Why Atheists won’t believe in what is not seen

My son, Daniel, is 6 months old. A key developmental milestone for him over the next few months is for him to learn that when an object is out of sight, it still exists. For him, an object only exists if he can see it. This goes for any object; animate or inanimate. Psychologists call this developmental phenomenon ‘object permanence’. We typically grow out of it within a year or so as a baby, but it causes a great deal of anxiety for a baby. This is because when mommy leaves the room, she ceases to exist for Daniel. Part of the learning curve is to learn that mommy is ‘permanent’.

Now, I said above that we typically learn object permanence at an early age. I wonder what happens if we don’t fully resolve our object permanence issues and if this might shed some light when considering how some individuals purport to only ‘believe in what they can see’. Atheists are some of the most vocal proponents of this philosophy.

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Proof, and the absence thereof

If I were to write a book, I would like it to be an apologetic piece. Not in the “I’m sorry” sense, but rather in the apologetic tradition of defending the Christian faith (note that I don’t say ‘religion’). I have sooooo many emerging thoughts on the advent of the ‘new atheism’, that en vogue movement that loves to slate Christian faith from a supposed scientific perspective. I thoroughly enjoy debating issues of faith with atheists.

Through these discussions I have been searching for a common grounds of sorts that will allow us to agree on a starting point from which to engage – so often these “religion” conversation deteriorate into into petty slander.

I think I may have found such a starting point, and it is an uncanny point of departure for people of faith: proof. Let me explain …

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Debating heaven & hell

I quite enjoy debating my Christian faith with mates who are atheists. One mate I REALLY enjoy a good, hearty, robust debate with is Rich Mulholland. Besides the odd face-to-face conversation (we’re overdue for lunch), Rich takes me on when I tweet about Christian stuff. Tonight I tweeted this quote from CS Lewis, “Christians don’t think God will love us because we’re good, but that God will make us good because He loves us”. Rich responded in his ever incisive manner:

There were a few more tweets, but the debate is too big, even for Twitter. So, here I outline some more thoughts and invite Rich to carry on the conversation here …

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