Posts Tagged ‘circular reasoning’

Jesus, Son Of Man, Son of God (Part 2): How God Revealed Himself To Man

December 2, 2013

See Part 1 here:

Much of this work is a distillation of Bruce Milne in Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, pages 25-62.

Statement #1: “If you don’t know Jesus, then you don’t know God at all, and that’s just that.  Jesus is the only way to the Father and the only way to have peace with God.”

Statement #2: “That’s not true.  Jesus may be your way, but God has revealed Himself in lots of other ways.  My friend is into New Age religion and she says she really feels God within her.”

Discuss…. But what I want you to realize is that such divergent viewpoints are often determined by a prior discussion about the nature or grounds of religious authority.  What should our authority be?  Should we appeal to what we feel personally?  Or is there something more ultimate?  How do we decide what is correct teaching?  To what source can we appeal to resolve differences and conflicts?  What is our criterion for truth?  If you don’t know, you end up where the wind blows.

What IS “authority”?  Authority is the right or power to require obedience.  I submit that the world is experiencing a crisis of authority in culture today – and it is largely self-imposed as we have rejected the biblical authority that our ancestors assumed.

Over the centuries, various Christian sects have appealed to a variety of voices as sources of authority, such as: the historic creeds or confessions (the 39 Articles of the Reformation, the Westminster Confession); the mind of the Church (i.e. the main trend/consensus of Christian opinion); subjective Christian experience and “the inner voice” (which largely began in the 19th century); Christian reason as the belief that truth consists in what we can demonstrate about God via logical reasoning.

All of these have some degree of validity.  But none of them are adequate to bring us to God’s mind and thus be the authoritative source of Christian truth.  The ultimate source of authority is the triune God Himself as He is made known to us through the words of the Holy Bible.  This view combines three truths: 1) God has taken the initiative.  We know of Him because of His decision to make Himself known to us and reveal His will to us (revelation).  2) God has come to us Himself in Jesus Christ, the God-Man.  As the eternal Word and Wisdom of God, Christ is the mediator of our knowledge of God (John 1:1ff; 14:6-9; 1 Cor 1:30; Col 2:3; Rev 19:13).  3) Our knowledge of God comes through His Revelation in His Scripture.  He caused it to be written and speaks to us through His eternal Words given to all generations of believers.  And as we submit ourselves to its authority we place ourselves under the Living God who is supremely revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

What is “revelation”?  Revelation means unveiling something hidden, so that it may be seen and known for what it truly is.  The principal OT word is “gala,” which comes from a root meaning “nakedness” (e.g. Exodus 20:26 cf. Isa 53:1 and 52:10 where the arm of the Lord is literally “made naked”).  In 2 Sam 7:27, the literal rendering is “You have made naked your servant’s ear.”

But how has God revealed Himself to us given that: 1) We are creatures.  There is a vast distinction between “God created” in Gen 1:1 and “God created man” in Gen 1:27.  God the Creator exists utterly apart from us, while we as creature depend utterly on God for our contingent existence.  We are literally “dust” and to dust we shall return (Gen 3:19).  That said, this distinction is NOT absolute: we are made “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27).  God communicates with us (v. 28).  Ultimately, God became a man in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14); God the Spirit indwells Christians and brings us into personal relationship with God (Rom 8:9-17).  There is a profound correspondence between God and man; but the profound and irreducible distinction remains as a barrier that only God can overcome.  For instance, only God truly knows God and the thoughts of God.  God’s knowledge includes our self-knowledge (Ps 139:1-6), but our knowledge does not include God’s self-knowledge.  Our creaturehood requires God to reveal Himself if we are to have any adequate knowledge of Him.  2) We are sinners.  Our need to have revelation from God is immeasurably increased by our sinfulness.  The fall has affected every single aspect of our being – including especially our perception of moral and spiritual reality.  Sin leaves us spiritually blind and ignorant (Rom 1:18; 1 Cor 1:21; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:1-5; 4:18).  That means there is absolutely no road from our intellectual and moral perception to be any kind of genuine knowledge of God.  The ONLY way to knowledge of God is for God to freely place Himself within range of our perception and renew our fallen understanding.  Which makes revelation from God crucial.

