The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an atheist?

Use this forum to discuss the October 2016 Book of the Month, The Voice of Creation by J. Hudson Mitchell.
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The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an atheist?

Post by Scott »

This is a discussion topic about the October 2016 Book of the Month, The Voice of Creation by J. Hudson Mitchell. Please do NOT reply to this topic until after you have read Chapter 1 of that book.

In the introduction, the author sets the following for Chapter 1:
J. Hudson Mitchell wrote:Chapter 1 in this book endeavors to persuade unbelievers that there is a God who created the world and all living things in six literal twenty-four-hour days.
How well did Chapter 1 achieve this goal?

Regardless of whether you personally are an atheist or not, do you think reading Chapter 1 of this book would convince a rational and open-minded atheist to convert into believing in God? Why pr why not?

Please note, I'm not asking if there are other arguments that have been or could be made elsewhere to convince an open-minded atheist. I'm asking only if there was a convincing argument in Chapter 1 of this book.

Please also note, I'm not asking if a god exists or not or whether you believe one exists or not. I'm merely asking about the content of Chapter 1 of this book.

Personally, I didn't really notice any arguments or evidence at all in Chapter 1 that argued or provided evidence that a god exists. Instead, it seems like the content in Chapter 1 was written using the premise and assumption that god exists already.

For the most part, the contest in Chapter 1 seemed like ipse dixit to me. In other words, it was just different ways of saying god exists. But merely asserting or saying that something is true is not an argument or evidence that it is actually true, and thus isn't convincing.

Depending on how one looks at it or what the author actually meant, it could be that the scriptures quoted from the Bible were meant to be evidence god exists. In other words, the would-be argument in Chapter 1 could be claimed to be of the form 'The Christian bible says a god exists, therefore a god exists.' That wouldn't convince an open-minded atheist, though, because an atheist would no more believe that the bible is true than that god exists. The reasoning is kind of circular at best if that is meant to be the argument in Chapter 1.

What do you think?

Did you notice an argument or evidence presented in Chapter 1 that god exists? If so, what was the evidence or argument from Chapter 1?

Important Note: I'm not at all trying to put down the author or book. Convincing people to change their beliefs one way or the other about the existence of god(s) is an incredible feat. There should be no shame in not having a 100% success rate in converting others. I think there is an honor even in attempting it in a thoughtful, structured, and civil way.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Allopoietic »

Mitchel, the book’s writer, is one of many who worships scripture rather than God. Many people, accepted that their translation of their chosen scripture is true, then use their text to prove reality. For such people interpretation of scripture is superior to the God they say they worship.

If the universe is created, then it speaks God’s truth much more forcefully and powerfully than does any scripture. If the universe is NOT created, it still speaks truth much more powerfully than writings of people. The advantage of writing is that it is more stable than human memory, but it preserves mistakes and falsehoods along side of truth.

A great mistake of religions is the close of each canon, and the declaration that Scripture is Holy, containing perfect knowledge. However the universe came into existence, uncertainty is build into its fundamental structure. I am no atheist, but if I reason outside the tight confines of belief, I see books are just one small part of a great and amazing reality. Atheists live in that reality all the time. I don’t think they would be convinced by this book.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Fooloso4 »

I found nothing at all that would convince an open minded atheist and plenty that even believers in the Bible would not accept. The chapter opens with the questionable claim that the greatest controversy about the Genesis creation story is that the world was made in six literal days. Certainly an open minded atheist would not consider this the greatest controversy. The greatest controversy is that God created the world. Whether it occurred in six days or six minutes or six million years is not at the top of the scale of controversies.

The author does not make a coherent argument but takes as given the very thing that she promises to persuade us of. Perhaps she thinks that we will be persuaded by proclamation. She says, for example:
Since God is “here and now” it follows that His creation instantly appeared at the mention of the word of the object He was creating.
In answer to the question of how God made the world in six days, she quotes Matthew:
With God, all things are possible.
Calling the fossil record question is not going to persuade anyone with a rudimentary understanding of geology. Her account is clumsy, misguided, and uninformed. Her claim that the Big Bang did not occur because God is a God of order is so obviously question begging that it begs us to ask why we should take this book seriously. She claims that we are able to see distance stars not only because of the speed of light but because of their “incomprehensible size”. She goes on to say that they had to be placed at that distance because otherwise life would have perished from their heat and violent activities.

