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Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 04:52 PM
I suppose this is the other side of the coin from all our recent talk of "something rather than nothing."

The standard apologetic conception is that God is the only "thing" (I know it is not strictly proper to say that God counts a thing) that exists necessarily. It is not possible that God not exist.

Everything else in the universe only exists because God confers existence upon it.

I'll assume that the idea of something existing necessarily is a coherent one since at least it seems pretty conceivable. But why can't we just take the property of necessary existence and say that it applies to the universe as a whole (or alternately, to the quantum foam or the original singularity or the multiverse or whatever we want to talk about cosmologically)?

I know I've read William Lane Craig's argument about this somewhere, but I lost that book.

Jedidiah
11-13-2014, 05:26 PM
Atheists quite commonly have no problem with a self existent universe. They quite commonly have serious problems with a self existent God who creates.

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 05:29 PM
Indeed. But why can't there just be a self-existent universe without a God needed to create it? If God didn't need a First Cause, then why does the universe?

Jedidiah
11-13-2014, 05:33 PM
One or the other must be true. My real objection is that atheists often reject God out of hand and insist that the universe (or whatever) has always been. If the universe is actually eternal and self existent, that is where the question you asked in the other thread comes in.

Adrift
11-13-2014, 05:57 PM
I suppose this is the other side of the coin from all our recent talk of "something rather than nothing."

The standard apologetic conception is that God is the only "thing" (I know it is not strictly proper to say that God counts a thing) that exists necessarily. It is not possible that God not exist.

Everything else in the universe only exists because God confers existence upon it.

I'll assume that the idea of something existing necessarily is a coherent one since at least it seems pretty conceivable. But why can't we just take the property of necessary existence and say that it applies to the universe as a whole (or alternately, to the quantum foam or the original singularity or the multiverse or whatever we want to talk about cosmologically)?

I know I've read William Lane Craig's argument about this somewhere, but I lost that book.

Yeah, Craig deals with this online as well here:http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-ultimate-question-of-origins-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe

Philosophers analyzing the concept of necessary existence agree that the essential properties of any necessarily existing entity include its being eternal, uncaused, incorruptible, and indestructible14--for otherwise it would be capable of non-existence, which is self-contradictory. Thus, if the universe began to exist, its lacks at least one of the essential properties of necessary existence-eternality. Therefore, the reason for its existence cannot be immanent, but must in some mysterious way be ultra-mundane, or transcendent. Otherwise, one must say that the universe simply sprang into being uncaused out of absolutely nothing, which seems absurd. Sir Arthur Eddington, contemplating the beginning of the universe, opined that the expansion of the universe was so preposterous and incredible that "I feel almost an indignation that anyone should believe in it--except myself."15 He finally felt forced to conclude, "The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural."16


14 For this analysis, see John Hick, "God as Necessary Being," Journal of Philosophy 57 (1960): 733-34.

15 Arthur Eddington, The Expanding Universe (New York: Macmillan, 1933), p. 124.

16 Ibid., p. 178.

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 06:34 PM
One or the other must be true. My real objection is that atheists often reject God out of hand and insist that the universe (or whatever) has always been. If the universe is actually eternal and self existent, that is where the question you asked in the other thread comes in.That raises an interesting question. If there really was a Big Bang, then why not just say that the singularity existed eternally? And since the singularity is just everything that would be the universe crammed into an unimaginably tiny point, that means the universe is eternal under a Big Bang anyway.

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 06:36 PM
Yeah, Craig deals with this online as well here:http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-ultimate-question-of-origins-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe

Philosophers analyzing the concept of necessary existence agree that the essential properties of any necessarily existing entity include its being eternal, uncaused, incorruptible, and indestructible14--for otherwise it would be capable of non-existence, which is self-contradictory. Thus, if the universe began to exist, its lacks at least one of the essential properties of necessary existence-eternality. Therefore, the reason for its existence cannot be immanent, but must in some mysterious way be ultra-mundane, or transcendent. Otherwise, one must say that the universe simply sprang into being uncaused out of absolutely nothing, which seems absurd. Sir Arthur Eddington, contemplating the beginning of the universe, opined that the expansion of the universe was so preposterous and incredible that "I feel almost an indignation that anyone should believe in it--except myself."15 He finally felt forced to conclude, "The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural."16


14 For this analysis, see John Hick, "God as Necessary Being," Journal of Philosophy 57 (1960): 733-34.

15 Arthur Eddington, The Expanding Universe (New York: Macmillan, 1933), p. 124.

16 Ibid., p. 178.But why does chagnability, complexity, etc. imply that something might actually cease to exist? I have a feeling the words, "you cannot traverse an infinite amount of time" are coming...

