Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dieu existe-il?

Introduction:

     Est-ce qu’il y a un être suprême qui est la source de tout ce qui existe, et qui gouverne le fil du temps avec sa main puissant? Dieu existe-il? Souvent quand on entend cette question on pense au Dieu des Juifs et des Chrétiens. En fait, la Christianisme est seulement vrai, si Dieu existe. C’est-à-dire, si Dieu n’existe pas, alors la Bible n’est pas la Parole de Dieu, et, alors, Jésus n’est pas Dieu, il n’était pas né par une vierge, et il n’est pas né sur une croix comme sacrifice parfait pour tous les péchés du monde. Dans les paragraphes qui s’ensuite j’aimerais essayer de présenter plusieurs arguments pour prouver que Dieu existe. Avant que je présente ces preuves, on doit premièrement demander si c’est même possible de savoir que Dieu existe, ou si ce n’est qu’une question de la foi.


A)     Est-ce qu’on peut « savoir » que Dieu existe?

     C’est nécessaire, pour répondre à cette question, de bien comprendre la distinction entre la foi et la connaissance. La Foi est d’accepter, volontairement, une vérité qui est affirmé par un autre. C’est comme la connaissance parce qu’on à la même conviction de la vérité de l’affirmation, que si on l’a savait, mais, c’est comme la doute et l’opinion, parce qu’on n’a pas encore vue la vérité de l’affirmation en question. Souvent des gens pensent que la foi est moins bonne que la connaissance. Mais c’est tout-à-fait le contraire. La réalité est que 90% des choses qu’on pense qu’on connaît, ne sont que des croyances. Par exemple, pense à un pays que tu n’as jamais visité. Tu peux aller et regarder dans un atlas pour trouver son emplacement géographique, mais, si tu n’as jamais visité le pays, comment est-ce que tu sais que c’est là, et que c’est aussi grand, ou petit, que l’atlas nous dit? D’un sens tu as une connaissance, mais, c’est basé sur l’affirmation d’une personne qui est supposé être une experte dans le domaine.

     La Connaissance, de l’autre coté, commence avec les sens, et peut être obtenu soit par la recognition d’un principe évident pour nous (par exemple, que le tout n’est pas plus que la somme de tout ses parties), découvert dans les choses sensorials, ou par déduction à partir de ce qu’on à découverte pour trouver d’autres vérités.

     Donc, pour « savoir » que Dieu existe on doit être capable, soit de le ressentir avec nos sens, réalisé qu’il est un principe évident pour nous (s’il était évident pour nous, alors il n’y aurait aucun athée), ou être capable de déduire qu’il existe à partir de notre connaissance des choses sensorials, et des principes évidente. Dans la prochaine section je vais essayer de démontrer qu’on peut savoir que Dieu existe.


B)     Est-ce qu’on peut « prouver » que Dieu existe?

Il y a beaucoup de preuves pour l’existence de Dieu, venant de tout plein de domaines de recherche. Je vais seulement prendre le temps d’expliquer, brièvement, deux preuves pour l’existence de Dieu : La preuve morale, et la preuve cosmologique.


(i)                 La Preuve Morale

La preuve morale prendre son départ dans des phénomènes quotidienne. Tous le monde à déjà dit, ou pensée, ou entendus quelqu’un dire, « ce n’est pas juste », ou, « eh…tu n’as pas le droit de faire ca! » On devient frustré quand on conduit sur l’auto route et quelqu’un nous coupe dans notre trajectoire parce qu’on l’aperçoit comme une injustice. Quand quelqu’un prendre le stationnement qu’on attendait depuis longtemps, on est frustré par l’acte injuste.

En générale nous, les humaines, avons un sens de justice par laquelle on juge nos propres actes, et par laquelle on juge les actes des autres. On utilise ce sens de justice, ce standard pour juger même des événements qui arrive au hasard. Un standard, par définition, est utilisé pour juger tout les choses qui ont un rapport au standard (le standard qu’on regarde est un standard concernant les actions humaines).

