|Dr Michael Shermer | God does NOT exist|
What struck me was how incredibly weak was his argument. The same material, presented as evidence for an evolutionary model of the Universe, could be used as evidence for a designed model of the Universe. Since watching the video, I've heard the arguments put forward by several, other, leading atheists and quickly noticed a disturbing, common thread, which is how deeply, almost zealously, anti-religious is the Atheist teaching. I thought that honest science involved a dispassionate attempt to test hypotheses, using accurate observations. Atheists often appear to present arguments as if they're politicians, simply attempting to garner support. However, God's existence is independant of His approval rating!
At this point, I should state that I'm a "deluded!?" (chuckle) Christian who's actually read every word of the Holy Bible; making me practically a theologian! I admit that I know very little about science as, being a qualified physics teacher, I have a certificate to prove such. What annoys me, about "evangelizing" atheists, is not the views which atheists hold (each to his own) but the intellectual dishonesty. Dr Shermer's presentation was glib showmanship of the worst kind and I feel it's my scientific duty to pull it apart. This exercise is not an attempt to promote Christian beliefs. It's simply an attempt to expose fraudulant claims. Let's begin at the end of Dr Shermer's presentation because, to me, it's very revealing:
7'37"-8'09" 'Over the last 10,000 years of history, there have been about 10,000 different religions and, roughly, about 1,000 gods.. What is the probability that Yahweh is the one true God and (lists others) and the rest of the 986 are all false gods?'
15'25" 'What's more likely? It's obvious that all these other god's are made up. You already know that. You agree with me on that. You're all atheists for all those other gods. So! I would just implore you to go one god further. Thank you.'
Three words, which show his that his presentatation falls woefully short of anything, which might constitute a scientific proof, are: probability, obvious and implore. On a scale of 0-1, proof requires a probability of 1; which means that there exists no chance of any, other outcome: A double-headed coin will always land heads up, for instance! Why use obvious if the model is proven, unless you know that absolute proof hasn't been presented. Lastly, what's the definition of the word implore? Oxford English Dictionary: Implore 'beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something.' So! Dr Shermer is admitting that, as his his conclusion relies upon probability, it's obviouus, rather than proven, and that, consequently, its acceptance has to be implored.
What he's really saying is "Trust me! I'm a scientist!" Atheism has hijacked science and falsely claims that it disproves God. Its akin to someone holding up a Latin text and then telling you what it says. Unless you understand Latin, how do you verify the accuracy of the translation. This is pretty much what the Church of Rome did, in order to keep the Holy Bible away from the people. Now that the people have the Holy Bible, the Atheists claim that science proves it to be simply the man-made text of one of a myriad of religious myths. Jehovah's Witnesses use the tactic of claiming that the true meaning of the Holy Bible is known only to their organization; the Watchtower Society. The Church of Rome, the Atheists and the Jehovah' Witnesses all appear to work for the same deceiver, whose name I won't mention.
I've always found God to come across as a very, reasonable Agent. He certainly didn't state, within his guide book, that belief in Jesus, as the Christ, is a condition for eternal life! It explains, in minute and logical detail, how Jesus simply made eternal life possible. The Great Commission was the spreading of the Good News, which was that God's garden gates were open! As did the Apostles, it was now possible to accept Christ and live through the Holy Spirit. True, Christian life was only ever going to be accepted by a few. Consider the following, Biblical verses:
Luke 5:32 (NIV†) I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Revelation 20:13 (NIV†) The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Who's the ultimate judge? Jesus Christ.
Non-Cristians go to Heaven! Yey! They may have had to rely solely upon their God-given consciences but a decent life leads to eternal life, whether spent as an Amazonian tribesman or a State Senator. God, as only He can, transcends both time and space. One verse, is probably the cause of this, huge misunderstanding:
John 14:6 (NIV†) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Hence, the ridiculous teaching that only Christians have a Heavenly hope. No! No! No! Jesus Christ is the ultimate judge of every person, whenever and wherever they lived. Faith in Christ is an extra gift, which the World has misunderstood. After almost 2,000 years of being battered, from both within and without, Christ's simple message has become all but lost.
