Is Atheism True?
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 in Job 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org [catholicdebateforum]" <email@example.com>
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.
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:
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.
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"
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.
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?'
"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
(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
who is omniscient and omnipotent (God of unmodified classical theism)
possesses mutually contradictory properties. Why because assuming God
knew he would 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 and atheism (positive) must be true."
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.
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:
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
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
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