Book Plunge: Why There Is No God. Part 3.

Is there any chance we’ll find something good in Navabi’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re moving on to part three of Navabi’s book Why There Is No God. Today, we’re going to deal with arguments 11-15.

Argument #11. If there is no God, where did everything come from? Without God, there is no explanation.

This is a real argument and it is one many of us, including myself, use. Therefore, when we come across a real argument, we know what an atheist fundamentalist will do with it. Put up a straw man and not deal with any of the real authorities in the field.

Much of what was said about the “Who created God?” argument was said in part one on the first argument. It’s interesting that the skeptics always ask who created and not what created. Something to be added this time is that Navabi tells us that cosmological arguments tell us nothing about the nature of the God who created.

On the contrary, (As Aquinas would say) they tell us plenty. If you follow the Aristotelian-Thomistic arguments to their conclusion you get a being who is eternal, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient, good, immutable, etc. Now maybe those are tiny details to Navabi, but not to real authorities in the field, and of course he cites none.

Argument #12. My religion/God has helped me so much. How could it not be real?

Yes. I know we’ve all seen all those academic works that talk about this argument. How many times have we seen Bill Craig go out to defend theism and present this argument? Oh, wait. That’s right. Never. Still, never deny the ability of atheists to go after the most serious arguments that there are.

There’s not much I need to say about this one, although Navabi does have something on what about the people God doesn’t save? Yes. What about them? Sometimes people suffer through their own means or just because we don’t live in a perfect world nor are we promised one.

Since this is not a serious argument, I have no need to treat the reply seriously.

Argument #13. God is love; God is energy.

This could be a popular argument in New Age circles, but I would agree with Navabi that it’s often a redefinition of terms. When I speak about God, I am specific about what I mean. One would think Navabi is as well since he usually has a Western concept in mind. Again, since this is not really a serious argument, I do not plan on taking it seriously.

Argument #14. The Laws of Logic prove the existence of God.

Finally, Navabi is taking on someone in the apologetics world. For this, his choice is Matt Slick of CARM. I don’t entirely use the TAG argument as it’s known as is, but I would like to consider how it would work with a more Thomistic approach. The argument is pretty much that laws of logic are absolute and immaterial and unchanging and eternal and they need to be in a mind that is like that. That mind is the mind of God.

Navabi is right that these laws are descriptive and not prescriptive, but that doesn’t get him off the hook. Where I’d disagree is with any sort of idea that these laws are something like Platonic forms just floating out there. Of course, many supporters of TAG wouldn’t think that, but the way the argument is described can get one to think that way. Instead, I would see them as naturally the way that being itself behaves. If anything is, we can tell that it is what it is, it does not contradict itself in its nature, and it is either B or non-B but nowhere in between.

What I want someone like Navabi to explain to me is being itself. Where did it come from? It couldn’t come from nothing, because nothing has no power to bring about anything. (Someone please notify Lawrence Krauss of this basic fact.) It would have to come then from something, but then we have the problem of the infinite regress. As far as I’m concerned, the Thomistic arguments answer this. (Those interested in more are encouraged to read Edward Feser’s Aquinas or The Last Superstition.)

Argument #15. Believing in God provides meaning and purpose; without it, life would be meaningless.

The argument from meaning is one that does make sense. Why is everything the way that it is? Are we just an accident, or are we here for a reason? This is a huge question and how you answer it will alter much of how you experience reality.

Of course, Navabi goes with the idea that we can create our own meaning. Sure. The problem is, who is to say one meaning is right and one isn’t? Suppose I think the meaning of life is to have as much sex as possible. Does that mean I can rape if I think I can get away with it? Why or why not? What if I think power is the meaning of life? Can I strive to eliminate anyone who gets in my way? Why or why not? What if I think money is? Can I exploit anyone that I want to on the path of riches? Why or why not?

Now I do agree with Navabi that it’s better to believe an uncomfortable truth than a comfortable lie, but that doesn’t matter really. After all, we don’t ascertain what a truth is by looking at if it’s comfortable or not. I do believe my Christian theism because I’m convinced it’s true. My personal comfort has nothing to do with it. In fact, many of us who are devout Christian theists would say many times our religion is quite uncomfortable for us.

When we return to this book, we’ll conclude it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

The Problem With Saying Christianity Is Wasting Your Life

What does it mean to say you’ve wasted your life? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My friend Jonathan McLatchie recently had a round table discussion where Jesus mythicist David Fitzgerald entered the Lion’s Den as it were to defend mythicism. I would have joined in but unfortunately, normally, my own podcast normally takes place at that time, and second I even had to cancel that because I had a massive toothache at the time. (In fact, the bad news is I’m due for three root canals this week. Please be praying for me for recovery and for the financial difficulties this puts us in.) Fortunately, the conversation was recorded and I did get to watch it.

While it would be fun to talk about mythicism again, and I do plan on reviewing Fitzgerald’s book someday (I didn’t when I read it because I was preparing for my debate with Ken Humphreys and didn’t want him to see any responses I would have), I had something else really catch my attention. Fitzgerald finished a dialogue with one Christian and then told him that he was wasting his life following Christianity. That struck me as an odd thing to say and a rather inconsistent thing for an atheist.

Suppose my ship came in and suddenly I won a million dollars. I have so much that I could do with that money. Of course, one would expect I might have some purely pleasure spending that is a bit frivolous, but let’s suppose that I took all the money and went and did something like buy McDonald’s french fries. I didn’t buy these for the poor or to donate to others. I bought them all for myself.

That would be seen as wasteful spending. Why? Because that was money that could go towards so many more noble deeds and causes. I could have donated to charity. I could have taken my wife on a good vacation. (Indeed she would get one. Ready to go to Japan sweetie?) I could have really given my ministry the boost that it needs. No. I spent it on something silly.

We call it wasteful because we look at all the good and wise things it could have been used for. We also realize money is meant for something different. Buying fast food every now and then is not the worst thing in the world, but spending that much money on it would be.

Now what about a life? I do agree with the Apostle Paul that if Christianity is false, we are above all men to be pitied, but as it stands, what would it take for there to be a waste of life. It would require that we have at least two things.

First, the one we’ve mentioned is that I am using my life on something not fit for the purpose of life.

Second, and this is the underlying assumption of the claim of Fitzgerald, there is a purpose of life.

Now I find this problematic if atheism is given. How can there be a purpose if all is a random accident? To say there is a purpose is to say that there is a cause of existence. Now we could say there is a cause in the sense that there were events that happened that led to the universe existing and to us being there, but this is a different cause I’m talking about.

This is what Aristotle would call the final cause. It is the purpose of life. In order to violate a purpose, there must be a purpose. If you have a hammer, it is great to use to hammer in nails. It is not great to use if you want to knock out your neighbor and steal his IPhone. That is a way to use a hammer, but it is not in accord with the intent of the maker of the hammer. (Well, let’s hope there isn’t anyone making hammers hoping people use it that way)

As soon as we say there is a purpose to life or a waste of life, we are saying there is a a reason why we are all here beyond the fact of how we got here. Now of course, it could be Christianity could still be false and in that sense, there is a waste of life. That Christianity is false would need to be established, but before someone says Christianity is a waste of life, they need to show that there is a purpose of life.

One more thing, please note that I do not say this in the sense of ID and design in that way.  What I mean by inferring some sort of design is a completely different thing. ID will have to establish itself on its own grounds.

And of course, don’t waste your life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters