Revamped Outline – Is Christianity Reasonable or Not?

I have chosen to create a fresh outline for my quest to see if Christianity is Reasonable or not. This is the result.


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Previously…

In my first post, “Is Christianity Reasonable or Not – Intro,” I stated that the Christianity I’m trying to examine has the following points:

  1. God created the universe,
  2. Humanity disobeyed God and brought a curse upon itself,
  3. Jesus was sacrificed to atone for humanity’s sins,
  4. And that there a future hope for believers in Christ.

And while I think this holds for a definition of basic Christianity, it did not give me any clarity as an outline.

I’ve been going through William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith and Norman Giesler and Frank Turek’s I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist for the last few weeks for inspiration. I found it by asking, “how did you get from God’s existence to Jesus is the Messiah so quickly? What steps did these works leave unexplored? Here’s where this led me.

Outline

  1. God
    1. The existence of the universe can only be explained by an external cause.
    2. The design in the universe must be attributable to this cause.
    3. This God must match the description of a theistic, personal God as Christianity understands him.
  2. The Bible
    1. The Bible must be historically and logically accurate.
    2. The story of what went wrong with creation must be factually true (ie. rebellion against the moral wishes of God).
    3. Could the Bible be inspired?
  3. Morality and Free Will
    1. Can free will exist and does it?
    2. Is morality absolute or relative?
  4. Jesus
    1. Jesus must have existed and been killed.
    2. Logically and theologically, the story must make sense.
    3. Can the resurrection be logically and historically probable?
  5. Meaning
    1. There must be some sort of meaning in life and end goal.
    2. What does the Christian Bible teach about the meaning of life?
    3. What does the Christian Bible teach about death?

The Christian position must be factual, historical, morally consistent, and meaningful. This outline has enabled me to start focusing on where I need to do my writing next. I left off last time with how I came to believe that God created the universe using the cosmological argument and the failure of all conceived and future materialist arguments for the universe.

I will tie 1.2 and 1.3 together for my next post as I feel that alone, the design argument can be called a “God of the gaps” fallacy. Tied with the logical conclusion of the cosmological argument that a material universe cannot create itself or exist eternally, the design argument is useful. So we will use it (and other arguments) to understand what this “god” is that created the universe.

Again, for those new to this site, I am a skeptic seeking God. I want Christianity to be true, but I cannot believe without sufficient evidence. So far in my journey, I have come to believe in God, but I haven’t made progress beyond this yet. Thanks for joining my journey!

31 Comments

  1. On free will: The topic of alleged free will MUST be considered from the fall of man (Adam & Eve), for when they fell they LOST their free will and from then on in they did Satan’s will, not their own will, as a free man and free woman in The Garden. Likewise we, as their descendants, are born into the same condition.

    As fallen people we are prisoners living beneath the branches of The Tree of The Knowledge of ‘Good’ and Evil, and there’s no escaping this prison, until The Father calls us to His Son Yashua Messiah (Jesus Christ) who SETS US FREE and restores our free will.

    John 8:32 (KJV) And ye shall know The Truth, and The Truth shall make you free.

    John 8:36 (KJV) If The Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

    I liken this to a prisoner in jail. Now he can ‘choose’ to be a ‘good’ prisoner or ‘choose’ to be a bad evil prisoner, but either way he is still a prisoner and nothing has changed his environment and the state he finds himself in – no freedom – no free will.

    1. Really just a basic version with a set of defined principles for interpretation and application. Probably like what I listed at the top of this post. (Although internally, I would love to return to my previous beliefs, but I doubt that is possible.) Thanks for the question.

      1. This is meaningless, David. What do you consider a “basic version”? How would you know that is the right version?

        You have this: “God created the universe,
        Humanity disobeyed God and brought a curse upon itself,
        Jesus was sacrificed to atone for humanity’s sins,
        And that there a future hope for believers in Christ”

        Define “sin” and show what it consists of.

      2. Well that’s actually why I said “basic” and not “right version.” A belief system can be true even if no one knows the details. It’s kind of the same way with the materialist view of the universe. The materialist view can be correct even though no one agrees on the details, like Richard Carrier doesn’t agree with Sam Harris’ materialist deterministic view of free will.

        So I don’t think it’s a meaningless pursuit. But I definitely understand where you are coming from. I think we both would agree that a belief system of any type should be internally consistent, logically valid, and verifiable to the greatest human extent while acknowledging epistemological limitations.

        So how would I know my basic definition is correct? Well, I would say that the system of Christianity would fall apart without these tenets. Are they verifiable? That’s a different question and the one I want to examine.

        Sin – different from moral evil. Classically it’s disobedience to the will of a divinity. In the Christian sense, the Christian God of the books comprising the Bible.

