Is Atheism True Debate - Jones v. Maundy

Is Atheism True?

Mike Jones

Rebuttal 2

Mikes Statement : Second, the definition of omnipotence I provided in the OS was"Unmodified classical theism says god's omnipotence means god is capable of doing anything that is logically possible." Again, Brent did not voice in his rebuttal any disagreement with that definition, so it is rational for me to proceed under the assumption that Maundy agrees with me that omnipotence is the ABILITY to do anything that is logically possible."

Brent response: Mike has an uncanning ability to confuse things. I do not agree with Mike that "omnipotence is the ABILITY to do anything that is logically possible." I rebut that in 4 ways:

Brent Rebuttal 1) Logic is reason conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity that men define. God is not bound by man's finite logic simply because God created all things including the ability of man to reason. Therefore God has no reason to limit himself to his creation abilities. That is absurd. His omnipotence still stands.

Mike: Brent's false belief that his god is "not bound by man's finite logic" appears to arise from a desperate defense mechanism that would rather have a god more akin to something out of Alice in Wonderland (i.e., not subject to man's finite logic) than a god that can be meaningfully discussed. If logic doesn't apply or constrain god, then the law of non-contradiction need not apply, in which case god could be both god and not god at the same time in the same way. How open is Brent to the possibility that such illogical things might be true about god? Not at all. So while Brent is preaching about how far above logic his god is, he secretly realizes the utter foolishness that would abound if he were to be taken seriously.

Brent's ridiculous belief in a god-above-logic also necessarily implies that language about god that is subject to human logic, such as human language will not be able to meaningfully impart knowledge of god. If god is above human logic, then human language will never be adequate to impart to the human mind a correct picture of god, at which point such limitations in human language defeat any attempted discussion of god. But no, Brent continues to use human language about god as if this is supposed to be regarded by other humans as a correct portrayal of a god that cannot be adequately defined by limited human logic language.

Brent Rebuttal 2) If Mikes statement is true then I can claim that it is "logically possible" for me to steal food at the local grocery because I am hungry and I have the ability (no relatives will feed me) and I need to feed my family because I'm poor. While that is a logical statement it does not make me omnipotent nor is it morally right, even though the logical consequence of being hungry is to seek food to survive.

Mike: I have never stated or implied that god's omnipotence derives from the mere fact that many things are logically possible. I said the proper definition of omnipotence is an ABILITY TO DO whatever is logically possible. Brent mischaracterizes my definition by leaving out the "ability to do" part.

Brent Rebuttal 3) Logic is only as good as to the principles that it is applied too. I reiterate that God is outside of space and time, being the creator of them both. Whether God chooses to do something or not do, it is at his discretion, not ours. Regardless if we think it is logical or not as well.

Mike: that is not helpful in the least, since we are debating whether the god of classical theism constitutes a logical impossibility. God's actions being governed by his own discretion does nothing to advance this discussion.

Brent Rebuttal 4) As Mike has so nicely provided, parts of scripture show that God can and does change his mind but at other times he carries out his will. That has nothing to do with the ability to do anything that is logically possible.

Mike: correct, it doesn't relate to god being capable of anything logically possible, it relates to god having infallible exhaustive foreknowledge, one of the divine attributes that was the subject of the syllogism in my opening speech. If god has infallible exhaustive foreknowledge, then the scenes in that foreknowledge cannot fail to come to pass in real life. Yet we see many times in scripture that god changed his mind or delayed the original date he planned to do something. Did god infallibly foreknow the true date Hezekiah would die? If so, how can scripture be correct to say that god "added" 15 years to his life? That could only mean that god "added" 15 years to the date god infallibly foreknew Hezekiah would die. The only way to preserve the Christian view of scriptural accuracy and yet explain this data is to say that God wanted Hezekiah to believe he got a 15 year life-extension, when god did not regard those last 15 years as a true extension. In which case we have a god who gives a false impression to Hezekiah that his own death is imminent, when in fact god doesn't believe that to be the case.

Mike Objection: God can do all things as inJob 42:2 and Matthew 19:26, which contradicts Mike statement that Brent claims that God has no need to change his plan or change his mind.Brents reply: I never stated that God cannot changed his mind or has not in the past.

Mike: but if god has exhaustive infallible foreknowledge, which you as a classical theist Catholic must believe, then god cannot change his mind for the simple reason change is not possible where the foreknowledge of the event is infallible.

Brent: Mike is trying to twist things to his detriment and he clasps at straws. I merely stated and I quote myself "Therefore he God would have no need to change Jesus arrival date because God will shall always be done and was done in 0 AD. " In no way does that indicate that God never changes his mind and in fact we know he did not change his mind in the case of Jesus birth because Jesus was born in 0 AD.

Mike: Brent says his statement on god not needing to change the arrival date of Jesus, "in no way does that indicate that God never changes his mind." Yes, Brent, under your carefully pruned quotation above, you didn't say anything that would foreclose the possibility of god changing his mind. But if we read your statement in its context, we will find that you asserted something that, if true, would indeed foreclose the possibility of god changing his mind:

From: "Brent Maundy [catholicdebateforum]" <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 7:17 PM
Subject: Re: [CDF] ATHEISM DEBATE - Maundy v. Jones

Brent's Response to Jones First defense of Positive Atheism.
A God who is all powerful and omnipotent, having known when (as in time wise by our standards) he by his own wisdom and reasoning and planning would make Jesus become man, has no need to delay impregnating Mary. God who is omniscient and omnipotent is by definition outside of space and time as we human beings know it. He is the creator of space and time and has ordered everything according to a time and season as scripture tells us. Therefore he God would have no need to change Jesus arrival date because God will shall always be done and was done in 0 AD. Hint: Omnipotent.

