Thursday, May 7, 2009

Will the Real Worldview Please Stand Up

I am sure that everyone of the two people (one not including my wife) who read my blog posts has been waiting with baited breath for a response to the second question of the video that I linked to in my last post. Okay maybe not baited breath, but with anticipation. Curiosity at least? Oh... you forgot that I linked to a video in my last post and responded to the first question of "10 questions all theists should answer." So be it, I will choose to press on and endeavor to provide a response to the second question of the video. Once again, here is the link to the video. Once again I ask that any minors reading my blog seek permission from their parents before watching. I request you do so because of the vitriolic stance of the video toward the faith.

The second question, as you probably noted from the video is "Why are there so many starving people in our world?" Before I deal with the main question I would like to address one of the sub questions. I want to do this because I feel that the sub question distracts from the overall thrust and point of the main question in a misleading way; I therefore want to respond to the sub question so that it can be set aside. The sub question asks why would God care about a Christian (presumably in a wealthy nation) getting a raise while the prayers of these starving children are being "ignored." I would like to point out something that may seem obvious but should be said: God may not desire that the Christian gets a raise. God may choose that the Christian be fired. The Christian may not know why God would allow and ordain his being fired, but he does know that God has a purpose for him losing that job. However, I will say for the sake of argument that God wills (I will use myself as an example) I get a raise. The reason God may have given me this raise is so that I will have the funds to help feed and educate some of the these starving children. I hope that as a Christian one of the things that I would do with any raise I received would be to put some serious thought into how I can advance the kingdom of Christ with the extra money. Therefore, if I critically think about my faith, I will see that God caring about starving children and my receiving a raise at work is not contradictory. I would also like to briefly mention that the same mistaken view of prayer used in the first question is also used in the second. Our prayers are not orders to God that He must fulfill (you can read where I address the same issue in my previous post as well). Also, as a Christian, I do not believe that prayer addressed to any god is valid prayer. This is a side point and not important to my overall argument, but allow me to chase this bunny trail. How many of these starving people are really praying to God and how many are praying to a god they have invented? Something to think about. However, let me move on from what I have dubbed the sub question and address the main question of the video. My overall response to this question is that the atheist cannot, being consistent with his worldview, give an account for why one should even be concerned about these starving people. To paraphrase James White in his recent debate with Dan Barker it is nothing but natural selection in progress. However, allow me to first address the internal consistency of the Christian worldview in regards to these starving people. Greg Bahnsen dealt with the issue of evil and suffering and the internal consistency of the Christian Worldview in his book "Always Ready." Bahnsen points out that the atheist will usually state the premises this way:

1.) God is all powerful and all Good

2.) There is evil and suffering in the world.

If premise one and two are the only ones considered it would appear that Christianity has some internal worldview flaws. In other words in modus tollens
1.) If an all good and all powerful God exists then there should be no evil or suffering in this world
2.) There is evil and suffering in this world
3.) an all powerful all good God does not exist
In response to this, Bahnsen points out that adding a third premise eliminates any internal inconsistency within the Christian worldview:

1.) God is all powerful and all Good

2.) There is evil and suffering in the world

3.) God has a morally sufficient purpose for evil and suffering

It does not matter whether we know the exact morally sufficient purpose for the evil and suffering. God could have a morally sufficient purpose for evil and suffering quite independent from our knowledge of that purpose. Furthermore, I would also like to add (Bahnsen also makes this point in the book as well) that the starving children that we are referring to are not Innocent people. The children that we are talking about are rebels against the king of the universe. When we put a situation in the proper perspective it changes the way we see the situation. As rebels against the creator it is amazing that anyone even live to see any of the days they do. Even more amazing is that millions of millions of people from every tribe tongue and nation will spend eternity with the living God in glory and not in the much deserved place of hell where God's wrath for sin is eternally meted out. Even as one who was once a hater of God but now stands in the righteousness of Christ. One who will therefore spend eternity in glory. I still understand that I live in a fallen world so if I wake up tomorrow with a flesh eating disease I hope that I would stand with Job and say "...blessed be the name of the Lord." I do not want to underplay the situation of the starving children. As the church we should have great compassion for these children. The church does show this compassion in many ways. I wonder how much worse the picture would be if the church of Christ was not active in bringing the gospel to these places, and in bringing the gospel, bringing food and clothes as well. There are secular organizations e.g. the peace corps that bring food and clothes also. Still, I wonder what it would be like if all the medical aid and food that Christians provide to these people were to be taken away. I do not want to go further on this because I do not presently have any hard statistics about the difference in the amount between secular organizations and Christian organizations of aid given to these starving people. I do believe that I am safe in saying that I would feel far better, if I had to choose, in removing all the secular aid from third world countries rather than all the Christian aid. I digress. The internal consistency of the Christian worldview is seen to remain strong. With that in mind I propose a test of worldviews. Come atheists and bring to the table what you have to offer these starving people. Offer them meaninglessness in their suffering and pain. Offer them the comfort of just being atoms in motion only different from a fizzing soda in the degree of complexity (I owe the fizzing soda example to Dan Wilson). Offer them the finality of death, the end of existence. The Christian offers hope in Christ for an eternity without pain or sorrow. A place where God will wipe every tear away. No more stomachs bloated from lack of nutrition. I offer purpose in their suffering and pain. I offer them the knowledge that their bodies and souls have been designed and built by the creator of all things. Come and taste of these worldviews and see which one leaves bitterness in the mouth. I advise the atheist to not discuss starving people with a Christian until he finds himself a more robust worldview.
Some Extra Pertinent Stuff:
White/Barker Debate first cross examination:

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