Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Agnostism, Old Questions

I was listening to an agnostic author who also was a federal prosecutor for several high profile murder cases today discuss his new book which attacks the Bible, and Christianity and claims that God is unknowable. I am not going to give the authors name or book name because, I don't feel like advertising. And, nothing of what he is saying is any different than the old tired arguments of atheists; try as he might to distance himself from them.

Theists believe in God, Atheists do not. Agnostics say they don't know. However, a newer flavor of agnosticism affirms that you can't know. While average agnostics innocently claim they don't know, these new agnostics say that logic proves that God is unknowable. Agnostics usually argue from a position of moral high ground they call intellectual honesty. Except, then they go on to claim that they know God is unknowable. How can you say anything about what God is or isn't (in this case unknowable), at the same time you claiming you don't know. In my mind, reason suggests that only a truly intellectually honest agnostic would say, I don't know if God exists, and I don't know if it is possible to know if God exists since I don't know anything about God.

After trying to distance himself from Atheists, this author goes on to use the same old atheistic arguments. All of his attacks on God go back to one main issue, "The Problem of Evil." This new agnostic attacks free will by latching onto Calvinism and quotes from Martin Luther and scriptures in the Old Testament and New Testament that have been translated to suggest to some that God made man do evil or good and the idea of Predestination. But this argument assumes that 1. Calvin and Luther's quotes reflect true Christianity. 2. The Bible verse being cited was translated correctly and is being interpreted correctly.

The real attack on God using the "Problem of Evil" attacks God's goodness and all-powerfulness. He claims, that because bad things happen, God can't be all good or all-powerful. He wraps prayer into it saying that God must have not answered the Jews prayers when they were asking for deliverance during the holocaust.

When the interviewer bore witness that He felt he had felt and experienced God in his life, and that God had answered many prayers, the agnostic writer said that he didn't deny that there wasn't some supernatural force at work in the universe, but that supernatural experiences alone were not necessarily a proof for God suggesting some other force could be at work. But then again, he fails to discuss the issue, of first cause, and what created the force at work that is affecting and manifesting itself in your life.

When it comes to the problem of evil, free will, and God's infinite power and goodness; here is the key issue. Only LDS Doctrine can satisfactorily answer this question. That is, if God created our spirits out of nothing, then he created some of us good and some of us bad and then let us loose on each other. If ex-nihlo creation were true, then I would say that #1 some creation were defective therefore God was not all-powerful to create them good in the first place, #2 God knowingly gave evil spirits agency and is an accomplice to evil. or #3 God doesn't know what would happen.

However, according to LDS Doctrine, and Justin Martyr, and the Bible, spirits are eternal and were not created ex nihlo. Spirits and intelligence has always existed and is what it is. It is good or bad inherently. We are here in this life to interact and discover which kind we are, and what we are made of so-to-speak. Only by coming into contact with our opposite, do we comprehend what we are. The Bible says, "Without God, was not anything made, that was made". Which suggests that not everything required making. If it did, God made it. If it was co-eternal like spirit is, then it has existed eternally with Him and didn't require being brought into existence; just being formed and refined. Justin Martyr to Trypho says that God did not make the angels. God said he was I AM THAT I AM, or in other words "The Self-Existent of self-existent." We are all spirit children of God and share His ontology.

Furthermore, the creation story in Genesis does not discuss the creation of the angels. Later in the NT God is called the Father of Spirits. But this does not suggest ex-nihlo. So, the essence of Lucifer (his will) always existed and he was given every opportunity and honor to do good and choose good in the Pre-mortal realm, but used His free will to rebel. God does allow evil to operate, using them for his higher purpose. But this doesn't mean that evil people won't receive punishment for their evil. They will receive the wages of sin that are promised.

Many say God gave us free will. Will is the essence of existence and our eternal nature. But will is not necessarily free to choose or act. So, It is okay to say God gave us free will (freed our will), or agency, but, it is false to say God gave us our will. That would mean God created our essence from nothing and that he brought us into existence and not just bringing our spirits into being which is what the NT suggests again and again in the original Greek.

That said, there is one more important point here. Death and dying is bad and usually painful. Life is good. But we all came to Earth knowing that we would die and that we would be subject to pain and suffering in this life. So we all came to Earth with our eyes open and knowing that Satan was here. We even accepted the veil over our memories. So, we all had proper prior disclosure and informed consent. But in addition, we are promised that Christ's atonement reverses all death and separation from God, and covers all pain. God promises that all our loses will be made up to us. There is no wound he cannot heal. Then we are left to stand before God and be judged based upon our own works based on the knowledge and understanding we had. So, the plan is perfectly legal and just; even for a high-profile federal prosecutor.


Steve said...

Only LDS Doctrine can unsatisfactorily answer this question.

What a shame, I read the whole post hoping for some satisfying answers. :)

David B said...

Atheists and some agnostics love to use "the problem of evil" argument to try and explain away God. They claim that God cannot be infinitely good and powerful, attributing the creation of evil to Him. LDS Doctrine recognizes that spirit and intelligence is eternal. Therefore God did not create out of nothing what Satan is. All spirit is self-existent with God and therefore we are all ultimately responsible for our own choices. Furthermore, we are promised that if we accept Christ, all our loses will be made up to us. There is no wound he cannot heal.