Jesus came to fulfil the promise made to the Israelites, thus ending Jewish, religious practices. Religion, in general, is about belief in unknown, external agents. Jesus, God made man revealed God's personality and power. Before Jesus, Mankind had been separated from God, through Adam's sin, so God's presence was external. It resided within the Ark of the Covenant, within the temple, where the people had to keep repeating, inadequate sin offerings. Once Jesus made the perfect, atoning sacrifice, those who accepted that he had accomplished such, being God made man, were able to have God's presence; the Holy Spirit, reside within them. God was now known and internalized, as explained in the following verses:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV†) Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. With Jesus having removed the curse of sin, the separation between God and Mankind ended! As ever, not many people understood and some were very much opposed to such a teaching. The Church of Rome did a very good job of undoing Christ's simple and powerful message, by creating the Christian religion, complete with many Jewish influences, effectively re-establishing God as an external agent and taking the power of the Holy Spirit away from the people.
Following well over a Millennium of Roman Catholicism, during which the Christian message was completely distorted and the most horrendous attrocities were carried out, in God's name, the idea of the Christian religion has remained. Protestantism and the countless, other denominations which have followed, have all failed to fully understand that which Christ established. Thus, Christians are indistinguishable from members of any, other, major religion. An ex-footballer and celebrity just about summed it up, when he said:
"I want Brooklyn to be christened, but don't know into what religion yet."
Ouch! Today, it could be argued that most Christians are simply supporters of Christ, rather than living in Christ, in the same way that a football supporter is not a footballer. The Holy Bible did foretell that the Christian Church would get a good mauling. In fact, it was already happening during the lifetime of the Apostles. The early congregations were being infiltrated by Jews who wanted to keep some of the practices of their religion, as well as by people who weren't going to let Christ change them. In a lot of ways, the Fall of Man is a recurring theme, throughout the Holy Bible. It's a story of repeated rebellion, against God.
As stated previously, that which I find extremely unscientific, about many, anti-Christian, Atheist arguments, is that they appear to ridicule an entirely false presentation of the Biblical story. Their conclusion, that God doesn't exist, seems to be based upon faulty data and poor methodology. Bearing in mind that it's about the biggest claim possible, you'd think that their research would be exhaustive and their data verifiable. Neither is the case. If a poor math teacher states that 2+2=5, does that make mathematics illogical? Before writing off the entire subject, wouldn't the scientific course of action be to try to discover the logical result of 2+2. Within Atheist arguments, I see an assumption backed up by anything which could support it, just like the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses!
Like far too many Christians, Atheists (unsurprisingly) don't appear to have made much of an effort to make sense of the whole of the Holy Bible. At first, it can come across as nonsensical. However, if it's approached as a God-inspired collection of writings, then it must be possible to resolve it, as both a fully rational and a fully reasonable model; that of God's creation project! It isn't all that difficult, once you approach it from God's perspective, rather than man's. Of course, if you rush to judgement, using a purely human perspective, the model will fall apart. Even so, the leap, from not understanding the Holy Bible, to evangelizing the belief, that 'God does NOT exist', seems like reckless and arrogant folly!
0'52"-1'10" 'Worldwide, there are about 10,000 distinct religions, each one of which may be further sub-divided and classified. Christians, for example, may be apportioned among, about 34,000 different denominations.
Everyone agrees that Christianity had a single source and quickly developed a collection of guiding texts. Despite this, it became divided into a huge number of different denominations, within fewer than 2,000 years. One source. Many, differnet understandings. Hence, a vast array of different interpretations is NOT strong evidence that a single source; a single God, is highly unlikely.
1'56"-2'07" '..or, is it more likely, that all of these religions and god beliefs, are socially constructed, psychologically constructed, and that none of them are right in the reality sense. In the ontological sense. They're all constructed this way.'
Continuing with his argument; that a vast array of religious beliefs mitigates against any, single one being correct, Dr Shermer outlines his view, that they must all have been man-made. However, such need not be the case. Following the Fall of Man, the single God belief would have been an oral tradition. As the people split into tribes, it would be no, great surprise to find local conditions being incorporated into the belief system. If 34,000 Chistian denominations can emerge when a guide book exists, a great diversity of beliefs is even more probable when no guide book exists.
10'18"-10'30" 'Flood myths. Very common, throughout history. Predating the Biblical, Noahchian flood story by centuries, the Epic of Gilgamesh was written about 1,800 bc.'
