Posts Tagged by Faith

A Defense of Antony Flew’s “There is a God” from his Own Letters

A Defense of the Integrity of Antony Flew’s “There is a God” From His Own Letters

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Several years ago, word came out that Antony Flew had rejected his atheism. What he accepted was in doubt and in dispute. In a conversation with Dr. Gary Habermas, I was informed that Flew was very disappointed with the introduction to “God and Philosophy” which was to have addressed his views. Concerned that Flew might die before he had a chance to set the record straight, I asked for and received Flew’s mailing address. I contacted him, urging him to settle things. To my surprise, he replied…

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Arguing about the morality of a thing with an atheist is pointless

In my view, it is pointless to debate the morality of anything with an atheist until he is willing to admit that moral assessments imply the existence of the immaterial and transcendental realities that must exist if those assessments reflect anything more than one’s favorite flavor of ice cream.

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Demanding Extraordinary Evidence for Extraordinary Claims Can Render You an Extraordinary Dupe

if one applies a higher standard of inquiry against claims that they might deem extraordinary, then claims they find to be ordinary will ordinarily be accepted- without demonstration at all. Here again we see skepticism turned on its head: the skeptic is not skeptical about the things he is prepared already to believe. It is only the things he deems unlikely that he is skeptical about- God alone knows how the skeptic determined something was ‘unlikely.’

It is a fact of human nature, I think, to quickly accept things that one is already prepared to accept. If I am told tomorrow that some Democrat in high office has failed to pay his taxes- again- I will pretty much accept it as a fact because I have become accustomed to Democrats doing such things (eg here, here, here, and here). We should expect nothing less from the people who believe that we should all pay higher taxes; by ‘we all’ it is known they mean us all. I am prepared to believe it as a pretty ordinary claim in the realm of things and therefore will demand very little evidence to support it. So you see, I am not exempting myself from this human tendency.

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Recording of this Tuesday’s Debate on Faith, Evidence, Atheism, Rob Bell, and Hell

At the last ‘Knights of Contention’ discussion this last Tuesday we began by talking about faith, evidence, atheism, and Christianity, of course and ended up talking about Rob Bell and hell.  Naturally.  🙂 Here is a link for viewing that discussion.  It was about 2 1/2 hours long. There will not be a discussion the […]

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Knights of Contention: Do Christians Believe In Spite of the Evidence?

This ministry hosts a regular online round table discussing matters of substance and controversy.  Christians and NonChristians are invited but it is not necessarily an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate.  Past topics have included matters of controversy only amongst Christians and due to the flexibility of the discussion, topics can change on a dime. UPDATE:  With […]

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Knights of Contention Debate: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?

This ministry hosts a regular online round table discussing matters of substance and controversy.  Christians and NonChristians are invited but it is not necessarily an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate.  Past topics have included matters of controversy only amongst Christians and due to the flexibility of the discussion, topics can change on a dime. The next […]

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Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte by Richard Whately against David Hume and Skepticism

Over the last three hundred years unbounded skepticism has been applied to religion and Christianity especially. Atheist philosopher David Hume was one of the prominent voices calling for stringent criteria in evaluating miracle claims, and the like. Not everyone thought very highly of this criteria. One such person was the Reverend Richard Whately, who skewers Hume’s reasoning by showing how if it were applied consistently, one could not be reasonably certain that Napoleon existed- a public figure that was said to be alive and roaming Europe even as he spoke!

This playful little book is not a treatise by any means, but it provides a glimpse into the conversations of the 1800s and challenges the ‘enlightened’ skeptics to decide: If they won’t apply their principles thoroughly and consistently, but choose only to apply them to certain claims (and how did they choose which ones?), are those principles worth their salt?

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Reader’s Guide to “Richard Dawkins Goes to Heaven.”

Third in a series of reader’s guides for my short story collection, “Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and Mother Teresa Go to Heaven.”  This one is for the Richard Dawkins story primarily, but may be applicable to the others.  For more details, see previous posts. How Not to Read Imaginative Literature What follows is an extreme […]

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Knights of Contention: Challenges Apologetics Can’t Answer

Tonight, Feb 22nd, at 9:30 p.m. CST we will host our next semi-regular “Knights of Contention” online discussion using voice, video, and chat.

The topic: The 5 Challenges Apologetics Can’t Answer.

Due to the wide scope, this conversation can go anywhere. I have summarized the 5 challenges below with links to each of the 3 parts in which I have detailed them.

To learn more about the “Knights of Contention” click here.

Direct link to the discussion: http://connectpro58388802.na5.acrobat.com/knightcon/

5 Challenges, with summaries

What they all have in common: the belief, or acting as though one believes, that Christianity isn’t actually real. It’s just one’s private faith. No correspondence to reality exists, or is expected. ‘Apologetics’ can’t answer them because they have more to do with attitude or obedience than facts and evidence.

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5 Challenges to Christianity Apologetics Can’t Answer Part 3

If you were looking for a thread that ties all five of these challenges together, it is this: the general view, even among Christians, that there is no objective reality to the areas under dispute. That is, we are all arguing about our own opinions, nothing more. It’s like sitting around having an argument about one’s favorite flavor of ice cream. As such an argument is roundly seen as absurd (and I would agree). Thus- even within the Church- the highest transgression is presenting your favorite ice cream flavor as the absolute best. Now this, paradoxically, I have said is something that apologetics can treat (after saying in 3 parts that it can’t. 😉 ), but read carefully on how precisely.

This is attitude that everything is just subjective is manifested most clearly and dramatically in regards to the marriage and the family. To help understand why, let me provide some anecdotal illustrations.

For example, no doubt many of my readers will be aware of the argument against those who oppose gay marriage that if these people really cherished marriage, they wouldn’t themselves support divorce or have the same level of divorces as those outside that community. I am not here highlighting the apparent hypocrisy involved. I’m talking about something else. Another illustration will perhaps help: “Why won’t God heal Amputees?” You see the argument now: if there is a God, surely he would want to heal people, including amputees. The same reasoning undergirds the absurd but common perception among atheists that a praying people will be healthier, or that in an experiment where one group is prayed for but the other group that isn’t, the group prayed for should show better health. (C. S. Lewis exposed this type of experiment as deeply flawed- who in good conscience, if they cared for the sick people would abstain from praying for one group just to prove a point?!?!?)

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Blind Faith is not Christian Faith

Richard Dawkins, among many others, have contended that ‘faith’ is believing what you know isn’t true. Less severe, but equally inaccurate, is the view that faith is a thing completely apart from evidence, or even in spite of the evidence. This view isn’t restricted to atheists. Unfortunately, many Christians themselves take that view. It is unfortunate because it is not true, it is not how the Scriptures actually present it, and it takes Christians out of discussions they should be involved in.

The simplest way to put it that would be accurate would be to understand ‘faith’ as including, front and center, the idea of ‘trust.’

Christian faith is not merely the confident belief that certain propositions are true. It isn’t even the confident belief that a God exists. The Scriptures forbid such a narrow understanding: “So you believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” James 2:19

Another passage puts it in better context: “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he awards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Real Christian faith includes and transcends beliefs in propositions and speaks to the trust that we have in God and our reliance on his nature (ie, most prominently, his goodness).

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Barna Reflects on 6 ‘Megathemes’ Killing the Church

HT Lenny Esposito Not too long ago I created a website called The Death of Christianity.  Its intent was to distill into one place my thoughts regarding the crisis facing the church today.    These thoughts have developed after almost 20 years of Christian apologetics, but I bring to bear numerous studies to show that my […]

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Tonight’s Knights of Contention: Are Lutherans Christian? What about Catholics, Baptists, and Cats?

Tonight, Nov. 9 2011, I’ll be hosting our third “Knights of Contention” real time streaming audio/visual debate. Direct link to the ‘debate hall.’

There is no requirement that you actually speak. You will want speakers to hear any conversation. You will want a microphone if you want to dialog via voice. A webcam is ok, too, but not required.

Tonight’s topic: Just what is a Christian? Are Lutherans Christian? Are Catholics Christian? What about Baptists, atheists, or cats?

This will be the initial topic but its pretty fluid and informal and who knows where we’ll end up.

Previous Knights of Contention posts can be found browsing the archive of this blog.

For further reading on how I will be approaching this topic, you may consider these blog entries of old:

Christians United on Core Beliefs

Defining ‘Christianity’ Propositionally

I will be alluding to Bertrand Russell to begin with (as I did in the propositionally blog entry above) and his essay, “Why I am Not a Christian.”

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Reflections on culture, evangelism, and apologetics

I’ve been thinking about the culture wars lately. I have a real problem with Christians who seem to be driving for a change in the culture just for the sake of having a ‘holy’ culture. I think we’d have to call that a legalistic culture. I believe that the Christian church should be about something more than creating white-washed tombs.

On the other hand, the nature of ‘culture’ is that it perpetuates itself, feeds itself, fuels itself. The culture is the air we breathe and the water in which we swim. It has the ability to mold us into its image, and once so molded, we mold others in that same image. Resistance isn’t exactly futile, but it is difficult. Conformity to the culture is the path of least resistance. It would behoove us, therefore, to ensure that the culture is not toxic. If the culture is healthy, the path of least resistance will more likely result in healthy beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

You all will have experienced this. I remember when I worked construction for awhile. After just a month or so, I found myself talking like those guys.

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