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

Is Pain Inherently Evil?

I want to take a few minutes to look at the question of pain. I have two reasons for choosing this topic today. The first is that many people outside the Christian worldview say that pain is incompatible with the loving God of Christianity. The second reason is that this view is also a very popular view within Christianity. The problem of pain causes many to avoid Christianity and others to walk away from it. I want to address both of those in this post.

The Hunger Games: Revisited


A few weeks ago I posted a critique of the movie The Hunger Games. It came to my attention that Fred Edwords posted a short piece at the American Humanist Association's website addressing the general evangelical response to the movie. He linked to my original article and broadly addressed my comparison of the society of The Capital to where today's societies are leading. Mr. Edwords had two main points of contention that I feel need to be addressed.

Secular vs. Agnostic Society
The first point of contention that I considered the society in The Hunger Games to be secular and not merely agnostic. Edwords claims that there was no mention of God (which he's correct), thus the society must be concluded to be secular. He implies that that distinction removes the society from critiques of agnosticism. But is there really a distinction between secularism and agnosticism that allows such an escape?

In order for a society to avoid either label of "theistic" or "atheistic", it cannot affirm or deny either. It must simply hold the position that God's existence cannot be known. This position is called "agnosticism". Secularism necessarily entails "agnosticism". Since secularism necessarily entails agnosticism, secularism is subject to critiques of agnosticism by the necessary connection.

Book Review: Why It Doesn't Matter What YOU Believe If Its Not True

Book Review: "Why It Doesn't Matter What YOU Believe If Its Not True" by Stephen McAndrew

Introduction

I am always on the look out for books that take different apologetic issues and puts them into bite-sized chunks that a complete beginner can understand and begin interacting with. That task is quite difficult because many authors take concepts and mutilate them in such a way that the beginner would actually be more confused than when they began.

The opportunity was given a while back to review a copy of Stephen McAndrew's new book "Why It Doesn't Matter What You Believe If It's Not True". The book is a short read of only 86 pages. The eleven chapters break up the short book into sections that are extremely manageable for those with only spurts of time to read or need time to digest. This format holds much promise to being a great introductory book. But does it come through?

Book Review: This Is Your Brain On Music šŸ§ šŸŽµ

Book Review: "This is Your Brain on Music" by Daniel Levitin

Introduction


I am not a musician and do not sing (well), but like most people, I do love music. Both science and music have been long-time fascinations of mine, and when a certain book was spotted, the urge to buy it could not be resisted. "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession" by Daniel J. Levitin is that book. It was a bit hefty of a book for me at the time I purchased it, but the idea of seeing the awesome connections between music and science was worth the risk. My usual style of book reviews begins with a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book and concludes with my thoughts. However, I have decided to invert this particular review to place my thoughts before the chapter-by-chapter summary because it may not be so obvious as to the reason why such a book would appear on a blog about defending the truth of the Christian worldview. Here are my thoughts followed by the chapter-by-chapter summary:

Reviewer's Thoughts

This book was an incredible read. The combination and connection of an art and science was quite thrilling and fascinating. It was extremely thought-provoking yet not difficult to understand. From the perspective of a Christian, this book is a "must-get". In our evangelistic efforts to defend the existence of God, we often like to use the argument from beauty- specifically appealing to music. The content in this book, though, can be used to demonstrate the meticulous design that was required for music to not only be possible but to be appreciated as "beautiful" by humans. Every system that we know of with this level of intricacy and this many interdependent parts are the work of intelligent engineers. And the systems that add beauty to those engineered system are the work of the most talented architects. Therefore, it is reasonable also to believe that the entire system that is responsible for music, from the physics responsible for sound creation to the auditory system's ability to receive it, is the work of an engineer- one who, in order to create physics and the universe must transcend both. This transcendent engineer is also responsible for the portion of the system that appreciates music for its beauty and emotional connections (the brain and mind); therefore, it is also reasonable to conclude that this transcendent architect is also a personal being who desires a relationship with those He endowed with this ability. The only option for such a being is the God of the Bible. It is only in the Christian God that all of the scientific data provided by Levitin can find a reasonable and consistent explanation.

If you are an apologist and musician, this book will be "mind-candy" to you. It will provide you with a way to appeal to science when defending God's existence to other musicians. If you are just an apologist, it will provide more teleological evidence for God's existence that can be appealed to. I cannot recommend "This is Your Brain On Music" highly enough.

Recommended Books for Further Reading:

Who Was Adam: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Humanity
Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science
Where the Conflict Reality Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism


Chapter-by-Chapter Summary:


Book Introduction


Levitin introduces his book by telling the reader of his fascination with music, psychology, and neurology. He addresses anticipated cringing from musicians who may believe that the art should not be reduced to dry, mechanistic science. He shows how artists and scientists hold many things in common, and how their respective disciplines can be used to inform the other.

Making Sense of the Resurrection

Two years ago Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 published an Essay Series: Is Christianity True? Many apologetics bloggers contributed to the series. My piece was on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This weekend as Christians around the world celebrate Christ's resurrection- the event reconciles us to the Father- let's not forget that if, in fact, this did not happen in history, our faith is useless (1 Cor 15), and anyone who does not believe it has no hope (John 14:6). Here is the greatly abbreviated case for the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, as submitted for the essay series: