In answer to Dr Funkenstein's post:
Got some time today. I must say, I'm pretty disappointed with this effort. It's a scattergun approach, refuses most of the time to take the internal vs external critique differentiation into acct, and neglects to interact with even the most basic of standard Christian answers to a lot of these questions. Must we really reinvent the wheel every time? What good does that do anyone, even skeptics like yourself?
it is possible to even start with another equally arbitrary god figure that shares the necessary base requirements with TGOTB but has enacted a completely different set of events in our world
The Jolly Nihilist already tried that, and initially failed miserably with his two examples - the Green God and the Music God, if I'm not mistaken.
I do plan, actually, to flesh this Flying Spaghetti Monster objection out more in the future.
But the devil is in the details in this one - propose one, and subject it to the scrutiny to which TGOTB is subjected over and over again on my blog alone.
Second, when you say 'account for' logic (or morality, or existence, or whatever you prefer), what do you actually mean?
It's a good question.
The idea is that, from the standpoint of the real world, here and now, I'm thinking about WHAT IF there is no God? WHAT IF naturalism is true? I take on naturalism for the sake of argument.
Now, thinking as a naturalist, I try to figure out whether there is any good reason to think that laws of logic exist, are objective, timeless, unchanging, etc. IOW, I perform an internal critique of naturalism. And I don't see a good accounting for, an explanation of how, these laws' existence, objectivity, etc.
you have previously agreed that you don't know the ins and outs of how it all happens (bar using the term 'supernatural' mechanism
Well, it all depends on what we're talking about.
In this case, logic reflects the thinking of and character of God.
He is a God of truth. He has set the universe in order and gives identity to things, people, etc. He differentiates them. He does not accept contradictory claims as both true.
Etc. Thus He created the universe like that.
And I don't see why I should expect that a naturalistic universe have laws of logic. Especially absent a cogent explanation from naturalists.
packaging these things under the bracket of 'Goddidit' doesn't really explain an awful lot, if anything
It may not explain the MECHANISM in detail, but it provides a sufficient knowledge of the necessary preconditions for the laws of logic.
I can't 'account for' it, you may say.
Sure you can. Dell/HP/whoever assembled it.
Maybe that will help clarify what I mean.
That doesn't really fly in the case of God, since millions of people claim to 'know' the fact that mutually incompatible gods all exist(ed),
But why would I care about what other people think, who have contradictory and internally inconsistent worldviews?
If I happen upon one that seems to be more well put-together than most of the others, I examine it in detail. So far, I've examined quite a lot and all fail.
you have the issue of problems originally attributed to the supernatural through history that now have plausible alternative solutions (eg psychological diseases etc and demonic possession - this still is the case in some places, for example in this study some people thought their facial twitching was a result of possession.
This is an invalid comparison.
The Bible does not attribute all diseases/maladies to demonic activity, but only some.
Those that are attributed to demonic activity, there is no way for you to study THOSE w/o a time machine, which I'm sure you don't claim you have.
The problem is, this renders reality completely subjective, a little like being in a movie where the director/animator/etc can make the project take whichever direction he or she pleases.
Subjective? Not at all - if the computer screen blinks out of existence suddenly, it would objectively be the case that the computer screen would at that moment no longer exist.
Thing is, TGOTB has created the world and made certain promises in the Bible to the effect that the world will remain constant and consistent, running according to certain laws, until a certain time that He will put an end to time and this world.
OTOH, on naturalism, there is no reason to think that the future will be like the past, even wrt the laws that describe how it usually operates. That is the problem of induction. You are in a much worse situation here than the theist.
you can't even be sure if your God belief is real or not, or whether any facts actually obtain as you think they do.
Sure I can - the Bible tells me that I can know that God is real and that He is the true God, and that I am redeemed by Him.
Conversely, the naturalist has no reason to think that his beliefs correspond to reality. Did he evolve such that his cognitive faculties produce true beliefs or only such that he exhibits survival-adapted behavior? Surely the latter, as one can believe truth and still die, and one can believe all sorts of falsities but still survive to pass on his genes, given that he behaves 'correctly'.
Divine Command morality, for example, runs into the Euthyphro dilemma
Perhaps it does, but I don't hold to DCM, so...
