Moral Values Are Objective Regardless of How We Come to Know Them

On March 22, 2001 Dr William Lane Craig debated Dr Massimo Pigliucci on the topic, „Does the Christian God Exist?” at University of Georgia in the U.G.A. Chapel. The conclusion of the debate provided a lengthy Q&A session. Questions were asked of each debater allowing the other time to respond.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos Sept. , 2014

Reclame

Ravi Zacharias – How do you know that Christianity is the one true worldview?

Exclusivity is one of the most popular charges leveled against the Christian faith. Here, author and apologist Ravi Zacharias and RZIM speaker John Njoroge challenge the assumption that Christianity is alone in making exclusive claims.

You look at the other world religions and see how these 4 questions are dealt with:

  1. Origin
  2. Meaning
  3. Morality
  4. Destiny

These 4 questions have to be answered in 2 ways. Every particular answer has to correspond to truth, either through empirical form of measurement or through the logical reasoning process. And when those 4 answers are put together, they must cohere  and not be incoherent. So, the two tests: Correspondence and coherence. I guarantee you, only in the Judaeo Christian world view will you find these 4 questions answered with corresponding truthfulness and with a coherent worldview.

April 12, 2012 Uploaded by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

2. Is God concerned with our happiness?

A young man asks Ravi Zacharias an interesting question at Columbia University. Uploaded by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

The mind and heart in search of answers

Ravi Zacharias

Here’s a sample quote Ravi gives in this discussion- „for the scientist who has lived by his faith only in the system, it is going to end like a bad dream. He is going to climb higher and higher and scale the mountains of knowledge and when he reaches the top he will find that he will be greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” (from Robert Jastrow– an American astronomer, physicist and cosmologist. He was a leading NASA scientist, populist author and futurist and author of God and the Astronomers)

Dr Louw Alberts: There is a term coined in Dutch philosophy called evolutionism, where you strip the model of all its problems, you just jump over difficulties. You start out with nothing, nothing goes to life and life ultimately ends up with man. That is not science, that is a worldview called evolutionism. That is the problem Christianity will always have with evolutionism, I don’t think it lies with the origin; it lies with the fall because in evolutionism man is the ultimate product of a climbing  curve. According to the Bible man is fallen and needs a Redeemer. In evolutionism you have no room or need for a Redeemer. That’s why it can never come to terms with the Christian Gospel.

Moderator Ellis Andre – Questions about the Christian faith from the perspective of the thinking person:

  • What were Paul’s views on ethnicity?
  • In Hawkings book „A brief history of time” he concludes with a question: What then, place for a Creator? Your comments please?
  • A question on the fall of man; man today is not how he was originally created in the beginning of Genesis
  • The ultimate question: What is the meaning of life?
  • It is often said of the Bible that there was an element of socialism. Did free enterprise coupled with capitalism really work in the Christian congregation in Jerusalem, especially because the church in Jerusalem became really poor (min 26)
  • If the arguments for the faith are so strong why is it that so many people, who are intelligent don’t actually come to God?
  • If there is such demonstrable fine tuning in the universe, is it not reasonable to assume that there could be some validity in  astrology linking our fate in some way to the stars and to the movements of heavenly bodies? (min. 35)
  • On the New Age movement, is it wrong as a Christian to use the techniques of eastern origin religions (two in specific- reflexology and acupuncture)? min 36
  • Justin Martyr said he had tried various systems of philosophy… and ultimately discovered Christianity, what he called the chief, the supreme philosophy. He found the answer, as far as he was concerned. Someone may be in that position today (having heard all the evidences in the day long conference Ravi Z. was part of) wanting to know the ultimate meaning. If there was actually someone like that and they wanted to be a Christian, where would he have to start? How does one actually become a Christian?

