J. P. Moreland in his forward writes, “In a recent Barna pool… They identified six reasons for the exodus (millennials leaving the church). (1) The church is overprotective and fails to expose people to anti-Christian ideas. (2) The church’s teaching is shallow. (3) The church is antagonistic to science and fails to help believers interact with scientific claims. (4) The church treats sexuality simplistically and judgmentally. (5) The church makes exclusivist claims. (6) The church is dismissive of doubters (13).”
Generation Z will be even worse with leaving the church than millennial's already are. Apologetics usually seen as just give arguments for the resurrection and God’s existence helps with some doubts and the apparent anti-scientific way of thinking in the church, but doesn’t deal with all doubts and reasons for why people leave the church. The shallow teaching of the church just sounds like any other religion and modern day people see Christ as another Zeus or pagan deity. Every person leaving the church may have similar reasons for leaving, but are always coming from different starting points. For example, many people may leave because they see what the church has to offer for the future, but not for the now. If the church mainly focused on the now of the Gospel instead of the future like Christ did, then less people in this area would see what Christianity has to offer for the now.
“The term “cultural apologetics” has been used to refer to systematic efforts to advance the plausibility of Christian claims in light of the messages communicated through dominant cultural institutions, including films, popular music, literature, art, and the mass media (20).” The focus is literally on culture instead of the typical philosophical arguments given for God’s existence. William Lane Craig seems to argue that cultural apologetics focuses on the negative side of apologetics. For example, if God does not exist then objective meaning, value, and purpose do not exist. Francis Schaeffer would take this point in his one step apologetics (aka. Presuppositionalism) and argue that one cannot live life without out belief in Christianity.
I however agree with Paul Gould with how he defines cultural apologetics. “I define cultural apologetics as the work of establishing the Christian voice, conscience, and imagination within a culture so that Christianity is seen as true and satisfying (21).” Christianity is a message for all people and has a timeless message to it. The apologetics aspect of the Gospel comes into play when someone asks you about the hope you have within you. This is what Saint Peter writes in his second epistle, which his cultural context was persecution on Nero. Everyone is coming from a different culture, context starting point that we most likely do not share. Gould gives us some helpful tips as how to do cultural apologetics in these types of conversations.
“In addition, a cultural apologist operates at two levels. First, she/he operates globally by paying attention to how those within a culture perceive, think, and live, and then she/he works to create a world that is more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful and enchanted. Secondly, she/he operates locally, removing obstacles to, and providing positive reasons for, faith so individuals or groups will see Christianity as true and satisfying, plausible and desirable (22-23).”
This will keep be emphasized, that everyone leaving or people you talk to about Christianity are coming from different starting points. Paul’s sermon at mars hill in Acts 17, comes from the starting point of worship. Paul does his homework and studied the Greek culture that he was in at Athens. Paul talks about the unknown God they worship as the Christians God and that he is knowable. Paul then provides the Gospels and points to the resurrections of Jesus to the Athenians.
As Christian Apologists, we need to know our “Athens” as Gould point out in his book. America’s “Athens” contains multiple worldviews like relativism, materialism, egoism, hedonism, secularism, and many other isms. Knowing these “Athens” will help us identify peoples cultural and contextual starting points. Doing this allows us to start the conversation and get to the core of why someone isn’t a Christian and employ the best reasons for why they should be a Christian is context to their starting points.
Gould gives us some more helpful tips and tasks as cultural apologists to help identify our “Athens” and people’s starting points. “First task of the cultural apologist-the task of understanding culture (24).” For our first task, we must listen to what the culture we are living is saying about Christianity and what the culture itself believes. The previous list of “isms” is a good starting point for practicing this first task. “Worldview analysis is necessary but not sufficient for a cultural apologetics (24).” This essential to cultural apologetics because to not understand competing worldviews is not listening and not understanding people’s cultural, contextual starting points.
