Atheism, Science and God (2 of 2) w/ John Lennox, Alister McGrath and Keith Ward

Philosophy, Science and the God Debate (Part 2) ‘Science disproves the existence of God’ – and thanks to high profile scientists – many people unquestioningly believe it. But top Oxford Professors, John Lennox, Alister McGrath and Keith Ward effectively challenge this widespread belief and show that science and faith in God are not incompatible.

VIDEO by Christianity Reason and Science

Reclame

Atheism, Science and God (1 of 2) w/ John Lennox, Alister McGrath and Keith Ward

 

Philosophy, Science and the God Debate (Part 1) ‘Science disproves the existence of God’ – and thanks to high profile scientists – many people unquestioningly believe it. But top Oxford Professors, John Lennox, Alister McGrath and Keith Ward effectively challenge this widespread belief and show that science and faith in God are not incompatible. ‘Science disprovers the existence of God’ – and thanks to high profile scientists – many people unquestioningly believe it.

VIDEO by Christianity Reason and Science

Atheism

Matt Slick of carm.org discusses atheism.

Acts 16:31 TV – Episode 5 from Acts 16:31 TV on Vimeo.

Atheism Exposed – William Lane Craig, PhD

In this episode of Aramaic Broadcasting Network (July 2010), Brother Chris and David Wood interview William Lane Craig on Four Arguments for God’s Existence. VIDEO by Christianity Reason and Science

The Danger of Trying On Atheism – William Lane Craig, PhD

william lane craigRyan Bell (a pastor) decides to ‘live as an atheist’ for one year in the attempt to sort out anguishing questions. William Lane Craig has plenty to say about this methodology! He reacts to the Christianity Today article „The Problem With Trying On Atheism” (by Laura Turner).

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science You can read the transcript here – http://www.reasonablefaith.org

Spurgeon – Secret Sins

spurgeon-preachingIn this sermon, Spurgeon strives to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then he says, „I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.”

Here is a glimpse into what Spurgeon thought about secret sins:

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator?

Photo credit fishforpeople.tumblr.com

February 8, 1857  Sermon #116 from http://www.spurgeon.org

„Cleanse thou me from secret faults.—Psalm 19:12.

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS arises partly from pride but mainly from ignorance of God’s law. It is because men know little or nothing concerning the terrible character of the divine law, that they foolishly imagine themselves to be righteous. They are not aware of the deep spirituality, and the stern severity of the law, or they would have other and wiser notions. Once let them know how strictly the law deals with the thoughts, how it brings itself to bear upon every emotion of the inner man, and there is not one creature beneath God’s heaven who would dare to think himself righteous in God’s sight in virtue of his own deeds and thoughts. Only let the law be revealed to a man; let him know how strict the law is, and how infinitely just, and his self-righteousness will shrivel into nothing—it will become a filthy rag in his sight, whereas before he thought it to be a goodly garment.
Now, David, having seen God’s law, and having praised it in this Psalm, which I have read in your hearing, he is brought, by reflecting on its excellency, to utter this thought, „Who can understand his errors?” and then to offer this prayer, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon but in complying with that decree. What can equal the absurdity of such a decree as that? Do they suppose that they can tell their sins as easily as they can count their fingers? Why, if we could receive pardon for all our sins by telling every sin we have committed in one hour, there is not one of us who would be able to enter heaven, since, besides the sins that are known to us and that we may be able to confess, there are a vast mass of sins, which are as truly sins as those which we do observe, but which are secret, and come not beneath our eye. Oh! if we had eyes like those of God, we should think very differently of ourselves. The sins that we see and confess are but like the farmer’s small samples which he brings to market, when he has left his granary full at home. We have but a very few sins which we can observe and detect, compared with those which are hidden to ourselves and unseen by our fellow creatures. I doubt not it is true of all of us who are here, that in every hour of our existence in which we are active, we commit tens of thousands of unholinesses for which conscience has never reproved us, because we have never seen them to be wrong, seeing we have not studied God’s laws as we ought to have done. Now, be it known to us all that sin is sin, whether we see it or not—that a sin secret to us is a sin as truly as if we knew it to be a sin, though not so great a sin in the sight of God as if it had been committed presumptuously, seeing that it lacks the aggravation of willfulness. Let all of us who know our sins, offer this prayer after all our confessions: „Lord, I have confessed as many as I know, but I must add an etcetera after them, and say, ‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.'”

That, however, will not be the pith of my sermon this morning. I am going after a certain class of men who have sins not unknown to themselves, but secret to their fellow creatures. Every now and then we turn up a fair stone which lies upon the green sward of the professing church, surrounded with the verdure of apparent goodness, and to our astonishment we find beneath it all kinds of filthy insects and loathsome reptiles, and in our disgust as such hypocrisy, we are driven to exclaim, „All men are liars; there are none in whom we can put any trust at all.” It is not fair to say so of all; but really, the discoveries which are made of the insincerity of our fellow-creatures are enough to make us despise our kind, because they can go so far in appearances, and yet have so little soundness of heart. To you, sirs, who sin secretly, and yet make a profession; you break God’s covenants in the dark and wear a mask of goodness in the light—to you, sirs, who shut the doors and commit wickedness in secret—to you I shall speak this morning. O may God also be pleased to speak to you, and make you pray this prayer: „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

I shall endeavour to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins. And, first, I shall endeavour to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.

I. First, then, THE FOLLY OF SECRET SINS.

Pretender, thou art fair to look upon; thy conduct outwardly upright, amiable, liberal, generous and Christian; but thou dost indulge in some sin which the eye of man has not yet detected. Perhaps it is private drunkenness. Thou dost revile the drunkard when he staggers through the street; but thou canst thyself indulge in the same habit in private. It may be some other lust or vice; it is not for me just now to mention what it is. But, pretender, we say unto thee, thou art a fool to think of harbouring a secret sin; and thou art a fool for this one reason, that thy sin is not a secret sin; it is known, and shall one day be revealed; perhaps very soon. Thy sin is not a secret; the eye of God hath seen it; thou hast sinned before his face. Thou hast shut-to the door, and drawn the curtains, and kept out the eye of the sun, but God’s eye pierceth through the darkness; the brick walls which surrounded thee were as transparent as glass to the eye of the Almighty; the darkness which did gird thee was as bright as the summer’s noon to the eye of him who beholdeth all things. Knowest thou not, O man, that „all things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do?” As the priest ran his knife into the entrails of his victim, discovered the heart and liver, and what else did lie within, so art thou, O man, seen by God, cut open by the Almighty; thou hast no secret chamber where thou canst hide thyself; thou hast no dark cellar where thou canst conceal thy soul. Dig deep, ay, deep as hell, but thou canst not find earth enough upon the globe to cover thy sin; if thou shouldst heap the mountains on its grave, those mountains would tell the tale of what was buried in their bowels. If thou couldst cast thy sin into the sea, a thousand babbling waves would tell the secret out. There is no hiding it from God. Thy sin is photographed in high heaven; the deed when it was done was photographed upon the sky, and there it shall remain, and thou shalt see thyself one day revealed to the gazing eyes of all men, a hypocrite, a pretender, who didst sin in fancied secret, observed in all thine acts by the all-seeing Jehovah. O what fools men are, to think they can do anything in secret. This world is like the glass hives wherein bees sometimes work: we look down upon them, and we see all the operations of the little creatures. So God looketh down and seeth all. Our eyes are weak; we cannot look through the darkness; but his eye, like an orb of fire, penetrateth the blackness; and readeth the thoughts of man, and seeth his acts when he thinks himself most concealed. Oh; it were a thought enough to curb us from all sin, if it were truly applied to us—”Thou, God, seest me!” Stop thief! Drop thou that which thou hast taken to thyself. God seeth thee! No eye of detection on earth hath discovered thee, but God’s eyes are now looking through the clouds upon thee. Swearer! scarce any for whom thou carest heard thy oath; but God heard it; it entered into the ears of the Lord God of Sabbaoth. Ah! thou who leadest a filthy life, and yet art a respectable merchant bearing among men a fair and goodly character; thy vices are all known; written in God’s book. He keepeth a diary of all thine acts; and what wilt thou think on that day when a crowd shall be assembled, compared with which this immense multitude is but a drop of a bucket, and God shall read out the story of thy secret life, and men and angels shall hear it. Certain I am there are none of us who would like to have all our secrets read, especially our secret thoughts. If I should select out of this congregation the most holy man, should bring him forward and say, „Now, sir, I know all your thoughts, and am about to tell them,” I am sure he would offer me the largest bribe that he could gather if I would be pleased to conceal at least some of them. „Tell,” He would say, „of my acts; of them I am not ashamed; but do not tell my thoughts and imaginations—of them I must ever stand ashamed before God.” What, then, sinner, will be thy shame when thy privy lusts, thy closet transgressions, thy secret crimes shall be gazetted from God’s throne, published by his own mouth, and with a voice louder than a thousand thunders preached in the ears of an assembled world? What will be thy terror and confusion then, when all the deeds thou hast done shall be published in the face of the sun, in the ears of all mankind. O renounce the foolish hope of secresy, for thy sin is this day recorded, and shall one day be advertised upon the walls of heaven. Photo credit below revivenations.org

II. In the next place, let us notice THE MISERY OF SECRET SINS.

Of all sinners the man who makes a profession of religion, and yet lives in iniquity, is the most miserable. A downright wicked man, who takes a glass in his hand, and says, „I am a drunkard, I am not ashamed of it,” he shall be unutterably miserable in worlds to come, but brief though it be, he has his hour of pleasure. A man who curses and swears, and says, „That is my habit, I am a profane man,” and makes a profession of it, he has, at least, some peace in his soul; but the man who walks with God’s minister, who is united with God’s Church, who comes out before God’s people, and unites with them, and then lives in sin, what a miserable existence he must have of it! Why, he has a worse existence than the mouse that is in the parlour, running out now and then to pick up the crumbs, and then back again to his hole. Such men must run out now and then to sin; and oh! how fearful they are to be discovered! One day, perhaps, their character turns up; with wonderful cunning they manage to conceal and gloss it over; but the next day something else comes, and they live in constant fear, telling lie after lie, to make the last lie appear truthful, adding deception to deception, in order that they may not be discovered.

„Oh! ‘tis a tangled web we weave,
When once we venture to deceive.”

If I must be a wicked man, give me the life of a roystering sinner, who sins before the face of day; but, if I must sin, let me not act as a hypocrite and a coward; let me not profess to be God’s, and spend my life for the devil. That way of cheating the devil is a thing which every honest sinner will be ashamed of. He will say, „Now, if I do serve my master I will serve him out and out, I will have no sham about it; if I make a profession, I will carry it out; but if I do not, if I live in sin, I am not going to gloss it over by cant and hypocrisy.” One thing which has hamstringed the church, and cut her very sinews in twain, has been this most damnable hypocrisy. Oh! in how many places have we men whom you might praise to the very skies, if you could believe their words, but whom you might cast into the nethermost pit if you could see their secret actions. God forgive any of you who are so acting! I had almost said, I can scarce forgive you. I can forgive the man who riots openly, and makes no profession of being better, but the man who fawns, and cants, and pretends, and prays, and then lives in sin, that man I hate, I cannot bear him, I abhor him from my very soul. If he will turn from his ways, I will love him, but in his hypocrisy he is to me the most loathsome of all creatures. ‘Tis said the toad doth wear a jewel in her head, but this man hath none, but beareth filthiness about him, while he pretends to be in love with righteousness. A mere profession, my hearers, is but painted pageantry to go to hell in; it is like the plumes upon the hearse and the trappings upon the black horses which drag men to their graves, the funeral array of dead souls. Take heed above everything of a waxen profession that will not stand the sun; take care of a life that needs to have two faces to carry it out; be one thing, or else the other. If you make up your mind to serve Satan, do not pretend to serve God; and if you serve God, serve him with all your heart. „No man can serve two masters;” do not try it, do not endeavour to do it, for no life will be more miserable than that. Above all, beware of committing acts which it will be necessary to conceal. There is a singular poem by Hood, called „The Dream of Eugene Aram”—a most remarkable piece it is indeed, illustrating the point on which I am now dwelling. Aram has murdered a man and cast his body into the river—”a sluggish water, black as ink, the depth was so extreme.” The next morning he visited the scene of his guilt:

„And sought the black accursed pool,
With a wild misgiving eye;
And he saw the dead in the river bed,
For the faithless stream was dry.”

