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Atheist’s Opinion – Again the Wager

Atheist Experience 30-03-2008i

This wager thingy was still on my mind when I came across a YouTube channel called the ‘Atheist Experience.’ This channel is already running 13 years, so you could say that these guys are pretty experienced in them being atheistic and all.

One of the faces of this channel is mister Matt Dillahunty, please forgive me if I mispronounce his name. Somewhere in 2008 they tackled the Wager of Blaise Pascal. I think it will be fun and educational to skip through this video and see whether Dillahunty has some good points or not.

I am going to use this video not to ‘destroy’ these guys, but more to see if we, as Christians, can learn something. And to learn something you need to be prepared to get your feet dirty, right?

00:30 – 00:50

So yes, Pascal’s Wager basically says that if the believer loses, he has lost nothing. But if the Atheist loses, he ends up in misery. But, now mister Matt Dillahunty is switching very quickly to the idea that the Wager directly talks about the Christian versus the Atheist. I’ll grant him that Pascal might have had the Christian world – view in mind, but he never framed it like that.

00:50 – 00:59

Okay, now mister Dillahunty says, and with him most Atheists, that it is a false dichotomy fallacy. That means that you only get two options to choose from, while there might be more. Dillahunty backs his statement by naming possible religions who all have their own hells and heavens. If you look at it this way, you might say that the Bet isn’t as simple as ‘either your for us or against us.’ Now, we as Christians know of course that Jesus gave us this two – fold idea. Your either for Jesus or against Him, Matthew 12:30.

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

So, what would happen if we changed the Wager slightly and say: Either the supernatural world exists or not. That would include the possibility of other religions. But now we do not have the guarantee of a nice outcome if such a world exists. This is because we all of a sudden need to know what would happen after death. In Christianity the outcome seems to be a bit more straightforward, at least for the Christian.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father […]

John 20:29

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

This is why I prefer not to use the Wager too quickly. And when I use it, I normally do this after I gave all the other arguments in favour of the Biblical God. You need to make sure that someone’s thought – process tells him that, if the supernatural world exists, the God of the Bible must be the most logical explanation. As soon as someone accepts the idea that the Biblical God as the best explanation, you can give him or her the Wager.

01:00 – 01:16

If the believer loses the bet, he loses nothing. And of course Dillahunty corrects this statement. However, he tackles this in a way I don’t agree on. You see, as a Christian I would say that following Christ should cost me my entire life. Jesus said that we have to give up our lives in order to follow Him.

Luke 9:23 – 25

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

As far as that concerned I do agree with Dillahunty, but! Yes, there is a big but! Dillahunty is referring to believing, worship, and spending money. He says that all those endeavours are wasted if God doesn’t exist. Now, this is ludicrous of course. I am a bit surprised that he actually uses these example because I think he should know better. There are so many studies that actually point out that worshipping makes a person feel happier than his non – worshipping counterpart.ii

But also, many Christians give money to good organisations. In history, Christians build hospitals and the played a huge role in abolishing slavery. Nowadays, Christians are spending time and money in many countries where living conditions are really poor. Most Christians do that because they want to obey the Lord in loving their neighbours. And honestly, helping out in poor countries does come with a price. Mostly, the people who go to these countries do not come back rich. And please, do not come after me with examples of those hypocrites who put all the money in their own pockets… We, sincere Christians, hate that just as much as you do.

Anyway, I wouldn’t see these altruistic actions as wasted. Mister Dillahunty should be aware that he only has the freedom he enjoys because believers established these laws a long time ago. And they did it because they loved the Lord God as commanded in both the Old and New Testament.

Luke 10:27

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

You also might like to read an article I have written about this: Why Mission Matters – Seen From a Secular Viewpoint.iii

01:16 – 01:30

Okay, I’ve al ready gone through that right? First try to show that the Biblical God is the most logical explanation before you move on.

01:30 – 01:41

Well, this was rather predictable. Many Atheists say this. As I al ready said in the previous video, Atheists like to treat ‘belief’ as a talent. Some have the talent to believe while others do not. Like the tennis players at Wimbleton. These people have a real talent to hit that ball while I can’t even hit it one out of ten. I am not talented like there are.

But I truly believe that we can’t say this about believing in God. Now, I am a bit lazy so I’ll just show you what I said in the last video:

As said, Pascal wasn’t very fond about the traditional form of apologetics. He knew full well that many un – believers just don’t want to believe in a higher being.

Romans 1:18 – 20

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

This idea is known in the philosophical world as Doxastic Voluntarism and says that people choose their own beliefs. People have a certain amount of control over what they believe,

Pascal did not come up with this idea to enlighten to so – called intelligent people. No, he basically wanted to give a reason to believe without first having to dig through all sorts of arguments.

If you are unable to believe, it is because of your passions since reason impels you to believe and yet you cannot do so. Concentrate then not on convincing yourself by multiplying proofs of God’s existence but by diminishing your passions. You want to find faith, and you do not know the road. You want to be cured of unbelief, and you ask for the remedy: learn from those who were once bound like you and who now wager all they have.

01:41 – 01:51

He right! God isn’t silly. He knows full well what’s going on in the heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 – 10

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart […]

This is why the Wager isn’t meant to be the end station but rather a starting point. How can you investigate something if you don’t want to believe it in the first place. You’ll first have to start believing that the thing you are exploring is there to be explored.

01:51 – 02:12

Yes, I know that this man wants to debate all sorts of topics. And he is pretty good at it as well! Nevertheless, cutting the conversation because someone brings up the Wager is a bit weird. Up until now he brought many objections against the Wager, some of which I agree, some a bit off – track and some I would label as silly. Don’t cut someone off like that! It can be seen as an offer of weakness. But even more, you can just tell people you’re not going to answer. That’s okay!

But, here is a little thought buzzing through my mind. Can it be that Atheists hate this argument because their conscience is nagging about it?

Again, the anecdote that Peter Kreeft gave:

An atheist visited the great rabbi and philosopher Martin Buber and demanded that Buber prove the existence of God to him. Buber refused, and the atheist got up to leave in anger. As he left, Buber called after him, “But can you be sure there is no God?” That atheist wrote, forty years later, “I am still an atheist. But Buber’s question has haunted me every day of my life.” The Wager has just that haunting power.iv

That was Fun!

Well, that was fun! Interesting to here the arguments as given by Dillahunty. Throughout the years these arguments seem not to have changed much. Some arguments are valid, some are silly and some are wrong.

The trouble with programs like the ‘Atheist Experience’ is, in my opinion ,that the arguments follow up on each other in such a high pace that it becomes rather tedious to provide answers, or even to respond to them all. You’ll find that in everyday conversations as well. Someone starts with one question and your not even halfway answering, and they launch the next objection or question. Most of the time this means that the person you’re talking to isn’t really open to discuss the matter.

O well, this was my take on the objection as given by many Atheists. I am very curious about your ideas. Let me know in the comments below. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video. This platform which based on a protocol called LBRY. Videos that are uploaded through the LBRY protocol are censorship free.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!



Footnotes:

i https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9WRG4e taken from: The Atheist Experience 546 with Matt Dillahunty and Russell Glasser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEk8ZD0LntE

ii https://www.huffpost.com/entry/church-attendance-happy-pew-research-center_n_5c545b34e4b0bdf0e7daac7f

iii Why Mission Matters – Seen From a Secular Point of View:
https://www.apologeet.nl/en/faq/010_why-mission/

iv Peter Kreeft, The Argument from Pascal’s Wager, Texas A&M Veritas Forum – 1995, [internet] https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm, accessed 14-04-2022.

Pascal’s Wager

You Wanna Bet on it?

My kids love to climb trees. Overall, I’m okay with that, but I normally give them one very important but simple rule: You are not allowed to fall out! And whatta you know… They tend to break that one simple rule every time.

One day, one of them came running home and in a rather panicky voice he told me that his brother fell out of a very high tree. He told me that his brother was just lying on the ground and didn’t move. Now, I know that they sometimes have the tendency to exaggerate a bit. But what did I do? Exactly, I told my boy to show me the way and we both ran to his brother. I couldn’t take the change of him lying there and not getting proper help. When I arrived, I was relieved to see him smile and trying to climb again.

