- 2014Nov 15
This is stolen/paraphrased from Dr. William Lane Craig
Faith is not another word for "ignorance". It is another word for "placing confidence" or "trust"...
For all you atheists who might read this – this is just a though project meant to clear a definition – it is not a trap of any kind. It will help you understand if you actually play along.
Imagine that you are fleeing a lethal storm at the top of a mountain.
As you are careening down the path from the top, you remember that there is a fork in the path coming up soon. You can only recall that one direction will lead you down the mountain (and to safety) and the other path will lead you back around to the top of the mountain (and to certain death)…
But you cannot remember which path is which.
As you come toward the fork, you see one path leading to the right and another to the left. You must get off the mountain. There is no back-tracking. The storm is bearing down on you.
What do you do?
You must take a path; so you take one. You chose left, didn’t you?
You take the left path… too late to go back.
What did you just place in that path? Faith. You are putting faith in it to save you. It either will or it will not, but you placed all of your faith on that path to save you. Faith to take you to the bottom of the mountain… etc.
That is commonly called “blind faith” – you chose left for no reason other than that you just did. Right or wrong.
Now, imagine yourself back in the same situation… but this time, as you careen down the mountain and come to the fork, you notice a sign that you have not seen before.
It has an arrow pointing to the left that says “DOWN” and an arrow pointing right that says “TO THE TOP”…
Now, what do you do?
Well, you choose the left path, of course.
What did you just put in that path? The exact same faith as before – the faith to save you – to take you to safety.
The exact same faith, but now that faith is based in reason, not blind luck… and thus would be called “reasonable faith.”
As you careen down the mountain, you see a man dressed as a forest ranger come down the other path, turn and see you and he yells “Follow me down the mountain!” and heads to the left. Reasonable thing to do? Follow him. Reasonable faith.
You find a map left on the ground by the fork in the path and it clearly indicates that the left path takes you down the mountain. Now when you go left you are being reasonable.
Or any number of other options… with differing levels of confidence, but still reasonable as compared to blind… I am not making any analogies between Christianity, conversion and mountain paths here. I just want people to understand what is meant by the phrase “reasonable faith.”
My faith in Christ is reasonable.
- 2014Oct 31
Is has been widely reported that recently, at a speech before the “Pontifical Academy of Sciences” on 10/27/14, Pope Frances made a number of statements that have drawn special attention.
The one drawing the most attention is: “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life…” as reported, for example, in USATODAY (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/10/28/pope-francis-evolution-big-bang/18053509/).
This phraseology has understandably created some dramatic responses! Could this be the Pope – the leader of over half of the Christians in the world – be denying the Divinity of God?
I know honestly little about this Pope. I know that he has been at the center of many controversies about things he has said before – some possibly accurate, but most have apparently not been accurate.
I know that he is well liked by many not even a part of Christianity (and some in opposition to Christianity), and maybe that makes some nervous about him. However, I have tried to evaluate him based on what he actually says or does.
In this case, his words about evolution or the Big Bang are of no personal concern to me, since I share in his apparent thoughts on them both – I agree that they are at least both completely acceptably in line with biblical and theological interpretations (here is an example of a creative one – catch the pun? See what I did there? ;-)… sometimes in perfect harmony with the biblical accounts (read these, for example)… and I think even in some ways answers some tough questions…
Personally, I am gratified that another representative of Christianity is espousing the idea that science and the Christian Faith are NOT in contradiction… That faith is “trust”, not “ignorance”.
But I do not think we would be even hearing about the Pope’s views on creation or science would be of interest to anyone if the Pope were denying the Divinity of The only Divine God. That would be pretty important, huh?
Fortunately, he wasn’t.
The pope was speaking in Italian, not English. What he actually said (according to the transcript found at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/speeches/2014/october/documents/papa-francesco_20141027_plenaria-accademia-scienze.html)
“Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti.”
The word “demiurgo” has a specific meaning to the Catholic world – but it does not seem to have an awesome English equivalent. It seems to stem from the ancient conflict with the Gnostics. The Gnostics believed in a main God and many Sub-gods… kind of “godlets”. The Catholic word for these sub-gods… sot of “divine-ish” beings – is “demiurgo”.
You can see more detail at (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04707b.htm)…
So, in essence, the Pope was saying that God is not some sub-god nor some magician with a magic wand, but The Creator – the One God who Created all things. That makes sense.
I am all for holding any public figure who claims Christ, to account for their words… as I hope others hold me accountable. God knows that I have said wrong, stupid and foolish things in the past. However, I do think that this time, there is nothing in the Pope’s words to cause concern for other Christians. Continue to pray for all of our leaders! Pray for their integrity to scripture and reason!
- 2014Oct 16
I wanted to add my final note and my sources that I cited here as well.
Another note: In another Science Friday interview with Dr. Krauss (Jan 13, 2012 – Science Friday), Krauss confronts the question of “Why there is something rather than nothing.”
Krauss makes the claim that the question of “ ‘Why is there something rather than nothing’ is a scientific question, not a religious or philosophical one…”
I think this largely stems from Krauss’s obvious continued confusion about what “nothing” is. Dr. William Lane Craig has been driven to pulling hair out about Krauss’s confusion here. After listening to this interview, I began to understand.
Clearly nothing means “not anything.” But Krauss still equates empty space and nothing as the same thing. In essence, Krauss does not believe in “nothing.” And he also seems to be unable to understand this simple definition.
As a therapists and a pastor too, sadly, I have known many men who seem unable to assimilate new information.
Maybe the rational definition of “nothing” is too new a way of thinking for him.
He talks about how empty space and “nothing” are the same thing and then he will talk in detail about how empty space is not truly empty – but is full of all kinds of stuff. Wouldn’t that mean that it is not empty? By what possible standard could that be considered “nothing”?
With his definition of “nothing”, you can understand why he would say things like, “nothing can create something all the time…”
Further, at one point, one of the scientists made the claim that “When people ask “why” what they really mean is “how”, and went on to clarify that “If you say ‘why does the sun shine?’ you really mean ‘how does the sun shine’.” No, it isn’t. At least it isn’t when I ask it.
I ask why, and am interested in “why”. I am asking “why” as in “what explains the source – what explains the fact that it does shine rather than not exist. I am asking for source and motivation. I am NOT asking “how.”
I understand the process of HOW rain falls. They water cycle is pretty evident. I want to know WHY that cycle exists in the first place.
I understand the HOW of evolution, to the degree it can be understood with all the gaps… but I want to understand WHY the mutations happened, WHY life exists. WHY is there anything rather than nothing.
“Science Friday”… on March 21, 2014, hosted by Ira Flatow
“Science Friday”… on Jan 13, 2012, hosted by Ira Flatow Achenbach, Joel.
Peplow, Mark. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-view-of-primordial-universe-confirms-sudden-inflation-after-big-bang/