Jedidiah
11-13-2014, 07:17 PM
That raises an interesting question. If there really was a Big Bang, then why not just say that the singularity existed eternally? And since the singularity is just everything that would be the universe crammed into an unimaginably tiny point, that means the universe is eternal under a Big Bang anyway.

Why was there an eternal singularity. Not an answer just another question. Two choices. You have no other options that I know of.

Kelp(p)
11-13-2014, 07:45 PM
Why was there an eternal singularity. Not an answer just another question. Two choices. You have no other options that I know of.Ockham's Razor? In the face of a God who refuses to reveal Himself unambiguously, and in a universe where it seems possible that there is no God and no absolutely unambiguous evidence for there being one- the simplest conclusion is that there is no God?

Jedidiah
11-13-2014, 08:57 PM
Ockham's Razor? In the face of a God who refuses to reveal Himself unambiguously, and in a universe where it seems possible that there is no God and no absolutely unambiguous evidence for there being one- the simplest conclusion is that there is no God?Why do you expect to get any better revelation than what convinces me? You are not even close to being able to understand what God is doing in creation (nor am I) and without that your statement is nonsense. I have yet to see more than a wishful thinking that it is possible that there is no God. In fact the one thing I am able to agree with Shuny on is that science does not have any handle at all on an answer to the question of God's existence.

In an aside, it can not really be said that God "exists." Existence is part of the universe. God is beyond existence. But that is a word game.

Paprika
11-13-2014, 09:49 PM
Ockham's Razor? In the face of a God who refuses to reveal Himself unambiguously, and in a universe where it seems possible that there is no God and no absolutely unambiguous evidence for there being one- the simplest conclusion is that there is no God?
If you considering only the evidence that some things exist, it could be the simplest conclusion that there is no God (which is not, of course, to say that it is more likely). However, this is not the only evidence relevant to the question of whether God exists.

Jedidiah
11-13-2014, 11:38 PM
Occam's Razor applies to the existing world.

Tassman
11-14-2014, 01:42 AM
Occam's Razor applies to the existing world.

...as opposed to the non-existent world.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 07:25 AM
If you considering only the evidence that some things exist, it could be the simplest conclusion that there is no God (which is not, of course, to say that it is more likely). However, this is not the only evidence relevant to the question of whether God exists.I'm sorry. I don't follow you- unless you're just talking about God being beyond existence.

Paprika
11-14-2014, 07:30 AM
I'm sorry. I don't follow you- unless you're just talking about God being beyond existence.
I'm saying that if you're only consider the evidence E (E= some things exist), Occam's razor may indicate that the simplest explanation (of the two) is that no God exists, but this E is not the only evidence relevant to God's existence.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 07:30 AM
Occam's Razor applies to the existing world.Ockham's Razor is just a prudence exercise to guide what's best to put one's trust in. I'm just not sure the evidence is good enough to say there's a God and frankly I'm not sure any evidence is good enough for such a huge thing outside of God making some unambiguous display like Christ appearing on the Mount of Olives or something.

I know how incredibly childish that makes me sound, but I'm not sure what else to say and still be honest.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 07:31 AM
I'm saying that if you're only consider the evidence E (E= some things exist), Occam's razor may indicate that the simplest explanation (of the two) is that no God exists, but this E is not the only evidence relevant to God's existence.What's the other evidence? I bet I could reduce it all down to E.

Paprika
11-14-2014, 07:37 AM
What's the other evidence? I bet I could reduce it all down to E.
Let's start with the Resurrection.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 09:49 AM
Let's start with the Resurrection.Fair enough. I'm not really ready to revisit that quagmire. I'm mostly into arguing about theism in general right now.

Paprika
11-14-2014, 09:51 AM
Fair enough. I'm not really ready to revisit that quagmire. I'm mostly into arguing about theism in general right now.
No problem :smile:

Teallaura
11-14-2014, 10:26 AM
Indeed. But why can't there just be a self-existent universe without a God needed to create it? If God didn't need a First Cause, then why does the universe?
Because that would be a steady state universe - which evidence doesn't support. If it is self-existent then it should have neither beginning nor end - an eternal thing. God meets those conditions (thing or Person works); the universe does not.

Now, if you move to the multiverse model it gets outright silly. Assuming a self existent multiverse with the condition that all possibilities thereby exist then God necessarily exists (since both He and that poor whale from Hitchhiker's exist, the latter rather briefly) which probably rules out the multiverse and definitely rules it out as self-existent.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 10:41 AM
If it is self-existent then it should have neither beginning nor end - an eternal thing. God meets those conditions (thing or Person works); the universe does not.That's just an assumption. If there is no God, then the universe could still be the only self-existent thing that actually exists. You need to show why self-existence could only apply to God.


Now, if you move to the multiverse model it gets outright silly. Assuming a self existent multiverse with the condition that all possibilities thereby exist then God necessarily exists (since both He and that poor whale from Hitchhiker's exist, the latter rather briefly) which probably rules out the multiverse and definitely rules it out as self-existent.The reason all possibilities exist in a multiverse is that each particle follows every possible path of movement in a different universe. That has no bearing on the immaterial, whether God or any kind of human soul that might exist.

Teallaura
11-14-2014, 11:03 AM
That's just an assumption. If there is no God, then the universe could still be the only self-existent thing that actually exists. You need to show why self-existence could only apply to God.Granted it's an assumption but it's the rational assumption. A self-existent universe that is unstable - which ours is - changes a lot for an eternal thing - too much, really. But more on point, the Big Bang points unwaveringly at a beginning which rules out self-existent unless you believe inanimate matter can come into existence ex nihilo.



The reason all possibilities exist in a multiverse is that each particle follows every possible path of movement in a different universe. That has no bearing on the immaterial, whether God or any kind of human soul that might exist.
So you confine the multiverse to the infinitesimal? That's fine - but it does not follow at the macro. Once particles are moving because Bob the Amoeba decides to crawl thataway the immaterial very much comes into play and the point will stand.

This is the problem with the multiverse - getting a definite 'this level of existence' answer. If you want to confine to the infinitesimal, that's fine but you can't use it for the self-existent point since it would not be mutually accepted (for this argument, obviously - basically, if you wanna hash out the level thing we can or we can drop it and go back to the universe).

Jedidiah
11-14-2014, 11:12 AM
Ockham's Razor is just a prudence exercise to guide what's best to put one's trust in. I'm just not sure the evidence is good enough to say there's a God and frankly I'm not sure any evidence is good enough for such a huge thing outside of God making some unambiguous display like Christ appearing on the Mount of Olives or something.

I know how incredibly childish that makes me sound, but I'm not sure what else to say and still be honest.

Back to my point in another thread: What sort of evidence would you expect to find for the God of the Bible? If He is not a part of the created universe He won't leave a shadow (so to speak). Science has nothing to say about the existence or non existence of God.

Jedidiah
11-14-2014, 11:15 AM
Because that would be a steady state universe - which evidence doesn't support. If it is self-existent then it should have neither beginning nor end - an eternal thing. God meets those conditions (thing or Person works); the universe does not.

Now, if you move to the multiverse model it gets outright silly. Assuming a self existent multiverse with the condition that all possibilities thereby exist then God necessarily exists (since both He and that poor whale from Hitchhiker's exist, the latter rather briefly) which probably rules out the multiverse and definitely rules it out as self-existent.

When you get to a multiverse you have entered the realm of "it is turtles all the way down."

Jedidiah
11-14-2014, 11:17 AM
...as opposed to the non-existent world.

You are afraid to try to answer my question, but you love to hide on the sidelines and snipe, eh?

Teallaura
11-14-2014, 11:19 AM
When you get to a multiverse you have entered the realm of "it is turtles all the way down."
Pretty much - it seems a dodge to me but you do have to deal with it and it would seem to me his better option for a self-existent 'verse'. :shrug:

Mountain Man
11-14-2014, 11:59 AM
Ockham's Razor is just a prudence exercise to guide what's best to put one's trust in.
No, it's just a tool for making truth propositions easier to analyze -- you start with the least assumptions and add more as necessary. It says nothing about which truth propositions you should put your trust in.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 12:42 PM
Granted it's an assumption but it's the rational assumption. A self-existent universe that is unstable - which ours is - changes a lot for an eternal thing - too much, really.I'm not sure I buy that, but I guess I don't have to counter it.


