TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES

The School of Athens by Raphael (1510–1511) (from here)

Mel Wild at In My Father’s House spends a fair amount of effort debating Atheists. His focus is demonstrating that we can logically prove the existence of God. ColorStorm also spends a lot of time debating Atheists. His approach.  defends the veracity Word of God, the Bible.

What is the correct approach? Both. Both have their place.

Myself? I don’t spend nearly as much time debating Atheists, at least not on my own blog. However, when I do, I tend to focus on our lack of understanding. Here is an example (from the comments at The classical arguments for God – Part One).

violetwisp considers ‘s efforts to provide logical proof for the existence of God “word games”.

violetwispsays:

There is something absurd about trying to deduce an invisible creator using word games in the guise of ‘logic’. Fair enough confused humans in times of relative ignorance trying to piece emerging natural facts together with lingering religious nonsense. But in 2018, seriously? We can study it as a matter of curiosity but not for one minute to suggest it proves creator gods.

Since we use words to convey our ideas and beliefs, we cannot avoid what  calls “word games”. However, what  observed next demonstrated an even greater misunderstanding.

violetwisp says:

‘Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.’

Wee Hawkins quote for you.

Most people would no doubt read what wrote and agree. However, it is not true. So here is how I responded.

Citizen Tomsays:

Are Atheists especially stupid? No. The problem that Atheists and most of us have is to that we think to highly of our own point-of-view. We think we are wise. We think we are so wise we don’t need to study Philosophy, especially that part we call wisdom. The Bible, as  unrelentingly asserts, is worthy of our study, and it contains much philosophical wisdom. Philosophy is also worthy of our study. Philosophy, because it contains many ideas borrowed from the ancients and the Bible helps us put all other knowledge in its proper perspective.

Consider.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing — (meaning and origin here)

Do we truly wish to fill our children with scientific knowledge without also teaching the wisdom to make proper use of that knowledge?

20 thoughts on “TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES

  1. Great Article CT. Interesting thing about that Hawking quote: He came under heavy criticism for basically not knowing what he was talking about (I was trying to find the quote from a reputable philosopher but failed 🙂 ). I would not lead with that quote if I were a skeptic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was an excellent response to Violet wisp, Tom.
    I seldom debate atheists.
    I don’t deal with condescension well (my internal snark-o-meter goes off the charts).
    Atheists are about the most condescending bunch in general I’ve ever encountered.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hm…wish there was an edit feature….the above is a bit more of a “downer” than I’d intended.
      LOL Sorry, I should probably go out and enjoy the beautiful day and talk to God a bit. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounded reasonable to me. Atheism is a downer. Kind of hard to be joyful when confronted by someone so worthy of pity. However, I think you have found the solution.
        🙂

        Like

    2. Thank you.

      Most of us don’t deal with condescension well. I use to be an agnostic, however. So I sort of understand the viewpoint of most Atheists. Most of them are just ignorant like I was. When you know someone doesn’t know what they are talking about, it is difficult to take their efforts to be condescending seriously.

      The angry hostility of some Atheists does puzzle me. I never felt threatened by Christians. However, some of them obviously do feel threatened, These we must regard warily. When someone is afraid of you, it is quite likely they will hurt you. When it is possible, we should establish a dialogue with such people and discuss their issues. Live and let live use to be the law in this country. It would be good to reestablish that compromise.

      The most dangerous of fearful Atheists will say anything to undermine our faith. These have decided Christians are the enemy. When someone does not respect the truth and has made up their mind you are the enemy, there is not much to be gained by dialogue. All we can about some people is to refuse to allow them any power over us.

      Like

  3. People are afraid to say “I don’t know.” The other night at a church discussion group, I rattled off a bunch of issues that were brought up from poverty, woman’s issues, race, same-sex marriage, climate change etc. All the issues we hear constantly about in the media. I said, “First off, I don’t find it prudent to spend my time defending who are considered our leaders and their policies because I don’t personally know them.” Now, I can rattle off a bunch of numbers, History, Studies etc. Most of what I know is through experience and my own observations, My goal is to logically discern from that wisdom, and sometimes other sources, to find truth. However, in most cases? I end up with “I don’t know how to make things better.” My influence on a large scale is small. So, I’m active in my parish teaching Catechism and hold discussion groups, I spend a lot of time in our poor community, so I share what I see, I donate money to causes I believe are important, etc. I sometimes go out of my way and spend more money to shop at a local business to help my neighbor, I vote according to my informed conscience of morality.

    This is my sphere of influence and at the end of the day. I’m a .150 batter who just getting up to bat and swinging and hoping to connect.