Next he covered the corpse with heaps of leaves, but a mighty wind swept through the wood and left the secret bare before the sun:

„Then down I cast me on my face,
And first began to weep,
For I knew my secret then was one
The earth refused to keep;
On land or sea though it should be
Ten thousand fathoms deep.”

In plaintive notes he prophesies his own discovery. He buried his victim in a cave, and trod him down with stones, but when years had run their weary round the foul deed was discovered and the murderer put to death.

Guilt is a „grim chamberlain,” even when his fingers are not bloody red. Secret sins bring fevered eyes and sleepless nights, until men burn out their consciences, and become in very deed ripe for the pit. Hypocrisy is a hard game to play at, for it is one deceiver against many observers; and for certain it is a miserable trade, which will earn at last, as its certain climax, a tremendous bankruptcy. Ah! ye who have sinned without discovery, „Be sure your sin will find you out;” and bethink you, it may find you out ere long. Sin, like murder, will come out; men will even tell tales about themselves in their dreams. God has sometimes made men so pricked in their consciences that they have been obliged to stand forth and confess the story. Secret sinner! If thou wantest the foretaste of damnation upon earth, continue in thy secret sins; for no man is more miserable than he who sinneth secretly, and yet trieth to preserve a character. Yon stag, followed by the hungry hounds, with open mouths, is far more happy than the man who is followed by his sins. Yon bird, taken in the fowler’s net, and labouring to escape, is far more happy than he who hath weaved around himself a web of deception, and labours to escape from it day by day by making the toils more thick and the web more strong. Oh! the misery of secret sins! Truly, one may pray, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Photo credit below hannapot.wordpress.com)

III. But now, next, the guilt THE SOLEMN GUILT OF SECRET SIN.

Now, John, you do not think there is any evil in a thing unless somebody sees it, do you? You feel that it is a very great sin if your master finds you out in robbing the till—but there is no sin if he should not discover it—none at all. And you, sir, you fancy it to be very great sin to play a trick in trade, in case you should be discovered and brought before the court; but to play a trick and never be discovered, that is all fair—do not say a word about it Mr. Spurgeon, it is all business; you must not touch business; tricks that are not discovered, of course you are not to find fault with them. The common measure of sin is the notoriety of it. But I do not believe in that. A sin is a sin, whether done in private or before the wide world. It is singular how men will measure guilt. A railway servant puts up a wrong signal, there is an accident; the man is tried, and severely reprimanded. The day before he put up the wrong signal, but there was no accident, and therefore no one accused him for his neglect. But it was just the same, accident or no accident, the accident did not make the guilt, it was the deed which made the guilt, not the notoriety nor yet the consequence of it. It was his business to have taken care; and he was as guilty the first time as he was the second, for he negligently exposed the lives of men. Do not measure sin by what other people say of it; but measure sin by what God says of it, and what your own conscience says of it.

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator? There are some who would not for the life of them say a wicked word in the presence of their minister, but they can do it, knowing God is looking at them. They are Atheists. There are some who would not trick in trade for all the world if they thought they would be discovered, but they can do it while God is with them; that is, they think more of the eye of man than of the eye of God; and they think it worse to be condemned by man than to be condemned by God. Call it by what name you will, the proper name of that is practical Atheism. It is dishonoring God; it is dethroning him; putting him down below his own creatures; and what is that, but to take away his divinity? Brethren, do not, I beseech you, incur the fearful guilt of secret sins. No man can sin a little in secret, it will certainly engender more sin; no man can be a hypocrite and yet be moderate in guilt; he will go from bad to worse, and still proceed, until when his guilt shall be published, he shall be found to be the very worst and most hardened of men. Take heed of the guilt of secret sin. AH, now if could I preach as Rowland Hill did, I would make some people look to themselves at home, and tremble too! It is said that when he preached, there was not a man in the window, or standing in the crowd, or perched up anywhere, but said, „There, he is preaching at me; he is telling me about my secret sins.” And when he proclaimed God’s omniscience, it is said men would almost think they saw God bodily present in the midst of them looking at them. And when he had done his sermon, they would hear a voice in their ears, „Can any hide himself in secret places that I cannot see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” I would I could do that; that I could make every man look to himself, and find out his secret sin. Come my hearer, what is it? Bring it forth to the daylight; perhaps it will die in the light of the sun. These things love not to be discovered. Tell thine own conscience, now, what it is. Look it in the face; confess it before God, and may he give thee grace to remove that sin and every other, and turn to him with full purpose of heart! But this know—that thy guilt is guilt discovered or undiscovered, and that if there be any difference it is worse, because it has been secret. God save us from the guilt of secret sin! „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” Photo credit http://www.shimmerzineff.webs.com

IV. And note, next, THE DANGER OF SECRET SIN.

One danger is, that a man cannot commit a little sin in secret, without being by-and-by betrayed into a public sin. You cannot, sir, though you may think you can preserve a moderation in sin. If you commit one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier upon the Alps; the others must follow in time. As certainly as you heap one stone upon the cairn to-day, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot decree where it shall stay its work. It will not build its rock just as high as you please, it will not stay until it shall be covered with weeds, until the weeds shall decay; and there shall be soil upon it, and an island shall be created by tiny creatures. Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle. „But I am going to have a little drink now and then, I am only going to be intoxicated once a week or so. Nobody will see it; I shall be in bed directly.” You will be drunk in the streets soon. „I am only just going to read one lascivious book; I will put it under the sofa-cover when any one comes in.” You will keep it in your library yet, sir. „I am only going into that company now and then.” You will go there every day, such is the bewitching character of it; you cannot help it. You may as well ask the lion to let you put your head into his mouth. You cannot regulate his jaws: neither can you regulate sin. Once go into it, you cannot tell when you will be destroyed. You may be such a fortunate individual, that like Van Amburgh you may put your head in and out a great many times; reset assured that one of these days it will be a costly venture. Again, you may labour to conceal your vicious habit, but it will come out, you cannot help it. You keep your little pet sin at home; but mark this, when the door is ajar the dog will be out in the street. Wrap him up in your bosom, put over him fold after fold of hypocrisy to keep him secret, the wretch will be singing some day when you are in company; you cannot keep the evil bird still. Your sin will gad abroad; and what is more, you will not mind it some of these days. A man who indulges in sin privately, by degrees gets his forehead as hard as brass. The first time he sinned, the drops of sweat stood on his brow at the recollection of what he had done; the second time, no hot sweat on his brow, only an agitation of the muscle; the third time there was the sly, sneaky look, but no agitation; the next time, he sinned a little further; and by degrees he became the bold blasphemer of his God, who exclaimed, „Who am I that I should fear Jehovah, and who is he that I should serve him?” Men go from bad to worse. Launch your boat in the current—it must go where the current takes it. Put yourself in the whirlwind—you are but a straw in the wind: you must go which way the wind carries you—you cannot control yourself. The balloon can mount, but it cannot direct its course; it must go whichever way the wind blows. If you once mount into sin there is no stopping. Take heed if you would not become the worst of characters, take heed of the little sins, they, mounting one upon another, may at last heave you from the summit and destroy your soul for ever. There is a great danger in secret sins.

But I have here some true Christians who indulge in secret sins. They say it is but a little one, and therefore do they spare it. Dear brethren, I speak to you, and I speak to myself, when I say this—let us destroy all our little secret sins. They are called little and if they be, let us remember that it is the foxes, even the little foxes, that spoil our vines; for our vines have tender shoots. Let us take heed of our little sins. A little sin, like a little pebble in the shoe, will make a traveller to heaven walk very wearily. Little sins, like little thieves, may open the door to greater ones outside. Christians, recollect that little sins will spoil your communion with Christ. Little sins, like little stains in silk, may damage the fine texture of fellowship; little sins, like little irregularities in the machinery, may spoil the whole fabric of your religion. The one dead fly spoileth the whole pot of ointment. That one thistle may seed a continent with noxious weeds. Let us, brethren, kill our sins as often as we can find them. One said—”The heart is full of unclean birds; it is a cage of them.” „Ah, but,” said another divine, „you must not make that an apology, for a Christian’s business is to wring their necks.” And so it is; if there be evil things, it is our business to kill them. Christians must not tolerate secret sins. We must not harbour traitors; it is high treason against the King of Heaven. Let us drag them out to light, and offer them upon the altar, giving up the dearest of our secret sins at the will and bidding of God. There is a great danger in a little secret sin; therefore avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it and shun it; and God give thee grace to overcome it!

V. And now I come, in finishing up, to plead with all my might with some of you

whom God has pricked in your consciences. I have come to intreat you, if it be possible, even to tears, that you will give up your secret sins. I have one here for whom I bless God; I love him, though I know him not. He is almost persuaded to be a Christian; he halteth between two opinions; he intendeth to serve God, he striveth to give up sin, but he findeth it a hard struggle, and as yet he knoweth not what shall become of him. I speak to him with all love: my friend, will you have your sin and go to hell, or leave your sin and go to heaven? This is the solemn alternative: to all awakened sinners I put it; may God choose for you, otherwise I tremble as to which you may choose. The pleasures of this life are so intoxicating, the joys of it so ensnaring, that did I not believe that God worketh in us to will and to do, I should despair of you. But I have confidence that God will decide the matter. Let me lay the alternative before you:—on the one hand there is a hour’s merriment, a short life of bliss, and that a poor, poor bliss; on the other hand, there is everlasting life and eternal glory. On the one hand, there is a transient happiness, and afterwards overwhelming woe; in this case there is a solid peace and everlasting joy, and after it overflowing bliss. I shall not fear to be called an Arminian, when I say, as Elijah did, „Choose you this day whom you will serve. If God be God, serve him; if Baal be God serve him.” But, now, make your choice deliberately; and may God help you to do it! Do not say you will take up with religion, without first counting the cost of it; remember, there is your lust to be given up, your pleasure to be renounced; can you do it for Christ’s sake? Can you? I know you cannot, unless God’s grace shall assist you in making such a choice. But can you say, „Yes, by the help of God, earth’s gaudy toys, its pomps, pageantries, gewgaws, all these I renounce?—

„These can never satisfy,
Give me Christ or else I die.”

Sinner, thou wilt never regret that choice, if God help thee to make it; thou wilt find thyself a happy man here, and thrice happy throughout eternity.

„But,” says one, „Sir, I intend to be religious, but I do not hold with your strictness.” I do not ask you to do so; I hope, however, you will hold withGod’s strictness, and God’s strictness is ten thousand times greater than mine. You may say that I am puritanical in my preaching; God will be puritanical in judging in that great day. I may appear severe, but I can never be so severe as God will be. I may draw the harrow with sharp teeth across your conscience, but God shall drag harrows of eternal fire across you one day. I may speak thundering things! God will not speak them, but hurl them from his hands. Remember, men may laugh at hell, and say there is none; but they must reject their Bibles before they can believe the lie. Men’s consciences tell them that

„There is a dreadful hell,
And everlasting pains;
Where sinners must with devils dwell,
In darkness, fire and chains.”

