Why I Believe – Evidence for the Faith

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This post replaces another one I had published earlier, which is refusing to open now for some reason I cannot resolve.

I’m about to kick off my promised series on why I believe/evidence for the faith. Here’s a first-pass version of the series table of contents. I’m taking a cumulative-case approach, so I think it’s important to list the whole set of topics right from the start. Since it’s a preliminary list I might add more as time goes on. I’ll keep this table of contents current accordingly, and I’ll add links here as I publish. They might appear online in a different chronological sequence than what you see on this list.

I’ve been dealing with atheist objections for too many weeks in a row. I’m looking forward to this!

Why I Believe

  1. What I Believe, or The Christianity I Am Defending
  2. Is There Any Such Thing As “Evidences for Faith?”
  3. Philosophical
  4. Historical
    • Resurrection
    • Biblical
      • MSS
      • External
      • Internal
    • Too Good Not To Be True
    • Christianity Down Through History
  5. Theological
    • Uniqueness of Christ
    • Uniqueness of Christianity Among Religions
  6. Response to Objections
    • Legend Theory
    • Hume
    • Naturalism
    • Anti-exclusivism/Truth Relativism
    • The Problem of Evil
    • The Question of Hell
    • Christianity’s Moral Record
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52 Responses to “ Why I Believe – Evidence for the Faith ”

  1. One might suggest that the remarkable history of the Jewish people is another line of evidence for faith in the God who chose those people.

  2. Tom, the charge is faith based beliefs offer no reliable evidence of knowing things are true. And not just possibly true, or true to a certain level of confidence, but absolutely true. Most Christians don’t say “there could be a God, the Bible may be true but I am not sure, its possible we were born in sin, etc.” they instead say these things with certainty, conviction and no doubt, and my comment here is in relation to those. Would not the evidence that then needs to presented have to also remove all doubt to make such absolute claims of truth?

    And that would then be good enough to debunk any other form of faith-based belief or non-belief and settle the argument convincingly. The fact that there is multiple and contradictory religions based on faith-claims of knowledge, is evidence that these can supply no evidence good enough to act as an arbiter of the truth.

    In your booklet Peter Boghossian Atheist Tactician you nearly addressed this crucial point:

    “Then there is Boghossian’s other charge against faith: that it’s an unreliable method of knowing. I take it he means one or both of these: either that faith claims cannot be corroborated by independent observers, or that religious faith-claims (Christian, Mormon,
    Hindu, etc.) compete with each other, and there’s no way to adjudicate which one is correct, so it is very possible for a faith-claim to be wrong.

    To a certain extent he’s right on both counts.”

    This was promising. An admission it is very possible for a faith-claim to be wrong to a “certain extent” because it is an unreliable method of knowing. So can I take it from this there is agreement of some element of doubt to the truth of any faith-claim? What then I wonder, is the basis for someone to make faith-claims of such certainty of truth such as “the Bible is true, 100%” with no doubts? I was hoping your paper may address this issue of doubt, and how much is permissible to maintain faith, and how does someone remove it with reliable and convincing evidence pertaining to facts and knowledge to establish the truth.

    Unfortunately your paper did not address this and jumped about a bit. You went on to assert irrelevantly PG has to prove God is impossible etc. With your Evidences for Faith project, the evidence you present I suggest can not be any evidence (there are many types of evidence that can be either strong or weak). To be convincing, yours would have to be strong enough to be the arbiter of the truth amongst the competing faith claims and allow people to make statements of certainty such as The Bible is true.

  3. GrahamH,

    Although there are Christians who are “absolutely certain” that God is real and is revealed in Jesus Christ, I don’t know of any who would say it can be proved to an absolute certainty. The distinction is a fine one but a crucial one. It’s also difficult to communicate.

    So let me begin with the easier part. I do not think it’s possible to prove God or the Bible. I think it’s possible to demonstrate the plausibility of both, and to do so at a very high degree of confidence, such that it’s rational to believe what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ. I won’t quantify that confidence with numbers, but I will say that it’s sufficient for me to devote my entire life to Jesus Christ at any cost whatsoever.

