Soviet and Mormon Worldviews Closely Related

This is an old conversation from many years ago with a Mormon woman who read some of my chapter in my book. This is merely a cut-n-paste (with some slight edits for ease of reading) I kept from the forum.

My moniker is the “gears,” Johnna (the Mormon) is the “person.” And LDS, Latter Day Saints… are synonyms for Mormons.

Enjoy.

Johnna,

Hope your busy week was productive.  I am coming up to crunch time myself here soon with this round of classes.

Johnna said:

I do admit there are fellow saints who look at it this way.  My husband is one of them.

I wish here to applaud Johnna, she is at least admitting that many “Saints” view Heavenly Father’s nature this way.

  • Thank you Johnna for being honest. 

For the reader to continue they must understand what Johnna just did. Often times when Mormon Elders come to your door they will shy away from this because you are not initiated into the Latter Day Saint Church. And so, I will define the LDS “god” so the conversation is fully understood. I will pull some from my chapter, but first start out with a layman’s understanding of the Mormon “god,” and then get into the weeds a bit.


Defining the LDS “god”


  • Jesus of LDS (Mormons): Jesus was the first begotten son by Heavenly Father and Mother (one of many mothers, but presumably this one is the most important.  Polygamy is practiced in the Mormon top-tear heaven), Lucifer was also born of a sexual act in heaven, so Jesus and Satan are literally brothers – as we are all brothers and sisters, albeit most likely half-brother or sister.  During the judgment period Elohim, Jesus, and Joseph Smith will judge every Mormon and according to his works.  (I say his, because in Mormon theology women are consecrated to a Mormon man, so her salvation depends on his good works.  If he does not make it, in heaven she may become one of the many wives of a Mormon male that did make the cut, so-to-speak.)  Again, Jesus had to become exalted Himself to also attain the best Heaven so he to can be a god of his own world.  This godhood exaltation goes back to infinity in Mormon theology.  So Heavenly Father was once a man on a planet much like our, and he too had to attain exultation, he had a father, that father had a father, and so on. (Me)

Okay, here are some excerpts from my chapter further defining “god” by LDS leaders and Christian Apologists defining “god” more… first up is a seminary level Textbook for Mormon’s entering marriage via the Temple[1]:

“By definition, exaltation includes the ability to procreate the family unit throughout eternity. This our Father in heaven has power to do. His marriage partner is our mother in heaven. We are their spirit children, born to them in the bonds of celestial marriage.”

[….]

  • GOD WAS ONCE A MORTAL MAN
    • (1-2) He Lived on an Earth like Our Own
    • (1-3) He Experienced Conditions Similar to Our Own and Advanced Step by Step
  • GOD IS NOW AN EXALTED MAN WITH POWERS OF ETERNAL INCREASE
    • (1-4) Our Father in Heaven Lives in an Exalted Marriage Relationship
    • (1-5) We Are Literal Children of God, Part of His Family Unit

In other words, one with an elementary idea of the Judeo-Christian God can start to see a line of separation between the Christian God and the LDS “god.” Continuing with another LDS source:

The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by The First Presidency and The Twelve — The scriptures plainly and repeatedly affirm that God is the Creator of the earth and the heavens and all things that in them are. In the sense so expressed, the Creator is an Organizer. God created the earth as an organized sphere; but He certainly did not create, in the sense of bringing into primal existence, the ultimate elements of the materials of which the earth consists, for “the elements are eternal” (D. & C. 93:33) [2]

A friend comments on the issue:

The Latter-day Saint god lacks eternal omniscience, aseity, supremacy, sovereignty, and omnipotence…. The god of Mormonism does not need to exist for the intelligibility of human experience. He cannot supply the transcendental conditions that are needed for the laws of logic, love, and morality. Van Til contended that “the general precedes the particular” in our reality. This implies that the particular exalted man of Mormon theology cannot supply the general and universal realities that must be, for the necessary and unavoidable transcendental conditions listed above. A restricted and fixed exalted man cannot be the indispensable foundation for the unity of experience and knowledge.[3]

Richard Abanes points out some of these ideas in his exhaustive history of the Mormon Church:

…there is a “limitless” amount of cosmic spirit matter known as “intelligence,” out of which Elohim and Heavenly Mother made countless spirit babies via celestial sex.  Their ethereal unions somehow siphoned off portions of that great ocean of cosmic “intelligence” and clothed each of these portions with a spirit body. The resulting offspring not only bore their image, but had resident within them the potential for godhood, an attribute of Heavenly Father and Mother…. Countless souls, say LDS leaders, have already attained godhood. Orson Pratt theorized: “If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds.”i Brigham Young, much less willing to calculate the number of gods, admitted: “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods.”ii These teachings inspired the popular Mormons couplet: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”iii [4]

To make this point further, Francis Beckwith mentions that “[s]ince [g]od the Father of Mormonism was himself organized (or spirit-birthed) by his [g]od, who himself is the offspring of yet another [g]od, and so on ad infinitum, Mormon theology therefore implies that the [g]od over this world is a contingent being[5] in an infinite lineage of gods.”[6]  Concurring, Mormon theologian B. H. Roberts, a member of the First Council of Seventy, writes:

Not even God may place himself beyond the boundary of space: nor on the outside of duration. Nor is it conceivable to human thought he can create space, or annihilate matter. These are things that limit even God’s omnipotence. What then, is meant by the ascription of the attribute of Omnipotence to God? Simply that all that may or can be done by power conditioned by other eternal existences—duration, space, matter, truth, justice—God can do. But even he may not act out of harmony with the other eternal existences which condition or limit him.[7]

This is very important, because it makes the god Mormons here on this world worship contingent on other beings and parameters for his being and godhood, which has deep ethical consequences:

Hence, when a Mormon says that god is omnipresent he is asserting that god’s influence, power, and knowledge is all-pervasive, but that the focal point of God’s being (that is, his body) exists at a particular place in time and space. Because the Mormons do not believe that the universe is contingent upon God to sustain its continued existence,[8] there is no need for the Mormons to defend the classical view of omnipresence…. Since God Himself came into being as God (although he existed in some state eternally), He cannot be the source and sanction of values. He Himself obeys laws and affirmed values for whose existence he is not responsible.[9]


Footnotes


[1] Achieving Celestial Marriage (Salt Lake City, UT: Church Educational System Department of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, 1998), 129.  I will attach this entire page in the appendix.

[2] James E. Talmage, A Study of the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1959) 465-466. (Emphasis added.)

[3] Mike Robinson, Presuppositional Apologetics Examines Mormonism: How Van Til’s Apologetic Refutes Mormon Theology (Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, 2007), 71-72.

[4] Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church (New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002), 285, 286-287.

i Orson Pratt, February 18, 1855, Journal of Discourses (Liverpool, F.D. Richards, 1855; lithographed reprint of original edition, 1966), vol. 2, 345. In The Seer, Pratt wrote: “We were begotten by our Father in Heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again He was begotten by a still more ancient Father, and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient, until our minds are wearied and lost in the multiplicity of generations and successive worlds, and as a last resort, we wonder in our minds, how far back the genealogy extends, and how the first world was formed, and the first Father was begotten” (Orson Pratt, “The Pre-Existence of Man,” The Seer, September 1853, vol. 1, no. 9, 132; cf. Orson Pratt, “The Pre-Existence of Man,” The Seer, February, 1853, vol. I, no. 2, 23-24).

ii Brigham Young, October 8, 1859, Journal of Discourses (Liverpool: Amass Lyman, 1860; lithographed reprint of original edition, 1966), vol. 7, 333.

iii Lorenzo Snow, MS, vol. 54, 404. Quoted in Hunter, 105-106.

[5] Concept of contingent being:

Contingent beings have their explanation or sufficient reason in something other than themselves. A contingent being is anything that depends on something else for its existence.

Ronald H. Nash, Faith & Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988), 127.

[6] Francis J. Beckwith, Carl Mosser, and Paul Owen, gen.ed. The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 224.

[7] B.H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology: Third and Fourth Year (Salt Lake City, UT: Caxton Press, 1910), 4:70; quoted in The New Mormon Challenge, 225;

[B.H. Roberts] added that “even [God] may not act out of harmony with the other external existences [such as duration, space, matter, truth, justice] which condition or limit him. “ Mormon theologian John Widtsoe maintains that belief in creation out of nothing does nothing but cause confusion: “Much inconsistency of thought has come from the notion that things may be derived from an immaterial state, that is, from nothingness.”  In addition to this assertion, Widtsoe asserts that God cannot create matter [out of nothing] nor can he destroy it: “God, possessing the supreme intelligence of the universe, can cause energy in accomplishing his ends, but create it, or destroy it, he cannot.”  The sum of matter and energy, whatever their form, always remains the same.

The New Mormon Challenge, 104, [see fn#6].

[8] The Bible has a different view on this, matter, let’s read from Colossians 1:16-17, first from the NASB, then from the Message Bible:

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995);

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

Eugene H Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002).

[9] Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen E. Parrish, The Mormon Concept of God: A Philosophical Analysis (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991), 43, 44. (Emphasis added.)

I don’t know if this clears up the defining aspect of the LDS “god,” but this is what Johnna is referencing as believing. Publicly! Not trying to obfuscate their understanding to a non-Mormon.


Continuing w/Convo


I may add here that she also admits that her husband thinks this way as well, she didn’t need to share this private nugget with us, but she chose to, thanks again.  Remember (speaking to the reader), it really doesn’t matter what Johnna thinks on the matter, her “goddess-hood” (i.e., salvation to the highest LDS heaven — or — she will be sealed to another LDS man/god she has never met) isn’t based at all on her thoughts on the matter. It is based entirely upon what her husband believes.  That’s the bottom line.

Johnna said:

I do believe that God (the Father, and the Son) are co-eternal with matter. Actually, I believe in some sense, as a child of God, I am co-eternal with matter, and so are you.

So the question is this then, based on what you said Johnna… how did the first “god” appear? The Judeo-Christian (theistic) God does not encounter this problem: “all that began to exist has cause.” YHWH (God) did not “begin” to exist, so He could’t have been created. However, these infinite regress of gods in LDS theology all had a cause. What kicked off the original “cause.” As an aside, we know an actual infinite regress of historical events is impossible. We know this from an ancient philosopher’s paradox of motion, Zeno. 

We would never reach an end of these historical events. In other words, you would not be “here” right now conversing about this matter. To extend my thinking on the possibility of these “gods” really evolving from this more base “eternal matter” are these quotes by Marxists philosophers showing Mormonism has more in common with atheistic dialectical materialism:

  • “…. ‘The electron is as inexhaustible as the atom, nature is infinite….’ Any form of matter possesses a complex structure and an infinite variety of internal and external connections and properties.”

~ V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 14, 262.  Found in Marxist-Leninist theory: The Fundamentals of Marxist-Leninist Philosophy (trans. from the Russian by Robert Daglish; Moscow, U.S.S.R: Progress Publishers, 1974), 76.

  • “And again: ‘The indestructibility of the atom, its inexhaustibility, the mutability of all forms of matter and of its motion, have always been the stronghold of dialectical materialism.’  Proceeding from the scientific facts of the structural heterogeneity and the inexhaustibility of matter, the diversity of the laws of motion, Lenin formulated a generalized [original spelling] philosophical concept of matter.”

~ Ibid, 280-81. Found in, Ibid, 74-75.

  • “Time is an objectively real form of the existence of matter in motion.”  [In other words, if matter is eternal, and the atoms motion is eternal, these need places to move and exist, ergo, time is eternal as well.]  “It characterizes the sequence of the occurrence of material processes, the separateness of the various stages of these processes, their duration and their development. ‘There is nothing in the world but matter in motion,’ Lenin wrote, ‘and matter in motion cannot move otherwise than in space and time’.”

~ Ibid., 175.  Found in, Ibid, 85-86.

  • “The Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the infinitude of the universe is the fundamental axiom at the basis of Soviet cosmology.” …. it is the first concern of Soviet scientists to refute the conclusions of an unavoidable ‘heat death’, which is often drawn from the second law of thermodynamics.  Since, according to this law, energy that has been transformed into heat cannot again be turned back entirely into higher forms of energy, our universe must be tending towards a state of affairs in which all higher forms of energy have been changed into heat and the latter in turn has been equally distributed throughout the entire universe, with the result that all macrophysical processes would have come to a standstill.”

~ Gustav A. Wetter, Dialectical Materialism: A Historical and Systematic Survey of the Philosophy in the Soviet Union (trans. from the German by Peter Heath; New York, NY: Frederick A. Prager, 1958), 436.

  • “Rozental’ and Yudin’s Short Philosophical Dictionary gives the following definition of ‘substance’: ‘….  For Marxist philosophical materialism, substance, i.e., essence, the ground of all things, consists in self-moving and eternally developing matter.”

~ Ibid., 292.

  • “The concept of space and time.  All material bodies have a certain extension: length, breadth, height.  They are variously placed in relation to each other and constitute parts of one or another system.  Space is a form of coordination of coexisting objects and states of matter.  It consists in the fact that objects are extraposed to one another (alongside, beside, beneath, above, within, behind, in front, etc.) and have certain quantitative relationships.  The order of coexistence of these objects and their states forms the structure of space…. Space and time are universal forms of the existence of matter, the coordination of objects.  The universality of these forms lies in the fact that they are forms of existence of all the objects and processes that have ever existed or will exist in the infinite universe.”

~ Alexander Spirkin, Dialectical Materialism (trans. from the Russian by Robert Daglish; Moscow, U.S.S.R: Progress Publishers, 1983), 77-78.

  • “To sum up, all objects and processes in the world are finite.  But the totality of finite things and processes is infinite.  The universe had no beginning, has no end and is inexhaustible…. The concept of beginning is meaningful when applied not to the universe as a whole but only to separate, specific things and processes, that is to say, to the finite.  We can set no limits to the universe as a whole.  It categorically forbids us to do so.  It is ageless [e.g., matter and motion].  It is infinitely old and eternally young.”

~ Ibid., 81-82.

Again, all this is to say is that Dialectical Materialism/Marxism has more in common with Mormon theology/philosophy than Mormon theology/philosophy has in common with Christian theology/philosophy. Both say matter is eternal. Both say consciousness came from this eternal state. Both say you can move through a thesis/antithesis to a synthesis. Both say this “evolving” never ends – and note the Mormon “god” continues to accumulate knowledge.

Johnna said:

Of course, I continue to consider myself Christian, and I certainly don’t consider myself an atheist.

An atheist could adopt a similar view in that evolution to a state where control of matter in a godlike fashion would be possible. Many naturalists hold to Eatern metaphysics, who have a similar view of matter being eternal. At this point I merely responded with an adapted excerpt from chapter one of Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson’s book, Questions to Ask Your Mormon Friend: Effective Ways to Challenge a Mormon’s Arguments Without Being Offensive (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1994):


Are They (LDS) Christians?


…The twelfth Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball said:

Latter-day Saints are true Christians. We cannot understand how anyone could question our being Christians. It would certainly be a reflection upon anyone who would say such a thing, because if they attended even one session of any meeting of this church, they would come to realize that every prayer and every song and every sermon is centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the true followers of Jesus Christ; and we hope the world will finally come to the conclusion that we are Christians, if there are any in the world. (Edward L. Kimball, ed., The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 434).

Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie stated:

Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism; they are one and the same, and they are not to be distinguished from each other in the minutest detail…. Mormons are true Christians; their worship is the pure, unadulterated Christianity authored by Christ and accepted by Peter, James, and John and all the ancient saints. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 513)

Rex Lee, the president of LDS-owned Brigham Young University, felt that it was “ridiculous” to not consider Mormons as Christians. He added:

I assume that qualification as a Christian turns mainly on belief in Christ. Mormons not only qualify as Christians under that definition, but they have also given broader meaning to the definition itself. (Rex Lee, What Do Mormons Believe?, p. 19)

The LDS Church has been striving in recent years to gain acceptance as a Christian religion. Although the LDS Church has been very successful at polishing its image, it has never backed off from its many heretical doctrines, which distinguish it from Biblical Christianity. While many Mormons claim that they should also be entitled to the name “Christian,” many of these same Mormons would be equally offended in Bible-believing Christians insisted on being called “Mormons.”

>>>>>>>>>>>

Imagine the Mormons’ reaction to the following statement:

I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe that God was once a man or that men can become gods. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Mormon Church is the only true church or that we need human prophets to guide the church. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe temples are necessary or that couples can be married for eternity.

A knowledgeable Latter-day Saint would defy that such a person was, in fact, a true Mormon. why? Because this person who claims to be Mormon denies the very doctrines that make Mormons what they are. At the same time, however, a Mormon who claims to be Christian denies the very doctrines that make Christians what they are. 

Indeed, Mormonism denies or distorts the basic tenants of Biblical Christianity. The two religions are incompatible. The areas of difference include the (1) doctrine of God, (2) the basis for authority, and the (3) idea of salvation for mankind.

Brigham Young University professors Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks ask “anti-Mormons” to refrain from calling Mormonism a cult. They ask that “more neutral terminology [be used], such as ‘religious movement,’ ‘religious group,’ or ‘church.’” I would do this, but in return I would ask the Mormon Church to quit attempting to use the name “Christian” to describe its “religious movement.”

Unlike many contemporary Mormons who desire to have equal status within Christianity, many LDS leaders have gone out of their way to deride these same Christian churches. Throughout the history of the LDS Church, its leaders have continually taught that Mormonism is far superior to the Christian denominations.

Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, made the first attack on Christianity when he claimed to have asked God, in 1820, which of all the churches was correct.  He was answered that “I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt…” (Joseph Smith’s Testimony, 1:13).

According to Smith, Christianity was not in need of reformation. Rather, its corruption was so severe that a complete restoration was necessary. Drs. Peterson and Ricks attempted to downplay the severity of Christianity’s “depravity” by claiming that Smith merely referred to the local churches at the time of his youth. They write:

What the Lord told Joseph Smith in the grove was that the churches and creeds of 1820 were defective and distorted by error. He did not say that they were entirely and utterly wrong (since they preserved much truth), nor did he say that each and every Christian church would always be wrong…. He did not say that Christianity, as such, is false. There is nothing logically wrong with saying that the churches of 1820 were incorrect on many important issues (“corrupt”), and then saying that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (organized in 1830) is true (Peterson and Ricks, Offenders for a Word, pp. 170-171).

