I will have to trust that later readers will sort out the point re: blood on the kitchen floor. I am not going to get bogged down on it.
SEG wrote:Well how do you know that God is worthy of it and Christianity is true based on faith? What reservations do you have on God existing and Christianity being true?
Show me the bones of Jesus Christ and I'll become an atheist. That's all it takes.
And the Romans could have done that in 33 AD, and Christianity would never have gotten started. Or the Jewish leaders. Or in 34, 35, 36, etc. right up to the Jewish Wars of 62-70 AD that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem. But they didn't, and that's a very significant omission. Not itself conclusive, but significant and suggestive.
Have I had reservations about my faith? Yes. In fact, I have told you how, in 1985, I put my faith under critical scrutiny, and weighed it against science -- I was fresh out of that Naval Nuclear Power School, so I knew me some science! -- and I weighed it against logic -- I didn't read Wesley Salmon's _Logic_ just because I liked the title. I read apologetics, and I read atheists. And the sum total... Was that Christianity was perfectly reasonable. So I reasoned that if it were reasonable, God would confirm to me that it was true. So I prayed for Him, if He were real, to confirm His presence.
This is the equivalent, SEG, of going down on the banks under the bridge and looking at the beams. Chucking a few rocks at the supports to see if they quiver, or worse, take damage. stomping the ends of the planks to listen for that hollow sound.
I found that the Christian faith was solid and sturdy. I found that I was not the first person to come down under the bridge and check the beams. When I read Bertrand Russell, it was thin and whiny and fragile and didn't even come to a proper conclusion. But when I read C.S. Lewis, he made sense. He drew solid logical conclusions, didn't overstep, and connected all his dots. Two intelligent men, writing books on the same subject from opposite sides. One is all snark and no logic, and the other is humble logic that rings true. I had to weigh in with Lewis.
A year or so later -- by then I'd made up my mind -- I found Tolstoy's _Confession_. You might find it under the title _My Confession_. small book, not nearly as well known as War and Peace. But reading it I say him describe de-conversions, including his own. They were all weak excuses. none of them were reasoned out. He simply stopped believing when someone told him that there was no god. He talked about another man who stopped believing when his brother saw him pray, said, "Oh, you still do that?"
But then he talked about trying to reason out the meaning of life, and his equations kept coming back to 0=0 or X=X. That, by the way, is why I can always trip you up on morality: Your moral platitudes always come back to "I like my morals because I like my morals." So when you try to make your personal preferences mean something more than that, you're always cheating, and all I have to do is bring you back to where you started: 0=0.
Tolstoy reasoned that if life had any meaning, then something was missing from his equations. There was some factor he was missing. And he eventually came to the conclusion that the only way the equation would not come back to an identity (a meaningless 0 = 0) was if there were an infinite factor. I read that -- after I had already reached that conclusion by my own reasoning, mind you -- and I realized the truth of it. It confirmed my prior reasoning. You could say that God used Tolstoy (and before Him Lewis, and Isaiah, and David of Jerusalem, and Franz Kafka, etc.) to confirm to me that He was real. My reason, led by God, underlies my faith.
Now when I was a child, yes, my faith was simply this: I have been told of God, and I trust those who told me, therefore I believe. But now I have a solid faith built on my own reason, and confirmed in the reason of men like Lewis, and Tolstoy, and Solomon. Besides this, and neither superior nor inferior to it, is my experience. I have had experiences in my life that further convince me of God. I see those experiences, and acknowledging that there exist such things as confirmation biases and coincidences, I weigh them against reason, and against the experiences of other people. During the industrial revolution in England, there was a man from Bristol named George Mueller; if you were inclined towards studies in history, you would be intrigued by his experiences with respect to God. His experiences as recorded are consistent with and ring true with my own experiences.
And I have no ceased to study the question and to face the arguments against it. You see that I have not backed down from you, nor flinched when you scoff and ridicule. You have no argument that can frighten me: I've faced the best and most difficult arguments, and I've found the flaw in every one of them. Poor reason, poor argument: From Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins, it's all scoffing and no substance. Even you, SEG, when I point out your flaws of logic, you skip to another track and attack from a new angle. For the atheists, it's about winning the argument, not about finding the truth.
I challenge you, SEG, to do as I have done. Clear your mind of your biases, and make yourself as neutral as you can be. It's tough, but with some reading in Logic, I have faith that you'll get there. Then start weighing the sources. Put Russell alongside Lewis, and see which one wins. Let the facts decide it, and don't give in to your bias. Mere Christianity versus Why I Am Not A Christian. Which one is the proud scoffer, and which the humble logician? Tell me honestly. Then move on. Tolstoy and Kafka, let's say. Both men tormented to the point of suicide by the meaning of life; one surrendering to its hopelessness and the other finding the one bridge between the finite and the infinite. You tell me which is shrill and demanding; and which is reasoned and repentant. Tell me honestly. Then move on.
It will take a brave man to do it, and I can name at least a couple of names on this board not brave enough to do it. But you're no coward. You've faced peril bravely and unflinchingly. So this ought not to scare you either. Are you up for it?