Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Questions Continue and the Answers Remain the Same Part 1

I wanted to finish addressing the You Tube video that asks ten questions of Christians and concludes that the only answers the Christian has to the questions are "silly excuses for God." If you go back and read my earlier posts that dealt with the first three questions (which were posted quite a while ago) you will notice that my answers to each question are very similar. The answers are similar because the questions make very similar mistakes. The natures of questions 4-10 are also similar enough that I am able respond to all of them in two posts. I will give a general answer to begin with, and then I will address each question and apply the general answer in more specific ways. I would also like to warn parents that the questions are intended to cause doubt concerning the Christian faith.

Here is the whole video:

General Response:

Most of these questions make a basic worldview mistake. They attack the Christian worldview with questions that have no meaning if there is no God. So the video has to assume the Christian worldview in order to attack the Christian worldview. The unbeliever must use the very Truth of God to attack God's existence. Hopefully, as I apply the general principle in specific ways, the idea will become clearer.

Applying the General Principle to the Specifics:

Question 4 - "Why does the Bible contain so much anti scientific non-sense?" The problem here is that the naturalist worldview cannot consistently give an account for scientific reasoning. Scientific reasoning requires that the universe operate under consistent universal physical laws. Starting with consistent physical laws, science relies upon the inference that the past will be like the future. The sun has always come up before so it will come up again (I realize the earth goes around the sun not the other way around). However, there is no basis in the naturalistic worldview to infer that the future will be like the past. Why should the future be like the past? Why should the sun come up tomorrow? In a naturalistic worldview, where there is only physical matter, why attribute consistency to that physical matter? The naturalist could argue that people have always observed the laws of nature to be consistent. That argument only begs the question of how do we know they will be consistent tomorrow?

The Christian is able to say that the future will be like the past and the sun will come up tomorrow because the universe in governed by a consistent, all powerful God, who maintains the laws of nature. The naturalist may want to argue that God cannot be known to be consistent Himself, therefore Christians have the same problem. However, this fails to recognize, that in the Christian worldview God is a person who has revealed Himself in His creation and through special revelation, and can therefore be known. Furthermore, God, as a person, is a mind and can therefore organize and maintain. Leaving the epistemological question of knowing God aside, the Christian worldview, at the very least, is consistent in affirming regular natural laws while the naturalistic worldview is not. Even if the natural laws were eternal, they can at best only be brute forces, and therefore have no ability to ensure consistency.

I do, however, need to say that the Bible is full of non-scientific accounts. I do not mean the Bible is full of accounts that are not historically accurate. I mean the Bible has true accounts of events that happen which are outside the bounds of science. Miracles, by definition, are outside the realm of natural law. I would have used the account of God stopping the sun for Joshua, but the video gives different examples. The video gives examples of: 6 day creation, Jonah in the belly of the fish, and Adam being created from the dust of the ground. The video claims that those things could not happen. However, the video must assume the truth of naturalism for the criticism to make any sense. If God exists, then He can create in six days, sustain Jonah in the Belly of the fish, and create Adam from dust. The video's argument at this point is essentially: Adam could not have been created from dust without God; therefore there is no God. Does that really make any sense as an argument? At this point the naturalist is doing the same thing he often accuses the Christian of doing, assuming the conclusion (there is no God) to argue the conclusion (there is no God).

Question number 5 - "Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the Bible?" The kind of slavery that the Bible talks about (especially Old Testament Jewish slavery) is far different from the kind of slavery that the video assumes (i.e. slaves are not people they are possessions). Old Testament slavery was a means for someone to work, provide for themselves and their family, and to pay off debt. There were strict laws governing the treatment of slaves that maintained their humanity and person hood. The Old Testament had to make allowances for slaves that chose to remain with their master's instead of going free. I have yet to interact with a naturalist who is willing to look at the Old Testament in depth and discern the vast difference between what the Old Testament conception of "slavery" is and the modern conception of slavery which is rightly seen as abhorrent.

If the New Testament explicitly condemned slavery (setting aside the many differences to modern day slavery), when all the nations were practicing slavery, the spread of the Gospel would bring anarchy and chaos. There would be civil war after civil war. "My name is Spartacus." The New Testament, instead, addresses the reality of finding oneself as a believer who is a slave, and the importance of honoring Christ in slavery.

This, also, is not the first time that the video has fallen under the naturalistic moral dilemma. The video will declare some action to be immoral (slavery), however, the naturalistic worldview cannot provide a standard to base the accusation of moral evil upon. Why? Because the naturalist believes that there is nothing but the physical universe. Are moral standards physical? No they are not. However, Let us give the naturalist the benefit of the doubt and assume that universal non physical moral laws are consistent in a naturalistic universe. Whose morality applies? If morality is subjective then it would be pointless to condemn God for "condoning slavery", since according to God's own subjective morality, slavery may be perfectly okay. If morality is objective, from where does the objective standard come? It cannot come from gravity, protons, electrons and neutrons. It cannot come from people, because people do not agree on morality. Even when a majority of people agree, does a majority make morality? And why does the majority have the authority to force their morality on the minority who disagree? The existence of a personal lawgiver, who is the creator, is the only logical foundation for objective morality.

Question 6 - "Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?" In the Christian worldview there are no good people. All people are rebels against God unless God changes their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. All of mankind lives in a fallen world. Mankind lives in a post Genesis 3 world. As a result of sin, injustices and sufferings are inevitable. I do not want to downplay people's sufferings and the need to weep with those who weep, and feel the emotional impact of someone who cries out against God because of evil and suffering. However, I do want to expose the faulty line of reasoning the video is using at this point. Also, note that this question once again assumes that there is an objective standard of morality so that there can be a category of "good people."

I am going to stop here and post the responses to Questions 7-10 next Thursday. The responses are already complete so, God willing, they will be posted next Thursday. I just wanted to give the reader a little mind break.

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