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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I Am Not An Atheist: A Dialogue

   The scene is wherever. The characters are whomever. And the conversation has turned to religion.


 Nonbeliever: I guess I'm an atheist.

Believer: An atheist really? As a Christian theist, I find that atheism fails to account for a great many areas of life that, conversely, belief in God does account for. 

NON: Is that so? Like what? 

BE: Well, for one the beginning of the universe. 

NON: Ugh. You mean Creation versus evolution. 

BE: Nope I mean the beginning. I'm talking about the origin of the universe. 

NON: I'm listening. 

 BE: Let me put it in the form of an argument.
  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

NON: Hold on there! Let's look at those..umm....

 BE: You mean premises (the numbered points in the argument). 

NON: Yeah. What do you mean everything that begins to exist has a cause? 

BE: Basically, it means that things don't just pop into existence uncaused out of nothing. There was something that caused them to come into existence. 

NON: OK, that makes sense, but I heard my physics teacher talk about how virtual particles come out of the word nothing

BE: That's a very common misconception based on different definitions of nothing. When physicists talk about these virtual particles coming out of nothing they don't really mean non-being, but instead are talking about the invisible quantum vacuum. 

NON: Quantum vacuum? 

BE: The QV is a rich sea of energy that has a physical structure and is subject to physical laws. In other words, it's not nothing. 

NON: OK, what about the second premise. Did the universe began to exist? 

BE: Well, the majority of astrophysicists and cosmologists would say that it did.

 NON: In the Big Bang right? 

BE: Right the universe is expanding and the idea is that all of space and time, aka physical reality, came into existence suddenly at the Big Bang. 

NON: I believe in the Big Bang, but science is subject to change. I mean can't the earth be eternal anyway? 

BE: Good question. The idea of a universe that is infinite in the past has some serious philosophical problems.  

NON: How so?

BE: Let me give you an example. If I have an actually infinite number of coins and I take away all the odd numbered coins, how many do I have? 

NON: Well...I guess...you still have an infinite number of coins. Right? 

BE: Yep. So infinity minus infinity equals infinity. Let's try another: suppose I subtract all but three of the coins, how many do I have then?

NON: Obviously you have three coins. 

BE: Exactly. So infinity minus infinity equals 3. 

NON: But isn't that in contradiction with the first answer? 

BE: That's the point! When you export the concept of infinity out of pure math into the real world you get contractions. You can do the same math to show the absurdity of an infinite number of past events, just as you can with coins. Therefore, there can be no actual infinite number of things in the world and the universe cannot be actually infinite in the past. 

NON: Okay, but isn't "god" infinite. 

BE: Yes, but the infinity of God is qualitative, not quantitative, so the argument doesn't apply. 

NON: I thought you could take a segment and cut it in half and in half again an infinite amount of times. 

BE: That's true. But that is an example of a potential infinite, which could potentially go on forever as opposed to an actual infinite which actually exists at one time. Heaven is an example of a potential infinite. 

NON: OK, so if everything that begins to exist has a cause and the universe began to exist, I guess it follows the universe has a cause. 

BE: You got it.

NON: But how is that an argument against atheism? 

BE:  We know the cause of the universe has to be outside of space and time initially, becuase it created space and time. 

NON: OK.

BE: The cause also created a incomprehensibly vast and intricate universe that is viable which means the cause must be maximally intelligent and powerful. 

NON: I'm with you so far.

BE: Not only that, but the cause of the universe also has to be personal, for if it was simply a non-personal necessary and sufficient cause, it, the cause, could not exist without the effect and the universe would be eternal, because the cause would always have possessed the necessary properties to bring the universe into existence

However, we've show that the universe is not and cannot be eternal, but that it came into existence a finite time ago. That is only possible if the cause exercised a will to create, and is therefore a personal being. 

So let's recap: we have a spaceless, timeless, necessary, maximally intelligent, maximally powerful, personal being who is the the Ultimate Cause. This, of course, describes the classical monotheistic concept of God.

So the absolute beginning of the universe lends itself as evidence of Godand against atheism. 

NON: Hmm. OK what else.

BE: Let's take objective moral values and duties.

NON: You mean right and wrong?


BE: Precisely. 

Here's another argument:
  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.
If the premises are true then the conclusion follows whether we like it or not.

NON: But is the first premise true? It's a little intolerant to say that we can't be good without believing in God.

BE: Whoa! Wait a second! I'm not saying that we need to believe in God in order to do good acts or to know what is right and wrong. In fact, The Bible tells us in Romans that God has written His moral code on our hearts, so that we have a kind of innate grasp on right and wrong. 

However, that is a matter of moral epistemology. I'm talking about moral ontology. Or what is the basis for moral values.

NON: OK, but why can't moral values have their basis in nature?