    Another way to look at this is to say that although rationality does not compel belief, it strongly supports it.

    That’s the case I intend to make here.

    When believers speak in terms of “absolute certainty,” they are either being careless about their terms, or else they’re speaking of something other than evidences. This is the very controversial and contentious matter of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. It’s not controversial among Christians, but only with non-believers who deny that it could be a reliable source of knowledge.

    I won’t go into explaining or defending that now, because this is an introduction to a series on evidences for faith, available to be examined by believers and non-believers alike. Believers’ internally-experienced relationship with God cannot be so examined, and I’m not covering that in this series. My goal is not to produce a case with absolute certainty, but only (!) strong enough to support the conviction that would lead a person to devote him or herself completely to Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible.

    You say,

    And that would then be good enough to debunk any other form of faith-based belief or non-belief and settle the argument convincingly. The fact that there is multiple and contradictory religions based on faith-claims of knowledge, is evidence that these can supply no evidence good enough to act as an arbiter of the truth.

    I have no intention of arguing for any faith-based claims here. I repeat: I will not be arguing for any faith-based claims. This is crucial. It wouldn’t have needed repeating in an earlier, less confused intellectual environment, but now with rampant misunderstanding of the definition of “faith” it must be emphasized. I’ll probably have to write another introductory blog post to explain it further.

    Here’s what I have to say for now.

    I will be arguing in this series for knowledge-based claims. Boghossian gets it wrong when he calls faith an epistemology. That is, faith might function that way in some religions, and if so it’s unreliable. But that’s not how it functions in Christianity, where faith is principally an attitude one takes toward what one knows, not a way of knowing what one knows.

    And if the knowledge that this series will argue for is true knowledge, then Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, the one who died for us and rose again. If so, then other religions who deny that are simply wrong by the Law of Non-Contradiction: He cannot be both God and Savior, and not-God and not-Savior, at the same time.

  4. Tom,

    Will you also address the facts that (1) Not one word of anything in the Greek Testament was written by Jesus; (2) There is not one word about Jesus written in the Greek Testament by anyone who actually met the man; and (3) We have not one contemporaneous historical reference to Jesus?

  5. I’ll be glad to.

    1. It doesn’t matter.
    2. It isn’t true.
    3. It isn’t true.

    I’ll come back in more detail later, just in case that’s not quite satisfactory.

  6. Well, that should be nice.

    I’ll be eager to learn which Greek writers can reliably be said to have met the man and who are the historians who wrote about the man while he was alive.

  7. Did you say something about them writing while he was still alive? Or did you just move the goalposts back some distance?

    We have reliable sources going back to within probably five or so years from his death and resurrection. I guess I may not be able to do much better than that.

  8. (2) There is not one word about Jesus written in the Greek Testament by anyone who actually met the man; and (3) We have not one contemporaneous historical reference to Jesus?

    So it’s pretty clear Larry that you’ve done very little homework on this subject and clearly don’t know the pertinent facts but that doesn’t seem to deter you from expounding on this subject. Is that standard for you on subjects across the board or do you save this just for discussions about Christianity.

  9. “one contemporaneous historical reference to Jesus” equals “writing while he [Jesus] was alive.”

    I mean these two to be synonymous, so no goal-post moving. I said what I meant and meant what I said.

    BillT: I guess I’ll just have to wait for the names of the writers and historians, since neither Tom nor you see fit to name names at this point.

  10. So Larry, if you hadn’t noticed, Tom is in the middle of another discussion. The part of this overall discussion that deals with your specific question is a ways off. I know you couldn’t wait to show of exactly how much you know on the matter but I think it reasonable to follow Tom’s outline. In the mean time, you might actually do some research on your own but that’s certainly up to you.

  11. Bill,

    I never intended to start a discussion. I gave Tom three facts that he can — if he so chooses — incorporate into his discussion of objections. Tom always wants people to deal with Christianity as he understands it. He wants the discussion of “faith” to focus on his pet definition of the term (which, incidentally, boils down to ‘trust’ and gets quickly dispensed with by Boghossian).

