Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Christianity is True

Below is the calendar of publication for the Apologetics315 April blog series event. My contribution to the project will appear on April 8, 2010.

Essays will only be published on weekdays at noon EST. Apologetics315 will continue 'normal blogging operations' in tandem with the project. Along with each post will be links to the essayist's blog, links to the audio file of the essay. At the end of the series a PDF ebook version of all the essays will be made available.

Please visit Apologetics315 and join in the discussion. This should be a very worthwhile exercise that promises to get everyone, from whatever point of view, to consider the idea that Christianity is worth thinking about.

Here's the calendar:

April 1
Forward
Chris Reese
http://greatcloud.wordpress.com

Introduction
Brian Auten
http://www.apologetics315.com

April 2
Does God Exist?
Tawa Anderson
http://tawapologetics.blogspot.com

April 5
The Christian Worldview is the Best Explanation
Jim Wallace
http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com

April 6
Coherent, Consistent & Livable
Wes Widner
http://reasontostand.org

April 7
The Failure of Naturalism
Richard Gerhardt
http://www.antiochapologetics.blogspot.com/

April 8
Defrocking the Priests of Scientism
Bob Perry
http://truehorizon.org/

April 9
Orthogonal Complexity
Peter Grice
http://www.thinkchristianity.com

April 12
Cumulative Reasons for Christianity
Chad Gross
http://truthbomb.blogspot.com

April 13
Prophecy and Resurrection
Shelby Cade
http://www.flatlandapologetics.blogspot.com/

April 14
Making Sense of the Resurrection
Luke Nix
http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com

April 15
The Facts of the Resurrection
Aaron Brake
www.apologeticjunkie.blogspot.com

April 16
The Historical Event of the Resurrection
Amy Hall
http://www.str.org/blog
http://www.ateamblog.com

April 19
The Impossible Faith
James Patrick Holding
http://www.tektonics.org

April 20
Christianity and Other Ancient Religions
Stephen J. Bedard
http://1peter315.wordpress.com

April 21
Christianity Proved by the Nature of the Jewish Nation
Anthony Horvath
http://www.athanatosministries.org

April 22
The Euthyphro Dichotomy
Mariano Grinbank
http://www.truefreethinker.com

April 23

Christianity is Objectively True
Marcus McElhaney
http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com

April 26
The Bible Tells Me So
Vocab Malone
http://backpackapologetics.com

April 27
Christianity Explains Logic
Glenn Hendrickson
http://www.eyeonapologetics.com

Atheism: A Falsified Hypothesis
Brian Colón
http://www.knowitstrue.com/

April 28
Testing Christianity's Core Truth Claims
Kyle Deming
http://www.skepticalchristian.com

April 29
Showing Christianity is True
Matthew Flannagan
http://mandm.org.nz

April 30
The Wise Man Seeks God
Brian Auten
http://www.apologetics315.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Apologetics 315 Feature

The month of April should be a lively one over at Apologetics 315. Brian Auten has dedicated that month to a project involving a variety of Christian apologist bloggers who will delve into the question, "Why Is Christianity True?"

I am humbled and excited to have been chosen to participate in that project.

Here is Brian's summary of the overall project goal:


  • 20 apologetic bloggers have submitted 1000 word essays about a topic of their choice
  • These essays will be used as daily special posts at Apologetics315 during the month of April
  • Brian will make an MP3 version of each essay to be released in a daily podcast form at the same time
  • Each contributor will act as "defender" of his/her essay as it is posted (order of appearance still to be determined)
  • All essays will be incorporated into an ebook (or perhaps a 'free' lulu.com print book) to be provided at the end of the series
I have never been directly involved in a project like this and am really looking forward to it. Please pass the word to anyone you know about this. The more people we have participating, the better it will be -- especially if we can use this as an opportunity to engage skeptics and atheists in the discussion.

I will relay the date of my own essay, "Defrocking The Priests Of Naturalism," as soon as I find out when it will appear. I look forward to "seeing" folks over at Apologetics 315 during the month of April.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Very Tiny Place In The Heavens

At our most recent Reasons To Believe local chapter meeting, one of our members showed the video clip above. I have seen it before but as I watched, it struck me how powerful a message this kind of thing holds for anyone who sees it -- and how completely opposite an effect it can have -- depending on the worldview presuppositions of the viewer. Because of that "aha" moment, I decided I would devote a couple of posts here to addressing the impact of presuppositions, especially as, in this specific case, they relate to the Copernican Principle.

[This is a topic that is covered in depth in Gonzalez & Richards, The Privileged Planet if you want to delve into it more deeply]

Looking at evidence like this Hubble Deep Field 3D image, and following the trend of more than three centuries of naturalistic presupposition, physicist Steven Weinberg once offered the following assessment of our place in the universe when he lamented:
It is hard to realize that [life on Earth] is just a tiny part of an overwhelmingly hostile universe. It is even harder to realize that this present universe has evolved from an unspeakably unfamiliar early condition and faces a future extinction of endless cold or intolerable heat . . . The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless (emphasis mine).
Because it would seem that incomprehensibility would be more apt to lead one toward a pointless assessment of some condition, Weinberg’s conclusion is paradoxical. But for Weinberg and his naturalistic colleagues, the roots of this appraisal go back to Copernicus himself. They rely on a gross misunderstanding of the Copernican emphasis on the Earth’s location as it relates to man’s existence.

As the video ends, it seems to support the naturalistic view that our "very tiny place in the heavens" renders man's existence inconsequential. But a closer look at what Copernicus himself said, and at what really defines the significance of man's cosmic location, leads the Christian theist to a completely different conclusion.

