Presentation on theme: "Christian Apologetics Is there a God?. What is Apologetics? A: systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine) B: is a field of Christian."— Presentation transcript:
What is Apologetics? A: systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine) B: is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and expose the perceived flaws of other world views.
What is Apologetics? How many of you thought the first time you heard the word ‘apologetics’ it was about apologizing?
Origin Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia “A written or verbal defense”
Atheist derives from the Greek alpha negative, meaning “no” and “Theos” literally meaning NO GOD However
ONLY FOOLS ARE ATHESIST The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." Psa 14:11 To be an Atheist you must trade rational thought for irrationality
1)Atheist have to believe that something came from nothing 2)See the law of cause and effect: Newton, Aristotle
2 nd law of Thermodynamics The second law states that all energy or heat is in a constant state of entropy
Atheist have to believe that the precise order in the universe is the product of random force Do Typhoons cause construction or destruction?
If I stood here and assured you that my Automobile was the product of a stick of dynamite and a pile of junk metal, what would you think? Atheist have to believe and contend that non-life created life
The Law of Biogenesis, attributed to Louis Pasteur, states that life arises from pre- existing life, not from nonliving material. Pasteur's (and others) empirical results were summarized in the phrase Omne vivum ex vivo, Latin for "all life [is] from life", also known as the "law of biogenesis". Pasteur stated: "La génération spontanée est une chimère" ("Spontaneous generation is a dream").
Atheist have to believe that that matter produced mind The law of cause and effect teaches that the effect can NEVER be greater than the cause
Atheist have to believe that there is no evil Without a God there is no right and wrong; therefore there are no criminals A universe without God means that no one has the right to tell me what is good or evil or how I should behave regardless if it is the government or any other entity
Therefore Mother Theresa, Al Capone, The Apostle Paul, Jack the Ripper, Jesus Christ and you and I are all morally equivalent. Therefore: If there is no God and the Universe is not eternal, Something did come from nothing, Disorder produced order, Non-living matter gave birth to life and matter produced mind. Does that makes sense to you?
The Atheist “un conquerable” argument An Atheist will state that the “problem of evil” disproves the existence of God as presented in the Bible. If God is all good and all powerful his Omni benevolence would cause him to desire the destruction of evil and his omnipotence would enable him to destroy it
Therefore he is either unable (non omnipotent) or unwilling (non omnibenevolent). God created man with a “freewill” to be Holy. Sharks in the water act by instinct and are neither holy nor unholy
Holiness necessitates the choice to do right and that requires the ability to choose to do wrong. Otherwise there is no FREE WILL Evil is the result of a man or mankind's choice to do wrong
Secondly God has allowed evil to continue because there is some benefit to mankind Atheist use the term evil to include suffering and catastrophe.
Suffering as a result of sin and poor choices motivates us to not engage in self destructive behavior Suffering helps man not to become attached to this world but to desire the promised reward yet to come
Can You “Prove the existence of God? There are 2 types of evidence Firstly there is scientific proof which deals with things that can be observed and measured (does Ivory soap float?) Secondly there is Legal Historical proof
Science cannot prove that either George Washington, Jose Rizal, or King George of England existed. Science is incapable of disproving the existence of God In order to an Atheist a person would have to KNOW ALL THINGS
While the Legal-Historical method can be used to prove the existence of God. The scientific method can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Rom 1:20 esv
“Ito ay sapagkat ang hindi nakikitang mga bagay patungkol sa Diyos, simula pa sa paglikha ng sanlibutan, ay malinaw na nakikita na nauunawaan ng mga bagay na nalikha, kahit ang kaniyang walang hanggang kapangyarihan at ang kaniyang pagka-Diyos. Kaya nga, wala na silang anumang maidadahilan.” Romans 1:20
God's glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening. Psalm 19:1-2
There are only 4 possibilities for the existence of the universe. 1) It is the figment of our imagination. However this still accepts the existence of both the perceiver and the perception
2) It is eternal: however, the second law of thermodynamics disproves this 3) The universe created itself: however the first law of thermodynamics disproves this 4) The universe was created by an eternal, omnipotent God
But he has given proof of what he is like. He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven. He gives you crops in their seasons. He provides you with plenty of food. He fills your hearts with joy.“ Acts 14:17
The term Universe “originates from the Greek term κόσμος (kosmos), meaning "order" or "ornament“ and is antithetical to the concept of chaos” Wikipedia The laws of nature argues this design: the complexity of any mammal in general and mankind in spefic argue the improbability of this. Design necessitates a designer
The testimony of man’s moral consciousness Visit anywhere in the world and you will find that man has an innate “oughtness” not present in animals. The concept of morality present in any man or culture can become twisted. However, they still recognize moral principles If this is then true how can morality come amoral matter?
