Philosophy

Why We Live Forever

Anon reader query:

I believe you are a Christian apologist. I am a theist but have issues seeing a reason to believe in an afterlife.

Do you have any reasons to believe in the afterlife (assuming a loving God) even if one does not believe in the resurrection of Jesus?

If you could convince me of the resurrection of Jesus as well I would appreciate the effort. I’d definitely read the message and try to learn something

Thank you

I’m sorry you think I’m a Christian apologist. (Good joke!) I’m a blogger who happens to be Catholic, and not the other way around. I cannot meet the burden of saintliness for it to be the other way around.

FOREVER & EVER

Lots of reasons why I’m convinced we live forever. Here’s one.

We know that some propositions are certainly true. If you deny this, pace “I know with certainty there are no propositions we know with certainty”, you admit this. If instead you say “I know with certainty we can only know all propositions with some degree of uncertainty”, again you admit it.

There is therefore no getting around that some things are true, and known to be true. True no matter what. True regardless of how the universe happens to be at the moment. Just plain true.

Many propositions are known to be true with certainty, including the precepts of logic, which itself is used to deduce other truths. There is no way to argue anything without first knowing these precepts are true. Try disproving that! Try convincing anybody there are no certain truths without using the certain truths of logic.

There are also many other truths (e.g. things exist), the most important of which we know via mechanisms higher than logic. These are the universals, which come to us via intuition or inspiration—in-spiritus-given. For instance, we know all essences this way: e.g. dogs have four legs; water is nothing like steel; there are an infinite number of primes, which is deduced only after accepting axioms known to be true via intuition.

There has to be a reason, a cause, why these things are true. It can’t be for no reason; that is, no cause. That’s point one.

Rather, points one and two. Universal truths exist and have a cause, and we can know these.

Now all these truths form a collection. And that collection has either a cause or causes. Suppose it’s causes and not one cause. Then each of the individual causes itself has to itself have a cause, a reason why it is this way and not that. These causes cannot just be “brute facts”, but themselves must have a reason behind them.

Well, you can’t go on like this forever. There has to be a meta-cause, a cause above all these, the cause of all causes. And that’s what we call God.

The reason that I believe we last beyond the body is that our intellect and will can grasp universals. All universals involve infinite extrapolations. No animal save man can do this. And man, it is obvious, cannot do it himself unaided. The intuitions and inductions have to be given us from above, as it were.

The form of us, like the form (the essence) of all things, is itself immaterial. Since part of our essence is our intellect, and our intellects grasps infinity, and all essences have to have that one Cause, our intellects are somehow infinite, and caused, or held, by God.

Our immaterial intellects therefore survive our material passing. But it seems to be complete, we need that material part of ourselves, hence the idea of our own eventual re-store-ations.

I think that’s all that can be done in fewer than 750 words.

JESUS’S RESURRECTION

The single best reason are the eyewitness reports. John was there, and told us about it. Peter, too. And so on afterwards, as documented in Acts.

The reporting on the Resurrection wasn’t like myths and fables, passed down as obvious stories. It was no different in reporting style from battles and other political events of the time.

The expectation moderns have is that the Resurrection would have been celebrated like some minor, and soon-forgotten, flap today with millions of tweets, articles, and other records. The opposite is true. It was recorded in an age where most things were not.

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Categories: Philosophy

75 replies »

  1. ”The single best reason are the eyewitness reports. John was there, and told us about it. Peter, too. And so on afterwards, as documented in Acts.”

    Here is an excellent book that elaborates on this: Cold Case Christianity.

    Written by a homicide detective who specialized in “cold cases” — those made difficult to solve by the passage of time, lack of living witnesses, and vanished physical evidence. An agnostic, he decided to look into the case of Jesus using the same techniques he had employed in solving cold cases. It’s fascinating following along the trail of clues our detective examines with curiosity, imagination, and logical clarity. I found it a highly effective approach to a common stumbling block: how can we possibly know the truth about something that took place two thousand years ago and is filled with seemingly impossible events? Read this and find out.

  2. To the commenter who asked the question i offer my answer:

    Deceive yourself all you like but morality only exits in people who judge it in
    Antcipion of an afterlife.

    Anyon who claim to be moral but believes not in an afterlife, that animal’s morality is subhuman. Epcially with regar to sexuality.

  3. Proof of Jesus’ resurrection?
    Look at it from whether there’s proof that Jesus was not resurrected
    While it may be true that Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
    Coupled with motivations on the part of Roman and Jewish leadership at the time where simply showing his remains would have stopped the movement in its tracks

    Regarding witnesses, don’t forget that except for John, they all took their witness to the death

  4. “The opposite is true. It was recorded in an age where most things were not.”

    Even if it was, we can easily demonstrate today that despite video and audio and numerous recorded eyewitness testimony, there will always be that half of the country and panels of approved scientific experts and media that will simply ignore it, manufacture anonymous sources who swear that Joe Biden rises from the dead every morning therefore demonstrating that this phenomena is nothing special and that we will also all be able to do it with annual vaccine shots that boost our resurrective systems. Then we can all have a lovely riot for every Barrabbas that gets apprehended by the guards and watch as the governor washes his/her hands when a platitude minimum sentencing doesn’t assuage the feelings of the mob who want the death penalty. And to make absolutely certain nobody does any supremacist resurrecting to lord themselves over the rest if us equals, they will blot out the media and censor the sun itself to make sure the 3rd day never comes.