I took the change of going there for no good reason and loosing some time. Or maybe there was something wrong, and I could help him. But, imagine I didn’t go and found out later that he was hurt big time. That would have been a really dumb decision. No reasonable person can be or ever is in doubt in such cases. You just check up on your child!

What is the Wager?

Deciding whether to believe in God is a case like my example, argues Pascal. Blaise Pascal was a 17th century mathematician and philosophe. Pascal’s Wager or bet, is the most known part of his collection of notes known as the Pensées. With the Wager, Pascal tried to provide a compelling reason to believe in God based upon happiness and possible outcomes.

Pascal believed that God’s existence can’t be known without the Bible. He said that

if there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible […] We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is

and that

reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us […] According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.i

You might say that he didn’t really promoted apologetics based on evidence. Pascal was more the type of guy who wanted to stress the gains of belief.

The Wager basically say that if you bet on the existence of God, and He doesn’t exist, you’ve lost nothing. You could have lived your life in happiness, thinking you would go to heaven. But, if you bet on atheism, and it turned out God does exist, you’re in a pickle. The atheist also could have lived his life in happiness but that would end with the existence of God. So, what bet would be the most save one? Right, to bet on God.

Wanna Bet on it?

Many think that the Wager is a very poor argument to believe in God. Pascal, who himself was a very critical philosopher, thought it to be one of the strongest.

And honestly? I don’t think it is a good apologetical argument at all. But neither did Pascal. This Wager isn’t based on any evidence whatsoever. Many sceptics, atheists and the like hate this argument. They despise it as one of the dumbest things there is. Why is that you ask? Well, simply because many, Christians included, don’t understand why Pascal came up with this idea.

As said, Pascal wasn’t very fond about the traditional form of apologetics. He knew full well that many un-believers just don’t want to believe in a higher being.

Romans 1:18-20

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

This idea is known in the philosophical world as Doxastic Voluntarism and says that people choose their own beliefs. People have a certain amount of control over what they believe,

Pascal did not come up with this idea to enlighten to so-called intelligent people. No, he basically wanted to give a reason to believe without first having to dig through all sorts of arguments.

If you are unable to believe, it is because of your passions since reason impels you to believe and yet you cannot do so. Concentrate then not on convincing yourself by multiplying proofs of God’s existence but by diminishing your passions. You want to find faith, and you do not know the road. You want to be cured of unbelief, and you ask for the remedy: learn from those who were once bound like you and who now wager all they have.

Some atheists say that they just can’t believe. In other words, they think that ‘believing’ is something like a talent. Just like a professional football player who has that talent which not many have. You believe my words or not; you believe you are watching this video or not. It is a choice you can make. And I agree with Pascal, believing is an act.

And sure enough, just starting to believe or to admit that God exists is a good beginning to investigate more. If someone at least decided to believe that God is real he might be open for more. He might decide to finally listen and have faith.

Romans 10:17

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Agnosticism

Pascal did something very interesting with this argument. He actually showed the foolishness of agnosticism. Agnostics say they cannot know whether God exists or not. They tend to be very sceptical and do not want to commit themselves to reason. No, they think we shouldn’t bet at all but Pascal answers this by telling them that they have no choice, you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Embarked in what? In life. We are no spectators who are sitting in the stands of the stadium, watching all those poor earthlings struggling through life. No, everybody plays along, everybody needs to choose.

The agnostic view is totally unreasonable, because they too will one day face the reality of death. Simply saying that you don’t know what happens after death is one thing, but to leave the incident unquestioned is something the Bible would classify as foolishness.

Atheism

Agnosticism is an unreasonable and even an impossible viewpoint of life. Either God exists or He does not. This leaves us with only two viewpoints. Namely, atheism and theism. And as said, betting on the non-existence of God is a really dumb decision. Blaise said:

You have two things to lose: the true and the good; and two things to stake: your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to avoid: error and wretchedness. Since you must necessarily choose, your reason is no more affronted by choosing one rather than the other. That is one point cleared up. But your happiness? Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win, you win everything: if you lose, you lose nothing. Do not hesitate then: wager that he does exist.

