Just FYI, I’ve always tried not to overstay my welcome whenever posting here. I like Reasonable Doubts and I don’t want them to start thinking of me as the religious guy hijacking or trying to proselytize on their blog. So I will respond to one or two more comments and then be on my way. If you do want to continue the conversation, you’re welcome to stop by my blog or I could come to your blog if you have one or there are always public forums.
Regarding your post, I was right along side you up to the very last paragraph. But then that last statement very well exemplified what I consider possibly THE one major flaw in the modern atheist’s thinking: a misunderstanding of how the burden of proof applies to the question of god.
But let me respond to the second sentence first.
“Especially when you try to tell me that he has the cure for death (e.g. John 3:16).”
Having a cure for death is really not that big a deal. Humans will have one soon enough. Maybe not this century but soon enough. There will also be a cure for the dead. In other words not just a cure that prevents people from dying but one that can bring them back once they do. It would work kind of like WordPress. If you have ever run a WordPress blog you might have heard of a plugin called WordPress to Dropbox. It basically makes a complete duplicate of your website every few days and stores it in Dropbox. If your site gets hacked you can restore an exact copy and be up and running in no time. If you think this is outrageous you’re just not thinking far enough into the future. The only thing that would prevent this from happening is if we actually DID have an immaterial soul.
But now to the more important statement,
“To bring this home: the claim that there is a god that created the universe, and that this explains all of existence, is one of the most extraordinary claims that could possibly be made.”
You are right. This IS one of the most extraordinary claims that could possibly be made. Right along side another most extraordinary claim, mainly that there is NO god that created the universe and its existence can be explained entirely by naturalistic processes. You see, this universe is kind of like a wind-up toy. It started with an initial burst of potential energy that has been and is currently being used to do work but which will eventually run out bringing our universe into a state of Heat Death. And the question of course is, how can we account for this initial jump-start while remaining consistent with the laws of physics?
You see, god is not an isolated concept that theists made up so that now the burden of proof is on them to show that such a being exists. It is a concept that arises out of necessity as an explanation to the question of where we came from. It is one of two main explanations we have such that either we were made, or we got here naturally (by “we” I mean the universe as a whole.) There is an inverse relationship between the two such that the more likely the one, the less likely the other. And, the burden of proof lies equally on both concepts. Except that while Naturalism could potentially be proven or dis-proven eventually, proving god is a bit harder. Possibly, the only way we will ever demonstrate god, unless he actually reveals himself, is by exhausting every hypothesis we can think of that would explain Naturalism.
At this point in time however, I personally don’t believe atheism could be a rational position. Agnosticism is the only logical stance given the current state of scientific advancement; at least if you accept no sources of authority other than logic and science.Share