BE: If nature is all their is, morality is only spin-off of social and biological evolution. It may be disadvantageous to kill and murder, but it isn't immoral. When the cat kills the mouse, it kills it, but it doesn't murder it.

NON: But animals don't have the ability to understand right and wrong. That's the difference.

BE: I absolutely agree, but simply perceiving that something is moral, doesn't compel one to act on it. The moral relativist can always fall back on says who.

Divine Command Theory provides us with a compelling reason to act on moral intuition and the theistic concept of God provides us with a ground for those objective values and duties.

NON: OK, but what about the moral landscape? Can't morality be tied to what's best for human flourishing.

BE: I think not. If a is equal to b, then a is equal to b in every possible world.  If there is a possible world in which human flourishing is not equal to moral goodness then it follows that human flourishing is not equal to moral goodness. Imagine the psychopath or sadist who thrives on inflicting pain on others, if it is possible that they would be just as happy, in any possible world, as a good person that is follows that the moral landscape is not a moral landscape.
 
 NON: I guess I can see that.

 BE: I think the Moral argument stands as valid. Are you up for one more?

NON: Of course. What else you got?

BE: This time we have an argument from history, namely, the resurrection of Jesus.

NON: Oh brother, this I gotta hear.

BE: Hear me out. There are four facts about the resurrection that are agreed upon by the vast majority of New Testament scholars, religious and non-religious.

 1. Jesus’ burial by Joseph of Arimathea in a tomb
 2.The discovery of his empty tomb
  3.His post-mortem appearances
 4. The origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection


NON: Slow down there! Aren't we assuming that Jesus' even existed. 

BE: Oh, come on. 
You will be hard pressed to find any expert with a Phd in any relevant field of study that thinks Jesus didn't exist as a historical figure. There is just too much internal and external evidence for the life of Jesus of Nazareth to deny he existed. The New Testament, the gnostic gospels, and other secular sources all verify Jesus existence.

NON: Okay. Okay. Can you explain those four facts further?

BE: Sure. Let's take them one by one.

Jesus burial is independently and multiply attested by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and some of Paul's letters. Matthew, Luke, John, and the non-canonical gospel of Peter also attest that Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimithea, a Jewish Sanhedrinist. 

It makes no sense that the disciples would make up a story about a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin expressing care toward Jesus, when the early Church was understandably hostile toward the Jewish leaders who orchestrated Jesus' execution. If the account was a legend, the disciples would never have painted Joseph in such a light.

NON: Okay, Jesus died and was buried. What's next?

BE: the empty tomb story is also independently attested and, even stranger, the narrative is one that has women finding the empty tomb.

NON: Why is that significant?

BE: A women's word wasn't worth much in the male-dominated Jewish world in which Jesus had lived. In fact, women couldn't even testify in a court! 

That it was women who discovered Jesus' empty tomb, shows that this is not a doctored text, for if it had been subject to myth-making, the male dsciples would have discovered the tomb.

NON: Interesting. What about the other two facts.

BE: The Gospels present numerous individually attested experiences of Jesus, following his death, and Paul lists, along with himself, many more who had similar appearances.

NON: Couldn't they have been hallucinating?

BE: Have you ever heard of more than 500 people hallucinating the same thing over a period of more than a hundred days?

NON: Haha. I guess not. What about the last fact?

BE: The disciples had no conception of a dying Messiah. 

The Christ was supposed to come and liberate his people from the captive of the Romans and here they are with a dead leader one day and soon after, a large group of men and women are following a risen Lord and even dying for him.

NON: Wow. That's pretty heavy stuff., but aren't you assuming biblical inerracy for all this?

BE: Not at all. I'm simply looking at the texts as historical literature. Even if there were contradictions in the accounts, as long as they were in the secondary details, it does nothing to this argument.

 NON: So even if the New Testament still isn't inspired it doesn't affect the evidence presented in the biblical texts?

BE: Exactly! 

In summation,  Jesus died, was buried, had his tomb found empty, and was experienced after his death by hundreds of people. In addition, the disciples were now spouting a theology that had no precursor in Jewish or pagan thought, and were now worshiping a "risen Lord". 

NON: Hmm. I guess my main question is aren't there other kinds of explanations for all the phenomena and facts you've presented?

BE: There absolutely is. My contention, however, is that the explanations I've given you are the best explanations based on the evidence we have. It's up to you to search out the truth. Of course, you don't have to do it alone.

NON: I guess your going to tell me you believe that Jesus can help me?

BE: With all my heart I do.

NON: You've presented me with a lot of stuff, I'd love to talk about this more, but for now I need to do some thinking.

BE: That's all I ask. I believe if you seek God with an open heart and mind, you will find Him.
               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------


This is a fabricated conversation I've authored based on conversations I've had, objections I've heard, debates I've listened to, and things I've learned from listening to godly men defend the faith. I'd like to thank Dr. William Lane Craig, without whose work I would be ignorant of 99% of the things in this blog post. 

