1. Joined
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    11 Sep '05 01:24
    i have been reading a debate between WL Craig (christian) and W Sinnott-Armstrong (strong atheist) in which the following argument is put forth by Sinnott-Armstrong. as far as i know, it is a very old argument:

    1. If there were an all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who could act in time, then we would have strong evidence for the existence of this God.

    2. We do not have strong evidence for the existence of this God.

    3. Hence, there is no all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who can act in time.

    the argument is clearly valid (3 follows from 1 and 2), so those who wish to steer clear of strong atheism with respect to this God need to refute Premise 1 or Premise 2. i would be interested in hearing cases against (or for) either of these premises.

    the following background is influenced by my readings of the book GOD?: A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist:

    Premise 1 is often called the "strong evidence principle" and is based on the thinking that if such a God did exist, he would make it easier for us to recognize his existence and to know him. there are good reasons to think that such a God would give us stronger evidence to go on than what we have (which i think is basically nothing). first, strong evidence would relieve many of the doubt that plague their minds (indeed, it could replace such doubt with assurance) and it would put an end to the otherwise wasted time spent debating his existence. second, it would no doubt cause more people to believe in him and worship him. this does not mean that all those who come to believe in his existence would also adopt strong faith in him, but belief in his existence does seem to be a necessary condition for the type of faith he wants. moreover, an all-powerful God could supply the evidence in such a way that all current believers would keep believing in him to the same or greater degree, and in such a way that it would not undermine their faith -- so by supplying stronger evidence, his number of devoted followers could only rise. third, stronger evidence for his existence would also mean stronger evidence for the realization of his threats of punishment; thus, more people would be dissuaded from committing crimes against fellow men -- that is of course good for the would-be victims. it is not clear to me how best he would supply this evidence or what said evidence would be. but, suffice it to say, an all-knowing God would know what to do; and all-powerful God could do it; and an all-good God would do it.

    concerning Premise 2: the bible says that the believer should not hide his light, but should "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Mat 5:16). thus, we are supposed to see evidence for God in the good deeds of our fellow men. however, this is not "strong evidence." far from it, it is at best ambiguous evidence since i see no reason why men cannot also carry out good deeds in the absence of God's existence. other believers claim that the mere existence, wonders, and complexity of earth and man give us evidence for God's existence. again, clearly this evidence is not "strong" because there are hords of people who dispute creationism, teleological arguments, and cosmological arguments. other believers say that the evidence for God's existence can be directly known (ie, belief in God is a properly basic belief). then why in the world would we even be debating his existence in the first place? the mere fact that so many are quick to debate and doubt God's existence demonstrates that whatever evidence is readily available is not as strong and direct as it could be. other believers, as evidence for God, point to the bible as God's word. this hardly even deserves a response because they are begging the question. another standard response seems to be that God does provide strong evidence for his existence, but it is only available to those who seek it out. but then that only begs the question why would God do that? the whole point of the strong evidence principle is that God need not play hide and seek with his evidence, and that it would be more efficient and beneficial for strong evidence to be made clearly available to ALL; thus, an all-whatnot God would not hide his evidence in such ways.

    i am not sure if there is any evidence at all to support the belief in such a God, but i am pretty sure that whatever evidence there is, it is not "strong evidence."
  2. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    11 Sep '05 01:301 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    i have been reading a debate between WL Craig (christian) and W Sinnott-Armstrong (strong atheist) in which the following argument is put forth by Sinnott-Armstrong. as far as i know, it is a very old argument:

    1. If there were an all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who could act in time, then we would have strong evidence for the existence of thi ...[text shortened]... such a God, but i am pretty sure that whatever evidence there is, it is not "strong evidence."
    What is an example of an instance of strong evidence? Does that category of evidence have well-defined criteria?
  3. Standard memberRemoved
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    11 Sep '05 02:24
    Rom 1:20-22
    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
    21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
    (NKJ)

    I would like to respond to your comments, but how better than letting God speak for Himself?....even if you do not believe the bible to be the authenic Word of God....at least consider what His Word says....

