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Ex-Orthodox now agnostic, want to know does God exist.

Anthony1986

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Hi!

My name is Anthony. I had lived in Canada and Spain for many years. Right now I am currently living in Taiwan, my birthplace with my parent.

I was born in a Buddhist/Taoist family. I was baptized in the Protestant Church when I was a teenager. I received my Chrismation in the Orthodox Church in Canada back in 2012.

In 2014 I traveled to Spain to study the dentistry degree. However, I didn't finish my degree. I was wasting my five years of my life to doing a degree for nothing.

Last summer, I returned to Taiwan to live with my parent and started a new career. 

However, I became agnostic. I was studying very hard for the past five years. However, I had been abused mentally and financially by the University professors and administration.

Does God really exist? If so, why God allows evil things to happen?

Can anyone show me the evidence of God's existence?

Is Jesus God? if so where is the evidence?

Did Jesus rise from death? Where is the evidence for the resurrection?
Are there any proofs of after-life?

I am not here for the debate, I just want the answers. If anyone can answer my questions that will be great.

Thank you
 

Anthony1986

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Has anyone seen Jesus?

If you haven't seen Jesus physically, how can you believe that Jesus is God?


Has anyone talked to Jesus? If you haven't talked to Jesus personally, how can you believe that he is God?
 

WPM

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I believe you can work with questions about Life and Existence for many years.
 

Tzimis

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Can you see Corona virus? How do we know it exists? Because we listen to science and believe in there findings. In other word we trust in people who have this knowledge.
Its the same with our religion. We trust those who have this knowledge and hopefully one day we can actually see for ourselves. Its a matter of trust.
 

Anthony1986

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The other question I have is what is the definition of God according to the Orthodox Church?

A God of intervention? Or just the God of order, like physical law?

Why are some animals have to eat other animals in order to survive? 

Why God creates predator-prey relationship among species?

 
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I believe I can only go so far in my conscience to know right from wrong. The Gospel is that truth that holds me accountable for my own good & others ultimately ( in proportion of my own existence).
I
 

RaphaCam

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The lives of the saints are solid testimonies, because they've known God better than anyone else. Usually it reflects in their virtuous ways, without great supernatural wonders, although some have both witnessed and exhibited miracles due to this proximity.

Many historical narratives of contact with deities exist, but Orthodox Christianity is special in giving an unbroken living tradition of many saints that show us God by reflecting his light. They are the living witnesses to the ressurection of Jesus Christ, more palpably than any book.
 

Ainnir

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Anthony1986 said:
hecma925 said:
I see God every day.
What do you mean you see God every day?

Do Jesus, Theotokos, and Saints appear to you every day?
The sun rises, the grass grows, the birds nest, we wake up, we breathe, we laugh, we love, we cry... how is that not God?  :)
You seek with your mind what only the heart can understand.  It doesn't mean there aren't rationally understood evidences, but when Scripture says, "the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge," you see what has to come first.  Where is your heart?  And why?
 

rakovsky

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Just as you have a physical body and a soul and a mind, it makes sense by analogy that the material world, reality as a whole, also correlates to a supreme soul and mind. This works for me.

However, this proof by analogy appears debatable. Your mind correlates to a physical brain, but the physical brain, unlike the material world, has a specific function that we know to correlate to thinking. The brain has electrons and neurons and stores memories in cells. However, we don't know that reality makes up a corresponding "macro-brain" with thought processes.
 

Nathanael

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Anthony1986 said:
Hi!

My name is Anthony. I had lived in Canada and Spain for many years. Right now I am currently living in Taiwan, my birthplace with my parent.

I was born in a Buddhist/Taoist family. I was baptized in the Protestant Church when I was a teenager. I received my Chrismation in the Orthodox Church in Canada back in 2012.

In 2014 I traveled to Spain to study the dentistry degree. However, I didn't finish my degree. I was wasting my five years of my life to doing a degree for nothing.

Last summer, I returned to Taiwan to live with my parent and started a new career. 

However, I became agnostic. I was studying very hard for the past five years. However, I had been abused mentally and financially by the University professors and administration.

Does God really exist? If so, why God allows evil things to happen?

Can anyone show me the evidence of God's existence?

Is Jesus God? if so where is the evidence?

Did Jesus rise from death? Where is the evidence for the resurrection?
Are there any proofs of after-life?

I am not here for the debate, I just want the answers. If anyone can answer my questions that will be great.

Thank you
I really can understand you & that you are wounded and that now out of this wound new questions about God have been arising. I've struggled also with my faith when things in my life (studying (yet not finished after 10 years!), struggling with my passions to the point of total exhaustion, pressure from my parents to have a "succesful" life, struggling for ten years in the relationship with my girlfriend to the point of several nervous breakdowns, and so on). Now my life situation is after 10 -12 years of constant struggle a bit better - but only God knows for how long. All the struggle was worth it! But now more then before I understand the saying "all our troubles are coming from pride". Beside my desire for spirituality and a life in Christ, I still put tooo much hope & energy to have as soon as possible a normal, average life with a good job, with a good marriage, with healthy childrens and a wonderful spouse - and so on. But life is not about all these things - not at all. I unconsciously tried and hoped to fill my self-worth with all these things and with just a little recognition from other people, instead to fill it with my only Love - Christ.
And: Glory to God for all things! Compared to people from the past (100 years - 1 Million years ago) I live like a king today - really! Only if I compare myself with modern, western people, who are "successful", my life is not really admirable. It's all about finding the right perspective. Christ has never promised us a succesful life, but the cross, when we follow Him. Orthodoxy is paradoxy. In Early Christianity christians were compared to soldiers - and that's more than true. We enter a spiritual war, ready to lose everything, so that we may find our Heart and so to gain the true, deep Everything. I write all these, dear Anthony, with love & to encourage you. Forgive me if I wrote something wrong.
 