Sirs, will ye keep your secret sins, and have eternal fire for them? Remember it is of no use, they must all be given up, or else you cannot be God’s child. You cannot by any means have both; it cannot be God and the world, it cannot be Christ and the devil; it must be one or the other. Oh! that God would give you grace to resign all; for what are they worth? They are your deceivers now, and will be your tormentors for ever. Oh! that your eyes were open to see the rottenness, the emptiness and trickery of iniquity. Oh! that God would turn you to himself. Oh! may God give you grace to cross the Rubicon of repentance at this very hour; to say, „Henceforth it is war to the knife with my sins; not one of them will I willingly keep, but down with them, down with them; Canaanite, Hittite, Jebusite, they shall all be driven out.”

„The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from its throne,
And worship only thee.”

„But oh! sir, I cannot do it; it would be like pulling my eyes out.” Ay, but hear what Christ says: „It were better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” „But it would be like cutting my arms off.” Ay, and it would be better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, than to be cast into hell fire for ever. Oh! when the sinner comes before God at last, do you think he will speak as he does now? God will reveal his secret sins: the sinner will not then say, „Lord, I thought my secret sins so sweet, I could not give them up.” I think I see how changed it will be then. „Sir” you say now, „you are too strict;” will you say that when the eyes of the Almighty are glowering on you? You say now, „Sir, you are too precise;” will you say that to God Almighty’s face? „Sir, I mean to keep such-and-such a sin.” Can you say it at God’s bar at last? You will not dare to do it then. Ah! when Christ comes a second time, there will be a marvellous change in the way men talk. Methinks I see him; there he sits upon his throne. Now, Caiaphas, come and condemn him now! Judas! comes and kiss him now! What do you stick at, man? Are you afraid of him? Now, Barrabbas! go; see whether they will prefer you to Christ now. Swearer, now is your time; you have been a bold man; curse him to his face now. Now drunkard; stagger up to him now. Now infidel; tell him there is no Christ now—now that the world is lit with lightning and the earth is shaken with thunder till the solid pillars thereof do bow themselves—tell God there is no God now; now laugh at the Bible; now scoff at the minister. Why men, what is the matter with you? Why, can’t you do it? Ah! there you are; you have fled to the hills and to the rocks—”Rocks hide us! mountains fall on us; hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.” Ah! where are now your boasts, your vauntings, and your glories? Alas! alas! for you, in that dread day of wonders.

Secret sinner, what will then become of thee? Go out of this place unmasked; go out to examine thyself, go out to bend thy knee, go out to weep, go out to pray. God give thee grace to believe! And oh, how sweet and pleasant the thought, that this day sinners have fled to Christ, and men have been born again to Jesus! Brethren, ere I finish, I repeat the words at which so many have cavilled—it is now, or never, it is turn or burn. Solemnly in God’s sight I say it; if it be not God’s truth I must answer for it in the great day of account. Your consciences tell you it is true. Take it home, and mock me if you will; this morning I am clear of your blood: if any seek not God, but live in sin, I shall be clear of your blood in that day when the watchman shall have your souls demanded of him; oh, may God grant that you may be cleared in a blessed manner! When I went down those pulpit stairs a Sabbath or two ago, a friend said to me words which have been in my mind ever since—”Sir, there are nine thousand people this day without excuse in the day of judgment.” It is true of you this morning. If you are damned, it will be not for want of preaching to you, and it shall not be for want of praying for you. God knoweth that if my heart could break of itself, it would, for your souls, for God is my witness, how earnestly I long for you in the bowels of Christ Jesus. Oh, that he might touch your hearts and bring you to him! For death is a solemn thing, damnation is a horrible thing, to be out of Christ is a dreadful thing, to be dead in sin is a terrific thing. May God lead you to view these things as they are, and save you, for his mercy’s sake! „He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.”

„Lord, search my soul, try every thought;
Though my own heart accuse me not
Of walking in a false disguise,
I beg the trial of thine eyes.Doth secret mischief lurk within?
Do I indulge some unknown sin?
O turn my feet whene’er I stray,
And lead me in thy perfect way.”

Short Biography of C.H. Spurgeon:

spurgeonCharles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 January 31, 1892) was a British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers.” In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon’s which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him after his death.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Arguably, no other author, Christian or otherwise, has more material in print than C.H. Spurgeon.

Related articles

Why some college kids chose atheism

Photo credit www.collegescholarships.org

Larry Alex Taunton and his Christian foundation did a study of college students who are committed atheists, asking them why they chose atheism. What they learned is interesting. Excerpt from his Atlantic piece:

  • They had attended church

Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Christianity.

  • The mission and message of their churches was vague

These students heard plenty of messages encouraging “social justice,” community involvement, and “being good,” but they seldom saw the relationship between that message, Jesus Christ, and the Bible.

  • They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions

When our participants were asked what they found unconvincing about the Christian faith, they spoke of evolution vs. creation, sexuality, the reliability of the biblical text, Jesus as the only way, etc. Some had gone to church hoping to find answers to these questions. Others hoped to find answers to questions of personal significance, purpose, and ethics. Serious-minded, they often concluded that church services were largely shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant.

  • They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously

There’s more, including the discovery that the high school years were decisive for these young atheists, in determining their religious (irreligious, I mean) path.

“Shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant” — as a description of what I thought of church during my teenage years, does that ever strike a resonant chord within me. It was only when I got to college and understood that Christianity was so much more than I had ever imagined — that it could captivate the minds and gain the allegiance of men like Kierkegaard, Thomas Merton, Dostoevsky, the designers of Chartres cathedral, and so on — that I began to take it seriously. Kierkegaard in particular revealed to me why I had no use for Christianity as I understood it till then: I thought being a Christian was a feature of being a good middle-class American, and nothing more. If that’s all it is, then, to borrow a phrase from Flannery O’Connor, to hell with it.

I can understand why a bright college student would find atheism more compelling than Christianity, if that’s the only kind of Christianity he had seen. In the Netherlands last week, a friend of mine, not a Christian, said that the Church had to liberalize if it was going to hold on to young people. (He meant on sexual teaching.) I told him that it would seem that way, but that’s actually not true. Social science data show that the churches that have liberalized have no more luck holding on to young people than those who remain more or less traditionalist. When young people become more liberal in their views, they don’t seek out more liberal churches, which are available to them, but quit going to church at all. This makes intuitive sense to me. If church makes no serious demands on you, and you can pick and choose what you want to believe of the tradition to suit your preferences, then the religion will have no particular hold on you. Put another way, if church is only about teaching you how to be good, as distinct from teaching you how to be holy, then its appeal is significantly diminished, or so it seems to me.

Click here to read article in its entirety – http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/why-they-left-god/

Filling Naturalism’s Void – Gary Habermas, PhD (video & transcript)

This is a lecture on world views, given by Dr. Gary R. Habermas at Liberty University in 2012.

Naturalism has been the predominant world view in western civilization universities throughout all of our lifetimes. There has never been a time, in all of our lifetimes when that has not been the case. It runs the western university. It does not run the whole world university system. Other places in the world are not like that. But in western North America, western Europe, Australia, and in other places as well, in China, in the old Russia- the University system encapsulates a naturalistic world view which says: The natural world is all that there is. There is no supernatural world and what we know, we usually know by sense experience. That has dominated education philosophically, it’s dominated western education since at least the 1930’s.

But, for the first time in our lifetime, there’s a new phenomenon that seems to be sweeping the western world right now. I wrote about it in 1988, in a journal article. You can find it on my website garyhabermas.com. But, the name of the article was ‘Changing Paradigms- A Challenge to Naturalism‘.  This was 1988, and I said there were some signs that naturalism was going out. Now, we have secular philosophers and other saying: naturalism’s dead. Now, I think that’s a little premature, but something does seem to be happening.

A lot of you know that I became a good friend of Anthony Flew‘s before he passed away. He came to Liberty University in 1985. He was the best known philosophical atheist in the world, and by the way, naturalism is the world view from which atheism…. I think of atheism as a subcategory . Naturalism is the philosophical Father of that sort of thinking. And Tony Flew was the best known philosophical naturalist (he was an atheist) in the world. He came to campus and we debated the topic of the resurrection of Jesus in 1985. It became a book with what was then Harper & Rowe. Over the years, Tony and I got to be very close. We used to talk about a lot of things. One day we did our last debate, in 2003. We debated 3 times, soon afterwards, a year later I heard that Tony’s view was changing. I called him one day on the phone and I said, „I heard that you don’t consider yourself an atheist anymore. He said, „Well, sort of, I don’t, but, I’m in a state of flux right now,” and he said, „about a month ago, I thought that was my view, but, now, I think I’m still an atheist, but, with really big questions.”

We talked in between, but I called him a year later, and he said, „This time I’ve made the switch.” I’m no longer an atheist. I believe in God. This book came out in 2004, and notice the word NO crossed out- And There is a God. The subtitle is ‘How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind’. Now, this was huge and it really bothered the atheistic community. If a Christian deconverted, I would be very sad about it , but I don’t think it affects the truth of Christianity. Somehow, the atheist group has acted like this has been … they tried to explain it other ways: He’s senile, he’s getting old… Jay Leno said in a joke on his show, „Hey, this well known philosophical atheist, he’s 85 years old. I guess if I was 85 years old, I’d get right with God too.” Well, the thing is that Tony Flew didn’t believe in an afterlife. So that was not his motivation, for doing this. (Photo via www.npr.org Order from Amazon here – http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Cosmos-Materialist-Neo-Darwinian-Conception)

Here’s a more recent example. Thomas Nagel, University Professor at New York University, in both philosophy and law. He published this book: Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Now, you have to know how influential of a person he is. He’s not Anthony Flew, but, he’s extremely influential. I should tell you that Anthony Flew wrote more material defending atheism than anybody whoever lived. What a moniker. But, Thomas Nagel is hugely influential, and yet he is saying, „Looks like we’re losing.”

To me, this is the one that really caught my eye. I know a person who knows David Brooks, and I understand He is not a Christian. He wrote an article in the New York Times called ‘The Neural Buddhists‘. Basically, he says: Some people think atheism is center stage in this country because of New Atheism. He says, „I’ve got news for you: Atheism is dead. Atheism is dead in the western world. Something else has already taken its place. And, he defined the 2 main takers, (which) he calls ‘Neural Buddhism’- which he says is made up of a number of sciences, but this is later brain research that is now allowing for supernatural areas, at least religious areas, he says, That’s one group.” And, he says, „The other group is the Judeo-Christian heritage. They are the 2 takers for filling naturalism’s void.” Look at some of these comments/quotes:

  • The cognitive revolution- you might think it’s good news because atheism is dead and religion is coming back in, but it’s gonna challenge Christianity, if we’re not careful.
  • The momentum has shifted from hardcore materialism (which is a species of naturalism). He says it shifted. Now, when he says this may not be comfortable for Christianity, what he says is: The 2 big views- Neural Buddhism, what we would probably call the New Age Movement (which is backed up by a number of empirical science studies), (so,) Neural Buddhism vs. some revelatory religion.- he uses the Judeo-Christian heritage. He keeps talking about the Bible.   Here’s what they both have in common. They’re both open to God because naturalism’s dead, they’re both interested and open to religion They’re both okay with prayer, general prayer, general worship, afterlife; that’s okay. But he says, here’s what Christians believe that Neural Buddhists don’t believe. He says, Christians believe that there are specific revealed doctrines that are true. Now, he doesn’t say that, but we would with things like reincarnation, deity of Christ, a God of the universe who reveals Himself to a people- the Israelites, and is concerned that people come to know Jesus Christ. He says, „Those specific doctrines are not shared by the Neural Buddhists. He says, „They’re gonna say that that’s your addition to evolutionary views of spirituality. And you can be spiritual. You can believe in God, you can worship. You can pray. You can believe in an afterlife (sort of, don’t be too adamant about it) . But, if you believe in particular doctrines, prove it!” That’s what David Brooks says in his article. „If you believe in particular articles of faith, show why those doctrines are true.” Because the other group doesn’t believe that, so the biggest rub is gonna be to show your specific religious views are true.
  • „We’re in the middle of a scientific revolution and it’s gonna be having huge cultural effects. It’s going on now.” What he’s saying is naturalists don’t know they’ve lost. They’re losing, but he says, „They’re not losing, they’ve lost. The world’s passing them by.”

