Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


REVIEW: FRANK TUREK STEALING FROM GOD

Christian Frank Turek of https://impactapologetics.com/ is a prime defender of the Christian faith. He wrote the runaway best seller Stealing from God. This book claims that atheists are using arguments that belong to and with belief in God to argue against God. In a nutshell that is not enough to prove atheists wrong. Contradictions are when one argument is against another so what if the reason atheists find themselves contradicting themselves is that the concepts of God and morality are incoherent? If atheists are actually trying to talk coherently about what is inherently incoherent then they succeed in vindicating atheism for they prove that God is self-contradictory confused nonsense. Turek like all self-styled believers keeps away from any prime and successful arguments against God and the wisdom of believing in God.

Quote: Thanks to fellow atheist Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins now appears to affirm objective morality while maintaining his atheism. In his book The Moral Landscape, Harris takes the position that objective moral values really do exist, and they can be explained without invoking God. He claims that if we just use our reason, we’ll see that “human flourishing” is the standard by which we determine something is good or bad. Anything that helps humans flourish is good. Since reason and science can tell us what helps humans flourish, there is no need for God to ground objective moral values. If Harris is correct, it seems that he has successfully shot down the moral argument for God.

My comment: Christians say that this account does not explain why we should care about the flourishing of others. They say that morality gets its authority from God. God is just and loving and so morality is grounded in his nature – the kind of God he is. This does not fit the doctrine that we must love sinners and hate their sin as if their sins say nothing about them as a person. If you cannot say your badness says something about you then it is the same for good. You are denying that bad or good deeds say anything about anybody. Thus you cannot say that God’s goodness reflects on him. You are only being saccharine and fake. But back to how moral principles are valid because God is good and just and loving. What is that saying? It is saying God is flourished. If God being flourished grounds morality then us being flourished and being able to be grounds morality as well and we don't need God. If there is no God then morality is indeed grounded in us. So the believers accidently prove Harris right!

If human beings flourish without faith or thinking of God and they do then that shows that if Harris fails to ground morality we can settle for saying, "It is clear we don't have to have a God or God belief to flourish so if we don't know what grounds morality we know that something does and it is not God."

Quote: I asked Christopher [Hitchens] to identify the objective standard by which he judged something to be evil. He kept avoiding a direct answer, so I finally just blurted out, “What is evil?” Without missing a beat, he quipped, “Religion!”

My comment: It takes guts to be evil. Even being cowardly has risks. You fail to protect yourself. It takes faith. It is the case that you think something supernatural is protecting you and you are made magically powerful and safe through the evil. You may not realise it. That is a form of religion for it is a strong form of religious faith. Religion and faith can be implicit and it is obvious that even self-proclaimed atheists who are sure they can start a war and win think some magical force such as God or luck is on their side. Hitchens is right.

Quote: [God is “Omnipotent: all powerful; can do whatever is logically possible]. Omnipresent”.

The two are linked. You are not really all-powerful if you cannot be everywhere. All powerful means you can be everywhere and indeed should be. People see that as everything being made out of God or as good as. Such pantheism whether one is aware of identifying God and everything else or not is harmful and amounts to seeing evil as a blessing from God especially when you are not the one facing the evil!

Quote: Idols don’t really exist!

My comment: So to worship God if he is not real or any unreal god is to waste worship. It is worshipping nothing. Christianity says that God is the one realest thing so it follows that if he is worshipped and he is not real then that is the worst idolatry of all. Worshipping Zeus is less risky!

Quote: Don’t Atheists Just Lack a Belief in God? It’s been fashionable lately for atheists to claim that they merely “lack a belief in God.” So when a theist comes along and says that atheists can’t support their worldview, some atheists will say something like, “Oh, we really don’t have a worldview. We just lack a belief in God. Since we’re not making any positive claims about the world, we don’t have any burden of proof to support atheism. We just find the arguments for God to be lacking.” That is why the argument: "Christians are atheists towards all gods but one" is not only a good point but proves it makes less sense to argue there is one true all-powerful God than to argue that a god like Odin is real.

