Below is an excerpt from Frank Turek’s recent book, Stealing from God which deals well with the oddly new definition of atheism, which simply stated is a “lack of belief.”
This excerpt from the recommended book is preceded by William Lane Craig explaining how this definition merely is a statement of an immediate psychological state, and is not a position on anything. If this is a definition, then Dr. Craig’s cat is an atheist. Enjoy:
Don’t Atheists Just Lack a Belief in God?
It’s been fashionable lately for atheists to claim that they merely “lack a belief in God.” So when a theist comes along and says that atheists can’t support their worldview, some atheists will say something like, “Oh, we really don’t have a worldview. We just lack a belief in God. Since we’re not making any positive claims about the world, we don’t have any burden of proof to support atheism. We just find the arguments for God to be lacking.”
What’s lacking are good reasons to believe this new definition.
First, if atheism is merely a lack of belief in God, then atheism is just a claim about the atheist’s state of mind, not a claim about God’s existence. The “atheist” is simply saying, “I’m not psychologically convinced that God exists.” So what? That offers no evidence for or against God. Most people lack a belief in unguided evolution, yet no atheist would say that shows evolution is false.
Second, if atheism is merely a lack of belief in God, then rocks, trees, and outhouses are all “atheists” because they, too, lack a belief in God. It doesn’t take any brains to “lack a belief” in something. A true atheist believes that there is no God.
Third, if atheists merely “lacked a belief in God,” they wouldn’t be constantly trying to explain the world by offering supposed alternatives to God. As we’ll see, atheists write book after book insisting that God is out of a job because of quantum theory, multiple universes, and evolution. While none of those atheistic arguments succeed in proving there is no God, they do prove that atheists don’t merely lack a belief in God—they believe in certain theories to explain reality without God.
They believe in those theories because atheism is a worldview with beliefs just as much as theism is a worldview with beliefs. (A “worldview” is a set of beliefs about the big questions in life, such as: What is ultimate reality? Who are we? What’s the meaning of life? How should we live? What’s our destiny? etc.) To claim that atheism is not a worldview is like saying anarchy is not really a political position. As Bo Jinn observes, “An anarchist might say that he simply ‘rejects politics,’ but he is still confronted with the inescapable problem of how human society is to organize itself, whether he likes the idea of someone being in charge or not.”
Likewise, atheists can say they just “reject God,” but they are still confronted with the inescapable problem of how to explain ultimate reality. Just as anarchists affirm the positive belief that anarchy is the best way to organize society, atheists affirm the positive belief that atheistic materialism is the best way to explain ultimate reality. Materialism is the dominant view among atheists today and the view this book is addressing.
In other words, atheists don’t “lack a belief” in materialism. They are not skeptical of materialism—they think it’s true! As Phillip Johnson said, “He who is a skeptic in one set of beliefs is a true believer in another set of beliefs.” Lacking a belief in God doesn’t automatically establish materialism any more than lacking a belief in atheism automatically establishes Christianity. No atheist would say that a Christian has made a good case because he “lacks a belief” in materialism!
Frank Turek, Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God To Make Their Case (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014), xxii-xxiv.
I just wanted to update the below a bit with a great explanation of how theists view evidential propositions about God as compared to agnostics and atheists. Tim Stratton makes a great short example of what is being discussed in the below — but clearer: “ATHEISM: LACK OF BELIEF OR BLIND FAITH?“
Many atheists claim that their atheistic beliefs are just as viable as my theistic beliefs. Typically, the following scale (or something similar) is provided:
1- God exists (100% certainty) 2- God probably exists (51%-99% certainty) 3- Neutral Agnostic (50%/50%) 4- God probably does not exist (51%-99% certainty) 5- God does not exist (100% certainty)
I have claimed to hold to proposition (2) as a theist. Because of a cumulative case of coherent reasons (backed up by evidence), I believe theism is probably true with extremely high degrees of certainty (say, 97% certainty). Although I am not 100% certain (but have justification to believe God probably exists), it is quite reasonable to put my faith in what is probably true. This is why Christian theism is a reasonable faith.
Many atheists ignore the plethora of arguments and evidence for God and attempt to make the same move on the other side of the scale. However, they run into the same problems I discussed above. If they claim to hold to proposition (4), then they need to provide coherent reasons (backed up by evidence) as to why they think atheism is “probably true.” Why has the belief needle moved from (3), neutral agnosticism, to proposition (4)? If there are no logical answers then the atheist holds this view for no good reason at all (especially while ignoring the cumulative case for the existence of God). Indeed, their commitment to this definition of atheism is still nothing but a blind faith.
Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument. ~ Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York, NY: Marine Books, 2008), 347.
Faith in the prayer-hearing God is an unproved and outmoded faith. There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, the immutable [i.e., unchangeable] truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes. ~ John Dewey
John Dewey, “Soul-Searching,” Teacher Magazine, September 1933, p. 33.
There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow. Yet it was the schoolboy who said : “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” ~ Mark Twain
Caroline Thomas Harnsberger, Mark Twain at Your Fingertips: A Book of Quotations (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2009), 116, cf. faith.
I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue. The harm that is done by a religion is of two sorts, the one depending on the kind of belief which it is thought ought to be given to it, and the other upon the particular tenets believed. As regards the kind of belief: it is thought virtuous to have Faith—that is to say, to have a conviction which cannot be shaken by contrary evidence. Or, if contrary evidence might induce doubt, it is held that contrary evidence must be suppressed. On such grounds, the young are not allowed to hear arguments…. The consequence is that the minds of the young are stunted and are filled with fanatical hostility both to those who have other fanaticisms and, even more virulently, to those who object to all fanaticisms. ~ Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (New York, NY; Simon and Schuster, 1957), vi.
(See response to Russell’s “induce doubt” portion at bottom)
According to the A Manual for Creating Atheists, faith is:
“pretending to know things that you don’t know”
“belief without evidence”
The author calls faith “an unreliable epistemology”
and calls for a process and agenda that will “ultimately eradicate faith”.
The words we use are important. They can help us see clearly, or they can confuse, cloud, or obscure issues. I’ll now offer my two preferred definitions of faith, and then disambiguate faith from hope.’
1. Belief without evidence.
“My definition of faith is that it’s a leap over the probabilities. It fills in the gap between what is improbable to make something more probable than not without faith. As such, faith is an irrational leap over the probabilities.”
—John W. Loftus, “Victor Reppert Now Says He Doesn’t Have Faith!” (Loftus, 2012)
If one had sufficient evidence to warrant belief in a particular claim, then one wouldn’t believe the claim on the basis of faith. “Faith” is the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway.
Another way to think about “belief without evidence” is to think of an irrational leap over probabilities. For example, assume that an historical Jesus existed and was crucified, and that his corpse was placed in a tomb. Assume also that eyewitness accounts were accurate, and days later the tomb was empty.
One can believe the corpse was missing for any number of reasons. For example, one can believe the body arose from the dead and ascended to heaven, one can believe aliens brought the body back to life, or one can believe an ancient spirit trapped in the tomb merged with the corpse and animated it. Belief in any of these claims would require faith because there’s insufficient evidence to justify any one of these particular options.