Where's the proof that the Epic of Gilgamesh predates the Noachian flood? When, precisely, did the Noachian flood take place? No evidence is presented.
12'25"-12'36" 'By the way. There is a geographical link, between flood myths and bodies of water that flood. Not a Universal flood. Just where you happen to live.'
Makes perfect sense! If there had ever been a Noahchian flood, it would resonate more with people who live in areas which regularly flood, so it's of no, great surprise, to find that part, of the Biblical story, predominant, within the local religion. I'm still waiting for the presentation of any, credible evidence, against the existence of God!
A good example, of how quickly easily a faulty belief system can become mainifest, is that of the Watchtower Society; whose members are now known as Jehovah's Witnesses. 'Zion's Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence' was first published in August, 1879. The founder and first president of the Watchtower Society was Charles T Russell (1852-1916). He took it upon himself to investigate the Holy Bible and produced a very detailed theology. Ignoring advice, spelt out within the Holy Bible itself, two of his 'proven' claims were that Christ returned, invisibly, in Oct. 1874, and that Armageddon would commence in Oct. 1914. D'Oh! Yet, regarding the end, the Holy Bible states:
Matthew 24:36 (NIV†) But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Mark 13:32 (NIV†) But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Russell had the arrogance to claim to know something which not even Jesus Christ knew. Some have chosen to argue that surely Christ must know when he will return, especially if he was of God. The point being made is not to go down the road of trying to calculate the date! That knowledge is not available. Russell ignored that advice. So! What happened when 1914, or WW1 even, failed to produce Armageddon (Russell died on a Bible tour, in 1916?) Did the Watchtower Society's false prophesy cause it to fold? Of course not! Human beings are proud and stubborn people! After proposing the year of Armageddon to be 1925 Double D'Oh!, the Watchtower Society then, simply moved the goalposts. The coincidence of the 1914, Armageddon belief and the start of WW1 was too good to be written off, so 1914 became the year claimed, for the invisible return of Christ, and Armageddon would occur within the generation/lifetime of some of those who had witnessed the event. Originally, that meant someone born around 1900. Eventually, it had to be modified to someone born in 1914. Now, that too having been proven false, the teaching is that Armageddon will occur within the lifetime of someone who knew someone, who was witnessed the events of 1914. More D'oh! The first model failed but no matter! The second model has failed but no matter!
The above example demonstrates that once a person has taken a firm stance, it's very difficult to modify such, however strong the contradictory evidence. The example also demonstrates how easily a text can be misinterpreted. It's akin to giving a caterer the recipe for a prawn curry and being served hotdogs because the caterer prefers hotdogs to curry. We all have our prejudices and biases! While scientific enquiry should be both balanced and dispassionate, scientists are flawed people. Scientific does not, automatically mean True. The myriad of religious beliefs isn't evidence against the existence of God. The whole argument is highly unscientific.
6'02"-6'10" 'Our brains have evolved this capacity for agency. That's the earliest god beliefs.
So! The inanimate process of evolution allowed Mankind falsely to believe in agency; that there may, indeed, have been a creator or creators. Right! A sub-group appears to have evolved, which recognizes the previous deceipt, within evolution. Okay! However, rather than allow the rest of us, lesser evolved grunts the time to evolve to the same level, those more evolved insist that we abandon the, totally natural, false beliefs with which most of us were endowed, by the mindless wanderings of evolution. Getting a bit lost, at this point. This is where we're simply supposed to accept the implied "Trust me! I'm a scientist!" line.
Evolution led Mankind to naturally but falsely reject Evolution but, now, the more evolved of us see that Evolution is, indeed, the truth and that the rest must give up the false notions which Evolution made necessary. We should all believe in science, even though very few of us know the least bit about it. I'm not buying! Scientific proofs are often both simple and elegant. The Evolutionist theory looks like science and logic both being tortured.
Nothing, within Dr Shermer's presentation, could even be regarded as evidence to support his claim. The case he presented was very weak and I told him so. I labelled his case as "childishly transparent hokum” and he took the bait. He replied:
What is "childishly transparent hokum” is believing in an invisible man in the sky who came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, who was also his son, who then arranged to have himself crucified and resurrected back to himself. In other words, God sacrificed himself…to himself…to save us from himself.