Turek thinks that this is not saying anything about God’s existence but only saying that the atheist “I’m not psychologically convinced that God exists.”

His point is that you thinking there is no case for God is not proof or evidence that you are right. But it is extremely weak evidence. It is still evidence. Evidence can be a hunch that you cannot put your finger on. The hunch is telling you that something is not right even if you do not know what it is. And if God is truth he is by definition bigger than any errors you make so thinking there is no case for God is a sign that he may not exist. It does not need to be good evidence to be evidence. Thinking there is no God is evidence that there is none. It is not the same thing as thinking Australia does not exist. Australia is not able to influence your mind and make sure you get information.

He argues that everything lacks belief in God. Are squirrels atheists then? Why not? They are conscious beings – not as smart as us but they must have a degree of intelligence!

Are atheists who say that atheism is a lack of belief in God thinking of belief as in trust? The difference between defining atheism as a lack of belief in God and as a lack of trust in God is that belief is about theory and trust is a personal assurance that God will deal fair with you and look after you. The latter is a denial that God is God so it is atheism in that sense.

Quote: If atheists merely “lacked a belief in God,” they wouldn’t be constantly trying to explain the world by offering supposed alternatives to God.

My comment: Atheists giving alternatives to God does not mean they just care about finding alternatives to God. Atheists give alternatives to atheistic theories about how the universe and life began. God is one alternative suggestion among many for testing and thinking. Most atheists do not obsess about God and justifying atheism. It is only some who constantly battle religious lies because they are lies.

Quote: Atheism is a worldview with beliefs just as much as theism is a worldview with beliefs. (A “worldview” is a set of beliefs about the big questions in life, such as: What is ultimate reality? Who are we? What’s the meaning of life? How should we live? What’s our destiny? etc.)

My comment: Atheism is simply about God. The consequence of that belief follow from atheism but are not atheism. How we should live? is the main part of a worldview but it does not follow that God or atheism helps with that question. It is the now that we have to work with - our future destiny if any is not what we are working with and in now. For more than a thousand years Judaism got by without worrying about us having any destiny other than death. Concern about the afterlife was only made part of the faith much later. There is no reason to agree with Turek that a worldview is about the things he lists. For some it is just about how we live. For gnostics it is just about our destiny. For theists it may be just about cherishing God - Jesus said to love God for his own sake and to love others only to please God so it is really only God who is loved. This doctrine makes other things pale into virtual nothingness. We should speak of worldviews not worldview. Each thing Turek lists is a worldview. He cannot call a collection of worldviews a worldview.

Quote: "To claim that atheism is not a worldview is like saying anarchy is not really a political position."

Comment: Atheists who say they lack faith or belief in God deny their atheism is a belief or worldview. They seem hard to distinguish from agnostics for they say they don't reject God's existence but just have no reason to believe. The key is that faith and belief are different. Faith is seeing God as that you can have a relationship with and committing to him. Belief is just agreement that there is probably a God. So as they reject faith they are more than just agnostics. It is not so much that they believe there is no God, they have faith that there is no God. Lack of faith and trust in God is unbelief in a sense.

Lacking faith or belief in God is not evidence that there is no God. So we are told. But believers in God say that belief and faith start to turn into evidence. That is the root cause of their faith and continued faith. So why can't it be the opposite way as well? Why can't having no sense of the existence of a God be evidence that there is no God? It may not be good evidence but that is not the point. Evidence rules the day until new evidence comes up or clarity comes. Bad evidence has to do until good evidence comes.

Quote: No one created something out of nothing? To doubt the law of causality is to doubt virtually everything we know about reality, including our ability to reason and do science. All arguments, all thinking, all science, and all aspects of life depend on the law of causality.

My comment: If no one created the universe out of nothing who cares? If something did then something did. It doesn’t have to be someone!