Was Smith really referring only to the churches of 1820? To draw such a conclusion undermines the very existence of the LDS Church as well as goes against the pronounced statements of many Mormon leaders. Contrary to what these professors claim, Bruce McConkie seems to be more consistent with Mormonism’s overall attack on Christianity. Following a quotation of the Athanasian Creed, he concluded:

Is it any wonder that the Lord of heaven, as He stood by His Father’s side on that glorious day in 1820, speaking of all the churches in all Christendom, told young Joseph “that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight”? (McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 117, [emphasis mine])

What Smith supposedly was told by God – that there could only be one true church upon the earth – is supported by the Book of Mormon itself. It reads:

And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth ( Nephi 14:10).

McConkie described the “church of the devil” when he wrote:

What is the church of the devil in our day, and where is the seat of her power?…. It is all of the systems, both Christian and non-Christian, that perverted the pure and perfect gospel…. It is communism; it is Islam; it is Buddhism; it is modern Christianity in all it parts.  It is Germany under Hitler, Russia under Stalin, and Italy under Mussolini (McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, pp. 54-55, [emphasis mine]).

Doctrines and Covenants 1:30 confirms this idea of exclusivity when it says that smith’s restored church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased….” Expounding on the idea that only two churches exist – the Church of the Lamb and the Church of Babylon – George Q. Cannon, a former member of the LDS First Presidency, said:

The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon. God is not the founder of them, yet there are many sincere people who belong to them. These Elders of the Church are commanded to warn, and they commanded to gather out. The Spirit of the Lord moves upon the people who will listen to His servants to leave Babylon and join the Church of the Lamb (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, p. 324, [emphasis mine]).

As indicated by the pretense of his statement, Cannon believed any non-LDS Church is part of Babylon or, as the Book of Mormon puts it, “the church of the devil.”

Christians and Mormons may believe in Christ’s literal resurrection, but Christians do not believe that Jesus went to Americas after His resurrection, nor that His resurrection merely paves the way for men to be resurrected (earlier post on salvation); they do not hold that Christ’s birth was a result of God the Father having sexual relations with Mary; nor do Christians believe that Jesus is a created being who was the spirit-brother of Lucifer.

Christians have never worshipped a God who, as the offspring of another God, became a mortal man and eventually attained godhood. Thay have also never worshipped a being who resides near a planet called Kolob.

Peterson and Ricks write:

At least until recently, Mormons have thought of conservative Christians as, in many ways, their allies…. Most Latter-day Saints can only shake their heads, therefore, at the claim that Mormonism is not Christian (Offenders for a Word, p. 57)

Despite the arguments made by these writers, Gordon B. Hinkly, first counselor to LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, disagreed that the differences are minor. Speaking of the uniqueness of his church while classifying it as Christian, he wrote the following in an LDS Church tract:

They [Mormons] are generally classed as Protestants, since they are not Catholics. Actually they are no closer to Protestantism than they are to Catholicism. Neither historically nor on the basis of modern association, theology, or practice, can they be grouped with either…. Suffice it to say that its theology, it organization, and its practices are in many respects entirely unique among today’s Christian denominations (What of the Mormons?, p. 2)

Mormon leaders since Joseph Smith’s day have continually emphasized the differences, not the similarities, between Mormonism and Christianity. A Christian who is approached by a Mormon who says Mormonism is “just the same” as the historical Biblical Christianity needs to realize that this Mormon either does not know Mormonism or does not know the tenants of the Christian faith.  As Clansman (a Mormon I debated on this particular web site where I posted this response) and others have consistently shown.

  1. That an actual infinite is possible;
  2. That there is an infinite regress of gods;
  3. The universe and gods exist co-eternally;
  4. That Jesus death on the cross was only for Adams sin;
  5. That Jesus is a god (one of an infinite), not God;
  6. That God didn’t create the space-time continuum;
  7. That any Spirit child could have done what Jesus did if he advanced as quickly as Jesus did. . . (in fact there could be a Jesus up there right now that has been exulted before getting his physical body, like Jesus did);
  8. That blacks were cursed spirit children who stayed neutral in the heavenly (Kolobly) war;
  9. That blacks will become white in heaven/Kolob, or a planet/heaven of their own;
  10. That Joseph Smith and others said ALL other churches were corrupt;
  11. That Joseph Smith has multiple First Vision accounts;
  12. That Joseph Smith used occultic practices to translate the Book of Mormon;
  13. That he had many, many wives;
  14. That LDS have added Scripture;
  15. That Brigham Young ordered the deaths of innocents;
  16. That Brigham Young had many, many wives;
  17. That Jesus had many, many wives (at least according to LDS);
  18. That the Book of Mormon claims to be a historical book yet not one iota of evidence for it can be found;
  19. That Heavenly Father has many, many wives (that yes, he screws for eternity, the LDS and Islam have something in common – also occult connections as well);
  20. That god, Heavenly Father, was once a man on a planet that may have owned a 7-11 type business and have been unfaithful to his wife before being exulted and following a LDS like path to it – exultation/salvation;
  21. That Heavenly Father had a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother who were also once human;
  22. On, and On, and On, and On – ad infinitum!

The Atheist Universe – New York Times

Dennis Prager reads from a New York Times opinion piece by an atheist entitled, “The Universe Doesn’t Care About Your ‘Purpose’.” Of course this is the idea of most honest atheist thinkers (Listen to “Atheists Cannot Live Without God“). A great Ultimate Issues Hour by Prager.

Here are some excerpts from the NEW YORK TIMES article:

….Purpose is a universal human need. Without it, we feel bereft of meaning and happiness.

recent ethnographic study draws a strong correlation between purposefulness and happiness. Purpose seems beneficial to overcoming substance abusehealing from tragedy and loss, and achieving economic success….

Here I will take a break and point out that there are MANY “utilitarian benefits” to the Christian faith, but say this is not the goal of our faith…

  • “And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” – JOHN 8:32

…but the “healthfulness” of experiencing TRUE JOY is a natural outgrowth of believing in Truth:

  • Religious Belief Reduces Crime Summary of the First Panel Discussion Panelists for this important discussion included social scientists Dr. John DiIulio, professor of politics and urban affairs at Princeton University; David Larson, M.D., President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research; Dr. Byron Johnson, Director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy at Vanderbilt University; and Gary Walker, President of Public/Private Ventures. The panel focused on new research, confirming the positive effects that religiosity has on turning around the lives of youth at risk.
  • Dr. Larson laid the foundation for the discussion by summarizing the findings of 400 studies on juvenile delinquency, conducted during the past two decades. He believes that although more research is needed, we can say without a doubt that religion makes a positive contribution.
  • His conclusion: “The better we study religion, the more we find it makes a difference.” Previewing his own impressive research, Dr. Johnson agreed. He has concluded that church attendance reduces delinquency among boys even when controlling for a number of other factors including age, family structure, family size, and welfare status. His findings held equally valid for young men of all races and ethnicities.
  • Gary Walker has spent 25 years designing, developing and evaluating many of the nation’s largest public and philanthropic initiatives for at-risk youth. His experience tells him that faith-based programs are vitally important for two reasons. First, government programs seldom have any lasting positive effect. While the government might be able to design [secular/non-God] programs that occupy time, these programs, in the long-term, rarely succeed in bringing about the behavioral changes needed to turn kids away from crime. Second, faith-based programs are rooted in building strong adult-youth relationships; and less concerned with training, schooling, and providing services, which don’t have the same direct impact on individual behavior. Successful mentoring, Walker added, requires a real commitment from the adults involved – and a willingness to be blunt. The message of effective mentors is simple. “You need to change your life, I’m here to help you do it, or you need to be put away, away from the community.” Government, and even secular philanthropic programs, can’t impart this kind of straight talk.
  • Sixth through twelfth graders who attend religious services once a month or more are half as likely to engage in at-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual excess, truancy, vandalism, drunk driving and other trouble with police. Search Institute, “The Faith Factor,” Source, Vol. 3, Feb. 1992, p.1.
  • Churchgoers are more likely to aid their neighbors in need than are non-attendees. George Barna, What Americans Believe, Regal Books, 1991, p. 226.
  • Three out of four Americans say that religious practice has strengthened family relationships. George Gallup, Jr. “Religion in America: Will the Vitality of Churches Be the Surprise of the Next Century,” The Public Perspective, The Roper Center, Oct./Nov. 1995.
  • Church attendance lessens the probabilities of homicide and incarceration. Nadia M. Parson and James K. Mikawa: “Incarceration of African-American Men Raised in Black Christian Churches.” The Journal of Psychology, Vol. 125, 1990, pp.163-173.
  • Religious practice lowers the rate of suicide. Joubert, Charles E., “Religious Nonaffiliation in Relation to Suicide, Murder, Rape and Illegitimacy,” Psychological Reports 75:1 part 1 (1994): 10 Jon W. Hoelter: “Religiosity, Fear of Death and Suicide Acceptibility.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 9, 1979, pp.163-172.
  • The presence of active churches, synagogues… reduces violent crime in neighborhoods. John J. Dilulio, Jr., “Building Spiritual Capital: How Religious Congregations Cut Crime and Enhance Community Well-Being,” RIAL Update, Spring 1996.
  • People with religious faith are less likely to be school drop-outs, single parents, divorced, drug or alcohol abusers. Ronald J. Sider and Heidi Roland, “Correcting the Welfare Tragedy,” The Center for Public Justice, 1994.
  • Church involvement is the single most important factor in enabling inner-city black males to escape the destructive cycle of the ghetto. Richard B. Freeman and Harry J. Holzer, eds., The Black Youth Employment Crisis, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p.354.
  • Attending services at a church or other house of worship once a month or more makes a person more than twice as likely to stay married than a person who attends once a year or less. David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, “Is Divorce Hazardous to Your Health?” Physician, June 1990. Improving Personal Well-Being
  • Regular church attendance lessens the possibility of cardiovascular diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema and arteriosclerosis. George W. Comstock amd Kay B. Patridge:* “Church attendance and health.”* Journal of Chronic Disease, Vol. 25, 1972, pp. 665-672.
  • Regular church attendance significantly reduces the probablility of high blood pressure.* David B. Larson, H. G. Koenig, B. H. Kaplan, R. S. Greenberg, E. Logue and H. A. Tyroler:* ” The Impact of religion on men’s blood pressure.”* Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 28, 1989, pp.265-278.* W.T. Maramot:* “Diet, Hypertension and Stroke.” in* M. R. Turner (ed.) Nutrition and Health, Alan R. Liss, New York, 1982, p. 243.
  • People who attend services at least once a week are much less likely to have high blood levels of interlukin-6, an immune system protein associated with many age-related diseases.* Harold Koenig and Harvey Cohen, The International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, October 1997.
  • Regular practice of religion lessens depression and enhances self esteem. *Peter L. Bensen and Barnard P. Spilka:* “God-Image as a function of self-esteem and locus of control” in H. N. Maloney (ed.) Current Perspectives in the Psychology of Religion, Eedermans, Grand Rapids, 1977, pp. 209-224.* Carl Jung: “Psychotherapies on the Clergy” in Collected Works Vol. 2, 1969, pp.327-347.
  • Church attendance is a primary factor in preventing substance abuse and repairing damage caused by substance abuse.* Edward M. Adalf and Reginald G. Smart:* “Drug Use and Religious Affiliation, Feelings and Behavior.” * British Journal of Addiction, Vol. 80, 1985, pp.163-171.* Jerald G. Bachman, Lloyd D. Johnson, and Patrick M. O’Malley:* “Explaining* the Recent Decline in Cocaine Use Among Young Adults:* Further Evidence That Perceived Risks and Disapproval Lead to Reduced Drug Use.”* Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 31,* 1990, pp. 173-184.* Deborah Hasin, Jean Endicott, * and Collins Lewis:* “Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Patients With Affective Syndromes.”* Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 26, 1985, pp. 283-295. * The findings of this NIMH-supported study were replicated in the Bachmen et. al. study above.
  • The strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion. Churchgoers are more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or single, and more likely to manifest high levels of satisfaction in marriage.
  • Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness.
  • The regular practice of religion helps poor persons move out of poverty. Regular church attendance, for example, is particularly instrumental in helping young people to escape the poverty of inner-city life.
  • Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.
  • Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce.
  • The regular practice of religion also encourages such beneficial effects on mental health as less depression (a modern epidemic), more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness.
  • In repairing damage caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, and marital breakdown, religious belief and practice are a major source of strength and recovery.
  • Regular practice of religion is good for personal physical health: It increases longevity, improves one’s chances of recovery from illness, and lessens the incidence of many killer diseases.

(From: Can Someone Be Glad for God’s Non-Existence?Believing In God Is Natural ~ Atheism is Not)

…CONTINUING…

…..I’m certainly no Aristotelian. Not because I reject happiness. Rather, as a materialist, I think there’s nothing intrinsic about the goals and purposes we seek to achieve it. Modern science explicitly jettisons this sort of teleological thinking from our knowledge of the universe. From particle physics to cosmology, we see that the universe operates well without purpose.

The laws of physics are inherently mechanistic. The second law of thermodynamics, for instance, states that entropy is always increasing. Entropy is the degree of disorder in a system, for example our universe. Physical disorder is all about equilibrium — everything resting randomly and uniformly. Leave your hot coffee on the desk and it will cool to ambient temperature. The coffee molecules are more organized because they are moving faster and working harder to sustain a higher temperature than the surrounding air. But heat transfer results as the coffee molecules expend more energy. As energy is expended, the temperature of the coffee drops and equalizes with the air. Entropy increases since the molecules in the system are now less organized as the overall temperature becomes more uniform.

Now, imagine this on the cosmic scale. Just as the temperature of the coffee and air equalizes, the Earth, our solar system, galaxies and even supermassive black holes will break down to the quantum level, where everything cools to a uniform state. This process is known as the arrow of time. Eventually everything ends in heat death. The universe certainly started with a bang, but it likely ends with a fizzle.

What’s the purpose in that, though?

There isn’t one. At least not fundamentally. Entropy is antagonistic to intrinsic purpose. It’s about disorder. Aristotle’s world and pretty much the dominant understanding of the physical universe until the Copernican Revolution is all about inherent order and permanence. But the universe as we understand it tells us nothing about the goal or meaning of existence, let alone our own. In the grand scheme of things, you and I are enormously insignificant.

[….]

Purpose springs from our longing for permanence in an ever-changing universe. It is a reaction to the universe’s indifference to us. We create stories about the world and ourselves as contours, “phantom bodies,” of the inevitability of loss and change. Myths appear timeless; they have what Blumenberg calls an iconic constancy. Stories pass through generations, often becoming traditions, customs, even laws and institutions that order and give meaning to our lives. Purpose grows out of the durability of human lore. Our stories serve as directives for the ways we need the world to exist.

An indifferent universe also offers us a powerful and compelling case for living justly and contentedly because it allows us to anchor our attentionhere. It teaches us that this life matters and that we alone are responsible for it. Love, friendship and forgiveness are for our benefit. Oppression, war and conflict are self-inflicted. When we ask what’s the purpose of the recent gassing of Syrian children in the Idlib Province or the torture and killings of Chechnyan homosexual men, we ought not simply look to God or the universe for explanations but to ourselves, to the entrenched mythologies that drive such actions — then reject them when the institutions they inform amount to acts of horror.

The purposes and goals we create are phantom bodies — vestiges of and memorials to the people, places and things we stand to lose and strive to keep. Purpose indexes the world’s impermanence, namely our own. Sure, my grandfather’s T-Bird will function well as transportation once I’m finished. But, that goal only makes sense as an enduring reminder of the stories and memories of him. Purpose is about loss, or at least the circumvention of it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We create purposes to establish happy endings in a universe where endings are simply that — endings.

I will never see my Papa again. One day I will die. So will you. The T-Bird will decay along with everything in the universe as the fundamental particles we’re made of return to the inert state in which everything began. Entropy demands it.

So, take a moment to think about the mythologies informing your purpose. I’ll reflect on mine, too. The universe, however, won’t. And that might be the most meaningful distinction of all.

Is Evil Proof Against God? Where Does It Come From?

Description of the above video:

  • If there is a God, why is there so much evil? How could any God that cares about right and wrong allow so much bad to happen? And if there is no God, who then determines what is right and what is wrong? The answers to these questions, as Boston College philosopher Peter Kreeft explains, go to the heart of ethics, morality and how we know what it means to be a decent person.

The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either.

[….]

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 13, 38.

Description of the above video:

  • Isn’t human suffering proof that a just, all-powerful God must not exist? On the contrary, says Boston College Professor of Philosophy Peter Kreeft. How can “suffering” exist without an objective standard against which to judge it? Absent a standard, there is no justice. If there is no justice, there is no injustice. And if there is no injustice, there is no suffering. On the other hand, if justice exists, God exists. In five minutes, learn more.

Description of the above video:

  • A student asks a question of Ravi Zacharias about God condemning people [atheists] to hell. This Q&A occurred after a presentation Ravi gave at Harvard University, and is now one of his most well-known responses in the apologetic sub-culture. This is an updated version to my original post (http://youtu.be/4EeOvWdHGaM). I truncated the beginning as well as editing the volume of the initial question. I also added graphics and text quotes into the audio presentation. Enjoy this short response by Mr. Zacharias, it is him at his best.

Description of the above video:

  • Is evil rational? If it is, then how can we depend on reason alone to make a better world? Best-selling author Dennis Prager has a challenging answer.

Description of the above video:

  • Atheists Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too on Morality. This video shows that when an atheist denies objective morality they also affirm moral good and evil without the thought of any contradiction or inconsistency on their part.

EVERY ONE HAS HEARD people quarreling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kinds of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”–‘That’s my seat, I was there first”–“Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”–“Why should you shove in first?”–“Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine”–“Come on, you promised.” People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that some thing has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

(accuser) “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”

(responder) “Your right, I apologize.”

(accuser) “That’s my seat, I was there first!”

(responder) “Your right, you were. Here you go.”

(accuser) “Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine.”

(responder) “Oh gosh, I forgot, here you go.”

(accuser) “Come on, you promised.”

(responder) “Your right, lets go to the movies.”

Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the “laws of nature” we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong “the Law of Nature,” they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law–with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.

This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that every one knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual here and there who did not know it, just as you find a few people who are color-blind or have no ear for a tune. But taking the race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of decent behavior was obvious to every one. And I believe they were right. If they were not, then all the things we said about the war were nonsense. What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practiced! If they had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have had to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the color of their hair.

I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all men is unsound, because different civilizations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Creeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in the appendix of another book called The Abolition of Man; but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to–whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put Yourself first. selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.

