Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?" Blog Debate Listing

I recently engaged in a blog debate with an atheist friend, Ben Doublett, on the question, "Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?" I posted my portions of the debate on my blog Argue With a Christian, and he posted his on his blog-- Fool of Psalms. I thought it might be helpful for those who are interested in the debate to see all of the posts listed in one place.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? -- Closing Remarks

Ben's arguments against God creating the universe in this debate haven't stood up. His arguments about how a theistic worldview can't account for the features of our universe was based on a straw man of what theism (and in particular, Christianity) actually teaches, his contention that naturalism can account for the universe was based on a single statement from Stephen Hawking which is logically incoherent and widely contested by his colleagues, and his argument about God requiring a cause for Himself is based on attributing complexity to a being which is in fact quite simple.

He attempted in his rebuttal to show that since time began at the Big Bang, the universe requires no cause, and incorrectly summed up my position as, “since the universe began to exist at a certain point in time, and therefore had not existed at some point in time, it requires a decision-making agent in order to bring it into existence.” However, this is not my contention. It is my contention that the universe began to exist, and this moment of beginning was the FIRST moment in time. Just because there was not time before this moment, it does not follow that universes can pop out of nothing without a cause. Ben has to either demonstrate that they can, or refute my assertion that everything which begins to exist has a cause.

If the universe began to exist, this entails that something brought it into existence. Since an effect is dependent upon its cause, and in the case of the universe, the effect includes time itself, its cause must be timeless. The only candidate is God. God, unlike the universe, would not require a cause, if only because God is not held by time.

Of course, if the atheist can provide an explanation which better fits the facts, he is welcome to propose it. However, Ben did not give a reasonable answer to how the universe could begin to exist without God. Thus, he was not able to show that atheistic answers are better or have more explanatory power than theistic ones. The universe still began to exist, and God did not. At the end of the day, only one of these requires an explanation of what caused it, and I don't see that such an explanation was successfully provided by the opposing viewpoint.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gearing Up To Post My Closing Remarks

Before I post my closing remarks, I want to say that this debate has been very thought-provoking for me, and that Ben has been a challenging opponent. I want to thank him for doing this with me (and for hanging out with me outside of the debate prep. Ben is a solid dude). I hope that this has been a helpful discussion for those of you who have followed it. If you found what we said to be interesting or informative, then I would strongly encourage you to share it with others.

To my fellow Christians-- I want to encourage you to take some time to understand what those outside of the church believe, why they believe it, and why Christ offers a much better answer. It not only makes you better equipped to share the Gospel with people right where they are, but it also shows that you're open-minded and interested in what other people believe. It can also help you to think more about what your faith means in contrast to other belief structures.

For those of you looking to start in on apologetics (defending the faith) I recommend a few websites which have been helpful to me: