Showing posts from July, 2010

If God creates, is everything permitted?

A charge frequently leveled at theistic evolutionists is that of the inconsistency between accepting both the uniformitarian geological and biological evidence for the age of the Earth and the miracles performed by Jesus and other biblical figures. In the latter presumably God acted by divine fiat, bypassing or overriding the usual creaturely processes by which objects are linked by cause and effect with other objects. Now if-so goes the objection-the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes involved the creation ex nihilo of fully formed loaves and fishes, presumably such that if a person were to examine them without knowledge of their miraculous origin they would seem to be completely normal loaves and fishes, how can we trust the appearance of age and the natural unfolding of Earth's long history that science presents? Can we indeed rule out the possibility, daringly put forward by Philip Gosse, that creation ex nihilo implies a similar scenario to the loves and fishe…

Triablogue Presents The Infidel Delusion

The apologists over at Triabloguehave written another lengthy critique of a leading atheist anti-apologetic. Their e-book is The Infidel Delusion, which is a response to Loftus and cos. The Christian Delusion.

Their post introducing The Infidel Delusion is here.

I just returned from vacation so I have not read it yet, but look forward to doing so.

How not to do apologetics, Part 1: Why buying a glass of milk does not demonstrate a person's culpability before God

In a recent Triablogue post, Patrick Chan links to a brief apologetic for Christianity by Douglas Jones, in which Jones makes the remarkable claim that in performing such a seemingly mundane task as buying a bottle of milk, the average person actually betrays the knowledge (or at least the belief) that Christianity is true, because only Christianity undergirds the tacit assumptions about the nature of reality that such a task takes for granted. It follows that the average person's failure to explicitly acknowledge this truth is due to that person's desperate attempt to evade God's claim upon his or her life and the truth that he or she is a sinner, the fitting object of God's wrath.
I do not think Jones' apologetic is a very good one, and in this post and the next one I want to highlight what I see as its weaknesses. In so doing I do not mean to attack Jones personally or (God forbid) undermine the truth of the Gospel. My main purpose is to issue a note of caution …

God is not "A being" or a thing in the universe (part 1)

Bill walker is a regular reader and commenting atheist critic of this blog and mainly of Atheist Watch. Apparently he doesn't actually read my posts because I've said things that totally contradict the assertions he makes and that should tell anyone of reasonable intelligence that their view of what I believe is wrong; but he doesn't seem to notice. Here he's at it again:

billwalker said...

Joe, I'm still hoping that you'll take a cosmic view of the Cosmos & of the primitive tribal god our ancestors invented during the early iron age. If you need help on this, it's to be had on,also Atheist Nexus.Reconciling the dogma of Xianity & science, especially Astronomy, is impossible. When one considers the fact of several hundred BILLION galaxies,each with up to several hundred billions in each of them, ours being one of the smaller ones, & of 13.7 BILLION years in existence, the sheer unlikelihood of 'the creator sending his only o…

God and the Loch Ness monster

The two people who disagree about the monster agree about all the other animals. God, however, is not merely 'one more thing.' The person who believes in God and the person who does not believe in God do not merely disagree about God. They disagree about the very character of the universe. The believer is convinced that each and every thing exists because of God and God's creative activity. The unbeliever is convinced that natural objects exist 'on their own,' without any ultimate reason or purpose for being. In this situation there are no neutral 'safe' facts all parties are agreed on, with one party believing some additional 'risky facts.' Rather, each side puts forward a certain set of facts and denies its opponent's alleged facts. There is risk on both sides. (C. Stephen Evans, Why Believe? Reason and Mystery as Pointers to God, p.22)
See here for an expanded version of this argument with reference to Russell's 'celestial teapot.'…

Natural Signs and the Knowledge of God

C. Stephen Evans opens his new book, Natural Signs and the Knowledge of God, with a puzzle familiar to anyone who has read widely in natural theology and apologetics:
[A]rguments for God's existence are frequently criticized and declared to be conclusively refuted, yet the arguments continue to be presented. Some people, including well-trained, well-educated individuals-philosophers, scientists, and other intellectuals-find the arguments convincing. Many others, equally well-trained and well-educated, find them to be without merit. The arguments never seem to convince the critics. However, the refutations never seem to silence the proponents, who continue to refine and develop the arguments. (pp.1-2) There are several conceivable explanations for this impasse. One is that either the proponents are simply blind to the deficiencies of the arguments, perhaps because of some ulterior, psychological need to believe in God, or the critics conversely are blind to the cogency of the argumen…

Was Suppression of Options for New Testament Canon Only Due to Imperial Pressure?

It's pretty normal nowadays for revisionist historians and commentators, when promoting the "lost texts" of early Christianity, to lambaste Imperial Rome for imposing a canon-from-above, and for outright destroying competitive texts, in a bid to force compliance with Imperial ideas of orthodoxy.

This is almost hilarious as a claim throughout most of the 4th century (300s CE), since the ruling elite during most of that time were one or another kind of Arian, not of the "Orthodox" party. (Arians believed either that Christ was a lesser created deity taking human form, or more popularly that Jesus was a totally human hero promoted up by God the Father to deity status. Not unlike typical claims for previously pagan Emperors, by the way.) Still, the fact of the matter is that there were indeed document purges in the Roman Empire during the Christian history (including the trinitarian Christian history) of the Western and Eastern Empire. So it isn't unreasonable, …