April 18, 2012
Recently Cardinal Pell debated Richard Dawkins. What frustrates me about Dawkins is not that he makes good arguments (in my humble opinion, he doesn’t), but that many of his ‘arguments’ consist of telling people the wrong information, and then attacking that. Consider what he said in his opening remark about Christianity,
It’s a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn’t think of a better way to forgive us our since sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself.
No. Just no.
- According to Christianity God forgives us, not himself. Jesus is sinless, and obviously doesn’t need forgiveness for that.
- Jesus is not the Father’s alter-ego, or split personality. What Dawkins is arguing against here is not Christian belief, but is called modalism or Sabellianism and has long been rejected as heresy.
Now obviously Dawkins mangles Christian belief as a political ploy. I doubt he really doesn’t understand what Christianity teaches. And that’s what frustrates me. To me these arguments sound like a politician who doesn’t care about the issues, but just wants to misrepresent the other side no matter what.
For anyone who is seriously struggling with why God saved us the way he did, can I humbly suggest Athenasius On the Incarnation. It’s worth the read.
May 5, 2011
Yesterday I was told, if God exists he must have evolved. The “proof” that God must have evolved went something like this:
1) We evolved
2) We are intelligent
3) Therefore intelligence can only form due to evolution
4) If God is intelligent he must have evolved.
(3) doesn’t seem to logically follow. It’s that little word ‘only’ which seems all wrong. Pointing out a specific example doesn’t make a general rule.
I mention this, because although it seems like faulty reasoning to me, after Dawkins it is a popular thing for atheists to repeat. Maybe some of my atheist commenters would like to point out what I’m missing.
The only real response I was given by the guy offering the proof was that I am “too stupid to be an atheist”.
July 18, 2010
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
But about the Son he [God] says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.”
(See also Psalm 45:6-7)
For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
“I and the Father are one.”
Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Thomas said to him,
“My Lord and my God!
Then Jesus told him,
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
(See Mark 1:2-3)
May 27, 2010
Sometimes you come across things that you should know but you don’t. This piece of information was one of those things, and when I learnt it I thought it was fantastic. I have always loved what God tells Moses when he asks for his name,
Moses said to God,
“Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses,
“I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
The great ‘I am’. Eternally existing. It has always made sense to me that God would refer to himself in that way. It turns out, this is connected to the name Yahweh:
In appearance, YHWH is an archaic third person singular imperfect of the verb “to be”, meaning, therefore, “He is”.
May 1, 2010
Why choose the God of the Bible over Zeus, or Thor, the great Juju at the bottom of the sea, or any other pagan god? Since there’s “no good reason” to pick Yahweh over any other god, I’m told, we should simply dismiss the idea of gods altogether.
As Stephen Roberts says:
I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
But this argument doesn’t make sense. Even if there was no good reason to choose God of the Bible over any other, this isn’t a good argument for atheism. Let me explain. Atheism says we should dismiss all gods. But even if I didn’t know which one of several options is true, that doesn’t mean I should dismiss them all. Just because someone don’t know what the hundredth digit of π is, does not mean that we should dismiss the fact there is one. There is a hundredth digit of π. Not knowing which one it is, is not a reason for dismissing them all. It is a reason for searching for the right one.
All conceptions of God are not the same. They’re fundamentally (no pun intended) different. One of the most obvious chasms is the canyon between world’s monotheistic religions – Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – on on one side and pagan belief systems on the other. Pagan beliefs have their gods planted firmly in nature, as if you could look down a microscope and see him. Monotheistic beliefs about God are much more awe inspiring. They don’t think God can be discovered in nature, but instead view him as the author, creator and sustainer of it all.
The pagan view makes no sense to me. If you take a piece of metal and bang it one way it becomes a “god”; bang it another way it becomes a pot or a pan. Personally I cannot see how it can ever be more than a piece of metal, not a “god”. This takes many forms, from worshipping statues or the earth, the moon or the sun, right the way up to pantheism (which Dawkins describes as sexed up atheism). I have much the same problem with all of them: I can’t see how the universe could possibly create itself. A pot or a pan did not create the universe. It can’t even move itself. It’s totally clear to me these things are not God.
Jeremiah put it like this:
3 They cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
However, the most important reason I have for rejecting other gods is another thing that an atheist cannot claim to share: I find Jesus Christ compelling. It is how we respond to Jesus Christ which sets us apart. The main reason I am not a pagan, a Muslim, an atheist or a Jew is because of what I think of this man, Jesus. I am not an atheist with respect to belief in Allah or Zeus, I am a Christian. Unlike an atheist who tries to tear down other people’s beliefs, and ridicules everyone, I can offer positive, uplifting reasons for what I believe – and I hope, do that with gentleness and respect.
So I guess I have reasons for rejecting Stephen Roberts claim: Different conceptions of God are not equal. While some conceptions of God make no sense at all, others make a lot. Just because we reject the illogical picture of God, and keep a logical one doesn’t make us atheists. Finally, unlike atheists, Christians can offer positive, respectful reasons for what we believe, which isn’t solely based on disrespect and ridicule of those we don’t agree with.
As always comments are welcome and criticism is encouraged. Thanks for reading!
April 14, 2010
Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn men back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!
I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
The eternal God is your refuge
1 Timothy 1:17
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
March 10, 2010
Ten Bible verses which indicate that God is awesome – he is omniscient (all knowing):
Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
1 Samuel 2:3
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
1 John 3:19-20
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done.
But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.