How are we gonna fill this void left by naturalism?

  1. New Atheism – My question is: How are we gonna fill this void left by naturalism and this battle with such things as The New Atheism? They still have some influence, although numbers show that atheists are very small. One recent survey said that only 2% of Americans are atheists. I think it’s higher than that. But the New Atheists are having real influence with our young people (ages) 18-25.
  2. New Age 
  3. Postmodernism

Those are forms, minus the atheism, those are the forms that this is coming in. And David Brooks, whom I understand is Jewish, David Brooks says, „If you’ve got specific doctrines, prove it. If you wanna say what Neural Buddhists say, but more, tell us what more and why? Why are there more doctrines? Why should we believe it? (13:00)

I’ve been starting to work with a concept in the last 10 years, that basically says this: When I talk to you about apologetics in the area of philosophy or theology, which talks about evidences. Every religion has apologetics, but, Christian apologetics are: How do we know some of these general areas like God, and morality, and afterlife are true? And how do we know the specific areas, areas like incarnation, deity of Christ, the death and resurrection of Jesus, things that are central to our faith, how do we know these things are true? That’s the subject of apologetics. When I say apologetics, most people think – Bible. We think of it as largely defending a body of doctrine that closed about 2000 years ago. But, what I’m gonna argue is that apologetics is a contemporary aspect and there are many, many new subjects that we have not had research on, at least the kind of research I’m talking about, more recently than the last 30 years. When you think apologetics, you might not just think New Testament anymore, you might think some additional research today that evidences what we believe. (Transcript continues below video)

2012 – Lecture by Gary R. Habermas VIDEO by religionphilosophy

Consciousness does not cease to exist with death of the physical body

On the subject of near death experiences- these have now been written up. My last count of 5 years ago, the subject of near death experiences has been written up in at least 15-20 different medical journals. Now, why would peer reviewed secular medical journals run articles on these. Now, first, when these came out, everyone was talking, „Yeah, it’s interesting and we’ve got some interesting cases there. I’m not talking about people who died and saw a light, went down a tunnel, and ‘wow’, doesn’t that prove that it’s true? No, it doesn’t. It might just prove common physiology, or common neurology. But, in over 100 cases, I and another individual, who is the editor of the only peer reviewed near-death journal in the world (I’m a reviewer for that journal- in fact, it’s secular, it’s largely eastern, and marginally Neuro Buddhist. The two of us, between us (I’ve not seen her list), but, we both have a list of over 100 well evidenced near death experiences. They are incredibly evidential, where a person sees something while they claim to be in an out of body state. Some of them are incredible, the person reports things that happen miles away. This has very much surprised a lot of people. And, these have been written up in a lot of journals, but, what does it show?

This indicates for a lot of folks that consciousness does not cease to exist with death of the physical body.  You say, „Well, yeah, because the brain doesn’t die right away, and you might still see something for 2,3 or 4 minutes. Well, there are reports of these things going on for hours when the person is dead. Here is one of the evidential stories and according to a Gallup survey 20 years ago, 8 million Americans have claimed to have experienced near death phenomenon of some sort. Maybe they didn’t die, but, they’ve watched someone else describe this sort of thing. How about blind folks who have never seen anything in their whole lives until their near death experienceThey report something that happens down the road, they come back and correctly report it, and now they’re still blind, but they saw something during the experience. Some of these reports come with flat EEG and flat EKG’s. This is a general category. (19:25)

How about specific Christian categories? All in the last 20 or 30 years. You say ‘Resurrection’, that’s a New Testament study. I mean it is, but the latest New Testament research that is turned… I often give a lecture at universities called „The Resurrection that Changed a Generation of Scholars”. Today, more critics than not believe something happened to the risen Jesus. And that evidence is only about 30 years old. You might think the shroud of Turin is dead. Not so. A new round of experiments are being done right now, they’re not telling you much about them, but it could either make it or break it.

Documented miracle claims

Some of us have thought, „I’ve got a few cases like this in my family. I wouldn’t call it a miracle, but 3 things have happened in my family and I think they qualify as a miracle. And I think, for the most part, Christians have been very much influenced by this naturalistic mindset , and when things happen to us that are miracles, we very frequently, just like the naturalists, maybe not as radically, but we’ll just as frequently say, „Ah, crazy things happen, and we sweep it under the carpet and we forget about it. We don’t really count is as miracles, cause we just really doubt that miracles happen, so we don’t tell anybody. We sort of think miracles occur.

A New Testament scholar, Craig Keener, phD from Duke University in New testament, and a minor in classics, and this is amazing because the classics come into this study. Craig was doing a commentary on the Book of Acts- 3000 pages. Craig is famous for this. He wrote a book ‘The Historical Jesus’ 400 pages and the end notes were 400 pages. Well, his book on Acts has 100,000 parallels with classical studies. So, he’s going through the book of Acts and he comes across these miracle accounts. So, he decided to start collecting evidence for miracle cases. The result is a 2 volume work , that, if you’re interested in this topic, you’ve got to see it, it’s a masterpiece. It has come out in 2 volumes. It’s from Baker Academics, it’s entitled ‘Miracles’. It is 1,200 pages of evidenced miracle claims.

Many of these (miracles), and I know we have a lot of medical people here, if I told you some of these cases you would say, „Mmm, no this doesn’t happen.” Let me tell you one. A fellow who had a spleen removed for medical reasons and when he got out of the hospital, they took him to the church post-op, getting ready for his post-op checkup and they laid hands on and prayed for him. He went back there and he’s got a spleen. He’s got another spleen. No way. What do you do with it? Here’s the before, and here’s the after. They do have cases of where bones have grown on the spot. They do have cases where heart valves have been replaced on the spot. You say, „That can’t happen.” Well, the guy who spread that story- an MD, phD, professor from UCLA School of Medicine, who spent 4 years at Mayo Clinic.

When you read Craig’s accounts, 1,200 pages, after a while you think, Wow, there’s no more room for skepticism.” Or double blind prayer experiments. Not all have turned out very well. Some of the ones that are politically correct- the list of prayers, are from our viewpoint kind of odd, like witch doctors and medicine men. In one well known double blind prayer experiment , if you were prayed for, you were slightly more likely not to be healed. But, the only 2 that I know of double blind prayer experiments that have had statistical favorable healing results through prayer, both of the them, all the prayers were orthodox-Christian (not the orthodox denomination, but orthodox Judeo-Christian beliefs in God- ). I want to make this clear. I think God answers prayer for everybody. He did in biblical times. Jesus didn’t heal people by saying, „Are you a believer? If not, get out of line.” God answered prayer for everyone. Here’s the last line (in that report):

The findings of this double blind prayer experiment are consistent with prayer to the Judeo-Christian God.

This is in a medical journal. (26:00)

Conclusion

What are we doing to further the Christian message and let people know we have reasons to believe in these things?

  1. The best thing we can do to remedy this is to take David Brooks up (the guy from the New York Times), take him at his word, and to be able to show that theism is true, and to further the demise of naturalism. Or, why is theism true, and naturalism false?
  2. Let’s show that Christian doctrine, which no other religion has (we share some things with Judaism), but, for the most part, Christianity has some unique beliefs, Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, He died, was raised from the dead. Are we able to argue, not just the things that overlap with Neural Buddhism, but, worship and afterlife, but specific Christian doctrines, are we ready to do that?

In closing here, there is also an encouraging aspect. I love 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul ends 57 wonderful verses on the resurrection, the earliest most evidential resurrection passage in the New Testament. Paul ends by saying, „Therefore,” verse 58, ” be steadfast, immovable.” You’ve probably seen some of the reports, but between 60-90% of our young people, who go away to secular schools, they walk away from their faiths. Naturalism may be on the downslide, but they don’t know it. And Neuro Buddhism is not gonna be a lot nicer to us. It’s nice that we can believe in religion, but they’re not gonna be a lot nicer to us. Our young people are going away and sliding away from Christianity.

There’s a study that just came out that says many of them come back in their 30’s. But, first of all, many of them don’t, and those who do have lost 15 key years of from their lives. So, Paul says to be steadfast and immovable. But, why aren’t we the bastion of teaching our young people, that Christians have the best, the best possible message in the world? So many people write to me and say, „My professor attacked this, or that… What should I say?” I tell them over, and over again, there are good responses to these things. Read this, consider this. But I tell students, „Think about this, there’s a lot more to Christianity than what I’m gonna say. But, as long as the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus are true, Christianity follows. When someone attacks a periphery thing, I think we go after it 2 ways. We answer the complaint, and then we say to the young people, „That’s not a just reason for walking away form Christianity. Until someone can disprove the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the center of Christianity remains.”

Lastly, same verse, Paul says. „always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  First, he says, „Hang in there, be steadfast, immovable, and in his second point – your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Get out there and do something.”

Dr. Ravi Zacharias – Suffering and Absolutes (Interview)

Ravi

From 2010, in Toronto, Canada. Zacharias talks about his life, postmodernism, atheism and how to stay connected to God when going through painful times. VIDEO by 100huntley

Part 1 (10 min)

Part 2 (9 min)

Ravi Zacharias at Princeton University April 4,2013: Why I am not an atheist + Princeton University Open Forum Q&A

Zacharias ravi

Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale spoke an overflow crowd at Princeton University titled, „Why I’m Not An Atheist.” Video from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

Questions and Answer Session at Princeton

Questions:

  1. 00:00 Have you had doubts and how have you been able to get through that?
  2. 08:15 Theism vs. Deism, can you also talk about a personal God? (questioner cites Bishop John Shelby Spong‘s rejection of theism)Ravi: The difference between atheism and this new spirituality is the process, but they end up with the conclusion being the same. In atheism there is no God, and in the new spirituality there is no God.
  3. 13:10 Belief vs. Doubt. During your entire talk, you gave reasons for belief which were instrumental, for example: This is the good that would happen if you believe. But you didn’t argue that it is truth, nor did you address the strongest argument that there is no god- the existence of evil.Ravi: If evil is real, and not just a construct in our mind, and something to be shunned,and is morally deviant, then there is no way to sustain that without a moral being who is the Creator of this universe.
  4. 26:10 A question on the problem of evil from the Christian world view. It seems like Alvin Plantinga has given a good response on the problem of moral evil, but is there a good response when it comes to natural evil, apart from the free will decisions that moral creatures make?
  5. 31:40 You say that heartless egregious acts, like the Holocaust, are brought about by people without a moral reference point in God.But, how do you explain all the death and destruction that has been done in God’s name, such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, suicide bombings and christianizing the ‘savage’?
  6. 40:55 If the essence of God is to create, and to realize the infinite potential for Creation, as that is His identity. And yet, as He created the world, He desired His children to continue His work, would not the act of Creation be an act of vanity?
  7. 48:55 When you say that atheists have no basis for morals, it seems that you’re ignoring most of the existence of mankind. And we can look at the world and see that peace leads to prosperity in nations, and trust and safety in communities allow art, science, and technology to prosper. You attack atheists like Hitler, and the rich, but it seems a bit of a stretch to say that all atheists search for happiness in murder, power, and cutthroat business. It looks like you’re attacking the weak nihilist, who looks at the universe and sees that there is no ultimate moral authority, and leaves it at that. But, you’re ignoring the strong nihilists, who look at the universe and see no moral authority and say, „This is an opportunity for us to use our reason, to use our experience to create morals, to create the society that can best further us, that can create the happiest society. So 2 questions: (1) Is it fair to ignore these strong nihilists? (2)Isn’t it more noble to use our own reason and experiences to form morals, than put blind faith in an old outdated text?

