STEPHEN HAWKING [Hume, Kant, Sartre, Camus] I just put together a few posts from the apologetics section that deal with the fallacy that some teach; that you can get something from nothing. Hawking’s most recent book makes this same classic mistake that has been refuted time and again over the centuries.
- Wasn’t sure which way to go today; felt like refuting [or as Sarah Palin says ‘refudiating’!] the recent Stephen Hawking book- he’s basically saying nothing new, and what he is claiming has been shown to be ‘less than true’ [heck, you don’t want the call the man senile, though who knows?]. In a nutshell the book claims that Gravity itself needed no originator, that it created all things, even itself! Yikes! This is a complete violation of the Law of Non contradiction- which states ‘a thing cannot be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship’ for gravity to have created itself [which Hawking is saying!] then it had to ‘be, and not be’ at the same time- not only is this not good science, it is lunacy. For my new facebook readers I’ll try and post a few notes at the bottom. I also just walked passed my T.V. while going into the study, sure enough there was a television evangelist on the tube doing the whole money thing- man if I get into that it will be bad. So for today let me stick a few relevant posts at the bottom and lets all remember the fallen heroes of 9-1-2001. It’s there day for sure.
(1312) THE INCARNATION- The most influential philosopher on Western thought is probably the philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant wrote the influential work ‘In critique of pure reason’ at the close of the 18th century in response to the pure rationalists [David Hume] of the Enlightenment. Kant read Hume’s works and was said to have been ‘aroused out of his dogmatic slumber’ and dispatched his response. Kant espoused that you had the physical and metaphysical worlds, and the 2 are completely separate. He refuted the argument for God made by the apologists and said it was impossible for man to ‘know God’ thru rational/physical means. Kant did not totally reject ‘the idea’ of God; he simply said the efforts of the Christian philosophers to prove God were futile. Was Kant right? Yes and no. In the 13th century you had another great Christian thinker by the name of Thomas Aquinas, Thomas is considered one of the greatest [if not greatest] thinkers of the Catholic tradition, Thomas wrote extensively and re-introduced the Greek philosophers back into Christian theology. Sometimes referred to as ‘Aristotelianism’ [Aristotle]. Thomas taught that it was possible to obtain true knowledge of the existence of God from the natural world, but that to have particular revelation from God you needed the church and tradition [revelation]. Some feel that Thomas was teaching a ‘secular/sacred’ division that hurt the work of the church. But if you read Aquinas in the context of his time he really was not doing this. Thomas ‘rescued’ apologetics [proof for God] from the philosophers of Islam who were teaching that you could have 2 types of truth- religious and scientific. They taught that religious truth could ‘be true’ by faith, but that it could be false by science, and vice versa. Thomas was refuting this idea and was showing us that real truth, whether from the natural sciences or from ‘revelation’ never contradict, it’s just science can only go so far in arguing for the existence of God. But the influence of Immanuel Kant on western thinking has many believing that God and ‘religion’ are okay things for people to believe, but that ‘real truth’ is found in the natural sciences and God is excluded from this ‘secular’ realm. This is a false view. God can be ‘proved’ by studying the natural sciences, like Aquinas said. Now this doesn’t get you all the way to the God of Christian theology, but it can take you up to the point where God’s existence is proven to be reality. The main point is it is wrong to think Christianity is relegated to the realm of faith while ‘real truth’ is in the realm of science. The Incarnation was God’s divine act of breaking into the physical world thru the birth of his Son. God became man and dwelt among us, you can study all the history of the time and find many historical proofs of the reality of Jesus and the fact that he died and rose again, these ‘truths’ are not only religious in nature, they are factual in history. So while I appreciate the work that Kant put into his book, I will stick with the other ‘Emanuel’ the God who is with us.
