Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jean-Paul Sartre Harbinger of the Defense of Reason

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)

The other day I was struck by an affront to my love of continental philosophy so grievous it must be avenged. Where else but that bastion of analytical philosophy would this occur but among my friends at Secular Outpost? This is no mere sectarian squabble among arcane academics, it has profound implications for theology and apologetic, The real real issue here is the mystification of knowledge through the illusion of technique, which analytical philosophy is bad about lending itself to, vs. a discursive understanding of issues that is accessible to people of all walks of intellectual life. Ryan M was making a point with which I basically agree. Certain figures such as Nietzsche and Sartre are no longer regarded as major voices of atheism in the atheist community or in American philosophy a (so say the Analytical types). Nevertheless, The stature of these thinkers must nevertheless be understood and respected, They still post challenges and offer valuable insights in spite of their lack of technical proficiency in analytical philosophy, This is not to deny the value of analytical philosophy which I do admire, or to cast aspersions upon Ryan or any of the crowd at SOP whom I also admire. I do think discursive reason is discounted and there is too much mystification of knowledge in the perpetuation of technical proficiency and it shows in the lack of attention to the concerns voiced by these overlooked figures.

This blog piece will focus on Sartre. It's not that I am so in awe of Sartre that I must defend him.I don't want to defend him, ultimately I disagree with his entire project. He was an atheist and I am a Christian. I do see his many flaws, Ryan M. is basically right when he says Sartre doesn't make good arguments, it's just that I'm not sure that makimng good arguments is the only point of philosophy. Nor am I sure that the inability to make good arguments means the guy's thought is not worth considering. This will not be the kind of thing I want to write. I want to show from his writings that good arguments can be drawn out even though he's wrong in his final conclusion. I don't have my books here where I am and I  can't reach them. If I had them I could find all the marked passages easily. I will instead just make a couple of quick observations.

The offending statement came in an article about mistakes theists and atheists often make in arguing about philosophy of reliogion:
Mistake 6 - [Falsely believing particular individuals are representative of the PoR at its best]- Atheists on this blog have probably encountered theists who will quote Nietzsche, Sarte, Camus, and others as representatives of the best arguments against theism. It is difficult to say Nietzsche, Sarte and Camus offered arguments at all, let alone arguments against theism. These people are not representative of modern atheism, nor any form of analytic atheism. More representative would be Graham Oppy, John Schellenberg, Jordan Howard Sobel, and other contemporary era philosophers. Likewise, Dinesh D' Souza, Josh McDowell, and Lee Strobel are not representative of the best arguments for theism. More representative would be Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, Alexander Pruss, Robin Collins, and other contemporary era philosophy.[1]
Even though Sartre is not taken seriously by new atheism or by analytical philosophers that is not to say that he has no fans. Sartre is still regarded as "arguably the best known philosopher of the twentieth century. His indefatigable pursuit of philosophical reflection, literary creativity and, in the second half of his life, active political commitment gained him worldwide renown, if not admiration...whose writings set the tone for intellectual life in the decade immediately following the Second World War."[2] He was dismissed by Foucault as "nineteenth century." This was for his commitment to enlightenment ideals of humanism, his Marxism,  and the individual which postmoderns came to identity with outmoded modernism.[3]
It is common practice for teachers in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition to be scathing about Sartre’s philosophy, dismissing it as woolly, jargon-laden, derivative, wrong-headed and so on – in Bryan Magee’s recent TV series ‘The Great Philosophers’, for instance, Sartre’s philosophy was declared to be only of passing interest. But even where Sartre’s philosophy is obviously flawed, as it certainly is in Existentialism and Humanism, it can fire the imagination and offer genuine insight into the human condition.[4]
I think part for the reason that atheists rejected him is because he had a conversion at they end of his life, he became the poster boy for Christian apologists seeking to show that their conception of atheist casual approach to morality didn't work. It's only Christian apologists who don't argue with atheists in person who think Sartre is still a "big gun" for atheists.

Nevertheless I still find reasons to admire him and to value his work. He did dedicates the second half of his life to working to improve the lot of the poor and marginalized. Even though he was a Marxist he stood up to Soviet Marxism and American imperialism equally. In an age where people want to be robots and can't understand the value of individualism he is one last light drawing thinkers to value the individual. He's the last bastion of enlightenment humanism, in an age gone wild for determinism and selling to anti-humanism. Sartre is one of  the last defenders manning the ramparts against the tide of what Robert Bloom calls "The war on Reason." Social psychologists in numerious studies pint to hundreds of unseen factors that control our behavior while those idolizing psychopathology chalk everything up to chemical determinism.[5] There's really no room left for the individual as a responsible agent in society.

