It’s about holding provisional beliefs based on available evidence and reason. We certainly do not need it for science at this time. These ideas all once seemed extraordinary, but in the years before the extraordinary evidence was found to support these extraordinary claims, these claims were still true, were they not? Responding to the questions of open skeptics and ardent believers, Keller draws from literature, philosophy, reason, and real-life conversations to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief. God is God, not in spite of permitting sin, but because he constantly is turning sin for his wise and just and merciful purposes for those who trust him. The theist’s statement is reminiscent of various paradoxes that philosophy and mathematics have had to deal with. Belief in a god—theism—is belief in an absolute. Third, he hears people in New York saying, “God doesn’t answer prayers.” Well, this is their word against the word of Jesus. Modern day atheism is built on God of the Gaps logic. You could say the same of the claim “There is a God”. Here are a few of the standard pro-God arguments: • The cosmological argument (the first-cause argument) They deride superstition and the power of churches. Ultimately, God brought the universe into being and human beings into being so that God’s glory — his greatness, beauty, and worth (that’s my effort to fill out that term glory a little bit) — might be on display in the objective realities of his work (like creation), and especially as that glory is magnified in the enjoyment that his people have in knowing him and reflecting him and praising him. Just believe in Me and you’ve got it.” Instead, He told him to keep the commandments. Why did he make the universe? He himself is the greatest gift he can give to us, and he does not hold back. Some don't. He is never cornered into doing or allowing anything that his wisdom and justice and mercy do not govern. It gives people the tools to decide for themselves what to believe or not to believe, what to do or not to do. There are emotional, logical, psychological and sociological reasons you could put forward why reason does not prevail. At Christmas I hear about Santa all the time, too. Others have changed their form over the years. Don't serve or follow people who believe in other gods. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Skepticism (American and Canadian English) or scepticism (British, Irish, and Australian English) is generally a questioning attitude or doubt towards one or more putative instances of knowledge which are asserted to be mere belief or dogma. • Logical positivism and verificationism hold that only statements that are verifiable by appeal to either experience or reason are meaningful and therefore worthy of consideration. You may or may not balk at this reasoning—and I don’t entirely accept it myself—but at least it shows how very problematic rational arguments can become when they deal with cosmic questions such as “how did everything begin?”, “how could something come out of nothing?”, and so on. Who are you going to believe? Conclusion: I’m going to offer 4 reasons why it seems like most Christians don’t actually believe what they claim to believe (even if they think they do). Some rational theists say the existence of God does have evidence or reason on its side, . But faith doesn't have to be blind. That’s his communication through nature. Others are confirmed in their theistic beliefs. What we see, hear, smell, touch and taste—either directly or indirectly with instruments. I don't really believe in God, but I do think that some people are luckier/will things to come true that do come true more than others. For these reasons I do not consider myself a 100-percent atheist. Part 1: Part II: Can a skeptic believe in God? You hear it all the time." Second, they say, “God isn’t real because people suffer,” or, “Look at the Bible: he allows suffering, killing, polygamy.” Actually, he not only allows it, he governs it. See this page in: Russian I n order to be fair in the debate about matters of faith, it's not just the Christian who must be called to the witness stand. Remember that for a skeptic to believe that God exists is only the beginning. • The will to believe. We do occasionally witness people falling away from faith because of personal disillusionment—say, for example, after the death of a child leads them to question “How could a loving god have allowed this?”. I am also aware of the obligation of skeptics to always keep an open mind for new evidence or reason. To welcome you into his fellowship to enjoy him forever is not selfish; it is love. The biblical picture of Jesus that the Bible gives us is of him holding a great banquet with all his followers seated at a table in a great company, enjoying the food and enjoying each other. The honest agnostic, skeptic, atheist, etc., might be caught off guard and say they will need to think about it and get back to you. There are several variations on this position in science and philosophy, not just as applied to the existence of God but as applied to all sorts of hypotheses or claimed phenomena. Answer from Skeptics: Atheists and other skeptics demand no more nor less evidence for the existence of the Christian god, Yahweh/the resurrected Jesus Christ, than we do for the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, the Abominable Snow Man, and Bigfoot. Why I Believe in God - A Believer’s Answer to an Atheist What is it with the atheists these days? God is an hypothesis they think they do need in their understanding of how the world works. Each is left with showing only that their side is possibly right. Therefore there is no need for God as the first cause. - can a REAL skeptic believe in god yet still be a skeptic ?? Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I … One could not create a set by grouping items together and then finding the group consists of “everything and not God”. A possible answer you might give is “Well, in Canada we get to choose who runs our government.” Another answer is, “Every few years in Canada we elect Liberals or Conservatives to form the government”. Lately I’ve read a lot of web articles written by angry atheists including many news articles about those crazy Christians and what superstitious fools they are, and that science has proven there is no God and Darwin was right and blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. The atheists cannot apply the same logic to the universe creating itself in the First Cause argument, as theists can with God creating himself, since atheists (at least the ones we are concerned about here) seek only natural causes and cannot assign characteristics beyond our rationality to the universe, as theists can with God. The existence of a supernatural being like God would be extraordinary some people think, so we should require very good evidence before believing such a thing. Some do. I know it’s a common phrase: “I’m a skeptic,” and I know some people identify as skeptics, but skepticism is not a thing you can simply turn on and leave on. Belief in god is also usually considered a matter of faith, rather than of the evaluation of evidence. The original formulation of this famous rule is that one should not multiply entities needlessly. That it is wrong to murder our loved ones. So if science cannot present evidence for its theories about the basis of our universe’s existence and if we cannot even test the basic things we take for granted as being true every day, is it fair to demand these kind of proofs about a religion’s hypothesis about what it also considers a basic fact of our existence—namely, God as creator? Skeptics attack the Bible and retreat in confusion, agnostics scoff at its teaching, but are unable to produce an intellectually honest refutation. • Psychological explanation But I’d like to point out another factor. Many of us have also come to disbelieve, or be confirmed in our disbelief, in gods. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. Thankfully (or unthankfully, depending on your perspective) religious belief is not merely the province of anti-scientific, anti-modern fundamentalists who take every word, comma and period in some sacred text -- like the Bible or the Koran -- to be the sole and authoritative truth about just about everything. If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil? When the rich young ruler asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus simply could have said, “It’s easy: God loves you, man, and I love you too! In their minds they’ve forced the atheist to retreat to a ridiculous position and thus shown atheism to be nonsensical. In a way, this may seem to be an escape clause for us. But why is this? . To find an answer to this perplexing mystery, let’s look, as good skeptics do, at the evidence and reasoning concerning belief in God. In my experience, these are the kinds of arguments that atheists tell each other. As a skeptic I am also aware of the inconclusiveness of arguments on both sides, as already discussed here. If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” In other words, a child may not get exactly what he asks for, but he will get good things because he asks, because he prays. But note that something else is in common to all these guidelines, which would purportedly rule out questions of God’s existence; they do not determine ultimate truth or reality. Just wondering. (Updated September 2017) MU Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, and Agnostics is an inclusive organization geared… Well, I hope I can help. I would hope that those skeptics who believe in God also keep an open mind about what they believe, though I cannot speak for them, and that does not affect my own beliefs. Fifth, these New Yorkers say, “He’s selfish and wants you all to himself.” God’s answer: No on both counts. As you resolve to grow and change this year, remember that good intentions without diligence will fail. Faith is thought of as something that one believes blindly - with no supporting evidence. A skeptic cannot be a theist. Why do scientific skeptics insist on debunking supernatural and paranormal belief, dispelling the magic in the world? The past couple of years, life has been hard, not only for me but for some of my closest friends. Is it really necessary to take that … Exodus 23:24a; Conquer people who believe in other gods and destroy their religious property. He should have, shouldn’t he have? Jesus says in Matthew 7:9–11, “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Some people using our methods come to hold very confident views on these issues. He called himself a "fideist" -- someone who embraces belief in God without having a rational foundation to do so. Skepticism about the virgin birth is not a recent development, as evidenced by a 1823 quote by Thomas Jefferson: " The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. " This lack of evidence is actually the atheist’s strongest asset. Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. If I saw in real life such a barber’s sign as in Russell paradox, my rational world would not be rocked, but instead I’d assume that he was exempting himself from the rule. "Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 national [United States] adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 8-11, 2008. Skeptics do this too, ... anxieties and yearnings reflected in those around me. • The argument from poor design Go To Video Page It’s no surprise that most Americans believe in God, according to science writer and skeptic Michael Shermer. Despite this logic however, many skeptics are also believers in God. There is no life after death. While 19% of the respondents said they do not believe in “god,” almost half of those who said no (9%) correspond with about a third of the people who said that they do believe in god. What Skeptics Should Understand About Christianity Subscribe to our e-newsletter by entering your e-mail address below, then press "subscribe". I have repented of my thoughts, and I do believe in him, but my faith remains shaken by these questions. Arguments for God. That’s what I meant a minute ago when I said sometimes it helps just to hear God answer criticisms about God. Rarely have I heard of a believer being turned to atheism by argument alone. The French mathematician and astronomer Laplace is supposed to have once shown Napoleon his treatise on celestial mechanics. Actually I would still vote for something natural, but I can see why human intuitions would favour the extra-natural solution. Many skeptics are deeply religious, and are satisfied with the reasoning process that led them there. You have to choose. He created me. Or so they think. Sometimes it helps just to hear God respond to criticisms of God. Eric McMillan @ It might also be pointed out that the believers have a slight advantage over the non-believers in resolving the first-cause debate. First, it is not selfish for God to want you for himself because he is the greatest being that exists. I’m not saying rational arguments cannot be effective under the right circumstances. A life can be changed or an entire religion founded on the basis of a single brain-generated hallucination. It is God’s plan for preserving us and bringing us safely to glory. To believe in God means living before His face in the hidden “Therefore do not fear them. They still need to be persuaded that Jesus is the Son of God, Who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead to conquer death for us. I believe Mr Mercier understands not only who his audience is, but who it likely isn't: specifically skeptics. Or, they may have already thought through the matter and will provide some good reasons as to what it would take for them to become a Christian. I have made you happy and those who shall take thy name. Another tact they may point out is that supposedly paradoxical statements do not create such problems in everyday life. But there seems to be more standing in the way of our friend — let’s call him our New York friend. We cannot create the set of “all the men who do not shave themselves and are shaved by the barber” and then see whether the barber fits into it. What this kind of statement betrays, therefore, is that the skeptic originally believed in God based on felt needs (desires) rather than on the conviction that He truly exists. They do not follow the true God, and they fail to understand who Christ really is. Why wouldn’t we be? Applying this to God, we find there is no need to introduce the entity God as this entity is not needed to explain anything. Whatever joy there is in his final act, it will be owing not to the sadism of a monster but to the perfect justice of one who never wronged anyone and who gave his Son to die for sinners. Philosophical skeptics believe that objective truths are unknowable and that man should live in an isolated environment in order to win mental peace. sildenafilcitrateotc – read more at. Here’s his email, and it’s a very heavy one. A theory like “Life is a dream” may be interesting but it’s not scientific because there is no way it can be proven that life is not a dream. Many are atheists, but not all. One place they often point to is Proverbs 26:4–5, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” And why should I marvel at him coming to save me? Even those who dispute or who otherwise persist in voicing skepticism about Christianity have some questions to answer. It's thus inaccurate to say "Skeptics don't believe in ghosts." This was once perceived as a very strong argument, but in the past two centuries it has been blunted by theories of biological and cosmological evolution which show that natural processes can