Belief in any of these claims would also disregard other, far more likely possibilities—for example, that the corpse was stolen, hidden, or moved.
If one claims knowledge either in the absence of evidence, or when a claim is contradicted by evidence, then this is when the word “faith” is used. “Believing something anyway” is an accurate definition of the term “faith.”
2. Pretending to know things you don’t know.
Not everything that’s a case of pretending to know things you don’t know is a case of faith, but cases of faith are instances of pretending to know something you don’t know.’ For example, someone who knows nothing about baking a cake can pretend to know how to bake a cake, and this is not an instance of faith. But if someone claims to know something on the basis of faith, they are pretending to know something they don’t know. For example, using faith would be like someone giving advice about baking cookies who has never been in a kitchen.
As a Street Epistemologist, whenever you hear the word “faith,” just translate this in your head as, “pretending to know things you don’t know.” While swapping these words may make the sentence clunky, “pretending to know things you don’t know” will make the meaning of the sentence clearer.
To start thinking in these terms, the following table contains commonly heard expressions using the word “faith” in column one, and the same expressions substituted with the words “pretending to know things you don’t know” in column two.
Peter Boghossian, A Manual for Creating Atheists (Durham, NC: Pitchstone Publishing, 2013), 23-26
I regard faith as religious belief which is held without evidence. If someone thinks that a bus will arrive on time per its schedule, then that person has trust or confidence, not faith. I don’t use the word faith except to mean non-evidential religious beliefs. I work hard to identify the evidence, so faith for me is an lazy, easy way out.
(See a professor comment on this definition at the bottom)
LETTING CHRISTIANS DEFINE FAITH
faith 1. Objective body of truth in the Bible, the creeds, the definitions of the universal councils, and/or the teachings of the church. 2. Positive, subjective, and personal allegiance to and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Faith exists in constant tension with three other elements: works, reason, and knowledge. In Protestant scholastic theology, faith is viewed as a threefold process: notitia (knowledge of what is to be believed), assensus (intellectual acceptance of the truth of what is believed), and fiducia (personal commitment to that truth).
The first involves reception of the message of the gospel. The second involves objective acceptance of certain theological concepts and historical events. Theologians call this fides quae creditur (the faith that is believed), comprising erkennen (recognition) and assensus (assent). Assensus includes confidence in God’s promises and trust in the events recorded in the Scripture. Peter Lombard pointed out that assensus alone is fides informis (incomplete faith).
Authentic faith must include a second aspect—a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. Theologians variously call this fides qua creditur (faith by which one believes), fides formata caritate (faith formed by love), bekennen (acknowledgment), and fiducia (trust in what is believed). Fiducia also involves obedience to God’s Word, perseverance in God’s will, and love for God’s people (John 3:36; Rom. 5:1-5; 1 Cor. 13:2; 1 John 3:1o). Thus Christians not only live because of faith but they also live according to the faith (Rom. 1:16-17). Faith is in one sense a human act, but it is also at the same time a divine gift.
George Thomas Kurian, ed., Nelson’s New Christian Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001), cf. faith, 292-293.
I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition.
Morimer J. Adler, “A Philosopher’s Religious Faith,” in, Kelly James Clark, ed., Philosophers Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of 11 Leading Thinkers (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 207.
Certain words can mean very different things to different people. For instance, if I say to an atheist, “I have faith in God,” the atheist assumes I mean that my belief in God has nothing to do with evidence. But this isn’t what I mean by faith at all. When I say that I have faith in God, I mean that I place my trust in God based on what I know about him.
William A. Dembski and Michael R. Licona, Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 38.
Faith is not a leap in the dark; it’s the exact opposite. It’s a commitment based on evidence… It is irrational to reduce all faith to blind faith and then subject it to ridicule. That provides a very anti-intellectual and convenient way of avoiding intelligent discussion.
Personal saving faith, in the way Scripture understands it, involves more than mere knowledge. Of course it is necessary that we have some knowledge of who Christ is and what he has done, for “how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” (Rom. 10:14). But knowledge about the facts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for us is not enough, for people can know facts but rebel against them or dislike them. (Rom. 1:32; James 2:19)….
In addition to knowledge of the facts of the gospel and approval of those facts, in order to be saved, I must decide to depend on Jesus to save me. In doing this I move from being an interested observer of the facts of salvation and the teachings of the Bible to being someone who enters into a new relationship with Jesus Christ as a living person. We may therefore define saving faith in the following way: Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal lift with God.
This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me…. The unbeliever comes to Christ seeking to have sin and guilt removed and to enter into a genuine relationship with God that will last forever.
The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word “trust” is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word “faith” or “belief.” The reason is that we can “believe” something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it. I can believe that Canberra is the capital of Australia, or that 7 times 6 is 42, but have no personal commitment or dependence on anyone when I simply believe those facts. The word faith, on the other hand, is sometimes used today to refer to an almost irrational commitment to something in spite of strong evidence to the contrary, a sort of irrational decision to believe something that we are quite sure is not true! (If your favorite football team continues to lose games, someone might encourage you to “have faith” even though all the facts point the opposite direction.) In these two popular senses, the word “belief” and the word “faith” have a meaning contrary to the biblical sense.
The word trust is closer to the biblical idea, since we are familiar with trusting persons in everyday life. The more we come to know a person, and the more we see in that person a pattern of life that warrants trust, the more we find ourselves able to place trust in that person to do what he or she promises, or to act in ways that we can rely on. This fuller sense of personal trust is indicated in several passages of Scripture in which initial saving faith is spoken of in very personal terms, often using analogies drawn from personal relationships. John says, “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). Much as we would receive a guest into our homes, John speaks of receiving Christ.
John 3:16 tells us that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Here John uses a surprising phrase when he does not simply say, “whoever believes him” (that is, believes that what he says is true and able to be trusted), but rather, “whoever believes in him.” The Greek phrase pisteuo eis auton could also be translated “believe into him” with the sense of trust or confidence that goes into and rests in Jesus as a person. Leon Morris can say, “Faith, for John, is an activity which takes men right out of themselves and makes them one with Christ.” He understands the Greek phrase pisteuo eis to be a significant indication that New Testament faith is not just intellectual assent but includes a “moral element of personal trust.” Such an expression was rare or perhaps nonexistent in the secular Greek found outside the New Testament, but it was well suited to express the personal trust in Christ that is involved in saving faith.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction To Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 709-711.
Although suffering as a prisoner for proclaiming the gospel, Paul was not disillusioned or in despair. Why? Because of his faith. As he testifies to his faith, its essential elements become clear. “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because Iknow whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I haveentrusted to him for that day” (2 Tim. 1:11-12). Truth about God can be known. Zeal for God without knowledge (of the Redeemer) did not suffice for monotheistic and moral Jews (Rom. 10:1-2). Neither did worship of an “unknown God” atone for the cultured Athenians (Acts 17:23-31). In contrast, Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:21).”
The faith that saves is directed away from human educational, cultural, and religious achievements to the Creator, whose redemptive plan has been preserved and publicized in Scripture. Faith comes by hearing the message of special revelation now affirmed by the written Word of God, the hearer being convinced that “Jesus is Lord” and trusting in him (Rom. 10:4, 8-11, 14). Faith involves knowledge (notitia), persuasion (assensus), and commitment (fiducia). These three elements of faith are operative, not only when one first believes the gospel and trusts the Savior, but also in a growing faith throughout the Christian life.
Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demerest, Integrative Theology, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 168-169.
There is more than enough evidence on every hand from every department of human experience and knowledge to demonstrate that Christianity is true… It is the faith of the non-Christian [that] is externally and internally groundless. They are the ones who leap in the dark. Some, like Kierkegaard, have admitted this
Robert Morey, Introduction to Defending the Faith (Orange, CA: Christian Scholars Press, 2002), 38.
When I was undertaking my doctoral research in molecular biology at Oxford University, I was frequently confronted with a number of theories offering to explain a given observation. In the end, I had to make a judgment concerning which of them possessed the greatest internal consistency, the greatest degree of predictive ability. Unless I was to abandon any possibility of advance in understanding, I was obliged to make such a judgment… I would claim the right to speak of the ‘superiority’ of Christianity in this explicative sense.
“Response to John Hick,” by Clark Pinnock, in More Than One Way? Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World, Revised ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1996), 68.
Often, however, the cause of our doubt isn’t what you might think. It isn’t necessarily the strength of the arguments that rattles us, but the way they resonate with the unbeliever in each of us (what the Bible calls the “old self”). We hear Tokyo Rose’s voice and she seems to make pretty good sense sometimes. Yet more often than not, if we look closely at the atheist’s arguments, we find that there is little substance. Seeing this can change the argument’s frequency and therefore break its spell.
Believers often worry that their doubts signify the rapid approach of full-blown unbelief. But as pastor and author Tim Keller puts it,
Faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.
All thoughtful believers—even those whose faith is mature—encounter doubt. Not a single person has had unadulterated faith.
In any case, it certainly won’t do to ignore your doubts, and defusing them will only strengthen your faith. To be sure, doubts can be strong enough to become a trial in your life; but like all trials, they’re meant to refine faith, not stifle it.
Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith: To the Head (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), xvii.
Here is the response to Logicel’s position:
…faith isn’t a theory of how to know things: “Faith is not an epistemological category. It is not a way of knowing something. Faith is a way of trusting something.
“Faith is trusting in that which you have reason to believe is true. Once you have come to believe that something is true, using reliable epistemological means, you can then place your faith or trust in those things.”
The definition above of faith is ha-larious! Thanks for posting it. I’m using it to show how ignorant people are about the term, faith. It is totally opposite of the real meaning that it makes quite a contrast. Faith is the substance of things believed based on evidential material, eye witnesses reports, and logical reasons to hold something as true. Those who have “faith” without the evidence are deluded and would believe anything. It is like someone believing that one species evolves into another species without any transitional evidence. Even with no evidence they continue to believe its true! Now that fits your poster’s definition. Anyway, thanks for the post. I am getting a lot of laughs by using it in my presentations.
At this point I do hope I am not confusing readers with the terms “fascist” and “socialist.” Both are forms of utopianism and are based on central planning by a few elitist individuals. The only true difference is in the ownership of production. In the classic socialist or Marxist state, the government not only directs but owns the means of production. In the fascist state—sometimes referred to as “national socialist” —the central planners still direct the means of production, but ownership or part ownership remains with individuals. Under this definition, the current single-party economic model of China is- “national socialist” or “fascist” rather than Communist.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 138-139.
…In a Dec. 14, 1975 interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, Reagan discussed his political philosophy, saying that “the heart of my philosophy is much more libertarianism, than –.” Wallace then interrupted, “Well, that’s the fashionable word these days, I guess. A conservative is no longer just that, he’s a libertarian.”
Reagan continued, “It always has been. How do we call a liberal? You know, someone very profoundly once said many years ago that if fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.”
“And what is fascism?” Reagan said. “Fascism is private ownership, private enterprise, but total government control and regulation. Well, isn’t this the liberal philosophy?”
“The conservative, so-called, is the one that says less government, get off my back, get out of my pocket, and let me have more control of my own destiny,” he said….
One of the new Merriam Webster words is “safe-space” – I will comment quickly after this Free Beacon excerpt:
One term added was “safe space.” The term has been used widely across college campuses when describing how students dealt with the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory on Election Day—safe spaces included coloring stations, therapy with puppies, and cry-ins.
The dictionary uses examples of “safe space” from two liberal columnists, Judith Shulevits and Catherine Rampell.
The new definition reads: “a place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations
✦…student volunteers put up posters advertising that a ‘safe space’ would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting. — Judith Shulevitz
✦ Women, sexual assault victims, people of color, transgender students. College campuses have created ‘safe spaces’ for all sorts of marginalized groups. — Catherine Rampell
You see, our country was firmly steeped in “Reformational thinking,” for most of it’s life. Our Founders and many since (including the general public) knew that if there was two people gathered, a safe space is an impossibility.
B-e-c-a-u-s-e of mankind’s fallen nature. Having a space that is “free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations” is impossible.
Martin knew his patience was hard to find at times. He once said, “All my life is patience. I have to have patience with the pope, the heretics, my family, and Katie.” [Katie was Luther’s wife.] But as Bainton rightly observes, Martin “recognized that it was good for him.” Again, marriage and family was a school of character. (Martin Luther on Marriage)
I bring all my nature that I have to allow Christ to concur daily into the place where the people I love the most are. This realization and having the “unsafe” conversations between spouses and learning to control all sorts of emotions and how one should express them in healthy ways by losing control of them when dealing with children and a spouse. All of this maturation, growth, and the like come by seeing my reflection through the mirror known as my wife.
Safe-spaces do not compensate growth. They do not maturate the human. In short, they end up being the most dangerous place for the future dealings of young persons.
Remember, where two-or-more believers are gathered, Christ is present. Where two-or-more people are gathered, marginalization occurs, naturally. The difference is we are convicted of our nature when Christ is present. When he is not present, people try to hide from their nature, and thus hide from God, trivializing “themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life” (The Message, Romans 1:21c-23a).
I look forward to the day when my Creator glorifies FULLY the work He has evidenced in my new birth. Why do I look forward to this? Because I ache like all of creation (Romans 8:22). However, I especially groan when I see the potential God has for people, unrealized. You see, God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
I hear this depth of agony in fallen creation and the hope of what is promised in one of the greatest of examples for Christ to come quickly — really, it is a plea of sorts:
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20).
“But all there is to say about this, as far as I can see, is that Krauss is dead wrong and his religious and philosophical critics are absolutely right.”
~ [atheist] David Albert is a professor of philosophy at Columbia and the author of “Quantum Mechanics and Experience.” (NYT)
“I don’t know what’s the matter with physicists these days. It used to be that they were an intellectually sophisticated bunch, with the likes of Einstein and Bohr doing not only brilliant scientific research, but also interested, respectful of, and conversant in other branches of knowledge, particularly philosophy. These days it is much more likely to encounter physicists like Steven Weinberg or Stephen Hawking, who merrily go about dismissing philosophy for the wrong reasons, and quite obviously out of a combination of profound ignorance and hubris (the two often go together, as I’m sure Plato would happily point out). The latest such bore is Lawrence Krauss, of Arizona State University.”