What is the likelihood of such a revelation from God?  Is there a reason we ought to expect God to reveal Himself?  If God is our Creator, revelation in some form becomes overwhelmingly probable because we can presume that God made us for a purpose.  And since His creatures are clearly responsive beings with inherent capacities for relationship, we may also presume that God’s purpose for creating us involved some kind of relationship and response to Himself.  Such a relationship requires revelation in some form.  Would a wise, intelligent, relational Creator leave His creatures to grope helplessly in the dark without making Himself known?  The thought is plausibly absurd.  And when we presume that God is loving, the likelihood of revelation becomes overwhelming; no loving parent would deliberately keep out of His child’s sight and range of reference so that His child would grow up ignorant of His existence.  The alternative would be a “Susan Smith” God, who gave birth to her children only to load them into a car and push the car into a lake to perish.

God has revealed Himself in Creation.  In Rom 1:18-32 Paul explains God’s judgment on the Gentile world.  God “gave them over” (1:24, 26, 28) to the self-destructive tendencies of their fallen natures because, though they knew God, (by His creation), they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him (1:21).  Instead, they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God” and “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” and “did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God (1:23, 25, 28).  This spurned knowledge of God consisted of their not recognizing “God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature [which] have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (1:20).  Therefore they are “without any excuse” (1:20).  In short, the creation of the world obliges mankind to acknowledge God and give glory and thanks to Him (1:20).  Similarly, at Lystra in Acts 14:17 Paul informs the pagan crowd that God “has not left Himself without testimony.”  And in Acts 17:26 refers to the Creator’s ordering of the affairs of individuals and of nations “so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him.”  God has also revealed Himself in moral experience.  In Rom 2:14, Paul points out that “when the Gentiles, who do not have the [OT] law, do by nature things required by the law… they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”  There is clearly some awareness of God’s moral will on the part of [even non-Christian] humanity.  The Bible confirms the fact that God has revealed Himself to all within our moral experience, which is to say that He has revealed Himself in the conscience of the NON-Jew/Christian.  Yes, sin causes a moral obtuseness which distorts all of our consciousness of God and His will, but nevertheless, all humanity has some awareness of the sense of obligation to do good and to spurn evil that reflects the image of God to whom we are all finally fully responsible.  Further, God has revealed Himself in our universal religious sense.  The instinct for worship is a universal human phenomenon.  Anthropologists have NEVER uncovered so much as a single people or group, no matter how primitive, who lacked a sense of awe before the supernatural.  I submit that John 1:9 and Psalm 139 (esp. 12-16) testify to this universal religious sense.  Which is to say that atheism is NOT “natural”; it is rather bizarre and abnormal.

By the way, it is BECAUSE of this role of God in all our hearts and in our governments that a stabilizing of human society due to the sanction of moral law – whereby good and evil are distinguished and evil is held in check – is a fruit of God’s general revelation regardless of how little it is acknowledged by sinners.  Without this Providence of God, human society would swiftly unravel into chaos, anarchy and nihilism.  Because of God’s general revelation, even in spite of the blinding effects of sin, no one can plead entire ignorance of God.  Everyone alike is confronted by God and therefore carries responsibility for the lack of a true relationship with their Creator.

Further, God’s revelation is not static like the sun’s rays or electricity; rather, it is dynamic as God sovereignly chooses upon whom He will shine His light.  We find that God repeatedly reveals Himself to mankind but that mankind repeatedly resists, obscuring and even perverting the revelation (Rom 1:21-28).  It is only in an attitude of utter submission and obedience that God’s revelation can truly be encountered.  When people refuse the revelation they have and refuse to adopt an attitude worthy of revelation, God may close the door to further revelation (Matt 25:29; Mark 6:21-28; Luke 8:18; 23:9).  And a person who repeatedly resists God’s revelation may eventually become incapable of recognizing or responding to it.  By contrast, as a person responds to the light God gives him, God will send more light/revelation such that he will be saved.

The supreme/ultimate form of God’s self-disclosure was His becoming incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14).  In the Incarnation, God bridged the gulf separating Creator from Creature by “taking the form of a servant…being found in appearance as a man” (Phil 2:7-8).  In Jesus Christ God is present in the world in person, and His character and essential nature are “naked” to us: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:10).  This identity of Father and Son is critical for our knowledge of God.  Jesus is not a partial or temporary image of God which needs to be complemented by anything or anyone else afterward.  He is “the exact representation of God’s being” (Heb 1:3).  In Jesus Christ we see and confront the beating heart of God.  Jesus Christ is the center/summit of all divine revelation.

Nevertheless, apart from the Twelve disciples, special revelation comes to us in and through the Bible first and foremost.  God has always communicated to His people through His written Word mediated through the lives of chosen patriarchs, prophets and apostles.  A written Word (according to Abraham Kuyper): 1) achieves durability, with errors of memory and intentional or accidental corruption being minimized compared to any other form of communication; 2) can be universally accurately disseminated through reproduction and translations; 3) has the attributes of fixedness and purity; and 4) has a finality and normativeness which all other forms of communication cannot attain.  The Bible as God’s written Word is objective and eternal, never changing as men’s subjective feelings of God change.  It is in the Bible that we learn about and meet Jesus Christ.  It is the Bible that is the basis for all Christian teaching and preaching.  And just as Jesus taught through the Bible of His day in His earthly ministry, He teaches us through His Word today.  This it is written, “The grass withers, the flower fades but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isa 40:6).

It is worth asking, ‘Why should anyone believe that God could communicate with a different order of being such as man?’  The answer is that God is well able to communicate with His own rational, verbalizing and image-bearing creatures on their own level (i.e. by human language) because He created us to be able to communicate with us.  To deny the reality of God as Communicator (as some do) is in effect to deny the reality of God as Creator.  Psalm 94:9 says, “Does He who formed the ear not hear?”  We could also say, “Does He who formed the mouth not speak?”

That having been said, the Bible is not exhaustive in giving us all knowledge of God.  We retain our human limitations, for instance.  And while the Bible is God’s Word to us, the language of the Bible remains human and therefore limited.  There is more to God than even the Bible can convey.  Scripture itself distinguishes the “secret things” which belong to God (Deut 29:29) from “the things which are revealed” which “belong to us and to our children forever” (Isa 55:8-11).  Francis Schaeffer pointed out that in His Word, God tells us truly about Himself, but not exhaustively.  Human language – particularly written human language – remains the best medium we have for communicating God’s truth to us.  And to the extent that human language is not finally completely adequate, we have the Holy Spirit.  According to John 14:15-17, Jesus sent us the “Spirit of Truth” as an advocate who will help us and be with us forever.

What was Jesus’ view of the OT?  Jesus accorded complete divine authority of the OT Scriptures.  1) He quoted the OT in a manner in which He clearly viewed it as the divine Word of God (Matt 4:4; Mark 14:27) and 2) even referred to it as “the Word of God” (Mark 7:11-13; John 10:34-36).  3) He spoke of its divine inspiration (Mark 12:36).  4) Jesus indicated His ministry was in complete accordance with the Scriptures (Luke 24:25-27, 44).  5) He accepted OT history as completely true (Matt 22:29, 32; John 8:56; Mark 12:26; Luke 11:30-31; Matt 25:35: Matt 12:3; Luke 17:26-28; John 3:14). 6)  Jesus assumed the normative character – applying to all people throughout all time – of OT ethics (Matt 5:27-48; 19:3-6; Mark 10:9).  7) Jesus rebuked those who did not believe the Scriptures (Matt 22:29-32; Luke 24:25-25; Matt 15:3).  And crucially, 8) Jesus viewed the OT Scriptures as previsioning His own unique mission (Matt 5:17,19; Luke 24:46-47; John 5:46-47).