Some interesting things science has proven The Discovery of Vulcan Vulcan was a planet that nineteenth century scientists believed to exist somewhere between Mercury and the Sun. The mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier first proposed its existence
The Expanding Earth Our modern understanding of the interior and behaviors of the Earth is strongly based around plate tectonics and the concept of subduction. But before this idea was widely accepted in the late 20th century, a good number of scientists subscribed to the much more fantastical theory that the Earth was forever increasing in volume.
The Martian Canals The Martian canals were a network of gullies and ravines that 19th century scientist mistakenly believed to exist on the red planet. The canals were first “discovered” in 1877 by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli
The Blank Slate Theory One of the oldest and most controversial theories in psychology and philosophy is the theory of the blank slate, or tabula rasa, which argues that people are born with no built-in personality traits or proclivities. Proponents of the theory, which began with the work of Aristotle and was expressed and accepted by most including the empiricist philosopher John Locke
Einstein’s Static Universe Prior to scientists embracing the notion that the universe was created as the result of the Big Bang, it was commonly believed that the size of the universe was an unchanging constant—it had always been the size it was, and always would be. The idea stated that that the total volume of the universe was effectively fixed, and that the whole construct operated as a closed system. The theory found its biggest adherent in Albert Einstein
While we cannot provide scientific” evidence that God exist. I will contend that the weight of the evidence that God does exist and can be real in your life today.
Being Persuasive Is being persuasive a good thing or does the idea seem too much like coerciveness? Persuasiveness is a good thing - it means to “win someone over.”
Paul Persuaded 1Cor. 9:19-23: Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Paul Reasoned Acts 17 (1-3 and 16,17) When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead …While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God- fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
Martin Luther’s View Ministerial Use of Reason - this is the use of logic/reason as a servant or "handmaid" to the Bible and theology. Logic/reason is not put on par with or above the Bible, but stands in a subordinate role to God's revelation. Magisterial Use of Reason - this is the placing of logic/reason on par with or actually above the Bible. Here logic/reason (that of the individual or a group) is allegedly the final judge, arbitrator, or authority of truth. √ X
Opener From The Barna Group (barna.org - June 2007) Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians “Most atheists and agnostics (56%) agree with the idea that radical Christianity is just as threatening in The world as is radical Islam.” “At the same time, two-thirds of Christians (63%) who have an active faith perceive that the world is becoming more hostile and negative toward Christianity.” ("Active faith" was defined as simply having gone to church, read the Bible and prayed during the week preceding the survey.)
Discussion End of Session 1 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener From The Barna Group (barna.org - June 2007) Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians About one in 11 Americans (9%) say they have “no faith.” – that’s 20 Million Americans! – and one in 5 of those label themselves as atheists. GenerationCurrent ages1992*2007* Adult Mosaics18-22--19% Busters23-4116%14% Boomers42-608%9% Elders61+4%6% No-faith Trend
Opener From The Barna Group (barna.org - June 2007) Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians One of the most fascinating insights from the research is the increasing size of the no-faith segment with each successive generation. When adjusted for age and compared to 15 years ago, each generation has changed surprisingly little over the past decade and a half. Each new generation entered adulthood with a certain degree of secular fervor, which appears to stay relatively constant within that generation over time. This contradicts the popular notion that such generational differences are simply a product of people becoming more faith-oriented as they age.
Recap Apologetics – Greek apologia Christian Apologetics – the discipline of rationally justifying Christian belief through systematic discourse Ultimate Goal – Rom 1:17 Be Prepared – 1 Peter 3:15 Are You Prepared? – maybe not as much as we’d like
Recap Persuasive – is a good thing (to win someone over) Paul was persuasive – he reasoned with others Some approaches are more persuasive than others Apologetics is pre-evangelism – but only one tool (introducing Law before Gospel is pre-evangelism for example) Friendship Evangelism - trust building is pre-evangelism
Terms Covered So Far Pre-evangelism – whereas evangelism is the activity whereby a Christian explains or presents the Christian gospel of Jesus to one seen as a non-Christian: pre-evangelism is the activity of preparing the unbeliever for the reception of the gospel – both activities are practiced with love, gentleness and respect. Secular – the state of being separate from religion. Secularism works to separate public life from the religious life. As Christians, secularism is in opposition to an integrated Christian worldview. Worldview – think of this as “the way one sees the world.” (more on this later.)
