15 replies

  1. That’s what I’m talking about. God bless you Paul. I love it, a Muslim quoting C.S. Lewis, while a Christian(Unitarian, I may add) is loving me some Rumi. 🙏🏼✌🏼️✌🏼✌🏼

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  2. On the flip side, if you have an all knowing, all powerful god, you can’t know for sure if he is thinking your thoughts for you, and that every decision you’ve ever made, including to follow him, wasn’t just him making you dance like a puppet

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    • Fair point.

      But if we have good reasons for thinking God is good and loving then it would be inconsistent with his character for him to deceive his creatures in this way. He would wish us to go grow and mature with a limited degree of genuine freedom.


  3. That is a mighty big “if” and one many people have good reason to reject after reading the OT. We also know it isn’t outside of god’s character to manipulate the actions of humans to achieve his desired outcomes, most notably the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in exodus and in 2 Samuel when he moves David to take a census and then punishes Israel because of it.


    • It’s not a ‘big if’. There are soo many reasons to trust in the goodness of God. This list is virtually endless. Our ingratitude stops us from appreciating his care for us.

      As a Muslim I don’t accept everything in the Bible as our faith teaches us that it has been corrupted, a fact confirmed by objective scholarship.


    • That is one thing I do appreciate about Muslims, they take the scholarship of the bible much more seriously than most Christians.

      I don’t know enough of the Quran to challenge any o your beliefs there, but it was a good chat, take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The burden of proof is on the theist, so the atheist simply has to say “convince me”. But Lewis says “unless I believe in God I cannot believe in thought” So all of his arguments in favour of God’s existence are made on the assumption that God exists, in order to enable his rational thought. i.e. all his arguments beg the question and therefore cannot be relied upon. The atheist is entitled to say “I am not convinced”.
    Lewis is therefore left with assertion of his personal faith with no possibility of objective certainty.


  5. Lewis’s atheist is proposing arguments against the existence of God, so yes, the burden of proof is on him too. The agnostic atheist says “neither position is provable using reason only, but in the absence of positive arguments for God my position is atheist”.
    Anyway, I don’t think it matters for my argument – neither the positive atheist not Lewis can produce convincing arguments for their respective positions.


    • neither the positive atheist *nor* Lewis


    • I’m not sure you have addressed Lewis’ argument in your comments so far.

      How can we trust our own thinking to be true? Or to put it another way, how can we trust our cognitive faculties that produce beliefs or knowledge in us? Lewis is questioning the atheist’s account of the reliability of these cognitive faculties (such as memory, perception etc).

      As the philosopher Thomas Nagel (no friend of theism) puts it:

      “If we came to believe that our capacity for objective theory [true beliefs, e.g] were the product of natural seclection, that would warrant serious skepticism about its results.”

      Nagel, The View From Nowhere (OUP, 1989), p.79.

      Another philosopher Barry Stroud (again, no friend of theism):

      “There is an embarrassing absurdity in [atheistic naturalism] that is revealed as soon as the naturalist reflects and acknowledges that he believes his naturalistic theory of the world….I mean he cannot say it and consistently regard it as true.”

      Stroud, “The Charm of Naturalism” (Harvard UP 2004), p. 28

      Darwin himself saw the problem:

      “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

      Letter to William Graham, July 3rd 1881.

      Only the theist can give an account of our faculties as indeed for the most part reliable. God has created us in his image, which means we can posses true knowledge and a reliable intellect.

      As Thomas Aquinas said:

      “Since human beings are said to be in the image of God in virtue of their having a nature that includes an intellect, such a nature is most in the image of God in virtue of being most able to imitate God.”

      Summa Theologiae


    • “How can we trust our own thinking to be true? ”
      We can’t. As I pointed out in another post, the only thing we can be certain about is our fallibility, so we should recognise the quest for “Truth” as futile. What we can do however is come up with increasingly better explanations that together constitute a working model of the world – always with gaps and always subject to revision.
      We can trust our knowledge and beliefs to be good enough in so far as they come into contact with the real world. So, the fact that we can construct a space craft that can journey to Jupiter with great precision, take photographs and other measurements and send these back to Earth suggests we now have a good grasp of some of the features of the universe we live in. The kinds of reasoning we employ in these sorts of enterprise are not innate, rather they are the outcome of millennia of social activity whereby those societies with better explanations tended to prosper and pass on their ideas.
      Have I addressed Lewis’ arguments? I think so. I’ve shown his position is circular as regards any arguments he might propose for the existence of God and I’ve suggested a plausible scenario for the evolution of rational thought. But ultimately I disagree with the notion that we can attain “Truth” so I think the disagreement is at a different level.


  6. Ah, good old C.S. his mediocrity as a writer was matched only by his mediocrity as a philosopher.
    A line can be drawn around a puddle of milk as easily as it can be around London, and we know fully what to expect from each.
    We see certain consistencies in the natural world, because there are certain consistencies in the world, and we see can see certain consistencies in the world, because there are certain consistencies in the world, which we see because seeing is consistent…
    The claim that we can jump out of this circle and see that the consistencies pre-existed all else, may be asserted, but how does the claimant hope to prove it?
    Especially when the ‘laws of nature’ and even logic, do not yield a theory of truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The trouble with arguments like this is that they allude to problems that arise, not from atheism, but from a contemplation of what it means to know anything at all. The theist is not immune from such problems simply because he declares it so. But that is exactly what the arguer does: he presents a mystery or puzzle in either philosophy or science and then insists that theism resolves the problem, but stops short of actually showing that to be true.


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