Faith & Christianity. Thesis Faith is an active trust in what you have good reason to believe is true. Faith & Christianity. Point #1 Popular view of faith: Faith is blind faith devoid of reason. Examples: 1) Upper story leap 2) Sam Harris. Faith & Christianity.
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Faith & Christianity Thesis Faith is an active trust in what you have good reason to believe is true.
Faith & Christianity Point #1 Popular view of faith: Faith is blind faith devoid of reason. Examples: 1) Upper story leap 2) Sam Harris
Faith & Christianity “Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.” -Sam Harris, The End of Faith
Faith & Christianity Point #2 Faith is an active trust in what you have good reason to believe is true. Examples: 1) Everyday life 2) Scripture • Exodus 3-14 • Mark 2:1-12 • John 10:38 • Acts 1:1-3 • Romans 1:20 • 1 Corinthians 15
Two-Minute Review • “Bringing Christianity to Our Culture” • Goals of the Class • To help others have a better understanding of Christianity. • To help us to become more like Christ. • Class #1 • “Religion is Nothing More Than Blind Faith” • Faith is an active trust in what you have good reason to believe is true.
Bringing Christianity to Our Culture Class #2 • “There is no proof that God exists.” Main Point • The Biblical view of God provides the best explanation for the various features of the universe and human experience. • Theism vs. Naturalism Our Method/Approach • Abductive Reasoning • Inference to the Best Explanation
Things We Recognize, Observe, or Experience: Christianity vs. Naturalism • The Universe • Life • Consciousness, Truth & Reason • Humans are special; humans are broken • Evil • Goodness & Beauty • Purpose & Meaning • Free Will & Moral Responsibility
Things We Recognize, Assume, or Experience #1) The universe exists. #2) Life exists. • Genesis 1:1 • Psalm 104 • Job 38-41 • “The Universe is unlikely. Very unlikely. Deeply, shockingly unlikely.” -Brad Lemley, “Why is There Life?”, Discover Magazine, November 1, 2000.
Things We Recognize, Assume, or Experience #3) Consciousness, Truth, & Reason • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” -Matthew 22:37 • "The curiosity of Man, and the cunning of his Reason, have revealed much of what Nature held hidden. The structure of space-time, the constitution of matter, the many forms of energy, the nature of life itself; all of these mysteries have become open books to us. To be sure, deep questions remain unanswered and revolutions await us still, but it is difficult to exaggerate the explosion in scientific understanding we humans have fashioned over the past 500 years. Despite this general advance, a central mystery remains largely a mystery: the nature of conscious intelligence.” -Paul Churchland, Matter and Consciousness
Things We Recognize, Assume, or Experience #4) Human beings are special...and broken. • Genesis 1-3 • Imago Dei • The Fall • "It is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from Him, Who as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and Whose offspring I am. I know that it is the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Things We Recognize, Assume, or Experience #5) Evil • “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” -Genesis 1:31 #6) Goodness & Beauty • “For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.” -Leviticus 11:45 • “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” -Psalm 27:4
Things We Recognize, Assume, or Experience #7) Purpose & Meaning • And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:37-40 #8) Free Will and Moral Responsibility • Revelation 20-21
The Absurdity of Life Without God Modern man thought that when he had gotten rid of God, he had freed himself from all that repressed and stifled him. Instead, he discovered that in killing God, he had also killed himself. For if there is no God, then man's life becomes absurd. If God does not exist, then both man and the universe are inevitably doomed to death. Man, like all biological organisms, must die. With no hope of immortality, man's life leads only to the grave. His life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever. Therefore, everyone must come face to face with what theologian Paul Tillich has called "the threat of non-being." For though I know now that I exist, that I am alive, I also know that someday I will no longer exist, that I will no longer be, that I will die. This thought is staggering and threatening: to think that the person I call "myself" will cease to exist, that I will be no more!
