Sunday, January 30, 2011

A comparison with meaning

The following list will give general beliefs on various issues comparing Christianity (C) and Atheism (A).  This is not an argument for or against the existence of God.  It is also not an argument for Christianity.  The following is simply what each worldview perceives in general terms as the ultimate answer to some of the big questions of life.

The Beginning
A - No God created the universe.  The universe is either eternal or it created itself.  The universe was created by some unknown process.  The meaning: The universe is accidental and without purpose.
C - God created the universe.  God would represent a being that is timeless, spaceless, and immaterial.  God would be an all powerful being who has the power to will the existence of the universe.  God is personal.  The meaning:  The universe was created by God and has a purpose.

A - Man evolved over time due to mutations and special selection (Darwinian evolution).  The meaning: Man is a biological accident with no ultimate purpose or meaning.
C - Man was uniquely created in the image of God (Imago Dei).  The meaning: Man has purpose and meaning in life.

Life development
A - Life developed slowly over time by way of Darwinian evolution.  The meaning: Survival of the fittest, natural selection and beneficial mutations are in charge of directing life.
C - Life may have evolved in a microevolutionary sense, but the different kinds of life appear suddenly by special creation of God.  Those who hold to a theistic evolutionary view would accept the slow process of Darwinian evolution. The meaning: Life development was purposeful and specially created by God.

A - There is no such thing as sin, because God does not exist.  The meaning: There is no ultimate meaning, because sin is an irrelevant word.
C - Sin is the result of man's rebellion against God.  Because of sin God and man are separated.  This separation caused a break in the relationship that existed in the beginning.  The meaning:  All are sinners (Romans 5:3) and deserve death or eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).  Sin is a serious problem for all humanity.  All humans need a savior to overcome the sin problem.

A - When a person dies that is the end of his/her existence.  The meaning:  Death is the final outcome of biological life.
C - Death is not the end of life.  Life will continue in an afterlife.  The meaning:  Biological death does not represent the end of life.

A - Life ends when a person dies.  Life only has meaning that you give to it while alive, but it has no ultimate meaning.  The meaning: The end of life means the end of your existence.
C - There is an afterlife.  Some will be with God in eternity, while others will be eternally separated from his presence.  The meaning:  For those who rebel against God there will be eternal weeping, but for those who choose to follow God there will be eternal bliss.

A - There are no such things as miracles, because miracles deal with the supernatural.  The meaning: No meaning, because miracles do not exist.
C - Miracles happen because God exists.  The validity of miracles can be investigated.  The meaning: God has intervened to preform acts that supersede natural law.

A - Science is seen as the chief purveyor of truth and knowledge.  The meaning:  Scientism is chief or only way by which knowledge is acquired.
C -Science is just one way by with we can perceive truth and acquire knowledge.  The meaning:  Science is limited to what we can know, but does represent an avenue in acquiring certain knowledge.

A - Most would say that Jesus was a real person and possibly a great leader, but certainly not the Son of God.  The meaning: Jesus was just another person who happened to live and die on planet earth.
C - Jesus came to earth from heaven to free those who accept him as a payment for the sin problem that man has.   The meaning:  Those who trust in Jesus will take care of the sin problem.  Jesus came to set us free.

The resurrection of Jesus
A - The resurrection of Jesus did not take place.  The resurrection of Jesus can be explained by way of myth, swoon, wrong grave, stolen body, hallucinations, or a variety of other natural arguments.  The meaning:  Jesus never rose from the dead, because resurrection is impossible.
C -  Jesus bodily rose from the dead and proved it through the known empty grave, his resurrection appearances, and the changed lives of those who witnessed him.  The resurrection is a historical fact that can be investigated. The meaning:  Resurrection is possible and those who place their faith in Jesus will be resurrected one day to live with God throughout eternity.

The Bible
A - A book of antiquity that may have some historical truth, but ultimately is a concoction of mythical tales about a mythical God.    The meaning:  People who believe in the Bible are deluded.
C - The Bible is the inspired word of God, it is God's message to mankind.  The meaning: The answers to life's questions were provided to all humanity in God's word.

A - Christianity is an invented religion.  Christianity possibly was stolen from other past religious beliefs with Paul being the leader of the Christian movement.  The meaning: Christianity, along with all religious beliefs are based upon false mythical concepts.
C - Christianity resulted due to the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  All who place their faith in Jesus are Christians.  The meaning: Christianity is the only worldview that conforms to reality.

A - Some would deny the word is relevant, but most would agree that the sense of morality is the byproduct of Darwinian evolution.  The meaning:  There is no objective moral law in existence.  One or a community of individuals decides what is a virtue or vice.
C - Morals derive from the nature of God.  Moral right and wrong is not decided upon because God arbitrarily commands so or because they stand apart from God on their own, but the moral law stems from the nature of who God is.  The meaning:  An objective moral law exists, because God exists.

 A - Our sense of consciousness is a mystery at this point.  Our first person awareness and ability to reason is related to the inner workings of the brain.  The meaning:  Consciousness in the human species is a unique byproduct of Darwinian evolution.
C -We are conscious and have awareness because we were created in God's image.  The meaning:  We, among all the forms of life, are able to reason because we were created by God as rational beings.  The mind/consciousness is the result of an Ultimate Mind or God.

A - The universe/Life is a mystery as to how it all got started.  Everything has no ultimate purpose or meaning.  There is no God to save us.
C - Life is the special creation of a loving God who wants to have a relationship with his creation.  There is purpose and meaning in life and it can only be found in trusting one's life in the sacrificial death of Jesus - the Savior of the world. 


Unknown said...

Great work here dear Brother. Keep up the good work! I put this on my Facebook and retweeted on Twitter for you. Very succinct and easy to read as well. --Brian

jjspringer said...

Good work Shelby. I'm going to share this with our Boulder team. Speaking of which...any interest in joining up with us on our trip:)?

Shelby Cade said...

Thanks Brian and JJ. I wish I had time to join you JJ, but I'm doing a lot of juggling right now. Blessings to the both of you.