Category: theism

Christian Self-Interest the Key to Environmentalism?

I discovered today that a post a couple of weeks ago about Christians and the environment popped up on a Christian environmentalist blog. My post was ‘Shouldn’t Christians Care about the Environment?” and the brief response (if it was a response at all) was called ‘Self-interest makes Christians better ecologists.’

I actually couldn’t tell from the entry whether or not the blogger agreed or disagreed with my post. There is only one sentence: “Anthony suggests that the reason Christians make better ecologists is that they put people first.”

This isn’t much to go on but there was still something about it that compelled me to reply.

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How many guards at Jesus’ tomb?

If I were to ask you how many guards were at Jesus’ tomb after he was placed there after he was crucified, you would instinctively say ‘Two.’ When I was teaching New Testament that was in fact the common answer. And who can blame anyone? Look at the art and presentation of the Easter story.

Now, the text definitely makes it clear that there were more than two guards. This is clear enough from a reading of Matthew 28 which says that ‘some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests [what] had happened.’ Clearly, ‘some’ of the guards means that others remained while others- not “one of the guards'” but “some of the guards” went into the city. For this to work it seems to me you’d need at least four guards. If these are in fact Roman guards, then four is in fact the minimum that protocol would dictate, with each man taking three hours out of the night.

If pressed, I personally suspect that thirty to fifty guards were present but even if there were only sixteen it is virtually impossible that they all fell asleep and they all failed to notice a bunch of disciples slinking about, clawing at a honking big tombstone, and then extracting the body. We are talking about Roman soldiers here, after all.

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Scientism: The Atheist’s Religion of Faith

In light of what I have said above it may come as a surprise that I have a very high view of science. But it’s true. I believe that you need the right tool for the job and in many cases that tool is empirical scrutiny. But other jobs require other tools and no hemming and hawwing will change that. For some jobs a hammer, for others a screwdriver and others, pliers. You may have found that sometimes one gets lucky- a screwdriver is best for screws but at last resort a hammer did the trick. But try changing your lightbulb with a hammer and tell me how that goes. 😉

Let the hammer pound nails and the screwdriver drive screws and air compressor pump up the tire: the right tool for the job, and be wary of anyone who insists on using just one tool for all jobs, and watch out especially if they don’t want anyone looking over their shoulder while they are ‘at work’ and even berate you for suggesting other approaches.

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Connecting the dots between unbelief and abortion

These types of considerations drive me to paint a different picture of the current situation in America on the subject of abortion than normally presented. What if aiming at passage of pro-life legislation is only a small component of the solution? What if aiming to persuade people to a pro-life position is aiming too low? What if in fact we Christians should be focusing on creating more Christians and retaining the ones we’ve got?

A Christian does not believe, like the atheist, that he is god. A Christian understands that he is the product of a Creator and that Creator has the right and privilege of defining right and wrong and defining ‘personhood.’ A Christian knows that he cannot dispense with another person because it is inconvenient to someone or to a nation. All this comes in automatically once one adopts the Christian worldview. Even Christians who vote pro-choice don’t generally approve of abortion, generally, and would like it reduced.

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Christianity and UFOs and Space Aliens, an Apologist’s Perpective

What I really wanted to address was the ramifications and implications of discovering conclusive proof of an extraterrestial intelligent agent relative to Christian theism.

Already you should be chuckling, because if the atheists are to be believed, it is not scientifically possible to reliably detect intelligent agency. Intelligent Design, we are assured, is pseudoscience at best and closet creationism at worst. On this view I suppose space aliens could land in Richard Dawkins lap at which time they begin wheeling out some of their rumored probes, and Mr. Dawkins would be unable to recognize that something out of the ordinary was happening. Anyway, as funny and as fun as that thought is, I have no doubt that hard core philosophical naturalists will have little trouble ‘reliably detecting intelligent design’ when the chips are down.

I think this is because they will expect these little green critters with big skulls to support them in their atheistic worldview. But I think that will be the atheist’s undoing. They would have been safer denying that a sentient being is conversing with them because what that sentient being actually says might compromise the atheist’s philosophical foundations.

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Review of Keysor’s Hitler, Holocaust, and Bible

Due out on Hitler’s birthday (April 20th, 2009), Joe Keysor’s book, Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible: A Scriptural Analysis of Anti-Semitism, National Socialism, and the Churches in Nazi Germany is an important book counteracting the growing clamor that Christianity was the driving ideology behind Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. It is very important- for obvious reasons- for secular humanists and atheists to show that brutal tyrants were not operating on their principles but rather on Christian principles. In some cases such as Mao and Pol Pot the operation cannot even be attempted. In others, such as Lenin and Stalin, more headway is made. In Hitler, secularists consider the matter a slam dunk.

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Would an atheist be happy in hell? Cue the Twilight Zone Theme Song…

So you see, either way you go, either rejecting the existence of the Christian God or accepting it, the atheist possesses some sort of moral standard by which to measure the conduct of God and the terms he lays out. But I find this all very ironic. After all, the whole point of disgust has to do with people being eternally punished by God and how unfair and indecent that is but when it is pointed out that the Bible further describes this eternal punishment as an eternal separation from God (relationally), shut out from his presence forever, they are not satiated? I mean, isn’t that what they wanted? If God turns out to be real and they hate him so much don’t they actually want there to be something like ‘hell’ where God will leave them to their own devices?

Yes it is. Here you see one of those classic “there is no pleasing them” scenarios. Even if there is a God they don’t like him and would rather in that case spend eternity separate from him, but when that actual opportunity is presented to them from the same texts they reject God as being unloving and Christianity (and religion in general) as fear mongering. Dudes. You’re getting what you want. Why complain?

