Today, we’re offering a brief lesson on an atheistic argument that’s quite common: The argument that a Christian believes in God only because his or her parents believe(d) in God. Does this argument have any value in favor of atheism?
While this argument may have some truth to it – after all, many Christians grew up with one or more Christian parents – it does absolutely nothing to disprove the existence of God and so effectively does nothing to fault a Christians belief in God.
Many atheists will often say something like “You/others only believe there’s a God because your parents believed.”
While on Facebook recently, I came across a picture that claimed to be outlining the differences between “Linear Thinking” (also known as “dualistic logic”) and “Systems Thinking (aka “holistic logic”).
It was presented from the perspective of approaches to teaching. The overall message of this particular Facebook page was that our educational systems should take a holistic approach and that the dualistic manner in which students are currently taught is deficient. Specifically, “Christopher” who posted the picture said:
This is a handout I made for a conference presentation entitled “New Paradigms in Education,” in 1997. I’d like to update it, maybe simplify and change some of the descriptions. Your feedback on what should be edited and what seems most interesting and important would be greatly appreciated.1
Upon reading through the “handout,” it became abundantly clear that it was really more of an advocacy piece than anything educational. The way it described “dualistic logic” used very negative terminology whereas “holistic logic” was presented in a positive, favorable manner.
In my posts and in my discussions about worldviews, I stress consistency. When I say “consistency,” I’m talking about the beliefs within a worldview being logically compatible with each other and beliefs being compatible with the adherents’ behaviors (see the Psychology Class Series).
One of the “worldview tests” that Kenneth Samples discusses in his book on worldviews, A World of Difference, is a test for internal consistency. Any worldview that claims to accurately reflect reality (be true) must maintain consistency among its beliefs. Truth cannot conflict with truth. So, if a worldview were to say that 2+2=4 and that 3×2=5, it would have a serious problem. The fact that the second claim is false has no bearing on the truth of the first claim, it only has bearing on the truth of the worldview as a whole. Any worldview that contains two contrary beliefs that cannot be resolved within the framework of the worldview without creating more contrary beliefs must be discarded.
We don’t know how to tell truth from error, and it’s time for the church to take responsibility.
The Roman Catholic Church in New York is promoting Jesus Christ as “The Original Hipster.” I saw that on the news not long ago, just a day after I found out an online poll by Prospect magazine had Richard Dawkins being named the world’s top thinker.Neither of these speaks well for the state of thinking in our world.
Advocates of the presuppositional approach to Christian Apologetics have long hailed the debate between Greg Bahnsen (the late Christian theologian and apologist, noted for his achievements in presuppositional apologetics and development of theonomy–a view of the Law for Christians, pictured left) and Gordon Stein (the late secularist noted for his links to Free Inquiry among other things, pictured below, right) as a stirring triumph of presuppositional apologetics over atheism in a point-by-point debate. Recently, I listened to the debate and thought I would share my impressions here. Continue reading
At any given time, I am reading a non-fiction book and a work of fiction literature. I never choose one based on the other, but occasionally I am surprised by a marked correlation between the two. That very thing happened to me over the past two weeks as I read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and The End of Christianity by William A. Dembski.
The Neurotheological Argument Against God
“Neurotheology” is a term used by Dr. Andrew Newberg to describe the relationship between the brain and religious experience. In fact, many neuroscientists have performed studies claiming to find the part of the brain responsible for religious belief and experience. One approach is to use a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanner to analyze the brains of religious people (from various faith traditions) and look for stimulation in activity in certain portions of the brain. In fact, many scientists claim to have found the “God Center.” A variation of this research comes from geneticists who search for the “God Gene,” a particular gene that correlates with religious belief.
In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with these studies. The problem lies in the use many new atheists try to put them to. Continue reading
An atheist with whom I was in dialogue last week tried to support his disbelief in Jesus through the use of the “Spiderman fallacy”, which is a contrived argument that has been defined in the following way by Urban Dictionary:
Archaeologists 1,000 years from now unearth a collection of Spiderman comics. From the background art, they can tell it takes place in New York City. NYC is an actual place, as confirmed by archaeology. However, this does not mean that Spiderman existed.
Often used to illustrate the flaw in the assertion by evangelical Christians that archaeologists unearthing biblical cities today “proves” that the Bible was written by a supernatural force.
The Spiderman Fallacy is committed any time the discovery of a mundane element from a myth, legend, or story is taken to mean that ALL other parts of that story, even the supernatural, are also true.
A criticism that is sometimes levelled against religious faith is that it is ‘a crutch’ for those who want comfort and who are unable to deal with death and other hardships in life. It argues that belief in God is simply a coping mechanism and that if people were able to deal with life without God they would not believe in him. This criticism and others like it are particularly ineffective because they make a very basic logical fallacy. I will explore this criticism and will show that it should not be used in an intellectual discussion about the existence of God. Continue reading
This is my second attempt at an “art of reason” article. The hope is to help people think through the truth claims they are presented with. We get hundreds of them a day so this is an important skill to develop. I hope this is helpful; let me know.
My wife and I enjoyed a nice getaway at a cabin in the woods. Around the property it is not uncommon to see wild animals, including wild horses. We didn’t see any while we were there, but I did notice that the home owners had put a pile of postcards on the kitchen counter. The postcards were meant to raise awareness about a government policy with respect to rounding up and domesticating wild horses every year. The postcard is designed to be sent to government officials as a message that the signator would like to see changes to the legislation in this respect.
The message on the postcard is intended to persuade us to let the wild horses remain wild. See if you can spot all the logical problems with the message of the postcard. Here it is,