D’où viens ce sens de justice, ce standard qu’on utilise pour juger les autres? Si c’est nous qui l’avons inventé, alors nous n’avons pas le droit de juger les autres par ce standard; mais, on se sent obliger de dire que l’holocauste était atroce, et injuste. Si le standard par laquelle on juge les actions des Nazis, est inventé par les humaines, alors nous sommes injuste quand on les juge, parce qu’en les jugeant, on fait le même erreur qu’ils ont fait – de se pensé meilleure et digne de passé un jugement sur d’autres humaines. Notre standard de Justice ne peut pas venir de quelque chose qui est en dessus que les humains, parce qu’il ne serait pas digne de juger nos actions. Si il ne vient pas de nous, ni d’une source qui est en dessus de nous, alors il doit venir d’une source qui est au-dessus de nous.

D’où viens ce standard qui est au-dessus de tout l’humanité, qu’on utilise pour jugé les autres, nous-mêmes, et des événements? Pour répondre à cette question, on devrait considérer des exemples à laquelle nous avons un accès direct – des lois d’un pays, des règles d’un jeu de société, des politiques d’un société ou groupe. Noter que si tu ne suivre pas les règles d’un jeu, alors tu ne peux pas jouer; si tu n’adhère pas à la politique d’une société ou groupe, alors tu ne peux pas faire partie du groupe; et, si tu n’obéis pas les lois d’un pays, alors, éventuellement, ton liberté de vivre dans le pays est enlever. D’où proviens ces lois, règles et politiques? D’une personne, ou un groupe de personne qui les ont instaurés. On peut dire qu’en principe, une loi nécessite un être qui impose, et qui juge selon, la loi. Donc, s’il y a un standard, alors il y a un être qui l’a crée, l’impose, et qui vas juger selon ce standard. Pour le crée il doit être intelligent, pour l’imposer, puissante, et pour bien juger, juste. C’est cet être qu’on appelle Dieu.


(ii)               La Preuve Cosmologique

Cette preuve à une histoire notable, il était utilisé même par des philosophes de grand renommé comme Platon et Aristote. Tout comme la preuve morale, la preuve cosmologique prendre son départ dans des phénomènes qu’on observe quotidiennement. C'est-à-dire, c’est évident qu’il y a des choses qui existent, qui peuvent cesser d’exister. On va appeler des choses qui ont ce caractère des choses ou êtres contingente, (par exemple, un roche, un arbre, des planètes, moi). Une chose contingente, par définition, n’a pas toujours existé. Donc, une chose contingente à commencer à exister à un temps précise et une place précise. Quelque chose qui commence à exister ne peut être la cause de son propre existence, parce qu’il faudrait qu’il existe avant qu’il existe pour pouvoir causé son existence.

Donc, l’existence d’une chose contingente lui est donnée par quelque chose d’autre. Si la chose qui lui à donné existence est lui-même contingente, alors ce deuxième doit aussi recevoir son existence d’un autre. Ce n’est pas possible pour une série de causes, quand l’effet qui est causé est l’existence de la prochaine dans la série, et quand le cause, ainsi que l’effet, sont contingent, d’être éternelle. Une telle série de causes doit avoir une première, sinon, la série n’existerait jamais. La première cause doit, pour être la cause première, exister nécessairement, sans que son existence soit causée par un autre. Si son existence est causée, alors il n’est pas la cause première et il faut reculer encore plus loin. Donc, pour que quelque chose existe, il doit exister, nécessairement, un être qui est, en soi, existence et qui est la cause de toutes les choses contingentes. Cette première cause on appelle Dieu.


Conclusion :

            Nous avons vue deux preuves qui démontrent qu’un être existe qu’on appelle Dieu. Les deux preuves sont fondées sur des phénomènes qu’on observe quotidiennement – des choses contingentes, et l’existence d’un standard morale. On pourrait dire que nous n’avons riens prouver à part de l’existence d’un être qu’on pourrait appeler Dieu. On pourrait dire, que cette être n’est pas forcément le Dieu des Juifs ou de la Christianisme. Mais, chacun des preuves nous démontrent quelques affaires, à part du fait qu’il existe, concernant cette être qu’on appelle Dieu. La preuve morale nous démontre que cette être est assez intelligent pour crée un standard de justice et d’être capable de faire en sorte que tout l’humanité ait la notion de la justice. Cette être est assez puissant pour l’imposer, et assez juste pour crée un standard qui est reconnu, en générale d’être juste, et, alors, pour bien jugé les actions des humaines.

