Thursday, February 19, 2015

From atheism to Christianity

By Philip Vander Elst.



DougJC said...

From the article:

How then can we attach any ultimate meaning or truth to our thoughts and feelings, including our sense of justice?

But the ultimate meaning of thoughts, feelings, justice should not need to exist beyond the minds of agents capable of such any more than the ultimate meaning of words need to exist outside of minds for language to make sense. Instead, "ultimate meaning" is behaving like a synonym for "grand and wonderful purpose" and "awesome future beyond death". Sure, if it feels good to believe in those things, it feels good to believe in ultimate meaning. But is that a good argument, wanting therefore believing? This is the sort of thing I would expect an atheist to address and lay to rest before warming to faith.

The presence within us of an objective moral law ‘written on our hearts’ points instead to the existence of an eternal Goodness and Intelligence which created us and our universe

But an objective moral law that applies to all moral agents is also suspiciously like genetically-based moral intuitions evoking praise and punishment impulses in human agent-agent social interactions that a blind evolutionary search might come up with on the way to ultra-social species (with precursors available for demonstration in the form of our primate ancestors). Again, wouldn't an atheist face this possibility squarely on the way to theism so it can be put to bed?

the nest-building instincts of birds, the incredibly complex structure of the human brain, the navigational systems of bats and whales, the biological software of DNA in every cell of our bodies, sexual reproduction, etc. All this exists side by side with harmful viruses, disease and death. .. .Does all this not suggest some process of deterioration from hopeful beginnings?

But all of that benevolent complexity is the result of a process that kills 99.99% of the precious intricacy of living organisms out of absolute necessity, surely an atheist would face the unsettling implications of a mind behind that process and provide a calming resolution before embracing that mind as the creator of the universe and endeavoring to worship it with the correct agent-agent moral behavior.

This guy is a disappointing ex-atheist.

im-skeptical said...

I had the same impression. He shows little sign of ever having been a thinking atheist. Instead, just like Lewis, he seems to be a theistic wannabe looking for an excuse to believe.

Papalinton said...

A most unconvincing monograph filled largely with personal sensibilities.

From reading his 'confession', I formed the view this person found life simply too daunting without a 'helping hand'. Having to face the challenging trials and tribulations of the all-too-familiar human condition, he seems unable to hold his own without recourse to the salvific entreaty of a proxy father-figure, be it imagined or otherwise. There are many such people, so profoundly needy, both emotionally and psychologically, they are intellectually incapable of prevailing over, let alone curbing our very human but deeply primitive evolutionary susceptibility to imagine agency and intentionality everywhere.

Edwardtbabinski said...

Vic, Ever google Christian converts to Islam?

Victor Reppert said...

Do you know if there are any atheist converts to Islam.

Of course, this assumes that you don't accept the Perseverance of The Atheists (the Fifth Point of Atheism).

Papalinton said...

Out of interest Victor, did you take the trouble to watch any of these videos from Ed? The last on the list was particularly interesting.

Or are they, to you, just lost christian souls?

Anonymous said...

Of course, if the atheist commenters here are right and there's no objective morality, then there are no morally-binding duties either, including the duty to try and conform my beliefs to reality. Hence I might as well believe whatever makes me happier. But I would be happier believing in God than not believing. Therefore I might as well believe in God. Therefore, even if atheism is true, there's no real reason why I ought to believe it.

im-skeptical said...

"Therefore, even if atheism is true, there's no real reason why I ought to believe it."

Except, perhaps, that you might value rationality. Nah, never mind.

Anonymous said...

"Except, perhaps, that you might value rationality. Nah, never mind."

Except that there's no compelling reason, under atheism, for me to value rationality in the first place. Sure, I might happen to; but if I don't, or if I happen to decide that I value other things more, what exactly is the atheist going to say to convince me I'm wrong?

im-skeptical said...

If you choose to be irrational, there's nothing any atheist can say to convince you you're wrong. But that's not a consequence of your metaphysical view. It's simply a matter of whether you are rational.

Anonymous said...

It's not just me. There's nothing you could say to *anyone*, provided they're a consistent atheist, to show that we ought to try and conform our beliefs to reality.