“The cultural apologist works to resurrect relevance by showing that Christianity offers plausible answers to universal human longings (24).” As Aristotle points out, humans are rational, social beings that seek the transcendentals. The transcendentals are Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, also known as Logos, Pathos, and Ethos. Everyone’s starting points have hidden desires behind them associated with the transcendental in some way. The task here is to show how Christianity best offers relevance to people’s starting points that are associated with the transcendentals. “Cultural apologetics must demonstrate not only the truth of Christianity but also its desirability (25).” This is where cumulative case apologetics comes in by taking pieces of evidence of Christianity that relate to many people desirable starting points. For example, the argument from beauty shows that the aesthetic truths point towards Christianity along with the case of course. Everyone has aesthetic truths they hold dearly, but if their worldview(starting points) can’t satisfy that desire, then this is where cultural apologetics comes in. Cultural apologetics is a necessary component to apologetics that needs to be utilized in modern day apologetics to help spread Christian Truth Through Apologetics.
Cultural Apologetics by Paul Gould: https://www.amazon.com/Cultural-Apologetics-Conscience-Imagination-Disenchanted/dp/0310530490/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
1. Gould, Paul. “Cultural Apologetics”, 13.
2. Gould, 20.
3. Gould, 21.
4. Gould, 22-23.
5. Gould, 24.
6. Gould, 24.
7. Gould, 24.
8. Gould, 25.
There are two views that compete with each other over how one should attain happiness and live their life. Both views accept the premise that everyone’s end goal is happiness, but take different routes to get there. Ethical Egoism says that one ought to act and live according to their self-interests. Ayn Rand is a famous philosopher of the twentieth century that defended ethical egoism. She took the view of extreme individualism and ultimately argued that your being and self-identity is equivalent to your stream of consciousness and experiences. This is a buffed up view of Cartesian ontology of human beings. “Man is a being of volitional consciousness (505).”
Aristotle took the view of the telos, that everyone’s goal is happiness and you should get there by living the virtuous life. Virtue can be defined as a habit that serves the higher good. According to Aristotle there are two different types of virtues, moral and intellectual virtues. Moral virtues would be examples like courage or justice. Using justice, rendering one one’s due shows virtue because you punish evil for the future good of maintaining order in the polis. Intellectual virtue includes having wisdom in both practical and theoretical knowledge.
Aristotle would argue that in our ontology we are both rational and social creatures, so to achieve happiness we must fulfill both of these types of desires that we have. “The definition of happiness; for it has been said to be a virtuous activity of soul, of a certain kind (59).” To practice virtue is to be in a state of “soulishenss”, which fulfills are rational and social needs. Doing this satisfies these functions of human ontology and builds the habit of virtue, which achieves our end goal of happiness.
The position that is most impressive with is living the virtuous life to bring about happiness. Firstly, Aristotle’s view of human ontology is correct as describing us as social beings. If this was not the case, then there would not be a strong need for community of each individual. Humans need to be social to fulfill this desire in us and to do this you must make friends. Friendship is a core aspect of the virtuous life, to maintain this requires habits of virtues. Love is one of these virtues that should be between true friends.
The second reason for why the virtuous life is better than an egoistic life is that virtue by definition helps out the greater good. An egoistic life doesn’t do good for the sake of good, but rather does good for self-interest and survival. There’s no real intrinsic good on egoism and it can’t ground intrinsic good. Many people have lived for self-interest and lived very easy lives. The ring of gyres shows that if one gets the ring, then they have power. If someone lives by self-interest, then with the ring can cause serious problems with those that have less capabilities.
The final reason for why one should live the virtuous life is to look at the greatest human to have ever lived. This being Jesus of Nazareth who lived a very virtuous life. Whether he was God is a different question, but clearly he has had the biggest impact on human history. The beatitudes in the sermon on the mount shows the basic virtues that people should live by. Examples like peace-keepers and the merciful are virtues that Christ taught to live by. The second greatest commandment is the key to friendship and the virtuous life, which is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself. Love here is the greatest virtue that brings about friendship and truly serves the highest good. Any Rand’s view of ethical egoism does not fit the need to fit human ontology, our need for community, and love as a server to the highest good. The end goal of happiness is to live the virtuous life and love as the central habit that you live by.
