Thursday, April 29, 2010

"I'm Still Young"... And Other Bad Justifications

They are used often, both by the perpetrator and the defender.  I hear them said in a lot of different ways.  They seem to be something to even desire.  These statements are the way people hide behind their youth.  Some wear them as a badge of honor, while others just use them to excuse their behavior.

"Boys will be boys;" "I want to experience life while I can;" "They're just kids;"  "I will always have time to learn about that later, but I want to have fun now;" "I want to live it up while I can!"  These, and others like them, are the "I'm Still Young" class of justifications.  It is a common idea to believe we will always be able to change later.  This is often why youth act like they don't care, they think they will always be able to fix it later.

However, contrary to this idea, there are many problems with this type of justification.   The first problem is easy to see.  Being young does not change the morality of an issue.  Lying, Murder, Hate, etc. are all wrong no matter your age.  This idea is undertaken in Ecclesiastes 11:7-10.  The author does say to live well while still young, enjoy your youth, but remember we will be held accountable.  Clearly, to be young is not to absolve from responsibility.  And I think most people realize this very quickly.

I am not sure we are as ready and eager to recognize the second (and I think deeper) problem behind the "I want to experience life while I can" set of justifications.  I think there is something fundamentally wrong with what we think experiencing life is in reality.

Far too often I will hear, and even think myself, that life is better while you are young.  This seems to be an underlying assumption in our culture today.  "Those were (are) the best days of your life" or other like statements adequately describe our attitude toward life.  We as a culture honestly think life is at its best in High School and College.  This is something that has been documented by Diana West in her book The Death of The Grown Up.  Also, for a couple shorter treatments of this idea, check out these articles by John Stonestreet.

For some reason we have bought the idea that life is all downhill after 30.  This scares me as I turned 30 this year.  But it also scares me, because it means that, if this theory is true, I am now heading into the boring part of life!  Is life really best in the 20s???

I would venture that it shouldn't be true.  And it is a very, very sad thing for people who find it to be true for them.  It is painful to be around people who are in the middle of life, still wishing to be in high school.  Don't believe me??? To show you life should get better with age, like fine wine or cheese, I submit Uncle Rico.

Do you know Uncle Rico?  In the movie Napoleon Dynamite, a set of loser characters combine to make a memorable movie (though maybe memorable for all the wrong reasons.)  In this movie of loser characters, I think we all know the worst one is Uncle Rico.

Rico is a 30s relative of the main character Napoleon. He is often referring to his high school football days, "I bet I could still throw a football over those mountains."  He wishes he could relive his glory days!  Unfortunately, those are his glory days.  He now lives in a van, and tries to come up with get-rich-quick schemes.  It is hard not to understand the pathetic nature of a grown man wishing to be in high school again.

Even so, we, as a culture, try to hold on to our teen years for as long as possible.  This is true enough that it is not actually hard to find an "Uncle Rico" in real life.  We can all probably think of someone like this, or we will find one soon.

I think this goes against the idea Christ had in mind when he spoke of having the full life in John 10:7-10.  It seems to be counter-intuitive to urge people to reach for a "full" life, but it doesn't keep getting better as people grow.  A full life should only get better.  In this case, getting older would be welcome.

Most cultures have understood the value of growing old.  They recognized, that while losing some physical ability, growing old brings an experience and wisdom that is surpassing in its meaning and beauty.  This is one reason why many cultures have a more healthy respect for their elders.

As a culture, we need to recognize the full life begins in Christ, and only gets better as we grow in him.  This will help our students to mature earlier, because they will not be afraid of the life still to come.

Friday, April 23, 2010

It is reasonable to believe in God. Pt 6

I have been arguing belief in God is reasonable by putting forth a short, cumulative case for the existence of God.  In my last post, I argued the existence of universal morals is best explained by the existence of an ultimate creator.  Today, I want to focus on some lesser known arguments for the existence of God.

Quick Extras (Maybe One Not So Quick)
There are many, many arguments for the existence of God.  Some have been researched more than others.  In this space, I will treat some of my favorites in a very short way.

The Argument From Desire
One of my favorite arguments for the existence of God is called the argument from desire.  Many people have used this argument.  It appeals to the desire in all of us for meaning, love, glory, and other desires.  Some have put the argument this way: "There is a God-shaped hole in each of us."  C.S. Lewis was very good at using this argument.

