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Is there an atheist value system, at odds with traditional ones?

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File:Atheism.svg We are told so at Commentary, using the Soviet Union by way of demonstration:

Bolshevik ethics began and ended with atheism. Only someone who rejected all religious or quasi-religious morals could be a Bolshevik because, as Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and countless other Bolshevik leaders insisted, success for the Party was the only standard of right and wrong. The bourgeoisie falsely claim that Bolsheviks have no ethics, Lenin explained in a 1920 speech. No, he said; what Bolsheviks rejected was an ethical framework based on God’s commandments or anything resembling them, such as abstract principles, timeless values, universal human rights, or any tenet of philosophical idealism. For a true materialist, he maintained, there could be no Kantian categorical imperative to treat others only as ends, not as means. By the same token, the materialist does not acknowledge the impermissibility of lying or the supposed sanctity of human life. All such notions, Lenin declared, are “based on extra human and extra class concepts” and so are simply religion in disguise. “That is why we say that to us there is no such thing as a morality that stands outside human society,” he said. “That is a fraud. To us morality is subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle.” That meant the Communist Party. Aron Solts, who was known as “the conscience of the Party,” explained: “We…can say openly and frankly: yes, we hold in prison those who interfere with the establishment of our order, and we do not stop before other such actions because we do not believe in the existence of abstractly unethical actions.”

Ethics were reduced to what a character in Vasily Grossman’s novel Forever Flowing identified as a reverse categorical imperative, “a categorical imperative counterposed to Kant”: Always use people as objects. Do unto class enemies what you would not want them to do unto you. That is why, starting in mid-1937, torture was used in all interrogations, not just to extract information. What objection could be raised? Ruthlessness without prompting showed that the torturer harbored no abstract moral standard, even unconsciously. It was a positive good to arrest the innocent. There were special camps for the wives of enemies of the people, campaigns to arrest members of a profession (engineers), and mass arrests by quota. As good Bolsheviks, local NKVD branches asked to arrest even more. “The concept of personal innocence,” a character in Grossman’s greatest novel, Life and Fate, avers, “is a hangover from the Middle Ages.”
Garry Saul Morson, “Among the Disbelievers: Why atheism was central to the great evil of the 20th century” at Commentary

That would account for the scale of the mass murders, certainly. It’s difficult reading. When out of power, atheists tend to be against censorship and coercion but it’s a good question whether a pure naturalist (nature is all there is) who doubts free will and thinks consciousness an evolved illusion has any reason to value the life of the mind except as a way of forcing his will on things.

Closing official religion coverage for the week, apologies for lateness due to the Ottawa tornado and power outage.

See also: Are atheists less tolerant than others? One problem for atheists is that they are often assumed to be open-minded which means that they do not have to ask themselves questions or cultivate the quality, and often therefore don’t. People like Gunter Bechly may well have some stories about that.

86 Replies to “Is there an atheist value system, at odds with traditional ones?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    My answer: No.

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    The answer is obviously: Yes.

    Call it Opportunism or Utilitarianism or Materialism or Whatever Variation.

    It’s there.

    Andrew

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    Note that opportunism, utilitarianism, and materialism are not the same thing. I predict that among those claiming there is “an” (as in one) atheist value system, there will be disagreement on what precisely it is.

    And of course no one will be able to show how this value system logically follows from atheism.

  4. 4
    asauber says:

    OK, daveS,

    What is it that Atheists have in unity that they can all refer to themselves with the same label ‘Atheist’?

    Could it be a conclusion based on common beliefs?

    I don’t think you get to a similar conclusion with others unless you share some fundamental beliefs with them.

    Andrew

  5. 5
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    What is it that Atheists have in unity that they can all refer to themselves with the same label ‘Atheist’?

    Just a lack of belief in any deity.

    Could it be a conclusion based on common beliefs?

    I don’t think you get to a similar conclusion with others unless you share some fundamental beliefs with them.

    Other than believing that the evidence for the existence of deities is not compelling, I can’t think of much else.

    Consider the set of people who do not believe that extraterrestrials have visited Earth in flying saucers or other types of ships. I would bet that that is a very diverse group, with very little in the way of common beliefs. Perhaps you and I both belong to it?

  6. 6
    vmahuna says:

    Peace & joy.

    There is a difference between being a “Capital A Atheist” and being an individual who believes that the universe can work just fine without there being a Jehovah-like “god”. This discussion is ONLY about Capital A Atheists.

    Capital A Atheists, among other things, cling to Darwinism because no serious Philosophy can exist without a Creation Myth. And Darwin’s life from chance combination of chemicals in tidal pools provides an explanation for The Creation of Life.

    Small A atheists are, in general, people who simply lost faith in some organized religion or other they had once been taught about and no longer feel a need for ANY Creation Myth.

    There is a scene in the first of the Sherlock Holmes stories where Watson records an odd conversation with his new roommate in which Watson casually mentioned that the Earth goes around the Sun. Holmes was very much surprised by this, having either never heard such a thing before or completely forgotten it. Holmes then says that he will try to FORGET the Earth-Sun thing as quickly as possible because it serves no useful purpose in the everyday world.

    And so it is with gods. If YOU are interested in gods, either to celebrate them or to extirpate all mention of them, then there is some reason for YOU to declare yourself an Atheist or a Believer. Otherwise, one can live a perfectly normal life as an Agnostic or a believer is some very general and distant god, with poorly defined abilities and intent.

  7. 7
    Dick says:

    An atheist who wishes to adopt an ethical value system (though I’m not sure why one would feel the need) would, IMO, be led logically to ethical subjectivism which puts one on a slippery slope to egoism and ultimately to “might makes right”.

    Whether this is “at odds” with traditional systems depends pretty much on which traditional systems are under consideration.

  8. 8
    EDTA says:

    It is an interesting belief system that tries to define itself by what it does not believe, rather than by what it believes. But even so, if you get into enough detail, no two people of any named system agree on everything. The question should be do most evangelical atheists have enough they agree on to make it worth calling what they have a true belief system? Given that they have their origins stories, their spokesmen/authors, their common arguments against all other belief systems, I think it’s quite safe to say that they do.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Atheism is simply a lack of belief in God or any other gods. Atheists are free to adopt any moral or ethical system they choose, including Christian. They only difference is that they cannot – and would not – cite God as the ultimate authority for that system. What they can claim is to have chosen or worked out such a system for themselves. They do not rely on God to tell them what is right or wrong, something which believers are tacitly admitting they would not know otherwise and cannot judge for themselves.

  10. 10
    EDTA says:

    If religions make up the X-Y plane, and atheists are only defined by the fact that they want nothing to do with any existing system (i.e., they are completely orthogonal to all existing systems), then atheists are all kinda pointing in the same general direction…

    Perhaps it’s just bad luck, but the atheists I’ve known have not shown me lives I wanted to emulate. If I try, I can think of religious people I wouldn’t want to emulate either. But with Christianity, I’m not stuck with mere human beings as the upper limit on examples. If I were an atheist, I’d be the most depressingly cynical person I can imagine–if I’d even still be around at this point!

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    as to Seversky’s claim

    “Atheists are free to adopt any moral or ethical system they choose, including Christian.”

    Thus you, by default, are admitting that atheism cannot ground morality within itself. i.e. Atheism is amoral.

    And yet you find it necessary to adopt a system of morality.

    Why not stay true to the amorality inherent within your atheistic worldview since you hold your worldview to be true?

    Other atheists, such as Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, stayed true to their atheism and adopted a system of atheistic amorality, as outlined in the OP, where “the materialist does not acknowledge the impermissibility of lying or the supposed sanctity of human life. All such notions, Lenin declared, are “based on extra human and extra class concepts” and so are simply religion in disguise. “That is why we say that to us there is no such thing as a morality that stands outside human society,” he said. “That is a fraud. To us morality is subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle.”

    So Seversky, since they are staying true to the amorality inherent within their atheism, and you are not staying true to it, who are you to tell them that they were wrong to kill tens of millions of their fellow citizens?

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Must Exist (Prager University)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

  12. 12
    daveS says:

    EDTA,

    I don’t know that the analogy of the xy-plane holds up. If we posit that the model consists of 4-dimensional Euclidean space, with x, y, z, and w-axes, then every vector in the zw-plane is orthogonal to every vector in the xy-plane. Further, the vectors in the zw-plane do not all point in the same direction.

