Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Is Atheism? Part 7

Nick Peters now has this portion ready for us, and since I'm still stoned (ha ha -- kidney stoned) we'll use it this week.


We return again to our study of Krueger and “What is Atheism?” Krueger is going to attempt to answer the charge today on “Wouldn’t someone need to know everything in order to say that there is no God?” Granted, this is not the kind of argument I’d use, but Krueger does attempt argumentation here, so let’s see what he says.

Krueger starts off with ECREE, which is “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence” and that someone needs strong evidence to show that God exists. He tells us most people believe it is common sense that an extraordinary claim is false until evidence is shown for it.

Well, no. It’s just not proven true. That’s a long ways from saying that it is false. Has it been proven true that X committed the crime in the court? Well, no. Therefore, we ought to believe it is false? No. I have no problem with skepticism. It will not work to say that because one side has insufficient evidence, then the other side must have sufficient evidence.

Krueger also defines extraordinary claims as those that would require us to drop a common sense belief. What is a common sense belief? Considering most people today and throughout history have believed in some form of theism, then it would seem that Krueger is the one who has the extraordinary claim. Upon what basis can he say “Common sense says there is no God.”?

I could point to what most people believe in order to say that this is a common belief. This does not make the belief true. Many people can believe something and be wrong. Many people could have terrible reasons for believing in God, and in fact I’d say they do. That also does not make it wrong.

To the atheist, that God exists is an extraordinary claim, but to someone like myself, the claim that God does not exist is an extraordinary claim. Why should Krueger’s common sense belief not be considered an extraordinary claim, but my claim should be considered one?

And here we have the problem with ECREE. ECREE is way too subjective. Besides, what is considered extraordinary evidence? Does it glow? Does it leave you feeling minty fresh? Does it provide a burning in the bosom? Would it not be best to say a belief should not be believed without sufficient evidence instead?

Krueger decides to defend God’s existence by saying it is an extraordinary claim according to Christians. Pascal is said to have implied that some people needed to dull their reason to become Christians and Luther is said to have said that reason should be destroyed in all Christians. I would love to respond to these, but unfortunately, as expected, Krueger gives no citation. In what writing did Pascal and Luther say this? Who knows? What is the surrounding context? We don’t know.

There’s even a problem on the face of it. This is talking about becoming Christians and not becoming theists. One can be a theist without being a Christian. Is Krueger trying to claim all non-Christians for the side of atheism? Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, etc. would all be interested in knowing they’re atheists.

Furthermore, what is meant by reason? Luther used reason in a number of ways and he didn’t necessarily mean the thinking facility. Pascal’s usage could have been the same seeing as in their own right, both of these men were intellectuals.

Krueger then tells of a book by Michael Jordan (Not the basketball star) called “The Encyclopedia of Gods” and asks why Christians don’t think about those gods and wonder if they exist. The problem is that Krueger assumes the reason we don’t believe in those gods is the same reason that he doesn’t. His reason is because he has already ruled out the belief in any gods. Our reason as Christians is that we know that there is only one true God and we have strong evidence He exists, thus eliminating any competing theories.

Krueger claims that the criteria for evidence is different for Christians with their God than with other gods. This could be the case, but this needs to be argued for and not assumed. Can Krueger tell what my criteria is? Krueger thinks the atheist alone is being consistent. I will say the atheist is being consistent with regards to how he treats all theistic claims, but not with how he treats all claims. If he accepted evidence for the historical claims of Christianity and metaphysics, the way he accepts other claims, I believe he would be a Christian. It is because he raises the bar when it comes to other beliefs that he does not accept them.

Krueger now wants to show that the concept of God is incoherent. Krueger starts by saying that all religions disagree on their claims and they cannot all be true. True enough. The conclusion he reaches is there can be no being described by these religions. It does not follow. They could all be seeking to describe the ultimate being, but some of them are describing him wrong.

He says the same is true of Christians. Some Christians say that God knows the future and therefore there is no free-will. (Krueger overlooks that a lot of us do believe God knows the future and that we have free-will.) Some Christians say God does not know the future. Both of these views cannot be true. Certainly. No problem with that. Saying both cannot be true does not show that both are false. Let us look at it this way.

Either mankind is here by a purely naturalistic process or mankind is here by a process of creation.

Both of these views cannot be true.

Therefore both are false.

Krueger would not accept such poor argumentation in any field. Are we to say that because contradictory things are believed about something, that that something cannot exist? Could it not be the simpler explanation that someone is just wrong?

Of course, Krueger tells us about the other great contradiction in Christianity, namely that 1 = 3, meaning the Trinity. Had Krueger actually read someone on the Trinity who was informed, he would have not made such an embarrassing blunder. See link below on the Trinity.

What about omniscience? How could it be that God knows some things that supposedly have to be known by experience? To begin with, it is an assumption to say one has to have experience to know something. There is a subjective knowing and an objective knowing here. My main stance with omniscience is simply that God knows all propositions that are true. God could know all experiences however by knowing all persons. All this would show is that omniscience is a difficult concept. It does not show it is false.

With omnipotence, Krueger asks the classic “Can God create a rock so big He can’t lift it?” Yes everyone. Someone wrote a book with an objection that’s high school level as if it was a powerful argument. Well, Krueger: If you’re reading this, I’m going to give you a simple answer to your question.


And I say that saying God is omnipotent because power cannot do contradictions.

God is able to do anything that power can do and nonsense does not cease to become nonsense because one adds the words “God can” before it, as C.S. Lewis said.

What about God being eternal? Can God act in time if He is eternal? Yes. God’s actions just take place eternally. God does not progress on the timeline but rather God is always acting in all things at once as He is not limited by time. Right now, God is creating man and judging the world both.

Krueger goes on to list that the Bible says God is male, but He cannot be if He has no body. To begin with, I think the body is an expression of maleness, but that is a reflection of an aspect of man that is male. (At least in men.)

Furthermore, the Bible does not say God is male (In fact, it explicitly says in passages like Hosea 12:9 that God is not a man.) but rather He is described in male terms. One might as well think our planet is female since we think of Mother Nature and ask where her female parts are.

Finally, Krueger goes with the problem of evil. I have written on this before in my review of John Loftus’s usage of the Problem of Evil. See link below.

Krueger returns to the Bible now to support nonbelief assuming the Bible is the only reason for believing in God with the objection of “Why did God not cause Bibles to rain from the sky.” JPH has written extensively on thinking like this with examples of the blue fairy and such. See link below.

From this point on, I don’t consider the arguments against the Bible relevant as it is a dismissal of the theistic arguments I do not believe Krueger has dealt with.

Next time I write will close up this topic.




1 comment:

  1. Re: God being male. Kruger is confusing "male" with "masculine" - one is a gender, the other a set of perceived characteristics. Given that God has the characteristics of a leader and king above all (indeed, He should be like our father!), it makes sense to refer to God as "He". Does Kruger honestly think the Hebrews imagined God as one who "pisseth against a wall"?!