Posts Tagged ‘Existence of God’

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3. You mischaracterize the nature of faith.

I heard it over and over again growing up in my church, and I see other Christians say it all the time today: Just have faith. The predictable context is usually a difficult conversation about Christianity or the nature of God – for example, after a tragedy in the news. Unfortunately, “just have faith” is often the catch-all response Christians use when we can’t answer difficult questions. To be sure, we don’t have all the answers, and we should be honest with our kids about what the Bible does and does not tell us. But, oh, how dangerous it is for kids to believe that the primary answer to most difficult Christian questions is “just have faith.” Those three words, too carelessly tossed about, can leave a permanent impression on your kids that Christianity can’t answer tough questions and that blind faith is the answer…”

– Natasha Crain, via http://christianmomthoughts.com/6-ways-you-may-be-raising-your-kids-with-an-oversimplified-faith/

It’s very true that we over-simplify Christianity. It’s a good thing I’m a stubborn guy, because when I went to a “Christian” college, they tried every way they could to undermine my faith. Thankfully, I had immersed myself in the Scriptures as a teenager (while everyone else was partying and messing around). That was time well spent. I had a keen thirst for truth…not just pat answers…but solid truth. Even though I was hindered by Word-of-Faith theology, I had taught myself the fundamentals of logic. I had investigated my own questions- which turned out to be many people’s questions.

Our kids are bombarded daily by an acrid secularistic worldview. I’m not fully convinced that the earth or the universe is as old as scientists tell us, but I’m open to old-earth creationism. Science has missed it badly before, and they could be wrong now. I have confidence that real science will not contradict the author of nature’s book.

The whole article is worth your time.

simul iustus et peccaries,

Eric

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Two people in a heated argument about religion when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University.

Photo via David Shankbone through a CC License

There must be a transcendent, objective moral standard, or our claims make no sense.

“When one nation asks another to conform to some form of moral behavior, it’s not saying, “Do it our way,” it’s saying, “Do the right thing.” Our appeal to a particular behavior isn’t based solely on our collective, subjective opinion; it’s based on an appeal to objective moral values transcending our opinion. We can argue about the identity of these values, but we must accept the transcendent foundation of these moral truths if we ever hope to persuade others to embrace them. Nations may dislike one another and resist the subjective values held by other groups. That’s why we argue for the transcendent moral value of an action, rather than appealing to a subjective national opinion.”
-J. Warner Wallace

via http://feedly.com/e/yS0BpAj7

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

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Image via Brews Ohare, per CC Liscense

When I first moved to the Toolroom at the manufacturing plant I worked in as an apprentice Toolmaker, I was having difficulty with trigonometry. In my vocation, trig was used on a daily basis to obtain accurate angles, or to figure bolt patterns, etc.

I was horrible at math in school, especially geometry and trig. Learning the trig functions was important. Doing your job well is a great motivator for learning things you have difficulty with.

I’m not particularly brilliant, but I am stubborn. I kept banging my head around sine, cosine, and tangent.
One day, it’s like it all just fell together. I had wrestled with the fundamentals so long, I just got a good grasp of it. It seemed to happen overnight, but I really worked hard at it, since it was a necessary skill for my work. I became the trig expert of the shop, which was humorous to me, considering how bad I was at trig in high school, and college.

There are several equations that are the foundation for trigonometry.

Three important ones are:

O/H = Sine (the O/H meaning the Opposite of the Hypotenuse);

A/H = Cosine ( the adjacent of the hypotenuse); and

O/A = Tangent (the opposite of the adjacent)

Theses equations all deal with the relationships between the angles and lines of a right triangle.

The way I learned to remember these relationships was to employ a mnemonic device:

Oscar Has
A Heap
Of Apples

O/H
A/H
O/A

It really helps to understand the equations.

Philosophy uses equations called syllogisms. These syllogisms are representations of logic and argumentation. By argument, I don’t mean a knock-down-drag-out with your bestie. In philosophy, “the goal of an argument is to offer good reasons in support of your conclusion, reasons that all parties to your dispute can accept.” (1)

The syllogism of the moral argument for the existence of God goes something like this:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.

Conclusion: Therefore, God exists. –

If the atheist denies Premise 1, he or she must offer some alternative source for objective moral values.

By “objective moral standards”, we are making the case that there are at least some ethical values (things that ought to be done, or ought not to be done) that exist in all cultures at all times.

This first premise has to do with moral ontology, or the ultimate source of ethical values. Where is the grounding for “objective moral standards?

This is a difficulty for atheists to deny or refute, which is why many move to deny Premise 2. Of course, this creates its own set of dilemmas.

For instance, how do we explain that even isolated peoples have certain moral absolutes in common with the rest of humanity?

Some examples of a universal moral value might be:

1) it is always wrong to torture babies;

2) it is always wrong to kill someone for the simple pleasure of killing.

“Most people want to uphold premise 2 of the moral argument. After all, if there are no objective ethics, then who is to say that Hitler was objectively morally wrong? Humans have an intuitive sense of right and wrong. The moral argument requires only that at least some actions are objectively right or wrong (e.g. torturing children for pleasure is objectively morally wrong). Premise 1 relates to the perfect standard against which everything else is measured. God, being the only morally perfect being, is the standard against which all other things are judged. Moreover, in the absence of theism, nobody has been able to conceive of a defensible grounding for moral values.” (2)

Human beings have an intuitive sense of what is right and wrong. The Bible identifies this sensing as conscience.

Romans 2:14-16 ESV

14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

The belief in objective moral absolutes is called “moral realism” by philosophers.

It would seem to me, that if we feel guilt over transgressing a moral “law”, that it would have to be more than some abstract idea of morality. It would need to be grounded in a person. We don’t feel guilt when we transgress the law if gravity…we will feel pain, and maybe even die…but not guilt. We feel guilty when we disobey our parents. We don’t feel guilt when we fall off a ladder, unless we fall on our mom…then we feel guilt, of course.