    I imagine that Tom wishes to extend the same courtesy to others and also wishes to respond to the arguments that critics and skeptics already make. I imagine that you have the same wishes, or do you imagine that you are without misunderstanding, bias, and mis-characterization. Just simmer yourself down, junior. Tom can deal or not deal with the facts I introduced. It makes not one bit of difference to me.

    My arena is at home. My wife is a devout Christian and raising the kids Christian. I respect this, and I am also starting to introduce critical inquiry about these beliefs to my three kids. I have given the oldest Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality, and I leave out some of the interesting books in my library for them to pick up — it’s a library that includes Torah, New Testament, Koran, Tao, Buddhist verses, and more. You’d be amazed at the intelligent questions that come of comparing religions. Plus, I have my own writing and thinking being collected into a book that I’ll self-publish and give the kids as a gift.

    In short, your “soul” and Tom’s don’t interest me at all. I only find it funny that you had an open opportunity to provide even one name, and you didn’t. Telling.

  12. (which, incidentally, boils down to ‘trust’ and gets quickly dispensed with by Boghossian).

    … who does so by his personal, authoritarian fiat without reference to any credible sources, but then, who’s paying attention to minor details like that?

  13. Tom always wants people to deal with Christianity as he understands it.

    Okay, I believe evangelical Christianity (broadly speaking) is true, but if you want me to defend process theology, Mormonism, Coptic Christianity, Christian Science, anything with the name Christian, I guess in the interest of intellectual fairness I ought to do all of that, too. So narrow of me to restrict my defense to things I actually agree with.

    My “pet definition” of faith is, by the way, in the tradition of the term as it goes back thousands of years. Boghossian’s “pretending” definition is his own invention, though I do I have a record of Sam Harris preceding him with some wording much like it. It’s entirely lacking in any intellectual history of any credibility. He has admitted in an interview with an atheist that he wants the definition of the term changed globally to match his, and that this is for strategic/rhetorical purposes—but his isn’t a “pet” definition. No, it’s not one he’s chosen because he’s fond of it. It’s not one he’s adopted rather idiosyncratically as his own.

    Larry, do you even begin to see how prejudiced you are?

  14. I guess you didn’t really want to deal with the matter of “pet definitions” very much.

    A man would face it. A “pet” would lick its wounds in a corner. I do not think you are the latter.

  15. Tom can deal or not deal with the facts I introduced. It makes not one bit of difference to me.

    Remind me again of the “facts” you introduced. You certainly couldn’t mean the unsubstantiated and uninformed musings in your reply #5, could you?

    In short, your “soul” and Tom’s don’t interest me at all. I only find it funny that you had an open opportunity to provide even one name, and you didn’t. Telling..

    That’s sad but to each his own. And all that talk about the your concern for your children. That concern stops at your front door, I presume. What a lovely worldview.

    And so sorry we didn’t immediately jump through the hoops you provided. How rude of us.

  16. “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through……..For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain……” (II Peter….)

    C.S Lewis comments:

    “In one sense Faith means simply Belief-accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Christianity. That is fairly simple. But what does puzzle people-at least it used to puzzle me-is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as a virtue, I used to ask how on earth it can be a virtue-what is there moral or immoral about believing or not believing a set of statements? Obviously, I used to say, a sane man accepts or rejects any statement, not because he wants or does not want to, but because the evidence seems to him good or bad.

    Well, I think I still take that view. But what I did not see then- and a good many people do not see still-was this. I was assuming that if the human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on regarding it as true, until some real reason for reconsidering it turns up. In fact, I was assuming that the human mind is completely ruled by reason. But that is not so.

    For example, my reason is perfectly convinced by good evidence that anesthetics do not smother me and that properly trained surgeons do not start operating until I am unconscious. But that does not alter the fact that when they have me down on the table and clap their horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside me. In other words, I lose my faith in anesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith: on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.