    Prov 1:20-33
    20 Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares.
    21 She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words:
    22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.
    23 Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
    24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
    25 Because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke,
    26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,
    27 When your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
    28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
    29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
    30 They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.
    31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.
    32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
    33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil."
    (NKJ)


    Heb 11:6
    6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
    (NKJ)
    (Hold Him to His promise ) Corrie Ten Boom did, as well as many others who found Him.

    I cannot be as articulate as these words speak...don't just blow them away....meditate on them.
  4. Cosmos
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    11 Sep '05 02:33
    Originally posted by checkbaiter
    Rom 1:20-22
    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
    21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish he ...[text shortened]... I cannot be as articulate as these words speak...don't just blow them away....meditate on them.
    Quoting the book of lies huh?

    This truly is "An argument from ignorance".
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    11 Sep '05 02:39
    Originally posted by howardgee
    Quoting the book of lies huh?

    This truly is "An argument from ignorance".
    What lie have YOU found in THE WORD OF GOD?
  6. Cosmos
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    11 Sep '05 02:44
    Originally posted by blindfaith101
    What lie have YOU found in THE WORD OF GOD?
    Well, the "FACT" that it IS the 'Word of God ' for starters!
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    11 Sep '05 02:511 edit
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    What is an example of an instance of strong evidence? Does that category of evidence have well-defined criteria?
    yeah, good questions.

    i think strong evidence could come in many forms (compelling argument, sensory data, etc). of course, strong evidence would be evidence which one finds compelling and which establishes sufficient likelihood of God's existence or at least makes the case for God persuasive. however, i am not sure it can be 'well-defined' in the sense that i think what may be strong evidence for one person may not be strong evidence for another person. so Premise 2 could be, and is, an epic debate in itself. however, i think the spirit of the argument is that the evidence for God's existence could be much stronger than it is without negative ramifications (and would be stronger if he existed).

    one catch is that an all-whatnot God could readily supply strong evidence to all persons (or just simply MORE persons), based on each person's own standard of what constitutes "strong evidence." with respect to Premise 1, that would still leave open the question of whether or not an all-good God would want to do that.
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    11 Sep '05 03:14
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    yeah, good questions.

    i think strong evidence could come in many forms (compelling argument, sensory data, etc). of course, strong evidence would be evidence which one finds compelling and which establishes sufficient likelihood of God's existence or at least makes the case for God persuasive. however, i am not sure it can be 'well-defined' in the ...[text shortened]... hat would still leave open the question of whether or not an all-good God would want to do that.
    Here we go again...you define good, by your definition, as well as completely ignoring God's Word....which He has protected all these centuries....just to give you the oppurtunity to pick it up, read it, pray over it, ask Him to show you....and the sad part?.....He is more than willing, He will bend over backwards to show you and give you all the evidence beyond your wildest dreams...All He asks is to remember who God is...who are we to counsel Him?...who are we to judge Him?...who are we indeed?..to even question His existence.....not too many people stop to think of what God thinks....how He feels...we question His wisdom...."what are you doing?"...and we expect Him to answer as if He is on trial here...that is why I quoted verses like the ones above, and asked you to honestly read and think about what they say...As I read, I would also honestly question my motives, that they are honest...else He won't answer....this isn't the Mayor your talking to, not even the President of the USA, this is the Almighty God, creator of the heavens and the earth...the one who holds your every breath in His hands...that's another problem we have, why He won't answer many people...they will not humble themselves before HIM...as if they were God or had some kind of power....I laugh at the post's I read here from so many who think they are so wise....I am talking about the unbelievers, the ones with the "superior intellect"...I wonder how God will deal with these people....and yet I pray for them, because I know they are blind, deceived, pride can be a terrible thing......
  9. Joined
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    11 Sep '05 03:14
    Originally posted by checkbaiter
    Rom 1:20-22
    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
    21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish he ...[text shortened]... I cannot be as articulate as these words speak...don't just blow them away....meditate on them.
    which premise are you refuting?
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    11 Sep '05 03:16
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    which premise are you refuting?
    All of them.
  11. Joined
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    11 Sep '05 03:171 edit
    Originally posted by checkbaiter
    Here we go again...you define good, by your definition, as well as completely ignoring God's Word....which He has protected all these centuries....just to give you the oppurtunity to pick it up, read it, pray over it, ask Him to show you....and the sad part?.....He is more than willing, He will bend over backwards to show you and give you all the eviden ...[text shortened]... et I pray for them, because I know they are blind, deceived, pride can be a terrible thing......
    do you have any evidence for God's existence besides what you read in the bible? i am having a hard time organizing your thoughts here. on what grounds do you refute both Premise 1 and Premise 2?
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    11 Sep '05 03:24
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    do you have any evidence for God's existence besides what you read in the bible? i am having a hard time organizing your thoughts here. which premise are you refuting and why?
    You ask the wrong questions, my two posts reveal where I stand on both premises...the only thing I will agree with is ....

