Thursday, April 05, 2012

Peter Van Inwagen's Conversion Story

An emotional conversion? It doesn't sound like one!

15 comments:

Cole said...

Dr. Reppert,

A true conversion is suppose to bring about a change of heart and mind. I just got "Mere Apologetics" by Alister McGrath where he talks of C.S. Lewis and his argument from beauty. I've had intense experiences with beauty to where I thought I was in the presence of God. It's like something just tells me that there's got to be more to it than just this life. Lewis argues that we possess an instinct for transcendence, stimulated by beauty. For Lewis, beauty evokes an ideal that is more real than anything we encounter in this transitory world. It stirs up a sense of longing. I know what Lewis is refering to here. I've experienced the same thing. I have questioned it's validity at times. But how could it be a coincidence that me and Lewis have experienced this same thing?

Cole said...

Here's my experience that I wrote down:

In the presence of Beauty I find the gentleness of mystical love. It is here that wonder is awakened and the beauties of humility, compassion, and kindness come alive. Within this matrix my fears melt away. I tremble at the thought of being inside this glowing radiance, for the longing of my heart is for a union with Beauty. To drink it in and become one with it. For me, Beauty brings warmth. Something in my soul longs for this delight, for Beauty inspires and delights my soul. When Beauty whispers Her tenderness to my soul I am filled with a childlike wonder and awe. If only I could stay this way forever.

BeingItself said...

"The Christian, on the other hand, is right at home in a universe in which humanity is the only rational species, or is one of a small handful of them."

So, what if the universe has a thousand rational species? Or a million. A billion.

At what number can we declare Christianity falsified? Yeah, that's what I thought

BenYachov said...

Seriously Being Itself?

You do realize the current scientific conscientious is that alien life is likely very very rare & intelligent life even more so?

What you have never heard of Fermi paradox?

If life is pure accident then it seems likely alien life is very very rare. If life is the result of Divine Providence then it depends on God's Fancy.

Crude said...

Ben,

Of course, you have Jacques Monod decades ago declaring that man is alone in the universe - and offering this up as evidence for atheism.

On the other hand, there's the claim that if intelligent life is common in the universe, it simply shows that intelligent life is not special. Evidence for atheism again.

Is the universe thought to be small? Evidence for atheism - no God would create so puny a universe.

Too large? Evidence for atheism - no God would create such waste.

And so on, and so on. Which is why the cult of Gnu more and more looks like just another religion - just one with all of the worst aspects of such, and shockingly few of the better ones.

BeingItself said...

"You do realize the current scientific conscientious is that alien life is likely very very rare & intelligent life even more so?"

WTF are you talking about? Regardless, that is not my point.

The point is that no matter what we find out there, the Christian apologist will always do back flips through a thousand hoops to make it "fit".

Crude said...

The point is that no matter what we find out there, the Christian apologist will always do back flips through a thousand hoops to make it "fit".

Why, it's almost as if some things are, in the minds of certain Christians, quite irrelevant! To others, more relevant.

And atheists, demonstrably, have the 'back flips through a thousand hoops' thing going on far worse than even the freaking mormons have it. From Monod to the multiverse.

BenYachov said...

>The point is that no matter what we find out there, the Christian apologist will always do back flips through a thousand hoops to make it "fit".

How is the Atheist apologist any better?

BeingItself said...

Ben,

I have provided, and will provide more if asked, observations which would make me believe in a god. My position is falsifiable.

This is not true of PZ Myers, however.

BenYachov said...

BeingItself,

Any "god" you come up with by empiricism sans philosophy isn't God.

God is proven or disproven by philosophical argument not scientific investigation.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/03/scientism-roundup.html

Arguing with a Gnu is like arguing with a Protestant who keeps repeating the "the Bible is the only rule of Faith! Show me Catholicism from the Bible alone!" meme. I ask "Where does the Bible say we must believe in the Bible alone?" and I am ignored & the meme is repeated Ad nauseam.

The Gnu is an inferior type of Atheist. The Old Guard Atheists would attempt philosophical argument. The Gnu can't get outside of his Scientism.

If I stopped believing in God I would still reject Scientism.

Cole said...

I like the existential argument combined with evidential reasoning of Clifford Williams:


1.We need cosmic security. We need to know that we will live beyond the grave in a state that is free from the defects of this life, a state that is full of goodness and justice. We need a more expansive life, one in which we love and are loved. We need meaning, and we need to know that we are forgiven for going astray. We also need to experience awe and wonder, to delight in goodness and to be present with those we love.

2. The best explanation for the presence of these needs in humans is that there is a God who has put them into humans.

3. Faith in God satisfies these needs.

4. Therefore, we are justified in believing there is a God in whom we can have faith

Crude said...

I have provided, and will provide more if asked, observations which would make me believe in a god. My position is falsifiable.

Not quite. What you mean here is that you, supposedly, are willing to change your mind. That's not the same as making "your position" falsifiable.

And saying it's "falsifiable" is meant to make it sound all impressive and science-like. In reality, it's similar to saying that "I'll stop believing in God if I wake up one morning and the sun is pitch black and I see ghosts flying around in the sky screaming "There is no God!"". Sure, said person has technically given a condition under which they claim they would give up their belief in God. It has as much to do with science as someone saying "if this guy up at bat hits a homerun, I'll admit his team is the best ever!"

This is not true of PZ Myers, however.

And many others.

Bobcat said...

I actually doubt that such an occurrence -- the black sun, the ghosts -- would lead him to give up his atheism.

Crude said...

Bobcat,

Maybe you mean give up his theism, since that example was regarding a theist.

Ephram said...

Crude,

Your post was right on point, except for the example you gave. I mean, in what sort of atheistic universe would ghosts/spirits exists?