The way I put this argument is:  For most of the things I want, I find there is a suitable, even perfect, satisfier for this desire.  When I am hungry (the desire for food) I can find food.  When I am thirsty (the desire for drink) I can have water.  I cannot think of one physical desire for which there is not a perfect satisfying element in this universe.  You could suggest the world was made in such a way as to be able to work towards satisfying needs/wants of its inhabitants. (By the way this is another form of the argument from Teleology.)

It is almost as perfect with my non-physical (spiritual) desires.  My desire to have loving companionship is fulfilled by my wife.  The desire I have to care for, and nurture the creation is fulfilled by my care for my home and dogs.  I desire to leave a legacy for new generations, and hopefully someday I will have children of my own to do this with.  But unlike my physical desires, these "spiritual" desires are not perfectly fulfilled all the time.

However, I can see glimpses of how these might be fulfilled perfectly.  It leads me to believe, that if all of my physical desires can be met perfectly, might there be a place where my spiritual desires can be perfectly met?  After observing how many desires are satisfied, CS Lewis put it this way: "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

I find this most compelling for the Christian God when one considers our desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and yet we do not want to lose ourselves.  In other words, we all want to live a meaningful life, but be able to be who we are.  All other worldviews do not answer this adequately.  Atheism tells us to only care for ourselves, while Pantheism tells us to lose ourselves in the cosmic goo.  

Only Christianity gives an adequate explanation for this desire.  The Christian God is the perfect example of this in the Triune nature.  God is a unified being in three persons.  All members of the Trinity are fully God (unity), but are fully distinct persons (individuals).  No other worldview answers this question in a satisfactory manner.

The Argument From Beauty
I think I like the way Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli put this.  It goes something like this: There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Therefore, there is a God.  Seriously, check it out in this book.  

Beauty, like the beauty represented by this picture from space needs an explanation.  The best explanation is it was created by a designer.

I know there is a lot more to explain in this argument, but these are supposed to be quick extras and I already really screwed that up.

The Argument From Consciousness
The fact that there is something unphysical about us points to an unphysical cause.  Our mind needs an adequate explanation for existence.  The existence of mind (not our brains) cannot be explained by physical means.  The best explanation is another mind.

There are a lot more of these arguments.  I find some of them more compelling than others, but in a cumulative case all contribute to the case for the existence of God.

Next: Conclusion

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Biblical Interpretation in a Nutshell

Over at Parchment and Pen, Michael Patton has posted a concise summary of correct Biblical Interpretation.  I have been working on several posts about Biblical Interpretation, where I have claimed there are 5 steps to correct Biblical Interpretation.

Patton has suggested there are really only 3 steps to correct interpretation: Exegetical Statement (What It Meant To Them), Theological Statement (What It Means To Everyone) and Homiletical Statement (How This Applies To Me).  These actually are basically the same steps I advocate said in a different way.  However, Patton has been working at this longer than I, and therefore has much insight and experience I cannot give.

It seems to me, that many (not all) of the problems we have when reading the Bible would be solved, if we just read it more carefully.

I highly recommend giving this post a read through.

The Power of a Cumulative Case

As I am building a Cumulative Case argument for God's existence, I find Luke Nix has an article on the power of the cumulative case approach to worldviews.

He does a very good job of explaining the reasons for preferring the cumulative case to other arguments.  Anyone wondering about the pros and cons of the cumulative case approach should read this article.

Monday, April 19, 2010

When Things Take the Place of People, Or How to Suppress the Truth In Unrighteousness pt. 2

A little while ago, I commented on an article by Al Mohler about the gender-neutral leanings of many universities in the United States today.  I suggested this was a clear case of exchanging the truth of God for a lie as we are told happens in Romans 1:18-32.  When people stop recognizing God's created order, even though it is plain to see we can tell they are suppressing the truth in their unrighteousness.

Well, add another example to the list!  Today, Robin Phillips of Signs of the Times, has found another way our society has decided to believe a lie.

The debate about global warming has been pretty heated for quite a while now.  Often I have wondered if proponents of the climate change phenomenon care more about the environment than people.  Well, it seems as though we have confirmation of this.  At least one global warming/enviro friendly person does care about trees and Mother Nature more than he does about his fellow man.

