God is Inescapable for the Atheist or Anyone Else

Try as much as they want, atheists cannot remove God from their thinking or conversations. Each time they speak of Him, they acknowledge His existence. Even in their identity and worldview, they acknowledge they know God. They call themselves a-theist. Although the “a” that precedes “theist” appears to them to mean absence, it could also be used as an indefinite article specifying their acknowledgment of God such as in the sentence, “I am a theist.” Furthermore, although atheists integrate the article to make the word “atheist,” they still cannot get away from theism.  Inasmuch as they viciously try to claim He is absent or non-existent, theism still stands out in their identity.

I recently dialoged with an atheist on the http://www.patheos.com website who titled his discussion “Godless from Dixie.” Now think about that. Although his confession is “godless,” he could not get away from acknowledging God in it. God still rises clear as the noonday sun in the confession. Many atheists as well as those who do not profess atheism use God’s name or the name of His Son when they curse. In doing so, they pray that God will damn them or others. Such amazement.

It occurred to me recently how no one can conceive, think about, or extrapolate from the corporeal or incorporeal existence that which does not exist.

We can only talk about that which we conceive in our minds, harbor or entertain in our thoughts, or extrapolate or abstract from existence whether that existence is corporeal or incorporeal.

A corollary to this is we cannot entertain in our thoughts, conceive in our minds, or extrapolate or abstract from that which does not exist.

When we talk about something, we have already entertained it in our thoughts or conceived of it.

Therefore, when we talk about God, we have thought or conceived Him in our thoughts thereby giving strong evidence of His existence in our speaking.

Therefore, when atheists talk about God, they have thought or conceived Him in their thinking and give strong evidence of His existence according to the stated premises.

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), said similarly when he wrote in “Proslogion,”

How indeed has he ‘said in his heart’ what he could not think; or how could he not think what he ‘said in his heart’, since to ‘say in one’s heart’ and to ‘think’ are the same? But if he really (indeed, since he really) both thought because he ‘said in his heart’ and did not ‘say in his heart’ because he could not think, there is not only one sense in which something is ‘said in one’s heart’ or thought. For in one sense a thing is thought when the word signifying it is thought; in another sense when the very object which the thing is is understood. In the first sense, then, God can be thought not to exist, but not at all in the second sense. No one, indeed , understanding what God is can think that God does not exist, even though he may say these words in his heart either without any [objective] signification or with some peculiar signification. For God is that -than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought. Whoever really understands this understands clearly that this same being so exists that not even in thought can it not exist. Thus whoever understands that God exists in such a way cannot think of Him as not existing” (St. Anselm (1998-09-10). Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 88-89). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.)

Some may claim, “Superman does not exist.  The characters in Star Wars and Star Trek do not exist.  The characters or material world in fiction novels do not exist.  The gods of other religions do not exist.  We can think, conceive, and imagine them although they do not exist and they have come into our minds through an external source.

To this a reply could be given that all of the characters and worlds of fiction are extrapolations of what already exist in reality.  Superman is an extrapolation of men who exist.  His creator simply integrated characteristics of other things that exist such as flying, great strength, and other characteristics and dressed him up in a costume that children now wear for Halloween.  The same also applies to worlds and characters in Star Wars and Star Trek.  Their creators embellish, extrapolate from, and impose on such fictitious worlds and characters from that which already exist.  Imagination is a great thing, because it can integrate those characteristics from what exist and create novel things from them.  The Preacher from Ecclesiastes said as much when he noted:

That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done,

And there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)

That is, what one imagines, thinks, conceives, or extrapolates from what exist has already occurred many times before by others who preceded those who have so imagined, thought, conceived, or extrapolated from what exist.  They simply gave this fiction the settings of their generations and encasing this fiction in that which they knew.

A professor once said of writing, “You write from what you know.”  Knowledge arises from what we imagine, think, conceive, or extrapolate from what exist.  Knowledge cannot arise from non-existence, for there is no knowledge in and of non-existence.  That which does not exist cannot contribute to knowledge.  For this reason, we depend on what exist to give rise to knowledge for filling our imaginations, conceptions, and thoughts so that we can extrapolate from what exist for creating from it some fictitious existence in a novel, poem, music, or art.  All of these display an extrapolation and integration of the characteristics of what exist.

When humanity creates fictitious characters, they do so from what already exist in reality.  The ancient civilizations so created fictitious characters and images from stones, wood, and other materials that arose from their imagination as extrapolations of what exist.  They then set these images up as gods for themselves.  They imagined these gods for worship because they knew God existed.  However, they took from the created material order and attempted to fashion from their imagination, conceptions, and thoughts of God and created images from the material world to attempt to stand for what they already knew – that God existed.

Therefore, deny all they wish, God remains strongly implanted in the minds of all as that which exist. They cannot get away from Him no matter how much they try. Their identity depends on their acknowledgment of God (atheist as a derivative from theist). Their opposition and curses reveal that they know Him. Write or preach all they wish against God, but their words testify to Him even though they resist, rebel against, and oppose Him.  Atheists betray themselves by speaking and writing about and against God.