But more on point, the Big Bang points unwaveringly at a beginning which rules out self-existent unless you believe inanimate matter can come into existence ex nihilo.According to Lawrence Krauss, the singularity that became the Big Bang arouse from a sea of unstable particles and antiparticles. And anyway, from what I've seen, physicists tend to get irritated when people try to use their theories to point to an absolute beginning of everything. I don't see what that couldn't have existed eternally. I know you don't except that given the above, of course.




So you confine the multiverse to the infinitesimal? That's fine - but it does not follow at the macro. Once particles are moving because Bob the Amoeba decides to crawl thataway the immaterial very much comes into play and the point will stand.

This is the problem with the multiverse - getting a definite 'this level of existence' answer. If you want to confine to the infinitesimal, that's fine but you can't use it for the self-existent point since it would not be mutually accepted (for this argument, obviously - basically, if you wanna hash out the level thing we can or we can drop it and go back to the universe).It's true that extending quantum uncertainty to the macro level is currently problematic. But ok, let's go back to one universe.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 12:46 PM
No, it's just a tool for making truth propositions easier to analyze -- you start with the least assumptions and add more as necessary. It says nothing about which truth propositions you should put your trust in.If a proposition is more likely to be true than the other options, then one ought to chose it over the others, yes?

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 12:50 PM
Back to my point in another thread: What sort of evidence would you expect to find for the God of the Bible? If He is not a part of the created universe He won't leave a shadow (so to speak). Science has nothing to say about the existence or non existence of God.I wasn't just talking about science. I mean evidence like an unambiguous, undeniable display of miraculous power. God coming on the major news networks or something, to put it in slightly silly terms. Maybe someday I'll go back to deciding that the Gospels are good enough in that category, but right now I'm just not sure.

seer
11-14-2014, 01:05 PM
I wasn't just talking about science. I mean evidence like an unambiguous, undeniable display of miraculous power. God coming on the major news networks or something, to put it in slightly silly terms. Maybe someday I'll go back to deciding that the Gospels are good enough in that category, but right now I'm just not sure.

"To whom much is given, much is required." We assume that a greater display of God's power will more easily cause us to love Him. But why does that follow - what if it actually caused us to hate or reject Him more? Then we would receive a greater judgement. Perhaps God's hiddenness is saving countless human beings from a worse fate.

Mountain Man
11-14-2014, 01:31 PM
If a proposition is more likely to be true than the other options, then one ought to chose it over the others, yes?
Yes, but Ockham's razor says nothing about which propositions are more likely to be true. It only says which propositions are easier to test.

Teallaura
11-14-2014, 02:14 PM
I'm not sure I buy that, but I guess I don't have to counter it.Fair enough.


According to Lawrence Krauss, the singularity that became the Big Bang arouse from a sea of unstable particles and antiparticles. And anyway, from what I've seen, physicists tend to get irritated when people try to use their theories to point to an absolute beginning of everything. I don't see what that couldn't have existed eternally. I know you don't except that given the above, of course.Heh, as I recall many physicists originally came into the Big Bang tent kicking and screaming because of its theistic implications.

But even so, so what? The existence of a beginning logically requires a cause and refutes a 'steady state' or self existent universe. The BB isn't just 'lookie, now we have matter' event - its the beginning of physics as we understand it, space, time, matter, energy - the entire ball of wax. For the universe to be self existent it would have to pre-exist the BB and there is no way to know what, if anything, did. Then you get back to causality and the whole thing becomes problematic.

Something eternal must pre-exist the known universe - either God or some proto-self existent thingie. But whereas God is a Person and can act, the PSET (for want of a better term - mine is at least cute! :teeth:) is inanimate (since we are presuming it to be the universe, I'd presume in a different form - this one's more yours than mine) thingie (technical term :smug:) and now you run into big causality issues. Not to mention the whole thing is a mere assumption - one lacking any evidentiary validity.

So if we toss evidentiary validity and just assume that a self-existent universe is possible then we can assume the PSET - but I think we just ran aground of the a priori fallacy.