Question? Evangelism or Pre-evangelism – which activity should come first when we engage an honest truth-seeker? It all depends on where God leads!
Terms Coming UP Naturalism (philosophical) – all phenomena or hypotheses commonly labeled as supernatural, are either false, unknowable, or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses Theist / Theism – theism is the belief in one of more deities (as Christians we are theists who believe in a transcendent God) Atheist / Atheism – atheism (a-theism or not-theism) rejects theism. A “strong” atheist affirms the non-existence of God. The “weak” version simply affirms an insufficient belief in theism (non-theism).
Where Apologetics? Where will you find apologetic resources and where are apologetic activities making a difference?
Online Resources www.bethinking.org – excellent audio archive for beginner to advanced apologetics www.VERITAS.org – The VERITAS Forum www.Leaderu.com – Leadership University www.TheOCCA.org – Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics www.RZIM.org – Ravi Zacharias International Ministries www.ReasonableFaith.org – WLC’s Site www.ARN.org – Access Research Network www.UncommonDescent.com – William Dembski’s weblog on Intelligent Design www.studylight.org and www.biblegateway.com (excellent Bible resource sites) www.apologetics.net (my site plug :-)
Organizations / Courses Alpha International – employs a strong apologetic element in their courses Today 31,260 courses are running in 154 countries throughout the world. The material for the course has been translated into 61 languages plus Braille. These courses are going on in workplaces, schools, churches, college campuses and prisons.
Organizations / Courses VERITAS Forum – Since 1992 speaking mostly at US campuses - The forums are created by local university students, professors, and ministers while shaped and guided by the headquarter VERITAS team. Campus Crusade for Christ and Josh McDowell Ministries – Para-church ministry that operates student chapters on university and college campuses
Dr. William Lane Craig Apologetics impact at the university …(6 min audio clip)
Our Spheres of Influence The apologetic impact can go beyond our immediate evangelistic contacts to affect change in the atmosphere of our homes, workplaces, and even the church [personal testimony here]
Who Are the Apologists? (other than us armchair apologists) The earliest apologists used historical defenses and then later arguments for God’s existence…(e.g. Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Origen, Augustine, Aquinas) Was Martin Luther an apologist? “Busy reconstructing the church, Luther was not known as an apologist. However, he said nothing, properly understood, that would negate the consistent use of reason by the classical apologists in defending the faith.” (Norman Geisler)
Types and Proponents Classical – first establish the validity of theism (that God exists) then proceed to specific Christian truths – stress on rational processes, historical evidence, confirming miracles Augustine, Aquinas, WL Craig, N Geisler, CS Lewis, JP Moreland, J Locke, W Paley, RC Sproul
Types and Proponents Historical / Evidential – stresses historical evidence as the basis for demonstrating the truth of Christianity. Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Origen, JW Montgomery and G Habermas
Types and Proponents Cumulative Case – an eclectic approach. Overlaps the classical approach but downplays the need for theistic arguments in advance. Overlaps the historical approach but does not rest their case there. Sometimes appeals to experiential evidence (testimony of changed lives.) Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel
Types and Proponents Experiential or Existential – appeal primarily if not exclusively to experience as evidence of the Christian faith. Eckart, Kierkegaard, Bultmann, Barth
Types and Proponents Presuppositional - reject the validity of theistic proofs and start directly from a presupposed Trinitarian view. Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, everything is seen through a jaundiced eye. Cornelius Van Til, John Frame (revelational) Gordon Clark, C F H Henry (rational) Francis Schaeffer (practical)
When is Apologetics Effective? Younger the better – you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks – statistically we are far less likely to change our fundamental religious belief as we age. The Barna Research study, announced on 11/12/99, shows that the vast majority of those who are saved experience the conversion during childhood -- before the age of 14. A person who is unsaved at the age of 14 only has a 10% chance of being saved later in life. According to FCA: Over the age of 30 – only a 4% chance of being saved.
Avoid Quarreling Romans 12:16-18: Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. A good apologist knows when to not respond! Read 2 Timothy 2:23-24
Apologetics 5 Ws Conclusion From defense to persuasion but in all things – love! Dr. Greg Pritchard
Apologetics How? End of Session 2 Time for open discussion about the material covered Well that’s what the rest of the course will address!
