Debate with 2 Atheists

Hi so im the current debate with an atheist, can you please tell me what do you think are the best answers to these questions and if there is anything faulty in what I said?

orignal atheist question:
Hi, I hope this fits in the scope of this group.
What issues can you find with this high-level argument? I will eventually use it as part of my defense to relatives who want details on why I switched from Christianity to atheism.
Statement: there exists a deity which has no beginning.
Note: The deity is said to exist before our universe. This makes specific scientific arguments, such as quantum mechanics, irrelevant. However, ordering of events is preserved since dependencies do not require dimensions or physical laws.
Assertion: A deity with no beginning either contains an infinite regression or an initial state.

  1. If an object was created, it has a beginning (by definition)
  2. If an object does not have a beginning, it was not created (by contrapositive)
  3. Consider each fixed state the deity exists in. Each new action by the deity creates a new state. A state is a snapshot of all existences.
  4. Let state 0 be a state with no beginning, meaning it was not created.
  5. State 0 is the deity’s first state, making it the beginning of the deity, which is a contradiction.
  6. Instead, assume there is no initial state.
  7. Each state creates the state after it, since one state flows from the other.
  8. Since each state is fixed, there must be an endless chain of state creations.
  9. A chain of endless creations is an infinite regression, which is impossible.
    Therefore, the deity cannot exist without a beginning. Further, this means the deity is finite and could not have created all other states.
    The infinite regression part seems the weakest. Ehqt do you think?

MY reply
Hi, this would be a terrible as a good debater would talk about all the eye witnesses in the bible starting with all the account of God in Mount zion, to Jesus miracles, historical Jesus by non Christians , etc.

2)If going by the deity with no beggining you will be demolished if you try to argue physical laws on God, as the bible is very clear that God lives outside physical boundaries.

3)If yiu a get a good debator make sure you can argue on how as an atheist you believe nothing created something, non life creating life, chaos created order, unconsciousness creating consciousness etc.

  1. if you need someone to explain what you need to say regarding you own beliefs then you need to evaluate why you believe what you believe.

2nd atheist reply
Hi, this would be a terrible as a good debater would talk about all the eye witnesses in the bible starting with all the account of God in Mount zion, to Jesus miracles, historical Jesus by non Christians , etc.

Of which we have no evidence whatsoever, but merely contradictory, nonsensical stories and anecdotal hearsay that this happened, which is useless. By definition.

That wouldn’t be good debating. That would be terrible debating.

So my point remains.

If going by the deity with no beggining you will be demolished if you try to argue physical laws on God, as the bible is very clear that God lives outside physical boundaries.

That is a great example of precisely what I said, which is that this is a completely unsupported and nonsensical claim, thus it must be immediately dismissed. Claims aren’t evidence, quite obviously. That which is asserted without evidence must be dismissed without evidence. Period. And the more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required to show the claim accurate. In this case, we have precisely zero evidence.

That wouldn’t be good debating. That would be terrible debating.

So my point remains.

Dismissed. As it must be.

If yiu a get a good debator make sure you can argue on how as an atheist you believe nothing created something

That is a hilarious strawman fallacy. No, atheists don’t believe that. In fact, our best understanding shows that there was never nothing, and could not have been. A literal non sequitur. Much like asking what’s north of the north pole.

And, quite obviously, positing a deity doesn’t help either, does it, since then there wasn’t ‘nothing’ by definition, so this is merely shooting oneself in the foot to say this. I’m always more than a bit shocked and amused when a theist says this, as it shows they haven’t actually learned about the topic at all or even really thought this through at all.

That wouldn’t be good debating. That would be terrible debating.

So my point remains.

non life creating life,

Yes. Life came from non-life. This is hardly groundbreaking. We know a great deal about how this likely happened, and have a lot more to learn yet, which is exciting and thrilling. And none of what we know or what is indicated requires or even vaguely implies deities. Nor would that conjuecture help but would, instead, make the issue worse. For obvious reasons.

Remember, life is just self-replicating chemistry. Not anything ‘magic’. So the fact that you seem to think this is some kind of ‘gotcha’ is silly in the extreme.

That wouldn’t be good debating. That would be terrible debating.

My point remains.

chaos created order

No. Just…no. This is as bad as the earlier strawman fallacy about ‘nothing’. This is such an egregious misunderstanding of what we know. Remember, we know that order, patterns, and repetition emerge from very simple and apparently disordered states give a very simple foundation. We see this demonstrated again and again and again. In fact, it’s clear and obvious. And, again, obviously deities wouldn’t help here, but instead would make it worse and leads directly to a special pleading fallacy making that a useless conjecture. This is clear and obvious.

That wouldn’t be good debating. That would be terrible debating.

So my point remains.

unconsciousness creating consciousness etc.

Yes, consciousness arose. Again, not groundbreaking or surprising. What of it? That you seem to think this is somehow requiring of a deity or is somehow ‘magic’ shows you haven’t thought it through, since, once again, this doesn’t address the issue but instead makes it worse and leads to an immediate special pleading fallacy. So, again, this is useless. And argument from incredulity fallacies are useless anyway.

So, again, dismissed.