Problems

Reason

I do not agree with Pascal’s idea that reason cannot help us decide whether God exists. Again Romans 1:19-20

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

Also, Jesus’ disciples used reason to preach the Gospel. Paul is known for his style of evangelising. He reasoned and argued with everyone who wanted to.

Acts 17:2

[In Thessalonica, Paul,] as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Peter even calls on us to give an answer to every man that asks you about your faith.

1 Peter 3:15

but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

Salvation

Another thing I have difficulty with, is the idea that those who bet on God are the lucky ones if He does exist—those waged on Him will enjoy unlimited happiness.

Pascal said:

If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.

James 2:19 says that belief in God is not automatically evidence of salvation and a right relationship with Him.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Many religions believe in the existence of God, and there are also many secular people who will tell you that they believe that there must be a God. Still the Bible is crystal clear that everlasting life can only come by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and accepting His gift of salvation that comes from His death and resurrection. In other words, the Bible clearly says that we need to believe in God to begin with, but that we also need to accept His Son as Lord and Saviour.

But, to be fair on Pascal, I am not sure he meant to say that believing in God was enough. It might well be that he assumed that someone who believes also will take the next step by accepting Christ.

Concluding

I could go on talking about all the problems that can be found in the Wager. And trust me, there are many who have done that already. I might do a video on just that. Just about all the problems and objections that have been raised by un-believers.

But for now, I think it is enough to say that the Wager isn’t all bad. Peter Kreeft ended his article with the following anecdote:

An atheist visited the great rabbi and philosopher Martin Buber and demanded that Buber prove the existence of God to him. Buber refused, and the atheist got up to leave in anger. As he left, Buber called after him, “But can you be sure there is no God?” That atheist wrote, forty years later, “I am still an atheist. But Buber’s question has haunted me every day of my life.” The Wager has just that haunting power.ii

Well, that is just it, isn’t it? Many will just walk around, acting very content with them being atheistic, but in the meantime there is this irritating feeling of ‘what if?’

The Wager can also be very handy for us as Christians. I know there are some of you who never seem to have any trouble believing what you believe, but there are Christians who struggle so now and then. Sometimes good arguments just aren’t good enough. Sometimes the overwhelming evil in this world shakes your trust. And sometimes you just keep on doing dumb things, and you struggle to do the right thing. It makes you wonder… Is it all worth it? Then the Wager can be of a great help. Is it all worth it? Well, if God exists, definitely! If God doesn’t exist… Oh well, you will not even notice it by the time you die.

What do you think, are there any benefits or objections to the Wager? Let me know in the comment section of this video below! Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video. This platform which based on a protocol called LBRY. Videos that are uploaded through the LBRY protocol are censorship free.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!


Footnotes

i Blaise Pascal, Pensées, (1623-1662), Trotter, W.F. (Trans.), Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Grand Rapids, MI, [internet] http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pascal/pensees.html, accessed 13-04-2022, pp. 38-39.

ii Peter Kreeft, The Argument from Pascal’s Wager, Texas A&M Veritas Forum – 1995, [internet] https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm, accessed 14-04-2022.

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Refuting Deism… (is it beneficial?)

A bit overdue but, better late than never. Last year, Brett send me a question about Deism. He said:

In the Deistic model, a world with a God or a world without a God look the exact same. If God is a non-interventionist [in other words: When God is not intervening with the world], then there is no reason to believe He exists at all.

Though we shouldn’t anthropomorphize [humanise] God, I find it very hard to believe that a divine being who created time, space, and the universe would no longer care for His creation after He created it.
I would appreciate your thoughts on the topic. Do you know any other arguments against such a belief system?

Thanks, Brett

Introduction

Deists believe in the existence of a God who is not personally involved in the things that happen in the universe or in the lives of people. Classical Deism states that God made everything perfect and as such nothing needs His personal intervention or attention. Deists go further by believing that, because God doesn’t interact with his creation, He doesn’t interact with people either. Meaning that all religious revelation is a human made construction and as such inevitably false.

