God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Showing posts with label Moral Argument. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moral Argument. Show all posts

Monday, May 27, 2019

7 Independent Lines of Evidence for God's Existence

Introduction- Why Is God's Existence So Important?

One of the most heated debates in any setting is the existence of God. If God exists, then He is the foundation for objective morality. One's view of morality governs their thinking in everything from politics to workplace interactions, from scientific research to everyday behavior. If God exists, then there are objective behavioral boundaries which should never be crossed. If God does not exist, then no such objective boundaries exist, and anyone may behave however they wish in any situation without concern for the violation of some objective standard (that is not to say that relative/cultural/legal standards cannot be violated- but that is a topic for another time). If we do not examine this question carefully, we risk believing what is false about reality and morality, and such false beliefs will necessarily lead to behaviors that are not in keeping with reality and morality. This means that many of the political and ethic debates opposing people have come down to whether or not God exists.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Why Must Christians Appeal to Science In Arguing Against Abortion?

Science, Abortion, Politics, Pro-life, Pro-choice
Introduction

Abortion has recently become a hot topic again in American politics. With President Trump's appointments of conservative judges to the Supreme Court and the States' legislators proposing and passing more restrictions on abortions, it is very possible that we will see the decision that legalized abortion (Roe v. Wade) challenged, if not overturned.

I was in a discussion with a fellow pro-life advocate this week, and he took issue with my use of science to make the case for the humanity of the unborn. His position was that we did not need to use science but only use the Bible to make the case. So, I was in a position of needing to defend my defense.

Sources of Truth

I want to start out by affirming my pro-life brother in his belief that the Bible is indeed sufficient to make the case, but it is sufficient to make the case to Christians- those who recognize the Bible as an authoritative (and inerrant) source of truth. But not everyone accepts the Bible as an authoritative source of truth. Not everyone in America (and especially not in American government) is a Christian, and even if people are Christians, there is no guarantee they hold the Bible to be inerrant and the final authority in their lives. For people in these two categories, making appeals to the Bible to argue for anything is not going to get very far. If we want to see a non-Christian or a more "liberal" Christian agree with us against abortion (or any other matter of truth), we need to argue to our conclusion using a source of truth that they also recognize.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Without God, Do We All "Bleed The Same"?

Introduction

Without God, the war against racism makes no sense at all. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. grounded his fight and mission in the fact that God exists, because he knew that without God, so many foundations of such a fight are nonexistent. I was recently made aware of this beautiful song by Mandisa (featuring TobyMac and Kirk Franklin) addressing the tensions that still plague America today. Please take the time to listen, then read below to see how nothing that moved your heart in this video can be explained unless Christianity is the true worldview.



What a beautiful song that should express the heart and desire of every human. However, unless the view promoted by the song has a foundation in reality, then our emotions are merely playing a trick on us to believe that something is true and noble when those are merely illusions. There are several foundations that disappear if Christianity is false, but I want to focus on three today:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Colin Kaepernick, Cries of the Heart, and Christ

Introduction

The name "Colin Kaepernick" has flooded my Facebook feed this week. Until the last few days, I did not even know his name. From what I could tell, he is a quarterback for the National Football League (NFL)'s team The San Francisco 49r's. The fact that I do not follow any sports means that this sudden appearance in my feed is quite out of the ordinary. So I decided to investigate. It turns out that Kaepernick caused a stir and a great deal of outrage the other day, when he refused to stand for the National Anthem before a preseason game. This is a highly disrespectful decision that he has made clear that he plans to continue. This decision has sparked much outrage on the internet and much praise in the media. While I do believe that what he did was highly disrespectful and should never be encouraged, if we look past his actions to his reasons, we see profound insights (profound for our society, anyway) highlighted by the longings of his heart. These observations and desires that he has expressed provide powerful evidence for the truth of the Christian worldview and a door wide open for him to accept the call of Christ on his life.

However, before you read on, please familiarize yourself with Kaepernick's comments on his decision here.