    “White Supremacy” is a codeword dog-whistle that really means “”Christianity is true.”

  5. As a Jewish (and therefore not Christian) American, I agree with most of your points here. Your argument for personal immortality is a new one to me, but I haven’t read all of Aquinas so it might be in there.

    Your defense of logic echoes that of Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid (1710-1796) who was a critic of Descartes:

    “Descartes’ argument ‘I think, therefore I am’ is usually considered a pretty good one, but Reid would have none of it. He argued that certain assumptions were necessary for any thought at all. As a result, you couldn’t prove them without circular reasoning because in order to prove them, you first had to assume that they were true. Such assumptions included your own existence, the existence of the world, and the laws of logic. According to Reid, it was crazy to reject such assumptions even if they could never be proven: ‘A man that disbelieves his own existence is surely as unfit to be reasoned with as a man who believes he is made of glass. There may be disorders in the human frame that may produce such extravagances, but they will never be cured by reasoning.'” (Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things, Chapter 10).

    In 2021, quite a few people seem to believe they are made of glass, or what amounts to the same thing.

    You might already know it, but the first proof that there are infinitely many prime numbers was given about 2,300 years ago by the Greek mathematician Euclid.

    https://www.consilience-publishing.com/whysanepeople/

  6. N S Palmer

    You bring to mind John Carpenter and Dan O Bannon’s movie Dark Star wherein Lt. Doolittle has to teach Bomb #20 Phenomenology

    Bomb #20 goes on to prove the existence of God by example

  7. “Dark Star” is a classic, but it’s a little like Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged:” Either you love it or you hate it. There’s no in-between. I love it, but two of my closest friends hate it.

  8. Re: N. S. Palmer

    Yes, Descartes got it backwards…I am, therefore I think.

  9. Knowing — truly really simply knowing — like know what you ate for breakfast an hour ago — that one will live forever and not die, despite the demise of the physical body — changes everything in one’s life — everything.

    KNOWING is far different from believing. Most people are aware of this difference. There are things they know — factual things like “My name is . . .” and things that they believe — things they’ve been told like “I was born in such and such a hospital . . . “.

    Trying to explain why one knows such a thing though, is difficult, as it often requires talking of experiences that are too personal and sacred to be discussed casually. People who know they will live forever have mostly learned that it is seldom productive to try and explain why and how to those that don’t know.

  10. The great 20th century mystic Valentin Tomberg made an interesting argument for immortality based on an analogy with the laws of conservation of matter and energy: Just as there are laws of conservation of matter and energy, there must likewise exist a law of conservation of consciousness. He expounded this idea in his most famous work, “Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism” (don’t let the name fool you – Tomberg was no new-ager reading fortunes, but a deeply TradCath before the meme existed):

    MOTT, Letter 1, pg 24: “Now ‘pure induction’ is founded on simple enumeration and is essentially only conclusion based on the experience of given statistics. Thus one could say: ‘As John is a man and is dead, and as Peter is a man and is dead, and as Michael is a man and is dead, therefore man is mortal.’ The force of this argument depends on number or on the quantity of facts known through experience. The method of analogy, on the other hand, adds the qualitative element, i.e. that which is of intrinsic importance, to the quantitative. Here is an example of an argument by analogy: ‘Andrew is formed from matter, energy and consciousness. As matter does not disappear with his death, but only changes its form, and as energy does not disappear but only modifies the mode of its activity, Andrew’s consciousness, also, cannot simply disappear, but must merely change its form and mode (or plane) of activity. Therefore Andrew is immortal.’ This latter argument is founded on the formula of Hermes Trismegistus: that which is below (matter) (energy) is as that which is above (consciousness). Now, if there exists a law of conservation of matter and energy (although matter transforms itself into energy and vice versa), there must necessarily exist also a law of conservation of consciousness, or immortality.”

    In a later work, “Lazarus, Come Forth!,” Tomberg discusses the issue of general Resurrection (not just Christ’s but of all) and personal immortality in greater detail:

    “Forgetting, sleep, and death, are stages of basically the same process. No, in contradistinction to them stand remembrance, awakening, and resurrection…Just as Jesus Christ , First-Born of the Resurrection, rose again, so will all the dead arise on good time…As and idea, the Resurrection, is the realisation that God is divinely generous, that God does not take away what God has once given and granted, but that God’s gifts – existence, consciousness, freedom, and creative activity – are valid for all eternity. Therefore, existence will never be taken from anyone – all are immortal. Consciousness will never cease – the continuity of consciousness is eternal. Freedom will be maintained for all eternity – with all the endless possibilities for its use and misuse…A Utopian ideal? It may seem so to many, but if having an ideal is a matter of importance, then this is the only one worth having. For it is divinely lofty, and there lives in the consciousness of humanity nothing more noble, more capable of arousing enthusiasm for all that is Good, True, and Beautiful, than this ideal. It is the heart of Christianity itself.”

    Dostoevsky’s views on resurrection and the ideal of Christ, particularly as expressed through Alyosha in “The Brothers Karamazov,” are quite similar to Tomberg’s (No surprise, since the Russian-born Tomberg was an ardent admirer of Dostoevsky and Soloviev).

