The idea that we’re living in a culture of relativism seems to be uncontested and accepted without question. Post-modernists and relativists assume that we’ve progressed past the rigid constraints of ‘truth’, ‘falsity’, ‘reason’, and other oppressive concepts that actually undergird the fabric of rationality in the universe. However, I’m not convinced that we are truly living in a relativistic society—we still express outrage at moral injustices. This gives me hope that the West acknowledges some moral truths and is unwilling to deny objective morality. We are not ready to collapse into moral relativism because doing so would result in consequences that are simply impossible to live with.
In the movie Contact? Ellie told her father that she loved him, but she couldn’t prove it scientifically. That’s because science can’t do that sort of thing. Science can’t show that two people love each other. Science is simply a tool that we utilize to uncover facts about the observable universe. So here’s a fun fact: Science is not omniscient. It cannot answer all our questions. Not by any stretch of the imagination. And the idea that we can’t know anything unless we have scientific evidence for it, is ridiculous. The claim ‘We can’t know anything unless we can verify it scientifically’ cannot, itself, be verified scientifically. That kind of argument is self-defeating. Interesting, no? So when someone says, “There’s no scientific evidence for that, therefore I won’t believe it”, I can respond by saying either: [Read more...]
Richard Dawkins and the New Atheists have popularized the idea that atheism, contrary to other positions, is not a belief; it is simply ‘the absence of belief’ in God or a supreme being. It almost sounds esoteric. Theists believe that God exists and atheists merely lack that belief. Well, on that view, my Chevy is just as much of an atheist as Richard Dawkins, for it, too, lacks the belief that God exists. And I don’t say that lightly; I love my Chevy.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.(1)” He helped build the Civil Rights movement upon these moral laws: whites are not superior to blacks and discrimination based upon skin color is wrong. Dr. King believed that morality was objective: it was wrong to oppress non-whites regardless of both the government’s position on the issue and the opinion of millions of Americans.
The Moral Argument for the existence of God has been graced with a long tradition of defense from theistic (and atheistic!) philosophers and thinkers throughout the history of Western thought…and a long tradition of misunderstandings and objections by even some of the most brilliant minds. To be fair, the argument is not always as intuitive as theists like to think it is. Essentially, the moral argument seeks to infer God as the best explanation for the objective moral facts about the universe. One of the most popular formulations is as follows:
1. Objective morality cannot exist unless God exists.
2. Objective morality exists.
3. Therefore, God exists.
There are a host of common objections that are usually blown in the direction of this argument, but for the sake of brevity, I will only deal with five. [Read more...]
In New York, on March 3, 1964 at 3:15am, Kitty Genovese was attacked, raped, and killed after driving home from work. Her neighbors heard her screams and did nothing. They could have easily saved her from suffering, rape, and death. It would have taken, at most, a few seconds to call the police. Was that too much to ask for? By having not intervened, they seem to be partially, morally culpable for what happened. Their intervention could have saved her life. Seeing someone suffering and choosing to remain silent is inexcusable. Is not silence in the face of evil morally reprehensible? By this standard, then, it seems that God incriminates Himself. God is like the neighbor who hears the cries of Kitty Genovese– screaming and bleeding–and chooses to ignore her and let her die. He is the bystander holding the phone in his hand who witnesses a violent stabbing and rape and yet chooses not to alert the police authorities. He hears the cries of human persons, whom he supposedly loves, in pain. Christians claim that God does, in fact, do miracles, but this seems to only complicate things. Why does God only perform miracles in certain cases (if He really does do miracles) and not others?
In 2003, the short-film Most made its way onto the big screen. The film shows the story of a single father who takes his son to work with him at the bridge which he tends. He was responsible for raising and lowering the bridge at the appropriate times to allow ships and trains to pass. One day as the bridge remained raised, a train approached an hour before schedule. After failing to get his father’s attention and warn him to lower the bridge for the quickly approaching train, the boy attempted to manually lower it on his own and accidentally fell into the gear-works that enabled to bridge to operate. [Read more...]
In the Gospels, a rich, young man approached Jesus and said to him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus gave the infamous reply, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” This story is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke; critics of Jesus’ claims to deity often use it as ammunition in their case for a non-divine Jesus. It seems, they argue, that Jesus is denying deity here by refusing the title ‘good’ as it is something reserved solely for God. I contend that even a surface-level reading of this narrative does not even remotely support that conclusion.
If you ever want a good laugh, just visit a college campus and listen in on some random conversations. The weirdest topics are discussed. Let’s face it. Lots of dumb things are heard on college campuses. Most come from the mouths of arrogant undergrad students who think they know everything, but they’re not the only ones…Sometimes professors take the cake! Especially when it comes to religion, theology, and philosophy. Why is it that professors who know little to nothing about religion, theology, and philosophy like to make bold assertions about religion, theology, and philosophy? I’ve heard my fair share of ridiculous allegations made in the name of academics and I’ve decided to list the top 5 here.
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.”