That wouldn’t be good debating. That would be terrible debating.

My point remains.

if you need someone to explain what you need to say regarding you own beliefs then you need to evaluate why you believe what you believe.

I have no idea what you intended to say or mean with that statement. I don’t need anyone to explain what I need to say regarding my own beliefs, or lack of them.

So I will ignore this since it seems such an odd and meaningless non sequitur.

So, overall, no , a good debater would not say any of that. Literally all of that is terrible debating.

Instead, all of that is silly, common, tired old ridiculous strawman fallacies, argument from incredulity fallacies, argument from ignorance fallacies, and utter lack of understanding of what we know about reality. That would be very bad debating indeed! None of it supports deities even a little bit.

I stand completely by what I said.

No good evidence. That is all that’s needed to dismiss unsupported claims. And all of the deity claims are just that.

And you have done nothing whatsoever to change this. Instead, you merely expressed what a very poor debater indeed would likely say. Or someone trolling or being egregiously dishonest. In gish gallop form.

And they would get trounced for it. As I did to what you wrote here. But it appears that is precisely what you were wanting and hoping for, isn’t it?

Cheers.

A warm welcome to the forum; there is a lot of discussion but I thought I would try and make a comment on the opening statements.

God is Eternal. It is only when you think about created gods that you get into an infinite regression problem. To ask what created an Eternal Being is a category error as John Lennox points out.

  1. If an object was created, it has a beginning (by definition)

agreed; this the Cosmological Kalam argument.

  1. If an object does not have a beginning, it was not created (by contrapositive)

agreed.

  1. Consider each fixed state the deity exists in. Each new action by the deity creates a new state. A state is a snapshot of all existences.

This has gone wrong because it assumes this ‘deity’ is part of it’s creation; and as this ‘deity’ creates, the ‘deity’ changes itself. This is the worldview of pantheism.

In the Christian worldview; God is the Uncreated Eternal Spirit. He created the Physical universe Ex nihilo (out of absolute nothing). God is not part of the Universe, and God did not change ‘state’ because he created the physical universe.

The rest of the arguments fall over because of this flaw.

  1. Let state 0 be a state with no beginning, meaning it was not created.
  2. State 0 is the deity’s first state, making it the beginning of the deity, which is a contradiction.
  3. Instead, assume there is no initial state.
  4. Each state creates the state after it, since one state flows from the other.
  5. Since each state is fixed, there must be an endless chain of state creations.
  6. A chain of endless creations is an infinite regression, which is impossible.
    Therefore, the deity cannot exist without a beginning. Further, this means the deity is finite and could not have created all other states.
    The infinite regression part seems the weakest. Ehqt do you think?

To go back to the atheist original introduction, which was quite interesting; he is looking to ‘use as part of my defence to relatives who want details why I switched from Christianity’.

So he appears to have left Christianity, and now is looking for an intellectual defence.

Ravi Zacharias said that a person’s worldview has 4 questions it must answer.

Origin:
How do you think the universe came into existence?
How do you think human life began?

Meaning:
What is the purpose of human life?

Morality:
How do you determine good and bad?

Destiny:
What will happen at the end (at death)?

Perhaps ask this atheist on what basis do they tell right from wrong?

the Moral category is the hardest to push away; as William Lane Craig mentions; we can argue until we’re blue in the face about the Cosmological argument but it just stays intellectual; the Moral argument for God’s existence is the one that we can’t just push away because we all make moral decisions every day; which reveals what we think of others.

Also in regards to some other comments they made regarding ‘life from non life’, ‘unconsciousness creating consciousness’ etc; here is an interesting video from PragerU regarding 4 so called ‘big bangs’

Lastly; if you want to ask them a question to undermine their own thinking process; I enjoy this little one from John Lennox… Lennox has written a number of books on this subject; an introductory one is called ‘Can science explain everything?’.

On what evidence, therefore, do scientists base their faith in the rational intelligibility of the universe, which allows them to do science? The first thing to notice is that human reason did not create the universe. This point is so obvious that at first it might seem trivial; but it is, in fact, of fundamental importance when we come to assess the validity of our cognitive faculties. Not only did we not create the universe, but we did not create our own powers of reason either. We can develop our rational faculties by use; but we did not originate them. How can it be, then, that what goes on in our tiny heads can give us anything near a true account of reality?

How can it be that a mathematical equation thought up in the mind of a mathematician can correspond to the workings of the universe?
It was this very question that led Einstein to say, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible”. Similarly the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eugene Wigner once wrote a famous paper entitled, “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences”.6 But it is only unreasonable from an atheistic perspective. From the biblical point of view, it resonates perfectly with the statements: “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was God … All things came to be through him” (John 1 v 1, 3).

Sometimes, when in conversation with my fellow scientists, I ask them “What do you do science with?”
“My mind,” say some, and others, who hold the view that the mind is the brain, say, “My brain”.
“Tell me about your brain? How does it come to exist?”
“By means of natural, mindless, unguided processes.”
“Why, then, do you trust it?” I ask. “If you thought that your computer was the end product of mindless unguided processes, would you trust it?”
“Not in a million years,” comes the reply.
“You clearly have a problem then.”
After a pregnant pause they sometimes ask me where I got this argument—they find the answer rather surprising: Charles Darwin. He wrote: “…with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”7

Taking the obvious logic of this statement further, Physicist John Polkinghorne says that if you reduce mental events to physics and chemistry you destroy meaning. How?
For thought is replaced by electrochemical neural events. Two such events cannot confront each other in rational discourse. They are neither right nor wrong—they simply happen.