  11. ugghh…first line, second to last paragraph above should read “NOW, in contradistinction…”

  12. The entire universe is conscious though stars, moons, and boulders are a bit phlegmatic.

  13. “But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.”

    [ St. Augustine, Contra epistolam Manichaei 5, 6: PL 42, 176; quoted in CCC 119. ]

    St. Augustine, I think we can grant, is a greater theologian, and a greater “Christian apologist,” than you or I can ever be; and the Catechism quotes him more often than Aquinas.

    He also does not make St. Thomas’s mistake; for within a hundred years of the Summa, the Latin West had worked out that the Thomistic “Deus Unus” cannot bear any Christian theological weight at all (prompting the nominalism still regnant today, or its ersatz antidote, nostalgia):

    While the influence of Plato’s Timaeus was still effective in the Thomist metaphysics, by way of the tradition stemming from Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, coloring the notion of the natural with a religious significance and value, this nostalgia was irreconcilable with the dogmatic rationalism of the Aristotelian act-potency analysis. This has the consequence that the usual “Thomist” analogy of being set up a radically contradictory postulate of a transcendent creator who is “naturally” known to be the metaphysical absolute, for it is immediately evident that of the transcendent absolute precisely nothing is or can be known, as a matter of definition: of the ineffable, nothing is said. This had been worked out in the Latin West by the close of the thirteenth century and, since the nominalist triumph of logic over cosmology in the next century, only a school loyalty coupled to a religious obedience, now unavailing, has kept the Thomist “natural” or philosophical analogy in use….
    [Keefe Donald J, SJ; Covenantal Theology II, n. 37, p. 278 ]

    TL;DR: “Jesus is Lord; He is Risen as He said” is both the linchpin and the stumbling block for it all: either He is, or He ain’t; and He is Truth — not a transcendental, not an axiom— He. There is no ‘truth’ above, beyond, before Him; a quest to ‘prove’ Him is already to posit some Thing, some lord, more lordly than He. Either He is I AM, as He said, or He ain’t; it always comes down to “Who do you say that I am?”

  14. There are many reasons to believe. Here’s one. All the apostles died horribly except for John. People will allow themselves to be tortured and die for a lie they believe to be the truth but not for a lie they know to be a lie.

  15. N. S. Palmer

    Dark Star does border on Three Stooges in Space. I know Stooges isn’t loved by all
    For me, enjoying Dark Star depends on the version; the 68 minute version preferred by its creators, or the 83 minute version.
    I prefer the 83 minute because of the Bomb #20 thread, makes it less episodic. Not a fan of Doolittle’s musical interlude but even that doesn’t bother me as much as the missing Bomb sequences which build the bomb’s frustration level until it lets it all out

    I absolutely love the title theme “Benson, Arizona”

  16. Dear Anon: Do read the Gospel of John with an open heart and mind, and see what happens!

    God bless you dearly, C-Marie

  17. Not impressed. What has an abstract first cause got to do with the tribal warlord God depicted in the Old Testament? But in any case, it’s just a special pleading fallacy: Everything must have a cause except God – but if God doesn’t require a cause, why not assume that spacetime or something else doesn’t require a cause? Also, I’m not aware of any actual reason why an infinite regress of causes isn’t possible.

    Regarding universals, you give the example of dogs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t dogs capable of recognising other dogs? Drive through a town with a dog in your car. Most dogs will ignore people, but go mad barking at any dogs they see. Surely that’s an example of a non-human animal recognising the ‘dog’ universal (and the ‘human’ universal)? Incidentally, I fail to see any reason why it would be necessary to have an immaterial mind in order to recognise universals. Or, for that matter, how an immaterial mind could do anything at all.

    Other problems: John wasn’t an eyewitness. None of the gospels claim to be written by eyewitnesses. It’s ridiculous to claim that the sorts of events recorded in the gospels, like an earthquake and hordes of zombies coming out of their graves and going into Jerusalem wouldn’t have been recorded by historians.

  18. @Swordfish – You don’t believe in obvious truths, such as a man is not a woman, a child is not an adult, and communism never works. We can safely ignore all your pronouncements.

  19. As noted previously, witnesses to Jesus’s resurrection went to their death without recanting their belief in that.
    Deathbed testimony carries the most weight.

  20. True, that no human being on earth is saw or is reported to have been an eyewitness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ fromthe dead.

    It is also true, that the Apostles and many more were eyewitnesses to the Resurrected Jesus, that they ate and drank with Him, that they touched Him, talked with Him, and more.

    Why is it that some people desire and even insist to not know God Who is Love and to live with Him forever. Is it because they will have to acknowledge their sins before the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and receive His forgiveness in His merciful giving of His Son?

    “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” JOHN 3: 16-21.

    And an invitaion to everyone from Jesus Himself:
    “28 Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” MATTHEW 11: 28-30.

    God bless, C-Marie

  21. P.S. Do watch the movie “RISEN”, whoever is having a hard time believing that Jesus is God and that He is risen from the dead.

    God bless, C-Marie

  22. Assumes what you want to prove (“in spiritus”), assumes a cause is a god and specifically the god you chose to believe in, does not explain why the cause of all causes does not have a cause just assumes it in ageument of ignorance, assumes bible is not just story but no real evidence for about anything in it and obviously similar to other religious stories.