But the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining “It’s not fair” before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties do not matter; but then, next minute, they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such thing as Right and Wrong–in other words, if there is no Law of Nature–what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else?

It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table. Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is this. None of us are really keeping the Law of Nature. If there are any exceptions among you, 1 apologize to them. They had much better read some other work, for nothing I am going to say concerns them. And now, turning to the ordinary human beings who are left:

I hope you will not misunderstand what I am going to say. I am not preaching, and Heaven knows I do not pretend to be better than anyone else. I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people. There may be all sorts of excuses for us. That time you were so unfair to the children was when you were very tired. That slightly shady business about the money–the one you have almost forgotten-came when you were very hard up. And what you promised to do for old So-and-so and have never done–well, you never would have promised if you had known how frightfully busy you were going to be. And as for your behavior to your wife (or husband) or sister (or brother) if I knew how irritating they could be, I would not wonder at it–and who the dickens am I, anyway? I am just the same. That is to say, I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm. The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are one more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in decency so much–we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so–that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. For you notice that it is only for our bad behavior that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.

These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 17-21.

After reading that portion of CLASSIC Lewis, here is some thoughts from a philosopher that I disagree with on many points (he is an atheist after all), but he argues well for the following, even if later rejecting it:

If the reader is not familiar with Mere Christianity, I would urge him or her to buy it. The first chapter alone is worth the cost of the book. It is a brilliant piece of psychology. In it, Lewis sums up two crucial aspects of the human condition. We can see the first aspect in the passage quoted. Human beings do quarrel in the way Lewis describes. We are moral agents who cannot help feeling that there are some things we ought to do, and that there are other things we ought not to do. We believe, sometimes despite ourselves, that there is such a thing as right and wrong, and that there are certain principles of conduct to which we and all other human beings ought to adhere. In our dealings with other people we constantly appeal to those principles. We are quick to notice when others violate them. We get defensive and make excuses when it appears that we have violated them ourselves. We get defensive even when no one else is around. We accuse ourselves when no else does, and we rationalize our behavior in front of our consciences just as we would in front of another person. We cannot help applying to ourselves the principles we firmly believe apply to all. To use Alvin Plantinga’s term, the belief in morality is basic. Even when we reject that belief in our theoretical reasoning, it comes back to haunt us at every turn. We can never really get away from it. There is a reason why our legal system defines insanity as the inability to tell right from wrong: people who lack that ability have lost an important part of their humanity. They have taken a step down towards the level of beasts.

Even if, in our heart of hearts, we all believe in morality, we do not necessarily share the exact same moral values. Differences regarding values are at least a part of what we quarrel about. Yet Lewis correctly recognizes that our differences in this area never amount to a total difference. The moral beliefs human beings entertain display broad cross-cultural similarities. Ancient Egyptians did not appreciate having their property stolen any more than we do. A brother’s murder, a wife’s infidelity, or a friend’s betrayal would have angered them, just as it angers us. Human nature has not changed much for tens of thousands of years. It does not change at all when one travels to the other side of the globe.

I did not believe Lewis the first time I read him, or even the second time. This idea, that there is a fundamental underlying unity to the moral fabric of humanity, is a hard one to accept. Think about those suicidal fanatics who crashed planes into the World Trade Center. They “knew” they were doing the right thing, that Allah would reward them in heaven with virgins galore. How radically different from our own values the values of some Muslims must seem! Yet there is common ground. Even the most militant Muslims despise thieves, cheats, and liars, just as Christians. Jews, and atheists do. They value loyalty and friendship. just as we do. They love their children and their parents. just as we do. They even condemn murder, at least within their own societies. It is only when they deal with outsiders like us that some of them may seem like (and in fact, be) monsters. To distinguish between insiders and outsiders, and to treat the latter horribly, is actually not so unusual in human history. Expanding one’s “inside group” until it encompasses all of humanity is something of an innovation. When we consider all this, the moral gulf between us and them does not seem so unbridgeable. Our admittedly great differences occur against a background of fundamental similarities. Similarities guaranteed by the fact that we are all stuck being human. So it seems Lewis was right, despite my earlier skepticism. Universal moral themes can and do underpin the diversity of our moral opinions.

[….]

Moral statements, then, cannot be mere matters of taste and opinion. They essentially involve an appeal to principles that transcend both the wishes of any one individual, and the customs of any one culture or society. That there are such principles, and that we cannot really escape from them, are points Lewis successfully illuminates. It thus seems very plausible to suppose that when our moral statements appeal to these principles in an appropriate and rational manner, they deserve to be called truths.

Andrew Marker, The Ladder: Escaping from Plato’s Cave (iUniverse.com, 2010), 108-110, 111-112.

Nature of Apologetics, Douglas Groothuis (S.S. Part 1)

This is a three-parter that is quite long, and technical. (It is the first part of a previous set [second, third].) You may also want a dictionary ready, this is a seminary level presentation. If you taken with this presentation[s] — knowledge of how we should better interact with our world and our culture comes through for those In His Service — ΙΗΣ.


Introduction


Part 1

“Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good.” — Blaise Pascal, Pensées, #12/187.

I. The Definition of Apologetics

A. The rational defense of the Christian worldview as objectively true and existentially or subjectively engaging. More generally, to commendation of Christianity in the face of unbelief or doubt.
B. Concerns defining Christian truth-claims that one must believe in order to be a Christian

1. Essentials of orthodoxy: Trinity, Incarnation, biblical authority, justification by faith, etc.
2. Truth-claim: propositions affirming the existence or nonexistence of certain states of affairs

a. Different than a sentence; many sentences affirm of declare the same proposition (More on this in D. Groothuis, Truth Decay, chapter four)
b. Truth-claims are different than questions, emotive utterances, commands, etc.

II. Relation of Apologetics to Theology

A. Apologetics is dependent on theology for its content (essential doctrines), which are defended as true
B. Theology’s ideal is to systematically and coherently articulate what Scripture teaches
C. We need a theology of apologetics’

~ Theological truths (such as human depravity, general revelation, divine transcendence and immanence) guide one’s understanding and application of apologetics

III. Relation of Apologetics to Philosophy

A. Comes under one category of philosophy—philosophy of religion: the rational investigation of religious truth-claims

~ But not all philosophy of religion is Christian apologetics; may be done in service of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, etc.

B. Attempts to rationally justify theological statements through philosophical means (theistic arguments, defending the coherence of doctrines, such as the Trinity or Incarnation, etc.)

~ Need not be propaganda or proselytizing, but may be

C. Resurgence of Christians in philosophy in the last two-three decades. See James Kelly Clark, ed., Philosophers Who Believe (InterVarsity Press, 1993); Thomas Morris, God and the Philosophers, ed. (Oxford, 1995). Academic journals: Faith and Philosophy; Philosophia Christi

IV. Relation of Apologetics to Evangelism

A. Apologetics used when necessary to remove obstacles to evangelism: doubts, misunderstandings (Matthew 28:18 — 20)
B. Evangelism declares Christian truth and invites unbelievers to embrace it; apologetics defends Christian truth and clarifies its meaning
C. Apologetics as pre-evangelism (Francis A. Schaeffer)


Part 2

V. Two Types of Apologetics

A. Negative apologetics (two senses)

1. Find intellectual weaknesses in non-Christian world-views—naturalism, pantheism, deism, etc.
2. Respond to anti-Christian intellectual assaults on Christian truth made by Muslims, Freudians, pagan feminists, postmodernists, pantheists, etc.

B. Positive apologetics

1. Give constructive reasons and evidences for defining Christian truth-claims

~ Arguments for objective truth and morality, the existence of God, reliability of the Bible, supremacy of Jesus, etc.

2. Give a cumulative case of various rational arguments for Christian truth

C. Whether something is deemed positive or negative apologetics may depend on the angle at which you look at it
D. A full-orbed Christian apologetic combines positive and negative apologetics

VI. Reasons or Justifications for Christian Apologetics

A. The glory of the one true God (Exodus 20:1 — 7; Matthew 22:37 — 40; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17)
B. The defense of the Christian faith in order to reach the lost for Christ

1. Give a reason for our hope in the gospel (1 Peter 3:15 — 17)
2. Contend for the once-for-all revealed truth of God (Jude 3)
3. Refute false philosophies (Colossians 2:8 — 9; 2 Corinthians 10:3 — 5; 1 John 4:1 — 4)
4. Build up believers who doubt (Matthew 11:1 — 11; Jude 22 — 23). See Douglas Groothuis “Growing Through Doubt” sermon available though Hope for Today (www.hopefortoday.com)
5. Encourage holiness in knowing and defending God’s truth (Matthews 22:37 — 40)
6. Apologetic example: Paul at Athens (Acts 17:16 — 33)

a. On this see, D. A. Carson, “Athens Revisited,” in D. A. Carson, ed. Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 384-398.
b. Douglas Groothuis, “Christianity in the Marketplace” (Acts 17:16 — 34) parts I and II, sermons available from Hope for Today: (www.hopefortoday.org)

7. Apologetic example, exemplar: Jesus (throughout the Gospels)

a. On this see Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus (Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2003), chapters one and three, especially
b. Douglas Groothuis, “Jesus and the Life of the Mind” sermon available from: (www.homefortoday.org)

VII. The Spirituality of the Apologist: Truthful Humility

A. Humility (see D. Groothuis, “Apologetics, Truth, and Humility” in syllabus hot link)

1. Humility by creation: total dependence (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1 — 3)

~ See Andrew Murray, Humility: The Heart of Righteousness. Devotional classic.

2. Humility by redemption: you are not your own, you were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)
3. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23)
4. Hold the truth firmly and humbly (1 Timothy 2:24 — 26)
5. We know in part and are in process (1 Corinthians 13:12)
6. Be courageous, but meek; don’t offend unnecessarily (Matthew 5:5; 2 Corinthians 4:7)

B. Have a spirit of committed dialogue (Paul throughout Acts)
C. Glory in the gospel, not apologetic prowess; win people to Christ, not just win arguments (Matthew 28:18 — 20)
D. Passionate, but patient, yearning for the salvation of others (Romans 9:1 — 3; 10:1)
E. Importance of moral/spiritual character in ministry: watch your life and doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16)
F. Reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (Acts 1:4 — 5; John 16:13)G. Importance of individual and corporate prayer for apologetic integrity (Ephesians 6:10 — 18; Colossians 4:2 — 4)
H. Openness to God’s supernatural work in opening the eyes of unbelievers (Acts 26:17 — 18; Acts 13:1 — 12)

Developing an Apologetic Mind, Douglas Groothuis (S.S. Part 2)

This is a two-parter that is quite long, and technical. (It is the second part of a previous set [first, third].) You may also want a dictionary ready, this is a seminary level presentation. If you taken with this presentation[s] — knowledge of how we should better interact with our world and our culture comes through for those In His Service — ΙΗΣ.


Part 1

I. Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement

A. If apologetics is biblical and logical, why does it flounder? Why so ignored in the church?
B. “Six enemies of apologetic engagement” (D. Groothuis article on syllabus hot link)

1. Indifference
2. Irrationalism
3. Ignorance
4. Cowardice
5. Arrogance and intellectual vanity
6. Superficial techniques or schlock apologetics

II. Jesus as a Philosopher and Apologist (D. Groothuis, On Jesus, Chapters 1, 3)

A. What is a philosopher?
B. Was Jesus a philosopher?
C. Did Jesus disparage rationality (Michael Martin)?
D. Jesus’ use of argument: our model intellectually

1. Escaping horns of dilemma (Matthew 22:15 — 22)
2. A fortiori arguments (John 7:14 — 24)
3. Jesus’ use of evidence (Matthew 11:1 — 11)
4. Reductio ad absurdum arguments (Matthew 22:41 — 46)
5. Jesus defended truth rationally; lived it out existentially

~ Had a well integrated worldview; didn’t duck rational arguments

III. Worldviews and Christian Faith

A. Three kinds of (or aspects of) faith (W. Corduan, No Doubt; see also J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind)

1. Saving faith: justification—either/or (Ephesians 2:8 — 9)
2. Growing faith: moral sanctification—incremental (Ephesians 2:10)
3. Knowing faith: epistemological sanctification (Colossians 2:2 — 3)

a. Relationship of faith and reason: not antithetical (Isaiah 1:18)
b. Reasoning in Scripture (Romans 12:1 — 2; Matthew 22:37 — 40)
c. Some texts used against reasoning: (1 Corinthians 1 — 2; Colossians 2:8; Isaiah 55:9)
d. Biblical value placed on knowledge outside Scripture (Amos 1 — 2; Daniel; Romans 1 — 2; Acts 17:16 — 34)

B. The nature of genuine Christian faith, subjective believing

1. Assent (fides): belief that “P” (essential gospel truths) is true (Romans 10:9 — 10)
2. Trust (fiducia): belief in “P” as true and trustworthy (Romans 10:11; John 1:12)
3. Disposition, orientation (action-producing): believe “P” is true and trustworthy, therefore act in a faithful way (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14 — 26)

C. The unity of truth (Corduan) and a well-integrated worldview

1. “All truth is God’s truth”—general and special revelation (Psalm 19:1 — 11)
2. Know “P” through authority (but must identify a qualified authority)
3. Know “P” through argumentation, reasoning, evidence
4. No dichotomy of religious and secular truth: a unified, integrated, worldview
5. Developing a well-integrated worldview

a. What is a worldview and why is it important? (James Sire, chapter 1)
b. What is a Christian worldview? Touchstone proposition (William Halverson, A Concise Introduction to Philosophy)

~ The universe (originally good, now fallen, and awaiting its divine judgment and restoration) is created and sustained by the Triune God, who has revealed himself in nature, humanity, conscience, Scripture, and supremely through the Incarnation.


Part 2

IV. Truth Decay: Understanding the Problem (D. Groothuis Truth Decay, introduction, chapter one)

A. The importance of truth

1. Truth: desired and feared by mortals east of Eden
2. Truth and integrity
3. People of truth; truth in jeopardy
4. Screwtape’s ploy: remove the very category of truth from the mind

B. The seven acids of truth decay

1. The end of the enlightenment vision/project
2. A unified world view is impossible today because of our cosmopolitan, media-saturated environment
3. A unified world-view is impossible today because of the great diversity of religious viewpoints available
4. Postmodernity does not allow for a fixed sense of personal identity
5. Language is contingent on human beings and cannot communicate objective truth
6. Written texts have no objective, determinative meaning or truth value (deconstruction)
7. “Truth” is a function of power relationships, not an objective reality

V. The Eighth Acid of Truth Decay: Television (See D. Groothuis, Truth Decay, appendix)

A. Understanding the nature of television and how it contributes to truth decay “The medium is the message” (Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media)

1. Moving image trumps or humiliates the written and spoken word (Exodus 20:1 — 4; John 1:1)

a. Images are limited in their power to communicate truth: second commandment (Exodus 20). Jesus’ appearance is never described in the Gospels
b. Power of deception through image manipulation: my TV interview about channeling. Malcolm Muggerridge: “The camera always lies.” See his Christ and the Media
c. Prefabricated presentations: shrink events into sound bites and memorable images that may be false or misleading
d. Cannot watch the Bible on video. You must learn to master the written texts. Church librarian in Denver laments that parents check out “Christian videos” instead of books for children

2. Discontinuity, fragmentation: “a peek-a-boo world” (Neil Postman) (Luke 1:1 — 4)

a. No continuity, coherence, development of ideas: “And now this…”
b. Leads to intellectual impatience, recklessness, distraction
c. ADD/ADHD: a national problem. Medical warnings about TV and infants. Pediatrics, Vol. 113 No. 4 (April 2004)

~ Conclusions: Early television exposure is associated with attentional problem at age 7. Efforts to limit television viewing in early childhood may be warranted…”

d. Biblically, the primacy of a coherent, orderly view of reality (Luke 1:1 — 4)

3. Hypervelocities: video equivalent of caffeine (Psalm 46:10)—jump cuts, scene changes, special effects

a. Out of sync with God-given natures: pathology of velocity, plague of rapidity
b. Stimulation, agitation—not edification instruction (usually). Ken Burns programs are somewhat different, though
c. Decrease in attention spans: sermons, classes, conversations; but this may be challenged—through good preaching
d. Biblical importance of pacing, stillness. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

4. Entertainment orientation—amusement dominates all other values (2 Timothy 3:4)

a. The demand of all areas of life: religion, politics, news, education; amuse means “no thought.” “Laugh track is always running” (Jean Baudrillard, America)
b. Amusement is not appropriate for many things; loss of gravity, sobriety, rectitude; orienting our subjective response to the objective nature of what we experience
c. Biblically: don’t be a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God (2 Timothy 3:4). Get serious.

B. Conclusion (more on this in “Christian Ethics and Modern Culture” class)

1. Engage in television fasting
2. Decrease drastically television watching
3. Replace with thoughtful reading

Resources for growth and discernment

1. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay (InterVarsity, 2000). The appendix addresses the nature and effects television in the context of postmodernism.
2. Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds (Baker Books, 1994). Excellent Christian critique of anti-intellectualism in the church, which addresses television and other truth-decaying agents.
3. Arthur Hunt, III, The Vanishing Word: The Veneration of Imagery in the Postmodern World (Crossway, 2003). Christian perspective on a pervasive but often ignored problem.
4. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (Penguin, 1985). The best secular critique of the nature and effects of television; it is more insightful than most Christian books.
5. Douglas and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis web page: www.ivpress.com/groothuis/doug

Worldviews, Truth & Knowledge, Douglas Groothuis (S.S. Part 3)

This is a two-parter that is quite long, and technical. (It is the third part of a previous set [first, second].) You may also want a dictionary ready, this is a seminary level presentation. If you taken with this presentation[s] — knowledge of how we should better interact with our world and our culture comes through for those In His Service — ΙΗΣ.


PART 1

I.What is an Argument (Anthony Weston, Rulebook for Arguments)?

A. Philosophical argument: means of rational persuasion
B. Premises
C. Logical form
D. Conclusion
E. Validity and soundness
F. Clear language, consistent terms
G. Goal of good arguments: knowledge: justified, true belief

II. From Modernism to Postmodernism (Truth Decay, chapter two). See also Harold Netland, Encountering Religious Pluralism (InterVarsity, 2001), chapter two.

