Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

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Apologetics Tuesday: Trusting the New Testament

The Rundown

Most of our information about the greatest figure in all of history, Jesus, comes from the New Testament of the Bible. Reading through the New Testament, it is clear that Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. We also see that we are sinners destined for eternity separated from God in a place called Hell. We see that on our own, we will never be good enough to get to heave, but on our own we don’t have to be. Because reading through we see that Jesus took our punishment on His back, died a painful brutal, and bloody death on the cross. The story doesn’t end there though, we see the ultimate triumph over death as Jesus came back to life and ascended to heaven. Through this act of God raising Jesus from the dead, our sin debt has been paid, and we are extended the right to become children of God if we accept Him. The New Testament tells us that if we confess our sins that God will faithfully forgive us and make us clean. We see that all we have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and we will be saved. That if we just confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we will be saved. We will spend eternity in the presence of God in new heavenly bodies in a new heaven and earth.

It also gives us instructions about sharing this message with everyone we come in contact with, as well as living a pure life in all of our interactions.

The news doesn’t get a whole lot better than that to be honest with you.

The real question.

The real question though, as good as all of this sounds, can we actually trust the New Testament? I mean wasn’t it written by man? Hasn’t it been changed over the years? Didn’t Constantine just make whatever books he liked become the New Testament? Don’t we have just copies of copies of copies without any idea of what the original said? Do we even have any credible sources?

All of these questions and more will be answered over the next few Tuesdays. Stay tuned and get ready to have your minds blown by the awesome and powerful story that is our New Testament.

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Apologetics Tuesday:If you don’t like it…redfine it. Part 2

What is Good?

Last week I started a segment called don’t ask it redefined. I started by talking about the idea of nothing, and how popular atheists redefine the word to mean something that is in fact not nothing.

This week were talking about the word good. It seems kind of odd to try to redefine the word good to me whatever you want me, but that’s just with Sam Harris is done. In his book The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris, renowned atheist, has redefine what the word good means.

His argument comes from his acknowledgment that there are in fact absolute objective morals. Things that are right or wrong no matter what people’s opinion of them. Things like murder, rape, and other things are objectively wrong no matter what society says about them. The idea that the Holocaust would still be wrong, would still be evil even if Nazi Germany would’ve won World War II is a clear example of this. Just because society would’ve said the killing 6 million Jews would be right, it would still be wrong. Sam Harris acknowledges the fact that there are objective morals yet wants to find a basis for them other than God. As an atheist he rules out God for the grounding of morality before he even starts. He wants to try to find a basis for morality in the world we live in on strict naturalism. The problem is there is no ground for morality in that naturalism. If he were right, and naturalism is true, then we would be just molecules in motion. Murder and rape wouldn’t be any more wrong than a lion killing another animal.

Apologist’s Response

Here is what Dr. William Lane Craig says about Harris’ redefinition of the word “good”

So, he says, “Questions about values … are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.”13 Therefore, he concludes, “It makes no sense … to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.”14 Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It is simply a tautology — talking in a circle. Thus, Harris has “solved” his problem simply by redefining his terms. It is mere word play.

At the end of the day Harris is not really talking about moral values. He is just talking about what’s conducive to the flourishing of sentient life on this planet. Seen in this light, his claim that science can tell us a great deal about what contributes to human flourishing is hardly controversial. Of course, it can — just as it can tell us what is conducive to the flourishing of corn or mosquitoes or bacteria. His so-called “moral landscape” picturing the highs and lows of human flourishing is not really a moral landscape at all
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/navigating-sam-harris-the-moral-landscape#ixzz2BO3AJdDR

So Harris in his attempt to tell you that without God there is a reason to be good, fails miserably. His “success” comes from his redefinition of the word “good”

Have you heard people redefine Good?

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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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