The Absurdity of Life Without God I remember vividly the first time my father told me that someday I would die. Somehow as a child the thought had just never occurred to me. When he told me, I was filled with fear and unbearable sadness. And though he tried repeatedly to reassure me that this was a long way off, that did not seem to matter. Whether sooner or later, the undeniable fact was that I would die and be no more, and the thought overwhelmed me. Eventually, like all of us, I grew to simply accept the fact. We all learn to live with the inevitable. But the child's insight remains true. As Jean-Paul Sartre observed, several hours or several years make no difference once you have lost eternity. -William Lane Craig
Why Don’t We Believe in God? “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” -Thomas Nagel
For Further Study 1) Total Truth (Nancy Pearcey) 2) The Universe Next Door (James Sire) 3) Mind Your Faith (David Horner) 4) A World of Difference (Kenneth Samples) 5) Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions (Greg Koukl) • www.reasonablefaith.org • www.paulcopan.com • www.str.org • www.bethinking.org • www.apologetics315.com
Christianity & Culture Class #1 “Religion is nothing more than blind faith.” Class #2 “There is no proof that God exists.” Class #3 “All religions lead to God.”
C.S. Lewis: “The Weight of Glory” “...to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all loves, all play, all politics.
C.S. Lewis: “The Weight of Glory” There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
Class #3 • “All religions lead to God.” • Religious Pluralism
Point #1 • Religious Pluralism is false • The law of noncontradiction
Point #2 Four Reasons Christianity is a Wise Choice When Choosing a Worldview Reason #1 • Christianity is testable. • 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Point #2 Reason #2 • In Christianity, Salvation is a Free Gift from God. • Romans 1-6
Point #2 Reason #3 • In Christianity, You Get an Amazing Worldview Fit. • The Universe • Life • Consciousness, Truth & Reason • Humans are special; humans are broken • Evil • Goodness & Beauty • Purpose & Meaning • Free Will & Moral Responsibility
Point #2 Reason #4 • Christianity Has Jesus at the Center.
Christianity & Science: Friends or Enemies? What this class will not be: • Bashing science • Debate: Young-Earth Creationism vs. Old-Earth Creationism
Christianity & Science: Friends or Enemies? • Conclusion: Friends! • Reasons for this conclusion: • The history of science • NicolausCopernicus, astronomer (1473-1543) • Galileo Galilei, astronomer (1564-1642) • Johannes Kepler, astronomer (1571-1630) • Blaise Pascal, mathematician/physicist (1623-1662) • Robert Boyle, chemist (1627-1691) • John Ray, biologist (1627-1705) • Isaac Newton, mathematician, physicist (1642-1727) • Carl Linnaeus, botanist/zoologist (1707-1778) • Georges Cuvier, zoologist/paleontologist (1769-1832) • Michael Faraday, chemist/physicist (1791-1867) • Gregor Mendel, biologist (1822-1884) • Louis Pasteur, chemist/microbiologist (1822-1895)
Christianity & Science: Friends or Enemies? • Conclusion: Friends! • Reasons for this conclusion: • The history of science • The arguments from science • The philosophy of science • The limits of science • ultimate questions • Aunt Matilda’s cake • Ford Focus • the truth box • miracles
Christianity & Science: Friends or Enemies? For Further Study: • The Case for a Creator (Lee Strobel) • Understanding Intelligent Design (McDowell & Dembski) • God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (John Lennox) • Signature in the Cell (Stephen Meyer) • Darwin’s Doubt (Stephen Meyer) • www.discovery.org • www.answersingenesis.org • www.icr.org
The Problem of Evil & Suffering • We will not be able to cover all of the bases. • The problem spelled out, specifically… • Not complete answers, but rather insights... • The philosophical problem vs. the emotional problem... • It’s everybody’s problem. • Evil as evidence for God’s existence... • The free will defense & the 12:01 argument... • Suffering makes more sense in a Biblical worldview. • Evil in light of the full scope of the evidence. • The final answer to evil and suffering is the Answerer.
The Emotional Problem “Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humiliation of its God.” -Bruce Shelley
The Emotional Problem For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worth while. -Dorothy Sayers
The Emotional Problem Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” -Revelation 21:1-4
For Further Reading Making Sense of Suffering by Peter Kreeft Where is God When It Hurts by Philip Yancey When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada & Steven Estes The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel If God, Why Evil? by Norman Geisler Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller