"A Conversation on the Existence of God"

Sojourner414

Well-Known Member
Quite some time ago, I was asked a series of questions (paraphrased here) by an unbeliever online:

Being an agnostic atheist, I’m personally curious why people think a belief in God is logical? When I ask religious people about, they generally bring up the ontological argument: “God must exist because something can't come out of nothing”. And then when I ask how God came to be they’ll reply “He always existed" which destroys the logic they think should be obvious.

The universe is incomprehensibly large: The earth which we live on is not even a grain of sand compared to the observable universe. It seems purely ridiculous that the being that supposedly created the entire universe would be focused on only one particular part of Earth which is subatomic relative to the vast size of the universe. That’s ridiculous!! The “gods” in the religious books seem to only be focused on where said religious texts originated which would imply that the gods are entirely conjured up by human minds in the region that the books originated.

What is a good argument for the existence of YOUR god? Why is YOUR god more logical than the god of other religions? Why is it that “Yahweh” exists but “Allah”, “Zeus”, “Odin” and “Jupiter” do not? It just doesn't make sense to me.


After he asked this, I replied to each part, taking my time to construct concise answers to his queries. I thought I would post those answers here, in the hopes that anyone wrestling with similar arguments online might benefit in some way. I hope it helps someone here!

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I took each part one at a time:

"Why a belief in God is logical?" From what he said, "something cannot come from nothing" seems to have been worn out in this one. So we look at this a little more in depth and examine precisely why this is so:

First Question: "Why is a belief in 'God' logical?": We know the universe has a beginning; were it eternal, entropy would have set in by now and nothing would be happening. "Heat death" would be the norm, and no sun, stars, wind, water, life, or much else would be going on. That said, it takes energy to cause a beginning, but where does that energy come from? "The Big Bang" is the accepted norm, but what would trigger that? If we say "gravity of all matter compressed into one point in space and time", then the universe becomes an endless series of regressions. But what would then be the origin of that series of events? And what would be the origin of the events that set those events in motion, and...

We end up with an infinite regression of origins, which becomes logically ridiculous. This also applies to the question "Who created God?”: it becomes an infinite series of regressions, which cannot be answered because "the buck" never stops. Logically, we cannot have an endless series of regressions in any event, because energy is limited in the universe and there is only a sum total of energy to be involved in all events. Were energy not limited, the universe would be composed of total energy, which would disrupt matter and prevent it from existing due to particles not being stable enough to form quarks, protons, neutrons, electrons, molecules, and so forth.

This means then that something from outside the universe has to act upon it, and have the energy to do so. And it has to be external; as there would be nothing in the universe to provide energy without an external force to act upon it (we already established that there cannot have an endless series of regressions).

But, an external source of energy does not need to have a creator; in fact, according to science, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. This means that said energy had to come from a source, but that source did not need to be created, as energy is not destroyed nor created. This is proven by stored energy in everything from simple mechanisms (kinetic energy in rubber bands) to capacitors. My point on this is that energy exists and may change form, but does not need to be created.

Mere energy though has no direction: lightning simply follows the path of least resistance, while explosions radiate out in all directions when unobstructed. In order to do work, it must be directed. And that direction would not happen by "chance", as chance could simply allow energy to flow in whatever direction it wants. There is no specified logic behind that.

Yet, energy flows in specific ways. This means that the source for the universe was not simply a ball of power, but a source of direction as well. The aforementioned explosions don't do much except destroy whatever is in their path; that said, a well-placed explosion can skillfully bring down an old building, remove rock obstructing the path for a tunnel, or put out an oil rig fire. It takes direction and intent to do that. As much as it does to establish an order in the created universe of how it should look, function and behave.

They then made the comment after that question remarked upon the fact that out of all the universe, God's attention was focused on one part of one planet: "It seems purely ridiculous that the being that supposedly created all of the universe be focused on only one particular part of Earth which is subatomic relative to the vast size of the universe, that is ludicrous." So, we now look at that:

Second Question: "Why would God focus on one part of one planet?": This one is a question of our limited perspective on this planet: admittedly, we are "specks on a speck of a speck, floating in a vast interstellar sea of specs, which are a speck in a small globe". We can barely see outside of our own atmosphere without visual magnification, and our best telescopes and radars have only mapped approximately 1 PERCENT of the observable universe. The total universe is likely millions of times larger due to the Big Bang and rapid expansion. So, with all of that said: how can we, tiny as we are on this earth in a vast cosmos, know every single thing that God is doing at this moment? Yes, God is focused on us, but nothing says we are ALL He is focusing on.

So to sum this up: while He is indeed focusing on us, we cannot assume we are all He is working with or on. If God is indeed greater than the universe, there are things He is most likely doing that we have no clue of. And with vast interstellar distances, we would have little way to find out with our limited equipment and means. "If we can't see it, it's not happening" is not logical, as we see so many times here on earth.