            La preuve cosmologique nous démontre que ce Dieu est la cause de l’existence de toutes les choses qui existent. Donc, on peut voir qu’il est puissant, et intelligent. De plus, la cause de l’existence d’un être contingent doit être proche de l’être, donc, Dieu est partout où il y a un être contingente. On pourrait dire plus, mais, la pointe de cette article est, tout simplement, de démontrer qu’il y a un être qui existe qu’on appelle Dieu. Les deux preuves qu’on à vue brièvement démontre que Dieu existe.


            Pour ceux qui sont intéressé je me suis inspirer de C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity, Thomas d'Aquin Somme Contra Gentils, ch. 13, et Augustine. Le texte est tout la produit de mes propres pensées, donc je n'ai pas fait de citation direct.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A defense of Plantinga's Argument from reason against Naturalism

  I have always been interested in Arguments from Reason against Naturalism. In fact, I wrote my master's thesis in defense of C. S. Lewis's Argument From Reason (which is found throughout many of his articles, but which is exposed and defended primarily in his book "miracles"). I have also studied, and found interesting, Plantinga's argument from reason against Naturalism. As such, I found the following blog post, which is on the blog Quodlibeta, quite interesting. It is well worth reading.

http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/2011/12/classical-global-skepticism-and-eaan.html

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oligarchy & Democracy: Some Thoughts

According to D. S. Hutchinson, in the article "Ethics" in the Cambridge Companion to Aristotle, a democracy "claims that all freely born citizens are equal partners in society, and oligarchs claim that the rich contribute more." The principle is that, justice demands that what an individual person puts into an enterprise will be rendered to them in the appropriate ratio. If two partners each put in 50%, then they each receive 50% of the profit. The democratic argument is that all citizens contribute equally to society, and, therefore, all citizens should receive equal benefits from society. The normal position of an Oligarchy is that the rich citizens put more into society, and, therefore should receive more benefits. It seems to me that neither side is right. It is not true that all citizens contribute equally to society, therefore it is unjust for society to give equal benefits to all citizens. On the otherhand it is not necessarily true that the rich people in society contribute more to society, if we look at a monetary investement then it might be argued that they do. However, it seems that one can also invest their time and their life in society, and these seem to be worth more than all the money in the world. Therefore, it seems that those who invest the most in society are those who give their time and lives to helping others. If this is the case, then a true Oligarchy would be led, not by the rich, necessarily, but by those virtuous people who give their time and lives to helping others. This is very much the same conclusion that Aristotle comes to, according to Hutchinson, who says, "Aristotle himself holds that virtuous citizens (not necessarily the rich) do make greater contributions to their societies, and that they should expect greater rewards in honour and respect."


   If such an Oligarchy existed, its society would be...well...pretty close to heaven.


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Monday, December 5, 2011

Bruxy Cavey on the Calvinism/ Arminianism debate

    A friend of mine reminded me of a well-known preacher, Bruxy Cavey, who did a series on the Calvinism & Arminianism debate. I greatly enjoyed the first sermon in this series (I haven't had time to look at the others), which is entitled "Embracing Grace", it can be found at the following link, in the 2011 sermon series called "Chosen & Choosing: How God's Life Becomes Ours". Bruxy Cavey, as he says in the first sermon became for a number of years a Calvinist, but returned to Arminianism. He has some very interesting insights. Please take the time to look at these sermons, they are very informative.

http://www.themeetinghouse.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121&Itemid=3

    By the way all of his sermons can be downloaded in either mp3 format, or as videos in m4v format.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

An Interesting Problem with Calvinism's doctrine of Total Depravity

    In the book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis says the following, concerning the goodness of God,

    "If God's moral judgement differs from ours so that our 'black' may be His 'white', we can mean nothing by calling Him good; for to say 'God is good', while asserting that His goodness is wholly other than ours, is really only to say 'God is we know not what'. And an utterly unknown quality in God cannot give us moral grounds for loving or obeying Him. If He is not (in our sense) 'good' we shall obey, if at all, only through fear -- and should be equally ready to obey an omnipotent Fiend. The doctrine of Total Depravity -- when the consequence is drawn that, since we are totally depraved, our idea of God is worth simply nothing -- may thus turn Christianity into a form of devil-worship. (p. 28-9)"

    Now, C. S. Lewis is one of the best authors that Christianity has ever known, and he uses Rhetoric better than most, however, we need to ask ourselves is this right. The following is not a logical syllogism, it is simply an way of capturing what C. S. Lewis is pointing out.