You've countered this before by saying that morality flows from God's nature
Correct. I give you kudos for actually remembering it. ;-) Many don't.
in which case, large parts of the bible become unnecessary or pointless (eg the 10 commandments) if people can know morality without commands.
Which is totally unrelated to the question of what it means that morality flows from God's nature.
I'm talking about the ORIGIN of the foundation of morality, not the communication of it, the way people know and access it.
God commands thus and such because of the morality that is grounded in His nature. So His commands are necessary for US to know, but that's a different question.
All you've really done in terms of Euthyphro is switched 'divine command' for 'God's nature'.
Yes, that's "all" I've done, but I don't see why Euthyphro applies now.
but (2) and (3) just shunt the burden as you've outlined it from 'because human(s) say so' to 'because God says so'.
Part of the problem is that
1) "human(s)" is vaguely defined
2) other humans say the exact opposite of virtually any moral statement. So who's right and how do you know? I never get a close-to-adequate answer to this.
3) God is, as I've said, the very definition of good, so it's pointless to separate it out. Humans are not the very definition of good. God is.
other than begging the question by simply asserting 'God is good'
I've argued for that before, though.
If God is not good, we can not know what is good. Every option is an abject failure but that one.
if God's nature imbues the universe or us with morality, morals are not and have not been uniform through society/history?
Here is just another example of an atheist forgetting sin. I don't know how many times I have to say it.
Even the most despicable acts you can think of, you can easily find groups or individuals who didn't bat an eyelid when carrying them out.
1) Which is perfectly in line with the biblical worldview, where humans are evil and bound in sin.
2) Which is a serious strike against any notion of utilitarianism or social contract morality.
3) One wonders how an atheist can label ANY act as "despicable". Talk about begging the question!
the evil God card could be played here too.
That's been done and answered.
a criteria you have used previously for validating a 'worldview' is internal critique, stating that the inerrancy of the bible is validation of the truth of your starting assumption. But
Not at all.
I wouldn't say it validates it at all...it's more like a negative test. If your worldview isn't consistent within itself, then it's obviously a failure.
Rather, it goes like this:
-The biblical worldview makes sense of reality and intelligibility, so it provides a basis for rational thought.
-Whether the naturalistic worldview can account for reason and intelligibility is a point of contention.
-Therefore, STEP INSIDE the Christian worldview and level critiques based on its own presuppositions to see if it is consistent.
It's a test for consistency.
-Plus, if I just say "Atheism is wrong - the Bible says that the fool says there is no God!" Would you accept that?
Similarly, to say something like "OBVIOUSLY natural processes are the way the world works, and there's nothing outside that. The Bible is therefore wrong!" is just as inane.
Another example of an external critique is to say "the Bible condones despicable acts". On atheism, you must provide a justification for labeling something "despicable". You can't, as we've seen time and time again; it's an invalid external critique.
You would need to prove that, on Christian presuppositions, the evil condoned by TGOTB is a gratuitous evil. You haven't even begun to do that.
the numerous numerical inconsistencies it has (eg 1 Chronicles 21:5 vs 2 Samuel 24:9)
I already gave you your chances to provide a biblical contradiction.
Why don't you just pull up a standard difficulty-solver like Gleason Archer's "Encyclo of Bible Difficulties" or Geisler's "When Critics Ask", or at the very least go over to tektonics or CARM and rebut their answers to these kinds of questions? Do you think this sort of thing is new, that no one's ever heard them before?
basic factual errors such as what sort of classification bats fall under
That's been dealt with before at my blog and in other places. You don't interact with the answer here, so what should one conclude on this?
the completely different endings the 4 gospels have,
Why would anyone care that documents written by 4 different men might exhibit different styles, emphases, etc?
If you think they're contradictory, make an argument. But make sure to actually interact with the standard responses, so as not to reinvent the wheel. Don't waste everyone's time.
known embellishments that have been added down the line
You mean, possible embellishments, the quality and probability of which vary from case to case.
Seriously, why not interact with the standard answers to these questions? This is nothing more than warmed-over zombie pie.
eg that Christians can pray for things and receive what they pray for.
Where's the exegesis?
This is quite easy to refute - all a true believer has to do is pray for my computer screen to turn into an apple, and I personally will send them a cheque for $1000
This is an example of an external critique.
Where's the exegesis?
Where's the argument that God = circus monkey in the Christian worldview?