A defense of Ethical Egoism
-Mike Jones (Inspiring Philosophy)
The Gospel of Thomas seems to be the most famous gospel that is not in the Bible. Everyone seems intrigued by this work; what it says and where it came from. Many argue it belongs in the Bible or that it represents an early sect of Christianity that disagreed with what we refer to as mainstream Christianity. They say it teaches a different Jesus than what we find in the canonical Gospels, or that Thomas is from the very early days of Christianity, and this is evidence that Christianity was a wide mix of various views of Jesus, despite what many laymen believed today. The majority of scholars do not place Thomas in the first century or believe any of it can be dated to the days of the first Christian Church. But some do date it early, like John Dominic Crossan or Elaine Pagels. So why was Thomas never considered canonical? Why do most scholars believe it belongs in the mid to late second century? Why do others argue it as earlier? Does any of it contain accurate sayings of Jesus? Does it represent a different sect of Christianity that would have differed from mainstream Christianity? And does it belong with the canonical Gospels? To answer these questions, we need to dive into what the Gospel of Thomas is, what it says, and what evidence scholars used to date it.
First, Thomas is not a narrative like the canonical Gospels are. It is just a list of sayings that Jesus supposedly said to his disciples. The theology also differs greatly from the ideas of the New Testament. In Thomas, Jesus is not the way, the truth, and the light. Jesus is just a teacher who instructs people on how to find enlightenment within them. Fasting and prayer are also considered bad in Thomas, whereas they are praised by Jesus in the canonical Gospels. Jesus also seems to act more like a Greek thinker in Thomas, rather than an early Jewish Rabbi. It also ends in a rather sexist way, claiming that Mary must become a male spirit before she can enter the kingdom of heaven. This seems contradictory to the Jesus portrayed in the canonical Gospels who seems to welcome women followers, and even allows them the high status of receiving divine revelation, to deliver to men which was quite revolutionary for the times Jesus lived in. So Thomas doesn't seem to fit with the theology of the New Testament, which is why most scholars say it represents a different theological view.
Second, we need to realize that dating Thomas is harder than other documents because of the internal and external evidence we have for it. We simply do not have a lot of manuscripts of Thomas. Our main source for Thomas as a Coptic manuscript discovered in 1945, and is part of the NAG Hammadi collection. The specific manuscript dates to around 340 AD. We also have three Greek fragments of Thomas that date to around 200 AD and contain about 20% of Thomas. However, scholars have noted remarkable differences between the complete Coptic version, and the Greek fragments. So Thomas seems to have changed remarkably over the course of 140 years, unlike the slight variation we see with the New Testament manuscripts. John Meyer says the Gospel of Thomas may have circulated in more than one form, and passed through several stages of redaction. Darrell Bock and Dan Wallace say the fact that the Greek papaiah of Thomas contains some significant differences from the Coptic forma Stelling it, suggests that this gospel may have gone through several uncontrolled editions by the time the NAG Hammadi volume was penned. So the textual evidence suggests Thomas may have been a document for an uncontrolled tradition that was meant to be fluid over time and meant to be adapted to each generations needs. We find the opposite when we look at the traditions of the other four Gospels in the rest of the New Testament. Other than that, the first writer to mention the existence of Thomas was Hippolytus of Rome, who speaks harshly of it. He says it was transmitted by a group called in the scenes, and even quotes a line from it which also varies from the line he seems to be quoting from in our manuscript of Thomas later. Origen also mentions its existence and says it was heretical. However, there were other works attributed to Thomas, so it is possible he and later authors could be referring to a different work that bore the name of Thomas in the 4th century. Cyril of Jerusalem mentions Thomas and says an early heretical group known as the main qian's wrote it.
Finally, a fifth century work mentions it in a list of heretical books.
So as you can see, our evidence for Thomas is rather scarce, negative, and varies and how it was read. The external evidence tells us Thomas would have to predate it to manuscripts and external mentions, so that it could have circulated enough to have caught the attention of critics, which means it would have to have been written prior to the 3rd century. Some argue that a lack of it being mentioned in the second century means it has to post date this time. But to be fair, that might be arguing from silence unless we can come up with a good reason 2nd century authors should have mentioned it. Scholars mainly need to rely on internal evidence to date Thomas. This is a harder test than dating other Gospels because Thomas is just a list of alleged sayings of Jesus. It contains no stories or a stork or reference in order to date it. Well on top of this, it contains little coherence outside of its use of catch words or catch phrases. In other words, the text itself has to be understood in terms of specific catch phrases to be translated properly into English.