Quote: There are good reasons for positing God. If space, time, and matter had a beginning, then the cause must transcend space, time, and matter. In other words, the cause must be spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. This cause also must be enormously powerful to create the universe out of nothing. And it must be a personal agent in order to choose to create, since an impersonal force has no capacity to choose to create anything. Agents create. Impersonal forces, which we call natural laws, merely govern what is already created, provided agents don’t interfere. For example, gravity as an impersonal force can’t decide anything. It blindly does the same thing over and over…

Comment: The cause does not need to transcend space and time and matter. A different kind of space time and matter or energy can cause what we have. And an impersonal force can choose in a sense. A person who is insane with drugs still acts like there is enough of a faculty there to choose. What can Turek do to refute the suggestion that our personalities and brains are comprised of countless regularities that blindly do the same thing over and over but we cannot notice for it is so complicated and works as if we are not blindly doing things?

Quote: “Since nature had a beginning, nature can’t be its own cause. The cause must be beyond nature, which is what we mean by the term ‘supernatural.’”

This only needs a supernatural that is big enough to make its match – nature. It still does not give us a God. And how do you define supernatural? Is it a kind of nature we know little or nothing about? Is it paranormal? Is it magic?

Quote: The cause must be beyond nature, which is what we mean by the term “supernatural.” John was quick to charge me with committing the “God of the gaps” fallacy. When we can’t figure out a natural cause, we plug God into that gap in knowledge and say that He did it. That’s not only wrong, it’s “lazy,” as many atheists assert. But that’s not what’s going on here. I explained that we are not basing our conclusion on a mere “gap” in our knowledge. Those of us who conclude that a theistic God is the cause of the universe are not arguing from what we don’t know (a gap), but what we do know. Since space, time, and matter had a beginning, we know that the cause can’t be made of space, time, or matter. In fact, the conclusion that there is a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, personal first cause flows logically from the evidence itself. If anyone is committing a fallacy, it is the atheist. Call it the “natural law of the gaps fallacy”—having faith that an undiscovered natural law will one day explain the beginning of the universe.

Comment: You don't need a miracle to explain the puddle on your floor. You don't know how it happened. Saying its supernatural fills a gap or saying it is natural does. Which one is based on what we know? The natural. Filling it with a natural explanation is better than just leaving the gap. Leaving the gap is better than filling it with magic. Any other set up is just illogical.

Quote: Krauss says the cause of the universe is not God—it is “nothing.” He cites happenings at the quantum level to dispense with the need for God. (The quantum level is the world of the extremely small, subatomic in size.) “One of the things about quantum mechanics is not only can nothing become something, nothing always becomes something,” says Dr. Krauss. “Nothing is unstable. Nothing will always produce something in quantum mechanics.”

Comment: Seems to be saying that nothing is not really nothing. The idea that God made all things denies that there is simply nothing.

Quote: While it is true that one can use bad philosophy, it is impossible to use no philosophy. In fact—and this is the essential point—Krauss, Dawkins, and the like can’t do science without philosophy.

Comment: Excellent point. Everybody is a philosopher. Thus you have to be humble and take correction. Period.

All who oppose morality as an objective truth are in fact assuming it is! Everybody has a logic or morality or philosophy even if they do it badly.

Quote: For monotheism, the starting point is an unexplained God. For science, the starting point is the unexplained laws of nature.

Comment: Both sides hold that it all boils down to unexplained laws. Even God didn't and couldn't make a law that he must exist and he didn't make himself the way he is.

If so then both religion and science fail to give us the important explanation. At least we know nature is there and works not by laws strictly but in reasonably predictable ways so we should start with it.

Quote: God’s relationship to the law of causality is like that. It’s often misunderstood. Contrary to what many atheists seem to believe, the law of causality does not say that everything has a cause. The law of causality says that everything that has a beginning has a cause, or every effect has a cause. But not everything can be an effect.

Comment: If something did not have a cause that does not mean it is a God.

