This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Matthew Wireman. Make your own badge here.

Tuesday, January 31

As It Was In The Beginning...

If life evolved, how did the planets and solar system evolve? I mean, if through the omnipotent [sarcasm] Natural Selection has moved and shaped things over time, how did order come from chaotic matter swirling in the cosmos? Newton said:

Though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws...[Thus] this most beautiful system of the sun, moon and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.

[Signs of Intelligence, William Dembski and James Kushiner, eds. (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2001), 173]

Words That Have Changed My Life...#1

This will begin an ongoing, intermingling series of posts that I will continue indefinitely. It will be a series of posts of quotes that have revolutionized my thinking of life, love, purpose, and the world.

This first quote is by CS Lewis (of recent acclaim for authoring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This argument was my tipping point in being sold-out as a Christian. In fact, the entire book Mere Christianity is worth buying. I am continually confronted with it as I listen to people make excuses for not submitting their lives to Christ’s Lordship.

I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about [Jesus]: “I’m not ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
[CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952), 55-56]

Monday, January 30

Logic: The Seedbed for Truth

The last post I want to make regarding the existence of God deals with the origins of rationality. We have seen that one cannot explain where the existence of matter comes from...and the fact that humans have logic pushes the one who says there is no God to pause and think. This mere act of thinking is the indictment.

That is, if the universe was formed out of chaos and humans are the result of successive evolutionary method (with no intelligence bringing any of this about), where did the ability to reason come from? Here is where the ground beneath those who deny the existence of God crumbles. There is no explanation (apart from the existence of God) that rationality and logic exists.

Logic is a gift from God. We are able to reason because God is a rational being. He had design and purpose in the Creation. To deny this is like denying the ocean even as its waves are at your neck! If the world is happenstance and chaos and chance events, there can be no reason to arise out of it.

Monday, January 23

Thought Demands Acquiescence

Only when thinking becomes quite humble can it set its feet upon the way that leads to knowledge. The more profound a religion is, the more it realizes this fact - that what it knows through belief is little compared with what it does not know. The first active deed of thinking is resignation - acquiescence in what happens. Becoming free, inwardly, from what happens, we pass through the gate of resignation on the way to ethics.

[Albert Schweitzer, Reverence for Life, New York: Philosophical Library, 1965), 21f.]

Monday, January 16

Morality as Arising from Herd Instinct

Some folks argue that the morality we see in the world is a result of humans evolving from lower life. And as they have been able to communicate with each other they have made clear what is right and wrong in their relationships. [What I find amazing about all this is that the randomness as to how the world came to be (as many atheists assert) could form any kind of coherent logic for morality and agreement between individuals]. Here’s another quote from Lewis:

Now I do not deny that we may have a herd instinct: but that is not what I mean by the Moral Law. We all know what it feels like to be prompted by instinct - by mother love, or sexual instinct, or the instinct for food. It means that you feel a strong want or desire to act in a certain way. And, of course, we sometimes do feel just that sort of desire to help another person: and no doubt that desire is due to the herd instinct. But feeling a desire to help is quite different from feeling that you ought to help whether you want to or not. Supposing you hear a cry for help from a man in danger. You will probably feel two desires - one a desire to give help (due to your herd instinct), the other a desire to keep out of danger (due to the instinct for self-preservation). But you will find inside you, in addition to these two impulses, a third thing which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to runaway. Now this thing that judges between two instincts, that decides which should be encouraged, cannot itself be either of them. You might as well say the sheet of music which tells you, at a given moment, to play one note on the piano and not another, is itself one of the notes on the keyboard. The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play: our instincts are merely keys (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 1952, p. 22).

The Law of Human Nature

“Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity , ch. 1).

Friday, January 13

Does An Atheist Morality Really Exist??

There is no basis for an ethic apart from the theistic worldview.
What determines right and wrong?

If you say the individual, then you must admit that what Hitler did to the Jews was acceptable. I hope no one would say such a thing.
If you say the community determines right and wrong, then the same as above is true as well. The community of Nazis decided that it was right and desirable to exterminate the Jews.

In this kind of utilitarianism, might makes right. If there is a larger group who believes something is right then they are justified to force others to live a certain way. For instance, if a society thinks that is right for a man to be able to have sex with any woman he wants - even raping her - then one would have to acquiesce to this.

Again, who is to say that the majority in one culture is wrong and the majority in another culture is right? That is, how can people say that the entire Third Reich was wrong? According to an atheist ethic, it is impossible to say this. On what is the morality based?

When we set this on paper, we see the ridiculous nature of such a way to view ethics and morality. This is the way that one must live to be somewhat consistent in their morality. Apart from God, there can be no true morality. One community cannot tell another group that they are wrong.