Anthony1986

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Nathanael said:
Anthony1986 said:
Hi!

My name is Anthony. I had lived in Canada and Spain for many years. Right now I am currently living in Taiwan, my birthplace with my parent.

I was born in a Buddhist/Taoist family. I was baptized in the Protestant Church when I was a teenager. I received my Chrismation in the Orthodox Church in Canada back in 2012.

In 2014 I traveled to Spain to study the dentistry degree. However, I didn't finish my degree. I was wasting my five years of my life to doing a degree for nothing.

Last summer, I returned to Taiwan to live with my parent and started a new career. 

However, I became agnostic. I was studying very hard for the past five years. However, I had been abused mentally and financially by the University professors and administration.

Does God really exist? If so, why God allows evil things to happen?

Can anyone show me the evidence of God's existence?

Is Jesus God? if so where is the evidence?

Did Jesus rise from death? Where is the evidence for the resurrection?
Are there any proofs of after-life?

I am not here for the debate, I just want the answers. If anyone can answer my questions that will be great.

Thank you
I really can understand you & that you are wounded and that now out of this wound new questions about God have been arising. I've struggled also with my faith when things in my life (studying (yet not finished after 10 years!), struggling with my passions to the point of total exhaustion, pressure from my parents to have a "succesful" life, struggling for ten years in the relationship with my girlfriend to the point of several nervous breakdowns, and so on). Now my life situation is after 10 -12 years of constant struggle a bit better - but only God knows for how long. All the struggle was worth it! But now more then before I understand the saying "all our troubles are coming from pride". Beside my desire for spirituality and a life in Christ, I still put tooo much hope & energy to have as soon as possible a normal, average life with a good job, with a good marriage, with healthy childrens and a wonderful spouse - and so on. But life is not about all these things - not at all. I unconsciously tried and hoped to fill my self-worth with all these things and with just a little recognition from other people, instead to fill it with my only Love - Christ.
And: Glory to God for all things! Compared to people from the past (100 years - 1 Million years ago) I live like a king today - really! Only if I compare myself with modern, western people, who are "successful", my life is not really admirable. It's all about finding the right perspective. Christ has never promised us a succesful life, but the cross, when we follow Him. Orthodoxy is paradoxy. In Early Christianity christians were compared to soldiers - and that's more than true. We enter a spiritual war, ready to lose everything, so that we may find our Heart and so to gain the true, deep Everything. I write all these, dear Anthony, with love & to encourage you. Forgive me if I wrote something wrong.
Thank you Nathanael. Thanks for your encouragement.
 

znqn

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Anthony1986, how exactly did the professors at the university humiliate you? You can continue training if you want?

Have you read about Job? Why do you think God does not give answers to Job, but only asks questions?

What books of Theodicy are available in English? (sorry, I don't know English).

Brother, in fact, I also feel sorry for the bunnies and I know no more than you. Let's look for answers together!

Or maybe we should keep some questions with us to ask them when we meet with God face to face?
 

Ainnir

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Most of us are.  Life is a struggle.
 

Anthony1986

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znqn said:
Anthony1986, how exactly did the professors at the university humiliate you? You can continue training if you want?

Have you read about Job? Why do you think God does not give answers to Job, but only asks questions?

What books of Theodicy are available in English? (sorry, I don't know English).

Brother, in fact, I also feel sorry for the bunnies and I know no more than you. Let's look for answers together!

Or maybe we should keep some questions with us to ask them when we meet with God face to face?
When I was doing my dentistry in Spain, I did study very hard. I didn't miss any lectures and work very hard during the practical.
However, the professor didn't like me. They think I am lazy. Every time when I have the questions I asked them for help. The always shouting at me. I criticize me all the time. Even during the final exams, they were shouting at me and insulting me.

I begin to read the books about Father Arseny (1894-1975), it was amazing, it helps me to heal my pain.

I will read the book of Job tonight and look for the answer.

I  want to read some books about Theodicy. Can anyone help? Thank you.
 

Anthony1986

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I just had a conversation with Protestant Preachers on the street.

I asked them to present to me the historical evidence that showed that Jesus is God and had risen from death outside the Scripture.

However, they told me the only evidence they have is the Bible. They said the Bible is enough to show that Jesus is God.

I am very disappointed. I am looking for rational discussion, but I can't get any rational information.

Can anyone show me the historical evidence that Jesus is God and had risen from death outside the Scripture?

 

RaphaCam

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First of all, the Bible collects testimony of many different people about the life, death and resurrection of Christ. So it's not one piece of evidence, but a collection of many. Within one century of Christ's resurrection, Ss. Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Quadratus of Athens, Papias of Hierapolis and Polycarp of Smyrna definitely wrote about Him, not to mention those who aren't that confirmed by critics. Among non-Christians, you can check a list here of writers who referred to Him. Obviously not to His resurrection, but that's no surprise given no one who wouldn't convert to Christianity would believe in His resurrection and vice-versa.
 

Eamonomae

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One thing is absolutely true, there is something greater than us, without which your life is meaningless.

Even assuming there isn't the Holy Trinity, there is likely something where we derive life from that is beyond just atoms. Our very consciousness speaks to that. I find it more difficult to believe what we call "the soul" is nothing more than chaos.

Even assuming that isn't true, that our consciousness just came from dead atoms and chaos, you are part of the human species and are destined by fate to take a role in that cycle of birth, death, reproduction, happiness, sadness, loneliness, memories, resent that will repeat until we all die off.

The harsh reality is the fact that the world is not just at all. Period.


Christianity speaks to that with the prince of this world being Satan, and our world being fallen and corrupt.

This "greater thing," whether it's God, "consciousness", the human cycle, etc. does not owe you anything more than what it has given to others. Babies get cancer, men and women die alone, homeless heroin addicts die in the street with onlookers, children get sexually abused, etc.

The most mind-opening moment for me is the fact that bullies tend to go on to live happy, fulfilling lives with friends and family, often married happily with a partner, whereas bullied victims tend to be poorer and alone. The whole "geek will show them and live in an office, while the stupid jock will be unemployed" is a falsehood, a "just-world" fallacy.
How is that fair? That is what is it though.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2013/05/20/why-bullies-succeed-at-work-2/


You have no more intrinsic value than anybody else, and if this "greater thing" did not exist at all, you would not exist; your existence depends on this greater thing.

Why? For the Christian, it's God's Wisdom. There's a reason why God in His Wisdom has allowed it, and you are not allowed to know why. You can waste years of your life away trying to figure it out, but no human being ever has or ever will. It's off limits. God has ordered it thus.

All you can do is accept whatever life has given you, and change what you know you can change about yourself to become the best version of yourself and work hard to discern that difference. And use what you have to make a positive impact in the lives of other people. Accept your fate, and do your part in God's Will, and then die. Everyone takes part in that fate, and you have to accept it.
 

Eamonomae

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Here's the article I was looking for in terms of bullies:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4552909/
 

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Last thing: who knows? While I do not doubt that succeeding in Dentistry is disappointing, you never know where your life could have ended up.

You might have ended up in a terrible practice, a terrible location, or starting a business that fails, which may have been worse than being a dentist in the first place. Dentists tend to have some of the highest suicide rates compared to other professions. And I personally know a few Dentists who regret doing it in the first place.

That's no justification - having a dream and failing at it sucks. I know. Especially with the debt (which I hoped you escaped from or your family can help out with) and the 5 years of your life gone. No amount of American platitudes will change the fact that it sucks.

Here's the thing though - you have the ability to accept your defeat and move on. Some people have it way worse, some have it better,  but if you really work on yourself to be the best version of yourself, and you create a new dream for yourself of what you want to achieve, you can achieve it.

I'm sorry, Eamonomae, but the forum rules are clear.  As a non-Orthodox member, you are not permitted to post in the Convert Issues section except to either enquire about Orthodoxy or to clear up any misconceptions surrounding your non-Orthodox faith.  You will receive a warning of 20 points.

Pravoslavbob, Section Moderator
 

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Regarding theodicy, I haven't read it yet, but some people really like The Doors of the Sea by David Bentley Hart, which was written in the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004 which killed hundreds of thousands of people.
 

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Jesus said you believe in God believe also in Me. You can not believe Jesus is God if you don’t believe in God. But belief in God is a choice one makes with evidence. It clearly seems unreasonable to be in this world without a first cause. We just simply can’t understand the first cause. This first cause being God encourages belief in His existence by answering prayers to all who are true seekers of God but not all prayers unless they are seeking Jesus or He only hears them when they are truly searching for the truth. If God had something to say to man that he needs to know the bible is the only reliable book that details the whole history of man which is consistent and reasonable and says nothing foolish. He spoke through the law and the prophets proving Himself to the world then through them and showing the world what they must do to be saved. As Paul said gentiles who did not have the law who fulfilled the law then were justified then because they followed the law written on their heart because though they did not have all the advantages of being God’s people which is to not be without chastening yet I believe God had shown all who were true seekers the truth but they were not God’s people without chastening. God’s people also would also not be chastened only if they kept all the law and Jesus came fulfilling all the law and the prophets to grant the same favour to gentiles as to Jews in this world but gentiles before were not given the whole revelation of God or the law as some Jews if not all Jews knew so they were not expected to keep it. Or they would have all known if they had seeked God like Job who was a gentile knew about Christ but even if they did not know God knows they would have received it because they cared for the truth. Jesus fulfilled the law so there is no reason not to believe Him and there is no proof He is not God so you have to believe Him
 

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I forgot I should not post as I am not orthodox but he is not only enquiring about the orthodox faith

You forgot, even though the post of Eamonomae in which I warned him in bold green ink not to comment in this section as a non-Orthodox is just two posts behind your first effort here today.  I'm giving you 15 points to help you be more observant of the forum rules. 

