Evidence for God and What about the “New” Atheists?

The wonderful 3 Mormons:

 

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Let’s start with this series of short, 5-minute videos from Prager University. 21 videos total are available in Prager’s Religion/Philosophy section.  Consider subscribing to this YouTube channel.

Dennis Mark Prager is an American conservative and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, columnist, author, and public speaker.

He’s also a believing Jew.  Of course, LDS people don’t share all specific beliefs with Dennis.  However, we do have much in common.  Including most of the following beliefs about God, evil, morality, free will, etc.

 

Blake Ostler, an LDS attorney and philosopher, shares many of his insights relative to the nature of God in over 20 podcasts found here at “Exploring Mormon Thought”.

One is linked below.  Please review all his others.  They’re awesome and insightful!

Ostler explains how one can know truth from spiritual experiences:

 

Alvin Plantinga, perhaps the world’s leading religious philosopher, discusses the position that all religions can’t logically be simultaneously true.  Alvin is not LDS.

John Lennox articulates the differences between faiths, especially between the 3 major monotheistic religions.

Judaism believes Jesus died, but didn’t rise.  Islam believes Jesus didn’t die.  And Christianity believes Jesus both died and rose.  1 of these 3 (or none) is correct.  All 3 are not correct.

Thoughtful Ravi discusses why he believes Christianity is the true faith.

Ravi is great in a question-and-answer format:

New Atheism

In my experience, the climate today with strident new atheists makes people who leave faith feel more supported, trendy, and smarter. It’s ridiculous, but seems to be the case.

The atheists arguments are no different (and in many cases worse) than in C.S. Lewis’ day. Yet, most people have no idea.

They usually haven’t gotten to the bottom of things till years into their journey at which time things look pretty bleak.

Classical atheists were sad that God didn’t exist and owned that the outlook was completely miserable. New atheists are strangely glib and sometimes ecstatic in their claim that there’s no God. They seem to forget that — according to all previous atheists — life is bleak and meaningless in the absence of God.

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No ultimate meaning, despite finding meaning week to week in subjective and personal choices month to month. New atheism is a pop-cultural phenomenon.

Richard Dawkins (perhaps the most famous atheist in the world today), outside the pop culture, is ridiculed by academics for his poor arguments and avoidance of past obstacles. But your cousin who left faith doesn’t understand any of this. He thinks he’s smarter than you, you dummie!

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I have an atheist/agnostic friend who used to be a full-on LDS-hating atheist. Now, after a few years of cooling down, kinda hopes for God, but still rails against the Church. He just can’t let go of his critical interpretations. Most (85%) of our doubts are emotional doubts.

This fellow, William Lane Craig, is a wonderful creedal Christian defender comments on new atheism:

Discussing the most significant cultural challenges to belief in our society:

Scientism and the Faith of an Atheist

Science doesn’t answer big questions. The why questions.

However, Science does demonstrate very long odds that all this “just happened by chance.”

Life on this planet in a rare event.  That the universe to exist at all is amazing.  The four forces.  These issues of fine tuning of all variables in our universe — varying any one of which would throw life and the Universe out of existence — provides credibility that God exists in and created the Universe.

 

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Two points from scientific naturalism (atheism):

1.  The natural world is all there is.

This claim is consistent logically equivalent to atheism.  One can’t logically prove atheism or that the natural world is all there is.  How could one prove that there is nothing beyond the natural world, when all they can study is the natural world (and nothing more)?

The only way the naturalists could hold this claim #1 is by faith.  But then the naturalists would contradict claim #2.   Indeed, claim #1 is internally incoherent.

2.  We should only believe what can be scientifically proven.

This second point is far too narrow.  In fact, we accept many intuitive truths that can’t be proven.

Can’t prove these truths:

1) Ethics:  can’t prove good and evil.  2) Esthetics: can’t prove beauty.  3) Metaphysics: the reality of the past.  4) Science itself has unproveable assumptions: Special Theory of Relativity, one-way velocity of light is assumed to be constant. 5) Mathematics and logic truths:  Science presupposes logic and math.

