Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Will David Miliband be the UK’s first atheist prime minister?

This was the question posed by AC Grayling, one of the foremost philosophers of the postmodern age, with The Guardian reasoning that ‘in this climate of quarrels between religionists and secularists, there are very many reasons to hope for a non-believer at No 10’.

And so Mr Grayling begins:

When Labour cabinet members were asked about their religious allegiances last December, following Tony Blair's official conversion to Roman Catholicism, it turned out that more than half of them are not believers. The least equivocal about their atheism were the health secretary, Alan Johnson, and foreign secretary David Miliband.

Cranmer could give the whole article a good fisking: it is begging for it. But there is something woefully inadequate about it that causes one to question whether Mr Grayling is even half the philosopher he is cracked up to be.

His first mistake is in taking Labour Cabinet members at their word. Would you believe anything they said? Would you have believed Tony Blair's protestations that he is a committed member of the Church of England? Or Gordon Brown on his Christian convictions? And if not, why would you believe David Miliband? He manifestly now has just one agenda, and that is to become prime minister. For that, he needs to be a figure of unity. And since religion divides, it must be eradicated.

And Mr Grayling considers this a good thing, because ‘Atheist leaders are not going to think they are getting messages from Beyond telling them to go to war. They will not cloak themselves in supernaturalistic justifications, as Blair came perilously close to doing when interviewed about the decision to invade Iraq.

Perilously close to doing? Why perilous? Is it not better to be subjecting one’s discernment to a higher moral worldview than to frame the world according to one’s own morality? Is it not better to be ‘getting messages from Beyond’ rather than getting them from the White House?

’Atheist leaders are going to be more sceptical about inculcating sectarian beliefs into small children ghettoised into publicly funded faith-based schools, risking social divisiveness and possible future conflict. They will be readier to learn Northern Ireland's bleak lesson in this regard.

This is such puerile reasoning that Mr Grayling appears to have reverted to GCSE philosophy. Like Dawkins, he is blind to the militant sectarianism of Atheism; ignorant of the force for good that true religion has always been (and Cranmer said true religion). Faith-based schools have historically worked in the UK, and they continue to surpass their ‘secular’ counterparts in exam results. Far from being socially divisive, the students who leave them are by and large forces for social cohesion and are frequently more respectful towards their fellow human beings and of authority and tradition.

Atheist leaders will, by definition, be neutral between the different religious pressure groups in society, and will have no temptation not to be even-handed because of an allegiance to the outlook of just one of those groups.

Neutral? Is Mr Grayling not familiar with Rawls for Dummies? There is an evident dilemma in seeking neutrality of political effect because intrinsic to the pursuit of any policy is the likelihood that it will have a detrimental effect on at least one conception of the good (not least the Church of England) to the manifest benefit of another. There are manifestly circumstances in which it is inappropriate to act neutrally, not least where there are not even prima facie reasons to be neutral. Indeed, Mr Grayling ought to consider that there is no neutrality to be had because neutrality needs as much justification as any other position.

Atheist leaders are more likely to take a literally down-to-earth view of the needs, interests and circumstances of people in the here and now, and will not be influenced by the belief that present sufferings and inequalities will be compensated in some posthumous dispensation. This is not a trivial point: for most of history those lower down the social ladder have been promised a perch at the top when dead, and kept quiet thereby. The claim that in an imperfect world one's hopes are better fixed on the afterlife than on hopes of earthly paradises is official church doctrine.

Actually, posthumous dispensation has been the most persuasive inspiration to good works in the history of mankind. Cranmer cannot see a Wilberforce or a Shaftesbury being ‘driven’ by Atheism. No, they were imbued with a divine and righteous anger which gave them a mission to pursue justice. Mr Grayling may be content to pour scorn on ‘official church doctrine’ but he then preaches the gospel of Marx, seemingly unable himself to learn the lessons of very recent history.

Atheist leaders will not be tempted to think they are the messenger of any good news from above, or the agent of any higher purpose on earth. Or at very least, they will not think this literally.

Really? Mr Grayling ought to try telling that to the millions who died in order that Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot could construct their earthly atheistic paradises. Atheists have been responsible for some of the most appalling barbarism in the history of the world, but it is convenient for Mr Grayling to ignore this. Of course, they were not the messengers of some ‘higher’ power, but the agents of their own conviction, and that propensity to unaccountable infallibility is far more dangerous indeed.

But then we come to Mr Grayling’s central thesis:

Best of all, if David Miliband becomes prime minister, the prospect of disestablishment of the Church of England will have come closer. This is a matter of importance, for two chief reasons. The first is that the CofE's privileged position gives other religious groups too much incentive to try sharp-elbowing their way into getting similar privileges, such as the ear of ministers, tax exemptions, public funding for their own sect's faith schools, and the big prize of seats in the legislature.

Secondly, the CofE has far too big a footprint in the public domain, out of all proportion to the actual numbers it represents: just 2% of the population go weekly to its churches. Yet it controls the primary school system - 80% of it - and a substantial proportion of the secondary school system, with dozens more academy schools soon due to fall under its control. It is entitled to have 26 bishops sitting in the House of Lords, plus a number more who have been made life peers on retiring; and it has the automatic ear of government - do not suppose that if Rowan Williams phones No 10 he is told no one is at home.


For all its faults, and they are legion, the Church of England embodies something of the psyche of the English people. It may be that 2% of the population attend, yet, according to the last census, 70% of the population acknowledge a cultural affinity with what it represents.

The genius of Anglicanism is that it seeks to reconcile opposed systems, rejecting them as exclusive systems, but showing that the principle for which each stands has its place within the total orbit of Christian truth. Beneath the surface is the feeling for the via media which is not in its essence compromise or an intellectual expedient but a quality of thinking, an approach in which elements usually regarded as mutually exclusive are seen to be in fact complementary. These things are held in living tension, not in order to walk the tightrope of compromise, but because they are seen to be mutually illuminating and to fertilise each other.

This is the ‘living tension’ which was first advocated by Hooker, who was opposed to absolutism in both church and state and an exponent of conciliar thought. This ensures that the laity, clergy and bishops all participate in guarding against autocracy in the state through a system of checks and balances that in many ways apes the parliamentary process. If authority is dispersed, spiritual tyranny is prevented. The similarities between the synodical and parliamentary procedures are unsurprising when both expressions of representative government have a common root in mediaeval political thought.