    "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Mat 5:16).

    I agree that their are not as many sincere Christians around...those who are willing to give their all....there were at one time, when this nation was founded, up until, I would say the early 1900's....but many Christians have gotten wrapped up in the world, through lust, selfishness,etc...but this should not stop a true seeker of God..God is still God.
  13. Joined
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    11 Sep '05 03:29
    Originally posted by checkbaiter
    You ask the wrong questions, my two posts reveal where I stand on both premises...the only thing I will agree with is ....

    "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Mat 5:16).

    I agree that their are not as many sincere Christians around...those who are willing to give the ...[text shortened]... through lust, selfishness,etc...but this should not stop a true seeker of God..God is still God.
    "do you have any evidence for God's existence besides what you read in the bible?" is a 'wrong' question??
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    11 Sep '05 03:46
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    "do you have any evidence for God's existence besides what you read in the bible?" is a 'wrong' question??
    Yes..it is called logic and common sense...consider...
    How clever is man?
    The Bible demands faith, however, and in this materialistic age, when man has probed so many secrets of life, it is popular to mock at a Bible faith. Man imagines that he has grown beyond it, and thinks that he has all the answers to life's problems. But how mistaken is such a view! Man might be clever in a superficial way, but he has not all the answers. He is clever only to the extent that God has permitted him to stumble upon discoveries which have enabled him to use certain elements, the fundamentals about which, however, he remains ignorant.

    Consider electricity, for example. We are absolutely dependent upon it for the basics of life, yet the scientist who harnesses it cannot explain what it is, or where it came from! Consider, further, a marvel of modern times: radio and video transmission. It is entirely dependent upon elements that man has discovered, but which he cannot create. No man has ever made an electron, or the smallest quantity of tungsten, from which electrodes are made; no man has ever created a scrap of copper used to form the casing of valves. Thus the radio -- advanced as a triumph of man's ingenuity -- is entirely dependent upon elements he never made, but found! Who put them there in the first place? Who, but God!

    Now, consider yourself. Eight hours out of a day you probably rest on a bed and try to sleep. Why? Why is sleep so essential? Ask your doctor, and discover that he does not know! He knows that it is important that you should do so; he knows that it restores and revives the whole of the human frame, and that it is as important as food. But your doctor does not know why the human body must sleep! With all his professed knowledge, man is very limited.

    The word "miracle," is frequently used today to describe what man does, but it is an unpopular word to use in association with the Bible. The massive jet plane flying overhead is a "miracle," but a loud laugh goes up when we refer to the miracles of the Bible.
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    11 Sep '05 03:47
    A World Gone Wrong
    A vast change has come over the world in the last ninety years. Prior to 1914, the tempo of life was far more leisurely; motor cars were few and inefficient; airplanes were flimsy affairs that inspired little confidence; electricity was still largely in its infancy. And morally, the world was still governed by the standards and conventions of the Victorian Age.

    The first World War brought great changes. It introduced a period of great inventiveness when, in the words of Bible prophecy, "knowledge was increased" (Daniel 12:4). Speed came into its own; the use of electricity was developed; radio became more than a mere toy. On the battlefields, millions died as mighty armies became locked in terrible death-struggles; and, in the widespread catastrophe, conventions were thrown to the winds, and morals were measured by new standards. In view of the remarkable developments of technology, and the widening influence of information, people began to doubt the existence of God as theories of evolution and "natural development" were exploited.

    On the one hand, men found themselves controlling mighty forces, and penetrating into previously-unknown space, so that they could almost imagine themselves to be gods. On the other hand, they saw destruction so appalling as to cause them to doubt the existence of a benevolent and loving Creator.
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