Opener (from adherents.com (2/2007) – world population 6+ billion) How many Chinese dualists are there in the world? 0.4 Billion How many Muslims are there in the world? 1.3 Billion How many Hindus are there in the world? 0.9 Billion How many Christians are there in the world? 2.0 Billion How many atheists are there in the world? 1.1 Billion
Recap Where apologetics – where is apologetic activity taking place (universities, workplace, home, church) Types – classical, historical, evidential, experiential, presuppositional When Apologetics – in congenial situations with an honest truth-seeker who is open to respectful discourse (avoid quarreling) Christian Apologetics – is the art of Christian persuasion and is always done in love (not to defend ourselves or win arguments!)
Worldview Overview Worldview defined; (calqued from the German Weltanschauung) provides a framework for generating, sustaining, and applying knowledge – it is ones’ general view of the universe and our place in it which affects one's conduct. It is one’s system of beliefs; their ideology; how one sees the world. Everyone has a worldview, whether or not they can articulate it.
Worldview Questions Where did everything come from? What should I do with my life? Why is life meaningful and is there any ultimate purpose? How do I know what is right and wrong? What happens to me after I die?
Substantive Worldview An ingrained, comprehensive, momentous and cohesive worldview. It is deep-rooted unlike the ever-shifting position to suit the moment and our immediate desires. It is wide-ranging unlike the skeptical view there is little to know outside of our meager experiences. It is deeply meaningful unlike the view which says: “I don’t know and I don’t care.” It coheres with a minimum of contradictory views.
First Principles of Logic A first principle of logic cannot be deduced from any other principle of logic Law of Noncontradiction : ~(p · ~p) a proposition and its negation is necessarily false. “One cannot say something is and is not in the exact same sense.” A first principle is universal, not invented, but discovered; undeniable, irrefutable
Contradictory vs. Contrary Contradictory propositions: if two propositions are contradictory - one must be true and the other false. Contrary propositions: if two propositions are contrary – only one can be true (they could both be false though) Note: a proposition is the information content of an assertion and is either true or false.
Christian Worldview There exists a personal triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) God created the heavens and the Earth The universe had a beginning (it is not eternal-past) Jesus is the Son of God There is a spiritual realm Natural causes are not the only causes in space-time Miracles happen
Christian Worldview The virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus were real events in history We are more than just matter – we are spirit and matter Life is not merely the result of chance + time + energy The universe is designed Morality is universal and objective based on divine command Our existence does not cease at the grave
Islamic Worldview There exists a God (Allah) – He is not triune Allah created the heavens and the Earth (seven universes in layers) The universe had a beginning from a solid mass of water Jesus is not the son of Allah but a great prophet – Muhammad is the greatest and last prophet (570-632AD) There is a spiritual realm Natural causes are not the only causes in space-time Miracles happen
Islamic Worldview Jesus was virgin born, spoke in the cradle but was not crucified (Allah “lifted him up to his presence”) We are matter and spirit Life is not the merely result of chance + time + energy The universe is designed Morality is universal and objective based on the commands of Allah Our existence does not cease at the grave
Atheist Worldview God does not exist The universe is a “brute fact” The universe did not have a beginning – it is eternal-past Jesus was just a man – if he existed at all There is no spiritual realm There are no supernatural causes Miracles do not happen
Atheist Worldview The virgin birth and resurrection events are not real historical events We are mere matter Life is the result of chance + time + energy The universe may appear designed, but isn’t Morality is relative: simply the product of socio- evolutionary processes We cease to exist at the grave
Pantheistic Worldview “God is all” – not personal The universe is (or part of) God (Hindu -> Brahman is the material and efficient cause) The universe is eternally recurring, cyclical Jesus is God – and so are we! All is spiritual All cause/effect is God Miracles irrelevant – all activity is divine
Pantheistic Worldview Jesus was not virgin-born and did not rise from the dead Matter is illusory – there is only spirit (some pantheists separate body and soul) Abiogenesis is left open – some pantheists believe evolution is divine mechanism The universe is not designed Morality is objective and tied to the divine Unity (for some tied to nature) No immortality (absorption) – others (soul separates from body)
Worldview Division Two individuals with substantive worldview and with minimal overlap in their core beliefs will have a difficult time persuading each other.
Arguments for God Cosmological Argument (Contingency) Cosmological Argument (Kalam) Teleological Argument Moral Argument
Syllogism Syllogism – a three-part deductive argument Deductive Argument – the truth of the premises ensures the truth of the conclusion Good Deductive Argument – is sound and has premises that are more plausible than their denials Sound Deductive Argument – is formally and informally valid
Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit “From Nothing, Nothing Comes” Metaphysical Principle - one that is understood immediately and needs no supporting evidence What is “nothing?” eks-'ni-hi-"lO-"ni-"hil-'fit (lat) The remotest, darkest and vacuous region of space is not nothing!
Actual Infinite Can you give me an example of an actual infinite set in the physical world? Actual Infinite Sets: are mathematical constructs only – they do not exist in the physical world.
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) Why is there something rather than nothing? – a profound question posed by the great mathematician and Christian philosopher G. W. Leibniz who concluded all contingent being requires a reason for its existence.
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) Contingent Being – the reason for its existence lies outside of itself and it may to cease to exist (e.g. the Earth) Necessary Being – there is no reason for its existence that lies outside of itself and it cannot cease to exist (e.g. God)
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) The universe either exists contingently or necessarily: we must choose - there are no other reasonable choices. 1.The universe either exists necessarily or contingently 2.The universe is not necessary 3.Therefore the universe is contingent
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) 1. Things that are contingent have a reason for their existence 2. The universe is contingent 3. Therefore the universe has a reason for its existence
Cosmological Argument (Kalam Version) 1. That which begins to exist has a cause 2. The universe began to exist 3. Therefore the universe has a cause Kalam (“speaking”) – developed by Muslims during the Middle Ages.
Dr. William Lane Craig Cosmological Argument Synopsis…(4 min video clip)
Cosmological Argument (Kalam Version) Conclusion – the universe was caused ex nihilo. [read Hebrews 11:3] Personal – the cause must transcend space and time; have unimaginable creative power; and be personal to cause a temporal effect from eternity Attempts to circumvent have been unsuccessful (discuss various models)
Discussion End of Session 3 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener How many stars in the known universe? 70 Sextillion (7/2003 Sydney Australia Study) 70,000 million million million (7 x 10^22) 1000 times the number of grains of sand from all of the beaches of the Earth 10 times the number of grains of sand from all of the beaches and deserts of the Earth
Recap Worldview / Substantive – ingrained, comprehensive, momentous and cohesive belief system Worldviews Intro – looked at Christianity, Islam, Atheism and Pantheism Deductive Argument – a good deductive argument is sound with premises more plausible than their denials
Recap Cosmological Argument – (Contingency and Kalam versions) Metaphysical Assumptions – ex nihilo nihil fit (from nothing, nothing comes) and Actual Infinite Sets (are ideas only) First Principles – law of noncontradiction (contradictory/contrary)
Teleological Argument (Argument from Design) Greek word Telos – “end or purpose” Greek word Teleos – “completion, perfection, arriving at a goal” Argument’s origin – as far back as Plato (Timaeus) and Aristotle (Metaphysics) Aquinas – One of his five proofs for the existence of God (Summa Theologica) William Paley – Watchmaker Analogy from (Natural Theology) (tee-lee-AH-lah-jik-al) (tee-loss) (tee-lee-oss)
Teleological Argument (Argument from Design) 1) That which is designed, has a designer 2) The Universe was designed 3) Therefore, the Universe has a designer
Disjunctive Syllogism 1) P v Q (reads P “or” Q) 2) ~P (reads “not-P”) 3) Therefore; Q Note: P v Q v R; ~P · ~Q; therefore R Sherlock Holmes Approach
Dr. William Lane Craig Teleological Argument Synopsis…(4 min video clip)
Teleological Argument (Argument from Design) 1) The Universe is either the result of law, chance or design 2) The Universe is not the result of law or chance 3) Therefore, the Universe is designed
Anthropic Coincidences From the Privileged Planet…(4 min video clip)
Ockham’s Razor Attributed to the 14 th century Franciscan friar William of Ockham. The principle states: an explanation of a phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible. “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity” Law of Parsimony (law of succinctness)
Anthropic Principles Anthropic Principle – coined by Brandon Carter and expanded on by Barrow and Tipler – puts constraints, as human observers, on the sort of universes we could observe, and therefore affects our ability to form an explanation of its existence. WAP – Weak Anthropic Principle SAP – Strong Anthropic Principle PAP – Participatory Anthropic Principle FAP – Final Anthropic Principle
Anthropic Principles WAP (Weak Anthropic Principle) – “we must be prepared to take account of the fact that our location in the universe is necessarily privileged to the extent of being compatible with our existence as observers.” (Carter) – in other words, why be surprised everything is fined tuned – if it were not, we wouldn’t be here to observe it…But this hardly addresses the statistical unlikelihood in fine-tuning! [lottery analogy] SAP (Strong Anthropic Principle) - "The Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history." There are various flavors of SAP (no pun intended) – from a teleological view to the ensemble view (multiverse) – but why believe in an unobservable, unverifiable multiverse?