Notwithstanding this, Mr Grayling is persuaded that ‘Having a statedly atheist British prime minister makes it more likely that the functional secularity of British life and politics, the foregoing exceptions noted, will become actual secularity. Secularism means that matters of public policy and government are not under the influence, still less control, of sectarian religious interests. The phrase "separation of church and state" does not quite capture the sense in which a genuinely secular arrangement keeps religious voices on a par with all other non-governmental voices in the public square, and all the non-governmental players in the public square separate from the government itself. It means that churches and religious movements have to see themselves as civil society organisations like trades unions, political parties, the Scouts, and so on: with every right to exist, and to have their say, but as self-constituted interest groups no more entitled to a bigger share of the public pie of influence, privilege, tax handouts, and legal exemptions than any other self-appointed interest group.

Sadly, he is blinded to the religious nature of secularism, and the faith position of Atheism. Militant secularism is an inviolable political creed and Atheism itself seeks to propagate an absolutist worldview and infallible doctrine as repugnant as any it seeks to repudiate. Should David Miliband ever become prime minister, one might expect a peerage for Mr Grayling in order that he might focus on the elimination of the 26 bishops who sit in the House of Lords and the eradication of the Christian foundations of the nation and its constitution. And then he can spout his two-dimensional dogma and preach the gospel of Grayling to his heart’s content, while all the time, covertly and quietly, a far more militant and infinitely more dangerous spiritual power awaits its moment.

And if David Miliband's Atheism is the most laudable attribute that AC Grayling can proffer as commendation for the top job, God help us.

77 Comments:

Blogger Lanarion said...

Very impressive rebuttal - it's why I like your blog so much. Made my day :)

26 August 2008 at 10:45  
Blogger SACKERSON said...

Atheism is itself a religious position, with the additional difficulty of being unable to explain existence.

26 August 2008 at 10:52  
Anonymous judith said...

Sackerson, as an agnostic, I feel no need to explain 'existence'.

I can understand that many people do feel that need, and have read quite a lot about the explanations that have evolved. What I am not clear about is the assertion that 'atheism is a religious position'.

26 August 2008 at 11:03  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Your Grace:

This entire post, equally with Grayling's (will he be a Gray when he grows up?) article is based on a false premise: Miliband will NEVER be Prime Minister.

At least, not as long as he has a hole in his backside to speak out of.

Sackerson:

Why should the inability to explain existence be a difficulty? I'm atheist, I don't see it as a religious position (or perhaps you can read my mind better than I can?). And is there any necessity to be able to explain existence? You have it, so enjoy it; you will only have it for a few years, then nothing.

PS I do have enormous difficulty seeing any difference between the religious explanation "The Lord said 'let there be light'", and the 'Science explanation that "It started with a big bang". I truly am an atheist. I have no explanation for existence, and I find no need to conjure one up out of nothing.

26 August 2008 at 11:59  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

And I haven't been caught killing millions of people.

26 August 2008 at 12:01  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Aye Cranners, Stick it to AC Grayling and his tedious dreary atheism.

Nihilism, The root of the revolution of the modern age

26 August 2008 at 12:11  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace, to add to the atheistic role models of secular governance, (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot) you can add Lenin and Robespierre et al, Hitler and Kim il Sung (whose son is doing his best to be voted into this pandaemonion).

Looking at today's charities which everyone can agree are forces for the good - Samaritans, Oxfam, Amnesty, Red Cross, St John's Ambulance, the Hospice movement, Salvation Army ... all have been founded by those with a Christian focus in their lives.

(There are also a plethora of charities founded by christians and christian religious organisations which also do good work, and give unselfishly but would be derided by the guardianistas - such as the Boy Scout Movement, LIFE, Cafod, Caritas, Apostleship of the Sea, ...)

The whole stucture of our society has been founded by Christian ethics. Yes, there have been falls along the way, and things we are ahamed of, but these pale into insignificance compared to the criminal thuggery which have characterised atheistic regimes, and have taken place over far shorter timescales.

26 August 2008 at 13:19  
Blogger SACKERSON said...

I said inability, not concern. And atheism is a religious position, because it is a statement of the unprovable and is therefore a belief in something that is not known. The farthest that Bertrand Russell could go, as a philosophical liberal, was agnosticism: he merely thought the existence of God "very unlikely."

26 August 2008 at 14:10  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

John Major, if memory serves, never claimed to be a member of any religion.
These claims to 'represent the genius of the people' are pitiful.
Are you afraid of ending up like the Church of Sweden?
When the Swedish church was disestablished (2000), there were no problems.
After five years, they took a poll of Swedes to find out their thoughts on the situation five years later. Nearly a third had no idea that Sweden HAD separated church and state, so marginal was the Swedish church in Swedish life.
If someone is unaware five years after the divorce papers were served that he was married, it can't have been a very passionate marriage.

26 August 2008 at 14:41  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

The long slow decline of religion in the west can be attributed to the Catholic Church who erroneously taught that the logical syllogism is consistent with divine revelation. Naturally, having divinized human thought the decline was inevitable. This Catholic heresy is behind the mechanistic world-view of Descartes and Newton. This mechanism declined into empiricism which left man with the even poorer "common sense" (a form of positivism) as a criterion of knowledge and action. All this was then dealt a death blow by Kant which, having established that existence isn't logical and agnostic left people doubting whether anything really existed anyway. An infamous and disastrous attempt to regain order was attempted by Hegel, which Marx took and turned into "Dialectical Materialism" - a attempt to regain divine order, freedom-for-itself, on a materialist basis, i.e. in Harmony with the universe. The pseudo-religiosity of Marxists, and it's popularity with lapsed Catholics is well known and supports the above regard.

God is not a formula, faith is a gift of the holy spirit.

26 August 2008 at 15:58  
Blogger SACKERSON said...

Lumme, HH, I need a dash of water with that. But I sort of think I get the drift.

26 August 2008 at 16:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do atheists refer to believers getting "messages from beyond" and committing appalling crimes, and ignore those who also get "messages" from the "still, small voice" of their divine conscience, and refrain from committing crimes?
The utter lack of restraint shown in militantly atheist regimes is surely evidence that the benefits of faith show in "not sinning", as much as in "doing good".

26 August 2008 at 16:26  
Blogger mckenzie said...

I have been waiting for the appearance of the Anti-Christ with despair because nobody seemed to fit the bill: then out of the blue he pops up matching much of the criterea!

26 August 2008 at 17:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One day there was this Big Bang, and then it all settled down. An amazingly complex theory I would say, it leaves no corner uncovered and has every angle of the imagination fired up. It's one of my favorite theories, next to Hickory Dickory Dock, and Jack and Jill went up the Hill.