(1097) Okay, lets do one on apologetics, the last few posts drained me too much! During the time of the Reformation, Enlightenment and scientific revolution [15-1700’s] you had people dealing with the reality that many of the former institutions that they trusted in [Catholic Church] were being challenged at the core. Though the scientific method was introduced by the church, yet as time advanced many would use science as an excuse to challenge the existence of God. As certain philosophers grappled with the effect that this would have on society [Immanuel Kant] they developed belief systems to explain the necessity of some type of belief in a moral higher power, versus the other extreme which is defined as Nihilism. That is the basic belief that nothing really has meaning at all, as the rock group Kansas put it ‘all we are is dust in the wind’ [p.s. try not to listen to this song if your feeling depressed!] Those who advocated Nihilism [Niestche] still had to explain away the reality of this almost universal belief in God. Where does it come from? Why do people gravitate towards this belief? For the most part the atheistic philosophers said it was born out of this innate desire of man to want more than Nihilism, basically man could not accept the reality that he came from nothing and was heading nowhere, so that’s why he came up with God and religion. Now it was important for the atheistic philosopher to come up with some answer to the dilemma, and this was basically it. What's the problem with this answer? The majority view of God [Christian, Jew, Muslim] is a view that God is this all-powerful being who knows all things. He also has this moral code that if broken demands strict punishment, and man in his humanity has a really difficult time living up to this code [of course Christians solve this problem thru the Cross!] and any man who lives his life as a lawbreaker will not be able to escape this all knowing judge who has all power to carry out all justice for all men. In short, if man developed a god for psychological reasons, as some type of cosmic crutch to help him thru his meaningless existence, for heavens sake it wouldn’t be this one! Thus the explanation that the atheistic philosopher gave didn’t really solve the problem. Now Immanuel Kant rejected natural theology, he did not believe the arguments used to prove the existence of God from natural means were valid [Anselm, Augustine, Aquinas] but he was accused of driving God out of the front door and letting him in thru the back. Kant said in order for man to have rule and order, civil society, that you would need some basic things. Man would have to have some type of moral code to live by, he would also have to be assured that those who broke it would have to pay some type of penalty [in the after life as well as now]. In order for a just future judgment you would need an all knowing judge who you couldn’t slip something by, he had to be just, not one you could bribe! He would also have to be all powerful, if by chance he couldn’t execute the judgment then crime would still prevail. Kant called this basic moral requirement ‘ought ness’ that is the things that all people ‘ought to do’ the moral code implanted in man. Kant recognized the danger of Nihilism, if man had no outside moral agent to whom he was accountable to, then civil society would eventually be lost. So you now see the problem with the period of human history where men went thru a revolutionary stage. As they tried to cast off the church and God, they also realized that these things provided the very foundation of civil society. If Nihilism won out, society would eventually collapse.
(954)NOW IT’S A PARALLEL/BUBBLE UNIVERSE! I watched the first TV special I ever saw on the multi-verse theory. I think it’s the first one of its kind by the history channel. It was very eye opening. It seems as if its defenders have been told ‘your initial argument is nonsensical’ and they have made some adjustments. As you read down thru the Evolution section you will see that one of the arguments against a multi-verse is that it is a ‘non physical’ argument. It is metaphysical. This meaning that you could never truly prove the existence of another universe thru the science of Physics. Why? Because the original definition of ‘the universe’ was every thing that exists in the time/space continuum. If by definition, all that can be seen or detected is ‘part of our universe’ then how in the world can you detect something outside of it? [they have some ideas on this, but its pure speculation as of right now] Once you detect it, it, by definition is in our universe! Well the brothers now realize that they fell into this obvious contradiction, so they seem to be moving the goal posts a little. In the special I just saw, they now seem to be saying that our universe is simply one ‘bubble of universes’ that’s floating around in space [before, space and the universe were synonymous!] so they seem to be simply shrinking down the definition of universe and making it mean ‘our closed existing time space continuum, which is simply one of many’ Ahh, you guys are cheating with this one! But hey, how many viewers realized this? That’s the problem with these theories, they come up with them for the purpose of having another explanation for