    (1) Total Depravity - man is so depraved that he cannot do anything good, and more importantly for this argument cannot know what good is.
    (2) God is good.
    (3) If (1) is right, then (2) could also mean, God is evil, and man could not know otherwise.

    The point here is that Calvinism, according to Lewis claims the truth of (1) and (2). According to Lewis, if (1) and (2) are both true then so is (3). Technically we could remove (2) and simply formulate the argument as follows:

    If man is Totally Depraved (as defined in 1), then man could never know whether he is serving a good or an evil God.

    It should be mentioned that simply making the claim, "The Bible says that God is good (see for example, Luke 18:19)," does not help things, because, on the Calvinists view of Total Depravity, we still don't know what good is (as we are totally depraved), and if it so happened that what we mean by evil is what God means by good, then we could never know, because we base our claims of God's goodness on His word. This, I venture, is a problem for Calvinism. There may be two responses to this problem. First of all, the Calvinist may reject this interpretation of Total Depravity, or, secondly, the Calvinist may try to find a way around it, a way in which man may find out what it means when we say that God is good. I have just mentionned such a possible attempt, and I will mention, further on, another possible attempt at getting around the problem. The first point is, I think, the more important, and I will begin with it.

The Calvinist's view of Total Depravity

    The main question that we need to ask is, "Does Calvinism make such a claim?" Obviously if it doesn't then Lewis's argument is a straw-man argument (in all fairness to Lewis it should be noticed that he is not necessarily attacking Calvinism, he is simply discussing the doctrine of Total Depravity, which, of course, seems to imply a problem for Calvinism).

    We find a hint of what C. S. Lewis is saying about Total Depravity in Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans. In discussing the identity of the person in Romans 7:14-25 (the person says that he desires to do good, knows that the law is good and spiritual, etc.), he says, "On the other hand, those who held the doctrine of total depravity, and of the consequent inability of sinners, and who rejected the doctrine of 'common grace,' could not reconcile with these opinions the strong language here used by the apostle. (p. 240)" (Needless to say, the "those" that Hodge refers to are Calvinists.)

    James White says, in a book entitled Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views, by Dave Hunt & James White, "There is a fundamental incapacity in the natural man. He does not accept the things of the Spirit of God (willful rejection), for they are foolishness to him. Why are they foolishness? Because he is not a spiritual man. He cannot (not 'does not' or 'normally chooses not to') understand them. (p. 69)"

    J. Gresham Machen, an author that I have found helpful on many subjects, says, in the book The Christian View of Man, that "Sin does not reside merely in the body; it does not reside merely in the feelings, or merely in the intellect, or merely in what is sometimes falsely set off from the rest of human nature under the name of the will. But it resides in all of these. The whole life of man, and not merely one part of it, is corrupt. (p. 242)" In and of itself this quote is right, but what happens is that many Calvinists then go on to say that this corruption has so affected man's intellect that man cannot know that the Bible, God's law, etc, are good.

    (A note must be added, at this point, to keep in mind that Calvinism does not deny that unregenerated man are capable of doing moral acts. Charles Hodge, in his Systematic Theology, vol.2, that, "It is admitted in all the Confessions above quoted that man since the fall has not only the liberty of choice or power of self-determination, but also is able to perform moral acts, good as well as evil. He can be kind and just, and fulfill his social duties in a manner to secure the approbation of his fellow-men.(vol. 2, p. 263.)")