Significantly, although as Incarnate Deity Jesus exercised the very authority of God, Jesus at no point opposed His personal authority to that of Scripture.  Even further, being persuaded that He was the long-awaited Messiah of Israel through whom God’s Kingdom was to come, Jesus modeled His Messianic role in terms of OT teaching – such as the inevitability of His rejection and suffering on the cross (Matt 26:24; Mark 8:31; Luke 22:37).  Jesus recognized that Scripture was God’s divine blueprint.  Jesus clearly believed in the complete authority of the Scripture as God’s Word, and the One who was Himself the eternal Word and wisdom of God (John 1:1-14; 8:58; 17:5; Phil 2:5-11; Col 1:15-20), and who possessed a perfect and sinless human nature(John 8:46; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 1:19), simply could not have been wrong.

Jesus gave His apostles special authority.  Jesus deliberately chose certain men to be His disciples and gave them a special endowment of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22 cf. Acts 1:5).  He commanded them to go and teach in His name ((Matt 28:18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).  And He promised the Holy Spirit would guide their teaching and their witness of Christ (John 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:13-16).

The apostles claimed direct experience of this unique authority and divine insight (1 Cor 2:9-13).  They proclaimed the gospel in the boldness and confidence that they spoke “by the Holy Sprit” (1 Pet 1:12), to whom they attributed both the content and the form of their message (1 Cor 2:13).  We also note the special concern in the Book of Acts for the apostles’ role as specially appointed witnesses (Acts 1:21-26; 2:32; 4:26,33; 5:32; 10:41-42; 13:31).  And thus they were authoritative proclaimers with the corroborative witness of the Spirit (Acts 2:32) of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They spoke with complete assurance (Gal 1:6-8) and issued commands with authority (2 Thess 3:6, 12). In fact, a person’s claim to have the Holy Spirit was measured by whether he or she recognized this divine authority of the apostles teaching (1 Cor 14:37).  Peter actually classifies Paul’s letters as “Scripture” (2 Pet 3:16) and Paul commanded that the letter to Colossae be “read in the church” (Col 4:16).

Naysayers claim that this argument is circular (e.g., the Bible is the Word of God because the Bible calls itself the Word of God), but we need to point out a final reason for the authority of Scripture: how else could one establish a claim to ultimate authority other than by reference to that authority???  Wouldn’t any other authority to establish that ultimate authority itself become the ultimate authority?  This same approach is used in other fields of human investigation: we don’t keep having to establish the “laws of science” by appeal to other science; it is the laws that give the rest of science its foundation.  The fact of the matter is that, in the final analysis, only GOD can be the proper authority to Himself.  There can be no other.  That said, ultimately Christians escape the charge of circularity quite easily: I believe the Bible is the Word of God because Jesus believed the Bible is the Word of God – and Jesus was not only the greatest man who ever lived, but the Son of God, and thus in a unique position to know the truth.

It’s not that history and the historicity of the Bible don’t matter; nor is it that the correspondence of Scripture to logic, philosophy, psychology, science and medicine don’t matter.  But if we’re always looking to corroborate the Bible we never get to the thing that we refuse to simply BELIEVE.

I was somebody who at one key point in life needed “convincing.”  I wanted proof.  I spent many hours searching for that proof.  But here’s the thing: I found it (past tense).  I don’t walk around wondering if there’s a God anymore; I don’t walk around wondering if the Bible is His Word anymore.  I resolved those things.  I moved on to weightier stuff, such as “Now that I believe, what am I going to do about it?”  I think that’s what James is getting at in his verse, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder” (James 2:19).

