What is Justice?

Is justice relative to the individual or will of the community, or is there actually a place where justice is grounded?  In this short clip Dean Donald McConnell of Trinity Law School gives a few thoughts. 

Atheists Don’t Exist

I do not believe in the existence of atheists. No, this is not a play on words or a trick statement. Atheists don’t exist. By “atheist” I am referring to the ideal person who does not believe in the existence of God, not the person who labels themselves as an atheist. Clear as mud? All people who label themselves as “atheist” are not, by definition, atheists, because they all believe in the existence of God.

I know they believe in the existence of God by their irrational behavior. I am not referring to the inconsistency of their lives with their claims. For instance, the nonbeliever (I believe I will refer to our “atheist” friends by that term for the duration of this article) necessarily holds the belief that we are the result of time plus matter plus chance, merely evolving accidents, the product of random collisions of matter. Yet they wish to believe that these accidental collisions produce truth, fact, and a coherent understanding of the universe. They are an accident producing accidents. As C.S. Lewis said, “It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.” I am not referring to that irrational behavior, though I did enjoy pointing that out.

The irrational behavior I am referring to is the nonbeliever’s inability to admit when they have been defeated. Many nonbelievers are well educated people. They have done well to keep Theists on the hot seat. But when a well educated man — especially one schooled in logic — has his entire belief system completely dismantled and displayed as inconsistent and false, everybody else knows that this smart person knows he has been defeated. But he refuses to concede. He will not admit defeat. Instead, he retreats to his study to continue his search for one — just one — argument or proof that God does not exist. And he will repeat this over and over.

This irrational behavior is indicative of the real issue, and that is, that God exists, they know it, and they don’t like Him. If they admit He exists, then they have to bow the knee. Their rules no longer apply, God’s law does. That law of God that is written on the heart of every man is eating them alive, and they want very badly to make Him go away so that hopefully the guilt will go away as well. And so despite the evidences to prove the existence of God and the inconsistency of their own worldview, they continue to irrationally hold on to these beliefs.

To further my point, compare the debate over the existence of God to the debate over the existence of unicorns. I could just stop there, right? What debate? And who cares? What bearing does that have on my life? If an intelligent person were clearly shown that belief or non belief in unicorns were unfounded and false, and unicorns did or did not exist, then for them to continue to hold that belief would be an insult to their intelligence. If God were just some unicorn theory that had no real affect on a person’s life, as some nonbelievers claim, then why don’t they treat it as such? Why don’t they just shrug and go on?

Here is how this works, and how I know I’m right. When the believer is discussing the existence of God with a nonbeliever, ask them why they don’t like God. Every one of them will present a list. That list will ultimately consist of areas of God’s law and His character that interfere with the self-law of the nonbeliever. They don’t want a God to tell them what to do and not to do: don’t fornicate, don’t steal, love your neighbor, go to church. They will also likely present a number of misunderstandings about God and the Church. They don’t understand grace. God to them is one big meanie and that if they don’t follow all of His rules perfectly, all the time, God will have no mercy and fry them like Uzza. And most of the time, the list usually begins and ends with Christians being such big jerks, which is, unfortunately, one thing the nonbeliever got right. They don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to end up like us.

Whatever the list of reasons, they are the subjective beliefs of the nonbeliever. Proofs for the existence of God don’t address a person’s subjective arguments, which is why most apologists don’t ever address them. For some reason it is beneath the apologist to talk to a nonbeliever like he is a human being and not a broken math equation. By all means, use truth, logic, evidences, and arguments. After all, we have truth on our side. But after you have handed their worldview back to them in a broken heap, and they break into irrational behavior, find out what their real problem is with God.

There are no atheists. If you were to find one real atheist, as G.K. Chesterton says, you will have found a madman.

Dante Tremayne

Pitfalls for Atheists to Avoid

 

Through countless discussions surrounding atheism, it has become apparent that someone must be feeding bad advice to atheists.  Since the following errors are made repeatedly, this partial list has been populated to warn atheists of this underground movement in order for them to avoid these pitfalls.  If you are an atheist and hear any of the following advice, realize that if used, it will be harmful to your cause.

1. Assume that because you compare theism to believing in pink unicorns or fairy tales that you have made a good argument.

2. Become hostile and use degrading vulgarities while maintaining that Christianity is an immoral religion.

3. When you are having trouble answering an argument posed by a Christian theist, simply say, “well even if this were true, it doesn’t prove the existence of the ‘Christian’ God.”

4. Assume that simply because you explain a phenomena from a naturalistic perspective that it constitutes an argument which must be true.

5. When arguing against the Christian God, simply say that you only believe in “one less god” than most people, as if that does not require you to defend an atheistic understanding of cosmology, anthropology, ethics, philosophy of history, philosophy of politics, philosophy of science, and epistemology.

6. Make metaphysical statements that suggest that metaphysics are a useless waste of time.

7. Argue that we should only believe things proven by empirical evidence without proving it with empirical evidence.

8. Use logic like it is a universal, transcendent, unchanging reality when atheistic naturalism cannot account for universal, transcendent, unchanging realities.

9. Argue that there is no evidence to believe in the existence of God because all the evidence that is produced fails to pass the standards of evidence which have been constructed from the belief that God does not exist.