  13. 13
    EDTA says:

    daveS @ 12,

    Yes, no analogy holds up under duress.

  14. 14
    anthropic says:

    “Without God, everything is permitted.”
    Dostoevsky

    Prescient…

  15. 15
    hgp says:

    Seversky @ 9

    Hello!

    Atheists are free to adopt any moral or ethical system they choose..

    I don’t know whether you see what you said here. If atheists can adopt any ethical system, then they can adopt ANY(!) ethical system even the system described above that the NKVD torturers adopted. Since they don’T acknowledge any objective standard, they don’t have any objective measure to judge ethical systems from each other.

    What they can claim is to have chosen or worked out such a system for themselves.

    While I admit that atheists can claim this, this doesn’t necessarily means that this is so. In a world where atheists can adopt ANY ethical system, some adopt systems that let them manipulate, force or pressure their peers into adopting a moral system convenient for the manipulator and pressurer. Others will be manipulated or forced into adopting a moral system that is just convenient for someone else with greater intelligence or force while claiming that they made their own choice.

    They only difference is that they cannot – and would not – cite God as the ultimate authority for that system.

    But they can. They only have to adopt an ethical system that allows them to cite wrong foundations for their ethical system. It might not be that simple to find real world examples that convince you, since you would categorize those people as believers based on their proclamations. But you must (should;o) admit, that this is at least possible.

    They do not rely on God to tell them what is right or wrong

    Exactly that’s the problem. The basic difference between atheist and God-based ethical systems is not that believers claim to be too stupid to judge right from wrong. The main difference is, that in God-based system it is acknowledged that there exists an external objective standard for right and wrong. And while the believer (hopefully) admits that he has only an imperfect grasp of this standard, he can make his own imperfect judgements based on his imperfect grasp of this external standard.

    OTOH atheists can’t have external objective ethical standards. No standard can be objective for him and every external standard (say by the society) can be (privately or publicly, as the case may be) overridden by the atheist. So the atheist can base his moral judgements on anything. And if they base their judgement relies on what is good for the communist party, who can contradict them (without perishing in the GULAG)?

  16. 16
    asauber says:

    Just a lack of belief in any deity.

    daveS,

    But it’s not just that. To get to the lack of belief in any deity, you have to interpret the universe around you a certain way.

    For instance, what does every Atheist think about design in nature?

    “The heavens are telling the glory of God;
    and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
    Day to day pours forth speech,
    and night to night declares knowledge.
    There is no speech, nor are there words;
    their voice is not heard;
    yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.” -Psalm 19

    Andrew

  17. 17
    R J Sawyer says:

    Is there an atheist value system, at odds with traditional ones?
    Other than the misguided value of valuing God above all else, they are pretty much the same. Variable within a society, variable over time and variable between societies. Almost as if they were developed and instituted through our need for social interaction.

  18. 18
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    For instance, what does every Atheist think about design in nature?

    They wouldn’t believe it is due to a god, certainly. I can think of a few options (this list is not meant to be exhaustive):

    1) The evidence (to date) that the universe was intentionally designed is not compelling.

    2) The universe does show evidence of intentional design, but that design was created and executed by a non-deity, e.g., a powerful alien civilization.

    3) An atheist might decide s/he does not have the expertise needed to evaluate the evidence for design in nature.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    daves:

    1) The evidence (to date) that the universe was intentionally designed is not compelling.

    And yet there isn’t any evidence that supports any other options.

  20. 20
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    They wouldn’t believe it is due to a god, certainly.

    Well, we have a little value system developing here don’t we?

    So, Atheists lack a belief in God AND cannot ever accept there is any evidence for God by definition or they will cease to be an Atheist (although others interpret the same evidence differently).

    Am I correct?

    Andrew

  21. 21
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    Well, we have a little value system developing here don’t we?

    So, Atheists lack a belief in God AND cannot ever accept there is any evidence for God by definition or they will cease to be an Atheist (although others interpret the same evidence differently).

    Am I correct?

    Eh? What value system are you referring to?

    It is correct that if an atheist decides that the evidence for God is strong enough, s/he will become a theist, and cease to be an atheist. C S Lewis is an example.

  22. 22
    asauber says:

    Eh? What value system are you referring to?

    value system – A hierarchy of values that all moral agents possess, demonstrated by their choices.

    value – a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.

    daveS, it is as plain as the nose on your face that you apparently can’t see.

    Choosing to deny there are any God given parameters/laws/instructions/direction is a value/standard/epitome of behavior that every Atheist holds as vitally important. Can’t let the divine foot in the door, right? There’s your value system.

    Andrew

  23. 23
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    Can’t let the divine foot in the door, right? There’s your value system.

    No, not all atheists hold that value (or whatever it is). See C S Lewis.

  24. 24
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    If you leave the door ajar for God’s foot, then you aren’t an Atheist.

    Andrew

  25. 25
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    I have never heard that “not leaving the door ajar for God” is a necessary condition for being an atheist. Do you have a source for it?

  26. 26
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    Didn’t you just agree with me that:

    “It is correct that if an atheist decides that the evidence for God is strong enough, s/he will become a theist, and cease to be an atheist.”

    Are you suggesting that Atheists accept the possibility there is a God, but any evidence for God has yet to be presented?

    Are you suggesting that Atheism includes the possibility that God exists?

    Andrew

  27. 27
    daveS says:

    Are you suggesting that Atheists accept the possibility there is a God, but any evidence for God has yet to be presented?

    Yes, at least some do.

    Are you suggesting that Atheism includes the possibility that God exists?

    Yes.

    I hold very few beliefs of which I am absolutely certain. I could be wrong about nearly anything, aside from the fact that I exist. So I have to acknowledge that I could be wrong and there might be a God.

    Now, do you have a source that backs up your claim in #24?

  28. 28
    asauber says:

    Well according to

    https://www.atheistalliance.org/about-atheism/what-is-atheism/

    “There is nothing you have to believe to be an atheist. Not believing in any god, is the only qualification required. Beyond that, an atheist can believe in anything at all.”

    OK. So this indicates to me that the position of Ahteism is of little value to anyone.

    Andrew

  29. 29
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andrew

    So, Atheists lack a belief in God AND cannot ever accept there is any evidence for God by definition or they will cease to be an Atheist (although others interpret the same evidence differently).

    I’m not sure I get your point. There are plenty of examples of atheists becoming theists, supposedly because they find the evidence for God compelling. And plenty of examples of theists becoming atheists because they don’t find the evidence for the existance of God compelling.

  30. 30
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andrew

    So this indicates to me that the position of Ahteism is of little value to anyone.

    Why does it have to have value? I don’t believe that aliens have visited earth, that pyramids have any unknown power or that Bigfoot exists. Not believing in these is of little value, just as believing in them is of little value. Why would the belief in the existance of a god be any different?

  31. 31
    R J Sawyer says:

    This is off topic but I thought that this might be of interest to KairosFocus and others who believe that the decline in western morality is leading us over the metaphorical cliff.

    https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/09/25/millennials-are-causing-us-divorce-rate-to-plummet.html

    Divorce rates are declining, abortion rates are declining, rates of violent crime are declining, per capital rates of charitable giving are increasing. All at the same time that religious beliefs are declining.

  32. 32
    asauber says:

    There are plenty of examples of atheists becoming theists, supposedly because they find the evidence for God compelling.

    R J Sawyer,

    Everyone is looking at the same evidence. And In C.S. Lewis case it was more about him changing, rather than being presented with new evidence. I am somewhat familiar with his story, and I think the final step of his conversion happened during a ride to the zoo in a motorcycle sidecar with no special revelation taking place.

    Andrew

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger
    Is churchgoing and religious adherence really in ‘widespread decline’ so much so that conservative believers should suffer ‘growing anxiety’? Absolutely not.
    Glenn T. Stanton – JANUARY 22, 2018
    Excerpt: New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.

    Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”,,,
    ,,,The percentage of Americans who attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as wholly reliable and deeply instructive to their lives has remained absolutely, steel-bar constant for the last 50 years or more, right up to today. These authors describe this continuity as “patently persistent.”

    The percentage of such people is also not small. One in three Americans prays multiple times a day, while one in 15 do so in other countries on average. Attending services more than once a week continues to be twice as high among Americans compared to the next highest-attending industrial country, and three times higher than the average comparable nation.

    One-third of Americans hold that the Bible is the actual word of God. Fewer than 10 percent believe so in similar countries. The United States “clearly stands out as exceptional,” and this exceptionalism has not been decreasing over time. In fact, these scholars determine that the percentages of Americans who are the most vibrant and serious in their faith is actually increasing a bit, “which is making the United States even more exceptional over time.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....-stronger/

    of hypocritical note to RJ’s post:

    ba77: “It seems that none of the atheists on this thread want to actually defend their atheism but only want to attack and belittle Christianity by whatever means they can.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/researcher-the-widespread-notion-that-academia-is-morally-superior-is-ridiculous/#comment-665386

    R J Sawyer September 23, 2018 at 8:26 am
    “Nobody is attacking and belittling Christianity.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/researcher-the-widespread-notion-that-academia-is-morally-superior-is-ridiculous/#comments

  34. 34
    R J Sawyer says:

    BA77

    New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger.

    I wasn’t aware that the US constituted all of western civilization. Looking at your current president, some would argue just the opposite.

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    R J Sawyer, the proper way to respond to the undeniable fact, highlighted in the OP, that Atheism is an absolutely horrid form of government that produces unimaginable horror, is to honestly admit that atheism is a false worldview that cannot possibly ground morality.

    It is not for you to try to belittle Christianity by any which way you can.

    Your knee jerk reaction to attack Christianity whenever Atheism is shown, without reservation, to be a false worldview, far from showing you to be a reasonable, rational, person reveals your ulterior motive against Christianity.

    In short, you are a atheistic troll who could care less for the truth.

    Sooner or later the admins will grow tired of your games and you will be banned (once again).

  36. 36
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andrew@32, I agree that everyone is looking at the same evidence and arriving at a different conclusion. That is the nature of reality. And, in some cases, the conclusions are drawn for different reasons. One person may drop their theistic beliefs because of personal tragedy, death of s child, illness in a spouse. Another person may adopt theistic beliefs as the result of the exact same incidents but due to a different train of thought and reasoning. The rationale for accepting or rejecting theistic beliefs is personal and can not always be examined using logic.

  37. 37
    random.dent says:

    There have been plenty of traditional value systems that most modern western atheists don’t support. Most modern western atheists probably wouldn’t support burning ‘witches’, keeping slaves, raping slaves, beating your wife and kids, lynching coloreds, keeping Jews and Japs away, ad infinitum. Most modern western atheists have much better values than many of the ‘traditional’ ones I’ve seen.

  38. 38
    random.dent says:

    “If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God Almighty.”

    –Bob Jones Sr.

    That is certainly a traditional value system that modern atheists wouldn’t support.

  39. 39
    R J Sawyer says:

    I think all we can do is speak for ourselves about our beliefs, or lack there of, and not be judgmental. I am sure that BA77 and KF have their reason for being Christian, and others have their own reasons for being atheists. And we all believe that our reasons are rational and logical. All that matters is that people are comfortable and happy with their decisions. I may disagree with the arguments and rationale used by BA77 and KF in their defence of Christianity, but I don’t disagree with their decision. Those decisions are personal.

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    Seems that the atheists on this thread did not bother to read the opening remarks of the article cited in the OP:

    To remind:

    Among the Disbelievers
    Why atheism was central to the great evil of the 20th century
    GARY SAUL MORSON / SEPT. 17, 2018
    Excerpt: It’s tedious to encounter a “new atheist” intoning arguments against faith that were shopworn in Voltaire’s day. Sooner or later, he will bring up the Spanish Inquisition. To a Russian specialist like me, that example of undeniable religious cruelty is not especially impressive. In its 300-year history in Spain, Portugal, and the New World, the Spanish Inquisition killed a few thousand, perhaps even a few tens of thousands, while in the atheist Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, that was the average toll every week or two. To this objection, the atheist has a ready reply: Atheism had nothing to do with Bolshevik carnage. As Richard Dawkins explains in The God Delusion: “What matters is not whether Hitler and Stalin were atheists, but whether atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. There is not the smallest evidence that it does.” This comment displays an ignorance so astonishing that, as the Russian expression goes, one can only stare and spit.

    In her new study, A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism, Victoria Smolkin demonstrates painstakingly that atheism was central to the Bolshevik project. Statements by Bolshevik leaders, Soviet instructions for youth, and the testimony of memoirs all affirm that atheism is essential to Communism.
    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/among-the-disbelievers/

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    R J Sawyer claims that,,,

    “I think all we can do is speak for ourselves about our beliefs,,,, we all believe that our reasons are rational and logical.”

    To reiterate a remark that I just quoted, “This comment displays an ignorance so astonishing that, as the Russian expression goes, one can only stare and spit.”

    If the atheistic materialism that is foundational to Darwinian thought were actually true, there would be no agent causality. Period!

    No agent.
    No free will.
    No rational beliefs.
    No reliable observations.
    No etc. etc. etc.

    No agent causality whatsoever, just genetically determined robots with no free will whatsoever with no more control over their actions and fates than a leaf blowing in the wind.

    In what I consider a shining example of poetic justice, in their claim that God does not really exist as a real person but is merely an illusion, the Atheist himself also ends up claiming that he himself does not really exist as a real person but that he is merely a neuronal illusion. Here are a few references that drive this point home,,,

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins
    ”If consciousness is an illusion… what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.”
    [A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide To Reality, Ch.9]

    “I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about its metaphysics. What I am saying, however, is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. An experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense.”
    Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fajfkO_X0l0

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    Besides he himself becoming an illusion, the atheist’s entire worldview also dissolves into pure illusion.

    Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – 39:45 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387
    Excerpt: Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Paper with references for each claim page; Page 37:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAYmZpUWFEi3hu45FbQZEvGKsZ9GULzh8KM0CpqdePk/edit

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Matthew 7:24-27
    “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

  42. 42
    Bob O'H says:

    RJ Sawyer @ 34 & ba77 @ 33 – that piece also mis-represents the research, which is here. What is actually reported is more complex.

  43. 43
    bornagain77 says:

    To continue on with the fact touched upon in post 41 that for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place then consciousness is not, and can never be, derivative from some material substrate as Darwinian atheists hold, but consciousness itself, i.e. the Mind of God, must be the primary substratum from which everything else is derived.

    The founders of quantum mechanics, and others, put this ‘obvious’ and simple fact for something to be ‘real’ like this.

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    He goes toe-to-toe with science big wigs… and so far he’s undefeated. – interview
    Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: You see we always start from the fact that we are conscious. Consciousness is the only carrier of reality and existence that we can know. Everything else is abstraction; [they] are inferences we make from consciousness.
    http://www.skeptiko.com/274-be.....rialistic/

    And while the logic that for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place then consciousness must necessarily be primary, not derivative, is straightforward, and, on pain of denying the reality of personhood itself, undeniable (Descartes), it should also be noted that the primary mental attribute of Qualia defies ever being reduced to any possible physical examination and/or explanation.

    “what it is like to taste a specific apple, this particular apple now”.
    Examples of qualia include the perceived sensation of pain of a headache, the taste of wine, as well as the redness of an evening sky.,,
    – per wikipedia

    This inability to reduce the primary subjective mental attribute of qualia to physical examination and/or explanation is referred to as “the hard problem” of consciousness,,,

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (Descartes, Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem of Consciousness) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    And indeed one would be very hard pressed to produce any experimental evidence for the primary subjective mental attribute of qualia.

    For prime example, the only ‘scientific’ evidence that I can produce for my claim that “for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place then consciousness itself, i.e. the Mind of God, must be the primary substratum from which everything else is derived”, is this anecdotal evidence from personal testimonies about the ‘realness’ of Near Death Experiences.

    To quote the headline of the following article, ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real”

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

    Exactly how is it even possible for something to become even ‘more real than real’ for a person in a NDE unless consciousness, i.e. the infinite Mind of God, truly is the basis for all reality, and this material reality we presently live in, as is claimed in Christianity, really is just a shadow of the heavenly paradise that awaits us after death?

    On Christianity this ‘more real than real’ finding is expected whereas, once again, materialism is found to be at a complete loss to explain why this ‘more real than real’ experience should even happen in the first place.

