Consider the phenomenon of stalking. Stalkers are often convinced that their targets love them, even though there is no real evidence of it. They let their feelings take control and warp their perceptions to the point where they believe that there is evidence.
quote:Hi Paul. Yes, it always seems to me that there are a few (but only a few) sticking points that prevents agreement or consensus between us.
It shouldn’t be.
quote:2) Relativism versus Christian Trinitarian Monotheism
I don’t think that either are a factor here.
quote:3) Critical Thinking as a way of life and the sole approach towards examining belief systems...as opposed to necessary suppression of such a skill. (If you don't stand for something you may fall for anything)
Critical thinking is not nihilism. Critical thinking - done properly - is a concern for the truth and a determination to try to avoid error. It is critical thinking that stops us “falling for anything”. Refusing to be gullible does not make us gullible - choosing to be gullible will. That should be obvious.
First, why would it be necessary to have absolute proof? If the argument is merely very strong it still needs a better answer.
Second, God is supposedly only limited to what is logical possible. When Craig claims that it may be possible that bringing the maximum of people freely into God’s Kingdom requires this amount of suffering he is making a claim that it is logically impossible for that to be accomplished with less. Now that is a highly implausible claim - and theologically problematic for many Christians. But he doesn’t offer anything more than speculation.
So it’s more desperate clutching at straws than anything. Implicit in it is the fact that the argument from evil is almost certainly correct.
I disagree. If the defence is “you don’t have absolute proof and there’s a highly implausible way you could be wrong” then it’s implicit that you are almost certainly correct. If you don’t accept that then you ought to give some reason why.
quote:the argument from evil broken down by Australian Philosopher John Mackie. Note Mackies line of reasoning.
Craig seems to be asserting that he isn’t familiar with Mackie’s argument. He certainly doesn’t address it
Oh by the way I have some familiarity with Mackie’s work. I even own a copy of The Miracle of Theism and have referenced it here.
quote:I googled The Miracle Of Theism and noted the expensive price which it is selling for. I may have to take a trip to the Library to study this book, though I gleaned a lot just by reading the introduction.
The copy I have was quite cheap. It may still be readable on scribd, for free.
quote:Digging further, I was disappointed to learn that Mackey was an atheist, though I did note his argument from evil had been refuted, successfully according to him, by a man named Alvin Plantingas Free Will Defense
Plantinga - who has contributed quite a lot of sophistry to the debate only managed to refute the Problem of Evil as a logical proof (and I regard the Free Will Defence as a failure even in that regard). I don’t consider that much of an achievement - and it leaves the evidential argument untouched.
quote:Mackey is worthy of further study as he seems to intelligently present some deep well thought out arguments.
Mackie’s book is regarded as a classic, in my view rightly so.
quote:On a random note, I do not believe that the most intelligent arguments are brought out by atheists, though there are far fewer Christians who are intelligent enough to engage in such philosophical discussions.
I’m not so sure, I’m not greatly impressed by Plantinga or Craig, and if there are better theistic arguments, where are they?
The arguments you quote from Craig don’t sound very good.
quote:At the most abstract level, then, theism provides a plausible metaphysical foundation for the existence of abstract objects. And that’s the first reason why I think it's plausible to believe in God.
First you need to establish how abstract objects exist (if they do) and why they need a “metaphysical foundation”. And that is the subject of major philosophical debate.
quote:God provides the best explanation of why the universe exists rather than nothing. Have you ever asked yourself why anything at all exists, or where the universe came from? Typically, atheists have said that the universe is just eternal, and that’s all. But surely this is unreasonable.
And that’s just silly. Unless he can give a good reason why God exists - and he can’t - he’s just swapped one problem for another without gaining anything. Understanding the universe is a job for science, not bad apologetics.
I’ve read some of it and my assessment has changed. I was far too generous to Craig. The argument about abstracts is not just making contentious assumptions. It’s a confused mess which makes no sense. Well, that’s what you get for relying on sophistry.
That people did not see a form on one occasion is a very weak argument. Consider Exodus 33:20-23
20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” 21 And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”
The question is what is your view of the Bible. If you regard it as a message from God, to the taken as literally true when describing (alleged) historical events, God has a distinct front and a back, as well as a definite physical presence. That is what it says.
I’ll also add that the writing of the Bible is often not so simple as “they made it up” even if that is what happened in a number of cases.