The world of rational discourse disappears into the absurd chatter of firing synapses. Quite frankly that can’t be right and none of us believe it to be so.8 Polkinghorne is a Christian, but some well-known atheists see the problem as well.

John Gray writes: “ Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth—and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth ”.9

Another leading philosopher, Thomas Nagel, thinks in the same way. He has written a book, Mind and Cosmos , with the provocative subtitle Why the Neo-Darwinian View of the World is Almost Certainly False. Nagel is a strong atheist who says with some honesty, “I don’t want there to be a God”. And yet he writes: “But if the mental is not itself merely physical, it cannot be fully explained by physical science. Evolutionary naturalism implies that we shouldn’t take any of our convictions seriously, including the scientific world picture on which evolutionary naturalism itself depends .”10

That is, naturalism, and therefore atheism, undermines the foundations of the very rationality that is needed to construct or understand or believe in any kind of argument whatsoever, let alone a scientific one. Atheism is beginning to sound like a great self-contradictory delusion —“a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence”.
Of course, I reject atheism because I believe Christianity to be true. But I also reject it because I am a scientist. How could I be impressed with a worldview that undermines the very rationality we need to do science? Science and God mix very well. It is science and atheism that do not mix.
(from this article below)
https://www.solas-cpc.org/john-lennox-busts-a-myth-about-religion-faith-and-science/

Just keep in mind; that as Christians, our aim is not to win arguments - this is pointless really; our aim is to ask a question that they can’t push away, that stays with them; so that they either think deeply about things after the conversation has ended.
Hopefully a little helpful… a warm welcome to the forum, great to have you onboard. :slight_smile:

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Hi Mathew thank you for your reply, my debate is really with the second person, but thank you for the material, the only question I’m having a bit trouble is respond to this, i just get lost in the whole philosophical blabber.

If going by the deity with no beginning you will be demolished if you try to argue physical laws on God, as the bible is very clear that God lives outside physical boundaries.

That is a great example of precisely what I said, which is that this is a completely unsupported and nonsensical claim, thus it must be immediately dismissed. Claims aren’t evidence, quite obviously. That which is asserted without evidence must be dismissed without evidence. Period. And the more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required to show the claim accurate. In this case, we have precisely zero evidence.

That wouldn’t be good debating. That would be terrible debating.

So my point remains.

Dismissed. As it must be.

1 Like

Hi Bobby,

yes the second atheist wrote quite a lot, but I can try and work through it with some thoughts. It’s unclear in the dialog as to whether this is the atheist writing the whole segment; or if you have put your thoughts inline and just copy/pasted??

incorrect; William Lane Craig has an excellent book on the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection (as have many others) ; it’s well worth a read.
for brevity, see this post on some of what the book covers. On the authenticity of Paul's letters and the involvement of scribes

https://www.amazon.com/Son-Rises-Historical-Evidence-Resurrection/dp/1579104649

‘ad hominem’ attack; ignore.

I really have no idea what this atheist means by this statement.

another ad hominem attack, ignoring

ok, what I think they are referring to is the argument that prior to the big bang, there was a quantum vacuum, or a multiverse or something that wasn’t completely nothing.

John Lennox writes a very good article (and book) on this type of thinking which you can read through here:

Take, for instance, Hawking’s statement quoted above: “Because there is a law of gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” Clearly, he assumes that gravity (or perhaps only the law of gravity?) exists. That is not nothing. So the universe is not created from nothing.

Worse still, the statement “the universe can and will create itself from nothing” is self-contradictory. If I say, “X creates Y,” this presupposes the existence of X in the first place in order to bring Y into existence. If I say “X creates X,” I presuppose the existence of X in order to account for the existence of X. To presuppose the existence of the universe to account for its existence is logically incoherent. One might add for good measure the fact that when physicists talk about “nothing” they often mean a quantum vacuum which is manifestly not nothing. Could this be “much ado about nothing”? Hawking here is using the same incoherent “argument” as Oxford chemist Peter Atkins, also a well known atheist, who believes that “Space-time generates its own dust in the process of its own self-assembly.
from https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/stephen-hawking-and-god

Lennox’s book ‘God and Stephen Hawking’ is very good.

there is nothing to respond to here; just another ad hominem attack. Unless they would like to explain how ‘positing a deity doesn’t help as it’s shooting oneself in the foot’; probably not worth responding to.

I am quite amused when they say offhandedly; oh yes life came from non-life, no big deal, just some self-replicating chemistry, nothing too see here move along. :smile: :smile:

for a serious look at some of these issues; Stephen Meyer is a good source, having written two books: Darwins Doubt, and Signature in the Cell (i’ve not read either yet), but this youtube discussion was quite interesting between Meyer, David Berlinkski and David Galanter (who are both secular). You might enjoy it.