    Justin

  23. “does not explain why the cause of all causes does not have a cause.” Such an illogical statement. Of course God does not “have a cause” otherwise He’d not be the “causes of all causes” in the first place. Or is it just “turtles all the way down”? It is more rational and logical to believe there is a First Mover who is not Himself moved, than to believe that the universe and everything in it just sprouted up by random chance.

    But, I stopped long ago bothering to waste much time arguing with those who simply do not want to believe. In the end it is a matter of Grace and an open mind and heart, not logic, and no amount of argumentation will open the minds of those who are closed or clouded by materialism and scientism.

  24. C-Marie,

    “It is also true, that the Apostles and many more were eyewitnesses to the Resurrected Jesus, that they ate and drank with Him, that they touched Him, talked with Him, and more.”

    How do you know it’s true? You have nothing to go on other than the gospels, and there’s no reason to think they are reliable. We don’t even know who wrote them! You don’t have eyewitness testimony here, only hearsay.

    If I was accused of murder, but argued in court that I was on the other side of town at the time of the murder, and I have lots of eyewitnesses to prove it, only I can’t produce any of them, or name any of them, do you think that would hold up? How about if I wasn’t actually present in court myself, but an anonymous person was writing about this thirty years later in another country? Would you then believe my claimed witnesses really existed? How about is these people were supposed to be witnesses to me coming back from the dead?

  25. Ed Bonderenka,

    “As noted previously, witnesses to Jesus’s resurrection went to their death without recanting their belief in that. Deathbed testimony carries the most weight.”

    How do you know? The Bible only mentions the deaths of two apostles: Judas and James. Judas’s death (described in two completely contradictory accounts), was suicide. James was beheaded by Herod, with no mention that he could have saved himself by recanting. All you have other than the Bible are a bunch of contradictory and often absurd ‘traditions’ in which apostles die in two different countries, or magically survive immersion in boiling oil.

  26. @swordfishtrombone: Regarding universals

    What is meant by universals are abstract concepts — things like mathematics. It arises from an attempt to substantially differentiate humans from the rest of the animal world. Specifically, that a requirement for “intelligence” is the capability to consider abstract concepts. A bit like saying we are better than fish because fish can’t climb trees. The evidence for this particular idea of intelligence is the lack of evidence.

    Somehow “intelligence” produced by the “intellect” will last for the rest of eternity. Why? Possibly because humans down deep reject the idea that whatever it is they refer to as “I” won’t go to the same place the light goes when the switch is turned OFF.

    Everything must have a cause except God – but if God doesn’t require a cause, why not assume that spacetime or something else doesn’t require a cause? Also, I’m not aware of any actual reason why an infinite regress of causes isn’t possible

    The First Cause is an assumption. It just HAS to be “true” because everything has a cause and the string of causes is finite (another assumption). You fix that by further assuming an entity without a cause. It is an example of Deus ex Machina — literally in this case — a leap .

    @McChuck: You don’t believe in obvious truths, such as a man is not a woman, a child is not an adult, and communism never works.

    Questioning an “obvious” truth means all that? Talk about a leap!

    @Dennis: It is more rational and logical to believe there is a First Mover who is not Himself moved, than to believe that the universe and everything in it just sprouted up by random chance.

    Yes, its is SO much more rational and logical to give it a name that explains nothing.

  27. This might help: https://catholicstraightanswers.com/who-wrote-the-gospels/

    Along with a genuine desire in one’s heart and mind to know if Jesus is truly the Son of God; is He the only way to God our Father; is His Name the only Name by which one can be saved; is He truly God Incarnate; and more.

    If one in truth desires to know the truth concerning Jesus Christ, then ask God’s Holy Spirit to teach oneself, perhaps saying, “Okay, Holy Spirit, I do not know about all of this business, but I am willing (the important word here is willing) to be taught by You, if You are real, and all that.”

    God bless, C-Marie

  28. Like the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s Resurrection, the immortality of the soul is something one must accept on faith. We can make all manner of analogies and comparisons between human consciousness / intellect and the universals of truth and logic, but analogies and comparisons can only suggest. They cannot prove, and they don’t constitute evidence.

    A concise, non-theistic statement of our belief in the immortality of the soul would be: “We believe we are immortal because we believe ourselves fit for immortality.” (Stephen Crane) At any rate, the accounts of Jesus’s Resurrection, and His promises to those who follow Him, are highly persuasive. To him who accepts their veracity, they render other approaches to the subject unnecessary.

    One final thought: Imagine immortality in a temporal context: i.e., an existence like unto our own, bound by time and laws of cause and effect. It strikes me as a dreary prospect, which suggests that a blissful immortality, such as Jesus promised to those who follow Him, must be qualitatively different, perhaps not at all subject to time. (As for the nature of a horrible immortality — damnation — I think I’ll leave the subject to another time.)

  29. ““does not explain why the cause of all causes does not have a cause.” Such an illogical statement. Of course God does not “have a cause” otherwise He’d not be the “causes of all causes” in the first place.”

    But god beliefs themselves are illogical. For example, all powerful yet can’t defeat satan? Not to mention a zillion miracle stories, none whatsoever on video. Creates life yet creates it imperfectly so destroys it? Allows childhood cancer to be here? If from sins or freewill, well who created that in the first place or knew it would happen (all knowing)?

