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Monday, March 9, 2009

Does it matter?

The fool has said in his heart there is no God. Psalms 14:1

If you have not already read it, please read the blog Does God Exist? In this blog I will explore the second part of the question Does It Matter? Be warned I will not sacrifice the truth on the altar of political correctness. If you want PC you should probably hit the “Next Blog” button at the top of your screen. Let me summarize my argument for you. There is NO legitimate intellectual argument against the existence of God. You might be asking the question than why doesn't everyone believe in Him then? When someone says God doesn’t exists it is not because that is what logical, philosophical, scientific, and mathematical evidences points to. Hardly! No this is not an intellectually rooted claim this is a MORAL claim. These same people don’t want there to be a God so that they are free to follow the perversions of their own heart.

Let’s examine Psalms 14. In this passage God is looking down on the earth and considering all the evidence that points to His existence and his conclusion is absolutely amazing. He says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God”. Huh? What? Let’s be clear. God isn’t trying to be immature and insulting. Remember when you were a kid and you would stick your tongue out at somebody and say Nana Nana Na Na. God’s not doing that here. Instead He makes an assessment of all the evidence and instead of siding with the atheist and saying, “Poor atheist, there is just not enough evidence", He calls the unbeliever a fool! This means that according to God the atheist is being completely irrational! So what reason does God give for people choosing not to believe in him? He says, “They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.” Psalms 14:1.

Aldous Huxley, renowned atheist writer, wrote a book entitled “Brave New World” and in it he is more honest than most atheists. His explanation is compelling. He writes,

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning. Consequently, I assumed that it had none and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. Most ignorance is vincible ignorance: We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon which subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because for one reason or another it suites their books that the world should be meaningless. For myself, as no doubt as for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”

Did you catch that? He wanted there to be no God so that there would be no morality and thus no obstacles to his sexual explorations! Search your own hearts, friend and I am willing to bet that the times where you were most inclined to doubt the existence of God is when you have been most attracted by sin! I can say this unabashedly even if I don’t know you personally because the Bible clearly says in Psalms 14 that to doubt the existence of God is a moral consideration, not an intellectual one!

So let’s say that you read Does God Exists and lets say that you went along with it. Let say that you conclude that there is a God. Big deal so what?

There are 4 questions that every culture and philosophy must answer in a cohesive and internally consistent way. Any philosophy that does not answer these questions is useless because these are the questions that every human being universally longs to know.

Origin: Where am I from?
Meaning: Why am I here?
Morality: How should I live?
Destiny: Where am I going?

Most atheists are intellectually lazy and just want to live a life of selfish ease. So my challenge to the atheist is to just try to answer ONE of these questions using their worldview. Friends, take God out of the equation and try to answer ONE of these questions.

Origin: Can’t answer it. Evolution violates the laws of biogenesis, thermodynamics, enthropy, the anthropic principal etc.
Meaning: If I am the result of a cosmic accident what meaning is there? If I am a speck of dust than there is no transcendent meaning beyond what I invest in. Hitler found meaning through genocide, while you might find meaning in philanthropy but there is no substantive difference between these two and no criteria to measure the difference!
Morality: None. Everything is based on preference. Mass murder is the same as selfless heroism. There is nothing to distinguish Hitler from Mother Teresa. No one can decide which is better than the other. There are no criteria in which to judge any moral standard apart from a theistic universe.
Destiny: None. When we die we aren’t going anywhere. The atheist should never lament death. This is simply a naturalist process. He should be glad to go into the dust. The atheist may as well commit suicide. In fact, acclaimed atheist Jean Paul Sartre said that he would off himself but that he was too afraid he would mess it up.

So that’s door number one. Now lets see how easily these questions can be answered using the Christian worldview.

Origin: Genesis 2:7 Human beings came from the very hand of God and were created in His image (Genesis 1:27). We did not come from apes! This is a rational, meaningful, defensible statement.
Meaning: Ephesians 1:5 and 1Peter 2:9 our purpose is to know God and to enjoy Him eternally.
Morality: John 14:15 we are to keep God’s commandments which are found in Exodus 20
Destiny: John14:1 God has prepared a place for us and will come to take us home with Him.