Published on Jun 25, 2012 by 

Quotes by Ravi Zacharias from panel discussion

  1. Ravi: „Faith and reason interplay. God has put enough in this world to make faith in Him a reasonable thing, but left enough out to make it impossible to live by sheer reason alone. There is an interplay: It is not faith in nothing or subjectivity; it is the systematic reasoning that God gives to us that says, ‘You’re the one whom I want to lean on’
  2. Ravi: *Robert Jastro in his book „God and the astronomers” says that „for the scientist who has lived by his faith only in the system, it is going to end like a bad dream. He is going to climb higher and higher and scale the mountains of knowledge and when he reaches the top he will find that he will be greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
  3. Dr. Louw Alberts: The essence of life is to discover the fullness of God and His interest in me as a person and how that ultimately relates to my family and my fellow man. If someone could convince me there is no God, life would lose all meaning for me immediately.
  4. Dr. David Block: The meaning of life is the yearning to know Him.
  5. Ravi: What I think it takes to find meaning. Every person who says they have meaning has these 4 components- (1)You must have a sense of wonder (2) You need to have the knowledge of truth…just because I find meaning it does not mean it is meaning. It should be within the confines of truth, otherwise LSD in my veins could give me meaning too (3) You have to have the experience of love and (4) The confidence of security. The older you get the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder and only God is big enough to fill that heart with wonder and meaning. God, the perpetual novelty who is the truth, who shares His love and gives you the confidence and victory of hope beyond the grave
  6. Ravi: Who is the God that you are going to in theism? The struggle comes, I think with the multiplicity of options that are both intellectual and emotional. There are millions of people who believe different things. How do we just brush it aside and say it’s wrongheaded? There are 2 or 3 things that need to be interjected here- (1)You can be sure that if God had given 10 different ways to choose, we would have wanted 11. Like the student at Cal Tech who said, „I prefer reincarnation because it gives you a million opportunities against Christianity which gives you one. (2) Second, man does not want to surrender his autonomy. The moment you realize this is the truth, you need to give it (autonomy) up- to give up your own autonomy and self centeredness. The task of the evangelist and the apologist is then is to go proclaim the Gospel and to remove the intellectual obstacles and they can see the problem as being moral and not intellectual. By patience and love we continue to do that.
  7. The tremendous harmony that occurs in this universe, you just can’t conceive of an accident when you hear and see the design that there is.
  8. Ravi Zacharias on astrology: To go to an astral object as somehow controlling my destiny  is to attribute rational thought or a sovereignty of will or power independent of you in your own destiny of spiritual progress. There are aspects of eastern thought that are good and true, but they are not true and good because they are eastern, they are true and good because they come from God. That’s the epistemological base of how you arrive at truth, now applying it to things like yoga and so on… If you go to things like yoga, the discipline of quiet and solitude and reflection are very important, but yoga a la hinduism is assuming your identity with the divine and the chanting of the mantras are an instrumentally efficacious way of bringing you to that point. So the yoga that is eastern in its presuppositions of who you are IS dangerous to dabble with. In fact, they will tell you to start by emptying the mind. There is nothing worse that you can do to start off with your own spiritual journey. Meditation is important: „Upon Thy law will I meditate, o Lord, all day and night I will meditate upon His word”. Things like acupuncture, reflexology, going to the marshall arts and so on, be sure in your mind as you talk to the one giving the treatment, „What is the basis of the healing that he is giving?” If it is just the massage aspect of a muscle in reflexology, then sure there is something innocuous about it. But, if it is built upon the fact that parts of your body are reflective of the parts of the essential divine being and there this communication established in that, then that is false. It is important to establish the rationale for the treatment. And, let us never forget that Saul was staggered to his socks, as was the witch herself, when she was able to retrieve Samuel from the dead. She herself wasn’t expecting it. The Bible is moot on that point, how she was able to bring Samuel back from the dead. I encourage people, stay away from anything that has a hint of a danger intermixed with a lie. The Bible reminds us that we are fulfilled in Christ and satisfied in Him and I believe He has ways of keeping you cleared and to use methods that are biblically sound.
  9. To become a Christian- The first step is honesty. If you’re not ruthlessly honest with your search, you will become smothered with your own deceit. Second step is to take to the Bible and study the Gospel of John. The third encouragement I give you: Each one of us comes with our own baggage. I encourage you along with reading the bible to find a book that will answer these questions for you.

