Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Reason and Faith

Something I emphasize that is very important is definitions, as regular readers of this site and especially Piltdown Superman have read. I have noticed an increase in the tactics of theological liberals, political leftists, climate change cultists, evolutionists, and atheists to make an assertion of a false definition and build illogical but passionate arguments from there. Here, we look at faith.

Atheists like to ridicule Christians and creationists for having faith. This is based on their redefinition of the word. Worse for atheists and evolutionists, they have faith of their own.
Credit: Pixabay / Orlando
"Didn't you date Faith's sister, Cowboy Bob?"

I did have a date that woman. I wanted to, though. Let's leave personal history aside and move on.

Atheists essentially proclaim themselves as harbingers of reason. When pressed to give logical arguments, they proceed to produce logical fallacies by the bushel. Atheists and evolutionists insist on conflating science with naturalism, then proclaiming that anything to do with God is not scientific. They also denigrate presuppositional apologetics where Christians have the Word of God as their ultimate starting point, but they are hardcore presuppositionalists themselves, proclaiming godless naturalism as their starting point. The same thing happens when discussing faith. Secularists do have faith, but they have redefined the word in a derogatory manner to distance themselves from it.

Charles Darwin exhibited a wishful thinking type of faith when he admitted that he did not have scientific evidence to support his views (such as the fossil record). Evolutionists frequently use a kind of "science of the gaps" faith to fill in the missing evidence: science will find what is needed someday. Believing in such things without evidence is not science, it is blind faith, pilgrim.

When accusing Christians and creationists of not using reason, they are misrepresenting our positions. Faith is ridiculed, but it is essentially a straw man because what they call faith has nothing to do with real faith.
Atheists often accuse Christians of believing things or having “faith” without evidence and like to remind them of the old adage: “faith is believing what you know is not true.” In the eyes of many atheists, “faith” has become a buzzword for putting your intellect out of gear and for believing something without any reason or evidence for it (i.e., blind faith). For example, atheist and scientist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, argues that faith is separate from reason and is the absence of evidence:
Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. . . . When we find reliable ways to make human beings more loving, less fearful, and genuinely enraptured by the fact of our appearance in the cosmos, we will have no need for divisive religious myths.
On a more popular level this argument is used by the atheist activist Aron Ra, best known for his YouTube videos, who defines faith in a similar fashion to Harris:. . . 
. . .
A favorite proof-text by atheists (including Ra) to argue that Christians believe without evidence is the apostles Paul’s words: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). However, Paul is not suggesting that Christians take a blind leap of faith.
. . . 
Although these atheists may have heard sincere Christians wrongly say things like, “oh, you just have to have faith” as if they didn’t need evidence for their belief, this is not supported by the meaning of the words faith or belief that is found in the New Testament.
To read the article in its entirety, click on "Are Atheists Right? Is Faith the Absence of Reason/Evidence?


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Evidence and Asking Questions

In the area of Christian apologetics, we make reasoned defenses for the truth of the Bible and special creation. It is the nature of this work to have people ask questions (1 Peter 3:15). Skeptics often try to come up with loaded or trick questions, saying that they "lack belief" for the existence of God. Such a claim can be met.

When atheists and other unbelievers say they "lack belief" and try to put us on the defensive, we can ask some very pointed questions of those who want to learn.

Although it is presented as neutral, the unbeliever is making a claim with the "lack belief" statement. Someone who lacks belief is actually saying that the evidence does not exist for the existence of God, the truth of Scripture, creation science, and so forth. Similarly, that person may also be indicating that there is no evidence that he or she finds satisfying. Arguing to meet personal preferences is often pointless, as they have apparently already reached a decision to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18).

Many times, misotheists try to put us on the defensive, but we don't need to cower to their "wisdom". 
Evolution is often invoked to make atheism appear rational. Origins is not operational science, but is instead forensic science. This is important to discuss, but there are times the subject should be stowed back in the covered wagon for a spell.

