Thursday, March 13, 2014

Response to Atheist Lee’s Response

After writing a response to a video by “Atheist Lee” (see here), I got a response from her (posted on her "Dirty Atheist" Tumblr blog here). This is my response to her response.

I will put Lee’s words inside // and make them bold. My response will follow underneath. Sentences in italics are my words from the initial post.

//Surfer Brendan decided to write a blog post to my video about god answering one’s faith as long as they take a leap of “real” faith. The blog post is here for those that wish to read it in full. I will quote parts and reply to them to show how ridiculously dishonest and lazy the presuppositional argument is.//

Thanks for taking the time to respond. What basis do you have for calling anything dishonest? Dishonesty presupposes an ultimate standard of honesty / truth. How do you get truth without God? I reject the claim that I’ve been dishonest (or lazy), but in your worldview why is it wrong to be dishonest? In your worldview we are just stardust. Who cares what one bunch of stardust does to another bunch of stardust?
//"I question whether or not you had ever really truly repented"
I said the same thing to others.//

Just because you once said this to other people doesn’t mean that you actually had repented. The Bible clearly warns about false converts, and warns that not all who say “Lord Lord” are truly saved. Just because you once said the ‘sinners prayer’ doesn’t mean you were a Christian. The sinners prayer isn’t in the Bible, and I wonder if you even know what a true Christian is?

// There is something called “learning”. It means you firmly believe something to be true and then you learn that perhaps you are wrong. It’s the same with children who believe in Santa: just because they stop believing in him doesn’t mean their belief wasn’t genuine.//

It’s not the same at all – Santa isn’t real, but God is real. I doubt that you’ve ever been down to the mall at Christmas time protesting against Santa lying to the children, but you spend a lot of time online arguing against God. Why don’t you make videos against Santa? Because you know that Santa is not real. In order to know that something is wrong, you have to know what right is. In order to know that you were wrong to believe in God’s existence, you have to have to know what right and truth is, and you can’t get truth without God. What is truth in your worldview? Most people say that truth is what corresponds to reality. But how do you know what is real? In order to know anything to any degree you need to know that your reasoning is valid. How do you know your reasoning is valid? How do you know your brain has correctly evolved in order to know anything correctly? How do you get truth from evolution? You don’t – you just get brain fizz.

//"Given the fact that you’d never actually read the whole Bible"
Is this a joke? Reading the whole bible is what caused me to leave.//

Reading the Bible isn’t what made you lose your faith. You’d already begun the slide into unbelief before that happened. (Possibly you’d even begun to doubt your faith years before you left Christianity.) If your heart was right before God, when you read the Bible it would only deepen your faith, and any difficult questions would be seen as opportunities to deepen your faith and deepen your understanding of God.

//"So a true Christian trusts in God and when they have things they have difficulty understanding they do not lean on their own understanding, but it seems that you were doing just that - leaning on / relying in your own independent reasoning, rather than trusting in God’s Word."
Is this also a joke? This entire video to which you claim this is a response talks about how I pressed into god for understanding, that I prayed and fasted in order to have better guidance.//

No, it’s not a joke. What makes you think that a few prayers and a few missed meals is going to bring you to repentance? (Although praying and fasting is good it doesn't guarantee anything.) What makes you think that that would renew your mind after years and years of evolutionary indoctrination and anti-God biased teaching? (Assuming you went to a public school - although even if you didn't it's almost impossible to escape exposure to evolutionary ideas these days.) You mentioned in the video that you started asking your non-Christian friends for advice about the Bible. Why would you think you’d find truth from those who are spiritually blind?

//"I assume you mean you think it was immoral for God to let Job suffer so much? This story has been an incredible blessing to millions of people around the world, because it helps us to realise that God is sovereign and that our suffering does have a purpose and a reason."
The “reason” is that god and satan made a bet. I’m not sure how it’s comforting to know that god will let you physically suffer while allowing all your children to be killed just to prove a point to satan when he is supposedly all-knowing in the first place. Yeah, real comforting stuff there.//

What makes you think you are wiser than God and know what God should or shouldn’t do? For all we know the future of humanity could have been adversely affected if God had not allowed Satan to test Job. God in his wisdom chose to do what he did. You need to check out the ‘God wannabe’ cartoon by 'After Eden'.