    Surely something so complex as a creator of literally everything deserves to have a more satisfactory scientific “explanation” than just “god (the one I believe in anyway) did it (the way I believe he did it anyway)”. Physical things and chance and time, though incomplete explanations (no one ever claimed science is perfect and unchanging – religious dogma has that claim to fame), at least have things we can see and measure.

    Glad to see you’re not clouded by materialism and scientism yet use a computer (from materialism and scientism) to communicate this fact to me,

    Justin

  30. “Not to mention a zillion miracle stories, none whatsoever on video…Allows childhood cancer to be here?…Glad to see you’re not clouded by materialism and scientism yet use a computer (from materialism and scientism) to communicate this fact to me”

    Such string of sophomoric banalities, and oh so original (sub-Ivan Karamazov level stuff). You clearly don’t even have the slightest notion of what materialism and scientism truly mean (hint: it’s not using a computer or other physical device or tool created by man). QED my statement above about these people just not being worth wasting time on.

  31. Apologies to all for Pope Francis and many of the Bishops, for not fulfilling their call by Jesus Christ to:

    “The Great Commission
    16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 16-20.

    And: “27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
    1 Corinthians 12: 27-31.

    And: 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.
    14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5: 13-18.

    If they all were fulfilling their commission, all of these scriptures, with all of their hearts led of by the Holy Spirit, such confusion would not reign.

    God bless, C-Marie

  32. @swordfishtrombone, Justin, other atheists:

    You could take the John C. Wright challenge. Mr. Wright was an atheist for decades, and made at least three converts to his belief, by pellucid and rigorous use of logic.

    When Mr. Wright, by use of logic and (stoic) philosophy concluded that modern atheists were immoral in their embrace of libertinism, and Christians at least had a coherent and rational morality, and that the smartest Christians were quite a bit more intelligent than the smartest atheists, he began to question his own disbelief. He concluded that the thing to do was to request of God in prayer that He demonstrate His existence.

    This is not an act for the faint of heart. God responded by giving Mr. Wright a heart attack, mystical visions, and then faith healing. Mr. Wright admits that he would have impeached and denied any lesser evidence. Unusually, he had already more-or-less decided that acceptance of all the dire consequences of God’s reality was worthwhile, regarding pursuit of the truth as the highest pursuit of a philosopher, even though the heavens — and his own pride — fall.

    And I suspect that this is where the vast majority of atheists will fall short. There is something they value more than knowing the truth of God’s existence — things like rejecting their obligation to live as He commands, as best as they are able, because that is what is best for both them and everyone else. They prefer their pride, their lust, their wrath, their greed, their sloth, their gluttony, their envy.

  33. C-Marie,

    “This might help: (catholicstraightanswers/who-wrote-the-gospels)”

    I just skimmed through it. It’s absolutely absurd nonsense, completely disconnected from known facts about the gospels and their authorship. You should look for less obviously biased sources. Consider this: if everyone stopped believing the Catholic Church’s lies, they’d have to go and get proper jobs rather than sponging off the poor.

    What you call a “desire to know the truth”, I call a desire for self-delusion because you’d rather believe nonsensical fairytales than face reality.

  34. Well, Jesus never gives up on anyone. Sometimes it just takes time.
    God bless, C-Marie

  35. Dennis,

    “Such [a] string of sophomoric banalities”

    Childhood cancer may be a banality to you, but it destroys the Christian claim that a loving God exists.

  36. Do stop twisting things in such stupid fashion. No one said childhood cancer itself is banal. What is banal (and utterly tired and played out at this stage – sub-Ivan Karamzovian clichés repeated 150 years later, as I said above), is the claim that the existence of cancer (or of suffering in general) proves a loving God does not exist.

    Do us a favor and go sit in your corner feeling smug while reading your philosophically and metaphysically illiterate Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett screeds.

  37. Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin,

    “[Atheists] prefer their pride, their lust, their wrath, their greed, their sloth, their gluttony, their envy.”

    Yawn. Is this the best you could come up with? The reason I’m an atheist is that the evidence for God just isn’t there. It has nothing to do with wanting to commit sins – in fact, on a sin-for-sin comparison, I’d probably come out ahead of most Christians.

  38. No “evidence” that one’s closed, materialist reductionist mindset will accept.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  39. Dennis,

    “No “evidence” that one’s closed, materialist reductionist mindset will accept.”

    God would know what evidence would convince me that he exists, so either he doesn’t want to convince me, or he doesn’t exist.

  40. Funny you seem to know the mind of a God you don’t believe in, and presume to tell Him how He should act to suit you!

  41. God has done all that needs to be done to prove to all people that He is Love, and that He exists. And to those who have been so damaged so as to not receive Him loving them, He waits, and step by step shows them that He is, in just the ways they need, to receive His “proofs”.

    God has an army of pray-ers who pray daily for these unbelievers who are known and unknown to the pray-ers. These pray-ers are full of the Love of Jesus Christ for Christ’s lost sheep.

    Many of the lost sheep will respond to these prayers and will receive God’s loving them, and some will persist in refusing Him. Jesus Christ will judge at the Last Judgment, all of us, each of us. Those who are His will go on to Heaven, and those who are not His, will be banished forever from Heaven.

