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34 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
"I need proof"
"Prove it to me"
What do you mean by proof?
Can you prove that 'proof' is a good standard?
What about "the best explanation" as a better standard?
The Cosmological Argument
1. Everything which begins to exist has a cause for its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence.
How do we know the universe began to exist?
1. The Big Bang Theory.
2. Actual infinites are impossible, therefore there cannot be an infinite amount of time in the past.
3. If the universe has already existed forever, then because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, it should already have entered heat death.
What about the multiverse?
1. There is no scientific support for the idea
2. It is ad hoc
3. If true, the observed universe should be no larger than our solar system
The Teleological Argument
1. The universe is fine-tuned for life. (Multiple constants are contingent, but together, are set in such a way that life is possible in our universe).
2. Fine-tuning can potentially be explained by chance, necessity or design.
3. Not by chance or necessity.
4. Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is the result of design.
Why can't the 'fine-tuning' be a result of chance?
The odds are literally astronomically high. According to Robert Penrose, an atheist, the odds are one part in 10^10^123. Even if you wrote a 0 on every proton and neutron in the entire universe you would not be able to write this number down! To persist in asserting chance as a legitimate explanation against overwhelming odds like this is irrational. To do so would completely undermine statistics and any other rational predictions (e.g., weather forecasting, stock projections, etc.).
Why can't 'fine-tuning' be the result of necessity?
1. Because the constants are independent of the laws of nature and independent of one another.
2. Because there are no intrinsic reasons to, say, why the weak force is the strength it is. These are contingent (could have been otherwise) values.
3. If all of these constants and laws are explainable in terms of some unified super-theory, this simply pushes back the problem one level: why is the unified super-theory so tightly and elegantly composed so as to produce each of these constants and laws so as to produce life?
The Moral Argument
1. If God does not exist, objective values, duties and accountability do not exist.
2. Objective values, duties and accountability do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
If God doesn't exist, what implications follow for objective morality?
Besides God, the only way objective morals and values could exist is if they are Platonic ideals (abstract objects like numbers). But such Platonic realities are contradicted by a thoroughly materialistic worldview/universe.
1. Evolution is unlikely to give us awareness of these transcendent, eternal Ideals
2. Why would such Ideals have any significance for our lives?
3. Which Ideals should we follow?
(“Good” and “Evil” could both equally be eternal Ideals)
4. There are no consequences for not aligning our lives with them.
How do we know that there are objective morals and values?
1. This is a basic premise which is more certain than its denial.
2. Even the New Atheists (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris) affirm objective morality at multiple places in their writings.
3. To deny that genocide and rape are always wrong, regardless of individual or cultural preference, is a bizarre, completely amoral perspective. To do so and then attempt to sincerely or meaningfully call anything good or evil is sheer wishful thinking.
Set-up for the 'minimal facts' historical argument for the resurrection.
It is based on five facts agreed upon by the majority (>75%) of nonChristian scholars working in the relevant academic fields (>2,200 sources in French, German and English).
These five facts are then tested against five possible working hypotheses.
The resurrection of Jesus emerges as the simplest and most robust explanation of the five facts.
What are the five minimal facts (historical argument for resurrection)?
1. Jesus was crucified and died.
2. James, a brother of Jesus, and presented as a skeptic in the gospels, believed he experienced physical appearances of the risen Jesus.
3. The original disciples believed they had experienced physical appearances of the risen Jesus.
4. Paul, formerly a skeptic and persecutor of the Christians, believed he had experienced a physical appearance of the risen Jesus.
5. The tomb was empty (this claim is most contested, but still affirmed by a majority).
Why think the tomb was empty?
a. The tomb was in Jerusalem, where the resurrection was first proclaimed.
b. The Jewish report about the Christian claim of resurrection was “say the disciples stole the body.” This implies the tomb was empty.
c. The Christian report primarily relies upon women’s testimony. Very embarrassing, as women were considered as a class to be so unreliable that their testimony was not accepted in a court of law.
=JJC (Jerusalem, Jewish, Christian)
What are the five theories suggested to explain the five facts (historical argument for resurrection)
1. Jesus rose.
2. Jesus resuscitated.
3. Disciples lied.
4. Disciples hallucinated.
5. Church legend.
What is the logical problem of evil?
1. God is all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful.
2. Evil exists.
3. Premise 1 and 2 are logically contradictory.
4. Therefore, God does not exist.
Why think the logical problem of evil is invalid?
Because premise #3 ("God exists and evil exists are logically contradictory") is evidently false.
There is a large set of possibly true hypotheses which make #1 and #2 compatible with one another.
For instance, it is logically possible that in every world in which God creates free-willed creatures, evil will exist.
What is the evidential problem of evil?
1. God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful.
2. Gratuitous evil exists.
3. Therefore, it is likely that God does not exist.
Define and give examples of "gratuitous evil"
Definition: “evil which God has no good reason to allow to exist.”
Examples: deer dying in forest fires, infants suffering from terminal diseases, endless suffering in hell, and so on.
Responding to the evidential problem of evil?
