Perhaps this interesting article, from today’s Patheos Evangelical newsletter - on CS Lewis - belongs here!
Yes, but that is what most have been taught… So how do we move from that ‘traditional thinking’?
There are atheists that exist and declare that God does not exist. But these go beyond what atheism really is. Rather than being a non-theist, they are anti-theist.
That said, I don’t understand why someone couldn’t argue against a hypothetical being in the case that Davo brings up. I mean, I could argue why Thanos isn’t the most powerful villain in the Marvel universe, but that doesn’t mean that I have to believe in Thanos, or that he exists (because I don’t!). In this case, an atheist is very much free to object to hypothetical in the natures of God.
That is true, but as we travel down the road of life many will see and experience GOD in our lives. Both every day and in a bigger picture.
A "theist’ believes that a god exists. The prefix “a” means “no.” Thus an atheist believes in “no god.”
A “gnostic” is one who claims to know. An agnostic is one who doesn’t know whether or not a god exists.
I would consider myself moving away (or having moved away from it) from evangelical Christianity, and I believe there is plenty evidence that God has been at work and is at work but the understanding of most bible reading folks is that they think the Bible is somehow written to them.
Perhaps not TO them, but definitely FOR them. And us.
In any case, I’ve been reading philosophical theology for some time, and one thing that has stood out for me is that any god we think up will be no more than the product of our minds. And good lord, mankind has tried to mentally define, capture, climb up to a knowledge of God since the beginning of thought.
It’s not that our reasoning ability is necessarily faulty, it’s more that our reasoning can only produce results within the scope of reason, defined by reason.
God as He is in Himself, of course is outside that process,prior to it, and cannot be captured and truly defined by it. He’s the one that defines US. We are thinking persons only because He is before all else, and He reveals himself as a thinking Person - the original.
So Revelation is needed for us to have true knowledge of God. I see no way around that. Nature - yes, to an extent it does tell us something about the Creator. But without the Bible, we here in the 21st century would know no more about the true God than people at any time. I have no doubts that God gave the bible (some form of it, I don’t want to get into all the parsing about this or that bible) for all people at all times. It’s not only relevant, it is fundamentally necessary to a true knowledge - and even with that, we need the Holy Spirit to ‘really’ understand it.
I think the Bible says the same thing.
That is true. BUT FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD ARGUE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT…But the existence of bible does show us how God related to the people HE chose, in both a historical sense, and in a overall view as to what God was doing…
Paidion, this is why translators of your mindset will never gain full acceptance from skeptics like me. While you are dictionary correct, you miss the mark and thus, my point.
Most “atheists” are actually agnostic in the dictionary sense. Some atheists are Gnostic Theists; they hate God. It is impossible to be a Gnostic Atheist as you cannot disprove a negative. I mean, can you prove that Santa-Claus is not real? Gnostic Atheism is a contradiction. Because it would require absolutely knowledge, and absolute knowledge would be God like and God like means there is a God, you!
With that in mind, the point I am making is that most atheists simply believe in one less god than you. Very few are militant, and the militant ones, unfortunately, are the loudest. In regards to Jesus Christ, Thomas was an atheist until Christ made it clear to him. Most atheists are not god haters like many suggest. Evangelical Christianity does its best to demonize the agnostic/atheist via projection on what is “clear” to them.
Dave I disagree. The Bible isn’t the only source of truth. As Paul says, “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” The writers of the Bible are just telling us what they had seen. And I agree that a lot of it is still relevant today.
The point I was making, LLC, is that without the Bible, we would have no MORE of an idea of God than the rest of mankind . WITH the Bible, we know MORE than is ‘available’ to mankind’s experience alone. We have REVEALED truth, not just projections of our own inner experience.
Dave, I’m not sure what you’re saying. The writers of the Bible were men just like us, and they were writing of their experiences- otherwise known as wisdom.
Certainly they were people more or less just like us! I agree completely.
I don’t think, however, that the category ‘wisdom’ is sufficient as an explanation of the bible, especially if ‘wisdom’ is simply the writing of one’s experiences. ‘Wisdom’ implies a weighing of experience and facts, insight into the meaning of experience, the ability to generalize the value of one’s experience to that of others.
Also, can wisdom override fact? Or do we want to go so far as to say that whatever someone writes about their experience is equally as valid as anyone else’s? For instance, a Buddhist mystic who writes about his ‘atman’ becoming ‘brahman’, losing himself in a cosmic awareness, in comparison to John standing at the open tomb - something ‘outside’ of him and his thinking - and then seeing and talking to and eating with the risen Lord? One is a report of inner experience, one is a report of an objective experience.
This is another huge subject. But on their own, men and women have not been able to understand ‘god’ in His redemptive work through Jesus Christ - no amount of thinking alone can rise to that - and that revelation is the key to so much else.
Dave, No man has ever seen God.
How many people saw Elvis after his death? Elvis died, but many people see him in those that continue to play his music.
Pete Enns new book (How the Bible Works) appears to argue that wisdom is what the Bible is actually about. When we play off ‘wisdom’ (which as you say involves “insight into the meaning of experience”) and ‘revelation,’ how then do we decide what claims of revelatory truths we will affirm without wisdom playing the pivotal role in that decision?
Bob, I agree. I think that this is what the three/fourfold witness is about. They saw it, we see it, and the heart and mind testify to it. As it is said, hindsight is 20/20. In a way, the writers of the Bible are the hindsight, thereby giving us foresight.
Enns has certainly been a help to me in my reading to this point; his latest work though is where he and I part ways, at least partially. I have not given up hope that Truth is more than ‘what appeals to me’ or ‘what enables me to live a larger life’ or even ‘what leads to flourishing’ - though Truth might very well do that.
Feelings are good; they may or may not relate to Truth with a capital ‘T’.
Are you entirely with Enns’ reasoning in his latest work?
Note: I know this is repetitive for you, since I have read (and somewhat agreed with) your well-written paper Reasons to Follow Jesus - An Apologetic