Morality

“I’ll never understand atheism. I mean, there’s tons of evidence for God.”

“Like what?”

“Like morality, for instance.”

“Morality.”

“Exactly. Everybody knows that there’s a real right and a real wrong. You can’t just make it up and call it morality. It has to come from God.”

“So in other words, you’re telling me that all moral values come from an unmarried Father, and illegitimate Son, and a guy that got someone else’s fiancée pregnant.”

“Yes, that’s—wait, what?”

 

Gospel Disproof #16: Mt. Sinai and the Burning Bush

One of the differences between fantasy and reality shows up when you have lots of people involved. To demonstrate this, I like to use the illustration of Mt. Sinai and the Burning Bush, from the story of Moses.

Suppose you are looking for the summit of Mt. Sinai, high up in the clouds. And let’s say there are several of you, all starting from different places around the base of the mountain. As each of you gets closer to the summit, what happens? You all draw closer to each other as well. Because the summit actually exists in the real world, you all have a common point of reference, and as each one gets closer to the truth, the group as a whole gets closer to each other, until you all finally arrive at the same point. Mt. Sinai illustrates the way scientists gradually converge on the same truth about the real world, by studying a common reality.

The pursuit of fantasy, by contrast, produces quite a different effect. Because the goal you are pursuing does not exist in the real world, there is no common goal towards which all seekers can progress. Fantasy tends to flow along lines drawn by personal bias, cultural influences, political agendas, and other psychological phenomena that push different people in different directions at different times. The result is that pursuing fantasies tends to lead people away from each other, even if they all start from the same point. To the degree that we all share common psychological traits, we may find common branches in our fantasies, with certain types preferring one form, and other types preferring others. But the overall pattern is that of a bush, that branches and re-branches over time as each new seeker adds his or her own unique and subjective perspective.

Thus, the pursuit of truth, when it is really truth, produces a pattern of discovery like Mt. Sinai, where you can start at different places, and draw closer together over time until you all arrive at the same summit. The pursuit of fantasy, as though it were the truth, produces instead the pattern of the Burning Bush, where believers form branches and diverge from one another, even when starting from a common root.

So what is theology? Is it Mt. Sinai, or is it he Burning Bush? The answer will tell us a lot about the truth of the goal being pursued—if we have ears to hear.

William Lane Craig and free will

Over at the other blog, we’re still working our way through chapter 7 of William Lane Craig’s On Guard. This week, Craig tries to make it sound like the Almighty was forced to impose suffering on mankind, due to circumstances beyond His control. You can read the whole thing if you’re interested, but for this blog I wanted to take a look at just a snippet of his reasoning. According to Craig, the atheist believes human suffering is inconsistent with the existence of God, which necessarily assumes that God could have created any world He wanted, and that a loving God would not have created suffering.

If God is all-powerful, He can create any world that He wants. Is that necessarily true? Well, not if it’s possible that people have free will! It’s logically impossible to make someone do something freely.

How much can Craig get wrong in just four sentences? How many problems do you see?

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Gospel Disproof #15: Liar, Lunatic, or Leafy Green Fruit Plant

[Originally published July 23, 2007]

Apologetics is, by its very nature, an inherently bandwagon-y enterprise, so it’s not too surprising that David Limbaugh, in his foreward to I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST , can’t resist the temptation to toss in his own two denarius’ worth:

As C. S. Lewis observed, if Christ is not God, then he could not have been an exemplary prophet or a great moral teacher, because he claimed to be God. If he was not who he said he was, then he was either a liar or a lunatic, hardly a great moral teacher or prophet.

This is a classic piece of Christian apologetics, and quite widely circulated among Christians. It’s so popular, you’d think there was some substance to it. But is there?

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Superstitious Faith

[Originally published July 30, 2007]

Via Dr. Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge, we have a good example of the “superstitious” apologetic for faith in God:

My relationship with God isn’t based on wishful thinking, it’s based on the fact that I actually am blessed to have a relationship with God. Basically, you must simply dismiss any supernaturally-caused experiences I’ve had or events I’ve witnessed that are reasonably unlikely to occur through sheer chance and coincidence without divine guidance as being simply by-products of a sort of mental illness.

Notice what his “evidence” for God is: “experiences…that are reasonably unlikely to occur through sheer chance.” In other words, his faith isn’t based on God actually showing up in the real world. If he had a genuine real-world manifestation of God, like say a video or audio recording of God preaching, then he’d have it up on YouTube or something so that the rest of us could be edified. But no, nothing like that. His faith is based on his own subjective opinion that some of the things which had happened to him were “reasonably unlikely” to have happened through chance alone.

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Colson on how gays persecute the church

[Originally published July 5, 2008]

The Christian Post brings us this column by Chuck Colson on how the gay rights movement is really just a front for a blatant attempt to persecute Christians for their faith. No, seriously, he’s really saying that.

It is all about equal rights, the gay “marriage” lobby keeps telling us. We just want the right to marry, like everyone else.

That is what they are telling us. But that is not what they mean. If same-sex “marriage” becomes the law of the land, we can expect massive persecution of the Church.

And therefore the oppression of gays must be allowed to continue unopposed.

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New Christian weight loss program

Have you guys heard the story about closet Muslims secretly sacrificing turkeys to Allah? Yeah, apparently if you’re a good, faithful Christian and you want to avoid “creeping Sharia,” you need to boycott most major brands of turkey this Thanksgiving.

Well, seems to me that this could be the basis for a great weight-loss program. I hereby bless all the food in all the stores, markets, restaurant, and refrigerators in America, in the name of Allah, Bismallah-ulRahman wal Rahim.

There, now all true believers can boycott eating entirely. Take that, demon Gluttony.

(Say, “creeping Shariah”—didn’t I used to go to school with her?)

 

Vacation plans

I’ll be out of town over the Thanksgiving weekend—I do have some posts lined up (including the next installment of On Guard, over at the other blog), so the place won’t be completely dead, but my Internet access is likely to be slim to none, so new commenters may have to wait a few days to get their comments approved.

Take care all.

 

Gospel Disproof #14: Sinning for a better tomorrow

Following up on yesterday’s post, have you ever noticed the weird co-dependency between God and evil? As I’ve said previously, if a good God were to exist, the consequences of His existence ought to be good rather than evil. Yet evil does exist, and is widespread. The Christian answer to this contradiction is to suggest that evil is somehow necessary in order to accomplish a greater good. But we don’t even need to look at the specific excuse of “free will” to see that there is something very fishy about this proposed explanation.

Think about it. God is supposedly the only self-existent being. That means the only constraints and necessities are those which are either inherent in His own nature, or else created by God Himself. If sin and evil are going to be necessary in order to do good, that’s a constraint that is either present in God’s nature—i.e. God’s nature is such that it makes sin and evil necessary!—or else God deliberately commanded that good cannot be achieved in the absence of evil. Either way, if evil is necessary, it’s because God makes it necessary.

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Gospel Disproof #13: Knowing Pi

The distinguishing characteristic of rationalization is that it attempts to obscure the difference between truth and falsehood so that we can no longer reliably distinguish between the two. For example, a common Christian apologetic claims that we can never know whether, say, the 9/11 terrorist attacks were inconsistent with the idea of a loving, omnipotent, and omniscient Heavenly Father. God is (supposedly) so much wiser than we are, and knows so much more than we do, that we can never question His wisdom in allowing evil things to happen. Even though it might seem obvious that a good Person would have acted to prevent it, we can never know that God was wrong/negligent to fail to intervene, because God might know something we don’t.

The argument, in other words, is that because of human limitations, we can never know what the right answer is, and therefore we can never say that anyone else’s answer is the wrong one. But that’s a false argument, as we can see by looking at the number pi.

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