More to follow ...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Source of Moral Value

If you have some time to commit to it, and you are interested in the moral argument for God's existence, this debate between Sean McDowell and James Corbett is a great follow-on to my January 11, 2010 post on a similar debate between Greg Koukl and Michael Shermer. The first video is the formal statement/counter-statement portion. The second is a back and forth question and answer session where the two debaters are able to banter with one another in an open exchange. It ends with questions from the audience.

Each are valuable in their own way. Have a listen and decide who makes the better case for their point of view ...

Is God the Best Explanation for Moral Values? Part 1 from ConversantLife on Vimeo.


Is God the Best Explanation for Moral Values? Part 2 from ConversantLife on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Archaeological Confirmation (again)

Dr. Eliat Mazar, a renowned Israeli archaeologist, has been in the news recently making a strong case for a find she has been working on for years. Shards of pottery have been found at the site of massive fortifications unearthed in Jerusalem and dated to 3000 years ago. This is confirmation of the age of the fortifications and are powerful evidence that is perfectly consistent with Mazar's claim that these are the walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem. Aish.com has an extensive summary of the find on its website.

What's all the fuss?

The dating of these fortifications confirms that a civilization with the technology, resources and manpower capable of building such a thing did indeed exist at that time -- a fact that has been doubted by "experts" who not only denied that the Jewish Temple of David and Solomon fame ever existed, but that David, Solomon, and the biblical references to the society attributed to them are nothing but religious "myth."

Mazar has confirmed the exact opposite in the exact location where the Temple is claimed to have been built and dated her findings to the exact time attributed to it in the Bible. Once again the reliability and historicity of the Bible have been confirmed. The fact is that archaeology has accurately, consistently and repeatedly done so. It has never done the opposite.

The fact is that the Bible has been shown to be a reliable resource that gives us an historically accurate picture of the real world time and time again.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Box God Needs To Be In

There is a popular saying within the Christian community that has become a kind of truth "that shall not be questioned." It is one of those "Christian-speak" phrases that we all repeat but that, like anything else that "everybody knows," actually ought to be questioned.

Now, I know what people mean when they say it -- that we should not put limits on God in our thinking; that God can do anything He wants, no matter how hard it is for us to believe. But if we are going to claim to think clearly about our convictions, this is one that we better revisit.

One problem with this way of thinking is that God cannot do whatever He wants. Moreover, those who think He can are prone to accepting and promoting some improper theological ideas about Him. And, as is always the case, bad ideas lead to bad consequences. For example ...

God cannot do things that are contrary to His nature:
  • He is morally perfect so He cannot sin and He cannot lie. This is closely related to the corollary that, because of this moral perfection, God's perfect justice cannot allow sinful acts to go unpunished. This is a serious problem for those deny the existence of eternal separation from Him (i.e. "hell").
  • He is omniscient so He cannot be ignorant of the future. The Open Theists out there may want to reconsider the implications of that one.
  • He is logical and the laws of logic descend from his character. Therefore, He cannot make a square circle or a "rock so big He cannot lift it." My (fake) apologies to the sophists who think that these and similar challenges are really clever.
  • He is eternal and self-existent so He needs no cause for His existence. I wish the New Atheists (Richard Dawkins in particular) who can be counted on to repeatedly ask "Who made God?" in every book, article, or debate they ever participate in, would understand this simple truth. It is a philosophical category error to continue asking the same question while continually ignoring the plain answer. God is, by definition, the First Cause of all things.
These are a just a few of the things that define the box God has put Himself in. It is the box that defines his character and his character is the source of ultimate reality. If truth is correspondence to reality, our failure to acknowledge these attributes of God means that we are opposed to reality -- that we are denying the truth. Since living in denial of reality is defined as a delusion, our failure to keep God in the proper box leads to a corrupted view of reality and all kinds of theological inconsistencies. Bad ideas about God lead to bad real-world consequences.

One of those bad ideas is another misused bit of Christian-speak that gets a lot of play from those who insist that "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion." This phrase is true as far as it goes of course. Our faith does entail a uniquely intimate relationship with God. But that relationship must be built on a proper view of who that God is. If the relationship is with the wrong God, or the wrong kind of God, it is a flawed relationship ... and it will fail.

As I've said before, a religion is simply the way we see the world. Everybody has one. Christianity is a religion too, even if "religion" has become a dirty word. It is a religion based on a proper view of the God with whom we are in a relationship -- a God who defines the box He lives in.

It turns out that we better keep God in a box and that we better understand how that box is defined. If I'm right, doing so will help us avoid most of the silly Christian ideas that have become all too common these days.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Great Resource!

There are a lot of apologetics bloggers out there (thankfully) but whenever I run across a great one, I like to spread the word. I honestly don't know how long this has been around but it's new to me. I stumbled on it while searching the Apologetics 315 blogsite (another great one) yesterday.

I don't know Luke Nix from Adam, but you don't have to look very hard to see what a great site he has put together for those of us who are interested in defending and promoting the Christian view of the world. Luke's Faithful Thinkers blog is a gold mine if you are looking for multiple resources that cover a multitude of topics. He not only blogs himself, but also provides links to written, audio, and video media by all the best thinkers in Christian apologetics.

The most practical aspect of the site is a downloadable toolbar at the top of the page. This is a really slick way of keeping you up-to-date with podcasts, blogposts and anything else you can think of in one easy-to-access spot.

Great work, Luke!