Adamson’s Cru[de] Arguments for God – Part 1

I was bored one night a few weeks ago and did a Google search on “Does God exist”. One of the top hits that came back was for this webpage:

http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html

This webpage contains an article written by Marilyn Adamson, called “Is There a God?”, which according to the sub-title presents “six straightforward reasons to believe that God is really there.”  

According to the “About” page the EveryStudent.com website is sponsored by “an interdenominational Christian organization: Cru.”.  I did not recognize the name “Cru”, so I poked around a bit, and clicked on a link to a sister website called StartingwithGod.com, which is also sponsored by “Cru”.  The “About” page for this sister site has a link to a statement of faith for “Cru” and that link took me to a website for “Cru”.  The “About” page for the “Cru” website unlocked the mystery of the name of the sponsoring organization:

Cru is the name of Campus Crusade for Christ International in the U.S.

Marilyn Adamson is the director for the EveryStudent.com website, and that website was sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ International.

So, the webpage where Adamson presenst six reasons for the existence of God is not just a personal webpage where Adamson is expressing and justifying her faith, it is a publication sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ.  So, the crudeness and ignorance of Adamson’s arguments are not simply due to the ignorance and foibles of Adamson; they represent the ignorance and foibles of an International Christian organization, an organization that targets it’s messages to college students:

If you are uncertain about your relationship with God, or would like to pursue spiritual questions, we recommend visiting EveryStudent.com. The site helps explain who God is and what it might be like to know God. The site was built for college students (hence the name EveryStudent), but many adults have found it to be extremely helpful. (from the “About” page for StartingwithGod.com, emphasis added)

Since “Cru” wants to communicate with and persuade college students to become Christian believers, or to remain Christian believers, one would expect that a website sponsored by “Cru” and called EveryStudent.com and specifically targeted to college students would use the best available arguments for the existence of God, and would avoid the use of arguments for God that are clearly and obviously illogical or defective, especially if those illogical and defective arguments are generally recognized to be illogical or defective by philosophers of religion.

To use obviously illogical or defective arguments for God that are generally recognized to be illogical or defective by philosophers of religion is bad form no matter who the intended audience might be, but it is especially shameful to use such arguments when your target audience is college students, students who should be encouraged to study philosophy, to think carefully and logically about philosophical issues, and to learn about philosophy from experts in that field.

Some of the arguments presented by Adamson are worthy of consideration (e.g.  the First Cause argument is a classic argument and is still defended by some philosophers, and the Fine Tuning argument is a modern argument that has been widely discussed by philosophers in recent decades), but others are obviously illogical or defective and generally recognized to be so, particularly the first set of arguments presented in Adamson’s article.

Furthermore, the arguments that are worthy of consideration are presented poorly, and in a way that encourages illogical thinking, thinking that philosophers of religion would generally recognize as being illogical.  So, Cru provides college students crappy arguments that are unworthy of serious consideration (other than to show them to be illogical or defective) plus Cru also provides college students with a couple of arguments that are worthy of consideration but that are presented in a crappy way that encourages illogical thinking about the existence of God.

The EveryStudent.com website is promoted as “A Safe Place to Explore Questions About Life and God” but this website is NOT “A Safe Place” in terms of intellectual integrity and the central educational goal of promoting critical thinking.  This website promotes, at least in the key web article written by Adamson, illogical and uncritical thinking as well as ignorance concerning the philosophy of religion.  This website might be “A Safe Place” if someone is fearful of logical and critical thinking, and is afraid that knowledge and scholarship might challenge their Christian beliefs,  but it is NOT “A Safe Place” for college students who want to become educated, well-informed, critical thinkers.

Since Cru, through the prominent publication of the article “Is There a God?” by Marilyn Adamson, has failed to model critical thinking and thinking about God that is well-informed by knowledge and understanding of philosophy (especially philosophy of religion), and thus provided an UNSAFE website for students who desire to become educated, well-informed critical thinkers, I plan to point out the various failings of Adamson’s article in detail in future posts.

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