Ravi Zacharias – „If the foundations be destroyed…” at Trinity International University Feb. 9, 2012

 Dr. Ravi Zacharias, an alumni of TIU,  returns to TIU for another lecture and an update on his ministry – RZIM. He announces that Os Guinness and John Lennox have joined RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) as they further train 3 young phD’s coming out of  prestigious universities in order to ensure the next generation is prepared in biblical apologetics. Three young phD’s coming on board at RZIM are experts in Islam, with one being expert in Sharia law (whom the House of Commons and the House of Lords are using as a consultant in the UK). RZIM’s North American base will be at Trinity International University (TIU) in Deerfield, Illinois (a short drive from Chicago). Dr. Zacharias aim is to develop as many young apologists as possible.

The first post modern building

Many years ago at an open forum at Ohio State University, with Alvin Plantinga and Hugh Ross, as this businessman was driving us to the venue, past a new building, he informed us that it was the Wexler center for the Arts. He informed us that Time magazine described it as the first post modern building. I asked him, „What is a post modern building?” He said, „The architect believed since life itself has no purpose or meaning, why should our buildings have any purpose and meaning. So he designed the building without any particular purpose in mind. There are stairways that go nowhere, there are shapes of rooms that are absolutely unusable.

People come to see this building but, it serves no particular purpose. When asked what I think I said, „I have only one question for the architect. Did he do that with the foundation as well?”  Did he just do it whimsically? Or did he have to follow certain guidelines because the infrastructure can look magnificent, but, if the foundation doesn’t hold the whole thing will collapse and there’s no city council that I know that will allow you to do it on a whim, without having a purpose to sustain what you are putting above it. This is the backdrop to Dr. Zacharias’ lecture.

In the Scriptures we are reminded that if the foundations be destroyed, what should the righteous do? Last week I was  in Belgium. What a scene in Europe and Belgium is at the helm of that. Fascinatingly, 25% of the population of the city of Brussels right now claims to be Muslim and the rest of them are of an anti theistic mind. You should have seen the questions. They were actually in a state of shock that you are presenting a defense for the existence of God. I had a 20-30 minute conversation with a doctoral student who was just astounded that I actually believed there was such a thing as a moral  framework to reality.  And you tend to say to yourself, „What foundation does this person use to really build his or her life upon? What is the point of reference from which they make their choices? Is every choice ad hoc? Do you just face the options of the day and determine at whim- this is the  path I’m going to take, this is what I’m going to choose?”

Uploaded by  on Feb 23, 2012

Solzhenitsyn: It is because we, have forgotten God

You know, the entire economic crisis today, globally, was built upon a false premise that you can borrow without necessarily having to be able to afford it. That you can keep printing an instrument of trust with nothing to really back it and you watch this implosion taking place globally and when you talk to political leadership and others in high office ….I’ll never forget the scene on television when Mr. Paulson was literally kneeling in front of Nancy Pelosi saying, „I beg you, please pass this bill or  we’re finished… I am not an economist, I don’t understand all of these theories and I say to them, „How did we get here?” We wake up one morning and we find that the whole globe is in a financial mess.

