I have been witnessing an alarming trend lately among people I know or people I have been reading about and, while it is an issue we in the apologetics circles know all too well, the trend needs some addressing. Lately, people have been compromising on some of their beliefs in the face of so called “scientific evidence.” We have all heard somebody say, “The Bible and Christianity say one thing (insert any subject here), but I just can’t believe it in the face of such overwhelming scientific proof to the contrary.” Usually, these same people cannot name exactly what evidence would cause them to doubt but that’s another article for another time. What I want talk about today involves the reasons why people will end up compromising and why the whole idea of scientific evidence versus the Bible is ludicrous.
In the book Isn’t Religion Weird? Quotations for Atheists by Dave Lane, an anonymous quote reads: “Why does God punish us with suffering throughout life and an eternity in hell afterwards? Because we are born evil and depraved! But why are we born evil and depraved? Because God makes us that way. So God makes us a certain way and then punishes us for being that way!”
The question seems intuitive. If humans were to live forever, wouldn’t they eventually become bored out of their minds? Let’s think about this for a second. Any activity, no matter how fun or engaging, ultimately comes to a point where it gets boring. That’s part of what it is to be human. Therefore, immortality is boring and pointless as any immortal life would eventually exhaust all possible sources of pleasure, value, and meaning, right? That depends on what you mean by “immortal life.”
Reprinted with the gracious permission of Dr. Douglas Groothuis.
This question was posed by the moderator at an early Republican presidential debate in 1999: “Who is your favorite political philosopher?” George W. Bush surprised, if not stunned, his fellow candidates, moderator, and audience when he tersely declared, “Jesus Christ, because he changed my life.”
At the philosophical level, we might say candidate Bush dropped the ball. He gave a religious or devotional justification for his choice of Jesus as favorite philosopher instead of stipulating just what it was about Jesus as a philosopher that he valued above other philosophers. Continue reading
This is both a pop sentiment, like, “OMG! God is like, so, you know, mysterious! I mean, God is GOD, so that’s BIG!”
And it seems to be the careful explanation of sophisticated thinkers. For instance, a famous hymn by William Cowper begins with the stanza:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm. Continue reading
What ought Christians do with philosophy? Isn’t this contrary to theology and explicitly warned of in the Bible? This is particularly poignant in the letter to the Colossians 2.8.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementry principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
βλεπετε μη τις υμας εσται ο συλαγωγων δια της φιλοσοφιας και κενης απατης κατα την παραδοσιν των ανθρωπων κατα τα στοιχεια του κοσμου και ου κατα χριστον
Now, of course, for a better and full exegesis be sure to grasp the whole context of the letter. Paul is warning the Christians in Colossae of philosophy and being distracted by and importing inappropriate concepts into their Christian beliefs. The first key word to focus on here is φιλοσοφιας (root: φιλοσοφια), which is the Greek word for philosophy here. Philosophy literally means the love of wisdom. Continue reading
The ethical realist objector divine command theory (DCT) claims that it is possible for God to command rape or some other morally wrong act (at least we would understand it to be wrong in this world) in some possible world, or in an impossible world close to the actual world, making it obligatory for all moral agents, whereas rape is still morally bad in that same world, thus, making DCT arbitrary and is defeated.
The nonstandard semantics objection to the arbitrariness of DCT suggests that there is an impossible world, however close to the actual world, in which God commands rape or the torture of innocent children. Approaching the objection from an explanandum-driven consideration, would a contingent command be an adequate objection?
Consider the following contingencies of a command:
(CONTCOM) ∀ϕ[(◊~Cgϕ) ∙ (◊Cgϕ)]
(CONTCOMʹ) ∀ϕ[(◊~Cg~ϕ) ∙ (◊Cg~ϕ)]
The objector to divine command theory assumes that ϕ can be any command and could thus look like:
(CONTCOM″) ∀ϕ[(◊~Cgϕ ∙ ◊~Cg~ϕ) ∙ (◊Cgϕ ∙ ◊Cg~ϕ)]
(CONTCOM‴) ∀ρ[(◊~Cgρ ∙ ◊~Cg~ρ) ∙ (◊Cgρ ∙ ◊Cg~ρ)] Continue reading