Pravoslavbob
 

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Regarding theodicy, I haven't read it yet, but some people really like The Doors of the Sea by David Bentley Hart, which was written in the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004 which killed hundreds of thousands of people.
So now that I've read it, here're just a few thoughts on it. It doesn't really provide any concrete answer that will settle all doubts down on these kinds of issues. I suppose I shouldn't have expected it to. Hart spends some time dismantling poor arguments against Christianity, though he also points out that many arguments aren't even relevant to Christianity and are more criticisms of deism or generic theism. But there's no moment where he lays out an actual answer. Quite the contrary, he admits towards the end that our answers to these questions are shown to be terribly inadequate in the light of actual trauma and soul-searching. That isn't to say we can't learn about the issues and have a better grasp of what's going on with sin, evil, death, virtue, free will, etc., just that such topics involve a lot of questions with few smoking gun answers (regardless of religious/irreligious affiliation).
 

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What brought you to faith the first time, when you became Orthodox? And why do you believe you need to be convinced all over again, "from the beginning"?
 
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What level of evidence do you suggest you need to satisfy your question? It's amazing to which truth stares at us today, or even slap us in the face, and yet we (general term) reject it. The level of obfuscation for absolutely critical things is crazy high too.

Do masks work? Is global warming man's cause?

Also, what medium of evidence is necessary? I posit to you, that if Jesus were alive today and did the things he did video evidence would not only be not enough, it would be deemed fake or illusory.

There were many false messiah's before Jesus (and probably after). What fruit have they bore? The Church is here now because of the authenticity of Jesus, with all the Saints, as the community of believers to spread the Gospel.

In your first post you mention all the tribulation and pain you've gone through. Has God (Jesus) promised us any different? No, he states explicitly these things you will encounter.
 

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There is no reasonable doubt about God's existence. The Ultimate Reality is God. That is, reality in the truest sense of the word. To say God doesn't exist is self defeating and a profession of nihilism.

The Word of God is Truth, as it is written..

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth"

The Holy Spirit is Truth, as it is written..

"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, The Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me"

The essence of God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is Truth. Confessing The Trinity is an acknowledgement that God is One with His Word and Breathe. God is present in creation through His Word and Spirit.

How do I know Christ was resurrected? If The Truth takes form, and people can not stand it, what do they do? They try to kill it, they crucify it.

How absurd it is to believe you can kill The Truth! You can kill it in the flesh, but it will simply rise again in the flesh. You can't kill The Truth.

These are revealed truths. It isn't reason or material evidence that shows it true that God exists, that Jesus Christ is God, and that he became incarnate, was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead. What evidence is there that we must eat Christ's flesh and drink his blood to have life in us? What evidence is there that these gifts of bread and wine are His blood?

All of this stuff is highly mystagogical. It is actually a mistake to look at these things from a standpoint of reason. This is part of the mistake of scholasticism, which not only has lead the western Christian world into deviation from orthodoxy, but even gave birth to the modern anti-Christian worldview that dominates the world.
 

Michael Seraphim

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Hi!

My name is Anthony. I had lived in Canada and Spain for many years. Right now I am currently living in Taiwan, my birthplace with my parent.

I was born in a Buddhist/Taoist family. I was baptized in the Protestant Church when I was a teenager. I received my Chrismation in the Orthodox Church in Canada back in 2012.

In 2014 I traveled to Spain to study the dentistry degree. However, I didn't finish my degree. I was wasting my five years of my life to doing a degree for nothing.

Last summer, I returned to Taiwan to live with my parent and started a new career.

However, I became agnostic. I was studying very hard for the past five years. However, I had been abused mentally and financially by the University professors and administration.

Does God really exist? If so, why God allows evil things to happen?

Can anyone show me the evidence of God's existence?

Is Jesus God? if so where is the evidence?

Did Jesus rise from death? Where is the evidence for the resurrection?
Are there any proofs of after-life?

I am not here for the debate, I just want the answers. If anyone can answer my questions that will be great.

Thank you
1. God exists, and He allows us our free will
2. The universe is an evidence that God exists. Love is an evidence that God exists
3. Christ is God. The evidence is: His Resurrection, Ascension, Enthronement at the Right Hand of the Father, His Return to judge the quick and the dead
4. He rose from the dead. The Apostles and other Disciples saw and talked with him for forty days before He ascended to Heaven
5. The Resurrection is the proof of afterlife
 
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I would like to attempt to answer some of your questions. Many of the answers above, in my view, are interesting in there own right, however I fell that they are insufficiently rigorous. The first matter, however, that must be solved, is the relationship between faith and reason. It seems to me that the biggest hurdle here is to understand them in opposition, but rather to see then as coextensive. In other words, faith derives from personal relationships/experience and participation, while reason may create a fertile soil for that relationship to develop.