I’m really not sure what universe this gentleman lives in but chaos doesn’t ‘create’ anything, much less order. Chaos is a lack of order. It is just the opposite.

I think basically this paragraph is just insulting again; with a reference to two fallacies a ‘special pleading fallacy’ and ‘incredulity’ ; here https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/Special-Pleading and here https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/Argument-from-Incredulity

and they finish up with a few more paragraphs of ad hominem attacks for good measure…

So, what to do with all that??, personally, I think you might be wasting your time with atheist 2, unless you can keep them to one topic; and ask them some questions leading back to the 4 categories of a worldview: origin, meaning, morality, destiny. all of these things discussed seem to fall under the origins category…

Hopefully this is a little helpful…

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Mathew, thank you very much for your time, I actually replied to him yesterday, your prior articles helped me articulate what I wanted to say. I just saw your new post today. I did put my comments as well so I apologized if I was not clear on my prior reply. I uploaded the document in a word format and color coded, and I would love if you find sometime whenever time permits to see if my logic was correct, as well as my approach. I love meeting Christian like you, and again thank for your enlighting and thoughtful responses. I was not able to upload the document here because I’m a new user, so I uploaded it on google docs. Below is the link.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uCFEeVVDT3adtGGUpV5xS32CQzkxYlzsSvV13JWxKyI/edit?usp=sharing

2 Likes

Hi Bobby,
I’m glad it was a little helpful;

to share some of my own journey, I also had a long conversation with an atheist online, who turned out to be an ex-Catholic. After the conversation ended, I felt like I was a little unable to answer some of their objections - this person was very angry at God. I do remember asking ‘Why are they so angry at a being that doesn’t exist’. :slight_smile: This was one of the quotes in the movie ‘God’s not dead’. Moving on from there I read a number of John Lennox books and watched a heap of videos on youtube, then I discovered that John Lennox was connected to RZIM as one of their speakers, and started listening to how Ravi answers peoples questions from the podium. I was amazed at how he was able to talk and ask questions. Personally I will never be able to get on a stage, but hopefully I can point some individuals to Christ. I did the RZIM core training course, which goes for 10 weeks, and I thought was worth doing. https://www.rzim.org/page/academy-core-module

Sometimes we can be encouraged to know that we are called as Christians to sow the seed of the gospel, and then the Holy Spirit is the one that does the work on peoples hearts. We do not save anyone, we just point to the one who can: Jesus. :slight_smile:

One thing that @SeanO shared on the forum that might be of interest; is this diagram called the ‘Engel Scale’; and if we can ask a question to remove one road block towards them taking one step on this scale towards considering the claims of Who Jesus Christ is and what he has done on the cross then that is a good thing.

Later in their life, God might use someone else to say something, or more importantly God might bring an event in their life to get their attention to come towards Him.

Here is this Engel Scale diagram, if you are interested.

By the way; I clicked that link and it needed access requested; which I did. Happy to take a look, but it sounds like you’ve done well; be encouraged, keep the conversation going with your atheist friends, and may they see something different in your life - the love of Christ coming through, which will be attractive to them.

cheers
Matt

1 Like

hi Matt, thank you for sharing your story, I was able to polish ideas with the information and links you have provided. Even though I have been into this new endeavor for a couple of weeks, I have seen this “angry pattern” on at least 70% of the atheist or agnostics that I speak with, so when I take on any of their questions or debates I always have the “be graceful” voice in my head even though sometimes I want to throw my computer at them lol, but I do understand their anger, as I was angry person before meeting God as well which was about 8 years ago. A friend of mine introduced me to John Lennox’s debate with Dawkins in Oxford about half a year ago, but I found confusing and I didn’t pay much attention, it wasn’t until about 6 month ago that I started watching Jordan Peterson videos and debates and I was like Wow, why don’t we have pastors like that. Honestly my pastor’s message was getting into a routine that I was not really much looking forward too, even though I have been in the worship band for a time and I really like this church, somehow the messages were not reaching me, it is the kind of message that goes well for new Christians, or mid phase Christians that are looking for a more personal and emotional approach, I’m a very logical personal who is in finance, I’m able to do some coding, good with statistic and probabilities so I need more data and substance when someone is preaching to me, I do wish I was simpler and more easily convinced to be more like John and less like Thomas, I always need an explanation of the “how” and the process, not just the why. So it was about 3-4 months ago that I discovered Ravi mostly through my wife, and even though I had seen some of his videos in Facebook on my own before that, mostly of him debating students, I didn’t pay much attention, mostly because I was not understanding what he was saying. The same goes with Jordan, I had to work the time on researching to understand what they were saying, and if they were logical and not just beliefs they had that I was going to take as truth. After Ravi I found Lennox and started listening some of his debates, and now I’m starting to understand more of their reasoning, and its making much more sense to me, to be honest I was scared of digging into atheist, or even debating because I always had the assumptions that 1) Scientist were always right and 2) 90% of scientist were atheist, and it wasn’t until recently that i started to see all their faulty reasoning as well as that half of them believe in a God or a higher power. So in these 2 weeks I have debated about 20+ atheists and agnostics, and this gentleman I posted his conversation was the was the I was having trouble with because I really thought “this guy is not saying anything” but I was overwhelmed by the philosophical blabber and I tought maybe im too stupid to understand him lol, and to be honest I have been answering these reddit at night after work, and he was the one I was procrastinating on because I was not really understanding him, I moved my goal to answer 1-2 questions or post daily instead spending the whole night and next day debating them. This Engel Scale is awesome, and I will use it, my main goal was to really make them think outside of their bubble and bring them down graciously from that arrogant cloud that they sit, which is annoying because they complaint we are not open as Christians, but they are less open to accept they wrong than us, I always thought of this endeavor like planting a seed, and let God do the rest of the work, I was able to do this with one of my best friends who was getting into masonry and satanism and he actually met God through our conversation but he also saw how my life changed, which is really the best testimony. I appreciate your quick answers, and that I was actually able to meet someone knowledgeable that could helped me so fast, which I don’t think its a coincidence, but thanks for pointing people like William Lane Craig, which is the type of dudes that I love to hear, if you have more send them over :slight_smile: ., Im in the process of registering for that 10 week course in November and I look forward on our future conversations, if you have any others answers that you have helped other people with in here you can copy the links, or send them via email, or whichever method is easier and less time consuming. Any others material is also welcomed. Also forgot to mention American Gospel is a really good documentary on Netflix if you havent watch as it helped me and my wife steer clear from all these churches that were invading our youtube. Have a good night.

