by Andrew Corbett
We have a major theological crisis. It’s really bad. In the public square we hear it, read it, and are shaped by it. Most of the proponents of this bad theology make the most amazing statements about their ‘god’ and then make the outrageous assertion that they are describing our God. For those introduced to God, it is easy to detect this bad theology. Truthful theology presents God as the Sovereign, All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Good God who demands, expects and deserves our utter devotion and submission. Deceptive theology presents its god as the one responsible for our happiness and existing to grant our requests. Even the youngest Christian with an elementary understanding of the Bible can spot the difference. And you can easily tell the difference for yourself between those who hold to Truthful Theology and those who hold to Deceptive theology: their response to tragedy.
I frequently see an argument framed thus: How can there be an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God if there’s all kinds of tragedy in the world? There’s some variation of it on every atheist gathering place the Internet has to offer.
I think Andrew Corbett nails the answer: Bad Theology! People create a false idea of who God is, and then they mad at their false god, and they decide he doesn’t exist. Of course he doesn’t exist! But don’t mistake him for the real God!
How early is the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus?
When I answer this question, I only want to use the earliest, most reliable sources - so I can defend them on historical grounds using the standard rules of historiography.
The 4 sources that I would use are as follows:
- The early creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, and 1 Corinthians 1…
I’ve been asked, “What makes Christianity different than any other religion?”
Answer: it addresses a fundamental problem of human nature in a way superior to all other religions.
The problem in question is ontological — can we overcome our natural inclinations through sheer willpower alone? Can we train away our very selves? Or, put another way, can nurture overcome our nature? Read the rest of this entry
In this post, I argued that pregnancy is like a traffic accident:
If I needed a ride home from work, and one of my employees was kind enough to offer a ride, does that means I consent only to the ride home? Well, actually, it means I give tacit approval to whatever happens on the ride home — whether I like it or not. In other words, I can’t roll a d20 against my intelligence and disbelieve something I don’t like away.
For example, if the employee ran a red light and another car crashed into my side of the car, paralyzing me from the waist down. A grim outcome to be sure, and I can seek monetary damages against the employee for medical expenses and rehab. But I can’t wish the paralysis away.
In a way, abortion is the magic disbelieve roll. “I’m not ready,” or “I don’t want to be a parent yet,” or any of the other excuses (and they are excuses) one manufactures. The fact of the matter of is sex is tacit consent to pregnancy, since pregnancy is a possible result of sex. We are taught in grade school that that is the case, so there isn’t an excuse for not knowing.
Agree or disagree with my analogy, I’m not the only one who uses it. Here, Clinton Wilcox argues along similar lines, but I think he phrases it a little bit better:
When someone drives a car, they are taking on certain risks, such as the possibility of getting into an accident. Now, if you do get into an accident, you should not necessarily be forced to live with pain, injuries, etc., that may result from it. You also may not be at fault for it as the other driver may be. Or in some cases no one may be at fault for it.
So while you don’t necessarily have to live with the consequences, the person at fault does have to make it right by paying for the other person’s medical bills, paying to repair their car, etc. (or having their insurance do it, if they’re insured). They can’t just walk away and say, “Sorry, I consented to drive my car but I did not consent to get into an accident. You’re on your own.” Read the rest of this entry
Prolific atheist Sam Harris put an intriguing tweet up yesterday:
I’d love to take Sam’s money. What do I have to do?
Anyone who believes that my case for a scientific understanding of morality is mistaken is invited to prove it in 1,000 words or less. (You must refute the central argument of the book—not peripheral issues.) The best response will be published on this website, and its author will receive $1000. (source)
All right. I’m game. I wanted to read that book, anyway. I also wanted to get some more material for this blog. So starting in about a week, I will blog my way through Dr. Harris’s book.
Then, I will consolidate the best of my replies into one executive summary of about 1,000 words. That I will send to Dr. Harris on the due date next year.
I have been largely absent from the blogosphere recently, and I hope to change that by getting back into it. I’d like to reiterate what I said at the beginning of the year: I have moved my focus from apologetics to fiction.
[Yes, atheists, I know one of you in the comment section of this post is going to say something along the lines of "How is that any different than what you're writing now?" Ha, ha, ha, ha. It's funny. And I beat you to it, so there.]
