Questioning Their Assumptions

N. Lund/Oxford Tutorials/01.07.09


# 1:  IF SOMEONE ASSERTS:  "The material world is all there is.  There is no God. 

        There is no heaven.  All that exists is bio-chemical: what we can see and touch."


        RESPONSE:  If that's true, then where did your idea about the world come from?

        Your idea isn't physical or material.  You can't see or touch your idea.  Your own idea

         itself seems to be evidence against your idea.  If everything is bio-chemical, then

         where do ideas come from?  For example, where do our ideas about truth, justice,

         love, and beauty come from?  What about conscience, compassion, wisdom and

         honor?  Where do poetry, humor and music come from?  If everything reduces to

         bio-chemistry, then what's the difference between the secretions of our kidneys and

         these ideas in our brains?  The atheistic assumption of naturalism is not a scientific

         fact but a philosophical bias which runs counter to the Biblical worldview of the

         scientists who pioneered modern science.  Richard Dawkins acknowledges this,

         although unwittingly, when he states that a "philosophical naturalist is somebody

         who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world..." (The God

         Delusion, Mariner Ed., 2008; p. 35),  NOTE: his use of the verb "believes" (a

         philosophical assumption) as opposed to "concludes" (a scientific conclusion).


# 2:  IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "No one knows (or can know) the truth about religion."


        RESPONSE: If no one can know the truth, then how can you know the

        truth that no one can know the truth?  That's contradictory.


# 3:  IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "All religions have some truth; no religion has all the truth."


        RESPONSE: How could you possibly know that?  Wouldn’t you have to know

        everything about all religions, and everything about truth?  In logic this type of truth

        claim is called a "universal statement."  Whenever you use "all" or "no" in a logical

        proposition, you are claiming to know the truth about the entire extension of the

        subject.  For example, wouldn't you have to know all the truth in order to know that

        all religions have some truth, or to know that no religion has all the truth?  Where

        would anyone get this kind of universal knowledge? 


# 4:  IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "There's no certainty about anything."


        RESPONSE: Are you sure about that?  If there's no certainty about anything,

         then how can you be so certain that there's no certainty?


# 5:  IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "Everything evolved by chance, from the natural selection

        of random mutations."


        RESPONSE: If everything evolved by chance, that would have to include your

        own mind and your thoughts about evolution, wouldn't it?  If your mind is nothing

        but a process of random activities, why should I believe that your thoughts are true?

        Why should you?  What reason do you have to believe that your thoughts are

        true?  How are they different from your hormones, or the secretions of your other

        internal organs?



# 6:  IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "All the evil in the world proves that there's no God.
        A good God would never allow so much evil."


        RESPONSE: The problem of evil is perhaps the most difficult question of all.  Even

        those who believe in God sometimes feel overwhelmed by evil.  God sometimes

        seems very distant, very far away.  However, if there were no God, and no

        absolute source of good, where did your idea of "evil" come from?  If the world

        is a meaningless accident, why do we find ourselves making moral judgments?

        As Lewis said, "if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures

        with eyes, we should never know it was dark" (Mere Christianity, II.1).  Also, if

        God were evil, why should there be so much good?


#7:   IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "Every person should be judged by their own standards.

        No one has a moral right to judge another person (or culture)."


        RESPONSE: That's a very strange argument.  It makes the absolute moral

        judgment that there is no absolute standard for making moral judgments.  Isn't

        that contradictory?  On what basis can anyone prohibit someone else from

        making moral judgments, especially when the prohibition is itself a moral

        judgment?  The prohibition is actually a demand that everyone accept a

        relativist point of view.  But if everyone should be judged by their own

        standards, that should allow someone who believes in moral absolutes to

        be accepted and judged according to an absolute point of view.  Isn't that true?


#8:   IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: “Any talk about "creation" or "design" is "religious"

       and doesn't belong in science.  Religious claims are faith-based and unverifiable;

       science is based only on facts and evidence.” 


       RESPONSE: This argument presents a false dilemma.  It is also very naive.

       Are there only two, such opposite ways of looking at the world? The one, a heroic,

       scientific commitment to pure facts?  The other, the superstitious commitment of

       religion to unfactual faith?  This argument assumes, without justification, that there

       is a necessary hostility between science and religion. It also assumes, again without

       justification, that there is a necessary hostility between religion and facts.  The history

       of science reveals a much different state of affairs.  Even Richard Dawkins, an

       outspoken critic of religious belief, has acknowledged (in debate) that modern science

       was born in the environment of the "religious tradition" of Christianity and the Bible

       (Dawkins/Lennox Debate, U. Alabama, Oct. 3, 2007).


#9:  IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "God can't explain the existence of the universe because

       then you would have to explain God.  If you try to use God to explain the world you
       just raise more questions.  Who created God?  Where did He come from?"


       RESPONSE: This argument begs the question.  It is assumes, without justification,

       that a certain kind of answer (i.e. complex, supernatural) cannot be accepted.  Why?

       Because the argument also assumes a certain kind of worldview (i.e. simple, natural).

       Isn't it unscientific and presumptuous to dictate the results of an investigation before it

       is complete?  The gist of this argument is not scientific.  It expresses a philosophical

       bias against anything supernatural.  What is the scientific basis for a such a bias?

       There is none.  The argument is also naive.  It avoids or denies the unique and

       profound philosophical nature of the question (i.e. ultimate origins).  And since when
       was science opposed to “raising more questions”?  A sufficient cause to explain the
       universe must be eternal.  Either matter or God must be eternal.  All of the evidence
       indicates that mass and energy are running down and, therefore, not eternal.