        Thanks again for the comments!

      3. That’s a problem if epistemology. We can only perfectly know logical and mathematical principles. Any historical and scientific knowledge is, in principle, incomplete.

        So I plan to investigate which system/worldview adheres to reality most completely.

      4. No, it’s not actually. Apply the same principle to any other worldview and see if you could verify that worldview. It’s the one I used as a hard atheist to verify that view.

        A god of the gaps argument is one that claims that since knowledge is currently unknown in a given area, that must be where god is. Science can’t explain consciousness yet? Well, god must be the only answer. When in reality, there are some fantastic naturalistic answers that need to be fully explored.

        But at some point, we have to accept imperfect knowledge. Religious or not, there’s a limit. The dogmatist claims perfect knowledge. The scientist claims the best knowledge. (Socrates claimed no knowledge lol had to include)

      5. then you were wrong as an atheist too. Nope, we do not have to accept imperfect knowledge. Your argument is:

        Our knowledge must be imperfect (baseless claim)

        therefore

        God could exist in that imperfection aka god could exist in that gap.

        nice appeal to authority too. Socrates was wrong. Humans know quite a lot.

      6. Lol are we discussing and having a good time? So how is the statement “our knowledge must be imperfect” a baseless claim? Should I consult Godël’s Incompleteness Theorem? Should I discuss theories within new realism on why no knowledge can be complete due to the nature of documentality and expanding knowledge?

        Also, I do not make the logical fallacy of jumping from “god could exist” therefore god exists. In this post, I am discussing moving from God’s existence to more details within a belief system. Elsewhere, I discuss how I reached the conclusion that God exists. In summary, it’s impossible that the universe created itself or has existed forever due to its physical nature. And you can’t retreat to cycles of creation and destruction (my old position) because there is no evidence this is possible due to the nature of energy. But the death blow is dealt by logic which necessitates an ultimate cause and not a regression. These arguments are too much for a response of course.

        And that wasn’t an appeal to authority when I mentioned Socrates. It was a joke. Gotta keep the conversation light and enjoyable sometimes.

        But really, how do you justify a claim to have perfect knowledge or to be able to obtain it?

        Best regards

      7. “But really, how do you justify a claim to have perfect knowledge or to be able to obtain it?”

        human history. But you need to claim we never iell, for your god of the gaps excuses.

        ” In summary, it’s impossible that the universe created itself or has existed forever due to its physical nature”

        and yet again, one more baseless claim. And it’s even funnier since you declare things “impossible”.

      8. I appreciate the interaction, but I’m going to need you to contribute some answers so we can continue. You’re making some big claims without offering good reasons.

        “Human history” is open to a lot of interpretation. Do you have perfect knowledge that we have achieved perfect knowledge by way of human history? Surely you don’t mean this. Again, this isn’t a god of gaps argument. We moved to questions of epistemology.

        Logically, it is impossible. And we can know some things for certain because A=A, A not= notA, etc. Logical allows us to get to many aspects of knowledge. But logical knowledge is not the same as empirical knowledge. You say “baseless,” but you haven’t told me why. I’m open to your answer. Thanks!

      9. Nope, human history is not “open to a lot of intepretation”. But do tell how many other things it can supposedly mean.

        Do tell how you know we can’t attain perfect knowledge. As you admit, we can get knowledge quite easily, but you need to repeatedly and baselessly claim we can’t get perfect knowledge so your god could be hiding there in that imperfection and gee, a name for an imperfection can be a “gap”. Again, nothing more than the god of the gaps argument.

        You claimed this “” In summary, it’s impossible that the universe created itself or has existed forever due to its physical nature”

        I said it was baseless. Where is your evidence for this aka your base for this?

      10. Regarding the history portion, you had responded to this question as such:
        Me: “But really, how do you justify a claim to have perfect knowledge or to be able to obtain it?”

        You: “human history. But you need to claim we never iell, for your god of the gaps excuses.” — But what did you mean? This is the question I asked you. How does human history justify your claim to the obtainability of perfect knowledge? If we are just getting lost in semantics, please tell. But I’m not sure how your two word answer makes sense. The following sentence has a typo that has made it unintelligible for me, so you might could correct that to help me understand your position.

        The remainder of the epistemological portion just doesn’t make sense. Again, I’m not claiming that god could exist because human knowledge is limited. Yes, that is a god of the gaps argument. But that’s not what I’m saying. And so we move back to the same line as we keep repeating below:

        Me: “it’s impossible that the universe created itself or has existed forever due to its physical nature”

        You: “I said it was baseless. Where is your evidence for this aka your base for this?”

        Like all arguments, both sides deserve a fair hearing. I base this argument not on empirical data (which I argue is the primary aspect of knowledge I call incomplete), but on logical necessity, which has no gap for god, physics, or anything else. This is the only way to avoid a god/science of the gaps argument.

