I'd been thinking about this for a while. Basically my thought was something along the lines of "For cripes sake, hasn't this horse been beat to death yet?". What was I thinking about? Arguments for God of course.
Over the millennia there have been lots of
excuses arguments that try to justify a belief in god. Some of these include:
And a variety of others. These tired and boring defenses have been brought out time and time again as if they are new or confounding in any way. They aren't because they have been answered and the conversation never goes beyond it.
For example, first cause. We have heard it. Science has brought you a concept about conservation of energy, cause and effect, and so on. Now you wish to turn that around and make it an excuse for a god existence. But we witness lots of uncaused things. For example radioactive decay. Given a chunk of Uranium 238, which decays to thorium 234, there is no way to predict which atom will be the next one to change. When an atom does change, through alpha emission, there is no cause (that we know of), it was just the next random one to go.
We find uncaused events in quantum mechanics when proper conditions are set up, where particles appear out of nowhere, uncaused (I am greatly simplifying). But its true, these seem like nit picks when compared to the creation of the universe and all the energy that is present.
Fine, lets look at our experience with classical physics versus relativity versus quantum mechanics. Newtonian physics "seems" right because it models the universe within our human experiences. Only when we start studying huge speeds, gigantic masses or tiny particles that are outside of our normal experience does it fail to model observations very well.
So once we move outside of our human experience with respect to such large energies, far larger masses, enormous distances and measures of time that make no sense to us puny humans, why shouldn't we think that something came from nothing with respect to our perception, and even if it did, so what? That means we are simply unable to define what was before, if there even was a before.
But alas, no, for some reason "I don't know" is not good enough, so God must step in. Never mind all the "I don't knows" that go along with that idea.
So, in fact I'm pretty tired of these arguments. They are boring, they always end up with theists pretending they understand physics (or biology). They have already been debated by people far more qualified than me and where as it gotten us (or the theists)? If you want an example of a typical conversation like this check out a recent one at Skeptico's place.
So I have only 3 questions for them. I have been thinking about these questions for some time but never really had a chance to use them. I may not be brilliant, perhaps these have been used before. I've never seen them. Here they are:
Is God all powerful and currently using that power in this universe?
The first question is to assure myself that the theist is sure that miracle can and do happen now. If we are talking about a watchmaker god that sits back and laughs at us, then that's a different conversation, and one basically useless. If God isn't acting in this universe now, what good is he? How is that different than no god? I want to be sure that the person I am speaking with assures me that God can do anything. Recently when I posed this question I was given these verses to back up the positive answer:
"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens...When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and a the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8
"He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:15-17
"He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." Hebrews 1:3
Does God know me?
The second question is to be sure that the person I am speaking with thinks that God knows everything about me. More than I may even know myself. I know that the answer to this is invariably yes, it has to be God is omniscient right? As a response to this question I was given these phrases:
"You (God) are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breast. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God." Psalm 22: 9-10
Honestly, I read that and I have no idea how this says anything about God being omniscient. The person I was having the conversation with was quick to point out that just because God knows me, doesn't mean he is going to perform some parlor tricks to get me to believe. But that brings me to my third question.
Does God love me and want me to be saved?
If god really loves me and wants me to be saved and go to heaven, why wouldn't he perform a simple trick. It would not take much. My example was to hold out my hand and look up. If they could see this, they may ask what I am doing. I respond, "I am waiting for a frog to appear in my hands". This sort of thing could happen to atheists all over the world and we no longer would be talking about existence proof, we would be talking about which religion is the right one. We would all be deists pretty quickly.
Of course when I present the frog conclusion, I was responded to with the following:
U embarrass urself w/ ur lack of comprehension. What do you think...God is some jack-n-the-box in the sky just waiting to perform for u and ur silly mindless friends? LOL
Get a clue dood...He's no more going to do anything for you, than you are going to do anything for Him.
If you get saved, it will be the product of his grace, not his tricks.
Should i slow down, or are u tracking w/ me...I know it takes away to sink in...
Does he want me to be saved or not? Why do biblical skeptics get burning talking bushes, water turned into wine, and walking on water and 40 day floods and I can't get a single little frog. I'd take a coqui.
Either god is not omnipotent, or he is not omniscient or he doesn't in fact love everyone and want everyone to go to heaven.
But I have a far more obvious answer.
He doesn't exist.