocent verdict? Atheism is the default, and if there is any doubt, one must become atheist, and theism requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt?
I agree. And no where in the Bible does it say would should attempt to legislate sin out of the world. That kind of shows a lack in faith in thinking that God needs us to help Him out, we can legislate people to know Him? That being said, there are some laws (like abortion) where it is not a forcing our morals down your throat thing, rather attempting to protect those who don’t have a voice. Which we are commanded to do. HOWEVER, not to the extent of hating and killing over it. The only scripture we find where Jesus even comes remotely close to loving like this is within His own people who where supposedly doing the will of His Father. When He over turned the changing tables and whipped them their butts till they ran out the doors. He did NOT act this way towards the adulterers or tax collectors onor would He towards those of free choice.
I agree, good point.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with love of family and friends or contributions to communities or pursuits in life. However, I do believe that all of those things can be taken from you, or let you down. If you build your life around a family, and (God forbid) they all die at a family re-union you couldn’t make, hdo you lose a sense of life? What about a spouse who drifts away of is lured away and cheats on you or turns to hate you? If marriage was your life, you life can become miserable after that. What if your pursuit in life is to be a pilot or an astronaut. You go through school, and have friends, but not like other people, you are super focused and learning and going to school and miss out on many opportunities and experiences with friends and family to attain this goal, and the day before you make it (30 years later), you trip and fall and a sharp root happened to be sticking out goes right into your eye and you end up blind in one eye, and can no longer be an astronaut. You missed out on so many experiences in life all for this thing that you can’t even do. Did you waste 30 years of your life, time that you can’t get back? Same thing with workaholics, they work so hard to reach a position, only to make one mistake and they lose it all.
Surely there is a balance in life, and if you don’t become a workaholic, you won’t miss out on friends and family. But can an average balanced life ever attain great goals? Or are some sacrifices necessary to attempt to attain greatness? What if you don’t attain the greatness you are were hoping to achieve after sacrificing so much to attain it and you are left with empty handed and bitter?
Obviously anything can be what iffed to death. But from a Christian perspective, apply all of those what ifs, with a major tweak. If my purpose in life is to know and honor and love my Heavenly Father who created me, a being who can’t disappoint and who can’t be changed or taken away. Then if my mom dies (as she did) I am thankful for the time I had with her. Sure I mourned, I enjoyed the times I had with her, and will miss potential times without here and would have enjoyed her meeting my kids. But I didn’t deserve her in the first place. Some kinds don’t have (or know) mothers, or have bad mothers who are abusive. I was blessed with a great mother for 30 years and I was very thankful to God for it. I am also thankful for my health, some aren’t quite as healthy. I am thankful for my intellect (though most on here have way more than myself), and wish to use this intellect to honor my Father and the gift of intellect He blessed me with. I am thankful for everything I am blessed to have, and content with the things God deems I do not need (in theory, it is practically difficult to do, and I require the Holy Spirit to assist me to be content in all things). This is all prayer is (or should be) thanking Him for what we have, and asking Him for help with the difficult things., and praising Him for who He is. This is how Jesus taught us to pray, not to ask the genie for things we perceive we have need for. My perceived need was for my mom to be cured of cancer. But god helped me to realize to be thankful for what I had and know He is the only fulfillment I need. I did pray for her, but I am not mad at God for not fulfilling my perceived need. I only thought at the time of prayer it was a need, now I realize it was not. But you can throw any what if in life you want to me, and it will al be answered the same, this is an amazingly indescribable feeling of security and purpose in life.
Shermer said in another debate, there was an animal in the grass, and if we perceived it to be just wind rustling the grass, the animal ate us. So when the grass is rustled, (even if by wind) it would evolutionarily speaking behoove us to assume animal and run or defend. This is where religion comes from assert Shermer. And after thought about it, I think I believe him. It would make sense to me that my God who created me put a desire in us to be with Him, also possibly used the ‘hell in the grass’ ‘or disappointments and suffering of life’ that behooved us to assume God and run to Him.
