What Is Faith Really?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have been interested in reading the reaction to the debate between Dr. Tim McGrew and Dr. Peter Boghossian. I listened to the debate, and one thing struck me as particularly odd. There was a lot of time spent from the side of Dr. Boghossian discussing what he believes the majority of Christians in the 21st century mean when they refer to faith. However, I don’t believe that the topic of the debate was simply an issue that would be solved by Gallup. The topic in question is whether or not faith is a bad epistemology. In other words, the debate was supposed to be about the issue of whether or not faith is a bad “way of knowing.”

Those two questions could not be more different. In fact, I think that small example involving Dr. Boghossian might illustrate the difference. [Read more...]

What Did the Disciples See?

 

Introduction

When it comes to the Christian faith, there is no doctrine more important than the resurrection of Jesus. Biblical faith is not simply centered in ethical and religious teachings. Instead, it is founded on the person and work of Jesus. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, we as His followers are still dead in our sins (1Cor.15:7). Explanations try to show how something happened. That is, what is the cause for something that has happened. As I have noted elsewhere, the resurrection story started very, very, early. Also, there is an excellent post on the empty tomb issue over at Wintery Knight’s blog.

Anyway, let’s take a look at what explains the resurrection appearances. First, let’s observe the list of appearances:

• Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, shortly after his resurrection (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18)
• Jesus appears to the women returning from the empty tomb (Matthew 28:8-10)
• Jesus appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12,13; Luke 24:13-35)
• Jesus appears to Peter ( Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5)
• Jesus appears to his disciples, in Jerusalem. (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23).
• Jesus again appears to his disciples, in Jerusalem. At this time Thomas is present (John 20:24-29).
• Jesus appears to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 28:16; John 21:1,2)
• Jesus is seen by 500 believers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6)
• Jesus appears to James ( 1 Corinthians 15:7)
• Jesus appears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20).
• He appeared to his disciples (Luke 24:50-53).
• He appeared to Paul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).

I will go ahead and offer some comments from various scholars and what they say about the appearances and the experiences of the disciples: [Read more...]

Understanding the arguments in God’s not Dead: Part I of III

10152718_10102107087671332_1810004460_nSPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the movie yet, I suggest doing so before reading this.  While what I say here will not totally take away the fun of watching the movie, it may diminish your enjoyment to a certain extent.  I recommend seeing and supporting it in order that more movies like it may be produced.

So, you have seen the movie and you were intrigued by the arguments put forward in the classroom, but maybe the arguments went by a little quick, or maybe you just want a little more depth.  There is a lot of depth to be found in these argument, and in some cases, hundreds of years of thought behind what Josh put forward in the classroom, most of which would have been very familiar to his Philosophy professor.

The movie has certain elements and story-lines that interweave their way through the picture.  Some people’s lives are going well, while others are not.  Much like many other decidedly Christian movies, there is the stereotypical Atheist who seems all too eager to destroy Christian belief, but gets turned around by some event in life.  In many ways that is the character of Amy, who in her emotional distress,  begins to consider God.  When faced with the possibility of losing her life, she turns to the Creator.

The Character of Professor Radisson is different.  While ultimately it seems his Atheism was the result of an emotional trial, he, like many others, has found reasons, arguments, and evidence that he feels give the Atheist position the upper hand.  Too often I believe that we as Christians dismiss such intellectual arguments as a mere facade, a mask worn to cover the real reasons why people do not follow God.  This is much to our detriment.  While it may be the case that some Atheists ultimately believe what they do for emotional or moral reasons (wanting sexual freedom, etc.), the arguments they use can be legitimate and major barriers to coming to Christ.  These arguments can also lead to unprepared Christians losing their faith when confronted by Atheistic ideas.  Therefore, we must be prepared to give a well reasoned and well though out defense of our faith as Josh did in the movie, and as the Apostle Peter told us to do in I Peter 3:15.  [Read more...]

Is Matt Dillahunty’s Atheism a Worldview?

Earth and StarsIntroduction.

You may have heard it said that everybody has a worldview.In recent discussions with online atheists and having viewed several videos, I have noticed that this does not seem to be the case. Some are saying that atheism is not a worldview.  For example, one video that I stumbled upon was one from The Atheist Experiencewith Matt Dillahunty, was asked about the atheist worldview. Mr. Dillahunty interrupted the caller by saying that atheism is not a worldview, with the following,

There isnt one (a worldview). Atheism isnt a worldview. It is a position on a single issue and that is whether or not a God exists; however once you get to that point and youre now a person who is living a life without interference from gods, you then have to  begin  to put together a worldview that will allow you to assess the reality you experience. And so what youll find is that there are quite a lot of atheists who share similar views about science and things like that, but that doesnt necessarily mean that is the case. For example Buddhists are primarily atheists, and they have a number of supernatural ideas that I reject. So I am a skeptic and that’s what drives my atheism. I am applying skepticism and critical thinking to the ‘god claim’.’ Now I apply that to others as well but skepticism and humanism are far more along the lines of my worldview than atheism.  Atheism is just my take on the ‘god claim’. You can be an atheist and not support church state separation.[1]

In this posting I want to examine Dillahuntys statement and answer the question, is atheism really a worldview? As I navigate through this question, I believe Dillahuntys has either a misunderstanding, or is making a misrepresentation of the definition of a worldview. [Read more...]

Dissecting ‘One God Less’ Meme

One Less God: Australian University Atheists“I contend we are both atheists,” signed Stephen F. Roberts, “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.” Roberts is believed1 to be the person who crystallized and popularized this increasing reechoed sound bite when he began signing his online post with it in 1995.

Richard Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain reechoed this sound bite. Dawkins contended that:

[M]odern theists might acknowledge that, when it comes to Baal and the Golden Calf, Thor and Wotan, Poseidon and Apollo, Mithras and Ammon Ra, they are actually atheists. We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. (Dawkins 2004, 150)

Paraphrasing Socrates, let us examine this sound bite together, and see whether it is a real sound advice or a mere wind-egg. (Plat. Theaet. 151e). Contrary to Daniel C. Dennett (2006, 210), this is not “some sound advice” offered by Dawkins but a mere wind-egg because it confuses the conceptions of God with the concept of God. [Read more...]