Sinner Ministries claims to have proof that God exists. Why don’t we look it over?
On the first page, we see that this is going to be a “multiple choice” dealie of the kind that Christians like (the most noted being, of course, Kick Cameron and Ray Comfort’s “Way of the Master” site). There are four choices presented:
1. Absolute truth exists.
2. Absolute truth does not exist.
3. I don’t know if absolute truth exists.
4. I don’t care if absolute truth exists.
They even graciously define absolute truth for us:
Absolute Truth – True for all people at all times, universally true.
Obviously, point 2 is a trap… if you claim that absolute truths absolutely do not exist, then you’re contradicting yourself. That’s an old one, but still sneaky. But I find it more interesting that they are called “Sinner Ministries.” Sin is disobedience of God, or more exactly what we believe God orders us to do, hence the rub: people all throughout history have had differing beliefs about what God orders them to do. From century to century, those things change, bible verses get emphasized and then are forgotten later on, and so on.
So how can Christianity lay any claim to “absolute truth”? The Bible is a very relativist text, and if you push any Christian or theologian long enough, they will admit that they don’t follow most of the rules in the Bible because “they were meant for those people at that specific time.” So much for absolute truth!
Since absolute truths, according to their definition, do exist, let’s choose point 1 and continue. They say:
You have likely heard that it is impossible to prove that God exists. You have heard wrong. Not only can the existence of God be proven, denying the proof undermines rational thought. It is true that God does not need anyone, let alone this website, to prove His existence. The Bible teaches that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for denying it. No one needs proof that God exists, I simply offer these 8 steps to the logical proof of God’s existence in addition to what you already know (and may be suppressing).
Below that, we get a long diatribe on how they are not at all like televangelists (we swear we’re not!) and how it is true that we are sinners and that God exists (oh, so now we’re going to assume the conclusion, are we?). But all right, let’s look at these 8 steps.
The next page asks us if we believe that the laws of logic exist. Obviously the answer is yes: the laws of logic exist and are meaningful statements about reality. Likewise, it asks the same thing about the laws of mathematics, the laws of science (at this point a “presuppositionalist alert!” rings out in my mind: I think anyone who knows presup rhetoric knows where this is going), and absolute moral laws.
It is after this page that Sinner Ministries unveils their argument, by asking us whether all these laws are material or immaterial. The good ol’ “matter sucks and my make-believe substance is great” presuppositionalist argument raises its ugly head yet again. Presuppositionalists have this obsession about matter and how inferior it is to their make-believe “supermatter” (the unnamed substance of the “immaterial” world they believe in). They complain incessantly about how “mere matter” cannot explain the complexity and subtlety of human life or thought, without a single original scientific reasoning behind it, merely by fiat and proposing that their “supermatter” can explain everything so easily (because it is made up, of course).
Here is the argument we are now faced with:
If you believe that laws of logic, mathematics, science, or morality are material, please show me where in nature these laws are. Can you touch them, see them, smell them, hear them, or taste them? Rather than have you produce a material, physical law I will narrow down the field for you… just show me the number ‘3’ somewhere in nature. Not ‘three things,’ not a written representation of the number 3 but the real physical, material number 3.
It is my hope and prayer that you come to see the futility of trying find an abstract entity in nature, and return to seek the truth, otherwise your road to this site’s proof that God exists ends here.
How original. Obviously this is the kind of question that self-professed materialists like me have never encountered before, right? They really got me there, right?
Not really. Take a good look at the tedious sleight of hand they just attempted. First, they ask if the “laws of logic, mathematics, science and absolute morality are material,” and then they ask us “Can you touch them, see them, smell them, hear them, or taste them?”
But the fact that something is material does not mean that we can touch them, see them, smell them or taste them. Can you see an electron? Can you see the concept of love? And yet they obviously exist. We know they exist because we have inferred their existence from other facts (in the case of electrons) or because we can sense them in our own minds (in the case of love).
Their demand that we “show” them the number ‘3’ is merely a rhetorical device: in fact, it was already included in their question of whether we could “see [the laws of mathematics].” There is no reason for them to ask again in this manner, except to belittle the position of whoever is reading the page.
We know from concept-formation that a concept, like the number 3, is formed by the interaction between our brain and the things around us. We observe the fact that things come in discrete units: we call this unit “one.” We also notice that many things are in groups of units, and that we can also put units together through physical manipulation. The concept of “three” is an abstraction of one unit, one unit and another unit put together. What we abstract is what the units are: whether they are chairs, coins, people or toys, the young child comes to the conclusion that they have something in common (what we call cardinality) and learns that this is represented by the word “three” or the symbol “3.”
So there is no “3” apart from our understanding of “three things,” and to ask to show “3” apart from “three things” is like saying “I want you to show me a ball, but don’t bring me any round things!” Granted, it’s more than “three things”: it does not exist without a human mind to understand and abstract it into the concept “three.” The concept itself, like any other concept, exists only in human minds, where we can easily sense its existence.
Another problem of presuppositionalism is its assumption that concepts cannot be material because we cannot see them or touch them. This is of course false, as we do perceive them in our own minds. Of course they believe a priori that minds are immaterial, and therefore do not acknowledge mind-entities as material, which is a rather silly thing to assume when talking to a materialist. The mind is perceived as well as any other existent, and as such is just as material.
But of course such a discussion would be beyond the purview of Sinner Ministries. They pray that you will realize how futile it is to look for abstractions in nature. But nature is full of abstractions, to the brim, ready for human minds to grasp them! It would be absurd to claim otherwise. But here lies another grave problem for them: surely even the concept of “God” must first be grasped from nature? How would one gain any understanding of God and his “supernaturality” if the knowledge was not available to us natural beings in some way? Their argument is therefore self-refuting. If there are no abstractions in nature, then we cannot acquire the concept of “God.” If there are abstractions in nature, then there is no problem with acquiring them in a natural manner.
The Bible verse at the bottom of every page on their site is: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). Let’s hope for the sake of their intelligence that they accept our gentle “correction”!