Related posts from the last 12 months

  1. Ravi Zacharias – How do you know that Christianity is the one true worldview?
  2. Ravi Zacharias VIDEO from UCLA January 2013 – Is Tolerance Intolerant? Pursuing the Climate of Acceptance and Inclusion
  3. Ravi Zacharias on the Dichotomy of Good and Evil
  4. Ravi Zacharias – How Do We Challenge This Generation?
  5. Ravi Zacharias and Friends
  6. Ravi Zacharias – Absolute truth in relative terms
  7. Ravi Zacharias – The discipline of a Godly man
  8. Ravi Zacharias – What does it mean to be human
  9. Ravi Zacharias – A Lesson in History: A tale of two men
  10. Ravi Zacharias – Is America abandoning God?
  11. Ravi Zacharias – “If the foundations be destroyed…” at Trinity International University Feb. 9, 2012
  12. Ravi Zacharias Lecture in Leuven 31 January, 2012
  13. Ravi Zacharias on Moody Radio October 12,2012
  14. Dr.R.C.Sproul,Dr. Albert Mohler and Ravi Zacharias – Is Evolution Compatible with Christianity?
  15. Ligonier interviews Ravi Zacharias

How do we know God exists? J P Moreland at Thrive Apologetics Conference 2013

See other lectures at the THRIVE Conference 2013 here – http://www.youtube.com/user/thrivingchurches

There is a public relations problem we are facing today, and it’s essentially the idea that Christians believe things for no reasons whatsoever. In fact, the idea that is widely promulgated is that what modern people have discovered has made belief in God an unreasonable thing to hold.

So, for example, the late William Provine, who is a biologist at Cornell University, made the following statement about the evolutionary theory, „Let me summarize my views on modern evolutionary theory: „Let me summarize my theory on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear. There are no gods, there are no purposes, there are no goal directed purposes of any kind. There’s no life after death. When I die, I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be dead. That’s the end of me. There’s no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and there’s no free will for human beings either.”

So, this idea is that intellectuals have discovered something, such, that if average people knew what it was, they wouldn’t be able to believe in God any longer. And so, we live in a time, when it is not only widely thought that belief in God is irrational, but, it is now widely thought that if you believe in Jesus Christ, you’re not only stupid, but you are a bigot. Recently, a novelist put our ‘bigotry’ in this way, „Here is how their ignorant bigotry works (referring to christians). First, they put the fear of God in you, if you don’t believe the literal word of the Bible, you’ll burn in hell. Of course, the literal word of the Bible was tremendously contradictory, and so, you have to abdicate all critical thinking to believe. And, you must accept a simple, but logical system of belief, but you’re not allowed to question. A corollary at this point is that they make sure you understand that Satan resides in the toils and snares of the complex thought. So, it’s best not to think at all.”

Now, this is not the christian religion as it’s been for 2,000 years. It was we that founded the universities of the western world, that produced art and literature, and some of the richest intellectual literature ever produced. What is being talked about here is a relatively recent phenomenon, and I am seeing signs that this is changing, over the last 20-25 years. I’d like to ask the question: How do we know that God exists? Is there a case that can be made for God’s existence?

Through the experience of God and the testimony of the Spirit. God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that God is there. However, as important as that way of knowing God is, that is not what the Bible suggests, when we come to the topic of ‘how do we know God is’? When we come to that topic in Romans 1, Paul says that the way we know God exists is not from an experience of God, and it’s not because the Bible says so, it’s because of the created world. Paul says that since creation, God’s existence and His invisible attributes are clearly seen through what has been made. Now, what this does is the idea that the creation, in some way or other signals the idea of a supreme being. That provides us with encouragement, that we might be able to formulate some arguments, based on the creation , for the conclusion that God exists.

Three arguments for the existence of God:

  1. The Universe began to exist and something supernatural was used to bring it into existence…. If God exists, He is the first cause. If He doesn’t exist, that’s fine. But, if there is a God, He’s the first cause. You can’t ask a first cause what caused it, because if you did, it’s no longer a first cause. The first cause, by its very nature is an uncausable kind of thing. (25:00)
  2. Biological information. Information only comes from an intelligent mind. The biggest discovery of biology in the 20th century is that living things are filled with libraries of information. There’s more information in one cell of your body than the entire library at University of California, Berkeley. If we’re gonna use the principle that information is explained by an intelligent mind, why can’t we explain the info. in the DNA as coming from a very intelligent mind?
  3. The moral law. There is an absolute moral law. This is what philosophers call self evident. It’s obvious. The idea that torturing little babies for the fun of it is wrong, is as obvious as  2+2=4. That there is an objective, absolute moral law is self evident to virtually all people. When I talk about an objective moral law, what I mean is: moral principles that are true, whether anyone believes them or not. So, on this sense of an objective moral law, we discover morality, we don’t invent it. It’s discovered, just like we’ve discovered the laws of nature, and the laws of logic and math, and so on.. So, there is an objective and moral order. And that moral law imposes duties and responsibilities on us. What if someone says, „I don’t believe in an objective moral law? I think everything’s relative?” What do you do? You find out something they care deeply about, and treat it as relative and see what happens. You’ll get an absolutist that will come out of the closet quickly. Where did moral absolutes come from? Matter can’t produce moral absolutes. As a matter of fact, the moral law imposes duties on us to be loving and kind. Now, what kind of a thing can impose duties on another thing? The answer is ‘A person with a will’. You have to have a will to impose duties on something else. And laws come from lawgivers. We know where the moral laws come from, they came from a moral law giver. Why, again? Because the moral law comes in command form  and it imposes duties on us, and the only kind of a thing that can impose duties on something else is a being with will. There is a willing behind the moral law that imposes duties on us. One important aspect of the moral order is that there are objective duties that are imposed on us. Everyone knows they’re there, and the most reasonable explanation for the origin of the objective moral law is that there is a legislator, or an imposer, someone who imposes moral duty on the human race.

While we’re talking about morality, there’s also the issue of evil. Here’s how I believe evil provides evidence that there is a God, not evidence that there isn’t. What exactly is evil? Throughout western culture, for at least 1600 – 1700 years, the most widely accepted definition of evil is this: Evil is when things are the way they are not supposed to be. Can you have a bad carburetor in a car? Of course you can. When you say it’s a bad one, what we mean is that it’s not working the way it’s supposed to work. That means it’s not working the way it was designed to work. Then, if there is a designer, then there is a way this object is designed and supposed to work. And, if it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work it’s evil, or bad, or defective. So, we can learn that there are bad things, if those things are not like they’re supposed to be and that can be true if there is a designer. So, evil, in the world indicates that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. But, that presupposes that there is a way that things are supposed to be. And that makes sense if there is someone who designed them to be a certain way.

If God does not exist and evolution is how we got here, I’m sorry, but things just happen, and there really is no way things are supposed to be, and there really can’t be any such thing as evil at the end of the day. And, if God exists, because of the origin of the universe, can’t cross infinity, ing bang, something supernatural that’s timeless, spaceless, invisible, had to bring the universe into existence… if the SETI scientists themselves that information is best explained by an intelligent line, why don’t we follow that reasoning when we come to the discovery of information in living things.

Finally, the absolute moral law is best explained by an absolute moral law giver. Everybody knows there is an absolute moral law. And evil itself is best explained if there is a designer for the world. How do you move to christianity from here? I appeal to fulfilled prophecy, miracles, and the resurrection of Jesus. And this is where I would appeal to historical evidence.

Professor JP Moreland answers the question, „Does God Exist?” at the Thrive Apologetics Conference, held at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California. thrivingchurches

Afterlife – Is this all there is? (Inspiring Philosophy)

photo http://www.peacechurch.org

Inspiring Philosophy: Why is it that when we look around us we constantly ask, „Is this all there is?” If this it it, and all that there ever has been, why bother even asking the question? It should be instinctively self evident for us. But, for some reason it isn’t. To say that this life is all there is is denying the fundamental question in us all, that never ceases to go away: Is there more to life than just this world? 

„Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.” C.S. Lewis

Theistic Thinker: The assumption here seems to be that size determines value. But, this seems to be grossly false. We don’t think that a grain of sand on a big beach is insignificant to the beach as a whole, because of its miniscule size, but rather, because the grain of sand does not contain any special potentiality that will make a difference to the beach as a whole.

The Cartesian Theist: Relative size does not determine value. If someone told you how incredibly tiny your newborn baby was compared to our entire galaxy, and that on this basis, he or she is insignificant, and therefore of no value, you would think that they were absolutely crazy. And, you would be right to think that way. And, there is no good reason to think that size determines value, and we know it most when we become parents for the first time, when we stare at that tiny little life which has just come into the world. It is for this reason, we should reject the suggestion that a human being, or humanity as a whole is analogous to a grain of sand.

Theistic Thinker: Now, what about the universe as a whole? Take the whole observable universe, which contains billions of galaxies, receding away from us in all directions, as a result of cosmic expansion. Do we have any potentiality that makes a difference for the universe? Yes, I think so. Not only do we, or any other similar species possess the structure to alter the potentiality of the universe for our future. But, arguably, of much more importance, we also bring an element missing in the universe. We bring in concepts such as love and compassion. The universe is not happy, and it is not sad. It is not even emotionally neutral. It is we, as human beings that introduce these concepts into the universe. This is indeed significant, in my opinion.

The Dutch Philosopher: It seems this life offers us opportunities that we will not be able to have in heaven. For example, the ability to be brave- to face one’s fears and overcome them. To express compassion- it can only be done if there is sorrow. But, most importantly, this life gives us the opportunity to uncoerced, choose God to be our Father, Savior, Teacher, and Mentor or to reject Him.

The Cartesian Theist: I think some atheists created the greatest ever psychological crutch, the idea that death is the end, the idea that there is no one other than myself, whom I am accountable to. The idea that I will not be judged. The idea that no one has the right to judge the way I live my life, other than myself. Must be some huge comfort- far from diminishing the idea of living your life well in this life, the idea of a judgment at the end of this life puts the greatest possible motivation on living well in the here and now. But, not out of fear and punishment, so much as a way of showing our appreciation to the Creator for all that He has given us. And, that every breath we take is thanks to Him.

Inspiring Philosophy: Some might say, „Knowing this life is all there is, really makes me want to do something good with it. But, I have to ask: Why? Why care about anything?” You know, in 70-80 years it’s all just going to end. Nothing you’ve done will matter at that point. No one can punish you for the wrongs you’re committed, no one can congratulate you for the good you’ve done. You can live a life of complete selfishness, with no other intention than to please yourself. And, once you die, it’s all over. So, if this life is all there is, why live a life of helping others, where in the end, everyone you’ve helped just passes away.

So let’s say that you can become a very influential person. The effects you had on the world will be remembered in 100 years. After 1000 years, the history books might still mention you. But after years, and years, no one will remember. So, why care, if this life is all there is? Everything you do will end up in the grave as well.