Click here to see Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God (Part 3)

Jesus, The Glorious Conqueror Of Death, Also Conquered Circular Reasoning And Pseudo-History

May 2, 2011

I wrote an article on “liberal religion,” and how said religion was utterly empty of any meaning.  And pointed out that the total lack of liberalism to stand for anything outside of itself was the reason it is going the way of the Dodo bird.  And why militant Islam is growing in the void created by the emptiness of Western secular humanism.

Somone responded to that article by sneering:

“The only true religion is the Napkin Religion. It says so right here on this napkin.”

Sound like anyone you know?

Obviously this is a rather pathetic way of accusing me of circular reasoning.  The claim is being made, however poorly, that I believe the Bible because the Bible tells me to believe the Bible.

Aside from St Peter’s words –

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”  For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.  But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7)

– Here was my response:

Actually it doesn’t.

We know more about Jesus’ death than virtually anyone else in humany history. And history has had this record to contemplate  for 2,000 years.

As a result of something amazing that happened, Jesus’ disciples went from cowardly men who only wanted to hide to bold proclaimers that they had seen Him alive even at the direct risk to their own lives. These one-time cowards then proceeded to go all over the known world, with all but one dying as martyrs testifying that Jesus was the glorious living Savior just as Jesus Himself had proclaimed Himself to be.

Look into the “Lord, Liar or Lunatic” argument. Was Jesus a cynical liar from hell? Or was Jesus mentally deranged? Or was He whom He said He was? Lord and God? It is a FACT that Jesus gave the most sublime moral teaching the world has evern heard. Even Gandhi would testify to this truth about Christ:

In the cross of Christ, Gandhi found the supreme example of satyagraha: Christ was the ‘Prince of satyagrahis’. “It was the New Testament”, wrote Gandhi [on page 92 of his autobiography], which really awakened me to the value of passive resistance. When I read in the Sermon on the Mount such passages such as, ‘Resist not him that is evil: he who smiteth thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also, and love your enemies, pray for them that persecute you, that ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven’, I was overjoyed.”

Do you believe that the greatest moral teaching ever heard in this world came from a demonic liar or a deranged lunatic? I don’t.

Another question: given that the disciples of Jesus were in a unique position to KNOW FOR CERTAIN that Jesus was who He claimed, and that He truly rose from the dead; and given that they basically all died testifying to His Resurrection, let me ask you this: how many people do you know who would WILLINGLY DIE FOR SOMETHING YOU KNEW FOR CERTAIN WAS A COMPLETE LIE???

Muslim terrorists die for lies that they sincerely believe to be true. But the disciples were uniquely able to know for certain whether Jesus was standing before them or not, whether He could speak to them or not, whether they could touch Him or not. And they went out and proclaimed the Resurrection until they were killed for proclaiming it.

History also records that Christians in the hundreds of thousands or even in the millions died during the persecutions of the Roman emperors. History clearly records as reported by the BBC (when again, these first Christians were in a unique position of being able to verify the truth, to actually talk to actual witnesses of the Resurrection):

Christians were first, and horribly, targeted for persecution as a group by the emperor Nero in 64 AD. A colossal fire broke out at Rome, and destroyed much of the city. Rumours abounded that Nero himself was responsible. He certainly took advantage of the resulting devastation of the city, building a lavish private palace on part of the site of the fire.

Perhaps to divert attention from the rumours, Nero ordered that Christians should be rounded up and killed. Some were torn apart by dogs, others burnt alive as human torches.

Over the next hundred years or so, Christians were sporadically persecuted. It was not until the mid-third century that emperors initiated intensive persecutions.

Which means the persecutions against Christianity actually went from terrible to even worse. And while Islam grew by the spread of violence and threat of death, Christianity flourished under the reality of some of the worst and most murderous persecutions in human history.

The book of Hebrews recites some of the great past martyrs of God’s Word, and says that which we also proclaim of these martyrs soon to come:

“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, men of whom the world was not worthy, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground” (Hebrews 11:37-38).

And yet, because of the ROCK of Jesus’ testimony to the truth, Christianity flourished in spite of the worst efforts of the devil to stop it. It triumphed over the Roman Empire. It has triumphed over the world, with 2.3 billion followers today, according to the statistics that I show in my article above.

And with all that said, all I have to do is look at my calender. When I see it is “2011,” I know that it is 2011 Anno Domini, “In the year of our Lord 2011.” Because the very calender that you look at every single day testifies to the power of Jesus. And while some peoples maintain separate calenders, they have to know the one that testifies to Jesus Christ.

None of this is stuff I have to depend on my Bible to know: they are all documented facts of history. I put the record of history together, and then I read my Bible, and I see that the Bible teaches the Truth that Jesus came to testify to (see John 18:37).

Good luck with your worship of napkins. I’ll stick with my Jesus who confirmed who He was in human history by rising from the dead, just as He told His disciples He would do, just as His disciples proclaimed, and just as the Word of God teaches.

The bottom line is that 1) virtually all of the basic claims of Christianity are testified to in the works of ancient historians and 2) the Bible itself has been proven over and over again to be reliable history.  And while a devout  Jew has other reasons for affirming the reliability of Scripture, I myself begin with the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and the transformed lives of the witnesses of His Resurrection from the dead, and then proceed to believe the testimony of the risen Christ about just Whose Word the Bible is.

The fellow proceeds to post back, saying:

“documented facts of history” Ludicrous…actually, just plain silly. It’s sad really, as you seem so lucid but for these self-corroborating delusions. Not a crumb of proof. Not a scintilla of documentation.

The holy napkins are just as likely to be true as your ancient books and prehistoric god-man.

I’m happy for you that you have found something that works for you, but the venom and vitriol you direct at others compelled me to respond.

If you really want to come off as erudite, you might want to spend a few minutes with a sixth-grade science book. Study the part about the scientific method, and someday you might come to understand why reality has such a strong “liberal” bias.

Or just ignore my advice and continue to scream obscenities in your empirical darkness. Everyone needs a hobby, I guess.

I’m left wondering just which of my “documented facts of history” aren’t documented facts of history.  It’s not 2011 AD?  Or what evidence there possibly is to make such an assertion that what I say in that response above isn’t true.  “Not a scintilla of documentation”???  The life and the teaching of Christ.  The record of the very well historically attested lives and martydoms of Jesus’ disciples.  The history of the early Christian church and the intense persecution it not only survived but thrived under – until Rome itself embraced the faith it had tried and failed to destroy for three centuries.  The calender that has dominated both Western Civilization and the entire world that was the result of this demonstrable triumph of Christianity.  Nope; not a scintilla of documentation.  One begins to wonder about the point of offering substantial arguments to someone who refuses to even acknowledge that you offered any argument at all.

And yet this sneering liberal who merely dismissively waves his hand in contempt at the clear record of history thinks he is the “objective” one.

This liberal (both secular and theological) doesn’t seem to need to acknowledge arguments.  He doesn’t need to present any facts.  His opinions are all he needs for his self-contained bubble.  But this particular liberal proceeds to offer an assertion that the “scientific method” somehow proves his secular humanist liberal worldview to be the correct one.

That assertion runs into one small problem: it entirely lacks the virtue of having any truth whatsoever to justify it.  He depends on a pure myth that somehow science erupted entirely free of Christianity, and that science somehow proceeded to replace, correct and refute Christianity.

So what is there to say about the assertion that if I just knew anything at all about the “scientific method” I would see the light?  I respond to this drive-by claim as follows:

I wish you yourself would study the “scientific method” without the bias that consumes you.

I write an article titled, “The Intolerance Of Academia Creating Modern-Day “Galileos” I end that article pointing out:

106 of the first 108 colleges in America were founded as religious Christian institutions. It was these colleges that shaped the minds of our founding fathers, who in turn produced the foundational principles and values that enabled this country to become the greatest nation in the history of the world. And in a similar but even earlier vein, the first universities in Western Europe were founded under the aegis of the Church, and emerged from the monasteries. The scientific method itself emerged from the mind of a publicly-confessed Christian: Roger Bacon joined the Franciscan Order in 1247, and argued that a more accurate experimental knowledge of nature would be of great value in confirming the Christian faith. Sir Isaac Newton – almost universally regarded as the greatest scientist who ever lived – actually wrote more on Christian theology than he did on science. And the founders of every single major branch of science were confessing Christians.