Quote: The laws of logic are not human conventions— that they exist independently of human minds. First, human beings change, but logic doesn’t change. The laws of logic provide an unchanging independent measuring stick of truth across changing time, culture, and human belief. They are true everywhere, at every time, and for everyone. In fact, that’s why we call them laws—the laws of logic apply equally to all of us as do the laws of physics and math. Second, if we each had nothing more than our own private conceptions of the laws of logic, how could communication be possible? In order for Michael to understand me and for me to understand Michael, we each must be accessing something unchanging that transcends us yet is common to us. Those are the unchanging, immaterial laws of logic. Those laws provide the bridge between minds. They also provide a bridge to the outside world. Without that bridge, we’d be locked inside our own skulls unable to access or make sense of the external world. We use that bridge, but we didn’t invent it. Third, all debates presuppose that an objective truth exists outside the mind of each debater. Each debater is trying to show that his claims are closer to that objective truth than his opponent. Every truth claim—whether it’s “God exists” or “God doesn’t exist”—requires unchangeable laws of logic. If the laws of logic were changeable human conventions, then any thought anyone conceived would be “true,” even contradictory thoughts. So “God exists” and “God does not exist” would both be “true” at the same time and in the same sense. How absurd. Put another way, if the laws of logic were just inventions of the human mind, then every thought would have to be regarded as just an invention of the human mind. With no fixed laws by which we could reliably ground our thoughts, we couldn’t know anything confidently. That would include anything atheists or anyone else said.

Comment: Life cannot work and we cannot co-operate without principles to agree on. We must remember that there is no true respect for others or justice in the absence of respect for logic - logic is best seen as a way of learning the truth and separating what is unreal from the real.

Quote: If they say, “All truth changes,” ask them, “Does that truth change?” If they say, “All truth depends on your perspective,” ask them, “Does that truth depend on your perspective?” If they say, “You’re just playing word games with me!” ask them “Is that a word game? Why is it that when I use logic, you say it’s a word game, but when you use logic, you assume it’s gospel truth?” Logic is not a word game. It’s very serious business. It’s the means by which we understand everything about life.

Quote: If Crick is correct, we’re not free creatures—we’re just molecular machines. We’re not really reasoning; we’re merely reacting.

Comment: Computers can think! Reason is a reaction of a certain kind. The dog may have no reason but it acts as if it knows not to jump into the fire.

Quote: Thoughts can change brain chemistry. In researching “cognitive therapy,” several studies confirm that psychotherapy patients can use their thoughts to create metabolic changes in their brains to overcome depression. So there’s some truth to the saying, “you can become what you think about.” (Not completely though, otherwise most men would become women.)

My comment here is that people are blamed for their depression. Doing that only leads to more despair and depression. It’s a cruel irresponsible statement. Even to suggest that that MAY be the cause is terrible.

His prime point would be that if you think of sin and love sin then you will become sin. This is a good answer to the love the sinner and hate the sin lie. It is another proof that the fundamental Christian doctrine that you/God/Jesus can love the sinner and hate the sin for the sin is not the sinner is a lie.

As for men thinking about women and not becoming women there is a difference between thinking of what kind of person you can be and the kind of people others are.

Quote: Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and his coauthor Denyse O’Leary observe that, “placebos usually help a percentage of patients enrolled in the control group of a study, perhaps 35 to 45 percent. Thus, in recent decades, if a drug’s effect is statistically significant, which means that it is at least 5 percent better than a placebo, it can be licensed for use.” In other words, in some cases, merely thinking you are getting medicine is almost as good as actually getting medicine. This makes no sense if materialism is true.

Comment: It makes perfect sense when a placebo is less effective than you'd expect. The score is not very good and ignores the fact that if a person is given a placebo and gets better that it still may have little or nothing to do with the placebo.

Placebos are compatible with materialism for if thoughts are material powers then good thoughts might help. Placebos are evidence for materialism.