    A Doctor’s Near Death Experience Inspires a New Life – video
    Quote: “It’s not like a dream. It’s like the world we are living in is a dream and it’s kind of like waking up from that.”
    Dr. Magrisso
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/on-a.....31791.html

    Medical Miracles – Dr. Mary Neal’s Near Death Experience – video (More real than real quote at 37:49 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/WCNjmWP2JjU?t=2269

    “More real than anything I’ve experienced since. When I came back of course I had 34 operations, and was in the hospital for 13 months. That was real but heaven is more real than that. The emotions and the feelings. The reality of being with people who had preceded me in death.”
    – Don Piper – “90 Minutes in Heaven,” 10 Years Later – video (2:54 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/3LyZoNlKnMM?t=173

    And whereas qualia will never lend itself to rigorous physical examination and/or explanation, on the other hand we find that the mental attributes of “the experience of the now” and ‘free will’, do lend themselves to physical examination.

    The simplest way to define “the now” and/or “the experience of the now” is to say that we have a unique mental perspective of being outside ‘space-time’. An ‘outside of time’ mental perspective where we watch as time passes us by. That is to say, our perspective of being in “the now” is permanent whilst time is ever changing, i.e. ‘flowing’ past us.

    And as Antoine Suarez put it in the following video, “it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a person who is not bound by space time. i.e. We must refer to God!”

    Have Krauss and Hawking misidentified what they are referring to as “nothing?”
    Nothing: God’s new Name – Antoine Suarez – video (it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a person who is not bound by space time. i.e. We must refer to God!)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOr9QqyaLlA

    In fact, this difference between the ‘physical time’ of scientists, and the “mental time” of “the now” of leading philosophers is one of the primary reasons that Einstein never received a Nobel prize for relativity.

    Einstein vs Bergson, science vs philosophy and the meaning of time – 24 June 2015
    Excerpt: ‘The key sentence was something that Einstein said: “The time of the philosophers did not exist.”’
    It’s hard to know whether Bergson was expecting such a sharp jab. In just one sentence, Bergson’s notion of duration—a major part of his thesis on time—was dealt a mortal blow.
    As Canales reads it, the line was carefully crafted for maximum impact.,,,
    Bergson was outraged, but the philosopher did not take it lying down. A few months later Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the law of photoelectric effect, an area of science that Canales noted, ‘hardly jolted the public’s imagination’. In truth, Einstein coveted recognition for his work on relativity.
    Bergson inflicted some return humiliation of his own. By casting doubt on Einstein’s theoretical trajectory, Bergson dissuaded the (Nobel) committee from awarding (Einstein) the prize for relativity. In 1922, the jury was still out on the correct interpretation of time.
    So began a dispute that festered for years and played into the larger rift between physics and philosophy, science and the humanities.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionat.....me/6539568

  44. 44
    bornagain77 says:

    The first part of the following video gives a deeper insight into that conflict, over the correct interpretation of time, between Einstein and the Philosophers:

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

    As was also highlighted in the preceding video, years later in 1935, Einstein was specifically asked by another philosopher, “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”

    “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”
    – Rudolf Carnap

    And again, Einstein’s answer was categorical. Einstein answered: “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”
    – Albert Einstein
    Quote was taken from the last few minutes of this following video.
    Stanley L. Jaki: “The Mind and Its Now”
    https://vimeo.com/10588094

    Moreover, the statement Einstein made to Carnap on the train, ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement’, was an interesting statement for Einstein to make to the philosopher since ‘the now of the mind’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, undermined the space-time of Einstein’s General Relativity as to being the absolute frame of reference for reality.

    For instance, as the following researcher stated, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it, (Delayed Choice) quantum experiment confirms –
    Mind = blown. – FIONA MACDONALD – 1 JUN 2015
    Excerpt: “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” lead researcher and physicist Andrew Truscott said in a press release.
    http://www.sciencealert.com/re.....t-confirms

    And as Scott Aaronson stated in his following lecture notes on quantum computation, “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists,,, But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

    Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor (Quantum Computation)
    Excerpt: “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec11.html

    i.e. ‘the Now’, as philosophers term it, and contrary to what Einstein (and Jaki) thought possible for experimental physics, and according to advances in quantum mechanics, takes precedence over past events in time. Moreover, due to advances in quantum mechanics, it would now be much more appropriate to phrase Einstein’s answer to the philosopher in this way:

    “It is impossible for the experience of ‘the now of the mind’ to ever be divorced from physical measurement, it will always be a part of physics.”
    – paraphrase

    As mentioned previously, besides ‘the experience of the now’, the mental attribute of ‘free will’ also lends itself to physical examination.

    Further clarification of free will:
    “Free will: a source totally detached from matter (detached from nature) which is the origin (cause) of options, thoughts, feelings,… That is, the absence of (natural) laws, the existence of an “autonomous mind”, i.e. a principium individuationis.”

    In fact, Anton Zeilinger and company have just recently closed the ‘free will loop-hole’ within quantum mechanics:

    Quantum mechanics: Pushing the “free-will loophole” back to 7.8 billion years ago – September 14, 2018
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/pushing-the-free-will-loophole-back-to-7-8-billion-years-ago/

    As well, Contexuality and/or the Kochen-Speckter Theorem also both confirm the reality of free will within quantum mechanics.

    With contextuality we find, “In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation” and “Measurement outcomes depend on all the other measurements that are performed – the full context of the experiment. Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. ”

    Contextuality is ‘magic ingredient’ for quantum computing – June 11, 2012
    Excerpt: Contextuality was first recognized as a feature of quantum theory almost 50 years ago. The theory showed that it was impossible to explain measurements on quantum systems in the same way as classical systems.
    In the classical world, measurements simply reveal properties that the system had, such as colour, prior to the measurement. In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation.
    Imagine turning over a playing card. It will be either a red suit or a black suit – a two-outcome measurement. Now imagine nine playing cards laid out in a grid with three rows and three columns. Quantum mechanics predicts something that seems contradictory – there must be an even number of red cards in every row and an odd number of red cards in every column. Try to draw a grid that obeys these rules and you will find it impossible. It’s because quantum measurements cannot be interpreted as merely revealing a pre-existing property in the same way that flipping a card reveals a red or black suit.
    Measurement outcomes depend on all the other measurements that are performed – the full context of the experiment.
    Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. That’s part of the weirdness of quantum mechanics.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-w.....antum.html

    And with the Kochen-Speckter Theorem we find, as leading experimental physicist Anton Zeilinger states in the following video, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in a certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    It is also interesting to note that recent this experimental confirmation of free will within quantum mechanics undermines the Darwinian worldview from within.

    As Steven Weinberg, who is an atheist himself, states in the following article, (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....mechanics/

  45. 45
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, besides undermining Darwinian atheism from within, when we rightly let the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, as quantum mechanics now demands and as the Christian founders of modern science had originally envisioned, (Sir Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, and Max Planck, to name a few), then an empirically backed reconciliation, (via the Shroud of Turin), between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, i.e. the ‘Theory of Everything’, readily pops out for us in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram
    https://youtu.be/F-TL4QOCiis

    Particle Radiation from the Body – July 2012 – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind
    Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images.
    http://www.academicjournals.or.....onacci.pdf

    Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NziDraiPiOw

    Moreover, in regards to free will, it is important to point out that although free will is often thought of as allowing someone to choose between a veritable infinity of options, in a theistic view of reality that veritable infinity of options all boils down to just two options. Eternal life, (infinity if you will), with God, or Eternal life, (infinity again if you will), without God. C.S. Lewis states the situation as such:

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    And exactly as would be expected on the Christian view of reality, we find two very different eternities in reality. An ‘infinitely destructive’ eternity associated with General Relativity and a extremely orderly eternity associated with Special Relativity:

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    Verses:

    Matthew 23:33
    “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  46. 46
    R J Sawyer says:

    Bob o’H@42, Thank you for the link. An interesting read. That confirms what I have perceived anecdotally. In general, religiosity and belief is declining but fundamentalism remains consistent.