The fact is that science arose only once in human history – and it arose in Europe under the civilization then called “Christendom.” Christianity provided the essential worldview foundations necessary and essential for the birth of science: The earth was not the illusion of Eastern religion and philosophy, but a physical, tangible place. And the material world was not the corrupt and lower realm of Greek religion and philosophy, but God created it and called it “good.” And God endowed the capstone of His creation, man – as the bearer of His divine image – with the reason, the curiosity, and the desire to know the truth. And God – who made the universe and the earth for man – made man the caretaker of His creation. And thus the great astronomer Johannes Kepler described his project as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”

And yet today, amazingly, against all history and against all truth, we are assured that science must be officially and completely atheist in order to have any legitimacy, and that God – or even the possibility of God (or even a far more intellectually neutral “Intelligent Designer” – must be purged from every element and aspect of “science.”

Tragically, genuine science has been perverted and undermined by ideologues who are attempting to impose their atheistic worldviews upon society and remake the scientific enterprise in their own image. And in their efforts, they are using the very worst and most oppressive of tactics to destroy, intimidate, and silence their opposition. Such academics cite Galileo (another confessing Christian, by the way) and the largely propagandized tale of his persecution by the Church as an example of religion being hostile to science. But how is their own behavior any different from the worst intellectual intolerance exhibited by the Church? In their overarching zeal to persecute and expunge any meaningful sign of God from the ranks of academia, they have themselves become even worse than their caricature of religion which they so despise.

The facts are that the universities from which the scientific method came themselves came from Christianity. The facts are that the “scientific method” that you point to actually came from Christians who were thinking and reasoning out of a uniquely Christian world view. We wouldn’t HAVE a scientific method if it weren’t for Christianity; nor would we have virtually any significant branch of science had it not been all those Christians who laid the foundation. Versus you, who have as your foundation your feet planted firmly in midair.

I have written before why this is: science is limited. It must necessarily depend on something greater than itself to have any foundation or offer any valid conclusion.

It’s actually funny that you speak the way you do. I offer fact after fact. You express your useless opinions, and like a fool ignore the facts.

Then you speak of “my venom and vitriol,” but again, the record of academia today – with the above article being merely one of many I can cite (here’s just one example) – is one of people who think like me being rabidly attacked and persecuted and fired by people who think just like you.

Now begone. I won’t continue to argue with someone who spews worthless opinions in a drive-by attack. Two such comments were enough.

Why do I block him?  Am I disinterested in having debate?  Well, when someone doesn’t even bother to respond to your argument, and proceeds to offer assertions in place of facts, there is little point to a “debate.”

I point out:

Mark Twain said, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can put it’s boots on.”

One of the problems with lies versus the truth is that any fool with an opinion can tell a lie. And tell it very quickly. But it takes knowledge and careful argument to present the truth and refute the lies.

I don’t have any intention of spending all my time on my blog. But if I allowed liberals to post these 3-4 sentence fact-free dismissals, and then worked on refuting them, I would end up spending ALL my time on my blog.

The book of Proverbs chapter 26 verses 4-5 teaches that one needs to respond to a fool, lest the fool become wise in his own esteem. In the same breath, it teaches that if one spends too much time arguing with a fool, others won’t be able to tell the difference between the fool and the one trying to correct the fool.

I try to strike a balance.

And I do.

The fellow posts back to my spam file to inform me that boy did he ever wipe the floor with me, and that just as my hobby is whatever he wants to imagine it, his hobby is “destroying Christians” or somesuch.  I’ll let you be the judge as to whose arguments prevail, and whose are rather trivial assertions with no basis in fact.  I don’t doubt for a second that unbelievers will see whatever they want to see.  The question is, as Jesus Himself asked, is what do YOU think about Jesus?  Who do YOU say He is?