~ [quoting atheist philosopher of science, Massimo Pigliucci] Peter S. Williams is Assistant Professor in Communication and Worldviews at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication in Norway. He is author of many articles and several books, including “C.S. Lewis vs the New Atheists” & “A Faithful Guide to Philosophy” (Paternoster, 2013). (BETHINKING)
The quantum vacuum is the arena where fundamental physical processes take place, and is by no means a simple empty space where nothing ever happens or a pure abstract concept of quantum field theory. Many of these fundamental processes are nowadays well understood.
[atheist] Hartmut Figger and [atheist] Dieter Meschede, Laser Physics at the Limits (New York, NY: Springer Publishing, 2002), 197.
Even if the matter fields involved in the vacuum state are rather peculiar and certainly not observable in the sense that ‘real’ particles are, it is a mistake to think of any physical vacuum as some absolutely empty ‘void’.
[atheist] Christopher Ray, Time, Space and Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 1991), 205.
In order to have a “favorable” view of socialism one must have either forgotten what the entire world learned about socialism from the late nineteenth century on, or have never learned anything about it in the first place. The latter is obviously true of much of the younger generation.
Socialism started out being defined as “government ownership of the means of production,” which is why the government of the Soviet Union confiscated all businesses, factories, and farms, murdering millions of dissenters and resisters in the process. It is also why socialist political parties in Europe, once in power, nationalized as many of the major industries (steel, automobiles, coal mines, electricity, telephone services) as they could. The Labour Party in post-World War II Great Britain would be an example of this. All of this was done, ostensibly, in the name of pursuing material “equality.”
In the foreword to the 1976 edition of his famous book, The Road to Serfdom, Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that the definition of “socialism” evolved in the twentieth century to mean income redistribution in pursuit of “equality,” not through government ownership of the means of production but through the institutions of the welfare state and the “progressive” income tax. The means may have changed, but the ostensible end—equality—remained the same.
Hayek’s mentor, fellow Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, explained in his classic treatise Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis,6 that the welfare state, the “progressive” income tax, and especially pervasive government regulation of business were all tools of “destructionism” in the eyes of the socialists of his day. That is, he observed that the proponents of socialism always employed a two-pronged approach: (1) the government takeover of as many industries and as much land as possible, and (2) attempts to destroy existing capitalist societies with onerous taxes, regulations, the welfare state, inflation, or whatever they thought could get the job done.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 4-5.
Firstly, for the sake of good conversation and clarity… we need [actually, Dr. DiLorenzo] to define socialism:
Here are some article headlines that will help encapsulate the quote:
FEC Democrat pushes for controls on Internet political speech ~ The FEC deadlocked in a crucial Internet campaign speech vote announced Friday, leaving online political blogging and videos free of many of the reporting requirements attached to broadcast ads — for now. While all three GOP-backed members voted against restrictions, they were opposed by the three Democratic-backed members…
Federal regulation of Internet coming, warn FCC, FEC commissioners ~ Democrats targeting content and control of the Internet, especially from conservative sources, are pushing hard to layer on new regulations and even censorship under the guise of promoting diversity while policing bullying, warn commissioners from the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission. “Protecting freedom on the Internet is just one vote away,” said Lee E. Goodman, a commissioner on the FEC which is divided three Democrats to three Republicans. “There is a cloud over your free speech.”…
[Editor’s note: that means blogs like mine of Gay Patriot’s could be considered “bullying” and to protect “freedom” they will be banned… the redefinition of the meaning of words is what allows these progressives to win in conversation.]
You Media People Should Stop Reporting on Terrorism So People Don’t Know What’s Going On ~ …This new push by Kerry shouldn’t be surprising, after all it was just a few weeks ago when Kerry essentially argued the use of air conditioners and other appliances are bigger threats to the world than ISIS. Here’s the reality: Kerry doesn’t want the press giving attention to the issue of terrorism because it further exposes the failure of the Obama administration’s foreign policy over the past eight years….
[Editor’s note: you see, if the press would stop reporting on terrorism, then more people may actually take Kerry — and other politicians — serious when they say stuff like, “air conditioners… are bigger threats to the world than ISIS.]
Another example from a few years ago is the Fairness Doctrine. Just listen to Ed Schultz admit something in this radio excerpt (below-right ~ from an OLD POST).
You see, all this is a power play. In a society becoming increasingly more-and-more socialist… power and control over every aspect of life becomes more-and-more natural. Almost a necessity [inherent] on the part of the politician. Democrats think they are for freedom, but in fact they are the root cause for the constant attacks on freedom. That is, progressive liberalism… not classical liberalism.
And as a Christian I am concerned, ultimately, for truth [Truth]. Truth is what a free society strives for… and often getting to it means discussing all options. “Options” are anathema to socialism, to wit:
Because of the inevitable failure of socialist bureaucrats to “plan” an economy and a society better than the millions of individuals comprising the society can, there will be “dissatisfaction with the slow and cumbersome course of democratic procedure which makes action for action’s sake the goal,” wrote Hayek. “It is then the man or the party who seems strong and resolute enough ‘to get things done’ who exercises the greatest appeal” to the public. The public demands a “strongman” (or strongwoman) “who can get things done”—even if it means the abandonment of democracy.
Moreover, the socialist regime is likely to be populated by “the worst elements of any society,” warned Hayek. Political demagogues (and socialists are always demagogues) have long understood that it is easier for the masses to agree on a negative program—a hatred of an enemy or “the envy of the better off” than on any positive program. In Bolshevik Russia, it was the capitalists and monarchists and Christians and independent farmers and aristocrats who were the enemy, and against whom the masses could be swayed, and against whom violence could be inflicted in the name of “the people.” In the Europe of Hayek’s day it was the plutocrat and “the Jew who became the enemy….” “In Germany and Austria the Jew had come to be regarded as the representative of capitalism,” and hence became the target of extreme hatred. In America, political demagogues target “Wall Street” and the wealthy “one percent” as the objects of their hatred. [RPT’s addition: And the “fundamentalist that would dare question transgender normalization of bathroom use and female sports, etc.]
Hatred and violence, especially for the young, is justified in the name of idealism, however perversely understood. To a socialist, the ends justify the means (which is the reverse of traditional morality) and can justify any action desired by a socialist. To a socialist, said Hayek, there is nothing “which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves `the good of the whole.’” This socialist mindset accepts if not celebrates “intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent,” and “the complete disregard of the life and happiness of the individual,” because the “selfish” individual does not matter; the socialist will argue that what he does is “for the good of the whole.”
In a socialist society, said Hayek, the only “power” worth having is political power, and to consolidate that political power government relies on propaganda, intimidation, and government domestic spying to discredit, bully, and eliminate possible opposition.
Socialism can lead to “the end of truth,” as Hayek called it, because socialists believe in indoctrinating people into “The Truth.” This is why socialist regimes have made us familiar with “reeducation camps” and rigid, totalitarian ideological conformity. Socialists believe that there are no legitimate, alternative viewpoints. Socialist propaganda must dominate the educational system and the mass media so that, in Hayek’s words, “a pseudoscientific theory becomes part of the official creed” which “directs everybody’s actions.” Under socialism, “every act of the government, must become sacrosanct,” while minority opinions—or even majority opinions at odds with the official ideology—must be silenced and are demonized. This all sounds like a perfect definition of the “political correctness” that plagues American colleges and universities and which has gone a long way toward destroying academic freedom both for students and professors.