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    Liberal churches are dying. But conservative churches are thriving.
    A Canadian study found that conservative churches are still growing, while less orthodox congregations dwindle away.
    By David Haskell – January 4, 2017
    Excerpt: liberal theology has been taught for decades in mainline seminaries and preached from many mainline pulpits. Its enduring appeal to embattled clergy members is that it gives intellectual respectability to religious ideas that, on the surface, might appear far-fetched to modern audiences.
    But the liberal turn in mainline churches doesn’t appear to have solved their problem of decline.
    Over the last five years, my colleagues and I conducted a study of 22 mainline congregations in the province of Ontario. We compared those in the sample that were growing mainline congregations to those that were declining. After statistically analyzing the survey responses of over 2,200 congregants and the clergy members who serve them, we came to a counterintuitive discovery: Conservative Protestant theology, with its more literal view of the Bible, is a significant predictor of church growth while liberal theology leads to decline. The results were published this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Review of Religious Research.,,,
    For example, we found 93 percent of clergy members and 83 percent of worshipers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb.” This compared with 67 percent of worshipers and 56 percent of clergy members from declining churches. Furthermore, all growing church clergy members and 90 percent of their worshipers agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers,” compared with 80 percent of worshipers and a mere 44 percent of clergy members from declining churches.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/04/liberal-churches-are-dying-but-conservative-churches-are-thriving/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.427ef53aa8bf

    It is no wonder that liberal, ‘lukewarm’, Christianity is dying away in America.

    Moreover, I am very happy about the fact that liberal, lukewarm, Christianity is dying!

    Liberal Christians, such as the crowd over at Biologos that champion “Theistic Evolution”, have compromised their faith so much that they have ended up defending Darwinian atheists whilst attacking Intelligent Design and/or anyone else who dares actually believe that God may have created life on earth.

    Moreover, it might surprise some to learn that Charles Darwin himself was not trained in science or in math, (or in any other field that might be considered useful to the founding of an entirely new branch of science), but was instead trained in ‘liberal’ Anglican theology.

    Religious views of Charles Darwin
    Excerpt: Charles Darwin had a non-conformist Unitarian background, but attended a Church of England school.[1] With the aim of becoming a clergyman he went to the University of Cambridge for the required BA degree, which included studies of Anglican theology.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Charles_Darwin

    Since Darwin’s book ‘Origin of Species’, besides being bad science, is also rife with bad liberal theology, it is also not surprising to learn that the liberal ‘unscientific’ Anglican clergy of Darwin’s day were very eager to jump on the Darwinian bandwagon from the beginning, whilst the ‘scientific’ Church of England clergy shunned it:

    “Religious views were mixed, with the Church of England scientific establishment reacting against the book, while liberal Anglicans strongly supported Darwin’s natural selection as an instrument of God’s design.”
    per wikipedia

    As mentioned previously, Darwin’s book “Origin” is mainly a liberal theological treatise rather than a scientific book

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):
    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    Charles Darwin’s use of theology in the Origin of Species – STEPHEN DILLEY
    Abstract
    This essay examines Darwin’s positiva (or positive) use of theology in the first edition of the Origin of Species in three steps. First, the essay analyses the Origin’s theological language about God’s accessibility, honesty, methods of creating, relationship to natural laws and lack of responsibility for natural suffering; the essay contends that Darwin utilized positiva theology in order to help justify (and inform) descent with modification and to attack special creation. Second, the essay offers critical analysis of this theology, drawing in part on Darwin’s mature ruminations to suggest that, from an epistemic point of view, the Origin’s positiva theology manifests several internal tensions. Finally, the essay reflects on the relative epistemic importance of positiva theology in the Origin’s overall case for evolution. The essay concludes that this theology served as a handmaiden and accomplice to Darwin’s science.
    http://journals.cambridge.org/.....741100032X

    To this day, since the scientific evidence contradicts Darwin’s theory at every turn, Darwinists are still very much dependent on bad liberal theology in order to try to make their case:

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    podcast – Paul Nelson on Methodological Naturalism and the Big New Theistic Evolution Anthology – January 31, 2018
    https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/intelligentdesign/episodes/2018-01-31T12_43_00-08_00

    Darwinists, with their vital dependence on bad liberal theology, instead of any compelling scientific evidence in order to try to make their case for Darwinian evolution are, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.

    “In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”
    Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

    And again, since liberal Christianity is what gave us Darwin’s horrid theory in the first place, I am very happy that liberal, lukewarm, Christianity is dying in America whilst conservative Christianity is growing.

    Verse:

    Revelation 3:16
    ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

  48. 48
    R J Sawyer says:

    BA77

    And again, since liberal Christianity is what gave us Darwin’s horrid theory in the first place, I am very happy that liberal, lukewarm, Christianity is dying in America whilst conservative Christianity is growing.

    That paper clearly shows that religious belief is declining (call it liberal christianity if you prefer), but it does not show that conservative christianity is growing. It just shows that conservative (fundamentalist) christianity is persisting at the same percentage of the population. However, what is happening is that the percentage of conservative christians is increasing relative that the total number of christians.

  49. 49
    Andre says:

    RJ

    Be so kind and enlighten us about what this fundamentalism is all about? Give it your best shot.

    Liberal values is an oxymoron to start off with because it literally means many standards.

    Many standards don’t really work for human beings.

    Over to you RJ woo us with your brilliance.

  50. 50
    bornagain77 says:

    “Call it liberal christianity if you prefer”

    HMMM, The paper itself calls the declining group “not strong affiliation”.

    That certainly sounds like lukewarm, liberal, Christians to me.

    My paper in post 47 backed up my hunch.

    By the way, my church is growing and thriving with packed services every Sunday.

    And the pastors and congregation certainly literally believe “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb.”

    His victory over death was certainly NOT a metaphor or whatever else crap that liberal theologians try to call it nowadays.

    But the question remains, why do you defend the abject failure of atheism as a worldview, as outlined in the article in the OP, by trying to belittle Christianity?

    To call such a move on your part disingenuous would be to put it too mildly.

    As stated previously, “R J Sawyer, the proper way to respond to the undeniable fact, highlighted in the OP, that Atheism is an absolutely horrid form of government that produces unimaginable horror (for its people), is to honestly admit that atheism is a false worldview that cannot possibly ground morality.

    It is not for you to try to belittle Christianity by any which way you can.

    Your knee jerk reaction to attack Christianity whenever Atheism is shown, without reservation, to be a false worldview, far from showing you to be a reasonable, rational, person reveals your ulterior motive against Christianity.

    In short, you are a atheistic troll who could care less for the truth (and only care to attack Christianity)

    Sooner or later the admins will grow tired of your games and you will be banned (once again). (My bet is sooner rather than later)

  51. 51
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andre

    Be so kind and enlighten us about what this fundamentalism is all about? Give it your best shot.

    By “fundamentalist” I just mean those who who have a strict unwavering interpretation of their religious texts. I don’t like the term “conservative” with respect to religion because you can be an ardent believer in Jesus without being a fiscal or social conservative.

  52. 52
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 11

    as to Seversky’s claim

    “Atheists are free to adopt any moral or ethical system they choose, including Christian.”

    Thus you, by default, are admitting that atheism cannot ground morality within itself. i.e. Atheism is amoral.

    Of course it is. So is relativity theory or quantum mechanics. They are claims about the nature of reality. You cannot derive moral principles from any of them.

    And yet you find it necessary to adopt a system of morality.

    Of course. The stability of any human society depends on having an agreed set of principles or guidelines to regulate how people behave towards one another.

    Why not stay true to the amorality inherent within your atheistic worldview since you hold your worldview to be true?

    There are any number of worldviews that are consistent with atheism although I should say I find the whole notion of a worldview suspect. Usually it’s more like just another way of stereotyping people into vaguely-defined groups like ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive’.

    So Seversky, since they are staying true to the amorality inherent within their atheism, and you are not staying true to it, who are you to tell them that they were wrong to kill tens of millions of their fellow citizens?

    I can make my judgements about morality just like anyone else can. I just can’t claim God’s authority for them. But since I find no good reason to think He exists, that’s irrelevant.

  53. 53
    Seversky says:

    anthropic @ 14

    “Without God, everything is permitted.”
    Dostoevsky

    Prescient…

    Trite. Everything is permitted by who?

  54. 54
    EDTA says:

    Divorce rates may or may not be declining; it varies by cohort. But our (U.S.) least Christian era (1940’s – present) has the highest divorce rates of any era.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/23/144-years-of-marriage-and-divorce-in-the-united-states-in-one-chart/?utm_term=.58025e7b38e5&noredirect=on

    It depends a lot on what divorce rate you use too (per capita, per married women, what?). Since marriage rates are falling, one would expect fewer divorces per capita.
    The Baby Boomers are also messing with the stats here, by divorcing at unprecedented rates:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319694303_Marriage_Cohabitation_and_Divorce_in_Later_Life
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-failing-marriage-is-about-to-make-the-retirement-crisis-worse-2017-03-13

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if marriages today aren’t of slightly higher quality because those choosing the institution have to really want it (as opposed to entering it unthinkingly or because it was expected of you).