be pretty good designers too. This book, like every other book is only as accessible as open minds become available. Consider first a story. We could then move ahead with beliefs that were supported by the evidence. For example, most people who call themselves atheists in a culture where the dominant god is the Jewish, Christian, or Islamic god (i.e., Abraham's god or AG) would mean, at the very least, that they do not believe that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, providential creator of the universe. If they drain the entire loch and don’t find it, I’ll get up to as close to 100 percent sure as possible. With skepticism, our method based on evidence and reason considers questions of ghosts, aliens, alternative medicine, miracles, gods, etc. We’d never said the existence of God was impossible. However God always does give us proofs to start with which can come in many different forms, which like what Peter had emphasized in his previous post, skeptics have different reasons to why they don’t believe and so these skeptics needed different kind of proofs (some needed miracles perform while others just plain explanation, etc). 9 For example, if a skeptic tells you they do not believe the Bible is the Word of God, you have two options in your response. I’ve been here for over a decade and my beliefs have been challenged here. Ezekiel says, “As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). He paid the price of his Son to make it possible for people to be with him. The most widely accepted solution today, usually expressed in terms of set theory, seems to be that we cannot make such statements and expect to be able to apply them to everything. But we can probably agree it usually doesn’t work that way. Here are a few of the standard pro-God arguments: “God did not despise my need to have evidence and reason to underpin my faith in Him. Fourth, “God doesn’t talk to us.” Answer: Yes he does. You can either give them a complete dissertation on the historical, scientific, and prophetical inerrancy of Scripture or you can simply ask them why they believe that way. Unless skeptics accept the true Jesus of the Bible as their personal Saviour, they are still outside the Kingdom of God. Theist: If there’s no God, then what created the world? Over the centuries, numerous argument have been put forward both for and against the existence of God. • The incompatibility of God’s attributes I have seen no convincing evidence that the Loch Ness monster exists, so I don’t believe in the Loch Ness monster. Regular, disciplined Bible intake is not optional for God’s people. May not include supplemental items (like discs, access codes, dust jacket, etc). CARM: We are saddened to see the continued deception held by Muslims. "I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that," Hagee said at the time, reiterating the belief in 2006. Modern day atheism is built on God of the Gaps logic. This book provides clear and persuasive answers to 65 difficult questions skeptics often ask of the Christian faith., such as: “How do we know God exists?” “Why does a good God … Suppose someone asks you to explain what democracy in Canada means. In any case, after the First Cause argument takes place, neither the believer nor the non-believer has convinced the other that there is or is not a God. But sophisticated true believers need not be fazed by this. Nothing comes from nothing!!! I reminded you to let go of the “fight” mentality when challenged on your beliefs; to instead view these encounters as God-ordained opportunities to demonstrate the truth and love of Christ. Skepticism is a method. John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. Neither side has demonstrated that its arguments eliminate the opponent’s position. These really are difficult puzzles to sort out and have been argued about for centuries. This is because everything, according to the skeptics, is changing and relative. And this is all anyone needs to be a skeptic—to hold beliefs on the basis of evidence and reason. But Guru ji was far from the reach of any of them. If you’re a believer without any nagging doubts, first get real and then put yourself in the shoes of a skeptic and give me a reason not to believe. In summary, both sides have heard all the arguments. Obviously, it is not the logical arguments that convinced most of them. When you say to them that God too must have a cause, that is obviously wrong to them. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I used to go to church and worship God, but once I heard the scientific explanation of how the universe evolved from the Big Bang, I became an atheist”? Atheists go on about how ridiculous it is to believe a loving God would allow children to die of horrible diseases. There does not seem to be an irrefutable logical case to be made for the existence of God. What you're asking me to do is believe in evolution without providing me any evidence for doing so. We’ll start with the reasoning. That is why being a genuine skeptic means being a disbeliever and being open about disbelieving everything religions talk about. I’m going to let God answer these five criticisms. We can explain the world more simply without God, therefore we do not need God in our