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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Debate on Atheism

I learned this from an email discussion list where I am a "lurker:"

When ABC ran a story in January about hundreds of atheists video-taping themselves blaspheming the Holy Spirit, Ray contacted the network and told them he could prove God’s existence, absolutely, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible or faith. He said that he and Kirk would like to challenge the two originators of the “Blasphemy Challenge” to a debate on the existence of God. ABC loved the idea. The debate will be filmed for Nightline in New York City, and will be streamed LIVE on their website on May 5, 2007.

As you probably know, Ray has credentials for this debate as the author of God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, a speaker at Yale on the subject of atheism, and a platform speaker at the 2001 American Atheists Inc. annual convention. And Kirk, possibly the most highly respected ex-atheist in Hollywood, is the perfect choice to address the unscientific nature of Darwinian evolution.

Please keep this event in your prayers. We couldn't be more excited about the opportunity!


It's taken from the latest, Way of the Master Newsletter.

Sounds interesting, and I hope the best for the guys as they do this debate, but I was a tad disturbed by this comment:

Ray contacted the network and told them he could prove God’s existence, absolutely, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible or faith.

How exactly does Ray plan to prove the existence of a supernatural being with the use of natural means alone? Proving God's existence scientifically? "Scientifically" implies the use of measurements, weights, observation. How does one exactly "measure" God?

I am sure the idea is Ray plans to present lines of evidence that "proves" God exists, but that presupposes the skeptical atheist will acknowledge the verifiability and authority of his evidence. The problem, however, is no atheist will acknowledge this sort of evidence in favor of theism. In fact, they deny the reality of it and invent fanciful excuses to explain it away.

Additionally, why is Ray attempting to prove to a group of atheists something the Bible affirms they already know to be true, that God exists? What Ray needs to do is confront their inconsistent living and behavior, i.e., living life as if their is a God setting moral rules and laws of rationality, juxtaposed to their philosophical world-view of materialistic naturalism which excludes morals and rationality.

By setting the terms of the debate along the lines of proving God exists apart from a entire, comprehensive Christian world-view, I am fearful Ray is going to find himself in a spot of trouble if these atheists are shrewed. We'll have to see.

By the way,

As I have been checking my site meter stats, I have been noticing links from the chat community from Ray's, School of Biblical Evangelism directing folks to check out articles I have written. The last link I noticed directs folks to my post I wrote earlier this week addressing the use of Chick tracts. I can't follow the links to the sources because I have to be a paying, registered user of the site to view the forums. If anyone has access to those forums, I would be curious in knowing what people are saying about me, if anything.

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6 Comments:

Blogger thomas4881 said...

Hi, I'm a user of the forum at way of the master. I have posted some of your articles for some KJV ONLYIST at the site. Mostly I don't believe many read your articles fully. I say that because when discussing later they say something that you already refuted or explained. I did post your articles on music from your blog because that became a hot topic. I always used your name and blog site for reference. Hopefully they will take advantage of the sound information you often provide.

Also, as for Ray I know what he means. Ray is going to prove that they know God exsist by the created things. I've seen him use that tactic before. Ray will say that a painting has a painter and a building has a builder. Ray will say to deny that is irrational. He might use the banana demonstration too.

1:30 PM, April 18, 2007  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

I think pastors can join the school for free too. Check it out at www.wayofthemaster.com

1:32 PM, April 18, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey Thomas, thanks for the info. Feel free to pass along this post as well. Hopefully it will get read by Ray or Kirk.

I know that the links I mentioned didn't come to any of my KJV only articles. The one that gets the most links is my article addressing street evangelism or what I termed "hit and run evangelism." The title of the forum post is something like "blah, blah, blah" which implies to me the person doesn't necessarily care for what I wrote.

Also, you wrote,

Also, as for Ray I know what he means. Ray is going to prove that they know God exsist by the created things. I've seen him use that tactic before. Ray will say that a painting has a painter and a building has a builder. Ray will say to deny that is irrational. He might use the banana demonstration too.

This is just a classic, evidentialist argument. I agree with what is proposed in principle, but as compelling arguments against atheists, these types of design and evidence proofs are subject to the unbeliever's fallen mind.

What appears to be an obvious proof for God's existence (and may well be) for the Christian does not hold the same weight or authority for the atheist, and thus he dismisses it. My hope is that Ray recognizes the fact that the issue with atheism is not a lack of evidence, but heart issues. As long as the atheist remains in rebellion against the Lord, he will never be convinced by evidence.

Fred

5:54 AM, April 19, 2007  
Blogger Kyle said...

I agree with and support the tactic that is being described. Psalm 19 and Romans 1 both teach that God has revealed himself thru the created order. Therefore, if it is not possible to present evidence for the existance of God via such evidence, that alone (since Scripture teaches that it IS possible to develop this argument with reference to the created world only) would be sufficient to constitute prima facie evidence that both Christianity and Judiasm are false religions.

6:05 AM, April 22, 2007  
Blogger troypulk said...

Hello Fred,

You said:
"The issue with atheism is not a lack of evidence, but heart issues"

That is exactly the point, I have watched Ray in one of his Atheism debates and he does not use science to try and convince them that GOD is real.

What he does is in the same way as when he witnesses to a non-believer, he is trying to appeal to their conscience.
He does that by using the "painting has a painter and a building has a builder and the banana was made for our hands by a designer" method.

I think he believes that GOD will change their hearts only if they are convicted and this can only happen through their conscience and not by their human logic.

Troy

12:36 AM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Kyle,
I am not sure what you mean with your concluding sentence. Are you suggesting that if we don't use evidence, Christianity can be proven wrong?

Evidence is only good in that it condemns the sinner as being accountable before God. Evidence alone is not self-defining and authoritative. The unbeliever will always find a way to explain away the evidence and to shape it for his own purposes. The big example of this tactic is unbelievers suggesting an alien intelligence placed life here on earth in order to explain away the ID evidence.

Any presentation of evidence has to be done in the context of a Christian worldview, that being, the special revelation of scripture interpreting the general revelation of evidence.

Troy,

Ray's specific challenge was to demonstrate proof of God without the Bible and with the use of scientific evidence alone. I believe in his excitement, he ignorantly hurt his cause.

Listen, I generally like Ray and Kirk (Kirk attends my church), but this sort of boasting is naive and hurtful to their overall cause of evangelism and it would be wise of them to reconsider their approach in these matters.

Fred

7:25 AM, April 23, 2007  

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