Anthropic Principles PAP (Participatory Anthropic Principle) – a SAP variation based on Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is based on the idea observation makes real. FAP (Final Anthropic Principle) - "Intelligent information- processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will never die out." - "At the instant the Omega Point is reached, life will have gained control of all matter and forces not only in a single universe, but in all universes whose existence is logically possible; life will have spread into all spatial regions in all universes which could logically exist, and will have stored an infinite amount of information, including all bits of knowledge which it is logically possible to know. And this is the end." (Barrow and Tipler)Omega Point
Modus Tollens 1) If P then Q 2) ~Q 3) Therefore; ~P Note: Q is a necessary condition on P Note: Q therefore P is fallacious – it is called affirming the consequent (basic rule of inference for conditional statements)
The Moral Argument (Argument from Objective Moral Values) 1) If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist 2) Objective moral values do exist 3) Therefore; God exists
Objective Values Defined What are objective values? - Objective values are “recognized and discovered, not invented by humans” (“True for you but not for me”, Paul Copan, Bethany House Publishers 1998.) Are absolute and have unconditional existence; they are not relative or dependant. They are independent of human consciousness, consequence or interpretation. There is an implied obligation, or a duty to comply. Furthermore, they are universal in that they are not subject to a particular localization of space and time.
Dr. William Lane Craig Moral Argument Synopsis…(4 min video clip)
Poll Raise your hand to the following questions if you agree? 1) I found the cosmological argument compelling for God’s existence? 2) I found the teleological argument compelling for God’s existence? 3) I found the moral argument compelling for God’s existence?
Cumulative Case for God For GodFor Unbelief Cosmological argument Teleological argument Moral argument Neo-Darwinian evolution (over-extrapolation) Argument from evil Argument from absence
Much More Than Arguments For FaithFor Doubt Word Prayer Worship Sacraments Studies Music Fellowship Secularization through… Arts, Movies, TV Books, Music Internet, Gaming Educational Institutions Peer influence Spiritual Realm
Dealing with Doubt Within the body of believers
Discussion End of Session 4 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener What is the fastest growing major world religion? Islam – 1.84% / yr Christianity – 1.38% / yr How fast is Christianity growing? Growth rates over the period from 2000 to 2005; all figures from the nondenominational World Christian Database, a project of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Recap Teleological Argument – argument from design; Anthropic coincidences and principles Moral Argument – argument from objective moral values Cumulative Case – none of the arguments for God are analytic proofs; they help to build a plausible case for God
Reason and The Holy Spirit How does God reveal the true nature of Jesus to us? Read: 1 Corinthians 12:3 Read: Ephesians 3:2-6 How was the special revelation of Scripture given to the prophets? Read: 2 Peter 1:20-21 Read: 2 Timothy 3:16 (theopneustos, thay-AH-noo-stos)
Augustine on Reason Reason is prior to faith: “no one indeed believes anything unless he has first thought that it is to be believed.” And, “it is necessary that everything which is believed should be believed after thought has led the way.” (On Free Will, 5) How can anyone believe the preacher without first understanding his message? Reason sets apart humans: “God forbid that He should hate in us that faculty by which He made us superior to all other beings…” (Letters 120:1) Reason elaborates on God’s general revelation (Free Will 2.6) Reason removes objections to faith (Letters 102.38)
Augustine on the Limits of Reason Regarding the Holy Spirit when it comes to certainty of the Christian faith: “First believe - then understand.” (On the Creed 4) “If we wish to first know and then believe, we should not be able to know or believe.” (On the Gospel of John 7:29)
Thomas Aquinas Will overrides Reason Human reason can be used to prove natural theology Human reason can illustrate supernatural theology Human reason can refute false ideas “Arguments confirm truths that exceed natural knowledge and manifest God’s works that surpass all knowledge” (Summa Contra Gentiles 1.6) He also said… “When a man has a will ready to believe, he loves the truth he believes…” “faith involves will and reason does not coerce the will.”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit John Calvin Calvin believed reason was adequate to understand the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and even the truth of Christianity. At the same time, he believed no one could come to certainty about these truths apart from the Holy Spirit.