existence, but they then get into more trouble trying to keep their theory alive. Remember, the reason this theory started in the first place was to come up with some type of explanation, apart from God, to explain the fine tuning of the Cosmos [read my sections on fine tuning under Evolution]. The unbelievable fine measurements that have been found to be exactly right to support life have no other real explanation apart from a creator. The multi-verse theory simply says ‘well, if you have millions and billions of unseen universes [pure speculation!] then the odds on one of them getting it right just went up’. So this theory was originally floated for this reason. Now, even if this theory were ever proved [according to the new definition of the universe!] it would simply mean that instead of trying to figure out how ‘our universe got here’ [the original question] now we have to figure out how they all got here! It really proves nothing. But I thought it interesting to see how these giants of Academia now realize that they were violating the basic laws of logic by espousing the theory in its original form! [In essence, all these so called floating, bubble like universes would have originally fallen under the heading of ‘the universe’. You wouldn’t have seen them as a bunch of separate universes. But they had to change the definition in order to keep their argument in the boundaries of logic and common sense]. They also borrowed from Einstein’s theory on worm holes. But Einstein surmised that worm holes might be these tunnels in space/time that one could travel thru and exit at another dimension, a different location of the universe. He did not use this idea as traveling from one ‘bubble universe’ into another, like the proponents of the multi-verse were doing. The show then got too silly to even give it a speck of serious thought. They then theorized that there are possible duplicates of us, and duplicates of other sports teams and presidents and all types of stuff. They thought it possible for the Giants to have won the super bowl in one universe, though losing it in ours [and you call this science!] they even said that this theory has moral implications. How did they come up with this? One of them explained that you could be ‘good’ in one universe, but if you realize that this holy altar image of yourself is doing good somewhere else, then this might effect your choice of being righteous in ‘this universe’ WOW! As we continue our study thru the book of Corinthians, keep in mind Paul’s teaching on the foolishness of men’s wisdom, I think we just saw a good example of it. There is this stature that we give in our modern day to any ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ that comes down the pike with any nonsensical idea. We see them as a special class, the Academics can’t be wrong! After all it sounds intellectual. A few centuries before Christ you had the great philosopher ‘Philo- Betto’ [O wait, that was Clint Eastwood's character in ‘every which way but lose!’] I mean Plato. Truly Plato and Aristotle and Socrates have had tremendous influence on Western thought. You would be hard pressed to find other later philosophers who have had the same influence [maybe Immanuel Kant]. Plato built this great school of learning in ancient Greece. He bought the land from a man by the name of ‘Academe’. Eventually we would call this pursuit of knowledge ‘the Academic world’ or Academia. Hey, don’t be intimidated by these guys.
(1368) FOR HE LOOKED FOR A CITY WHICH HATH FOUNDATIONS, WHOSE BUILDER AND MAKER IS GOD- Hebrews. In keeping with the last post, let’s talk some more on the debate between Evolution and Design. When the able Stephen Barr shot the round that was heard around the world [at least the world of IDer’s] he made some good points, even though I disagree strongly with the way he represented the other able scientists in the field. One day I had a talk with a geologist, it was a happenstance meeting [friend of my daughter] and during a normal friendly conversation I brought up many of the opposing views to ‘uniformitarianism’ and the challenges to a ‘deep time’ geology. While not a young earther myself, I found it amazing that this scientist was totally unaware of any opposing viewpoints to the standard theories. In the halls of academia the majority opinion is without a doubt that of Darwinian Evolution, it is also true that many people [even scientists!] are really not familiar with all the data [lots of data!] that challenge the standard view; many have come to challenge the basic Darwinian timeline [thus punctuated equilibrium] and have admitted that the tremendous ‘gap’ in the fossil record, along with the discovery of high complexity in the most simple cell, that these scientific discoveries have made it difficult to accept the Darwinian idea. Now the adherents of Evolutionary theory accuse the IDer's of resorting to a ‘God of the gaps’ excuse. That is they claim that all the IDer’s are doing is finding places in the record that have no explanations [information, complex machines, etc.] and are inserting ‘God’ into these gaps. The Evolutionists say ‘given enough time, maybe we will find naturalistic explanations to fit the gaps’. And they claim that any ‘gap theory’ actually hinders scientific discovery, because it has a