    In my mind, we’ve lost humility and we’ve lost genuine community. It begins locally, this is the sphere of influence that we actually have the biggest role to play.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Philip Augustine

      Don’t disagree. In fact, one of the reasons I blog about Christianity is that I think the most important thing I can do is to persuade people to study the Bible. Saving one man’s soul is more important than being president. Therefore, what you are doing in your church is of profound importance.

      Should you also participate in politics as a good citizen? Of course you should. Yet God has a calling for each of us, and responding to that calling is our primary task.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Well said,Tom. Something that makes me crazy is that pseudo science is often actually discussing philosophy, not science. Contemplating the sentience of stardust for example is a philosophical argument. Hoping Hawkings “enjoys the stars” after his death is a philosophical concept.

    I really appreciate some of the diverse approaches to apologetics that I find all over the internet. It is like, God is willing to speak to you in whatever language you are most comfortable with. The number of different arguments for the existence of God are as vast as He is. We people are simply without excuse.

    Also, all in good gallows humor, but “the church” were I live is very diverse. Do you need the vegan church? We have the vegan church. Glutin free? We have that, too. Do you wrestle with homosexuality? Well, these sure aren’t my beliefs, but the Pastor and his husband over there will welcome you. So those outside of faith,outside of church, who have boxed themselves into a set of stereotypes about God and Christians, are also without excuse.

    I have some personal doctrines that are like the hill I am willing to die on, but even if you disagree with me, we got a group of other Christians who will welcome you. The point is to stop navel gazing your own opinions and to look up, to accept Jesus’ invitation and to let Him light the path before you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. @insanitybytes22

      I have some personal doctrines that are like the hill I am willing to die on, but even if you disagree with me, we got a group of other Christians who will welcome you.

      The church exists to spread the Gospel. To be useful, a church must teach its members from an accurate translation of the Bible. We support each other by sharing our fellowship in Jesus Christ, not by pretending our sins don’t matter. Therefore, while I understand why you begin with the reference to gallows humor. It is funny. That diversity may be better than nothing. But it is also very sad. It is not likely vegan, glutin free, homosexual and other such diverse churches have their priorities straight. On the other hand, lots of churches seem to have been diverted from the Gospel. So I can see why people are so mixed up.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are right CTom, many approaches, not necessarily better, but different, and this is where you come in. 😉

    How you handle differences of thought, opinion, and structure them together to make the sad song better……and stronger, is truly remarkable, as I’ve said before, and as many others have agreed.

    The philosophy of scripture stands on its own because the Creator is the source of all wisdom. Philosophy is as you know, ‘the lover of wisdom,’ and it makes sense that since God is love, this love would also be expressed through His own thoughts and ideas! and we have many of them, in scripture.

    His conversation in Job where He asks ‘where were you when the heavens were created?’ is a fine question meant to establish man’s rightful place before One greater: in humility and thankfulness, but no, we live in an age where men are not thankful.

    But you nailed it big time when you said many of us think to highly of our own point of view. In this observation, many a Hawking type has played the fool. ‘The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom.’ Love that. Not a punitive fear, but a reverential fear, one of respect, and an admission of authority.

    And just a sidenote, true science fears nothing as to scripture, and anything supposedly untrue as to this, will be proven to be incorrect when ALL the facts are in. Example, the Genome, where the author is missing some components, and I predict will say as much in years to come.

    Hope many people, believer and non, avail themselves of your post here, and the bigger picture that you present, in that God, as well as His word, can be trusted. Tks for the heads up too of course.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well tom, you bring a sense of intellectual balance to blogland that has ripples far and wide; how you piece this stuff together is otherworldly. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We each have our gifts. You have yours as well, and they seem just as amazing to me.

          Because we need each other, we each need to do our part as the body of Christ.

          Like

          1. ‘Liking’ this observation is not enough CT. The truth of the necessity of the many parts is far too often neglected; can I tell you about the little toe when it hurts? 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the reference, Tom. The problem we have when we don’t have a philosophical view is that we can end up with an incoherent worldview. A paradigm is like a pair of glasses you look through to see everything, philosophy is when you take off the glasses and look at them.

    This incoherency is precisely what atheists and many anti-Christians have ended up with. As you said, it’s just plain hubris (like Hawking’s statement). They so completely trust science to answer every question but stay ignorant of the fact that science cannot even explain its own existence.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly. Even his statement: “‘Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.’.’” reflects a philosophical viewpoint (scientism). It really does show the hubris of such ignorance.

        Liked by 2 people

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