Their next comment/ question after that stated: "the gods in the religious books seem to only be focused on where said religious texts originated which would imply that the gods are entirely conjured up by human minds in the region that the books originated." They also mention:" What is a good argument for the existence of YOUR god? Why is YOUR god more logical than the god of other religions? Why is it that Yahweh exists but Allah, Zeus, Odin and Jupiter do not? Since all of these tie together, we answer this in one, examining the entire issue:

Third Question: "What is the evidence for the God of the Bible being God, and not another deity/ pantheon?" When looking at "other religions", yes, they are pretty much centered on one area and not much different from one another. This is because those "religions" are in fact created by people and are myths and folk-tales. They are despots rather than any sort of "loving" father or parent-figure; "Baal", "Astarte", "Zeus" "Odin", "Allah and so on, the gods of paganism are petty, capricious, murderous and uncaring. They strive with one another (much like humans) and are little more than caricatures of human beings, complete with flaws, disgusting desires and vanity to spare. In the books Now They Call me Infidel and Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, written by Nonie Darwish "Allah" is a terrifying threat and NOT a "loving Father God". In Norse Mythology, Odin was always in a bad mood and temper tantrums seemed to be how he "ran things". In the Greek Pantheon, Zeus was always after any pretty goddess, while his "court" was plotting against, planning with and lusting after each other, mortals and whatnot. Roman mythology was just Greek mythology recycled, with "emperor gods" being fit in (with there having been 147 emperors during the total time of the empire, one would think the pantheon would have gotten just a bit crowded towards the end!)...

We can see where this gets to be the same old after a while: "gods" were patterned on men.



The God of the Bible is different on so many levels though, as is Christianity:

A) The God of the Bible is not a man: other religions pattern their deities after fallible, all-too-human men and women. But the God of the Bible is not patterned after men; in fact, the Bible proclaims that God is NOT a man (that is, He is not a human though Jesus Christ would come to earth as one in the virgin birth), and that "His ways our not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts". This means He does not think as we do, and He is not petty, spiteful or capricious like mortal man is.

B) God died for us: the religions of the world put the emphasis on man to "bridge the gap" between himself and God. But the God of the Bible has done the complete opposite: seeing that fallen man could not do so (God is perfect and we aren't), so God came to earth as Jesus Christ (The only begotten Son of the Father), to pay the penalty for us. Although Mithraism tries to copy this, it is a shallow copy that took from Christianity, not the other way around.

C) Archaeological evidence: the archeological evidence supporting the God of the Bible and Christianity is staggering, with evidence to support the biblical cities of Tyre, Nineveh, Corinth, Lachish and Ashkelon. Additionally, sites such as the Pool of Siloam have been discovered, and numerous artifacts that support the existence of people in Scripture (seals from Hezekiah have recently been found) The God of the Bible certainly has left some interesting markers!

D) The fulfilled prophecies concerning Jesus Christ: Although other religions have their own prophecies, only the ones in the Bible that have happened have been fulfilled 100 percent (The rest are yet to occur). In particular, the ones about Jesus were spoken hundreds of years before Christ was born; this means that the odds of someone fitting all the prophecies and doing everything predicted in scripture (including things no one would have control over, such as birthplace) are astronomical. Some detractors claim that the New Testament was authored/changed to make it look as if Jesus fulfilled the OT prophecies (there is no evidence to support that accusation), while others claim that the prophecies were vague and could be contorted to fit anyone (a reading of those prophecies reveals they are pretty specific!). If the God of the Bible was not God, then there would be no reason for any of the prophecies to be fulfilled other than one or two "just happening" here and there (more were fulfilled than that!). The God of the Bible made claims and prophecies, and then has the power to back them up!

E) The Resurrection: No other "messiah", "prophet" or religious leader has died in front of witnesses, expert guards and religious leaders had a tomb guarded by professional soldiers and sealed, and rose from their grave with a confirmation of over 500 witnesses. Other “religions" claim many things, but the God of the Bible demonstrated that His Son is EXACTLY who He said He was, and demonstrated it to the world.

F) The God of the Bible answers the following posed by Ravi Zacharias:

  1. Any point of view is exclusive of all other points of view.
  2. The real question is which point of view is true.
  3. We can fairly test the major worldview by examining how well they answer four questions:
    A. Origin
    B. Meaning
    C. Morality
    D. Destiny
  4. The answer to each question must meet two criteria:
    A. It must correspond to the truth - matching empirical evidence or the tests of reason
    B. It must fit together with the answers to the three other questions - coherence.
  5. Finally, there are really only three fundamental worldviews:
    A. Only the universe exists (e.g., naturalism).
    B. Only God exists.
    C. Both God and the universe exist (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
(Reference: https://connect.rzim.org/t/how-do-you-know-that-christianity-is-the-one-true-worldview/1370 )

Only the Judeo-Christian worldview answer sthese four questions with corresponding truthfulness and the coherence of a worldview. And in looking at this, the God of the Bible has a unique claim that is UNPARALLELED by any other "religion", or for that fact, anyone else.