“Truth” in a socialist society is not something to be debated; it is mandated and enforced by the Socialist regime, from which there is no alternative and no appeal. Once socialist ideology takes over and respect for actual truth is destroyed, wrote Hayek, then all morals are assaulted because all morality is based on respect for the truth.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 55-58.
In the appendix to Misquoting Jesus, added to the paperback version, there is a Q&A section. I do not know who the questioner is, but it is obviously someone affiliated with the editors of the book. Consider this question asked of Ehrman:
✦ Bruce Metzger, your mentor in textual criticism to whom this book dedicated, has said that there is nothing in these variants of Scripture that challenges any essential Christian beliefs (e.g., the bodily resurrection of Jesus or the Trinity). Why do you believe these core tenets Of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy based on the scribal errors you discovered in the biblical manuscripts?
Note that the wording of the question is not “Do you believe…” but “Why do you believe these core tenets of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy…?” This is a question that presumably came from someone who read the book very carefully. How does Ehrman respond?
✦ The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.
Suffice it to say that viable textual variants that disturb cardinal doctrines found in the NT have not yet been produced.
Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 54-55.
So with all that in mind (one should familiarize themselves with the first part of this), can we then define what we mean by biblical inerrancy, of course my favorite definition comes from the main text I used at the seminary I attended. I will also give definitions from some other main text that other seminaries use as well.
“…inerrancy means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact.”
In case you didn’t catch what that sentence meant is “that the Bible always tells the truth, and that it always tells the truth concerning everything it talks about.”
In the index in the back under “inerrancy” you find some of the following topics under that heading: allows for free quotation; allows for ordinary language; allows for round numbers; allows for textual variants; allows for uncommon grammar; allows for vague statements; human language doesn’t prevent. I will choose one example from this list so you can get the “gist” of what Grudem is saying:
A similar consideration applies to numbers when used in measuring or in counting. A reporter can say that 8,000 men were killed in a certain battle without thereby implying that he has counted everyone and that there are not 7,999 or 8,001 dead soldiers. If roughly 8,000 died, it would of course be false to say that 16,000 died, but it would not be false in most contexts for a reporter to say that 8,000 men died when in fact 7,823 or 8,242 had died: the limits of truthfulness would depend on the degree of precision implied by the speaker and expected by his original hearers.
This is also true for measurements. Whether I say, “I don’t live far from my office,” or “I live a little over a mile from my office,” or “I live one mile from my office,” or “I live 1.287 miles from my office” all four statements are still approximations to some degree of accuracy. Further degrees of accuracy might be obtained with more precise scientific instruments, but these would still be approximations to a certain degree of accuracy. Thus, measurements also, in order to be true, should conform to the degree of precision implied by the speaker and expected by the hearers in the original context. It should not trouble us, then, to affirm both that the Bible is absolutely truthful in everything it says and that it uses ordinary language to describe natural phenomena or to give approximations or round numbers when those are appropriate in the context.
We should also note that language can make vague or imprecise statements without being untrue. “I live a little over a mile from my office” is a vague and imprecise statement, but it is also inerrant: there is nothing untrue about it. It does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. In a similar way, biblical statements can be imprecise and still be totally true. Inerrancy has to do with truthfulness, not with the degree of precision with which events are reported.
Another definition comes from a newer systematic theological 4-volumn set, it reads as follows:
…the inspiration of Scripture is the supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit who, through the different personalities and literary styles of the chosen human authors, invested the very words of the original books of Holy Scripture, alone and in their entirety, as the very Word of God without error in all that they teach (including history and science) and is thereby the infallible rule and final authority for the faith and practice of all believers.
Another popular text in seminaries defines inerrancy in this way:
By “inerrancy” we mean that as a product of supernatural inspiration the information affirmed by the sentences of the original autographs of the sixty-six canonical books of the Bible is true.
By “true” content we mean propositions that correspond to the thought of God and created reality because they are logically noncontradictory, factually reliable, and experientially viable. Therefore, as given, the Bible provides a reliable guide for healthfully experiencing the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual realities that people face in time and eternity.
To grasp the truth that was given, as fully as possible, a passage of Scripture must be taken (interpreted) by a believer in accord with its author’s purpose; degrees of precision appropriate to that purpose at that time; and its grammatical, historical, cultural, and theological contexts (all under the illumination of the Holy Spirit who inspired it).
One of my favorites comes from large theological treatise, I will here only put his definition, however, the author goes on for about four pages defining some of the ideas and words used in that smaller definition:
We may now state our understanding of inerrancy: The Bible, when correctly interpreted in light of the level to which culture and the means of communication had developed at the time it was written, and in view of the purposes for which it was given, is fully truthful in all that it affirms.
One must also keep in mind the psychological foreboding that all of us have. The question is thus: in order to suppress our biases as much as possible, is there a construct and model in which one should view any literary work with in order to test it internal soundness? Besides what I will again post as some rules all persons should follow in order to limit his or her preconceived values and biases they bring to the table, C. Sanders, a famous military historian, in his Introduction to Research in English Literary History, lists and explains the three basic principles of historiography. These are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test.
The bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the number of manuscripts (MSS and the time interval between the original and the extant (currently existing) copies?
Internal Evidence, of which John Warwick Montgomery writes that literary critics still follow Aristotle’s dictum that “the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated by the critic to himself.” therefore, one must listen to the claims of the document under analysis, and do not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualified himself by contradictions or known factual inaccuracies. As Dr. Horn continues:
“Think for a moment about what needs to be demonstrated concerning a ‘difficulty’ in order to transfer it into the category of a valid argument against doctrine. Certainly much more is required than the mere appearance of a contradiction. First, we must be certain that we have correctly understood the passage, the sense in which it uses words or numbers. Second, that we possess all available knowledge in this matter. Third, that no further light can possibly be thrown on it by advancing knowledge, textual research, archaeology, etc…. Difficulties do not constitute objections. Unresolved problems are not of necessity errors. This is not to minimize the area of difficulty; it is to see it in perspective. Difficulties are to be grappled with and problems are to drive us to seek clearer light; but until such time as we have total and final light on any issue we are in no position to affirm, ‘Here is a proven error, an unquestionable objection to an infallible Bible.’ It is common knowledge that countless ‘objections’ have fully been resolved since this century began.” (see more)
Do other historical materials confirm or deny the internal testimony provided by the documents themselves? In other words, what sources are there – apart from the literature under analysis – that substantiate its accuracy, reliability, and authenticity?
