Now onto Part 2 – the “evidence”
I’ll address the evidence that Ben has claimed for the existence of his God.
1. Arguments of natural theology – the existence of the universe, the beginning of the universe, the intuitive reality of moral facts, the human phenomenon of consciousness, the existed of human reason, the apparent fine-tuning of the universe for the possible existence of intelligent life, etc… Philospher Alvin Plantinga mentions two dozen such articles in lecture notes to be found here.
Yep, expected this one. It’s the “look around, *my* god did this” nonsense along with the baseless claim of “intuitive reality of moral facts” aka we somehow know what is moral magically. The first problem is that this argument can apply to *any* god and well, we know that Christians aren’t talkinb about Huitzilopochtli. It’s circular and it has the usual problem that it could be any god. Christians, and any theist, just claim it’s theirs so they can feel all important. Poor Christians could be simply wrong and have the wrong god.
Ben cites Plantinga, one of those “Sophisticated Theologianstm” whose arguments still fail. Professionals don’t fare any better than amateurs, they just get amateurs to believe them because they agree with the amateurs. Platinga is notorious for the idea of “Reformed Epistemology” when all it is can be summed up as “God is real because we say it is.” and “just look around and isn’t it obvious that there is a god?” It’s the same argument that a three year old uses for their imaginary friend and just as “impressive”. There is no reason I should trust Ben or Plantinga or the three year old. One can blindly believe that the child’s imaginary friend exists and one can also blindly believe that gods exist. But again, where’s the evidence? Assuming Ben doesn’t believe in Zeus or Odin, the question is *why* he doesn’t believe in them. Ben, why are you an atheist to some gods but not others? Should not the same standards apply? If they don’t, then it just becomes special pleading.
2. Personified evidence – Philosopher Paul Moser actually argues against natural theology, suggesting a better way to evidence for God. On Moser’s view, a God worthy of worship will actively hide himself. To deny that God is hidden to some extent would be a big mistake. He can be found, however, at times and places of his choosing. Moser defends his religious epistemology against the predictable objections. I find his view quite sensible and realistic. Of course, the skeptic likely will not. That’s ok.
So, we have two contradictory ideas that are both supposed to be true for the Christian, Moser (god is hiding) and Plantinga (you can see god everywhere). I do appreciate the hide and seek god that Christians have had to invent to excuse their god and its inactivity. Yep, we have Moser and Ben deciding that now their god plays hide and seek and have entirely ignored the bible because those bits of their god constantly being involved with humanity, using miracles as evidence it exists, are just awfully inconvenient in a world where recording devices exist. Suddenly, a god that heals people left and right, kills them with magical plagues, etc now hides under a rock. God sure has becomes less than a omnipotent/omniscient/omnibenevolent entity. I can guess that Ben may then argue that “my god can’t show itself since that would remove free will since we would have no choice to believe in it”. Which again that pesky bible shows is ridiculous if one actually thinks the bible has any truth to it whatsoever. Someone should tell Moser that Pascal’s wager fails too.
3. Counter evidence – There is also natural atheology to consider. The problem of evil, divine hiddenness, pluralism, origin of religions theories. At face value these seem to be a big threat. But on closer inspection, I find that the threat tends to dissolve or even reverse direction to support supernaturalism.
“natural atheology”? This seems to be a phrase made up by Christian apologists and philosophers. And you know, I have no real idea what this is supposed to mean. It appears to mean that atheists can’t demonstrate that gods are imaginary. Well, that actually can be a valid point if one makes a god so vague that it has no attribute that can be addressed. Ben’s Christian god isn’t like that. The Christian god has very certain qualities and those qualities can be used to show that this god does not exist as described. If the bible is to be considered truthful and accurate, then there are problems, including all of those that Ben wish to claim aren’t “big threats”. It’s rather like watching a Christian stick their fingers in their ears and run around screaming like a child who doesn’t want to listen. But since Ben claims that he is sure that these “threats” tend to dissolve and/or support supernaturalism, I ask that he show how this occurs.
4. Personal testimony – I’ve personally experienced the supernatural. I don’t expect anyone to take my word for it but it is evident to me nonetheless.
I always cringe at this one. Personal testimony! Which means that every religion that has people saying that they believe in in and have experienced a god is just as valid as Ben’s Christianity and those gods are just as real as the Christian God. Tsk. I guess all of that “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” really is meaningless. Ben claims that he has experienced the supernatural. I ask him to tell me how. I’d also like to know why him and not, say, a Christian veteran who has had his legs blown off by an IED. Ben, tell me why I should believe your claims and not the claims of, say, a Hindu person who is sure that his goddess drinks milk as a statue.
Audience, if you’d like to take a stab at things, please do.