Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Matrix-Illusion and True Knowledge

Occasionally, apologists encounter discussions that all of reality is imaginary, as envisioned in several science fiction stories. (In one,our reality was the result of another being's dream, and it was waking up. They had to lull it back to sleep.) Sometimes the self-refuting Boltzmann Brains thought experiment is used. Another concept is drawn from The Matrix. How do we experience reality?

The study of knowledge and the reliability of our senses lead to many discussions. Only the biblical presuppositional method is coherent.
Credit: FreeDigitalImages / Stuart Miles
Presuppositional apologists will often ask unbelievers how they know what is real, and how they can account for their epistemology (the study of knowledge). How can we know that what we perceive through our senses is real or are we in a Matrix-like reality? Atheists appeal to their senses, but even without those imposed Matrix-illusion scenarios, this is not reliable as a universal principle. For example, someone with a mental illness or other altered state of consciousness may "see" and "experience" things that do not actually exist. This indicates using the senses to define reality is insufficient, and therefore cannot apply to everyone everywhere.

Presuppositional apologists show that the biblical worldview explains the necessary preconditions of human experience. Unbelievers resort to viciously circular arguments, inconsistency, and arbitrary assertions that fall apart upon serious examination. One angry atheist was unable to explain or defend his worldview, and was content to irrationally say something along the lines of, "It works for me".

Some classical or evidential apologists (the differences between the two are too subtle to discuss here) dislike or even oppose presuppositional apologetics. This is unfortunate, because evidentialists are disregarding the Bible that they are claiming to defend. Essentially, the condition of the unregenerate person (both spiritual and intellectual) is ignored and appeals are made to their pride: the unbeliever is judging Almighty God who is holy and righteous to determine if God is worthy of praise and worship!

Dr. Jason Lisle had a pair of articles where he was responding to an article by Dr. Richard Howe which was in turn an attempted refutation of Lisle's views. It did not go well for Howe. The articles linked below are lengthy, but note that one stands on the Word of God, the other uses logical fallacies. You can learn about logic, philosophy, and how presuppositional apologetics operates in a biblical manner.
Seven years ago, I participated in a written debate followed by a panel discussion on the topics of apologetic method and the age of the earth.  It was a strange combination of topics, and yet I argued that the common thread between both was biblical authority.  Namely, if a person has a high view of Scripture, taking it as his ultimate standard and interpreting it exegetically, he should employ a presuppositional approach to apologetics and should be a biblical (“young-earth”) creationist. 
. . .
One of the problems I see with Howe’s philosophy is that it is ultimately unjustified.  That is, if all knowledge begins with sensory experience, then how do we know that sensory experience is basically reliable (true to reality)?  This cannot be proved by sensory experience since this is the very issue in question.  And if it is proved by some other standard, then sensory experience is not truly the foundational beginning of knowledge.
If you're ready to begin, get comfortable, maybe get each article for your ebook reader (this service has a download button to convert into several formats), and get ready to work both your mind and spirit. How do I Know that I Know? – a Response (Part 1) and How do I Know that I Know? – a Response (Part 2).

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Theistic Evolution and Bad Theology

It is difficult to drill down deep into the minds of theistic evolutionists (or their deceitful oxymoronic moniker "evolutionary creationists"). They claim to believe God's Word, but elevate atheistic interpretations of science philosophies into the superior position. This causes tremendous biblical problems.

Theistic evolutionists are known for bad theology and deceptive practices, but there are some issues that some people may not have raised before.
Credit: Freeimages / Ramasamy Chidambaram

Why do they want to do this? I think it's to appear intellectual and not like one of those st00pid dumb Xtian fundie creationists that actually believe the Bible. They tell us that the Bible doesn't mean what it says, and even twist it to suit their evolutionary ends. (Indeed, TEs saddle up with atheists and ride for the Darwin brand, ridiculing biblical creationists together. Sure, that really convinces me that they have a high regard for Scripture.) In addition to tap-dancing around troublesome verses, TEs also have serious problems with having a consistent theology. I agree with others, they are more like Deists than anything else.

We have seen in the past how theistic evolution requires adherents to reject the authority of Scripture, it interferes with worship, helps them give support and comfort to the enemies of God, requires suffering and death before sin, and more. The article linked below is adapted from a chapter in a book, and it brings up some excellent points. If evolution were true, Neanderthals and other humans before God blessed Adam and Eve (TEs say they were not literal people) and gave them souls (Bible reference, please?), then just when did sin enter the picture?

Strange as this question might first appear, a logical consequence of ‘old earth’ and theistic evolutionary viewpoints is that the world was rife with sinful thoughts and actions for hundreds of thousands of years of ‘prehistory’, long before the biblical Adam and Eve existed. The following extract from Evolution and the Christian Faith explores this much-overlooked subject.

Over the years, much of the theological debate between historic special creationists and believers in a billions-of-years-old earth has been over the issue of death. Was there death in the world before the Fall? And if so, what kind of death was it, and to which creatures did it apply? These are important questions, but there is a related question that seems to be neglected almost completely. If, as many theistic evolutionists argue, human beings are descended from hominid ancestors—which, going backwards in time, were progressively less human—when do they envisage that sin itself entered the world? For the New Testament is unambiguous: sin came into the world through the historical rebellion of Adam and Eve.