Of course, we Christians understand that getting what you want isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

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Online Presentation on the Demise of Christianity

Below I have the ‘video’ of my online presentation on the ‘death of Christianity.’ I have been developing a line of thought and the corresponding presentation for about a year. I adapted by presentation for the uniquness of this format. My adaptations reflected the fact that it was a virtual presentation, that it was predominantly a ‘professional’ church work Christian audience, and that it was predominantly a Lutheran Christian audience. Also, the outline of my presentation (unadapted) is about 45 mins, here I only had 30 mins to work with.

I am hosting the video on my ministry’s new Christian file sharing service, emphasizing apologetics videos. The site is www.apologeticsvideos.net. At this time, I am allowing anyone to post apologetics related videos so if you have got them feel free to upload them. (The chief advantage is that there is no time limit on a video. There is, however, a 100mb file size limit)

With no further ado, here is the video of the presentation:

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Creationists Lurking Around Every Corner

Mr. Morris is a Christian, but he is also an evolutionist. Like another famous Christian and evolutionist, Francis Collins, Mr. Morris is fiercely set against Intelligent Design. And why? There is nothing inherent to Intelligent Design to overthrow evolution (Many if not most IDers embrace evolution, just not unguided evolution). And everyone, with the exception of a few hard boiled atheists like Dawkins, concede that evolution doesn’t preclude the existence of God. So what’s your problem with Intelligent Design?

My gut says that the problem is that the Intelligent Designers have been labeled- and dismissed- as closet creationists and as there is no insult worse than to be called a creationist, one must run far away from anything that smacks of the term if one wants to be considered credible, both inside and outside of the scientific community.

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Human Rights Without God?

Atheists and secular humanists quite obviously argue that we humans are all alone and that humans themselves determine their worth, their value, their ‘intrinsic’ dignity. The problems with this ought to be self-evident but atheists are crafty folks. History reveals clearly that humans can change their minds about the ‘worth,’ ‘value,’ and ‘rights’ of humans (usually other humans). For example, the Nazis depersonalized the Jews with consequences I need not expand on. Atheistic communist regimes depersonalized dissidents and capitalists with consequences I need not expand on. The atheistic apologetic on the point is that actually this goes to show the dangers of ‘religion.’ For, you see, anyone who ever does anything nasty, no matter what their ideology, is, by definition, acting religiously. In this way, atheists can always keep their hands clean.

However, it misses the point. The fundamental point has to do with our basis for decrying what the Nazis and communists did. If humans themselves are the sole and final arbiters for determining and dictating human value then no one can complain about what humans decide. Oh sure, the do complain. But in doing so they betray the inconsistency of their position.

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Apologetics Videos File Sharing Service

I am hereby issuing an open invitation to Christian apologists to upload their video content to my new site: http://www.apologeticsvideos.net

One of my chief goals in starting this site was to meet some of my own video sharing needs- namely, Youtube’s 10 minute video limit was killing me. 🙂

Henceforth, I will post all of my videos to Apologeticsvideos.net and if they are lucky enough to be under 10 minutes long, I will also upload them to Youtube.com.

Some questions you may be having:

Q. Can Christians other than Christian apologists post videos?

A. Sure.

Q. Can atheists and nonChristians post videos?

A. Um. At this point I am going to tentatively say yes, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Q. Can content be uploaded that has nothing to do with religion, philosophy, Christianity, etc, like for example using Mentos to blow up innocent pop bottles?

A. No. At least make some effort, even if scant and in passing, to make sure the content ‘fits’ the site.

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Literary Apologetics Key to Turning the Tide

Christians are not losing on facts, argument, logic, evidence, and reasoning. We are losing because we are not effectively transmitting the faith to the next generations and probably haven’t been doing so for some time. With more nonChristians in society, logically enough, this is manifested in pop culture. Fixing how we pass on the faith is one of the most important things Christians must do. With more informed and grounded Christians in pop culture, this will have its logical effect.

The second thing is we have to fight fire with fire. The author of the ChristianityToday article doesn’t make this point and I am at a loss as to why not. He does say, correctly:

“…the church needs to broaden its apologetics work to include serious analysis of and response to popular culture, now our most potent form of religious persuasion.

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Should you care about the question of God’s existence?

All in all it was an interesting exchange. I thought his explanation for his disbelief confirmed what I’ve been saying for some time about the church actually creating atheists. In fact, let me take a minute to single out a correspondent from a church in Indiana- is that specific enough?- who recently complained about my ‘law’ posts attacking the state of the church and how we are transmitting the faith and just ask him: do you ever even talk to people who are not Christian? It must be nice to operate in a little bubble where you figured you did your job after you confirmed all the kids in your youth group but then 48 out of 50 of them fall away in college- and you hardly are aware and are happily willing to go on doing everything the same way you’ve always done it. Meanwhile, we apologists strive to clean up the mess. It is a mess made worse, often, I think, then if they had never been raised in the faith at all. (Matthew 12:43-45) Yes, if it’s law, it is a law message that you need to hear.

But I digress.

The conversation I had last night raised a number of lines of thoughts for me

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New Pro-Life Book Aims to Persuade Parents of Disabled to Reject Abortion

We chose life.

Our daughter is almost two years old now and I can testify that the joy she brings completely overwhelms the troubles associated with her condition. (Like Heaven triumphs over Hell, ala Lewis’s The Great Divorce) And really, how different is this from any other non-disabled child? All children bring troubles- but we have them anyway. A disabled child might have more troubles- or they might not, rather, the troubles are of a different sort. But the joys outweigh the troubles out of proportion. More troubles equals more joys. See the parable of the Prodigal Son.

With this experience in mind and wishing that I could do something to persuade others to make the same choice that my wife and I did, I have written a book, and it is now available for purchase.

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