By this point her biggest concern should be persuading us not to laugh.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Nicolas »

It would still take a miracle ( divine / holy spirit intervention ) to convince an atheist of the reality of a creating and saving g_d.
because by definition creator/savior g_ds are supernatural. ( nature can not save you from nature, only divine inspiration can )
No created thing like a chapter in a book can convince an atheist, only the creator can.

But please let me try to explain this not to much in terms of theology but in terms of a philosophical thought experiment.

The spiritual darkness of the atheist is ( in the perspective of a believer ) not the fact that an atheist negates the existence of god, but that an atheist
only believes in existence. For a materialistic or naturalist atheist - an atheist with a coherent worldview -
there is nothing except, next to or beyond existence. ( some atheist are therefore idolaters in their thingization of existence )

Please follow me closely in this thought:

The paradox would be this: If a believer - or this chapter we discuss - can convince an atheist of the 'existence' of g_d, the atheist will win the argument.
Because the existence of god would prove the worldview of the atheist in which there is nothing outside of existence. "Even g_d is subject to existence!"
But if god is subject to existence, He is not g_d.

One can simply prove and argue only for the existence of natural things and concepts. But g_d is not a natural thing nor a natural concept. G_d doesn't exist; g_d simply is.
G_d never claimed that He existed in scripture. He claims that he is who he is. Supernatural.

Self evident/revealed truth does not need arguments to convince someone of that truth.
To give an example.
The more arguments you need to convince somebody of some truth, the more likely it is that you are in error.

G_d's reality, g_d,s truth is in His transcendental immanence through the medium of language.
He creates, gives law and saves outside of space and time. And space and time are of the realm of existence.
So for a believer g_d does not exist while he still is the most important reality.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Nicolas »

The paradox is this: If merely a chapter of text could convince an atheist of the existence of g_d, it would prove the atheist worldview. The problem of the atheist is - for a believer - not that he doesn't believe in g_d but that he doesn't believe in anything outside nor beyond existence.
If g_d exists, the atheist wins. Because g_d never claims that he exists, He simply is who He says He is. Creation and existence are in a way synonyms.
To prove your existence is stupid, blunt and often violent and of a totally different ballpark than revealing yourself bit by bit in the things you create by word and deed. This is what G_d has in common with ethical man. Proving that you exist, by making your mark on 'the world' is for morons. And the creator of heaven and earth is not a moron. Believing in the positivist existence of god is therefore utter blasphemy. "G_d does not exist, he is the very reason for existence itself."
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Pelegrin_1 »


I don't mean to be flippant, but how anyone could think that reading that would convert a true atheist or agnostic (in my case) to a believer is beyond me. I mean, the only way that chapter could convert anyone, and this is only "perhaps", is if the individuals in question actually wanted to be believers and somehow were just blocked from being believers because they couldn't previously get past the "Six Days Creation" quandary and how it doesn't fit with all modern-day science says about the creation and especially the age of the Earth with respect to the time of humanity on the Earth. So OK, just giving the author's reasoning and theorizing the benefit of the doubt that perhaps some "God" could literally, in a convoluted way, have created the Earth for humans in 6 days, that doesn't proof anything about whether a "God" actually exists and did those things. No way at all does it give any evidence or even true reason to believe that such things happened or that it was/is necessary to have had a God do all that for the Earth to exist, for humanity to exist, or even for the universe to exist.

Anyone who would be converted by reading such stuff as this is someone who wants to be converted, and who it wouldn't actually take much to convert them.

