Tuesday, April 25, 2006
How do we know if God exists - some of the arguments for and against
I've been looking into the arguments further and here is a summary of what I've found so far...
- Intelligent design
- The apparent design and order of the universe suggests that there must have been a "creator"
- Why do people start of ask these big questions when they take the time to look at the night sky...the stars...nature etc. etc.
- Psalm 8
- Why does bad stuff happen? This can be used to argue for the existence of God - the concept of "good" and "evil" assumes that there is a universal set of moral values. Christians would argue that these come from God.
- It is commonly accepted that humans have a highly developed sense of "right and wrong". We have to ask where has this come from? Theists argue that this is something that God has put within us. If God has not put it there, then where did this sense come from? How is this compatible with evolutionary theory? Surely there is no morality in the "survival of the fittest".
- Archaeology backs up much of the old testament
- New testament history
- New_Testament Authorship
- Christian manuscripts - this summaries a lot of the "standard" evidence that people give to support the Bible
- Pascal's wager - "it is always a better "bet" to believe in God"
- The Watch maker analogy - "an argument in support of the view that the universe are the product of a conscious designer or designers"
- Transcendental argument for the existence of God
- Cosmological_argument - if everything has a cause, then who causes the first cause...God?Ontological arguments - using logic to argue for the existence of God
- Incompetent design - some people argue against "intelligent" design by saying that some things show a poor design
- If there is a God, who created him?
- The Problem of Evil / Epicurean paradox - "the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god". My research on this is here
- Creationism is not consistent with the fossil record
- Some critics have maintained that Christianity isn't even founded on an historical figure whatsoever, but rather on a mythical creation
- Note that some of the arguments "against" are part of the "arguments for"!!
But science has explained everything - evolution etc.
- Primarily a theist will base there answers on the supernatural answers, where as a scientist will base their beliefs on what can be "observed". That, of course, does not mean that the two are entirely mutually exclusive, or that either can prove that the other is right or wrong.
- "Science covers the mental field of knowledge and religion the mental field of belief. Belief starts where knowledge ends."
- See God of the Gaps - the idea that we attribute the bits we don't understand to God. The more we understand, the less need we have for God.
- Evolution: fact or fiction? The main points in this book are:
- not every scientist believes evolution to be true
- there are two types of evolution - "micro-evolution" which evolution within a specific species and "macro-evolution" which says that one species can create other new species over time
- there is no dispute that "micro evolution" occurs - this can be proved. Those who breed animals do this via cross breeding etc. to introduce small changes.
- there is no direct empirical evidence to support "macro-evolution", be that in the laboratory, or fossils, palaeontology etc. Anybody who says otherwise is basically theorising or taking an educated guess.
- "Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and palaeontology does not prove them", i.e., there is not evidence that shows the gradual changes of one species to another. There are some attempts to explain this, but it's just theory. I heard some argue that can't prove it because it not enough time has elapsed - i.e., if evolution takes millions of years, it might take us millions of years (or a long time) to prove it.
- The fossil records also indicate "explosions" of life in very short periods of time, which does not wholly fit in with evolutionary theory. There is some argument that this points more towards a creationist view point
- The book suggests that homo sapiens are separated from all other species that can not be explained by evolution. There are several listed, including "We [humans] have a spiritual dimension, a sense that these is a world beyond the material". Why is this? Why do we have a spiritual dimension?
- Young-Earth Creationism
- Old-Earth Creationism
- Theistic evolutionism, also known as "evolutionary creationism"
- Even Richard Dawkins doesn't completely rule out the existence of God "We cannot prove that there is no God, but we can safely conclude the He is very, very improbable indeed"
- The Bible was not written from a scientific point of view
Other points of interest
- Atheists - a common mistake that Christians make is assume that Atheists are those who do not believe in God. An Atheist can also be someone who makes no claim either way. I've heard several atheist argue from the point of view that have not yet been convinced that God exists, which from their point of view is different to not believing in God. In several arguments I've heard, the atheist will use this card...i.e., argue I'm not anti-god, it's up to you to prove god's existence to me...
- In debates between Evolutionists and Creationists, some Evolutionists seem to use the term to refer to the whole process of creation where others refer to different sciences:
- Check out the articles here
- Special revelation - "knowledge of God or spiritual matters that would not be available to mankind without God's intervention to make that knowledge available"
- General revelation - "the knowledge of God and spiritual matters which can be discovered through natural means, such as observation of nature, philosophy and reasoning, or conscience"
- All of nature points to God (is there some verse about nature cries out glory of god etc? Psalm 91:1?)
- Some Christians argue that their "Faith gives us hope", i.e., that there is something better than this life, this world etc. To an Atheist, this life is all that there is - if there is no hope here, then tough luck!
- Read this for laugh http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm
If we assume that God does exist...
- The Six Blind men of Indostan - the idea that we all see God from a different point of view...all Gods are the same etc.
Video's you might use
- Video for Fatboy Slim: Right Here, Right Now - http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2434562?htv=12&htv=12. Basically this is a music video that show the theory of evolution.
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]