I think it's basically true that Sartre doesn't argue. That seems to be more of a cultural thing, They were all trying to be Nietzsche who used his superior sensibilities as the ultimate proof of  veracity. Even though Sartre had German relatives (Albert Schweitzer was his cousin) he was after all French. Rather than argue vociferously Sartre cultivated a subtle approach based upon elaborate nuanced development of his themes and a literary style.  
Sartre's gifts of psychological description and analysis are widely recognized. What made him so successful a novelist and playwright contributed to the vivacity and force of his phenomenological “arguments” as well. His early studies of emotive and imaging consciousness in the late 1930s press the Husserlian principle of intentionality farther than their author seemed willing to go. For example, in The Psychology of Imagination (1940), Sartre argues that Husserl remains captive to the idealist principle of immanence (the object of consciousness lies within consciousness), despite his stated goal of combating idealism, when he seems to consider images as miniatures of the perceptual object reproduced or retained in the mind. On the contrary, Sartre argues, if one insists that all consciousness is intentional in nature, one must conclude that even so-called “images” are not objects “in the mind” but are ways of relating to items “in the world” in a properly imaginative manner, namely, by what he calls “derealizing” them or rendering them “present-absent.”[6]
One subtle as aspect of his thought is in his dictum from a work largely taken as a  manifesto (even though he declined that) "being proceeds essence." [7] 'Benjamin Studebaker follows up by arguing that Sartre's dictum must be wrong,  essence has to proceed being for there to be anything to be. Studebaker rightly points out that the phrase has to be taken somewhat metaphorically, Even so, as he also points out there are still problems. Essence: for Sartre doesn't mean God;s creative power, he was an atheist,It meant genetics and environmental influences. [8] Even so those factors must still be present even morose for a 21st century naturalist, with nothing other than those two factors to fall back on. Post humans have no spiritual essence that transcends the chemicals.

It is ironic many atheists encountering Sartre's ideas in connection with apologetic will say disagree with Sartre on the assumption that he says there is a universal meaning They will juxtapose their idea of private personal meaning against it, That's actually in agreement with Sartre. He is not saying there in some transcendent cosmic meaning he's saying life is meaningless and absurd but we make our own meaning. That really demonstrates the problem with Sartre, there has to be a kind of essence for us to be, but once we are then we make our own meaning and become more than we are. So really he should say being and essence are a dialectic that goes essence-- being-- synthesis (private manufactured essence). He is really saying we become more than the naturalistic essence are born with and are shaped when we learn to exert our self making freedom. 

Freedom is another issue that puts him  at odds with 21st century atheists. Most of the new atheists I've seen either on message boards or in print are  chemical deterministic and opposes free will. I've seen atheists   claim science disproves free will (it does not). For Sartre we are radically free, almost too free. So his notion of essence is really verging on the kind of first cause that is almost independent of nature.  I think he had an inkling of God  that finally came to fruition at the end of his life. Flynn comments on the value he still finds in Sartre's work:
Next, the recent revival of the understanding of philosophy as a “way of life” as distinct from an academic discipline focused on epistemology or more recently on the philosophy of language, while renewing an interest in Hellenistic ethics as well as in various forms of “spirituality,” can find in Sartrean existentialism forms of “care of the self” that invite fruitful conversation with contemporary ethics, aesthetics and politics without devolving into moralism, aestheticism or fanaticism. From a philosopher suspicious of moral recipes and focused on concrete, lived experience, this is perhaps as much as one could expect or desire.[9]
The profound consequences for Theology is that since most theology is written in the vain of continental philosophy and most is not written as analytical philosophy (not Christians who are analytical philosophers as doing theology ). Paul Tillich is a good example of someone who is very continental in way he wrote, he was of course German. It's just discursive reasoning, it uses logic no less than analytical philosophy for formal deductive argument. They are still reasoning even though they don't package it is the same. It;s more accessible.Even though theology has it;s own mystification of knowledge, still analytical philosophy while it is a great help in clarifying and making critical distinctions can also become a straight jacket and feed into the illusion of technique.