I will present a variety of "evidence" or "argument" for God's existence, and then I will present some for the truth of Christianity. I will try to keep things simple and understandable, so that you will not get lost. My first argument attempts to rationally ground both theism (belief in God) and Christianity:

Argument from Personal and Communal Transformation:

Note: P denotes a premise and C a conclusion. There are 4 premises in this argument each of which I will discuss.

I first define the notion of "transformative gift" as: one's being authoritatively convicted in conscience, called to repentance and forgiven by X of sin and thereby being authoritatively called in volitional fellowship with X (deification) and perfect love and into rightful worship towards X as worthy of worship, and , on that basis, transformed by X from default tendencies of selfishness and despair to a new volitional center with a default position of unselfish love towards all people and of hope in the triumph of good over evil by X.

P1: Necessarily, if a human person is offered and receives the transformative gift, then this is the result of the authoritative power of a divine X of thoroughgoing forgiveness, fellowship in perfect love, worthiness of worship and triumphant hope (namely God)
P2: You have been offered and have willingly received the transformative gift
C1: Therefore, God exists

P1: Necessarily, if a human person is offered and receives the transformative gift, then this is the result of the authoritative power of a divine X of thoroughgoing forgiveness, fellowship in perfect love, worthiness of worship and triumphant hope (namely God)
P2*: I have been offered and have willingly received the transformative gift
C1: Therefore, God exists

P1: Necessarily, if a human person is offered and receives the transformative gift, then this is the result of the authoritative power of a divine X of thoroughgoing forgiveness, fellowship in perfect love, worthiness of worship and triumphant hope (namely God)
P2**: We have been offered and have willingly received the transformative gift
C1: Therefore, God exists

This is an argument from personal or communal transformation. It is similar to an argument from religious experience, but not quite. As you can see I have moved from You to I to We. This is a little Orthodox twist. First one observes what the Church, the tradition and the lives of the saints offer us. Then, we too receive the grace of God. Lastly, we go together as a community towards God. This is very much in line with the popular idea of Sobornost!

Argument from Religious Experience:

P1: For any subject S and experience E, if S's having E is a matter of its seeming to S that S experiences a numinous being N, then if S non-culpably has no reason to think that (i) S would seem to experience N whether or no there is an N that S experiences, or (ii) if E is nonveridical, S could not discover that it was, or (iii) if E is of a type T of experience such that every member of T is nonveridical, S could not discover this fact, then E provides S evidence that there is an N
P2: Persons (S) do have numinous experiences of God (N) which satisfy the conditions specified above
P3: Therefore, there is experiential evidence that God exists

Kalam Cosmological Argument:

I hesitate to give this argument because its incredibly popular, but it is incredibly simple both to state and understand:

P1: Everything that has a beginning of existence has a cause
P2: The universe began to exist
C1: Therefore, the beginning of the universe's existence must have a cause
P3: If the universe has a cause, then God exists
C2: Therefore, God exists

Explanation:
P1 seems very intuitive. It is difficult for us to understand what an event, with a beginning, is uncaused. This is very much like you saw a chemical reaction taking place, but it just happened spontaneously, and for no reason at all.
P2 is the claim that the entirety of space and time had a beginning. This is more difficult to establish. Generally, arguments for it fall into two categories: (1) Philosophical/Mathematical and (2) Scientific. The scientific arguments are generally about the Big Bang, while the mathematical ones use the idea that a Universe without a beginning involves postulating the existence of dubious types of infinities.
P3 claims that if we analyze what it means to cause the universe, we necessarily arrive a God-like being. For one, something that causes space-time to begin to exist must be immaterial, immensely powerful, timeless and changeless. Does this not sound familiar?

Argument from Possible Causes: (an improvement of the Kalam argument)

P1: Whatever can happen can be caused to happen
P2: A beginning to all contingent objects can happen
C1: Therefore, a beginning to all contingent objects can be caused to happen
P3: The only possible cause of a beginning to all contingent objects is a non-contingent object
C2: Therefore, there can be a non-contingent object
P4: If there can be a non-contingent object, then there is a non-contingent objects
C3: Therefore, is a non-contingent object

Explanation:

P1 states simply that if I imagine any event taking place, such as an explosion, then it is possible for that event to be caused. I think that this is fairly obvious from our daily lives. In fact, many would say that all or most events are caused, not just possibly caused.
P2 introduces some unfamiliar terminology. A contingent object is one that may have not existed. For example, it is possible that that chair that you are perhaps sitting on right now was just never made. In other words, it did not have to exist. We are also contingent objects. We too may or may not have existed! The premise tells us to imagine an event whereby all such objects appear. In other words, imagine the all the chairs, all the atoms, all the people being grouped in a big box, and that at some time t, this box begins to exist. This premise too seems plausible.
We the conclude that that is possible for all contingent objects to have a time t where they begin to exist.
P3 then tell us that only a non-contingent object could be the cause of all these contingent objects. This I think is obvious. Suppose that there are many items that may or may not exist and that we have grouped them together. Well, then only a necessary or non-contingent object would be left to cause them to begin existing. From this we conclude that it is possible for there to be a non-contingent object. This means that it is possible for there to exist an object that must exist no matter what. Thus P4 very much restates something implied by the definition of a non-contingent object. From this, we conclude in C3 that there is a non-contingent object.

