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

Monday, February 8, 2021

From Laws of Physics to Reasonable Faith

Many may be surprised to find that knowledge is actually the foundation for faith in God.

A Blind Faith And God's Hiddenness
Two common challenges to the truth of the Christian worldview are the seeming hiddenness of God and the accusation that Christianity requires a blind faith. Many people see the great amount of suffering in the world and in their own lives and wonder where God is and why He doesn't seem to care to alleviate the suffering. Many skeptics also see Christians making claims about reality that are demonstrably false, and those people conclude that Christians' faith is a belief despite evidence to the contrary- a blind faith.

The skeptic knows that there must be continuity between the present and the past (and the future) for us to reasonably believe that what happens in the present can be used to infer what has happened in the past (or make predictions about what will happen in the future). Armed with knowledge of the past, there is a solid, logical foundation to conclude something about the future. This also means that without knowledge of the past, there is no solid foundation to trust something with the present or the future. 

This is how the skeptic believes they are being logical as they conclude that the Christian God is hidden (if not non-existent) and unfaithful, and how they also conclude that Christians' faith is blind. Today, I want to take some time to show an understanding of the physical world will demonstrate that the skeptic has made a mistake in their reasoning to both conclusions about God's supposed hiddenness and the supposed blind faith of Christianity. 

Is Faith In God Really Blind?
Let us start with the very book that claims to accurately describe the Christian God: the Bible, and with the actions of this God: creation. If the Bible accurately describes the Christian God, then we have this series of arguments regarding faith in God for present and future experiences:
  1. If the laws of physics are constant, then God's character is constant (Jeremiah 33:25-26).
  2. The laws of physics are constant.
  3. If God's character is constant, then His character can be trusted to be the same across all time.
  4. God's character is constant.
  5. If God's character has been faithful in the past, then His character will be faithful in the present and the future
  6. God's character has been faithful in the past.
  7. Therefore, God's character will be faithful in the present and the future.
This faith is a reasonable faith that is grounded in what we already know and have experienced. For the skeptic who wishes to claim that Christianity is an illogical and unreasonable faith, they must face in inconvenient reality: If they believe that Bible describes the Christian God, then it necessarily follows from Jeremiah 33:25-26 that the Christian God is faithful to His promises, and our trust in Him (faith) for present and future difficulties and sufferings is logically grounded in God's past faithfulness through difficulties and sufferings. This means that our faith in God is a most logical faith.

What If The Laws of Physics Are Not Constant?
However, the soundness of the argument and our trust in the constancy of God's character is dependent upon the reality of the constancy of the laws that govern the heavens and the earth (this universe). If these laws are not constant and have changed and if God is just as constant (the first premise in the argument), then God's character can change. This means that if the laws of physics change, then God's character changes, which necessarily implies that God's promises can be rescinded, His faithfulness is laughable, and He is certainly not to be trusted.

If the skeptic were to deny constant laws of physics to avoid the conclusion that the Christian faith is a reasonable and logical faith, then they would suffer the logical consequence of the collapse of the entire scientific enterprise. While some (non-scientific) skeptics may be willing to live with this logical implication, many would be unwilling to do so. But they would be unwilling to do so at the cost of logical consistency. Because consistency is a necessary feature of logic and because reality is consistent, both logic and reality are abandoned with such a philosophical move. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Finding Common Ground In A Time of Stark Division

"While we all want to believe that we are committed to truth rather than a narrative, our actions in conversation—how we mistreat evidence, mischaracterize opposing views and arguments, and attack the challenger rather than the challenge—often tell a different story."- Luke Nix

Being taught to avoid talking about politics and religion has led to a lack of understanding of politics and religion. What we should have been taught was how to have a civil conversation about a difficult topic.

The Importance of Recognizing Common Ground

In these times of stark division, it is important that we not allow our disagreements to ultimately result in the destruction of our unity as a society, culture, and Church. There is nothing wrong with a society having a diversity of ideas, as long as those ideas are discussed and debated respectfully. When the wrong ideas are identified, such a respectful dialog can result in the dismissal of false ideas and the acceptance of true ideas. This is progress. Progress towards the objective goal of a society that has and lives according to the view of reality as it actually is and not some delusion. 

However, many times discussion is stifled because we do not recognize common ground with those in which we disagree. When we possess and recognize common ground, we have a connection to maintain a healthy relationship when we have stark disagreements and rigorously debate which view (if either) accurately reflect reality. Today I want to point out six different things that we all hold in common that, if recognized by even one side, can help keep relationships healthy despite disagreements. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Defending Truth or Relieving Suffering: Which Should Be A Christian's Focus?

Why should Christians spend so much time and energy debating true theology when people are dying every day? 

The Current Suffering In America

In the last year America has experienced a crazy amount of unrest and carnage (or at least that is what is put in front of our eyes every single day). And the opportunities for Christians to minister to those who are suffering due to the evil continue grow by the day. While these existential issues are piling up and many Christians are on the front lines of tending to physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual wounds, many other Christians continue to have, what seem to be, abstract and less important discussions and arguments over theology. A friend of mine expressed his concern on social media when we were discussing a particular theological issue (but his concern can be aimed at any of the numerous theological debates). He states: 
"I’m confused, why is it so important to show that your understanding of how old the Earth is, is the correct one? When people are destroying businesses while the police are told it’s okay because we need to let them vent, I’m thinking there are more important things Christians could be doing right now, than trying to prove to each other that their version of how and when God created our world, is the correct one. But I could be wrong...For the record, I do think it’s important to understand scriptures correctly, but some things like how and when God did certain things, are not as important to be understood correctly. In fact, I can imagine God being displeased with people on both sides of the age issue, because they lose sight of what the entire Bible is really all about. That doesn’t mean God didn’t stick some cool science answers in there, but OECists are correct when they object to how many YECists make it so important and I believe I’m correct when I complain about OECists seemingly making it so important too."
He is not the only one who I have heard express similar concerns. 

Many Christians believe that the reason that we see so much evil in America today is because, as a culture, we have forgotten God. As a culture, we have intentionally removed Him from our education and legal systems, and as a result we have removed any objective standard by which to judge what is morally good and logically valid. This has led to several generations of Americans who are never taught of objective morality or even proper logical reasoning. As a result they feel free to do whatever they want, to whom ever they want, to get whatever they want. There is no consideration for what actions and what goals are objectively, morally good and objectively, logically justified. Our culture has devolved into a struggle for and demonstration of physical, legal, and rhetorical power over those who have different understandings of reality than our own. And as long as Americans feels that they are justified in continuing to reject God, there is no hope in sight for this sad state of affairs to ever change.