Re: [asa] The theist challenge

From: Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Dec 01 2008 - 13:26:33 EST

I've heard the 'functional atheist' rationale before, but it never strikes
me as correct. I'd sooner argue that many atheists are functionally theist.

If the Christian God were somehow falsified - and really, I'm not sure I see
even that as possible in any meaningful sense - I'd personally find myself
in a very similar position to what I am now. I'd still be seeking God
intellectually, attempting to understand Him, which is an eternal project
all its own. I may even come to many of the same conclusions about God and
the God-related I did as a Christian. The American deists in particularly
are noteworthy in that respect - their deism didn't lead them to an apathy
about God. Far from it.

I think that's one of the key distinctions that the challenge misses out on.
Being a theist does not mean (for me, at least) that I have all the answers
about God. It means I operate with a certain sense about the world, and
there's a transcendent aspect to it that I need to reflect on and try to
explore. Christianity itself does a good job of demonstrating this - the
intellectual history the faith is not one of long and abiding complacency
with pat answers, even within a single branch of the faith.

On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 1:00 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>wrote:

> Schwarzwald said:
> "If my faith in Christianity ever faltered, the logical step for me would
> be deism or some broader variety of theism. Atheism just strikes me as
> intellectually the least justifiable option on the table."
>
>
>
> If the Christian God could be disproven or falsified, you might wonder
> which religion is better. Seems to me that Christianity is the best
> religion. If falsified, then why bother in a God that might exist, but is
> too lame (or He doesn't care) to reveal himself. It might boil down to "God
> may exist, but if so, He's irrelevant to me." May as well ignore God if He
> ignores us- a functional atheist.
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> *From:* asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] *On
> Behalf Of *Schwarzwald
> *Sent:* Monday, December 01, 2008 9:50 AM
> *To:* asa@calvin.edu
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] The theist challenge
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 12:28 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
> wrote:
>
> Moorad said:
> "the notion of evil is nonexistent for the atheist."
>
> I've heard atheist Christopher Hitchins say he believes in evil. He says
> there's bad, then there's people who go overboard into evil. People like
> Hitler and suicide bombers. He says the solution is to kill these people.
>
>
> And when he's asked to account for how things are evil given the
> presuppositions he brings to the table, he's reduced to awkwardness. His
> debates with Doug Wilson and others have certainly highlighted as much - the
> sort of 'evil' Hitchens says he believes in is hard to square with his other
> beliefs.
>
>
> As for the theist challenge, I'd agree with the general sentiment expressed
> here - it's a canard, based on a faulty understanding of how these questions
> are approached. Along the lines of asking 'What fact could you encounter
> that would falsify your belief that rape is immoral?' Philosophical and
> metaphysical commitments rarely operate in such a way.
>
> And I'd second Gordon Brown's observations. I'll note that even Paul did
> not have the standard of 'If Christ did not rise, God does not exist'. In
> fact, he specifically said that if Christ did not rise, then he and others
> were doing offense to God by attributing the resurrection to Him. If my
> faith in Christianity ever faltered, the logical step for me would be deism
> or some broader variety of theism. Atheism just strikes me as intellectually
> the least justifiable option on the table.
>

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Received on Mon Dec 1 13:26:56 2008

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