Re: [asa] Deism, Apologetics, and Neglected Arguments

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Aug 18 2009 - 21:38:09 EDT

It's not at all clear to me that a person becoming just any kind of theist is better - i.e., closer to Christian faith - than atheism. From a theoretical standpoint, Christianity is very different from many varieties of theism. It's not without significance that the early Christians were accused of being atheists by the pagans. If you ask many of the people who "believe in God" what God they believe in, you may have to say "I don't believe in that God either." & practically, being a member of many theistic communities (e.g., Islam) introduces constraints against acceptance of Christianity that are not felt by atheists. & even the "mere theist" may have settled upon notions about God that that make it difficult to take seriously the belief that the real God is revealed in a man dying on cross.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Schwarzwald
  Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 9:18 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Deism, Apologetics, and Neglected Arguments

  George Murphy: I really do believe that you are correct when you talk about there being a danger in making use of mere theistic arguments. However, I'd simply point out that there's danger in just about every apologetic approach - get an atheist to accept the existence of a grand designer or creator and for all you know you've just turned him into a hindu (I'd point out that with CS Lewis, this was apparently a very live possibility early on) or something else. At the same time, I'd consider an atheist becoming a hindu, a panentheist, an idealist, a pagan, or a "mere theist" to be progress. In other words, if we're thinking purely pragmatically here, I'm tempted to take a Pascal-like view - whatever danger there may be in using arguments for mere theism in discussion with agnostics or practical atheists, it's outweighed by the danger/detriment of the status quo being maintained with them. I'll put this again bluntly: I'd much rather deal with a mere theist of just about any stripe rather than the alternative, because at least the mere theist can be expected to take the question of God seriously.

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Received on Tue Aug 18 21:39:14 2009

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