    When you think of it you will see lots of instances of this. A man knows, on perfectly good evidence, that a pretty girl of his acquaintance is a liar and cannot keep a secret and ought not to be trusted; but when he finds himself with her his mind loses its faith in that bit of knowledge and he starts thinking, “Perhaps she’ll be different this time,” and once more makes a fool of himself and tells her something he ought not to have told her. His senses and emotions have destroyed his faith in what he really knows to be true.

    Or take a boy learning to swim. His reason knows perfectly well that an unsupported human body will not necessarily sink in water: he has seen dozens of people float and swim. But the whole question is whether he will be able to go on believing this when the instructor takes away his hand and leaves him unsupported in the water-or whether he will suddenly cease to believe it and get in a fright and go down.

    Now just the same thing happens about Christianity. I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of the evidence is against it. That is not the point at which Faith comes in. Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” C.S. Lewis (italics mine)

  17. Materialism inevitably ends in Autohypnosis and Wish-fulfillment:

    Brute Fact:

    A = Indifference

    Z = Indifference

    [Actuality] = [A – (Effervescing Fragments of Psychic Phosphorescence) – Z]

    We find in the ends of regression within Materialism that the whole affair of volitional thought is non-entity, and, as such, reasoning itself, love itself, thinking itself all end in some sort of odd blend of mereological nihilism with opaque skepticism. We find then that the Materialist must, his whole life long, go one living as if we reason, go on living as if we love, and go on living as if all which is Perception (which is at best an illusion) is telling us the fact of the matter, such as our perceived intentionality itself being “real” though the fact of the matter is that it is illusion. He must live as if there actually is such an entity as ought-not as he shakes his fist at “evil”. “As if” just is the state of affairs in the lived life, if Materialism. Now, when one’s ontology clearly contradicts, and, even worse, actually and fully makes of one’s epistemology non-entity then one is clearly living according to and as if something one knows to be Not-True is in fact True. The technical term for this disorder is wish-fulfillment, or, as some prefer, autohypnosis.

    It is not good to live believing and embracing cunningly devised fables.

    It is better to live knowing and embracing truth.

    That is why I am a Christian.

  18. “A” and “Z” in the previous comment are, of course, deterministic to the bitter ends of regression, quarks never being – at bottom – free of themselves.

  19. Another example of the Materialist’s necessary autohypnosis:

    “You can’t, except in the lowest animal sense, be in love with a girl if you know (and keep on remembering) that all the beauties both of her person and of her character are a momentary and accidental pattern produced by the collision of atoms, and that your own response to them is only a sort of psychic phosphorescence arising from the behavior of your genes. You can’t go on getting very serious pleasure from music if you know and remember that its air of significance is a pure illusion, that you like it only because your nervous system is irrationally conditioned to like it.” (C.S. Lewis)

    It’s all a fantasy.

    And a determined one at that.

  20. Apparently not all Christians believe that their faith is based on evidence. I don’t know if you know him or not but the
    Christian aplogogist (and Ph.D) Randal Rauser recently wrote

    “Epistemology

    The first problem came when Lennox responded to Dawkins’ anti-faith rhetoric by insisting that faith is based on
    evidence. This implies a type of evidentialism in which every proposition one rationally believes requires some evidence.

    But this quickly runs into problems. Consider a simple example.

    You need directions for a used book shop. So you stop a passerby and ask him directions. He tells you “Three blocks east and then turn left at 21st ave. It’s beside the flower shop.” Based on those directions you proceed down the street three blocks east and turn left…

    You clearly had faith in the testimony of that passerby. But what evidence was the faith based on? After all, you’d never met the fellow before. Perhaps Lennox could reply like this:

    “If I’m going to buy a used car I start it up and look it over. If it idles smoothly and there are no visible problems then that is evidence that the car is reliable. It may not be first-rate evidence, but it is evidence just the same. Well the same goes for testimony. The fact that the passerby appears reasonable and honest — everything seems to be running smoothly — provides evidence that he is trustworthy. Granted he could be a liar and the car could be a lemon. But in each case there is evidence on which faith is based. Perhaps.

