Thursday, August 03, 2006

Re: Why the Bible is wrong #2


Continued from part #1

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones
Cc: [...]
Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 6:38 PM
Subject: Why the Bible is wrong

[. . .]

The creation story is an invention of humans and never actually happen, just as the part about original sin could never have happened. The creation story is myth, and myth is what you believe in. The exact same argument makes it impossible for the Devil to have come into existence. God made all the angels and provided all antecedent factors. No angel could have rebelled if it had not been for the factors God himself provided, thus Satan is also a myth. If both original sin and Satan are not true, then the Bible taken as a whole is simply pointless. It has no foundation. It can't be true as to its supernatural aspects.

See previous in part #1. Especially your rejection of the "supernatural." Even if "The creation story is myth" that can refer just to its literary form.

As I said in part #1, I myself regard the account of Adam and Eve and the Fall in Genesis 3 as symbolic history, which is one definition of "myth." However, what you mean by "myth" is false history, i.e. not only it did not happen, but controlled by your Naturalistic philosophy, it "could never have happened."

I have found from over a decade of debating with atheists like yourself that we live in such different thought-worlds due to our diametrically opposed starting assumptions, that it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion. But hopefully we can agree on Pascal's Wager that if you are right and atheism is true, then both you and I will never know in an afterlife that you were right. In that case you would have gained nothing and I would have lost nothing. But if I am right and Christianity is true, then we will both know in an afterlife that I was right. Then in that case I would have gained everything and you would have lost everything:

"But assuming, as most atheists do, that in an atheistic world death is the end of any human's existence, there will at best be only a finite number of benefits, or moments of benefit, to be derived from the wager against God, and this is significant. For when we consider the benefits to be derived from the Christian wager if it turns out to be right, we find something very different. The promise of eternal life, everlasting blissful communion with God and with those other fellow creatures who love God, is at the heart of the Christian faith. If Christianity turns out to be true, then anyone who has sincerely lived in a Christian way, relating himself to God as the Christian faith instructs, will find that he has been issued into a qualitatively superior form of life, consonant with the deepest truths about ultimate reality, a form of life that will be enjoyed, literally, forever. If the Christian wager proves to be right, will the Christian enjoy the experience of satisfaction to be derived from finding out decisively that he is right? Even ... staunch critics ... acknowledge that the answer is `Yes.' ... So the Christian can have the satisfaction of finding that he was right. Moreover, if he loses the bet over whether there is a God, he will not be forced to face his error. For if there is no God and no existence beyond the moment of death, he can never have an experience beyond death that will disappoint. And if we were right in what we said about the atheist's inability on either side of the grave to enjoy an experience of finding out decisively that he is right, the same points will apply to the religious wagerer's finding out that he himself has been wrong. The disappointment of a decisive disproof is not to be dreaded. For the religious wager, it cannot materialize. Here we have an interesting asymmetry, an interesting difference, between the two wagers. .... The Christian wagerer can experience the profound satisfaction of discovering for sure that he was right, and he cannot experience the terrible disappointment of finding out for certain that he was wrong. The atheist, on the contrary, cannot experience any satisfaction from a discovery that he was right, and, moreover, can, according to the claims of the alternative, Christian theology, experience the terrible regret of discovering that he was wrong - that he lived his life in ignorance and disregard of the deepest truths of reality. Christian theology speaks of judgment, and it speaks of worse. ... So, in an important sense, we can say that for atheism there is a final no-satisfaction guarantee, whereas for theism, there is a final no-dissatisfaction guarantee. ... Even if we are unable to quantify more precisely the various factors to be considered in this wager, we can see what the outcome will be. Atheism brings with it, at best, only a finite expectation, whereas Christian theism carries with it an infinite Expected Value. No disparity could possibly be greater. Therefore, says Pascal, a rational gambler will bet on God." (Morris, T.V., "Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1992, pp.120-121. Emphasis original)

Evolution is fact. There is no alternative explanation.

Thanks for confirming my point. If one is a philosophical materialist-naturalist (as you are), then there is indeed "no alternative explanation" to "Evolution"! As Christian geneticist David Wilcox pointed out, "One can be a theistic `Darwinian,' but no one can be an atheistic `Creationist'":

"I have no metaphysical necessity driving me to propose the miraculous action of the evident finger of God as a scientific hypothesis. In my world view, all natural forces and events are fully contingent on the free choice of the sovereign God. Thus, neither an adequate nor an inadequate `neo-Darwinism' (as mechanism) holds any terrors. But that is not what the data looks like. And I feel no metaphysical necessity to exclude the evident finger of God. I conclude that the easy acceptance of neo-Darwinism as a complete and adequate explanation for all biological reality has indeed been based in the metaphysical needs of a dominant materialistic consensus. One can be a theistic `Darwinian,' but no one can be an atheistic `Creationist'." (Wilcox, D.L., "Tamed Tornadoes," in Buell J. & Hearn V., eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?" Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, p.215. Emphasis original)

The process may be better understood in the future, but it is fundamentally true and creation is fundamentally false. It's a shame to see intellect such as yours wasted in defending three-thousand old superstitions.

In my mid-late 50s I completed a biology degree (2000-2004) in which I studied the evidence for evolution, and in fact gained all distinctions in my evolution units. And indeed I had already accepted Universal Common Ancestry because that is where the evidence leads.

But you need never bother with the evidence for evolution, including whether or not it "may be better understood in the future." Like Spencer (and indeed like all evolutionists I have ever encountered), your "faith [is] "so strong that it [does] not wait on scientific proof," for you, "the belief in natural causation was primary, the theory of evolution derivative":

"His faith was so strong that it did not wait on scientific proof. Spencer became an ardent evolutionist at a time when a cautious scientist would have been justified at least in suspending judgement. ... for him the belief in natural causation was primary, the theory of evolution derivative." (Burrow, J.W., "Evolution and Society: A Study in Victorian Social Theory," [1966], Cambridge University Press: London, 1968, reprint, p.205)

That is, for you, given your prior committment to philosophical materialism/naturalism (matter is all there is/nature is all there is), as you yourself said, "There is no alternative explanation"!

However, since the evidence is that Christianity is true and Naturalism is false, if you don't repent (Greek. metanoia = "change your mind") you will inevitably find that out too late that you bet your life on the wrong horse in your personal Pascal's Wager:

"Once it is decided that we must wager; once it is decided that there are only two options, theism and atheism, not three, theism, atheism, and agnosticism; then the rest of the argument is simple. Atheism is a terrible bet. It gives you no chance of winning the red prize. Pascal states the argument this way: You have two things to lose: the true and the good; and two things to stake: your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to avoid: error and wretchedness. Since you must necessarily choose, your reason is no more affronted by choosing one rather than the other. That is one point cleared up. But your happiness? Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win, you win everything: if you lose, you lose nothing. Do not hesitate then: wager that he does exist. If God does not exist, it does not matter how you wager, for there is nothing to win after death and nothing to lose after death. But if God does exist, your only chance of winning eternal happiness is to believe, and your only chance of losing it is to refuse to believe. As Pascal says, `I should be much more afraid of being mistaken and then finding out that Christianity is true than of being mistaken in believing it to be true.' If you believe too much, you neither win nor lose eternal happiness. But if you believe too little, you risk losing everything." (Kreeft, P., "The Argument from Pascal's Wager." From Kreeft, P., "Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, 1988)

Regards, AN

My regards to you too. Thanks again for your message. But please don't take this as in invitation to debate. It isn't. I gave up debating with philosophical materialist-naturalists when I closed my own Internet discussion group down, after more than a decade of such largely fruitless debates.


Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Evolution Quotes Book,'

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