It seems as though Bill Gates has decided we need to decrease the human population, in order to ensure the survival of the planet.  In fact, he is advocating the use of vaccines to help achieve this goal!

I want to be clear, I recycle (sometimes because my wife makes me), I do care about the world we live in.  It seems clear to me we are supposed to be stewards of our environment.  This world is not ours to destroy, it is God's and he has asked us to rule over it (Genesis 1:28).

However, it is also clear humans are the epitome of the created order.  God has given us creation to rule over, which logically means we are greater.  A lesser cannot rule a greater!  It has been said, that one human being is worth more than all the molecules in all the universe.  This being so, we cannot stand by and watch as people suggest we are worth less than what God has said.  He created us in His image, and we must stand for the truth.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Holocaust Denier-- Now???

A Catholic Bishop has been convicted of denying the Holocaust.  In Germany this is a crime.


BERLIN - A German court convicted ultraconservative British Bishop Richard Williamson on Friday for denying the Holocaust in a television interview.
A court in the Bavarian city of Regensburg found Williamson guilty of incitement for saying in a 2008 interview with Swedish television that he did not believe Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II.

The court ordered Williamson to pay a fine of (EURO)10,000 ($13,544).

The Roman Catholic bishop was barred by his order from attending Friday's proceedings or making statements to the media.

His lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, told The Associated Press after the court ruling that Williamson has yet to decide if would appeal it.

Denying the Holocaust is a criminal offense in Germany.

The court last year ordered a fine of (EURO)12,000 for Williamson, without a trial. But the Bishop appealed that ruling, forcing his case to be tried publicly. [Italics Mine]
What really caught my attention about this article was this last line.  What person in their right mind would want to have a trial regarding their denial of the historicity of the Holocaust while people who actually lived through the Holocaust are still alive???  The one time where historical revisionism is virtually impossible is while eyewitnesses are still alive.

This is the exact reason why 1 Cor. 15:3-8 is so important to our belief in the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Scholars have dated this passage very early after the time of the crucifixion and resurrection (within 5 years by many estimates).   So, it would be very hard for historical revisionism to creep into the account by this time.

Moreover, Paul issues a challenge in this passage.  He names a bunch of eyewitnesses!  He is basically saying, "Jesus lives.  If you don't believe me, go ask all the other people who saw Him! They will verify my story."

Eyewitnesses make it extremely difficult to deny a historical event.  Praise the Lord for showing himself to many after the resurrection!

Some Thoughts on the Brown - Ehrman Debate

Yesterday, at Ohio State University, Dr. Michael Brown debated Dr. Bart Ehrman on the premise Does the Bible Provide an Adequate Explanation to the Problem of Suffering.  Overall this was one of the best debates I have seen on this topic.  Both sides were passionate, and came armed with Biblical text to support their position.  Overall, I enjoyed this debate very much, and it is hard to declare either presenter the clear winner.

As I was watching this debate a couple things struck me about all debates on the problem of suffering or evil.

First, one should not use the problem of evil/suffering as a primary reason for or against the belief in a supreme deity.  There are multiple reasons why this is a poor justification for or against the existence of God.  There is a lot of evidence for the existence of God which come from other lines of inquiry, and just because we don't like the theistic answers to the problem of pain, does not negate any of these other lines of evidence.  Just because you might not like the answers to the problem of pain, does not negate the evidence for God from cosmology, philosophy, science, and experience.  In the same way, because you might want there to be a God who will bring justice, does not actually entail other evidence against his existence wrong.  Here is a hypothetical about how this might go:

Atheist: God does not have an adequate answer to the problem of evil.  So he doesn't exist!

Theist: God does exist, so he has an adequate answer to the problem of evil.

Atheist: But there can be no adequate answer for suffering, so there is no God.

Theist: Heaven is an adequate answer for suffering.

Atheist:  No, its not!

Theist: Yes it is!

Very quickly, this digresses into a subjective preference about whether the answers given are adequate or not.  The logical problem of evil has fallen out of favor for this exact reason.  There could be a logical reason why God could allow pain, but whether or not we accept it comes down to whether or not we believe there is a God and if he is good.  There are better lines of evidence for/against God, and we might want to ask about the problem of evil after we have decided about whether or not God actually exists.