Of course there will be people who refuse to use the tools that literary critics and legal scholars have devised to keep as much prejudice out as possible. My final story I wish to share with the reader explains what this looks like better than I ever could:
But even a sound epistemic system, flawless deductive reasoning, and impeccable inductive procedure does not guarantee a proper conclusion. Emotional bias or antipathy might block the way to the necessary conclusion of the research. That thinkers may obstinately resist a logical verdict is humorously illustrated by John Warwick Montgomery’s modern parable:
Once upon a time (note the mystical cast) there was a man who thought he was dead. His concerned wife and friends sent him to the friendly neighborhood psychiatrist determined to cure him by convincing him of one fact that contradicted his beliefs that he was dead. The fact that the psychiatrist decided to use was the simple truth that dead men do not bleed. He put his patient to work reading medical texts, observing autopsies, etc. After weeks of effort the patient finally said, “All right, all right! You’ve convinced me. Dead men do not bleed.” Whereupon the psychiatrist stuck him in the arm with a needle, and the blood flowed. The man looked down with a contorted, ashen face and cried, “Good Lord! Dead men bleed after all!”
Emotional prejudice is not limited to dull-witted, the illiterate, and poorly educated. Philosophers and theologians are not exempt from the vested interests and psychological prejudice that distort logical thinking. The question of the existence of God evokes deep emotional and psychological prejudice. People understand that the question of the existence of God is not one that is of neutral consequence. We understand intuitively, if not in terms of its full rational implication, that the existence of an eternal Creator before whom we are ultimately accountable and responsible is a matter that touches the very core of life.
And I would be remiss to note how the Christian world looks at what “the inspired Word of God” means to the individuals involved in the writing of Scripture. Do these lose their person-hood? Do they become automatons? Losing all ability to self, or control like automatic writing in paganism or the occult? These are important questions:
Orr says that inspiration “must be held to include the insight given by the divine Spirit into the meaning of the history, through which holy men are enabled to write it for the instruction of all ages.” But that is never taught in the Scriptures.
Dr. Edward Young, one of the most careful and devoted scholars on the matter of the inspiration of the Scriptures, makes a slip here, we believe. He strongly teaches the verbal inspiration of the Scripture but says:
According to the Bible, inspiration is a superintendence of God the Holy Spirit over the writers of the Scriptures, as a result of which these Scriptures possess Divine authority and trustworthiness and, possessing such Divine authority and trustworthiness, are free from error.”
He is right that the Scripture has divine authority and is free from error. I do not think, however, that the term “superintendence” is the proper word for the work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible never indicates that the Holy Spirit breathed on men or superintended men as they wrote. Rather, David said, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me” (II Sam. 23:2). And “God spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Heb. 1:1). And the men of God who wrote were rather “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21), or literally, “as they were borne along by the Holy Ghost.” Superintendence is too weak a word and leaves the initiative with men, with the Holy Spirit somewhere near and more or less supervising, checking. But according to the Scriptures, the initiative was with God the Holy Spirit and men are His instruments in writing the Scriptures.
Drs. Lindsell and Woodbridge say about the Bible writers:
They retained their own styles, personalities and self-command. Their personal powers were not suspended but sharpened. The Holy Spirit commanded the operation; but Moses, John and Peter remained Moses, John and Peter while writing. Because of the close, sustained, continuous, effective supervision of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
Now, the end the good doctors declare is correct. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is true that the writers were not automata. In some sense they did retain their own style and personalities and self-command. But the Bible never says that “their personal powers were… sharpened.” Whether or not their powers were sharpened we do not know. The unintended indication is that here, if men have enough illumination, enough supervision by the Holy Spirit, they could write the perfect Word of God. But that is not what the Bible teaches and surely not what Lindsell and Woodbridge intended to convey.
But Lindsell and Woodbridge correct themselves on the preceding page:
“Inspiration” is not mere “Illumination.” The Holy Spirit illumines one’s soul before he can understand spiritual truth (See I Cor. 2:10-12.) But when we speak of the inspiration of the Bible, we do not have in mind this sort of spiritual perception. We do not mean merely that the intuitive faculties of the writers were quickened, or their spiritual insights clarified. Their “inspiration” was different, not only in degree but also in kind, from the heightened powers of ordinary men, even of men known for their spiritual genius. The inspiration of the Biblical authors was unique: it was special, direct, reliable, life-giving, inerrant.
That is better. The Bible does not come from “the heightened powers of ordinary men, even of men known for their spiritual genius.” If “the intuitive faculties of the writers were quickened,” the Bible says nothing about it, and it is obviously not necessary to the kind of inspiration the Bible teaches. There is no evidence that the “intuitive faculties” of Balaam were quickened when by inspiration he gave a prophecy he did not want to give nor that the “intuitive faculties” of Caiaphas the high priest were quickened when he prophesied that Christ would die for the people, meaning something else. When God breathed out the words of the Bible, and the Bible discusses it, it never speaks of men’s “intuitive faculties” being quickened nor of their “heightened powers” nor that “their personal powers were… sharened.” I am sure that, without intending to do so and trying to someway explain the human color and imprint in the Scriptures, good men say about this more than the Bible itself says here.
Let us say it again: the Scriptures did not come from heightened powers or quickened senses nor by simple illumination of the Holy Spirit. God Himself gave the Scriptures and inspiration was far more than some superintendence or supervision of spiritually illumined men with heightened faculties.
All this defining and understanding above is key for any person to start dissecting Scripture (or as some would view it, scripture) on a level playing field with others who come to this conversation as well.
….This statement is not only wrong, but completely misunderstands its own argument; ironically, it makes the exact circular assumptions that it accuses believers of.
1. The “Bible” is not one book
When we are talking about “proving” or evidencing the truths of the Gospel message, we have to put our historian hats on (not our religious hats). The argument is meant to place Christians in this rather odd situation where they sound like they are saying the Bible is true because it says it is true. But the Bible is not one book. In fact, the term “Bible” is not in the Bible. The Bible is a collection of works that spans over a thousand years, written by dozens of authors, some who are connected, some who are not. All together there are sixty-six books in the Protestant Bible.
When we are talking about the claims of the “New Testament,” we are talking about the story of Christianity, the very foundation and apex of Christianity as it deals with the incarnation of Christ, who he was, and what he did. But even then, to say one can’t prove the New Testament with the New Testament is quite ill-informed and unreflective. The designation “New Testament” (along with its list of books) is not even in the New Testament. Like with the whole Bible, it is just a name given to a certain related corpus of writings that speaks about the story and implications of the advent of Jesus Christ. There are twenty-seven books in the New Testament.
If one were to look at this with a historian’s eye, to say we cannot use the Bible to prove or evidence the Bible is about the most misguided thing one could possibly say. What does that mean? Are you saying that we cannot use the testimony that the book of Matthew gives to evidence Mark? Or that one cannot attempt to piece together Galatians with the Book of Acts? Of course you can. In fact, you must. These twenty-seven documents, all written around the same time, all telling similar stories, must be used to prove or evidence each other. If not, the historian is not being a historian, but something entirely different.
2. One must assume the inspiration of the Bible to say the Bible can’t prove the Bible
You see, if a person says, “You can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible,” he probably doesn’t realize he is borrowing a bit from the Christian worldview in order to even make such an assertion. What is being borrowed? The idea of the basic unity of Scripture or the single-authorship of the Bible. The only way to say the Bible can’t prove the Bible is to presume the inspiration of Scripture. Otherwise, there is no reason to link the canon of Scripture together in such a way. For the non-Christian especially, the Bible should be seen as sixty-six ancient documents, all of which stand or fall on their own. In order to make them stand or fall together, one must assume a single authorship of some sort. At that point, the argument becomes self-defeating, as the very statement (“You can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible”) proves the Bible!