“In other words, objective moral values must be ontologically grounded in a transcendent personality before whom it is appropriate to feel moral guilt (it’s worth noting that the possibility of objective forgiveness for moral guilt is equally dependent upon the moral law having a personal ground).”(3)

Just like learning trig functions helped me in my vocation as a Toolmaker, learning the various arguments for the existence of God will help us all in our vocations as Evangelists and Apologists. Don’t think that by ignoring the arguments for the existence of God that you are somehow not responsible for “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”(1PE 3:15b ESV) it takes real mental work and reasoning to prepare yourself for the inevitable questions about your faith.

Much of the above discussion was inspired by:

http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/moral-argument.htm#sthash.t6EOZkjt.dpuf

1. Pryor, Jim. “What Is an Argument?.” Philosophical Terms and Methods. N.p., 6 Jan. 2006. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. .

2. “Moral Argument.” AllAboutPhilosophy.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. .

3. Williams, Peter S. . “Can Moral Objectivism Do Without God?.” bethinking.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. .

simul justus et peccator,

Eric Adams

If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

But objective moral values and duties do exist.

Therefore, God exists.

One of my fellow former atheists insists this is THE strongest argument for the existence of God.  He was haunted by the fact that if he embraced atheism, he had to release any notion of objective right and wrong.  He had no longer had a place to stand and say, “the holocaust is wrong” or even “rape and child abuse is wrong.”  He could say he didn’t like it…but…so what!  Who cares!  If there is no God, there is no truth, only opinion and who are you to push your opinion on me or anyone else?”

via Buddy the Elf and the Moral Argument for God | Pastor Matt.

 

simul iustus et peccator, 

 
Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 
Cover of "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forc...

Cover via Amazon

A designed universe suited to human life.

Sir Martin Rees, our top Astronomer, wrote the book on the science behind this wonder. Just Six Numbers shows how our basic physical constants need to be dialled in to precisely the right setting for life to have come to exist after the Big Bang. A slight variation from this, and there would be nothing.

And the variation needed for change is slight indeed. Let’s take gravity for instance. Robin Collins tells us that if we change gravity by “one part in ten thousand billion, billion, billion” there would be “no humanly populated world”.

There is no ‘safe zone’, no happy band for which these settings can exist. They’re either right or they’re wrong, and there are billions and billions of other settings that are ‘wrong’.

The dial is set, and is set well for life. Either this is pure cosmic accident, chance, or something set the dial that way.

But when you look deeper into this, as scientists do, it gets harder and harder to believe that is luck. The odds just don’t stack up.

Sir Fred Hoyle, himself an atheist, honestly concludes that, “a common sense interpretation of the facts suggest that super intellect has monkeyed with physics … and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”[1]

Alister McGrath sums up the findings of evidence this way: 

“The phenomenon of fine-tuning is widely conceded; all debates concern its interpretation.”[2]”

via Arguing from the Evidence: The Fine-Tuning Argument | The CVM Blog.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric “needing a tuneup” Adams

Sarcasm

Sarcasm (Photo credit: Seviy Seviy)

Pardon me, but your sarcasm is showing…

When any point of view is caricatured, you’ve lost the argument and set an innocent strawman on fire. It’s easier to demonize an opposing voice than actually engage it.

“Those who make a case for some form of atheistic cosmology have a choice. They can examine the evidence and reason to the best inference between atheism and theism (or deism), or they can reason between atheism and Christianity. Krauss, Hawking and Stenger often choose the second approach, recognizing the additional layer of evidences demanded by Christianity. Many of their readers may, like Flew, be inclined toward a belief in God more readily if it wasn’t characterized by some sarcastic view of Christianity. When these authors choose to compare their naturalistic explanations to some cynical misrepresentation of Christianity rather than a more minimalistic characterization of theism or deism, they expose their concern related to the reasonable case for God’s existence.

I believe the evidence for God’s existence is strong, and if there were no historic theistic systems from which to choose, I would, like Flew, embrace some form of theism or deism. But we do have a history from which to draw, and if the history related to Jesus is reliable, we owe it to ourselves to examine the additional claims of Christianity.” — J. Warner Wallace

via When the Case for God Is Strong, Skeptics Attack Christianity | Cold Case Christianity.

simul iustus et peccator,

Erik Estrada (not)

Biological Naturalism states that consciousnes...

Biological Naturalism states that consciousness is a higher level function of the human brain’s physical capabilities. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naturalism…you can’t get there from here.

“Naturalism doesn’t contain such ingredients as minds, propositions, perceptions and logical relations. It contains elementary particles and attractive forces, chemical reactions, quantum fields, and the like, in a closed and impersonal system of cause and effect. And all of those causes are material and non-rational. Naturalism doesn’t countenance immaterial entities such as persons, with thoughts and beliefs, persons that can infer from the proper ground of a propositional belief to a valid conclusion, which can then guide behavior and so cause things to happen in the world. If naturalism is true, then all these “things” either don’t exist or must have some non-rational physical cause. And we have no reason to think that such causes would provide us with a way of inferring correctly from a ground to a consequent (as Lewis puts it).

But naturalists normally trust the conclusions of natural science and typically believe they have arrived at their naturalist convictions by following evidence and sweet reason to their inevitable conclusion. If Lewis is right, however, then naturalism as a belief refutes itself. Consider any argument for naturalism. If it is sincerely offered, it will presuppose that people have beliefs and rational faculties that can affect their action because they can perceive the validity of the argument, or lack thereof, and act accordingly.”

via C.S. Lewis and the Argument from Reason – Evolution News & Views.

simul iustus et peccator,

Erok