I thought the above discussion was illustrative due to a) the facts I present and b) the galling absence of facts or truth or even the perception of the need for them by my attacker.  It’s interesting that secular humanists only see the Christian’s need to win the argument, but never feel that their worldview should ever be questioned or need to be defended.

There is an interesting story that illustrates how the world thinks when it comes to Jesus and the Bible that I heard in a sermon on John 15:18-16:4:

 When missionaries were first going to inland Africa, the wife of an African chief visited a missionary station.  Hanging outside the missionary’s cabin, on a tree, was a little mirror.  The chief’s wife had never seen her hardened features and hideous paintings on her face.  (She was want we would call “one ugly momma!)” She gazed at her own terrifying countenance and then jumped back in horror, exclaiming, “who is that horrible person inside the tree?” 

Oh,” the missionary explained, “it is not the tree.  The glass is reflecting your own face.” 

She wouldn’t believe it until she was holding the mirror in her hand.  When she understood, she said to the missionary, “I must have the glass.  How much will you sell it for?”  The missionary really didn’t want to sell his only mirror, but the African insisted so strongly that the missionary didn’t want to cause trouble, and so finally capitulated and sold the mirror. 

The chief’s wife took the mirror, exclaiming, “I will never have it making faces at me again!”  And with that she threw it down, breaking it to pieces.

And the fact of the matter is that people hate to see what they really are and hate God’s Word because it reveals their true selves.  The mirror never changes.  Every human being must choose how he or she will react when we take a good look at Jesus as revealed in God’s Word.  Either we will repent of our sin and turn to him, or we will reject and hate him.

Given that communism is state atheism, and given that state atheism has been documented to be responsible for more than 100 million murders during the 20th century alone and during peacetime alone, one would think that secular humanists and atheists should also have to give an account for why what they believe should be accepted as true.  But in our elite mainstream media culture, that challenge is never given.  Meanwhile, the Bible and the historic resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead stand like twin anvils no matter who pounds on it or for how many centuries successive generations of unbelievers continue pounding.

Jesus conquered death.  We know more about that death (in which Jesus gave His life to take the blame for our sins) than any other death in antiquity.  And people have had two millennia to examine that perfect life and the details and results produced by that death.

We also know that more people celebrate that death than have ever celebrated the life of any other human being who ever lived.  Because of the testimonies of the witnesses to that death – and the glorious Resurrection that followed – which was sealed in the blood of these martyrs – Christianity stands confirmed by history.  The tomb of every other great religious leader is venerated by the followers of those religions.

We have stories like this one that fittingly came out on the day that Christians celebrate the Ressurection of Jesus Christ from the dead:

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba, revered by millions of followers as a living god, died Sunday in a hospital in southern India. He was 86.

Sai Baba, who was admitted to hospital in his hometown of Puttaparti a month ago, died of multiple organ failure, media said.

His followers, estimated to number six million, included top Indian politicians, business tycoons and Bollywoods stars.

Soon we will be able to visit Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s tomb, just as we can go and see the tomb of the prophet Muhammad.  The same is true of Buddha, and Confucious, and everyone else.  The tomb of Jesus alone is empty.

And because of Jesus’ life, and death, and glorious Resurrection to resurrection life as the firstfruits of all who call upon His name, the world changed.  And, myths and lies aside, the very science that secular humanists point to as a replacement for the ultimate Truth of the Christian Life is itself  a powerful testimony to the incredible change that Christianity brought to the world.

A sermon by John Piper points out that ultimately – and I believe one day very soon – the scoffers will receive all the proof that they have always demanded.  But by the time they receive the evidence their refusal to believe demands, it will already be too late.  And their eternal destiny will already be decided.

I pray you don’t share their fate.

Maranatha, my glorious King of kings.