Now we must think, what properties will such a necessary or non-contingent object have? Well, we have seen that contingent objects are ones that may exist but may also have not existed. But what is the explanation of why they are contingent? This seems to lie in the fact that they are limited in some way. Thus we have a direct argument to God. If every contingent object is limited in some way, then the non-contingent object is unlimited in every way. Thus we have a necessarily existing unlimited, and thus perfect, object. This is God.

Additional Remarks

There are many other argument that I have not mentioned here such as moral arguments, the telelogical arguments, the ontological arguments, the onto-cosmological arguments, nomological arguments, modal arguments, conceptual arguments etc. These are just a few of the possible families of evidence for the existence of God. As you can see, there are quite a few. I will not proceed to examine the arguments for Christianity. I will argue on the basis of history, and not on religious experience or tradition. Both of these types of argument can be assimilated into ones made above. If you want more scientific arguments, I would recommend: "A Fortunate Universe" by Luke Barnes: it is top-quality stuff!
 
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Historical Argument for Christianity

The argument that I will present is one based on the notion of best explanation. The form is the following:
P1: If Jesus Christ was resurrected, then probably Christianity is true
P2: Jesus was resurrected
C1: Therefore, Christianity is probably true

I hope you accept P1. I think there is not much to be said against it. Therefore I will focus on P2. I will argue that the available historical facts surrounding the life of Jesus Christ, as a purely historical figure, are best explained by the fact that he rose from the dead. Argument of this sort usually rely on something called Bayes' theorem, which is an important result in statistics. It states:

1611539415964.png

Where, h is the hypothesis under consideration (that Jesus rose from the dead), e is the relevant historical/empirical data, k is your background knowledge, ¬h is the negation of the hypothesis (here it would be that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

I give this equation for the following reason: it will help us to eliminate a number of stupid objections to the Resurrection! First, note that the previous section has shown that there is good reason to believe that God exists. Let's no understand what a miracle is. A miracle is understood to be an act of divine intervention in the world. Note, that it is not a violation of the laws of nature. This is because the laws of nature are true, assuming that a set of conditions hold. As an example, the statement: water boils at 100 degrees celsius is true if and only if the water does not contain another other compounds, or if we do not intervene somehow to cool it down. The same can be said for every physical law of nature, when it comes to God. If God does intervene, then the laws of nature do not hold at that time. Now that that is out of the way, we can start making our historical case for the resurrection. I will add that even if we believe that the probability that a miracle takes place is really low on its own i.e. P(h|k) is low, if you use the above equation, you can see that if the probability of the historical given a miracle is high, then this can outweigh the low "prior probability" of the miracle. Now we can proceed to looking at the history! I will argue that the following facts are best explained by the resurrection, thus securing P2 above:

Fact 1: After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea
Evidence:

Jesus’ burial is attested in the very old tradition quoted by Paul in I Cor. 15.3-5:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:
. . . that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
and that he was buried,
and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

Paul uses the language traditionally employed in Jewish circles when passing on a tradition. This tradition probably goes back at least to Paul’s fact-finding visit to Jerusalem around AD 36, when he spent two weeks with Cephas and James (Gal. 1.18). It thus dates to within five years after Jesus’ death.

According to the late John A. T. Robinson of Cambridge University, the burial of Jesus in the tomb is “one of the earliest and best-attested facts about Jesus.

Fact 2: On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women
Evidence
:

The fact that women’s testimony was discounted in first century Palestine stands in favor of the women’s role in discovering the empty tomb. Any later legendary story would certainly have made male disciples discover the empty tomb. The story is simple and lacks signs of legendary embellishment, which is quite characteristic of second century Gnostic gospels. Furthermore, the earliest Jewish allegation against Jesus was that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body (Matt. 28.15) shows that the body was in fact missing from the tomb, otherwise including the allegation in the Gospel would be pointless.

Fact 3: On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead
Evidence
:

The list of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection appearances which is quoted by Paul in I Cor. 15. 5-7 guarantees that such appearances occurred. These included appearances to Peter (Cephas), the Twelve, the 500 brethren, and James. Even Gert Ludemann, the leading German critic of the resurrection, himself admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.” Note, that here I am not claiming that they actually saw Jesus, but merely that they truthfully thought that they were having physical experiences of Jesus.

Fact 4: The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary. Think of the situation the disciples faced after Jesus’ crucifixion:
Evidence
:

Their leader was dead: Jews had no belief in a dying, much less rising, Messiah. The Messiah was supposed to throw off Israel’s enemies and re-establish a Davidic kingdom—not suffer the death of criminal. Here I recommend the work of N.T. Wright called the "Resurrection of the Son of God". It is an enormous book, and contains a wealth of historic argument for the Resurrection.

