Sunday, September 1, 2013

"I know I shall never make the same mistake again"

Luke Foster:

Believing, Doubting, Trusting
The postmodern age is open to hearing that we all have worldviews—basic assumptions that spool into a narrative about who we are, where we come from, and what we ought to be doing. Whether we come to our worldviews through a kind of cultural osmosis, or whether we stand upon well-articulated premises bolstered by a martial array of philosophy, we are all believers of some sort. 
This recognition has proved salutary for Christians concerned to engage believers of other stripes. It is, thankfully, more rare these days to hear the materialist dogmatism that claims to be “rational,” “scientific,” and “objective,” denying any faith commitments or presuppositions. 
But this growing critical awareness of our own interpretive frameworks has not had entirely welcome consequences. Sometimes it causes a cloying skepticism, relativism, or compartmentalization in which our beliefs and our lives get out of sync. Over at Fare Forward, Jake Meador draws on Chesterton and Bunyan to sound a healthy warning against reacting against arrogance by becoming timid about making truth claims at all. A healthy, humble trust in God’s promises transcends that baleful antithesis. 
Renowned New York pastor and author Tim Keller bases his apologetic on “doubting your doubts” in The Reason for God. By recognizing our doubts as derived from alternate worldviews, and examining them to find that they have less explanatory power than the Christian story, we are drawn to know the God of Reason. British man of letters A.N. Wilson has spoken of his return to Christianity after abandoning it as a young man: “My departure from the Faith was like a conversion on the road to Damascus. My return was slow, hesitant, doubting. So it will always be; but I know I shall never make the same mistake again.” Let us use doubt as a means to find the answers, not to avoid them.

I am a convert, and there is none so fervent as a convert. Perhaps some of the reason for my passion for blogging is because I want to keep confronting atheism. It's a way to settle an old score, and some of it is fun, in an embarrassingly sadistic way (I've never debated opponents who were as easy to demolish as atheists), but some of my predilection for confrontation is to keep reminding myself just how empty, how foolish, how self-refuting atheism is.

I struggle to understand and do God's will, and I am a sinful man. I had a close call with perdition-- most of my life I rejected God, implicitly if not explicitly-- and I want to know I shall never make the same mistake again.

Confronting atheists has shown me this: even if there were not a single bit of positive evidence or logic to support God's existence (the positive evidence and logic is in fact overwhelming), I would not be an atheist.

If I saw no evidence whatsoever for God, I would believe in God because I understand atheism.

16 comments:

  1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 1, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    Doc: "most of my life I rejected God"

    As did I, Doc. As did I. In fact, my view of Christianity was not all that different from that held by one of your pet trolls, Troi.

    My moment was a moment of metanoia in the desert. No visions, no trumpets, no Damascus Road experience... just a little man, an act of kindness, and a light dose of bumper-sticker theology.

    And since then?
    [T]he Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.


    But, like you, I must confess a bit of guilty pleasure in coming here. I've enjoyed a good troll shoot since the trolls infested Usenet. It's like a virtual sporting clays range. Sometimes you get a rabbit, bouncing along the ground. Other times you get a hot incomer or a crossing away shot that seems to pop out of the woods. Occasionally, you even get a double. It's been a good day when you walk back to your truck with a bag of hulls and hot barrels, reeking of cordite.

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  2. "Perhaps some of the reason for my passion for blogging is because I want to keep confronting atheism."

    A small man of weak faith, motivated chiefly by spite.

    Hoo

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 1, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      You are a hilarious nutter...! Somehow you know what other people actually think.
      --- Hoots (8/30/13)

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    2. No reading comprehension left in your old brain, admiral? Egnor says as much:

      "It's a way to settle an old score."

      "some of my predilection for confrontation is to keep reminding myself just how empty, how foolish, how self-refuting atheism is."

      These are words of a weak believer. He will curse unbelievers in hopes that this would prevent him from sliding back into unbelief.

      What a pitiful fool.

      Hoo

      Delete
    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 1, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Got that, Doc? You have an atheist telling you what constitutes weak and strong faith. That's like getting a lecture on diet from Michael Moore.

      Delete
    4. Of course his faith is weak. He is not yelling at us atheists for our sake, he is doing it for himself. Cursing at atheists is Egnor's way of trying to prevent himself from losing faith.

      "most of my life I rejected God, implicitly if not explicitly-- and I want to know I shall never make the same mistake again."

