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Friday, October 26, 2007

Does God Exist? Tests of this hypothesis

I have recently read Does God Exist: The Debate between Theists and Atheists, by J. P. Moreland (a theist) Kai Neilsen (an atheist) and others. (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1993) The book is a record of such a debate, between these two, at the University of Mississippi, with various remarks by others. Although the book is not for the faint-hearted, as it delves into philosophy quite a bit, it is not written for philosophers, but, as the debate, was conducted so that intelligent persons (some university students and professors qualify) can follow the arguments.

Neither Neilsen nor Moreland claimed to have won decisively. My personal belief is that this is a matter for faith, although a believer can certainly find evidence for the existence of God. (I suppose that an atheist would find evidence for His non-existence, too.)

One part of the book is a brief chapter "The Choice of a Lifetime," (pp. 287-291) by Peter Kreeft.

Kreeft challenges readers to test the question of God's existence. He offers these four tests:
1) Test the lives of other people. "Find out what difference atheism or theism makes to people's lives, especially converts to both positions." (288)

2) Try to be an atheist for a day (or a Christian for a day), that is, if you are a Christian, try to be an atheist, or vice versa. Kreeft makes some suggestions on that. At first, I was mystified by this, but know that sometimes I am certainly tempted to doubt.

3) Think about Pascal's wager.

4) Pray. Kreeft suggests that an atheist ask God for help in seeking the truth of this most important question.

Interesting. Kreeft sounds like he has already made up his mind, and is a Christian, but others haven't.

Thanks for reading.

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