Runaway Planet is a project of

Video

Apologetics Resources

Blog powered by Typepad

« "Let Me Tell You Something I Know For Sure: I Don't Know Anything For Sure" | Main | 8 Big Lies About Salvation and the Christian Life »

Comments

Gotta agree with you there Don.

Thankfully, here in the UK we aren't subjected to too much of that guff on a regular basis...

I find a cup more useful when it has something, for instance ice cold water, in it, especially when I'm thirsty!!

Yes - I don't even think the analogy is a good one!!!

Just listened to the latest radio show, and had a question.

You ridicule the article you found on the internet giving what sounded like a shopping list of criteria that a particular atheist would like met before considering Christianity – do you disagree with the article because of the nature of the criteria, or for the fact that he’s put together this list in the first place?

To me, it seems reasonable to have a list of criteria that any worldview needs to meet before you should consider adopting it as your own – perhaps in this case the suggestions made were unfair, but in general I think we all take the broader approach, don’t we? For me, for example, I’d want any world view to be logically coherent / consistent, or, for example, if it required the sort of massive reaction and adaptation that Christianity requires, I would hope that it would be able to answer and respond to ALL serious challenges to it’s validity.

If it's self-refuting nonsense you want, one need not look any further than the Christian trinity. Where else does 1+1+1=1? How any educated, intelligent person in the 21st century can justify such a belief is tragic.

In response to 'AndThenSome', I think that if God created everything (ie time, space, etc.) then He would have to exist outside of time, space, etc., and this 'place' where He exists would not be bound by our universal constraints. Wherever He exists, 1+1+1=1 makes sense. To me, it's not that difficult to accept. A person blind from birth probably wouldn't understand the colour blue if I tried to explain it to them. I think we, similarly, cannot fully grasp the trinity. The fact that many of the most educated, intelligent people in any century believe, or have believed, in (the Christian) God, leads me to think that perhaps you need something more than intelligence or your five senses to see the truth.

That's just swell, Mig. Your god exists outside time? Then how does anything happen? What about cause and effect? It's nonsense. And a god that exists "beyond space?" That means it's literally nowhere. You've effectively defined your god out of existence, and you don't even realize it. Pathetic.

In your deluded mind, your god is free to create any reality it likes, one that defies simple arithmetic, filled with square circles and married bachelors, conveniently untestable and beyond human understanding.

You're welcome to your "truth", Mig, just don't expect anyone with the slightest sliver of rationality to agree with it.

If God created time & space, there's no way he could NOT exist outside of time & space. Even the secular scientists posit that the 'Big Bang' created time & space, if I understand it correctly. Just because a blind person can't understand colour doesn't mean colour does not exist, nor does it mean that believing in colour is irrational, [it is beyond the blind person's understanding, and 'conveniently' untestable in his world]; it only means that he doesn't have the ability to understand it. Just because YOU can't understand certain things doesn't mean that they are irrational. What is irrational about my "If" statement up above? What is irrational about thinking that if God created the universe, that He would not be bound by universal constraints?

I wonder why you think that I feel that God is free to create any reality He likes. I did not say that. God is logical and unable to create such contradictions that you speak of.

BTW, I didn't make up God and His attributes, I merely learned about Him from His Word. There's things that I don't understand about Him (and that will likely always be the case) but I learn more about Him the more that I study. I'm really not interested in convincing you, though I know I should be. I respond because so many people repeat slogans and prejudices and others seem to 'buy' them easily enough, at least when the other side isn't presented. By presenting 'my' side, perhaps some thinking people will do some critical thinking themselves, some research and maybe even some Bible reading, and come to their own conclusions.

And look! I did that without insulting you. That's something that people on 'your' side don't seem to be able to do. I wonder why that is....

Dear Mig,

Please demonstrate your god exists. Please cite objective, testable evidence.

Please demonstrate your god is logical. Please cite objective, testable evidence.

Please explain how you know the Bible is the word of your god. Please cite objective, testable evidence. (Bible quotes claiming the Bible is the word of your god don't count.)

Please explain the logic of 1+1+1=1 and how it isn't as much a contradiction as square circles and married bachelors.

Please explain what it means to exist outside, beyond, or before time.

