Atheists and Religious Believers Talk Past Each Other

I hear this from time to time. The believer says there is a God. The atheist says there is no God because there is no scientific evidence for God.

Here is my observation: For the most part the believers do not care about logical or scientific evidence.  They are going to believe anyway, and if they are presented with evidence they can’t rationalize they will just admit they don’t understand all that scientific or philosophical stuff.

I can empathize with the believer here. As I have mentioned before, sometimes I enjoy a spiritual experience without caring at all about the natural explaination–or even whether or not there is a natural explanation. Where I make the break with the believer is  that I hold these spiritual experiences as purely subjective and having nothing to do with the world outside of my own brain.

And of course there is lots of scientific stuff I don’t understand at all. Where did the universe come from? What caused the “big bang.” I seriously have no clue. I’m betting on there having been a natural explaination for everything–and I’m sure that saying “God did it” explains absolutely nothing at all. There is always the question of where did God come from. If a complex universe needs a designer, doesn’t the designer him/her/itself (who would have to be complex as well ) need a designer?

But back to the point–if atheists and theists are going to talk with each other at all, we should be sure we are all talking about the same thing. In my example if the atheist is talking about how the scientific evidence goes against belief in gods, but the theist is concerned more about the affect that they percieve not believing in gods would have on her emotions or on morality, then they will only be talking past each other.

Maybe, for the atheist, the first point to make is that the earth will not fall out of orbit and morality does not fly out the window when “God” goes away. The scientific arguments can come later.

3 thoughts on “Atheists and Religious Believers Talk Past Each Other

  1. “There is always the question of where did God come from. If a complex universe needs a designer, doesn’t the designer him/her/itself (who would have to be complex as well ) need a designer?”

    Here is what we know from a scientifically method of inquiry –
    . Everything that has a beginning has a cause.
    . The universe had a beginning.
    . Therefore the beginning of the universe had a cause.

    That should take care of the silly question, “Well, if God made the universe, who made God?” Remember, atheists have no problem with saying that something is infinite, or that it has always existed, or that it’s eternal, as long as that something isn’t Creator God. However, if God exists, then He exists outside of and prior to the universe. God is not material. He is Spirit. He does not need a cause. He has always been. He is infinite. He is eternal.

    Asking, “What caused an infinite or eternal Being to begin?” or, “When did an eternal being begin to exist?” is illogical and incoherent.

    Illogical statements are something that atheists usually take great pains to avoid, except when they’re confronted with the reality of Creator God. Then, it seems, all bets are off. The fact remains, and it remains a fact that is based on what science tells us is true, that everything that begins to exist, including the universe, had its cause from something outside of itself. There are no known exceptions to this observed and consistently verified rule.
    ===========

    “For the most part the believers do not care about logical or scientific evidence.”

    Like you say, there are some things that you simply enjoy to to heck with how it is or why is the way it is. That’s the way it is for most people. I care very deeply about logical reasoning and scientific evidence and I’m alarmed at the frequency with which atheists don’t just ignore scientific evidence, but make illogical statements that absolutely contradict what we know from a scientific perspective. Examples you say?

    . “Matter is eternal.”
    We know that’s impossible but atheists make that claim frequently.

    . How about “Matter brought itself into existence.”
    We know from a scientific perspective that matter cannot precede itself either chronologically nor physically.

    . Or “There can be and infinite regression of cause.
    We know this cannot be the case but again, atheists push this to the limit.

    My guess is there are about the same percentage of Christians and atheists who care very much about scientific evidence, and about the same percentage who don’t care at all or who have a vested interest in ignoring the evidence.

  2. Duely noted. I think it still makes more sense to think that the universe (in some form or another) has always existed that it is to posit an eternal creator. There is no doubt that the universe exists, at least. Explaining the unknown by the known is science, but explaining the known (the universe) by the unknown (God, or anything supernatual) is insanity.

    I wouldn’t state any of those things you say atheists say as a fact–because I don’t know whether they are true or not. I’ve got a good idea you don’t really know either, unless maybe you are a scientist who specializes in discovering the the deepest secrets of how matter comes into existance and how it is formed.

    But anyway, thank for taking the time to provide the opposing position. Good to know at least someone is reading my blog 🙂

  3. Oh, my. The First Cause ArgumentTM. First, we do not know if the universe had a beginning. The Big Bang is about the expansion, not generation, of the universe. We do not know what happened prior to 10-43 s after the expansion started. There are other possibilities, like the multiverse model, but the best we can say is that we don’t know what happened during or before the Plank Epoch.

    Even if I grant that, the argument gets to a ‘first cause’, but it says nothing about the nature of the cause. You are as close to proving a god (which god(s)?) as you are to it having actually been ‘mashed potatoes’ having been the first cause.

    And, no, not god(s) or anything else can exist outside the universe. The very statement is a non sequitur. It’s like asking what is north of the North Pole. Philosophical arguments without empirical validation are worthless, or at best, highly suspect. The road of philosophy is littered with wrecks resulting from collisions between arguments and inconvenient facts.

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