The second observation I had from the debate was how often people mistake the ontological/metaphysical for the epistemological.   At one point Dr. Brown made a remark about the meaning of life if God did not exist.  The comment was made to point out, that if God does not exist, then there is no ultimate meaning to suffering or kindness or life in general.  To this point, Dr. Ehrman said Dr. Brown's assertion was "obscene" and offensive.  He commented that he, himself, had much meaning in his life even though he did not believe in God.  Ehrman's answer shows he was confused about Dr. Brown's point.

I am not sure theists have done a good job explaining ontological issues like these yet.  And when we try to use them, we often let the non-theist get away with changing from the ontological to the epistemological in their answer.

Let me explain what I mean.  The ontological is the way reality really is, while the epistemological is our knowledge of things.  When Brown argued there would be no meaning without God, he was making an ontological claim  He was saying ultimate meaning cannot exist if there is no God, because everything will end in the end, and we will cease to exist.  Anything we do in this life will be ultimately worthless, because we do not have a standard of worth to measure by, and in the end, everything will be destroyed.

Ehrman answered with an epistemological claim, specifically saying he knew his life had meaning.  But this does not answer Brown's assertion that there is no meaning without God.  Instead, this is actually an implicit admission as to Ehrman's intuitive knowledge of God, because he knows his actions have true value.

Theists need to learn how to explain this better.  We need to learn to include ourselves in the argument.  We are not saying atheists have no value because they don't believe in God.  We are saying, that neither the atheist, nor the theist, has any ultimate value if there is no transcendent grounds to give us worth.  An atheist or a theist who does work for the poor, ultimately does nothing, without a God in existence in reality, because it will all be for naught when it is all destroyed.  We are not saying your belief in atheism means you do not have worth, we are saying neither you nor I have any worth if we are all products of natural processes.  Mother Nature does not care about you or I, because Mother Nature is really mother nature!!!

But if there is a God, then both the theist and the atheist have value, because of the transcendent nature of the Creator.  Inventors create with a purpose, and the Creator is no different.  He has a purpose for both the atheist and the theist.

Overall, I the debate was enjoyable and thought provoking.  In the end, is there much more you can ask for in a debate?

If you are interested in listening to the debate, has already linked to an MP3 of the event.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Great Trinity Debate

Over at Reclaiming the Mind's blog, Parchment and Pen, they have begun an exercise I think will be awesome.  The Great Trinity Debate features a Trinitarian, Rob Bowman, and a Unitarian, David Burke, debating the biblical merits of the doctrine of the Trinity.

From the Introduction to the Debate
Here is the format for our debate:
Week #1 (begins April 11): Dave and I have separate posts introducing the subject, explaining our views of Scripture, interpretation, doctrine, and of the nature of God (i.e., his attributes).
Week #2 (begins April 18): Dave and I will have separate posts on our views about Jesus Christ.
Week #3 (begins April 25): Dave and I will have separate posts where we may continue to present arguments supporting our views about Jesus Christ.
Week #4 (begins May 2): Dave and I will have separate posts on the Holy Spirit.
Week #5 (begins May 9): Dave and I will have separate posts presenting our case for our differing theologies of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (mine in support of the Trinity, Dave’s in support of Biblical Unitarianism) and critiquing each other’s theologies.
Week #6 (begins May 16): Dave and I will have separate posts offering closing statements, with comments open to the general public.
I will eagerly be awaiting each and every post.  If the first two posts are any indication this will be a fulfilling and rewarding exercise.  I will continue to link each new post as they arrive.

Introduction to the Great Trinity Debate
Week 1-Rob Bowman
Week 1-David Burke

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Free Webcast of Debate on the Problem of Suffering

Tomorrow at 7:00pm Et/4:00pm PT a debate will be held at Ohio State University on whether the Bible adequately answers the problem of suffering.  The debate will feature Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Bart Ehrman.  It will be webcast for free.  Register Here

If you would like to prepare a little on the problem of suffering before seeing this debate check out these links:

There are many more resources at those sites as well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Reading the Bible (Well) pt 2

A few days ago I wrote about reading the Bible well. I have noticed people have not been taught how to read the Bible for everything it gives. Instead we are stuck in a world of privatization, where the only application from scripture is for the individual. The problem with this is God revealed the Bible for everyone. Scripture has an original meaning, and we need to understand what God's intention for the message was. Without this we can fall into the trap of internal faith without any real base to stand on.