We're mere humans, people; we're not Gods, and as mere humans we're totally foolhardy to think that we can possibly know about the existence of some God or Gods in the universe or beyond the universe or outside the universe or wherever or whatever. And being mere humans, even if some superior being, God or something else, tried to tell us that it's God, we still could never know. Sure, something could make us think we know, but then it's not us who are really knowing but the power of the superior being that's making us believe we know, even though IT still just might be nothing more than a superior being in the universe using its power to cause us to believe what it wants us to believe. As mere humans we can't truly know such a "Godly" thing as whether a universal God truly exists. If we want to believe it then we'll believe it, but we can't know it. If we don't want to simply believe it then we shouldn't, because what any of us "believe" about such a thing doesn't make it true. And again, beyond believing is "knowing" and until some day when possibly our species has reached some godly status, we will never know and can never know. And even imagining that today we are anything close to godly creatures is laughable. There is nothing about human beings that should make us think that have any connection with some possible supposed God, or that we have anything minuscule in common with a Godly entity. The fact that so many people believe that they or humanity has some connection with a God that they believe exists is in itself "face-palm" thinking. It's outlandish. We need to accept that we are nothing more than probably the most evolutionary advanced species on this marvelous planet; nothing more.

Now, there may be a universal God or there may not be, who am I or who is any human to say. But the idea of there being a God does nothing more than just complicate the universal dynamic even more. And certainly the universe is complex enough as it is without adding a God entity on top of it. At least for this atheistic-Agnostic, don't give me the argument that "God just exists", because the universe could also just exist. And if scientists argue that the universe didn't always exist then why then could God also not have always existed? Whether one or the other always existed or didn't always exist, either one could just have always existed or just have come into existence on their own. The argument that God or a God just always existed isn't a true answer for anything, it's just a cop-out answer that somehow we should be expected to simply accept and believe. The universe is out of this world complex and incredible, and we don't need to be piling on top of that some God, which also is supposedly out of this world complex and incredible. It's a "passing the buck" argument to say that we can't accept the one but we can accept the other. And why? Why? Because the God answer has been made with us as part of the whole grand scheme. The God answer puts us somehow in the middle of things, whereas having our existence just be one of the zillions of possibilities that could occur in the universe doesn't make us be anything more than mortal creatures that evolved on this marvelously positioned planet. And that's just not good enough for the God-believing faithful; they've got to think that they're something more. Get over yourselves, that's all I can say. Accept that you have life and the ability to experience all that happens while you're alive, and treasure this planet that has given birth to all living creatures here, and live your lives the best you can until your life ends, and End of Story.

Hey, that was just one of my versions of anti-faith rants. Sorry if it annoyed anyone.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Kris »

1. Bible is not a source or valuable proof of science events just a reflection / someone's interpretation.
Therefore it cannot be used as a proof of universe creation ect.

2. Using the old testament books as the tools to convert thinking person into a believer is a joke.

3. Atheists have own "bible of creation/ evolution theory" written by Oparin (USSR) which is a mirror of old testament.
It has the same value as the old testament itself - see above
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Burning ghost »

If you try and find meaning in the creation of Earth in six days I find it a better idea to view genesis as the beginning of human life in the world. "let there be light" makes sense if we think about our birth.

I know there is nothing new in this view. It is the way I prefer to interpret genesis though, not as creation of the universe but as how we "create" our "universe". This does put us in the position of God though and I guess most Christians wouldn't like me saying so.

I have not read the book btw. I know the Philippines though and can understand that such a work would be taken seriously there by many. Outside of the Philippines I doubt the book will have much impact.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Thombody »

It seems clear that the author lacks a sufficient background to comprehend what constitutes support of a premise. I don't mean to suggest the author is insincere, but rather it's quite apparent he lacks any sort of grounding in or mastery of sound reasoning practices. The chapter is basically one fallacy or human bias after another.

I'm surprised that this sample/example would form the basis of a serious question in a philosophy forum.

In order to convince a reasonable unbeliever of a god's existence, there would need to be 'an actual god phenomenon' - something real or actual that then requires our 'god concept' to make sense of it (because no other current concept is able to do it justice). Having a vague concept first and searching for some real instance of it is not scientific, rather it's backwards. And, not any old god concept will do. It needs to be general enough to accommodate all other god claims (or there needs to be a protocol for determining the non-legitimacy of a particular group's god claims) and yet be specific enough to apply only to actual god phenomenon.