[2] Thomas,  Flynn,"Jean-Paul Sartre", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

[3] Ibid

[4] Nigel Warburton, "A student’s guide to Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism and Humanism,"
Philosophy Now: A Magazine of Ideas, (Dec 2016, Jan, 2017), online jouirnal

[5] Robert Bostrom, website, “Is there a God the Evidence For and Agaismt,”On-limn resource, URL: (accssed 9/21/16)
Yale University (Philosophy)

[6] Flynn Op Cit

[7] Jean-Paul Sartre,"Existentialism is a Humanism." PDF
Written: Lecture given in 1946
Source: Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, ed. Walter Kaufman, Meridian Publishing Company, 1989;
First Published: World Publishing Company in 1956;
Translator: Philip Mairet;
Copyright: reproduced under the “Fair Use” provisions;
HTML Markup: by Andy Blunden 1998; proofed and corrected February 2005.

[8] Benjamin Studebaker, "A Critique of Existentialism," Benjamin Studebaker: about Politics, Economics, International Relations, ect... (Sept 5, 2012)

[9] Flynn, op cit

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Let's play 20 questions only it;s 25 by Jeff Lowder

Knight plays chess with Death, from Ingmar 
Bergman's great film The Seventh Seal 

Jeff Lowder at the Secular Outpost has 25 questions for theists They are not intended to be tricks or rhetorical but to drive home his point about his probability argument,

Lowder says of his questions:
Many people incorrectly assumed that the list was supposed to function as a list of “gotcha!” questions. Even our own Keith Parsons commented, “Any Bible-believing Christian could easily answer these.” Sure enough, many did. It’s easy to invent “just-so,” ad hoc explanations for why, if God exists, God allowed some fact F to obtain. But that is of very little philosophical interest. (More on that in a moment.) But even more important, it misses the point....
Each question is a specific instance of a more generic ‘meta-question’: “Which explanatory hypothesis, naturalism or theism, is the best explanation?” For details, see “Basic Structure of My Evidential Arguments.” That page lays out the schema for all of my evidential arguments.
Lowder's major point is a huge probability argument in  which he shows over and over again in a variety of ways that reality is more easily explained by naturalism and thus it is more probable as an explanation.I contend that the argumemt, like the questions primarily reflect what Tillich calls the "surface level" being thus of course they reflect naturalism because he's not examining areas where supernature is an issue, Hopefully this will be seen in the answers I give. I will only do half the questions this time.

1. The question “Why is there something rather than nothing” presupposes “nothing” as being  the normal state of affairs. Why believe that? Why can’t we flip the question on its head? In other words, why can’t it be the case that the normal state of affairs is for things to actually exist and nothingness itself would be weird?  (HT: Thy Kingdom Come (Undone))

No it does not, the question does not assume nothing is normal it assumes it's the only alternative to being. I do not mean to offend you,I respect you as a thinker but that strikes me as suggesting you need to read Heidegger. Thet question was made famous by him it has a huge palemcest that is firmly rooted in Heideggerian fermentation. It is not intended to evoke God, Heidegger was an atheist. In fact he says Christians can't answer it because they have a ready jade answer, so the question is really like an ink blot,it just spurs thinking. Tillich moves on from Heidegger and expropriates the questions as a starting point but only in light of the Heiderrian history of the question. Modern apologists know nothing of these things most of the time,l thin k They should.

2. Given that the universe has a finite age, why did the universe begin with time rather than in time.

Time is based upon the rate of change in physical conditions,any physical condition constitutes a universe so you can't have time running prior to having something to change, thus a universe. I don't think that contradicts reactivity,I know matter warps space and creates time but that still makes time a function of space, or the universe. Thus time and matter must begin together. In relativity the four coordinates, time and three physical dimensions are all one thing they can't be separated thus space/time. Nothing in that formulation makes God less probable.

3. Why is so much of our universe intelligible without any appeal to supernatural agency? Why does the history of science contains numerous examples of naturalistic explanations replacing supernatural ones and no examples of supernatural explanations replacing naturalistic ones?

This is really two separate question. Because you are only looking at the bits that are on the surface, that's the natural it's empirical. This is what Tillich means when he links atheism with "surface level of being." You are only thinking of what you can see. If you want to deal with morality or meaning or anything below the surface then you do need SN. Don't forget my understanding of that term is different from yours. It has nothing to do with magic and does not necessarily involve miracles. It is synonymous with God consciousness.
4. Why is the physical universe so unimaginably large?

