Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Walking on Water vs. Reality

A famous passage in the gospel of Matthew goes as follows:
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matthew 14:22-33)
A number of issues could be raised in response to this passage.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fishing with a Chick Tract

So there I was this last Friday afternoon, minding my own business waiting for the Green Line on my way home from work. I had just moments before disembarked from a Blue Line train, and as is my normal habit, I immediately checked the telescreen to see when the next Green Line would come. The telescreen indicated that I had an 18-minute wait. Seriously? Eighteen minutes?

So, as the sun was still high enough in the sky to matter, I sought refuge in the shade of a bus idling nearby, its driver off to the loo or wolfing down a sandwich someplace.

I glanced around and saw a motley assortment of humanity gathered round, waiting for whatever line to take them wherever. The crowd on the platform at this moment was rather light, with a few folks here and there, some coming, some going, some standing around waiting like me.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

“…it’s easy to imagine all the saved in heaven…”

It’s a particularly delicious treat when apologists unwittingly make damning concessions. Of course, this happens quite routinely, only it often has a subliminal effect since most non-Christians are as clueless about fundamentals as Christianity requires its adherents to be.

For example, when a Christian makes a statement like, “just because you don’t believe in the resurrection doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” he along with most non-believing skeptics apparently don’t recognize how the believer is making use of a fundamental principle which directly conflicts with the metaphysical foundations of Christianity.

Or consider when apologists make the absurd claim that they begin with the assumption that the bible is true. For example, when Jason Petersen writes (details here):
I guess let me just explain my epistemology, if you don’t mind. I start with the revelation of Scripture. I view Scripture as sufficient.
Such statements are simply an admission that their beliefs cannot possibly be rational, since their very starting point constitutes a radical departure from reality. They only multiply this absurdity when they assume the truth of what they later come along and claim to be able to “prove.”

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Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Hideous Rigors of Christian Salvation Doubt

Apologists routinely present their religious faith as though they were as certain of their alleged truth as rock is hard. In fact, the bible even likens faith to rock. But even the biblical imagery is at odds with itself: faith as solid as a rock is a virtue, but a heart of stone signifies vice; and yet a heat of flesh is the mark of piety and righteousness, and yet the flesh is spiritually weak and sinful.

But going by the bravado which apologists present in their debate performances and the tone of unflinching certainty they never fail to project in their writings, one might never suspect that, in the private corners of their minds, they are in fact shivering frenetically in a chilly, endless winter of persisting doubt. The tough exterior of certitude and sureness might in fact be nothing more than a tenuously thin shell concealing a frightened hollowness that is all that is left behind once the Christian devotional program has done its task in getting the believer to reject himself, surrender his virtue, and eviscerate his own character.

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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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