Also, the fact that there is evil in the world, is being used to prove their point that God isn’t personal like the God Christians believe in. They say that the God of the Bible is being proposed to be loving and powerful, but in their view this contradicts the idea of evil. The Christian God should have prevented evil from coming into existence. But, since there is evil, they say, God is not all-loving and all-powerful. Leaving us with an impersonal distant god, who is limited by the laws of physics.

Reason to believe or not…

Okay, let’s start with Brett’s first point. If God doesn’t interact with us, if He doesn’t really care what we do, nope, than we do not have a reason to believe. However, this is only true when we are absolutely sure about the first statement, namely that God doesn’t care.

The deist already accepts the existence of god, so we do not have to go into that topic. You see, they pride themselves on their power to reason and their idea that their ideas are grounded purely on empirical facts. Although that sounds noble and smart, it is in fact a lack of insight. They flippantly assume that God does not interact with his created world and by doing so they just moved to a theological discipline called philosophy. Their philosophical premise has no footing in their beloved empirical facts. I have done a video on the common consent argument.i This argument shows that although it is theoretically possible that millions of Christians are deceived in this belief, it doesn’t seem likely.

Now, I would throw in Pascal’s wager! I wouldn’t bet on not believing. You see, if I already accepted the idea of the existence of God, and I would say that you can’t really know Him, I wouldn’t take my own ideas for granted. If God never revealed Himself to the world, there is no way to say whether you are safe in your position as an un-believer. God might have decided He would hold you accountable anyway.

Not Logical

Brett’s second remark is in my opinion spot on. He is right, we should make God into our own image like the Greek did with their gods. No, we are created in His image, not the other way around. But, in that sense we could reflect on God’s character. Why would He go through so much trouble of making everything and then step aside and not even paying attention.

I have friends who can paint pretty well. Afterwards they enjoy their creation, and rightly so. They look at it, and sometimes they add a little here and a little there to perfect their work. The only time when a painter doesn’t want to see the painting is when the painter is very unsatisfied, disappointed or angry. But Deism says that God created everything perfectly. So why should he turn from His work? That’s just not very logical.

Pudding Head

Okay, in the first two points I followed the arguments Brett made, now I’ll add some of my own ideas about why I believe Deism is ultimately flawed. The first thing that comes to my mind is the question about how smart the Deistic god is.

Deists believe that their god is restricted by the laws of the universe. But how can this be? I mean, the creator of the world must be very smart right? Einstein was an intelligent man, but no way he could have created such a complex reality as the universe. Still, Einstein could always adjust his calculations if he wanted to. Why? Because he wrote them down, and he could have changed his own writing. Now, that may have resulted in faulty formulas, but the point is that he was never a captive of his own writings. But the deist believes that god captured himself in his own creation.

Why would god make a universe in which he was unable to participate? Is the Deistic god really such a pudding head? That can’t be! He is intelligent enough to create everything. Such an intelligent being wouldn’t forget to bring the key along!

Cruel

But, okay, maybe god doesn’t want to intervene because he just enjoys watching the world go around. When I was a child I had an aquarium. I used it to watch insects. I looked at them for hours. How fascinating to see the spider try to defend herself against the ants, who in turn were in a constant state of war with other insects. My childish behaviour sound very much like the behaviour of the Deistic god. Is he watching his creation killing each other without care? In that case I prefer the Biblical God, the theistic God who has a purpose for evil.

First of all, let me be clear. I do not believe that the Biblical God is the cause of evil. James 1 verse 13-15 says:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” [for temptation does not originate from God, but from our own flaws]; for God cannot be tempted by [what is] evil, and He Himself tempts no one.

Now let me give you an example of how God uses evil thing for the better. In Acts 16:25-26 we read that there was an earthquake that caused the prison doors to open and the bonds around each prisoner to fall off. Mostly, earthquakes are no fun! They can cause loss of life and a lot of damage. That is evil right, and we mostly think that God caused the earthquake. However, it might just be that, an earthquake, just like the storm on the lake when Jesus was in the boat. Things like that happen, but God used this natural disaster to bring the Philippian jailer and his whole family to faith in Christ (Acts 16:27-34). Our God can even use natural disasters to bring about His eternal purpose.

Morality

If Deism is true, morality would be relative since the Deistic god doesn’t reveal anything. Morality would be subject to our own thinking. What is good for me isn’t necessarily good for you.

But this can’t be right because we know that there are absolutes within morality. Ask an atheist hard and long enough, and they all admit that there must be some standards to which we measure our moral ideas. I have made two videos on this topic which you might want to watch.i

Reason

Okay, now I’m going to use a little bit of the apologetic technic called, presuppositionalism. This technic basically states that only the Christian world-view can account for logic, morality, science, induction, and consciousness itself. No other world-view is coherent enough to do so. The presupposition is that the God of the Bible is true, and we cannot argue around this truth.

Deists hold their theological perspective based on reason, the complexity and apparent design of the universe, and that God is by definition incomprehensible and unknowable. But, in the biblical world-view we believe that all wisdom and all knowledge has to start with God. Have you ever witnessed animals who reason with each other like we, humans, do? No, of course not. Animals are not created in God’s image.

Deism is man-centered because there is no revelation of God or His divine will and cannot provide good reason because human reasoning is ultimately flawed. The biblical God designed and programmed us with an innate knowledge of all sorts of facts about Himself.

Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse […]

Every time we come to a conclusion about anything at all, we do so in faith that the God, who made us, wired us correctly, and that the world He created cannot possibly contradict itself, because God cannot create things that cannot be created.

This is a huge problem for deists. They simply state that God cannot be known. But how do they know anything about God at all, and how can their ideas be justified using logic that God is not involved in the world? In order for humans to be able to ‘know’ things, we must base our thinking on God’s pre-programming of us. Everything we truly ‘know’, therefore, is based on God’s providing us with an informational basis.

To be short, if God doesn’t exist or doesn’t care about our well-being—and indeed, many deists believe that He put evolution into action and withdrew from the scene after that—than we are not pre-programmed to do anything logical. All our action, thoughts and behaviour would be accidental, even when they appear to be pre-programmed. In a Deistic world we would not have any rational justification.

Problem of Arguing Against Deism

Good, although I like to think of more reason of why Deism can’t be right, I would like to shift the focus a little more on affirmation. What do I mean?

Well, why would we argue against Deism? Deism simply says that a supreme being created everything, and that this can be seen using reason and watching at the natural world alone. Deism thus claims that there is no need for either faith or organised religion.

Christianity is, what we call, a revealed religion which says that God is real, and He has revealed himself primarily through His Son Jesus Christ, and also through the scriptures. In a sense theism is a subset to a large degree of Deism and in turn Christianity is a subset of Theism. I mean that without revelation you have Deism to start with. But because we believe God revealed Himself we jump to the theistic group and in this group we accept the revelation of Jesus Christ, and we become Christian.

John 1:18

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Arguing against Deism might prove not to be very beneficial since it seems it is almost like arguing against the existence of God. I know we try to ‘prove’ that God is much more than that what the deists claim Him to be, but we are walking on a very thin line here. I believe it would be better to argue in favour of Jesus Christ and Christian faith as most reflective of reality.

If you absolutely refute Deism you risk moving outside of theism and into agnosticism and/or atheism. I think it would be better to see what Deism and Christianity have in common and then tackle those issues where Christianity claims more than Deism does.

We need to tell people about Jesus. Getting to know Jesus would mean they would get to know the Father because

Colossians 1:15-17

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Outro

So, what do you think about Deism? Are there any other arguments against or maybe you have good argument for the idea of Deism! Share your thoughts in the comment section of my Odysee channel. You could also leave a comment on my BitChute or YouTube (meh) channels, but since I am not very active there you most likely won’t receive a reply.

You’ll find ways to support me in the description of this video, or you could visit my website and read the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

I would like to invite you to follow me on my Odysee channel. This platform which based on a protocol called LBRY, which in turn is build upon blockchain technology. LBRY is a decentralised protocol, community driven and open source—meaning there is not just one company trying to force their ideas on you, without you being able to contribute whatsoever.

Video that are uploaded through the LBRY protocol are censorship free. If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

Anyways! Enough for today. As always, thank you for watching, God bless you and we see each other in the next video!