With this in mind we looked at
 Revelation 3:14-22. We discovered many people misinterpret this passage, and it can be disastrous for some believers. I have actually heard pastors say God would rather us be completely against Him if we are not going to be "on fire" or "sold out" for Him.

We examined the passage and found, within the context of the time, this is probably not what God was saying at all! Instead, God wants us to stay close to Him the source of being cool and refreshing, or hot and therapeutic. Jesus was using a cultural aspect to show the citizens of Laodicea that they were not close to Him anymore. No, they were far from Him, like lukewarm water, they tasted nasty to Jesus.

How can we avoid this problem? How should we read the Bible?

I have found there are 5 basic, and easy, steps to be able to read the Bible well.

1. Read the passage!

Read the whole passage. Don't just read a verse. Verses are meant to be seen in the larger context of a message.

2. Understand to whom it is being written.

If the passage is directed to exiled Israelites, it might have different cultural considerations then if it was written to brand new Christians in the 1st century.

3. Determine what God was saying to the people He was speaking to.

With the context and culture in mind we can probably understand more about what God was telling them.

4. Seek out and extract the transcendent (timeless) principles.

As mentioned earlier, God's word is written for everyone. It is sufficient for a knowledge of saving grace. If we can see both the cultural and scriptural context then we can see what is the principle God is communicating to everyone.

5. Apply this transcendent principle to the culture and life you live.

We can take what God has told everyone, and apply it to the ways we live. This will ensure we are at least trying to connect with the body of believers.

Christianity is not a private religion. It does have private aspects, but always within the context of the community/church (the body of believers). In order for this to work, we need to see what God wants everyone to know.
Stand to Reason has a great way of explaining this same general information.  Check it out Here and Here

In part 3: The 5 Steps applied.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"It's Just Not My Thing"... And Other Bad Justifications

"It's just not my thing!"  I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard this.  I hear it when students do not turn in their homework, or when they don't want to read their book.  I hear it when we study art, or when they have done badly on a biology test.  We all think this way sometimes.  We are lazy and self-centered.

I have one student in particular, who seems to use this phrase as primary communication with authority.  It gets used as a trump card, a "get out of jail free" card.

It can be used for everything!  "It's just not my thing!" means we don't need to worry about school, how we treat another student, or why we don't go to church.  Somehow, because its just not our thing, it means others should have sympathy on them, or even drop the subject completely.  Students should know by now I don't drop these things.

Unfortunately, "It's just not my thing!" doesn't absolve students from studying, people from kindness, or Christians from church.  This excuse usually is nothing more than a lie, nothing more than a falsity.

Matthew 22:37 makes it clear, by nature of being a student, studying is our thing!  Matthew 22:39 is also clear, by nature of treating others as you would like to be treated, kindness is our thing!  And, Hebrews 10:24-26 shows, by nature of being a Christian, church is our thing!

In other words, "It's just not my thing!" is usually a lie we tell ourselves and others to make ourselves feel better for not doing what we should.  We are lazy and self-centered, but this does not mean we can do whatever we want.  We are to live as God has called us to live.  We are called to love God with our mind (studying), love others as ourselves (kindness), and meet with other believers (go to church)!

Instead of lying about what is and isn't our thing, we need to seek the things God wants of us, and realize He created us with a purpose, and this purpose really is our thing.

A Post on the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

I am in the middle of a series on the cumulative case for the existence of God.  You can find the first post in this series here.  So far I have 5 different posts in the series, with I think 2 more to go.

For those who might want supplementary explanation on the Kalam Cosmological Argument (Part 2), Wintery Knight has posted an excellent article detailing the way science has strengthened the Kalam.

Wintery Knight is an excellent apologist, I hope you take the time to review his argument.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It is reasonable to believe in God. Pt 5

I have been arguing for the viability of belief in God.  I have argued a cumulative approach to the issue is more beneficial than using any singular argument for the existence of God alone.  Instead, as a rope is stronger than the individual strands, the arguments, when used together are strong enough to hold up a large claim, such as God's existence.  My last post focused on the complexity of life and its suggestions for an Intelligent Designer. I now turn to the Moral Argument.

Objective Morality, It’s the Law!
Every law we encounter was underwritten by an intelligent lawgiver.  When we choose to break the speed limit, we are choosing to ignore the laws placed in effect by our legislation.  In the same way, if we break the moral law, we are choosing to ignore the law in effect by a moral legislature.

