A Fictional Discussion with an Atheist
Between Teenage Philosophers
|Discussion with an Atheist
Moderator: Patty, Catholic: A, Feminist Atheist: Jackie
Patty: It is great that you two teenagers are going to have this discussion. I know that both of you are seeking for the truth, which is why I decided to be the “moderator” of this “discussion/debate”. We are going to cover a lot of topics on Christian Apologetics. Our first topic is the existence of God. A, since you are the theist, I believe you should go first.
A: I will be glad to. Jackie, nice to talk with you again.
Jackie: Nice to talk with you, sophomore.
A: Thank you senior (and I’m not Spanish!). Let’s get right down to business. I still have homework to do.
Jackie: Fine with me.
First Argument for God’s Existence
A: My first argument is the argument from perfection.
Jackie: Ah, this should be easy.
A: Sure it is. It is really simple. In our world truth, life, and love exists. Do you disagree with this statement?
Jackie: I am not going to argue that they do not exist. Of course, I believe in subjective truth, not in objective truth. But again, you already “nailed” me on that issue since believing in no absolute truths would only be true if “no absolute truths” is an absolute truth. So I would give you hat off for that one. My answer is yes; truth, life, and love exist.
A: Thank you. What we have in the world however is truth mixed with error, life mixed with death, and love mixed with hatred.
Jackie: Explain what you mean by that.
A: I was about to until you interrupted me. Truth mixed with error just means that while seeking the truth, we find error. For example, if I was doing an addition problem, I make mistakes. I sometimes say that 2+2=5. Therefore truth is mixed with error.
Jackie: Make sense. Life mixed with death means that life is not forever correct?
A: You got it. And love mixed with hatred means that we have hatred for our enemies or mother in laws.
Jackie: I’m getting you so far. But you have not proven that God exists yet. How is this the argument from perfection?
A: You should have figured it out already. Truth mixed with error, life mixed with death, and love mixed with hatred means that we have fractional truth, life, and love.
A: There is no such thing as a fraction if there is no such thing as a whole. Therefore since we have fractional truth, life, and love, then there is a Being that is Perfect Truth, Life, and Love. Perfect Truth, Life, and Love is God.
Jackie: Whoa, whoa. How did you get God from that? How do you know God is Perfect Truth, Life, and Love?
A: You do not have to call it God, but we know that there is such a thing as Perfect Truth, Life, and Love and they cannot be separate since one cannot live without the other.
Jackie: So according to your logic, there is such a thing as perfect error, death, and hatred that is as powerful as perfect truth, life, and love.
A: I have no idea where you got “as powerful” from. It is not as powerful as God because good overcomes evil.
Jackie: How do you know?
A: Because we ought to be good. We ought not to be evil. However, that does not deny that there is evil. What you ought to be and what you are -- are two different things.
Patty: OK, I think that is enough for one argument. Finish it up guys.
Jackie: I am not a guy, but a woman. A’s argument is a fallacy. If he is going to take that idea, then there must be perfect error, death, and hatred.
A: You have not refuted any of my arguments. Since we are short of time, I will just say that having perfect error, death, and hatred does not refute my statement and it does not show that Perfect Truth, Life, and Love does not exist. Therefore my argument still stands.
Second Argument for God’s Existence
Patty: Very good guys. Now, we have the second argument for God. A, you have the floor.
A: My second argument does not prove God’s existence, but refutes atheism. Since I have given one argument, I believe it is best now to refute atheism. My main argument is this: there is no argument for atheism.
A: Jackie, do you believe atheism is true?
Jackie: Of course I do.
A: Prove it.
Jackie: Prove a universal negative?
Jackie: You think you are very smart. Well, I have prepared for this. And you are not going to nail me again!
A: Hopefully, you won’t nail yourself.
Patty: You guys are really teenagers, I can tell you that.
A: Let me hear your arguments Jackie.
Jackie: First of all, I don’t know why you shifted the burden of proof. My first argument is the famous “problem of evil.” Since God has the power to prevent evil but chooses not to even though He wants to, then there is no such thing as an all-good and all-powerful God. Great way to refute your first argument, eh?
A: Actually, the problem of evil proves God exists.
Jackie: Refute my argument first before you prove God exists with my argument.
A: Sure thing. Can I be Socrates?