The evidence is that despite the placebo's good name it is over-emphasised and opens the door to charlatans.

Quote: Theists are just advocating common sense. There really are immaterial realities that are intuitively obvious and that we use continuously, such as the laws of logic, the laws of mathematics, objective moral values, consciousness, and free will. In fact, some of those immaterial realities you are using right now to read and understand this sentence.

Comment: But logic and mathematics are not things. They are not spirits! They are abstract not immaterial!

Quote: To be fair, Dawkins actually means chance, but that’s hardly better. Chance is not a cause. It’s a word we use to describe mathematical possibilities or to cover our ignorance when we really don’t know what the cause is. There is no causal force out there known as “chance” or “luck.” Dawkins certainly wouldn’t accept a Christian citing “chance” or “luck” as a reason to believe in God or the Resurrection.

Comment: A Christian who says that he believes Jesus rose from the dead is saying he believes first of all that it was an act of God but as belief is not knowledge the implication is that its a belief selected for primacy among a range of beliefs. The scale is that principally you think God did it and secondly that it was supernatural but not down to God and thirdly that chance did it like magic and so on. A belief only excludes what you select as your chief belief but the other ones are there graded according to what you think is possible and probable. Belief is not choosing one thing and nothing else but the preferable belief from the menu that seems to fit the facts and evidence best.

Quote: The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. Maybe we’ll find evidence someday that natural laws can do the job. After all, isn’t Meyer just committing the “God of the gaps” fallacy? As you remember, that’s the fallacy where you plug God into your gap in knowledge, only to find later that a natural cause is really responsible for the effect in question. That’s exactly what Dr. Marshall charges Meyer with. But Meyer is in no way guilty of the “God of the gaps” fallacy. As Meyer explains repeatedly, he’s not interpreting the evidence based on what we don’t know, but what we do know.

Comment: It seems to be a natural cause of the gaps as well as a God of the gaps here. But the fact is that in daily life we always fill gaps with natural causes even if we don't know that they are. We are scientists too!

Quote: [With regard to suffering and the way things are done etc] complaining that God should have done it differently is a judgment for theology, not science.

Comment: He says that science does philosophy without realising it and as theology and philosophy are inseparable it follows that you cannot rule out science having the right to judge. Something based on testing surely would have the biggest right! And that is what science is about. Despite himself Turek agrees with us, "The definition of science (which we’ll investigate later) is a philosophical question."

Quote: This is not a debate about evidence. Everyone is looking at the same evidence. This is a debate about how to interpret the evidence, and that involves philosophical commitments about what causes will be considered possible before looking at the evidence. If you philosophically rule out intelligent causes beforehand—as the Darwinists do—you will never interpret the evidence properly if an intelligent being actually is responsible. Notice that how one defines “science” is not science itself.

Comment: That is like saying a dice that falls and brings up 6 is evidence but saying somebody threw it or did not is interpretation. Either way it is the case that it fell and why not leave it at that? Why not let the evidence suggest the philosophy instead of the other way around? Atheists and believers who are studying the evidence have to let the evidence guide the philosophy - one side is not doing it and lying about it.

Quote: “Evolution is ultimately random,” say the atheists. True, the mutations may be random in the sense that they do not have any goal in mind, but the natural forces that produce the mutations are not random. Living and nonliving things continue to exist because the foundation of the entire material world is goal-directed, not random. Atoms continue their regular goal-directed operations, which are held together by the four fundamental forces, which are held together by . . . . Oops, sorry. We’re not supposed to go any further. When we go further, we land at an uncaused, completely actualized intellect with the attributes of a theistic God. Another problem for atheists is that there is no way to detect randomness without the backdrop of order and goal-directedness evident throughout the universe. So when atheists say evolution or life itself is random, they are implicitly admitting they know of something else that is orderly and goal-directed.

Comment: This orderly something which is goal-directed is what Turek means by God. And something can be orderly without goals apart from just being orderly!