To read the rest of thought-provoking excerpt, click on "Sin before the Fall of Adam?" By the way, I am using the Blogger platform which is owned by Google. It was acceptable before, but they have changed the interface, which is now dreadful. I am seriously considering moving to a new company for my writing needs.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Recognizing True and False Christians

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This may come as a shock to many professing Christians, but they may actually be lost. There are several ways that help determine if someone is a real Christian. However, many people urgently need to seriously determine if they really are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).

There are many professing Christians who are actually lost and in need of repentance. Here are some ways to tell if you are in the faith.
Credit: Unsplash / Joshua Earle
Some assume they are Christians because of culture or because they are not members of another religion. Perhaps it's because they attend the "true" church, maybe perform the rituals, said the "sinner's prayer" and got their ticket punched, put their hands in the air and get emotional — but have no idea what salvation means and could not lead someone to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

There are some people who are Christians but act like cultists. I have been told that if I don't believe in their doctrines, I am an immature Christian, or even unsaved. Similarly, I was in a social media group for Christian apologists (which for some strange reason included atheists and cultists), and the subject of heresies came up.

Heresy is a strong and contentious word, and the majority of Christians have stood against those. (We may not know the names of things like Arianism, Sabellianism, Docetism, Modalism, and others that you can read about here, but they are condemned by most Christian denominations.) One tinhorn tried to dismiss heresies by saying that one church will call another one heretical over doctrinal disagreements. Not hardly! Disagreements over points of doctrine between, say, Presbyterians and Baptists will not have them having gunfights in the saloon and shouting, "Die, heretic!" They discuss things, shake hands and part friendly. By the way, I left that group.

Ever hear about how Drs. Michael Brown and James R. White strongly differ on some points but each affirms the other as a brother in Christ? In a similar manner, although this child is a strong biblical (young Earth) creationist, I cannot say that those who believe in an old Earth are going to Hell. They have problems with their theology, science, authority of Scripture, and soteriology, however.

There are external indications of someone who has been regenerated (2 Cor. 5:17). This does not mean other professing Christians are to appoint themselves as police officers: "Well, you did passably well on the first five items of this here checklist, but you really botched six, twelve, fifteen, and nineteen. Nineteen is a big one for me. You're not a true Christian!", then fold their arms like the native chieftain and sonorously declare, "I have spoken". That's unrighteous judgement, old son.

Unfortunately, there are those who think they've done some God-pleasing formula and are going to Heaven when they die, then proceed to live like the devil. Doesn't work that way. Those of us who are in the faith should exercise righteous judgement and, in Christian love, say to the other person, "We need to talk". If you've ever seen Ray Comfort's videos where he is street preaching and someone says, "Yeah, I'm a Christian", then takes the Lord's name in vain and admits to a sinful lifestyle, Ray will still present the gospel message to someone like that.

Don't be disunderstanding, we all sin on occasion. A real Christian will not be happy about it, confess the sin to God (1 John 1:9), and repent. Sin again? Confess and repent again — but with sincerity, not as a ritual or formula. So yes, the whole thing is something to be approached with caution; accusations and superior attitudes are not advised. Remember that we all stumble, and that not everyone progresses in sanctification at the same rate.

Before I set you loose on an article, I'd like to urge you to check out a couple of messages by Ray Comfort. They are "True and False Conversion" and "Hell's Best-Kept Secret". Free to listen online, download, or read the transcripts. You can follow the links from here.
What is a Christian? Many people today call themselves Christians. For example, an atheistic evolutionist named Anders Breivik hailed himself online as a Christian before he murdered 77 people in Norway. He viewed Europe as culturally Christian as opposed to culturally Islamic, but his view of Christianity had nothing to do with Christ or God. Leading atheist Richard Dawkins also identifies himself as a cultural Christian, and even more particularly as a cultural Anglican! 
. . . 
At what point should a Christian say, “Enough is enough,” and start judging a tree by its fruit?
Many people call themselves Christians, but their words and actions are grossly unchristian. Such contradictions stain the name Christian as people look and say, “That’s a Christian? Well then, I don’t want to be a Christian.” Obviously such behaviors reveal that these people—who claim to be Christians and yet promote open sin—deny the Bible as the authority in their lives (Titus 1:16).
You can read the rest at "Christian: What Is a True Believer?"


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Miracles and Natural Selection

To the naturalist, there is no room for God or miracles. The position of the Bible-believing Christian is quite different. If you study on it, everything is a miracle because our Creator us continually keeping the universe together; it would disintegrate. There are miracles above and beyond this, however.

People use naturalism to replace God, who made natural laws. Miracles exist, so does natural selection, but there's even more.
Credit: Pixabay / A. Schüler
Deists essentially believe that something started the whole shootin' match and then left us to our lonesome. (I reckon there's very little difference between them and theistic evolutionists because of their low regard for the authority of Scripture.) Naturalism is an attempt to replace God. Laws of nature were designed by God, and natural selection shows that living things were engineered for their environments, adapt, or do not survive. Then we have something else to consider: supernatural selection.
What does it mean for something to be supernatural?  We might think of the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus turning water into wine, the resurrection of Lazarus, or even the creation of the universe as supernatural events.  These are all great examples of God’s power.  But is that what makes them supernatural?  Isn’t the normal operation of the universe also an example of God’s power?  After all, the universe continues to exist only because God upholds it by the expression of His power (Hebrews 1:3).  By Christ, all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).  Doesn’t God cause the sun to rise and the rain to fall (Matthew 5:45)?  If “supernatural” merely meant that something happens by God’s power, then everything would be supernatural.  God is in control of every atom in the universe.
I'd be much obliged if you'd read the rest of this enlightening article by heading on over to "Supernatural Selection".


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