A. Distinguishing social conditions (-itys) from philosophies (-isms)
B. The premodern era (premodernity) – premodernist worldview
C. The modern era (modernity) – modernist worldview
D. The postmodern (postmodernity) era – postmodernist worldview
E. Postmodernism as a philosophy

1. No objective, universal, absolute truth; embrace of relative, pragmatic truths
2. Rejection of metanarratives; embrace of micro/mini-narratives
3. Rejection of essences, foundations; embrace of shifting surfaces
4. Language creates reality, does not reflect objective facts; self-enclosed, non referential, “prison-house of language”
5. Truth as “the new obscenity” (Os Guinness, The Journey)

F. Postmodernity as a social condition

1. The continuity with modernity regarding broad social forces
2. Breakdown of religious consensus; emergence of greater pluralism
3. The saturation of the self through communication technologies
4. Loss of cultural authority; Christianity loses it public face and voice
5. Surface over depth; image all the way down; factoids all the way down; etc.

III. The Christian View of (A) Truth and (B) What is True

A. Clarify the concept of truth, before getting to content of truth (Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There)
B. General concept and Christian: correspondence view of truth (more in Truth Decay, chapter four)
C. Biblical words for truth

1.Hebrew
2.Greek

D. Biblical Concept of truth: radical monotheism (Deuteronomy 6:4)

1. Revealed—not constructed, created by us (Hebrews 4:12)

a. Supernatural and personal source of knowledge
b. Not all is constructed; some is revealed, received, discovered
c. Language as God’s vehicle to convey truth

~ God as Logos (John 1:1 — 3), human in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)

2. Objective—not only merely subjective (Romans 3:4)

a. Truth above cultures; truth as judging all cultures equally
b. Some things can be known as they are in themselves
c. Not based on preference only—comfortable, uncomfortable
d. We are entitled to our own opinions, not our own truths

3. Absolute—not relative (John 14:1 — 6)

a. Invariant, noncontingent, nonnegotiable
b. No exceptions, exemptions, exclusions

4. Universal—not situational (Matthew 28:18 — 20; Acts 4:12)

~ Cross-cultural realities: reconciliation with God and others

5. Eternal—not trendy or trivial (Isaiah 40:8; Malachi 3:6)

~ Not ephemeral, fragile, conventional

6. Antithetical—not synthetic (Matthew 12:30)

a. Law of identity
b. Noncontradiction
c. Law of excluded middle
d. Law of bivalence
e. Not a matter of taste but of truth

7. Systematic, not fragmentary, ad hoc, arbitrary, piecemeal

~ All Scripture inspired; God cannot lie (2 Timothy 3:16 — 17; Hebrews 6:18)

8. Truth is not completely knowable by fallen mortals (Deuteronomy 29:29; 1 Corinthians 13:9 — 12)


Part 2

IV. Relativism: Roots and Refutations (Corduan, chapter two)

A. Four laws of logic/thought/communication

1. Law of identity: “A” is identical to “A”
2. Law of contradiction (sometimes called the law of noncontradiction): “A” is not identical to “non-A”
3. Law of excluded middle: Not both “A” and “non-A”; not third option
4. Law of bivalence: any unambiguous proposition “A” is either true or false; not neither true nor false, not both true and false
5. Logic and God (see also, Geisler and Brooks, Come Let us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking, chapter one)

a. God is logical; does not break the rules (Isaiah 1:18: John 1:1
b. This is no limit on God, but a virtue. God cannot deny or contradict himself or tell a lie.
c. Omnipotence does not and can not entail actualizing logical contradictions

B. The challenge of relativism

1. Denies law of contradiction for statements
2. Or: makes truth relative to individuals or cultures
3. Conceptual relativism: every concept is relative
4. Moral relativism: only moral concepts are relative

a. Normative relativism
b. Individualist relativism

C. Six roots of relativism

1. The information explosion makes objective, absolute, universal knowledge impossible
2. The claim to objective, absolute, universal knowledge leads to totalitarianism and intolerance
3. The sincerity of religious believers means they cannot be wrong
4. “Buddhist logic” allows for contradictions to be true; only “Western logic” disallows this
5. Having individual rights means I can determine my own truth
6. Humility requires relativism; otherwise dogmatism

~ Tolerance requires relativism

D. Moreland against relativism

1. Descriptive relativism a weak thesis concerning principles
2. Against normative relativism

a. What is the morally relevant culture? Indeterminacy problem
b. May belong to more than one culture. Indeterminacy problem
c. Reformer’s dilemma; reductio ad absurdum
d. Some acts are clearly wrong whatever society you are in: we have knowledge of particular moral truths
e. One society could not blame another morally, given this theory; reductio ad absurdum

V. The Christian World View—Objectively: The Faith (Sire, chapter two; Groothuis, On Jesus, chapters 4 — 7)

A. World-view: assumptions about the basic make up of the world (James Sire, Universe, 16). See also David Nagle, Worldview: The History of Concept (Eerdmans, 2002)
B. Importance of world views, meta-narratives—for individuals and cultures
C. The Christian world view (J. Sire, chapter two)

1. God is infinite and personal (triune), transcendent and immanent, omniscient, sovereign and good.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

2. God created the cosmos ex nihilo with a uniformity of cause and effect in an open system.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

3. Human beings are created in the image of God [Genesis 1:27] and thus possess personality, self-transcendence, intelligence, morality, gregariousness and creativity.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

4. Human beings can know both the world around them and God himself because God has built into them the capacity to do so and because he takes an active role in communicating with them.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

5. Human beings were created good, but through the Fall the image of God became defaced, though not so ruined as not to be capable of restoration; through the work of Christ, God redeemed humanity and began the process of restoring people to goodness, though any given person may chose to reject that redemption.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

6. For each person death is either the gate to life with God and his people or the gate to eternal separation [hell] from the only thing that will ultimately fulfill human aspirations.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

7. Ethics is transcendent and is based on the character of God as good (holy and loving).

~ Jesus’ worldview…

8. History is linear, a meaningful sequence of events leading to the fulfillment of God’s purposes in history.

~Jesus’ worldview…

9. Touchstone proposition: “The universe (originally good, now fallen and awaiting its divine restoration) is created by the Triune God, who has revealed himself in nature, conscience, Scripture, and through the Incarnation.” (D. Groothuis revision of Ronald Nash, Faith and Reason)


Appendix

I. Components of Knowledge (Corduan, chapter 3)

A. Need for an epistemology
B. Self evidence and epistemology

1. Analytic, necessary truths
2. Basic beliefs, religious experience
3. J.P. Moreland on religious experience (Scaling, 231 — 240)

a. Causal argument: explaining a changed life
b. Direct perception argument: sensory perception and numinous experience: seven common features

4. Immediate sensory awareness
5. Self-evidence is a necessary but not sufficient test for the truth of a world view; need more than self-evidence and religious experience

C. Rationality and epistemology

1. Logical deduction
2. Rationalism: Plato, Anselm, Descartes, Gordon Clark
3. The ontological argument: a priori argument extraordinaire. See Stephen Davis’s chapter in God, Reason, and Theistic Proofs (Eerdmans, 1997).
4. Rational deduction is a necessary, but not sufficient test for a true world view; need more than deduction

D. Sensory information and epistemology

1. Empiricism: open and closed
2. Teleological argument, naïve version (J.P. Moreland’s in Scaling is far better)
3. Sensory information is a necessary, but not sufficient test for the truth of a world view: need more than sensory information

E. Workability and epistemology

1. Pragmatism: it’s true if it works
2. Pragmatism and religious truth: conflicts
3. Evaluation of pragmatism; cannot be the meaning or definition of truth. Is one element of testing truth claims.
4. Workability a necessary, but not a sufficient test for the truth of a world view: working doesn’t make a belief true

F. A combination of criteria are needed to test the truth of a worldview

Fallacies Made in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

(h/t to Jim Giordano) I have to say, I REALLY enjoyed reading Rob Bowman’s input on this issue. It is refreshing to see such well-thought-out argumentation using reason and logic. The below is somewhat truncated (via Warren Lamb) from these two excellent posts:

I have added Religious Researcher to my habit… enjoy:


“The appeal to pity is an informal logical fallacy of relevance. That is, it uses pity for a particular person or group as a pretext for reaching a certain conclusion when the pity has no relevance to the issue at hand. Not all expressions of concern for an individual or group are fallacious appeals to pity.

Fashions vs. Logic

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions” ~ G. K. Chesterton

The argument that one of the goods associated with marriage (as traditionally defined) is that children generally benefit from having parents of both genders is not an irrelevant appeal to pity; it is identifying one of the several reasons for preferring the traditional view of marriage. The argument is rooted in the obvious fact, so often ignored or danced around by same-sex marriage advocates, that the normal, biological way in which human children come into the world and are raised to adulthood is through the actions of a father and a mother.

Adoption is a superior alternative to one or no parents when that normal biological parenthood paradigm breaks down … but even here the ideal adoptive model is for a child to be adopted by a father and a mother. Likewise, a single parent or two adoptive “fathers” or “mothers” is preferable to no parents or abusive parents, but it is a mistake to conclude that such parental models should be normalized by making them legally and socially equivalent to father-mother parental couples.

[The] argument that we should recognize same-sex unions as marriages because otherwise the children raised by such couples will be viewed as second-class citizens is fallacious because how unkind people treat the children of same-sex couples is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with what marriage is, and redefining marriage will not persuade those unkind people to behave any differently.

… the compelling argument needs to be made by the advocates of same-sex marriage, not by its opponents… if same-sex marriage is to be made law it should be done by the people through their legislatures, not by executive and judicial fiat.

Creating the legal fiction of same-sex marriage will have (and is already having) a number of negative effects. It will further contribute to the already present problem of people viewing marriage as primarily about personal fulfillment and happiness, with all of the disastrous effects that view is already producing accelerating further. It will undermine social pressures and incentives (again, already under assault in other ways) for the formation and preservation of husband-wife couples as the normal and ideal foundation of home life for children. It will grant not mere tolerance but approval to homosexual relationships (a concern that you will not share if you do not understand that homosexual acts are inherently immoral). It will result (and again this is already happening) in increased infringement on the legitimate religious liberties of people who accept the traditional view of marriage (not just in cases like the one noted above, but in all sorts of cases, such as Catholic adoption agencies being forced to close rather than accede to state mandates to place children with same-sex couples). These are just some of the negative effects that can be expected to result or to be exacerbated by the legal creation of a ‘right’ to same-sex marriage. But again, the burden of proof of compelling state interest is on the side of those who would overturn centuries of settled social and legal convention across cultural and geographical divides.”

Islam and the Golden Rule

I took a small portion from a larger video done by someone else because I think this little bit goes a long way to explain why the West will ALWAYS have problems with Islam. Of course Christ raised the stakes in regards to the “Golden Rule,” but it is interesting to note Islam does not have it. I personally would have chosen some different graphics to have in the background of this presentation… but I am not worried about aesthetics as much as the worldview involved here.

“Love” ~ A Simple Answer to Philosophical Naturalism

Mariano Grinbank, a Messianic-Jew and persona behind True Free Thinker and earlier, Atheism is Dead, succinctly draws a line in the “worldview sand” when he lays down what many atheist cannot pick up. I will let you watch this 1-1/2 minute portion to see what I mean:

So here-is-as-good-a-place-as-any to post an old commentary on an atheist guest Hugh Hewitt had on his radio show, as, I am importing my posts slowly. Enjoy, and keep in mind I am merely bringing together many resources:


Let me here disagree a small bit with Hugh Hewitt. In the interview with evangelical turned atheist, William Lobdell, author of, Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace, Hugh mentioned that this is not an apologetics issue. Which is partially true, apologetics does not regenerate, only the Holy Spirit can do that. However, after listening to this interview, I believe a strong apologetic can break through the weak responses I heard by Lobdell to sometimes strong, sometimes weak as well, challenges to Lobdell’s atheism via callers to the Hugh Hewitt show.

The 2-hour interview can be found either in the free podcast section of the ITunes store under the Hugh Hewitt show, or one can listen here:

  1. Hour 1 of the interview with Lobdell (hour-2 of actual show);
  2. Hour 2 of the interview with Lobdell (hour-3 of actual show)

I will work my way through a few of the rejections found in the interview in a fashion that deals with Lobdell’s reasoning behind rejecting his faith. Some of these rejections are implied implicitly by him, other are explicit rebuttals by Lobdell to callers to the show.

In hour one, near the beginning, Lobdell starts out with the sex abuse cases that have hit the Catholic church. He seems to be saying that these abuse cases made him begin to deconstruct his faith. I will deal with this issue in two ways: first, I will make the case that atheists, Buddhists (atheists), and others commit these crimes, which should make the skeptic ask if he or she is rejecting an ideology for this reason seems to be just as strong for atheism as it is for Christianity. In other words, if the rejection of Christianity is because of the evil it produces, then what about the evil seemingly produced by atheism. A deeper explanation of this will come shortly. Secondly, to judge an act “evil,” one would have to have a metaphysics, excuse me, a coherent – non-self-refuting – logical worldview in order to judge some act on a scale that says an act is morally wrong while expecting another person to know (inherently) this scale by which to judge an act and agree with said person. Okay, here we go with the critique.

Sexual Abuse — Catholic Church. Other religious and non-religious organizations practice this abuse… wherever there is a person of authority over children and the chance to be alone with such a person, you will find people who fill these positions for the direct purpose of abusing these young victims. For instance:

1) Religious News Online reports from an original India Times article, another source that cites this is Child Rights Sri Lanka:

Two Buddhist monks and eight other men were arrested on Wednesday, accused of sexually abusing 11 children orphaned by the island’s 19-year civil war, an official said.

Investigations revealed that the children, aged between nine and 13, had been sexually abused over a period of time at an orphanage where the men worked, said Prof. Harendra de Silva, head of the National Child Protection Authority….

2) Washington County Sheriff’s Office Media Information reported the following:

Mr. Tripp was arrested for sexually abusing a former 15-year-old foster care child.

The investigation started when the Oregon Department of Human Services was contacted by a school counselor who learned that there may be sexual abuse involving a student and Mr. Tripp. DHS workers then contacted Sheriff’s Detectives who took over the investigation.

Detectives learned that Mr. Tripp has been a foster parent since 1995 and has had at least 90 children placed in his home during that time. Sheriff’s Detectives are concerned that there may be more victims who have not yet reported sexual contact involving Mr. Tripp….

3) A therapist who worked at Booker T. Washington Middle School in Baltimore was arrested in Catonsville and charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

Robert J. Stoever, 54, of the 1500 block of Park Ave. was arrested Sunday night after a county police officer saw him and the boy in a car in a parking lot at Edmondson Avenue and Academy Road, said Cpl. Michael Hill, a police spokesman.

Stoever was charged with a second-degree sex offense and perverted practice, according to court documents. He was sent to the Baltimore County Detention Center, Hill said….

4) A Bronx dentist was arrested yesterday on charges that he twice raped a 16-year-old patient whom he had placed under anesthesia during an office visit on Thursday, police said.

The girl, a patient of the dentist for several years, was hired for a summer job as his receptionist on Thursday, and had an appointment with him for treatment that afternoon, said Lieut. Hazel Stewart, commander of the Bronx Special Victims Squad.

[….]

“She went in and she changed into a little uniform that he gave to her, and he gave her some files to work on,” the lieutenant said. “Then he said that it was time to take a look at her teeth.”

At that point, Lieutenant Stewart said, “he used some type of anesthesia on her and he allegedly raped her.”

The young woman told officers that she was never fully anesthetized, Lieutenant Stewart said, but that “the effects of the anesthesia were strong enough to render her helpless to such a degree that he was able to rape her again.”

These folks are atheists, Christians, Buddhists (which are ontologically speaking, atheists), and every other ideology and stripe of life and culture in the world. The argument is as strong as this:

There have been many cases of dentists’ drugging men and women and groping them against their will, therefore, I do not believe in dentistry.

The conclusion just doesn’t follow the premise. In the case of religious comparisons, you would have to isolate the founders and their lives in order to properly judge a belief, not the followers. I would engender the reader to consider well this quote by Robert Hume:

The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission. Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strong-minded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshipped, even with multitudinous idols.

All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances.

Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.

From, The World’s Living Religions (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959), 285-286.

While Steven Crowder did not expect his comedic skit to be used in a serious apologetic, sometimes humor best illustrates a point as well:

The point is this, if you are to judge an ideology by the merits of its followers, then atheism is to be judged by the same standard, and it does not fare well. For instance, while on a six-winery tasting tour north of Santa Barbara, California, in Santa Ynez (a sweet-spot for wine lovers), a discussion was struck between a high school history teacher – whom I refer to as a theophobe – and myself. (I wish to point out that William Lobdell displays no theophobia whatsoever.) The point becomes clear as the debate continues (entitled, “Defending My Faith Over a Syrah” — which, by the way, I cannot think of a better way to defend my faith) towards this all too often used premise by atheists:

At this point the usual litany of “straw man” arguments proceeded to spill forth as they normally do when ones precious bumper-sticker beliefs are challenged and shown to be vacuous. The next thing out of Felicia’s mouth was that organized religion has killed more people and started more wars than any other reason in history. This is where I cringed — a teacher that is charged with children who makes such false claims is a red-flag to me. These types of people repeat such lines not because they have studied history or religion in-depth, but because a politically motivated historian like Howard Zinn or Noam Chomskey said such a thing, or they simply picked up the saying from another friend (who themselves had heard it from another) and it fit so well in their theophobia framework to make the rejection of religion an easy thing in their mind’s eye. This is more of a commentary on said person’s psychosis than making any sort of valid argument. This being said let us deal with this charge:

The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name. It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law — materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law. (Adapted from, “The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?”)

So the historical reality that this teacher of history seemed to ignore is that non-religious movements have killed more people in the Twentieth-Century than religion has in the previous nineteen (or for that matter, all of mankind’s history). I also pointed out to Felicia during our conversation that the non-religious view of origins has no moral law to point to any of the above acts as morally wrong or un-ethical. They are merely currently taboo. For someone to say the Nazis were morally wrong they have to borrow from the theistic worldview that posits a universal moral code. If there is no Divine moral law, then as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim makes the point, “If there is no God, all things are permissible.” Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right.