King David once wrote, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7) No one can remove himself or herself from the presence of God nor can their thoughts seek escape from Him. He is deeply implanted in their minds, so try as they may, God makes knowledge of Him deeply embedded in everyone’s minds.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful” (Romans 1:21).

How can people who have never heard of God still know Him? This Romans passage puzzled me for a long time until I framed the syllogism above. Our thoughts and conceptions give witness to and evidence of the knowledge of God. It is undeniable evidence within us when our minds entertain thoughts of God.  When we think or conceive of God, we show we know Him, not in the same sense that we know Him relationally or redemptively but in the sense that we know God exists.  Thinking and conceiving thoughts are part of our experience so that our own personal experience gives witness to the existence of God no matter how much some deny Him.  In denying God they deny the reality of their own experience.

The preceding statement Paul makes gives more evidence for our thoughts and conception of God, “…because what may be known of God is manifest in them” (1:19).

Again, when atheists talk or write about God in opposition to Him, they betray themselves by showing that the knowledge of God is indelibly stamped on the mind and conscience. They can only talk and write about that which exist or can be extrapolated or abstracted from existence. In talking or writing about God, they give ample and strong evidence of His existence and show they know Him while doing all they can to suppress that knowledge. The suppression of knowledge does not eradicate it.  Knowledge exists whether one accepts it or not.  Atheists show that such suppression of the knowledge of God is impossible by continually dialoging about Him.

Those who oppose God and attempt to wipe Him from their existence need to turn their face upward to confess what their thoughts and hearts acknowledge: God is inescapably in their presence and known in their hearts.  Their rage against Him will not stand in the judgment (Psalm 2), and their chains will curtail their defiance until they finally admit God is the LORD, their Creator, and Redeemer.

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10 Comments on “God is Inescapable for the Atheist or Anyone Else

  1. Why don’t you publish my comments, so that people can read both sides? This isn’t a discussion. This is a one-sided exchange controlled by your settings on this site. I no longer have interest in talking to you anyway because you haven’t done your homework. Admit to everyone that you can’t even define basic fallacies.

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    • Let me now tackle your replies.

      First, you gave a link to another website. A link is not any attempt to write your reply on my website. If you wanted to reply like anyone else, you could have easily posted on my website. Therefore, you made the choice not to do so. In kind, I made the choice to reply to specified comments, which is my prerogative. A link is not a reply to the merits of my argument and their premises. Furthermore, you gave specific citations to the works of others in footnotes and you selectively quoted my article on your website. Such actions on your part is disingenuous. You cannot have it both ways.

      Why did you not place the entire works of the authors in your footnotes on your website? Additionally, when an author takes to a published work, that author draws from specific areas of a published work and footnotes the source. By copyright law, an author is not allowed to quote more than 400 words from a cited work, It does not appear that you understand that. Besides, what you wrote had nothing to do with my argument, making it a straw man, and I noted that. I responded to salient points you made, and the rest was irrelevant because they were ridicule and did not directly address my article. Your article on your website was way off point by not addressing what I wrote. Your argument fails once again.

      Second, as of yet you have not replied to the premises in my article. Consequently, there was nothing that you said that was worthy of a reply. I replied to you out of courtesy as well as to show you how you failed to address the article under discussion. It is disingenuous for you to claim that I do not publish your replies when you do not reply to the article in this discussion. Furthermore, to say this is not a discussion is to ignore the common usage of the word. We are engaged in a discussion whether you wish to admit it or not. You cannot simply wish something away or make a naked claim that something is so without any support. Your argument fails again on these points.

      Third, I have the right to allow responses on my website. I do so when they demonstrate respect, courtesy and respond directly to an article. I also have the right to not allow responses that contain ridicule, caustic remarks, false accusation (i.e., plagiarism), and deceit as you have. However, I did allow some of yours so that others who visit can read how atheists respond to arguments – with ridicule and personal attacks rather than with reason and logic. Unfortunately, your ridicule illustrates your refusal to give an adequate and direct response on the merits. It also reveals your character while admitting to an objective morality by making accusations of dishonest. Objective morality is inconsistent with atheism. You have no respect and show no courtesy toward others. Consequently, you have not given yourself the right to be heard. If you show a bit of courtesy and respect, you would earn the right to post. Your argument again fails.

      Are you speaking of your post: “You threw class out the window*”

      If so, it was not worthy of a response, because it said nothing and had no context. To string together three incongruent metaphors without any context says nothing. It stood as an isolated remark unrelated to anything in my article. That is the reason I did not approve it. It was irrelevant.

      Fourth, you do need to take a course in logical fallacies and reading. Just to say someone is wrong about logical fallacies does not make it so. Ridicule IS a form of ad homenim called appeal to ridicule. Neither is an argument on the merits. I will cite an example from one of your postings:

      >>>”In particular, so people can see how dishonest you are…” Ad homenim, false attribution, and just plain slander.

      Additionally, you do not read all I write. For if you did, you would not formulate your arguments against what I wrote which omit what what I already stated. If you read what I wrote, you would have seen that I anticipated your refutation and replied to it before you raised the questions against it.

      Again, nothing you write are arguments on the merits. Your arguments fail on logic alone, for none of them are on the merits.