While my blog is meant for the edification of believers, if you are a non-Christian I hope you will think about the arguments (these are just 3 of MANY) I've presented and search for God with an open heart.

Some sources I used:  http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-there-historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-the-craig-ehrman
www.reasonablefaith.org/
http://www.apologetics315.com/
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL_vAH2NIPc
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/did-jesus-exist_b_1349544.html

31 comments:

  1. Just because you don't know the answers does not mean that a God(s) did it. In your first argument, your premise(s) are invalid because they are not true. Not everything has a cause. Your second argument is nonsense. You screwed up basic science and converted into what you want it to be. I suggest some college classes (not homeschool) to help further explain these physics. IN your last argument, you are basing it on the gospels are actually written by the said authors. Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke were gospels written after their death, by people who have heard the stories years and years later. Historical and biblical scholars know that they could not have been written by the people they are named after. Since the the stories are written by unknowns your argument and your whole line of reasoning is invalid. You cannot say that you know those people (Mark, Luke, etc.) actually witnessed anything, because they were not written by them. Similar to how Paul Bunyon turned into a giant with a huge Ox. Perhaps there was a guy with an Ox. Perhaps the ox was even blue and the man was 7 feet tall. The story is still exaggerated. Exaggeration is a form of a lie.

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    1. I would have to say that I agree completely with this post. Judging from some of the blog posts and arguments you have made, it is clear that you do not know much about science or math, especially calculus. You mis-represent the laws of physics and chemistry (laws of thermodynamics), the theory of evolution, and countless other scientific laws and theories that are the pillar of our understanding of the world. The Bible does nothing to explain the phenomena that we see around us, that's what science is for. You clearly are lacking in a sound scientific background, and I agree that taking some college courses might be able to remedy that a bit, if you are able to open your mind long enough to accept something besides your narrow minded ideas. Clearly many of the stories in the Bible are parables - even Biblical scholars agree on that. Somewhat like Aesop's fables or Greek and Roman mythology - stories designed to teach people to have good values and morals, but not things that have actually happened. Flying too close to the sun melting wax used to hold wings together is no different from having 2 of each species put onto a boat and repopulating the earth. It's a lesson-teaching story showing us that we should not engage in certain behaviors... if the Great flood actually happened, don't you think we'd have another giant catastrophe in modern times since society is so polluted, deranged, troubled, and just downright sick? It's just a story, nothing more, nothing less. The teachings of the Bibles are great stories, they are a good firm basis for how we should act in society - God's word? Doubtful. Why is it that no one in modern times is getting messages from God? And great points to the previous poster about how what is in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John being, basically, hearsay. If they didn't write them themselves, it becomes a convoluted game of "telephone" where the original meaning/stories will never be known.

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    2. Thanks for commenting anonymous!

      I am not posting some "god of the gaps' as you seem to suggest, so your first contention falls flat.

      Also, if you aren't going to give an example of where I'm wrong how am I to address your qualms? What begins to exist that does not need a cause?

      There is good reason to believe that biblical authors were written by the names their books bear, but even if NOT it still has NO bearing on my argument.

      "Historical and biblical scholars know that they could not have been written by the people they are named after"- And how do they know that?

      It is my impression that a text can still be considered historical even if the author is unknown, so your other contention that "you cannot say that you know those people (Mark, Luke, etc.) actually witnessed anything, because they were not written by them" also falls flat.

      That you compare the NT to Paul Bunyan only goes to show your ignorance of NT scholarship, as well.

      All in all theses are not good objections and if you want to know more about the NT texts I'd encourage you to go to : http://www.apologetics315.com/.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    3. By the way, the mere fact that your blog is entitled "unpretentious spiritual musings" in itself is misleading and laughable. Things that are unpretentious do not need to be labeled as such - clearly this blog is extremely pretentious and you are trying to hide that fact by labeling it otherwise.

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    4. To be honest I pay no attention to "hit and run" critiques. If you are going to attack me and not give your name and decline to tell me exactly what I did wrong then why comment?

      If you aren't going to tell me how I mis-represented something then I will, of course, reject your assertions of hand.

      You say: "clearly many of the stories in the Bible are parables - even Biblical scholars agree on that". And I would agree with them.

      Most of your long, drawn out comment didn't address anything I'd wrote about except one of you last comments.

      If you are going to defend that the gospels are hearsay please explain the four facts that I presented in light of that view point.

      If you'd like to hear what real scholars have to say I'd suggest : http://apologetics315.s3.amazonaws.com/audio/03-mcgrew-internal-evidences-for-the-gospels.mp3

      Thanks!