tendency to say ‘well, might as well stop looking for a naturalistic cause, God just filled the gap’. First, the IDer's are not saying that because we have run across unanswered difficulties, lets stick God in there. What they are saying [for the most part] is that observable data [science] show us, in every case, that when you have complex systems that are ‘irreducible’ and stored data/info at the most simple level; that these facts point to an intelligent mind having been the cause of these things. Now, Stephen Barr and Francis Beckwith [two of the main scientists/philosophers in the debate] do not reject the idea that yes, an intelligent mind is behind the design/info, what they are saying is it’s still possible that science will discover a ‘naturalistic’ explanation/mechanism to it. That is God might have created some other unknown mechanism that is simple [or complex] that can be credited with bringing into existence the design/info. They are simply arguing that it’s possible, and not in contradiction with historic Christianity, to embrace this view. Barr also seems to be saying ‘yes, it is very possible that we will never find a reasonable, naturalistic explanation for this, and at that point the IDer’s might be right, but then you jump out of the field of science [observable data] and carry the argument into another classroom’. I believe the ‘God of the gaps’ accusation is erroneous, I also believe that far too many adherents to Evolutionary theory are not giving the proper weight to the gaps, some are not even aware of them! Thomas Aquinas is sometimes misunderstood and is said to have advocated a secular/religious division in apologetics; that is some say he taught that the natural sciences and religious truth were 2 totally different fields, sort of like the thought of Emanuel Kant [Physical/Metaphysical division] but Thomas taught that science could show us many truths about God, just because you have naturalistic explanations to things, this does not discount the Divine hand- but he also taught that science could only go so far down that road- for instance it would take many years to arrive at a naturalistic proof of Gods being, while revelation [thru tradition and scripture] could get you there quicker. Also science can prove that God exists [prime mover] but for truths on the nature of God [Trinity] you need revelation. So Aquinas leaves room for science to go so far, and if it ‘hits a gap’ then yes, you have every right to carry the argument into ‘another classroom’ so to speak. It is not wrong to say ‘yes, we are searching for a city, one that has been built by God’ but to also recognize that the city has foundations [whether discovered thru naturalistic or religious truth]; both seekers can be on the right track, arriving at different times/ways.
(1155) let’s do something for our intellectuals out there. Over the course of the last few hundred years you have had smart philosophers/atheists challenge the Christian faith. The current bunch [Dawkins, Hitchens or a comedian like Bill Maher] are really lacking in the intellectual prowess of past atheists! Let’s hit a few arguments that are made against the Christian faith. In the field of proving the reality of God, one of the classic arguments is a First Cause. I have taught it before under the evolution section. If you study things you realize there are no events in history that happen without a cause, nothing happens out of thin air. Logically this would lead us to the conclusion that somewhere down the line you have to have an ‘original causer’. Logically you can’t go on forever without an initial cause somewhere down the line. This is a real argument made for the existence of God that has been popular over the centuries. In the 18th century you had a Scottish philosopher by the name of David Hume who challenged our ability to know causes. He taught that man simply observes stuff happening, he perceives supposed connections to what the cause is, but he can not say 100% what the cause is. The famous example he used was the pool table, we see a man use the cue stick to hit one ball and it bangs into another and goes in the hole. Hume said it sure seems like the cause of this series of events is the act of the pool player hitting the ball, but he said we don’t know for sure whether this is the cause. Grant it, Hume had a point, but we observe things all the time in the field of science, we come to conclusions based upon reasonable evidence, and we ‘trust’ our senses to a degree. But some have taken this argument by Hume and have used it to rebut the Christian argument for a first cause. This use of Hume is dishonest. Hume did not say there were no causes for things, he simply said we can’t be 100% sure of what the cause is. Hume himself said ‘chance is simply a word used to define our ignorance of real causes’. Many appeal to Hume and use the argument that things can happen ‘by chance’ sort of like chance has the ontological status of causing things to come into existence! Hume said chance was simply a word we use to fill in the blank until a true cause is determined. Well, I hope I didn’t lose you guys today, but this is one of the more popular arguments used in the field of philosophy to try and refute the Christian faith. So I thought it good to refute the refuters!