A life lived without answer to these four questions is a substandard life. God matters. Take Him out of the equation and you have nothing but brutal nihilism. To believe in God or not believe in God really is a choice between ALL or NOTHING. Which will you decide?

*Based on Pastor David Asscherick’s lecture “Does God Exists? Does It Matter?” You can listen to it here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Does God Exist?

In the Beginning God…Genesis 1:1

There are some people who have an idea about faith that is not biblical, or even reasonable for that matter. Some people think that faith is believing what you know isn’t true. Contrary to popular belief, the biblical picture of faith is not a leap into darkness. It’s not blind belief. It is an intelligent step into the light. God never asks us to believe without giving us sufficient evidence for us to base our faith. Consider Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the EVIDENCE” it says. God’s existence is based on evidence that appeals to our reason. In other words, it’s not unreasonable to believe in God. People who really want to know the truth will find plenty of evidence to base their faith.

Having said that I’d like to add that I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian so it is quite hard for me to approach this topic without any biases. My goal for this blog and for the following blogs is to start by assuming that you know nothing and then build up. I also need to say that I have read tons of apologetic material in my life and that I have listened to dozens of apologetic lectures, but I am NOT a Christian apologist. This blog is not based on my original ideas. Instead, based on my research I have chosen two sources to get the information used in this blog: that of Pastor David Asscherick’s lecture “Does God Exist Does it matter?” (you can listen to it here) and Come Search With Me a book by Dr. Subodh K. Pandit. I’d love to claim credit for these fascinating ideas but apologists and scientists that came before me have already posited them. Here’s my spin on them. In this blog I’d like to introduce eight compelling lines of evidence that support the existence of God.

1) The law of biogenesis
This law states simply that it is impossible for life to come from nonlife. More than 200 years ago Louis Pasteur of pasteurization fame demonstrated that if you took a pile of trash and placed it in a dark place no life would come from it. Maggots and mice don’t just spontaneously generate from trash. Instead these things have to have already existed. There has never been any experiment, biological or otherwise, that has shown that life can come from nonlife. This presents an insurmountable problem for the atheist and committed naturalist because to explain life based on their philosophies they must buy into some metaphysical cosmology that sounds a bit like this: “The princess kissed the frog an he became a prince”. Those who don’t believe in God have to explain life by suggesting that it spontaneously burst into existence.
The logic is simple friends. If you’re reading this blog you are alive. You are a sentient living and breathing being, so based on the law of biogenesis there must have been a living being that bought you into existence. Luke 3 gives us one of those long genealogies that most Christians just love to read (sarcasm), but they are important in that they trace man’s ancestry all the way back to the hand of God. This is not just a religious explanation. No it is in fact quite scientific. It provides the theists with a starting point because it provides an explanation that is consistent with scientific evidence. Life comes from life. In the theist view God is the eternal life giver.

2) The existence of things or the cosmological proof of God’s existence.
This idea can be packaged nicely in a simple little syllogism.
Everything that exists has a cause
The universe exists
Therefore the universe has a cause.

Not long ago scientist believed that space was infinite. Fast-forward to the time of the Hubble Telescope, which has established that there are places where the universe stops. The Universe actually has an end!! So if the universe has an end it must logically have a beginning. Even evolutionists now understand that the universe is finite. This is perfectly consistent with Genesis 1:1 which starts by saying, “In the beginning God…”. Oh no! This presents a problem for the atheists because if the universe has a beginning what caused it? And what caused the Big Bang?

3) Teleological proof or the evidence of design.
There’s a cute little syllogism that can show this too. Here it goes.
Design necessitates a designer
The world exhibits the qualities of design
Therefore the world has a designer

Let’s examine the middle premise. Even microscopic organisms have systems that are incredibly complex. Consider such things as the human eye or the lung of a bird. No one would look at a car and say that it just spontaneously came into existence. The world is infinitely more complex than a car so we can safely conclude that it too must have a Designer.

