Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do you know?


This shocking billboard, sponsored by American Athiests, showed up this season at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel in New York.

You may not think its a myth, but do you know how to converse with someone who does?

Every Thursday morning at 6:00 AM, 30 men and I have been grappling with how to do that using Tim Keller's The Reason for God as a guide.

(I wish I could get every person in our church to thoughtfully read this book from cover to cover!)

In chapter 9, entitled "The Knowledge of God", Keller argues that any discussion of human rights (and everyone argues for human rights) is based on an assumed knowledge of God. . . .

All of nature is based on violence. Yet we inescapably believe it is wrong for stronger human individuals or groups to kill weaker ones. If violence is totally natural, why would it be wrong for strong humans to trample weak ones? There is no basis for moral obligation unless we argue that nature is in some part unnatural. We can't know that nature is broken in some way unless there is some supernatural standard of normalcy apart from nature by which we can judge right and wrong. That means there would have to be heaven or God or some kind of divine order outside of nature in order to make that judgment.

There is only one way out of this conundrum. We can pick up the Biblical account of things and see if it explains our moral sense better that a secular view. If the world was made by a God of peace, justice and love, then that is why we know that violence, oppression, and hate are wrong. If the world is fallen, broken, and needs to be redeemed, that explains the violence and disorder we see.

If you believe human rights are a reality, then it makes much more sense that God exists than that he does not. If you insist on a secular view of the world and yet you continue to pronounce some things right and wrong, then I hope you see the deep disharmony between the world your intellect has devised and the real world (and God) that your heart knows exists. This leads to a crucial question. If a premise ("There is no God") leads to a conclusion you know isn't true ("Napalming babies is culturally relative) then why not change the premise?

Man, I dig that! We've somehow got to learn to have conversations like this with folks we know and love.

29 comments:

Anna said...

Reminds me of an ad on the back of a San Fran. city bus I just saw yesterday...It stated, "Some believe...then quoted 1 Tim 2 on woman learning in quietness and full submission. Then it said, "What humanists think...The rights of men and women should be equal and sacred--marriage should be a perfect partnership."-Robert Ingersoll. considerhumanism.org.

Interesting how they contrasted "believe" with "think"...implying that there is little thought involved in a faith that draws from the Bible. Also strange how they run from religion and yet just end up creating their own with man at the center.

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DARRELX said...

The best way to reason with atheists is to destroy their foundations, such as evolution. Ask them how does life begin without a progenitor. Only life gives birth to life. Evolution is based on a theory that life formed out of dead matter. This does not happen today, why would it have happened in the past. Its frustrating that they will avoid the answer completely, for they only have the theory of evolution to support their atheistic stance. Yet in some it may plant a seed of doubt. you need to get then to doubt their foundation for atheism. That's the best way. Evolution is dogmatic with cleverly conceived explanations void of any evidence.

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Zach Wegner said...

DARRELX
You clearly do not understand evolution as you are actually arguing about abiogenesis--a distinct theory. In order to argue effectively you should argue the points being made. Furthermore believing in (the fact of) evolution does not equal Atheism.

DARRELX said...

I understand that evolutionist claim that all life evolved from a single celled life form. Since there are four different ways that life is created, replication, germination, pollination and procreation. All involve life in the first place. So how did life begin without life. By some chemical reaction. Please give me this chemical formula that will create a complex living cell. It does not happen in nature. Only life produces life. So how did life start without life. Evolutionists such as yourself, avoid the issue by saying that it is something separate from evolution. No not if you are claiming that all life evolved from a single celled creature. That cannot happen since life cannot begin without life. So the theory for evolution is founded on a biological impossibility. Second of all you cannot base a theory on a string of hypothetical’s, and claim it as a fact in nature. Claiming that random beneficial mutation occurring in countless species at conception producing new complex traits that original were not in the species, is purely a hypothetical. That would mean that new genetic information that was not previously in the species has been transferred at conception. This does not happen when any given species procreates. Also a stand alone fossil cannot be used as an example for transition. Only an interlinking chain of intermediates can do that, and there are none.

Brian O'Malley said...

In the passage quoted here, Timothy Keller wrote, "If a premise ('There is no God') leads to a conclusion you know isn't true ('Napalming babies is culturally relative[']) then why not change the premise?"

The debate about torture, for instance, finds us confronting disturbing conclusions, even among believers of various denominations.

I would like to find that both belief in God and atheism lead people to reject torture. Surveys by the Pew Research Center, however, find large segments of the American population willing to say torture is "sometimes justified" or "often justified," rather than "never justified."

The biggest divide on this issue seems to be political, with 38% of Democrats choosing "never" justified compared to 14% of Republicans and 19% of Independents.
http://people-press.org/2009/04/23/public-remains-divided-over-use-of-torture/

Much was made of the religious gap on this issue, but the party gap was bigger.

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1210/torture-opinion-religious-differences

DARRELX said...

Perceptions cater to our prefferences at times.

Anonymous said...

I find that the main point in keller idea is absolutely wrong.
Violence is in nature, but strong animals dont kill the weak ones of their own spice without a good reason for survival.
The same way it would be stupid to think humans should be killing weak ones just because its our nature, because it is not.
An apart from this, humanity have been killing each other since the very begining....
Sorry for my inglish but it's not my tongue language

A Girl That Understands said...

This billboard was actually put up last christmas in Virginia (near where I live). It made a lot of people angry and the press had a field day!! It was actually put up when a catholic church put up a billboard with the same back drop but with different words saying,
"You know it's real
So this season believe in Jesus"
Something along those lines.
The surprising thing was most christians were not protesting the billboard. Because they understand that everyone has their own opinion and there entitled to it. Most people think that christians think that if your not one of them then they can't associate with you or they will have this big argument with you over Jesus. And most people think that athiest are mean cold hearted people that just like to get on christians' nerves. And both of those are wrong.

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