||08-07-2014 01:14 PM
Atheism vs Theism: A discussion between Dave and Eric
While I find myself enjoying formal debates (for nostalgic purposes), I agree with Dave that a discussion is more thought provoking and ultimately will go further on this topic.
To begin, let me identify myself when I use the term "theist". I grew up in a very strict religious household which I ran away from my senior year in high school. I identified myself as an atheist up until my sophomore year of college, when I read the Bible in its entirety following the death of my best friend. While I would argue that my belief in God and the Bible can be supported intellectually, scientifically, historically, and philosophically, I would concede that my "born-again" conversion was wholeheartedly an emotional one.
Notice I said scientifically. I love science. Even though I am a philosophy major, it was the scientific arguments for a transcendant being (or lack thereof) that got me interested in the theism vs. atheism debate. I would argue that the beauty of my specific belief (Christianity) is that our worldview is not defined by a specific theory of how life began. For the atheist, it's evolution or nothing. If Darwinian Evolution is debunked, then the atheist has precious little to lean on without invoking a designer. As a Christian, I would say that I'm agnostic on a lot of parts of macroevolution. There are a lot of questions that I have regarding the theory that seem to be unanswered. With that said, accepting the theory as true in its entirety would not affect my faith in the Bible in any way, shape, or form.
I've often said that the belief in a young Earth is about as scientifically literate as saying the distance between Texas and California is 6 inches. Francis Collins was a leader on the Human Genome Project and is on the National Institutes of Health. Alister McGrath is a molecular biophysicist who teaches at Oxford University. C.S. Lewis, is well, C.S. Lewis. What do all of these brilliant minds have in common? Not only are/were they all evengelical Christians, but all accepted the theory of evolution as true. It certainly does not contradict the Old Testament when read figuratively.
So with all of that said, now you have a basic background on my faith. What say you? Did you grow up in a household that was anti-theistic? At what age did you begin to question the belief in a higher power? And perhaps the most important question I could ask you throughout all of this, what evidence would it take for you to accept a theistic worldview?