(944)1ST CORINTHIANS 1:18-31 Paul declares the actual preaching of the Cross to be the power of God. The Jews sought for a sign [remember the sign of Jonas?] and the Greeks prided themselves in wisdom. Paul declares that Jesus IS the wisdom and power of God. In Christ is contained all the wisdom and power [signs] in the universe! Paul says God destroyed the wisdom of unregenerate man and that Gods foolishness is wiser than men’s greatest achievements apart from God. Wow, what an indictment on enlightenment philosophy. Man goes thru stages of learning and knowledge [renaissance, enlightenment. Industrial, scientific revolution] these are not bad achievements in and of themselves. Many of the greatest scientists and scientific discoveries were made by men of faith [Newton, Pascal, Faraday, etc] the problem arises when men think that sheer humanistic reasoning, apart from God, is the answer. Right now there is a movement [11-08] going on where some atheists bought ad space on the sides of buses that say ‘why believe in a god? Do good for goodness sake’. So they had both sides [Christian /Atheist] debate it. The simple fact is, sheer humanism cannot even define ‘what good is’. ‘Good’ becomes a matter of what serves me best at the time of my decision. Without God and special revelation [scripture-10 commandments] good can be defined by Hitler’s regime as exterminating one class of society for the benefit of the whole. Only Christian [or Deist, Jewish, Muslim] beliefs place special value and dignity on human life. It is a common misconception to think that all the enlightenment philosophers were atheists; this was not the case at all. Locke, Hume and others simply believed that thru human logic and reason people could arrive at a sort of naturalistic belief in God. This would form the basis of Deism, the system of belief in God but a rejection of classic Christian theology. Benjamin Franklin and other founding fathers of our country were influenced by this style of belief. Now, getting back to the Greeks. Paul says ‘God destroyed the wisdom of this world’. What wisdom is Paul talking about? The enlightenment philosophers of the 18th century had nothing on the Greek philosophers going all the way back to a few centuries B.C. Plato, the Greek wrestler turned philosopher, had one of the most famous schools of Greek philosophy. At the entrance of the school the words were written ‘let none but geometers enter here’. Kind of strange. Geometry simply meant ‘form’ in this use. Most of the great theoretical physicists were also great mathematicians [Einstein]. The Greek philosophers were seeking a sort of ‘unified theory’ that would explain all other theories and bring all learning together under one intellectual ‘roof’. Sort of like Einstein's last great obsession. The Greeks actually referred to this great unknown future ‘unifier’ as ‘the Logos’. Now, some atheists will use this truth to undercut the New Testament. They will take the common use of these words ‘The Logos’ and say that Johns writings [Gospel, letters] were simply stolen ideas from Greek philosophy. This is why believers need to have a better understanding of the inspiration of scripture. John’s writings were no doubt inspired, he of course calls Jesus the ‘Logos’ [word] of God. But he was simply saying to the Greek/Gnostic mind ‘look, you guys have been waiting for centuries for the one special ‘Word/Logos’ that would be the answer to all learning, I declare unto you that Jesus is this Logos’! So eventually you would have ‘the wisdom of the world’ [both Greek and enlightenment and all other types] falling short of the ultimate answer. They could only go so far in their journey for truth, and ultimately they either wind up at the foot of the Cross [the wisdom of God] or the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. God said this ‘tree’ [sources of wisdom and knowledge apart from God] would ultimately lead to death if not submitted to ‘the tree of life’ [the Cross]. You would have some of the enlightenment philosophers eat from this tree all the way to the ‘death of God’ movement. Man in his wisdom would come to the conclusion that ‘God is dead’. If this is true, then the slaughter of millions of Jews is no moral dilemma. If God is dead then man is not created in his image, he is just this piece of flesh that you can dispose of at will. To all you intellectual types, it’s Okay to have a mind, but you must love God with it. If all your doing is feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die.
(1156) Okay, lets talk about something simple today, no more quoting 18th century Scottish philosophers for heavens sake! I know, let’s talk Quantum Physics and the study of sub atomic particles! [No, I am not kidding ] One of the most difficult obstacles for the atheist to overcome is the question ‘what was there before the big bang’? They really have no answer to this question, the answer can’t be ‘nothing’ and if it was ‘something’ then what was it? [Of course we know that something is God] So this has led the atheistic scientists down a path to see if we can find something popping into existence from nothing, the ultimate uncaused effect. Have they found it? No. But this won’t stop them from trying. The most popular scientific evidence used to prove that you can get something from nothing is found in the field of Quantum Physics [the study of really small things]. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon that occurs when a Proton strikes an Atom. It seems as if the Electron will disappear and reappear at the same moment in another location, without having traveled the distance. The second it disappears it shows up at another location. Some type of metaphysical wormhole? Who knows. The point is some have said this is proof for the idea that matter can pop into existence without a prior cause. Not! All this shows us is that material things can act in such a way that the examiner cannot explain what’s happening. In the above case you have matter already existing and a clearly recognizable repeatable pattern that can be observed. This in itself is an argument for an intelligent designer and a caused effect [the proton striking the atom and causing the electron to disappear/reappear]. So today I thought I would show you what goes on in the debate over trying to come up with an uncaused effect, and how vital this question it is in the area of apologetics. Oh, I almost forgot, do you know what the name of this phenomenon is? It’s the famous ‘Quantum Leap’.
