Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Answering the "Rational Responders"

    Triablogue answers RR

    Paul Manata has actually taken the time to answer all 89 questions posed by the "Rational Responders". Typically, Manata is precise and to the point in his answers, which I guess will get no rational reaction from the amateur atheologians, except for the "waaa-waaa" defense.

    It will be good fun to get our own set of questions together for atheists to answer in the same fashion though.

    I'll start with a few, then the other contributors can weigh in with their questions.
    1. Why is there something rather than nothing?
    2. How do you know that you exist (without being circular)?
    3. Where does human self-consciousness come from?
    4. How do you know that your senses are reliable (without being circular)?
    5. What is truth?
    6. What is the cause of everything?

    Feel free to add to the list, I will do so too as we go along.

    To our unbelieving visitors, feel free to have a crack at answering the questions. Please quote sources as neccessary and take care to avoid logical fallacies.


    jdlongmire said...

    Great post, August!

    Here is mine:

    What is the purpose of mankind?

    What is the purpose of anything?

    Puritan Lad said...

    Excellent Questions. Here are some more...

    How do we determine right from wrong? Is there such a standard? Where does it come from? The State? DNA?

    What is the difference, from an atheistic standpoint, between love and hate? Aren't these merely emotional responses triggered by certain stimuli? Why is one better than the other?

    SGH said...

    How do you explain transcendent truth? I.e. Even folks that have never heard of the Bible (like tribe people in deep jungles) knowing that stealing, murder, adultry etc. is wrong.

    August said...

    Good point, sgh. In addition, there is also the question of transcendent spirituality. Even atheists have some version of that, and so does every human being.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Great point. In addition, apes (which according to some share 98% of our DNA) have no such knowledge.

    See Of Apes and Men

    Kevin Hale said...

    Isn't implicit, weak or negative atheism (ala George Smith, David Eller & Michael Martin) just another form of agnosticism? If the atheist critiques theism without justification, then isn't he/she believing in atheism with something other than rational thought? And as soon as the atheist provides any kind of rational justification for his/her critique of theism, hasn't he/she just moved into explicit, strong or positive atheism? And if so, doesn't he/she then need to worry about some burden of proof for his/her belief in a lack of belief?

    jdlongmire said...

    Originally Posted by BJClark from the Puritan Board


    Here are some questions to put out there to ask the Atheist...

    If you honestly do not believe there is a God, why do you ask so many questions, about a God you don't believe exists?

    If you really don't believe God exists what does it matter to you, how He should choose to punish those who don't believe?

    If you really believe God doesn't exist, then there is no worry of punishment for you anyway, so why get upset just because someone else believes you're going to a place they believe exists?

    Swordbearer said...

    How about "life from no life?"

    How about "How can atheists speak definitively, authoritatively, or otherwise on the metaphysical (and spiritual)which is beyond their experience?"

    How about "How do atheists explain calling a moral position good today but wrong tomorrow and then good another day?"

    (It seems there's confusion and/or disagreement even among those who state that humanity is advancing and that we know more (or are better equipped) to make these judgements than generations preceding us, that we continue to see "flip flopping" from one generation to another on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, etc., and even disagreement within the same generation even among those who hold to similar worldviews but take a different position.) This type flipflopping and hypocrisy (which exists apart from recognition, acceptance, understanding and compliance with an eternal/absolute standard is exactly what God speaks of through the prophet when he says (Isa 5:20) "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put better for sweet and sweet for bitter."

    Puritan Lad said...

    Good Questions Swordbearer.

    Regarding the flip-flopping on morality, they have an issue of defining morality in general. Remember, according to atheism, we are nothing more than a lucky combination of carbon and other chemicals. We are what our genetics say we are. So where do we get morality from anyway? On what basis do people like Richard Dawkins make moral judgments on Christianity? Even their own idol of "reason" is the result of human neurons firing off data like an accidental super-computer. In this case, all human actions must be attributed to genetics, our environment, etc. Free will is absent. We do things because we are wired to do them.

    (Actually there are a few fringe atheists who do deny that humans are responsible for any action they take. At least these people are consistent.)

    What a way to live huh?

    Jim Lazarus said...

    - Jim

    Justin said...

    Fwiw, some thoughts from an atheist...

    Justin said...

    Some thoughts...

    Francois Tremblay said...

    Three out of your six questions are fallacious.

    How typically Christian!