    Charles Hodge, in his Systematic Theology, vol. 2, seeks to explain what Calvinists mean when they talk about total depravity (the sinner's inability). He says, "According to the Scriptures and to the standards of doctrine above quoted, it consists in the want of power rightly to discern spiritual things, and the consequent want of all right affections toward them. And this want of power of spiritual discernment arises from the corruption of our whole nature, by which the reason or understanding is blinded, and the taste and feelings are perverted. And as this state of mind is innate, as it is a state or condition of our nature, it lies below the will, and is beyond its power, controlling both our affections and our volitions. (p. 261)"  A little further on Hodge concludes by saying that, "It is therefore the clear doctrine of the Bible that the inability of men does not consist in mere disinclination or opposition of feeling to the things of God, but that this disinclination or alienation, as the Apostle calls it, arises from the blindness of their minds...So also the whole nature of apostate man must be renewed by the Holy Ghost; then his eyes being opened to the glory of God in Christ, he will rejoice in Him with joy unspeakable and full of glory. But the illumination of the mind is indispensable to holy feelings, and is their proximate cause. (p. 263.)"

    It seems, then, that the doctrine of Total Depravity, at least for some Calvinists, implies that man is unable to know that God is good, or desirable, which is more than what is required for Lewis's argument to be right. All that is necessary for Lewis's argument to work is that the Calvinist makes the claim that man cannot know what true goodness is. If we cannot know what goodness is, then we cannot know that God is good. Not only can we not know that God is good, but our very ideas about God are wrong, because our intellect is corrupted by sin. (There is alot of truth in what is being said here, the point is not to simply reject all of these points, rather, we need to see that the Calvinistic doctrine of Total Depravity seems to cause a problem. It is not the only system of interpretation that affirms that man's nature is fully corrupted, so denying Calvinism does not equate a denial of the truths of Scripture, and not being a Calvinist is not equal to not being a Christian. Contrary to a blogger at the following link, who quoted his pastor as saying, "It’s determined that you will be a Calvinist even if it’s not in this life." Dave Hunt also documents numerous quotes to the same effect in the book mentioned above, Debating Calvinism, p. 21-22.)


    Yet, and this is the point of Lewis's comment, if we can know nothing about God, if all our ideas about God are wrong, then how can we know that when we say that God is good, that the term good, when applied to God, means what we think it means? We can't according to the Calvinistic view of Total Depravity, and, therefore, if the Calvinist view of Total depravity is right, then we might be worshipping  an evil God.

Getting around the Problem

    I already mentioned one possible way of getting around the problem: "The Bible says God is good." I also already explained why it doesn't get around the problem. I may take it on faith that when the Bible says that God is good, that he is, therefore, good, but, unless I know what that means, then I have no reason to think that God is not evil. After all, it seems like it would be entirely within the character of an evil God, to lie to his creatures and tell them that he is good.  Or, to implant in them a view of goodness, and then to tell them that He is good, and let them think that what he means by goodness is the view that he planted in them, when in reality, he is totally the opposite of that implanted view. Now the problem that we see here is that if God is the exact opposite of our view of goodness, then he is in our view, evil. Man, in general has a view of evil that would include such acts as murder, rape, lying, stealing, etc. No Christian in their right minds would believe that God is capable of such acts. Yet if there is no other way around this problem, then, if Calvinism is true, then God could capable of such acts, the Bible would simply be a cover-up, lies, from an evil God to gain our trust.

    Perhaps there is another way around this problem. The Calvinist could claim that God gives us, through illumination and regeneration, a true understanding of what it means to say that God is good. Now, the problem that this brings, is two-fold, first of all, it, like divine revelation, once again comes from God. If God is evil, and He lied in the Bible, then how can we expect Him to tell the truth through illumination and regeneration? We might say, well that's the thing, prior to regeneration our view of God was flawed, so we couldn't know that he was truly good, but after regeneration we are able to see God properly, so, we see what it means to say that God is good. (Aside from the first problem) This could be solved empirically. All we have to do is ask unregenerate people what goodness is, and what a good God would be like, and then compare that answer with what regenerate people say. I am going to suggest that the answers, both from the regenerate camp and the unregenerate camp will be varied, and quite similar. (I leave it to someone else to do a proper survey.) If this is true, then it would count against the Calvinist view of Total Depravity, because it would appear that the same views on the goodness of God are held by regenerated and unregenerated alike; therefore, regeneration and illumination do not provide the way out. 

    I would suggest that the problem is not that God is not good, or that we are left unable to know what it means to say that God is good, but that the Calvinistic view of Total Depravity is flawed. I would suggest that C. S. Lewis's argument against this view work, and that the Calvinistic view of Total Depravity must be, in part, abandoned.