So this weekend is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I am going to see Dr. William Lane Craig debate Sean Carroll at NOBTS.
That may seem somewhat dry and intellectual to some, but I’m telling you nothing has strengthened my faith more than studying apologetics and Christian Philosophy.
This debate is like watching Hulk Hogan or Batman when it comes to debates. Dr. Craig is the heavyweight champion of the world of debates and philosophy.
The debate is about the cosmos. The new tv show which is a reinvention of the Carl Sagan show “Cosmos” purports to be an unbiased look at the cosmos, but that unbiased is kinda laughable. After all the first words I’ve heard from the original series and has been restated about the new series is, “The cosmos are all that there is, was , and always will be.”
That’s a weighty statement. Especially since the idea of the statement fails it’s own naturalistic litmus test. After all the laws of logic and other things are not “natural” they are not material, but no one disagrees that they exist. The law of noncontradiction itself is not something that can be empirically tested, but yet it’s real.
We will dive into this further after the debate.
To some people out there on both sides of the fence, the idea that science and religion are somehow at odds and incompatible. This notion is touted on the Christian side by young earth creationists and on the atheist side by the likes of Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins.
They set up a choice that basically says, which one are you going to give up? Science or God?
This is what’s known as a false dilemma. A dilemma of course being a choice between two, and only two, options. The problem is however that these two things are in no way contradictory. In fact they are complementary!
Dr. Lawrence Krauss and Dr. William Lane Craig just had 3 lengthy discussions in Australia on this very idea. What becomes evident though is that on Krauss’s purely materialistic worldview he cannot allow any room for God even if He was staring Krauss right in the face. However it becomes quite clear that Krauss and others don’t intend to actually back up the argument of this dilemma, but instead point out red herrings of “atrocities from the old testament” and a regurgitated genetic fallacy argument. (Basically Christians are Christians because they are born in Christian areas. However trying to disprove an idea by showing how it came to be held does nothing to refute the idea. After all we are born into areas that think murdering children is wrong, yet just because we are born into it doesn’t mean it’s automatically a wrong notion)
What actually becomes clear is that there really is no fight between these two. If people like Krauss who claim to be open minded would allow in ideas and evaluate them before ruling them out a priori, then the discussion might actually get somewhere.
I encourage you to check out the videos of these discussions especially the 3rd dialogue. Check them out at ReasonableFaith.org
Funny enough I was listening to a pastor preach on the parable of the Prodigal Son tonight. I noticed something in the story that I have never really thought of before. The younger son when leaving his father basically tells him that he’s better dead than alive. He tells his father he can’t wait for him to die, but rather wants his inheritance now.
Funny enough the father is a clear picture of God, and something I haven’t pieced together before is that the younger son is much like the atheist or naturalist who claims outrage at evil in the world, who clings to logical truths, yet doesn’t believe that God exists. They want the things that God has to offer. Justice, love, reason, morality, good, etc. but don’t want to grant that the source exists.
You say so what? The point is that the son wants all the riches of the father, yet wants nothing to do with him. In fact the son would live as if the father is dead. This is how the atheist cuts his own feet out from under himself. By showing outrage at injustice they are automatically asserting that there is some form of objective justice or morality. This however cannot come from a naturalistic worldview. After all science alone can only tell what is, not what ought to be. Therefore when the atheist makes a claim such as, “Slavery in the Bible is immoral” he has no ground to stand on. He has taken from the father the riches and things that benefit him, yet chooses to live as if the father is dead. On naturalism there is no basis for morality, for justice, for reason. Things just are.
So to say that something ought to be a certain way after all is just one higher primates molecules firing one way or another without any true dignity of humanity. However if the Father does exist…if He is alive, then all of these things have a purpose and a meaning.
Borrowing from theism to try and refute it is just like telling the father you want his riches, but want him dead.
One of the trends that I’ve noticed lately for atheists, mainly the FFRF, to do is to attack a small town usually in the South, for “violating the 1st amendment.” The problems with this are multiple, but let’s deal with just the glaring one.
As they say here in the south, “They don’t have a dog in that hunt!” We are talking about a group based out of Wisconsin who’s entire purpose is to wipe religion (gee I wonder which one…) off the map. They don’t just want an equality of viewpoints, but merely a complete and utter obliteration of Christianity. They attack a small town over some trumped up “complaint” and threaten to sue either a school district, or city council. They use this tactic not because they have any legal legs to stand on, but because they know it’s an effective fear tactic. They know that most of these targets would rather quietly bow to their wishes than have a media backlash.
Behind the Scenes Goliath…
Now I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I never even looked into what they claim or profess. However I have. I listen to numerous debates between atheists and Christians. One such popular opponent in these debates is none other than Dan Barker, a very prominent member of the FFRF.
The problem with using him as your go to debater…he’s not very good. I don’t say this in a biased way, but in all fairness he is a terrible debater who basically says the same thing over and over ad nausea. I don’t mean by this he sticks to his guns, but rather he pulls out an irritating and easily defeated point, yet trumpets it about like it’s some unheard of wisdom granted just to him, but when confronted with a more learned Greek student (by many years)…he’s right every time and they are just mistaken every time.
Really? That’s the best argument?
Anyway back from that rabbit trail. I mention all of this to say this. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted a story about a school district in Cullman, Wiscon….no wait that’s wrong, Cullman, Alabama (right in the FFRF’s back yard….) being threatened by the FFRF for what’s known as the prayer caravan. Basically private citizens on their own volition go to each campus during the summer and stand on public outdoor property and pray for the students. How hideous! How vile!
Here is the story:
Yeah that’s it. That’s all they do, yet somehow that’s a violation against the 1st amendment?
Anyway the Superintendent is not caving, is not backing down from these tyrannical atheist bullies, but rather saying, “get over it.” Now that’s what I’m talking about! Stand strong. Yes we are going to be persecuted, and mocked for His namesake, but we are also called to be salt and light. Salt in a wound is not comfortable. Light shined into the darkness hurts people’s eyes at first, but when adjusted to it, that light can grow!
Stand strong when the enemy attacks, don’t back down. Paul, Peter, James, and the others stood strong even unto death. Do I think that’s where we are headed in the near future? No, but if we live with the mindset of, “I’m not backing down” we can do great things for the kingdom.
Just because a document is 2000 years old, should we write it off as inaccurate or altered just because?
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To start off I need to be fair. The reason that I wrote part 1 of this series was out of a response to athiests on twitter and Facebook espousing one thing with their mouth, yet living out a completely separate idea. At its core, this is hypocrisy no ifs, ands, or buts.
Now here’s where I have to be fair. The only reason that I am even able to notice this hypocrisy is not because it’s only on their side of the fence. No in fact quite the opposite. The problem generally occurs on our side of the fence. On one hand we espouse the love of Christ, yet don’t live it out. We talk about one thing and live another. I am not saying Christianity is about being sinless (completely different theological discussion), but it is about keeping the flesh at bay on a daily basis. The second we’ve “beat” the flesh in one aspect of our life, is the second it sneaks in for another chink in our armor. Like Amalek in the OT would attack the weak rear of Moses’ people, our flesh will never rest, never sleep, and never stop fighting for dominance in our life.
That is why we have to be diligent in being the face of Christ, not just the words. What good are empty words without hands and feet?
So yes there is hypocrisy on the side of the atheist, which we will dive in to more next time, but before we can do that we have to make sure our flesh isn’t the one in the captain’s chair. We have to make sure that our flesh isn’t driving our Apologetic either.
Grace and love. That’s what has to come through, or there is no point in even starting the discussion. We aren’t doing Apologetics to win a fight or points, but to lead people to Christ.