Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

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Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby deadbrainwaves on November 9th, 2013, 9:43 pm 

I, as an atheist, recently received a book from a pastor titled "Can Man Live Without God" written by Ravi Zacharias. While reading the intro and the first two chapters, I became increasly discouraged and set aside the book. I found the content I was reading heavily biased and that false logic was often in the place of good logic that could be argued to the same end. I consider myself an incredibly open minded person, and would like heavily to see this side of religious philosophy with a less biased perspective; being that I was born and raised in a biased, corrupt Baptist world. However, I am unable to see hope that the rest of this highly praised book will be of any use to that end at all.
I am curious to find out from anyone who has read this book in its entirety or has previous knowledge of the author or the argument whether it would be worth it to proceed reading. Please be civil or I will disregard your answer.

Thank you very much:

Braden
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby Faradave on November 9th, 2013, 10:19 pm 

Braden,

I haven't read the book. I have heard Ravi preach. To a Christian, such as myself, he is compelling.

The Bible itself makes clear that man can't reason his way to God. Faith is a gift, but one with a guarantee: Ask, and you shall receive.

The question remains, Can an atheist ask God for anything? Thankfully, He has already though of that, and the guarantee stands. Ask in the most sincere way that you know. (I'll also ask on your behalf.)
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby deadbrainwaves on November 9th, 2013, 10:54 pm 

Faradave wrote:Braden,

I haven't read the book. I have heard Ravi preach. To a Christian, such as myself, he is compelling.

The Bible itself makes clear that man can't reason his way to God. Faith is a gift, but one with a guarantee: Ask, and you shall receive.

The question remains, Can an atheist ask God for anything? Thankfully, He has already though of that, and the guarantee stands. Ask in the most sincere way that you know. (I'll also ask on your behalf.)


I hate to pick and prod but it seems to me that my life as a believer was not defined by asking and receiving. Unless you consider being ignored receiving. However, beyond that more bitter point I just don't know what an atheist would ask for. I don't require anything from God. I contain the essentials to my own life. And in what way will a god answer? I don't see clarity in this idea.

In reference to your first comment, would you say then that he is more useful to existing believers than to atheist trying to understand the logical functions of christianity? And if so, can you recommend a book more suited to my desires?
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby Faradave on November 9th, 2013, 11:21 pm 

deadbrainwaves wrote:I hate to pick and prod but it seems to me that my life as a believer was not defined by asking and receiving. Unless you consider being ignored receiving. However, beyond that more bitter point I just don't know what an atheist would ask for. I don't require anything from God.
The only thing to which that guarantee applies, is faith. Not cars money health, etc. You can and should ask for you physical needs (and desires) but those are not what the guarantee means.

...would you say then that [Ravi] is more useful to existing believers than to atheist...? And if so, can you recommend a book more suited to my desires?

Yes. When I heard him, he was clearly addressing Christians.
For a non-Christian, a good study bible is the first and foremost requirement. Even then, it's hopeless unless you ask for faith. God will not violate the free will that He already gave you. If you don't want faith, no one can force it on you, a point lost on many, many misguided crusaders.

That also means you have nothing to fear by reading the bible. You won't become brainwashed. Lots of smart academic atheists have read it, and come away educated but still atheists. A study bible provides notes because, even with translation, the meanings of the words can be confusing, thousands of years out of context.

If you prefer hearing, a scripture-based daily broadcast is a reasonable alternative. Lot's of people were illiterate in Christ's time and they learned by hearing just fine.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby Venus on November 9th, 2013, 11:38 pm 

Dave brings up a good point although I disagree with him on some of the details.

One thing I personally like to see is to put religion in the curriculum of public schools. I think it is important for people to know the basic tenets of the major world religions.
Last edited by Venus on November 9th, 2013, 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby deadbrainwaves on November 9th, 2013, 11:44 pm 

Faradave wrote:
deadbrainwaves wrote:I hate to pick and prod but it seems to me that my life as a believer was not defined by asking and receiving. Unless you consider being ignored receiving. However, beyond that more bitter point I just don't know what an atheist would ask for. I don't require anything from God.
The only thing to which that guarantee applies, is faith. Not cars money health, etc. You can and should ask for you physical needs (and desires) but those are not what the guarantee means.