That's explained by FT argument. Evolution needs space. That question requires only knowledge of the surface so it's not necessarily a theist's question. Evolution includes the stars,m the universe as a whole, thus it needs lots of room.
5. If you believe that visual beauty is evidence of God, why isn’t the universe saturated with auditory, tactile, or other non-visual types of sensory beauty?

I don't know that I do believe that. But it is saturated with auditory and other kinds of beauty but you don't notice it unless you are blind. If you want to know the valid logical best version of the aesthetic argument read Has Urs Von Balthasar.
6. If you believe the universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life, why isn’t our universe teeming with life, including life much more impressive than human life?

Who says it's not? we have insufficient data for that assumption.

7. Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation? Do you have any answer that is independent of the scientific evidence for evolution?

You are making an anthropomorphic assumption  that God is so much like us that has to rationcentenate the decisions to create in such a way that we would appreciate it. How about he just chose evolution because it's the default from naturalistic creation. You are assuming God doesn't work like a principle but has to say "I am God I shall create stuff." Canadian theologian John Macquarrie has a phrase "being let's be" to describe God's creative process that more of a manager for creative principles. I think God actively engages with consciousness but since he's working on a higher level of consciousness we would not understand it.
We might theorize a reason we can understand. It would deal with my view my theory I call "soeteriological drama." God wants a neutral world where his existence is not a dead giveaway so we have to seek truth and thus internalize the values of the good, Read more.

8Why would God desire to create embodied moral agents, as opposed to unembodied minds (such as souls, spirits, or ghosts)? Why is the human mind dependent on the physical brain?

That is also answered by the link above to bacteriological drama, If we were pure spirit  beings (pure mind) we would have no doubt of God and we woudl not seek truth and thus internalize the values of the good. 
The answers are hiding in plain sight, We can find them but we have to look,We have to want them, That may sound like a game of cat and mouse but I don't it ism, i think it's necessary to internalize values of the good.
This question makes me think of one of my favorite Twilight Zone's. The most philosophical of the show. A solider, a clown ,some others are trapped in a room with no doors or windows, They have no memory of being who they are. Turns out they are toys in a toy box at Christmas. We find ourselves here in this life we have no idea why we are here they answer could be so radically different we can't know it, in that metaphor the answer is  determinism,
9. Did Australopithecus have a soul? What about homo habilis? Homo erectus? Neanderthals? Why or why not? (HT: Keith Parsons)

Yes. "The only Hebrew word traditionally translated "soul" (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing conscious body, rather than to an immortal soul." Soul is not necessary  the thing that lives on but a symbol for life, by extension the relationship of the living being to God Thus saved souls or lost souls. The thing that survives death is spirit,although in translation these can be synonymous.

Soul in the Bible - Wikipedia

10. How do souls interact with physical matter? Do you have any answer that is not tantamount to “I don’t know?” (HT: Keith Parsons)

The term soul is most often used of the physical life of the person so it;s interaction is obvious. Now you will ask about spirit the same question plug in spirit. Spirit = mind. How do minds interact with physical matter? By perceiving and interpreting it.

11. If you believe humans have free will, why would humans have free will if God exists? Why are we able to exercise free will in some situations but not others?

Question is backward. If God did not exist we should expect biological organisms to be deterministic. It's only with humans made in God's image we should expect reason and free will.

12. Why are pain and pleasure so connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction, but morally random? Is there some greater good that logically requires (or logically requires risking) that suffering be used to motivate animals to pursue the biological goal of self-preservation? Does some moral end make it desirable for suffering to continue even when it serves no biological purpose? For example, why do sentient beings, including animals which are not moral agents, experience pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful?

You are only thinking in terms of physical pleasure that is a function physical existence. You can't explaimn having a physical body and yetalso finding higher forms of  pleasure especially when it requires higher forms of  consciousness.

13. Why do only a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive? In other words, why do very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy? Why would God create a world in which all sentient beings savagely compete with one another for survival? Why do an even smaller fraction of organisms thrive for most of their lives? Why do almost no organisms thrive for all of their lives? 

We do have physical existence, that's not doubted by any. Most organisms are not made in Gods image and wont share in eternal life so they are just accouterments of  physical existence. Their well being is tied entirely to the physical realm. The higher up the scale of mental activity we go the closer we come to spirit, So we might find animals like dogs with spiritual qualities, since they have emotions they might find some pleasure in spiritual basics like emotion.
You can talk about the physical workings of the empirical end of the universe forever and not mention God because it's created to run on it's own. Then of course you can play the games of reductionist designed to keep God hidden.

