Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Physics Prove The Existence of God (On A Razor's Edge)

One of the arguments against theism and fine-tuning is that someone had to win the lottery.  Well, when one talks about the fine-tuning that exists, we are not dealing with lottery odds, but with an impossible scenario for chance creation of life.  Psalm 19:1 states, "The heavens proclaim the glory of God.The skies display his craftsmanship."  The universe being finely tuned can only mean one thing, a tuner exists.  Astrophysicist, Paul Davies says"There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe....The impression of design is overwhelming".  Design implies a designer.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Prove it!

In order to prove something you need evidence.  Commonly, evidential proof does not have to be 100% in your favor, for this is difficult in almost all fields.  The laws of chemistry and physics might be an exception of where evidence can be shown to line up consistently for all known situations.  For example, the speed of light is a constant at 186,000 miles per second.  We have no evidence of light speed varying.  It must be noted, however, that the hard sciences cannot answer all questions.  If fact, science has its limitations.

Proving your point can also be in the form of non-empirical evidence.  For example, the law of non-contradiction.  A cannot equal A and non-A at the same time, or an object cannot be both a square and a triangle at the same time.  When talking of evidence to prove a point, both reasoning and science can be used to arrive at an answer that has the best explanatory power.

Recently, Stephen Hawking's  made two bizarre comments.  One of the comments made is that the universe caused itself.  The second statement of Hawkin's is that heaven does not exist.  What's really interesting is that both statements are not statements based on the field (science) that Hawking's holds to so dearly, but are philosophical in nature. 

It is Hawking's belief that science should trump all other fields, so why would he make two non-scientific statements?  This belief system of science being the ruler of all knowledge is referred to as scientism.  Scientism comes in a couple of forms but basically states that science is the one and only worldview that can answer all the questions of life.  However, when you look at Hawking's two statements, there is absolutely no way he can prove either by way of science or the scientific method.  This empirical worldview assumes that only that which can be observed should count as knowledge.  But, what about our conscious awareness, how is this explained by ways of science?  What about the objective moral law that exist, does science have an answer to this?  The laws of logic which we know to be true, can in no way be tested in a laboratory.

To prove an argument, evidence must be given to tip the scales in your favor.  Various views can be examined to determine which has the best explanatory power.  When Hawking's made the statement that heaven does not exist, a buzz was generated on-line.  One questioner rightly asked of Hawking's - Prove it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

How to be open-minded

In a past blog I garnered this comment, "If any of you have an open mind, please check out this."  The obvious conclusion is that Christians are not open-minded.  Why do some atheists and skeptics assume that belief in the Christian worldview is closed-minded?  It seems that many who call themselves open-minded do so from an almost arrogant position.  It's like one does not need evidence, but it is safe to assume that the open-minded person (atheist/skeptic) somehow has it all figured out.

What does it mean to be open-minded? I would like to suggest 3 points to consider for those who choose to call themselves open-minded.
  1. The open-minded person is open to all evidence.
  2. The open-minded person does his/her own study.
  3. The open-minded person is only interested in truth.
Many times the Church is weak in its ability to be open-minded.  Too many Christians are not willing to do their own study and simply follow what they have been fed.  Atheism also falls victim to this same philosophy.  One of the charges of the New Atheists against those who hold religious beliefs is, "If you are born in India, you would be a Hindu; If you are born in the Middle-East you would be a Muslim; or If you are born into a Mormon family, you would be a Mormon."   Really?  Where is the evidence for truth in a statement like that! Richard Dawkins has made this claim before (and there is some validity to that type of argument), but isn't he offering nothing more than a red herring?  Those who make statements like this are in no way proving anything.

Ultimately, the truth question needs to be addressed.  Those with an open mind are willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads.  To be open-minded literally means to be impartial or receptive to new arguments.  If truth is absolute and objective, then one can weigh the evidence in order to decipher the correct worldview.  A truly open-minded individual cares not what others say or the direction of truth.  He/She will follow truth no matter where it takes them.  Are you willing to be open-minded or is that just an arrogant catch phrase to cover for your lack of evidence?

Is the Supernatural Real? - Dr. JP Moreland

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Christianity?

   By the end of the first century it is estimated that the Church had a population of over 1 million individuals.  This all occurred within a 70 year time span.  Christianity spread rapidly and it continues to grow at a rapid rate.  In third world countries today, Christianity is spreading like wildfire.  What is the reason for the rapid spread of Christianity?

This very question was proposed to a variety of scholars and this is what they said.  Harvard professor of New Testament studies, Helmut Koester states, "One should not see the success of Christianity simply on the level of a great religious message; one has to see it also in the consistent and very well thought out establishment of institutions to serve the needs of the community." According to professor Koester, Christianity was a well thought out plan that addressed certain needs of the community.  Michael White, professor of Religious studies at the University of Texas has this to say about the spread of Christianity, "there really is no empire wide persecution of Christianity throughout the entire second century and into the first half of the third century. It was always sporadic; it was always local concerns. The first time the empire as a whole says "We have to eradicate Christianity," is not until the year 249, 50, the persecution of Decius, ... but by that time, the Christians are so numerous that they can't possibly be eradicated; they've already grown that much."  In other words, Christianity could have been snuffed out if a more organized Roman persecution had taken place.  Finally, Wayne Meeks of Yale says, "In the final analysis, I think we don't know."

Out of all the explanations offered, not one addresses the truth question.  While the spread of Christianity by no means proves that the Christian worldview is correct, it does show that it has never been defeated.  In other words, there is no concise argument to show that the Christian worldview to be false.  Perhaps, Christianity has stood 2000 years of attacks, precisely because it matches with the truth.  Any and all truth claims can be measured on their merits.  Truth, stands alone.

Ultimately, Christianity has to be evaluated on the claim that Jesus bodily rose from the dead.
If God exists, and Jesus was the Messiah of truth, then Christianity will never be stopped.  As the Jewish leader Gamaliel rightly said during the early stages of Christianity, " If what they (Christians) are planning is something of their own doing, it will fail. But if God is behind it, you cannot stop it anyway, unless you want to fight against God (Acts 5:38-39)."

  • For the article on the question of why Christianity succeeded, click here.