Anyway, long ago I started a blog that I intended to populate with free adventures for role-playing games (like Dungeons & Dragons). All I did was repost two adventures that I had already posted elsewhere online. And they weren’t even technically RPG adventures; they are expansions to a forgotten board game called Hero Quest. Those two were supposed to be a trilogy, and I did manage to post part 3 (which I had never completed). Those three would lead into a much larger adventure, which I promised to deliver next week. And two years went by….
That was supposed to be my start in the world of fiction, but like that promised update to my answers for God is Imaginary and Why Won’t God Heal Amputees, nothing ever came of it.
Then, as I was watching the gritty Thundercats reboot last year, I thought that I could do that. I could write my own gritty reboot of an 80s cartoon and publish it as a virtual seasons project. A year later, I finally selected the TV show I’d use.
So, what’s the problem? Barring that I just haven’t realized I suck as a writer and no one is mean enough to tell me, I’ve decided my problem is that I’m not disciplined enough. So, on that front, I’ve decided to write at least 2000 words every day. I’ve definitely surpassed that total today!
But, my focus is going to remain on fiction. I will still post here, but not nearly as often.
So, hopefully, the audience here would be interested in my other writing projects. In that case, look for more on that aforementioned virtual seasons project. My wife has seen some of my early writing, and she’s into it!
But, if you just have to have apologetics, I plan to keep on that. I’m thinking of a short series on the Bible’s teaching that there is only one God, apart from some contentions from our skeptics that it teaches polytheism. I’ve been given a few verses on Twitter that allegedly acknowledge the existence of other gods aside from Yahweh. I think addressing those would be interesting and informative.
As we all know, the New Atheists love to posture as if they are champions of science. The problem is that they only seem to care about science when it can somehow be recruited to aid their metaphysical and/or political agenda. What if you were to debate with a New Atheist and inform him that science has provided evidence that New Atheists are narcissistic, mean, and dogmatic?
When Alice meets Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass, she finds that he uses words very creatively. In fact, a word means exactly what Humpty wants it to mean, no more and no less.
Christian apologists are sometimes accused of employing a “Humpty Dumpty Defense” by the atheists we argue with. This particularly is seen with faith, which is understood as a form of loyalty to a patron based upon that patron’s proven ability to deliver on his promises.
Following the link, you will read a robust defense of why faith is understood this way, as opposed to the popular use of the term to mean “belief in the absence of, or in the teeth of, evidence.”
However, both militant atheists and uninformed Christians use faith in the Richard Dawkins/Mark Twain fashion to “cover up” a lack of evidence for God or the action of the Holy Spirit. A majority of people believe faith to be “blind faith” — trusting when there appears to be no reason to. Belief in the absence of evidence is a virtue to these people. The less God shows himself, or (better) if the evidence actually leads one to believe that God is fictional, the more reward there will be in heaven for believing God does exist.
This is a serious mischaracterization of true Christian faith. And when I — or others — argue for the traditional understanding of faith, we are accused of employing a “Humpty Dumpty” Defense.
And that is wrong. Now let me tell you why. Read the rest of this entry
As a liberal, it isn’t too surprising that Rachel Held Evans repudiates the Reformed understanding of tragedies like the Moore tornadoes. Essentially, we join Augustine in proclaiming that God feels it better to bring good from evil, than to eliminate all evil.
What started this is a tweet by John Piper (now removed) that quotes Job 1:19. Here, a great wind topples Job’s house and kills his children. Piper is, quite obviously, applying it to the recent tornado that ripped apart Moore, Oklahoma.
Is that insensitive, as Evans says? Read the rest of this entry
Postmodernism is a complex philosophy. I printed out the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on it, and it ran 18 pages (including bibliography). Though the opening of that article (accessed 9/21/2012) states that postmodernism is “indefinable as a truism” and is actually “a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices …,” I think that DamnRightTweets™ has managed to distill all of postmodernism into a single tweet:
Speaking your truth is not telling other people that they are wrong and you are right.—
Damn Right Tweets™ (@DamnRightTweets) May 13, 2013
Let’s disassemble that. Read the rest of this entry