...would you say then that [Ravi] is more useful to existing believers than to atheist...? And if so, can you recommend a book more suited to my desires?

Yes. When I heard him, he was clearly addressing Christians.
For a non-Christian, a good study bible is the first and foremost requirement. Even then, it's hopeless unless you ask for faith. God will not violate the free will that He already gave you. If you don't want faith, no one can force it on you, a point lost on many, many misguided crusaders.

That also means you have nothing to fear by reading the bible. You won't become brainwashed. Lots of smart academic atheists have read it, and come away educated but still atheists. A study bible provides notes because, even with translation, the meanings of the words can be confusing, thousands of years out of context.

If you prefer hearing, a scripture-based daily broadcast is a reasonable alternative. Lot's of people were illiterate in Christ's time and they learned by hearing just fine.



That's fair. Although I don't see the virtue in faith honestly. And yes I do have a few study bibles I suppose that would be a good place to start. I suppose logical works are going to be hard to come by in a system based on the rejection of logic for faith. thank you
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby ronjanec on November 10th, 2013, 12:27 am 

deadbrainwaves wrote:I, as an atheist, recently received a book from a pastor titled "Can Man Live Without God" written by Ravi Zacharias. While reading the intro and the first two chapters, I became increasly discouraged and set aside the book. I found the content I was reading heavily biased and that false logic was often in the place of good logic that could be argued to the same end. I consider myself an incredibly open minded person, and would like heavily to see this side of religious philosophy with a less biased perspective; being that I was born and raised in a biased, corrupt Baptist world. However, I am unable to see hope that the rest of this highly praised book will be of any use to that end at all.
I am curious to find out from anyone who has read this book in its entirety or has previous knowledge of the author or the argument whether it would be worth it to proceed reading. Please be civil or I will disregard your answer.

Thank you very much:

Braden


How can you expect us to give you an/our opinion of what he said about this, if you don't give us any specific examples?
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby deadbrainwaves on November 10th, 2013, 1:25 am 

ronjanec wrote:How can you expect us to give you an/our opinion of what he said about this, if you don't give us any specific examples?



I'm sorry, you seem to have misunderstood my question :)

I meant this for people who were familiar with his work. An example of what I am talking about, if you would like to know, is the fact that he does not use the word atheist but anitheist indiscriminately without regard for opinion. However, again if you're not familiar with him, the book or the argument respectively, you're not really my target.

Thanks anyway!
-Braden
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby deadbrainwaves on November 10th, 2013, 1:28 am 

Venus wrote:Dave brings up a good point although I disagree with him on some of the details.

One thing I personally like to see is to put religion in the curriculum of public schools. I think it is important for people to know the basic tenets of the major world religions.


I agree. Although I would substitute for a culture class. I think the cultural parts are the most important. Learning the unbiased basics to each religion is crucial, but even more I think encouraging empathy and respect are two things the school systems lack.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby AARAN on July 19th, 2014, 4:33 am 

You are right that hope is the way to live a man happily. But in my views one should be believe in God also. Try to improve yourself by thinking good we did not depend on our hope only. Except it the reference book you read I did not read it.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby Bako on July 20th, 2014, 5:39 pm 

It seems like the question should be: can man live without the idea of God. Can man live without the need for an afterlife? We want our life to continue after death don't we? The idea of God seems like it could be an answer to our need.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby CanadysPeak on July 20th, 2014, 10:47 pm 

Bako » Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:39 pm wrote:It seems like the question should be: can man live without the idea of God. Can man live without the need for an afterlife? We want our life to continue after death don't we? The idea of God seems like it could be an answer to our need.


Many people are content with the thought that there is an end to life, no afterlife at all. It is simply a matter of how one looks at it all. Some need the comfort of a god, some don't. It is not for any of us to say which is right.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby owleye on July 21st, 2014, 11:46 am 

Bako » Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:39 pm wrote:It seems like the question should be: can man live without the idea of God. Can man live without the need for an afterlife? We want our life to continue after death don't we? The idea of God seems like it could be an answer to our need.