10. Argue that human beings are robots, puppets, and machines programmed by natural selection in a closed system of cause and effect, and then argue for free thought and moral agency.

11. Place your ultimate trust in human reason while believing that man’s mind evolved from lower animals such as monkeys and will continue to evolve until we become the monkeys from which the minds of the future will have evolved.

Doug Eaton

*Updated 2/24/09

Apologetics.com has done a radio show elaborating these points.  Click the link below to listen

10 Arguments Thoughtful Atheists Won’t Use

Latent Christianity: It Can be a Good Thing

Here is the quote by C.S. Lewis…

“While we are on the subject of science, let me digress for a moment. I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more good by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. Every newspaper, film, novel and text book under-mines our work. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy’s line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects – with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defense of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian.”

(C.S. Lewis on ‘Christian Apologetics’, published in Compelling Reason (1998).

Fighting for Truth in the Church – J. Gresham Machen

Below is a quote by J. Gresham Machen from the 1930’s laying out the battles taking place in the church. In the quote Machen rightly ascribes these battles to the modernists of his day. What is amazing about this quote is that it perfectly captures many of the arguments of the post-moderns in the church today who claim to be in protest of the modernization of Christianity.

“You will have battles when you go forth as minister into the church. The church is now in a period of deadly conflict. The redemptive religion known as Christianity is contending, in our own church and in the all the larger churches of the world, against a totally alien type of religion. As always, the enemy conceals his most dangerous assaults under pious phrases and half-truths. The shibboleths of the adversary have sometimes a very deceptive sound. ‘Let us propagate Christianity,’ the adversary says, ‘but let us not always be engaged in arguing in defense of it; let us make our preaching positive, and not negative; let us avoid controversy; let us hold to a Person and not to a dogma; let us sink small doctrinal differences and seek the unity of the church of Christ; let us drop doctrinal accretions and interpret Christ for ourselves; let us look for our knowledge of Christ, not to ancient books, but to the living Christ in our hearts; let us not impose Western creeds on the Eastern mind; let us be tolerant [think all views are equally correct] of opposing views.’ Such are some of the shibboleths of that agnostic Modernism which is the deadliest enemy of the Christian religion today. They deceive some of God’s people some of the time; they are heard sometimes from the lips of good Christian people, who have not the slightest inkling of what they mean. But their true meaning, to thinking men, is becoming increasingly clear. Increasingly it is becoming necessary for a man to decide whether he is going to stand or not to stand for the Lord Jesus Christ as he is presented to us in the word of God.”

J. Gresham Machen – The Good Fight of Faith (sermon)

Christian Thought in Higher Education and the C.S. Lewis Foundation

More potently than by any other means, change the university and you change the world.
-Charles Malik

This past Saturday night I had the opportunity to hear Dr. J. Stanely Mattson, Founder and President of the C.S. Lewis Foundation, address a few grad students (including myself) and faculty members of the University of Nebraska. It was an amazing evening of fellowship and encouragement as he recounted his own journey through the academic ranks, up to the founding of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. According to its website, the C.S. Lewis Foundation exists with one primary mission in mind: “enabling a genuine renaissance of Christian scholarship and artistic expression within the mainstream of the contemporary university.” For better or worse, its goal is not to “take back” the university for Christ, but merely to encourage the university to honor first its commitment to seeking truth, and second, its promotion of “diversity,” which up to now has included nearly all worldviews except the Christian worldview–the crazier the better (I don’t think I’m exceptionally cynical in saying that–I’m just a realist).

At any rate, the evening was a wonderful time, and merely served to get me even more excited for the upcoming National Faculty Forum in Boulder, CO:

 

You can look for a recap of the event on this blog within the days following the event.

Is anyone else going?

On God, Logic, and Propositions

I found the following quote quite important and thought I would pass it along…

“Although some biblical scholars (and some evangelicals) scorn the concept of propositional revelation “as an imposition of rationalistic encumbrances upon the discussion of Scripture,” no true knowledge of God is possible apart from a rational, logical verbal revelation. Not only is logical rationality not an encumbrance, it is essential.

‘Without noncontradiction and logical consistency, no knowledge whatever is possible…. The importance of intellectuality in theology, of cognitivity and concepts, of valid propositions, of logical system, therefore dare not be minimized. Some deny the rational emphasis on logic and consistency in considerations of divine revelation. God is not bound by such criteria, it is said; he is assertedly above the canons of human reasoning, so that the ‘truth of revelation’ confronts man in terms either on contradiction or of paradox or of mystery. But without appeal to sufficient reason, the mind of man has no basis for discriminating between mysteries, paradoxes and contradictions (Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, 1:232-33).’

Logic did not originate with the Aristotle. There is but one logic in the world bestowed on humankind by the Creator as a reflection of his own nature. It has no independent existence apart from God himself and it is not optional, even for those who attempt to deny it.

‘The logical function of the individual consciousness are everywhere the same, wherever the historically differentiated forms of human life appear; the laws of logic are integral elements of mental consciousness. The many human languages have a common basis in the fundamental logic of human language; amid their undeniable differences, all languages basically reflect the same laws of logic and modes of thought (Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, 1:233).’”

-Rodney Decker, May Evangelicals Dispense with Propositional Revelation?-

 This is from a paper presented at ETS.  You can read the entire paper here