The existence of objective morality implies the existence of a creator.  If there are universal moral laws, they must have been given by a moral lawgiver.  The moral argument for the existence of God can be stated as:

Every law has a law giver
There is a Moral Law
Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver

If the two premises of this argument are true than the conclusion necessarily is true as well.  However, can we show premise one and two are true?

The first premise is clear.  Every law needs a lawgiver.  You cannot have legislation without a legislature.  Obligations only come from being obliged to someone.  I am not obliged to things, only when persons are involved can obligation become real.

We recognize laws in everyday life.  Suppose you played a board game with some very quirky rules.  You ask a friend, “Who came up with these rules?”  To which your friend replied, “No one, they just happened.”  Would you accept that as an explanation?  No, you would know someone came up with the rules of the game.  In the same way, the rules we find in life have been legislated by an intelligence.

But, is there a moral law?  To answer premise two we need only search within ourselves to see what is true about morality.  Is it really wrong to murder, rape, or lie?  Clearly most people in most cultures at most times would agree murder is wrong. There are certain acts we instinctively recognize as wrong (torturing or murdering the innocent or committing rape).  Our natural reactions to actions such as rape, incest, murder, or torture indicate they are objectively wrong.  Obviously, some things are objectively, morally wrong.

However, we live in a culture trying to deny the existence of universal morals.  Often people will claim morality is subjective or relative.  However, if you disagree with them they will vehemently oppose your denial of their argument.  This is where they make their mistake.  When one denies an absolute, they have affirmed another absolute. A denial of the existence of objective morality assumes their opinion is correct.  They also assume this opinion has objective value.  Where does this value of their opinion come from?  Why should we listen to a moral relativist?  They are assuming their opinion has value, which only makes sense if a lawgiver has said human beings have value.  
Still, some will argue, that we do not have universal morals, because there are differences in morals around the world. I do not agree with this assessment.  Sure, it might seem as though some people think abortion (for example) is morally right, and some think it morally wrong, but this does not mean their morality is different.  Neither the pro-abortion, nor the pro-life advocate thinks murder is right.  Instead they disagree about whether or not there is a human being in the womb.  Both sides think it is wrong to murder human beings, but do not agree on what constitutes a human being.  If it can be shown the fetus is a human being, then we would have complete agreement.  Its not the morals of the situation we disagree about, its the nuances.

Since, there are universal objective moral laws, then there must a moral law giver.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Different Kind of Missions Trip

I have written about the recent missions trip to Berkeley, where 21 of my students and some leaders spent 4 days in Berkeley, California, defending the faith and learning about Atheism.  The trip was amazing and I would recommend anyone to try to find something like it.

My friend, Sean McDowell, has recently come home from taking some of his students to Utah for a very similar trip.  Here are his reflections on that trip.

Brett Kunkle of Stand To Reason plans and organizes these trips.  Brett is amazing and has recently started a new website for students.

I have worked with youth for a while, and these are the most important, short-term, ways to impact students I have found.  If coupled with the long-term investment of discipleship/mentorship, any student will be adequately prepared to live a life glorifying to God.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kittens to Cats! Bacteria to Cats? Or a Great Example of Sleight of Hand

Denyse O'Leary at Uncommon Descent has written a fantastic article on one of my pet peeves when talking to Macro Evolutionists.

This pet peeve of mine is when Darwinists use obvious examples of micro evolution or even simple change as evidence for macro evolution, when a species evolves into a wholly new species. This tactic has been employed by Darwinists ever since Darwin used the micro evolution of changing finch beak size to explain the alleged macro evolution of the species.  This is not a new idea, but it is used often.  While on my recent trip to Berkeley with Stand to Reason I encountered a student  who defined becoming a new species as "when one group can no longer breed with another group."  Unfortunately, there are all sorts of reasons groups may no longer be able to interbreed.  This does not mean a fruit fly is no longer a fruit fly.

Anyway, O'Leary has written about this far better than I ever could.  He explains the criteria one scientist uses as evidence for macro evolution also occur in the changes in a kitten becoming a grown cat.  But a Kitten is a young cat!  This is no species change.  It is common change within a species. If a kitten can undergo these same changes as a simple bacteria, but still remain a feline, why would we assume the bacteria is now a new species? Clearly this criteria is not adequate to explain a change from species to species.

