What Evidence?

Fr. Longenecker poses a dilemma to the commonly asked atheistic question:

The most frequently asked question by atheists who come to this blog is “What evidence do you have for the existence of God?” My reply is always to ask what sort of evidence they require, but not one of them has ever given me a straight answer. My question is an honest one. What sort of evidence would someone be looking for if they wanted evidence for God? I ask this because there are many things in life that we know exist, or whose existence we accept without question for which there is evidence, but the evidence is not of a scientific nature. I’m thinking of Love, Beauty and Truth for example. These virtues are very real, and the evidence for them is solid, but someone who wished to ‘prove’ their existence to a doubter would be hard pressed.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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19 Responses to What Evidence?

  1. Allallt says:

    There is an entire existential debate to be had about where or not Truth, Love or Beauty exist or are qualities humans apply. We can skip the existential debate, however, and get to the crux of my question: the three things the quote pick out (assumedly as analogies to God) are things that only exist in the mind. They are concepts, they emerge from the mind and cannot exist without minds.
    If God is analogous to this then God is also a concept within your head and does not exist outside of believers’ heads; as the cliché goes, God is an imaginary friend.
    I expect you do not hold to this conclusion, so the we come back to the question atheists ask you: what evidence do you have? Or, if you prefer, what made you believe?

  2. Uri Brito says:

    Truth, beauty, and love are tangible elements. Whether it is believed or not, they are inescapable. Otherwise, reality would not be possible without the affirmation that words identify an objective and coherent structure. Communication would be impossible without this reality.

    • Allallt says:

      Love is demonstrable in neurological scanning, and evident in behavioural analysis–so there is evidence for it. Beauty is not an objective truth, but a subjective opinion. Truth is the description of when a statement reflects reality.

      Truth is a philosophical and linguistic tool that emerges from the relationship between language and reality. In fact, all you need is reality and language and truth inevitably becomes a relevant concept.

      Two of these things only exist in minds (love and beauty), and the third emerges out of two demonstrable things (truth emerges from language and reality).

      Which of these is your God like?

      • Uri Brito says:

        Your scientific analysis does not comport with reality. Why is beauty subjective? How do you know it is subjective? How can you come to that conclusion? because people differ? If they differ on the standard of beauty, who is to say one group is wrong and the other is right? My worldview can make that analysis since it is dependent on an unchanging standard of beauty: beauty is anything that comports with the character of the Biblical God. I am not saying that coming to these conclusions are simple, but rather that there is an objective standard whereby to judge.
        Truth does reflect reality. But the more profound question is: Who defines reality?
        The God of Scriptures, the Triune God of heaven and earth, is the very essence of truth, beauty, and love. Not only because He declares and defines these things, but because He has demonstrated them in the person of Jesus Christ.

      • Allallt says:

        I am wasting my time continuing a conversation with someone who is begging the question.
        No one needs to define reality, reality is that thing out there.
        Beauty is subjective because it’s very value depends on it’s reverence. You can say a thing is beautiful because it is like God if you like, but I might respond with ‘I agree that it’s beautiful, but I thin it’s beautiful because of the green hue off-setting the harsher purples’, or even ‘it’s not beautiful at all, it looks like arse’.

  3. Uri Brito says:

    You are precisely right. You define your reality according to your standard. I am saying my standard transcends reality and gives reality meaning. That is my truth claim. You, on the other hand, submit your reasoning to subjective standards which shift continuously.
    In the end, we all do do some form of circular reasoning. In my case, I admit that my starting point is God, and you admit that your starting point is subjectivity and the changeable affirmations of an unstable society and its evolutionary standard.

    • Allallt says:

      I’d love for you to pull up some quotes to show where I admitted my “starting point is subjectivity and the changeable affirmations of an unstable society and its evolutionary standard”.

      • Uri Brito says:

        Ok. What is your objective standard by which you judge all things?

      • Allallt says:

        Are you question dodging?

      • Uri Brito says:

        No, I am suggesting that my description is correct of you and of any atheist for that matter.

      • Allallt says:

        To clarify, just so I know what’s going on, you no longer mean “you admit that your starting point is subjectivity and the changeable affirmations of an unstable society and its evolutionary standard”, instead you mean ‘I assume that your starting point is subjectivity and the changeable affirmations of an unstable society and its evolutionary standard’.

      • Uri Brito says:

        Again, I am stating that atheism has no other option, but.

      • Allallt says:

        So you are retracting the bit where you said I admitted to it.

        I need to get this clear before I move on to say I don’t understand your point…

      • Uri Brito says:

        Apologetically, you do not need to admit the basis of your world-view. It is clear, according to Romans 1. Let me encourage you to read this piece, if time permits http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=/apologetics/why_I_believe_cvt.html

      • Allallt says:

        Okay, so I haven’t missed anything anywhere. I did not admit my starting point is subjectivity. Or even subjective. You’ve merely assumed that for me. Thank you so much, I was having such a hard time thinking for myself.

        On to your linked article. I’ve read it and it doesn’t mean anything. I’ve only read it once, and I shall endure to read it again for clarity, but I cannot make sense of it. I cannot understand the claims to tell you whether or not I agree.

        There are hints of the classic presuppositional argument that I need God given critical faculties in order to use my own faculties to argue against God, which is self-defeating. But that argument is nonsense (as I’m sure you’re aware… but I’m not sure that is the main crux of the argument).

        There are hints that if I were to just search deeper into my own experience God will be apparent, but that is not true for me, and wouldn’t prove God as an ontological truth any more than the people that think they are Napoleon prove he’s still alive…

        But the actual point of the argument I simply can’t seem to identify. I don’t understand it. If you could condense down what you think it means that may help direct the argument.

      • Uri Brito says:

        Perhaps this debate between two prominent thinkers might make it clear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1hSx2evTGM

      • Allallt says:

        This is the ‘God needed to design your brain for you to be able to trust your thoughts’ pre-suppositionalist argument.

        That doesn’t help me figure out why you assume I must start with subjectivity.

      • Uri Brito says:

        One final question: What is your ground of objectivity then? Once you answer that we can end this discussion or find some ground on which to proceed.

      • Allallt says:

        I don’t really understand the question. I base everything on the universe.

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