Posts Tagged ‘worldview’

Theism or Atheism – Which is More Logical?

In having several different discussions, something that just became evident to me is how much the debates between theists and atheists rely on logic. Truthfully, I hadn’t heard terms like special pleading, begging the question or non sequitur until I jumped into the fray. And yet they are constantly being tossed around in these arguments, knocking down arguments and providing objections and rebuttals.

That got me thinking a bit. If logic and philosophical arguments are such a big piece of the issue, then what logical arguments are being discussed. In all of my time here on WordPress, I’ve seen many positive arguments for theism, like the Kalam cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the moral argument, the argument for soul, the argument from desire, the argument for the veracity of the resurrection of Christ. I’ve made many of these arguments myself on this blog.

But for atheism, the positive arguments are scarce to non-existent. Shouldn’t a worldview that predicates itself on being “critical thinkers” and using “logic and reason” to show people the light of the day have more positive arguments on its side? I mean, realistically the only positive argument I can think of for atheism is the problem of evil, and that’s not even really a positive argument for atheism so much as a negative argument against theism.

So maybe someone can help me out here, but are there really any good positive arguments for atheism? My feeling is that if a worldview is true, there will be reasons to believe it is true. Just like if I believe that atheism is false, that doesn’t mean that theism is true. I need reasons to believe in favor of theism.

If there are no good positive arguments for atheism, then can atheists really contend that they come from the more logical position? Perhaps this is why atheism argues so hard for methodological naturalism, because that is really all it has to stand on if it can’t use philosophy or logic in favor of its position.

It’s just one more thing to make me (and hopefully any fence-sitters out there) convinced that theism has a much firmer foundation as a worldview, and I have solid justification in my belief in God. 🙂

Evidence For God’s Existence

For those who have been privy to the attempted discussions I’ve been trying to have at, and you actually want to have a reasonable dialogue on the evidence for God’s existence, this is for you.

My evidence for God’s existence begins with a four-pronged effort. These four ideas are thus:

1) Cosmological argument – The universe has a Cause, and that Cause is uncaused and supernatural in origin
2) Teleological argument – The overwhelming evidence of design and order to the universe implies a Designer
3) Moral argument – objective moral values exist, and the only way we can know what is morally right and morally wrong is with an objective standard for these values, which can only be found supernaturally
4) Intangibility argument – intangible things, such as ideas, emotions, etc., exist, and since the natural order shows that things must reproduce after their own kind, these intangible concepts must proceed from something intangible. This something intangible is akin to what the Bible refers to as “soul”

I will tackle each one of these in turn, but for this blog post and in an attempt to see some actual fruitful discussion occur, I’ll stick with point #1 and save the others for other posts.

The kalam cosmological argument follows deductive reasoning in logic, and is stated as thus:

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

In order to break this argument down, you have to show either that one of the premises or the conclusion is invalid, using logic or factual evidence. Conjecture and hypotheses don’t kill the argument.

How do we know the universe began to exist? Well, we know two ways. First, the second law of thermodynamics, in its most famous stating, says thus: “The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.” Translation: everything is winding down. This results in the following: According to the second law the entropy of any isolated system, such as the entire universe, never decreases. If the entropy of the universe has a maximum upper bound then when this bound is reached the universe has no thermodynamic free energy to sustain motion or life, that is, the heat death is reached.

What does that have to do with the universe’s beginning? Well anything that is coming to an end must have had a beginning, for no infinite thing can have an end by the definition of infinite. Therefore, the universe had a beginning.

The second piece of evidence lies in the expanding nature of the universe, discovered by Hubble in using the redshift of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is commonly accepted by science today that the universe is, in fact, expanding, supported by the Cosmological principle (which demands that the universe looks the same way in all directions and has roughly the same smooth mixture of material) and the Copernican principle (which demands that no place in the universe is preferred–that is, the universe has no “starting point”).

But if we take the expanding nature of the universe and dial it backwards to infinite regress, we would find that the universe would collapse in on itself to a state of nothingness. Therefore, we have to assume that the universe began “ex nihilo,” or “out of nothing.” Interestingly, this is exactly the conclusion that Lawrence Krauss has come to by determining that the total energy of the universe is zero, precisely what we would expect to see in a universe that was created out of nothing.

So we have an end to the universe supporting its beginning, and we have scientific evidence that the origin of the universe was “ex nihilo.” So that begs the question: how did the universe begin? Many misinformed people would say “The Big Bang, of course.” However the Big Bang theory doesn’t answer the origin question; note this explanation from Wikipedia: “Without any evidence associated with the earliest instant of the expansion, the Big Bang theory cannot and does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the universe since that instant.” So the underlying implication is that something caused the Big Bang.

Now there has to be a first cause to the universe. Richard Dawkins’ theory of “complex must be from more complex” makes no sense because if you take the argument to reductio absurdum you get infinite regress–there can be no cause for anything because everything must have a cause great than it. So there is no cause, which means there can be no effect. If you ask for the cause of something like an ice cube, then the cause of the ice cube must have a cause, and that cause has a cause, and so on into infinity. There must have been a first, uncaused cause to the universe in order for it to have the nature of cause-and-effect that we see today. (Note: This Dawkins argument fails to make a reasonable objection to the teleological argument for the very same reasons.)