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  2. First of all, as a believer you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT provide opinion or play the part of a non-believer, and you certainly can't play the non-believer accepting the believer's premises without contestation. What you're representing is an uninformed individual who has no actual counteropinions of their own, but instead is merely parroting what he's heard without understanding it.
    Second, I doubt that as a homeschooled sixteen year old, you have an understanding of Quantum Vacuum that goes beyond what wikipedia told you. I don't claim to either, but I won't be making my own claims regarding the fabric of the universe. I'll note that none of your cited sources are about quantum vacuum, a subject that you would not really be able to understand until well into a bachelors or even doctoral degree in physics. That aside, your definition of Quantum Vacuum is wilfully ignorant. Taken from physics.aps.org, "According to quantum mechanics, the vacuum is not empty, but teeming with virtual particles that constantly wink in and out of existence." That's what the quantum vacuum refers to. Also, note that these particles CONSTANTLY WINK IN AND OUT OF EXISTENCE. So right away, your very first premise, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause," is wrong.
    By the way, I want to point out that trying to suggest that non-believers are so bad at debating that they don't know what a 'premise' is dismissive, disrespectful to the person you're arguing wit, and is the sign of a poor argument.
    Third, you evidently have no actual understanding of mathematical infinity. Infinity ABSOLUTELY can be larger than infinity. Count from one to infinity, you get infinity. Count from one to two, you get infinity if you go small enough (1, 1.1, 1.11, 1.111, etc) That means that there are multiple sizes to infinity. For a better explanation, read this:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-infinity-comes-in-different-sizes
    You will notice, by the way, that that is from Scientific American, a reliable source on the subject of science. Sources like "reasonablefaith.org" would obviously have a pro-faith bias. And before you say that scientific american has an anti-faith bias, let me just say that they have a pro-science bias, and that just happens to mean that it's anti-faith (maybe that should tell you something about the so-called science used to support faith).
    As to the history aspect of your claims, they have nothing to do with creation other than the fact that some sources claim to 'know' the story of creation because God told them so. Religious text is the only source for the idea that God created the universe. But later you claim:

    NON: So even if the New Testament still isn't inspired it doesn't affect the evidence presented in the biblical texts?
    BE: Exactly!

    How can you suggest that the bible can be man-made (and not divinely inspired) and yet holds an absolute truth regarding the creation of the universe (which, by the way, is not even found in the New Testament but the Old, a set of texts you have conveniently neglected and which is full of contradictory and scientifically disprovable claims)

    I could go on breaking down most other claims you make, but let me just tackle one:

    BE: Have you ever heard of more than 500 people hallucinating the same thing over a period of more than a hundred days?
    ME: YES!!!!!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergotism
    A bad crop of rye, distributed over a village, could cause everybody to have a bad acid trip. I'm not claiming that this is the origin for this story, but I am claiming that just because YOU can't explain it, it doesn't mean that there ISN'T a scientific explanation that does not rely on divinity.

    Have a nice day.

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    1. "First of all, as a believer you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT provide opinion or play the part of a non-believer, and you certainly can't play the non-believer accepting the believer's premises without contestation." - I obviously disagree, And you are flat out wrong that the non-believer simply accepted the premises. Also, I wasn't portraying an arrogant INTERNET troll, but some very kind atheist friends I have spoken to who want to listen and not just argue.

      Your comment about virtual particles can easily be shown to be false. There is a CAUSAL relationship between the vacuum and the particles. They come from the vacuum and go back into the vacuum and cease to exist as a virtual particle.


      "By the way, I want to point out that trying to suggest that non-believers are so bad at debating that they don't know what a 'premise' is dismissive, disrespectful to the person you're arguing wit, and is the sign of a poor argument." - This is the difference between an Christian and a non-Christian. The non-Christian secular humanist may to pretend to know anything lest people think him dumb. The Christian, however, is not afraid of not knowing or asking for advice. The character did not know the meaning of the word "premise" for the sake of my readers who may not know, regardless if their religious status. Take it or leave it.

      "Third, you evidently have no actual understanding of mathematical infinity. Infinity ABSOLUTELY can be larger than infinity"- This has NO bearing on anything I said concerning infinity. I made it clear that infinity makes sense in pure math, bu cannot be exported into the real world. So you miss the real issue.

      "Sources like 'reasonablefaith.org' would obviously have a pro-faith bias"- Prove it. Don't just say it, prove it. Are you biased for contending for a point? If not, why would an apologetics organization be?

      In addition, I'm not sure what blog your reading, but I didn't argue for "creation" anywhere and none of the arguments I presented rely on the doctrines of biblical inspiration, infallibility, or inerrancy.

      If you would have read a the article you cited you would have know that ergotism produces delirious hallucinations and psychosis, and there is no way this could happen for 100 DAYS and the person still be left alive AND there is no way anyone would have converted to the faith if they were evangelized to by a mob of half-crazed diseased people. So, again, you've shown nothing.