  55. 55
    EDTA says:

    Seversky @ 53,

    >Everything is permitted by who?

    Perhaps he meant permitted by the absence of an authority. But ask Dostoevsky what he meant: Supposedly he once wrote, “Now assume there is no God or immortality of the soul. Now tell me, why should I live righteously and do good deeds if I am to die entirely on earth?…And if that is so, why shouldn’t I (as long as I can rely on my cleverness and agility to avoid being caught by the law) cut another man’s throat , rob, and steal…”

  56. 56
    Seversky says:

    hgp @ 15

    Hello!

    Hi!

    Atheists are free to adopt any moral or ethical system they choose..

    I don’t know whether you see what you said here. If atheists can adopt any ethical system, then they can adopt ANY(!) ethical system even the system described above that the NKVD torturers adopted. Since they don’T acknowledge any objective standard, they don’t have any objective measure to judge ethical systems from each other.

    That’s right. Now, if there is no objective morality somehow baked into the fabric of the Universe and there is no God to dispense moral commandments, how do we set about constructing a set of moral guidelines that works for all of us? If God did it, according to Christianity, why can’t we?

    What they can claim is to have chosen or worked out such a system for themselves

    While I admit that atheists can claim this, this doesn’t necessarily means that this is so. In a world where atheists can adopt ANY ethical system, some adopt systems that let them manipulate, force or pressure their peers into adopting a moral system convenient for the manipulator and pressurer. Others will be manipulated or forced into adopting a moral system that is just convenient for someone else with greater intelligence or force while claiming that they made their own choice

    Shouldn’t one of the purposes of any moral code be to protect the life, heath and rights of all members of a society from being violated by the worst impulses of the few that are driven to act on them?

    They only difference is that they cannot – and would not – cite God as the ultimate authority for that system.

    But they can. They only have to adopt an ethical system that allows them to cite wrong foundations for their ethical system. It might not be that simple to find real world examples that convince you, since you would categorize those people as believers based on their proclamations. But you must (should;o) admit, that this is at least possible.

    It’s possible. People are able to hold all sorts of inconsistent, even contradictory, beliefs without apparently being troubled by any sense of cognitive dissonance.

    They do not rely on God to tell them what is right or wrong

    Exactly that’s the problem. The basic difference between atheist and God-based ethical systems is not that believers claim to be too stupid to judge right from wrong. The main difference is, that in God-based system it is acknowledged that there exists an external objective standard for right and wrong. And while the believer (hopefully) admits that he has only an imperfect grasp of this standard, he can make his own imperfect judgements based on his imperfect grasp of this external standard.

    To an atheist that just sounds like an attempt to annex the moral high ground by planting God on it. In what way are God’s moral judgements any more objective than those of any other individual?

    OTOH atheists can’t have external objective ethical standards. No standard can be objective for him and every external standard (say by the society) can be (privately or publicly, as the case may be) overridden by the atheist. So the atheist can base his moral judgements on anything. And if they base their judgement relies on what is good for the communist party, who can contradict them (without perishing in the GULAG)?

    Yes, in the absence of any objective standards for morality, each and every one of us can dream up our own. The problem is that moral standards, by definition, are intended to regulate how all members of a society behave towards one another so they must apply to all. This leads to a dilemma, either one morality is imposed on all by force or, somehow, members of a society reach an agreement on a code which is acceptable to all and by which all can abide voluntarily. Neither is without its problems but which, on balance, is the better approach?

  57. 57
    Andre says:

    RJ

    So you think fundamentalism is a strict interpretation of the text? Can you be more specific?

    Who are you kidding here?

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    BA77: Atheism is amoral.

    Sev: Of course it is. So is relativity theory or quantum mechanics. They are claims about the nature of reality. You cannot derive moral principles from any of them.

    Relativity theory and quantum mechanics both support Christian Theism not atheism and as such point to morality not amorality.

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    As to:

    BA77: And yet you find it necessary to adopt a system of morality.

    Sev: Of course. The stability of any human society depends on having an agreed set of principles or guidelines to regulate how people behave towards one another.

    Agreement on moral principles to guide a society is impossible with someone who holds morality to be illusory.

    As the article in the OP clearly highlighted, holding amorality to be real and morality to be illusory leads to a severely degrading effect on a society where a once moral society drifts further and further away from its moral foundations into the complete chaos of amorality, i.e. might makes right, survival of the fittest, (Soviet Union, Communist China, etc.. etc..).

    As to:

    BA77: Why not stay true to the amorality inherent within your atheistic worldview since you hold your worldview to be true?

    Sev: There are any number of worldviews that are consistent with atheism although I should say I find the whole notion of a worldview suspect. Usually it’s more like just another way of stereotyping people into vaguely-defined groups like ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive’.

    No worldview that holds morality to be real is consistent with the amorality inherent within atheism.

    Just as Christianity shapes the way I view the world, your atheism, no matter how much you may try to deny it, shapes how you view the world, hence the term worldview.

    Moreover, the worldview that Atheism ultimately produces in people, where any true Meaning, Value, or Purpose for our lives disappears, besides being a false worldview, is an extremely depressing world view that has pronounced negative effects on the mental and physical health of people

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives
    Excerpt: As Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”,,, “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life;,,”
    – Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUxBSbFhog

    As to:

    BA77: So Seversky, since they are staying true to the amorality inherent within their atheism, and you are not staying true to it, who are you to tell them that they were wrong to kill tens of millions of their fellow citizens?

    Sev: I can make my judgements about morality just like anyone else can. I just can’t claim God’s authority for them. But since I find no good reason to think He exists, that’s irrelevant.

    So you admit that you can’t tell Stalin and Mao that it was wrong to kill tens of millions of their fellow citizens?

    Your basically admitting that your atheistic worldview is worse than useless as a form of government.

    Verse:

    Isaiah 9:7
    Of the increase of His government and peace
    There will be no end,
    Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
    To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
    From that time forward, even forever.
    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

  59. 59
    R J Sawyer says:

    EDTA

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if marriages today aren’t of slightly higher quality because those choosing the institution have to really want it (as opposed to entering it unthinkingly or because it was expected of you).

    I suspect that your right. At one time it was expected that if the girl got pregnant the couple would get married. Not exactly the firmest footing to start a marriage on. As well, couples are getting married at a later age. Being more mature and more experienced tends to result in better decisions.

  60. 60
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andre

    So you think fundamentalism is a strict interpretation of the text? Can you be more specific?

    Who are you kidding here?

    I am not placing any moral judgement on the term “fundamentalism”. I just think that labeling people who have very strongly held religious beliefs as conservative Christians is misleading and excludes an entire group of people who have very strong Christian beliefs but who would not fall into the category of social conservatives. The paper that Bob linked to uses the phrase “Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion“.

    What I mean when I use the term “fundamentalism” is the same as those defined by different sources:

    :A movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.

    :The belief that the traditional principles of a religion or set of beliefs should be maintained.

  61. 61
    Andre says:

    RJ

    You are not answering my question in any way. I did not ask for your opinion neither did I ask you for any definition. I will ask again.

    So you think fundamentalism is a strict interpretation of the text?

  62. 62
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andre@61. My apologies. I thought that I had answered your question. All I can tell you is how I am using the term. I see fundamentalists as people who have a strict and unwavering interpretation of their religious texts. For example, people who take the bible as literal truth and persist in this belief are, in my opinion, fundamentalists. As are people who have a different interpretation of the bible but are consistent and persistent in this interpretation. People who’s interpretations of their religious texts change over time I would not consider to be fundamentalists.

    Please note that I have not made any claim about how they apply these beliefs or live their lives.

  63. 63
    Andre says:

    RJ

    I see so this only applies to Christians? A strict interpretation of the origin of the species is exempt of fundamentalism then?

  64. 64
    random.dent says:

    I am not placing any moral judgement on the term “fundamentalism”. I just think that labeling people who have very strongly held religious beliefs as conservative Christians is misleading and excludes an entire group of people who have very strong Christian beliefs but who would not fall into the category of social conservatives.