Jackie: Sure. Try to nail me. Are you going to be a lawyer or something?
A: Maybe a Canon Lawyer, I’m not sure. How do you know evil exists?
Jackie: Because there is such thing as rape, murder, etc.
A: Are those evil?
Jackie: Of course they are.
Jackie: As a student of Philosophy, you should know this. Rape, for example, is evil because it takes away the dignity of people.
Jackie: What do you mean so?
A: Who said that taking away the dignity of people is evil?
Jackie: Our conscience.
A: And what does our conscience do?
Jackie: It tells us what is right and wrong for one.
A: And where does this moral law come from?
Jackie: Very funny. That still does not prove God exists.
A: Oh yes it does. It tells us the law comes from something. It did not come from evolution because animals never thought of anything like this and they do not know what is right and wrong.
Jackie: That means we are smart animals.
A: And where the heck would you get “smart animals” out of nowhere? I don’t see a connection from evolution on how “smart animals” became so smart that they would give food to the poor and “turn the other cheek.” If you don’t get it yet, all I am saying is that there would be no such thing as evil if there were no God unless you can connect evil and God somehow.
Jackie: If that were so, then why would God not prevent evil?
A: First of all, I don’t have to. Second, the answer is more theological. Even though my answer is not appealing to you, my refutation of your argument still stands.
A: My answer is that God lets us have free will. He does not interfere with our free will. For example, if a person has a powerful eye, and closes it, the eye is still powerful but since he closed it, he cannot see. Closing the eye is free will. God made us with free will and He would not interfere with it.
Jackie: Um, that means that you are not powerful enough to see.
A: Not at all. The powerful eye is still there.
Jackie: Um no, that means you are not powerful enough to see through your eyes.
Patty: OK. I personally have no problem talking about the problem of evil, but I believe A does. He still has homework to do. Jackie, do you want to go on with your other arguments or shift the burden of proof?
Jackie: I will shift the burden of proof now.
A: That doesn’t make sense. I just proved God exists in two ways.
Jackie: Um, no you haven’t.
A: Yes I did. Perfection and the problem of evil.
Jackie: Um, OK.
A: Let me just make it short just in case you missed it. Since there is evil, then there has to be goodness. Therefore there is good and evil. Good and evil comes from the law, which God has made.
Jackie: Since you are being a baby, I will prove atheism is true again.
A: If you can, go ahead.
Jackie: The second proof of atheism is that God is a human invention.
A: I am just a beginner of Philosophy, but isn’t that attempting to prove a universal negative?
Jackie: No, Mr. Beginner.
Jackie: God does not exist because God is an invention. That’s my whole argument.
A: Nice logic.
Jackie: Thank you.
A: God is not a figment of an imagination. God is a Being and Santa Clause is a figment of imagination. I believe you can tell the difference when it is a figment of imagination or not.
Jackie: God is a myth, period.
A: Any proof?
Jackie: Sure. If you look at history, there are a lot of made up things, such as Greek Mythology.
A: Greek mythology isn’t all myths.
Jackie: So there is a Zeus?
A: No. One of the true things of mythology is morality. The Greeks knew that there were supernatural beings. They had common sense to believe in that.
Jackie: But they are not on par with Christianity?
A: Of course not. But that doesn’t make them all false. They made mistakes such as belief in many gods, but that just proves that they knew there is such a thing as a supernatural thing. And to get back to the Santa Clause, it isn’t all false either. Santa Clause is an invention of the mind that says he gives goodness and happiness to people. Having the thought of giving goodness and happiness to people means there is such a thing that brings us goodness and happiness. Of course, that Being is God. However, the person Santa Clause is false.
Jackie: So you pick and choose what is true and what is not?
A: No I do not. We know that Santa Clause is made up and we know that Greek mythology is made up. Common sense tells us that.
Jackie: Common sense told the Greeks of polytheism.
A: It doesn’t make them right. But they did have the common sense of a supernatural thing. And we are getting into a specific religion. We can argue which is the true religion after we have proven that God exists.
Jackie: Fine by me. But you are still picking and choosing what is right for you.
Patty: It is getting dark. Let us stop for today. Tomorrow, we discuss more evidences for God, and why Christianity is the true religion.
A: Fine by me.
Jackie: Me too. <sneeze>
A: God bless you :-)
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