Ok, but note that you can't use that as a reason for believing in God. You can't say God exists because I need him. The only thing you can say is that having such needs may be the cause of your belief, but, as you can see, that just won't be enough. It won't be, because, as CanadysPeak has pointed out, we need good reasons and some of them happen to be compatible with not believing. Even if you have the Biblical view that God created in us free will, it is that very free-will that is going to work against a belief in the very existence of God. As St. Thomas Aquinas fully understood, doubt springs from having such a will, and to this day, he is referred to as doubting Thomas. Even believers have doubts, as I'm sure you do, given the way you've cast it. Some doubters are believers, some aren't.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby owleye on July 21st, 2014, 2:38 pm 

Marshall was quick to point out to me that St. Thomas Aquinas is not the doubting Thomas I'd attached to him, that title going to the Apostle Thomas. A terrible mistake on my part, and even in relaying the correction, I'm thinking I don't really know what I'm talking about. I apologize for that bumbling and recognize this deficiency as something my wife always calls me out on. I make it sound like I know what I'm talking about when in fact I'm full of [bluster], a substitute for the words she actually uses to characterize me.

My reading of St. Thomas has it that doubting is part of the Church's teachings, from which, following Aristotle's 'rational man' thesis, requires reasoning to get past, and, of course, he, like Anselm, made use of it in developing arguments for the existence of God. Why I linked this to him being doubting Thomas beats me. I suppose I thought I was being clever. Instead, I'll accept being thought a fool.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby mitchmax3 on July 21st, 2014, 3:36 pm 

I have no religious belief, but accept that all religions are acceptable. Merely having to choose whether heaven or hell awaits you after death must be preferable to not knowing.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby Marshall on July 21st, 2014, 5:49 pm 

Too self-critical by far, Owleye! In fact it seems to me to make more sense to refer to Aquinas as doubting (since rational, and a fine example of a tradition of raising questions and giving arguments for and against)---more sense than referring to a a story that AFAIK just occurs in one of the gospel books (John. written after the others wasn't it?) and was very likely made up legend. But I'm afraid I'm tending to distract from main topic.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby DragonFly on July 21st, 2014, 6:18 pm 

Preaching ‘God’ as truth and fact is not honest, for it isn’t known to be correct.

Having ‘faith’ is another matter, for ‘faith’ is a belief/wish/hope in what can’t be known, much less shown. “Faith’ is much less than ‘trust’, for we can trust what has happened before to likely happen again.

In either case, one comes away without anything to work with; the case is not established—far from it even.

We can still look at the unestablished notion for what it claims, realizing all the while that humans made these claims, which, needless to say, doesn’t add any veracity to the supernatural declarations. In fact, the fiats don’t hold together at all.

‘God’, it is proclaimed, thought up, planned, designed, and created human mammals as is, immutable, in a perfect garden, exactly the way he wanted; however, he is angered, surprised, and quite amazed that they touched what they were told not to touch, and so he throws them out of paradise into a harsh land where they and their even blamed descendants can toil and die.

So, we have that ‘God’ has an emotional system, that he as the designer is not moral, for he blames the design instead, which, by the way, bore his chosen recipe.

Perhaps his craftsmanship is poor, or he couldn’t see the future, but he’s said to be all-knowing and perfect; yet even if we let these slide, the creator is still responsible for how the design expresses itself.

So, perhaps he is vindictive to exile the sinners. Not a good role model for neighborly love.

HIs design fails and flunks terribly again, so he resumes being a poor role model by killing everyone on Earth in a deluge, but for Noah and family. When the genocide is complete, it is said that ‘God’ made a mistake and thus invented the rainbow to show “never again”, although there will be a judgment day, but we can suppose that water will not be used.

Now he has broken two of the great commandments that he proposes for his humans, which, due again to a total design failure of humanity from Noah’s descendants, ten commandments are caused to be brought down by Moses from a mountain to those adoring a golden calf.

Nevertheless, the implementation failed again, bring ing us to the time of a human said to be Divine. The bio construction failed yet again. Did we mention that even before Eden the creation of the angels forms backfired, some of them going bad and rebelling? Now, who is it again to blame for all these design failures?

Perhaps a heavy dose of global warming will do the trick, those people leftover achieving good results, that is, if they accept and get ‘saved’. ‘Saved’ from what? You really don’t want to know—it’s too horrible. Enjoy the ‘will’ that must agree with the big Will, or else.