The Dutch Philosopher: In contrast to the non believer, who lives life on a sensual level, pleasing their desires and finds no satisfaction, because, eventually everything gets boring. Or, the nonbeliever that lives life on an ethical level, trying to do the good, but continues to fail. The christian believer that lives life on the God centered level, receives a personal relationship with their Creator, forgiveness of sin, and finds ultimate purpose that starts now. (5:00)

Published on Feb 22, 2013 InspiringPhilosophy

This is a Christian response to ‘Afterlife’ by „TheThinkingAtheist”. He refuses to accept this as a response video so far. The idea for this response video is owed to TheCartesianTheist. A link his channel and the channels of everyone involved are linked below:

The CartesianTheist:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheCartes…

TheisticThinker:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheisticT…

The DutchPhilosopher:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheDutchP…

Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort debate atheists

5.5.07CameronComfortBashirSapientO'ConnorByLui...

5.5.07CameronComfortBashirSapientO’ConnorByLuigiNovi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My only note on this video from 2007 is that I am a bit surprised at the tension in some of the atheists, like the questioner who seems to tremble as she yells at Ray about cancer (somewhere near the 80th minute).

Some of the questions that atheists and agnostics have:

  • If there is a Creator for everything, then who made God?
  • On the multiplicity of religions, is the existence of God a projection of a culture?
  • If God is the Creator of all things is evil not also His creation?
  • What about people who never heard the Gospel? What will happen to them?

Questions christians have:

  • If there is no God, where does morality come from?
  • How something comes from nothing- the origin of the universe and evolution
  • What if you’re wrong and God does in fact exist?
  • If God existed why does He allow disease and suffering?

Science vs. God?

Oxford Museum debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox: A must see debate.  Two scientists return to the Oxford Museum of Natural History, the famed site of the 1860 Evolution debate between Huxley and Wilberforce.

Fixed Point Foundation hosts a second discussion between Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor John Lennox this time in the UK at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. An enthralling topic for scientists, skeptics, and Christians for nearly 150 years, the answer to this question has implications that reverberate through-out public and private live, from government policy and medical ethics to individual choices made every day. Two scientists return to the Oxford Museum of Natural History, the famed site of the 1860 Evolution debate between Huxley and Wilberforce. Discussing an issue the BBC calls ‘as fierce as ever,’ the two go head to head in a remarkable match of intellect.
Holding the Atheistic position is Prof. Richard Dawkins, celebrated author of the God Delusion and regarded by many as the spokesman for the ‘New Atheism.’ Opposing Dawkins is fellow Oxford Professor John Lennox. Lennox like Dawkins, has dedicated his career to science, but arrives at very different conclusions. ‘It is the very nature of science,’ he says, ‘that leads me to belief in God.’
Some interesting highlights:
  • right at the start in his introduction, Dawkins states his surprise (with some irritability) at Lennox’s belief in supernatural miracles in light of the fact that Lennox is a scientist
  • Richard Dawkins does not have any answer, nor does he seem interested in answering the question of origins for  either the cosmos or life itself. (See exchange below in the ‘origins of the cosmos’ notes from debate.
  • Richard Dawkins on the jump from low level molecules to the phenomenal self organizational potentiality of micro molecules: ‘Science doesn’t yet know everything… there’s a lot of work to be done.’  THERE ARE STILL GAPS.
  • Richard Dawkins: I can’t explain the origin of life now. Nobody can.
  • Richard Dawkins states that this God who (supposedly) defies physics couldn’t think of a better way to rid the world of sin, than to send Himself down to be tortured so He can forgive Himself and humanity- this shows Dawkins caricaturization of the trinity, which he either does not understand or he does not/will not accept the doctrine of the trinity as explained and held to by Christianity. This statement he again pronounces as profoundly unscientific that in his opinion „doesn’t do justice to the grandeur of the universe”. Dawkins calls this action- God’s plan of salvation for mankind:  „petty and small minded” and points out that this is the God that John Lennox believes in.
  • John Lennox responds, „I believe God, the creator of the universe is not just a force, but is a person who created us in His image. And you say that God becoming human and God dying on the cross and rising from the dead is petty. I think the exact opposite. It’s not petty because it deals seriously with the fundamental problem that I don’t think atheism even begins to deal with and that is the problem of our alienation with God. Of course, that makes no sense unless we believe in God. As a scientist, we both believe in the rational intelligibility of the universe. I believe this because there is a creator God behind it. How do you account for the rational intelligibility of the universe?
  • Richard Dawkins: For many years it seemed obvious that the universe couldn’t be a „freak accident” by looking at the diversity of animals. Darwin came along and showed that it was not a freak accident, nor is it designed, that there is a third way that in the way of biology is evolution, by natural selection which produces a close imitation of something that is designed. It is not designed, we know that now, it just looks designed. Now, the cosmos hasn’t yet had its Darwin. We don’t yet know how the laws of physics came into existence, how the physical constants came into existence and so we can still say, „Is it a freak accident or was it designed?” The analogy with biology might discourage us from being too confident that it’s designed because we had our fingers burned before the 19th century. Now, in the case of the cosmos, the point that I’ve made over and over again is that even if we don’t understand how it came about, it’s not helpful to postulate a creator, because a creator is the very kind of thing that needs an explanation and although it is difficult enough to explain how a very simple origin of the universe cam into being, how matter and energy, how 1 or 2 physical constants came into existence, although it’s difficult enough to think how simplicity came into existence, it’s a hell of a lot harder to think how something as complicated as a God comes into existence, difficult enough to think how a deist God comes into existence, and even more difficult to think how a christian God, who actually cares about things like sin and gets Himself born of a virgin.