Turek contradicts himself. Didn't he make the claim that chance is not a thing or force but merely describes how we do not know what caused something?

It may be that we cannot know.

It is simpler to just admit that order can appear by itself and we don't know for sure how we got developed. Where is the humility in Turek?

Quote: [Some] either make God subject to objective morality or an arbitrary source of morality. The supposed dilemma goes like this: Does God do something because it is good (which would imply there is a standard of Good beyond God), or is it Good because God does it (which would imply that God arbitrarily makes up morality)? But this is not an actual dilemma at all. An actual dilemma has only two opposing alternatives: A or non-A. We don’t have that here. In this situation we have A and B. Well, maybe there is a third alternative: a C. There is. When it comes to morality, God doesn’t look up to another standard beyond Himself. If He has to look up to another standard, then He wouldn’t be God—the standard beyond Him would be God. Nor is God arbitrary. There is nothing arbitrary about an unchanging standard of Good. The third alternative is that God’s nature is the standard. God Himself is the unchanging standard of Good. The buck has to stop somewhere, and it stops at God’s unchanging moral nature. In other words, the standard of rightness we know as the Moral Law flows from the nature of God Himself—infinite justice and infinite love.

Comment: Turek is saying that God is subject to objective morality because it is his nature - it is him! He denies there is a dilemma. Notice how he says the buck has to stop somewhere. The question, "Why should I do this?" stops with, "Because God is infinite justice and love" But what has the infinite have to do with it? And it is about getting a parking spot and stopping the questions. That is using God not respecting him. Why are we not saying we all know we have justice and love in us and could live by a better standard and stop there? How could it matter if it is God's justice or love?

Quote: Atheists have long been critical of Christians for trying to legislate morality. But atheists are trying to do the same thing. They’re trying to legislate their new absolutes over the old “self-evident” ones grounded in God. For example, many atheists are ardent supporters of absolute rights to abortion, same-sex marriage, taxpayer-provided health care, welfare, contraceptives, and several other entitlements. But who says those are rights? By what objective standard are abortion, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, taxpayer-provided health care, and the like, moral rights? There isn’t such a standard in an atheistic universe. So atheists must steal the grounds for objective moral rights from God while arguing that God doesn’t exist.

Comment: So these secular rights which many see as not being rights at all but just evils are also treating God as real despite themselves! This is ammunition for say the pro-life atheist who says that faith in God is bad for morality. If the atheist is assuming a morality making God and not realising it, then the doctrine or perception that there is something is responsible for abortion etc.

Quote: While evil is real, it’s not a “thing.” Evil doesn’t exist on its own. It only exists as a lack or a deficiency in a good thing. Evil is like rust in a car: If you take all of the rust out of a car, you have a better car; if you take the car out of the rust, you have nothing. Evil is like a cut in your finger: If you take the cut out of your finger, you have a better finger; if you take the finger out of your cut, you have nothing. In other words, evil only makes sense against the backdrop of good. That’s why we often describe evil as negations of good things. We say someone is immoral, unjust, unfair, dishonest, etc. So evil can’t exist unless good exists.

Comment: This is very black and white. A good healthy finger is not that good - it is ageing and vulnerable and produces toxins. There is no proper good as such. Its all shades of grey. Good and evil are just rubbish practically speaking. This is just Turek trying to be so pious that you think he only sees the good.

Quote: Hitler was anti-traditional religion because he didn’t want anything to transcend his authority. Moreover, his disdain for the Jews seemed more focused on their ethnicity rather than their religious beliefs. As Dinesh D’Souza points out, “A Jew could not escape Auschwitz by pleading, ‘I no longer practice Judaism,’ ‘I am an atheist,’ or ‘I have converted to Christianity.’ This mattered nothing to Hitler because he believed the Jews were inferior racial stock. His anti-Semitism was secular.” Hitler justified the Holocaust by citing evolution...

