Skip to comments.The Absurdity Of Life Without God - William Lane Craig
Posted on 12/16/2008 10:31:38 AM PST by Michael Eden
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Without studying every polytheistic belief, how can you deduce that they are all wrong?
Some protestants view Catholicism as a form of polytheism because they pray directly to Mary and other saints (or in a more polite sense, they are "monotheists with polytheistic tendencies"), so there's not even an agreement within Christianity itself.
...so that narrows the possibilities even more, doesnt it...
Not all. There's thousands of different belief systems within monotheism.
He has a point about atheists smuggling a God substitute into their language: Nature, the Cosmos, Evolution. This substitute is sometimes said to have intentions, purpose, thought, choice, to be clever, is powerful, is good, or surprises us with tricks up its sleeve, etc. He is right that these atheists (all atheists) are inconsistent in their thinking.
It's particularly ironic to post Pascal's Wager here. The sort of people who believe based on which alternative is more pleasant rather than on which alternative is grounded in facts and logic are more likely to be found on Democratic Underground.
Look up pantheism. Not all pantheists are atheists and vice versa.
True, in a way the argument can be made that Pascal erases morality since everything is done with idea of reward or punishment.
Some believers find it hard to believe that many people really are "good for goodness' sake".
If a religion prays to more than one being, is it by definition polytheism? Or is it possible that there exists a gray area rather than an absolute definition of mono/polytheism?
Those protestants are mistaken, as we (I’m Catholic) don’t consider Mary to be God. I know it’s confusing, the church and every single follower may make mistakes every once in a while, and the Trinity is difficult to understand, but this does not equal polytheism.
Yeah, lots of different Christian organizations...so what?
I don’t mean to be snide but look up the word contradiction if you need to. If it is impossible for polytheism to be true, then you do not need to try out every single one.
You're acting as if the latter is an option. It's not. God has been kind enough to spell out the alternatives and that's not one of them. Since I'm not aware of any religion that doesn't have some sort of eternal reward belief system, there are one of two options: either God doesn't exist and we turn into dust or God exists and there is some sort of eternal reward for our beliefs and/or just life.
(After all, most sincere believers will readily confess that they can't know that they'll be "saved.")
I don't believe this to be true. A true believer knows that he will be saved. That's why he is a believer. I think the closest that you get is what CS Lewis describes as moments of doubt brought on by changing moods. But these changing moods, in most cases, do not shake our faith, because if they did, we would not be believers. The core of our faith is that we believe that Christ saved us and we will have eternal life in Heaven.
Another way to think about it, Alexander, is rock climbing. Let's say I'm rock climbing, and I have a safety harness that is attached to a rope that is tied off so that I cannot fall. At times, I may be unsure of my footing and I have a momentary fear that I will fall, and I have this fear despite knowing perfectly well that I am safe and secure by virtue of the rope and safety harness. As long as our foundation is built on the rock of Christ, our foundation is firm and we are safe and secure. That doesn't mean that we don't doubt our footing from time to time, but we know our foundation.
The stuff of history is held together by finely stitched threads through loosely woven fabric...
Yes, but the point is that there are some who do see praying to Mary and the trinity as at least a 'polytheist tendency'; hence there is disagreement.
Yeah, lots of different Christian organizations...so what?
There are different value systems represented within Christianity and within monotheism as a whole.
For instance, are praying to Mary and transubstantiation part of your value system? Even if they are not for you, they are for others within your faith.
Great great post. I know it’s a good speech when I fall asleep past half way through. (I don’t make it to 1/4 unless I have something else to do). Going to read the rest later.
Hair splitting aside, the people I was talking about deny the existence of God, yet speak as though there is a God. They are not known for their own idiosyncratic religion, nor do they publicly subscribe to any religion.
Great read when you get time. I listen to Craig presentations often. Going to see if this one is available online, perhaps at ‘bethinking.org’.
You either didn’t bother to stay and read the whole presentation or else you are deliberately trivializing it as a straw man.
Pascal’s wager says that, cetaris parabis, one should “wager” that there is a God and an eternal destiny, given the fact that “betting right” gives you everything and “betting wrong” costs you nothing; whereas betting on atheism costs you EVERYTHING if you bet wrong.
This lecture goes FAR beyond that. It not only asserts, but uses the very words of atheists to PROVE that without God there is no meaning, value, or purpose. And the force of Craig’s argument is that one is literally reduced to “pretending” that life really has meaning, value, and purpose, or accepting God.
I remember the massive riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King police beating trial. People burned down huge swaths of the city when they thought justice was being ignored. What would happen if every single member of the human race faced the reality that such a thing as “justice” was itself utterly nonexistent, and killing a human being actually had no more moral consequence than stepping on a bug?
Leading atheist H.L. Mencken said, “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” And if life has no ultimate purpose, value, or meaning, why shouldn’t we?
Citing the article itself:
And yet, Nietzsche predicted that some day, people would realize the implications of atheism, and this realization would usher in an age of nihilism that is the destruction of all meaning and value in life. This most gruesome of guests, he said, is standing already at the door. Our whole European culture is moving for some time now with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade as toward a catastrophe, restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.
I see what you’re saying. It’s really disagreement on how to go about with traditions, misrepresentations aside.
But lets not keep moving the goal posts here. Praying to Mary and transubstantiation does NOT equal polytheism, nor does it indicate a ‘polytheistic tendency’, no matter what they say. Maybe someone actually has done that in the ~2000 years of church history, I don’t know, but that is not what the church teaches. And even if the higher up did try to teach polytheism, of course that’d be a mistake...
In addition, not all of the traditions are requirements. You don’t have to say every single prayer ever written all the time to be Catholic. I hope it’s getting a bit clearer.
I disagree. Hope can have much meaning without Grace and Resurrection...it’s in the individual.
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