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

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Wed Aug 19 2009 - 00:20:26 EDT

Heya Alexanian,

I'd probably agree with that much. The Catholic Church argues that God can
be known by reason, but as near as I can tell this would mean God in that
'basic theism' sense. I do believe, however, that preaching and apologetics
is one part of the plan - that God may use us to reach others.

As an aside to George, I just remembered an interesting deist anecdote. I
recall reading about how Ben Franklin claimed he was converted to Deism by
reading an anti-deist book by an apologist. It seems Franklin, in reading
the book, decided that the summaries of the arguments he was reading were
more persuasive than the author's response to them. So there we have an
apparent example of preaching against deism carrying the risk of converting
Christians to deism!

I only bring this up to back up what I've said - namely, that any attempt at
apologetics carries some amount of risk, as does leaving apologetics alone.
My goal and hope with such an approach would be to lead people to Christ, or
at least assist in that.

On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 10:43 PM, Alexanian, Moorad <>wrote:

> Theism means recognizing the existence of god, but then, one’s god can be
> someone else’s devil. Therefore, becoming a theist is not the same as
> recognizing the necessity and existence of a Creator of all that is. The
> latter is the logical conclusion of some quiet and much thoughtful
> introspection. The true God can only be revealed to us. We can never figure
> Him out by pure thought.
> Moorad
> ________________________________
> From: [] On Behalf Of
> Schwarzwald []
> Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:28 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [asa] Deism, Apologetics, and Neglected Arguments
> Heya George,
> I've already said that, certainly, bringing someone to theism does not
> guarantee that they're going to become Christian. But I don't think there's
> a "risk-free" approach to this - absolutely any move you make (including
> making no move at all) has a risk attached. One has to keep in mind their
> message and their approach, but at the end of the day do what seems to make
> the most sense. And I maintain that the approach I'm talking about makes
> quite a lot of sense, specifically in the west. I wouldn't say it's the only
> approach available, or that it doesn't have risks, of course. But I'd need
> to hear more than "They may end up believing differently than we/you do" to
> reject it, because that's the status quo for this group as is.
> On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 9:38 PM, George Murphy <
> <>> wrote:
> 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.
> Shalom
> George
> <>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Schwarzwald<>
> To:<>
> 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 Wed Aug 19 00:21:20 2009

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