      Now, I will allow further postings from you if you show courtesy and respect and lay aside ridicule, lies, and caustic remarks.

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  2. I called your argument foolish. I didn’t call you foolish. Consider what you wrote: “When we talk about something, we have already entertained it in our thoughts or conceived of it.” That is clearly connected to Anselm’s Ontological Argument. I’m sorry you thought your argument was original, but it’s not. Anyone can read my reply and see that there’s no ad hominem involved. In fact, there’s “assault” in your post unless you fail to see how your post can make some atheists angry. “Deny all they wish..He remains implanted in their minds.” That kind of talk is as good as an insult to some atheists. To me, it’s desperate theo-babble. My response is very direct. I’m currently pursuing a degree in philosophy; I’ve taken many classes and read many books on the topic, so believe me when I say, I know what I’m talking about. In any event, with your kind of talk, you through class out the window, so don’t try to dodge by crying ad hominem where they ain’t any.

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    • To call an argument or someone “foolish” or “stupid” remains a logical fallacy because it is not an argument on the merits. It fails to address the argument. When you cite other authorities apart from your own argument, that is an appeal to authority logical fallacy. When you cite an authority to support your own argument, that is valid. Yours was an appeal to authority because you simply claim so-and-so said. Your claim of pursuing a degree in philosophy is also an appeal to authority, because is irrelevant to the argument. Your argument integrates logical fallacies and fail to address the argument directly. You do not address any of the premises.

      Now I will refute your statements:

      Academic Atheism>>>”Since you actually present an argument that should be retired…”

      Does not address any cited premise. Simply stating “should” is not an argument on the merits. It fails.

      >>>”Every version of this argument hinges on one or more of the following: Leibnizian Possible Worlds, Leibnizian Necessity, or Anselm’s notion of conceivability. Anselm argues that since we can’t imagine or conceive of a being greater than god, god exists.”

      What argument? You fail to give an antecedent for your citation. Citation to specific individuals without citing what they state and then not developing your own from them is simply the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. The above fails on that reason alone. Furthermore, I did not work from the cited proposition from Anselm in stating my premises. Rather, I cited his second proposition to support the premises I put forward. You did not accurately read my premises and thereby created a straw man argument logical fallacy. Your statements are irrelevant and logical fallacies.

      >>>”A criticism offered by Gaunilo of Marmoutier is still the most common rebuttal of the argument.”

      The above statement is not true. Anselm gave a rebuttal to Gaunilo. You failed to read it. Additionally, other philosophers have rebutted Gaunilo. This argument also fails because you show that you have not done your homework.

      >>>”Anselm never justifies his move from conceivability to reality.”

      How does this statement support your defense of Gaunilo? You present it as a support for it, but in actuality it is a non sequitur, because it is irrelevant. How does Anselm’s justification of anything support your statement about Gaunilo? It does not. Consequently, this argument also fails due to logical fallacy and poor writing.

      >>>”In other words, Anselm never legitimizes his move from the idea to an existing entity that corresponds to that idea.”

      This argument fails also because you never support it and tie it in to my premises. It is nothing more than a naked assertion. It is also a non sequitur because it says nothing about my premises.

      >>>”A theist may object…”

      Again, this is the beginning of a non sequitur. Who cares what “a theist may object to. It is not an argument on the merits.

      Citing Plantinga is also a non sequitur to the straw man you establish in your attempts to refute my position. Therefore, you create two logical fallacies, and you fail to show how your citation of Plantinga has anything to do with what I wrote. Continuing to cite other versions of the argument while referring to an argument I never took up is a continuation of the straw man logical fallacy and are irrelevant.

      >>>”Your desperate fish-out-of-water contortions will do nothing to change or suppress the truth.”

      Ad hominem and ridicule. Neither one is an argument on the merits. You fail.

      Your entire rebuttal consists of numerous logical fallacies and never addresses any of the premises in the article to which you reply.

      I ask that you read it more carefully as well as the other articles I have written and not simply react from what your professors have taught you. If you have not read the Bible, I also encourage that also. Our richest literature, music, and art surfaced from its pages. One cannot understand a large part of world literature, art, and music without rightly reading and accurately understanding the Bible. Wisdom arises from its pages. Some of the greatest men and women resisted God until they took up the challenge of reading the Bible, not according to their own view but according to the view and intent of the authors. Many atheists have set out to take up the challenge to read the Bible to seek to disprove God. Their honest reading of it changed their minds, and they discovered God in its pages.

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  3. Not,

    Calling an argument silly is not one on the merits. Yours is ad hominem.

    The evidence is in the premises. You have not even addressed the premises. Therefore, your claim is invalid and faulty. No personal assaults will be tolerated. If your aim is to assault rather than reply, they will not be published.

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    • Making your case means replying directly to an argument. Your reply does not do that but cites other websites rather than making an argument or giving a rebuttal. However, I did take a quick look at your reply and found it invalid because it consists of the logical fallacy of ad hominem. Logical fallacies are not valid arguments on the merits. Your rebuttal fails to address the presented premises and conclusions. Citing certain scholars without supporting your case from them is not a sufficient argument.

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