Sunday, July 15, 2012

Don't Second Guess God's Action


In this piece I'm going to deal with two different atheist attitudes. The first is atheists who give the knee jerk reaction "god did it" as a shaming commentary on attribution of divine action to unexplained events. The second is atheists who take a deterministic view point to the will of God.

At some point years ago some atheist pointed out that unexplained events are not necessarily proof of God' action and he said "you theists always explain inexplicable with saying 'God did it'" form that point on atheist began to assert that any reference to God doing something is automatically illogical.

It's only illogical under certain conditions:

(1) when it begs the question.

It doesn't beg the question just because it's about God. It doesn't beg the question just because you don't bleieve in God. question begging happens when you use the thing you are defended to prove your posting in tit's defense.

example: BT begs the question this way a lot, he answers every argument for the existence of God by saying "this can't true because God doesn't exist;" he's merely asserting the position he defends as a defense of that position. Another example form him is in the one and only argument he ever makes "I refuse to believe therefore it can't be true" which is begging teh question.

(2) filling in the gaps in a God of the gaps argument.

this says there's a gap in our understanding, therefore, God did it.

In this instance "God did it is illogical. But that's not to say that every time those words are uttered it's illogical. It's not necessarily illogical just becuase there's a gap. That would be the case if there's no other reason aside form must the inexplicable nature of the case.

There are conditions under which it's not illogical to assert "God did it."

(1) if there is a warrant for belief

example: my testimony I parted "if you are there do X" (this was not an smart alec attempt to manipulate God but begging for help) X was done, that is a rational reason (warrant) to believe God did it.It was improbable so that's also part of the warrant.

(2) if the action is extremely improbable if left to nature alone

Leg breaks, pray for it. unbreaks, it's knit back immediately. This doesn't' really happen in nature.

(3) If there's a logical barrier precluding coutner causes.

atheists used to say religious experiencing was due to placebo. I began pointing out placebo require expectation and 50% of the mystical experience is unexpected. Conversion experience. Anther large percentage (it happens often) the experience contradicts one's cherished doctrines thus that is not expected.

there can be other reasons but that's enough to see the folly of saying "god did it" in the mocking reproachful manner that atheists always say it.

There's a similar attitude some atheists take to The will of God. This comes from deterministic assumptions. Some can't distinguish between determinism and ordinary cause and effects. Here is the view piont of such an atheist on CARM.

Originally Posted by HowardHolmes View Post
Does any Christian out there purport to defend the idea that God will change his will in response to a prayer request? It seems to me that pre-prayer god was intending to take the best possible action. If his intentions are affected by Bob's prayer would he not then be taken an action that is less than best? IF I believed in god I would certainly not want a god who would let Bob be in charge of what I do seeing that Bob is an ignorant human and I know everything there is to know and know what is best.
This is another attempt at second guessing God. If we don't know what God's will is we can't really determine that God is always actively doing everything he might do, or that he could change to some alternate course. Of we might theorize that God doesn't change his action in ways that negate is over all plan, that might explain why he says no so much of the time. It might also be that he wants us to pray for what he's going to do anyway becuase it's good for us not because it will change his action. After all atheists are always overlooking the communing action of prayer and it seems to be that's the most important. We don't just pray becuase we want stuff we pray to commune with God.

If you will defend such an idea I would be amused to see the effort. If you do not think that god will change his actions as a result of a prayer request, then tell me how it is anything other than pretense to ask him to do anything in prayer, sense you obviously do not think the prayer will have any effect. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Christians insist on playing make-believe. Someone answer that question and I will retire from CARM.
This is the same guy who insists that Christians don't believe in God and we are all lying. This guy assumes everyone in the world is like him. Jesus told us to ask, seek and knock in connection with prayer ( “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you:Matt 7:7). He told the parable of the judge whose was moved by the constant pleading of an old woman. Of cousre we might just assume he's saying "since God loves us he will be more inclined to act before the judge would. If the judge who didn't care would be moved by the woman's constant pleading surely God who does care will be evene more inclined to do so." The clear implication is that God will alter course in answer to prayer.

In both of these cases we see the atheist disdain for assumptions that God will act and we see the attempt to second guess what God would do. We never be like this. We should never assume we know God's plan or what God would do. I would use Jesus as a guide in how to pray that Howard Homles on the CARM board. In both cases atheists have a vested interest in persuading us not to pray and to assume that God will not act.

This same Homles guy also conducts a trick that atheists use on websites such as "God is imaginary" and "why does God hate amputee" daring the Christian to do miracles on demand. The idea being if God doesn't snap to and whip up a miracle on demand that proves he doesn't exist because he promises to do just that in the Bible (which he doesn't) and becuase if he would alter course for one prayer surely he would do it every time. That's just all or nothing thinking, It's the fallacy "slippery slope." I have theorized that God works miracles in zones, you have to be in the zone to get one. We don't know all the factors that lead to the zones. Some of them include faith and God's timing. One of the greatest disappointments we can have in life comes from demanding that God move in our timing and not allowing God to be God.

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