There are some foundational issues about life itself and I often hark back and think about Alexander Solzhenitsyn when he gave his talk at Harvard, which wasn’t very welcomed. Here’s what he said in the midst of that talk, „The West is on the verge of collapse, created by its own hands. Between good and evil there is a unreconcilable contradiction. One cannot build one’s national life without regard for this distinction. We, the oppressed people of Russia watch with anguish the tragic and enfeeblement of Europe. We offer you the experience of our suffering. We would like you to accept it without having to pay the monstrous price of death and slavery that we have paid. This was somewhere in the 70’s. Solzhenitsyn would tell the story of his memories of his grandfather whose ideas as a child he didn’t quite understand. However, the one phrase his grandfather repeatedly said, „It’s because we have forgotten God”, stuck with him to old age. In his old age, when asked what has gone wrong in europe and the world, he said he would give the same answer his grandfather gave, „It is because we have forgotten God”.

There are foundational issues that this world has to cling to

One thing we have to give credit to Friedrich Nietzsche for is that he realized, when he popularized the phrase „God is dead”, that something ominously  (was) ahead of us. Remember the metaphors he used? Who gave us a sponge to wipe away the horizon? Is there any up or down left? Will lanterns, now, not have to be lit in the morning? Poignant ideas. What he was really saying was that we have eroded distinctions. We have nothing by which to make our judgements. Then he said this, „What sacred games will we need to invent?”

Foundations that God has laid in Scriptures

Who gave us the power to do this and to remove the greatest belief that the world has ever held. When you open the Scriptures and see the foundations that God has laid. What is it that God wants of you? I present to you 4 dimensions that he wants to have to the foundation of your life :

1) The dimension of eternity defines existence.

To build your life on eternal values. To build your whole value system on that which is not merely temporal, but that which will outlast merely what time has to offer. However we define time, what it boils down to is really a calibration or measuring change. But, the sense of the eternal, of the awe inspiring vision of ultimate reality.

C.S.Lewis’s book Apologetics was actually launched form one word – „longing”. He saw the sense of longing. He talks about how sometimes when you listen to music, it throws you back into a memory years and years ago and it plants in your mind afresh a longing that you had. It’s for a city you never been to. It’s for an experience you never had and therefore commenting on that same sense of longing in his writing on heaven he says this, „In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves, even now I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I’m trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you, the secret that hurt so much that you take revenge on it by calling it names like „nostalgia” and „romanticism” and „adolescence”.  The secret which also pierces with such sweetness that in very intimate conversation on a dimension of heaven when it becomes imminent we grow awkward and in effect laugh at ourselves. The secret we cannot hide and we cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of the name „heaven”.

That glimpse of the future, that glimpse of the eternal…When you understand eternity you define existence!

2) The dimension of morality defines essence.

Moral reasoning. The sense of ought. The sense of right. The sense of wrong. As long as there are men and women that are totally in the naturalistic framework, they try to do away with the causal argument, with the design argument. They only do it in the particular aspect to do with creation, but they will never do away with the causal argument in the laboratory. They will never do away with the design argument and try to express whenever they see intelligibility deposit intelligence. It is only in this cosmic scene of the world itself that they like to get rid of a causal connection and they’d like to get rid of a design connection. But, this keeps haunting them: the whole idea of a moral framework and that’s why maybe the Da Vinci Code and others come along because if you can push a hatpin into the heart of morality of Jesus Himself, then you’ve probably done away with the moral argument as far as the Christian world is concerned. They would have no problem finding moral duplicity if they went to the founders of the other religions, but, they want to live longer, so they don’t attack those. They will go for the Christ.

Sacred

When you take the 10 commandments, what is it that is really summed up in that, in one word? Sacred. Sexuality is sacred. You remarriage is sacred. Your property is sacred. Your word is sacred. Your worship is sacred. Your time is sacred. That is what it was all about. Moses had to write 613 laws in order to try to rescue them from the one law that they broke in the day that they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and became as God and redefined  everything. It took about 613 laws  and each one dying the death of a thousand qualifications because people end up justifying everything, by qualifying it. All it boils down to is that the human heart is desperately corrupt and the moral reasoning abused again and again.