    So, spend time thinking about Who believers say that God is. Tell to God, even if it seems that one is talking just to the air, that one does not believe but is willing to believe if He will only do something to prove Himself.

    There is the crux. Is the unbeliever, at present, actually using his own free will to choose to believe, or is he “playing games with this”?? Only the one caught in this cycle of unbelief, and God, know the truth there.

    What God will do for the unbeliever who in truth uses his free will to believe God, God will give a knowing into the heart of the unbeliever, that He is and that He loves him. And that knowing that God is, will remain with him forever.

    This is the choice that every one must and will make. If unbelief is purposely kept, a time might well come when the will, to will to know God, might pass, as the will becomes hardened againt God due to the will fully embracing the world instead of Him.

    God bless, C-Marie

  42. Dennis,

    “Funny you seem to know the mind of a God you don’t believe in, and presume to tell Him how He should act to suit you!”

    I’m making a simple deduction based on the claimed properties of God: If he’s omniscient, then he must know what would convince me he exists; if he’s omnibenevolent, then he must want me to know he exists. Maybe he isn’t omnibenevolent? A half-evil God would be far more consistent with the state of the world.

    C-Marie,

    “God has done all that needs to be done to prove to all people that He is Love, and that He exists.”

    Clearly not, otherwise there wouldn’t be any atheists or rival religions. How would someone brought up in an Amazonian village 10,000 years ago know anything about the Christian God, when they’d be taught a completely different mythology, and the Bible hadn’t even been written yet – not that they’d be able to read it anyway? Really, God isn’t doing anything at all to make himself known, he’s literally invisible and undetectable. The world’s greatest hide-and-seek player, as has been said.

  43. “Do you have any reasons to believe in the afterlife (assuming a loving God) even if one does not believe in the resurrection of Jesus?”
    I do, but wouldn’t trust the internet with that kind of information
    although it’s an interesting subject and all those stores which have swayed me, tend to be real live experiences and involve spectacular to ridiculous coincidence.

    I’m happier talking to Atheists about it htese days, with very little exception
    I find their ridicule more reasonable and not so primal

    After the first effect, I then find the bible is of more sense, on reading

    The God I believe in is not nonsensical or contradictory
    Those found in the bible are man made or man written/interpreted with all the familiar faults

    Yet if it is true, then what I glean from (experience) is something purely refreshing and of a power that would surprise and amaze the most hardened atheist…until they tried to tell someone

    The difference with dreams is that you know you’re asleep. When it really happens, and there are cross checkable witnesses, it can only make you smile and is not frightening or intimidating in any way

    However I have to be prepared all the time that I could be wrong, which is a hard limbo

  44. https://www.firstthings.com/article/2021/06/the-cross-and-the-machine

    Interesting article by British novelist Paul Kingsnorth about how he – a former atheist who then became a neo-pagan Wiccan – recently converted to Eastern Orthodoxy (oddly, Romanian Orthodox, despite having no Romanian ancestral connection I’m aware of – Orthodoxy tends to be so ethno/nationalist-specific it does seem a rather unusual choice, perhaps he’ll write more about THAT oddity some other time):

  45. Instead of beating the air with one’s fists, is the one or ones even willing to do the following, for afterall, it is up to God as to how He revealed Himself, thousands of years ago.

    Here it is again: “So, spend time thinking about Who believers say that God is. Tell to God, even if it seems that one is talking just to the air, that one does not believe but is willing to believe if He will only do something to prove Himself.

    There is the crux. Is the unbeliever, at present, actually using his own free will to choose to believe, or is he “playing games with this”?? Only the one caught in this cycle of unbelief, and God, know the truth there.

    What God will do for the unbeliever who in truth uses his free will to believe God, God will give a knowing into the heart of the unbeliever, that He is and that He loves him. And that knowing that God is, will remain with him forever.

    This is the choice that every one must and will make. If unbelief is purposely kept, a time might well come when the will, to will to know God, might pass, as the will becomes hardened againt God due to the will fully embracing the world instead of Him.”

    God bless, C-Marie

  46. “If unbelief is purposely kept, a time might well come when the will, to will to know God, might pass, as the will becomes hardened againt God due to the will fully embracing the world instead of Him.”

    C Marie,
    This is problematic because one cannot deliberately unbelief Andy more than one can deliberately believe. That southward show and if God is real, he knows the difference!

    Yes people are hard but Atheists have no monopoly on that, sometimes it looks the other way around. Depends what you mean by hardened. Someone above tried to claim that being Atheist meant necessarily that this meant immorality.

    Then, There’s the projection that ‘they’ embrace ‘the world’ as if there’s a choice of two conditions where the line is drawn according to one person’s church or another. They cannot all be correct and clearly all are at least wrong in part.

    The phrase “My kingdom is not of this world” refers to the kingdom of the spirit of God as opposed to the purely material.