explanation for the world. He mentions five things, so I’m going to give a brief biblical response to each one. What to do with people who believe in other gods. A QUESTION ?? That’s what we’re going to do in just a minute. But have you ever noticed how Jesus often took the opposite approach? Our goal is not to debunk all these claims but to consider the evidence for them. Many smart, reflective scientifically literate people obviously still do believe in god. • The problem of human suffering You can see that in Luke 12:35–37. If so, you know how compelling they can be. • The teleological argument (the argument from design) So they are without excuse. But do this with gentleness and respect.” This series looks at seven common questions skeptics ask and gives you some pointers on how to respond. Dr. Shermer’s contribution was as an atheist and skeptic, although as he points out to Zac, atheism and skepticism are not worldviews. To begin with, an awful lot of active movement skeptics believe in god—something like a fifth to a third, depending on the measure. Think of all the other things most of us believe that would not pass these tests of evidence and reason. Skepticism is not about holding a set of beliefs —“there are no aliens, there is no God, etc.”—that we defend against all contrary claims. Another version is Bertrand Russell’s famous barber’s paradox which goes like this: A town barber puts a sign in his window boasting, “I shave all the men, and no others, who do not shave themselves.” Does the barber shave himself? Like science, it’s a time-proven approach to considering beliefs and practices. • “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is the famous maxim that skeptics cite. In fact, there's not much life in life when you're a skeptic. Why are we created? Christians are often characterized as people who believe whatever they are told by the church. “Dear Pastor John, why did God create us? Skeptics are challenging Christians more and more each day. Second, he does not keep us for himself alone. Since there is no such evidence, we should. So why did he create us? Skeptics don't believe in a higher power of any kind: No God, no spirit, no angels, no guides, no creative force in the universe... nada. Some people have a belief in God that consumes their lives. • The argument from authority The guidelines do not prove anything on their own. But it’s usually not the rational argument itself that does all the work of sudden conversion in the examples I’ve seen. Why did he create me in the first place? What seems to stand in the way of him affirming this biblical reality is the sort of things people have said to him about God and his world and his word. On one hand, some scientifically minded believers have pointed to the fine balance of forces and precisely accurate natural laws that allow life to exist in the universe as evidence of God’s handiwork. We’re pretty sure there is no Loch Ness monster since there is no persuasive evidence and there is lots of inductive reasoning that would make it unlikely such a creature of that size could survive in the loch. Either way, it is between you and ALLAH, the one God. A farfetched claim, no evidence for it, lots of evidence debunking such claims, lots of reasoning against it. It often goes something like this. They see God as both outside and enveloping the world—transcending the world. Or they are trying to explain why people believe in God, as if that explanation invalidates the belief itself. In my twenties I moved to New York City. Sigmund Freud called religion an illusion that humans invent to … The argument has had to become more sophisticated in the past century and survives in two forms. Did God just make me to punish me? Neale Hunt, manager of Used Fuel Safety Assessment at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Some god is always on their side, no matter how evil their behavior. Do you believe in anything at all that would fall into the realm of the paranormal, or the preternatural category? We represent non-religious students at the University of Missouri. What he does, in lieu of this, is prepare the rest of us for our own encounters we might have in our daily lives. If someone in real life (outside of Philosophy classes, that is) were to confess to me “Everything I say is a lie”, I would immediately realize they did not include that very statement in their claim. • Sociological explanation. Think of such great scientific advances as the Copernican system of the planets revolving about the sun, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Einstein’s theories of relativity. He communicates himself in nature and in Scripture with immeasurable fullness. And when you say the world could exist without a cause, that too is obvious nonsense. Most liberal theologians do not believe in the doctrine of the virgin birth. Not trying to be offensive here, but how can you say that ghosts/spirits don't exist, but still believe that gods exist? Atheists say they do not believe in God at all, while an agnostic is not sure whether or not God exists. If there must be an uncaused cause, would it more likely be something natural or something outside our normal reality? Laplace’s reply: “I have no need for that hypothesis.”.