Posts tagged ‘existence’

from Thousands attend Boulder debate on atheism and religion

Father Kevin Augustyn, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, prefaced the debate, saying, “As Catholics, we are not afraid of intellectual debate. Faith and reason are not opposed to each other.”

Modern science, he[D’Souza] said, was “faith-based” in that it was rooted in Christian assumptions. We presume that we live in a lawful, rational universe whose external rationality is mirrored in our own minds, presumptions nourished by Christianity.

Man is placed between two distinct domains of “the way we are” and “the way we ought to behave.” – D’Souza

If atheism were correct, Hitchens argued, “we would be in precisely the same place we are now” in considering what our duties are towards others and why we are here.

Hitchens then raised the raised the questions of why Christianity should be considered superior to other religions, such as Islam.

D’Souza replied by noting the disconnect between “the way things are” and “the way they ought to be.” This can be explained by supposing a chasm between the “human level” of existence and the “divine level.” In D’Souza’s view, Islam and Judaism hold that this chasm may be closed by mankind building a “ladder” to climb to God.

Christianity, however, declares this project “wonderful but impossible” by teaching that the chasm “has to be closed from the other side” through God entering the world in the person of Jesus Christ.

Hitchens then explained that he finds it “extraordinarily objectionable” to exclude the “occupant of the womb” from the human family.

Following the debate, CNA spoke with Father Augustyn. He said it was an “excellent debate” with both speakers doing “very well” on their positions. In his view, D’Souza countered and “unmasked” some of Hitchens’ “unfair” and “selective” comparisons of religions.

“At the same time, Christopher Hitchens is a formidable opponent. He’s very witty, very sharp, he makes good points, and he brings out audience participation. I don’t think his arguments hold water, but I think he is a good debater.”

from Philosophy for Dummies

  1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
  2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
    1. unintelligible or
    2. has an explanation
  3. No rational person should accept premise (2.1) by definition of rationality
  4. A rational person should accept (2.2), that the universe has some explanation for its being.
  5. There are only three kinds of explanations:
    1. Scientific: physical conditions plus relevant laws yield the Event explained.
    2. Personal: Explanations that cite desires, beliefs, powers and intentions of some personal agent.
    3. Essential: The essence of the thing to be explained necessitates its existence or qualities (for example, if you ask why a triangle has 3 sides, I would respond that it is the essence and necessity for a triangle to have 3 sides by its definition.
  6. The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained. Even the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.
  7. The explanation for the existence of the universe can’t be essential because the universe cannot exist necessarily. This is because, it could have been possible for the universe not to have existed (if the Big Bang had been slightly different it is possible for large-scale structures to not have existed). Thus the universe is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.
  8. Thus a rational person should believe that the universe has a personal explanation.
  9. No personal agent but God could create the entire universe.
  10. A rational person should believe that there is a God.

In Taoism, the Tao, or Way, can be understood in many ways.

First, the Tao is the way of ultimate reality. It is the ground of all existence, but it goes beyond the senses and words. The first lines of the Tao Te Ching, the scripture of Taoism, state this:

The Tao that can be followed is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.


Explain these lines.

Skip to toolbar