A.L.: Closing Statement
|A.L.: Closing Statement
I would like to thank James Brown for having this debate with me. It has been almost two years since we started our debate. There have been developments and changes in my thinking since my opening statement and instead of responding directly to my opponent's remarks, I would like to respond to them indirectly by giving my current views about some of the arguments I have presented. I will not deal with all of them here since there is not much space.
Although I have changed my thinking about some of the arguments, this does not mean that I am now an atheist or an agnostic. I still believe in God and I still believe that my arguments
are persuasive enough to show that theism is more reasonable than atheism.
It may even be asked how such a concept of 'nothing' can be thought of. Now, I agree that even though it is hard to understand such a concept of 'nothing,' that it means it could not have been that nothing was in the beginning. One can argue that the concept of God is hard to understand and we should rule Him out. But I believe the difference here is that God's essence has to do with some kind of existence. God is pure act. That is what 'kind' of existence He has. But when it comes to nothing, we are not talking about existence at all, but no-existence, not even time or space. So it is very hard to say that nothing produced the universe or in the 'beginning' there was nothing.
(2) follows from (1) because nothing cannot produce something. And this seems to be intuitively implausible as I have explained above. So it seems that there needs to be a non-contingent being, that is, a being that is uncaused who caused the universe which is itself contingent.
My opponent says, 'This once again misses the point that the Bible, as a whole, has inconsistencies, and therefore is not a reliable source of information, and is certainly not justification for believing in the supernatural.'
When we read Mark, we read how he uses people's names. This is weird because the names are usually excluded. But there are times when names are used (ex. apostles). Richard Bauckham has argued that the names used may possibly be the originators of the stories and traditions. What does this mean? It means that Mark is controlling the stories and he does it by tying it up to eyewitnesses. In ancient times, the way to show your authenticity is by speaking of your office or your title. We see this with Paul as well: 'Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?' The way to argue for a certain event is to give people's names. For example, take this usual tradition:
The way this is written shows that Paul has not touched it or fabricated this in any way. What is also remarkable is how he specifically mentions who Jesus appeared to. This is why I don't see anything unusual with Peter's speech: 'God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.' And John 21: 'It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.' Eyewitness testimony is the criteria of the first century Christians. This is even why the gnostics used the apostles and prominent people's names. This is because by the 2nd century, they knew or at least believed that the apostles were eyewitnesses.
With Bauckham and traditional Christians, I hold the Gospels to be eyewitness testimony. And I believe that since these are eyewitness testimonies, and the fact that there is no good reason for them to invent a resurrection story within their first century Jewish mindset, I hold the resurrection to be a more plausible position than not. 
 I owe this understanding of Aquinas' argument from John Haldane. See Atheism & Theism by J.J.C. Smart / J.J. Haldane 2nd ed. Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003, page 119.
 For a different type of cosmological argument, see Alexander
Pruss / Richard Gale, 'A New Cosmological Argument' which can be found at:
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