Endnotes:

i Argument from Common Consent Made Simple: https://www.apologeet.nl/en/studies/common-consent-argument-made-simple/

ii Moral Argument Made Simple: https://www.apologeet.nl/en/studies/moral-argument-made-simple/
The Argument from Conscience Made Simple: https://www.apologeet.nl/en/studies/argument-from-conscience-made-simple/

The Common Consent Argument Made Simple

In the last video, and the videos before I asked you whether you have any topics you would like me to discuss. So far, I have several. One of you want to talk about deism and why it is or isn’t a flawed idea. And Nortega came up with also a good topic. He said:

If you can, would you mind explaining why we should use our (bodily or spiritual) capacities for the ends to which they are ordered? […] To my knowledge, the notion of ‘ordered’ in the sense in which I am using it derives from Thomistic and (originally) Aristotelian philosophy. So when something is ordered, we could say it is ‘meant for’ something, or that this is its ‘reason for existence’ (raison d’être).

It might not surprise you that I have to do some big thinking here… Why is it that people, who seem to be way smarter than I, ask me these question. Oh well, it’s my own fault, so I’ll take on the challenge.

But first let me do one more on apologetic arguments made simple. Here we go!

The Argument

This argument is in some ways similar to the argument from religious experience. It argues that:

  1. Belief in God—that Being to whom reverence and worship are properly due—is common to almost all people of every era and every culture.

  2. Either the vast majority of people throughout history have been terribly wrong about this most fundamental element of their lives, or they have not.

  3. It is most plausible to believe that they have not.

  4. Therefore, it is most plausible to believe that God in fact does exist.

Normally most will just admit that religious belief is far-flung throughout the whole of our history. But does this unchallenged reality add-up to the evidence in favour of the truth of these religious claims? Many sceptics just admit that the testimony we have are very impressive: The vast majority of humans have believed in a God or some kind of higher power. A being to whom the proper response could only be reverence and worship. Normally nobody will say that these feelings of awe, and the urge to worship, and the sacrifices people have brought for their faith, are fake. I mean, no right-minded person would argue that a martyr died for something he or she didn’t even believe in. So their faith was sincere. But if God does not exist, then these things have never ever, made any sense, right? All these people, and we’re not talking about one or two, have been diluted by believing that what they did made any sense. Is it really plausible to believe that? Can it really be that we—the enlightened generation—are so much smarter. That is akin towards pride, yes even to arrogance.

Natural

The urge and the mental ability to worship and adore, and to think about the concept of a higher being seems to ingrained in our nature. Moreover, it does look like that almost all have the longing to fulfil this so-called emptiness in our own being. It is interesting to see for instance that even atheists seem to have the urge to do something with these empty feelings. They organise atheist church, they organise and big rallies in which they encourage each-other to hold on to the one true believe… that there is no super-natural realm… Oh well.

Everyone was Deceived (except I)

But hey! I am a nice guy, so let give our atheistic friends the benefit of doubt. Let’s argue like they do, and say that those millions who all said to have found the Holy One who is worthy of veneration and worship, yes all those millions were actually deceived, lying or even mentally ill. Would this be an intellectual honest position? Would it be likely?

If you think about it, it seems to me that those who argue, that all these people, all these believers throughout the ages, were in some way a bit crazy, dumb, or even dishonest. It seems to me that they are the ones who have the actual problem they try to mirror on others.

Let’s Throw in some Fallacies

But now the smart atheist will jump to the rescue of fellow, slightly less smart atheists. The smart atheist will shout that I just committed the appeal to the people fallacy (also called ‘appeal to the majority’). Just because a significant population of people believe a proposition is true, doesn’t automatically make it true. But let’s consider this. We are not talking about a fixed moment in time. These millions are not living at this moment, but they testified about their faith throughout all ages. They have always been the majority and their concept has never really changed much. We are not talking about medical insights or cosmological insight. Yes, more often than not, the appeal to the majority fallacy popped up in these disciplines. Why should you wash your hands? The majority of doctors think it has no use, so who are you to state something else. But this is a different situation, isn’t it? In the example of the doctors, we are talking about highly educated people who refuse to think outside the box.

