C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

Comment Policy: No profanity or blasphemy will be posted. You do not have to agree, but if you would like your comment posted, you will have to adhere to the policy.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Faith vs. Unbelief

What I have recently learned on my blog while speaking to Atheists:

1. Acceptance of science’s theory of evolution is not belief that it is actually true, but merely holds that it is the best theory science has. The word “consensus” is used, meaning “opinion”, which cannot be used as authoritatively fact.

2. Science has not/can not prove there is no God (some assume because it is a negative), because He is out of the natural realm.

3. Science cannot prove there is a God, because He is out of the natural realm.

4. To science, God is non testable, because “The idea of a supernatural explanation (i.e. god) is not even considered, because science cannot test or falsify supernatural explanations. They are outside the bounds of science.”

5. Science does not work with absolutes, so all is relative to current knowledge which may change at any given time due to new evidence overwriting old evidence, or “consensus”, meaning “opinion”.

6. I am not to use science to prove there is a God, because science is evidence and fact not belief and faith.

With even this little bit of “consensus” I have gleaned from some of the Atheists comments from my blog, it clearly shows we merely return to the Scriptures context of Faith vs. Unbelief.

When it comes to God, there is either Faith or Unbelief. Science has no apparent voice, authority, or opinion of God, for He is “outside the bounds of science”.

Now before someone jumps at the word “unbelief”, any honest Atheist must adhere to its definition and admit that in fact they hold to “unbelief”.

Unbelief: “the state or quality of not believing; incredulity or skepticism, esp. in matters of doctrine or religious faith.”

Scripture declares, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Be forewarned that, “the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Neither are you who say that you believe in God, but refuse to repent and accept Christ as Lord and Savior of your life by faith, safe, for even, “the devils also believe, and tremble.

There must be Faith, for it is written, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

There is no more security in science for any to assume, by its inability to prove God is not, or in oneself by the inability to physically see or completely understand the things of God, to hold to a personal opinion that God does not exist.

It simply boils down to a personal choice of Faith or Unbelief.

I would ask that you, “repent ye, and believe the gospel”.

What then is the gospel?

1 Corinthians 15

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

12 comments:

BEAST said...

oooooooo.....fire and brimstone! Can't produce any evidence to dispute with the atheists?

So, you are now reverting to the scare tactics of your forebears to convince us infidels? Give me a freaking break!

John P said...

I'll have to give you credit for trying,Tim. You don't seem to have a great grasp of the concept, but you are moving in the right direction. That's good.

Science is always done by consensus. Scientists don't usually point to one scientist, and say "he knows it all, let go with what he says". That's a good thing, because the process involves many minds all acting together to form a "consensus" or joint opinion, if you will, of what is the best explanation for the facts as we know them. The beauty of science is that if new facts are discovered that change the consensus, the old consensus is thrown out the window, or at least modified accordingly. This is something that you can't say about religious inquiry.

You say that a book written 2000-6000 years ago says it all, and nothing - no new thinking, no new facts - can change it. The mere inflexibility of religious thinking is what is so mind-numbingly maddening. At least science is open-minded to new information. Religion is not.

You mention in another thread your quandary about my use of the word "belief". I use it, in the context of religion, interchangeably with the word "faith". Essentially, to me, it means knowledge without evidence. One believes in those things that cannot be proven, or for which there are no facts to support the belief, or in many cases, in the face of facts to the contrary. Evolution is one of those things that has nothing to do with belief. Facts are facts. Evolution is a fact. It does occur. Even the Pope acknowledges that. The mechanisms of individual instances of evolutionary change are still being debated, but no biologist worth his salt disputes the fact that evolution occurs. So there are reams and reams of evidence that support the theory (and I hope I don't have to reiterate what a "scientific theory" is, do I? It's not a hunch.) and there is no evidence that has ever been shown to contradict the theory. All you need is one fact. One! One that will completely contradict the Theory of Evolution, and the whole thing gets thrown out the window. But since Darwin's time, that one fact has been elusive, despite hundreds of thousands of people looking for it. I mentioned this before, but there's a Nobel prize waiting for the person to find that fact.

( here's a quote: "Someone once asked JBS Haldane what he would consider as clinching disproof of evolution. “Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian”, he replied. Fair enough; if those 600 million-year-old rabbits ever turn up, science will have some explaining to do.")

It simply boils down to a personal choice of Faith or Unbelief.

Now I agree with this. I have no problem with you, or anyone else believing in god(s). It is a purely personal choice. But remember, just because you, your neighbor, everyone on your block, or the whole country believes it, DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE. If you are interested in Truth, don't accept anyone's word for it, including those of bronze age goat-herders that had no idea what science was. (notice that I really don't care what Scripture teaches you - it holds no authority for me until someone authenticates it. I, personally, am only interested in the Truth of god's existence. The Bible is simply just not a good authority for a truth seeker. Too much internal contradiction, no authentication, no independent verification, it frankly makes no sense.)

And more important do not tell anyone else, including your own children, that they must believe the things you do. Let them figure it out for themselves.