It's true that extending quantum uncertainty to the macro level is currently problematic. But ok, let's go back to one universe.
Yep, and I don't think it's just 'currently' but I'm good with single universe. :smile:

Unimportant side rant: technically, the multiverse should be part of the universe and not the other way around. Universe means 'everything' and there can't be multiples of absolutely everything. :rant:

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 02:46 PM
Yes, but Ockham's razor says nothing about which propositions are more likely to be true. It only says which propositions are easier to test.Seeing as how it was invented to solve problems in medieval scholasticism, I feel ok using it to think about theological questions.

Jedidiah
11-14-2014, 03:10 PM
I wasn't just talking about science. I mean evidence like an unambiguous, undeniable display of miraculous power. God coming on the major news networks or something, to put it in slightly silly terms. Maybe someday I'll go back to deciding that the Gospels are good enough in that category, but right now I'm just not sure.

Sorry, I specifically said the God of the Bible. You are talking about some other God. Try again. Tassman has shown himself afraid to answer this question. But that is based on fear. I see you as actually seeking the truth (unlike the sniper Tassman). What sort of evidence would you expect to find from the God of the Bible? He is not subject to the universe in any way.

Jedidiah
11-14-2014, 03:13 PM
Seeing as how it was invented to solve problems in medieval scholasticism, I feel ok using it to think about theological questions.

That is still a problem for you. I look at the world, it appears to be designed. No other assumptions needed.

Pure naturalism looks at the world and not only has to explain how it got here, but has to demonstrate the the evident design is false.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 03:24 PM
Sorry, I specifically said the God of the Bible. You are talking about some other God. Try again. Tassman has shown himself afraid to answer this question. But that is based on fear. I see you as actually seeking the truth (unlike the sniper Tassman). What sort of evidence would you expect to find from the God of the Bible? He is not subject to the universe in any way.The fact that the God of the Bible won't do something like that makes me suspicious in the first place, however...

The Resurrection would be the main evidence, though I'm not quite ready to have that debate again, not least of all because I lost a lot of my old apologetics books in a house flood. The other proof I expect would be a structure to the universe such that we can see pretty clearly that we the universe requires a Creator. I'd be a far happier man if I were a Creationist or IDist. But since I'm not, I resort to the ontological questions in these threads.

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 03:25 PM
That is still a problem for you. I look at the world, it appears to be designed. No other assumptions needed.

Pure naturalism looks at the world and not only has to explain how it got here, but has to demonstrate the the evident design is false.
Sorry, I don't agree that it looks designed.

Truthseeker
11-14-2014, 04:41 PM
Seeing as how it was invented to solve problems in medieval scholasticism, I feel ok using it to think about theological questions.Aristotle, quoted by Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor wrote, "We may assume the superiority ceteris paribus . . . of the demonstration which derives from fewer postulates or hypotheses."

I do not regard Ockham's Razor as a way to choose the best conclusion among others. Rather, it is an economy thing. It saves time and other resources. Why argue whether we need to include unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, hobbits, etc., if there is agreement that evidence for them is no more than rather slight?

Kelp(p)
11-14-2014, 06:22 PM
Aristotle, quoted by Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor wrote, "We may assume the superiority ceteris paribus . . . of the demonstration which derives from fewer postulates or hypotheses."Right. I was referring to the way Ockham used it. One can't restrict it's usefulness just to the sciences.


I do not regard Ockham's Razor as a way to choose the best conclusion among others. Rather, it is an economy thing. It saves time and other resources. Why argue whether we need to include unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, hobbits, etc., if there is agreement that evidence for them is no more than rather slight?And some would put God in the same category. I'm siding with them, at least for the sake of argument.

shunyadragon
11-14-2014, 08:32 PM
Because that would be a steady state universe - which evidence doesn't support. If it is self-existent then it should have neither beginning nor end - an eternal thing. God meets those conditions (thing or Person works); the universe does not.

An infinite and eternal physical existence that is self-existent is a distinct possibility.


Now, if you move to the multiverse model it gets outright silly. Assuming a self existent multiverse with the condition that all possibilities thereby exist then God necessarily exists (since both He and that poor whale from Hitchhiker's exist, the latter rather briefly) which probably rules out the multiverse and definitely rules it out as self-existent.