For people who are serious about having a discussion, we can ask questions of them. No, we are not willing to use "neutral ground" or put God on trial. Nor are we going to indulge a "Prove to me that God exists, scientifically" demand because that not only shows unbelief, but it also reveals their lack of logic because it is the category error (an equivocation fallacy; God is not subject to physical analysis). We must not act like we are interrogators for a police unit. Keep it in balance by sanctifying God and engaging with the person.
Skeptics and unbelievers in the modern era almost always make the same claim about their unbelief: they say they would believe if there were only sufficient evidence for God’s existence. They claim to have examined all the supposed evidence out there and found it all unsatisfactory. There is one simple question that anyone can ask such skeptics, however, that very often stops them dead in their tracks:
To learn more, you can read the entire article by clicking on "A Detective’s Approach: Looking for evidence of God". A related post is "Asking Questions to Reveal Answers".


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Creationists Giving Glory to God

We read in the Bible hear sermons, and read articles that mention the glory of God. It is actually a very involved concept, beyond just "making God look good". Other people and I want to glorify God in our lives and what we write. It is a fair question to wonder if biblical creation science glorifies God.

As Christians, we must seek to give God glory and not steal it from him by compromising with false teachings. Biblical creation helps to glorify God.
Credit: RGBStock / Archbob
A big part of God's people giving him glory is reflecting his attributes. We must not steal his glory by proclaiming falsehoods instead of the truth, such as compromising on deep time and evolution when his Word clearly shows us otherwise.
Recent creation glorifies God because it acknowledges His accuracy as a divine Author. By accuracy I mean telling it like it is. What kind of God would inspire His prophet Moses to record “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” if in fact nature made the heavens and the earth over billions of years? And if God failed to fact-check Genesis and Exodus, then what other mistakes might He have made elsewhere in His Word?
 To read the entire article, click on "Does Biblical Creation Help Us Glorify God?"


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Praying to Plants?

This is one of those times when we may wonder if the apostasy of the end times is upon us, especially with the extremely rapid moral decline in society. It is one thing for people to have no concern or even contempt for God, but to pray and confess our sins to plants?

When alleged Christians begin praying to plants, you can be reasonably sure that they have rejected their foundations.
Credit: freestocks.org
Some Native Americans would pray to the spirits of the animals they had killed, and they had other elements of pantheism and animism in their eclectic religions. Now some global warming activists and owlhoots at an allegedly Christian seminary are having people confess their sins to plants. Union Theological Seminary was, for a short time, orthodox in its theology until it became extremely liberal. They are the ones involved in these shenanigans.

Let's ride up on the hill and look at the bigger view for a spell. We have to look all the way back to Genesis, where God gave us dominion and stewardship over creation. Plants were created on the third day of creation week, with land animals and, ultimately, humans on the sixth day. Biblically, plants are not alive in the sense of nephesh chayyāh (נפש חיה), having the breath of life. This term is used for humans and animals, but never for plants. I'll allow that it may seem that way at times, since plants actually communicate (for example, see "Tree Mail in the Wood Wide Web"). They are not sentient beings, despite the desires of New Age foolishness.

Further, there were no carnivores at the very beginning (Gen 1:29-30). This happened after the Fall where Adam and Eve's sin affected all creation. People started gnawing on critters after the Flood (Gen. 9:2-3). Nothing in the Bible about praying to animals or people, but only to God.

Not only have these "spiritual" people abandoned the foundations of the Christian faith, they are also using evolutionary thinking. According to them, we all came from a common ancestor, so humans are not special in their worldview. It is a strange mix of atheistic materialism and pagan religious practices to have so-called Christians confessing "sins" to plants. That's not how it work, pilgrim.