    At this point we find ourselves grappling with the blurred lines of the concept of evidence. Evidence is that which provides a reason or ground to assent to the truth of a proposition. So when does something provide a reason or ground to believe something else is true? Does the fact that a person appears to be reasonable and honest provide a reason or ground to assent to the truth of what that person says? Perhaps we ought to trust that person, but is it proper to say that we’re trusting them based on evidence?

    The bottom line is that we can’t seek evidence for everything we believe. And any attempt to ground all our beliefs in evidence will end up defining evidence so broadly as to make the concept nearly meaningless.”

    Other well-known Christians apologists such as Alvin Plantinga have also stated that believing without evidence is a proper belief. If evidence is out there, even if it is only the bible, then it seems strange that these well-trained men of God don’t seem to take it that way.

  21. Here is a thought for the thinking Christian. If you were born in Saudi Arabia this web site would likely be called “The Thinking Muslim.” If you were born in Thailand, “The Thinking Buddhist.” If you were born in Utah, “The Thinking Mormon.”

    I have met Muslim evangelists and apologists. Their claim to fulfilled prophesy and certainty that the Quran is the perfect word of Allah is every bit as strong as yours.

    In my opinion the multiplicity of religions and denominations is powerful evidence that all religions are man made. The data fits natural cultural and religious evolution rather than a supreme omnipotent omniscient omnipresent omnibenevolant deity.

    Then you have the practical problem of eternal hell. Assuming a conservative estimate of 10% born again Christian, the global rate if souls going to spend eternity in hell is 1.6 souls per second. If Christinity is true that is a collosal failure on God’s part.

  22. Thanks for the thoughts, John. Neither of them is new. For the geographic question, I suggest you look up Chapter 6 in my co-edited book True Reason (see the sidebar). I don’t think it’s a terribly difficult objection.

    Eternal hell is different. It’s my own single biggest difficulty with Christianity, though I don’t see it as a failure on God’s part; that’s a misunderstanding of the word “God,” among other things. I don’t want to get started on that topic here, though with your helpful reminder I’ve added it to my list above. In the meantime, I suggest you listen to Timothy Keller’s insightful analysis.

    Thanks for commenting.

  23. John, RE: #28

    You say this: “In my opinion the multiplicity of religions and denominations is powerful evidence that all religions are man made.”

    Who ever claimed that religions are not “man made”? What artifact of human culture is not?

    I frequently use this analogy in response to your argument that religious diversity is evidence of anything other than religious diversity. There are thousands of human languages spoken around the world. This is attributable to geographical and historical realities. Is linguistic diversity evidence that there is no such thing as language? The fact that a Muslim child growing up in a culture and a family where Islam is the religion of his/her environment will adopt Islam as his/her religion as an adult is no more remarkable or significant than the fact that s/he will speak Farsi. How does this fact say anything about a supreme deity?

  24. Jenna/Tom

    The point of geography and hell are connected. If you are born in Saudi Arabia your chances of going to heaven are very slim. If you are born in The US they are much higher.

    Just an observation that to me reflects on the nature of God.

    Same as the God of the OT.

    I’d rather spend eternity in hell with Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Cristopher Hitchens than spend eternity in heaven with Jeffrey Dahmer.

  25. John, RE: #28

    You appear to feel very confident that you know God’s criteria for “entry” into hell: consulting a map. Where did you get this notion? It most certainly doesn’t coincide with any teachings of Judaism or Christianity with which I am familiar.

    If you choose hell, that is perfectly in keeping with C.S. Lewis’ perspective, as expressed in his book, “The Great Divorce”:

    There are only two kinds of people in the end:
    those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’
    And those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’
    All that are in Hell, choose it.”

  26. Jenna,

    Maybe I am misunderstanding Evangelical Christianity. Do you not agree that a Muslim is going to hell and that an evangelical born a again Christian is going to heaven?

    Muslims say Thy Will Be Done as well but I am sure you think they are saying that to the wrong “Thy”

    So geography does dictate the probability that one is going to heaven.