      Talk is cheap, anonymous. I pray that you will not content yourself with surface level objections like these, but will dig deeper and find the truth. That is my challenge to you.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  3. http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/universe.html
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/the-bible-telling-lies-to_b_840301.html
    http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/how-new-testament-came-be-35th-annual-sidney-b-sperry-symposium/8-who-really-wrote-gospels-
    http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

    Here are some references for you to review, if you like.
    I was comparing tall tales. The story of Paul Bunyon has changed over the years. No one knows if he was real or not. We only have stories. Just like your Bible. Stories that have been fabricated for control over the masses. Do you know who wrote texts in the BIble? Do you know who rewrote it over and over? Catholics. Bishops. Priests. Kings. A gay king, at that. There is no original text of the Bible, only some dating farther back. Hebrew was the language used in most of the books of the bible and it is relevant to the time. For instance 'alma' is the hebrew word used to descibe Mary. It was translated into 'virgin'. It actually means young lady. You know how some people say 'bad' to actually mean good? It is slang. 'Alma' was also slang for virgin. This is how translation gets messed up. here is some examples of your christian history.
    http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=165


    I know I am zig-zagging all over the place, but you really need more education in order to teach your fellow christians how to argue. A debate with you would be wonderful. A real debate, not this made up crap you put on here.

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  4. I'm having trouble replying to specific comments, so please bear with me. To the anonymous that took issue with my blog title: the title is obviously tongue in cheek and there is a history behind it.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. These four?
    1. Jesus’ burial by Joseph of Arimathea in a tomb
    2.The discovery of his empty tomb
    3.His post-mortem appearances
    4. The origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection

    1. This point is not important, so I will not even try to dispute it. That Jesus was a person that lived and was buried is based in historical fact. Who buried him is irrelevant.

    2. There are any number of explanations for an empty tomb, among them: graverobbers, someone in his family moving him to a different location, his disciples moving him to a different location, him not being fully dead when he was placed in the tomb, etc.

    3. There are also explanations for this. Not everyone had previously SEEN Jesus in person. They could have been mistaken. It could have been a look-a-like imposter. They only recognized him as Jesus because of his bread breaking. According to the Bible he appeared in different forms - different forms, to me, means that he did not look the same each time he appeared. Could that possibly mean that it was a different person each time claiming to be Jesus or who was similar to Jesus? That is the most logical explanation, Occam's razor, not that he took so many different forms and appeared in different ways. Logical.

    4. Once again, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write those gospels, any number of people could have written them. There is no way to confirm that those people actually saw what the writings say they saw. We are not in their heads, they are not physically present today to ask about what they observed, so for you to say that we know that Jesus was resurrected because of what is in those writings is ludicrous.

    Also, my entire post was completely relevant to the argument at hand. I already said why I think the 4 gospels are hearsay, but apparently you chose not to read that part.

    As for where you are wrong, it's unnecessary to give one specific point because the entire post is wrong. Infinity minus infinity equaling 3? Really? that's the best you can come up with? I also don't understand why you are always arguing about tiny details that are irrelevant to the basic concept of being a Christian: believing that Jesus was the son of God and our savior. The whole time/space/infinity arguments have nothing to do with being a believer or a non-believer, those are merely small details of religion that are not particularly important, but that you seem to defend staunchly to attack Christians of other sects.

    Also, my name does not need to be known in order for my arguments to be valid - that's the nature of the internet. If you do not want anonymous comments, don't post in an open forum that other people can see and read.

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    1. Reply to your point 1: It matters greatly if the person your addressing is is a mythicist or a Muslim.

      Re pt. 2.: There is no recording of anyone ever surviving a Roman crucifixion. Not only that the disciples worshiped Jesus as Lord (4th fact) which would have been doubtful if he had stumbled half dead out of his tomb desperately in need of a doctor. Also, it is unlikely that grave robbing peasants would be able to overcome the roman guard posted at the tomb. Also the "thief hypothesis" does nothing to explain facts 3 and 4.

      Re to pt. 3: Jesus sat in the temple courts preaching everyday for quite sometime, he came in to Jerusalem on Donkey and the "whole city was stirred", he was publicly condemned at a large gathering and was publicly executed. If you didn't see Jesus you were hiding under a rock. Not only tat we know some who had experiences if Jesus following his death HAD seen Jesus because they had been his disciples. There is no way that all the people could be fooled by some "look-alike".

      "According to the Bible he appeared in different forms - different forms, to me, means that he did not look the same each time he appeared." - I'm not sure what your referring to.

      "They only recognized him as Jesus because of his bread breaking"- Says who?

      "Once again, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write those gospels, any number of people could have written them." - It does NOT matter to this argument who wrote the accounts. Their names could be Billy, Bob, Larry, and Mo. It makes no difference to this argument.

      "There is no way to confirm that those people actually saw what the writings say they saw" - Yes there is. When all other naturalistic explanations fail, we have the testimony that the disciples themselves gave: that God raised Jesus from the dead. What! WHAT, could possibly have led them to such a strong belief in Jesus' resurrection? Given the arguments for God, given the 4 facts we can reasonably accept the conclusion the disciples gave.


      "As for where you are wrong, it's unnecessary to give one specific point because the entire post is wrong. Infinity minus infinity equaling 3? Really? that's the best you can come up with?" - You choose to ignore the larger point: the concept of an actual infinite leads to self-contradictory answers when exported to the real world.


      "Also, my name does not need to be known in order for my arguments to be valid - that's the nature of the internet. If you do not want anonymous comments, don't post in an open forum that other people can see and read." - Well your name is not necessary, since I already know who you are.

      Thanks!

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  6. I can't tell you my name. I go to your church, Mahomet Christian, along with many other atheists. I would be disowned.

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  7. To the anonymous who sent in a comment with the letters "MCC" in it. You know who you are. I'm not sure if I believe you, but I want you to know that I am safe person to talk to. I cannot publish your comment however.

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  8. You are not a safe person to talk to. You are a young 16 yr old kid who has serious issues with his past. Obviously we all have issues and we all want to belong in a group. Your attitude that you are knowledgeable of these subjects is laughable. you continue to post rebukes that make no sense and don't even touch on the subjects. You need to read the article again and not construe it to fit your wants.
    You do not get the vacuum idea, dude. They do not actually get sucked up and then spit back out. They cease to exist. There is a difference.
    Infinity works the same way in mathmatics as it does in the real world.

    In college. They have classes. You take the classes and they teach what reliable sources are. Wiki is not, but for the sake of definition, I gave you one. If it has a '.org', it is not a reliable source. Ask any scholar or teacher of college works. Find proof of your claims from .gov, .edu sources, then we can have a real talk. Biased websites and articles make the information to sound how they want it to sound to further their agenda. That is the difference.

    http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~janzb/courses/scholarly1.htm Here is a link to show you how to find scholarly sources. Those Tube videos you showed are from people who have agendas. Let's see some facts from unbiased people and sources. You are like talking to a brick wall.

    It is sad to me that you are so convinced you know the 'truth'. You are so young and cocky and have this wall up to keep the real truth from getting in. Most of the people at our church go because their mothers went before them. Pastor D**** thinks evolution means we come from monkeys. He doesn't even know enough about evolution to claim it's wrong. The women at this church have known each other since they were young. They stayed through affairs of the old Pastors and stuck with their tradition, including your mom and dad. It is a tradition. Do you know any of them outside of church? Are you aware of the sex offenders that go there? Are you aware of the affair between one of the young singers and a married man? I doubt it. You see what you want to see, not the truth. Open your eyes and look around you.

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    1. I know I'm going to regret publishing your diatribe, but here goes.

      First of all, I have no delusions that I know everything. I love to learn and if anyone on the comment roll actually was interested in critiquing, point by point, the things I wrote I would be more that happy to read it.

      You are simply wrong about the quantum vacuum AND infinity. I showed very clearly that when you export the concept of an actual infinite into the real world you get self-contradictory answers. If I'm wrong then SHOW me. Also, I never said that the particles were spit out and sucked up, that is your caricature. There is a CAUSAL relationship between the vacuum and the particles, so the idea that the particles come from nothing and simply are gone is false. The particles cease to exist as a particle. Please explain why anything and everything does not come from nothing if it is possible. There is nothing about non-being that can regulate what could potentially pop into existence.

      If you think I am some kind of eager errand boy who desperately wants to prove I'm right, you are wrong. And any adult who thinks that the ".gov" or ".edu" means unbiased or reliable is as much of a fool as the people he/she denigrates.

      However here is a quote that verifies my points

      The words "nothing," "void," and "vacuum" usually suggest uninteresting empty space. To modern quantum physicists, however, the vacuum has turned out to be rich with complex and unexpected behaviour. They envisage it as a state of minimum energy where quantum fluctuations, consistent with the uncertainty principle of the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, can lead to the temporary formation of particle-antiparticle pairs. - http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/quantum_vacuum.html

      1. The only reason that the QV is considered nothing is definitional

      2.The QV is a sea of energy and is therefore NOT nothing.

      3. There is a causal relationship between the vacuum and the particles


      "It is sad to me that you are so convinced you know the 'truth'. You are so young and cocky and have this wall up to keep the real truth from getting in. " - Your hypocrisy is startling. You claim that I am "cocky" and that you are saddened that I am "convinced" that I have the truth, while in the NEXT BREATH claim to know that the imaginary wall you've ascribed to me is to keep me from the "real truth". Well how would you know that? I'm cocky for presenting arguments, and I guess your humble for asserting you have the real truth. I don't think so.

      As to the indictment in your last comment : You can spread your seeds of poison around, you can attack me, you can attack them, but the only person I lift my voice and sing for in Church is the Lord Jesus Christ. Period. He is the only one I pray to, the only one I worship, the only one I live for. No one else. If your little bombshells are meant to shock me, you are a terrible judge of character. You are hypocrite as much as the rest of them and you will all be exposed in the end. I pray you repent and turn before your sin finds you out.

      Lastly, If you want to claim that God doesn't exist, don't come at me with such flimsy attacks.

      In Love and Prayer, Eric

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    2. Where do you keep getting causality from? You need to SHOW that something causes it, not simply say that because it's there it has a cause. That is your PREMISE, you can't also use it as a conclusion.

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    3. I never said that "because it's there" it has a cause. Please read this quote from recognized physicists J.D. Barrow and Frank Tipler in their book:


      ". . . the modern picture of the quantum vacuum differs radically from the classical and everyday meaning of a vacuum-- nothing. . . . The quantum vacuum (or vacuua, as there can exist many) states . . . are defined simply as local, or global, energy minima (1986, p. 440). The microstructure of the quantum vacuum is a sea of continually FORMING and DISSOLVING particles which BORROW energy from the vacuum for their brief existence. A quantum vacuum is thus far from nothing, and vacuum fluctuations do not constitute an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause." (emphasis mine)

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    4. The premise is that whatever has a beginning to its existence must have a cause. What reason is there to believe this causal principle is true? It's not self-evident; something is self-evident if and only if everyone who understands it automatically believes it. This principle is not self-evident, nor can this principle be deduced from any self-evident proposition. Therefore there's no reason to think it's true. It is either false or it has the status of a statement we do not know if it's true or false. At the very least, it is clear that we do not know that it is true. There's absolutely no evidence that it is true. All of the observations we have are of changes in things -- of something changing from one state to another. Things move, come to a rest, get larger, get smaller, combine with other things, divide in half, and so on. But we have no observation of things coming into existence. For example, we have no observations of people coming into existence. You merely have a change of things. An egg cell and a sperm cell change their state by combining together. The combination divides, enlarges, and eventually evolves into an adult human being. Therefore I conclude that we have no evidence at all that the empirical version of your statement, "Whatever begins to exist has a cause," is true. All of the causes we are aware of are changes in pre-existing materials. In your and other theist's causal principle, "cause" means something entirely different: it means creating material from nothingness. It is pure speculation that such a strange sort of causation is even possible, let alone even supported in our observations in our daily lives.

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    5. The claim that the beginning of our universe has a cause conflicts with current scientific theory. The scientific theory is called the wave function of the universe. It has been developed in the past ten years or so by Stephen Hawking, Andre Vilenkin, Alex Linde, and many others. Their theory is that there is a scientific law of nature called the Wave Function of the Universe that implies that it is highly probable that a universe with our characteristics will come into existence without a cause. Hawking's theory is based on assigning numbers to all possible universes. All of the numbers cancel out except for a universe with features our universe possesses. For example, contains intelligent organisms such as humans. This remaining universe has a certain probability very high -- near to a hundred percent -- of coming into existence uncaused.
      Hawking's theory is confirmed by observational evidence. This theory predicts our universe has evenly-distributed matter on a large scale, which would be on scales of super-clusters of galaxies. It predicts that the expansion rate of our universe -- our universe has been expanding ever since -- would be almost exactly between the rate of the universe expanding forever and the rate where it expands and then collapses. It also predicts the very early area of rapid expansion near the beginning of the universe called inflation. Hawking's theory exactly predicted what the COBE satellite discovered about the irregularities of the background radiation in the universe. So a scientific theory that is confirmed by observational evidence tells us that the universe began without being caused. So if you want to be a rational person and accepts the results of rational inquiry into nature, then we must accept the fact that God did not cause the universe to exist. The universe exists because of this wave-function law.

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    6. Now Stephen Hawking's theory dissolves any worries about how the universe could begin to exist uncaused. He supposes that there is a timeless space, a four-dimensional hypersphere, near the beginning of the universe. It is smaller than the nucleus of an atom. It is smaller than 10^-33 centimeters in radius. Since it was timeless, it no more needs a cause than the timeless god of theism. This timeless hypersphere is connected to our expanding universe. Our universe begins smaller than an atom and explodes in a Big Bang and here we are today in a universe that is still expanding. Is it nonetheless possible that God could have caused this universe? No. For the wave function of the universe implies there is a 95% probability that the universe came into existence uncaused. If God created the universe, he would contradict this scientific law in two ways. First, the scientific law says that the universe would come into existence because of its natural, mathematical properties, not because of any supernatural forces. Second, the scientific law says the probability is only 95% that the universe would come into existence. But if God created the universe, the probability would be 100% that it would come into existence because God is all-powerful. If God wills the universe to come into existence, his will is guaranteed to be 100% effective. So, contemporary scientific cosmology is not only not supported by any theistic theory, it is actually logically inconsistent with theism. So I think that is the strongest scientific argument there is against theism.
      Another reason I know your God cannot be all powerful is because of rocks. Can he make a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it? If so, then he is not all powerful because he can lift it. If not? Then he is not all powerful because he can’t make it. Oldest logic in the book, my friend. Case closed and the books are shut on your ridiculous understanding of our Universe. Bring me some new stuff!