4) The Anthropic Principal or the theory of a life sustaining universe.
Modern cosmology tells us that there are no less than 47 measurable characteristics of the universe. Each characteristic is fine-tuned to such a degree that if you move even one of them in either direction to even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent it would render existence ANYWHERE in the universe IMPOSSIBLE. Consider gravity for example. If gravity were a little stronger or a little weaker the entire universe would either implode or explode. I want to emphasize that we are not just talking about planet earth here, but the prospect of supporting life anywhere in the universe. The Anthropic Principal basically says that it appears that the universe had humankind in mind.
There’s a story of a theist who came to a university looking for an atheist to debate. The atheist association at that university sent out letters to the various departments, including the cosmology department. The head of the cosmology department sent a letter back to the association saying “if you’re looking for an atheist you’ve got the wrong department. There hasn’t been any atheist here for the last 40 or 50 years”. The incredible discoveries about our universe are demonstrating to many astrophysicists and cosmologists that there is a God somewhere. In the last decades there have not been less than 15 prominent cosmologists who have converted to Christianity, NOT based on religion but based on their studies of the universe. The Bible clearly supports the Anthropic Principal. In Isaiah 48:18 the prophet writes that “God created the earth to be inhabited!” So it’s true the universe really did have man in mind.

5) Axiological proof or the case for existence of a universal moral code.
Yup, there’s a syllogism for this one too.
If God does not exist objective moral values do not exist
Objective moral values do exist
Therefore God exists (He is the moral law giver)
David Asscherick puts it best when he says, “Apart from some objective, transcendent, moral code whose to say that there is any substantive difference between the magnanimous, benevolent acts of say a Mother Teresa, and the hideous atrocities of an Adolph Hitler.” If there is no universal morality than everything is simply a matter of preference akin to preferring a red car to a green car. To talk about the atrocity of the Holocaust or 911 is a non-meaningful statement.
C.S. Lewis puts it like this. There are numerous different languages and there is nothing that holds them together. Language is arbitrary. We can call a “car” a “lollipop” because there is nothing within language that says that we can’t. Let’s consider morality. There are common moral strands that run through every moral system, in every culture on earth. For example, there is NOT a single culture on earth where is considered honorable and appropriate to do cruelty to those who have treated you with kindness. This is what we call a moral norm. There is no such thing as a language norm, but there is evidence of a transcendental moral code. Otherwise you would find societies that say that it is honorable to treat someone with cruelty who has treated you kindly. This demonstrates that there is some anchor that links common moral codes across cultural boundaries.

6) The historical reliability of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I will expound more on this in future blogs.

7) The case for the accuracy of the Bible. Again I will expound on this in future blogs, so please stick around.

8) Personal Experience.
I have a personal experience with God. I know he exists much like I know that my brother exists. Suppose you were trying to convince me that JD doesn’t exists. You wouldn’t get very far because I have an experience with him. I know that he exists. Most people haven’t been to Madagascar, but these same people know that it exists. Suppose you go on a trip to Madagascar and you call one of you friends who lives in the states. You say “I’m in Madagascar” to which your friend replies “Madagascar doesn’t exists” Your most likely response would be “That’s nonsense. I’m IN Madagascar. I’m experiencing it. I know it exists!” Nothing your friend could say could convince you otherwise.
Now not all experiences are created equal. If you have an experience, but it is not consistent with reality than you need to give up that experience. Suppose you called that same friend and you told him you were in Narnia or the Land of Oz. See the problem. That is not consistent with reality. It’s not the same with God, which is why I saved this point for last. There is rational, scientific, mathematical, cogent, evidence that points to His existence. It’s not inconsistent with reality to believe in Him so my experience is valid.

So let’s say you’ve bought into the compelling arguments I’ve attempted to make here. Let’s say that you accept that God does exist. The next question and the most crucial one is does it matter? I will explore this in the next blog, which is sure to be one of the most pivotal blogs I’ve ever written.