God is the fount from which flows morality and right living. He has defined what is good and what is evil. As Francis Shaeffer has said, an atheist cannot be consistent (rational thought post and contradiction post).

Additionally, if someone who does not believe in God says, “I operate from the maxim: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’” This maxim cannot be separated from the person who gave it: Jesus. A non-Christian cannot say, “I can believe in what Jesus said, but I don’t have to believe in him.” What will the non-Christian say is “good”? How he defines this is dependent on his own subjective experience...and then we go back to the beginning of this post -- goodness cannot be defined by the individual.

One cannot live in the world of the atheist. Where there is no God that is worshiped, there can be no objective reality. This is why there is such a desire to do away with any notion of God’s existence. If this is done in the person’s mind (for it can never be done!), then they have no accountability for the wrongs they have done...they have freedom from judgment (at least in their minds!) and can feel free to do as they please without remorse...for who can tell them they are wrong?

For those of you that would disagree, how would you respond to this conclusion? What are some arguments that others of you have heard that would contradict this post? Essentially, the non-Christian cannot live a consistent, nor coherent, moral life.

Wednesday, January 11

Aquinas' Five Arguments

As I have been discussing some proofs for God’s existence, I thought it would be beneficial to give summaries of Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs for God’s existence.

Like I have already said, there is no slam dunk proof for God’s existence. When we talk about it we are interacting on several layers of presuppositions of how the world works and the very existence of man. Therefore, any argument will typically deal with one aspect of reality. Thus, an atheist might be upset that a certain facet is missing from the proof. So it is with Aquinas.

The Argument from Motion (Change):
Things in our universe are constantly moving or changing. There has to be something that moves these objects. A billiard ball does not move on its own without the cue hitting it (or the hand if you’re playing with a cheat). Therefore, there must be a Prime Mover who set all of the material in motion.

Cause & Effect
Everything in our universe operates on the law of cause and effect. Like the above argument, if you follow an infinitely long line of cause and effect relationships, you will end up with the Primary Cause.

Necessary Being
Related to what I was arguing for in The Being of God, this we can see that there are contingent beings (a being whose non-existence is possible). These contingent beings are dependent on other things for their existence. In some instances there are contingent beings dependent on other contingent beings (i.e. a baby and his mother, the mother and food, food and its dependency on rain, rain and its dependency on the water cycle...) If you continue to move back to the thing that holds these systems and things together, you will eventually come to a Necessary Being (a being who must exist).

Perfection to the Perfect
As Greek philosophy sought to explain the essence of life, Plato explained it as there being the perfect that existed outside of the visible world. That is, things that we admire in other people - goodness, mercy, justice, etc - point to Something that is the Essence or Epitome of these qualities. This is also related to Anselm's Proslogion. “Things are more or less good only to the extent that they resemble something possessing the highest degree of goodness. The highest of all beings, that which contains the highest degree of perfection, is God” (Ron Nash, Life’s Ultimate Questions, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999, 174).

Design points to the Designer (Teleological)
You are walking on the beach and you see a sand castle. You automatically think that some cute child had filled buckets with sand and dug out the moat around it. You don’t marvel at the wonder of how the waves could have evolved such a structure. There is purpose and design to the universe that cannot and should not be explained through randomness. This is related to the Intelligent Design argument below. Great Quote

Aquinas’ arguments can be summarized with this sentence where each major word represents the five arguments:

“Change & Cause are Necessary for Perfect Design” (any play on words is by design...including this one)

Monday, January 9

Sufficient Reason

Happy New Year to everyone!

In case any of you have been wondering where I have been and why I have not posted in a while, check out the Comments section in the previous post and you will see why. If you haven’t had a chance to keep up with the dialogue between me and a reader I want to give you this quote to chew on:

Nothing occurs without a sufficient reason why it is so and not otherwise. There must, then, be a sufficient reason for the world as a whole; a reason why something exists rather than nothing. Each thing in the worldis contingent, being causally determined by other things: it would not occur if other things were otherwise. The world as a whole, being a collection of such things, is therefore itself contingent. The series of things and events, with their causes, with causes of those causes, and so on, may stretch back infinitely in time; but, if so, then however far back we go, or if we consider the series as a whole, what we have is still contingent and therefore requires a sufficient reason outside the series. That is, there must be a sufficient reason for the world which is other than the world. This will have to be a necessary being, which contains its own sufficient reason for their existence, and this must be found ultimately in a necessary being. There must be something free from the disease of contingency, a disease which affects everything in the world and the world as a whole, even if it is infinite in past time. (Faith & Reason, p.128)
Template By: Thur Broeders