Another interesting aspect of Thomas, is it seems familiar with several documents of the New Testament. It contains quotes or paraphrases from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, acts, Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, first Thessalonians, first Timothy, Hebrews, first John, and Revelation. Now this is rather telling, because either all of these works from the New Testament relied on Thomas, or Thomas was simply aware of the New Testament documents and made use of them. The second option is more likely because some of these documents are quite early and Thomas would have to have been written in the 40s, and be unbelievably popular early on, for multiple authors to make use of it. It is also far more probable a later author simply made use of multiple works that were popular by the second century. Also a lot of these New Testament books are alluded to by later authors and do not make mention or allude to Thomas, which also makes it more likely Thomas postdates these documents. Balkan Wallace says the silence of all second century writers regarding Thomas would be extremely peculiar if this gospel had existed for 50 or 60 years before AD 100. And all the more so if thomas was used extensively by many New Testament authors.
Again, as I said earlier, this is not proof Thomas post dates the New Testament. But it does lend credence to the theory Thomas did come after the New Testament, since these works were quoted and attested by early authors, and Thomas isn't. Richard Baulkham also notes Thomas seems to be comparing itself to other Gospels already in existence, specifically Matthew and Mark. Section 13 of Thomas has Simon Peter in Matthew guessing who Jesus was. Peter says he was a messenger or a righteous angel in Matthew guesses a wise philosopher before Thomas speaks. Baucom argues using Matthew and Peter who the early church says was Mark’s source for his gospel, meaning that Thomas is acknowledging that at least these two Gospels already existed by the time Thomas was written. Matthew would be one of the most obscure of the twelve had not a gospel been attributed to him. The saying in the Gospel of Thomas must presuppose the existence of Matthew's Gospel, and its attribution to Matthew if Matthew in this passage represents Matthew's Gospel, then it becomes highly likely that Peter represents Mark's Gospel.
Peter states that Jesus is like a righteous angel. It's presumably a deliberate substitute for Peter's confession in Mark 8:29, “You are the Messiah.” Since many external sources seem to attribute Mark's Gospel of Peter's preaching, it fits with this idea that Thomas will compare himself to two well-known disciples, from which two of the canonical Gospels allegedly came from; or at least that is what the church argued was the case in the second century. The idea of Thomas relying on many of the books of the traditional Canon, also correlates to the opening line of Thomas, which reads, “these are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke and Didymus, Judas, and Thomas wrote them down.” Thomas says these are the hidden words of Jesus, implying there was a public ministry of Jesus that was more well known. The author, knowing his teachings, would contradict the public ministry of Jesus, seeming to have thought he had to disguise his words as secret teachings. This implies the acknowledgement of more well-known teachings of Jesus and implies Thomas would post-date them. So it is more probable Thomas postdates the New Testament books, which were more well known and attested in the ancient world.Thomas is trying to go against the New Testament theology by disguising his theology as secret teachings of Jesus, which implies the author knew other Gospels existed before he wrote his.
However, one of the biggest reasons most scholars date the Gospel of Thomas to the mid to late second century, is this connection to late Syrian. Christian scholar Nicholas Peron, analyzed the Gospel of Thomas and translated it into Syriac and Greek. What he found was Thomas was most likely originally written in Syria, not Greece or Coptic. I mentioned earlier Thomas contains a lot of catch words or catch phrases, and unless we understand this, the gospel really doesn't make sense. Well parent identified more than 500 Syria catch words, which implies it makes most sense in Syria not Greek or Coptic. Scholar Craig Evans says Thomas has extensive coherence with late 2nd century Syrian tradition in a lack of coherence with pre 70 Jewish Palestine. It is also recognized by virtually all scholars that Thomas contains a lot of Syrian elements, like how it were first at Thomas is Judas Thomas. This was a common name for Thomas and Syrian traditions, or as Craig Evans has noted, most of the time Thomas follows Matthew, it seems to be following a Syriac version of Matthew. This is also interesting because Paran noticed something else about Thomas; it seems to follow the order of a mid-second century work called the Diet Tessarin. The Diet Tessarin was put together by a man named Tation who wanted to harmonize the four Gospels, so he wrote a Syrian translation which goes through all four, and tries to harmonize the time-line.
