Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Great Debate: Does God Exist?

English: no original description
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It became known as the Great Debate. 
In 1985 the University of California at Irvine hosted a public debate between philosopher Greg Bahnsen and atheist Gordon Stein on the topic “Does God Exist?” 
WHAT ENSUED 
Stein came prepared to cut down traditional apologetic arguments for the existence of God, but the philosopher’s approach was unexpected. Bahnsen went on the offensive and presented the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God: the God of the Bible must exist because no other worldview makes rational sense of the universe and logic, science, and morals ultimately presuppose a theistic worldview. He explained: "The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything."
Bahnsen takes a radically different approach than Christian philosopher/theologian William Lane Craig. By granting atheist presuppositions of laws of logic, rationality, and order in a godless universe, we cede too much -- they play the game on a field that is only rational if theism is true!

Here.

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42 comments:

Anonymous said...

IOW, "magic man in the sky must have done it"; how come that's not any more convincing for this question than it is for any other thing that it's been offered as an explanation for (earthquakes, eclipses, lightning, disease, or damn near anything else)?
SDC

RkBall said...

Is that all you've got?

Alain said...

Before such a debate can begin there should be an understanding of what God or god means to the person debating. Anonymous thinks it is a "magic man in the sky", which is the kind of concept one expects from a small child. I am not trying to insult Anonymous but am trying to point out that many people hold some arrested concept probably held over from childhood.

Atheists argue that the existence of a supreme power cannot be proved, but they forget that neither can they disprove it.

Anon1152 said...

I can't read or listen to the debate right now. But I will in the next day or two. Maybe later tonight. I'm sympathetic to Kant, so I'm worried that a "transcendental" argument might convince me... But I have my doubts.

I especially have my doubts that this transcendental argument will prove that "the God of the BIBLE" must exist. Especially if it involves showing that God is necessary for reason/logic/morality. From what I've read in the Old Testament, there are plenty of points where the God of Abraham seems illogical, unreasonable and immoral (at least from a Modern point of view).

Anon1152 said...

I agree with Alain. There should be some prior agreement on what we're talking about.

Anonymous said...

No, I've got plenty more, but that depends on whether you want arguments against a GENERIC magic man in the sky, or your cult's SPECIFIC magic man in the sky.
And, Alain, can you give me an example of any similar proposition in which the "non-proof" of something is considered to be equivalent to the proof of something? For example, if I can't PROVE that leprechauns DON'T exist, does that mean that those people who prefer to believe in such delusions don't still bear the burden of proof, or that those two propositions are identical?
SDC

Joe said...

I think the debate is framed incorrectly. The question isn't 'Does God Exist' but rather is there any significance in our existence beyond existence itself. For folks like Same Dumb Comments and his two big buckets of nothing, no there is nothing beyond his own existence. There can be no purpose, no drive, no adventure, no art, no beauty because everything is simply an accident. If SDC were to be honest he can't tell the difference between the existence of the universe and a bug being splattered across his windshield. They are both simply accidents that mean nothing.

On the other hand those of us who know Yahweh(I AM for the uninitiated) our existence has profound meaning and purpose. We are not here by accident but rather by excruciatingly detailed purpose. Not one part of us or our lives lacks significance. Our conception, birth, growth, marriage, passing on of life and even our death has wonderful purpose. Those who know Yahweh can honestly say "Yes there is beauty! Yes there is art! Yes there is meaningful thought and discovery. Life is to be savoured, tested, tried and at its end embraced"!

RkBall said...

Joe, right, and our rational mind is on the same epistemic level as indigestion -- both just mindless, meaningless burps of purposeless evolution. You speak? Of no more significance than a burp -- or worse.

Anonymous said...

I've listened to William Lane Craig on a wide range of topics and he absolutely destroys atheist arguments from hitchens to Dawkins to Sam Harris. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence will come away either convinced, or close to it, that God exists.

Alain, excellent comment. I find most atheists get their knowledge of Christianity from something they learned when they were 10 years old, as if there was nothing else to learn on the subject. Did they also stop learning about math at that age as if there's nothing else to learn? They mock Christians, but they haven't a clue what the religion actually says, or rely on one example of a bad Christian as an example of all Chrisitians. Don't they know how stupid they sound???

Anonymous, I don'tknow any serious Christian who believes God caused earthquakes etc. Nor does any Christian doctrine say God does such things. Getting back to Alain's point, you should do some research to see what the religion actually says before embarassing yourself with your inantile comments.

john said...

And right off the bat. The first one is line is the obsessed loudmouth SDC (Sad Deranged Compusive) with his usual posting about the "magic man in the sky".

Buddy, you really must think that comment is ultra-profound or something because you've only said it ablout 500 times. In fact it's ALL you say.

I mean really you psycho, little weasel you are the FIRST ONE most of the time. Do you just sit around breathlessly waiting to say that same stupid comment?

RkBall said...

Incoming from SDC. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Anon1152 said...

"Anonymous, I don'tknow any serious Christian who believes God caused earthquakes etc. Nor does any Christian doctrine say God does such things."

They must have been misled by the Bible:

Matthew 28:1-3
Matthew 27:53-55
Ezekiel 38:18-20
Isaiah 29:5-7

I'm sure there are more examples out there...

Don't get my wrong. I'm not against God causing earthquakes...

Anon1152 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Joe, your superstition is in the business of selling a non-answer(ie. something that was simply MADE UP) to all of these questions, and simpletons swallow that up because it's like a security blanket for them. You also don't know anything about logic if you think that the issues you raise require the existence of your imaginary "god".
And John, the fact that I repeat this argument (and none of you lunatics have managed to come up with any sort of counterpoint to it) merely shows that it is thorough; you wouldn't buy "it must be magic" for ANY other question, so if you're willing to buy it for this one, you should be able to explain why. If you can't, well, then it's up to you to explain to yourself why you believe nonsense.
SDC

Joe said...

Same Dumb Comment maybe you need to realize that if you are the only one seeing the wit and wisdom of your point maybe you really don't have a point or wit or wisdom.

In other words many many people have refuted you and you are either too thick or too religiously blinkered to see it.

Now run along and tend your two big buckets of nothing. The adults in the room are having a grownup conversation.

Anonymous said...

And maybe you need to realize that, no matter how much you really, really, really, REALLY believe in imaginary friends, that doesn't mean they exist, Joe. We don't pretend that other cults' imaginary friends exist, so why should anyone pretend yours does?
SDC

Anonymous said...

Yeah and I'm a hysterical friggin nutcase with no life or friends and go fly into foamy at the mouth fits if people hold a moral view that I don't like.

SDC

Anonymous said...

Reduced to forging posts now, John? If you can't make any sort of rational argument for your superstition, that should tell you that it's NONSENSE :-)
(the real SDC)

RkBall said...

There's a real SDC and an anti-SDC?!

Joe said...

You think there is a Same Dumb Comment and an Anti Same Dumb Comment Richard? I never thought of that.

I thought that Same Dumb Comment was doing a Screwtape, you know, getting more shrill and smaller as one failure after another besets him.

I should have guessed though. Anti Same Dumb Comment is far too honest in his 'self appraisal' to be the same poster as Same Dumb Comment.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to be stupid to believe in magic and an invisible magic man in the sky, Joe, but it sure does help, doesn't it?
SDC

Joe said...

OK Same Dumb Comment lets try this from the start AGAIN. I'll type really really slowly since you obviously have great difficulty understanding.

I don't believe in a magic man in the sky.

Yahweh is not magic. Yahweh is not a man. Yahweh is not in the sky.

Sorry to disappoint you but please feel free to carry on with your two big buckets of nothing. Any sign of reaching singularity yet?

Joe said...

Atheists and their tales of origins somehow remind me of an archeologist who spots the Little Mermaid statue in the Copenhagen harbour and declares, "Look at what ocean waves have formed". Or the tourist who enters the Sistine Chapel and wonders out loud about what the roof was made of that the rain water came through it and left such a wonderful image on the ceiling. The more layers the scientific community peels back on our understanding of all that is the less and less suitable is the atheist's outlook. The brilliant intricacy and overlapping redundancy that serves to maintain stasis can only be the product of a mind far far far beyond our ken.

john said...

"REDUCED to forging posts?"

Nope, I'm not REDUCED to anything.

I realize the waste of time and futility of any debate with a nut like you. You will not accept ANY evidence or arguement so why bother?

Forging your signature is simply a fun, easy, and quick way of ridiculing you so what the heck?

Anonymous said...

You haven't bothered to read your cult's little magic book, Joe? It claims that your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky is 1) invisible (except in certain circumstances), 2) magic (through being able to perform "miracles"), and 3) male (because "man" was supposedly "created" in "HIS" image). If you've got any more misconceptions about your insane superstition, let me know, OK :-)
You insane religionists remind me of children who cling to a security blanket in the belief that it will protect them from monsters under the bed, and who "explain" things by reflexively saying "magic man in the sky done it" without even bothering to look for the REAL answer. Remind me how well that worked out for every OTHER thing that your cult has used it as an excuse for, Joe, ranging from earthquakes (see above), lightning, disease, death, storms, eclipses, moving lights in the sky, and everything else. The more we learn about EVERYTHING, the further back your imaginary "god" has to run.
SDC

Anonymous said...

And John, if you had any sort of an intelligent argument for the existence of your superstition's imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, you would have presented it already; enjoy your delusions, wingnut.
SDC

Joe said...

You know Same Dumb Comment sometimes discussing Biblical hermeneutics with you is like taking a child to a Shakespearean play. The child, that's you Same Dumb Comment, laughs at the silly bits but throughout remains completely oblivious to the mature adult themes William Shakespeare was exploring.

RkBall said...

As I recall, when pushed into a corner, SDC's response is, "just is". When a Christian is pushed into a corner, their response is "God". I'll take God as a more robust metaphysical explanation for existence -- physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual -- than "just is". Dirt. Water. Stir. Beethoven. Mozart. Shakespeare. Jesus.

Anonymous said...

It's not my fault if your cult's own little magic book contradicts your claims, Joe, it's your fault for not knowing what you claim to believe in.
SDC

Joe said...

Wow since Same Dumb Comment lost the 'magic man in the sky' argument he has latched onto his 'magic book' argument. Of course being only semi-literate and hermeneutically clueless getting into any kind of a discussion with him is pointless. That being said I wonder if Same Dumb Comment ever notices the number of different Christian denominations. If he is capable of noticing that, I wonder if he realizes that the reason there are so many different denominations is because there are many many many different interpretations of the Holy Bible. In fact within every Church there are as many interpretations of the Bible as there are people sitting in the pews. Truth be told Christians re-evaluate their understanding of the Bible as they mature in the faith. Same Dumb Comment keeps coming up with the interpretation a 5 year old might have which shows Same Dumb Comment's lack of maturity and genuine thought. But then again his arguing style is similar to that of a 5 year old so what can we expect.

Anonymous said...

Joe, the very fact that there are 35000 different sub-sects of your cult, and that each one of those sub-sects claims that they are the only ones who know what "true christianity" is, should be a flashing neon sign telling you that NONE of you know what "true christianity" is; in fact, it should be a flashing neon sign on top of a lighthouse that an invisible omnipotent being had nothing whatsoever to do with the writing of your cult's fairy tales, otherwise it would have been written without an encyclopaedia's worth of contradictions, immorality, and falsehoods. As Samuel Clemens wrote, your little magic book contains "upwards of a thousand lies".
SDC

Steven Carr said...

William Lane Craig recently wrote about how becoming a Nazi was possibly the best thing some people could do, as it led to their salvation.

As the owner of this blog won't believe Craig wrote such a thing, here are Craig's exact words 'Paradoxically, being a Nazi may have been the best thing that happened to Heinrich, since it led to his salvation.'

RkBall said...

Steven -- you misrepresent what Craig actually said, as your quotation makes abundantly clear. Joni Erickson became a Christian as a result of a swimming accident which left her a quadriplegic. One might say, paradoxically, this was a good thing that happened to her. This is not the same as advocating that people should dive into a shallow pool and become quadriplegic. So, I really don't know what point, if anything, you think you are making.

Steven Carr said...

No, I reported Craig's exact words.

Which would you rather do, burn in Hell or have a swimming accident?

Craig claimed that the reason that becoming a Nazi was a good thing was that they committed such atrocities that some of them were so horrified by what they had done and so repented and were saved.

RkBall said...

I didn't say you mis-quoted him; I said you -- you -- misrepresent what he said. Which you have. And I illustrated how.

Steven Carr said...

No you didn't.

What Craig said was absurd. You pointed out that yourself.

The fact that Craig's position leads to absurdities cannot be refuted by confirming the absurd nature of what was said.

RkBall said...

Steven, I'm going to try saying this one more time, slowly.

1. Becoming a Nazi is not a good thing.
2. Becoming a paraplegic is not a good thing.
3. Getting in a car crash and being maimed is not a good thing.

However, God can bring good out of evil. If a person comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because of becoming a Nazi, a paraplegic, or being maimed, that is a good thing. No one is advocating that you become a Nazi, or go off in your car at a high speed in order to be maimed.

And I suspect you know this as would any reasonable third party reading this exchange. But you seem to have an irrational hate-on for William Lane Craig that has blinded your judgment.

RkBall said...

Or, to put it this way:

This: "'Paradoxically, being a Nazi may have been the best thing that happened to Heinrich, since it led to his salvation.'"

Does not equal this: "becoming a Nazi was possibly the best thing some people could do, as it led to their salvation."

Anonymous said...

And this degree of cognitive dissonance is what allows people to believe in utter nonsense.
SDC

Ganoes Paran said...

Bahnsen's proof simply seems to be "nature is uniform and logic is objective and universal, well my belief, Christianity, includes a God that created a uniform universe, and universal and objective logic; therefore, my God exists and Christianity is true".

This is really poor reasoning.

We don't absolutely know if nature is uniform, though it seems to be. We don't even know if our reality is just an illusion. But we've got to start somewhere - nature is uniform and what we sense is the same as what other people sense, if we so choose.

Logic was created and developed by man. If we've discovered or tapped into some objective and universal system or structure, nobody knows.

Even if nature is indeed uniform, and logic is indeed objective and universal, that doesn't mean a God is necessary. How Bahnsen made the leap to the Christian God is just confirmation bias and asinine.

RkBall said...

Ganoes Paran - It is indeed poor reasoning -- but it is your caricature of Bahnsen; it is not the argument he makes.

I do agree that Bahnsen makes the jump from theism to specifically Christianity rather quickly, but I think the rationale is that the portrayal of God within the pages of the Old and New Testament matches the God who must be there to give an adequate account of creation, logic, universals, etc.

Ganoes Paran said...

RkBall,

Which of what I said was wrong? I listened to the debate and that's what I heard.

Well, of course the biblical God can account for all of that. An omnipotent being, by definition, can account for EVERYTHING. That's why it has no explanatory power whatsoever.

If you just invoke God for everything you can't explain, then it's semantically equivalent to just saying "I don't know".

Bahnsen made the much bigger jump from deism to Christianity. He just summarily dismissed all other possible cosmogonies to manufacture a false dilemma between no God and the biblical God.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"