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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Allright. Pythagoras would’ve liked you, or whatever.
Well, I gotta go feed my dog. I’ve deduced he’s hungry from him bringing me his food bowl. :)
While not confessing to know the ins and outs of every religion known, I'm unaware of any sort of religion that doesn't have some sort of punishment for "wrong" behavior. To your second prong, no, I don't believe that, and I'll explain why below.
So you are an adherent of "salvation through faith, alone?"
Not exactly. We're getting into deeper territory here, but I'll have a quick go of it. This is, in my mind, a simplistic view of the term "faith" that tends to distort Christianity. I believe you to mean when you say this that you mean "faith" simply to mean "belief," and that's not quite right. When I use the term "faith," I mean it as something considerably more than simply belief. For instance, when I make the decision to believe, it is not just simply a conversion of one day I don't believe that Christ died for our sins and the next day I do; that is far too simplistic.
Most people, including Christians, are proud. We like to believe that we can do things on our own, and we can do things without the help of others, including without the help of God. These same people go on their lives thinking that they are leading perfectly moral lives and are "good" people and that because they are good people, they will be rewarded in Heaven for their "goodness." Many of these people are Christians, and many go to church each Sunday. But they are wrong.
They are wrong because they haven't truly tried to practice Christian virtues, and haven't truly reflected on their ability to live their lives according to how we should. It is not until a person makes a true and serious attempt at practicing Christian virtues--and then failing--that faith can truly take root. The important lesson that we learn from our attempt, as Christians, is that no matter our effort, we cannot succeed. It is impossible; thus, to the extent that our salvation depended on our living a virtuous life, there is no such possibility. Without God's grace, we know we are doomed. Only once we realize that we are doomed can we truly accept Christ's offer, which is salvation.
Once we've accepted Christ, it doesn't mean then that we stop trying to live according to Christian virtues. If we've truly handed ourselves over to Him--if we have true faith--then it follows that as part of our commitment to Christ that we've changed our behavior to attempt to practice Christian virtues so as to please God. We will fail, of course, because we are men, but that is where we are saved by God's Grace. Thus, there can be no Faith without a commitment to Christian virtue.
Again, CS Lewis talks about this rather extensively in Book III of Mere Christianity, which I would commend to you. In regards to the question of whether good actions or faith in Christ brings a Christian to Heaven, he likens it to which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. He says:
"A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come."
“I believe the burden of proof is on you to provide evidence...”
I’m not going to attempt to prove the existence of God to you. I’m sure you have heard all the arguments you wish to hear. There is free will and you have chosen.
But the author remains right that most atheists hold values that have no foundation in atheism. They can attempt name changes and other ruses, but their views and values are logically inconsistent. Nor is it the case that a little more study - hitting the books - can solve their problem. The answers are not to be found in Freud, Marx, Sagan or any other author whom they would choose to heed.
I'm sure that your god is a wonderful god that is very kind and just in all circumstances. If I chose to accept Pascal's gambit, I might envision such a god myself. After all, the emphasis today is on a 'personal' god, so we're really dealing with millions of different deities here, since every person has their own belief of what god is.
I personally would not under any circumstances want to live under a god who cast people into the fires of eternal suffering simply for not believing in him.
Even when I was a Christian I was unable to believe such a thing, and yes, I think it would be awful if true.
That's actually inductive reasoning. You can't know for a fact that he's hungry since he can't tell you; you're making your best assumption on the facts at hand. Maybe he wants to play fetch and can't find his ball, so he brought you his bowl instead. 8^)
What if the Creator, in order to have the creation we have, with spiritual awareness that we have, had to create the universe so that not believing in the Creator and His personal desire to be your God results in your ending up ‘beyond God’s Love and all that such Love causes to be’? It would not be a fault of God that you could end up outside of His Love and all that such entails, it would be your own destiny formed in your selfishness.