Thomas seems to be copying from the Diet Tessarin and follows the same order in Syriac style, meaning it would post date the completion of the Diet Tessarin, which was between 160 AD and 175 AD. Some try to suggest Thomas has to be early because it is just a simple list of sayings and the traditional gospels are more developed because they contain narratives. But just being a simple list of sayings doesn't at all mean it is early. Craig Evans notes that other collections of sayings emerge from around this time, long after the canonical Gospels. Rabbinic works, like the chapter of the fathers and the sentences of sexes, are simple lists of sayings and were written around the same time. The sentences of sexist is specifically interesting because it also seems to have originated in Syria in the second century correlating to the most likely area and time frame for the emergence of Thomas. N. T. Wright in The New Testament and The People of God, also points out that Thomas lacks the early Jewish identity of the first church. The traditional four Gospels seem to be telling the story of Israel, with the climax being in the death and resurrection of Jesus, in the form of greco-roman biographies, that contain deep Jewish elements and themes.
Thomas seems to have been shortening, smoothed out for a later Gentile audience unfamiliar with the Jewish context. If Thomas was first and Jesus was originally more like a Greek philosopher, it is unlikely that a later Gentile audience would want to add in more Jewish elements to the story of Jesus, in creating the canonical Gospels. Considering the early church was slowly moving towards being filled with a majority of Gentiles, why would you make Jesus more Jewish if that was not how he was originally? As NT Wright says, “if the earliest form of the controversy stories is therefore likely to have been that of the Jewish stories of the struggle and vindication of the little remnant or renewal movement, it is not difficult to see how these stories could have become smooth down over time into something more like Hellenistic kriya, especially as the news of Jesus passed beyond the area where Jewish style controversy and vindication stories would be an expected form. This, I suggest, is the most likely explanation for works like the Gospel of Thomas.”
So these are the main reasons we date Thomas to the late second century. The fact that it is just a simple list of sayings doesn't mean it is early, let alone earlier than our canonical Gospels. The fact that it resembles later Syria and Christianity follows the Diet Tessarin paints Jesus more like a Greek philosopher and says it contains the secret teachings of Jesus, all seems to point to a tradition much later than what we see in the New Testament. There is also not a plausible reason Thomas should be included in the Canon of Scripture or that it could be considered to contain authentic words of Jesus. It is simply too late to be considered reliable.
What does God know? What is Aquinas’ answer? Is it the best model of God’s omniscience? These main question will be answered and some thoughts will be given. Does God know actual infinites? Does God have knowledge of contingent things and future events? Does God have knowledge of particulars and universals? These are some more interesting questions that will be answered with the text.
What does God know and how does he know?
God knows things from himself, which is inferred from the doctrine of Divine Simplicity. Aquinas answers also that God has knowledge of things that are not. “God knows all things whatsoever that in any way are. Now it is possible that things that are not absolutely should be in a certain sense (143).” God’s knows all absolute things by their final causes, which Anselm would say by a thing’s rectitude since that is the highest truth.
“Whereas things, which are not actual, are in the power either of God himself or of a creature, whether in active power, or passive; whether in the power of thought or of imagination, or of any other kind whatsoever. Whatever therefore can be made, or thought, or said by the creature, as also whatever he himself can do, all are known God, although they are not actual (143-144).” It’s implied that God knows things based on what potentiality they have or what their actuality is.
Objection 3 of the ninth article, argues that since God’s knowledge of the cause of what is known by him that things that are not cannot be known by God. Aquinas replies that his knowledge of the things not to be are necessary. “Hence, it is not necessary that whatever God knows should be, or have been or is to be; but this is necessary only as regards what he wills to be, or permits to be (144).” The things that God will’s to be are necessary, but things that are not are things that are possible, not necessary. God knows things from himself, by his will and the essence of other things, whether it be actual or potential.