This portion out of a larger debate I was in touches on my second point… but before moving on, I want to reiterate the first point: if one were to use evil or wrongs done towards innocent persons as a criterion of an ideologies validity, no faith or unfaith stands this test. It is more a commentary on human nature. The question is which worldview explains best human nature and has the best answer to resolve it. In fact, another criterion is well used for the validity of faith; here I will post a blog I did quite some time ago entitled “Religion’s Positive Influence: Faith-Based Society Healthier, Lives Longer:”

Social Scientists Agree:

  • Religious Belief Reduces Crime Summary of the First Panel Discussion Panelists for this important discussion included social scientists Dr. John DiIulio, professor of politics and urban affairs at Princeton University; David Larson, M.D., President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research; Dr. Byron Johnson, Director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy at Vanderbilt University; and Gary Walker, President of Public/Private Ventures. The panel focused on new research, confirming the positive effects that religiosity has on turning around the lives of youth at risk.
  • Dr. Larson laid the foundation for the discussion by summarizing the findings of 400 studies on juvenile delinquency, conducted during the past two decades. He believes that although more research is needed, we can say without a doubt that religion makes a positive contribution.
  • His conclusion: “The better we study religion, the more we find it makes a difference.” Previewing his own impressive research, Dr. Johnson agreed. He has concluded that church attendance reduces delinquency among boys even when controlling for a number of other factors including age, family structure, family size, and welfare status. His findings held equally valid for young men of all races and ethnicities.
  • Gary Walker has spent 25 years designing, developing and evaluating many of the nation’s largest public and philanthropic initiatives for at-risk youth. His experience tells him that faith-based programs are vitally important for two reasons. First, government programs seldom have any lasting positive effect. While the government might be able to design [secular/non-God] programs that occupy time, these programs, in the long-term, rarely succeed in bringing about the behavioral changes needed to turn kids away from crime. Second, faith-based programs are rooted in building strong adult-youth relationships; and less concerned with training, schooling, and providing services, which don’t have the same direct impact on individual behavior. Successful mentoring, Walker added, requires a real commitment from the adults involved – and a willingness to be blunt. The message of effective mentors is simple. “You need to change your life, I’m here to help you do it, or you need to be put away, away from the community.” Government, and even secular philanthropic programs, can’t impart this kind of straight talk.
  • Sixth through twelfth graders who attend religious services once a month or more are half as likely to engage in at-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual excess, truancy, vandalism, drunk driving and other trouble with police. Search Institute, “The Faith Factor,” Source, Vol. 3, Feb. 1992, p.1.
  • Churchgoers are more likely to aid their neighbors in need than are non-attendees. George Barna, What Americans Believe, Regal Books, 1991, p. 226.
  • Three out of four Americans say that religious practice has strengthened family relationships. George Gallup, Jr. “Religion in America: Will the Vitality of Churches Be the Surprise of the Next Century,” The Public Perspective, The Roper Center, Oct./Nov. 1995.
  • Church attendance lessens the probabilities of homicide and incarceration. Nadia M. Parson and James K. Mikawa: “Incarceration of African-American Men Raised in Black Christian Churches.” The Journal of Psychology, Vol. 125, 1990, pp.163-173.
  • Religious practice lowers the rate of suicide. Joubert, Charles E., “Religious Nonaffiliation in Relation to Suicide, Murder, Rape and Illegitimacy,” Psychological Reports 75:1 part 1 (1994): 10 Jon W. Hoelter: “Religiosity, Fear of Death and Suicide Acceptibility.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 9, 1979, pp.163-172.
  • The presence of active churches, synagogues… reduces violent crime in neighborhoods. John J. Dilulio, Jr., “Building Spiritual Capital: How Religious Congregations Cut Crime and Enhance Community Well-Being,” RIAL Update, Spring 1996.
  • People with religious faith are less likely to be school drop-outs, single parents, divorced, drug or alcohol abusers. Ronald J. Sider and Heidi Roland, “Correcting the Welfare Tragedy,” The Center for Public Justice, 1994.
  • Church involvement is the single most important factor in enabling inner-city black males to escape the destructive cycle of the ghetto. Richard B. Freeman and Harry J. Holzer, eds., The Black Youth Employment Crisis, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p.354.
  • Attending services at a church or other house of worship once a month or more makes a person more than twice as likely to stay married than a person who attends once a year or less. David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, “Is Divorce Hazardous to Your Health?” Physician, June 1990. Improving Personal Well-Being
  • Regular church attendance lessens the possibility of cardiovascular diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema and arteriosclerosis. George W. Comstock amd Kay B. Patridge:* “Church attendance and health.”* Journal of Chronic Disease, Vol. 25, 1972, pp. 665-672.
  • Regular church attendance significantly reduces the probablility of high blood pressure.* David B. Larson, H. G. Koenig, B. H. Kaplan, R. S. Greenberg, E. Logue and H. A. Tyroler:* ” The Impact of religion on men’s blood pressure.”* Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 28, 1989, pp.265-278.* W.T. Maramot:* “Diet, Hypertension and Stroke.” in* M. R. Turner (ed.) Nutrition and Health, Alan R. Liss, New York, 1982, p. 243.
  • People who attend services at least once a week are much less likely to have high blood levels of interlukin-6, an immune system protein associated with many age-related diseases.* Harold Koenig and Harvey Cohen, The International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, October 1997.
  • Regular practice of religion lessens depression and enhances self esteem. *Peter L. Bensen and Barnard P. Spilka:* “God-Image as a function of self-esteem and locus of control” in H. N. Maloney (ed.) Current Perspectives in the Psychology of Religion, Eedermans, Grand Rapids, 1977, pp. 209-224.* Carl Jung: “Psychotherapies on the Clergy” in Collected Works Vol. 2, 1969, pp.327-347.
  • Church attendance is a primary factor in preventing substance abuse and repairing damage caused by substance abuse.* Edward M. Adalf and Reginald G. Smart:* “Drug Use and Religious Affiliation, Feelings and Behavior.” * British Journal of Addiction, Vol. 80, 1985, pp.163-171.* Jerald G. Bachman, Lloyd D. Johnson, and Patrick M. O’Malley:* “Explaining* the Recent Decline in Cocaine Use Among Young Adults:* Further Evidence That Perceived Risks and Disapproval Lead to Reduced Drug Use.”* Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 31,* 1990, pp. 173-184.* Deborah Hasin, Jean Endicott, * and Collins Lewis:* “Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Patients With Affective Syndromes.”* Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 26, 1985, pp. 283-295. * The findings of this NIMH-supported study were replicated in the Bachmen et. al. study above.

Second point is this, and I will take also from a previous critique of a Hugh Hewitt show where he had atheist Christopher Hitchens, polemicist extraordinaire, debate Mark D. Roberts, professor at Fuller Seminary, for all three hours of his show. In my opinion, Hitchen’s won the debate on style/rhetoric, not on substance. However, in my critique entitled “Responding to Christopher Hitchens and a Friend: Explaining the Failings of a Worldview,” I quoted Tom Morris and his erudite refutation of determinism, which would result if atheistic evolution were to be the truth in the battle for origins:

Robots and Cosmic Puppetry: The Scientific Challenge to Freedom

Since at least the time of Sir Isaac Newton, scientists and philosophers impressed by the march of science have offered a picture of human behavior that is not promising for a belief in freedom. All nature is viewed by them as one huge mechanism, with human beings serving as just parts of that giant machine. On this view, we live and think in accordance with the same laws and causes that move all other physical components of the universal mechanism.

According to these thinkers, everything that happens in nature has a cause. Suppose then that an event occurs, which, in context, is clearly a human action of the sort that we would normally call free. As an occurrence in this universe, it has a cause. But then that cause, in turn, has a cause. And that cause in turn has a cause, and so on, and so on [remember, reductionism].

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player” ~ Albert Einstein.

As a result of this scientific world view, we get the following picture:

Natural conditions outside our control…

cause…

Inner bodily and brain states,

which cause…

mental and physical actions

But if this is true, then you are, ultimately, just a conduit or pipeline for chains of natural causation that reach far back into the past before your birth and continue far forward into the future after your death. You are not an originating cause of anything [this includes brain activity of all degrees, that is, love, pain, etc.). Nothing you ever do is due to your choices or thoughts alone. You are a puppet of nature. You are no more than a robot programmed by an unfeeling cosmos.

Psychologists talk about heredity and environment as responsible for everything you do. But then if they are, you aren’t. Does it follow that you can then do as you please, irresponsibly? Not at all. It only follows that you will do as nature and nurture please. But then, nature on this picture turns out to be just an illusory veil over a heartless, uncaring nature. You have what nature gives you. Nothing more, nothing less.

Where is human freedom in this picture? It doesn’t exist. It is one of our chief illusions. The natural belief in free will is just a monstrous falsehood. But we should not feel bad about holding on to this illusion until science corrects us. We can’t have helped it.

This reasoning is called The Challenge of Scientific Determinism. According to determinists, we are determined in every respect to do everything that we ever do.

This again is a serious challenge to human freedom. It is the reason that the early scientist Pierre Laplace (1749-1827) once said that if you could give a super-genius a total description of the universe at any given point in time, that being would be able to predict with certainty everything that would ever happen in the future relative to that moment, and retrodict with certainty anything that had ever happened in any moment before that described state. Nature, he believed, was that perfect machine. And we human beings were just cogs in the machine, deluded in our beliefs that we are free.

(Philosophy for Dummies, 133-134)

J.P Moreland agrees with this summation that there would be no standard to judge whether a particular position about reality were true if we are the products of a completely naturalistic, chance, chain of atoms bouncing off one another happened. To be clear, if atheistic origins of the universe were true, then one liking chocolate ice cream over vanilla would be just as true as someone choosing atheism over theism:

Mind/Body Physicalism Refuted

A number of philosophers have argued that physicalism must be false because it implies determinism and determinism is self-refuting. Speaking of the determinist, J. R. Lucas says:

If what he says is true, he says it merely as the result of his heredity and environment, and nothing else. He does not hold his determinist views because they are true, but because he has such-and-such stimuli; that is, not because the structure of the structure of the universe is such-and-such but only because the configuration of only part of the universe, together with the structure of the determinist’s brain, is such as to produce that result…. Determinism, therefore, cannot be true, because if it was, we should not take the determinists’ arguments as being really arguments [say, whether or not homosexuality is a right or not] as being really arguments, but as being only conditioned reflexes. Their statements should not be regarded as really claiming to be true, but only as seeking to cause us to respond in some way desired by them. (Freedom of the Will, by John Lucas)

H. P. Owen states that:

Determinism is self-stultifying. If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism. But if the sole reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding that my judgment is true or false. (Christian Theism, p. 118)

… if one claims to know that physicalism is true, or to embrace it for good reasons, if one claims that it is a rational position which should be chosen on the basis of evidence [as one does when they reject theism], then this claim is self-refuting. This is so because physicallism seems to deny the possibility of rationality. To see this, let us examine the necessary preconditions which must hold if there is to be such a thing as rationality and show how physicalism denies these preconditions.At least five factors must obtain if there are to be genuine rational agents who can accurately reflect on the world. First, minds must have internationality; they must be capable of having thoughts about or of the world. Acts of inference are “insights into” or “knowings of” something other than themselves.

Second, reasons, propositions, thoughts, laws of logic and evidence, and truth must exist and be capable of being instanced in people’s minds and influencing their thought processes. This fact is hard to reconcile with physicallism. To see this, consider the field of ethics. Morality prescribes what we ought to do (prescriptive); it does not merely describe what is in fact done (descriptive). Objective morality makes sense if real moral laws or oughts exist and if normative, moral properties like rightness, goodness, worth, and dignity exist in acts (the act of honoring one’s parents) and things (persons and animals have worth) [this all applies to the debate over homosexuality]. If physicalism is true as a worldview, there are no moral properties or full-blooded oughts. Physical states just are, and one physical state causes or fails to cause another physical state. A physical state does not morally prescribe that another physical ought to be. If physicalism is true, oughts are not real moral obligations telling us what one should do to be in conformity with the moral universe. Rather, “ought” serves as a mere guide for reaching a socially acceptable or psychologically desired goal (e.g., “if one wants to have pleasure and avoid pain, then one ‘ought’ to tell the truth”). Moral imperatives become grounded in subjective preferences on the same level as a preference for Burger King over McDonald’s….

(Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity, by J. P. Moreland, 90-92)

The atheist has no way ultimately to point out that an act that society currently considers taboo, such as rape, is morally wrong. The atheist, unlike the theist, would not be able to say that rape is morally wrong at all times and places in the entire history of the known universe. Again, all that can be said is that at this point in our evolutionary history and culture it is currently outlawed in most societies by the majority of peoples. This majority can change thus making an act morally acceptable that is currently outlawed, or immoral. Back to the chemical, or biological basis for rape though, a couple of books that deal with this specifically have addressed this issue by philosophical naturalists. For example, in this exerpt from a larger paper I did for a class on Natural Law and homosexuality, I point out that without creation ex nihilo, rape is not morally wrong in the ultimate sense:

Idolatrous Tools

Idolatry is referenced in connection with human sexuality by Anthony Hoekema who points out that while “primitive man use to make idols out of wood and stone, modern man, seeking something to worship, makes idols of a more subtle type: himself, human society, the state, money, fame.”[1] Thusly, an idol can be fallen man using the gift of relationships as a tool to manipulate others for his or her selfish ends,[2] idolizing pleasure by making it an end-to-a-means, so to speak. In doing so, the person seeking gratification (whether emotional or physical) utilizes or instumentalizes another in order to worship self-gratification. This concept is seen in the slang term “tool”[3] used by today’s generation either to reference a man’s genitalia or to reference another person.[4]

The reader by now should have clearly established in his mind that homosexuality rejects the created order and designs its own contrary vision.[5] Moreover, part of this vision is an atheistic, naturalistic (almost Epicurean[6]) rejection of Creation ex-nihilo.[7] How does the “carnal” person deal with the unnatural order of the homosexual lifestyle? Since it is a reality it is incorporated into their epistemological system of thought or worldview.[8] Henry Morris points out that the materialist worldview looks at homosexuality as nature’s way of controlling population numbers as well as a tension lowering device.[9] Lest one think this line of thinking is insane, that is: sexual acts are something from our evolutionary past and advantageous;[10] rape is said to not be a pathology but an evolutionary adaptation – a strategy for maximizing reproductive success.[11] How do the naturalist, those who have rejected the created order and the moral laws of nature, view such an instrumentalizing of the human body for the end-result of idolatrous worshiping of pleasure?

Liberal sexual morality, based in an ancient epicurean view of the nature of man that “denies that marriage is inherently heterosexual necessarily supposes that the value of sex must be instrumental” in order to pleasure oneself, which makes such an act a tool in the hand of a person’s desires, or, an “end-in-itself.” In other words, the traditional understanding of marriage rejects the view that sees the ultimate point or value of sex in marriage as an instrument to attain either affection or sexual pleasure, which is what the epicurean is left with. Sex, in the homosexual context, then, is the instrumentalization of the body.[12]

Ethical Evil?

The first concept that one must understand is that these authors do not view nature alone as imposing a moral “oughtness” into the situation of survival of the fittest. They view rape, for instance, in its historical evolutionary context as neither right nor wrong ethically.[13] Rape, is neither moral nor immoral vis-à-vis evolutionary lines of thought, even if ingrained in us from our evolutionary paths of survival.[14] Did you catch that? Even if a rape occurs today, it is neither moral nor immoral, it is merely currently taboo.[15] The biological, amoral, justification of rape is made often times as a survival mechanism bringing up the net “survival status” of a species, usually fraught with examples of homosexual worms, lesbian seagulls, and the like.[16]

This materialistic view of nature will give way to there being no difference in the emerging ethic between married couples, homosexual couples, or couples in a temporary sexual relationship. Some go as far to say – rightly so – that with the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle follows shortly thereafter the legalization of polyamorous relationships,[17] which is already considered as a viable option by many in Sweden for instance.[18] After polyamory is legal – about the only thing left is for the Peter Singer’s (professor at Princeton’s Center for Human Values) of the world to argue for “cross species” sex acts.[19] Columnist George Will aptly calls this type of legislation “the moral equality of appetites.”[20]


Footnotes

[1] Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 84.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “One [person] that is used or manipulated by another.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed (Springfield: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003), cf., “tool.” This concept of using another was also known as “cat’s-paw,” which is defined as “one used by another as a tool.” (ibid., cf., “cat’s-paw.”)

An aside: the term “cat’s-paw” comes from an old fable in which a monkey was cooking chestnuts in the fireplace. When it was time to remove the chestnuts from the coals, he found that the fire was too hot, and he could not pull them out. He looked around for something to help him pull them out, but did not see anything — until his eye fell on the cat sleeping by the fire. He grabbed the cat, and held it tight while it struggled, using its paw to remove the chestnuts from the fire. (Author/origins unknown)

[4] Example: “She’s a ‘tool’.”

[5] DeYoung, 15.

[6] “Epicurus (341-271 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher who was born on the isle of Samos but lived much of his life in Athens, where he founded his very successful school of philosophy. He was influenced by the materialist Democritus (460-370 B.C.), who is the first philosopher known to believe that the world is made up of atoms…. Epicurus identified good with pleasure and evil with pain.” He equated using pleasure, diet, friends, and the like as “tools” for minimizing bad sensations or pain while increasing pleasure or hedonism. Taken from Louise P. Pojman, Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, 5th ed. (New York: Oxford Press, 2002), 499.

[7] Romans 1:25; 1 Timothy 6:5, 20.

[8] Worldview:

“People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By ‘presuppositions’ we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic worldview, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions. ‘As a man thinketh, so he is,’ is really profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world. Then, having thought, a person can bring forth actions into the external world and thus influence it. People are apt to look at the outer theater of action, forgetting the actor who ‘lives in the mind’ and who therefore is the true actor in the external world. The inner thought world determines the outward action. Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what worldview is true. When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, ‘not many men are in the room’ — that is, although worldviews have many variations, there are not many basic worldviews or presuppositions.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1976), 19-20.

[9] Henry M. Morris, The Long War Against God: The History and Impact of the Creation/Evolution Conflict (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1989), 136.

[10] Remember, the created order has been rejected in the Roman society as it is today. This leaves us with an Epicurean view of nature, which today is philosophical naturalism expressed in the modern evolutionary theories such as neo-Darwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium.

[11] Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, A Natural history of Rape: Biological bases of Sexual Coercion (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), 71, 163.

[12] Robert P. George, The Clash Of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2001), 81.

[13] Nancy Pearcy, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), 208-209.

[14] Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (New York: Penguin, 2002), 162-163.

[15] Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), 176-180.

[16] Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life (New York: Touchstone Book, 1995), 492.

[17] Defined as having more than one intimate relationship/spouse at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

[18] Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Define Moral Values (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 42.

[19] The following is from an on-line article:

“To prove this is no joke, here’s a passage from a recent article on the website Nerve.com by Prof. Peter Singer of Princeton’s Center for Human Values:

“The potential violence of the orangutan’s come-on may have been disturbing, but the fact that it was an orangutan making the advances was not. That may be because Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes. This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words may mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.