Please explain what it means to be somewhere when there is no space to occupy.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

I gladly will, as soon as you demonstrate to me that the colour blue exists for a blind person and give me the words to explain it to him. After all, if you can't do that, then surely it's impossible for the colour blue to exist!

Dear Mig,

Please provide the logical, rational chain of reasoning for the argument that because blind people can't see blue, God exists, the Bible is true, and Jesus is your savior.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

That's not my argument. What would you say to the blind person? How do you explain abiogenesis? How could an event happen that creates time and space if there is no time and space? How could a random explosion (of nothing in the middle of nowhere) create our universe? The secularists have as many, if not more, questions to answer than the Christian!

If you want to know whether God exists, the Bible is true, and Jesus is our savior, then make an honest effort to find out what the Gospel says. I COULD give you evidence after evidence and you would simply dismiss them all because NO evidence would likely satisfy you. However, YOUR worldview has some very serious unanswered questions, if you're a non-believer, so I wonder why you're okay with that. Has it ever been scientifically proven that we can only know truth through scientific methods?

You have a nice day, too :D

Dear Mig,

You wrote:

--That's not my argument. What would you say to the blind person?

Okay then, here's what I would say to a blind person, one, I'm assuming, who has had absolutely no ability to see light since birth. Let's call him Mig:

"Hello, Mig. I'm here to explain to you the color blue. But before I do that, I have to talk to you about light. Light is made up of extremely small particles called photons. When you go outside on a sunny day, you can feel the warmth on your skin as photons collide with you. Remember that sunburn you had last summer? That was damage to your skin caused by too much exposure to photons.

One interesting thing about photons is that they travel in waves, like sound does. And like sound, it has different frequencies, like notes on a piano. As these various frequencies of light enter our eyes, they can be differenciated by our brains. We call these different frequencies color. One of these many colors is called "blue." In theory, one could construct a machine to translate these light waves into sound waves, and you could have an audio appromixamation of blue. This isn't how a sighted person experiences blue, of course, but it can demonstrate how the particular light frequency we call blue objectively exists."

Is that good enough, or do I have to explain Mozart to a deaf person now?

--How do you explain abiogenesis?

I can't, and don't. No one can, at least not yet, and we may never be able to. The fact that I can't explain how life originated doesn't prove that your god exists.

--How could an event happen that creates time and space if there is no time and space?

I don't know. I don't know if it's even possible to talk in a coherent way about events before the Big Bang. The fact that I can't answer your question doesn't prove your god exists.

--How could a random explosion (of nothing in the middle of nowhere) create our universe?

I don't think this is an accurate description of Big Bang theory. As I understand it, all the matter in the universe, and space itself, condenced in a singualrity, rapidly expanded outward in a "big bang." This singularity wasn't "nothing," it was everthing, confined in an extremely small space. Again, the fact I can't answer your question doesn't mean your god exists.

--The secularists have as many, if not more, questions to answer than the Christian!

That's because many secularists like myself refuse to speculate on certain questions, such as the origins of life or the universe. The fact that you have more answers says nothing about the quality or validity of those answers.

--If you want to know whether God exists, the Bible is true, and Jesus is our savior, then make an honest effort to find out what the Gospel says.

Why do you assume I never read the Bible? I did. I was a Christian for 17 years.

--I COULD give you evidence after evidence and you would simply dismiss them all because NO evidence would likely satisfy you.

I'll take that to mean that all you have are Bible quotes and anecdotes. You're right. I would dismiss those.

--However, YOUR worldview has some very serious unanswered questions, if you're a non-believer, so I wonder why you're okay with that.

I have grown to accept varying degress of uncertainty and probability, and yes, unanswered questions that may never be answered. I consider it part of what it means to be human.

--Has it ever been scientifically proven that we can only know truth through scientific methods?

Well, it hasn't been proven in an absolute sense, but the scientific method, through using our intellect and senses, has done more to explain how the world works in the last 50 years than any other method in the last 5,000.

Have an even nicer day, and thank you.

*sigh*

"Is that good enough, or do I have to explain Mozart to a deaf person now?"

It was a lovely explanation, but the blind person can't really understand the colour blue from it now, can they?