    Of course this is an absurdity which is why I am an (evil) atheist.

    I listened to Timothy Keller’s sermon and I couldn’t disagree more. I am a happy atheist. I love my life because I know that I have only one life to live. I sleep very well at night and have absolutely no fear of death.

    I cannot say the same for the 15 years that I was an evangelical Christian.

  27. John, probability is valid and useful across groups, not for individuals. The probability that I’m going to heaven is not 0.3 because I’m an American. The probability that I’m going to heaven is 1 if I accept God’s terms for going there and 0 if I do not. There is no in-between condition–except for this: if you haven’t decided yet, you yourself stand between heaven and hell.

    I’m sorry that your 15 years as an evangelical were not satisfying to you. I’d be interested in knowing more.

  28. Tom

    I disagree with your probability assessment. I grant you the binary outcome for an individual, but the likelihood of of a 1 is determined by the population expected value.

    Just as researchers look for factors that influence cancer, even though it is a binary outcome – the individual either has it or doesn’t – but you are still interested in the factors that impact the population probability (logistic regression).

    So I think that one can discuss the probability of going to heaven as determined by location. There are not very many 1’s in Saudi Arabia!

    Which is one reason that I gave up on Christianity. Eternal hell turned me into an agnostic. Your antagonists, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss and Jerry Coyne turned me into an atheist.

  29. It has been an interesting chat. I will buy your book.

    I’m still scratching my head about one of your posts that that evidence for Jesus walking on water is as good as the evidence for a molten core (paraphrasing). Your not going to win very many atheists with statements like that.

  30. John, your probability of being an atheist is far greater where you live than it would be in Saudi Arabia.

    If my antagonists turned you into an atheist, WHY? If there are any good arguments for atheism, they’re not to be found in their writings.

    I’m serious: they’re embarrassingly easy to refute. I would hope you might do better than that!

    I really think you should get a copy of True Reason.

  31. What do you know. I bought the book when it first came out. I have hundreds of books so it got buried.

    I did have a quick glance at ch 6 and to me Loftus OTF makes perfect sense.

    I will read the chapter in detail though.

  32. John,

    You talk about beliefs of “Evangelical Christianity” as if whatever people who call themselves “evangelicals” say Christianity is, is Christianity. I believe that only what Jesus Christ says is what Christianity is. Jesus was a Jew and Jews did/do not believe that all Gentiles will not see the afterlife. See the Laws of Noah, aka Noachide Law. So I have no basis in Jesus’ teachings to think that your notions about hell, the ones you say you reject, are consistent with Jesus’ teachings.

    I join Tom in wondering what it is in the ideas and writings of the “antagonists” of Christianity that you list that “turned [you] into an agnostic.”

  33. So geography does dictate the probability that one is going to heaven.

    Only someone without any understanding of the history of Christianity could make this kind of uninformed assertion. If you know anything about Christianity you would know that geography has little if anything to do with it. Christianity began in the Middle East/Mediterranean and became the dominant religion there through conversion. It moved to Europe mainly through conversion, on to the New World where conversion was again the a critical component of it’s spread both in North and South America. Since then it has become the dominant religion in Africa again through conversion. There is now a major conversion going on in China where it’s estimated there are more Christians than in America. The geography of Christianity has moved throughout time and has spanned the globe in it’s reach.

    Your antagonists, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss and Jerry Coyne turned me into an atheist.

    Doesn’t say much for your ability to reason.

  34. Sure, let’s start with the fact of evolution. Jerry Coyne’s book demonstrates that very well. ID and creationism are pseudo science.

    I will assume that you are not YEC so need not address that.

    Then we move on to Noah’s flood, and there we have kangaroos migrating from Australia and Penguins from Antarctica without a trace.

    Then we have a mass exodus without a scrap of archeological evidence.

    Then we have a staff turning to a serpent, a talking donkey, a floating axe head, Joshua’s long day, and so on.

    Then we have the immoral Bible: slavery, genocide, infanticide, misogyny and homophobia. This is the root of immoral treatment of gays today.