26 August 2008 at 17:51  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

excellent post your grace
i watched dawkins on TV the other night , and whilst he made much play about death threats made to him , because of his belief , it was clear to me that thiests are unable to ask the right questions about the christian docterine because they simply cannot see , although they tell us they can by reductionist philosphoical arguments .

they cite godless means of life as proof positive that god is a crude and ancient fairy story , or if you are a marxist , opiate of the masses.
it is interesting to speculate that in removing heroin one has to supply methodone , the same is true of those that wish to dis establish the church .To me it quite clear what that substitute is to be and how easy it is for the new slave masters to use authority to control .

No god is a narrow minded marketing sub catagory that enables the modernisers to sell goods and ideas without guilt or cost .

26 August 2008 at 17:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fool in his heart says there is no God!
To say there is no God is to say I know everything there is to know about the entire universe and everything it contains! Is this is the height of foolishness ,or just plain arrogance?.God reveals himself to whom he chooses.

26 August 2008 at 18:06  
Blogger mckenzie said...

"to thine own self be true"
I feel the love of God in the Holy Bible, and I feel the power of the Gospel of Jesus working in my life. And thats how it is for me.
I can also say that I don't crave explanations for existence, I just feel at peace with what has come my way.
There are a few people I would like to punch in the teeth
There are a few people I would like to kick in the goolies.
There are very few people who I would like to die for.
There are a few people I could watch boil in fat.
But I am getting there slowly.
I used to feel embarrassed about scripture being out of date.
I am happy that scripture will always remain relevant to a human life, which fundamentally stays the same regardless of material changes and human discovery.
I can appreciate this will make many people puke, but this also appeals the undeveloped nature of my sinful personality.

26 August 2008 at 18:08  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

Georg Jung, another friend of Marx at that time, writes in 1841... that Marx will surely chase God from his heaven.... . Marx calls Christianity one of the most immoral religions

26 August 2008 at 18:09  
Blogger The Gentleman Loser said...

Well spoken, your Grace! It's high time someone of your rank took on Professor Grayling.
Possibly the most ridiculous of his assertions is the sectarian nature of denominational schools. I, a Roman Catholic, attended a very nice C of E school and only once felt uncomfortable when an atheist Geography teacher blamed my co-religionists for over-populating the world. I taught in a Catholic school which had Muslims, Evangelical Christians, Sikhs and Hindus queuing up for admission. Why would they do such a thing if the school was sectarian?

26 August 2008 at 18:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure that atheists will find the state of nothingness that they desire along with all that reject God, their souls will simply cease to exist!

26 August 2008 at 18:19  
Anonymous bergen said...

In his diaries,Richard Crossman thought that Jim Callaghan was an atheist (as was Crossman) but in his biography,Professor Morgan relates that he rediscovered the Baptist faith of his youth and resorted to prayer during the 1967 sterling crisis.

26 August 2008 at 18:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saul was a non-believer, a major one at that, he killed more Christians than Pious the 111 (slight exaggeration).

26 August 2008 at 18:55  
Anonymous Justin Martyr said...

A fantastic post, My Lord.

You've made my day seeing that awful article fisked to pieces. The blessings of God be upon you and your archepiscopal ministry.

St. Justin, Martyr (100-165AD)

26 August 2008 at 19:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to point out an element of unforgivable stupidity with regards to my last post.
Should read 'Innocent III'.

26 August 2008 at 19:05  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Dizzy Fat Plonka - It's always strange how unbelievers refer to god as though he were real, alive, and immanent...

Even hell is an act of gods mercy compared to the world as envisioned by atheists, even hell is better than the nothingness they wish for in their heart.

26 August 2008 at 20:52  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

For me the question is which particular kind of Jewish Atheist is Mr Miliband?

And does he know?

26 August 2008 at 21:05  
Blogger haddock said...

sir henry @11:59
I would struggle to say which is the sillier, to say that there was absolutely nothing, no matter, no space, no time..... and 'it', being nothing.... went bang and suddenly there was everything; or to believe that there is an Immortal God who arranged for it all to happen. I find it easier to visualise eternity than 'something for nothing' science.
People make a big fuss about creation, perhaps Darwin was right... but then perhaps God had arranged for life to evolve that way. I see no conflict there, it does not have to be religion or science, I expect God knows all there is to know about science.

26 August 2008 at 21:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need to get the ashes spinning there Cranmer, Little Miliband's chances of getting to No 10 are remote, at best.

26 August 2008 at 21:56  
Anonymous wilberforce said...

Atheism is a faith position because its adherents can no more 'prove" its tenets than theists. Once you get pre Big Bang ( if that is your explanation) you have stepped into the realm of Metaphysics where the rules of science do not apply.

The idea of Order out of chaos after the Big Bang does tend to go contrary to all human experience that most things move from order to chaos.

The 'evidence" for the theory of evolution is actually thin on the ground and the clue is in the title - Its the THEORY. Anyone who can prove it stands to gain a Nobel Prize. Nobody has come close and if you think someone will do it anytime soon don't come on this blog - get yourself down to William Hill's where there is good money to be made!

26 August 2008 at 22:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the `big bang`
To apply this to the many vastly complicated life forms(even with millions of supposed years of evolution)boggles the mind.
The fact that there is a Creator is obvious even to the dullest intellect.

26 August 2008 at 22:23  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Hi Cap'n

Yes, that's what I was saying - except I added that I don't care where we come from. I - we - have existence for a short time. That'll do for me. I don't have this need for an answer to everything. Why invent un-evidenced stuff to explain where we came from? Can't people just be content to be?

Well, I am anyway.

26 August 2008 at 22:23  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

There's no good reason why everyone HAS to believe one or the other. Why believe any explanation?

It couldn't be good old-fashioned terror at the thought of personal death could it?

26 August 2008 at 22:26  
Blogger The Lakelander said...

Your Grace,

What makes you think that David Miliband does not believe in the existence of God, or some form of Deity?

Every time I see him on television, he obviously believes in Himself.

Even if no-one else does...

26 August 2008 at 22:34  
Anonymous the last toryboy said...

Theists really are muppets sometimes. ...and the comments section here proves it.

Cranmer for once doesn't cover himself with glory by muttering about Stalin and Pol Pot either. For shame, unless you want me to talk about Torquemada or the Spanish fascists in every single thread on this blog in the future. Because thats about the level of originality and truth that that argument musters up.