A clearly defined concept of God that unambiguously identifies what god is would enable us to then say, authoritatively, that this or that real phenomenon either was or was not a proper match.

Only when 1 and 2 have been sufficiently identified and articulated could there then be a situation warranting an atheist to seriously consider a change of view.

It does not look promising. The history of miraculous evidence would suggest that all that is ultimately required for 'god evidence' is phenomenon we haven't a scientifically-grounded explanation for. In other words, to date, our ignorance of something has always been the hallmark of god evidence. If a believer were to Take the Christian God for example. He is quite a modest god. No cancer cures, earthquake stoppages, or storm thwarting, for Deity Yahweh. No sir. Just goofy slight of hand stuff.

Sorry if this seems brief, it is.
Finally, when discussing the topic, people too often just presume 1 and 2, but that's precisely where the god knot unravels.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Bnaturan »

Hello for everybody,
I am Turan from Turkey.
In my opinion the book cannot convince an atheist. Because it stands unfortunately to a falsified Holy Book. Of course ,there is a Creator of us. The creator's last messages on Kuran. Don't look or listen to others opinions about Islam. All of it is written .Read and then critize and ask. Atheism is a pre acceptance. If you look to universe by an atheist's eyes you cannot see the Creator. Please turn on the bulps and watch the creators, universe. Open your eyes, when you look to the earth you may see injustices, inhumanity but infact if you look into the earth carefully then you will see a big compassion, mercy to us.If you want to know how is it then ask me.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Mark1955 »

No, nothing new here, the a priori assumption that god exists [and is a christian god], no evidence presented to support this opinion just the usual attempt at denigration of opposing arguments.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Mercury »

Hi Scott. I received an email asking me to read and comment upon a chapter of a book, but I couldn't get past the first two paragraphs without laughing painfully hard out loud. Hereafter, referred to as lphol.

It says:

Scientists have discovered that there is no absolute time reference anywhere in the universe, because there are so many factors that effect time - distance from the sun, curvature of space, gravity, size of the earth, rotation of the earth, and other things.
One thing I know is that a sprint for a specific distance - such as a hundred meter dash - is a race against time. The fastest runner is the one that uses the fewest seconds. Another thing I observed from experience is that time seems to slow down when agonizing over a difficult decision.

Is the author unaware that he is comparing Newtonian mechanics with Einstein's relativity? Or is the comparison made merely to suggest that science doesn't know something he, the author - does know? Should he need reminding that the sun appears to experience to move across the sky, while the earth seems to stand still? One can only suppose that's why various chapters of the Bible describe the earth as fixed in the heavens - whereas, as we now know, the earth orbits the sun at a speed of 18.5 miles per second. Whether one is agonizing over a difficult decision or not. lphol.
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Beanjay »

Once you start to confuse God with religion you will find no answers. God has absolutely nothing to do with religion!
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Cunning_Earth »

Hello Scott,
I am an atheist so I may be a bit biased, but I think it really matters
When I red big parts of the first chapter I wasn't really convinced that god excist.
A lot of atheist have seen evidence that god does and doesn't excisit.

Scientists can indeed prove that there are fossils that are more than 6000 years (refering to the first part).
Therefor I think that the evidece is incorrect.

"God, the creator, is life also. Therefor he caused the movement."
Obviousely this is not logical thinking. There are more potential 'movers' and not only god.

There are a lot of those illogical steps in het first chapter that it probably won't convince an atheist.

I hope I helped you with your question!
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Re: The Voice of Creation-- Would Chapter 1 convince an athe

Post by Beanjay »

Religions are groups of like minded people who gather together in order to practice certain rituals that make them feel good. These rituals, and the beliefs that compel them, have no connection whatsoever with God.

Religions are no more than clubs in the same way as Football Clubs, Golf Clubs, The Round Table or Freemasons are clubs – the difference being that they all claim that the same person is their Patron. This is simply impossible as they all have different sets of rules and aims and objectives.

No one can be a Christian and a Muslim or a Protestant and a Catholic at the same time.
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