Category Archives: Atheism (D)

Judges 1:19 and God’s Omnipotence: Are they in Animosity?

Judges 1:19 and God’s Omnipotence: Are they in Animosity?

“The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron. I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’” (Judges 1:19; 2:1bc-3, TNIV [emphasis mine])

A friendly dialogue between an atheist and theist regarding the omnipotency of God in the context of Judges 1:19.

Atheist: (1) If god is powerful, then why did He and Judah fail against their enemy at Judges 1:19?

(2) If god is indeed powerful, then the book of judges must be wrong thus the bible is not accurately true.

(3) If the bible is 100% being the faithful’s proof and basis, thus number 1., god is not powerful.

So, ano ba talaga? God is powerful thus the bible is wrong?

Or the bible is the truth and god is not powerful?

Powerful God

Theist: The plain reading of the text seemingly states that the stated reason for their inability to drive the people from the plains because of the enemies’ iron chariots. Reading this text alone, we can infer the reasoning of God’s impotency. But the author later records God’s rebuke (2:2-3) which linked non-displacement of the land’s peoples to Israel’s disobeying the Mosaic Covenant.

So, in contrast with the claim of our friend BPL—We can both hold that God is still powerful without destroying the truthfulness of the Bible.

Atheist: But 2:2-3 said that God “will” not drive them out (future tense) while 1:19 clearly said that they were “unable” because of iron chariots.

It might be acceptable if it was written this way: “Now therefore I tell you that I did not (instead of will not) drive them out before you; they will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”

Theist: The actual account of the heroic deeds of the judges is preceded by what amounts to two introductory sections (1:1-2:5 and 2:6-3:6). The second of these two sections, forming a theological analysis of the era of the Judges, is more properly the literary introduction to the rest of the book. However, it is preceded by a background introduction, which treats both political-military features (the partial conquest of Canaan by Israel) and religious-spiritual factors (the broken covenant with Yahweh by Israel). To simply put it, both angles were recorded by the author, one politically (1:19 [effect]), the other spiritually (2:2-3 [cause]).

Thus, one should be acquainted with the linguistic context and literary style of the book before one can rightly interpret this text (1:19) correctly.

NOTE: This should not catch us in a surprise, because we are seeing a common literary style in the eastern context (effect to cause). One more thing, if one could appreciate the literary connections of the said verses (1:19 and 2:2-3); it would be hard to postulate the argument of impotency of God. Because 2:2-3 clearly says “God will not drive them out” (relates to his choice) not “God could not drive them out” (relates to his capability).

Atheist: Are you telling me sir that they are not written in order?

Theist: Yes, in the western eyes [cause and effect], but not in the eastern eyes [effect and cause].

A simple illustration of this type of thinking can be illustrated in Jesus saying, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” There is nothing wrong with this statement except that from our point of view it is inverted. Our heart, our motives, is the source from which our laying up treasure in heaven comes. But Jesus said it the other way around; he reasoned, for his audience, from effect back to cause. That type of approach is common in the Old Testament, though not exclusive. (ie., that happens to be what we have here in Daniel 7, 8, and 9. Christ was viewed as King (7); Priest (8); Sacrifice (9). [same case with 1:19 and 2:2-3 of the book of Judges]). Odd isn’t?

Atheist: This is actually the first time I read about this approach and am interested to learn more. Can you give me your references regarding this?

Theist: I am glad that you’ve asked for it! However, I’m afraid that books that I am going to mention cannot be found online, anyway, here are some good starters: (1) Understanding Scripture: An Adventist Approach Edited by George W. Reid; (2) How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth by Gordon D. Fee; (3) A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics by Gordon M. Hyde; (4) Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning by Walter C. Kaiser.

NOTE: This might sound ludicrous (because the book was not really focusing on that matter), but this approach that I adapted was keenly observed by William H. Shea, on his “Unity of Daniel,” Symposium on Daniel, ed. Frank B. Hoolbrook (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Research Institute, 1986), vol. 2. See also his Selected Studies on Prophetic Interpretation, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1982), vol. 1.

Hope it helps! Until we meet again, friend BPL.


