Like a Child

October 25, 2013

dostoevskyI believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Meaning

October 14, 2013

ImageWithout some sort of God, humanity, even if it lasts millions of years, will just be a spark in relation to the sea of dead time that preceded it and will follow it. There will be no one around to remember any of it. Whether we are loving or cruel, kind or mean, just or unjust, in the end would make no difference.

A Victory in Itself

October 8, 2013

“Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest of heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.” – N.D. Wilson

There all along

October 5, 2013

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The existence of the Big Bang begs the question of what came before that, and who or what was responsible. It certainly demonstrates the limits of science as no other phenomenon has done. The consequences of the Big Bang theory for theology are profound. For faith traditions that describe the universe as having been created by God from nothingness (ex nihilo), this is an electrifying outcome. Does such an astonishing event as the Big Bang fit the definition of a miracle?

The sense of awe created by these realizations has caused more than a few agnostic scientists to sound downright theological. In God and the Astronomers, the astrophysicist Robert Jastrow wrote this final paragraph: “At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like  a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” – Francis Collins, Language of God

Too Simple

October 2, 2013

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of “just” and unjust”?… What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?… Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too— for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies…. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. – CS Lewis, an excerpt from Mere Christianity 

The Burden of Proof

October 1, 2013

“It’s a projection I tell you! Look it is green and everything else is black and white.”

When Christians and atheists argue, where does the burden of proof lay? Could it not be said that logically and rationally speaking, the default position is always a negative ? Should not any claim to the affirmative be supported by evidence? Is it not true that a claim without evidence can be dismissed without evidence? 

This is the case frequently argued by atheists. 

But the answer is that this is simply wrong. It is not always the case that the affirmative needs to be proven. For example, if you and I are sitting in a room and I point out the window at a tree and tell you it is real, I would have the default position. If you seriously doubted the existence of the tree (say you suspected it was a projection from a nearby building) the onus would be on you to prove that the tree was not there.

Many other things fall in that category. For example, the rationality of our brain is assumed. Those who doubt it need to prove why they doubt. The testimony of most scientific work is taken as basic also. When you read a scientific periodical, even the peer reviewed ones, the scientific experiment itself is not repeated (but simply the method and process verified) – we take their testimony as true and then if someone doubts it, they need to repeat the experiment to show it was poorly done (or fabricated or whatever).

If you think that a soccer game is not honestly being refereed (the negative), no one would say that the league needed to prove it was. Instead they would turn to you and say, “what evidence you have that it is not being done honestly?”

And this is especially true in cases of personal testimony (which is really at the core of much of the argument for God). If I tell you I saw a friend today and you doubt it, few people would be on your side in the issue. They would ask “why do you question him? What evidence do you have that he did not see his friend? What evidence do you have that he is a liar?”

The argument could be made that the existence of God is one of those basic things that the skeptic must prove why he doubts. After all, most people have experienced God in some way. Most people know he is there. There are countless testimony and claimed witnesses. So why is that knowledge and those experiences and those witnesses all supposed to be on the defensive for the skeptic? Shouldn’t the skeptic be in the position of the man who doubts the tree’s existence or the soccer game’s honesty?