    The most religious girlfriend I ever had reads the bible every night. She is also a 100% committed communist, describing herself as “to the left of Karl Marx”. She focuses more on the “Help everyone else as much as you possibly can” stuff and less on the “Self-righteously condemn others” stuff.

  65. 65
    random.dent says:

    The traditional value systems are yielding to better ones. Slavery was acceptable traditionally. Then segregation. Bob Jones Sr. said if you were against segregation you were against Almighty God. Traditionally it was acceptable to beat your wife some amount, beat your kids, call people racial epithets, attack gay people, etc.

    The value systems of the West improved quite a bit lately over more Traditional ones.

  66. 66
    random.dent says:

    Growing up in charleston many decades ago, black people knew not to be outside their community after sundown.

    I would not go back to that traditional value system. It sucked.

  67. 67
    ET says:

    Growing up in charleston many decades ago, black people knew not to be outside their community after sundown.

    Today they know not to be outside in their own community after sundown.

  68. 68
    random.dent says:

    Crime in Charleston has been going down for like 20 years. Time was, there were two places black folk were allowed to be in the charleston area–far north charleston, and a smaller area in the west. Getting caught outside those two areas at night meant a beating or worse. That was the traditional value system in that area. Things are better now with the newer values.

  69. 69
    EugeneS says:

    I doubt there is anything to say on this topic after Dostoevsky, who gave a comprehensive analysis of atheism from the point of view of an ex-atheist and ex-terrorist. According to him, if there is no God, everything is permitted. “Having denounced Christ for once, human mind can achieve awful things. It is an axiom”.

  70. 70
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andre

    I see so this only applies to Christians?

    No. It would apply to the strict and unwavering interpretation of any text that purports to provide instruction on how best to lead your life. I don’t see that it is limited to Christianity or religion.

    A strict interpretation of the origin of the species is exempt of fundamentalism then?

    Aside from the fact that nobody treats The Origin of Species as an inerrant document, it does not make any attempts to instruct us on how to lead our lives or set rules for us. However, if anyone interpreted the text to that end, and was unwavering in that interpretation, then I think it would be fair to call that person a fundamentalist.

  71. 71
    PaoloV says:

    EugeneS @69:

    Beyond excellent!!!

    Thanks!!!

  72. 72
    daveS says:

    if there is no God, everything is permitted

    I suppose this depends on what we mean by “is permitted”.

    If there is no God, is 1 + 1 permitted to equal 3?

  73. 73
    Seversky says:

    EugeneS @ 69

    I doubt there is anything to say on this topic after Dostoevsky, who gave a comprehensive analysis of atheism from the point of view of an ex-atheist and ex-terrorist. According to him, if there is no God, everything is permitted. “Having denounced Christ for once, human mind can achieve awful things. It is an axiom”.

    If there is no God then everything is neither permitted nor forbidden because there is no one to do the permitting or the denying. Or is there?

    Having delivered himself of this somewhat gloomy pronouncement, what does Dostoevsky have to offer, apart from throwing his hands up in despair? After all, God may not be there but we still are. What are we supposed to do, wait for the apocalypse to hit, get drunk? Any ideas?

  74. 74
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 58

    Relativity theory and quantum mechanics both support Christian Theism not atheism and as such point to morality not amorality.

    No, they don’t.

    Agreement on moral principles to guide a society is impossible with someone who holds morality to be illusory.

    Moral principles are neither real nor illusory since they are not claims about what is but rather are prescriptions for how humans should behave towards one another. That is something people could reach agreement on.

    As the article in the OP clearly highlighted, holding amorality to be real and morality to be illusory leads to a severely degrading effect on a society where a once moral society drifts further and further away from its moral foundations into the complete chaos of amorality, i.e. might makes right, survival of the fittest, (Soviet Union, Communist China, etc.. etc..).

    So we agree morality is essential for a stable society? The question is, who gets to decide what is moral? And why?

    The problem is that, while God is big on handing down moral commandments for us all to obey, He’s not exactly forthcoming about the rationales behind His edicts. I don’t remember any lengthy expositions of His thinking behind these rules and He certainly didn’t circulate any consultation documents for us to consider before finalizing His positions. Of course, Christians have no problem with this. In their view, God is the biggest, most powerful and most knowledgeable being there is, so anything He says must be right. In other words, it’s the biggest example of might making right that there is.

    No worldview that holds morality to be real is consistent with the amorality inherent within atheism.

    Just as Christianity shapes the way I view the world, your atheism, no matter how much you may try to deny it, shapes how you view the world, hence the term worldview.

    I’m not denying anything. But we both see the same world, the same people, the same trees, the same stars in the sky. Where we differ is in the accounts we accept as explanations for it all.

    Moreover, the worldview that Atheism ultimately produces in people, where any true Meaning, Value, or Purpose for our lives disappears, besides being a false worldview, is an extremely depressing world view that has pronounced negative effects on the mental and physical health of people

    I recognize that the idea of us being adrift in a meaningless Universe is a terrifying prospect for many, to the point where they will happily cling to the straw of their lives having meaning because (they hope) they are fulfilling some inscrutable purpose in the mind on another being.

    So you admit that you can’t tell Stalin and Mao that it was wrong to kill tens of millions of their fellow citizens?

    Of course I could have told Stalin and Mao why I think it was wrong of them to kill millions of their fellow citizens. Just as I could have told God why I would have thought it wrong to wipe out almost all life on Earth just because it displeased Him. Not that any of them would have paid me much attention, I’m thinking.

    Your basically admitting that your atheistic worldview is worse than useless as a form of government

    Atheism is not about government but just about whether or not you believe there is a god.

  75. 75
    PaoloV says:

    Seversky,

    The permitting has to do with an individual person joyfully surrendering to God’s will, in complete adoration, remembering God’s amazing grace.
    God requires from us to respect the dignity of all people.
    Those who love God will gladly try to please Him.
    Another famous Russian writer comes to mind:
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

  76. 76
    Andre says:

    RJ

    Really? So social Darwinism and it’s proponents that take the text literally are not fundamentalists in any way? Are you denying that there is such a thing as social darwinism?

  77. 77
    bornagain77 says:

    In post 74 Seversky states:

    BA77: Relativity theory and quantum mechanics both support Christian Theism not atheism and as such point to morality not amorality.

    Sev: No, they don’t.

    You do realize that, especially in science, you have to provide evidence for your claim?

    I provided evidence for my claim:

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    You provided no evidence for your denial of my claim.

    Moreover, the existence of mathematics itself argues for Theism not atheism.

    Specifically, Mathematics itself exists in a transcendent, beyond space and time, realm which is not reducible any possible material explanation. This transcendent mathematical realm has been referred to as a Platonic mathematical world.

    Platonic mathematical world – image
    https://image.slidesharecdn.com/quantuminformation2-120301000431-phpapp01/95/quantum-information-14-728.jpg?cb=1330561190

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”? It seems a stretch. What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    Simply put, Mathematics itself, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, does not need the physical world in order to exist. And yet Darwinists, although they deny that anything beyond the material realm and/or ‘nature’ exists, need this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order for their theory to be considered scientific in the first place. The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the reality of this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order to be considered scientific, should be the very definition of ‘scientifically self-refuting’.

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    As David Berlinski states in the following article,“There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time…. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.”

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Moreover, Einstein who discovered relativity theory, and Eugene Wigner who won a Nobel for his work in Quantum Mechanics, and who’s insights into quantum mechanics continue to drive breakthroughs in that field,,,

    Eugene Wigner – A Gedanken Pioneer of the Second Quantum Revolution – Anton Zeilinger – Sept. 2014
    Conclusion
    It would be fascinating to know Eugene Wigner’s reaction to the fact that the gedanken experiments he discussed (in 1963 and 1970) have not only become reality, but building on his gedanken experiments, new ideas have developed which on the one hand probe the foundations of quantum mechanics even deeper, and which on the other hand also provide the foundations to the new field of quantum information technology. All these experiments pay homage to the great insight Wigner expressed in developing these gedanken experiments and in his analyses of the foundations of quantum mechanics,
    http://epjwoc.epj.org/articles....._01010.pdf

    ,,, Einstein and Wigner are both on record as to regarding it as an epistemological ‘miracle’ that mathematics is even applicable to the universe in the first place.

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein – Letter to Solovine

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Thus Seversky. despite your evidence free denial, the applicability of mathematics itself firmly belongs in the camp of Theism not atheism.