 That doesn't mean you can leave God out if you want to go beyond the surface. Science doesn't go beyond the surface (not it's job) so of course science appears not to need God. The universe is made to look neutral.

I'll do the rest next week

Monday, May 15, 2017

God is not a Plausible Explaination for the Universe: God is Truth


Atheists have often argued that God is not a plausible explanation for the universe. What they mean by that is that we don't know enough about God to judge the value of the explanation, and that issues such as the complexity problem prevent a clear understanding. The plausible explanation thing is not a very good standard by which to judge the efficacy of belief. The reason for religions is not a scientific motivation to explain the workings of the physical world. The reason religion exists is becuase we have an empirical sense of the numinous, a sense referred to as "the religious a priori." Religion is not intended as an explanation in the sense that scinece is. It's not meant to be a means of explaining the workings of the physical world. That kind of thinking went out with the nineteenth century.

The concept of God is that of the foundation of reality. There is no basis for a standard of plausibility in dealing with foundations of reality since we have no other examples of foundational reality to compare to. This observation in a nutshell beats all of their arguments about plausibility, because it says that plausibility is the wrong standard by which to judge the efficacy of belief. This observation leads to a realization that actually destroys most of the arguments made about God an probability and standard of scinece.

Science has to have two things: predictive power and falsifiability. That's in addition to replicator and representative sample and double all the together things all of those are made impossible if you don't have these two. Science can't prove it can only disprove. if there is no disproof it's not assumed proven it's assumed a match with theory then theory is assumed to be verisimilitude. Science is not the acquisition of truth its' verisimilitude.

Since God is synonymous with truth (according to the primordial assertion of belief--that's the foundational assumption made in belief--the religious a prori) God is not subject to falsification. God is not subject to predictability God is not a matter of empiricism becuase God is not a thing in creation. This idea that God is synonymous with turth is met with consternation by atheists, and one can understand why. One might think this is becuase since the atheist is dedicated to rejecting believe he/she can't very well accept a religious a priori that puts God in at the foundational level. Yet, there's a more basic reason than that why this idea is upsetting them. It's because it is predicated upon a different notion of truth than any that they understand or have been taught to think about. The typical atheist notion of truth is pretty much one of verisimilitude. It's surface level, it excludes any sort of depth of being. Things are not any more than they seem. There's no underlying issue with being it's just a surface matter of does X exist or not?

The notion of truth with which St. Augustine understood God's synonymy is a kin to the concept dreaded by Postmoderns, the "meta narrative." We are talking about Truth with a capital "T." In bold letters yet. This notion of truth is the overarching explanation for all of reality, depth and all, not just the surface explanation of the existence of a given X. This kind of truth is apt to be rejected by atheists because it hints at not only God but notions such as sin and judgment and virtue and the whole metaphysical nine yards. This is not only installing God at the epistemological and metaphysical level, without a fight so to speak, but it also excludes the replacement religion atheism turns to for substitution in the face of losing the advantages of God belief. In other words, one can't work the doings of science upon the epistemic foundation of reality becuase it's at a higher epistemological level than anything in science: it's not a matter of inductive abstraction.

Belief in God can be warranted or unwarranted, not proved or disproved.
Augustine never made an argument for the existence of God because for him God was known with certainty and immediacy. God is immediately discerned in the apprehension of truth, thus need not be “proved.” God is the basis of all truth, and therefore, cannot be the object of questioning about truth, since God is he medium through which other truths can be known.[1] Tillich said:
Augustine, after he had experienced all the implications of ancient skepticism, gave a classical answer to the problem of the two absolutes: they coincide in the nature of truth. Veritas is presupposed in ever philosophical argument; and veritas is God. You cannot deny truth as such because you could do it only in the name of truth, thus establishing truth. And if you establish truth you affirm God. “Where I have found the truth there I have found my God, the truth itself,” Augustine says. The question of the two Ultimates is solved in such a way that the religious Ultimate is presupposed in every philosophical question, including the question of God. God is the presupposition of the question of God. This is the ontological solution of the problem of the philosophy of religion. God can never be reached if he is the object of a question and not its basis.[2]