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit Martin Luther (Third Article in his Small Catechism) “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith…”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit B. B. Warfield “It is easy, of course, to say that a Christian man must take his standpoint not above the Scriptures, but in the Scriptures. He very certainly must. But surely he first must have Scriptures, authenticated to him as such, before he can take his standpoint in them.”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit John Warwick Montgomery Lutheran apologist John Warwick Montgomery does believe that conversion is totally the work of the Holy Spirit but also believes that the Holy Spirit works through the evidence provided by the apologist to remove the obstacles to faith (Faith Founded on Fact, Newburgh, IN: Trinity Press, 1978). “If you reject Him it will not be because of a deficiency of evidence but because of a perversity of will.”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit Norman Geisler “The Holy Spirit is necessary for full assurance of the truths of Christianity, and he alone prompts people to believe in God’s saving truth. The Holy Spirit works in and through evidence, but not separate from it. As the Spirit of a rational God, he does not bypass the head on the way to the heart…”
Compare the Islamic and Christian Concept of God A debate between William Lane Craig and Jamal Bedawi at the University of Illinois
What to Expect Unlikely to Convert – both debaters do fairly well and it is unlikely this debate will sway the Christian or Muslim from their current position. Draws out Concepts – the debate does do a fairly good job of drawing out a few distinctions between the Muslim and Christian conception of God and Jesus Debating Tactics – some interesting tactics are displayed by both sides showing the debaters skills in rhetoric
I.Christian conception of God is true I.Jesus regarded himself as the unique divine son of God II.Jesus’ resurrection from the dead by God vindicated his claims II.Islamic conception of God is inadequate I.Philosophically it is morally inadequate I.God’s love is shown conditional and partial – but should not be as the greatest conceivable being II.Historically it is inadequate I.Qur’an and New Testament make conflicting claims about Jesus and the NT is a better source for the historical Jesus
I.Qur’an – ample description of “God’s closeness” (Wadud) II.Jesus was one of the 5 greatest prophets (all prophets are Muslim) III. Rebuttal of Craig on Jesus’ divinity: I.Downplays “son of God” (term servant is superior) II.Matthew 11:27 (“God gave me everything”) III. No knowledge “of the hour”: shows lack of divinity IV. Jesus greater than the angels – still a creature V.God raised Jesus – greater power apart from Jesus VI. Resurrection – does not imply divinity (straw man) IV. Rebuttal of Craig on Islam: I.Islam is not an offshoot (all share one source – Allah) II.Makes several assertions on Allah’s love III. God loves “good deeds” and hates “evil deeds” IV. But, morally inadequate: Allah loving the sinner and saint equally (contradictory?)
Bedawi’s Opening Statement V.Rebutting Craig (rapid-fire assertion) continued: I.Gives several examples of how Allah loves II.John 14 – (way, truth, and life) – speaking for Allah on the true path as revealed by all of the prophets III.Downplays John 10 – “I and the Father are one.” – one in “purpose” not “essence.” IV.Downplays “he who sees me sees God” – metaphor and besides, “nobody ever saw God” (except Jesus?) V.Thomas exegesis: “my godly lord” VI.Downplays Mark 14 – “worship from others” VII.Downplays “before Abraham was, I am” (mere foreknowledge) VIII. Jews would have left Jesus alone if he claimed to be God (really?)
Bedawi’s Opening Statement V.More rapid-fire assertions: I.If Jesus were God he would have been clearer about it “was Jesus not clear enough that he need to be clearer” (rework of Bedawi’s opening about the hiddeness of God line from Islamic tradition) II.Should not believe the disciples in all matters – they were not prophets (undermining his own mine?) III.Mathew 28 on baptism – 4 th century forgery? IV.Eusebius didn’t refer to trinity – came later at Nicene V.I Timothy 3:16 – “He” instead of “God” who was manifest in the flesh VI.Bible not authentic anyway – British museum codex-A (again, does this not undercut the branch Bedawi is sitting on?)