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The Inadequacy of Naturalism and Defeasible Argument to Prayer

The Inadequacy of Naturalism and Defeasible Argument to Prayer

by Jaymark Molo

What rational case can we give to the side of Atheism?

Atheist A: It is the rational conclusion because although the logical stand is agnosticism (as there are no means to either prove or disprove the existence of a deity), current evidence in the status quo gives no indication towards the existence of a deity. Hence, the rational conclusion to that is atheism, until such a time there is observable, repeatable, and measurable proof is offered.

Atheist B: Atheism is simply the rejection of the claims of the supernatural, most prominently, gods. The coloful myths about atheists are, as usual, the result of paranoid delusions. What do you expect? Delusional people invent delusional enemies.

Theist: I am not just looking for rationality of atheism, but for the case of its rationality. One more thing, this question is not primarily for anti-theist—but for non-theist. I hope I made my point clear

Atheist B: You mean if being atheist is rational?

Theist to Atheist B: Not only being it rational, but a case for its rationality friend.

Theist to Atheist A: “Such a time there is observable, repeatable, and measurable proof is offered”? Do you deny the realm of metaphysics friend Atheist A?

Atheist B: Oh, Okay. Hmmm… Well, let’s take the supernatural for example. Prayer doesn’t really work. It seems working because it is usually associated with things that are ambiguous, like some diseases getting “cured” sporadically on certain people, or certain events occuring randomly coinciding the prayer… but never has any amputee have spontaneously grown or regrown a limb by the power of prayer. So why is that?

Theist to Atheist B: Wait friend Atheist B. So this is your evidence that atheism is true, simply because prayer does not work?

Atheist A: It’s one case. In the real world, there are many cases for such a topic.

Theist to Atheist B: How does this dilemma make atheism true if God does not answer prayers? Friend Atheist A, let me remind you that this question does not necessarily makes atheism true, simply because one might lead to Deism (even to pantheism) but not having success of eliminating the notion of existence of God.

Atheist A: No. On the contrary, the constraint for those three conditions are metaphysical: LOGIC. Logic is a metaphysical constraint.

Logic would dictate that I cannot consider something is real (or theorize its existence) at a given time if there would be no way to to either (1) observe its manifestation or anything symptomatic of it, (2) measure any attributes in whole or in part, and (3) theorize its occurrence / establish repetition over time.

Also, my statement does fall, in part, under metaphysics, seeing as it tries to create a case for the understanding of something’s existence

Atheist B: First of all, atheism is not a claim; it is a rejection of the claim, which is the claim of the existence of the supernatural. Praying not working is just one of the cases against this claim. You have a point, prayer not working doesn’t disprove a god, but it doesn’t prove his existence either. And just to point out, prayer not working can bring us to another topic.

Theist to Theist A: Friend Atheist B, this may surprise you, but your naturalism worldview is the one that constrains logic (nature all there is). Thus, you are being limited with your metaphysical naturalism view.
 Think outside the box.

Atheist A: No, not at all surprising, but I consider it a factor.

It is an acceptable limitation, and one that is realistic.

I need not dwell in the world of ideals and abandon the physical reality we live in just to justify the existence of a deity.

Theist to Atheist B: This sounds contradictory—if atheism is not a claim, then why are you claiming that “atheism is not a claim”? Moreover, if doesn’t disprove God—then, shall we move to the next topic?

Theist to Atheist A: But the very scientific naturalists who insist on explaining everything in terms of physical and chemical laws cannot explain their own scientific theories or laws in terms of mere physical and chemical processes, friend Atheist A.

Atheist A: And where would you get the notion that they cannot explain it?

Give an actual example.

I am not saying that they can explain everything, that is not true (otherwise, what is the purpose of pouring billions of dollars every year into research), but they continue to try and do so.

The cumulative scientific knowledge of humanity expands every single day, thanks to the courageous people who brave the unknown and try to expand the limits of human knowledge, instead of being satisfied with “this because this says so”.

There is so far nothing within the visible universe that we have consigned to the fact that we cannot understand by science and have stopped pursuing. At the most, every current unknown is being studied, and each has a model that has yet to be proven.