Clearly, he understands but rejects. God sacrificed himself…to himself…to save us from himself. Spot on! The reason, for such behaviour, by God, is the topic of another page.
Evolution: All of the suffering and grief, is just too bad! After all, religion cannot be blamed as, according to Evolutionists, god beliefs were genereated out of Evolution itself. All of the attrocies, carried out by Man, against his fellow Man, are just a natural consequence of the Evolutionary process. There exits no God, so no definition of either Good or Evil. Human history just happened and there is no restiution for any of its victims. Got hurt? Suck it up!
God (of the Holy Bible): All of the suffering and grief, which people suffer, is both very real and He feels all of it! Everything, which deserves to be restored, will be restored. If you have respected those within His creation, then you're in, irrespective of when or where you lived, or what your beliefs. Understand His perspective. If the first, 10 Billion years of Eternity are compressed into a single yaer, then 80 years becomes compressed into ~0.25 seconds. He will make all things right! Evolutionists think that He'd have to be a terrible monster of a God but wait until they get the opportunity to say that to His face!
I don't understand the Atheist/Evolutionist position. If they're right, then we all just have to accept that those who get a raw deal are simply hopeless victims of an undirected process. If they're wrong, then there exists hope of restitution; that every life was unique and precious and, potentially, eternal. Why do Atheists find the latter so offensive? If they fully believe that god beliefs are just a natural but fictitious part, of the Evolutionary process, why do they seem so upset by people who still hold those views? It makes no sense!
When Jehovah's Witnesses warn me to join them or face eternal destruction, during the (ever) imminent Armageddon, I never get either upset or angry. I let them speak and present my rebuttal before we agree to disagree and part on good terms, often following a handshake. Again, why, if Atheists are so convinced, that God really does not exist, do they keep wanting to ram the point home, by ridiculing the opposing view; one which they claim is perfectly natural to hold?
I'm no Holy Bible scholar nor great scientist but I do know a little about both. With just such, little knowledge, I claim that leading Atheists are, in terms of claiming a scientific basis, for their beliefs, complete frauds. Science and religion are not mutually incompatible. You can have both! Atheists behave as if (the fictitious, to them) God is a part of a democratic process, such that, if a majority can be persuaded that He doesn't exist, then He won't. I think God may disagree but then, my god belief simply proves that I'm a less evolved Evolutionist. What!?
Has civilization reached a point wherein the rich feel that they no longer need God? Health. Wealth. Education. Safe food. Safe water. Utilities. Wealth now allows for life within a temporal, countereit "Paradise", propped up by an army of wage-slaves. Atheism appears to be an "I'm alright, Jack teaching, of which the Holy Bible disapproves. Viewed from a Biblical perspective, leading Atheists come across as complete idiots. God's offer, of eternal life, requires little more than acknoledging Him as a greater agent and respecting His creation. Satan's offer, in comparison, is a very short party, where absolutely anything goes. The only requirement is to denounce those who have faith and remove hope from everyone. For those who endure an unhappy life, Atheism is an even more disgusting lie!
There is great irony within Dr Shermer's opening point, regarding Evolutionary theory and errors. A type 1 error (a false positive) might be classed as taking the cautious approach. A rustling sound is heard? Is it the wind or a predator? You bolt but it turns out to be the wind. An error but no harm done. A type 2 error (a false negative) might be classed as taking a complacent approach. A rustling sound is heard? Is it the wind or a predator? Probably just the wind. You stay. You're wrong. You're lunch! The error has cost you your life. Shouting, from the rooftops, that you can prove that God does not exist, is not the cautious approach!
When the Atheists feel that their view has gained sufficient support, they may insist upon a referendum, on the existence of God. This could trigger the second coming of Christ as, with polling day approaching, He might want to take part in the final, live debate, opposing Dr Shermer. God won't want to lose the election, as being God is the only job which he's ever had and has no, other skills. I imagine that Christ will make a strong case for the existence of God. Conversely, an ashen-faced Dr Shermer may have absolutely nothing to say, as he sits very still, pooping his pants. If the Atheist lobbyists are right, they get nothing, after death. If they're wrong, they get nothing, after death but have lost everything! Insane! If anything demonstrates the deceptive power of Satan, then this is it.
The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.
- Leonardo da Vinci (1453 - 1519).