Even statement #2 itself can’t be proven scientifically.  Statement #2 is an opinion or statement of philosophy.  #2 is self-refuting and cannot be true.

William Lane Craig at his best in under 3 minutes:

Great points in 1.5 minutes:

Less than 2.5 minutes:

Awesome demolition in a little over 5 minutes:

Elder Holland, attending the 50th anniversary celebration of discovering chiasmus in the Book of Mormon, gave this talk on evidence:

John Lennox (see video below) has debated the biggest names among today’s atheists.

Christians should have an evidence base for belief in Christ.  John told us of Jesus’ actions so that we might believe.

John 20 : 30-31

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

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Lennox makes several points from atheist debates:

1) Belief in Christianity is based in evidence — not blind faith.  Review John 20: 30-31 again.

2) Atheists claim to not have faith, but Lennox has challenged many atheists this way: “I’m sorry, but I thought you believed your atheism.”

3) Dawkins believes in or has faith in stuff, including his wife.  Evidence-based faith is still faith.

4) Traditional Christians don’t believe God was created (Mormons theology involves progression).  Dawkins constantly teases, “Who created your Creator?”  Lennox says nobody. Dawkins believes the Universe created him.  So, Lennox asked Dawkins, “Who created your (Dawkins’) creator?”  Still waiting for an answer.

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Top issues:

1) We don’t believe in the God of the Gaps.

2) Science and God are compatible and complimentary:

  •  To say you don’t believe in God, but rather you believe in Science is analogous to saying you don’t believe in Henry Ford, but instead you believe in the laws of internal combustion.  The God explanation is not the same as the Science explanation.  You, obviously, should believe in both.
  • Why is the kettle boiling?  There are 2 explanations: a scientific one about molecules.  And a personal agent explanation:  it’s boiling because I want a cup of tea.

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3) The Law of Gravity describes gravity, but descriptive laws do not create anything.  Ever.  We don’t even know what what gravity is.  However, Steven Hawking and other secular scientists would have you believe laws daily create matter and the entire Universe.  Not true.

4)  God created the world good.  God could have created a perfect world, but none of us would have been in it.  A world without hate will have no love.  Robotic worlds lack sin and many other problems, but they have no humans.  Bringing humans into the world is a risky business.  God’s children can grow up and say no.  Just like our kids.

Another discussion with John Lennox on faith and reason.  Faith of believers.  Faith of atheists.  What is the evidence?  What of blind faith?

Bill Whittle and Andrew Klavan (Christian, former Jew) discuss the limits of Science and atheism.

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At the 5:10 mark in the video below, Bill says when someone says “I believe in Science” you immediately know they don’t know what they’re talking about.  Science is a tool.  Like a hammer.  So, when they exclaim, “I believe in Science,” they’re really saying, “I believe in a hammer.”

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Science is not a philosophy.  It’s not a world view.   It’s a method.  It’s a series of questions, processes, and procedures to isolate variables and extract something out of nature.

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Scientism or Trans-science:  popularized by the new atheists, such as Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and Dennett.  An arrogant belief in objectivism — won’t believe anything other than Science — that itself becomes a religion.

What of Philosophy, Art, Ethics, and other obvious truths we can’t prove?

We can’t understand infinity or eternity.  We simply lack the neurons.

Worth 12 minutes of your time.

More from William Lane Craig:

Scientism is not Science.  It’s a theory.  It’s a philosophy.

The statement itself — one should only believe in what can be scientifically proven — is self-refuting.  One can’t prove one should believe this.  It’s a philosophy statement or belief — not something that itself can be proven.

Can’t prove these truths:

1) Ethics:  can’t prove good and evil.  2) Esthetics: can’t prove beauty.  3) Metaphysics: the reality of the past.  4) Science itself has unprovable assumptions: Special Theory of Relativity, one-way velocity of light is assumed to be constant. 5) Mathematics and logic truths:  Science presupposes logic and math.

Fun interchange.  William Lane Craig (on the left) is a skilled debater.  Too bad he’s not LDS.

Another gem by WLC on God.  Now, I don’t agree with all of Craig’s arguments, but the discussion is wonderful.