July 2009


I have determined to start an official apologetics ministry.  My first order of business was to create a name.  I settled on “Thinking to Believe” (unless any of you can think of a better name), since this represents my conviction that thinking is vital to both the acquisition and growth of faith.

My second order of business was to work on a logo.  I have come up with 20 different options.  I covet your help in determining which one I will go with.  I have numbered them 1-20.  It would really be a help to me if you could tell me what you think are the top three, in order of your favorite, second favorite, and third favorite (just list the logo numbers).

Of course, if any of you are into design and want to take your own stab at it, that would be great as well.  You can email me your work at jasondulle@yahoo.com.  As you can see from the diversity present, I am open to different looks, but I prefer something that has an “intellectual aura” to it.  I really like the medieval look (both letters and symbols/designs), so if you could come up with something along that line, that would be great.  Thanks!

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When man was created he was naked.  Once he sinned he recognized that he was naked, and felt shame.  That began the clothing industry.  The first designer was not DKNY, but YHWH.  Several others have attempted their hand at the design business since YHWH created his first “fall” line (pun intended), but frankly, I’m not so sure YHWH approves of their designs.

We live in a culture that is clothing less and less of their bodies.  Think of the bikini.  Girls wear bikinis like it’s no big deal, but a bikini is nothing more than underwear worn in public (if a bikini is not immodest, then there is no such thing as immodest clothing!).  It’s a little piece of cloth that barely covers the private parts of her body.  Indeed, in many parts of Europe it is acceptable for a woman to only wear one piece of a two-piece bikini!  How is it that our private parts have become public parts?  How have we allowed our bodies to become a spectacle for all to see?

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Why is it that when someone challenges a traditional teaching/practice, he is often labeled as “divisive” or a “troublemaker,” and is summarily dismissed?  It may be true that the individual has a divisive attitude or is acting in a troublesome manner, but the attitude in which he dissents or questions a particular doctrine/practice is separate from the arguments he presents against it.  Someone may be the biggest jerk on the planet, but their attitude has nothing to do with whether their arguments are valid, and their beliefs correct.  Simply pointing out their bad attitude does not answer the question of what is true, nor does it excuse us from interacting with their arguments.  Labeling and dismissing those who question the mainstream view is often just a power play, usually employed by those without a rebutting argument.  It’s a way of avoiding discussion, and having to defend their own point of view.

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BudziszewskiJ. Budziszewski made a great summary of the cosmological argument for God’s existence.  He wrote, “Anything which might not have been requires a cause.  Philosophers call such things ‘contingent beings.’  But the universe…is itself a contingent being, so the universe must have a cause.  Now if we say that the cause of the universe is another contingent being, we merely invite an infinite regress.  For the regress to have an end, we must eventually reach a being which is not contingent but necessary—not something which might not have been, but something which can’t not be.  Furthermore this necessary being must be sufficient to cause its effects, and so it must have all of the qualities traditionally ascribed to God: Eternity, power, and all the rest.”

NagelIn his book The Last Word, Thomas Nagel, an atheist professor of philosophy and law at New York University School of Law, defended philosophical rationalism against subjectivism.  At one point he admits that rationalism has theistic implications—implications he does not like.  He suggests that subjectivism is due in part to a fear of religion, citing his own fear as a case in point:

I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.  It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief.  It’s that I hope there is no God!  I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. … My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time.  One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind.  Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sigh of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning, and design as fundamental features of the world.”

Nagel’s admission is consistent with the Christian claim that those who reject the existence of God do not do so wholly for intellectual reasons—the will plays a vital role as well.

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar claims to have discovered what is likely King David’s palace.  If the discovery pans out, this would put a nail in the coffin to those who claim David and/or a vast Davidic and Solomonic kingdom is a Jewish myth.