I would like to turn you over to the inspiration for this here post, Dr. Albert Mohler. He has three segments in his podcast that are downright startling: Part I: "Union Theological Seminary Confesses Sin to Plants: If You Do Not Worship the Creator, You Will Worship the Creation". Part II: "The Worldview of the ‘Corn Mother’ — A Sign of Cultural Insanity". Part III" Do Plants Talk to You? One Scientist Insists that They Speak to Her". I'd be much obliged if you would listen online, download the MP3, or read the transcript. To do this, click on The Briefing Thursday, September 19, 2019.

As for me and probably most rational people, I am going to pray to the giver of food, not to the food itself.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Christians and Philosophy

Cowboys riding the long trail usually clam up, but once in a while, someone commences philosophizing. When the subject is met with little more than grunts from the others, silence ensues again. If you study on it, it seems that everybody has a philosophy of some sort. There are many philosophers throughout history, and many are relegated to history books.

Some people are put off by philosophy, some do not care, some are enthusiastic. The Bible actually has a great deal to say about it.
Le Philosophe by Henri Martin
When people talk about philosophers, images of smug intellectuals taking solitary walks and pondering, or discussing their versions of the meaning of life while smoking pipes. I have stated that I find philosophy useless because I have no use for the ideas of Kierkegaard, Rousseau, Kant, and so on. However, I learned a few things about philosophy since then, especially the practice and purpose.

Some folks shy away from philosophy as ungodly, referring to Colossians 2:8. Context, people! Chasing after worldly philosophies can be very harmful, but the Bible is actually loaded with philosophy. Regular readers know that I emphasize logic, which is a branch of philosophy. So are ethics (morality, right and wrong), the nature of reality, and the study of knowledge.

"But Cowboy Bob, I don't care a whit about philosophy. I study science!"

Science is a philosophical means of interpreting evidence according to one's worldview. Also, ask the scientist who has a doctorate what PhD stands for. So, someone who shuns philosophy in favor of science is still doing philosophy.

Just like having some knowledge of evolution is important for a biblical creationist (many creationist scientists are former atheist evolutionists), a knowledge of some of the basic secular views can be helpful. Remember, however, that true wisdom and knowledge are found in God's Word.
A colleague of mine once said, “Stay away from philosophy.  The Bible says that philosophy is bad and that we should avoid it.”  But does the Bible really say that?  What exactly is philosophy, and what does the Bible really say about it?
The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the Greek word meaning “love of knowledge” or “love of wisdom.”  In this sense, the Bible is very pro-philosophy.  The Bible commends obtaining both knowledge and wisdom.  Proverbs 2:6 states, “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  Proverbs 3:13 states, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.”  But what is meant by the English word ‘philosophy’ and does the Bible really condemn it?
To read the rest, click on "Beware of Philosophy!"


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Listen to my Bible Story?

Our choice of words is vital when we want to communicate about important subjects. An important reason of this is the connotations of words. For example, my mother took exception to my description of a fragrance: it reeks. It did reek, but that word implies that the fragrance was unpleasant.


Words change their meanings over time, and have different associations now than they had before. One of these is the word "story".
Credit: Clker clipart
Words change their meanings over the years. One example is in Genesis 1:28 KJV, where God commanded mankind and animals to replenish the earth. Back in 1611, that was understood to mean fill, but newer translations avoid replenish. In A. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story, "The Adventure of Black Peter", we read: "The outhouse was the simplest of dwellings, wooden-walled, shingle-roofed, one window beside the door and one on the farther side. Stanley Hopkins drew the key from his pocket and had stooped to the lock, when he paused with a look of attention and surprise upon his face." As Americans can probably see, an outhouse is more aptly named than the American, uh, relief station.

Our focus is the word story. It has several meanings, including a valid historical account, but it can also mean fictions that cowboys tell while riding the trail back to Dodge. I was told a story (as in, "We want to tell you our experience") about two American sisters visiting another country. The tour guide presented something rather fanciful, and one sister said to the other, "That's a story!" Problem was, the guide had just stopped talking and many people heard the remark.