Comment: Hitler did use religion, unorthodox yes but still religion, to hurt the Jews. He gave no hint that he did not believe his version of religion. Evolution was abused as an excuse for eliminating the Jews for science did not support any alleged inferiority. At the back of Hitler's head was the idea that God was using evolution to eradicate bad strains of human beings. Faith was to blame not evolution.

Quote: More Pain, More Gain.

Comment: Turek says the more you suffer the better - since when did he go among the lepers?

Quote: Most philosophers agree that the existence of evil is not incompatible with the existence of God. In fact, as we have seen, the existence of evil actually establishes the existence of God! “But are you saying that the ends justify the means?” No. God is not doing evil so that good may result. In fact, God is not doing evil at all—we are. We are the rebels. While God holds all things together and is responsible for the fact of freedom, we free creatures are responsible for our acts of freedom. Even God can’t force free creatures to make free choices—that would be a contradiction. Therefore, God allows us to do evil and allows natural laws to run their course, knowing that, although there will be pain along the way, good will come from it. As parents, we do this with our children, even though we don’t know the future for sure. We allow our children to make some bad choices, knowing that, although pain will result, it’s the only way to accomplish the good of maturity. If we can allow bad choices with limited information, God can do it with complete information.

Comment: If I do evil nobody can change the past not even God so God tries to turn it to good. This is not the end justifies the means or is it?

Quote: He argues that given time evil turns good so it fits an all-powerful and all-good God-

This ripple effect is the revolutionary insight I referred to earlier that helped me make sense of what appeared to be senseless evil. It means that even the worst evil committed by free creatures or the suffering caused by natural disasters cannot be deemed purposeless. While our time-bound limitations prevent us from identifying specific good outcomes for every bad event, the atheist can’t prove they will not materialize. That’s why most philosophers agree that the existence of evil is not incompatible with the existence of God. In fact, as we have seen, the existence of evil actually establishes the existence of God!

Comment: Christians like to say logicians tend to find no incompatibility between a perfectly good God and evil. But what they do not admit is that the logicians finding none is not the same as saying there can be none. The other problem is that many philosophers have an inadequate view of evil - they are captivated by moral toxins such as utilitarianism and relativism so what they say does not count. Christians cannot solve the contradiction themselves so they resort to using such people to shore up their God delusions.

Good coming at the end of evil has nothing to do with making evil in any way good or showing that God was right to let free agents do the evil. The argument itself is evil and hard-faced.

Quote: Is Jesus telling us not to judge? No, He’s commanding us to take the speck out of our brother’s eye—that involves making a judgment. He simply tells us to get our own house in order first so we judge rightly, not hypocritically. In other words, Jesus isn’t telling us not to judge; He’s telling us how to judge. Elsewhere Jesus tells us, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

Comment: That most Christians think judging is immoral and that Jesus banned it is alarming. Jesus said that you can judge the person not just the sin for he wanted you to have the person calling another raca dragged before the Sanhedrin. Jesus himself would see faith and religion as dangerous and needing careful regulation when so many abdicate moral responsibility and civic spirit in the name of minding their own business and not having an opinion. The only truly non-judgemental person as Turek says is a dead one. We judge endlessly every day.

Quote: Chesterton said, “Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.”

Comment: Interesting. Turek argues then that we end up numb if we are atheists or don't make God central. "No wonder atheism ultimately leads to despair. Life is meaningless and no amount of temporal pleasure can cure that." That does not fit the many atheists who spend time doing good works and who deny that their life is bland and pointless. What about barely-religious Christians who are happy? If they are weary of pleasure and are thus happy to sacrifice themselves and suffer for others then so what? Notice how Turek is getting at the notion that atheism and its disciples are harmful - very harmful indeed. Christians tend to think that atheists are indirectly to blame for many suicides. It is hate towards atheists. Yet it is obvious that if God alone matters then you have to say there is no point without him. Worship is passive-aggressive.

