Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Tragedy that is Christian Morality

Over on Triablogue, blogger and long-time visitor to my blog Justin Hall challenged Steve Hays on his naïve, one-size-fits-all attempts to malign atheism and those who hold no god-beliefs – those dastardly evil people known as “atheists.” In his blog entry, Atheism has no brakes, Hays is apparently attempting to blame atheism for the tragic goings-on that have recently come to light concerning Planned Parenthood. Not surprisingly, he has a difficult time making any connection between the two.

Ironically, Hays laments the evil that goes on in the world while his own worldview teaches that “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 160) and that “God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” (Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 172). Given Hays’ worldview, the people at Planned Parenthood are nothing more than puppets doing the will of the Christian god as they fulfill its “divine plan.” Since, according to Christianity, everything that happens in the world, happens according to “God’s plan,” Planned Parenthood is just one more instance of planned evil.

It’s pretty hard to lay blame on atheism when you worship a god which has intended evil to proliferate the world from before the beginning of time, but then again, Christians are not known for the logical solvency of their worldview.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Believer's Remorse

I was doing some research last evening for a blog entry I’m working on, and in that research I found some choice quotes from Christian apologist Dustin Segers. Readers who have followed my blog for the past several years may remember some noteworthy interactions with Segers’ apologetic statements that I have posted here.

Here are some examples:
and a series of six posts interacting directly with Segers’ questions for atheists:
As I came upon Segers’ statements, I wanted to find those locations (URL references) on the internet where I had originally found them as I want to use some of them in developing some points that I have in some upcoming blog posts that I have currently in draft stage. I found that Segers’ own blog, Grace in the Triad, no longer exists – what you’ll find there now is discussion of kitchen cabinet hardware, not presuppositional apologetics like back in the good ol’ days. (Perhaps Segers took a suggestion I had made here.)
Also, I have not seen any activity from Segers on Triablogue – where in the past he would occasionally post in the past under the moniker “Dusman” – for several years now. (The last posting of Segers’ postings on T-blogue is one titled Life is a Vapor, from March 2012.)
However, I did stumble upon something relatively more recent.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Being Prepared for Encounters with Evangelists

Missionizing religionists are anxious to proselytize and win converts. They get frustrated when their harvests are meager, when their nets bring in no fish. Indeed, it seems generally that witnesses for Christ have grown disenchanted, for I don’t see them out on the street as regularly as I did, say, 20 or 25 years ago. Now they seem to be a real oddity, but that might be because I live in a city whose overall political leanings are expressly liberal. But that would make this a great place to send missionaries, or so it would seem: aren’t there still some of “God’s chosen” here who need to be reached?

At any rate, as Christians are instructed by I Peter 3:5 to be “always ready,” I too like to be ready, and I want my readers to be ready as well. So I’ve taken some time to create a small list of questions to help the conversation along in the off-chance that I bump into a “witness for Christ” out doing “the Lord’s work” of spreading the “good news” and seeking converts.

Before we get to those questions, however, it is important to review a few considerations about the evangelist’s task.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Changing Your Views

The topic of changing one’s views is constantly in play in discussions between religious believers and critics of religious beliefs. The question often arises: What would it take to make you believe? or What would it take to make you abandon your beliefs? Questions of this sort seem to have a baiting nature, but they can be rather thought-provoking as well. It is valuable to reflect on how our views have changed over the course of our lives, what they changed from and what they changed to, what prompted the change and what instigated the original belief to begin with.

In his blog entry Ten Questions Biblical Literalists Cannot Honestly Answer, Casper Rigsby asks:
8. Is there any amount of evidence that would change your views?
In a reaction titled 10 questions, Steve Hays responds:
i) It doesn't occur to Casper that we can't change our views in toto. Our view of the evidence is, itself a viewpoint.
It’s not clear how Hays can divine such a sweeping assessment of what Casper has or has not done from a simple question of this sort (perhaps this has occurred to him – his question is sufficiently open-ended to allow for this).
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Sunday, June 07, 2015

From the Horse's Mouth... Again!

Back in IP Year One, I posted an entry titled From the Horse’s Mouth: Apologists Shooting Themselves in the Foot. That entry contained a series of self-implicating statements which I had found in a variety of apologetic publications. For example, I included John Frame’s confession “we know without knowing how we know” (from here) and Phil Fernandes’ admission “I just believe that we are very good about lying to ourselves, and only accepting, uh, or interpreting the evidence the way we would like to” (from here; see also here).

Those are some pretty damning statements, and we should not fail to remind apologists about them.

But on occasion, I come across another one, so a new collection has gathered, and I’d like to have these kinds of things right at my fingertips. So I am assembling a second installment to the From the Horse’s Mouth collection.
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Does Atheism truly "render good and evil nebulous"?

In this follow-up entry to my post Does Atheism Truly Lead to Nihilism? I examine a statement proffered by Steve Hays over on Triablogue which are intended to characterize atheism as such in the most degrading light possible. Hays’ statement comes from the comments section of his blog entry Quest for Nihilism.

In his comment, Hays writes:
atheism is a "bad joke" because it renders good and evil nebulous; values addressing such are the product of nothing more than social and emotive pressures; life has no intrinsic meaning or value.
While such assertions are quite commonly expressed by Christians, I’ve always found them to be quite at odds with the biblical worldview – as well as the implications of certain defenses of it, and for a variety of reasons. For one, I can find no definitions of either ‘good’ or ‘evil’ in any of my bibles. At no point do we find a verse that says “Good means….” and another that says “Evil means….” What could keep the concepts of evil more nebulous than simply failing to state their definitions in an explicit manner?

Sadly, in fact, there are additional ways in which the Christian worldview blurs the meaning of these crucial terms.
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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Does Atheism Truly Lead to Nihilism?

A popular assumption among theists in American culture today is that atheism and nihilism are somehow inherently joined at the hip. As Steve Hays of Triablogue puts it in a recent blog entry, “atheism entails moral and existential nihilism.”

According to this belief, if one is an atheist, then he is either an outright nihilist, or at best a nihilist in denial. Atheism is assumed by Christians to have so irresistible a gravitational pull to nihilism that escape is not possible. Given this, it is further reasoned, theism is to be preferred as though it prevailed by default, without the need to show that any of its tenets are objectively true. If you don’t want to be a nihilist, you’ll have to be a theist, and since every form of theism other than Christianity is supposedly invalid, Christianity is characterized as the only viable alternative to nihilism. These assumptions, as self-serving as they are for the apologetic program, are often re-asserted by believers to keep them alive and consequently provide a source of consolation for the converted. It’s one of the locks that evangelists put on the door to keep believers in the fold.
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