“This is not a marginal figure, by the way; this is a professor at Princeton whose ideas are spreading widely in the respectable academic circuit. The problem with his argument is that it is impeccably logical if you accept the premise that there is no fundamental dividing line between man and animals. And if one swallows evolution whole-hog, it sure looks that way, doesn’t it? Those anti-Darwinist hicks may be right after all, at least with respect to the consequences of believing in evolution.”

Taken from FrontPage Magazine website. The article itself was by Robert Locke, “Bestiality and America’s Future,” published on March 30, 2001. Found at: http://97.74.65.51/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=23284, (last accessed 7-18-10).

[20] Francis Canavan, The Pluralist Game: Pluralism, Liberalism, and the Moral Conscience (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1995), 126-127.

According to atheistic evolution, these appetites are driven by some chain of events that go back through history to the big bang. Everything is the way it is because of this chain of chance events that resulted in our environments and firing of neurons and their chemical reactions in our brain… making us believe and do what we believe and do. It is really fascism, or so called:

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

(Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist [Ignatius Press; 1999], by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.)

So since all acts are of equal value in the struggle for survival, the acts that only temporarily determine the highest possible survival of the species at that moment in evolutionary progress/history is the most beneficial… which could be interpreted as being the most “moral” in evolutionary vernacular. Therefore, atheists (which include Lobdell) have no metaphysical basis to say that rape, or the killing of innocent people by religious persons, and similar actions like unjust wars by Marxist revolutionaries, are morally wrong in a meaningful way. They are merely pointing out that they personally disagree with the action they are describing. Arguing, then about the immorality of acts committed by the religious (and I would contend, non-religious peoples) would be just as powerful morally if the same person argued with a friend about the superiority of chocolate ice-cream over that of vanilla ice-cream.

Since that took longer than I expected, I will only give one other critique of a response by Lobdell to a caller that was tongue-tied and wasn’t getting his point across well. Lobdell cut him off mid sentence (after politely allowing the man to try and make a coherent point) and asked if he thought that all the animals that exist on earth were on the ark. This is a red-hearing. It is a mischaracterizing of the opposing argument, setting up a straw man in other words.

Broadly speaking, yes, all the animals were on the ark. But that is the same as Bill Clinton and John Kerry during their runs for office (successfully and unsuccessfully, respectively) saying that women make 73 cents on every dollar earned by a man. While broadly speaking this is true, and very “impactful” for making their proposed policies all that much more important… it just isn’t true. In the same way, the volume of animals proposed to be on the Ark by Lobdell and other critics is skewed as well.

YES! If you compare all men to all women, then yes, there is a disparage present. This stat doesn’t take into account a few things. It doesn’t consider the fact that women tend to choose the humanities when entering college and men seem to choose the hard sciences. So by choice women tend to choose professions that pay less. Not only that, when you compare oranges to oranges, you get something much different than expected, or that we would expect from the liberal side of things. If a woman and a man have had the same level of education and have been on the same job for an equal amount of time, the woman makes (on average) up to $5 more than the man a year on every $1,000 dollars earned. Another sobering note reported by USA Today: According to a U.S. Department of Education study, 135 women receive their bachelor’s degrees per every 100 men.

(Adapted from Larry Elder, 10 things You Can’t Say In America)

The same applies to this dilemma. In Lobdell’s mind every finch was on the Ark. That’s hundreds of species. A finch with a ¼ centimeter smaller beak is a separate species according to Darwin and Lobdell. Every dog, from Chihuahua’s to Great Danes, and everything in between, was on the Ark. This is a straw man. Rhetorically it sounds great, I would have responded back rhetorically rather than the detailed response I am giving here if I was on the radio myself. Short and sweet! He is trying to make the questioner sound insane by mischaracterizing his argument, I will clarify — properly — his argument to make him sound “just as crazy.” I would have said,

  • “Well, that isn’t nearly as incredible as one believing he came from a rock, as you do.”

Which is what evolution teaches. After the earth cooled and the rock began to solidify, it rained making the early oceans and lakes. These rains eroded the minerals from the rock which began to pool in a particular spot on earth coming together to finally form the first life, which over millions of years became you or I judging that the Crusades were morally wrong and that religious people, more than non-religious, should live up to some ideal found originally in molten lava!? “You shouldn’t kill innocent people because we were brothers in crystalline from side-by-side… minerals to the end brother.” This is “just as crazy,” rhetorically speaking that is. The question remains: do you have to have every dog on the Ark or just one dog, say, like the wolf? You see, the wolf has most of the parent genes in it that over a 1,000 years we end up with the Chihuahua to the Great Dane by man’s input of knowledge… not natural selection. I say “man’s input of knowledge, and not ” of knowledge and shelter because natural selection would weed out the Tea Cup Terrier from even surviving. Outside the arms of Paris Hilton, that is.

Back to Noah’s Ark and the rhetorical divide between the atheist and the biblical literalist, if you take all the dinosaurs known to scientists, the average size is that of a lamb. Not to mention that the largest — taking the most extreme end of the biblical literalists argument — T-Rex or Superasuarus started out in an egg. So they were small in their juvenile stage. Not every type or species of Bull had to be on the Ark, just one. Some say that natural selection could not move that quick. Well, humanity has been farming and trying to produce better “species” for some time. For instance,

In 1811 French chemist Benjamin Delessert set up a small factory at Passy and, following the example of German chemists, made the first small quantity of crystallized sugar from sugar beets. At this time cane sugar was a strategic material denied the French because of their war with the other European powers, so Napoleon was immensely impressed by this scientific achievement. He ordered no less that forty factories to be set up in France.

However, now that France had the capability to manufacture beet sugar, it urgently needed to find, or breed, a type of beet that contained the maximum amount of raw sugar. To achieve this, Bonaparte enlisted the greatest botanists in France, through the Academia des Sciences. A program was begun to breed selectively those sugar beet plants that gave a higher-than-average yield of sugar, a program which succeeded. At first the common varieties of sugar beet contained, but this was rapidly improved — 5 percent; 10 percent; 15 percent. Then things started to go wrong. At 17 percent average yield, the sugar content of the new plants stuck, and it has stayed there to this day. In addition, the French discovered, repeated attempts to continue crossing high-yield varieties eventually resulted in the hybrids reverting to the low yields of their ancestral stock.

(An adaptation from a paper I did many years previous. That was taken from a source I do not currently recall.)

There may be many “species” of sugar beets, but they are all from one. In a study, probably one of the most in-depth done to date put into book form is that of evolutionist Jonathan Weiner. In his book, The Beak of the Finch, pages 178-180, he mentions that the speciation, in general, is considerably faster than had been supposed by earlier beliefs. So could we get a Dingo, a Great Dane, and other types of dogs from one or two kinds (species). This is what the biblical literalist argues; not that every animal on earth today was on the Ark, but that every animal on the earth came from a common species that was on the Ark. Of course, now you can argue the finer points of how fast speciation can happen and how this argument hurts or helps these two opposing sides, but that is neither here nor there. At the very least, however, we are beyond the oft repeated mischaracterization thrown the way of the biblical literalist. It also makes the opposing side, in this case Lobdell, seem fair in its summation of arguments from whom he is trying to refute.

More to come…. maybe?

THIS IS UN-EDITED, I WILL EDIT SOME TIME MONDAY… HOWEVER, I WANTED TO CATCH THE “FERVOR” OVER PART OF THIS WEEKEND.


Let me here disagree a small bit with Hugh Hewitt. In the interview with evangelical turned atheist, William Lobdell, author of, Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace (Amazon.com), Hugh mentioned that this is not an apologetics issue. Which is partially true, apologetics does not regenerate, only the Holy Spirit can do that. However, after listening to this interview, I believe a strong apologetic can break through the weak responses I heard by Lobdell to sometimes strong, sometimes weak as well, challenges to Lobdell’s atheism via callers to the Hugh Hewitt show.


The 2-hour interview can be found either in the free podcast section of the ITunes store under the Hugh Hewitt show, or one can listen here:

Hour 1 of the interview with Lobdell (hour-2 of actual show);

Hour 2 of the interview with Lobdell (hour-3 of actual show);


I will work my way through a few of the rejections found in the interview in a fashion that deals with Lobdell’s reasoning behind rejecting his faith. Some of these rejections are implied implicitly by him, other are explicit rebuttals by Lobdell to callers to the show.


In hour one, near the beginning, Lobdell starts out with the sex abuse cases that have hit the Catholic church. He seems to be saying that these abuse cases made him begin to deconstruct his faith. I will deal with this issue in two ways: first, I will make the case that atheists, Buddhists (atheists), and others commit these crimes, which should make the skeptic ask if he or she is rejecting an ideology for this reason seems to be just as strong for atheism as it is for Christianity. In other words, if the rejection of Christianity is because of the evil it produces, then what about the evil seemingly produced by atheism. A deeper explanation of this will come shortly. Secondly, to judge an act “evil,” one would have to have a metaphysics, excuse me, a coherent – non-self-refuting – logical worldview in order to judge some act on a scale that says an act is morally wrong while expecting another person to know (inherently) this scale by which to judge an act and agree with said person. Okay, here we go with the critique.

Sexual Abuse — Catholic Church. Other religious and non-religious organizations practice this abuse… wherever there is a person of authority over children and the chance to be alone with such a person, you will find people who fill these positions for the direct purpose of abusing these young victims. For instance:

Religious News Online reports from an original India Times article, another source that cites this is Child Rights Sri Lanka:


Two Buddhist monks and eight other men were arrested on Wednesday, accused of sexually abusing 11 children orphaned by the island’s 19-year civil war, an official said.


Investigations revealed that the children, aged between nine and 13, had been sexually abused over a period of time at an orphanage where the men worked, said Prof. Harendra de Silva, head of the National Child Protection Authority.


“There are maybe more who have been abused and we are continuing investigations,” de Silva said, after a special police unit attached to the authority arrested the suspects.


The men, including the saffron-robed monks, will be produced before a magistrate and held in custody for further investigation, he said.


Child abuse in Sri Lanka is a non-bailable offense and with a maximum 10-year prison sentence.


The children’s home where the suspects worked was established to care for thousands of children from all over the country who lost their families during the war.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office Media Information reported the following:


Mr. Tripp was arrested for sexually abusing a former 15-year-old foster care child.


The investigation started when the Oregon Department of Human Services was contacted by a school counselor who learned that there may be sexual abuse involving a student and Mr. Tripp. DHS workers then contacted Sheriff’s Detectives who took over the investigation.


Detectives learned that Mr. Tripp has been a foster parent since 1995 and has had at least 90 children placed in his home during that time. Sheriff’s Detectives are concerned that there may be more victims who have not yet reported sexual contact involving Mr. Tripp.

Channel 2 news reports on a psychologist abusing a child:


A psychologist accused of performing oral sex on a 13 year old boy has been fired by the Baltimore City Public School System.


Baltimore County Police have arrested and charged 54 year old Robert James Stoever with the second degree sex offenses and perverted practices.


According to charging documents, police discovered the contract employee with a 13-year-old boy in a car located at the Christian Temple in Catonsville on Sunday. Police say that an officer approached the vehicle and discovered both Stoever and the young boy in the front seat of the vehicle.


Police say that when questioned, Stoever admitted performing oral sex on the boy and told the officer that this was not the first time it has occurred.


Stoever had been working at the Booker T. Washington Middle School #130 in Baltimore City., where the boy is a student. In a letter sent home to parents, city school officals say Stoever was not employed by them, rather he had been contracted by the school system through an outside vendor since September 2007.


Tammy Bruce on pages 90, and 99 of her book The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values, says this:


“… and now all manner of sexual perversion enjoys the protection and support of once what was a legitimate civil-rights effort for decent people. The real slippery slope has been the one leading into the Left’s moral vacuum. It is a singular attitude that prohibits any judgment about obvious moral decay because of the paranoid belief that judgment of any sort would destroy the gay lifestyle, whatever that is…. I believe this grab for children by the sexually confused adults of the Gay Elite represents the most serious problem facing our culture today…. Here come the elephant again: Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhood — molestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult. The gay community must face the truth and see sexual molestation of an adolescent for the abuse it is, instead of the ‘coming-of-age’ experience many [gays] regard it as being. Until then, the Gay Elite will continue to promote a culture of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and suicide by AIDS.”


These folks are atheists, Catholics, Buddhists (which are ontologically speaking, atheists), and every other ideology and stripe of life and culture in the world. The argument is as strong as this:

There have been many cases of dentists’ drugging men and women and groping them against their will, therefore, I do not believe in dentistry.


The conclusion just doesn’t follow the premise. In the case of religious comparisons, you would have to isolate the founders and their lives in order to properly judge a belief, not the followers. I would engender the reader to consider well this quote by Robert Hume:

The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission. Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strong-minded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshipped, even with multitudinous idols.


All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances.


Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.


** The World’s Living Religions (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959), 285-286.


While Steven Crowder did not expect his comedic skit to be used in a serious apologetic, sometimes humor best illustrates a point as well:

The point is this, if you are to judge an ideology by the merits of its followers, then atheism is to be judged by the same standard, and it does not fare well. For instance, while on a six-winery tasting tour north of Santa Barbara, California, in Santa Ynez (a sweet-spot for wine lovers), a discussion was struck between a high school history teacher – whom I refer to as a theophobe – and myself. (I wish to point out that William Lobdell displays no theophobia whatsoever.) The point becomes clear as the debate continues (entitled, Defending My Faith Over a Syrah — which, by the way, I cannot think of a better way to defend my faith) towards this all too often used premise by atheists:

At this point the usual litany of “straw man” arguments proceeded to spill forth as they normally do when ones precious bumper-sticker beliefs are challenged and shown to be vacuous. The next thing out of Felicia’s mouth was that organized religion has killed more people and started more wars than any other reason in history. This is where I cringed — a teacher that is charged with children who makes such false claims is a red-flag to me. These types of people repeat such lines not because they have studied history or religion in-depth, but because a politically motivated historian like Howard Zinn or Noam Chomskey said such a thing, or they simply picked up the saying from another friend (who themselves had heard it from another) and it fit so well in their theophobia framework to make the rejection of religion an easy thing in their mind’s eye. This is more of a commentary on said person’s psychosis than making any sort of valid argument. This being said let us deal with this charge:


Atheist vs. Atheist from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

  • The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name. It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law — materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law. (Adapted from, The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?)


So the historical reality that this teacher of history seemed to ignore is that non-religious movements have killed more people in the Twentieth-Century than religion has in the previous nineteen (or for that matter, all of mankind’s history).
I also pointed out to Felicia during our conversation that the non-religious view of origins has no moral law to point to any of the above acts as morally wrong or un-ethical.They are merely currently taboo. For someone to say the Nazis were morally wrong they have to borrow from the theistic worldview that posits a universal moral code.If there is no Divine moral law, then as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim makes the point, “If there is no God, all things are permissible.” Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right.


This portion out of a larger debate I was in touches on my second point… but before moving on, I want to reiterate the first point: if one were to use evil or wrongs done towards innocent persons as a criterion of an ideologies validity, no faith or unfaith stands this test. It is more a commentary on human nature. The question is which worldview explains best human nature and has the best answer to resolve it. In fact, another criterion is well used for the validity of faith; here I will post a blog I did quite some time ago entitled “Religion’s Positive Influence: Faith-Based Society Healthier, Lives Longer:”

Social Scientists Agree:


Religious Belief Reduces Crime Summary of the First Panel Discussion Panelists for this important discussion included social scientists Dr. John DiIulio, professor of politics and urban affairs at Princeton University; David Larson, M.D., President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research; Dr. Byron Johnson, Director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy at Vanderbilt University; and Gary Walker, President of Public/Private Ventures. The panel focused on new research, confirming the positive effects that religiosity has on turning around the lives of youth at risk.


Dr. Larson laid the foundation for the discussion by summarizing the findings of 400 studies on juvenile delinquency, conducted during the past two decades. He believes that although more research is needed, we can say without a doubt that religion makes a positive contribution.


His conclusion: “The better we study religion, the more we find it makes a difference.” Previewing his own impressive research, Dr. Johnson agreed. He has concluded that church attendance reduces delinquency among boys even when controlling for a number of other factors including age, family structure, family size, and welfare status. His findings held equally valid for young men of all races and ethnicities.


Gary Walker has spent 25 years designing, developing and evaluating many of the nation’s largest public and philanthropic initiatives for at-risk youth. His experience tells him that faith-based programs are vitally important for two reasons. First, government programs seldom have any lasting positive effect. While the government might be able to design [secular/non-God] programs that occupy time, these programs, in the long-term, rarely succeed in bringing about the behavioral changes needed to turn kids away from crime. Second, faith-based programs are rooted in building strong adult-youth relationships; and less concerned with training, schooling, and providing services, which don’t have the same direct impact on individual behavior. Successful mentoring, Walker added, requires a real commitment from the adults involved – and a willingness to be blunt. The message of effective mentors is simple. “You need to change your life, I’m here to help you do it, or you need to be put away, away from the community.” Government, and even secular philanthropic programs, can’t impart this kind of straight talk.


=======================

  • Sixth through twelfth graders who attend religious services once a month or more are half as likely to engage in at-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual excess, truancy, vandalism, drunk driving and other trouble with police. Search Institute, “The Faith Factor,” Source, Vol. 3, Feb. 1992, p.1.
  • Churchgoers are more likely to aid their neighbors in need than are non-attendees. George Barna, What Americans Believe, Regal Books, 1991, p. 226.
  • Three out of four Americans say that religious practice has strengthened family relationships. George Gallup, Jr. “Religion in America: Will the Vitality of Churches Be the Surprise of the Next Century,” The Public Perspective, The Roper Center, Oct./Nov. 1995.
  • Church attendance lessens the probabilities of homicide and incarceration. Nadia M. Parson and James K. Mikawa: “Incarceration of African-American Men Raised in Black Christian Churches.” The Journal of Psychology, Vol. 125, 1990, pp.163-173.
  • Religious practice lowers the rate of suicide. Joubert, Charles E., “Religious Nonaffiliation in Relation to Suicide, Murder, Rape and Illegitimacy,” Psychological Reports 75:1 part 1 (1994): 10 Jon W. Hoelter: “Religiosity, Fear of Death and Suicide Acceptibility.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 9, 1979, pp.163-172.
  • The presence of active churches, synagogues… reduces violent crime in neighborhoods. John J. Dilulio, Jr., “Building Spiritual Capital: How Religious Congregations Cut Crime and Enhance Community Well-Being,” RIAL Update, Spring 1996.
  • People with religious faith are less likely to be school drop-outs, single parents, divorced, drug or alcohol abusers. Ronald J. Sider and Heidi Roland, “Correcting the Welfare Tragedy,” The Center for Public Justice, 1994.
  • Church involvement is the single most important factor in enabling inner-city black males to escape the destructive cycle of the ghetto. Richard B. Freeman and Harry J. Holzer, eds., The Black Youth Employment Crisis, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p.354.
  • Attending services at a church or other house of worship once a month or more makes a person more than twice as likely to stay married than a person who attends once a year or less. David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, “Is Divorce Hazardous to Your Health?” Physician, June 1990. Improving Personal Well-Being
  • Regular church attendance lessens the possibility of cardiovascular diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema and arteriosclerosis. George W. Comstock amd Kay B. Patridge:* “Church attendance and health.”* Journal of Chronic Disease, Vol. 25, 1972, pp. 665-672.
  • Regular church attendance significantly reduces the probablility of high blood pressure.* David B. Larson, H. G. Koenig, B. H. Kaplan, R. S. Greenberg, E. Logue and H. A. Tyroler:* ” The Impact of religion on men’s blood pressure.”* Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 28, 1989, pp.265-278.* W.T. Maramot:* “Diet, Hypertension and Stroke.” in* M. R. Turner (ed.) Nutrition and Health, Alan R. Liss, New York, 1982, p. 243.
  • People who attend services at least once a week are much less likely to have high blood levels of interlukin-6, an immune system protein associated with many age-related diseases.* Harold Koenig and Harvey Cohen, The International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, October 1997.
  • Regular practice of religion lessens depression and enhances self esteem. *Peter L. Bensen and Barnard P. Spilka:* “God-Image as a function of self-esteem and locus of control” in H. N. Maloney (ed.) Current Perspectives in the Psychology of Religion, Eedermans, Grand Rapids, 1977, pp. 209-224.* Carl Jung: “Psychotherapies on the Clergy” in Collected Works Vol. 2, 1969, pp.327-347.
  • Church attendance is a primary factor in preventing substance abuse and repairing damage caused by substance abuse.* Edward M. Adalf and Reginald G. Smart:* “Drug Use and Religious Affiliation, Feelings and Behavior.” * British Journal of Addiction, Vol. 80, 1985, pp.163-171.* Jerald G. Bachman, Lloyd D. Johnson, and Patrick M. O’Malley:* “Explaining* the Recent Decline in Cocaine Use Among Young Adults:* Further Evidence That Perceived Risks and Disapproval Lead to Reduced Drug Use.”* Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 31,* 1990, pp. 173-184.* Deborah Hasin, Jean Endicott, * and Collins Lewis:* “Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Patients With Affective Syndromes.”* Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 26, 1985, pp. 283-295. * The findings of this NIMH-supported study were replicated in the Bachmen et. al. study above.


Second point is this, and I will take also from a previous critique of a Hugh Hewitt show where he had atheist Christopher Hitchens, polemicist extraordinaire, debate Mark D. Roberts, professor at Fuller Seminary, for all three hours of his show. In my opinion, Hitchen’s won the debate on style/rhetoric, not on substance. However, in my critique entitled “Responding to Christopher Hitchens and a Friend: Explaining the Failings of a Worldview,” I quoted Tom Morris and his erudite refutation of determinism, which would result if atheistic evolution were to be the truth in the battle for origins:


Robots and Cosmic Puppetry: The Scientific Challenge to Freedom


Since at least the time of Sir Isaac Newton, scientists and philosophers impressed by the march of science have offered a picture of human behavior that is not promising for a belief in freedom. All nature is viewed by them as one huge mechanism, with human beings serving as just parts of that giant machine. On this view, we live and think in accordance with the same laws and causes that move all other physical components of the universal mechanism.


According to these thinkers, everything that happens in nature has a cause. Suppose then that an event occurs, which, in context, is clearly a human action of the sort that we would normally call free. As an occurrence in this universe, it has a cause. But then that cause, in turn, has a cause. And that cause in turn has a cause, and so on, and so on [remember, reductionism].

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player” ~ Albert Einstein.


As a result of this scientific world view, we get the following picture:

Natural conditions outside our control…

cause

Inner bodily and brain states,

which cause

mental and physical actions


But if this is true, then you are, ultimately, just a conduit or pipeline for chains of natural causation that reach far back into the past before your birth and continue far forward into the future after your death. You are not an originating cause of anything [this includes brain activity of all degrees, that is, love, pain, etc.). Nothing you ever do is due to your choices or thoughts alone. You are a puppet of nature. You are no more than a robot programmed by an unfeeling cosmos.


Psychologists talk about heredity and environment as responsible for everything you do. But then if they are, you aren’t. Does it follow that you can then do as you please, irresponsibly? Not at all. It only follows that you will do as nature and nurture please. But then, nature on this picture turns out to be just an illusory veil over a heartless, uncaring nature. You have what nature gives you. Nothing more, nothing less.


Where is human freedom in this picture? It doesn’t exist. It is one of our chief illusions. The natural belief in free will is just a monstrous falsehood. But we should not feel bad about holding on to this illusion until science corrects us. We can’t have helped it.


This reasoning is called The Challenge of Scientific Determinism. According to determinists, we are determined in every respect to do everything that we ever do.


This again is a serious challenge to human freedom. It is the reason that the early scientist Pierre Laplace (1749-1827) once said that if you could give a super-genius a total description of the universe at any given point in time, that being would be able to predict with certainty everything that would ever happen in the future relative to that moment, and retrodict with certainty anything that had ever happened in any moment before that described state. Nature, he believed, was that perfect machine. And we human beings were just cogs in the machine, deluded in our beliefs that we are free.


(Philosophy for Dummies, 133-134)


J.P Moreland agrees with this summation that there would be no standard to judge whether a particular position about reality were true if we are the products of a completely naturalistic, chance, chain of atoms bouncing off one another happened. To be clear, if atheistic origins of the universe were true, then one liking chocolate ice cream over vanilla would be just as true as someone choosing atheism over theism:


Mind/Body Physicalism Refuted

A number of philosophers have argued that physicalism must be false because it implies determinism and determinism is self-refuting. Speaking of the determinist, J. R. Lucas says:

If what he says is true, he says it merely as the result of his heredity and environment, and nothing else. He does not hold his determinist views because they are true, but because he has such-and-such stimuli; that is, not because the structure of the structure of the universe is such-and-such but only because the configuration of only part of the universe, together with the structure of the determinist’s brain, is such as to produce that result…. Determinism, therefore, cannot be true, because if it was, we should not take the determinists’ arguments as being really arguments [say, whether or not homosexuality is a right or not] as being really arguments, but as being only conditioned reflexes. Their statements should not be regarded as really claiming to be true, but only as seeking to cause us to respond in some way desired by them. (Freedom of the Will, by John Lucas)


H. P. Owen states that:

Determinism is self-stultifying. If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism. But if the sole reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding that my judgment is true or false. (Christian Theism, p. 118)


… if one claims to know that physicalism is true, or to embrace it for good reasons, if one claims that it is a rational position which should be chosen on the basis of evidence [as one does when they reject theism], then this claim is self-refuting. This is so because physicallism seems to deny the possibility of rationality. To see this, let us examine the necessary preconditions which must hold if there is to be such a thing as rationality and show how physicalism denies these preconditions.


At least five factors must obtain if there are to be genuine rational agents who can accurately reflect on the world. First, minds must have internationality; they must be capable of having thoughts about or of the world. Acts of inference are “insights into” or “knowings of” something other than themselves.


Second, reasons, propositions, thoughts, laws of logic and evidence, and truth must exist and be capable of being instanced in people’s minds and influencing their thought processes. This fact is hard to reconcile with physicallism. To see this, consider the field of ethics. Morality prescribes what we ought to do (prescriptive); it does not merely describe what is in fact done (descriptive). Objective morality makes sense if real moral laws or oughts exist and if normative, moral properties like rightness, goodness, worth, and dignity exist in acts (the act of honoring one’s parents) and things (persons and animals have worth) [this all applies to the debate over homosexuality]. If physicalism is true as a worldview, there are no moral properties or full-blooded oughts. Physical states just are, and one physical state causes or fails to cause another physical state. A physical state does not morally prescribe that another physical ought to be. If physicalism is true, oughts are not real moral obligations telling us what one should do to be in conformity with the moral universe. Rather, “ought” serves as a mere guide for reaching a socially acceptable or psychologically desired goal (e.g., “if one wants to have pleasure and avoid pain, then one ‘ought’ to tell the truth”). Moral imperatives become grounded in subjective preferences on the same level as a preference for Burger King over McDonald’s….


(Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity, by J. P. Moreland, 90-92)


The atheist has no way ultimately to point out that an act that society currently considers taboo, such as rape, is morally wrong. The atheist, unlike the theist, would not be able to say that rape is morally wrong at all times and places in the entire history of the known universe. Again, all that can be said is that at this point in our evolutionary history and culture it is currently outlawed in most societies by the majority of peoples. This majority can change thus making an act morally acceptable that is currently outlawed, or immoral. Back to the chemical, or biological basis for rape though, a couple of books that deal with this specifically have addressed this issue by philosophical naturalists. For example, in this exerpt from a larger paper I did for a class on Natural Law and homosexuality, I point out that without creation ex nihilo, rape is not morally wrong in the ultimate sense:


Idolatrous Tools

Idolatry is referenced in connection with human sexuality by Anthony Hoekema who points out that while “primitive man use to make idols out of wood and stone, modern man, seeking something to worship, makes idols of a more subtle type: himself, human society, the state, money, fame.”[1] Thusly, an idol can be fallen man using the gift of relationships as a tool to manipulate others for his or her selfish ends,[2] idolizing pleasure by making it an end-to-a-means, so to speak. In doing so, the person seeking gratification (whether emotional or physical) utilizes or instumentalizes another in order to worship self-gratification. This concept is seen in the slang term “tool”[3] used by today’s generation either to reference a man’s genitalia or to reference another person.[4]


The reader by now should have clearly established in his mind that homosexuality rejects the created order and designs its own contrary vision.[5] Moreover, part of this vision is an atheistic, naturalistic (almost Epicurean[6]) rejection of Creation ex-nihilo.[7] How does the “carnal” person deal with the unnatural order of the homosexual lifestyle? Since it is a reality it is incorporated into their epistemological system of thought or worldview.[8] Henry Morris points out that the materialist worldview looks at homosexuality as nature’s way of controlling population numbers as well as a tension lowering device.[9] Lest one think this line of thinking is insane, that is: sexual acts are something from our evolutionary past and advantageous;[10]rape is said to not be a pathology but an evolutionary adaptation – a strategy for maximizing reproductive success.[11] How do the naturalist, those who have rejected the created order and the moral laws of nature, view such an instrumentalizing of the human body for the end-result of idolatrous worshiping of pleasure?

Liberal sexual morality, based in an ancient epicurean view of the nature of man that “denies that marriage is inherently heterosexual necessarily supposes that the value of sex must be instrumental” in order to pleasure oneself, which makes such an act a tool in the hand of a person’s desires, or, an “end-in-itself.” In other words, the traditional understanding of marriage rejects the view that sees the ultimate point or value of sex in marriage as an instrument to attain either affection or sexual pleasure, which is what the epicurean is left with. Sex, in the homosexual context, then, is the instrumentalization of the body.[12]


Ethical Evil?

The first concept that one must understand is that these authors do not view nature alone as imposing a moral “oughtness” into the situation of survival of the fittest. They view rape, for instance, in its historical evolutionary context as neither right nor wrong ethically.[13] Rape, is neither moral nor immoral vis-à-vis evolutionary lines of thought, even if ingrained in us from our evolutionary paths of survival.[14] Did you catch that? Even if a rape occurs today, it is neither moral nor immoral, it is merely currently taboo.[15] The biological, amoral, justification of rape is made often times as a survival mechanism bringing up the net “survival status” of a species, usually fraught with examples of homosexual worms, lesbian seagulls, and the like.[16]


This materialistic view of nature will give way to there being no difference in the emerging ethic between married couples, homosexual couples, or couples in a temporary sexual relationship. Some go as far to say – rightly so – that with the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle follows shortly thereafter the legalization of polyamorous relationships,[17] which is already considered as a viable option by many in Sweden for instance.[18] After polyamory is legal – about the only thing left is for the Peter Singer’s (professor at Princeton’s Center for Human Values) of the world to argue for “cross species” sex acts.[19] Columnist George Will aptly calls this type of legislation “the moral equality of appetites.”[20]


According to atheistic evolution, these appetites are driven by some chain of events that go back through history to the big bang. Everything is the way it is because of this chain of chance events that resulted in our environments and firing of neurons and their chemical reactions in our brain… making us believe and do what we believe and do. It is really fascism, or so called:

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

(Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist [Ignatius Press; 1999], by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.)

So since all acts are of equal value in the struggle for survival, the acts that only temporarily determine the highest possible survival of the species at that moment in evolutionary progress/history is the most beneficial… which could be interpreted as being the most “moral” in evolutionary vernacular. Therefore, atheists (which include Lobdell) have no metaphysical basis to say that rape, or the killing of innocent people by religious persons, and similar actions like unjust wars by Marxist revolutionaries, are morally wrong in a meaningful way. They are merely pointing out that they personally disagree with the action they are describing. Arguing, then about the immorality of acts committed by the religious (and I would contend, non-religious peoples) would be just as powerful morally if the same person argued with a friend about the superiority of chocolate ice-cream over that of vanilla ice-cream.

Ravi Zacharias answers a similar veined question during a Q&A at Harvard:


Since that took longer than I expected, I will only give one other critique of a response by Lobdell to a caller that was tongue-tied and wasn’t getting his point across well. Lobdell cut him off mid sentence (after politely allowing the man to try and make a coherent point) and asked if he thought that all the animals that exist on earth were on the ark. This is a red-hearing. It is a mischaracterizing of the opposing argument, setting up a straw man in other words.


Broadly speaking, yes, all the animals were on the ark. But that is the same as Bill Clinton and John Kerry during their runs for office (successfully and unsuccessfully, respectively) saying that women make 73 cents on every dollar earned by a man. While broadly speaking this is true, and very “impactful” for making their proposed policies all that much more important… it just isn’t true. In the same way, the volume of animals proposed to be on the Ark by Lobdell and other critics is skewed as well.

YES! If you compare all men to all women, then yes, there is a disparage present. This stat doesn’t take into account a few things. It doesn’t consider the fact that women tend to choose the humanities when entering college and men seem to choose the hard sciences. So by choice women tend to choose professions that pay less. Not only that, when you compare oranges to oranges, you get something much different than expected, or that we would expect from the liberal side of things. If a woman and a man have had the same level of education and have been on the same job for an equal amount of time, the woman makes (on average) up to $5 more than the man a year on every $1,000 dollars earned. Another sobering note reported by USA Today: According to a U.S. Department of Education study, 135 women receive their bachelor’s degrees per every 100 men.

(Adapted from Larry Elder, 10 things You Can’t Say In America)


The same applies to this dilemma. In Lobdell’s mind every finch was on the Ark. That’s hundreds of species. A finch with a ¼ centimeter smaller beak is a separate species according to Darwin and Lobdell. Every dog, from Chihuahua’s to Great Danes, and everything in between, was on the Ark. This is a straw man. Rhetorically it sounds great, I would have responded back rhetorically rather than the detailed response I am giving here if I was on the radio myself. Short and sweet! He is trying to make the questioner sound insane by mischaracterizing his argument, I will clarify — properly — his argument to make him sound “just as crazy.” I would have said,

“Well, that isn’t nearly as incredible as one believing he came from a rock, as you do.”


Which is what evolution teaches. After the earth cooled and the rock began to solidify, it rained making the early oceans and lakes. These rains eroded the minerals from the rock which began to pool in a particular spot on earth coming together to finally form the first life, which over millions of years became you or I judging that the Crusades were morally wrong and that religious people, more than non-religious, should live up to some ideal found originally in molten lava!? “You shouldn’t kill innocent people because we were brothers in crystalline from side-by-side… minerals to the end brother.” This is “just as crazy,” rhetorically speaking that is. The question remains: do you have to have every dog on the Ark or just one dog, say, like the wolf? You see, the wolf has most of the parent genes in it that over a 1,000 years we end up with the
Chihuahua to the Great Dane by man’s input of knowledge… not natural selection. I say “man’s input of knowledge, and not ” of knowledge and shelter because natural selection would weed out the Tea Cup Terrier from even surviving. Outside the arms of Paris Hilton, that is.


Back to Noah’s Ark and the rhetorical divide between the atheist and the biblical literalist, if you take all the dinosaurs known to scientists, the average size is that of a lamb. Not to mention that the largest — taking the most extreme end of the biblical literalists argument — T-Rex or Superasuarus started out in an egg. So they were small in their juvenile stage. Not every type or species of Bull had to be on the Ark, just one. Some say that natural selection could not move that quick. Well, humanity has been farming and trying to produce better “species” for some time. For instance,

In 1811 French chemist Benjamin Delessert set up a small factory at Passy and, following the example of German chemists, made the first small quantity of crystallized sugar from sugar beets. At this time cane sugar was a strategic material denied the French because of their war with the other European powers, so Napoleon was immensely impressed by this scientific achievement. He ordered no less that forty factories to be set up in France.

However, now that France had the capability to manufacture beet sugar, it urgently needed to find, or breed, a type of beet that contained the maximum amount of raw sugar. To achieve this, Bonaparte enlisted the greatest botanists in France, through the Academia des Sciences. A program was begun to breed selectively those sugar beet plants that gave a higher-than-average yield of sugar, a program which succeeded. At first the common varieties of sugar beet contained, but this was rapidly improved — 5 percent; 10 percent; 15 percent. Then things started to go wrong. At 17 percent average yield, the sugar content of the new plants stuck, and it has stayed there to this day. In addition, the French discovered, repeated attempts to continue crossing high-yield varieties eventually resulted in the hybrids reverting to the low yields of their ancestral stock.

(An adaptation from a paper I did many years previous.That was taken from a source I do not currently recall.)


