Posts Tagged by miracles

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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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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5 Greatest Challenges to Christianity that Apologetics Can’t Answer – Part 1

I have been involved in apologetics for more than fifteen years, coming in almost literally the moment after Al Gore invented the Internet. The following represents some conclusions I’ve drawn during this time. To be clear, when I say the ‘Five Greatest Challenges to Christianity’ I do not mean it as, ‘here are five great challenges among others.’ What I mean is, THESE. ARE. THE. FIVE. GREATEST. CHALLENGES. I do not suggest that they are all that new. I do propose, however, that apologetics has no answer to them. Is that a surrender by a Christian apologist? Let’s find out.

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Another V Reaction as a Christian apologist

The beginning of the episode starts off with a Catholic priest taking confession from one person after another that has been knocked around a bit by the implications of the arrival of Visitors from space. Their faith has been rattled, for example. Or, they are impressed by the ‘miracle cures’ that the Visitors are able to perform. I have already touched on this in my two previous posts but I’d like to approach it again from a different angle.

Is it really the case that space Visitors will serve as a stumbling block to faith in God? I contend that we cannot actually know that until they arrive (if they exist and if they come) and that our speculations in the meantime are inferences from what we already believe about reality.

In light of the Visitor’s ability to perform miracle cures, I would like to reflect on a quote common in atheistic thought (If I recall correctly, even Dawkins cites it in his Delusion). Arthur Clark said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

This sort of feeds into chronological snobbery of our modern age (and perhaps some past ages) which tries to dismiss the views and experiences of those in the past as being from an “ignorant gaggle of Bronze age fishermen and peripatetic, militant, marauding, murdering, genocidal goat-herders.”

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Some More Thoughts on ABC’s Visitors

So ABC’s “V” was on again tonight. I enjoyed it. It lacked the same punch as the first episode but I still liked it. It seems a little hurried to me. Maybe there are too many commercials? I’ve seen other hour long shows that seemed to really carry a narrative so I know its possible. I can’t put my finger on it with “V” but it isn’t enough (yet) to push me away from future viewings.

In my previous post, I hoped that I would see some metaphysical conversation. Perhaps its too early in the series, but there wasn’t much in that regards. Ie, unlike the first episode, this one seemed to lack substance. It still got me thinking anyway. I will now outline some of those thoughts.

The visual effects are far superior to the previous incarnation of the series. Indeed, far superior to any show from the 80’s and earlier. The miracle of CGI!

But isn’t it interesting that we are able to recognize that just because the space ships we see hovering over American cities in this show, despite their incredible life like detail, are fictional? This uncanny ability (most) people have is interesting given our “Seeing is believing” society. There is a great deal on television, movie, and computer screens that appears to be absolutely real. Yet, we know it isn’t.

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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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The Regularity of Natural Laws is a Pre-Condition for Reliably Detecting God

So, far from being evidence for atheism and far from supporting a presumption of naturalism, the observed patterns of the universe are the pre-requisite, the minimal requirement, for reliably detecting a supernatural agent, namely God. That doesn’t mean that there is a God. It doesn’t mean we have to believe every report of a violation of the laws of nature that we hear. It does mean that we can’t dismiss them out of hand if the very point of our investigation is to decide if there is a God, for it is precisely such accounts- and only these kinds of accounts- that could allow us to reliably determine that there is a God.

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