      This post is rife with insecurity. So pathetic!

      Hoo

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    5. The concluding part is a howler: "Confronting atheists has shown me this: even if there were not a single bit of positive evidence or logic to support God's existence... I would not be an atheist."

      Your faith is defined largely not by what it is, but by what it is not. It's a pathetic excuse to believe, worse than Pascal's wager. You have always been about sticking it to your adversaries. What a small man!

      Hoo

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    6. @Hoo:

      You are quite right about my weakness, which is profound, as well as my profound spite for atheism.

      I, in myself, am all weakness. I boast only of the Cross, which is my only strength.

      Delete
    7. @Hoo:

      [The concluding part is a howler: "Confronting atheists has shown me this: even if there were not a single bit of positive evidence or logic to support God's existence... I would not be an atheist." Your faith is defined largely not by what it is, but by what it is not. It's a pathetic excuse to believe, worse than Pascal's wager. You have always been about sticking it to your adversaries. What a small man!]

      I meant what I said. There is massive evidence for belief in God.

      But even if there weren't any evidence for God's existence at all, I would not be an atheist. I would rather endorse abject ignorance than endorse atheism, which is a circle below abject ignorance.

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    8. Michael,

      There is no evidence for the existence of God. You're showing motivated reasoning, starting with the conclusion you want (there is a God) for emotional reasons, and then interpreting extremely weak indications as supporting the conclusion you've already reached.

      The evidence for evolution and human induced global warming is of much greater quantity (orders of magnitude greater) and much better quality, yet you reject them for religious, political or emotional reasons, and then use motivated reasoning to support the conclusions you've already made.

      The evidence for evolution is actually better than that for the Big Bang, yet you're able to accept the Big Bang, because it somehow supports the Genesis story of Creation, yet you reject evolution, despite many religious biologically trained scientists being able to accept evolution and believe in God.

      Lemaitre, the Catholic priest who first proposed the Big Bang, strongly advised Pope Pius XII not to use the Big Bang as support for the biblical allegory of Creation in Genesis.

      You're actually not able to let go of the allegorical nature of Genesis, writing once that when you die you'll be able to ask God whether the story of Adam and Eve was literally true (hint - it wasn't).

      Declaring that you always win debates with atheists is again an example of your motivated reasoning. You make a ridiculous statement (eg, recently you claimed that historically the Dark Ages referred to the time before the coming of Jesus), you're corrected, and then you usually ignore the correction. And then you often come back later and make the same bogus claim.

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    9. So I'm guilty of "motivated reasoning"?

      Bulverism.

      You never cease to entertain, bach.

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    10. Michael,

      Your accusing me of 'Bulverism' is actually Bulverism. It illustrates your debating style. Make unsupported assertions and then declare yourself the winner.

      Delete
    11. bach:

      It is Bulveristic of you to accuse me of Bulverism by accusing you of Bulverism.

      Delete
  3. I struggle to understand and do God's will, and I am a sinful man. I had a close call with perdition-- most of my life I rejected God, implicitly if not explicitly-- and I want to know I shall never make the same mistake again.

    Good luck struggling. When you die you will cease to exist, just like the rest of us. There is no life after death, no matter how much you want the opposite to be true.

    If I saw no evidence whatsoever for God, I would believe in God because I understand atheism.

    Believing something to be true against all evidence, just because you don't like the people who don't believe it is true. That has to be one of the most stupid reasons for believing in something.

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    1. @troy:

      [Good luck struggling. When you die you will cease to exist, just like the rest of us. There is no life after death, no matter how much you want the opposite to be true.]

      If we don't exist after death, I'll admit you were right.

      [Believing something to be true against all evidence, just because you don't like the people who don't believe it is true. That has to be one of the most stupid reasons for believing in something.]

      It's not true that I don't like atheists. I don't particularly like my atheist interlocutors here, but I only know you from your comments. I'm sure you're fine folks in any number of ways. Probably nicer people than I am.

      What I don't like is atheism. It is a lie, and repudiation of logic and reason and a denial of all that is decent about humanity. If I had never heard of God, and had never deduced or inferred His existence, I would still know that atheism is a reprehensible lie.

      It someone were to ask me what the truth was, I'd say "I don't know, but atheism is a lie".

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  4. "If I saw no evidence whatsoever for God, I would believe in God because I understand atheism."

    Indeed.

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