Here's the thing: You seem to be assuming that I'm intending something by my questions whereas I'm not intending the thing you assume. I already mentioned that I was not going to try to convince you about God, so it is not necessary to say that your answers/non-answers don't prove that He exists. Of course they don't! (Did I say or imply that they would?) And, like I said, that was not the intention of my questions!

It's very difficult to explain things to people who truly lack the capacity to understand them (ie 'colour' for blind people). You can explain things in a technical sense, but they will likely never grasp what colour actually is; the way a sighted person can. Similarly, there are things in God's realm (for instance, the trinity) that we can't understand because we have similar limitations. We have explanations in the Bible of the nature(s) of God, and we attempt to understand them, the way a blind person would attempt to understand "blue," but we'll never fully understand until we gain those abilities, presumably after death.

My interest in posting to you was that you characterized believers in an unfavourable light, and I don't like to let the point remain unchallenged (for subsequent readers of the blog). The fact that you conclude a different worldview doesn't mean that others are irrational and/or illogical and/or unthinking and/or unintelligent. There are hundreds of reasons why they may hold the view they do. The fact that many of the most educated, intelligent people in any century believe, or have believed, in (the Christian) God, would support this assertion. Perhaps you don't have as much of a lock on reality as you seem to think you do.

To speak to another of your incorrect assumptions, I did not assume you have not read the Bible, and that's why I didn't suggest that you 'read the Bible.' I suggested that you make an honest effort to 'find out what the Gospel says.' It takes some study to fully understand the 'Good News' and the Bible, itself. I was a Christian, or so I thought, for 35 years before I actually 'heard' the Gospel and became a Christian, so when people tell me that they used to be a Christian, I don't really know what to think about that. Were they the type of Christian I was for most of my life and then left the faith? Or were they a 'truer' Christian and then left? (BTW, I wonder why you assume that all I have are Bible quotes and anecdotes. I have collected a wide body of evidence from many disciplines and sources, including the Bible. Is there a reason why the Bible should be dismissed out of hand? It is a reliable historical document.) I have not limited myself to one 'tool' (ie scientism) or resource. A hammer is great, but I'd prefer to have a variety of tools in my tool box, especially when a screwdriver or a wrench would work better. (cont'd)

Yes, science has done well to explain how the world works, but how does it fare as the method by which we can determine what's true? I mean, if we can only know truth by scientific means, then how do we scientifically test the statement, "We can only know truth by scientific means?" It is unreasonable to claim that you can't trust knowledge unless it is demonstrated to be true by empirical fact. Certain things must be in place that are not scientific and they must be true before you can even begin to practice science. I'm thinking philosophy, here. When we have a good epistemology, we can take that epistemology and apply it to the issue of the physical realm. Then what do we come up with? We come up with a method. The method is called the scientific method. Why? Because science is the queen of all knowledge? No. But, because if the scientific method is good at all, it's because it's been justified by the philosophy of epistemology. We have a method that produces information about the world. The method, though, comes not from science, but from somewhere else.
(credit: STR Blog/Greg Koukl)

Cheers!

ps I appreciate your conscious effort to avoid name calling and insults. It does get to be tiresome after a while.

Dear Mig,

I am relieved to hear you never intended to debate the existence of your god. I tend to take a rational approach to objective reality, and it sounds like your evidence, which you allude to but never present, is anything but.

I've read analogies about blind people and the color blue, assertions the Bible is an accurate historical document, and the specious argument that there is more than one way to establish objective truth--but precious little positive evidence.

Do you have anything at all of substance, something that shows your beliefs are more than mere faith, wishful thinking, superstition, or word games?

Have a wonderful, wonderful day.

Thanks, ATS.

What do you mean when you say that you take a "rational approach to objective reality"?

I haven't presented ANY evidence to you which is why you haven't seen it. I've been addressing your characterization of believers, among other things. Like I said, I don't like to let false assertions stand alone because too many people hear/read things and believe them too easily without thinking about them. My goal was to hopefully influence those people who would let your assertions either reinforce or become their opinion; to get them to apply some critical thinking, some research, and maybe even some Bible reading. I think it's important to do some work and form your own opinions, with good reasons to support them, rather than parrot things you hear/read that sound right to you. I respect those that disagree with me, if they've come to their conclusions legitimately, like you seem to have done. I don't dismiss people (consider them idiots, uneducated, irrational, etc.) just because we differ; that seems to be a very irrational (as well as unproductive and unpleasant) approach. I like to find out why they differ. If they present a point that I haven't considered, then I have the opportunity to learn something.

I do have evidence that supports my convictions. There's a wide body of evidence available that some of the most intelligent and educated people, the best scientists and greatest thinkers of any century have considered and found compelling. **What kind of evidence are you looking for? What would satisfy you?** Remember that God, IF He created time, space, matter, etc, would by all logic need to exist OUTSIDE of His creation, then science, which presumes that all things must have a natural explanation, would by all logic be unable to prove His existence. We wouldn't use science to prove that George Washington existed either, though, so that shouldn't be too much of a stumbling block. I also don't believe that judges rely on science experiments to determine whether a defendant is guilty or not. They will USE science sometimes; however, it is not the primary, nor the only tool.

Finally what are these superstitions and word games you speak of?

ps I still haven't presented any evidence of God's existence, just so you know.

Dear Mig,

Please, please, please stop fussing and present some evidence. Not all of it; just hit me with, say, the top 3 most compelling bits from your extensive collection.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

OK. Sorry to bother you with my "fussing." I'm too busy right now to write a thoughtful response so I just put down the evidences that came to mind easily/quickly and then numbered them in order of significance to me, personally. It's not just one evidence that makes me believe, but rather after considering the entire body of evidence, I feel that there's no other conclusion that can be drawn. I can explain further if you have questions but it might not be until Monday. I've condensed the evidences into just a few words which will not do the evidence justice at all, and will probably make it difficult to get a clear idea of it, but it will give you a general idea of why I believe what I do. I really didn't want to get into this, because you haven't really answered my question about what evidence would satisfy you, but since I said I would if you explained 'blue,' I figured I owed it to you.

Have a good weekend :)

7) the fine tuning of the universe
1) fulfilled prophecies
2) life and death of Jesus
9) the large number or Jews that became Christians after the resurrection
8) martyrdom of Jesus’s apostles
10) changed lives of believers
5) answered prayer (personally and anecdotal accounts)
11) my doubt that (historical) science is giving us correct conclusions (re age of rocks/fossils, geologic column, macro-evolution) based on the actual physical evidence, which seems to support the Biblical account of history far more easily and reasonably than the scientific account does
12) presence of evil
13) presence of morality
3) the Bible/the survival of it, number of copies, TRUTH, "types", depth of truth and layers of meaning in Jesus's words and parables
4) the Bible/so many authors, different languages, didn’t know each other, spanning centuries, singular theme and awesome cross referencing, explains God’s plan for redemption
14) the survival of the people of Israel, God’s chosen people, amazingly still around though they have been hated
15) the situation of the nation of Israel/prophecy unfolding
6) joy and peace in my heart and confidence in God's Word
16) the behaviour of non-believers towards believers--their will is often so hardened towards God that sometimes they can’t even seem to be in the same room as a believer without appearing agitated and/or angry. What causes that? They don't seem to feel it towards Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims, etc. It seems supernatural.
21) non-believers with hardened wills seem to be unable to see the truth; as though they are supernaturally blinded. It's a bit freaky sometimes.
20) supernatural occurrences
17) the coding/amount of information of DNA--intelligence behind that
18) the creation of the universe
19) the fact that life exists

Good book - Beyond a Shadow - William Brugman - can read it online. Chapter 3 would be interesting as it speaks about science.

Dear Mig,

I ask for a list of your top 3, and I get an admittedly cursory list of 21. I'm not sure what to make of that really, but it's something, and I'm grateful.

Looking, then, at your top 3, I have a question about number 2. If you believe Jesus was God, then how could He have died, when God is, by definition, immortal? And in what sense was He born if He is, by definition, eternal?

Thank you.

Hi, ATS. I gave you more than you requested because I didn't really have time to think about things, and I wasn't sure what type of evidence you would be looking for. I tried to give you a bit from each of the various types of evidence I have researched. I'm glad you appreciated it.