It has reached a point now that when we tell Bible stories such as Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Resurrection, and others, people tend to think of them as cute and fun, not as important historical events. I'll allow that it's a mite frustrating at times to avoid referring to the story of Jesus changing water into wine because of the positive use of the word story. We need to do a rethink, and find valid substitutes so people — especially children — know that these are not simple entertainment when we are doing serious apologetics. Fortunately, the article linked below gives us a few options.
I grew up with Bible “stories.” I heard them in Sunday School and youth programs. I read books about Bible “stories.” I was taught about Bible “stories” for years and years. People have compared Bible stories with other stories and fictional movies like the Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Aesop’s Fables, or Star Wars. I even talked about Bible “stories” when teaching in the past.

But all that changed.

One day I made a comment about the evolutionary “story.” I had a man come up to me, and he was clearly not happy. He was very upset that I had called evolution a “story,” because to him, it wasn’t a “story” but the “truth.” He was okay with me calling biblical accounts “stories,” because, as he put it, ”the Bible was full of myths and fictional accounts so they could rightly be called stories.” But how dare I call evolution “a story” in his view.
To finish reading, click on "What’s Wrong with the Word Story?" And please get rid of those dreadful bathtub-style cutesie Noah's Ark things. Don't you want the kids to take the Flood and God's Judgment seriously?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Science and the Depravity of Man

It is interesting and sometimes fun to identify ways in which scientists have discovered things that were in the Bible long before. Yes, we know, the Bible is not a science textbook. When scientific items are mentioned, however, it is always correct. It seems that scientists are learning about human depravity.


Another place where secular science inadvertently supports the Bible is the depravity of man. They may begin to realize that materialism cannot produce moraltiy.
Credit: Freeimages / Cyan Li
God's Word tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart of man is (depending on the translation) desperately sick, wicked corrupt, incurable. Our righteousness is repulsive to God (Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 10:4, Ephesians 2:1-5). We may have the notion that we are good people and God looks on us fondly, bragging to the angels about how wonderful we are, but that is the opposite of the truth. Our hearts are deceitful and corrupt, and we think we are doing good things for the right reasons, but that's not necessarily the case. Sure, sometimes people will do great things, but that is because God has placed knowledge of himself in our hearts (Romans 2:15), even though people try to suppress knowledge of God (Romans 1:18).

A major tenet of several denominations is often called the total depravity of man. That name is a mite misleading because some folks may take it to mean that nobody does anything good, ever, but Jesus shows in Luke 11:11-13 that we are capable of some good. But we are likely to do something rotten. That's why we have jails and such.

There are people who claim that they do not need the Bible to give them morality, that they have it in themselves — such a claim supports the Bible. Others say that they get their morality from evolution instead of the Creator. Survival of the fittest? That justifies all sorts of wickedness, including lying, cheating, stealing, even murder. If those things help someone to survive, why not do them? Indeed, atheism, evolutionism, and materialism cannot account for morality; if someone is helping himself survive better, the materialist cannot be consistent in his or her worldview by raising objections to being on the receiving end.

Since secularists deny God, they attempt to alleviate human problems with social programs, psychology. Their false salvation fails almost from the onset, and cannot replace the real thing. Some researchers have confirmed what God has told us all along about human nature. They conducted some rather interesting studies.
Science reveals that people are just like what the Bible says they are: image-bearers of their Creator, yet fallen into sin.

If evolution is true, people would be incapable of apprehending objective reality or agreeing on immutable moral standards. They would be selfish and concerned only with survival. If the Bible is true, by contrast, people would be exceptionally noble above the animals, would have an innate sense of right and wrong, and yet would have a bent toward sin that could be overcome by trust and obedience in their Maker (in this life, at least partially). Evaluate the likely correct view, considering these recent empirical observations.
To read the rest, click on "Science Confirms Biblical Human Nature". A short article fits this subject well, "Psychologist Confirms Depravity of Man". Finally, "Secular Materialism vs Morality", which has a satirical piece by David F. Coppedge on cannibal rights in the future.



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