With the belief in a higher being we have seen that the awareness has been around so long and among such different groups, that we can safely assume that there has been many ‘outside the box thinkers’ among them. Still, the majority firmly believed in a higher being. Some of them formulated their beliefs in very complicated ideas, while others just believed. But also, if God doesn’t exist, what is it that believers have been feeling or experienced? Their experience goes further than any other example of collective error, like that of the aforementioned example of the doctors. We are not just talking about a group of people who hold to a faulty theory—no,this group actually experienced something way deeper than just a theoretical concept.

Many who believe and have believed in God say that it is like having a relationship with a real person. But if God never existed, neither did this relationship. They were answering with worship and love to nothing at all; and there would be nothing to receive and answer their worship and questions. It’s like the poor child in the slums who truly believes he lives in a castle with golden door knobs.

Stating that all these people, from very highly educated to the lowest of the lowest, were deluded is like a blind person who denies the existence of the sun.

And if you want to throw in a fallacy, you could even say that these sceptics and atheist themselves commit a logical fallacy, namely the ‘snob appeal.’ This fallacy is really an appeal to everybody’s natural urges to distinguish themselves from all the rest. It is an appeal to your inner snob.

You see, real intelligent people have to be atheistic…

And we all heard this example:

You believe in Jesus? You gotta be joking!

Using snob appeal to turn someone from Christ. The implication is that you are a lesser person because you believe in Jesus.

It is Evolutionary!

Some non-believers will explain the argument of ‘common consent’ away with evolutionary ideas. This line of reasoning always makes me laugh a little. It gives away what I already argued, even atheists have an urge to fill the gap. They do it with extraordinary faith in naturalistic ideas. They often start their stories like this:

One of the skills that helped Homo succeed was imagination—an ability you can use now to picture how it developed. i

And since you now know how to use your ability to imagine, let’s do it shall we?

There is this ape-like creature, let’s call her Ida, hanging around and not paying attention to its surroundings. All of a sudden the bushes move. Ida isn’t paying much attention and all of a sudden a predator jumps out of the bushes and eats poor little Ida. Ida’s friends see this and develop a natural fear for moving bushes. Next time they see the bushes move they run, even if it is caused by the wind.

Now, millions of years later, this nervous attitude is still there. But now we have a human-like creature, name Lucy. She’s smart, and she wants to know why the bushes move so often without an actual predator. She examines the bushes and sees nothing. Lucy concludes that it was an invisible force that did it.

You see where this is going? Another million years later this invisible force is being pleased with sacrifices because nobody wants to get eaten by a predator. And voilà, a perfect explanation on how religion started… Really? So, the evolutionary process ingrained religion in our brains because else we might get eaten? And yes, we’re back at the snob appeal. The atheists know that we do not longer have to fear predators like Ida and Lucy faced. So because they now know better, they also know we are no longer in need of religion. And guess what! They are the ones who belong to this special group who have this knowledge. I always wonder why they advocate their viewpoint so loudly. Why would they want to give up their head start on the evolutionary ladder. That’s not really beneficial, is it? Okay, never mind. I leave the conclusions to you in the comment section.

Outro

Speaking of which. I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You can also comment on my videos on BitChute or YouTube, but I am not very active on those two channels so you most likely won’t receive a reply there.

Do take a look in the description of this video! You’ll find ways to support me, or you could visit my website and read the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

I would like to invite you to follow me on my Odysee channel. Odysee is a platform which based on a protocol called LBRY, which in turn is build upon blockchain technology. LBRY is a decentralised protocol, community driven and open source—meaning there is not just one company trying to force their ideas on you, without you being able to contribute whatsoever.

Video that are uploaded through the LBRY protocol are censorship free, unlike others. It would be great if you start following me there. IIf you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description. If you do, we will both receive some free LBC!

Anyways! Enough for today. As always, thank you for watching, God bless you and we see each other in the next video!

Sources

i Fuentes, A., How Did Belief Evolve?, [internet, 26-02-2020] https://www.sapiens.org/biology/religion-origins/, Sapiens, Wenner-Gren Foundation (accessed 17-03-2022).

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