Does God know evil?
It is argued that God cannot know what is evil, since evil is the privation of the good. Evil is not part of the essence of God or of things that are good. How can God know evil? Since God is not the cause of evil, how can he know it? Aquinas answers: “Whoever knows a thing perfectly must know all that can occur to it (145).” God can know the opposites of evil by knowing the good perfectly. God knows the negation of his will, so he knows what evil is since he knows that humans can violate the will of God. Even humans know the opposite of good since the law shows us this. Surely, the lawmaker knows how is law can be broken.
Does God know singular things?
God knows universal things by his pure act and essence of his being. However, the objector will argue that singular things are known by material things, which is unlike God. “Therefore, God cannot know singular things since these are potential and not actual like universal things. God cannot know singular things because they are potential and not actual like him. “God knows singular things through universal causes (147).” This is true, since God can know singular things that may make universal or by knowing what universals causes singular things. This objection simply makes a fallacy of division by arguing that we cannot know the part from the whole.
Can God know Infinite things?
If I was Aquinas, I would simply argue that mathematical infinites are not things, since they are contradictory when applied to real world examples. Herbert’s hotel paradox shows this to be the case. According to Augustine, infinite cannot be numbered but can be comprehended by him whose knowledge has no number. God’s knowledge would know all infinites since his being is infinite. “God knows not only things actual but also to himself or to created things, as was shown above, and since these must be infinite, it must be held that he knows infinite things (149).” These “infinite things” can’t be actual number of things since every example you could try to give would be a potential infinite, not an actual infinite. Therefore, the only actual infinite thing God knows is himself.
Does God have knowledge of contingent things and future things?
All three objections argue that all of God’s knowledge has to be necessary since God’s knowledge comes from the necessary being himself. Every conditional statement would have to be necessary, both antecedent and consequent. The future propositions cannot be known by God since these are not necessary things since they can change. The knowledge of men are necessary propositions Aquinas seems to imply, but future choices by them are contingent things. “Now the works of men are contingent, being subject to free choice. Therefore, God knows future contingent things (152).”
Aquinas argues that God knows all actual things but things possible to him and to the creature. “Since some of these are future contingent to us, it follows that God knows future contingent things (152).” God knows these by knowing his creation and creatures. He would have to know what free creatures would do since God knows these creatures in their potentiality and actuality. “Now God knows all contingent things not only as they are in their causes, but also as each one of them is actually in itself (152).” Now, man’s things are contingent upon himself, but man is contingent on God for his existence. Based on Aquinas’s reasoning, God knows his creatures that are contingent on him so God knows these contingent propositions.
God knows things from himself, the causes of his will, and the causes of what he created. He knows particulars by knowing the universals from his essence. He knows the evil by knowing the good. He knows the only actual infinite, which is God. He knows all contingent things because they are either contingent from him or from the things contingent on him. God’s knowledge comes from God’s necessary being of knowing himself and what comes from him.
Property Dualism is a type of dualism that tries to explain mental states by prior physical brain states, but it fails to account for mental states being their own thing. This type of dualism starts to beg the question when it tries to explain mental states by physical properties. It’s an inconsistent view that in all reality implicitly states that our mental states are really illusory because they are just physical states that our brain is in. This next section is an argument against both Property Dualism and Scientific Naturalism.
Is Scientific Naturalism Reasonable?
According to the naturalist, scientific naturalism is the most reasonable worldview that one can hold. As we will learn later, free will doesn’t exist on this worldview, so no can choose to hold to scientific naturalism as the most reasonable or rational worldview. Reason is the application of the laws of logic and their application to arguments. Where do the laws of logic come from? Clearly, they do not come from matter, space, or time. They come from mental states that recognize the logical absolutes like the law of non-contradiction. Another is the law of identify, which states that if A has the same properties or attributes to B, then A is B. There are more of these absolute logical laws that can only be found in mental states, or minds that observe something. Do we have minds on scientific naturalism? The short answer is no, mainly due to the fact the mental states are not the same as brain states. If I think of a pink elephant, there is no brain state that can tell you that I am thinking about the pink elephant. I have to tell you that because my mental states are private, and my brain states are public (Turek, 32-38).