I've been an atheist for as long as I've had conscious thought pretty much, as religion simply doesn't come into my life whatsoever and never has. I think most theists seem to be utterly unable to look beyond their own worldview, which is why they like to project themselves onto atheists.

Do I "long for nothingness?". What nonsense. I don't long for anything, I just think the idea of heaven is a fairytale and nothing more. You don't hate Valhalla because you don't believe in it, it just never crosses your mind at all. In the same manner, I don't think about it at all (except when reading this blog maybe).

The Big Bang is a theory and a pretty good one - it even holds up to some observed facts - but it isn't complete and may never be. Thats fine. I don't waste too much time thinking about that either, I'm happy to accept our limited knowledge in this area, but theists apparently can't, and will apparently grasp at any straw rather than face that unknown. Its always amusing to see people who are most definitely not physics PhDs talking about what "feels right", though, and rather trust in blind faith. As if "Let there be light" is an improvement!

26 August 2008 at 22:58  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Sir HM,

Unfortunately whether you accept it or not, the atheists’ argument unavoidably results in the conclusion that since there is no God, the universe exists without cause, no mind reading involved.

The essence of this argument if you will allow is that theists are deluding themselves when they believe that God made everything out of nothing. I believe that sums it up and that’s Ok as far as it goes but there is an unavoidable corollary if you hold this rationale that needs explaining.

How it is somehow more credible for an initial nothing to turn itself into anything without the intervention of a separate and independent force. Even Newton recognised the necessity of this ‘third force’ in his first law of motion. Now unless you can think of another option, either everything came from something or everything came from nothing, if you believe the latter I see it is not just we Christians who believe in miracles?

I agree there is not proof that God exists or does not exist in the empirical sense but there is a lot of evidence that God exists. There is very little evidence that God does not exists. Therefore, I go with the preponderance of the evidence and conclude that God does exist.

In January 1933, the Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre travelled with Albert Einstein to California for a series of seminars. After the Belgian detailed his Big Bang theory, Einstein stood up applauded, and said, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.”

The Big Bang theory is thoroughly Christian in origin but it does not deal with the cause of the universe just the immediate aftermath, the birth so to speak. The wandering tribes of Judea came up with the explanation ‘Let there be light’ so what, that signifies nothing but the explanation of an ancient tribe to understand the word they lived in 6,000 years ago.

The problem for the atheist/secularist is to compromise the singularity aspect of the Big Bang (and many have tried) because in that is the genesis of not only matter and space but also time itself and as you may know the Christian understanding of God is that He exists outside of time (no I don’t understand it either), and it is this aspect of God, acting outside time that caused the Big Bang, the universe, the meaning of Life and everything (or if you prefer 42).

I have yet to find a satisfactory answer as to why anything should exist at all, rather than nothing, unless it was caused. Any ideas?

26 August 2008 at 23:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without a shadow of a doubt there is a creator!

He visited this earth 2000 years ago,He showed us what he is like ,he revealed his love for mankind, religion despised him ,wicked men crucified him.
The religious ,the intellectials despised him, but he was God in human flesh, the Creator of the Universe.
.

27 August 2008 at 00:03  
Anonymous red despot spotter said...

i hadnt thought that when you discover the state of nothingness your sould may cease to exist.

interesting anon 18:19

last tory boy :It is rather unfortunate that the tribes of israel did not have the hubble telescope or for that matter newtonian mathmatics .

what is unfortunate is that big bang theory asks to believe in a field of possibility out of which came something of infinite mass but no volume.

assuming you believe in bag bang does it not strike you as extraordinary , what preceeded it ?? or even for what length of time ???

atheism says more about the human condition and the way that the mind works , they all accept that the intellect is free , but they alwys state the christian or religous belief as being like an intellectual prison , often forgetting that the great scientific discoveries of the 18th 19th and 20th centuries were made bt very devoute men and women .

so atheism clearly isnt that good a tool for discovering scientific truth !!

i seem to reccal the Liberal democrat leader is a non believer so you can add him in the contender list .

27 August 2008 at 00:06  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Recusant

"Unfortunately whether you accept it or not, the atheists’ argument unavoidably results in the conclusion that since there is no God, the universe exists without cause, no mind reading involved."

No sir, you are wrong. I haven't the slightest idea why the universe exists or how and where it originated. It just does, and I'm content with that and my small span of time within it.

There was obviously a cause for its existence (as there will be a cause for it's probable eventual non-existence again), but nobody ever has, or probably ever will, come up with any evidence pointing to what that cause is. Nobody. Ever. Not theists, not atheist scientists. Nobody.

Give me one slightest shred of evidence for a God (I capitalise out of politeness), any God of any name, and I'll probably leap at it, because contrary to what someone said earlier, I don't crave for nothingness - I just accept it as inevitable.

You see existence your way, I see it mine. Who knows, you may be correct in that. I just don't believe it, that's all.

No doubt, if you believe in an afterlife dying will be easier for you than it will be for me. But I see no point in fearing the inevitable - oblivion.

I buried my father three years ago. There are undoubtedly some rotting pieces of meat and bone six feet down, but they are not my father. What made my father no longer exists, as one day what makes me will no longer exist.

Soul? Define that for me please - I don't understand the concept. God? Same request.

We are conceived; a little time passes; we die. After dying is death, which is but a mirror image of before conception, i.e. Oblivion. Be content with the little time that passes, because all the evidence is that that is all anyone ever gets.

27 August 2008 at 00:30  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Regardless of our agreements or disagrements, I'm willing to bet His Grace really feels his blog is worth the trouble when he sees us arguing - civilly - amongst ourselves like this, and over topics like this.

Especially as it was he who fired the starting gun. He must surely consider it a good welcome home.

Your Grace?

27 August 2008 at 00:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His first mistake is in taking Labour Cabinet members at their word.

indeed

Positive belief that mankind is simply a pointless accident of terrestrial biological and physical fortune, is a product of either a lazy, ignorant, or dishonest mind. Possibly all 3, but in this particular power crazed blood suckers case, certainly just a dishonest one.

IMO

Atlas

27 August 2008 at 03:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to know why man exists read the Bible the word of God which is the Truth!
Man used to think the world was flat but the bible clearly states the world was round!
Science is constantly changing its theories but the word of God remains constant because the Truth is unchanging.No one can say there is no God with any certainty ,all you can say is I do not know.Or the knowledge of God lies outside my understanding.

27 August 2008 at 07:34  
Blogger prziloczek said...

My favourite comment on here is from the last toryboy. I love it!
Ostrich or what?