Craig’s Rebuttal I.Christian conception of God is true I.Jesus regarded himself as the unique divine son of God – Bedawi did not dispute authenticity of Jesus’ statements: I.Servant more honorific comment is from a quranic perspective II.“God the Son”/“Son of God” distinction (John 1:18 ‘only begotten God’) III.“Matthew 11” on “if God gave everything” argument was incoherent IV.Mark 13:32: “Jesus must know the hour” (but Jesus was genuinely man) V.Noted the mistranslation of the Greek in John (on Thomas)
Craig’s Rebuttal II.Jesus’ resurrection from the dead by God vindicated his claims (empty tomb; appearances and origin of the church) - Bedawi did not dispute these three facts of history but tried to “soften the blow” I.Resurrection does not make you divine – agreed II.No other “resurrection” like Jesus’ (other cases are revivifications) III.Islamic conception of God is inadequate I.Philosophically it is morally inadequate – Bedawi made no positive arguments for Islam – and Bedawi agrees “God must be all-loving” I.Much rhetoric on both sides as Bedawi claims Allah is “all loving” and Craig claims his love is conditional II.On historical inadequacy – Bedawi made no case at all
Discussion End of Session 5-6 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener "Why is there pain, evil and suffering?“ (17%) Christian researcher George Barna polled thousands of Americans in 1989 and asked the question, "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" The answer by an overwhelming margin was? … “Undoubtedly the greatest intellectual obstacle to belief in God.” William Lane Craig
Dr. Ravi Zacharias (Intro) Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering (The Faith & Science Lecture Forum)
The Problem of Evil Theodicy: is a specific branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to reconcile the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of God being all-good and all-powerful
David Hume – Logical Problem 18 th Century Scottish Philosopher on the logical problem of evil “ Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil? " I.If God is all-powerful G(p) then He must be able to prevent evil E(a) I.G(p) -> E(a) II.If God is all-good G(g) then He must desire to prevent evil E(d) I.G(g) -> E(d) III.If God is able to prevent evil and has the desire to prevent evil, then evil should not exist I.(E(a) · E(d)) -> ~E IV.Evil does exist. I.E V.Therefore; God is either limited in power or goodness, or both. I.Therefore; ~E(a) v ~E(d) – from iii (DT and MT) II.Therefore; ~G(p) v ~G(g) – from I and ii (MT)
David Hume – Logical Problem 18 th Century Scottish Philosopher on the logical problem of evil If God is all-powerful then He must be able to prevent evil This is arguably false – God cannot do what is logically impossible or contrary to His nature If God is all-good then He must desire to prevent evil This is arguably false – there may be morally sufficient reasons to allow evil for a greater purpose
C. S. Lewis on Free Will “Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata; of creatures that worked like machines; would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other....”
Alvin Plantinga on Free Will “Now God can create free creatures, but he cannot cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if he does so, then they are not significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely. To create creatures capable of moral good, therefore, he must create creatures capable of moral evil; and he cannot leave these creatures free to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so.”
Augustine God thought we were worth creating “A runaway horse is better than a stone.”
Dr. Ravi Zacharias (25 min) Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering (The Faith & Science Lecture Forum)
Probabilistic Problem of Evil The logical problem of evil is easily defeated using possible-worlds arguments consistent with the Christian worldview – but logical possibilities often come cheap! The probabilistic problem of evil draws out the quantity, degree and apparent pointlessness of evil and gratuitous suffering and tries to show possible-worlds solutions are not probable with respect to our background knowledge.
Christian Worldview Response The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but knowledge of God (Ravi talks about worship here) Mankind is in a state of rebellion against God and His purpose (Ravi noted cumulative evil is individual evil multiplied) God’s purpose is not just for this life but spills over beyond the grave into eternal life The knowledge of God is an incommensurable good William Lane Craig – Hard Questions, Real Answers
C. S. Lewis “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world…No doubt Pain as God's megaphone is a terrible instrument: it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.”
Dr. Ravi Zacharias (from the floor 7 min) Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering (The Faith & Science Lecture Forum)
Discussion End of Session 7 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Writings of Antiquity (chart by Norman Geisler, 1986) Author/ BookDate WrittenEarliest CopiesTime GapNo. of Copies Percent Accuracy Homer, Iliad800 B. C c. 400 B.C.c. 400 yrs64395 Herodotus History 480-425 B. C.c. A. D. 900c. 1,350 yrs8? Thucydides, History 460-400 B. C. c. A. D. 900c. 1,300 yrs8? Plato400 B. C.c. A. D. 900c. 1,300 yrs 7? Caesar, Gallic Wars 100-44 B. C.c. A. D. 900c. 1,000 yrs10? Livy, History of Rome 59 B. C. - A. D. 17 4th cent.(partial) mostly 10th cent. c. 400 yrs c. 1,000 yrs 1 partial 19 copies ? Tacitus, Annals A. D. 100c. A. D. 1100c. 1,000 yrs20? Pliny Secundus, Natural History A. D. 61-113 c. 850c. 750 yrs7? New Testament A. D. 50-100 c. 114 (fragment) c. 200 (books) c. 250 (most of N.T.) c. 325 (complete N.T.) ±50 yrs 100 yrs 150 yrs 225 yrs 5366 [Greek] 99+