Theist A: Let me give you then some of the inconsistencies with the claim of naturalism, C.S. Lewis made the point correctly when he argues: “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motion of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true . . . and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

Thus, if naturalism is claiming to be true then there must be more than mere natural processes; there must be “reason,” which is not purely a natural physical process.

One more thing, 

If naturalism cannot explain everything (as you say); does this include God with the explanation that can’t be explain by naturalism? No wonder why you do not believe in God (you are constricted by this incomplete worldview), friend Atheist A:

Atheist B: Saying that “‘claiming’ that ‘atheism is not a claim'” is word play. Let’s do this like this: I was in christianity, so I knew about my religion. But in your case, since you’re not atheist (yet), you still don’t know, so, you can google things about Atheism. That will save us all lots of time.

Theist to Atheist B: A valid word play. Now, I don’t want to say that you should google things about Theism. This will not save us all lots of time. I appreciate your offer though.

Atheist A: That is not a reason to pre-suppose your own beliefs are invalid.

Your brain is a mechanism, a computing device, and nothing more (even if one with such remarkable and beautiful complexity). You have every reason to suppose that what you may believe (if based from observation around you, and/or the knowledge you have accumulated) is true. Why do you think you are alive right now?

Do you even understand how the brain works? How it sends signals, processes information from the world, how it regulates your whole body? If you did appreciate that, you wouldn’t refer to such quote.

Also, reason is merely a function, and your reason operates within the mechanisms of your brain. A computer can reason, even if it is not self-aware. It is not purely devoid of the physical world.

I am constricted by a worldview, limited by the current knowledge accumulated by humanity. Acceptable. I will keep growing and understanding more.

To believe in a deity without actual evidence, that is being constricted by an illogically blind conclusion from a foundation of assumptions and superstition. Unacceptable. I will stagnate, and be satisfied with explanations of doubtful natures, and not question what is.

I dare you say which is worse. Haha.

Also, you are talking about a case for the rationality in atheism, and this is it. I currently have no evidence to disprove the existence of a deity (true). However, there is nothing that suggests that he does exist, and that is the status quo.

You assert that he exists, and therefore, it is your burden to provide evidence and change my conclusion (as your assertion goes against the observable status quo). Do note though, that mere assumptions and belief do not count as evidence. IF you ever can manage that, then as a logical and rational being, I will change my conclusion.

Theist to Atheist A: Firstly, though shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. If you wanted to be guided by the flow of this thread, please see the primary question. This is not a time for me to present my evidences to you.

Secondly, you’ve simply missed the point of CS Lewis. He is simply arguing that naturalism cannot become an only avenue of knowledge, thus, the notion of naturalism “nature all there is” is a false world view, unless you believe that reason is purely a naturalistic process. This is not a matter of presupposing some beliefs, but an inability to presuppose that if “nature all there is”. Naturalism then would be unreasonable if “nature all there is” for it cannot become purely naturalistic process.

Atheist A: No, I did not misunderstand him. I do not agree with him.

Your reasoning functions within your organic computer, the brain.

I’m pretty sure there’s a part of your brain I can stick a needle in to render you incapable of reasoning through basic logic.

And yes, I do not deny that there are other avenues of knowledge, such as philosophy, and non-physical sciences.

However, these are all governed by logic and reason as well, and does not necessitate belief in a deity simply because of assumptions and pre-conceived notions and beliefs.
 Be right back, lunch time.

Theist to Atheist A: If you do not agree with him then why do accept “other avenues of knowledge, such as philosophy, and non-physical sciences”? That is against to the notion of “nature all there is” and simply the point of CS Lewis that you did not agreebut freely accepted. Sounds contradicting, huh?

Allow me to end this discussion into a syllogism form:

(1) Its either nature all there is or there are other avenues of knowledge.

(2) There are other avenues of knowledge.

(3) Therefore, the notion of “nature all there is” a false world view.

Thus, to conclude, Naturalism cannot stand on its own. That is why I do not blame the professor who once asked about the inconsistency of materialism/naturalism, the question was: “If everything is matter, then what is a scientific theory about matter?” His response was, “It is magic!”


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