27 August 2008 at 07:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To believe in `the big bang`is to place complete faith in the power of explosions!What did an explosion ever create? death , maiming ,destruction.!It is like comparing an explosion in a scrapyard and a complete boeing 747 emerging from the ensuing chaos!
rediculous! I should think so!

27 August 2008 at 07:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does Grayling think the Labour Party, which doesn't have 2% of the British population at its weekly meetings and less than 25% 'identifying' with it once every 4 or 5 years, should control education and everything else in this blessed realm?
Is he not a superior kind of fascist?

27 August 2008 at 08:25  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Sir Henry,

Like the universe, His Grace just is.

27 August 2008 at 09:03  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Sir HM

Evidence as distinct from proof, well without considering the metaphysics of life and even before start considering the nature of God, the constants of the laws of physics many discovered in the last 50-60 years or so, have been finely tuned to a degree not possible through human engineering. Five of the more finely tuned numbers follow:


ParameterMax. - Deviation

Ratio of Electrons:Protons -1:1037
Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity - 1:1040
Expansion Rate of Universe - 1:1055
Mass of Universe1 - 1:1059
Cosmological Constant - 1:10120

These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.

The problem with presenting this kind of evidence is that it is a degree or two of separation from the “ well if God exits why is there War/Crime/ hatred etc” and most get bored and fall asleep. However it is what it is. Please investigate for yourself along with a few more below for your consideration
Fine Tuning Parameters for the Universe

1. Strong nuclear force constant
• if larger: no hydrogen; nuclei essential for life would be unstable
• if smaller: no elements other than hydrogen

2. Weak nuclear force constant
• if larger: too much hydrogen converted to helium in big bang, hence too much heavy element material made by star burning; no expulsion of heavy elements from stars
• if smaller: too little helium produced from big bang, hence too little heavy element material made by star burning; no expulsion of heavy elements from stars

3. Gravitational force constant
• if larger: stars too hot; they would burn up quickly and unevenly
• if smaller: stars too cool; nuclear fusion would not ignite; no heavy element production

4. Electromagnetic force constant
• if larger: insufficient chemical bonding; elements more massive than boron would be too unstable for fusion
• if smaller: insufficient chemical bonding

5. Ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
• if larger: no stars less than 1.4 solar masses, hence short and uneven stellar burning
• if smaller: no stars more than 0.8 solar masses. hence no heavy element production

6. Ratio of electron to proton mass
• if larger: insufficient chemical bonding
• if smaller: insufficient chemical bonding

7. Ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
• if larger: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star and planet formation
• if smaller: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation

8. Expansion rate of the universe
• if larger: no galaxy formation
• if smaller: universe collapses prior to star formation

9. Entropy level of the universe
• if larger: no star condensation within the proto-galaxies
• if smaller: no proto-galaxy formation

10. Mass density of the universe
• if larger: too much deuterium from big bang, hence stars burn too rapidly
• if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang, hence too few heavy elements forming

11. Velocity of light
• if larger: stars would be too luminous
• if smaller: stars would not be luminous enough

12. Age of the universe
• if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase in the right part of the galaxy
• if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed

13. Initial uniformity of radiation
• if smoother: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed
• if coarser: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space

14. Fine structure constant (a number used to describe the fine structure splitting of spectral lines)
• if larger: no stars more than 0.7 solar masses
• if smaller: no stars less than 1.8 solar masses

15. Average distance between galaxies
• if larger: insufficient gas would be infused into our galaxy to sustain star formation over an adequate time span
• if smaller: the sun's orbit would be too radically disturbed

16. Galaxy cluster type
• if too rich: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt solar orbit
• if too sparse: insufficient infusion of gas to sustain star formation for a long enough time

17. Average distance between stars
• if larger: heavy element density too thin for rocky planets to form
• if smaller: planetary orbits would become destabilized

18. Decay rate of the proton
• if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
• if smaller: insufficient matter in the universe for life

19. 12C to 16O nuclear energy level ratio
• if larger: insufficient oxygen
• if smaller: insufficient carbon

20. Ground state energy level for 4He
• if larger: insufficient carbon and oxygen
• if smaller: insufficient carbon and oxygen

21. Decay rate of 8Be
• if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars
• if faster: no element production beyond beryllium, hence no life chemistry possible

22. Mass excess of the neutron over the proton
• if greater: neutron decay would leave too few neutrons to form the heavy elements essential for life
• if smaller: proton decay would cause all stars to rapidly collapse into neutron stars or black holes

23. Initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons
• if greater: too much radiation for planets to form
• if smaller: not enough matter for galaxies or stars to form

24. Polarity of the water molecule
• if greater: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too great for life to exist
• if smaller: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too small for life; liquid water would be too inferior a solvent for life chemistry to proceed; ice would not float, leading to a runaway freeze-up

25. Supernovae eruptions
• if too close: radiation would exterminate life on the planet
• if too far: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rocky planets
• if too infrequent: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rocky planets
• if too frequent: life on the planet would be exterminated
• if too soon: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rocky planets
• if too late: life on the planet would be exterminated by radiation

26.White dwarf binaries
• if too few: insufficient fluorine produced for life chemistry to proceed
• if too many: disruption of planetary orbits from stellar density; life on the planet would be exterminated
• if too soon: not enough heavy elements made for efficient fluorine production
• if too late: fluorine made too late for incorporation in proto planet

27. Ratio of the mass of exotic matter to ordinary matter
• if smaller: galaxies would not form
• if larger: universe would collapse before solar-type stars can form

Not just the universe bears evidence for design. The sun and the earth also reveal a number of parameters necessary to support of life. A sample is listed below.
Evidence for the fine-tuning of the galaxy-sun-earth-moon system for life support

1. Galaxy type
• if too elliptical: star formation would cease before sufficient heavy element build-up for life chemistry
• if too irregular: radiation exposure on occasion would be too severe and heavy elements for life chemistry would not be available
• if too large: infusion of gas and stars would disturb sun's orbit and ignite too many galactic eruptions
• if too small: insufficient infusion of gas to sustain star formation

2. Supernovae eruptions
• if too close: life on the planet would be exterminated by radiation
• if too far: not enough heavy element ashes would exist for the formation of rocky planets
• if too infrequent: not enough heavy element ashes present for the formation of rocky planets
• if too frequent: life on the planet would be exterminated
• if too soon: not enough heavy element ashes would exist for the formation of rocky planets
• if too late: life on the planet would be exterminated by radiation