Augustine says God is truth. He doesn’t so much say God is being as he says God is truth. But to say this in this way is actually in line with the general theme we have been discussing, the one I call “super-essential Godhead,” or Tillich’s existential ontology. Augustine puts the emphasis upon God’s name as love, not being. Since he was a neo Platonist he thought of true reality as beyond being and thus he thought of God as “beyond being.”[3] This makes no sense in a modern setting since for us “to be” is reality, and to not be part of being would meaning being unreal. But in the platonic context, true reality was beyond this level of reality and what we think of as “our reality” or “our world” is only a plane reflection of the true reality. We are creatures of a refection in a mud puddle and the thing reflected that is totally removed from our being is the true reality. It was this distinction Tillich tried to preserve by distinguishing between being and existence.
Augustine looked to the same passage in Exodus that Gilson quotes in connection with Aquinas. Augustine’s conclusions are much the same about that phrase “I am that I am.” This is one of his key reasons for his identification between God and truth. He saw the nature of God’s timeless being as a key also to identifying God with truth. The link between God and truth is the Platonic “one.” Augustine puts the forms in the mind of God, so God becomes the forms really. The basis of this identification is based partly upon God’s eternal nature. From that point on it’s all an easy identification between eternal verities, such as truth, eternal being, beauty, the one, and God. The other half of the equation is God’s revelation of himself as eternal and necessary through the phrase, for very similar reasons to those listed already by Gilson, between I am that I am and being itself (or in Augustine’s case the transcended of being). “He answers, disclosing himself to creature as Creator, as God to man, as Immortal to mortal, eternal to a thing of time he answers ‘I am who I am.’”[4]

That means in accepting belief in god one is not merely adding a fact to the universe or accepting a proposition about the existence of another thing in the world, but accepting a concept of truth as opposed to other concepts of truth.

[1] Donald Keef, Thomism and the Ontological Theology: A Comparison of Systems. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1971, 140.
The “two Ultimates” discussed are philosophy and Religion.
[2] Paul Tillich, Theology of Culture, 12-13

[3] The quotation above from the Levenson and Westphal book says Augistine believe God was being itself, Marion seems to say that Augustine put God beyond being. I think it’s debatable as to which he did because he didn’t say directly which it was. I’m assuming Marion is probably right just because of the time in which he lived and because he was a Platonic thinker.
[4] Carl Levenson and Johnathan Westphal, ed, Reality:Hackett readings Philosophy. " New York: Hackett Publishing. translated by Edmond Hill, 54 see the link

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Objectivity: the illusion of Technique

 photo theoryandmodel_zpsdabbd46c.jpg

This is the culmination of a dialogue between an atheist poster on Cadre blog, named "Gary" and myself.[1] There are two major issues in this discussion, the need for "objective evidence" for a creator and historical evidence for the Resurrection. Running through both issues one assumption, the atheist assertion that science gives them the objective evidence and that religion has none because it does not have the kind of scientific backing their lauding scene is suppose to give them. The illusion is created that science is supporting atheism when in reality they are merely juxtaposing (unjustly) scientific data as a whole vs. belief in God, the pretense is that these  are competing views. They are not.,What allows them to complete the illusion is that their view is established by science as fact, That is accomplished by pretending that science and God compete for believers,

All of that is based upon the dichotomy between subjectivity and objectivity, This dichotomy is greatly misused,They assert anything not subjects to quantitative analysis is "subjective" and any doubt in God is "objective." The renegade sociologist C. Wright Mills called objectivity: the cloak of objectivity.[2]"Why? Because one uses the objective nature of quantitative analysis to hind biased assumptions,This is all the atheists are doing when they try to impose this illusion that their use of techie affords them a factual basis for their doubt,

Gary said...
Again, I am perfectly willing to accept the existence of evidence for a Creator, I just don't see good evidence for your god, Yahweh. 

I believe in Jesus because of the things person I know told me that Jesus did in her life. I did not just believer her but since she was very intelligent it got my attention and I began searching. I was. I was therefore, disposed to call for Jesus aid when I needed it and he answered. I can;t make that happen in your life. All I can do is tell you it worked in mine.
I understand how the OT would be off putting. Really I see the OT as just a cultural artifact that is there to make the mission of Messiah meaningful. Please read my page on Biblical inspiration because I am not an inerrantist I don;t accept all of the OT.
Jesus is the revelation the Bible is just the record of some people's encounters with the Divine.
Is it possible that the THEORIES otherwise referred to as "Natural Laws" are sometimes violated? Sure. But if they are, the evidence for such violations is poor. 

you are still thinking in terms of violating laws, they are not laws, they are only descriptions of how the universe behave since not 100% there's room for other descriptions.
Lourdes evidence is good, people who haven't studied it act like they know all aout it most of what they say about it is Bullshit.