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Thankyou for sharing your story; that’s very cool I haven’t seen American Gospel yet but it’s on my to watch list.

I just saw that there is a movie coming out called Against the Tide which I’m looking forward to. https://againstthetide.movie/

I think I’ve mentioned all my favorite authors; except two other quite good books were from two other RZIM speakers
Abdu Murray - Saving Truth. (Refuting post modernism and subjective truth)
Andy Bannister - The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (quite an interesting one as it mixes humor with apologetics). We did a book study on this a while back on the forum which was good. (https://connect.rzim.org/tag/atheist-who-didnt-exist)

So many books; I think my to read list will be longer than my lifetime.

I know what you mean about preachers appealing to the emotions; I like to think things through myself; God made all different types of personalities. Perhaps those that are very kind can come alongside non Christians who are hurting and help them; whereas perhaps those that are more intellectually inclined can help reach the same type of personalities.
Just thinking of the passage about us all being members of the one church in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.

Great talking to you and will look forward to more discussion… Yes, I think you’ll enjoy the RZIM core module training course. Keep up the good work witnessing to atheists. God bless.

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Hi Matt, what do you think of the answer below from an atheist?

“Can you tell me how does an atheist trusts their brain/mind if it is the result of natural, mindless, unguided processes?”

With the same confidence as anyone else. Claiming gods made our brain does not get you past that problem, because you don’t know if the gods wanted us to have trustworthy brains. And, that’s something you must demonstrate after demonstrating that gods exist in the first place. Creating a problem and then presupposing some explanation [x] which is simply defined as solving the problem is circular. You can’t define gods into existence. Let me illustrate: Person A: I say the colour granting pixie grants colours unto everything in the universe. Person B: How do we know the pixie exists? Person A: Well, can you tell me how colours are attached to items without the guidance of a colour granting pixie? See what I mean? “can you tell who are good deities authorities for you?” Nobody, because no knowledge of deities can be gained. All we have are arguments using logic. Philosophy grants some authentic authority on that matter, but the arguments themselves are what matters.

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I’d probably reply by quoting an atheist to him; and say it’s from this source; so he goes and starts trying to disprove John Lennox. Ask it as a question, and keep asking questions so it is they that must think about what they are saying; for example:


What do you think of this quote from Charles Darwin:
He wrote: “…with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy

Taking the obvious logic of this statement further, Physicist John Polkinghorne says that if you reduce mental events to physics and chemistry you destroy meaning. How?
For thought is replaced by electrochemical neural events. Two such events cannot confront each other in rational discourse. They are neither right nor wrong—they simply happen. The world of rational discourse disappears into the absurd chatter of firing synapses. Quite frankly that can’t be right and none of us believe it to be so.

Polkinghorne is a Christian, but some well-known atheists see the problem as well.
John Gray writes: “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth—and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth”.

Another leading philosopher, Thomas Nagel, thinks in the same way. He has written a book, Mind and Cosmos , with the provocative subtitle Why the Neo-Darwinian View of the World is Almost Certainly False. Nagel is a strong atheist who says with some honesty, “I don’t want there to be a God”. And yet he writes: “But if the mental is not itself merely physical, it cannot be fully explained by physical science. Evolutionary naturalism implies that we shouldn’t take any of our convictions seriously, including the scientific world picture on which evolutionary naturalism itself depends"
source: https://www.solas-cpc.org/john-lennox-busts-a-myth-about-religion-faith-and-science/


I think the atheist is referring to ‘gods’; meaning created gods. I also don’t believe in created gods, because of a recurring problem with who made the gods, who made the gods, who made the gods. :slight_smile:

Agree completely; you certainly can’t define ‘gods’ into existence.