    So to my mind, if the faith is there and it is true, it cannot impinge negatively on someone else

    Yet the cry from one corner is usually “convenient faith”
    From another corner, “too vague”

    What ‘we’ know of the world can’t be ignored because it’s inconvenient to bible stories, either. Such as the discovery of DNA, evolutionary matters, planets, the age of the world, slavery *with all it’s misconceptions…

    People are won’t to agree on things and it’s interesting to find out where that happens and at what point there’s a convergence. In discussing these matters on and off line I find more sympathy with the atheist view than I ever had when I THOUGHT I had turned into one of those ‘unbelievers’

    Atheists are immune to much of the fire and brimstone talk, it’s the ones who believe who are collateral damage. To me, that’s not compatible with God

  47. lastly,
    1: Edit correction…”it’s outward show’.
    2: There is love as well as duty in morality
    Ultimate good comes from God. People just argue about (good’s) origin

  48. C-Marie,

    “Tell to God, even if it seems that one is talking just to the air, that one does not believe but is willing to believe if He will only do something to prove Himself.”

    This seems to be a way of setting yourself up to be fooled into accepting literally any evidence. Traffic lights all green on the way home? Must be God. Never mind that some good things must happen to you by luck whatever you are thinking about.

    Joy,

    “This is problematic because one cannot deliberately unbelieve any more than one can deliberately believe.”

    You took the words out of my mouth.

  49. This is problematic because one cannot deliberately unbelieve any more than one can deliberately believe

    Indeed. We cannot control our beliefs.
    It’s a popular misconception that we can choose what to believe but, when pressed on why, the person will list the pertinent (to them) evidence. Any argument for X vs. Y does the same.

    Beliefs are recursive. The evidence for any belief is what is perceived/believed to be pertinent to said belief.

  50. “pertinent (to them) evidence”

    Isn’t the choice of evidence pertinent to the question?

    It’s kind of like the question of “free will”
    REFORMationists point to passages where “GOD says he will harden the heart of this king or this Pharaoh …”
    REFORMationists come away believing GOD is in charge of the king or pharaoh’s heart.

    But is GOD “will”ing this hardness or is it that the king or pharaoh harden their heart (belief in themselves as god) in response to GOD revealing himself to them. And GOD knew or understood what their reaction would be and simply stated “I (MY EXISTENCE) will harden their heart.”

  51. Isn’t the choice of evidence pertinent to the question?

    What choice? You either believe it pertinent or you don’t. Yet another belief. You may try to ignore it but down deep you will still know the evidence and it won’t change anything.

  52. question of “free will”

    I think what is meant by “free will” is your choices are made by you alone and not some external entity. Frankly, I think “choice” is the wrong word. The actions you take are what you believe best at the time and you have no real option. You may kid yourself otherwise but if you truly act differently then something changed your evaluation of “best” perhaps simply the thrill of being “contrary”.

  53. I can’t believe my eyes

    I think we’re getting into the realm of the today’s randomness post

  54. It’s even funnier, According to someone with an ipad, Mum,
    a dead kitten was found without evidence of a mother cat.
    The search was on to find the rest of the litter or the mother.
    Lo and behold the cat had had the litter in a nest up a tree!
    This IS on topic, and it’s not made up, Given my reference to the cat c collar it’ either the illuminati trying to keep up the faith in the masses or there’s something in it

    Furthermore, the father was hanging around at the base of the tree which is lso considered bery un cat like
    It’s all an internet hoax! or is it?

  55. Joy

    I can’t believe it!

    I heard “daddy” cats will kill kittens, which might explain why mother went up the tree

    I have plenty of cat stories but no time

  56. Well, no, on traffic lights.

    The experience of God making Himself known to you in your heart, cannot be manipulated into being.

    When God makes Himself known in your heart, that is how He will prove that He is, and you will know that you know that you know, that He is real.

    But this knowing does involve you to genuinely will to know and to accept that He is.

    And once you know and accept that He is, that knowledge is with you forever. And you will know that you are loved beyond measure by One Who will never leave you, nor forsake you.

    And you will be able to say in Truth, that God is and that He is Love.

    And understanding will come to you as to why His Son had to die for us, and in Joy, you will receive Jesus Christ as your Lord, your Savior, and your God.

    God bless, C-Marie

  57. “The experience of God making Himself known to you in your heart, cannot be manipulated into being.”

    Isn’t that the same as saying you can’t help what you believe or don’t believe?
    One can’t manipulate one’s own experience.

    The more I think about this the more I realise nobody thinks the same way,
    So where does that leave a common faith or doctrine?

    I think it should be left to deeply be and not discussed with others. Just listen and decide for yourself

  58. No, as the choice is yours to believe Him or to not believe Him. That is a part of the, from our standpoint, the beauty and wonder of God. We do choose Him or reject Him, but He does not give up on us, where we might give up on Him. Believing God is the exercise of the gift of Faith, which is within your grasp. Believe Him and no more worries, or concerns, for you will know that He is.

    You do have a point in that many claim God in so many varieties and ways. But only one Faith claims the necessity of God becoming Incarnate, taking upon Himself and living among us in His human nature, teaching us God’s ways, suffering and dying for our sins, and rising from the dead, in Whom we can live forevermore, too, and that is the Chrisian Faith which professes that Jesus Christ is True God and True Man.

    God bless you, C-Marie

  59. C-Marie,

    “No, as the choice is yours to believe Him or to not believe Him.”

    Can you choose to believe in Father Christmas?

  60. “The reason I’m an atheist is that the evidence for God just isn’t there. ”

    A statement made by Swordfish in the comments.