        I hope you will find it agreeable that I make my next major post on this very subject. My original post on this is not to my liking and I think I should put several hours into it. I’ll count on you to pick it apart for me so I can improve it.

        Thanks!

      11. And more protestations on how something “doesn’t make sense”. Nice argument from personal ignorance.

        Yep, here we go with the “my next post will have the answers” claim. Sure, not like I’ve heard the exact same thing from theist after theist.

      12. The argument from personal ignorance is affirming or disaffirming the existence of an object or event simply because there is no evidence to affirm or disaffirm that object or event’s existence. Our discussion of this began with you implicitly claiming that we can have complete knowledge, with the assumption being complete knowledge in totality. You are “avoiding the issue” if you want to start employing logical fallacies.

        I’m simply asking you to give an answer, any answer, for your position beyond a one sentence answer that implies “because I said so.” Because that’s all I can get out of your repeated comments and refusals to address the epistemological issue. Forget about god and religion. This is a basic philosophical issue.

        And also, challenge accepted. I already intended on the post I mentioned (it’s actually already a draft), but I’m writing more for myself than you. I want to have something thorough. If you are willing to stick around to challenge it.

        In the meantime, accept my challenge: answer at least one of my questions with a real response, not this deflection everyone reading the comments will see you have repeated time and again.

        Thanks!

      13. “The argument from personal ignorance is affirming or disaffirming the existence of an object or event simply because there is no evidence to affirm or disaffirm that object or event’s existence.”

        that is incorrect. An argument from personal ignorance is is affirming or disaffirming the existence of an object or event based on one’s personal awareness of it.

        I’ve already answered your questions with “real responses”, that you don’t like my responses doesn’t make them any less real. I suspect that the only things you would consider “real responses” are agreements with you. Is this so?

      14. Regarding the definition of ignorance, my response is already in agreement with yours, but I should have made it clearer by stating”The argument from personal ignorance is affirming or disaffirming the existence of an object or event simply because there is no evidence to affirm or disaffirm that object or event’s existence,” **whichever is the opposite to one’s position.** This personal awareness aspect is generally implied in the argument. Thank you for pointing that out.

        But, no you haven’t provided any substantial answers yet to the question of epistemology. And also, no, I consider real responses to be any that address the issue as fully as the circumstances require. In this case, I really just want to know your position and your defense of it. Like a fill in the blank that states, “perfect epistemology is possible ____________.” Or maybe just clarify the typo from earlier. I am unable to discern your position in that previous comment because of it. You mentioned human history, but as a two sentence reply, it reads like you are only giving an appeal to history – something like, “Humans have been gaining knowledge throughout history, so humans will always gain knowledge as time progresses (or humanity exists).” We could always face another dark ages brought on by a religiously zealous government, like in The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m sure there’s some context in which you made that statement that will help me understand your position.

        Thanks again!

      15. So, now your excuse is that my answers aren’t long *enough*. Do show how it would be that humans wouldn’t continue to gain knowledge. Then you give a slippery slope argument.

      16. Good morning, Do show how we haven’t fallen into that trap and lost knowledge before, such as during the dark ages. Or how humans couldn’t obliterate most of the human race (and it’s documents, electronic or physical) with nuclear weapons, which would significantly decrease the overall amount of human knowledge. I said that it is not necessary that human knowledge will always increase. Keyword is necessary. And you are avoiding the issue again. Why not just tell me what your original sentence should have been? I’m a bit baffled. But it’s great to see our conversation is continuing today. Thanks!

      17. Not sure you are understanding what has been going on… I’ve provided twice as much as you have and you have ignored answering me as to what your view are. Why? It sounds like you are pretty dogmatic in your beliefs whereas I am flexible. But that’s just this picture I get due to a lack of information.

      18. Honestly, have I missed a reply from you that will help me understand your position? I’ve looked through the comments and didn’t notice anything.

      19. Dave, I obviously think I have given you what you need. That you claim to not have “noticed anything” indicates this discussion needs to go no further. I could cut and paste the exact same things and you would still not “notice” them.

      20. Or are you ending the discussion because the majority of your “arguments” have been simple retorts, not answers? You have ignored the majority of my responses, only picking apart pieces here or there.

        Feel free to end your part of the conversation, but I think you should defend your position as others can see the conversation and you deserve to speak for yourself. Regardless, I have enjoyed having a philosophical conversation with you.

      21. I’ll be here to see your next posts.

        and poor Dave, he has to pretend something that isn’t true to salve his failure. Good for you. I’ve already defended myself. Pretending I haven’t doesn’t make it true. But pretending is something you seem to want to do, isn’t it?

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