Now to answer your questions (and I know this won't be a tight theological explanation, but just a simple explanation), Jesus Christ's physical body was completely human, not just part human. Our bodies can, and do, die, and so could His. When we die, our physical body dies, but our soul and spirit remain. They are eternal; they never die. The same is true of Jesus. His physical body died, but his inner self is eternal and did not die.

I hope that explains it okay :)

And where is His physical body now?

I believe it ascended to Heaven.

As He was ascending, surely He would have suffocated from lack of oxygen, or frozen to death. And if He somehow managed to survive the trip through our atmosphere, He would have perished within a few moments' exposure to the vacuum of space. Right?

lol.....good one :D hahahaha....

Like I said, I'm not going to try to convince you. Christianity is worth thinking about. If you choose to be ultra-skeptical, that's your prerogative, of course. I pray that the veil will be lifted from your eyes, and that you will be able to see the truth someday. If you have any real questions, I'll be more than happy to answer them; however, I'm not going to waste my time trying to win an argument. The skeptic can always ask another skeptical question when he doesn't want to see or admit to the truth.

Peace!

ps What do you think would be more difficult for God to have done: create our universe and everything in it, or, after raising Jesus from the dead, bring his *glorified* body safely home to Heaven? ;)

Those WERE real questions, actually. You said Jesus had (has?)a physical body that ascended into Heaven. But now you tell me His body wasn't an actual physical body, but a "glorified" one. I have no idea what that means, and I won't bother to ask.

What makes you think I'm the one with the veil over his eyes? I could just as easily say YOU are the one who doesn't want to see or admit to the truth. What condescending drivel.

It's a fairly common tactic employed by believers, telling themselves that people like me know God exists but willfully refuse, perhaps under Satanic influence, to submit to His authority, and consider it a grave sin to question their beliefs. You wonder why atheists can be so hostile towards believers? This is a prime example.

Take care, and best of luck.

Well, I don't know if you'll see this or not, but I apologize for offending you. I didn't realize the veil thing would be offensive, but I see that I should have known that it would be. I don't consider it a grave sin to question my convictions, and welcome honest questions, especially because I think that God gave us enough information/evidence with which to answer them. I felt you were trying to 'catch me on a technicality' with your most recent question, but it looks like I was wrong about that. Since you said you had been a Christian for many years, I figured you knew about Jesus' glorified body. Guess I was wrong there, also. Anyhow, if you want to continue this, I'm fine; however, if you don't want to, that's fine, too. I do wish you well!!

To answer your question directly, the reason that I think you're the one with the veil over your eyes is because I believe I'm the one whose perception of the world lines up with reality. ***I KNOW THAT I COULD BE WRONG*** (though, of course, I don't think I am, which is why I hold the position I do). I think you, similarly, believe that your perception of the world lines up with reality (which is why you hold the position you do). It's not a proof on either side, but it's an explanation of why we feel the way we do, right?

I'm not suggesting that you secretly know there is a god. I really don't understand why some people can't or won't see the truth. I do know that in the bible there are instances of God supernaturally blinding Pharaoh, and that there are also people who refuse to submit to God's authority. I expect there are a multitude of reasons for not seeing the truth, but I haven''t really given too much thought into the issue. I do know that some skeptics have hardened their hearts and really don't want to see the truth. I can't really know whether that applies to you or not as I don't know you. [Even if I did, I might not be able to tell.]

I also know that there are believers who are afraid of any challenge to their faith, which suggests to me that they really are not believers or their faith is pretty weak! If God is true and real, there is nothing to be afraid of. The Bible tells us that God wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, MIND, and strength (emphasis added), so I think we're supposed to actually use our brains and not just believe blindly. This suggests to me that true inquiry and knowledge are encouraged, not discouraged or to be feared. As a bonus, the more I research and question God and His existence, the more I find that He is true and awesome! Because of this, I resent being characterized as a non-thinker or irrational. I have done extensive research and used critical thinking to come to the conclusions I have. Interestingly enough, I believe that many of the non-believers also have done the same; hence my 'veil' comment. These non-believers ALSO believe that they have the truth, and believe that the believer is deluded. I guess that brings us back to the beginning...maybe something more than intelligence is required.....who knows?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)