Essentially, my argument is that mental states are required for logical absolutes, and on scientific naturalism, matter is all there is. No matter how many times we rearrange matter, we will not get mental states based on the law of identity forbidding this. Atoms, Quarks, and energy don’t have beliefs, thoughts, or decisions which are all forms of mental states. For the sake of arguments, I’ll grant that property dualism is possibly on scientific naturalism. This is the view that mental states arise from brain states. Francis Crick wrote this one time: “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that my scientific conclusions that I write this book are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules (Turek, 40).” Francis Crick was a brilliant man and helped the discovery of DNA. Yet, he held to such a self-defeating worldview because it shots itself in the foot. If are our beliefs are just the result of atoms in a certain assembly, then why trust them? A different assembly would produce different beliefs making them no tool to truth. He held to the view that Scientific Naturalism is false and Crick came to a different conclusion based on his nerve assembly. Why is your nerve assembly better than mine? I think scientific naturalism leads us to a type of assembly relativism. Your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth because we have different brain states that determine our own truths. Scientific Naturalism cannot be true because there is no objective way to determine it to be true (Turek, 40-45).
Scientific Naturalism is not reasonable because reason doesn’t exist on this view of the world. Logic is dead on scientific naturalism, so what’s the point. This radical view is the end of reason. While an unembodied mind like God, is the most reasonable inference to the evidence to account for first cause uncaused of mind that logical absolutes are contingent upon. Theism is the most reasonable position to take if you want to believe the most reasonable position since it accounts for the logical absolutes that we know exist. The most committed, consistent naturalists will argue that consciousness doesn’t exist, but one ought to wonder if they consciously came to that position. Scientific Naturalism is ultimately not reasonable because it doesn’t allow for reason or mental states to exist (Turek, 52-53).
I Think, Therefore Scientific Naturalism is False
Intentionality is a philosophical term that is basically the philosophical way of describing consciousness. Is matter aware? Does matter contain mind? As we discussed earlier atoms, quarks, and lumps of matter do not contain Consciousness. How can we think if we just arranged matter in motion? Mind is where we get intentionality and this cannot be obtained through matter by being arranged a certain way. Free will is required to make intentional statements and so on. I have to be free to intentionally say that scientific naturalism is the correct view of the world. Also, to decide whether a position is more rational requires you to choose between the competing worldview. Mind cannot arise from matter, but is the other way around (will be shown in my final argument). To hold to materialism will lead to materialist relativism, which I described earlier as the view that truth is determined on the brain state. If our mental states are just brain states, then we do not have free will, mind, or intentionality. Descartes famous saying “I think; therefore, I am” is one of the most famous quotes from modernity. There is truth to this phrase because it is self-evident that we are selfs and have minds. Mind cannot arise from matter, because it would not truly be mind. I think, therefore Scientific Naturalism cannot be truth, but is indeed false (Turek, 74-85).
We all believe that we have free will to the degree of making our own decisions, but not control over where we are born geographically. On scientific naturalism, I can’t even make my own decisions. This is what Sam Harris would argue for, that free will is just an illusion. I’m not talking about controlling your own ethnicity or gender, but rather your own mental states, which are determined by our brain states. We’ve established already that mental states can’t exist on the materialistic worldview of scientific naturalism. Every material thing has a prior material cause so free agency is caused by that prior material cause not making it free. This is the short view of determinism, which states that everything is determined by its prior cause. Obviously, on scientific naturalism, materialism, determinism is not compatible view with free will since everything is matter in time and space (Turek, 42-45)
Mental states are not material and are their own things that are not determined by prior material things. Mental states by definition would be the true causes of free will since they come from mind. The things that we think are not determined by material, but rather when the mind perceives material things and reflect on these experiences, which allow us to think for ourselves. On scientific naturalism, we are not free thinkers, but rather what we think is determined (Turek, 60-65).
1. “Is the Soul Biblical?”, 3.
2. “Scientific Naturalism”, 4-5.
3. “Scientific Naturalism”, 6-7.