Shermer was smart to point out that he doesn’t believe the belief of God is false, just the actual God. He believes our minds actually do experience and believe unexplainable (yet to be explained) things.
One of the videos in Biologos provides a good warning the Christians. We should not believe or preach of a “God of the gaps”. Meaning a gap in our current scientific knowledge, should not be explained as God. Because as history shows, science does discover it, then we look foolish and it can appear to disprove God. Which is why I believe so many go from theism to atheism, their “god of the gaps” gets filled and that was part of their foundation.
I would argue and advise caution again into the god of the gaps here. Why is not love a physical thing? The Bible shows that love means many things, but love of God, agape (sacrificial/unconditional love) can somewhat be explained. It is a logical thing. Someone kills my son, I can chose to hate them, or chose to love them.
Why do I love them? There are many answers to that. One, we are commanded to, and in our attempts to love toe Father, want to obey His commandments.
Two, because God is amazingly logical in so many things when scrutinized further. If you hate them, it hurts you, it gives that murdered power over you, they caused you to hate. It also breeds anger and resent and nasty things inside you which I am pretty sure even scientifically shows is detrimental to our health. But to love, this logical choice we make from God frees us, and grows us closer to Him to learn of His love for us. How no matter what we do, He loves us, He chooses to!
And choices can kind of sort of be measured as brain activity. So I am not 100 % convinced that love (or logic) isn’t somewhat possibly measurable?
Though since this logic somewhat flys in the face of so many levels of evolutionary thought and the ‘masses’, is it logical? Or is it wisdom that allows us to think this way? We know all wisdom comes from God. So maybe this logic of choosing to love someone is a wisdom revealed to us from God? If not directly, then trough His Word (the Bible)?
Meaning, that is also uses somewhat a logic right? I like to think of myself as a very logical person. It is possible that not all see my words above as logical, maybe this truth to me of who God is, is also that revelation and wisdom that comes from God.
How many verses speak of those who don’t know God as blind. To me is is incredibly obvious and logical to believe in God. Perhaps this is only after God is able to reveal this to me and remove my blindfold.
I don’t know if we should, or if we can logically convince someone to God. However, God can use our logic to lead someone to Him if they are seeking Him earnestly. I firmly believe that anyone who seeks God, not the God of the Bible, or the god of Buddhism, or the god of truth, but our creator who makes it evident through His miraculous creation and order and displays of love, seek that God, the one who wants to know you and give you purpose, I firmly believe that, that will lead any and all to the God of the Bible.
I think a better way to bring someone to God is to live the two greatest commandments. I doing that, you can shine the light of God to the world, you can love your neighbor, you honor God and give Him the glory He deserves. It is in that, that He will use you, on His terms, not yours. I have said it before, the main difference in atheism and Christianity is in pride. The atheist believes they are in charge of their destiny and want it to be that way, and a Christian believes God is in charge and we want Him to be, we give up our pride, and humble ourselves before the Almighty God. This is the first sin, rejection of God and His will and His ways. This is salvation and reconciliation back to God, choosing Him and His ways, and thankful for Jesus being sent to atone of our rejection(sin) and allow us to chose God again. This is all heaven is, eternal relationship with the God we chose to rule our lives. This is all hell is, eternal separation from God as requested.
To clarify if anyone is brought to God through the words above, that is not through my doing and ‘superior’ intellect. One, my intellect isn’t superior by any means, two God can use my intellect no matter how small, like He used tiny young David to defeat big old Goliath. God can use my words as a tool to reach those searching, but my words will NEVER (nor are they intended to) bring anyone to God who doesn’t want to know God.
So I don’t think we should stop debating atheist (because I’m sure it can and does help bring some to God), but I do NOT think one should debate an atheist with the goal to convince them with your mere logic (God laughs at that, as if He couldn’t do that).