The significance of the distinction between inerrant autograph and errant apograph may be seen from another angle. What difference would it make, some have asked, if the autographs did contain some of the errors that are present in the copies? Is not the end result of textual criticism and hermeneutics by both nonevangelical and evangelical essentially the same? As far as the results of textual criticism and hermeneutics as such are concerned, the answer to this last query is yes. By sound application of the canons of textual criticism, most by far of the errors in the text may be detected and corrected. And both nonevangelical and evangelical can properly exegete the critically established text. But the nonevangelical who fails to make a distinction between the inerrancy of the autographs and the errancy of the copies, after he has done his textual criticism and grammatical-historical exegesis, is still left with the question, Is the statement which I have now reached by my text-critical work and my hermeneutics true? He can only attempt to determine this on other (extrabiblical) grounds, but he will never know for sure if his determination is correct. The evangelical, however, who draws the distinction between inerrant autograph and errant apograph, once he has done proper text-critical analysis which assures him that he is working with the original text and properly applied the canons of exegesis to that text, rests in the confidence that his labor has resulted in the attainment of truth.
Some critical scholars have suggested that the distinction between inerrant autographs and errant apographs is of fairly recent vintage, indeed, an evangelical ploy to minimize the impact of the “assured results of textual criticism” upon their position. This is erroneous. Augustine’s statement, which represents the opinion generally of the Patristic Age, is a sufficient answer to demonstrate that the distinction is not a recent novelty:
I have learned to defer this respect and honor to the canonical books of Scripture alone, that I most firmly believe that no one of their authors has committed any error in writing. And if in their writings I am perplexed by anything which seems to me contrary to truth, I do not doubt that it is nothing else than either that the manuscript is corrupt, or that the translator has not followed what was said, or that I have myself failed to understand it. But when I read other authors, however eminent they may be in sanctity and learning, I do not necessarily believe a thing is true because they think so, but because they have been able to convince me, either on the authority of the canonical writers or by a probable reason which is not inconsistent with truth. And I think that you, my brother, feel the same way; moreover, I say, I do not believe that you want your books to be read as if they were those of Prophets and Apostles, about whose writings, free of all error, it is unlawful to doubt.
Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 91-92.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 90.
 Ibid., 91-92.
 Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology: Introduction: Bible, vol. I (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 498.
 Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demarest, Integrative Theology: Three Volumes in One, vol. I (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 160-161.
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books/Academic, 1998), 259.
 Taken primarily from, Bill Wilson, ed., A Ready Defense: The Best of Josh McDowell (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1993), 43.
 R.C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley, Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 69-70.
John R. Rice, Our God Breathed Book – The Bible (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Word Publishers, 1969), 72-74.
This next video is a very interesting video in that it is an argument on a Temple Library and the transmission of Scripture. Great presentation… shows that there are breakthroughs in Biblical history waiting to be correlated.
The Gospel Coalition (Januray 2015) – Lecture by John Meade. Meade speaks on the authenticity of the Bible. This video is part of ‘The Bible: Canon, Texts, and Translations’ playlist: YouTube Playlist.
This next video is a lecture from Masters Seminary, Theology I Lecture 08 “Authority and Canonicity of Scripture”
And a greatr study is with R.C. Sproul, and he makes a point that has eluded me a bit until now, and they are:
Roman Catholic View:
The canon is an infallible collecting of infallible books.
The Protestant view:
The canon is an fallible collecting of infallible books.
“Big Government refers to a government that is very influential in the everyday lives of citizens, often due to its far-reaching agencies.” In other words, the growth of centralized government. Pat Buchanan once put it well:
The mammoth government we have today is a result of politicians rushing to solve ‘crises’ by creating and empowering new federal agencies.
Big Government damages trust rather than enhancing it, by making it more difficult for people to voluntarily cooperate for mutual profit.
Installing new powers for existing departments of government that create more legislation that straps the common man and business owner with more regulation and less freedom (an example would be the EPA and its new powers over more private property). Creating new departments and growing government in it’s scope and regulating powers (for instance, the ACA).
This is why “Dubya” always rated low in polls of people with differing political views. The left didn’t like him because he was on the opposite side of their viewpoint. The right didn’t like him because he teamed up with Kennedy and reinforced the idea of the Dept. of Education in joint legislation to increase its scope and influence WHEN it should be abolished all-together.
✦ Thomas E. Dewey stated the case against Big Government in 1950: “All-powerful, central government, like dictatorships, can continue only by growing larger and larger. It can never retrench without admitting failure. By absorbing more than half of all the taxing power of the nation, the federal government now deprives the states and local governments of the capacity to support the programs they should conduct … it offers them in exchange the counterfeit currency of federal subsidy.”
✦ Dwight Eisenhower deplored what he called “the whole-hog mentality,” which “leans toward the creation of a more extensive and stifling monopoly than this country has ever seen … you don’t need more supergovernment.”
✦ Republican House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, in 1966, blamed it all on the Democrats, labeling them “the party of Big Business, of Big Government, of Big Spending, of Big Deficits, of Big Cost of Living, of Big Labor Trouble, of Big Home Foreclosures, of Big Scandals, of Big Riots in the Streets and of Big Promises.”
✦ “The truth about big government,” said John F. Kennedy in 1962, “is the truth about any other great activity: it is complex. Certainly it is true that size brings dangers, but it is also true that size also can bring benefits.”
✦ A favorite Ronald Reagan line was “Government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem.” President Bill Clinton astonished some followers and delighted some critics with “The era of big government is over.”
Professor Thies notes “what conservatism is” in a short numbered way, that defines well what the base of the GOP stands for (or doesn’t stand for):
1. Belief in a transcendent order or body of natural law that rules society as well as conscience. There is objective truth in the universe, and we can know it. All sources of knowledge testify to this truth, and therefore faith and reason must be reconciled. Furthermore, our knowledge of “self-evident truths” grows as we become more aware of our nature and that of the universe.
2. Affection for the variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrow uniformity and egalitarianism of “radical” systems. We love people, not merely “the people,” and we enjoy our culture and all the cultures of the world. We love the planet on which we find ourselves and the entire universe in its vastness and in its tiniest details. It is all utterly amazing and beyond human comprehension, and we also love that. And, we are suspicious of those who would seek to impose their designs on society, as they only reveal they have no idea of the limits of their knowledge.
3. Civilization needs the rule of law and something Adam Smith described as “useful inequality.” This is in contrast to the notion of a “classless society.” Conservatives believe there are natural distinctions among men, leading to inequalities of condition. Conservatives affirm equality before God and the law; anything more leads not only to servitude but to boredom.
4. The argument for property is more than economic efficiency. It is that by having something a person can call his own, and by earning his living as opposed to depending on the apparatus of the state, a person is enabled to see himself as a unique and wonderful creature, and to love himself; and, loving himself thusly, and relating to others on the basis of mutual advantage and affection, he is enabled to love others as he loves himself. (I got this profound insight into the moral foundation of capitalism from Pope John Paul II.)