I"m not sure he’s thought this through; The original question was how do you trust your own mind and it’s reasoning capability to find truth; if your mind is the result of mindless processes.

Colours are not minds. The atheist is proposing to not believe in things that don’t exist.

I’m not sure exactly; but is his analogy of a ‘pixie’ granting colours; a connection to right and wrong??; he’s mentioned ‘which gods colours’ are good for you. He’s said there are multiple ‘gods’ and which one are good and which ones are bad.

that might be an opening into questions that relate to right and wrong, and away from the intellectual arguments; you can lead into the Moral Argument for God’s existence there. You’d have to clarify maybe with a few questions to be sure that’s what he’s saying first.

As a final thought regarding not believing in things that don’t exist; You might like to have a read of the book ‘The Atheist Who Doesn’t Exist’ by Andy Bannister, on of the RZIM speakers ; we did book study a while back on it (here on the forum); and I remember it being covered in Chapter 4: The Santa Delusion.

Here’s an introductory section from this chapter 4 to whet your appetite. It’s a mixture of humor and apologetics. I really enjoyed it myself as it appealed to my sense of humor.

Let me paint a scene for you, so sink into a comfortable seat, relax, and close your eyes. Actually, that will prevent you from reading further, so you’d better open them again. Now, I’d like you to imagine that you are a fly on a wall of a brightly lit, modern office, somewhere in the leafy suburbs of North London. These are the offices of Richard Dawkins’s literary agent, and, over a cup of coffee and a plate of Jammie Dodgers,84 a frank discussion is being had about sales figures.85
“It’s not good news, Richard,” says the agent. “I’m afraid they’re not going to reprint The Selfish Gene and plans to launch a range of action figures based on you and Lawrence Krauss have come to naught.” Dawkins splutters into his coffee, spilling some of it on his necktie. He’s proud of the tie, bearing as it does a picture of the DNA molecule. (“Very fetching, dear,” Mrs Dawkins had said, when he’d spent forty minutes explaining that it wasn’t just any old piece of DNA, but the precise coding sequence for haemoglobin.) “What about my children’s book?” Dawkins demands. “That must be selling well. There’s good money in kids’ books! J. K. Rowling had to change banks, on account of filling the first one up.” His agent shuffles his papers in an embarrassed way. “Well … the problem is that your book, lovely as the pictures are, well … it doesn’t have wizards or flying donkeys in it. That’s the basic problem, Richard.”
“But it’s science!” “Well, it isn’t selling.” A silence falls on the room. Both men eye the last of the Jammie Dodgers. “What about my autobiography?” Dawkins asks. “Didn’t Salon magazine list me as the seventh sexiest man alive? My cover photograph on the book must surely have shifted a few copies? I even saw a woman buying a copy at Tesco.” “Again, it’s not good news,” says the agent, stealing a furtive glance at his watch. “Not good – well, what about the film version? You did get my message asking you to ring a few –” “– people who might play you? As you requested, I’ve left multiple messages for Sir Ian McKellen, but he’s not returning any of my calls.” Dawkins harrumphs in a way that only years of practice as an Oxford don can train you for. “Is there any good news?” “Well …” His agent rummages through a sheaf
of papers on his lap. “I do have one thing that could be promising. I’ve a letter here from Butlins –” “Butlins!” “Yes, the holiday-camp people. They’re offering you a three-week run in Skegness if you could write a version of The Extended Phenotype as a musical.” Dawkins snatches the last Jammie Dodger and bites into it angrily. “The problem”, his agent explains nervously, “is that all your material is a bit – well, a bit last year. You’ve demolished creationism and popularized evolution. You’ve done the whole anti-God thing. But now people want something new. The iconoclasm and the consensus-smashing is all very well, but you need to find a new vein of disbelief to tap into.” “Well, it’s funny you should say that,” Dawkins replies, dabbing the jam from his chin with a handkerchief. “I do have one idea brewing …”
“Fantastic! Let’s hear it!” says his agent, leaning forward eagerly. “It may need a little work, but what do you think … what do you think about The Santa Delusion?” “The what?” “The Santa Delusion.” “Are you serious?” “Very much so. Santa is a deleterious delusion, one peddled every year to innocent children by their parents, backed up by the forces of the mass media. It’s time to put some reason into the season.” The agent puts his head in his hands. “I can see you’re not thrilled,” says Dawkins, rubbing his palms together and warming to his theme, “but I’ve really been thinking about this. Father Christmas is one of the most unpleasant characters in all fiction. Gluttonous and proud of it. A wine-bibbing, sherry-swigging, mince-pie-gobbling freak. An elf-exploiting, reindeer-rights-abusing bully. A consumeristic, materialistic, atavistic, patriarchal, nationalistic myth. A –” “I get the point,” interrupts the agent. “So do you think it could be a best seller?” asks Dawkins eagerly. The agent reaches for the phone. “Let me call Butlins back. Skegness in June can be quite lovely …”

Of course, Richard Dawkins never did write The Santa Delusion. Nor has he felt the need to pen The Fairy Fallacy, or to draft The Thomas the Tank Engine Trick. Why do I mention these? Because he, like many of his fellow atheists, loves to bracket belief in God with belief in a whole host of fictional and mythical entities, suggesting that they are somehow comparable. Let me give you a flavour:
<continues, but I’ll cut it short here to not breach copyright>
Bannister, Andy. The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (p. 69). Lion Hudson. Kindle Edition.

keep up the good work; it is hard; I don’t have the all the answers. I would only suggest to try to ask questions; which even after they’ve given a response they still think about - which is why I suggest leaving a link to your source material so they (or perhaps more importantly other genuine seekers who are atheists) can go and explore more.