Religious people report spiritual pleasure. Many like to pray for that reason. When that pleasure disappoints and lets them down then the one good thing the one perfect thing God or faith in him has failed you. It teaches you that you have nothing left to lose. If that makes you feel flat or disappointed everything else will only be worse. That loss can drive Islamists and Christians to seek death as martyrs or kill others in the name of holy war.

Quote: [Somebody] says, ‘I love you so much that I’m going to force you to love me.’ Can he do that? Can he force you to love him?” Everyone agreed that was impossible. You can’t force someone to love you. I went on to explain that the same is true in our relationship with God

Comment: Morality makes allowances for what you cannot help. Somebody programmed to murder would still be entitled to the Nobel Peace Prize. Thus there are more important things than love being free or not. For Buddhists compassion is a better virtue. It is not true that love alone matters - its insipid nonsense forged in the hearts of passive aggressive people like Jesus Christ.

Turek speaks of how God does not force us to love him. If freedom is so important then he cannot pressure or threaten us either but he does. Yet Turek gives us a parable of how a lady on a date is rejecting the man when she says they should be friends only. He says the man will get no happiness or value out of forcing her to love him. It will not work.

Free will is defined as the power to choose on your own so you can do option a as easily as option b. But that means you can be free despite God when in fact the doctrine of creation says God creates your freedom and you so there is no such thing as really being able to create a decision against his will or permission. Turek's vision of free will is judgemental on us for it blames us and holds us accountable and is paradoxically atheistic! There is more freedom in a free agent who is pressured than this straightjacket set up by God.

God in fact is rejecting us by treating us as mere adopted children and calling us sinners. As God is happy anyway it makes no sense to say he would be unhappy if we are puppets. He comes first but how can he if he wants us to authentically love for our benefit not his?

Quote: Atheists sometimes compare their nonbelief in God to their nonbelief in Santa Claus. But the comparison fails because there is not only no evidence for Santa Claus, there is positive evidence against Santa Claus. Our knowledge of physics and the great distances involved provide positive evidence that it’s physically impossible for one human being to dispense gifts to six billion people all over the world in one night using a sleigh and reindeer. In other words, we don’t just “lack a belief” in Santa Claus; we have reasons to believe he doesn’t exist. On the other hand, as we’ll see later in this book, there is positive evidence for the God of the Bible and no evidence that would make His existence impossible. In fact, some classical theists call God a “necessary being” because His existence appears necessary.

Comment: But if Santa is like an angel or God gives him the power of miracles then this argument is wrong. It refutes a straw man Santa. That is not an honest approach at all. The point about God is that he has magic power. If you can say there is more than just evidence lacking for Santa but there is evidence that he is not real the same holds true for God. Santa is not God and God is not Santa but that is not even the point. The point is they represent magic and do magic. To refute Santa you have to assume his magic does not happen so the same must be done for God. Fair is fair.

Quote regarding atheists debunking a silly version of God:

“To be fair, many Christians don’t have the proper conception of God either. They think God is something like a big angel or just a bigger version of themselves.”

Comment: Then how do you show that you are not worshipping such a travesty? The angel version is the God everybody wants. It is seen as his job to fix everything that you have a problem with in your life. And when nothing happens the way you want you turn against him. This God is not a bigger version of you as such. You are making him all about what you want from him not him. Its outrageous selfishness especially when people are starving in the world. So this God is a reflection of what you are like but you can go a step further and when you Joseph worship God you direct it towards a big Joseph in the sky. And many do that it seems. Or do all do it? A person who is doing that will hide it for its embarrassing. There is no way to tell. There is a lot of grey there. A person who seems to love God for God’s own sake may still mostly or significantly be adoring something that is too much about them or too much like them.

Quote: If you are mad at me for these comments, it means that in an important sense you agree with me.

Comment: People being angry at you shows that they strongly feel you are right but only when they cannot give good arguments against you to show you that you are wrong.

Finally

Here is that wonderful quote again, “While it is true that one can use bad philosophy, it is impossible to use no philosophy.” I hope I have answered the bad philosophy in this book.