5. That social institutions such as the family, churches, fraternal organizations, for-profit business organizations, charities and even governments, are animated and justified by the choices made by those entering into them. (This is a wholesale substitution of the fifth principle of the Kirk Center, which is merely the converse of the second principle.) (I developed this from James Buchanan’s theory of clubs. It is the nexus of libertarian and conservative thought, libertarians being concerned with freedom, and conservatives with social institutions.)
6. Conservatives recognize risk and reward involved in change. While we believe in progress, we accept that mistakes are and will be made by those engaged in the process of discovery. Hayek dedicated his book The Constitution of Liberty to “The unknown civilization taking shape in America.” Hopefully, after the election we should again be excited about the great adventure we embarked upon with the founding of this country.
Three question the left rarely [if ever] ask:
1) compared to what? 2) at what cost? 3) what hard-evidence do you have?
If you think Bernie Sanders is a hero, harm yourself. He is, in fact, a fascist with bad hair. Worse than Trump’s by the way. So Trump has that going for him. Which is nice. Aside from his tax plan which we’ve already thoroughly debunked, my biggest beef is how Sanders is selling himself. He’s telling everyone he’s “for the people.” But that is, in fact, a giant lie.
“Fascism” is a pretty fun catch word in today’s politics. Usually applied to extreme “right-wingers”, allow me to make a case for why Bernie Sanders is the most fascist candidate of them all…
I must confess that I’m confused. I still have vivid memories of the tea-party revolution of 2010, when insurgent conservative candidates toppled incumbents and establishment favorites from coast to coast. This was the year of Rand Paul in Kentucky, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and Nikki Haley in South Carolina.
Perhaps most momentous of all, it was the year of Marco Rubio, who overcame long odds to beat Charlie Crist, a man who’s since proven himself to be exactly the kind of soulless politician the tea party exists to oppose. Since his election, Rubio has delivered, becoming one of the most consistent and eloquent conservatives in the Senate. My colleague, Jim Geraghty, has outlined his stratospheric ratings from the American Conservative Union, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life, and the Family Research Council.
In fact, Rubio is largely responsible for the single most effective legislative attack on Obamacare….
Here’s the reality: In the battle — launched in 2010 — between the tea party and traditional GOP powers, the tea party largely won. The contest between Rubio, Cruz, and Trump is a fight between Tea Party 1.0, Tea Party 2.0, and classic American populism. And each one of these candidates would need traditional Republican or “establishment” support in the general election.
If Rubio is “establishment,” the term has lost any real meaning. He’s a consistent conservative whose positions and ideology largely align with whomever his critics prefer, Cruz included. He’s a tea party champion who effectively expelled Charlie Crist from the Republican party and dealt a serious blow to Jeb Bush. For the most part, a fight between Rubio and Cruz is a fight over matters of tone and style, not substance. A fight between Rubio and Trump is a battle between a conservative and a populist. Unless something dramatic happens between now and the New Hampshire primary, the establishment has already lost this cycle. Only the insurgents remain.
Another article worth reading is via Powerline, and continue the misuse narrative:
…Throwing the neocon label around isn’t an argument; it’s name-calling. Cruz argues well enough that he shouldn’t have to rely on name-calling. It must have gone over well with focus groups.
Name-calling is bad enough. To make matters worse, as Goldberg explains, the name doesn’t really fit the view Cruz disagrees with — support of military intervention to bring about regime change.
Goldberg says that “neoconservatism is a product of the Cold War.” But his article suggests that it is actually the product of a debate over domestic policy.
As I understand it, neoconservatism is the product of the rise of the New Left and the failure of President Johnson’s Great Society. The New Left was a movement of juveniles (including me). It left more mature leftists with two obvious alternatives: first, embrace the New Left and have a second childhood; second, applaud the spirit of the New Left but reject its more outrageous tactics and flirtation with the likes of Chairman Mao, and double down on democratic socialism.
Neoconservatives rejected both alternatives. They were appalled by the spirit of movement with a clear totalitarian strain (manifested, for example, by attacks on academic freedom). In addition, the Great Society experiment, animated in part by the thinking of democratic socialists like Michael Harrington, helped move them well to the right of their socialist former comrades.
Goldberg reminds us that the most important early neoconservative foreign policy manifesto — Jeane Kirkpatrick’s famous 1979 article in Commentary — was a brief against democracy promotion in authoritarian states friendly to the U.S. Moreover, Kirkpatrick was not a supporter of the war waged by President George W. Bush in Iraq. Indeed, she said she had serious reservations about it.
It’s true, of course, the most neoconservatives supported that war, in many cases avidly. But the decision to invade Iraq was not made by neoconservatives, and neither was the decision to remain in post-invasion Iraq rather than “get the heck out” (as Cruz likes to say). Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld were not part of the neoconservative movement. As for the Congress that voted to authorize war, only a handful of members were.
Neoonservatives (by now referred to, disdainfully and even venomously, as neocons by people who knew little about the movement) became scapegoats for the war. In part, as Goldberg says, this was because they continued to defend it and, above all, advocate that we win it. Some neocons pushed for the successful Iraq surge of 2007. For this, they should be commended….
What if a woman gets an operation to be a man, but has a dislike for men who become women (Or women in general)? These new “lifestyles” and the acceptance as normal by some will stretch credulity as well as language — as seen here.
“This is why it’s so hard to distinguish parodies of progressive thought from actual progressive thought.” ~ Gay Patriot
“‘Transmisogynist’… yes, dears, some believe this is a thing” ~ Protein Wisdom
Question: It’s concerning to me that you’re telling lesbians they are bigoted/transphobic/vile for being exclusively attracted to females (referring to the female sex, to clarify), and accusing lesbians of contributing to the deaths of trans women by not having sex with them. Is it very difficult to understand that people have reasons for not wanting to have sex with male bodied individuals including previous experiences and also just the fact that their sexuality is inherent? Requiring sex as a form of validation from females comes across as worryingly entitled and very coercive.
Answer: There is no “female sex”. Coercively gendering biology is violence.
Trans women are not “male bodied”. You’re assuming you know a trans woman’s biological features, for a start. Some trans women have penises, some have vaginas, some have other genitals. Some trans women have oestrogen dominant hormone profiles, some have testosterone dominant, some have other hormonal makeups. Some have boobs, some don’t. But in all cases, they are women, they are female, and therefore – as long as they choose to define themselves as such – they are female bodied.
I’m not advocating for every lesbian to be forced to have sex with a trans woman, no matter what her biology. I’m saying that anyone who automatically writes trans women out of their potential pool of people to be sexually attracted to, whilst being attracted to cis women, is a transmisogynist. You’re making assumptions about trans women’s bodies….
…Trans women experience a particular kind of sexist marginalization based in their unique position of overlapping oppressions – they are both trans and feminine. They are devalued by society on both accounts.
Trans people experience transphobia, or cissexism, due to a cultural and systemic obsession with the gender binary [editors note: nature]: the idea that there are two types of people – men and women – who are born, raised, and naturally associate with that gender and its accompanying characteristics. Our cultural and political institutions are based on this premise….