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Hi Matt, sorry I didn’t reply earlier, I actually was replying to you the next day but for some reason I must not have clicked the reply button.

Thank you for your reply it really helped on my conversation, I bought the book you recommended so hopeful I will be disciplined enough to finish it quick.

I’m in another conversation with an antitheist agnostic, but its a good one, I don’t know if you have time to give your input as I don’t know if I’m getting my point across, or if this a lost cause. Doesn’t feel like it is a lost cause, but I’m trying to deliver that aha moment for him, I did open the conversation to his morality with the “what would you have done different if you were God?” question. also it looks he is gradually changing his thinking as he is now changing to the God is racist point vs God’s laws being bad, I do have the reply for the Pharaoh’s heart which ill work on tomorrow, but do you want to hear something crazy? I actually started reading exodus on Friday night before going to bed, I have never actually studied it, and I highlighted that verse about the heart being hardened because it seemed a contradiction for me on the we have free will argument, also I’m paying more attention to God words so anything like that jumps really fast. Not a coincidence that a day after he points this out.

from this:
Foreign slaves

While foreign slaves could be made slaves for life, the laws regarding the general treatment of slaves applied to them as well (Lev 24:22, Num 15:15-16). The law made it clear that foreigners were not inferiors who could be mistreated (Ex 23:9); instead they were to be loved just as fellow Israelites were (Lev 19:33-34). For more information, see the article on Gentiles in the OT.

his reply It’s still racist to treat them differently and worse, as with making them slaves for life.

:thinking:

I think he is getting the point if you see how he started to how he is ending? Also, he shared some of his testimony so I think he opened that door, for me it looks like he is angry at God, something happened.

I’m adding the google drive link here as you advised to anyone can see it. everything in yellow are the responses I’m working on. I would appreciate any guidance, and thank you for your help, I found a post here on the forum about the kidnapping of female slaves from where I got most of my answers for that. Very interesting because I had never really though on this and the genocide argument.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xzbkIz_aXUoobBiLIuf6EUKrCs5DvpLl/view?usp=sharing

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Keep up the good work, good to hear you are getting into the book of Exodus, and glad you are finding other resources on the forum. I haven’t got time for an indepth reply just at the moment as we are on the way out the door, but I’ll try and come back later and chat some more.

Just briefly; regarding God hardening Pharaoh’s heart being against the free will of man: Pharaoh hardened his own heart for the first 5 plagues; then God hardened Pharaoh’s heart for the last 5. Perhaps Pharaoh reached a point of no return. Check out @SeanO good response in this first thread; and there are a couple of other relevant ones there as well that hopefully are of interest.

Hi again Bobby (@quilotte),
Hope you’ve been keeping well. I’ve only just had a chance to look at the document you shared. 12 pages is a lot to digest so I’ll just pick some key objections the atheist raises and provide some links for further reading.

He seems to object to several things on moral grounds, slavery and genocide. I’ll just paste a screen capture into here.


image
image

Was God Moral in Numbers 31?
1/ Was God Moral in Numbers 31

To your specific question about alleged “sex slaves”: Israelite men were expressly forbidden to take women of conquered peoples as sex slaves. If they developed feelings for such a woman, they had to give her time to mourn her family, and then they could marry her, i.e. take her as a wife with all rights and responsibilities. If they should later want to divorce the woman, she had the same rights as any Israelite woman, i.e. she could be divorced but not sold as a slave, she had to be given freedom (Deut 21:10-14).

2/ Were the Midianite Virgins (Numbers 31:17-18) women or young girls?

‘Genocide’ in 1 Samuel 15


and a good answer from @SeanO

Numbers 31 Verse 17

A couple more thoughts just briefly on morality;

Ravi points out that as soon as someone talks about morality, good and evil, they assume the existence of a moral law, and if there is a moral law, there is a moral law giver - the exact person whom they are trying to disprove.

from the youtube transcript at approx the 7 minute mark.

I was the University of Nottingham years ago when it was first thrown at me, and a guy stood up and he just said "How can you possibly talk of a good god of goodness when there’s so much evil in this world? How can you talk about a God that actually exists in this kind of evil and this kind of suffering? that of course Richard Dawkins and all of them raises.

So I looked at him and I said "Let me ask you this. You’re talking about evil. He said “yes” I said “When you say this evil, aren’t you assuming that such a thing is good” He said “yes” I said "When you say this such a thing is good, aren’t you assuming there is such a thing as a moral law by which to distinguish between good and evil? he paused for a moment on that one.

and then I referenced him to Bertrand Russell’s debate with Coppleston in which Coppleston looked at Russell and said to him how do you differentiate be good and bad and Russell said “The same we differentiate between blue and green” and Coppleston said “but wait a minute you differentiate between those colors by seeing don’t you” he said yes he said “how do you differentiate between good and bad” Mr Russell he paused and “he said on the basis of my feeling what else”

I think that was the weakest point of Russell’s debate so when I looked at him he said all right I will agree to you that there is a moral law the basis of which differentiate between graver
I said evil therefore good, good therefore a moral law, the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil, I said but if you posit a moral law you must pause it a moral lawgiver. but that’s whom you are trying to disprove and not prove your whole point is invoking a moral law you which you cannot invoke without a moral lawgiver so your problem of evil actually disappears with the false assumptions that you’re making you know Ben he paused and he looked at me and he said what then am I asking you.

and if you are interested; Ravi speaks extensively on the basis of morality with Dave Ruben

I vaguely remember that you were enrolled to do the RZIM core module class in November? There are two modules on Morality Lecture 6.1 (God and Morality) and Lecture 6.2 (Moral Objections to the Bible) which I think will help answer these questions.

Hi Matt,

Thank you so much for your answers, theres no need to read it all especially anything that I responded with long answers. I think I pretty much covered all the holes he has. What I was looking more guidance on the personal comments he made on God.

We know he is of Jew descendancy, he brought up his dad and grandfather spanking, and then he mentioned this small testimony.

also id rather be a slave to Christ than a King to sin so this doesn’t no bother me as what God has shown me is forgiveness, love, and grace.

Mazel Tov! I’m glad you can be so self-honest. I am glad to know that there are no gods. If I were to believe there were a god, I would need to believe that God wanted me dead at birth and tried to kill me a second time at age 25. I would be constantly paranoid wondering what God had in store for me next. In a godsfree universe, such as the one in which we live, I have no such fear. Sometimes stuff just happens. But, no one is out to get me. It’s not personal.

And again, why is our perspective today better than God’s perspective on the subject?

This comment as well

If God wouldn’t have been horrified, why would he go through the trouble of becoming a human and dying the worst death possible to save you and me, would you have gone through this, or would yo go through this if required ?

Welcome to the American Nonsequitur Society where we don’t make sense but we love pizza.

What on earth does this have to do with slavery?

As for the answer to your question, God is an eternal being. When one has infinite time, any finite time divided by infinity approaches zero. So, God/Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins.

But, there’s more to this than that. In order for this whole “Lamb of God” sacrifice to work, one must first accept the concept of scapegoating from the Tenakh. One must first accept the idea that one may put one’s sins on an innocent being such as a goat or a lamb or the Lamb of God and then sacrifice that innocent being to absolve one of sin. I don’t accept this premise.

And finally this Dawkins kind of response.

But also when God did act on evil then he is an angry God. When he gives justice he is angry, so which one do you want?

Me? I don’t believe there are any gods. And, I certainly wouldn’t want there to be any gods.

“Men rarely if ever dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.” ― Robert Heinlein

Im just trying to answer this really carefully as they are more personal to him, but I also want to give a rational/scientific/philosophical answer.

Any guidance if you have will be appreciated and I wanted someone with more experience than me.

Have a great day.

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Hi Bobby,
I read all the rest of the pages; and also the linked to ‘why I know I am an atheist’, and noticed that he finishes up with profanity.

The entire conversation is about morality. I would try and simplify the conversation to one question and I’ve addressed my response as if talking directly to this person:


How do you personally tell right from wrong? If morals are subjective; the product of a society, and society makes a rule that says it’s legal to torture people for fun, how do you know that it’s morally wrong?

“If . . . men were reared under precisely the same conditions
as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried
females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to
kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile
daughters; and no one would think of interfering.”9 – Charles
Darwin

When someone you love deeply gets hurt by someone else’s evil, do you just shrug your shoulders and walk away? Or do you feel indignant and angry and want to see justice served? Why is that?

What if someone else violates you personally, do you just shrug and say ‘oh well’, or do you want justice.

No one is a moral relativist when it comes to what we really care
about. The reality of morality comes into clear focus when we
come face to face with the problem of evil. When you say there is such a thing as evil, you assume there is such a thing as good. When you assume there is such a thing
as good and evil, you assume there is a moral law on the basis
of which to differentiate between the two. When you assume a
moral law, you must posit a moral law giver.”10 – Ravi Zacharias

What about the evil within our own hearts, which we know intrinsically we fall short of our own moral standards? We know that it is wrong to lie, steal, and hate others.

Genesis states that God made man in his own image, and He loves them. God is also God of justice; and his anger is because humans (his creation) hurt each other and justice must be served. There will be a day of reckoning when we give account for our lives to Him.

In a court of law, justice will be served. The guilty person will pay the penalty, unless there is another to take the punishment. God gave Himself in the person of Jesus Christ and as you say he is called the “Lamb of God: who takes away the sin of the world” . John 1:29

This is know as the ‘wish fulfilment’ argument. Atheists try to say that God is a projection of our mind, because we need something to get us through life. The argument is cuts both ways; because an atheist doesn’t want to face God and give account for their life.


as a closing thought his sharing (below) does seem to be an interesting part of his life story; perhaps God is trying to get his attention.