3. White dwarf binaries
• if too few: insufficient fluorine would be produced for life chemistry to proceed
• if too many: planetary orbits disrupted by stellar density; life on planet would be exterminated
• if too soon: not enough heavy elements would he made for efficient fluorine production
• if too late: fluorine would be made too late for incorporation in proto planet

4. Parent star distance from centre of galaxy
• if farther: quantity of heavy elements would be insufficient to make rocky planets
• if closer: galactic radiation would be too great; stellar density would disturb planetary orbits

5. Number of stars in the planetary system
• if more than one: tidal interactions would disrupt planetary orbits
• if less than one: heat produced would be insufficient for life

6. Parent star birth date
• if more recent: star would not yet have reached stable burning phase; stellar system would contain too many heavy elements
• if less recent: stellar system would not contain enough heavy elements

7. Parent star age
• if older: luminosity of star would change too quickly
• if younger: luminosity of star would change too quickly

8. Parent star mass
• if greater: luminosity of star would change too quickly; star would burn too rapidly
• if less: range of planet distances for life would be too narrow; tidal forces would disrupt the life planet's rotational period; uv radiation would be inadequate for plants to make sugars and oxygen

9. Parent star colour
• if redder: photosynthetic response would be insufficient
• if bluer: photosynthetic response would be insufficient

10. Parent star luminosity relative to speciation
• if increases too soon: runaway green house effect would develop
• if increases too late: runaway glaciations would develop

11. Surface gravity (escape velocity)
• if stronger: planet's atmosphere would retain too much ammonia and methane
• if weaker: planet's atmosphere would lose too much water

12. Distance from parent star
• if farther: planet would be too cool for a stable water cycle
• if closer: planet would be too warm for a stable water cycle

13. Inclination of orbit
• if too great: temperature differences on the planet would be too extreme.

14. Orbital eccentricity
• if too great: seasonal temperature differences would be too extreme

15. Axial tilt
• if greater: surface temperature differences would be too great
• if less: surface temperature differences would be too great

16. Rotation period
• if longer: diurnal temperature differences would be too great
• if shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would be too great

17. Rate of change in rotation period
• if longer: surface temperature range necessary for life would not be sustained
• if shorter: surface temperature range necessary for life would not be sustained

18. Age
• if too young: planet would rotate too rapidly
• if too old: planet would rotate too slowly

19. Magnetic field
• if stronger: electromagnetic storms would be too severe
• if weaker: ozone shield would be inadequately protected from hard stellar and solar radiation

20. Thickness of crust
• if thicker: too much oxygen would be transferred from the atmosphere to the crust
• if thinner: volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great

21. Albedo (ratio of reflected light to total amount falling on surface)
• if greater: runaway glaciations would develop
• if less: runaway greenhouse effect would develop

22. Asteroidal and cometary collision rate
• if greater: too many species would become extinct
• if less: crust would be too depleted of materials essential for life

23. Oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere
• if larger: advanced life functions would proceed too quickly
• if smaller: advanced life functions would proceed too slowly

24. Carbon dioxide level in atmosphere
• if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop
• if less: plants would be unable to maintain efficient photosynthesis

25. Water vapour level in atmosphere
• if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop
• if less: rainfall would be too meagre for advanced life on the land

26. Atmospheric electric discharge rate
• if greater: too much fire destruction would occur
• if less: too little nitrogen would be fixed in the atmosphere

27. Ozone level in atmosphere
• if greater: surface temperatures would be too low
• if less: surface temperatures would be too high; too much uv radiation would be at the surface

28. Oxygen quantity in atmosphere
• if greater: plants and hydrocarbons would bum up too easily
• if less: advanced animals would have too little to breathe

29. Seismic activity
• if greater: too many life-forms would be destroyed
• if less: nutrients on ocean floors from river runoff would not be recycled to continents through tectonics.

30. Oceans-to-continents ratio
• if greater: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited
• if smaller: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited

31. Global distribution of continents (for Earth)
• if too much in the southern hemisphere: seasonal differences too severe for advanced life

32. Soil mineralization
• if too nutrient poor: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited
• if too nutrient rich: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited

33. Gravitational interaction with a moon
• if greater: tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe
• if less: orbital obliquity changes would cause climatic instabilities; movement of nutrients and life from the oceans to the continents and vice versa would be insufficient; magnetic field would be too weak

34. Jupiter distance
• if greater: too many asteroid and comet collisions would occur on Earth
• if less: Earth's orbit would become unstable

35. Jupiter mass
• if greater: Earth's orbit would become unstable
• if less: too many asteroid and comet collisions would occur on Earth

With the best will in the world can you just discount this evidence (no claim to proof) as just coincidence? The existence at all of any single parameter is remarkable in a largely empty universe but the culmination of all is just staggering.

(Sorry for the length of the post Your Grace)

27 August 2008 at 09:34  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Sir HM

Just to put this is perspective for one of the constants. One part in 10x37 *(Ratio of Electrons:Protons) is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire USA continent in pennies all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with pennies). Next, pile pennies from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as the US. Paint one penny red and mix it into the billions of piles of pennies. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one penny. The odds that he will pick the red penny are one in 10x37.

27 August 2008 at 09:43  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Recusant

Yes sir, all well and good - but I thought the whole point of questioning the reason for existence, the reason for science, the reason for religion (of whatever variety) was to explain WHY.

Are you aware of the ancient Athenian polytheist explanation for how and why the Attic people (Athens was part of Attica)? Look it up. Ridiculous as it sounds, that did the trick for them, explanation-wise. One of the versions of Christianity does it for you. One of the versions of Islam does it for Muslims. Etc. Not having an explanation does it just fine for me and, I suspect, most people. I/we just don't think it's important enough to spend a minute or penny troubling my/our self/selves over.

Logically, one can never ever explain a 'Why?' question because it always leads to a further Why question. "The Lord said 'Let there be light'". Why? "It started with a Big Bang". Why?. Until you can answer the Why bit, you can never know the reason for existence. So why bother? Acept that you exist, and enjoy the short span of existence available to you.

All You've done there is talk about WHAT.

It's the WHY that I have no concern over. We just ARE, and that's good enough for me.
Theism doesn't explain WHY; Atheism doesn't explain WHY; Science doesn't explain WHY.
Nothing explains WHY.

Why this human obsession with explaining why we exist? Would knowing make any difference to our immediate existence in the present day? Or to our futures?

27 August 2008 at 10:45  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

Grayling is just as rabidly and evangelically aetheistic as Dawkins, and nuttier.