    Moreover, with the recent closing of the ‘free will loophole’ in quantum mechanics, and quantum mechanics itself now demanding that the Agent causality of God, (and of people), be let back into physics, just as the Christian founders of physics originally envisioned, I am more confident than ever that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides empirical evidence, via the Shroud of Turin, for the ‘correct’ “Theory of Everything”, i.e. the unification of Quantum Theory and General Relativity into a coherent “Theory of Everything”

    (Sept. 2018) Qualia, “The Experience of ‘The Now'”, Free Will, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ’s Resurrection From The Dead As The “Theory Of Everything”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/is-there-an-atheist-value-system-at-odds-with-traditional-ones/#comment-665517

    Seversky the rest of your post deals with the morality of Theism conflicting with the amorality of atheism,,, and is even more directly contradicted by evidence, specifically contradicted by personal experiential evidence, than your first claim was.

    Instead of going point by point refuting your evidence free, farcical, reply, I will just cite my reference once again since you did not even address the evidence therein,

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives
    Excerpt: As Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”,,, “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life;,,”
    – Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUxBSbFhog

    Verse:

    Isaiah 9:7
    Of the increase of His government and peace
    There will be no end,
    Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
    To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
    From that time forward, even forever.
    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

  78. 78
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    If there is no God then everything is neither permitted nor forbidden because there is no one to do the permitting or the denying.

    Total nonsense from a nonsensical atheist.

  79. 79
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andre

    Really? So social Darwinism and it’s proponents that take the text literally are not fundamentalists in any way? Are you denying that there is such a thing as social darwinism?

    At 70 I said that if anyone interpreted Origin of Species as an instruction on how to lead our lives, and did so persistently and unwaveringly , that I would consider them fundamentalists.

  80. 80
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Where we differ is in the accounts we accept as explanations for it all.

    Right, you don’t have any viable explanations for what we see.

  81. 81
    EricMH says:

    An atheist value system justifies organ harvesting of Falun Gong:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Falun_Gong#Rationale

    That Falun Gong, whose belief system represented a revival of traditional Chinese religion, was being practiced by a large number of Communist Party members and members of the military was seen as particularly disturbing to Jiang Zemin. “Jiang accepts the threat of Falun Gong as an ideological one: spiritual beliefs against militant atheism and historical materialism. He [wished] to purge the government and the military of such beliefs”.

  82. 82
    EugeneS says:

    Seversky

    “Any ideas?”

    Yes! Theosis.

    You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

    That is the only aim that is worth pursuing. Everything else is insignificant compared to this.

  83. 83
    Andre says:

    RJ

    Remember that the next time you single out Christians.

  84. 84
    R J Sawyer says:

    Andre

    Remember that the next time you single out Christians.

    I’m a little confused. Where in this thread did I centre out Christians? My only mention of Christianity was in direct response to someone else commenting about Christianity. And it certainly wasn’t in a negative fashion.

  85. 85
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 (77 @77)@ 77

    BA77: Relativity theory and quantum mechanics both support Christian Theism not atheism and as such point to morality not amorality.

    Sev: No, they don’t.

    You do realize that, especially in science, you have to provide evidence for your claim?

    I am not making a claim. I’m saying that, in this case, for me, you have not met the burden of providing compelling evidence to support your claim.

    I provided evidence for my claim:

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    I watched a little over half of the video. For example, I saw references to the ontological status of numbers and higher domain constructs in mathematics or the extra domains that are either implied by – or required to account for – observed quantum phenomena. At no point did those works state – or their authors claim – that there is irresistible evidence that one of these domains is ‘extra-natural’ and the home of the Christian God.

    My impression is that you are cherry-picking passages from published science or, more often, popular accounts of published science and quotes from researchers which can be construed, at a stretch, as being supportive of your religious beliefs – if you don’t look too closely.

    The problem with your approach is that if you use your religious beliefs as a litmus test for what is or isn’t acceptable science you are going to exclude a lot of provocative and stimulating ideas. They may not be the whole truth in themselves but they may be leading us in the right direction.

    If you want a more interesting video discussing some of these ideas you could do worse than start here

    Simply put, Mathematics itself, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, does not need the physical world in order to exist. And yet Darwinists, although they deny that anything beyond the material realm and/or ‘nature’ exists, need this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order for their theory to be considered scientific in the first place. The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the reality of this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order to be considered scientific, should be the very definition of ‘scientifically self-refuting’.

    From one perspective, mathematics is a language we use to construct models of that we observe and of what we have not yet observed. A modeling language, like any other form of model, presupposes something to be modeled. If there is nothing to be modeled, what is the need or use of a model? It is the same philosophical impasse as the claim that reality does not exist unless we are looking at it. If there is nothing there until we look at it, then what is there to look at in the first place?

  86. 86
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states:

    I’m saying that, in this case, for me, you have not met the burden of providing compelling evidence to support your claim.

    As an atheistic materialist, there is no “me” for “you” to appeal to. If the reductive materialism of Darwinism were actually true, “you” are not a real person, but are merely a neuronal illusion of “your” brain. Moreover, the belief that “you” have valid opinions that are arrived at by reason and logic is also directly undermined in that “your” worldview also denies the reality of “your” free will. i.e. If atheistic materialism is actually true, and “you” have no free will, then “you” have no more control over “your” opinions than a leaf falling to the ground has over its trajectory.

    Seversky, assuming that “you” exist as a real person, and are not an illusion, “you” go on to state:

    I watched a little over half of the video. For example, I saw references to the ontological status of numbers and higher domain constructs in mathematics or the extra domains that are either implied by – or required to account for – observed quantum phenomena. At no point did those works state – or their authors claim – that there is irresistible evidence that one of these domains is ‘extra-natural’ and the home of the Christian God.

    While not directly endorsing Christianity, both Einstein and Wigner, as was pointed out in post 77, are on record as to regarding it as a “miracle” that mathematics is applicable to the universe.

    FYI, “miracles” are not compatible with your atheism!

    And again, with the recent closing of the ‘free will loophole’ in quantum mechanics, and quantum mechanics itself now demanding that the Agent causality of God, (and of people), be let back into physics, just as the Christian founders of physics originally envisioned, I am more confident than ever that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides empirical evidence, via the Shroud of Turin, for the ‘correct’ “Theory of Everything”, i.e. the unification of Quantum Theory and General Relativity into a coherent “Theory of Everything”

    (Sept. 2018) Qualia, “The Experience of ‘The Now’”, Free Will, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ’s Resurrection From The Dead As The “Theory Of Everything”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/is-there-an-atheist-value-system-at-odds-with-traditional-ones/#comment-665517

    Seversky, “you”, if “you” really exist as a real person, go on to accuse me of “cherry-picking”, “construing” and “stretching” evidence so as give the false impression that it supports Christianity.

    Far from it. The irreconcilability of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into a “theory of everything” is very well known and is certainly not an imaginary problem that I invented just so as to support Christianity.

    Moreover, the closing of the “free will-loophole” in Quantum Mechanics, and the restoration of Agent Causality “back” into modern physics as was originally envisioned by the Christian founders of modern physics, is also certainly not something that I “cherry picked”, “construed” or “stretched” to support Christianity.

    It is the state of the evidence, PERIOD, that supports what Christianity presupposes! No “cherry picking”, “construing” or “stretching” whatsoever is needed to to fit what the Christian would a priorily presuppose about the overall structure of the universe.

    Seversky, “you” end “your” post, again assuming that “you” really exist as a real person, with some back and forth musing over ‘mathematical modeling” of the universe.

    In “your” supposed rebuttal of my position “you” assume that the “something to be modeled” is materialistic in its nature.

    That materialistic assumption on “your” part is certainly not warranted. Advances in Quantum Mechanics have now shown that the “something to be modeled” is information theoretic in its foundational basis, not materialistic in its basis as “you”, again assuming “you” are real, had falsely assumed.

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: “In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum mechanics
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw
    49:28 mark: “This is now my personal opinion OK. Because we cannot operationally separate the two. Whenever we talk about reality, we think about reality, we are really handling information. The two are not separable. So maybe now, this is speculative here, maybe the two are the same? Or maybe information constitutive to the universe. This reminds me of the beginning the bible of St. John which starts with “In the Beginning was the Word”.,,,

    etc.. etc..

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

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