Another lesson we can learn from Job is related to tzimtzum - which means the self-restriction of God to achieve a higher purpose. It explains why God sometimes 'sits on his hands'. God isn't like superman. He doesn't have to intervene all the time, but is so powerful he can bring good out of any situation. Sadly many Christians don't understand this concept, and have a self-centered faith that is all about what they can get from God, rather than a biblical faith that is centered on living for God's glory.

//"How do you account for absolute morality without God?"
We evolved morality as social creatures. Humans are not the only social creatures that did this.//

Your answer is woefully inadequate. You’ve not accounted for absolute and objective morality at all. Without God you’ve got no basis for morality and morality just becomes your own personal preference akin to what flavour ice cream you like or dislike. You can say that you don’t like what God did to Job because you find it hard to understand, but you can’t say it was morally wrong. Is murdering people for fun absolutely morally wrong in your worldview? If you say yes, please explain why you think so. You also need to explain why it is ok for animals to kill each other for food, but it's not ok for humans to kill other humans. If we are just evolved animals then why do we send people to jail for murder, but don't send lions to jail for killing antelope? In my worldview I can easily answer that question - we aren't just animals, but are uniquely made in the image of God. But how do you account for this without God?

//"In your research of apologetics, did you encounter Presuppositional Apologetics and the Transcendental Argument for God? Did you watch any of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s videos and go through his website ?”
That’s your evidence? Presupposing something is insanely dishonest,//

You didn’t answer the question. Before you left Christianity, did you study any presuppositional apologetics (PA)? The fact you’ve avoided the question suggests that you didn’t, in which case you missed the most important and most biblical argument for God’s existence and the truth of Scripture. Have you done any significant study of PA at all? You mentioned that a while ago you looked at Sye's website, but from what you said it doesn't seem you spent much time at all there actually thinking about the issues involved. Have you had a look at my website Your response here suggests that you have not really seriously looked at PA and if you have you don’t really understand it at all. As for presupposing things – PA is much more than just that, and the fact is that you are presupposing things too. You presuppose that your reasoning is valid (but can’t account for it being valid without God), and you presuppose that the future will be like the past, and you can’t account for that either without God. Why do you assume that the future will be like the past?

//it’s probably the worst offender of the “god of the gaps”//

Do you believe that 2 and 2 is 4? I’ll assume you do. So you believe in 4 of the gaps then? And “offender” presupposes absolute morality, which you’ve yet to account for.

// reasoning //

How do you account for reasoning and rationality in your worldview?  How does evolution create thinking minds? Evolution can give us brains, but not minds. Are you a materialist atheist? If so, how do you account for immaterial things such as the concept of reasoning, laws of logic, and laws of morality?

//because it’s not just one justification but an entire argument based on an idea you didn’t first show to be true.//

God is the necessary precondition for intelligibility. The proof that God exists is that without him you couldn’t prove anything. But no one needs this proof because everyone, including you Lee, knows that God exists. If you deny God your worldview becomes absurd and you can’t account for anything.

//It’s literally making something up and running with it in order to pretend that you have evidence where evidence is lacking.//

You didn’t reject God because of a lack of evidence, but because it suited you to reject God because you prefer your sin. This isn’t my own idea – I know it by revelation from God in His Word (Romans 1).

//"There is so much evidence for God’s existence that you are without excuse."
Really? What would that be? Oh, you say it in the next sentence!//

Everyone knows that God exists in many ways, such as through creation, innately, and through God’s Word.

//"Even the concept of evidence is proof that God exists because evidence presupposes knowledge and truth, and you can’t get either of those without God."
Ohhhh! I get it! Wow! That’s super convenient to suggest that a god you can’t provide evidence for somehow is shown to be real because we ask for evidence in the first place! See what I mean about the presuppositional argument being so dishonest?//

There is nothing dishonest going on here on my part. I provided evidence – but you’re not convinced because proof and persuasion is not the same thing. But why in your worldview is dishonesty absolutely morally wrong?