Two things that he said immediately caught my attention. The first was that he was protesting racial inequality and mistreatment of African-American people. The second what that he said that that "is bigger than football" and even accepted the possible fate of being removed from the NFL and losing endorsements over his decision.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Don't Force Your Beliefs on Others

Introduction

An interesting meme came across my Facebook feed the other day. It states, "It is okay for you to believe what you believe. It is not okay for you to insist that everyone else believe the same as you." I shared it with a short explanation of the fact that the claim self-destructs. This meme self-destructs because it violates its own claim. It insists that the readers believe what is included in the meme (the idea that we should not insist others believe what we believe). It was not long before my comments were challenged. The conversation included a few different challenges that I addressed. I have included those challenges and my responses below (with a few edits for clarity).


Challenge #1: This is a religion thing!


Response: This is actually a belief that someone is affirming is right and affirming that its opposite is wrong. "Right" and "wrong" are terms of morality. It is logically impossible to not affirm someone's morality with the statement in the meme because it is affirming a moral belief. If someone affirms that the belief (that you should not force your beliefs on others) is right, then they affirm that its opposite (that you should force your beliefs on others) is wrong. If they insist that others hold to that same belief, then they have violated their own belief. That is why it is self-defeating. This has nothing to do with religion; rather it has everything to do with logic.

Challenge #2: There is no morality in this meme.


Response: morality is found in the meme in the implied "should" or "ought" in the affirmative phrase "is not okay." These are terms of obligation that are independent of a person (this is called "objective"). The moral claim is that someone should not force their beliefs on someone else. However, for something like morality to exist, it must have an ontological/metaphysical grounding. If your worldview does not contain such an object (such as God), then objective morality does not exist in your worldview, and nothing can be said to be truly "right" or "wrong;" it is all just a matter of opinion (and enforceable by who's in power). Now, if the person posting this meme is merely offering an opinion, then that is fine. It is their opinion that beliefs should not be forced on someone else, but it cannot go beyond an opinion to be an actual moral obligation. If morality is not objective, then any obligations end at the person asserting them; they do not apply beyond that person (this is called "subjective"). And that is exactly what this meme is denouncing and violating simultaneously. There is morality in this meme; there is not sound logic in this meme.

Challenge #3: We can be good without God. You are saying that I'm immoral because I don't believe the way you do.


Response: That is not my claim. I'm saying that it is only with an ontological foundation that morality (in any objective sense, which is what the meme seems to want to enforce) even exists. It is only if God exists that someone can be either moral or immoral. If there is no ontological grounding for morality, then we are all amoral because the world is amoral. This is not the same as "immoral." "Amoral" indicates the absence of a standard by which to conclude someone or something is moral or immoral. None of what I have said even implies someone's moral status; I've only made claims about the existence of morality that would allow statements about someone's moral status.

Conclusion

This meme and many of its type are quite common in social media these days. It is imperative that we logically evaluate their claims for soundness. If we find that they are not, we need to show how that is so. It is important that people be able to recognize bad logic when they see it, so they can learn to think clearly as other issues and claims arise.

Recommended Books for Further Investigation:


Monday, November 23, 2015

11 Quotes From J. Warner Wallace on Evidence For God's Existence

"The layers of foundational, regional, and locational evidence in the universe show signs of tampering."

"The totality and interconnected nature of our galaxy's unique backstory, along with its rare circumstances and unlikely conditions, overwhelmingly indicate tampering."

"Researchers have been consistently unable to identify a viable location, pathway, or mechanism explaining the origin of life. With each passing year, the level of complexity and interaction at the cellular level becomes more apparent and more difficult to explain."

"Most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is a classic case of confusing the medium with the message. The secret of life lies, not in its chemical basis, but in the logical and informational rules it explains."

"If a model attempts to explain the origin of life yet fails to explain the origin of information foundational to life, it falls dreadfully short of its goal."

"Choice is a feature of design and a reflection of intelligent agency. Designers make conscious choices between options. Their designs often reflect these decisions, especially when other options are available."

"In order to think rationally about their thoughts, they must have the freedom to do so, but this freedom is unavailable if the laws of physics and chemistry are controlling their thoughts. The fact skeptics are free to believe their thoughts are entirely physical is evidence their thoughts are not entirely physical."

"Naturalism fails to explain two attributes of the universe related to objective moral truth. It cannot adequately explain the existence of objective moral truths, and it cannot explain objective, transcendent personal obligations. Naturalism...can be reasonably eliminated because it fails on two counts."