-(1425) SPECIFIED COMPLEXITY- In the struggle over evolutionary theory, one of the approaches used to debunk Darwinian Theory is the concept called ‘information theory’. This idea refutes a purely atheistic view of evolution. First, we must understand that the most popular form of evolution today is absolutely proven to be untrue! I know that’s a surprising statement to some, but stick with me. The current theory that most atheists hold to is the idea that at one point in time nothing existed [true]. They then say ‘by chance all things eventually came into existence’ they do not believe, for the most part, that any being existed prior to creation. This idea is blatantly false from the start, it is scientifically impossible to get something from nothing- people must know this. Now does evolutionary theory explain how all things came from no-thing? Absolutely not. That’s why some evolutionists espouse a theory called panspermia, this idea says that it’s possible that life started somewhere else, possibly by extra terrestrial beings, and that it was seeded on our planet either by accident or design. Men like Richard Dawkins [the famous atheist] have espoused this idea. If you were to ask them ‘and exactly what do you think this being is like, is it intelligent or not’ they would reply ‘oh, it’s definitely intelligent- how else could it have spawned intelligent life’ [good question!] if you then asked ‘is the being powerful, does it have the skill to do great things’? ‘Oh yes, of course, how else could it have spawned matter and life’? Another excellent question! One last thing, how old is this being, has he a starting point in history as well? Come to think of it, now that you ask, he [or his ancestor] must have been around forever, because if there was a point in time where he did not exist, then we have the problem of explaining where he came from, so logic tells us that this all knowing, all powerful, ever existing being is the only logical explanation for the existence of the created order. In a nutshell the atheistic evolutionist has come to the logical conclusion that some being, which just happens to possess all the attributes of the Christian God, must exist in order for anything to exist, after all you can’t get intelligent life from non intelligence. The evolutionist who espouses this view [and there are a growing number of them by the way] has simply replaced the idea of God with another god that he has developed in his own mind. This very dilemma, trying to explain how everything came from nothing, how information in the human cell got there, these questions can only be answered by the scientist who embraces some type of deity, that’s why the famous atheist Antony Flue finally embraced belief in God after many years of denying his existence. He realized the futility of holding on to a world view that said all things came from no-thing. How bout you?
(1371) CAN SOMETHING COME FROM NOTHING? Part of the recent debate going on in the field of Physics argues whether or not you can get something from nothing. One of the arguments says ‘look, we have been able to detect certain phenomena that seem to show us things popping into existence from A FIELD [AREA] WHERE NOTHING EXISTS’. Now, the same Quantum Physics that supposedly shows this, also teaches that our universe has around 90 % of all matter hidden, they say that this ‘dark matter’ is everywhere, you can’t escape it! Yet at the same time we have no way of detecting it. My question for the Quantum physicist would be ‘where are you getting this pristine field, this area where ‘nothing exists’ that you are examining, that seemingly shows you things coming from nothing?’ The problem with some of these brothers is they make nonsensical statements, things that violate the laws of logic, and then they call us idiots!