If the above-emphasized language is true, then it should apply to other acts of god in scripture, for example: God who is all powerful and omnipotent, having known when (as in time wise by our standards) he by his own wisdom and reasoning and planning would set a date for Hezekiah's death, has no need to delay Hezekiah's death.

If god's planning forecloses his need to delay impregnating Mary, then why doesn't god's planning foreclose his need to delay the death of Hezekiah? And yet in the bible we find god "adding" 15 years to Hezekiah's life, 2nd Kings 20:6. If god infallibly foreknew Hezekiah would live out those last 15 years anyway, why is god pretending that those years were "added" when in god's mind they were always a part of Hezekiah's eternally decreed lifespan?

Brent: God did change his mind in Matthew 19:26 and other places but Mike ignores the fact that God knew he would change his mind because he foresaw it, being outside of space and time.

Mike: If God foreknew he would change his mind, why does he pursue the original plan knowing it won't work? What fool pursues the original plan when they have every reason to believe they will be changing their mind and deviate from it? Is this the part where Brent hides away under the "god's ways are mysterious" trump card?

Brent: Again I repeat that God being outside of space and time knows our hearts, wills and what we can and do choose. That in no way indicates that God has mutually contradictory properties.

Mike: Brent appears desperate since his view of God as outside space and time, contradicts all the biblical descriptions of activity in heaven, which are portrayed as occurring in sequence no less than actions occur on earth. For example:

18 And Micaiah said, "Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left.
19 "And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this while another said that.
20 "Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' And the LORD said to him, 'How?'
21 "And he said, 'I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and prevail also. Go and do so.'
22 "Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; for the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you."
(2Ch 18:18-22 NAS)

In this depiction of god outside space and time, the conversation between god and lying spirit (lying spirits exist in heaven? I guess we'll still be in the company of sin even in heaven?) is presented no differently than conversations that take place on earth. Brent may say this appearance cannot be avoided due to limitations of human language on describing what heaven is really like. I counter that Brent is wrong, and the bible presents temporal progression in heaven precisely because that is what the biblical author literally believed about heaven. Brent will say this depiction of heaven is not literal, but unfortunately for him, there is no evidence in the grammar or context to suggest that the prophet giving this story intended to do anything other than provide a description of literal heavenly realties. That being the case, Brent's sole motivate to interpret this less than literally arises from nothing but a concern to achieve harmony i the bible at any cost.

Brent: I remind the reader Mikes defense of athesism was originally premised on
"God who is omniscient and omnipotent (God of unmodified classical theism) possesses mutually contradictory properties. Why because assuming God knew hewould impregnate Mary in 0 AD, God does not have the power to delay impregnating Mary in 1 AD. Therefore God who is incapable of failing must be false andatheism (positive) must be true."
Brent Summary: Mike an unbeliever cites numerous scriptures yet never once has Mike shown that atheism is true and God has mutually contradictory properties. Mikes original example of using Mary remains a poor example and does not prove atheism is true as I have rebut it.

Mike: Brent's analysis is necessarily incorrect since it is the word "infallibly", in the phrase "infallibly foreknew the date of Jesus birth" that prevents god from delaying the date of that birth.

In summary, Brent has committed at least 4 errors that ensure his loss of this debate:

1) he has attempted to discuss god in a logically coherent way (as would be required if he is an honest person participating in meaningful discussion) while also admitting that god is above logic, creating the danger that our limited human language logic might cause us to draw incorrect inferences about god. Why are we debating, if the human logic we are limited to, isn't sufficient? If god is beyond human logic, then brent was deceptive to take part in a debate where the atheist must show atheism is true. Brent came to the debate with a presupposition that he irrationally refuses to modify, namely, that god is above logic. This is a childish view of god carried by some for one single solitary purpose, to ensure that no human argument can ever successfully attack it.

2) his belief that god is above logic would, if true, allow that god can violate the law of non-contradiction, in which case god could both exist and not exist in the same time and the same way. According to Brent, human logic, such as the law of non-contradiction, doesn't bind god. Brent worships a god who has the capability of existing and not existing all at the same time. My analogizing the type of deity Brent worships, to one of the characters in Alice in Wonderland, was wholly appropriate.

3) Brent misrepresented himself on his prior reasoning. He earlier stated that god being all-wise and all powerful would plan in a way so he has no need to delay the birth of Jesus, but then he bluntly states that this in no way forecloses the possibility of god changing his mind, since god foreknew he would change his mind. !? But not even this sophistry gets him out of a theological jam: if god infallibly foreknew that he would change his mind, then god changing his mind was incapable of failing, in which case god did not have the freedom to stay the original course, but was required by sheer force of language to change his mind...a conclusion that obviously contradicts any coherent definition of god's omnipotence.

4 - Last but not least, Brent goes nowhere near trying to attack the deductive syllogism in my opening speech. He does nothing to dispute the major premise. He does nothing to dispute the minor premise. And he does nothing to show that the conclusive I drew didn't logically follow.

For all these reasons, Brent's replies are without significant force, and atheism remains true in the case of the god who has infallible foreknowledge and ability to do anything logically possible.

Copyright 2014, American Catholic Truth Society, Scott Windsor
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