That's a distortion, I think. My response to this is that God doesn't cast people into the fires of hell for not believing in him; people are judged according to their behavior and virtue. If you are unworthy, you are not allowed into Heaven. Some people have recognized that they are unworthy to be let into Heaven and they have asked God for forgiveness for their sins. Because Christ volunteered to accept our punishment for us, His Grace grants those people forgiveness and they are admitted into Heaven to spend eternity with God.
On the other hand, those who choose not to ask for forgiveness are not given it and they must stand for judgment upon their own merit.
Even when I was a Christian I was unable to believe such a thing
I truly think, unfortunately, you have been misled.
Since we're playing 'what if', do I end up living for eternity under everlasting torture and pain because I didn't believe in him? Or am I simply dead at the end of my life in the Old Testament sense (i.e. no hell) and it's over with.
I can't make myself believe, and if god exists, he made me this way. So would he rather I lie to myself and him when I get to the afterlife? I think he would think more of me if I were honest with myself, rather than trying to concoct an artificial belief just so I can partake in the rewards of his love and all that such entails.
The fact that Craig finds it easier to deal with life if he assumes that there is a God does not prove that God actually exists, any more than a small child finds it easier to believe in Santa Claus proves that Santa Claus actually exists.
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?
Because it is more desirable, for perfectly obvious and worldly reasons, to live in a civilization.
Certainly, belief that life has a purpose, a value, and a meaning has not prevented people from slitting throats. Quite a few throats were slit by people who believed that the purpose, value, and meaning of life were to be found in smiting the infidel, or in cleansing the world of untermenschen, or in paving the path to the paradise of the workers, or in any of a thousand different brand names for the same old thing.
Since, in your view, anyone who does not accept Christ cannot stand on their own merit, that means all non-Christians go to hell, correct?
I truly think, unfortunately, you have been misled.
I was raised in a Christian home and a Christian church. No one tried to mislead me and their explanations are completely parallel with what you said.
I'll put it another way.
Do you believe that all devout Hindus go to hell?
By your own reasoning they do.
I'm an antitheist on this particular belief; not only do I not believe it, it would be awful if it were true.
The same is true when a human being tells you he's hungry, really; one infers that certain sounds correspond to certain concepts based on inductive learning in childhood.
It appears you have successfully caught your ‘tale’ in your mouth and are now on a roll. I believe what the Bible teaches, that every human has a soul and spirit and that that is eternal, everlasting. I suppose the answer to your query would be that you will be alive forever more and aware that you are ‘outside of God’s Love and all that His Love sustains.’ That ‘ud be hell, dude. Why risk it? ... If you choose to believe He is, He will be responsible for the rest and will—as He has done with me and millions of others—add to your faith. If you come tot he end of this mortal coil and there is nothing beyond it, how have you harmed yourself or those around you? On the other hand, if you ... well, you get the gist. Why do that to yourself and those around you?
I may be mistaken, but I am sure that that is a central tenet of the Jehovah's Witnesses, namely that all but the "righteous" will simply return to dust. (And, of course, they cite Scripture to back this assertion up.)
Further, according to a report by the doctrine commission of the Church of England:
"Hell is not eternal torment, but it is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total non-being."
The Episcopalians likewise believe that Hell is merely "alienation from God."
Wasn’t it ‘faith’ that Jesus sought in those whom He measured?
The most obvious problem with polytheism is with the question of what makes a “god” as opposed to “merely” a very powerful being. The simplest analogy is the difference between Thor as seen by pagan Norsemen and Thor as seen by modern readers of Marvel Comics.
You're using Pascall's wager again. It's a poor argument, that I should believe because if it's true, GREAT!; if not, no harm done.
Like I said earlier, I'm not going to believe in a fairy tale because the fairy tale is more appealing. On top of that, I don't hold the Christian god's selection process for heaven as all that appealing at all.
On another note, your idea of hell reminds me of a short story by Stephen King called "The Jaunt". A true definition of what I would consider hell is explained, and it has nothing to do with monsters or any other horror cliche.
Ah, cannot let go of the tale once you get a firm grip with your teeth. Sorry about that.
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