Personally I would never trust a philosopher who is popular. He and Dawkins will have their day, but to be honest, all they are really preaching is the hatred and intolerance they so noisily purport to abhor. His prattle is opium for the lumpenproletariat and scooby snack sized catch-phrases for pub bores to moan on about how Christianity is the root of all evil. Do me a favour.

27 August 2008 at 11:09  
Blogger Miss Jelly bean said...

Well according to wikipedia Miliband is a 'Jewish Athiest'. Hmmmmmmm...

27 August 2008 at 12:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir HM writes:

"All You've done there is talk about WHAT.

It's the WHY that I have no concern over. We just ARE, and that's good enough for me."

And good enough for cats, dogs, pigs etc who are (I imagine) completely unaware of cosmological constants, geometry, morality and guilt, the Resurrection of Christ etc. Not good enough for Socrates' children.

Hugh Latimer

27 August 2008 at 15:47  
Blogger mckenzie said...

Ecc 1:9-11-THE THING THAT HATH BEEN, IT IS THAT WHICH SHALL BE; AND THAT WHICH IS DONE IS THAT WHICH SHALL BE DONE: AND THERE IS NO NEW THING UNDER THE SUN. IS THERE ANY THING WHEREOF IT MAY BE SAID, SEE, THIS IS NEW? IT HATH BEEN ALREADY OF OLD TIME, WHICH WAS BEFORE US. THERE IS NO REMEMBRANCE OF FORMER THINGS; NEITHER SHALL THERE BE ANY REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS THAT ARE TO COME WITH THOSE THAT SHALL COME AFTER.

Col 1:16-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.
Eph 3:9-AND TO MAKE ALL MEN SEE WHAT IS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE MYSTERY, WHICH FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD HATH BEEN HID IN GOD, WHO CREATED ALL THINGS BY JESUS CHRIST.

1 Cor 15:26-THE LAST ENEMY THAT SHALL BE DESTROYED IS DEATH.
1 Cor 15:57-BUT THANKS BE TO GOD, WHICH GIVETH US THE VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

27 August 2008 at 17:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anyone interested.
You are a spirit ,you have soul(mind will, and emotions)and you live in a body.
The power source is the spirit.
Unfortunately we all inherited a corrupt dysfunctional spirit from our ancestor adam.(God withdrew his spirit from adam when adam rejected God.
This is why Jesus said you must be born again!(the old spirit is removed and the spirit of christ indwells the believer.The spirit cannot be destroyed hence heaven for people with renewed spirits, or hell, a place of containment for all in adam. in short you are either in adam or in christ.

27 August 2008 at 17:49  
Blogger mckenzie said...

HI there,
Very interesting theory you have just provided.
Can you produce scriptural references to back up each of your points and statements, or can you explain why anybody should believe what you say?

27 August 2008 at 18:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JOHN 3. 3
verily, verily I say unto you except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
more to follow

27 August 2008 at 18:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and I pray that your SPIRIT SOUL and BODY be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord
1 thessolonians 5.23

27 August 2008 at 18:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the fall God Said "`man is flesh"all his powers intellect,emotions, will, are under the power of the flesh.
man is flesh, genesis 6. 3

27 August 2008 at 18:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

revelation 20 .14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.This is the second death.
revelation 20.15 And whosoever was not found written in the Book OF life was cast into the lake of fire.

27 August 2008 at 19:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man was created to be indwelt by the spirit of God, however man had free will he could reject God.
This is exactly what adam did. God then withdrew.
Man then( created to be infilled with a spirit) became (by his choice)open to spirits of rebellion against God. jesus came and reversed this process to all who choose, (exercising their free will )to become again infilled with the spirit of God.

27 August 2008 at 19:17  
Anonymous judith said...

I'm with Sir H Morgan on this, but let's move it on a stage:

Let's accept that there is a Divine Force or Spirit who created the universe (and us).

As I understand it, whenever the question is then asked "why did the Divine Force create all this?", we are assured that this is a mystery, and not for us to know.

So why should we worry about the "why's and wherefore's"? If there is a Divine Purpose, it has not been revealed to anyone.

And quite frankly, being threatened with eternity in Hell for not accepting Jesus as the Son of God (not a concept Jews of his time would have had any truck with) is not a really big incentive to believing in a Creator!

27 August 2008 at 19:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth is presented to you, what you do with it is entirely up you!
God is love , he creates out of love , humans were created to have a relationship with God .If you reject that oppertunity God will respect your wishes, As I said its your choice,Hell was created for satan and his demons , Jesus warned of the reality of hell.

27 August 2008 at 20:00  
Blogger mckenzie said...

It would be absurd to suggest that I think I know what the meaning of life is, but I think I know what some of the purposes for my life is:
To learn how to love
To learn how to be loved
To learn sacrifice
To learn Charity
To learn patience:
long suffering, humility, brotherhood, parenthood, growth, life, death, faith, hope, and a billion other things.
And the more I listen and debate, it seems the better person I become. and the more I learn and come to appreciate the nature of Grace.

27 August 2008 at 22:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, "So that is what hell is. I would never have believed it. You remember: the fire and brimstone, the torture. Ah! the farce. There is no need for torture: hell is other people."

27 August 2008 at 23:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Immanuel Kant said, "Of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing can ever be made."

Samuel Beckett once remarked, "Hell must be like... reminiscing about the good old days when we wished we were dead."

27 August 2008 at 23:12  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Sir HM

You say you thought the reason for religion (of whatever variety) was to explain why we exist, I can only speak for Christianity and simply say that is not its purpose, no sir you’ve got the wrong end of the stick on that one. But I can tell you why we exist according to the penny Catechism:

6. Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

And that’s the crux of the matter ‘be happy with Him forever in the next’, at the heart of Christianity is eternity, we hope we will live forever in paradise or heaven, call it what you like, with God. For un-provable fantastic, implausible, improbable, outlandish statements that takes the biscuit but there it is, that is what every Christian hopes for.

As you mentioned the Greeks, they were polytheists and St Paul visited the Greeks, the tin God makers had him chased out of town because his One God message was bad for business. Now I ask you, it may be financially astute to promote polytheism but does it stand up to reason, I’ve been to the top of Mt. Olympus, there were trees and some snow but no Gods playing chess with Jason and the Argonoughts.

