Archive for March 23rd, 2011

What Would Make You Believe?(Three Questions for Atheists)

Posted on March 23, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Atheism, Religion |

Believe it or not, not every blog I frequent is a skeptical one.  In fact, if you have been paying attention to this blog over the last month or so, this fact seems redundant given my three posts on Universalism.  One of the blogs I frequent is Truth In Religion and Politics, authored by John Barron Jr.-and his most recent post asks three questions of his atheist readers.

The post, entitled Three Questions For Atheists, is a call for atheists to give him some answers as to what might make us believe in a God and more specifically the Christian God.  He has assured me in the post that he is not accepting pithy remarks from Christians about what they think would convince an atheist and in this spirit of good faith, I offered my own answers.  I suggest that you read the original post, but I will pose and answer the three questions here, followed by a brief commentary regarding his response to my answers in his comment section.  My answers here are worded a bit differently, with parts added for clarity and some references to other commenters removed.

Three Questions For Atheists

1.What would it take, or what would have to happen for you to abandon your position of atheism and come to a theistic view; not just an agnostic possibility of God, but an actual belief that a Deity does exist?

It would take evidence.  I think that for me empirical evidence would be the best possible way to believe in anything, but I’m willing to concede that that it is neither necessary nor expected.  Although empirical evidence would be ideal, I don’t think in this particular case it is always reasonable. I also have to admit that there are many things that I believe on some level of evidence that is shy of empirical. In fact most things I believe meet this criteria in some sense.

I have not, for example, seen the molecules in the atmosphere that scatter blue light and make the sky appear blue, but I safely assert that this is precisely why the sky is blue. I do this because the scientific basis for that fact makes other useful predictions that I can test against reality.
So my ability to accept any form of theism would be dependent on that belief meeting some basic criteria.

To appeal to the twitter crowd I’ve boiled it down to ‘The 4 C’s’:
a) The belief cannot contradict any facts that I am aware of-and I guess, philosophically, that I’m not aware of as well.(It is Consistent)
b) the belief should have some sense of necessity. (It has Context)
c) the belief must offer some predictive advantage over alternate hypotheses (It is Convenient)
d) It appeals to facts instead of unknowns (It is Credible)

If an epistemology can meet these criteria, then it is worth holding, regardless of empirical (in the scientific sense) verification.
So if it could be shown to me that theism met those criteria, I would have to admit that it was the most plausible epistemology.

2.What would it take for you to believe Christianity is true? (more…)
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