Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reason Rally DC 2012

Well, the atheists are really pissed now. They've found out that a bunch of us (fill in the blank for yourself) Christians are coming to the show to upset the apple cart. "Leave us alone!" they cry. "You wouldn't want us coming to your church or Christmas plays and handing out literature or challenging your beliefs, would you? That would be rude."

Well, yes, it would be rude for atheists to do that--if done so disrespectfully. But if done in respect--not disrupting the service, waiting outside to talk and ask questions in a decent manner and passing out literature--this I would welcome! Why? Because it would force Christians to turn off their televisions and get some books out and really study and know what they believe and why they believe it. And, uh...don't target the children. Leave our children to us, and we'll leave yours to you.

So then, the Reason Rally. What's it about? Oh, Richard Dawkins and PZ Meyers and number of others are going to promote secular humanism and talk about...who knows? Will Richard go off on YHWH and how evil He is, like he has with such profusion in the past? And Christians are not supposed to respond? We're just supposed to "sit back and take it?" Well, all we want to do is reason with you. We'll even give you free books which you can read while using your reason, and think things through in a logical, non-emotional manner.

Before I go on, there are atheist philosophers who do a really good job at arguing for the case of atheism. I don't want to dismiss that. However, what I want to say, it that the New Atheism is a brand of folks who really aren't interested in rational dialogue. They rather like to take potshots at Christianity. Keep reading.

But here's the thing: I'm a chapter director for a Christian organization called Ratio Christi (Latin for "Reason for Christ"), a college campus ministry which focuses on apologetic issues like atheism. Now, I get to hash things out with atheists on line on the Ratio Christi facebook page, and so far, I've not met an atheist who wants to actually reason with me. My arguments are ignored (the Trinity as non-contradictory as it affirms statements about two categories: being and person hood, as opposed to one category), false analogies are set forth (Christ saving your from your sins is like me rescuing you at the last second from a train track that I tied you to), glaring, unsupported statements are asserted (there's no evidence for the Exodus! and God is evil!) as if they stand on their own without argumentation. There are straw-man arguments (You believe in three gods!) and the emotions and tempers flare sky high (leave us alone!). But all I want to do is have a rational discussion.

For example: atheists complain about the Christian story of Adam's sin being imputed to all mankind and how unfair that is because it's all part of God's plan. They say that this proves that God is evil, because evil was part of His plan in order to prove that He's good.

This is just patently false, and it's a cheap, weak way to argue. Let me show you why....

First, to bring the charge of evil against God is to assume that evil exists. If evil exists, then good exists also. If evil and good exist, then there is a moral law by which we differentiate between good and evil. If there is a moral law by which we differentiate between good and evil, then there is a moral law giver. Ethics demands person hood, and in Christian theism, it is a Person who tells us that murder is wrong.

Secondly, saying that the doctrine of original sin (that all humankind inherited Adam's sin and guiltiness) is tantamount to God playing a game whereby He could prove He's good is just plain false. Nowhere in the Bible is that statement made. The Bible expressly states that yes, God's plan was to allow the fall into sin, and out of His own love to send His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for our sins in order to display His glory (See John 17, Romans 5 & 9, and Ephesians 1). But it never says that God "planned evil in order to show that He's good."

Now of course, the problem of divine foreknowledge and human responsibility is a philosophical quagmire that has been written about enough to tear down the Redwood Forest. And indeed, there is mystery in divine providence and human free will. So? That proves Christianity is false? Hardly. So God knew the world would fall into sin. And He hasn't done something about it? He didn't become a man and live a life full of sorrows, cast out demons, heal people, teach us how to live, and die a torturous death in order to save us? He saves those who repent and believe and destroys those who don't--those who have offended Him with their blasphemy, idolatry and sin. They deserve to live in the presence of a holy God? Who are we to argue with God? God chooses to save some, but others He leaves in their sin. Those who reject God do so because they love their sin. And God is to blame for not saving them? He is under obligation to save all? We are finite creatures and cannot fully explain divine sovereignty and human responsibility. So? That makes Christianity false? That's not a defeater for our worldview.

If you don't like it, then turn and repent and be saved! And know the love of God through Jesus.

I say the objections are primarily emotional from this crowd, as many have readily admitted that they are ex-patriots of the Christian community. I think reason has nothing to do with it.

Atheists cannot explain the origin of the universe, no can they explain why people do evil things. That cannot even explain the origin of evil. They cannot even explain what evil is. I'll focus on the latter and finish with a closing thought.

What is evil? Let's pretend there is no god. There is NO god, okay? Now, a man rapes and murders a little child in the name of his religion and his god in order to get rid of his disease and to have a good harvest. Someone in San Francisco sipping on a decaf skinny late with two lumps of raw sugar reads the story in the paper and says, "Stupid religious guy! I'm so sick of religious people doing evil!" (Truth be told, probably the guy says, "Oh well. That's their culture. Who am I to judge?" But let's pretend he's a p-o'd atheist, and not some wishy washy postmodern relativist, for the sake of argument).

Now, the atheist says the rape and murder of the child for religious benefits is "evil." Why is it evil? After all, where do we come from? Answer: the primordial slime. We came from non-living matter (I know, right?), and the non-living matter became 'living' (no, it gets even better. Dude, I'm serious). Then the living matter became a cell, which became a bigger cell. After that, it split. Then it became a little more complex. Then a little more. A little..."umph!" more. Then it was....voila! An animal (of some kind). Then it became something that swims. Then it grew legs and came on land. Then...blah blah blah...and eventually...h-u-m-a-n. (And you thought theists were cuh-rayzee).

And there happened to be another human. And human A decided to take a part of his body and penetrate human B with it. Then human A extinguished the life of human B. Human B returns to dust, and that's that.

Now, I ask you: on this scheme, which is the neo-Darwinian synthesis, why is what human A did to human B evil? Richard Dawkins admits very well and consistently throughout his debates and interviews that morals are completely relative, and non-existent in the neo-Darwinian paradigm. We ain't the result of nothin' but blind, pitiless chance (look it up, bro). He then castigates YHWH for all sorts of maladies however: genocide, death penalties for homosexuals, sorcerers, witches, & children who call down the curse their parents (a religious, ceremonial curse, not a glib telling-off). Don't forget breaking the Sabbath. Dude, I told you not to pick up sticks on the Sabbath, man! But why are Richard and his ilk filled with such ire?


Maybe they have a sense of justice inside them that comes from somewhere. Or Someone.

Maybe they aren't driven by reason, but they have an emotional set of bags suspended from the wires of their heads, and it hurts like you drank beer before liquor. Never sicker, dude.

Here's what Jesus says, "19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

Jesus says people have a moral problem with coming to God. They don't want to be exposed by His pointed finger saying "Uh...don't do that. Instead, do this."

Now, as I've said above, I want to reaffirm that many atheist philosophers brandish sophisticated arguments against the existence of God, but the stuff we're dealing with here with the New Atheism is not that. But here is philosopher Thomas Nagel, a well-respected philosopher and atheist (who says Intelligent Design is, in fact, a scientific theory by the way) who proves our point:

“I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

See you at the Reason Rally. Let the reasoning begin.

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