Now, with that said, I posed this question to him:



Sojo414 said:
The statement "truth is a relative thing" is an absolute truth, and is thus an oxymoron. Were it true, it would immediately prove itself false by its' very claim. So truth cannot be a simply "relative thing", especially when there are several religions all claiming to be THE only way. Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah's Witness, Hindu, etc. all have claims that cannot be true at the same time as each others' Yet, only Christianity has consistently provided evidence for its' claims on multiple levels.

So, with all of this answered the evidences and facts laid out, the issues addressed and the comparison to other "religions" showing how much they lack, I asked him a question:



“Who do YOU say Jesus Christ is?”


Sadly, I didn’t get a reply; but that is a question we must all answer. For believers, we answer it here, on our knees before the Lord in humble submission. For unbelievers, it is answered before the Throne in terror and utter despair. The horror is that it doesn’t have to be that way!

But time is running out.



YBIC,



-Sojo414.
 

Bohdan

Member
The important point is beyond mere existence.

Accepting that there is "some sort of" God (really most people are already there) does not save.
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Exactly, Bohdan, which is the point Sojourner makes. But dealing with atheists --those who say no god exists-- first requires the argument that a god does exist. Once that can be successfully argued, then the discussion of who God is can commence.

Good job, Sojourner! It is usually a personally unrewarding task to debate atheists ... at least if we are looking for immediate responses. But who knows what seeds are planted that will sprout and bear fruit later on?
 

Sojourner414

Well-Known Member
The important point is beyond mere existence.

Accepting that there is "some sort of" God (really most people are already there) does not save.
Indeed it doesn't, but it is the important first step in getting to the "saving" part. You have to establish that there is a God before you can establish that mankind sinned against Him and thus needed a Savior. And as the last question in the series establishes that out of the "gods" and "religions" that man has, only Christianity demonstrates that the God of the Bible is consistent on the four points of origin, meaning, morality and destiny. So by the time that is established, we also establish that the God of the Bible is the only God.

All of this may not take place in one conversation (or even several), but Christianity should not be a 'quick sell". Leading someone to Christ deals with a person's eternal destiny, and that shouldn't be a "one and done" thing. In fact, if these are people we are in contact with continuously, we should be talking with them even after they come to the Lord!


Exactly, Bohdan, which is the point Sojourner makes. But dealing with atheists --those who say no god exists-- first requires the argument that a god does exist. Once that can be successfully argued, then the discussion of who God is can commence.

Good job, Sojourner! It is usually a personally unrewarding task to debate atheists ... at least if we are looking for immediate responses. But who knows what seeds are planted that will sprout and bear fruit later on?
Exactly: often we are called to plant the "first seeds" that may not immediately sprout into full bloom, but the Lord uses each of us in part towards a whole end. But one thing I would also like to point out is that with others who read and watch these debates, it often reinforces seeds already planted. It also answers questions some may have and help them in either their walk, or in their own witness to unbelievers.
 
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JamesSuth

Well-Known Member
Second Question: "Why would God focus on one part of one planet?": This one is a question of our limited perspective on this planet: admittedly, we are "specks on a speck of a speck, floating in a vast interstellar sea of specs, which are a speck in a small globe". We can barely see outside of our own atmosphere without visual magnification, and our best telescopes and radars have only mapped approximately 1 PERCENT of the observable universe. The total universe is likely millions of times larger due to the Big Bang and rapid expansion. So, with all of that said: how can we, tiny as we are on this earth in a vast cosmos, know every single thing that God is doing at this moment? Yes, God is focused on us, but nothing says we are ALL He is focusing on.

So to sum this up: while He is indeed focusing on us, we cannot assume we are all He is working with or on. If God is indeed greater than the universe, there are things He is most likely doing that we have no clue of. And with vast interstellar distances, we would have little way to find out with our limited equipment and means. "If we can't see it, it's not happening" is not logical, as we see so many times here on earth.
This is interesting, it is not an objection to the Christian faith that I have experienced, but it is good to have an answer.

I have said to people in the past that I can't prove the existence of God. However, the primary message of the Bible is not about His existence, but an account of sin, and a solution to it. We should all be able to see that sin is exactly how the Bible describes it, and I can personally state from experience that Jesus has provided the solution.
 
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