Greg Koukl was taken to task by a caller on his Christian apologetics radio broadcast (Stand to Reason—str.org) for a statement he often used at the end of his discussions on spiritual and moral things: “At least that’s the way I see it.”  Greg was asked if he truly believed that he could be wrong in his views, and about Christianity in general.  His answer was “yes,” and his reasoning was as follows:

There are two categories of truth: necessary truths, contingent truths.  Necessary truths are truths that cannot be otherwise.  For example I cannot be mistaken about my own existence.  Renee Descartes made this clear when he pointed out that we cannot doubt our own existence.  It requires the existence of a mind to doubt, so the presence of doubt proves that there is a personal mind doubting, and thus we must exist.  This led to his famous dictum: Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am).  Neither can we be mistaken that about the fact that there are no square circles because this is an inherently contradictory concept.  We know these things necessarily.

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Many have wondered how, if God knows everything we will do in the future, can we be said to have free will?  After all, if we freely chose to do something other than what God foreknew, God would be wrong in what He foreknew; but since God cannot be mistaken we must do all that He foreknew we would do.  Doesn’t this reduce us to mere actors, playing out the parts written for us by God?  Are we puppets who have no control over our own actions?  Darwinist, Robert Eberle, encapsulates this supposedly intractable problem of free agency in light of an omniscient God nicely:

Aside from his simple declarations without any foundation that he believes certain biblical stories and miracles are true, he runs into major problems. One is the claim that God knows what was, is and will be. Collins asserts that there is still free will, but fails to explain his logic for arriving at this extraordinary conclusion. Either what will be is known and fixed or it is not. An infallible god that knows what is going to happen is in conflict with the idea that there is free choice and thus a responsibility for one’s actions.[1]

While it is true that the future is fixed because God perfectly knows all that will happen and cannot be mistaken, this does not mean He fixes the future.  It does not follow that God’s foreknowledge of our future acts causes us to choose those acts anymore than my knowledge of your past actions would make me the cause of your acts.  As William Lane (more…)

The Episcopal church has decided it will continue to ordain openly gay bishops (as well as all other levels of the ministry), in defiance of the moratorium the Anglican Church issued in 2005.  It will be interesting to see how the Anglican Church responds.  Will they disfellowship the Episcopal Church in America, and recognize the newly created and more conservative Anglican Church in American instead? 

HT: Albert Mohler

miraclesAtheists claim they don’t believe in miracles—that miracles are for religious people—but I beg to differ.  Atheists believe in miracles too, although they do not involve a divine being.  How so?  Atheists believe something came into existence from nothing, out of nowhere, entirely uncaused.  They believe life came from non-life, that the rational came from the non-rational, that order came from chaos, and specified information came from randomness.  Those are some serious miracles, and require a lot more faith than belief in an intelligent and powerful God who created the universe from nothing, life from non-life, and ordered the universe with specified information!  As Norm Geisler says, I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist!

We know the NT speaks of “God” and “Father” regularly, but have you ever wondered how many times God is called “God” versus “Father,” or which appellation different NT authors prefer?  What about the NT use of “Son,” “Lord,” “Jesus,” and “Christ?  I have, so I took the time to research it, and here is what I found:

Mt =    Father =           43 times (all by Jesus)
Mt =    God =              42 times (27 by Jesus)
Mt =    Lord =             49 times (16 refer to God, 33 to Jesus)
Mt =    Son =               56 times
Mt =    Jesus =             182 times
Mt =    Christ =           12 times

Mk =   Father =           5 times (all by Jesus)
Mk =   God =              33 times (31 by Jesus)
Mk =   Lord =             14 times (7 refer to God, 7 to Jesus)
Mk =   Son =               24 times
Mk =   Jesus =             103 times
Mk =   Christ =           7 times

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J. Budziszewski wrote about an exchange that took place between him and one of his students.  The student claimed to be an agnostic, but Budziszewski helped him see that while he may not have an intellectual commitment for or against God’s existence, he cannot avoid a practical commitment to one or the other.

Every agnostic tilts one way or the other in practice: towards theism, or towards atheism.  How can you tell where they tilt?  Look at how they live their lives.  Every agnostic lives his life in one of two ways: (1) as though God does exist; (2) as though God does not exist.  To quote Budziszewski, “Commitments are reflected in movements of the will.”  If they do not pray and/or are unconcerned about the moral quality of their actions, then they are betting that God does not exist—a “practical atheism” of sorts.  If, however, they do pray and/or demonstrate concern for the moral quality of their actions, they are betting that God does exist.

Check out the exchange here.  It’s an informative and enjoyable five minute read.

Stop Watch AntiqueOn February 25, 2009, Hugh Ross and Fuzale Rana from Reasons to Believe debated Michael Shermer (of Skeptic magazine fame) on the question of the scientific testability of divine creation.  Gary Whittenberger wrote an article on the debate for eSkeptic, a weekly email report produced by Skeptic magazine.  According to Whittenberger, “Ross asserted that God caused the beginning of time at the moment of the Big Bang.  As other Creationists often do, Ross seems to ignore the fact that an act of a person causing something is itself an event in time, and so he backs himself into the corner of contradiction by implying there was time before the beginning of time. Of course this makes no sense, but Ross is unfazed; he simply imagines that there is a supernatural time and a natural time and supposes that this solves everything.”

While I am familiar with Ross’ work, I do not know enough about his views on time and God’s relationship to it to either defend or critique his position.  Instead, I would like to challenge Whittenberger’s claim that God’s causal act of creation requires a time before time, and thus is nonsensical.  God’s causal act of creation requires no such thing.

God’s causal act of creation constituted the first moment of time (i.e. it was a temporal act), being simultaneous to the effect of the universe coming into being.  God’s causal act could not have been an eternal act, because that would require the universe to be eternal as well.  Let me explain.  A cause cannot exist without its corresponding effect.  Take (more…)

To say it is impossible to know anything about God is self-refuting, because it is itself a claim to know something about God: that he is unknowable.  How can one know that about an unknowable God?  To know He is unknowable is to know something true about Him, and thus He is no longer unknowable.

hellWhy does somebody need to believe in Jesus to be saved?  Our stock answer is so that they will go to heaven, not hell.  While true in itself, it obscures the real message of the Gospel because it doesn’t explain why Jesus is necessary, only what the consequences are.  It makes God sound petty, and unbelievers are quick to point this out.

A common misconception among Christians and non-Christians alike is that people go to hell because they haven’t heard of Jesus.  This is not true.  People go to hell because they are guilty of sin.  The only way to escape hell is to be innocent of sin, and the only way to be innocent of sin is to accept Christ’s atonement.  Men are not even condemned because they don’t believe. They are condemned already.  Belief is the only thing that can save them from their condemnation.  Their failure to believe simply allows them to reach the destination they were already headed for.  People do not die because they don’t visit the doctor, but because they have a disease.  Our disease is sin.  We will die of this cancer unless we acknowledge that we are incapable of doing anything about it, and seek help from a powerful Doctor.

Other Christians believe people can only go to hell if they have heard of Jesus, and then reject Him.  Those who have not heard of Christ are innocent and should be saved because of their ignorance, providing they followed the revelation of God they did have.  This view is often called the “light doctrine.”  Such a perspective invalidates the Christian message.  It turns redemption on its head, making knowledge of Christ the cause of one’s damnation rather than their only hope of escaping sure judgment.  It presumes that humanity contracts a disease by visiting the doctor, rather than having the disease by nature.  Rest assured that humanity will not escape judgment because of their ignorance.  Even those who have not heard of Jesus have sufficient evidence to know of God’s existence/nature and seek after Him, but all fall short of this revelation and are deserving of judgment (Rom 1-3).  Without Jesus all would be lost.  Jesus is not the cause of anyone’s condemnation—they are condemned already.

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