(1332) Been doing some reading on church history/philosophy, it’s interesting to see the role that theology/Christianity played in the universities. Theology is referred to as ‘the queen of the sciences’ and philosophy was her ‘handmaid’. They saw the root of all learning as originating with the study ‘of God’. Many modern universities have dropped the term ‘theology’ and call it ‘the study of religion’. The study of religion is really the study of how man relates to God, his view of God; this would fit under anthropology/sociology, not under theology. Modern learning has lost the importance of the study of God and the role it plays in all the other sciences. The classic work of Homer [8th century BC] called the Iliad, has Achilles debating whether or not he should ‘stay and fight along the city of the Trojans’ and attain the legacy of a warrior; or to go ‘back to my homeland and live a long life’. He chooses to fight and lay his life on the line. The themes of the classics [courage, heroism, etc.] are biblical themes, even if God is not directly mentioned. The point being to try and exclude God from learning is silly, you can’t do it. Around the 17-18th century you had the philosophy of Existentialism rise up, as an ‘ism’ it really is a misnomer; ‘ism’ is a suffix that you add to the end of a word that makes it a system- ‘humanism’ ‘secularism’ etc. but existentialism is a word that means ‘anti-system’. Nevertheless the person who popularized this belief was a Christian, Soren Kierkegaard. The system he was rebelling against was the dead institutionalism of the Danish church, he felt that Christianity devolved into dead orthodoxy and lost all of its passion for true living and experiencing God. Nietzsche would pick up on this philosophy and apply it to atheism, and in the 20th century men like Albert Camus and John Paul Sartre would also embrace it from an atheistic worldview. They would say things like ‘man is a useless passion’ or write books titled ‘Nausea’ summing up the human condition. Though the 19th century atheistic humanists tried to give value and exalt the state of man, in their rejection of God and Christianity they were taking away the foundation for mans value. If you tell society that they arrived on the scene by some cosmic accident of evolution, and when you die you dissipate into nothingness, then how do you at the same time glory in his natural abilities to reach some point of Utopia? As the late Frances Schaeffer said ‘they were philosophers who had both feet planted firmly in mid air’. The point being when you neglect the reality and role that God and Christianity play in every sphere of life, you are then removing the foundation that these spheres were built on, true science and learning derive their basis from God. The greatest scientific minds of the past were either Christians or Deists, they were too smart to try and reject the reality of an eternal being.
(1210) SAVE THY PEOPLE AND BLESS THINE INHERITANCE. FEED THEM ALSO AND LIFT THEM UP FOREVER- Psalms 28:9 I guess I will hit a few scattered Psalms, these last few weeks I have been reading the Psalms and trying to add a verse to memory every day or so. Sort of praying/meditating on them like the famous ‘Jesus prayer’. The Jesus prayer is an ancient simple prayer that says ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner’ but you actually say it all day long until it becomes part of your psyche. So these single Psalms can be used in this way. Okay, God wants to feed his people and bless them, Jesus told Peter ‘if you love me, feed my sheep’. In the 20th century you had the famous existentialist/atheist philosophers like John Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, these guys sought for purpose and meaning thru philosophy but wound up as nihilists [no hope] because of their rejection of God. Sartre would say ‘man is a useless passion’, Camus would say the only question left for philosophy to answer was the viability of suicide. The famous atheist Antony [Anthony] Flew, who has now become a believer in God [Theist], used to use a parable about a garden to challenge belief in God. He said man and his religious quest is like men who are journeying thru a forest and all of a sudden they come upon a garden; it is manicured and detailed in every way, it ‘appears’ to be a product of a designer. But then flew said as the men look around for the gardener they can’t see him, they then espouse all types of ideas about the master gardener. They come to various conclusions; he must be all knowing, very talented, transcendent- they develop views about this gardener/God that in Flews mind were just as silly as saying you might as well have no gardener at all! Flew thought if believers came to all these ideas about God, what’s the difference whether you believe in a God or not? The obvious answer is ‘then where in the world did the garden come from’. The challenges to Christianity, Theism, Deism try and convince people that there really is no purpose to your existence, you are a ‘useless passion’ you came from nowhere and are heading nowhere. Initially, this philosophy sounded liberating to those who embraced it. Sort of like telling the kids that schools out and you have no more teachers to listen to. But when you embrace this form of meaninglessness, you can not then try and instill purpose and meaning into people. Sartre and Camus rejected the foundational basis for man to have meaning in life, they tried to tell man ‘look, here is the purposeful garden, but it came from nowhere’. After many years of Anthony Flews insistence that there was no gardener, the evidence that caused him to change his mind was the evidence of design. He kept telling himself ‘there is no gardener’ and realized he was trying to convince himself of a lie, he knew he was logically wrong. He has since joined the ranks of those who now seek to know more about the master gardener.
