Saturday, July 23, 2011


This is the maiden voyage for me. I have been encouraged many times and by many different people to begin a blog, but have hitherto failed to do so. The question may come up, "Why another blog about God? Has not everything which can be said already been said, and said better?" Perhaps. But as each new generation matures, it processes what has been said by others before it. It embeds old ideas in new contexts. There are as many ways to think about God as there are people to do the thinking, and I see no reason not to think about it myself, and to subsequently post those thoughts.

I think it will be prudent to elucidate any relevant information about myself. I am a Christian theist. I am currently 25 years old. I earned a bachelor's degree in English writing from a Christian university, which teaches from a Christian perspective. Until now, philosophy has been merely an interest. I have posted somewhat extensively on blogs hosted by atheists, most notably John Loftus' blog and Richard Dawkins' public forums. The danger in so doing is, as I find out, that those posting in such forums can shut down the conversation by simply attacking the integrity or intelligence of the theist. Increasingly I have found my own position to be pitted against "science." This usually takes this form: science tells us X, therefore you are wrong/irrational. And I find these sorts of replies to generally be non-sequiturs. Unfortunately many Christians tend to respond by questioning whether science really does tell us X, and in so doing, they implicitly give their assent to the assumption of the challenge, that science makes theism obsolete. I will generally prefer to challenge the atheist assumption, thereby showing that the irrationality of theism does not follow. For instance, it is often implied that evolution does some of the work of falsifying theism, especially Christian theism. This claim seems identical to the claim that evolution does some of the work of establishing atheism. And the response of many Christians to this challenge is to feel as though they need to in some way undermine evolutionary theory. I'll leave it to those with more expertise in biological, geological, and cosmological matters to resolve the factual status of scientific theories. My approach will be challenge inference/deduction itself.

Some have contended that this is a presuppositional approach. While I do not deny a strong resemblance to presuppositional apologetics, and I do not deny the formative influence that presuppositional thinking has had one me, I would want to differentiate my approach from that normally called presuppositional. I am not, for instance, claiming that atheists have no basis for objective truth, including mathematical truths. No matter the merits of this claim, I find that it frustrates atheists more than enlightening them. After all, why would a theist agree to a dialogue or debate with an atheist unless he presumed there was some kind of common or neutral ground they shared, and reasoning from which they could each in principle come to agree with the other?

But on the other hand it seems to me that what is called "evidential apologetics" seems somewhat misplaced as well. After all, the theist and the atheist are likely to differently interpret the evidence. Atheists, especially of the ilk of the so called "new atheists" are likely to see theism itself as a willful commitment rather than a rationally held belief based on evidence. Theists are likely to reciprocate. As such I do not think it wise to underplay the force of personal factors in shaping belief. I will not deny that I have strong personal reasons for believing Christianity to be true. I am not, nor is anyone, a logic-machine, and personal factors always aid the formation of belief. They influence not only the beliefs we accept but the beliefs we reject. On many occasions in the relatively few years I have been a Christian, I have gone to great lengths to formulate arguments for the truth of theism, or for the falsehood of atheism only to be told that I am only a Christian because I am prone to superstition, or am gullible, or brainwashed, or uneducated, etc... I do not believe these labels to be accurate, and moreover, in the context of an offered argument for the truth of theism, they are red herrings. Aside from not enjoying these types of responses, I find them profoundly unhelpful, and as per the golden rule, I wish to avoid offering these responses to atheists.

So the purpose of this blog is to fairly articulate, to the best of my ability, what good reasons there might be to accept theism, and what good reasons to reject atheism. It will regularly diverge into peripheral issues, for instance whether theism is on the whole rational, but an attempt will be made to directly relate it to the core of this blog. This will be my endeavor. Bon Voyage.

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