Is Atheism True? Debate, Summation, First Post with Response

Summation, First Post with Response

The original post by the atheist was in standard paragraph form. I have numbered the atheist's paragraphs and adopted an outline format to allow ease of response. The atheist's posts appear in black text. My responses follow each paragraph and are in green.

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  1. At the end of your third post, you ask me to summarize my comments. Actually, I had already done so here: (Old link on old boards, now gone). I will do so again.

    One cannot examine atheism without first considering theism. Atheism, put very simply, is without theism. Essentially, the question is, have theists or polytheists provided sufficient evidence to show that their version of theism or polytheism is true? Is atheism the more valid conclusion to the question of the existence of god or gods? My conclusion, yes, atheism is the more logical and valid conclusion because the evidence presented does not support the idea that god or gods exist.

    1. Since Atheism is your position, it is logical that you would conclude that it better supports the evidence. As a Christian, I believe the evidence supports the existence of God--even though I have not presented the evidence for my case. Our opinions matter little. It is the evidence that needs to be examined as well as the method's and presuppositions used in examining that evidence.
    2. But your evidence for atheism consists of nothing more than attempted explanations negating theistic evidences.
  2. The evidence for (poly)theism can be divided into three categories. The first is belief itself. The second category would be social aspects of (poly)theism. Our third category would be the physical and historic evidence for (poly)theism. These were all discussed in more detail in earlier posts.
    1. Again, by way of reminder, I agree with you that all those gods are false and do not exist--except the Christian God. For the sake of our discussion, I have already stated that you should have addressed the issue of the Christian God, not other gods since I agree with you that they do not exist.
    2. I have addressed each of your sections in earlier posts and leave it to the reader to determine if you have demonstrated that there is no God using your method.
  3. Now, in examining the evidence presented to support theism the first step is to determine if the evidence does indeed do what it is supposed to do, support the existence of god or gods as factual. The next step is to form a conclusion based on the validity of the evidence. There are three possible choices:
    1. The evidence does support (poly)theism.
    2. The evidence does not support (poly)theism.
    3. There is not enough evidence to make a determination.
    Now, since the claims of theists must be either true or false, I will dismiss the third possibility. One can choose to delay making a decision on the validity of theism, but, either the evidence does indeed support (poly) theism as true, or it doesn't. True or false, yes or no, zero or one; a determination on the validity of (poly)theistic claims will need to be made at some point.
    1. Again, I do not support polytheism.
  4. In earlier posts I spent a great deal of time outlining some of the more basic forms of evidence presented by (poly)theists. It was determined that there were more logical, sometimes even simpler non-theistic explanations for them. Some of these evidences were even shown to be false (in particular the physical and historic). {I would also like to note here, that you, a theist, could not determine if belief itself could be evidence to support (poly)theism.} Since the evidences presented did not, shall we say, pan out, then the logical conclusion is that (poly)theism is false and atheism is the valid conclusion.
    1. You said, "It was determined that there were more logical, sometimes even simpler non-theistic explanation . . . ." So, who determined this? You? You raised issues and I addressed them. Some of your arguments have merit to them, but they are not conclusive. Also, I offered alternative explanations.
      As far as simpler explanations go, the simplest one is "There is a God."
    2. Please note that I did not concede nor did you establish that I "could not determine if belief itself could be evidence to support" God. I simply stated that I had not analyzed it thoroughly. That means that I have not looked at the issue contemplatively, logically, and systematically enough to make a decision. I "lack a position" on it and I might sometime tackle the issue. Not having done so yet does not mean I could not determine the issues truth or not. It means I had not tackled the issue, that's all.

      This minor point is important since it demonstrates to me that you miss small but significant facts and read into things that are not there, things that you want want to see. Since you have done this here and in other places in our discussion, I suspect that you have also done it in determining to believe there is no God.

      Furthermore, I do not remember attempting to prove that God exists. I simply asked you to prove that atheism was true and you offered your three categories above which I have responded to logically, demonstrating that alternate and viable explanations exist for your arguments. Since other reasonable explanations exist for them, you have, therefore, not demonstrated that atheism is true.