If not, then it’s back to the drawing board.


Now, about things more realistic. Suppose the ABC’s of the Bible on Page 1 can be shown to be false—then what of the xyz’s thereafter.

The Earth is not just as old as the first human mammals.

Human mammals were not made as is, but were mutable, as shown by evolutions’s triple confirmation (fossils, DNA, and embryonic stages, which match).

The sky is not a fixed dome, with Earth at the center.

Etc.

This information's available. The new Cosmos TV series went through all this, and more.


Human nature tells us that preachers/believers will try to neglect and/or deny what is a threat to their dogma, and, on top of that will still say that they have all the answers, their answers being true for sure. Well, we can always turn the channel if we don’t want a philosophy with all the questions left out.
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby owleye on July 21st, 2014, 7:58 pm 

mitchmax3 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:36 pm wrote:I have no religious belief, but accept that all religions are acceptable. Merely having to choose whether heaven or hell awaits you after death must be preferable to not knowing.


Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher (well, not considered so great by some philosophers), gave a proof of God using a moral argument. It is in tune with how he approached the hereafter. Basically what he argues is that there is legitimate hope for heaven's existence. When I first heard about and read this it came as something completely off the wall for a philosopher. Who would have thought that 'hope' was a philosopher's target. But, Kant was a believer, a Pietist by heritage, and lived as close to a moral life as can be imagined. He never married and I believe the only known 'sin' was a slight given to his porter rather late in life. (Note, that I probably have forgotten the details and could very well have them wrong, but the point is that he tried to live and mostly succeeded in living in accordance with his duty-based moral philosophy.)

Another more recent German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, captured the angst of death by noting that insofar as it ends our earthly existence, where our body and brain come to an end of their journey, the result can be understood from a first person standpoint as a complete annihilation of all existence, not just our own. From that standpoint, you see, we face that possibility on death. Nothing remains -- everything in its totality vanishes. Truly an awesome experience while alive. From Heidegger's standpoint, he being an investigator into the very idea of beingness, or existence itself, it is this death that prompts us to consider alternatives, and, in accord with Kant, perhaps is what gives us that hope, at least from a psychological orientation, though Heidegger himself would have it from his being a phenomenologist (or as he might have understood it, as a (German) existentialist). Unfortunately, the moral life he lived does not rise to the caliber of Kant's. Perhaps as philosophers we should not be concerned with such things, but it's difficult to sweep it under the rug.

We might be reminded that this problem occurs within the ranks of science as well, as one might not think so highly of Richard Feynman if we knew him personally. (Indeed, there's much hoopla surrounding the more recent issue of Nature magazine, which I confess I haven't read myself, and probably shouldn't spread rumors, but I did see the headline at the Huffington Post, I think.)
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Re: Is There Hope for "Can Man Live Without God"

Postby owleye on July 21st, 2014, 8:13 pm 

Marshall » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:49 pm wrote:Too self-critical by far, Owleye! In fact it seems to me to make more sense to refer to Aquinas as doubting (since rational, and a fine example of a tradition of raising questions and giving arguments for and against)---more sense than referring to a a story that AFAIK just occurs in one of the gospel books (John. written after the others wasn't it?) and was very likely made up legend. But I'm afraid I'm tending to distract from main topic.


Well, they say learning is a kind of trial, one that even in, or possibly because of, error, we gain something. Of course, I know many who, because they are afraid of making a fool of themselves, prefer to learn ... more privately, shall we say. (And I think this bears on the reason why girls do better than boys in school.)

BTW, I have very little knowledge of the New Testament, and the only thing that sticks out for me is the significance of the teachings of Jesus, especially with respect to his emphasis on love, as in "turn the other cheek", and "love thy neighbor as thyself", which, if followed by Christians would lessen the odds, to say the least, of wars. Unfortunately, one of the tunes I remembered from Sunday School, was "Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War." I'm no scholar, so I'll try to let others fill me in as to what's going on.

When I was at NASA, I had a friend who used to call upon the "suffering of fools" in one of the Corinthians, if I remember correctly. And I confess not really knowing what he was talking about. One day I asked a minister about it, and I don't think I got it cleared up. Don't know why I bring it up, but -- well, fools rush in....
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