Published on Jun 9, 2012 by 

On the question of  ‘design’ vs. natural selection
John Lennox: Darwin didn’t explain the origin of life nor the origin of the universe. I would want to start there. You say, „We don’t know how it came to be”. But, as scientists, cosmologists, physicists we’re studying it and that very study, and you r own science assumes that the universe is rationally intelligible. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, it seems to me atheism is saying, „The thoughts in our mind are only the result of a mindless, unguided process”. Now, if that is the case, it seems to me that it is very difficult to see how they could tell us anything that is true about ourselves. I think it was Steven Pinker who said that evolution has to do with reproductive sex and nothing to do with truth. John Gray, who is also an atheist, made the point not long ago is that the problem with Darwinism is that if you take it in its ultra form, it really undermines the notion that we can give any credence to what we think. So, it seems to me that your atheism undermines the very rationality that I assume and you assume when we go to study the universe. That’s the first point I would make.
Richard Dawkins: It seems to me quite an absurd thing to say: that because we are saying that our minds are produced by brains, and brains evolve by evolution, by natural selection, therefore, that’s somehow undermines our ability to understand  everything. Why on earth should that be? Natural selection builds brains which are good at surviving and brains that are good at surviving are brains that have survived in the world…
John Lennox: But where is the concept of truth? How do we recognize things like truth, if those thoughts are simply reducible to physics and chemistry and neurophysiology? How do they serve truth?
Richard Dawkins: Truth is what happens. An animal that was attempting to survive, and it didn’t recognize truth and falsehood in some sense, at whatever level is appropriate for the kind of survival that it has, it wouldn’t survive. Truth just means that you are living in the real world and you behave in the real world in such a way as things make sense in a real world. When you see a rock in your way, you don’t go charging into it. You would die if you did that. If you jump over a cliff, you die. That’s truth. It’s perfectly obvious that natural selection would favor, in any animal, a brain that behaves in a way that recognizes truth and acts upon it.
John Lennox: I can’t see how natural selection would produce this truth, but, coming back to that in itself, you say this ‘illusion of design’ (and I find your writing so fascinating because of the metaphors you use), you said somewhere that it is terribly, terribly tempting to believe that it has been designed, but that Darwin has shown us that this design is an illusion. But, I have been very interested in the kind of thing that Conway Simon Morris has been saying recently, that ‘if you take the evolutionary pathway, they’re never getting through an informational hyper space with phenomenal precision, and therefore, there is the impression of design at that level. I mean, if this mechanism that you talk about that doesn’t account for the origin of life at all, let’s leave that aside, if it is so phenomenally clever, then it itself is giving evidence that there’s a mind behind it.
Can there be guidance in natural selection?
Richard Dawkins: Our point of Darwinian natural selection is that it worked without design, without foresight, – John Lennox interjects: „That’s an assumption.” Dawkins responds: No it’s not an assumption. That is exactly how it works. Before Darwin came along it looked perfectly obvious that even if evolution happened, there must be some guided to tell animals or humans how they ought to evolve. Natural selection is a blind force; the things that survive, survive. With hindsight we can see that the ones that survive are the ones that are good at surviving; they have the genes that make them survive. Simon Conway Morris would not deny that, he’s got some kind of, well, I rather share his view- convergent evolution– we both of us are perhaps on the extreme end of Darwinians, in that we emphasize the power of natural selection to hone in on particular ends. As he would say: Natural selection is mechanics,l blind, automatic force. I can’t say it’s not guided, but, there’s no need for it to be guided. The whole point is that it was without guidance. John Lennox interjects: But, it could be guided, or do you completely shut that out? Richard Dawkins responds: I mean, why bother when you’ve got a perfectly good explanation that doesn’t involve guidance? Why bring it up?
John Lennox: The point is that you use words like blind and automatic; this watch (points to watch) is blind and automatic, but, it has been designed. The words themselves do not shut out that notion. And it seems to me, the impression that I am getting is that what’s coming through is that the whole process is so sophisticated itself (that) it’s giving a rational mind behind it. Am I understanding you right, that you say you deny that because you have any principal reason for denying it? That is, everything must, as far as you’re concerned, from the simple to the complex and therefore your major argument of ‘Delusion’ (book) as I understand it is that God is, by definition more complex than the thing you’re explaining, so He’s got to be explained.
Richard Dawkins: That is a major point that I want to make, but let me go back to what you were saying before about guidance. When you drop a stone it falls to the ground and you as a scientist will explain that by gravity. You wouldn’t dream of saying, „Oh, there must be a God pushing it down”. That’s exactly what  you’re in effect saying in respect to evolution because we understand evolution in just the same kind of level, rather at a better level than we understand gravity.
God and science: are they alternative explanations ?
John Lennox: This is a very important point, because I detect in many of your writings that you oppose science and God as explanations. When Newton discovered the law of gravity he didn’t say, „Marvelous, now I know how it works, I don’t need God”. God is an explicator at the level of an agent, not a mechanism, so that we can study mechanisms in biology. The more sophisticated they are the more they might point towards an agent. You don’t argue away the existence of an agent by showing that there is a mechanism. I don’t quite understand how you manage to get, if I understand you right, God and science as alternative explanations.
Richard Dawkins: I think you do get rid of an agent if the agent is superfluous to the explanation. When you’re studying something that’s happening, there may well be an agent. There may be a car riding along and avoiding obstacles and moving left and turning right and you say (there’s) an agent controlling that car. And there is, there’s a driver. But, if you don’t need an agent to explain what’s going on and we don’t in the case of biology  ad we don’t in the case of gravity (we have to accept that Newton was a theist and in the 17th century everybody was), you don’t need an agent, an agent is a superfluous explanation, it’s a gratuitous grafting on of something that you don’t need.
John Lennox: I find that unconvincing because even if you accept the whole evolutionary paradigm, it depends on there being a fine tuned universe. And that fine tuned universe raises itself some very big questions as to the origin of the universe. Evolution doesn’t deal with that. Nor does it deal with the origin of life. They are vastly important points. The notion of things in principle going from simple to complex and they must go that way; that seems to me to be your belief, your faith.
Richard Dawkins: No, it doesn’t. Those are separate points. Things must go from simple to complex? No, if things go from simple to complex we need an explanation. Natural selection is an explanation for that.
John Lennox: Let’s go back to the origins of the universe and the origin of life. My life, as we both know has got this digital data base. It’s got a language all of its own. Now, the only thing we know of, capable of producing language is mind.  And yet you reject that. By definition, as an atheist you must reject that there is no mind behind this language.
Language and the language of DNA
Richard Dawkins: I do reject it. When you say, ‘the only thing we know that can produce language’, we know that what produces human languages mind, yes we do, because that is human language. But, DNA is not human language. It is very sophisticated but it doesn’t follow that it has to be generated by mind.
John Lennox: But we know of no other way that it could be generated. It seems to me from a mathematical point of view, I think you said it in a different context: Junk in, junk out. Here we have this phenomenally sophisticated information processor which is the cell. Am I really to believe that that information processor capacity simply came by the laws of nature and random processes, without a mind? Richard Dawkins answers: Yes, yes. Lennox: I mean, that’s impossible to believe as a mathematician.
Richard Dawkins: It’s called the argument form personal incredulity.
Logos – in what sense is it an explanation?
John Lennox: But, I could just reverse that and say that your position is your argument form personal credulity. The rationality comes from irrationality, that mind comes from matter. To me, the biblical explanation: ‘In the beginning was the Word Logos’, that makes perfect sense and it makes sense of the fact that we can do science itself.
Richard Dawkins: But you haven’t explained where the Logos came from in the first place.
John Lennox: Of course not, because the Logos didn’t come from anywhere.
Richard Dawkins: Then, in what sense is it an explanation?
John Lennox: Because, the notion that you say, you have to ask who created the Logos, that says that you are thinking of a created God. The whole point about the God revealed in the bible is that He was not created, He is eternal, He is the eternal Logos. And I ask myself as an inference to the best explanation, which makes more sense? That there is an eternal Logos and that the universe, its laws, the capacity for mathematical descriptions and so on, that these things are derivative, including the human mind from the Logos, that makes very much more sense to me as a scientist than it’s the other way around. Then there is no explanation for the existence of the universe. Do you believe that the universe is just a brute fact?
Origins for the cosmos and life
Richard Dawkins: The universe is an easier fact to accept than a conscious creator.
John Lennox:  Well, who made it?
Richard Dawkins: It’s you who insists on asking that question.
John Lennox: You asked me who made the creator. The universe created you, Richard. Who made it then?
Richard Dawkins: A god, a complicated entity which requires a much more sophisticated and difficult explanation than a universe, which is according to modern physics a very simple entity. It is a very simple beginning. It is not a negligible beginning, but it is a very simple beginning that has got to be easier to explain than something that is as complicated as a god.
John Lennox:  You can’t explain the existence of God with… I think you may have missed my question. I’m drawing a parallel. You see, I’m getting the message that it’s ridiculous for me to believe in a God who created the universe and me because I (then) have to ask who created God. All I’m doing is turning that question around and saying, the universe, you admit created you because there’s nothing else. Well then, who created it?
Richard Dawkins: I understand you perfectly. We, both of us are faced with a problem of saying, „How did things start?” I’m saying it’s a hell of a lot easier to start with something simple than to start with something complex. That’s what complex means.
John Lennox:  But, I don’t think so. If I  pick up a book called The God Delusion, it’s a pretty sophisticated book, it’s got lots of words in it. But, actually, as I look at page 1- I don’t even have to look beyond page 1- I conclude that it comes form something complex in that book itself. Do you?
Richard Dawkins: Yes, obviously complex things exist.
John Lennox: Well, why can’t I look at the universe, the whole show, which includes Dawkins and Lennox..
Richard Dawkins: I’ll tell you why, because my brain, that produced the book has an explanation in its own right. That explanation is evolution, we go back and back and back to the origin of the universe, that provides an explanation for complex brains, and complex brains produce books and museums and cars and computers. Of course we have complex things that produce other complex things, but, science has an explanation of where complex brains come from  in terms of simple beginnings.
John Lennox:  I don’t think it has at all. At the level of the origin of life, reading the literature, even the recent literature, the word ‘miracle’ comes up probably far too often for your liking anyway, but, they’re just going from the self organizational properties of low level molecules that you’ve got in some kind of primeval situation to the phenomenal self organizational potentiality of micro molecules. There’s just no way you can get there.
Richard Dawkins: Well, you’re asserting that there’s no way. We don’t yet know what it is because there’s a lot of work yet to be done. Science doesn’t yet know everything. THERE ARE STILL GAPS. 
John Lennox: It seems to me that the fact that the basic description of this ancient language and it is a very ancient language of DNA points much more arguably to the existence of a divine Logos that started it, than the notion that it’s going to be exhaustively explained in purely naturalistic terms, because I would still go back to the point I made earlier: This extreme reductionism removes from me the very rationality which we use to have the discussion. So that, I am not simply terribly tempted to believe it’s all been designed. I believe it’s all been designed, but, that doesn’t STOP science. I fear sometimes that your dichotomy- either God or science- might put some people off science, because they would prefer God and that would be a pity.
Richard Dawkins: When you feel like it, you will smuggle in magic. You will smuggle in magic for miracles in the bible, you will smuggle in magic for the origin of life. I can’t explain the origin of life at the moment, nobody can.
John Lennox: But you believe that it will have a naturalistic solution.
Richard Dawkins: I think that it is a cowardly copout to suggest that just because we don’t yet understand something, therefore magic did it.
John Lennox: I agree with that- the God of the gaps idea…
Richard Dawkins: But, that’s exactly what you’re putting forward, a God of the gaps. You’re pointing to the origin of life, you’re pointing to the origin of DNA and you’re saying, „Ok, Darwin has done everything after the origin of life, but, he hasn’t done the origin of life. That’s a god of the gaps.
John Lennox: What I am saying here is that there may well be 2 kinds of gaps. That is, there are bad gaps that science closes. But, could it not be that science can open some gaps? What I mean by that is this: Your assumption as I understand it is that there’s going to be an exhaustive reductionist naturalistic explanation of everything in scientific terms. I don’t think so. Now, if there is a God and if He created this universe, and if, as I believe, He is personal, then I would expect certain things to follow. (1) That I would see evidence; not proof, but evidence in the universe that God existed. I see that in mathematical describability of the universe, in the fine tuning of the universe and in the marvelous sophistication of the world. I’d expect to see God’s traces there. I would also expect that there would be occasions where and when God speaks in special ways and therefore, the more we try to analyze those things in terms of purely reductionist science, it will get more and more difficult instead of more and more simple. I wouldn’t expect there to be many of those places. I think the origin of life would be one of them. And, certainly when it comes up into more recent history, you mentioned miracles- the thing that is central for miracles is the fact that what you call petty and I find is vastly significant because it’s touching on something that affects every human being- the question of death. Now, if Jesus did really, literally rose from the dead as a matter of history, that makes an enormous difference to our view of the world. And so, far from being petty, if this is God speaking to us I want to take it extremely seriously. Why do you think it is so petty?
God –  justice, morality and righteousness
Richard Dawkins: Of course it makes a huge difference if it’s true, but, you’ve suddenly leapt from a sophisticated discussion on the origins of the universe, where one can have a proper discussion on whether cosmic intelligence could have set forth the law of physics and you suddenly jumped to a man who lived 2,000 years ago, was born of a virgin, rose from the dead. I think that’s petty, by comparison with the grandeur of the universe. To put my point again: Do you really think the creator of this magnificent edifice of this universe, this expanding universe, the galaxies? He really couldn’t think of a better way to get rid of the sins on this one little speck of dust, than to have Himself tortured? He’s the one doing the forgiving after all. Couldn’t He just have forgiven?
John Lennox: Because this is a moral universe Richard and just forgiving doesn’t make sense.
Richard Dawkins: Then He has to kill Himself in order…or get Himself killed or tortured.
John Lennox: He doesn’t kill Himself. God sends His Son into the world to provide forgiveness and to provide a basis on which He can just bring forgiveness to me. We need to step back a minute from this because actually it is really a highly relevant topic. In your world, where is justice to be found?
Richard Dawkins: Justice is a human construct of great importance in human affairs and it’s something most of us have a sense of, which I think properly can be given some sort of Darwinian explanation, but, I don’t see where you’re taking this.
John Lennox: My question is: Is there any ultimate justice? You see, you say this is petty. I’m saying: I find myself in a world, which is a broken world, I find myself in a world where there’s massive injustice, where many people won’t get it, we’re so privileged, we live in Oxford and so on, we got enough money to live on and so on. But, if there is no God, then there’s no ultimate justice. And one of the things that the resurrection transforms for me from pettiness right into center stage is – if this is true, then there’s real hope that there’s rational evaluation and fair justice at the end of the world. But atheism doesn’t give you that.
Richard Dawkins: Ok, suppose there is no hope. Suppose there is no justice. Suppose there’s nothing but misery and darkness, bleakness. Suppose there’s nothing we would wish for and nothing we would hope for. Too bad! That doesn’t make it true, just because God would make us feel good. So, why do you make that argument up? You said there is no hope without God.
John Lennox: Because I believe that there is evidence that it is true. I don’t believe in the resurrection ‘just like that’, because faith is based on evidence. The question to be decided then is: Is there a God and has He revealed Himself? That’s where, again, I believe this pettiness needs to be pushed aside because I can’t get to know you as a person. You’re not just some scientific object. I can look at you through a telescope and a magnifying glass and even dissect you and so on and so forth. But, because you are a person, I cannot get to know you unless you are prepared to reveal yourself to me. So, the fact that the claim of Christ to be the truth, to be God incarnate, that makes perfect sense to me because, if there is a God who entered this marvelous universe with all the science and all there is, then He has taken the initiative in getting to know us, revealing Himself to us and He has revealed Himself to us at a level we can understand. You’re a person, He’s a person. That at least makes sense. So, one of the very important questions to ask is: Is that really true or is that myth and fantasy?
On the historicity of Jesus
Richard Dawkins: It’s myth and fantasy for me.
John Lennox: That disturbs me for the following reason. Reading your book ‘The God Delusion’, you say that it’s under scholarly dispute among historians that Jesus actually existed. Now, I checked with the ancient historians, it is not so. And it disturbed me. History is not natural science. But, what I don’t understand is this: Why you would write something like that.
Richard Dawkins: I don’t think it’s a very important question whether Jesus existed. There are some historians, most historians think He did, some…
John Lennox: They certainly do, I couldn’t find one ancient historian that didn’t.
Richard Dawkins: Well there are one or two. But, I don’t really care precisely because it’s petty. I mean, I cannot, I mean if you could possibly persuade me that there’s some kind of creative force in the universe, there was some kind of physical, mathematical genius who created everything- the expanding universe, devised quantum theory, relativity and all that, you could possibly persuade me of that. But, that is radically and fundamentally incompatible with the sort of God who cares about sin, the sort of God who cares about what you do with your genitals, a sort of God who is interested, who has the slightest interest in your private thoughts and wickedness and things like that. Surely, you can see that a God who is grand enough to make the universe is not going to give a darn about what you’re thinking about and your sins and things like that.
God – morality, sin and Dawkins bus campaign
John Lennox: So you think that morality is not important? It sounds like you’re saying…
Richard Dawkins: Of course I don’t think morality is not important. I’m a human being and I live in a society of human beings and within a society of human beings, morality is of course important. But we are one of billions of planets on a huge scale and a cosmic God who bothers about this kind of human scale is not the kind of God who is compatible with a scientific view of the universe, a medieval view.
John Lennox: But, do you think size is the measure of importance? Incidentally a logarithmic view of the scale, you’re about the half way between an atom and the universe, so in terms of logarithm your point folds.
Richard Dawkins: This in a sense is an emotional argument we’ve come into now. Lennox: I don’t think so at all. Dawkins: If I begin to respect a god it would be the kind of god that Carl Sagan might have worshipped, not the sort of medieval God who fusses about sin and has an obsession with sin and righteousness and sort of … I keep coming to this word ‘petty’ and I stand by it.
John Lennox: Well, it’s an image of God that I find strange and I gather from the BBC today that you are promoting some advertising on buses which is going to say something like ‘There probably is no God, so don’t worry and enjoy your life’. Now I was very interested in that. Why ‘Don’t worry’? Do you associate the idea of God with worrying?
Richard Dawkins: I fought for a better slogan than that. This was something that was devised by a woman on the Guardian that wanted to raise money for this advertisement on the London buses. I offered to match donations and I said I’d rather change the slogan from ‘There probably is no God’ to ‘There is almost certainly no God’ and I didn’t want to say ‘Don’t worry and enjoy your life’, I wanted to say something like ‘Live your life to the full’. But, it was too late to change it and since the money has been raised in the first day, I’m going to get the say in the next slogan and it’s not going to say what the present one does.
John Lennox: From where I sits, my relationship with God is the very thing that stops the worry and gives me the fullness of life. We’re back to the pettiness, because if God is real and has revealed Himself, then it’s through a relationship with Him that you really can enjoy a full life, science included.
Richard Dawkins: I find that so unconvincing. I think there’s something wonderful about standing up and facing up to the universe, where we are increasing our understanding and we throw away childhood obsessions, we throw away the sort of imaginary friend that comforts us when children and we feel the need for a kind of parent figure to turn to. I think when we grow up we need to cast that aside and stand up tall in the universe and it’s cold. We’re not gonna last forever, we’re gonna die. We face up to that. And I think that’s a nobler way of getting through life, then to pin your hopes on childhood illusions.
John Lennox: But that all rests on the assumption that there’s no God and that they’re childhood illusions. That’s a typical Freudian explanation- one’s atheism could be exactly that. Dawkins answers: Yeah. Lennox: A flight away from the reality that there is a God. We’re back to the question, inevitably- we need the evidence. What I’m suggesting to you is: We do have evidence. We have it in science- part of God’s revelation, and I believe this building was probably dedicated to the glory of God (Oxford museum). Dawkins: No, it wasn’t. Rather the reverse. Lennox: Ok, Oxford University was. Dawkins: That’s going back a few centuries. It seems to me that by truncating everything and putting it into the science basket, so to speak, I get the impression that you’re not taking history really seriously, otherwise you would try to interact with it. And I’m trying to get to the basis of why that is so, because you’re trying to regard what Jesus has done and who He is as petty. And I find the contrast between standing tall in a silent and cold universe with no hope, believing that your moral sense must ultimately be illusion, your waiting for justice because most people will never get it because death ends everything.The contrast between that and enjoying the friendship, personal friendship of God and knowing that ultimate justice will be done is immense. The basic question is: IS it true or not?
Richard Dawkins: That is the basic question. It is completely irrelevant if it is comforting, if it gives you hope, if it keeps you happy… That has nothing to do with whether it is true. So we need to know whether it’s true. Now, when you look at history… let’s leave aside… maybe I alluded to the possibility that some historians think that Jesus never existed. I take that back. Jesus existed. However, if you’re going to say that Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus walked on water, that He turned water into wine, that is palpably anti scientific. There is no evidence for that, there simply isn’t any and no scientist could ever take this seriously.
John Lennox: I can make it worse for you. Dawkins: I know you can. Lennox: because Jesus actually came to be the Logos who created the whole universe and if this is the creator incarnate, making water into wine and so on is really a triviality. The more fundamental thing is the fact that He came to be and gave evidence that He was God. When you say it is anti scientific, I don’t think that it’s anti scientific at all. Science cannot say that miracles do not occur. It can say they’re highly improbable. But, no one is saying that these things occurred by natural processes. They occurred because God had His power in them. Nor did the whole universe, if we look in that sense by natural processes God created, we study all the natural processes in it. So, when you say it is anti scientific, I don’t think it is anti scientific.
Richard Dawkins: What I mean by that is if and when doing science we constantly have to keep in mind that in any moment there might be a little magic trick slipped in that would completely nullify the whole enterprise of .
John Lennox: I agree with that. But, in order to recognize what the New Testament calls miracle- a special act of God, you must be living in a universe that has regularities and we recognize them. I agree with you entirely. Dawkins: Otherwise you wouldn’t notice the miracles. Lennox: Exactly, you wouldn’t recognize the miracle if dead people were popping all over the place, you wouldn’t think it was very special. But, the fact is you need two things, not one: (1)You’ve got to have regularities, which we call the laws of nature. They’re not causes, they’re in a sense descriptions that we can use. (2)You also need to be able to recognize those, so that for example, Joseph discovered that his wife to be, Mary, was pregnant. He said he didn’t believe her story. He was to divorce her. He knew exactly where babies came from. He knew the regularity. It took very special convincing for him to realize that something extremely special had happened. But, science cannot stop that. The question is, of course, did such a thing ever happen? And the central focus in the New Testament is not that which is so readily accessible to evidence, the very conception, but the resurrection of Christ. And ancient historians, this fascinated me recently, ancient historians whose discipline is very venerable, and I’m not talking about Christian ancient historians. Ancient historians, many of them, even at the skeptical end of the spectrum say that the evidence for the resurrection of Christ is very powerful. The explosion of the Christian church from a non-proselytizing group of Jews in the first century, the empty tomb and all the rest of it has even led Geza Vermes, a distinguished ancient historian here at Oxford to say: Yes, this tomb was empty. Hallucinations and these kind of explanations do not wash. So we have to ask ourselves: Are we prepared to believe an historical testimony or not?
Richard Dawkins: Well, you must talk to different historians than the ones I talk to, but, in any case, I still come back to the point that you cannot do science if at any time- remember that old cartoon with a miracle sign in the middle of the equation? That is deeply against the spirit of science. And I don’t think that I could do science if I thought that at any time something like the resurrection, something like the virgin birth was going to be smuggled in by a Godly caprice.
50 minute mark here. Topic moves on to the issue of meaning: Human life and meaning and purpose and morality.
Richard Dawkins: Well, we have talked a bit about morality. Meaning is something obviously which scientists like to find. We like to find meaning in things, we like to understand things and as I said before: Brains are selected to function, to work well in the real world. And one of the things that works well from a survival point of view to find meaning and correct meaning to interpret  the world in a way which fits in. What’s gonna happen next, for example. You don’t jump over a cliff because you understand what happens if you jump over a cliff- you’re gonna die. So, meaning is something that human brains appreciate, meaning is something that scientists appreciate in a sophisticated way.
John Lennox: So what is the ultimate meaning of life for you?
Richard Dawkins: The ultimate meaning of life depends on what you mean by it, obviously. Each one of us can make an ultimate meaning, each one of us can have a private meaning, a purpose in our life, what we hope to achieve in our life. Or, a biologist might say, the ultimate meaning of life is the propagation of genes, that would be a very different kind of meaning. They’re both true.
John Lennox: I suppose the basic question for me here is: What is the nature of ultimate reality? If ultimate reality is simply the universe in some sense, or multiverse, that’s one thing. I am at a loss to understand how you get from simple atoms, elementary particles and so on, to a brain, let alone a mind, the eye, the person. I don’t understand what consciousness is. I don’t begin to say and I don’t think scientists begin to say how you can get to something that even understands the concept of meaning. But I can understand if behind the universe, the ultimate reality is not in personal matter and energy, that somehow has produced all this stuff, bottom up. I can understand it if it’s top down, as well as partly bottom up and that is that there is a God, who is personal, who is good, who is the source of life and meaning and who reaches up to me as a person and who in fact, far from stopping me doing science, encourages the development of the mind that He has given me. And so meaning to me has all kinds of dimensions you would agree with, my family and my wife, my children and my work and so on. But it’s not bounded by the 3 score years and ten. It is not bounded by the death of the universe. It’s got an expanding horizon of hope and that to me is the only thing that is worthy of the God who created this vast cosmos, that our lives are not going to be extinguished just like that. There is a beyond and I can walk with confidence into that beyond cause I’ve got a real relationship that’s got a firm basis with the God who invented it all. And therefore, it seems to me that the meaning given by atheism in the reductionism is very, very tiny. Of course you’ll come back immediately and say it’s a question of truth. Of course it’s a question of truth. But at least we can have a look at the two different kind of worlds that we represent, because that business of ‘it’s tempting’, it is terribly tempting. Do you ever get terribly tempted to believe that there is a God?  That the kind of thing I’m saying is true?
Richard Dawkins: I said to you already that there are very many things that would be very nice about it, as you’ve just repeated though, it doesn’t make it true. I mean, you think you’re going to survive your own death, I gather. You think that even though your brain dies… I mean, at what point in evolution did that remarkable faculty emerge?
John Lennox: I haven’t a notion. It’s part of… God has created human beings in His image.
Richard Dawkins: What on earth does that mean? In His image… He looks like us?
John Lennox: No, no, we have personality, it’s Anthropomorphism. But, we are persons, God is a person, therefore we can relate to Him.
Q & A in the 57th minute lasts 23 more minutes.
Disclosure: Professor John Lennox who is highly esteemed by Christians and in the Reformed community does in fact believe that God may have used the process of evolution at some point in His creation of mankind. This topic however is not discussed in this debate.

Order in the Universe

Introducing the Anthropic Principle and the Fine Tuning debate that remains a challenge for even the most sophisticated atheists.

The fine-tuning observers for Intelligent Design point to how both our earth and universe are astronomically unique, in both order  and complexity. This demands explanation, since all the physical laws and constants required for life have to be just right. Life can not otherwise exist without these many finely tuned factors in order. Therefore our plausible and adequate explanation for life is that this universe was created & maintained by a intelligent designer.

Debating the Anthropic Principle:

1) The Fine Tuning of the Universe is due to either physical necessity, chance or design.
2) The odds are that it’s „not” physical necessity or chance.
3) Therefore the best explanation is Intelligent Design!

0:07 2:03 Robin Collins Philosopher
1:18 Lee Strobel Researcher
2:24 11:30 John Pokinhorn
3:09 Fred Hoyles Astro-Physicist
5:13 11:45 Dr. Rodney Holder Physicist
7:07 Professor William Lane Craig
9:54 Christopher Hitchens with Doug Wilson
11:06 13:22 ?
12:39 Gran Swinart
13:50 Jay Richards
14:12 Paul Davis Physicist

Uploaded by  on Jun 22, 2011

Tip: If you’re going to have doubts…

Dallas Willard:

If you’re going to have doubt, make sure to have doubts about your doubts as well as your beliefs. We’re taught in our culture that a person who doubts is essentially smarter than a person who believes. But you can be as dumb as a cabbage and still say why ? Our culture is set up on that.

You wanna say, „Believe your beliefs, doubt your doubts as well as doubt your beliefs and believe your doubts. You go the whole round, and that’s what we’re not taught. This is about how knowledge grows and knowledge grows by not only doubting your beliefs and believing your doubts but by (also) doubting your doubts and believing your beliefs. That involves conversation with others, inquiring, listening to a good preacher preach, going to read a good book on atheism by Dawkins… Now, not everybody has the time to do that, so in the fellowship that is one reason why we need one another so badly, so there can be other people who can do what we don’t have time to do and that division of labor really works in the church.

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Why is there no visible proof of God ? Here’s one opinion

Why is there no visible proof of God?

People believe that the fact that God hides (or can’t be seen) shows either that God doesn’t exist or He doesn’t love us enough to make Himself known to us in order to prevent us from going to hell.

Published on Apr 2, 2012 by 

Listen to the 1st chapter of Ravi Zacharias’ – The End of Reason – Audiobook

Via Zondervan

When Sam Harris wrote his book Letter to a Christian Nation, stating that Christians display „murderous intolerance,” Dr. Ravi Zacharias felt called to answer. The End of Reason is a clear and powerful response to the „utter bankruptcy” of Harris’s New Atheism as it explains the true nature of God, the foundation for evil in the world, and the basis of true morality. Read more at RZIM by clicking on photo at right.

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