    The problem of evil and natural disasters. Two models: Christian theology versus naturalistic stochastic. The universe is exactly as one would expect if there was no God.

    The problem of eternal hell as discussed above.

    Of course I know that these will not convince you to leave your faith. You will have counter arguments and explanations for each point. For me, taken as a whole, the atheist world view simply makes sense. It is the model that best fits the data.

  35. Sorry, but what is the atheistic world view? Would this be naturalism of Coyne who believes in determinism? Or the naturalism of Dawkins who believes in an amoral universe? Or is it something else, John?

    Would you care if we did?

    Now that is a fantastic question.

  36. Billy

    I cannot speak on behalf of Coyne or Dawkins, but for me, I do not believe in any gods, God, Satan, angels, demons, heaven or hell.

    I believe that we are very lucky to be alive and as living beings we will exist for a very brief period of time because of some inevitable mass extinction.

    I believe that humans do a much better job at determine what is right than the writers of the bible (as amply demonstrated with regards to slavery and homosexuality).

    I believe that since we have only one life to live that you should live it to the fullest, make every day count, focus on friends, family and making the earth a better place to live.

  37. On my list starting with the fact of evolution I forgot to include the fact that genetics proves that Adam and Eve could not have existed as the first humans. For this see your biologos.org. I like how they come up with headship!

  38. I believe that humans do a much better job at determine what is right than the writers of the bible (as amply demonstrated with regards to slavery and homosexuality).

    Eh, if you are an atheist then you believe that the Bible is the work of humans and can never be anything more. The same goes for every other morally prescriptive holy text out there. Given that the writers of the Bible were humans you are contradicting yourself. With tedious inevitability you have resorted to special pleading with regards to morality and the Bible. (“The Bible says morally detestable stuff about homosexuals but, ugh, there is no objective morality so… eh, yeah!”) Our naturalistic friend, Shane, has provided a good example of this tactic in comments past. It appears that the baton has been taken up by you, John.

    On my list starting with the fact of evolution I forgot to include the fact that genetics proves that Adam and Eve could not have existed as the first humans

    So you are a Biblical literalist? The thing is, John, you have already mentioned theists who have a different understanding of Genesis to you. your objection doesn’t work against their convictions. So it makes me highly sceptical that anything we can say to you will make a pick of difference when you both mention and then ignore one possible answer to your challenge.

  39. Listen John. If you don’t believe in God then you don’t. It a free country, as they say. Here we are more interested in finding out why someone holds the position they do not just what position they hold. You’ve given us very few if any reasons either for your position or for your rejection of ours. When you have something specific to discuss why don’t you let us know.

  40. Thanks all for the conversation. You can continue to believe in talking donkeys, floating axe heads, long days, walking on water, resurrections. I will continue to believe that which can be falsified and the evidence fails to falsify, and leads to further predictability.

  41. I will continue to believe that which can be falsified and the evidence fails to falsify, and leads to further predictability.

    I wonder why atheist skeptics talk as if they *own* Science? When for the most part, as evidenced in general by the many commenters here as well as John in particular, their understanding of it is little better than pedestrian? When to frame the discussion as if it is some kind of competition of religion vs. science is just to show one’s lack of understanding?

    Mysteries, mysteries.

  42. Please note that what John has given us in comment #41 is what can be described as an atheists’ credo. Consistently, we hear a set of beliefs that atheists espouse as the basis for their rejection of Christianity, the Bible, etc. and about the alleged conflict between science and religion, all of which have been thoroughly debunked. The book True Reason addresses most of these. Unfortunately, atheists just haven’t gotten the word that their claim to being the party of reason has been soundly refuted. This won’t change their beliefs, which they also claim they don’t have when they define atheism as “a lack of belief in God.”

  43. G. Rodrigues

    I’m always willing to learn, so can you please enlighten me as to what was wrong with the statement of falsifiability?

    I do understand the difference between a null and alternative, reject and fail to reject. Is that what you are referring to?

    I am an applied statistical consultant, not a scientist, so my wording may have been technically incorrect.

  44.