Now let’s look at alternative theories. First, science seems to have come to this ex nihilo conclusion and realized that this answer to the uncaused cause–to the origin of our universe–lies outside of our universe. Enter the multiverse hypothesis. However, scientists like Krauss fully understand and recognize that even if a multiverse were to exist, we would never be able to see it or know it here on this earth. So it is at best an untestable hypothesis and at worst like shooting a gun with blanks in the dark hoping to kill a deer.

The other theory of course, is that a supernatural entity created the universe. This theory began at least 4,000 years ago with the author of Genesis, so in terms of dating as validation for theory, God’s existence wins. It’s a hypothesis that has been supported and documented throughout history and pre-dates modern science, and nothing that science has found contradicts what is possible with a supernatural being creating the universe. The Big Bang is completely possible as a means for beginning everything by God, timing issues aside.

So if you were a betting man, would you bet on a cosmological theory that pre-dates modern science and has been only corroborated by the scientific evidence found, even in recent years, or would you go with a theory that has never been and never will be tested, one that we can never see or understand (much in the same way that atheists feel about the God hypothesis), and has only been proffered in the past 100 years?

I’ll go with the evidence supporting God’s existence as the much more plausible worldview.

When Everybody’s Right…

The above video is a quick snippet from “The Incredibles.” While it makes sense in the context of the movie, it has always stuck in my mind as meaning something a bit more from a social perspective. The crux of the position is that when everyone is the same, no one is unique. And it’s the unique aspect of our character that makes the world tick. If we were all the same, we’d be no different than robots.

But take this one step further when considering the current push to worldview tolerance. In essence, what our world is telling us today is that everyone’s opinion is OK, and some even go so far as to say everyone is right on some level. But to adapt what Syndrome says in the video clip, “When everyone is right, no one will be.” At some point you have to draw the line and say that there is something that definitely feels right about a worldview compared to all other worldviews. At some point you have to be willing to take a stand for something. One of my favorite quotes is this: “A man who doesn’t stand for something will fall for anything.”

I know where I stand, and I know many of you on here reading this blog also have a position, and quite frequently it might be directly opposed to mine. But tolerance is checkmate; not everyone can be right. As mean as it sounds, this is the truth. I hope that any of you out there sitting on the fence will make a decision to stand for a worldview today, so that the lines between right and not right won’t be as blurry as they are today.

What Will Change Your Worldview?

Recently WIFE and I had a discussion on a pretty controversial topic. One of the interesting things about our marriage is that I grew up in a very conservative (politically) home, while WIFE’s household was fairly liberal. The fact that we began dating right before the 2004 presidential election and that we are still together to this day is something we both believe to be a miracle of God.

All this to tell you that we initially fell on different sides of the coin on this issue. I thought that was the end of it; we agree to disagree, respect each other’s opinions, and we’re still able to kiss good night. After attending a Bible study that night, on the way home WIFE tells me, “Well, you were right,” and proceeds to say that Satan has led her astray with yet another lie. What’s been interesting to me is that over the course of a couple of years, how the worldview of WIFE has completely shifted.

Now we are still fairly young, but for an adult to make a hard U-turn when it comes to your worldview is something else; something else being a significant event in your life causing you to look at life in a completely different way. For WIFE, it was beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ. Since then, issues are seen through a completely different lens.

In my own life, the significant event in my life was marrying WIFE. Since she was a new Christian when we got married, some of the excitement in learning about God and His Word was still evident in her life. I realize that the worldview of mine that changed thanks to her was what I will call Latent Christianity. Having professed faith in Jesus since I was 9 years old, I had spent years not paying attention in church, thinking a neck rub from my dad during service was more important than what the pastor had to say about Philippians.

When WIFE started coming to church with my family, and especially when we decided to get married and went through pre-marital counseling, my worldview started to change. It was as if some sleeping giant had been awoken and was stirring, ready to start up again. God began to tug at me, telling me that being a Christian wasn’t just something you say; it’s something you live.

WIFE and I recently joined a new church, and this time is exciting for me, because I am truly energized about serving and giving to both the body of believers and to those who haven’t had Jesus change their worldview yet. For the first time, I have an inkling that I might be able to do outreach, something that I NEVER had a desire to do, because I felt I couldn’t connect with people who weren’t already Christians. As a part of the worship team at my church, I’m excited to worship God with the talents He’s given me every single week, instead of using my musical knowledge to critique and judge those who are just giving what they can to God. I’m taking initiative to be the spiritual leader of my relationship and my family, because I finally realize how important that is to God’s plan for my marriage and the rest of my life. I no longer feel chained to Latent Christianity, because my worldview has changed.

So my question to anybody reading this is: what will change your worldview? Can your worldview even be changed, or are you so entrenched in yourself that God can’t work? What it really means to be “open-minded” is to allow your eyes and heart to be receptive to whatever God is truly placing there and asking of you. If you open your heart to Him, He won’t hesitate to enter. Let Him be your worldview; you won’t regret it.