//I can literally make up *any* being and make up any claims about him and using the presuppositional argument I can “prove” I’m right. Ready? There’s an invisible [censored] mind-reading monster on Neptune. Oh, you can’t see him? That’s proof he exists because I already said he is invisible!//

Is this invisible monster on Neptune your justification for knowledge? I’m pretty sure it isn’t, in which case your hypothetical monster is only proof of the inadequacy of your worldview to provide a basis for knowledge, because in order to defend your atheism you’re having to abandon it. So are you admitting that your beliefs are woefully inadequate and can’t account for knowledge?

//In this case, you’re claiming that god is the creator of knowledge and reason, and you show this by saying that we want evidence so tada! That proves evidence exists because I just said that god created the concept of evidence!//

You’ve misrepresented my position somewhat. God is the necessary precondition for knowledge and rationality. Evidence presupposes knowledge and truth right? How do you account for knowledge and truth in your worldview? Could you be wrong about everything you claim to know? 

//That is the worst argument to make, and it can be made by anyone of any religion or even people of no religion who just look to make this up. It’s dishonest and it’s incredibly lazy.//

If you held to a different religion I’d be happy to refute it and show why it cannot account for knowledge or truth and leads to absurdity. But as you are an atheist there isn’t much point. Also, the fact is that there are no other gods. I know that God is the only God by revelation from him.
Psalm 96:5 says, “All the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.”

//"Lee, I pray that you’d stop running from the God you know exists, but for some reason have chosen to rebel against"
Ah, you’re presupposing I know a god now? Oh, that’s nice. That really convenient to write off everything I’m saying and assume you can read minds from across the internet. Awesome.//

No, I know that you know the only God there is. I know this not because I can read minds but because I have revelation from God that all people know God exists but that many “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” as you are doing.

//Your entire blog post is dishonest, lazy and without thought. I was actually reading this aloud to a Christian buddy of mine on Skype and even he felt you’re doing Christians a disservice by side-stepping the evidence issue by conveniently claiming your presupposition argument.//

Is he a Christian like you once were? Because if so, I also question whether he is really a true Christian. The fact that he’s siding with an atheist and against God’s Word is not a good sign. Perhaps though he just doesn’t know his Bible. If he did he’d know that God, Jesus, the prophets, and the Apostles used presuppositional apologetical approaches too. Jesus in particular was a master at posing difficult presuppositional style questions that stumped the Pharisees, and atheists and Pharisees have a lot in common in terms of their denial of Jesus and God and twisting of Scriptures to suit their own agenda.
//It’s always amazing how theists will conveniently ignore things and distort facts (such as claiming I never read the bible when the video he’s replying to says the exact opposite) in order to try to make a point. As I always say: if you have to lie to support your position, your position isn’t worth supporting.//

Using the fallacy of poisoning the well is a pretty low tactic. You are the only one conveniently ignoring things and distorting the facts. I never said that you never read the Bible. As for lying, I reject that accusation as groundless. But did you hear about the lie detector test done on atheists? It confirmed that atheists are the ones that are lying when they pretend that they don’t know God exists.

I’ve asked a number of questions here that you need to answer in order to refute me. Key questions are – Could you be wrong about everything you claim to know? How do you get truth in your worldview? How do you know what is real? How do you know your reasoning is valid? How do you account for absolute moral laws? Why will the future be like the past?

These are all questions that can be easily answered by the Christian worldview, but cannot be adequately answered in your worldview. It turns out that the very things you take for granted, such as your ability to reason, and assuming that the future will be like the past, are the very things that you cannot account for without God – and this exposes one thing – the fact that you know very well that God exists. Every time you use your reasoning, make moral accusations, and assume the uniformity of nature you are showing that you do know God.

I’m assuming that you will respond to this post, and when you do so you will assume that the internet will work the same tomorrow as it did in the past, but why? You will assume that the words you used in the past will mean the same things, and that the computer you’ve used in the past will function in the same way. What basis do you have for these things?

Well, I’ll leave it there for now. I continue to pray that you will repent and stop denying the God you know exists. I hope too that in the future you’ll stop poisoning the well and drop the empty insults falsely accusing me of lying and being dishonest. 

P.S. Comments can be posted below but all comments are moderated and unfortunately there is a limit to the number of characters one can post each time.
(4,096 characters - which is approx. 900 words). 

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