Category: theology

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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On Embryos and Babies and Octuplets

My blog is racking up some nice numbers lately and much of that can be credited to a recent post about the California Octuplets. I’d like to make some clarifications.

In the first place, I stand by my general assessment that as Christians and pro-lifers, since we believe embryos are real persons, the Octuplet outcome is much better than the alternative, which of course is death.

While it is true that the mother in this case probably doesn’t deserve charity, again, as pro-lifers our concern isn’t exclusively for the mother, but also for the children. It is difficult to understand why they don’t deserve charity. They are in this world and so we should care for them. Let the secularists say, “They cost the state 1.3 million dollars, so screw them!” That option is not available to us.

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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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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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Atheists strain to demostrate my description of them is not a strawman

We knew it was coming: the accusation that my paraphrase was a strawman.

Indeed, virtually every aspect of my ‘paraphrase’ was reflected in the answers that spewed forth, from the hypersensitivity to perceived insults “lay off the ridicule” “that’s just arrogance” while barbs are flying from their own side “are you just some smart a– 12 year old kid who got a certificate in your local church “Defense of Christianity” Sunday School Class?” to the random ‘catch-all’ argument that proves atheism right, the smug reference to ‘ancient books’ such as “You base your thought process on a 1900+ year old set of desert scribblings.” Throw in the knee jerk attempt to force the theist to argue in the terms that the atheist himself is dictating, not the terms the theist is actually presenting, “what in the world does bible god have to do with the Big Bang?!? It is not in your bible, stop trying to hijack the BB theory and pretend that your god caused it.” Let’s not forget the constant ‘rebuttals’ that in fact we ‘don’t know’ and ‘can’t know’ from people who apparently are atheists, and not agnostics.

All these are variations of my paraphrasing.

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A Conversation on Final Regress and First Causes

I recently had a conversation with some gents that I thought I would paraphrase for my blog. I think I’ve had the same kind of conversation a dozen times in the last three months. I have combined all the conversations into one paraphrase. Enjoy.

Them: We believe science is the only way to learn about the world and religion is just faith-mongering superstition. There is no scientific basis for believing in the existence of God. Belief is just irrationalism. I know what you’re going to say. That there had to be something that has always existed. Why not the universe?

Me: Well, science says that the universe had a beginning. So I guess the universe can’t be the thing that has always existed. Surely that means we can explore other options.

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Herr Professor Strikes Back: atheist Deacon Duncan takes issue with my arguments

I noticed the other day that someone had taken the time to respond at length to my post discussing trancendence, immanence, logic and superlogic. Then I woke up this morning to find out he had posted again on it! Herr Professor, this is just too much! 🙂 Herr Professor, now going by Deacon Duncan, knows that I prefer to have extended discussions on my discussion forum but he has sufficiently stroked my ego that I think a post or two is warranted. It is not every day that I am described as smart and sophisticated and that my arguments are clever. However, since the Professor already is two posts ahead of me he will have to be patient as I catch up. Below is part one. Please read this to the very end, or not at all.

For this entry I am responding mainly to his first article, ‘Can God do Nonsense?’

From the start, I’d like to point out that H. Professor admitted one of my contentions as reasonable. I had argued that an evaluation of God’s ‘omni’ nature doesn’t require that he performs nonsensical demands, like making a rock he cannot lift. I said that even atheists can accept this, and H. Professor did.

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Should Christian Parents Encourage Children to Believe in Santa Claus?

So, you see that despite my own counsel I’ve found that in my household it had to be toned down a little bit. But I think this is telling, as well. The fact is that humans love Myth, they love the fantastic, and they eagerly wish that there was a flying gift giving Santa Claus- as well as pixies, faeries, and superheroes with superpowers. This is an indication about the true nature of humanity, to be repressed at our own peril. In fact, I think its safe to say that the natural tendency is to believe in the fantastic and it requires persistent stomping by adult cynics to get rid of- if it can be gotten rid of at all, which I am not convinced is possible. Even atheists love Myth, so much so that besides enjoying many of the great myths of our time… Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Dune, etc, they’ve created a few of their own.

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Transcendence and Immanence, Logic and Superlogic- and Sublogic

Orthodox Christianity holds that God is both a transcendent entity and immanent. If you understand what Christians propose to be true about God, you understand why both attributes follow necessarily. All religions boil down to some expression of one of these two attributes, usually to the exclusion of one to the other. Deism, for example, emphasizes transcendence and despises immanence. Various forms of paganism emphasize immanence, that is they identify ‘God’ with the universe and reject that there is a God ‘outside’ it. Even atheism takes a position here: naturalism is just another variation on immanence and ‘God’ is just another label for the ‘universe.’

Christianity insists that God is both transcendent and immanent.

At any rate, there are some implications of this and I think it would be helpful to understand some arguments regarding Christian theism. I can begin with by trotting out the old ‘Can God create a rock that he cannot lift or move?’ line. The contention is that if God is all powerful he should be able to do this but in doing so he would simultaneously undermine his own omnipotence. Most of the time this is answered by pointing out that some statements are just nonsense and God’s omni-characteristics do not require him to be able to achieve the nonsensical. To understand how this is nonsensical we might take on the next line in this attack, “Can God make a round square?” We see in this case that what is involved is simply definitional. If round is properly and consistently defined and asked to apply to a square, also properly and consistently defined, then the request is nonsensical. Something doesn’t become reasonable just because you insert ‘Can God’ in front of it.

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Santa Claus is Real and so is Jesus

Christian apologists are constantly asking skeptics and genuine seekers to hold to the question of God and Jesus the same standards of evidence they hold anything else. The question of Jesus being also a question of history, we are satisfied if non-biased standards of historical research were employed. Usually, it is the skeptics employing ad hoc standards based on priorly held beliefs about reality.

On this basis then, we see that one cannot dismiss the idea that there was really a man named St. Nicholas just because 350 years separates him from the (current) best sources. On that reasoning we’d have to ditch much of what we know about a great many historical figures, including big ones like Alexander the Great. So, let it be agreed: Santa Claus existed; it is a fact of history.

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The Gospel According to the Movie Toy Story: YOU. ARE. A. TOY!

That the movies end with the toys coming to terms with the fact that they are toys and finding immense satisfaction in their created purpose is one of those wholesome lessons that proves that however much Hollywood and secular humanists try, theological messages resonate. (See also Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty)

So, are we toys?

We don’t like to think so. We would like to think that if we merely declared that we were completely independent and autonomous from any creator it would be so. We would like to think that assigning ourselves whatever value we like means that we really have that value. There is the theory and then there is the reality.

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Praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui …

You may have arrived here searching out this Latin phrase from my book, Fidelis, the first in my Birth Pangs series.  If not, you might want to consider picking up said books! “Praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui…”Or, in some translations I’ve seen, “Faith supplies what the senses cannot…” But I am no Latin scholar. We […]

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Why Christianity is Different

There are a lot of people out there that think that religions are all the same, and a large number of those people are Christians themselves.  The idea is that there really isn’t any true explanation out there, and anyway, it would be rude, or arrogant, to say that you’ve got it, even if you […]

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