I believe that Yahweh is an ancient myth.

J is the place holder they used because they could not speak his name. They wrote a lot of stuff using their tribal religion to radicalize the political situation. But When J sought to show us first hand what "he" really is like and want "he" became Jesus to do it,

To me the evidence suggests that the Creator, whoever he (or she) is, is a brilliant scientist, tucked away in his laboratory somewhere, madly concocting this and that invention, without any care in the world for the end result of his inventions, as long as he finds the process entertaining.

you are deifying science because you think is accessible to you and God is not, Science is not the mediator between us and God. I can see why you would use science because it reveals 'God;s work, in that way some of god';s mind, but Jesus isGod's mind.Loogos =ratoojal, Logos is is the rational of God.
In this second phase of exchange the immediate issue is his assertion that without guards on the tomb of Jesus the body must have been stolen. That would be the more parsimonious way to account f or the empty tomb,He removes the guards on the premise that Matthew being the sole source for them they have no historical basis. He quotes William Lane Craig saying that the majority of scholars would not accept the historicity of the guards.[3] My response was varied but the basic argument I made,that he never one single time responded to, is that there is a second ancient source for the guards that puts them on  apart with or even pre dates Matthew and is not derivative of Matthew,That is from the Passion narrative as seen in Gpete (apocryphal gospel of peter). That is established by Raymond Brown.[4] Both Crosson and Koster put the Passion narrative at mid first century pre dating Matthew by about 30 years.[5]

After never answering my argument about the second source he continues to assert the lack of historicity for the guards based upon the assertion (now disproved) that there is only one source for them. It's true both sources get their info from the passion narratives in a sense there is only one source, But that source is a lot closer to the original in time and more firmly embedded in the milieu of eye witnesses than is Matthew.  After ignoring my argumet he comes out with this:

No amount of objective evidence is EVER going to overturn the subjective evidence in your "heart", will it, Joe? The "spirit" that speaks to you and gives you comfort within is all the evidence you need to believe.

You are still working in that mistaken dichotomy between subject.object. There is no objectivity, an objective standard is merely less subjective, There is no perfect objectivity and cultivation of that illusion is merely something to hide behind.
personal experience is true compromise. The scientific data of my studies prove the assertions of my subjective experiences,200 studies you have none, none at all,I have 200 backing my world view. Backing my experiences of God.
Learn this term. Inter=subjective, Not merely subjective but INTER-subjective. Objectivity is a sham but inter-subjectivity means it's confirmed and validated even though subjective.

There is another word for that concept, Joe. It's called: an imaginary friend. Imaginary friends provide very REAL comfort and a very real sense of security but the friend itself is NOT real, Joe. It is an illusion.
that is a mockery of the God hater club,an attempt to disvalue and degrade personal experiences and the reality of God, But you have nothing like the vast body of confining data I have backing my views,you have not one single study reproving your view.
science does not offer you a body of conferring data, it's an excavate you are not scientific, there is no scientific basis for disbelief in God,
when you say we've reached an impasse you really mean you want to quite before you have e comnfronted with more reality that blows your ideology out of the water,,

In speaking of vast body of confirming data I not only include Brown on the guards gut also the studies on religious experience in my book The Trace of God. At every step the atheist apologist uses objectivity as a smoke screen to hide his ideological assumption, and all the while using the subjective basis of experience as an accusation of falsehood, even though totally groundless given the inter-subjective basis for belief.


[1] Atheist in comment section, "Do You say this of Your Own Accord," Cadre Comments blog, comment Section (Apil 26, 2017)

[2 ] C.Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination

[3] William Lane Craig quoted by "Vinny" in "Matthews Guards and The  Evolution of William Lane Craig." Do you Ever Think about The Things you Think about? (SATURDAY, JUNE 150), 2013, blog URL  accessed5/10/17

[4] Ray Brown Death of the Messsiah, New York, NY: Doubleday, 1994 1322

see also my article on "Have Guards Will Argue, " Religious a priori accessed 5/10/17

[5] Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development, London. Oxford, New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 2nd prt. edition, 1992, 218-220.