Monday, May 26, 2008

A Conversation with an Atheist

I am part of the "blogging" community at a great website entitled An author on the site every Sunday posts an interesting examination of Islam and the Qu'ran and gives otherwise laypeople on the subject of Islam a world class scholar treatment on the subject. As is always the case in a Christian society, many different discussion about Christian leek through and today was really no different. I recently participated in a discussion with a very knowledgeable "atheist" on the matter of the existence of God. For fairness to his argument I will post what he said verbatim and then offer a reply. I guess you can be the judge.


Our limited senses only allow us to perceive a three dimensional space sliding along a time line whereas current physical theories place us in an 11 dimensional universe. So that nothing you worry about has 7 dimensions to roam around in masquerading as something. So don’t worry, modern physics is nowhere near postulating creation ex-nihilo."

Now I will tell you right off the bat; this guy is good. From what I can understand of basic physics it is that we have discovered that multi-dimensions exist and that we are only in a certain plain, mainly 3rd. However, this argument does not assist the atheist in his case nor does it work against a theists. First, many atheists try to grab ground by stating that you are coming at them with religious presuppositions while they are coming at you with science. This was clearly seen when the gentleman I had this discussion with stated that:
"St. Anselm’s ontological proof for the existence of god was completely destroyed by Immanuel Kant and David Hume by observing that it contains the unjustified assumption that the real is more perfect than the unreal or that existence is more perfect than non existence; these are belief statements which should have no part in a logical argument."

This is what is conveniently called throwing dust in your eyes. First, the idea that you can come at a certain aspect of evidence without presuppositions is circular and impossible. You cannot find evidence unless you put it together and you cannot put it together if you do not have at least an idea of what you are looking at and what you are looking for. Let us continue:

"We perceive the universe as ordered since we are part of it. This is almost a condition for us to remain sane and is certainly necessary for survival. This perceived order does not imply that there is a creator. In any event, if there were some super creator entity would still be legitimate to ask who or what created the creator. The usual answer about god always existing does not suffice since the universe could also have always existed without this add on."

I do not remember the exact logical flaw that the first sentence is but I do know that it is one. You cannot really understand something unless you have something to compare it to. Justice does not tell you what justice is just like love does not define love to you. There has to be something from which a thing "originates" in order to "define" it. Plus, why do we all universally perceive this order and why do we all know when it is out of place? My point to this gentleman was simply that I wouldn't want to believe in his god either. He is to small and to weak to even be fathomed. The idea also that the earth could be eternal was thrown away years ago. And by the definition of Anselm's argument (which my friend here does not understand) the greatest possible thing we can think of is God so therefore it is impossible to think of something even greater.

Admittedly, the theist arguments for God cannot give the "smoking gun" to any headstrong atheist. However, given the alternatives it makes the most sense. If you need an example, look no further then my friend arguing that E.T. could exist on some plane beyond our senses which dropped us off here to find our way through the depraved world in which we live. I present a God, who lives in another dimension but also dwells in this one and any others for that matter. Who is uncaused because, He is, and since He is, He is/was able to cause me. And because He caused me I can look at this world as not the depraved, spinning disaster it sometimes seems to be but as something which is a part of the master plan. It does take faith to believe in God. But what exactly does my friend prevent as the alternative?
"We perceive the universe as ordered since we are part of it. This is almost a condition for us to remain sane and is certainly necessary for survival."
Scary words indeed.


Anonymous said...

Hi Brother Bell,
I comment at Hot Air also and have for a few years now. A comment you left last week caught my eye and I followed your link. When I read this post, I went back to your conversation with the atheist and read the exchange. He/she was a learned person, and seemed to have a good grasp of science as well as theology. With my limited knowledge, I would not have been able to answer all his/her questions or allegations against/about our Lord and Savior. I would have only been able to try and turn the table and ask him/her how a 12th century man knew of the '10' dimensions, he/she was referring to, only from his study of Torah. His name, Nachmanides (Ramban).
Quote: "everything that has existed, or will ever exist, was, is and will be formed. The pencil-beam of ,Upper Light, that formed the universe in its "seed" state was composed of ten aspects or dimensions. During the six days of creation, six of these ten aspects became so small that we are capable only of detecting four, the four dimensions of physical existence. There are endless parallels between Torah and scientific study. This paper deals with the one concerning the age of the universe. The Torah is literally the blueprint of the entire universe.- Ramban Nachmanides"
I just found this link , it is not where I first learned of Nachmanides but his quote is on this website page and the site looks interesting to me, so I thought it might be to you.

I have been a Christian my whole life of 44 years but only in the last three or so have become aware just how fantastic and extremely interesting The Holy Bible truly is. It is without a doubt, the Word of our Living God.

Good luck with your studies. I wish I would have learned about The Bible at a younger age but I do believe things happen in the way and time they do for a reason.

God Bless you and yours,
ab initio ad infinitum

Atheists do not exist. They're not real. If there were ever a true atheist, they would not invest so much energy in trying to convince themselves and others that God does not exist. The thought of God consumes them!

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14