    3. Furthermore, the debate was not on the validity of the Christian God. It was on the validity of atheism. For atheism to be reasonably established as being true, you must disprove theistic evidences. You constructed your three categories, not mentioning other categories of evidence, and failed to establish that your position is the more logical
  5. Id like to note here that I've found it very interesting indeed that through out this debate you have insisted that I was unwilling or unable to consider the evidence for (poly)theism. You insisted that instead my presuppositions made me unable to have an open mind towards any evidence presented in favor of the existence of god or gods. Yet, when I pointed out that you too have a strong presuppositional bias, you insisted that you did not, but were indeed willing to consider the possibility that god or gods, even your Christian version of god does not exist.
    1. I have stated repeatedly that your atheist presupposition does not allow you to examine theistic evidences objectively. I did not say that I did not have a presuppositional bias (another error in the facts on your part). But I did say that my presupposition allows me to consider the possibility that God does not exist. I know what my presuppositions are and I know that I am willing to look at opposing evidence. For proof of this, all you have to do is go to www.carm.org and look around. It is on CARM that I repeatedly attack the evidences of other gods and refute them and denounce them. I even look at the evidences for atheism and answer those as well. So, I have no problem attacking theistic proofs and disproving them. I've done it many times. Have you done anything similar with anything atheistic? If not, who is being more objective, you or me?

      Nevertheless, I cannot escape my bias in believing in the Christian God any more than you can escape your bias in denying Him. But, I believe that the closer we are to objectivity, the closer we are to the truth and I have never been afraid to look at the facts. Your "facts" have not proven anything. You have not demonstrated that atheism is true. Furthermore, the real facts should speak loudly and clearly and that is why theistic evidences are more than sufficient for me to believe in the Christian God's existence.

      Again, I did not present theistic evidences for the Christian God (as far as I can remember) and chose not to do so on purpose. Instead, I examined your rationale for your atheism.

  6. Unfortunately, time and again, you showed that your claim of having such an open mind was false. From your obvious discomfort with the idea of Christian salvation as a variation on a system of reward for correct belief, to your insistence that you would not consider any god or gods but the Christian one which you yourself believed in as valid to this discussion you emphasized your own very strong bias and closed mind. Notice that I have on many occasions clearly stated that atheism was not just about the Christian version of god, but all versions of god or gods, all forms of (poly)theism. Your own refusal to consider versions of theism different than your own very nicely emphasized many of my points.
    1. I have already stated I am biased. I am a Christian. I have told you already that I would side with you in refuting all other belief systems. I do not recall ever saying in our debate that I was not biased. I admit that I am a Christian and I defend the Christian God. You know this plainly by acknowledging the existence of my website. You know that I defend the Christian faith and I have never hid my bias in this matter. But, that does not mean that I cannot look at evidence with some objectivity, nor does it mean I automatically reject atheistic points or positions. I examine them and I consistently find them to be insufficient.
      Quite simply, your defense of your position is sufficient only for you, but not me. You have constructed an intellectual barrier to God and His existence. He will let you have what you want and you will not be able to see Him. This is what the Bible says and I believe it.
  7. In my summation Matt, Id like to ask you a question. Why do you dismiss all the other forms of theism or polytheism? If you wish to claim you do so because your belief teaches you to do so, then I will ask you how you came to put the proverbial cart before the horse. How you can to accept one form of theism as valid (which teaches to dismiss all the others) before dismissing the others? How could you accept a particular theistic system and one of its basic tenets without first dismissing the others as false?
    1. I dismiss all other forms of gods because they are either internally inconsistent, not supported by evidence, and contradict the Bible.
    2. As far as testing and dismissing theistic systems goes, your question isn't a good one. You question me about what you are guilty of yourself (Rom. 2:1). How can you accept a particular philosophy (atheism) without examining all others and without examining all the evidence-which you have not done? You have dismissed all theistic systems and yet you haven't examined them all. Instead, you see your atheistic position as being sufficient enough so that you do not need to examine all the others. Well, the same goes here. I know things about the Bible, about Christianity (that you do not), that has provided intellectual justification for believing all other systems are false.

      Again, I have not offered any of these evidences. Instead, since the debate was on whether or not atheism was true, I have simply address the arguments that you have presented. I have replied by showing you alternative explanations, demonstrating logic errors on your part, and showing where you have misrepresented things I have said.

Conclusion

You did not provide sufficient reason to justify the validity of atheism. You have a strong presupposition that will not permit you to objectively examine theistic evidences. You have made several logic errors and errors in recounting what I have said and not said--I pointed these out repeatedly.

Is atheism possible? Yes, it is. But, have you proven your case? No.

I thank you for this debate. It was enlightening.

If you would like to have the final say, please feel free to respond.

 

 

 

 
 
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