There may be many “species” of sugar beets, but they are all from one. In a study, probably one of the most in-depth done to date put into book form is that of evolutionist Jonathan Weiner. In his book, The Beak of the Finch, pages 178-180, he mentions that the speciation, in general, is considerably faster than had been supposed by earlier beliefs. So could we get a Dingo, a Great Dane, and other types of dogs from one or two kinds (species). This is what the biblical literalist argues; not that every animal on earth today was on the Ark, but that every animal on the earth came from a common species that was on the Ark. Of course, now you can argue the finer points of how fast speciation can happen and how this argument hurts or helps these two opposing sides, but that is neither here nor there. At the very least, however, we are beyond the oft repeated mischaracterization thrown the way of the biblical literalist. It also makes the opposing side, in this case Lobdell, seem fair in its summation of arguments from whom he is trying to refute.


More to come…. maybe?

(Some tags for the Google search: WILLIAM, BILL, LOBDELL, ATHEISM, HUGH, HEWITT, NOAH, NOAH’S, ARK, FLOOD, TWO HOUR, INTERVIEW, NATURAL, SELECTION, EVOLUTION, CREATION, INTELLIGENT DESIGN, APOLOGETICS, THEOLOGY, LOOSING, FAITH, EVANGELICAL, THEISM, CHRISTIANITY, EVIL, HYPOCRISY, FALSE, BELIEF, DEBATE, CALLERS, RADIO, TALK, SHOW, CATHOLIC, SEXUAL, ABUSE, RELIGIOUS, RELIGION, INTERVIEW, PROOFS, LOS ANGELES, RELIGION, REPORTER, L.A. TIMES)



[1] Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 84.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “One [person] that is used or manipulated by another.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed (Springfield: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003), cf., “tool.” This concept of using another was also known as “cat’s-paw,” which is defined as “one used by another as a tool.” (ibid., cf., “cat’s-paw.”)

An aside: the term “cat’s-paw” comes from an old fable in which a monkey was cooking chestnuts in the fireplace. When it was time to remove the chestnuts from the coals, he found that the fire was too hot, and he could not pull them out. He looked around for something to help him pull them out, but did not see anything — until his eye fell on the cat sleeping by the fire. He grabbed the cat, and held it tight while it struggled, using its paw to remove the chestnuts from the fire. (Author/origins unknown)

[4] Example: “She’s a ‘tool’.”

[5] DeYoung, 15.

[6] “Epicurus (341-271 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher who was born on the isle of Samos but lived much of his life in Athens, where he founded his very successful school of philosophy. He was influenced by the materialist Democritus (460-370 B.C.), who is the first philosopher known to believe that the world is made up of atoms…. Epicurus identified good with pleasure and evil with pain.” He equated using pleasure, diet, friends, and the like as “tools” for minimizing bad sensations or pain while increasing pleasure or hedonism. Taken from Louise P. Pojman, Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, 5th ed. (New York: Oxford Press, 2002), 499.

[7] Romans 1:25; 1 Timothy 6:5, 20.

[8] Worldview: “People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By ‘presuppositions’ we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic worldview, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions. ‘As a man thinketh, so he is,’ is really profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world. Then, having thought, a person can bring forth actions into the external world and thus influence it. People are apt to look at the outer theater of action, forgetting the actor who ‘lives in the mind’ and who therefore is the true actor in the external world. The inner thought world determines the outward action. Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what worldview is true. When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, ‘not many men are in the room’ — that is, although worldviews have many variations, there are not many basic worldviews or presuppositions.” Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1976), 19-20.

[9] Henry M. Morris, The Long War Against God: The History and Impact of the Creation/Evolution Conflict (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1989), 136.

[10] Remember, the created order has been rejected in the Roman society as it is today. This leaves us with an Epicurean view of nature, which today is philosophical naturalism expressed in the modern evolutionary theories such as neo-Darwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium.

[11] Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, A Natural history of Rape: Biological bases of Sexual Coercion (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), 71, 163.

[12] Robert P. George, The Clash Of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2001), 81.

[13] Nancy Pearcy, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), 208-209.

[14] Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (New York: Penguin, 2002), 162-163.

[15] Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), 176-180.

[16] Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life (New York: Touchstone Book, 1995), 492.

[17] Defined as having more than one intimate relationship/spouse at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

[18] Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Define Moral Values (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 42.

[19] The following is from an on-line article:

“To prove this is no joke, here’s a passage from a recent article on the website Nerve.com by Prof. Peter Singer of Princeton’s Center for Human Values:

·“The potential violence of the orangutan’s come-on may have been disturbing, but the fact that it was an orangutan making the advances was not. That may be because Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes. This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words may mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.

“This is not a marginal figure, by the way; this is a professor at Princeton whose ideas are spreading widely in the respectable academic circuit. The problem with his argument is that it is impeccably logical if you accept the premise that there is no fundamental dividing line between man and animals. And if one swallows evolution whole-hog, it sure looks that way, doesn’t it? Those anti-Darwinist hicks may be right after all, at least with respect to the consequences of believing in evolution.”

Taken from FrontPage Magazine website, http://www.frontpagemag.com/ — The article itself was by Robert Locke, “Bestiality and America’s Future,” published on March 30, 2001. Found at:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID={AD996DD5-80D9-49C9-BCA4-C37D60C97669}, (last accessed 9-24-08).

[20] Francis Canavan, The Pluralist Game: Pluralism, Liberalism, and the Moral Conscience (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1995), 126-127.

Archaeological Evidences for the Bible

This story has an important facet for us apologists, but first, let us enjoy this finds belated attribution:

Jerusalem Post: Long time archaeological riddle solved

The riddle of the identity of a 3,200-year-old round bronze tablet with a carved face of a woman has apparently been solved, 13 years after it was discovered at the El-ahwat excavation site between Katzir-Harish and Nahal Iron (Wadi Ara) by scientist Oren Cohen of the University of Haifa.

The small, broken-off piece of metal is probably part of a linchpin that held the wheel to a war chariot sent to battle by the Canaanite general Sisera against the Israelites, says Prof. Adam Zertal, who for 33 years has led weekly walks with university colleagues and volunteers over “every square meter” of Samaria and the Jordan Rift to search for archeological evidence from biblical times.

The round, bronze tablet, about 2 centimeters in diameter and 5 millimeters thick, features a carved face of a woman wearing a cap and earrings shaped as chariot wheels. It was found in a structure identified as the “Governor’s House.”

Cohen was unable to find its parallel in any other archeological discoveries. When carrying out a study on the walls of the Temple of Rameses III in Egypt of ancient reliefs depicting chariot battles, Cohen identified a unique decoration – the bronze linchpins fastening the chariot wheels were decorated with the faces of captives, foreigners and enemies of Egypt. He also noticed that these decorations characterized those chariots that were used by royalty and other dignitaries. Cohen found that the linchpin with the woman’s face found near Katzir was almost identical to that found in the Egyptian temple.

The identification as a linchpin, Zertal said, reinforces the claim that a high-ranking Egyptian or local ruler was based at this location and is likely to support the theory that the site is Haroshet Hagoyim – the Canaanite base of Sisera, as mentioned in the fourth and fifth chapter of the Book of Judges, the 70-year archeologist told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The Egyptians and Canaanites both created linchpins for chariots with the carved faces of their enemies; the place on the wheels were considered “very undignified,” said Zertal, like the Jews putting Haman’s name on the soles of their shoes for beating against the floor while the Book of Esther is read aloud…

…Sisera was the captain of the army of Yavin, king of Canaan. According to Judges 4:3, Sisera led an army of 900 iron chariots and oppressed the Israelites for two decades. Deborah the Prophetess, then leader of the Israelite tribes, persuaded Barak to face Sisera in battle. He led a force of 10,000 and destroyed the army of Sisera, whose origin was completely unknown. The battle, the Bible says, led to a 40-year peace…

…The Haifa archeologist was raised at a Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz and severely wounded in the Yom Kippur War. “I spent a year at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and I became interested in archeology. Although I had argued that the Bible was full of myths, I decided after my recovery to travel the land by foot to look for archeological evidence.”

Zertal, who took the walks often using crutches from his decades-old injury, added: “I am a man of science and have to investigate whether what is described in the Bible suits the geography. Nobody thought there was an altar on Mount Ebal, but the evidence was found. It is not a legend. When you do archeological research as you should, you see a lot [of the biblical stories] is reality.”

…(read more)…

This last part is key, let me explain. Archaeology has served as one of the great evidences for the skeptical person to have many of their doubts answered. I wish to display the above in some past debates I have had. Since many of these past debates are about a decade old or older, referencing isn’t up to my current par… but you will get the main point of the discussions at hand. Also keep in mind these are portions of larger responses… so you may feel like you just stepped into the middle of a conversation – you would be right.

The first presentation is a discussion between myself and Rocket Girl, the second between myself a Nightmyre.

Discussion with Rocket Girl

Rocket Girl made reference to where the evidence for Noah’s Flood is, Sodom and Gomorrah (here is an article, see video as well), and the like. I respond:

People use to say the same about David, Saul, Solomon.  The Bible makes mention of the Hittites 47 times… people use to say “where is the evidence for these peoples?  It must be a myth!” As with David, Saul, and the many others once thought to be mythical, all have been found.  In fact, Turkey has a museum dedicated solely to the Hittite peoples.

Rocket Girl mentioned wanting proof for Noah’s Ark.  This proof would also require evidence for a worldwide flood, and keeping this short and sweet, over 75% of the earth’s crust is sediment – that is, the matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid; lees; dregs (Webster).  That’s a lot of proof of water at some point in earth’s history.  Over 220 cultures (from the Australian Aboriginal to the South American Indian to the Russians and Chinese) separated by time and water all have stories of the first man being red (Hebrew for Adam means red clay), a worldwide flood, a bird being released after the craft landed, and an animal sacrifice, etc.

It seems funny that one would ask for evidence of Sodom and Gomorrah, as this town has been found.  There are writings from antiquity (other than Biblical) about it as well as the excavation of Bab edh-Dhra.  The writings of Nebuchadnezzar speak of the world having one language and all living around a great tower that he tried to rebuild (that Saddam Hussein is rebuilding as well).  Man-made items found in most geological layers (even the pre-Cambrian).  Dinosaur boned found by riverbeds so fresh at first they thought to be Bison bones.  T-Rex blood found in an un-mineralized bone. As well as dino bones found with blood cells and proteins.  Ancient stone work of Dinosaurs, Etc., Etc.

Sir Frederic Kenyon, former director and principle librarian of the British Museum, was possibly the most respected New Testament textual scholar in our century. Shortly before his death he commented on the significance of the fact that the evidence is overwhelming that the Gospels were composed shortly after the events of Christ’s life and that the early church widely distributed them within its congregations within a relatively short period of time is significant. Kenyon wrote:

“the interval, then, between the dates of the original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.”

After a lifetime of in-depth review of the New Testament manuscripts, Kenyon concluded that the present text in our Bible is absolutely reliable. He wrote: “It is reassuring at the end to find that the general result of all these discoveries and all this study is to strengthen the proof of the authenticity of the Scriptures, and our conviction that we have in our hands, in substantial integrity, the veritable Word of God.”

Dr William F. Albright was unquestionably one of the world’s most brilliant Biblical archaeologists. In 1955 he wrote: “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid bases for dating any book of the New Testament after circa A.D.80.” He was a skeptic! However, over the next several decades of discoveries were convincing enough to make him pen this on the New Testament being written: “probably sometime between circa A.D.50 and 75.”   Albright concluded, from the evidence, that the writing of the New Testament within a few years of the events of Christ’s life and the writing was “too slight to permit any appreciable corruption of the essential center and even of the specific wording of the sayings of Christ.” In other words, Professor Albright, one of the greatest minds in the field of archaeology and ancient texts, concluded (via evidence) that the New Testament records the truth about Jesus Christ and His statements.

Dr. John A.T. Robinson was a distinguished lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge and developed a reputation as a great scholar. Naturally, he accepted the academic consensus universally held since 1900, that denied the disciples and Paul wrote the New Testament and concluded that it was written up to a hundred years after Christ. However, an article in Time magazine, March 21, 1977, reported that Robinson decided to personally investigate for himself the arguments behind this scholarly “consensus” against the New Testament’s reliability because he realized that very little original research had been completed in this field in this century. He was shocked to discover that much of past scholarship against the New Testament was untenable because it was based on a “tyranny of unexamined assumptions” and what he felt must have been an “almost willful blindness.”

To the amazement of his university colleagues, Robinson concluded that the apostles must have been the genuine writers of the New Testament books in the years prior to A.D.64. He also noted that if you were to reject the evidence of the before mentioned research and throw out the conclusions of original authorship of the New Testament. You would also have to throw out every ancient writing of antiquity as well as historical writings of recent and ancient origin.

  • Some More

Archaeological Discoveries have done nothing but fortify the Gospels and the events in them. The New Testament alone has over 25,000 archaeological sites alone, and every turn of the archaeologists spade reveals one more truth of the evidences of faith. Not one prophecy, historical fact, archaeological, or scientific find about (or in) the bible has been shown to be wrong.

Dr. Nelson Gleuck, president of Hebrew Union College and the leading Palestinian archaeologist of the twentieth century said: “it may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”

William Ramsay, the English scholar, traveled as a young man to Asia Minor over a century ago for the sole purpose of disproving the Bible’s history as described by Luke in his Gospel and in the book of Acts. Ramsey and his professors were convinced that the New Testament record must be terribly inaccurate. He believed that Luke could not be correct in his history of Christ or in his account about the growth of the Church during the first decades following Christ. Dr. Ramsay began digging in the ancient ruins of sites throughout Greece and Asia Minor, searching for ancient names, boundary markers, and other archaeological finds that would conclusively prove that Luke had invented his history Christ and His Church.  To his amazement and dismay, William Ramsay discovered that the statements of the New Testament Scriptures were accurate in the smallest detail. Finally, Dr. Ramsay was convinced by the overwhelming evidence proving the Bible’s accuracy. Consequently, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior (based on the evidence alone).

A.N. Sherwin-White, was a great (some say the greatest historian of Roman life, history, and culture) classical historical scholar at Oxford University who studied the extensive evidence for and against the historical accuracy of the Book of Acts. Sherwin-White wrote his conclusion after studying the evidence: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming… any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd.”

Discussion with Nightmyre

Nightmyre, you said:

“Christianity, and many other religions, put forth the concept of Heaven and Hell. Obviously, there is no basis in REALITY for these two locations. You cannot look on a map and pinpoint the physical location of heavan and hell. However the religion gives you the TOOLS NECESSARY to reach this goal. And using these tools requires a large amount of faith, because you are NEVER certain that you will reach your goal.”

You show a very tainted view of what Christianity actually teaches.  You seem to clump many beliefs (not just Christianity) into one set or way of thinking.  This is not only disrespectful to me (although it really doesn’t bother me), it is disrespectful to others of various faiths.  I make it a goal to, at the least, when I deal with other faiths, to really delve into what they actually teach and believe.  I will post some stuff here to assist in showing you where you are off the mark in just one area of the Christian faith.

Obviously, if the God of the universe has revealed Himself and is the only true God, and if Christ is the only true way of salvation, then we would expect convincing evidence to substantiate this. Not just some evidence, or inferior evidence-so that a person has a dozen equally valid options in the choice of their religion-but superior evidence. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery asks:

“What if a revelational truth-claim did not turn on questions of theology and religious philosophy-on any kind of esoteric, fideistic method available only to those who are already “true believers” – but on the very reasoning employed in the law to determine questions of fact?… Eastern faiths and Islam, to take familiar examples, ask the uncommitted seeker to discover their truth experientially: the faith-experience will be self-validating…. Christianity, on the other hand, declares that the truth of its absolute claims rests squarely on certain historical facts, open to ordinary investigation…. The advantage of a jurisprudential approach lies in the difficulty of jettisoning it: legal standards of evidence developed as essential means of resolving the most intractable disputes in society … Thus one cannot very well throw out legal reasoning merely because its application to Christianity results in a verdict for the Christian faith.”

Dr. John Warwick Montgomery makes the point again that “the historic Christian claim differs qualitatively from the claims of all other world religions at the epistemological point: on the issue of testability” (“The Jury Returns: A Juridical Defense of Christianity,” in Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question, p. 319).  A good example of someone taking the faith up on its claims were Viggo Olsen, M.D., author of Daktar: Diplomat in Bangladesh, and his wife, who were both skeptics who…

“decided to embark on a detailed study of Christianity with the intention of rejecting it on intellectual grounds.  Little by little, as they studied works that deal with data common to apologetics and evidences… they were led step by step to see the truthfulness of Christianity.  Their study was no minor investigation or causal perusal.  It was an exhaustive search…” (Frederick R. Howe, The Role of Apologetics and Evangelism).

And this claim to truth includes the possibility of self-defeating constructs within the framework of Christian philosophy, which I have shown to be in the atheists philosophy.  Mortimer J. Adler is one of the world’s leading philosophers, chairman of the board of editors for the Encyclopedia Britannica, architect of the Great Books of the Western World series and its remarkable Syntopicon, he is also the director of the prestigious Institute for Philosophical Research in Chicago.  Adler says, “I believe Christianity is the only logical, consistent faith in the world” (Christianity Today, Nov. 19, 1990).  Did you get that?  One of the greatest philosophers of our time said that unlike Christianity, every religion that claims to have an epistemology is self-defeating.

Dr. Drew Trotter, a Cambridge University graduate, argues convincingly that “logic and the evidence both point to the reality of absolute truth….”  George F. Gilder, one of our century’s “greatest minds,” and author of Wealth and Poverty and Telecosm, says “Christianity is true, and its truth will be discovered anywhere you look very far”] (David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth, p. 13).  Principle at Wycliff Hall, Alister McGrath, author of Intellectual Don’t Need God and Other Myths, says the evidence for Christianity is akin to that found in doing good scientific research:

“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,” in More Than One Way? Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World, p. 68).

Noted Christian scholar Dr. Carl F. H. Henry wrote a three thousand page, six volume work on the topic of God, Revelation, and Authority.  After his exhaustive [to say the least] analysis, Henry declared that “Truth is Christianity’s most enduring asset…” (Ajith Fernando, The Supremacy of Christ, p. 109).

Dr. Robert A. Morey writes,

“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” (Introduction to Defending the Faith, p. 38).

James Sire points out in his book, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?, that an argument for belief, religious or otherwise, must be secured on the best evidence, validly argued, and able to refute the strongest objections that can be mustered against it (p. 10).  Dr. Norman Geisler adds that “In the face of overwhelming apologetic evidence, unbelief becomes perverse” (Baker Encyclopedia of Apologetics, p. 529).