The reason why religion is such a big issue in the US today is because we have people in the country who think that everyone should believe as they do, from the President on down. Even among Christians, beliefs vary widely. There are a lot of Christians, for instance, who think that research into stem cell science should be pursued, and vigorously, yet because the President and many Congressmen hold religious beliefs to the contrary (no scientific thinking whatsoever) then the whole country is being held hostage to those beliefs.

If you really think it comes down to a personal choice, you should agree with me on that, Tim. And if you agree it's a personal choice, then you should also be pro-choice on the question of abortion, for instance.

But I suspect you are not, because you can't help but also think that your religious beliefs should be imposed on others.

You should think about that in the context of what you said in your post.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Close...

(1) There is some controversy whether the word "true" has any meaning at all. I personally maintain that "the best scientific theory" does the job we expect of "truth"; the distinction is purely semantic.

We have good reason to trust the veracity of scientific consensus; however the consensus itself is not "authoritative"; the consensus is reliably built directly on scientific authority.

2 and 3: Science cannot discuss some concepts of God because those concepts are not falsifiable. A world with a deistic "god" looks exactly the same as a world without one.

Science can easily discuss the character of Yahweh/Jehovah and the character of Jesus. As described, and considering the facuality of the miracles (virgin birth, resurrection, etc.) to be essential to these characters, the scientific method very strongly supports disbelief.

5. Science does not entail certainty. All scientific knowledge is relative to the evidence obtained. Science can and does change, but the change is constrained: it is always the case that new science must still account for old evidence.

If one's "concept" of God is truly "supernatural" and "unfalsifiable", it is unclear whether the believer actually has faith in anything at all; to the scientific mind, he or she appears to just repeat meaningless slogans.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

John P,

“The beauty of science is that if new facts are discovered that change the consensus, the old consensus is thrown out the window, or at least modified accordingly. This is something that you can't say about religious inquiry.” – How so? There is always discussion concerning the meaning of the parables and prophecy of Scripture, whereby the ideas and understanding of such are adjusted, corrected, and studied. Though the basic understanding of the truth of Christ and salvation throughout the New Testament remain the same, there is also a deeper understanding present within the Scriptures.

“You say that a book written 2000-6000 years ago says it all, and nothing - no new thinking, no new facts - can change it.” – New thinking and new historical facts help us to further understand Scripture, it doesn’t change the message of the gospel one bit.

“At least science is open-minded to new information. Religion is not.” – It is not that Christians do not have an open-mind to new information, for we are always learning the Scriptures (no one knows it fully; they are lying if they say they do), yet we have faith (admittedly, it is necessary for Christianity, by God’s will) and trust (because of history, etc.) the Scripture to be true and authoritative and all “new” theology/doctrine must be tested against that which we hold as Truth, Scripture, the Bible.

Just a note: The Pope is not the authority for Christianity. Regardless of what he says. :)

“One that will completely contradict the Theory of Evolution, and the whole thing gets thrown out the window.” – Relatively or absolutely? :)

“The reason why religion is such a big issue in the US today is because we have people in the country who think that everyone should believe as they do, from the President on down.” – And Atheists and those which support evolution believe “everyone should believe as they do”.

“If you really think it comes down to a personal choice, you should agree with me on that, Tim. And if you agree it's a personal choice, then you should also be pro-choice on the question of abortion, for instance.” – Okay, I will be pro-choice on one condition… We leave it up to the choice of the baby growing inside the womb as whether they want to live or not.

“But I suspect you are not, because you can't help but also think that your religious beliefs should be imposed on others.” – And the Atheists that visit my blog don’t?

-------

Barefoot bum,

“There is some controversy whether the word "true" has any meaning at all.” – In a world where all is relative, there is no “true”, for what is true for you maybe lie to me and vice versa. Absolute truths are true and necessary.

“We have good reason to trust the veracity of scientific consensus” – How do you trust something that is relative?

“the consensus is reliably built directly on scientific authority” – What authority does science have without absolutes?

“A world with a deistic "god" looks exactly the same as a world without one.” – What do you base this thought on?

“considering the facuality of the miracles” – How can natural science discuss supernatural things?

BEAST said...

"Okay, I will be pro-choice on one condition… We leave it up to the choice of the baby growing inside the womb as whether they want to live or not."

That is an empty statement, Tim. Fertilized embryos don't exactly talk, do they? Not only can they not talk, they don't have enough developed brain cells to even comprehend anything, much less answer your question.

Tim, for your sake, and for our sanity's sake, such mere rhetoric should be refrained, unless you want to sound retarded.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

"Not only can they not talk, they don't have enough developed brain cells to even comprehend anything, much less answer your question."

Shall we also now murder or do away with the elderly and others that have mental problems that cannot "comprehend anything, much less answer your question"?

BEAST said...

Elderly patients are not multi celled organisms. They have brain cells that, although mostly fried, can still feel pain.

As for people in vegetative states, I have long been an advocate of euthanasia. That is far more humane than conservatives imagine.

Cragar said...

I can't speak for everyone but my biggest problem with faith has always been the actual Bible that all of the Abrahamic faiths use. If you just read it and use what evidence we do have it is pretty simple.

Anyone with any open mind whatsoever can pretty much sum up that no earth wide flood ever happened. There would be evidence that it happened. Common sense, evidence, and the fact that other civilizations had flood stories lead most to believe that there were localized floods which led to the Noah and other similar stories.

I don't believe Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt. I don't believe the tower of Babel story. Or Jonah and the whale. Or Joshua stopped the sun. These are all nice stories to tell, and they were ways people tried to understand their existance.

But the evidence that is actually there now points in another direction. Theists try and make the evidence fit into what the Bible says. But a closer look just shows that the Bible is inaccurate.

And IMO, once you have some inaccuracies, how reliable is the rest of the text?

The Barefoot Bum said...

I really don't care what you believe; If you're going to understand and describe beliefs other than your own, you should do so accurately.

MB said...

"It simply boils down to a choice".

Yes, you choose to believe something which there is no rational evidence to believe. Or more simply, you're deluded.

And "we christians learn new things, we are always learning the scriptures". Give me a break. What a poor way to sidestep an issue. Your constant need to dodge questions with nonsense answers like that must surely tell you something.

BT Murtagh said...

(crossposted at Quarkscrew)

Believing in something for which there is no evidence is not deluded, it's just a rather silly way to waste your time and mental energy.

That is why believing in the deist's god, who set the universe in motion but has no further interaction with it, is not deluded but simply pointless. The very reason the notion can't be disproved is because it makes no practical difference whether such a god exists or not. A universe with a deistic god is indistinguishable from one with no god at all; that being the case, the deistic god can neither be proven nor disproven, nor is it useful in any way for explaining why the universe is the way it is.

The deistic god is therefore, scientifically speaking, profoundly irrelevant.

Believing in a proposition which the available evidence, including internal consistency, contradicts is delusion. The god of the Abrahamic faiths falls into this category.

The characteristics normally ascribed to that god, alone - omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence - cannot logically exist together. Omnipotence is self-defeating; an omnipotent being cannot create a force which that same being cannot defeat, i.e. God can't make a rock so heavy even He can't lift it. Omniscience is incompatible with any power at all, because it includes the ability to foresee an action which can then be prevented, meaning the prophecy was invalid. Omnibenevolence, in conjunction with omnipotence and omniscience, is incompatible with the world containing needless suffering; a god which sees the suffering, is able to prevent it and does not do so is obviously not loving in any recognizable sense of the word, unless you are a particularly talented sado-masochist.

I say suffering rather than evil because the doctrine of free will, which is the best answer theodicy has to offer, does not cover agentless suffering. In the specific case of the Abrahamic god, the distinction is largely superfluous, as most of the actions described as taken by the Abrahamic god in the sacred texts can only be described as deeply and directly malevolent. The unprevented agentless sufferings of humanity outside those texts are simply icing on the cake of disproving that notional omnibenevolence.

These are not new observations by any stretch of the imagination; the problem of suffering certainly predates Christianity and Islam, and probably Judaism but the archaeological record gets scarce that far back. Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologians have been struggling to answer the paradoxes for near enough the entire time the faiths have existed, and have not yet been able to do so.

In science, it is perfectly permissible for a theory not to explain everything; at this stage of our development it would be ludicrous to expect anything else. The best and most mature theories will explain an abundance of observable facts, and that is enough to make a theory credible but not useful; to be useful a theory must predict facts before they are demonstrated. A complaint many physicists have about string theory is that while it explains many things it has not yet provided any disprovable predictions. The theory of evolution by natural selection is an example of a theory which is both mature and useful, and not just for enraging creationists either.

What is not permissible is for a theory (or even a hypothesis) to be internally inconsistent or to directly fly in the face of the evidence. The technical term for a hypothesis that does that is false.

The Barefoot Bum said...

SoS: In a world where all is relative, there is no “true”, for what is true for you maybe lie to me and vice versa. Absolute truths are true and necessary.

It's really unclear precisely what you mean by "absolute" and "relative". Do you mean certain? Everything's relative to something; even assuming objective reality, the truth of a statement is still relative to how the world actually is.

I think you need to be considerably more explicit about precisely what you mean.

How do you trust something that is relative?

If you mean relative in the sense of uncertain, we trust uncertain things all the time. Are you completely certain your bank won't lose your money?

“A world with a deistic "god" looks exactly the same as a world without one.” – What do you base this thought on?

How would a world created by a Deistic god appear differently from a world that just exists?

How can natural science discuss supernatural things?

What does "supernatural" actually mean? Given that we hypothesize a universal law from the absolute lack of counterexamples, if we believed some actual event contradicted an hypothesized natural law, we would discard the hypothesis.

A "supernatural" event, i.e. an event which contradicts natural law, is logically impossible under naturalism, because a "natural law" which has any counterexample is ipso facto not a natural law.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.