3.) The dimension of accountability defines conscience

The dimension of accountability, whether in a vertical direction when your’e talking just about moral reasoning, right or wrong. I remember  a 3 hour discussion with the leading Shiite Cleric Hussein in Damascus, after which he said, „Maybe it’s time for us in the Muslim world to stop asking „if” Jesus died on the cross and to start asking :why? And, as men like him are probably looking out of the window and seeing lives slaughtered in Syria, and men and women just mangled on the streets for political tyranny, all over again, I wonder whether he is thinking now, himself, as the cross for he answer for the evil that is in the heart of man. For forgiveness. For grace. For transformation.

For those of you studying here (TIU), no matter where you defend the faith, no matter where you present a defense of the Christian faith, never end without telling them about the cross. At the heart of the Gospel is precisely that message that your heart and my heart are desperately wicked and the son of man came into this world to seek and to save that which was lost. To offer you and me that forgiveness and that grace and that cleansing and the imperative of transformation. This is at the heart of the Gospel message. Forgiveness is a gift, unearned. You and I are accountable before God, and there’s a cross offered for you and me for redemption and that daily reminder that, „but for His grace, we would be condemnable, also”.

 4) The dimension of charity defines beneficence

It is very easy in our time to get angry with the opposition. You look at those who seek to eradicate what we believe and that anger wells up within you. You know, apologetics, if it’s not undergirded by love is really nothing more than a sword intended to decapitate the person in front of you. That’s not what apologetics is all about. It has to be undergirded by love. I love the way the Lord handled the woman at the well. So gently, so graciously so that she goes and says, „Come and see the One who knew everything I had done. Maybe Messiah has come.”

There is the gift of love in the Gospel and one of the main reasons the church suffers today, often, is that we have not even displayed that love to each other; let alone to the world. If we are going to win this it will be with the conquering, disarming love of Jesus Christ. Life is not gratuitous and purposeless. It is built on the foundation of an eternal God who revealed to us a moral law and reminded us of how we had fallen and would love to reach out to us again and bring us back to Himself.

The Battle with Sin

Tim Conway:

Over the last 4 years or so we have seen a number of young people, same age as you folks that are visiting with us tonight. A lot of people say, „God has been doing things among the young people 18 – 30 year olds across the country, it seems. It’s been no different here, in San Antonio. We have seen the Lord working and one of the things that has become apparent to me, that some of these new converts, some of these new Christians, they are all of a sudden coming into a measure of spiritual warfare, that I think when they were first saved, they never anticipated.And I’ve heard veteran Christians that they talked about when they came into the kingdom and they just thought that it was going to be, you know, eternal fillings of the Spirit and joy, and flowery beds of ease.

The Christian life is a battle. And the text, the springboard text that we’ve been dealing with, probably the last two months or so comes out of 1 Peter 2:11 and I wanna hit that text just as  we get started this evening, „Beloved I urge you as sojourners and exiles  to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul „.(reading from the ESV) .

There are passions of the flesh that wage war. That means there are passions that would seek to wage war and destroy your soul. We have dealt with pride, we have dealt with worldliness and this, tonight we are gonna start, probably three messages (this being the first) on sexual sin. I’ll tell you this. The very nature of this subject that I wanna start dealing with tonight; I don’t know the background of the visitors tonight. I know what you folks are accustomed to hearing, that are part of the church. I don’t have any intention tonight to try and awe you with provocative language. But I wanna just tell you this: I wanna be dead honest with you and to do that, I don’t know what kind of churches you go to, what kind of pastors you have, but, sexual sin is a real deal.

Sexual immorality, sexual temptation; it is huge in our day! And it’s not a subject we wanna stay quiet about. It wages war. In fact,  among young people, this one takes people down. These passions wage war against your soul and they mean to undo you. I know I’m personifying them, I’m making them out like an enemy that actually has arms and legs and thinks. But, that’s the way the Bible speaks about them.

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Part 2 here –

The Battle in Your Mind to Abstain from Sexual Sin – Tim Conway

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