Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Archive for October, 2012

Houdini and Halloween

86 years ago the great Harry Houdini died. There’s a misconception over his death due to a movie that came out a while back in which Houdini died in a water escape. Not true. The story is actually kind of weird. Houdini had a challenge in which he told people that he could take any punch from anybody. Well a college boy asked if he could try, and before Houdini was ready (flexing his abs I assume) the boy punched him very hard. He then died a few days later of appendicitis. I may be unconnected, but clearly his appendix burst.

He died on Halloween of 1926. Houdini had a great legacy of debunking “psychics and mediums” that I like to carry on today.

Houdini is also the father of some the worlds most famous illusions, many of which are still performed to this day. One of the signature pieces in our show is Houdini’s Metamorphosis. Which if you’ve seen our show, you know that Karla and I have one of the fastest versions in the world.

So take a little time to remember the great Harry Houdini today.


Apologetics Tuesday: If you don’t like it…redefine it Part 1

The evidence if weighed on a fair philosophical and scientific Clearly tips in the favor of the theist. In fact, dig deeper, and it tips in favor of Christianity.

The idea that the universe was created out of nothing is an unparalleled fact both scientifically and philosophically. It’s a knockout argument, but the problem is when people decide they don’t want to agree with theism or Christianity they just redefine what they mean by certain words.

Two such words come to mind today, first is nothing. Now I think we all know as human beings what the word “nothing” means. It means no thing, nada, zilch, nothing. Nothingness is not just empty space.
Now scientists like Lawrence Krauss like to redefine the word “nothing” to mean a cosmic, quantum vacuum in which energy exists. And out of this pre-existing energy exploded the universe. Now I’m pretty sure if you show that to a nine-year-old they would say energy is not nothing they are going to say, “no energy, now that is something.”

This idea of redefining the word “nothing” to mean whatever you want to be, is really harmful to credibility because it’s a philosophical paradox. On one hand the claim not to be able to use philosophy, but then they try to philosophically worm their way into making a new word out the word “nothing”. They are trying to have it both ways they’re trying to say one hand that the universe came from nothing, but that “nothing” is in fact not “nothing”. The reason they do this is because we know philosophically, and scientifically  the universe came from literally no thing so therefore had to have a cause outside of the universe therefore God.

Check out what Dr. William Lane Craig says about the word nothing.

The universe can’t create itself. That’s logically impossible, therefore the cause of the universe must be a shapeless, timeless, immaterial, highly intelligent, personal being that is God.

Next week we will look at morality and how they try to redefine the word “good”. You think it would be a pretty simple thing to know what good means, one such atheists has “redefined”  it to mean something that is a complete logical circle. This idea of morality also plays into the proof for God. Because God is the greatest conceivable good therefore all of our moral values and duties come from him.

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Apologetics Tuesday: Shouldn’t a magician be a skeptic?

I would think that magicians, of all people, would be the least likely to believe in divine miracles. It just seems that beyond the spectacle, they are trained that there is science or logic behind everything — no matter how awe inspiring. And please note that I say that not in condemning your beliefs but just as a sociological observation.

Random Facebook comment on another Magician’s Page

So because I do what I do, naturally I should be a skeptic and chuck all of the evidence I have out the window? That’s the problem. Anytime someone makes a faith claim, the atheists assume it is without evidence. The late Christopher Hitchens said,

“If one must have faith in order to believe something, or believe in something, then the likelihood of that something having any truth or value is considerably diminished.”

That sounds great on paper, but the problem with that is that Christopher often made faith claims that were directly contradictory to this statement. After all the claim that one believes in their own existence…greatly diminishes their own existence.

Blind Faith is not what Christians claim to have. If anyone tells you that you should just have blind faith in something, run!

I’ll speak to my own experience since the question was posed about magicians. I don’t question things that I have evidence for, or maybe I do, but the evidence silences my questions. Outwardly and to atheists I appeal to Cosmology (the study of the origin of the universe) or the fine tuning of the universe to provide evidence for God. Further, I look at the claims of Jesus about Himself, and the evidence of His resurrection, and conclude that God revealed Himself through the Resurrection of Jesus validating all of Jesus’ teachings, including the opportunity for eternal life, answered prayers, and yes miracles.

That’s all outwardly. Inwardly I have the most assured evidence of the testimony of the Holy Spirit living in me. I don’t need any further evidence to continue convincing myself. I have all that I need in the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.

My favorite Apologist, Dr. William Lane Craig has this to say on the matter,

By that I mean that the experience of the Holy Spirit is veridical and unmistakable (though not necessarily irresistible or indubitable) for him who has it; that such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and to know with confidence that he is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such experience does not function in this case as a premiss in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God himself; that in certain contexts the experience of the Holy Spirit will imply the apprehension of certain truths of the Christian religion, such as “God exists,” “I am condemned by God,” “I am reconciled to God,” “Christ lives in me,” and so forth; that such an experience provides one not only with a subjective assurance of Christianity’s truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him who attends fully to it.

So to say that I should be skeptical of anything miraculous is absolutely absurd because the miraculous happens everyday. The fact that there is a universe that Genesis 1:1 is true provides a backbone for all things miraculous.

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New Highlight Video

 

Last night was a great chance to minister to some really awesome youth pastors in Gulf Shores, Al.

As much as we focus on evangelism for teens and students, we know how hard the day to day grind can be in youth ministry.

Take some time today to lift up your youth pastor in prayer. These guys are on the front lines of a cultural war for the hearts of our students. They take the day to day flack that you and I may never see.

 

Last week I put up a blog about our fall tour. Seeing God move the way He did was truly awesome!

So at the top is a highlight video of the fall tour. Check it out and pass it along to all of  your friends!

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Is there a reason to be good at all?

Be Good…?

This was a famous bus campaign in the UK around Christmas time. It poses a pretty strong statement. There is a glaring problem though that even the most pronounced atheists cannot answer. That simple question is based around the word “why”.

On what grounds are there to be good for goodness sake? What basis is there for being good? If there is no God, then objective morals and duties don’t exist. If objective morals and duties don’t exist, then the notion of being good for goodness sake is merely a silly notion with no basis for reality.

Why?

Think about it for a minute. If there is no God, then the ultimate purpose of human life is to propagate your own genetic line. The goal being to pass your genes on, no matter what the cost. If that is the ultimate purpose being that without God, we are just molecules in motion, then why in the world would we be involved in relief work? I see atheists all the time talking about the humanitarian aid they are a part of. Getting past the sound of people patting themselves on the backs, you look deeper and see that what they are doing is directly contrary to what they profess with their mouths.

On atheism, there is no value for human life other than your own. There is no need to help others. In fact it might do your offspring good to eliminate others that might take away from your resources. Dan Barker and Sam Harris try to say that of course morality can be based without God. They then redefine the word good to mean whatever causes the least harm. The problem is though that on atheism this is merely just an opinion without any philosophical, scientific, or logical grounds. This becomes something that sounds good on paper, but has zero weight to hold it’s own line of thinking.

Can you be good for goodness sake?

No. Without God, there are no objective morals and duties. At that point it breaks down in to whatever you think being right.

Like abortion, or the Holocaust. Surely the Nazi’s thought what they were doing was right, and on atheism you have no grounds to correct them.

What have you heard people say about right and wrong?

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One Thing

This is without a doubt one of my favorite magic acts. Why? because of its simplicity. There is one technique involved here, yet everything is done to perfection with art. Omar Pasha, knows his strength, and uses them to the best of his ability. This guy does one thing, but he does it with absolute excellence.

Each and every one of us has certain gifts and abilities given to us by God to use for His glory. It’s our choice whether we are going to accept the gifts and abilities that we have, or if we will be like the third servant in the parable Jesus told burying it in the sand.

I know at the end of my life, I want to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

I don’t want to be the guy that disappoints God by wasting my gift.

Use what He has given you to make an impact for Him today.

What gifts do you have?

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Can Science Answer Questions about Morality?

A great merit of Sam Harris’ recent book The Moral Landscape is his bold affirmation of the objectivity of moral values and duties. To say that moral values and duties are objective is to say they are valid and binding independent of human opinion. For example, to say that the Holocaust was objectively evil is to say it was evil even though the Nazis who carried it out thought it was good. And it would still have been evil even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in brainwashing or exterminating everyone who disagreed with them, so everybody who was left thought the Holocaust was good.

Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/navigating-sam-harris-the-moral-landscape#ixzz28uJKS9Ib

Molecules in Motion

Over the next few posts were going to look at objective morality. Top atheist disagree on whether there are or are not moral absolutes. Sam Harris says there is, and tries to explain it away in a very weak way. But people like Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins come to grips with the idea that without God there are no moral absolutes.

Think about the ramifications of that for a minute. If we are just molecules in motion such as Dawkins says and what is the point of doing good for anybody but yourself? If the whole point of living is to propagate your own genes, then what’s the point of helping anyone else across the world much less next-door?

If you chuck moral absolutes out the door anthend altruism and ethics are simply just illusions, they don’t exist. Even though we would like them to, we chastise others for not following them yet without moral absolutes they don’t exist.

If on Bertrand Russell’s  worldview of moral absolutes not existing, then there is no reason to be outraged at the atrocities perpetrated by one people group on another. We can be outraged because we know deep down that it’s wrong. Somewhere deep inside of us we know without a doubt that murder and rape that all these things are wrong.

Flipside

Turn that on its head for a second. Without God there is no basis for any of these things to be wrong. For us to say the murder, that stealing is wrong without God, what is that based on? Nothing. Nothing makes it wrong without God. We can try to say that it’s evolution and genetics and all these things that might help our species, but in the end all of these explanations fall short.

What questions have you heard people ask about morality?

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