I believe in God, but it remains distinctly possible for an infinite eternal Quantum World to exist consisting of one or more multi-verses or one multi-verse with many possible universes, based on what we presently know in science. At present there is not sufficient evidence to determine whether our physical existence is infinite and eternal or finite and temporal. ALL possibilities is not necessarily a requirement for a physical existence constrained by Natural Laws that limit the possibilities.

Adrift
11-14-2014, 11:29 PM
The fact that the God of the Bible won't do something like that makes me suspicious in the first place, however...

The Resurrection would be the main evidence, though I'm not quite ready to have that debate again, not least of all because I lost a lot of my old apologetics books in a house flood. The other proof I expect would be a structure to the universe such that we can see pretty clearly that we the universe requires a Creator. I'd be a far happier man if I were a Creationist or IDist. But since I'm not, I resort to the ontological questions in these threads.

Kelp, help me understand, a lot of the questions you're asking in these forums seem to be answered in apologetic books. I don't mean this maliciously, but have you read those books, or have you forgotten what they've said, or...?

Tassman
11-15-2014, 12:14 AM
Back to my point in another thread: What sort of evidence would you expect to find for the God of the Bible? If He is not a part of the created universe He won't leave a shadow (so to speak). Science has nothing to say about the existence or non existence of God.

There’s no way for science to empirically verify a hypothetical, non-material entity such as a god. Such a 'being' could only be known if it chose to reveal itself. And, while some believers claim such an entity has already “revealed” itself, they cannot support this claim with any substantive evidence. Hence, to date, “God of the Bible”, or similar alleged immaterial entity, cannot be shown to exist. Such a being is not supported by credible evidence.

Kelp(p)
11-15-2014, 01:07 AM
Kelp, help me understand, a lot of the questions you're asking in these forums seem to be answered in apologetic books. I don't mean this maliciously, but have you read those books, or have you forgotten what they've said, or...?A combination.

Even back then I had a lot of problems with many of the arguments in books. Some of them I brought up on here, some of them I didn't or only in private because I didn't want to seem like a fake Christian.

It's been a long time and I've forgotten a lot (a good chunk of my research was never in books, but in online articles that I still need to get back to reading). Since joining Tweb the first time, a lot of my research shifted to more tangential areas like creationism or charismaticism or preterism or cults or Eastern Orthodoxy so I let my knowledge of central reasons for faith atrophy. Some of the apologetics books I bought and never got around to reading because I've always struggled with laziness and I have a lot of competing interests besides. I lost three-quarters of my library when our basement flooded. I'm just now getting back to a mental place where debating this stuff doesn't make me want to kill myself. I'm just now getting back to a place where my anger is under enough control to have discussions about it.

Does that help you understand?

Tassman
11-15-2014, 02:26 AM
You are afraid to try to answer my question,

If you are referring to 'Food for Thought thread' in Natural Science: Already answered in #120 and several other times and you have yet to attempt a rebuttal. If not, please tell where where you consider me not to have answered your question and I will correct this omission.


but you love to hide on the sidelines and snipe, eh?

Nonsense! It's a legitimate comment. You claim that "Occam's Razor applies to the existing world", so what other sort of world is there? Evidence please!

Adrift
11-15-2014, 08:11 AM
A combination.

Even back then I had a lot of problems with many of the arguments in books. Some of them I brought up on here, some of them I didn't or only in private because I didn't want to seem like a fake Christian.

It's been a long time and I've forgotten a lot (a good chunk of my research was never in books, but in online articles that I still need to get back to reading). Since joining Tweb the first time, a lot of my research shifted to more tangential areas like creationism or charismaticism or preterism or cults or Eastern Orthodoxy so I let my knowledge of central reasons for faith atrophy. Some of the apologetics books I bought and never got around to reading because I've always struggled with laziness and I have a lot of competing interests besides. I lost three-quarters of my library when our basement flooded. I'm just now getting back to a mental place where debating this stuff doesn't make me want to kill myself. I'm just now getting back to a place where my anger is under enough control to have discussions about it.

Does that help you understand?

Yep. Sure does. I can relate to the laziness thing and reading. I have a stack of books that I haven't read that I need to get around to. Just have to cut some time out of the day to do so. Sucks about losing your books in the flood. I know that feeling too.