These facts are established using data from the New Testament. I will have to note, that we are using the NT as a historical record. For this argument, we are not supposing that the NT is the "Word of God". We treat then, as Richard Burridge has argued, as ancient autobiographies of Jesus. Overall, I claim that these facts are best explained by the Resurrection of Christ. It would take too long to give an account of all argument here so instead I direct you to the following works:

1. "Resurrection of the Son of God", N.T Wright (Anglican)
2. "The Son Rises", William Lane Craig (Evangelical)
3. "The Resurrection of Jesus", Michael Licona (Evangelical)
4. "The Resurrection of the God Incarnate", Richard Swinburne (Orthodox-ish)

Final Remarks

I gave a quick argument for which I apologise, however this a big topic and it is difficult to find a knock-down argument. There are obvious both arguments for and against the Resurrection with smart people on both sides of the debate. Personally, I think that a good historical case for the resurrection can be made on the basis of the available historical evidence. If you want some books on simply the historical reliability of the Gospels, I have a few suggestions as well:

1. "Can We Trust the Gospels", Peter Williams
2. "The Evidence for Jesus", R.T France
3. "The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus," Michael Licona and Gary Habermas
4. "Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts," Lydia McGrew
5. "The Historical Jesus : A Comprehensive Guide", Gerd Theissen
6. "The God Who Acts in History: The Significance of Sinai", Craig Bartholomew
7. "The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ", Brand Pitre
8. "Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence", Craig Evans
9. "Jesus Outside the New Testament: Introduction to the Ancient Evidence," Robert Van Voorst
10. "The Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs", Craig Blomberg

I have given quite an ecumenical selection in the sense that it represents Biblical scholars who are in different confessions, but each are some of the best in their field and so their expertise is invaluable for everyone, be it Orthodox or not.
 
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Soul and Afterlife

Arguments for the afterlife are difficult to find. The best you could do is look into the work on Near-Death experiences or certain saintly visions. At best knowledge of the afterlife is usually vague and so difficult to find anything concrete. For this reason I will focus on argument about the existence of the soul instead. Afterall, if it is likely that a soul exists, then this makes an existence of an afterlife much more likely. I will present a few directions from which we can argue for the existence of the soul. I will first argue by contradiction before giving positive arguments.

Suppose that a soul does not exist. What does this mean? Well it implies that "I" am a part of my brain, or, in other words, that I am a physical object of some sort. This means that my thoughts are also physical objects, right? Thoughts must therefore be identical to say some collection of neurons in the brain. Thus, if a soul does not exist, then both I and my mental activity are identical to brain activity. Therefore, if I can give a set of reasons for why my mental activity is not identical to my brain activity, I will have good reasons for thinking that a soul exists. Here are one of these reasons:

Reason 1: Consider the following thought experiment. Suppose that a person Mary is confined in a black-and-white room, is educated through black-and-white books and through lectures on a black-and-white TV. This is only way she can learn about the physical world. Now suppose that she is a genius and knows all physical facts that there are to be known: she knows everything about what physics, biology and chemistry can discover. If souls and other immaterial objects do not exist, she should know everything there is not know. However it is clear that there is something that she does not know. For if Mary is let out of her room and told to look around herself, she will learn "what it is like" to see colours. What this means is that there are facts are not physical. We see that mental experiences are often qualitative and have a "what it is like" fell to them. These are not observable physically: you cannot know "what it is like" for me to eat ice cream from just looking at my brain activity: you have to do it yourself. Thus brain activity is not the same as some mental activity. Thus, there are probably souls.

The following argument derives from Charles Taliaferro:
Let "A" refer to me and "B" to my body.
P1: A is B (if soul's do not exist, that is)
P2: A cannot exist without B and B cannot exist without A
P3: But A can exist without B and B can exist without A
C1: Therefore A is not B

The premise here that can be doubted is P3. But I think it can be secured with reference to NDEs and as well as thought-experiments. Namely, can you imagine you existing without your body? Also surely it is possible for zombies to exist: bodies without a mind?!

Final Remarks

I gave two brief arguments. There many many more. It is difficult to recommend books for this because the subject is very dense and complicated. Perhaps, the best I can do is give the following:

1. "Are we bodies or souls?", Richard Swinburne
2. "Am I just my brain?", Sharon Dirckx
 
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Argument from Evil

The last thing you mentioned was about why God allows evil to exist. Apart from this particular problem, there are other objections to the existence of God. However this one is considered by many to be the most damaging, and so I will be considering it by itself. Perhaps, you are unaware, but the problem of evil has been researched extensively by philosophers. I will give some results from this research. Consider this argument from evil. I have slightly adjusted by notation:

(1) A perfectly good being would be motivated to prevent every evil
(2) An omnipotent being would be able to prevent any evil
(3) So if there were a being who was perfectly good and omnipotent, this being would be motivated to prevent every evil and would be able to do so
(4) If there were a being who was motivated to prevent every evil and was able to do so, evil would not exist
(5) But evil exists
(6) Therefore, there is no being who is perfectly good and omnipotent

This I think is a good way to think about your argument from the existence of evil that you raise in question form. This form of the argument from evil is easy to dispatch with. However I will give a different argument that is more difficult to get rid off and will suggest a root that seems in-line with Orthodox thinking as well as suggesting some ideas for a theodicy at the end. First, I want to reformulate the argument above in theistic terms. What I mean is that we, Christians, believe that morality is dependent upon God, so the argument from evil must reflect this:

(1') Evil is whatever a perfectly good being is motivated to prevent
(2') An omnipotent being would be able to prevent anything that he is motivated to prevent
(3') So if there were a being who was perfectly good and omnipotent, this being would be motivated to prevent everything that he is motivated to prevent and would be able to do so
(4') If there were a being who was motivated to prevent everything that he is motivated to prevent and was able to do so, nothing would exist that such a being is motivated to prevent
(5') Things exist that an omnipotent and perfectly good being would be motivated to prevent
(6') Therefore, there is no being who is perfectly good and omnipotent

Rephrased in this way, this argument from evil collapses because we have no reason to thing (5') is actually true. However, there is another more problematic argument lurking. Namely, an argument from pain and suffering:

(1*) A perfectly good being would be motivated to prevent suffering of his creatures unless he had another loving motive that led him to permit it and unless the most loving thing to do, all things considered, was to permit suffering
(2*) There is no loving motive that could motivate a perfectly good being to permit suffering E1, E2 E3 etc.
(3*) Therefore, there is no perfectly good being

Here the main premise is (2*). I think that this premise has a lot going for it initially. If we think about it we can look around us and see extraordinary levels of pain and suffering. We often ask ourselves, what loving motive could God possibly have to permit this?! There are two ways to respond:

(i) Inscrutability Defense
(ii) Theodicy

Option (i): The Inscrutability Defense is quite popular among philosophers. It goes as follows. Premise (2*) is not known directly: it follows using an inference:

(P): There is no loving motive that we know of that could motivate a perfectly good being to permit suffering E1, E2, E3 etc.
(Q): Therefore, there is no loving motive that could motivate a perfectly good being to permit suffering E1, E2, E3 etc.

In other words, it goes from us not knowing the motive to there not being a motive. But many would point that that this inference is rather hasty. There is a very big difference between God's knowledge and our own. For example, consider a the chess player Garry Kasparov. For us, if he made a move that we did not understand, it does not mean that the move was bad, but rather than we are limited in our knowledge of Chess. The same is with God. We may not be able to work out God's loving motive due to a variety of causes: sin, lack of cognitive ability and simply a lack of knowledge of spiritual realities, as well as eschatological dimensions. Thus we are simply not permitted to infer from our lack of understanding of God's providence to there being none of it. This objection increases in strength the greater the scope of God's knowledge you take. There is much said about this approach, and it is difficult to recommend a simple reading for it. I will suggest some below.

Option (ii): A theodicy is an explanation of why God permits there to be pain and suffering. A number of partial reasons have been given in posts before mine. For example:
1. Sin: this one is a difficult one because you have know a lot of theology to make it a good theodicy, and it will raise the old Creation vs Evolution debate again, so although it has potential, it is difficult to make it work
2. Human Free Will: this is related to the sin one. At the most basic level this can solve the problem of moral evil, namely why do people hate each other. However it fails to adequately capture the problem of natural evil: disease, earthquakes, natural disaster etc. Some had suggested that human free will have caused all of these natural problems too because of the fall. That however requires you deny most of contemporary science in biology, geology, physics, anthropology and archaeology. This makes the view quite problematic. If you are interested in getting a good grasp on the evolution/creation debate there are two good books: (1) "The Battle of Beginnings" by Del Ratzsch and (2) "Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narrative" by Peter Bouteneff. The first will explain the basic of evolution as well as misconceptions about about the debate from both sides, while the second is more theological. To continue with the idea of free will. Some, like Swinburne, have argued that free will requires natural evil too. This is because to use free will, we need to learn stuff. To learn stuff, we need laws of nature. While laws of nature entail getting hurt or killed etc.
3. Incarnation and Atonement: some have brought Christian truths into the mix. Although these may help alleviate the effects of the problems, they fail to explain why evil is so prevalent in the first place.
4. Soul-making: the idea is that suffering is there to help you improve your soul and character to help you get closer to God. Variation of this theme are that suffering helps direct your will towards God. This is ne fruitful direction to take.

There are others, I just do not have the space to go through all of them. You just have to keep reading if you are interested! There are some books recommendations below.

Final Remarks:

Here are some readings on the problem of evil, if you are interested in it. There is quite a lot out there, but it is important to look for the best quality stuff, obviously:

1. "Evil: A guide for the perplexed", Chad Meister
2. "God and the Problem of Evil: Five Views ", Chad Meister
3. "God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain", Chad Meister
4. "The Bridge of the Lamb", Sergius Bulgakov
5. "The Triumph of God Over Evil: Theodicy for a World of Suffering", William Hasker
6. "Christianity and the Problem of Evil," Peter Van Inwagen
7. "Reality of God and the Problem of Evil," Brian Davies
8. "Theodicy of Love: Cosmic Conflict and the Problem of Evil", John Peckham
9. "Evil and the God of Love", John Hick
10. "Evil & the Evidence For God: The Challenge of John Hick's Theodicy", Doughlas Geivett
11. "Wandering in Darkness: Narrative And The Problem Of Suffering", Eleanore Stump (huge book with a theodicy, but hard)
 
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