The complete schedule of Dawkins’ non-appearances

William Lane Craig is really hyping Richard Dawkins’ refusal to debate him on-stage in Oxford. But, as Dr. Dawkins himself points out, this is not just Craig’s, um, “victory.”

In the interests of transparency, I should point out that it isn’t only Oxford that won’t see me on the night Craig proposes to debate me in absentia: you can also see me not appear in Cambridge, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, if time allows, Bristol.

I’m sure that believers ought to be able to find any number of opportunistic evangelists, in each of those cities, to stand up and boldly declare that they’ve out-argued the famous biologist on that night. Could be the most “successful” night apologetics has had in nearly 2,000 years.

And just by the way, is William Lane Craig as afraid to debate John Loftus as he pretends Dawkins is?

Godless govt. prevents Biblical justice

Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the Dallas First Baptist Church, turns to the Bible for advice in how to deal with Harold Camping and his failed end-times prophecies.

Jeffress confirmed with The Christian Post on Thursday that he is still condemning Camping.

“The Bible says that if someone makes a prophecy that doesn’t come true he is to be considered a false prophet and stoned to death,” he told CP. “Harold Camping has made at least three false prophecies about the day of the Rapture. And so, if he’s not going to be stoned to death, he at least needs to be muzzled.”

Yeah, it must be really frustrating for a Bible-believing Christian to live in a godless nation that won’t even let you carry out Biblical commandments on how to treat your fellow Christians.

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Leibniz’ proof of Alethian deity

Our friend from last Monday, the “brick through the window” guy, has taken me to task for getting Leibniz’ cosmological argument wrong (though he’s really blaming William Lane Craig, who made the argument I was critiquing).

You (Craig?) misrepresent the Leibnizian cosmological argument. It should be summarized as follows (taken from Alexander Pruss’ chapter in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology):

(1) Every contingent fact has an explanation.
(2) There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingent facts.
(3) Therefore, there is an explanation of this fact.
(4) This explanation must involve a necessary being.
(5) This necessary being is God.

The cool thing about being an Alethian is that Christian philosophers have a habit of setting out to prove the existence of God, and end up proving the existence of Alethea instead. Take Anselm’s ontological proof, by which he attempts to prove God’s existence by calling Him “something than which nothing greater can be imagined.”

And certainly that than which a greater cannot be imagined cannot be in the understanding alone. For if it is at least in the understanding alone, it can be imagined to be in reality too, which is greater.

Did you catch that inadvertent reference to Alethea? Alethea is just another name for Reality, and in order for God to be real, He must exist “in Reality.” Reality is therefore greater than God, or at least the Christian God, because if God were real, then Alethea would comprise all that God is, PLUS all real things that are not God. The Christian God, therefore, is not “something than which nothing greater can be imagined,” but rather Alethea is.

Isn’t that awesome? Anselm, in trying to prove his God, ended up proving mine instead. And Leibniz does the same thing, without meaning to.

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God’s “simple” mind

The “brick through a window” guy from last Monday has got me thinking some more about William Lane Craig’s rendition of Leibniz’ cosmological argument. Here’s what Craig has to say about God.

 As a pure mind without a body, God is a remarkably simple entity. A mind (or soul) is not a physical object composed of parts… Certainly such a mind may have complex ideas…but the mind itself is remarkably simple.

The more I think about it, the more I think he’s right about God’s simple mind.

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Physics and Philosophy

Over at the other blog, my coverage of William Lane Craig’s cosmological arguments has attracted the attention of a commenter whose URL is biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com. He has at least one comment on each of my posts starting with the one I published three weeks ago, and part of his first comment is this:

I see no reason to believe that the cause must occur before the effect. For example, if I throw a brick through a window, the brick does not pass through the window before the window breaks. At the precise moment the window breaks the brick is acting upon the window. Cause and effect are simultaneous.

He’s responding to my argument that time (and thus the material universe of space-time) must exist before cause and effect is possible, because cause and effect exist in a chronological order, and the cause has to happen before the effect. I know what I want to say in response, but perhaps some of you who know subatomic physics could comment on whether or not I’m on the right track.

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Christians risk reprisals for gay marriage support

You so often see stories about Christians trying to rob gays of their human and civil rights that it’s remarkable and refreshing to see a story like this one.

On Monday a group of United Methodists from New York and Connecticut will release a list of pastors who plan to perform weddings for homosexual couples despite the denomination’s ban on gay marriage.

The We do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality project consists of 161 clergy members, 703 lay people and six congregations representing 67 United Methodist congregations who will risk their standing and jobs with the church by announcing their support for equal rights for the LGBT community.

Credit where credit is due.

Finding God’s will

This parable is about a bank manager, a good Christian man, who discovered one day that his bank had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars through a combination of negligence and mismanagement. Even worse, it was entirely and exclusively his fault. What was he going to do?

He remembered the story of Gideon and the fleece, and decided to pray for God’s guidance. That night, in bed, he quietly prayed, “O Lord, if you want me to turn myself in and take the consequences, please let the dew be heavy on the ground tomorrow, but if you’ll forgive me for hiding my mistakes and if you’ll bless me in undoing the damage, then please let the ground be dry.”

In the morning he got up, and the ground was saturated: every blade of grass was covered with heavy droplets, and so much was dripping off the trees it looked like it was raining in the shade. So he looked around, and frowned and thought, and went to work, but didn’t say anything to anyone about what was going on.

That night he came home and decided to try again. “O God,” he prayed, “if you want me to give up and disgrace my family and destroy my career, then please let the ground be dry tomorrow, but if you’ll help me pull this off and make things right again, then let there be more dew.”

Next morning he got up, and everything was dry as old bones, and the grass actually made a slight crinkly sound when you walked on it. So he frowned, and thought, and went to work, but didn’t tell anyone anything.

That night he decided to try one more time. “Merciful Lord and Savior,” he prayed, “if you want me to cause a major banking crisis and risk financial panic, besides devastating my family and leaving me with no way to support my children, then please let it be wet only on my side of the street, and dry on the other; but if you will help me get through this without anyone finding out, then let it be a quiet morning. Amen”

The next morning he was awakened by a huge crack of thunder, and he jumped up and ran to the window. All down his side of the street, there was a howling thunderstorm—and yet, inexplicably, it stopped precisely in the middle of the road, and not a drop of rain was falling on the other side. There was even a warm, golden sunrise shining on the houses opposite, while his own side was steeped in gloom and almost invisible in the heavy deluge.

The banker could take no more, and fell to his knees weeping. “Oh God, oh God, oh God,” he cried, “how am I ever going to discover Your will if Satan keeps screwing up the weather?”