(1127) let’s see, I wanted to do Nehemiah, talk a little about the recent abortion debate, and also discuss modern philosophy! Let’s see what we can do. In Nehemiah the workers are scattered all along the wall, they are responsible for their section. Nehemiah tells them that because they are so far apart, they need the ability to be able to hear the warning from the main overseer of the work [namely him!] so he has this trumpet guy next to him, if danger shows up he will blow the trumpet and they will be forewarned, hey in a day without electronic communication, this is a good idea! Recently [5-09] there have been some debates over the abortion issue and some high profile cases as well. Just 2 days ago one of the most notorious abortion doctors in our country was shot down in cold blood, his name was George Tiller. His abortion clinic was only one out of three places in the U.S. that performed late term abortions. This is the procedure where you insert a forceps into the womb, pull apart the legs and arms of the baby. Then you position the forceps over the head and squeeze till the brains come out [I know this is graphic, if you want to learn more about it, go to the Priests for life icon on my blog roll]. While we in no way shape or form condone the murder of doctor Tiller, it should be noted that he took part in the most wicked act that can ever take place, the murder of unborn children. Now in this debate some Christians [Catholics] have brought up the recent speech by president Obama at Notre Dame, some boycotted the speech. The problem was that Notre Dame actually honored the president with an honorary law degree. It is one thing to allow both voices to be heard, quite another to honor the most anti life president in the history of the untied states! He has made more pro death decisions than any other president in history. The U.S. Catholic Bishops had passed a resolution a few years back that stated no Catholic institution should give honorary degrees to those who are in violation of the churches teaching on major issues, obviously Notre Dame violated this rule. Now, some Catholic media persons were defending Obama, they even criticized their own church for hypocrisy! They were saying that honoring Obama was no different than honoring any other leader who might be pro capital punishment. These Catholic media persons were equating the churches stand on abortion with her stand on capital punishment; these two are not in the same league! The Catholic church teaches a sort of hierarchy of offenses [as a boy I still remember being taught mortal and venial sins] the church sees abortion as an intrinsically evil act, the outright murder of innocent defenseless persons. The church also teaches against the death penalty, but the execution of a criminal is not to be equated with the murder of unborn innocent children [some 4 thousand per day!] so these Catholic believers were wrong on the stance of their own church. Today’s ‘post-modern’ philosophy will argue that truth and morals are relative [subjective] they see truth thru the lens of ‘that might be wrong for you, but not for me’ or ‘I personally am against abortion, but I don’t want to push my views on others’. In the world of postmodern thinking, this is considered acceptable. This view of right and wrong is based on the view that there really is no objective truth, that is truth does not correspond to any outside reality. Truth, in their view, is simply the way various cultures perceive and understand things at different times in human history, but it’s possible for other societies to interpret the data coming into their senses and arrive at another view of truth, and who am I to say that ‘my truth is real and yours is false’. Obviously in the field of theology this would be [and is!] disastrous. Paul himself would say ‘if Christ be not risen [a real fact!] then we are of all men the most miserable’. The biblical worldview of truth is objective; truth is something that corresponds to something else that is real. This does not always mean material, but real never the less. For instance mathematical equations are real truth, or feelings of love are real, but not material. This would be the foundation for saying ‘the murder of babies is wrong, always has been, always will be’ whether my view is contrary to your view is meaningless, the act itself is wrong! Your view of that oak tree might be different than mine, but if you run into it with your car, the only view that counts is what reality is. It really was a tree that was there, it was not simply my perception of ‘a tree’ my perception corresponded with reality and the truth was that the tree really was a tree, whether you like it or not! The modern philosophers would say ‘the only real question left for philosophy to answer is the viability of suicide’ [either Sartre or Camus said this] When philosophy severs itself from true moral reason and foundational ethics, it has no leg to stand on. When society can accept that murder might be wrong for you, but not for me, then the basic fabric of civilization is no more. Well I think I covered all three of the things I set out to do at the start, hope it helped.
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