As I have said there is no proof of God, indeed for there to be so would negate free will and the whole point of being human. But there is evidence as I have demonstrated and when the evidence is examined it comes down to the arguments for and against and so in addition to the above I add the most persuasive arguments for the existence of God

The cosmological argument
The teleological argument
The ontological argument
The anthropic argument
The moral argument
The transcendental argument
Pascal's Wager (I like this one)

Finally consider St. Thomas Aquinas: The Existence of God can be proved in five ways.
The First Way: Argument from Motion
1. Our senses prove that some things are in motion.
2. Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.
3. Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.
4. Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).
5. Therefore nothing can move itself.
6. Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.
7. The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.
8. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
The Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes
1. We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.
2. Nothing exists prior to itself.
3. Therefore nothing is the efficient cause of itself.
4. If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results.
5. Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists.
6. The series of efficient causes cannot extend ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now.
7. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.
The Third Way: Argument from Possibility and Necessity (Reductio argument)
1. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, that come into being and go out of being i.e., contingent beings.
2. Assume that every being is a contingent being.
3. For each contingent being, there is a time it does not exist.
4. Therefore it is impossible for these always to exist.
5. Therefore there could have been a time when no things existed.
6. Therefore at that time there would have been nothing to bring the currently existing contingent beings into existence.
7. Therefore, nothing would be in existence now.
8. We have reached an absurd result from assuming that every being is a contingent being.
9. Therefore not every being is a contingent being.
10. Therefore some being exists of its own necessity, and does not receive its existence from another being, but rather causes them. This all men speak of as God.
The Fourth Way: Argument from Gradation of Being
1. There is a gradation to be found in things: some are better or worse than others.
2. Predications of degree require reference to the “uttermost” case (e.g., a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest).
3. The maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus.
4. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.
The Fifth Way: Argument from Design
1. We see that natural bodies work toward some goal, and do not do so by chance.
2. Most natural things lack knowledge.
3. But as an arrow reaches its target because it is directed by an archer, what lacks intelligence achieves goals by being directed by something intelligence.
4. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.
Even if you remain atheist yourself, would you not now concede that it is reasonable for Christians to hold a belief in God that is not superstitious claptrap but based on a reasonable interpretation from the available scientific evidence (universal Laws) and logical arguments?

28 August 2008 at 01:51  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Judith

Who told you it was a mystery as to why God created Man, it’s not a mystery at all, see reply the Mr HM, the divine purpose as far as we are concerned is to be with God for eternity, that is why we are created, that is our purpose.

Well no the Jews as you say did not have any truck with Jesus did they, taking the skin off his back and nailing him to a bit of wood is not the best way to start to an eternal relationship with your saviour I agree. I detect a little ambivalence in your idea of what the creator has revealed about himself to us. Should we need incentives as you seem to think to remain faithful, give me what I want or that’s it I’m off to Baal? Do you think God needs your prayers or mine to exist, do you think you can tell God what he should do to gain your favour. You have free will Judith, you have a choice, what choice would there be if some bearded old guy in a white robe had you bowing before him all day. Instead He says ‘I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me’. They are His rules, who are you, me or anyone to question them, either accept Him or reject Him, you have a choice.

If we did need and get our incentives, I’m quite sure yours would be different from mine, what would God be then, there’s your million pounds, here’s my equal distribution of wealth to every one, who would God be in all this.

Your name sake had a choice, she cut the head off general, Holofernes to boost the moral of the Israeli army and encourage it to be faithful to obey Gods commands, she didn’t say what’s in it for me?

28 August 2008 at 01:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is just, he cannot condone sin. Jesus as the last adam had mankinds sin placed on his shoulders,he suffered the punishment for OUR sins!
God in human flesh accepting the punishment for mine, and your sin.
This is the Love of God .
How is this made affective a death 2000 yrs ago?. God is outside time he can look upon the crucified christ and accept his death for yours TODAY.This is a spiritual law.God is a spiritual being.
Jesus christ took the place( on the cross)of every sinner that has lived or will live.

28 August 2008 at 08:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JUDITH
Jesus Christ asked the desciples the question"who do you say I am ?
I believe Jesus is asking you that question today!
Jesus christ is either God or he was a liar and a fake .which?

28 August 2008 at 08:22  
Blogger The Gentleman Loser said...

For my money it seems more reasonable to suppose that the universe - which seems subject to rational laws and that is subject to rational enquiry - has a rational origin than that it does not.
I think it was Fr Copleston who said that Bertrand Russell had given up thinking too soon when Russell claimed that existence required no explanation.

28 August 2008 at 10:21  
Anonymous judith said...

Anon@8.22: 'Jesus Christ is God'? I thought he is called the Son of God?

With the greatest of respect to your beliefs, I do not hear Jesus speak to me. But then, I do not hear any spiritual entity speak to me, although I have over the years examined my thoughts on religious beliefs, noting the part they play such a major role in others' lives.

I do believe that human beings need a metaphysical element in their lives, once the basic necessities of food and shelter are dealt with. In my case, that metaphysical element is provided by literature, music and the plastic arts. I attempt, in my very fallible way, to be kind and loving and helpful to others, since I believe we all owe a duty of care to our close and wider communities.

I remain completely unmoved by considerations of possible post-mortem activities.

28 August 2008 at 13:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don`t confuse me with the facts my minds made up?

28 August 2008 at 17:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don`t confuse me with the facts my minds made up?

28 August 2008 at 17:40  
Blogger mckenzie said...

Judith,
Can I ask what particular literature 'provides' your metaphysical element?

28 August 2008 at 17:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith,its me anon again,

I used to be an atheist.I was violently opposed to God.
I got to a point when I realised something was missing from my life but couldn`t put my finger on what it was.I started searching ,nearly got involved in some dodgy new age stuff. eventually God found me! I was born again, my life has been transformed,I believe everyone should be given the chance to hear the gospel(good news) of Jesus Christ.Its not my job to convince anyone all I can do is present the facts.

28 August 2008 at 18:26  
Anonymous judith said...

McKenzie - a pretty wide range, actually: history, fiction (modern and classic), biography, religious analysis, politics; thanks for asking.

Dear anon at 18.26 - but I don't call myself an atheist, and I have never been 'violently opposed' to any deity. And surely everyone does have the chance of hearing/reading the Gospels, at least since some brave souls fought for the right to translate from Latin and Greek into the vulgar tongues?

28 August 2008 at 22:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is widely misunderstood.If anyone truly understood the Gospel and rejected it they would do so knowing they were throwing away any chance of salvation.This is unbelievable to me ,but people are doing exactly that,you will need to be your own savior!! good luck!

29 August 2008 at 17:37  
Blogger mckenzie said...

Judith.
It sounds like you have a healthy and balanced diet of reading there (no sarcasm intended).
I wish you well and hope to see you along the way.

29 August 2008 at 18:31  

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