Part 1 - Theism 'vs' Naturalism - A Question of Origin and Design

Really, there are very few systems of thought out there... but lots of variations on them. And it seems we cannot move past the question of origin in forming the basis of how we look at life. The prevailing intellectual thought in our day is that there is no God and that our origin is a chance happening - we might call this naturalism. It involves explanations like evolution to explain our origin but the basic premise is that all can be explained by science or empirical evidence.

So what happens if we leave God out of the equation? What happens to our view of human our view of ourselves?

One of Alvin Plantinga's first arguments is this: "if naturalism were true, there would be no such thing as proper function, and therefore also no such thing as malfunction or dysfunction." (pg.1)

I can look around this office and see many things that have a proper function - telephone, computer, my guitar, coffee mug, pens. And there is something common to all of these things...they were designed for a purpose. And inherent in that is the possiblity that they could break, or become unusable for the purpose they were intended for. But if my pen were not designed as a tool to write, who is to say that when it runs out of ink, that it is malfunctioning.

That is the start of our discussion...if we were not designed by God...the alternative is that we were not designed at all and with that goes any expectation of what we could be or what we ought to be, etc. If I take this a step further, than anyone who says there is no God, really should not be talking about disasters, sickness or any other kind of 'malfunction' or 'dysfunction' in our natural world.

That's a very interesting thought because some of those most vocal about things like "global warming", "social injustice", and "world poverty" are those who also do not believe in God. What is it then that gives them the idea that things should be (or even could be) any different?!!

Views: 26

Comment by Junjie on July 18, 2009 at 1:28pm
I personally avoid these discussions, because at the very end, even if I win the argument, I would have helped a philosopher create a vision of God that is so distant, cold and so different from the God who gave his only-begotten on the cross out of love for us.

Different people have different callings and directions in life, and I highly respect those God has called into this field of study. Moi? I had 3 1/2 majoring in philosophy in university, I think I paid my dues. Hahaha! :)
Comment by Andrea Neustaeter on July 18, 2009 at 5:05pm
I agree - arguments, for the sake or arguing, accomplish nothing. But really this is an exercise for me to try and work through the arguments in a way that I can both understand and articulate (for anyone to understand - but I like to reserve actual discussion for those who are serious about seeking truth). I took a little philosophy and so I guess I haven't paid my dues yet!! LOL BTW, that philosophy stood you in good stead as everything I've seen you write is logical and well thought out.
Comment by Junjie on July 20, 2009 at 3:58am
I recently went to do some philo again. I had to evaluate the reasoning used by the Christians of the 'Enlightenment' to answer their critics. I got to see firsthand how their logical arguments, firmly based on human reasoning, rendered the message of gospel totally impotent. *shudder* It all goes back to the basic assumptions. And i think that was what I learned the most during my university days, to examine the underlying assumptions.

Thanks for the compliment on my writing! :)
Comment by Andrea Neustaeter on July 20, 2009 at 5:01pm
I agree with you...underlying assumptions make all the difference. That sounds like a fascinating study - would love to hear more about it.


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