What bothers me the most about this is the dishonesty regarding this issue.  Macro-evolutionists either know this type of argument does not constitute species change, and thus willfully attempt to deceive the public, or they do not know about this problem, and thus are not doing their due diligence because they are deceived themselves.  Either way this is more an example of verbal sleight of hand than any true evidence.

If you would like a little more in depth analysis of this issue, check out this podcast, or read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, chapters 3 and 4.  There are many more resources on this, but these are a good start.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Resources on the Crucifixion and Resurrection

As Good Friday has now arrived I thought I might share some online resources that have been posted recently about the events which happened 2,000 years ago.

At STR, Melinda has written a great post on our need for the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Al Mohler has posted a great article on the centrality of the Easter events to the Christian faith.

Different ways of explaining the evidence for the Resurrection can be found here, here, here and here.

For a free Ebook on the evidences check this out. has a great article on how Resurrection is not resuscitation or reincarnation

C. Michael Patton has a great PDF with study questions on how the disciple's reaction to the events of Easter are evidence for the event.

three part examination into the Resurrection has been written by Brett Kunkle.

A great summary on why the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best explanation for the historical events surrounding easter has been written by Jim Wallace.

And finally, John Mark Reynolds has written against the supposed pagan origins of Easter.

If you would like even further in depth analysis of these events check out the articles by William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, or Mike Licona.

Have a Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"It's Fun"... And Other Bad Justifications

As a high school teacher I hear many justifications (excuses) for the reasons my students choose to do the things they do. Some of the time they give justification which is sound, but most of the time, it seems as though their reasoning is flawed.

I plan on blogging about the excuses... eh reasons... students give to me, and then show how these reasons cannot be a primary motivation for doing anything.  (By the way, the idea for this series comes from one of my favorite bloggers C. Michael Patton's series called . . . and other stupid statements.) So, my first post in this series: "It's Fun."

Two years ago a couple students roamed the halls of our school carrying a Rubik's Cube.  They were never far from this toy of the spawn of Satan (My words: I hate these things). They would spend any free time in class messing around with the cubes, and actually they got quite good at lining the colors up correctly.

One day I ventured a question, "Why do you carry around a Rubik's Cube?"

One of the students offered, "It's fun" as his primary justification.

Now, I must be clear about one or two (maybe three) things before we proceed.  First, I don't have anything against fun (Contrary to what many of my students my think).  Second, I actually don't mind people playing with Rubik's Cubes (I don't really think they are the literal spawn of Satan).  Lastly, remember, one of my primary jobs as a Christian educator is to help my students to think more critically about their everyday lives.

So, as the student said, "It's fun" as his justification, my teacher instinct kicked into high gear.  I began to wonder if I could exploit this as an opportunity to help my class learn how to think a little more clearly.

"If we passed a young man stealing a purse from an older woman, and we stopped to ask 'why are you doing this?'  What if the young man replied, 'It's fun.'"  I wondered, "would that be a worthy justification?"

See, its clear in the case of the young man stealing that "It's fun" just does not justify his actions.

This is where it turned ugly.  My students were disgusted that I would compare their play with a toy to the obviously immoral actions of a thief.

However, I did not compare their play with the toy to the actions of the thief, I compared their justifications.  If a wrong action cannot be justified by one excuse, then neither can a right action be justified by that same excuse.  I explained all sorts of things might be fun, but this does not tell us whether or not we should or should not commit the action.

There may or may not be actions which are morally neutral, but before we start doing things just because they are "fun" we might want to ask questions like "Is it right, good, or glorifying to God?"  Once we have determined the prescription for any action, then we can determine whether or not its fun enough for us to spend time on.

Is Christianity True? A Month of Evidence

Apologetics 315 is releasing a series of web essays on reasons to believe Christianity is true.  I am so excited for this, as the presenters are many bloggers whom I admire very much.

The introduction to these essays makes it clear they are not trying to give 100% certainty to the Christian Worldview, but instead show it is a reasonable and viable option.  In fact, it is the woldview which best fits the facts we know of the world.

The presenters are a diverse lot, which makes the idea of this project even more compelling.  I am especially looking forward to the essays by Jim Wallace, Brian Auten, James Patrick Holding, and my personal favorite Amy Hall.

I am sure these essays will be eye opening for anyone who is searching to see if faith can be reasonable.