Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

If there is no God....

If there's no God, everything is permitted, including hanging onto theism in spite of the evidence. Why not?

What would you do if I could get you to reassess the evidence?

I'm very reticent to say what I would do if I reassessed the evidence in a certain way. Atheists are fond of asking "Well, if I could convince you of this or that, would you deconvert? What would it take?" It's kind of like asking "Would you divorce your wife if she had an affair?," when she isn't having one and I have no reason to believe that she will have one.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

C. S. Lewis's Rejection of Soteriological Exclusivism

But Lewis was no soteriological exclusivist. This is from Man or Rabbit.
The question before each of us is not “Can someone lead a good life without Christianity?” The question is, “Can I?” We all know there have been good men who were not Christians; men like Socrates and Confucius who had never heard of it, or men like J. S. Mill who quite honestly couldn’t believe it. Supposing Christianity to be true, these men were in a state of honest ignorance or honest error. If there intentions were as good as I suppose them to have been (for of course I can’t read their secret hearts) I hope and believe that the skill and mercy of God will remedy the evils which their ignorance, left to itself, would naturally produce both for them and for those whom they influenced.
I would have to admit that had I felt that I had to be an exclusivist, it would have been a lot more difficult for me to remain a Christian. Lewis and others convinced me that I could reject exclusivism and still remain a Christian.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is the argument for an unmoved mover circular?

I'm Skeptical wrote: 



I realize that classical theists have logical arguments to prove the existence of God. But you don't realize that they all presuppose the existence of God. So yes, they do take God as a brute fact, no matter how much they deny it.


Now, here is presentation of Aristotle's Unmoved Mover. I take it you are implying that this must be a circular argument. How so?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Atheism is unfalsifiable, and it's the theists' fault

According to this post, from the Axis of Jared.

On cosmological arguments

A redated post. 

In making sense of questions concerning cosmological arguments, I think perhaps an important place to begin is to think through what kind of necessity can be attributed to the physical universe. The physical universe, at least if it is beginningless, can be considered to be factually necessary, and perhaps that concept needs to be clarified. I’d like to see a detailed definition of factual necessity.
Once we get this, we then have to ask if we have good reason to think that a universe that possesses factual necessity is unexplained in some important way that could be overcome by accepting theism. Is there a version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason that is rational to accept that gives us reason to think that a theistic explanation is nevertheless needed?
And then we have to ask what reason we have to suppose that the universe had a beginning. If the universe had a temporal beginning, how does that change the situation?

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Witch Hunts, Religious and Secular

I don't know if Christians have any greater record of inquisitions and witch hunts than anyone else does. Christians invariably think that Christianity matters, and that what it has to say is important and worth spreading. But you need something more than that to get witch hunts etc. You need the idea that this end justifies the means used to accomplish it, and that it is appropriate to use the weapons of power to get people to believe the right thing. Most Christians today, I think would say that a forced belief in Christianity isn't real one, and that such actions on behalf of Christianity are inappropriate and self-defeating. The people who brought the idea of a free and democratic society to the Western were mostly Christians. Any democratic society needs religious freedom to survive. For political reasons, autocratic governments pursue religious (or non-religious) uniformity. Democratic ones ordinarily tolerate opposing religious views. Islam is somewhat of a different case, because Islam, is rooted in the idea that the government should be implementing it. That's why it's so hard to get a democracy going in an Islamic country. 
Now Christian autocrats have pursued Christian uniformity, and often pursued Catholic or Protestant uniformity. Atheist autocrats have also pursued atheist uniformity, as in the case of the League of the Militant Godless in Russia. The way this is prevented is not by supporting or opposing religion, it is by saying the governments should stay out of the business of enforcing uniformity in matters of religion. 
People will sometimes say atheism is a non-belief, not a belief, but in the minds of many this non-belief matters. Some, like Dawkins, think that society will either progress or regress depending on whether or not we are successful in ridding ourselves of religion, which they consider to be irrational superstition. So, if you have the power to use force to help eliminate religion, or to force it on others, would you use it? If you were given Tolkien's One Ring, and could use it to make everyone religious or everyone nonreligious would you use it? If religion or lack of it matters, and most of us on both sides think it does,  then it is always possible for anyone to "use the ring" to compel assent, if the power to do so is present.