Debate on Religion and God's Existence


Debate on Religion and God's Existence: Tim, an agnostic vs. A, Catholic

Tim: What religion do you belong to?
A: Catholic
Tim: So you believe in God, Jesus, and all those things?
A: Yes. You?
Tim: Yes, but I respect all religion.
A: Me too. I believe that there are some truths in other religions, but I believe the Catholic religion is the only true religion.
Tim: I think it's a matter of faith. It means that there is no right or wrong religion.
A: I believe, like a true Catholic would, that the Catholic religion is the true religion. For example, if I believe that Jesus is God, and someone believes He isn't, then we can't be both right at the same time, saying contradictory things. One must be right.
Tim: Can you prove that the Catholic faith is true?
A: Some aspects of it like the preambles of faith. (You can go at www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics for proof that Jesus built the Catholic Church)
Tim: What do you mean by preambles of faith? Give me an example
A: God's existence.
Tim: That's a statement of faith though.
A: No it isn't. It's a preamble of faith. You presuppose it in order to have faith. He must exist in order for you to believe.
Tim: Can you prove God exists?
A: There have been many ways or reasons to show God exists, like Thomas Aquinas' 5 ways.
Tim: I read a little bit of philosophy so I might know some of the concepts. Let me hear your proofs.
A: Ok. Experience shows that there is motion in the universe. Motion here is in an Aristotelian concept meaning form the state of potentiality to actuality, which is change. Second, we know that every motion requires a mover since nothing can move itself or no potentiality can actualize itself. To deny this is to say that a greater comes from a less, which is absurd. Now, an infinite number of movers does not explain the existence of motion. Therefore there must exist an Unmoved First Mover to account for motion in the universe.
Tim: Is this First Mover God?
A: To ask that is to ask about it's nature, but yes, it is God. Basically, this unchanging or unmoved Mover must have in its own essence to exist or else we go back to the infinity problem again. Also, this being must be intelligent because there is design, it must be transcendent while the universe is changing, it must be moral because of objective moral values (see my site for proof of this), and also immanent because it raised Christ from the dead (see my site again).
Tim: But you need to prove design, morality, etc to say that though.
A: Yes I do. But basically, an unmoved Mover would be an Unlimited, Independent, Perfect Being or again, we go back to the infinity problem.
Tim: How?
A: If the Unmoved Mover is limited or dependent, then it needs to be dependent on something. Only until we can get to a Being that is Unlimited, Dependent, Perfect, Unmoved can we explain the existence of Beings. In other words, this Being has in its own nature to exist.
Tim: What if I say that an infinity of those is possible?
A: A Being that has in its own essence to exist would be a Necessary Being, meaning it has to be there. So if you speak of infinity, you are actually saying that there is more than a Necesary Being.
Tim: What if I am?
A: That could not be because it would coincide. More than Most is contradictory. Also, if you think about it, two Pure Acts are actually identical.
Tim: Okay, but I still don't understand how there cannot be an infinite number of movers.
A: Let's say for example that something moved the First Mover. Do you see what you get? This First Mover has become motion. In other words, it's not really a mover. The Unmoved Mover is actually the only Mover since everything depends on it. So the question isn't really an infinity vs First Mover, but a First Mover vs motion.
Tim: But Muslims believe the same.
A: Muslims say that Jesus didn't die. Historical evidence shows otherwise.
Tim: That's not ecumenical.
A: Ecumenical does not mean to tolerate error. Ecumenical means to share your faith and help them to come to the faith. Ecumenism is basically a method how to present truth.
Tim: Truth is relative. What is true for you is not true for someone else.
A: Hogwash. That's a self-contradictory statement. Is it an absolute truth that truth is relative?
Tim: Well...I just think we should tolerate what they believe.
A: I say to show them Christ and make them closer to Christ, just as a good Catholic would do. I suggest you read what the Catholic Church actually says.
Tim: Can we continue this conversation tomorrow?
A: Sure.
Tim: I wanna see how you prove Jesus' resurrection.
A: Sure...check out my site -- see Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ

part 2

Tim: Hey.
A: Hey
Tim: Let's continue to discuss what we were discussing before.
A: Ok. What do you want to talk about now?
Tim: Jesus' resurrection.
A: Sure. But first, let me refresh our memories. Last time we talked, I proved God exists, or at least, showed that the belief of God is reasonable. To restate the proof simply: Motion in the universe shows there is a First Mover.
Tim: Ok. But I don't know why it's necessary to say that again.
A: Well, we are speaking of the resurrection, which is a miracle. Miracles would be possible if God exists. Since God exists, then miracles are possible.
Tim: Miracles are unscientific though.
A: Prove it.
Tim: Well, they are just contradictory to scientific laws.
A: As Peter Kreeft said, "Science's laws are only generalizations from our observations of how nature usually works. They do not forbid exceptions." Of course, God intervening in the universe would be an exception. Again, if God exists, then miracles are possible.
Tim: Ok, but they are not actual. How do you prove them to be actual. For example, the resurrection?
A: Well, historical evidence shows the resurrection.
Tim: What historical evidence?
A: The New Testament.
Tim: How do you know they were not made up?
A: There is no good reason to think they were. These people included people's names in their writings. How come we don't have a writing from Nicodemus saying, "Whoever wrote the Gospel of John is a liar. I never saw Jesus in my whole life?" They were written when the contemporaries of Christ were alive.
Tim: That is about 30 years after Jesus' death though.
A: That's a little inaccurate. Archaeologist William Albright says that the Gospels were all written between 45-85 AD by baptized Jews.
Tim: 15 years is still a lot.
A: No it isn't. This was a time when oral tradition existed.
Tim: A ha! Oral Tradition! That's the same as "playing telephone."
A: No it isn't. It's more like the first person telling the second person, and the second person tells a third person, and the third person goes to the first person to see if he is right.
Tim: But 15 years!
A: The biography of Alexander the Great was written hundred of years later after his death, yet historians say the biography is accurate. If you are going to wipe out the New Testament, you have to wipe out all ancient history for which there is less evidence. The New Testament has more manuscripts, more than 5000, and less time development. Also, Sir William Ramsay said that Luke was a historian of the first rank, and one of the greatest (The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953], p. 222). I would also recommend Simon Greenleaf's "Testimony of the Evangelists" and F.F. Bruce's "Is the New Testament Reliable?"
Tim: OK. I will assume that the New Testament is reliable. Now prove Jesus resurrected.
A: This argument is apart from philosophical questions. This argument is an argument from historical evidence. In other words, according to what the evidence says, Jesus resurrected.
Tim: OK. Go on.
A: Historical evidence points to the resurrection from the empty tomb and the appearances to people.
Tim: I don't buy it.
A: It's what the evidence says.
Tim: How do you know it's true? You have to test the evidence from our experiences.
A: I don't think that is a possible criteria, but I'll assume it anyway. Do you need a big proof in order to believe in an empty tomb?
Tim: no
A: How about seeing an alive person?
Tim: no.
A: Well, from the evidence, we know that Jesus died. Then, we know that there is an empty tomb, and then, we see that people saw a person alive after He was clearly dead, which is Jesus Christ. Reason tells us that Jesus rose from the dead.
Tim: Umm...seeing a dead person would require some other proof than that.
A: Why? It's just seeing an alive person. Note how the evidence does not tell us that they saw Jesus resurrect. In fact, they didn't see the miracle at all. All they know is that Jesus died, and then they saw Him alive again. That would make them conclude that Jesus rose from the dead. The only two solutions you have, it seems to me, is to deny that they saw Jesus alive or say that Jesus didn't die at all. Do you believe Jesus died?
Tim: Yes, I think there is good enough evidence to show that.
A: Good. By the way, that admission shows that the Muslims are wrong. They don't believe that Jesus died on the Cross, but historical evidence says otherwise, which is the New Testament, and other sources such as Tacitus and Barnabbas. So it shows that the Muslims are inaccurate on their belief, which makes me doubt the Koran.
Tim: OK...you snuck that in.
A: Of course I did. Now, how do you explain the Apostles and other people seeing Jesus?
Tim: They could've hallucinated.
A: :-) Nice theory. However, hallucinations are not objective. That would be like two people dreaming the exact same dream at the same time, which is very improbable, if not, impossible. Also, hallucinations only happen for a little while like 1-2 minutes. But Jesus appeared to more than one person at a time and He did it for more than one day. The Gospel shows that Jesus appeared to 10 people at a time and even 500. Second, you have no evidence for it, while I do. I have the evidence that shows otherwise. Third, the hallucination theory does not explain the empty tomb.
Tim: I'm still unconvinced.
A: You don't have to be convinced, but don't say Jesus didn't rise from the dead while the evidence is against you.
Tim: Let's say that Jesus did rise, what does that have to do with anything?
A: It shows that what He says is true. He proved what He said by rising from the dead. This would include the claim that He was God.
Tim: umm..There are a lot of people that say Jesus never claimed to be God, and even Christians who don't believe Him as God.
A: True, and they are wrong. We can get into that as well. However, if I do, this would show that Christianity is true, and all other religions are false.
Tim: I don't think that's a Christian-like thing to say. You're being a fundamentalist :-)
A: Then Jesus was too. He said that He was the way, the truth, and the life. Not Buddha, not Muhammad, not Confucious, but HIM.
Tim: OK...let's continue this again some other time.
A: Sure...what do you want to discuss next?
Tim: Christ's deity. By the way, the term "Christianity" is vague. There are many Christian denominations.
A: True, but the Catholic Church is the true Church and I will show that too :-)
Tim: What an arrogant claim.
A: I don't think it's an arrogant claim. I'm just defending the faith and giving justification for it.
Tim: Hmm...ok...bye.
A: God love you.

A.L.

AVBCL111@aol.com


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