All bets are off?

Would it be enough to keep your theism if you lost your Christianity? IOW, are you a theist before and above the fact that you are a Christian? Is the God of reason enough to do battle for, or should we temper our apologetics to atheists with an aim to vindicate “the Christian God”? (NB: I’m drawing upon Crude’s recent statement, as alluded to here.)


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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8 Responses to All bets are off?

  1. Crude says:

    Is the God of reason enough to do battle for, or should we temper our apologetics to atheists with an aim to vindicate “the Christian God”?

    I’m not sure that’s a proper dichotomy. If you accept the Five Ways, if you accept Kalam, etc… you already accept a basic, fundamental theism. If you reject revelation – now or in the future – none of these are affected. If you regard these things as true, or likely true, in and of themselves… then intellectually they are already ‘enough to do battle for’.

    Also, ‘bare theism’ doesn’t mean you embrace some kind of committed deism (which, contrary to many Deists, does have its own dogma). It simply means you accept God/god(s)’ existence. This may mean there is another religion out there which is true, or likely true. Maybe one can in principle come about, but hasn’t yet.

    I suspect many people would reply ‘no’ or be confused by the question. Of course, I also strongly believe that’s something which needs to change.

  2. c matt says:

    If you mean by losing Christianity something to the effect that Jesus’ resurrection is absolutely disproven, or Jesus’ claim to divinity is somehow otherwise disproven, I don’t see why that would cause any arguments for the existence of God to be disproven. It would only show the NT to be incorrect. It wouldn’t even affect the OT. At that point, i would probably covnert to Judaism.

  3. Brian Ortiz says:

    I have a problem with describing myself as a theist first and a Christian second. I don’t think that’s right.

  4. Crude says:

    I admit that it somehow ‘sounds wrong’, at least in a rhetoric sense. As if you’re putting Christ second in your life or your mind. But I can’t find an intellectual fault with it. And the alternative just doesn’t seem to work.

  5. c matt says:

    It does sound odd, but I agree that there is nothing wrong with it. In the progression of things, you would first have to believe God exists before you could know who God is. If you then conclude Jesus = God, then Jesus = Theism. Even St. Paul appears to be a theist first – he admits that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity is in vain. I suppose he would have gone back to Judaism. Sort of like you have to believe the office of the Papacy exists before you can determine that a particular person is the Pope. And even if it turns out that guy in South Jersey was not actually the Pope, it would not disprove the office of the Papacy.

    I think the conundrum is that existence of God can be proven logically, and even some of His attributes. But His identity must come through revelation and witness.

  6. c matt says:

    The way I interpret being a “theist first” is a matter of progression, not necessarily importance.

  7. Crude says:

    I think that sounds fair. I think it’s even biblical, though I see you already beat me to that particular punch.

  8. c matt says:

    and maybe even learn how to type.

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