"No single explanation will account for every act of evil. There are often several causes involved in explaining any given episode of suffering."

"When multiple divergent lines of evidence all point to the same conclusion, you can trust you're making a proper inference."

"I believe God exists because the evidence leaves me no reasonable alternative."

All these quotes can be found in Wallace's latest book "God's Crime Scene." 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: God's Crime Scene

UPDATE: My review of the new Kids' edition has posted! Click Here

Introduction

"God's Crime Scene" (KindlePaperback, GoodReadsPromo Video) is the highly anticipated "sequel" to J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels". In his first investigation Wallace looks at the evidence for the claim that the Gospels were eye-witness accounts of the life of Jesus. In his latest book, he investigates the existence of God. He takes his experience and skill-set as a homicide detective to bring together the evidences and present them in a coherent and convincing manner for the jurors (readers) to decide. God's Crime Scene is 204 pages divided into eight chapters. He has also included nearly 80 additional pages of case files for digging deeper into the cases he investigates in the book. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book but it cannot be substituted for reading the full text. I've included short interviews with J. Warner Wallace and Bobby Conway from The One Minute Apologist at the end of chapter summaries so you can hear a synopsis of the chapter directly from the author.


Opening Statement: Has Someone Else Been in This Room?

J. Warner Wallace begins his investigation by taking the reader through one of his first crime scene investigations. The crime scene involved a death that needed to be determined if it was the result of natural causes, suicide, or homicide. Wallace explains that when making this determination, the investigator quickly assess the pieces of evidence in the room and asks whether those pieces originated inside the room or if the came from the outside. If the evidence cannot all be explained by remaining inside the room, then they have evidence of an intruder- someone outside the room. Not only can these pieces of evidence establish that an intruder invaded to commit the murder, but they can also be used to give the identity of the murder (a suspect profile). He notes that it is important to have multiple independent types of evidence to build the strength of the case for the type of death (homicide) and the identity of the murderer.

Wallace explains that investigating God's existence is analogous. If all the evidence of the universe can be explained by staying inside the universe, then there is no need to appeal to someone outside the universe. However, if all the evidence cannot be explained by remaining inside the universe, then we have stumbled upon direct evidence of a source outside the universe. Just as the same evidence can be used to construct a "suspect profile" of the murderer, so too can the evidence that must be explained by going outside the universe be used to construct a profile to identify the "intruder" external to the universe.

Video- How Does A Detective Investigate God's Existence?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Default Positions, Atheism, and Fulfillment

Atheists claim that atheism is the default position that people take. Many atheists use this to bolster their philosophy of methodological naturalism in the sciences. But many Christians deny that atheism is the default position. I tend to agree with the atheist, but only to a point. All people are born with a sin nature that denies God, and specifically the Christian God. Technically, Christianity expects that the default worldview of any human being will be anti-Christian, and atheism falls into this category. So, atheism is one of the default positions of man when it comes to a worldview.

However, the atheist is claiming that naturalism is the true worldview. The default position in naturalism, though, is not atheism, as they believe. The default worldview of a person is relative to the culture in which the individual grows up. If the person grows up in an atheist home, and chooses anything other than atheism as their worldview, they have denied their default position in favor of another (be it Hindu, Islam, Christianity, or whatever). However, if a person grows up in a Christian home and remains a Christian, they have stuck with their default position.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Responsibility to Know and Act


Can God hold us accountable for what we are supposed to know is true?

I have two thoughts on this subject:

1. Analogy from speed limits. You have a duty to know where the speed limit changes, especially if you live in the general area. If a speed limit sign is temporarily obscured from view, you are expected to have seen it in the past, or know by other means what the speed limit is (such as from friends familiar with the area or context [neighborhood, school zone, highway, gravel road, etc...], even if the context may include multiple limits, acting upon the lower possibility will eliminate the possibility of being pulled over, while acting on a higher one puts you at risk of being pulled over). You are expected to use these other means until you know for sure.. If you are caught above the speed limit (regardless of reason), you are guilty of acting against the law and should be punished according to the law. If the cop wishes to show mercy, he may by issuing a warning. If the judge wishes to show mercy, he may either cancel the ticket or reduce the fine. Either way, it still stands that you broke the law; however, it is within the power of those who enforce the law to show mercy.