    That’s a good example of an “Appeal to Ignorance” fallacy – that since theism cannot be proven to be true then it must be false. Typical fallacy among atheists on the internet. Even given the premise that there’s no genuine evidence for the Divine, it would NOT guarantee that the Divine does not exist.

  61. The choice is yours, to obey God and to believe Him and to believe in Him, and to receive salvation unto life eternal through His Son Jesus Christ, which is obtainable through Him, only.

    God bless, C-Marie

  62. Bobcat,

    How do you get from “The reason I’m an atheist is that the evidence for God just isn’t there” to “since theism cannot be proven to be true then it must be false”? These two statements have completely different meanings. I’m not saying that unless God can be proven to exist then he doesn’t exist, I’m saying that there isn’t sufficient evidence to believe the claim that God does exist.

    But in any case, neither my statement nor your misrepresentation of it are argument from ignorance fallacies. An argument from ignorance fallacy would be like claiming that if we can’t explain thunder, the explanation must be Thor; if we can’t explain mental illness, the explanation must be demons; or that if we can’t explain abiogenesis, the explanation must be God.

    C-Marie,

    “The choice is yours…”

    Sigh. You didn’t answer my question: Can you choose to believe in Father Christmas? That is, if you don’t believe something, can you choose to believe it? In my opinion, the answer is an unambiguous NO.

  63. Yesterday, I spent much time looking up definitions for “believe” and for “believe in”.
    I found that to believe someone is not the same as to believe in someone, although in our English, we often use one for the other and vice versa.

    Examples for believing someone:

    1. If a person is know to be a liar always .. that one will not be worthy of being believed, ever, until there is proof that he/she no longer lies at all;
    2. If a person is known to lie only sometimes, then the person can be believed if all of the facts are known about what one wants to believe him/her for.
    3. If a person is known to not be a liar, then that person is worthy of being believed.

    Examples for believing in someone:

    1. Believing in someone, is different than to believe. I think that believing in someone is grounded in the person who desires to believe in someone or something, in that gain will be had by the one who desires to believe in someone or something, and most of all, the one to be believed in, will have shown the worth of being believed in.

    I believe that Saint Nicholas existed. I believe the story of Père Noël and the other stories have their basis in Saint Nicholas’ good works. If Father Christmas refers to God our Father Who incarnated His son by the Holy Spirit and thus gave to us, CHRISTMAS, then yes, I do believe in Him.

    But if Father Christmas means the imaginative character, then I do not and cannot believe in him.

    Obedience to God our Father is not negotiable. He has commanded that we believe and believe in His Son Jesus Christ and in salvation through Him alone, and to receive Jesus unto our own selves as our Lord, our God, and our Saviour, and be filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaim Jesus is Lord, and that there is none other, and so within that, our lives will change and we will be able with God’s helps, to obey His two great commandments, which fully encompass the living of our lives in His Love.

    God bless, C-Marie

  64. https://fallacyinlogic.com/appeal-to-ignorance-fallacy-definition-and-examples/

    How do you get from “The reason I’m an atheist is that the evidence for God just isn’t there” to “since theism cannot be proven to be true then it must be false”?

    Well, I think it has something to do with the meaning of the word “atheist.”

    “I’m saying that there isn’t sufficient evidence to believe the claim that God does exist.”

    Then what distinguishes you from an agnostic? An agnostic can make that claim as well.

    “I’m not saying that unless God can be proven to exist then he doesn’t exist,”

    Good. But then that renders your original statement – “The reason I’m an atheist is that the evidence for God just isn’t there” – to be baseless.

  65. C-Marie,

    “But if Father Christmas means the imaginative character, then I do not and cannot believe in him.”

    That’s exactly what I think about God – he’s an imaginary, made-up character so I can’t believe in him.

  66. Bobcat,

    “Then what distinguishes you from an agnostic? An agnostic can make that claim as well.”

    Arguments over definitions are a bit pointless. The most common definition of ‘atheist’ is simply someone who doesn’t believe in a god or gods. By this definition, an agnostic is also an atheist. Atheists who claim that no gods exist are a subset of atheists, sometimes called ‘hard atheists’.

    “But then that renders your original statement – “The reason I’m an atheist is that the evidence for God just isn’t there” – to be baseless.”

    I don’t see why. ‘The reason I’m [someone who doesn’t believe in God] is that the evidence for God just isn’t there’ makes perfect sense to me.

  67. Let us see. Who or what convinced you that God is an imaginary, made-up character. Perhaps a clear and unbiased look interiorly, will give to you that information. Then you can weigh that information against a reading, by you, of the Gospel of John.

    God bless, C-Marie

  68. C-Marie,

    “Who or what convinced you that God is an imaginary, made-up character.”

    The absurdity of Bible stories like Genesis for one. Are we seriously expected to believe a load of old fairystories (complete with talking animals) which totally contradict known historical and scientific facts?

    “Then you can weigh that information against a reading, by you, of the Gospel of John.”

    I’ve got no reason to think the gospel of John is true, but lots of reasons to think it isn’t.

  69. “There has to be a meta-cause, a cause above all these, the cause of all causes”
    Man/woman cannot imagine infinity. We know that it exists because time can never have a beginning nor have an end. However, we also have to admit that the chicken had to have come from the egg, but that the egg must have come from another chicken. So no one can reconcile that. Just because there are trillions of causes, doesn’t mean that there is a mega cause.

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