"God on Trial" post-mortem and insights
Matt Slick has come and gone, and the "God on Trial" show is now available on the Hellbound Alleee site (see links to the right). All in all, it was a good show, although we didn't get nearly into as many issues as I wanted.
I'm glad I did this show with Slick, if only because it led me to a major realization regarding materialist arguments. As you know, there is only one objection that Christians have against TANG, which I personally call Frame's Objection (because he used it against Martin) - the objection that "God is unchanging, logic is part of God's nature", etc.
Well, Slick brough it up during the show, and I expected it, and had my standard rebuttals ready... but I didn't expect him to use the Bible in order to try to validate it ! After a few moments of confusion, I realized that he was only pushing back the problem - that his passage in the Bible is also made by God, and thus just as subjective as his own belief. That's where we really got him and demonstrated that his whole god-belief was circular.
But the more important insight I have after thinking about all this is that, Frame's Objection is in fact not even relevant ! It has absolutely no relevance whether God is "unchanging" or not. The fact is, all that we materialists argue is that Christian standards are subjective (which implies that "God _could_ make it so that X"). Subjectivity has nothing to do with changing or unchanging (i.e. "God _did_ make it so that X") : it has to do with originating from a will, in this case God's will. Whether God is unchanging or logic is part of its nature or not, the fact remains that anything that comes from it is wholly subjective.
So it turns out that Christians have absolutely no relevant objections to TANG at all !
And of course, the Christian has zero guarantee that he is not being deceived by God, Satan, or any other boogaboo in his religion. If God wishes to delude all Christians and implant in them that he is unchanging (when the Bible neatly disproves this, let alone the act of Creation itself, which implies change), then he can perfectly do so. Only the materialist, self-contained universe escapes total, complete skepticism.
Trying to "define God as unchanging" is just as meaningless as defining an anarchy as socialist or capitalist, as philosophers from both sides are wont to do. Once you accept the premise of anarchy, you cannot impose a specific conceptual framework on it. Same for "god" - once you accept the premise of a Sovereign or Creator being, anything goes.
Slick also demanded "moral absolutes" and believes that scientific laws are "absolute". That's ridiculous, of course. One of the main strengths of science, unlike religion, is its falsifiability. The fact is, scientific laws are not "absolute", and neither are values. What I think this illustrated more than anything is that Slick, and most Christians, want easy answers, they need absolutes where there can be none, and are desperate to accept any simplistic moral standard in order to hold those absolutes.
Alison, for her part, was particularly irritated that Slick declares the Ten Commandments his standard of morality, and then proceeded to outright deny one of the ten commandments when questioned. The mind boggles... Also, according to his reasoning about "murder" (which he claims is the real translation of "thou shalt not kill") depending on law, the Holocaust was perfectly A-OK, which I guess aligns perfectly with the Christian standard that "whatever genocide God commits is A-OK".
My only regret was that I didn't apply his rationalizations to the issues I wanted to discuss - the Flood, the murder of the Egyptian firstborn, the recent tsunami, the Holocaust, and so on. Slick believes that this book, justified circularly, gives him a moral standard that justifies mass murder, genocide, and injustice. Isn't that something ?