1. We are not in a good epistemological position to have access to God’s good reasons for allowing all this evil. There is no way to sustain that claim, and this alone undoes the probabilistic argument, because we are not in any position to assess the probabilities. Without greater access to God’s mind than we have, we don’t have the relevant information we need.
2. There are many good moral reasons that explain why some evil exists. For instance: free will, our fall led to disorder in natural world, suffering creates opportunity for development of virtue (courage, etc.)
3. Specifically Christian doctrines lead to greater coherence in explaining evil (Satan, etc.).
Responding to the pastoral problem of evil.
1. Listen and love.
2. Given the crucifixion of Jesus, does it make sense to accuse the Christian god of being heartless and cruel towards us in our suffering? Or does such a loving action establish that we should give God the benefit of the doubt?
3. Whether you look at God with a clenched fist or arms raised in worship, do look at him. In Revelation, we see that Jesus is forever like a lamb who was slain, eternally bearing the marks of his suffering for our restoration. Our hope is in resurrection to a glorified, perfected existence, which has been given to us because of Jesus' suffering.
What is the atheistic problem of evil?
How does a naturalistic worldview explain evil? Something that is more profound than evolution or personal/social relativism.
What is moral relativism?
A number of varieties:
1. There are no moral truths.
2. All truths are relative to the person/society who believes them.
3. No one can know which truths are right and wrong.
What are two basic arguments for relativism?
1. Moral disagreement means we can't know what's right.
2. Relativism makes us more tolerant of different kinds of people.
Four responses to relativism
1. Self-contradictory (the one absolute is there are no absolutes; Tolerance is better than all other virtues).
2. The argument from disagreement is weak support. We can know the truth even when there is disagreement. In addition, there is widespread, transcultural agreement on basic moral values (don't murder, steal, or lie).
3. Relativism makes it impossible to identify moral progress, moral decline, moral reformers (e.g. MLK, Jr.), and wicked people (e.g. Hitler).
4. Tolerance can only be virtuous if we think the other person is actually wrong or misguided. It is no virtue to accept someone for making an indifferent choice.
What is the argument from Jesus' life?
Jesus is fascinating. He loved everyone. He always did what was right. His inner spirit was joyful, peaceful, and compassionate. His life is how we dream and imagine that everyone would live. So: why not investigate to see if He is really God, and not only inspiring, but worthy of worship? Who else could live such a perfect life?
What is the argument from personal testimony?
1. Jesus has changed my life in positive ways - I am now imitating his character in some small but obvious ways.
2. I have found that without the strength that Jesus gives me, I am unable to do so.
3. If you want to have this kind of life, you need Jesus to change you.
4. Are you open to considering that kind of change?
What is the argument from Jesus & surprise?
1. Jesus is the most influential person who ever lived.
2. During his lifetime, Jesus would not seem to have the qualifications for global influence across the centuries.
a. poor
b. uneducated
c. didn’t travel much
d. opposed by both the religious and political leaders of his day, and
e. humiliatingly killed as a common criminal.
3. If you aren’t familiar with his life and ministry, wouldn’t it be worth doing some reading and investigation for the sake of better understanding someone so influential?
What is the argument from Jesus & meaning?
Knowing Jesus gives meaning and purpose to life.
1) He lived a meaningful, purposeful life himself.
2) He taught us how to live a meaningful, purposeful life.
3) My own life has a greater meaning and purpose because of Jesus.
4) If you are searching to find those things for yourself, it would be worth investigating Jesus and his teachings.
When someone says something ridiculous (e.g., “it doesn’t matter what you believe”), what's a good question?
The goal is to wake them up and invite them into a meaningful conversation.
When someone says something which is indefensible (e.g. “there are no differences between the world’s religions”), what's a good question?
Can you explain that to me? or How did you come to that conclusion?
When someone asks a question to you, which is really a veiled attack, what's a good response?
Ask a question to point out the insincerity.
For instance, if someone says, “do you think people who don’t believe in Jesus suffer forever in hell?” you can ask, “Do you believe hell exists?” If they say, "No, of course not" then you can ask, "So why do you care if I believe that people go to a place you are convinced isn't there?"
-->Don't discuss hell, or any other topic, when the real inter-personal issue is a litmus test to discover whether or not you are a loving and reasonable person.
Argument from information
1. There exists more than 500 bits of information in the universe.
2. Information could possibly be created by chance, law or design.
3. Not by chance. The maximum amount of information the universe could possibly create by random chance is 500 bits.
3. Not by law. Laws or regular patterns do not create information.
5. Therefore, the information in the universe is designed.
Argument from Human Dignity
Theism: The supremely valuable being, God, created humans in his own image.
Naturalism: Valueless processes led to humans.
Therefore, theism is a better explanation for human dignity.
Three ways we know Jesus believed He was God
1. *Jesus* spoke and acted as if He thought He was God (Son of Man, accepts worship, forgives sins)
2. Jesus' *followers* spoke and acted as if they thought He was God (worship Him, Peter's confession after walking on water, Thomas' confession after seeing the resurrected Jesus).
3. Jesus' *enemies* spoke and acted as if Jesus claimed to be God (attempt to stone him, then kill him for blasphemy).