      Resources:
      http://library.thinkquest.org/27930/wavefunction.htm
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3345641/Stephen-Hawkings-explosive-new-theory.html
      http://www.babycenter.com/0_getting-pregnant-how-babies-are-made_7056.bcd

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    7. Thanks for opining!

      The last argument you made is easily dispatched:

      Omnipotence is being able to do anything that can be done. Creating a rock that is do big for an omnipotent God to make cannot be done, and therefore has no bearing on God's omnipotence. Not to mention that whole concept is contradictory, so that a rock of that kind makes as much sense as saying sjdn64si0##~gs8.

      For a refutation of wave function see here :http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-caused-beginning-of-the-universe-a-response-to-quentin-smith

      Also, you say: "the scientific law says that the universe would come into existence because of its natural, mathematical properties, not because of any supernatural forces.."- What is this one "law". Though it really doesn't matter because a "law" only describes something, but cannot make such a judgment .

      Thanks!

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    8. omnipotent |ämˈnipətənt|
      adjective
      (of a deity) having unlimited power; able to do anything.
      • having ultimate power and influence : an omnipotent sovereign.

      (You have the authority to redefine a definition? I don't think so.)

      As for the refutation, it was pretty much a twist of the way the universe works. Or at lest what we know of it. Here a great quote: http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/read/1999/10/01/holy-wars

      No religion on Earth has ever been backed up by science. None.

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  9. Well, we are not going to agree on Quantum Vaccuum. Aside from that and infinity, which you don't properly understand either, you really just don't see through your own veil. "Any adult"... really? You claim to be more academadic than an adult? Gimme a break.
    Your last paragraph is so sad to me! I honestly feel sorry for you. You sing, pray, and live for someone that you believe exists based on your ideas of science and mathmatics. Your life means nothing. You have no purpose except to die and go to 'heaven'. I suppose he talks back? Or is it just a feeling you have? Does he speak to you aloud? Or have you seen him in a closet, like another member of the church. Gimme a break. If god wanted us to follow him, he would come down and introduce himself.
    I used to be a believer. Went to many different churches. Spoke in tongues and danced around at Evang. ones, raised Catholic, and then of course MCC. Thought I saw angels and demons in people and on the streets. You know what? When you want something bad enough, your mind can make it happen. I decided to see how different my life would be without god, just for one week. I did not pray, I did not go to church, I did not do anything religious. You know what? It was liberating. I felt free. I released the chains of bondage to a narcissitic god and moved on. I have a better life, a better outlook on things, and I care about myself more. My life is better without him. I have no guilt. I have no paranoia when I am alone that god is watching me. I do nice things because I want to, not because I should. The freedom I feel far outweighs any idea of any god.
    Here is a link for a peer reviewed article by experts in the field.
    http://cosmos.asu.edu/publications/papers/TheRotatingQuantumVacuum%2069.pdf

    Anyway. I will not bother you anymore, eric. I think I may be turning into a troll and that was never my purpose. I hope you learn the truth one day and further your education at a respected university. I remember being 16. I was more of a smart ass than you are, so that we have in common. You won't really know too much til you hit your 40's, then you just realize that you know nothing. Good luck.

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    1. You know nothing of me and you know nothing of God. I pray that you will find hope before it's too late.

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  10. http://www.skeptictank.org/files/human/thebible.htm

    Why I am an atheist.

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  11. I provided a valid argument and you did not post or elaborate on it. I am disappointed and curious why. Sick of the conversation? You lost the argument? You feel you won and no longer need to post about it? So curious. Why would you not post my arguments. I see there are many different users, that have rebutes from you, yet, I get none.

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    1. Please understand that at some point I will publish all comments. I have other obligations, so I may not publish them as soon as I get them. I only ask for patience. I try to publish all comments within the week they are sent in.

      Thank you.

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  12. TechnicallyAGeniusJune 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    If nothing can come from nothing. Where did God come from?

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    1. God did not "come from" anything. He is the first Uncaused Cause. Lest you think this is special pleading from the theist, please note that atheists have historically said that the universe is an eternal "brute fact".

      Thanks for stopping by Genius!!

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