mid-week apologetics booster (2-25-2016)

Hi All,

Hope you’re having a blessed and fruitful week.  Here are a bunch of items I hope will equip you to make a defense for the hope that is in you:

  1. Tapestry of NT History – this is a great podcast (48 min) of Dr. Frank Turek interviewing Dr. Tim McGrew about “undesigned coincidences” in Scripture: http://player.subsplash.com/bcd99f4
  2. Are There Any Errors in the Bible? | NORMAN GEISLER: http://normangeisler.com/are-there-any-errors-in-the-bible/
  3. True for you, not true for me? https://youtu.be/Zsp-OyC9nAc
  4. Six Things Evolution Doesn’t Explain | Saints and Sceptics: http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/six-things-evolution-doesnt-explain/
  5. Are Christian High School Students Really Ready for College? http://crossexamined.org/are-christian-high-school-seniors-really-ready-for-college/
  6. 14 Ways for Christian Parents to Teach Kids about Atheism: http://christianmomthoughts.com/14-ways-for-christian-parents-to-teach-kids-about-atheism/
  7. Students Don’t Have to Be Intimidated by Evolution: http://www.str.org/articles/students-don%E2%80%99t-have-to-be-intimidated-by-evolution#.Vs2bbvkrKUl
  8. Sexual Immorality and Five Other Reasons People Reject Christianity: http://donjohnsonministries.org/sexual-immorality-and-five-other-reasons-people-reject-christianity/
  9. Former Supermodel Who Left Glamour to Become Christian Apologist Shares Her Story: http://www.christianpost.com/news/former-supermodel-who-left-glamour-to-become-christian-apologist-shares-her-story-146229/
  10. Two Ways Apologetics are Good for the Believer? http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2013/two-ways-apologetics-are-good-for-the-believer/
  11. Douglas Ell: how an MIT atheist found God through math: http://www.examiner.com/article/douglas-ell-how-an-mit-atheist-found-god-through-math
  12. Undesigned Scriptural Coincidences: The Ring Of Truth – Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry: http://crossexamined.org/undesigned-scriptural-coincidences-the-ring-of-truth/
  13. Undesigned Coincidences: Part 1: http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2013/09/01/undesigned-coincidences/
  14. Logic & Light | Undesigned Coincidences 8: Malchus Loses an Ear: http://www.logicandlight.org/undesigned-coincidences-8-malchus-loses-an-ear/#more-949
  15. Forgotten Arguments for Christianity: Undesigned Coincidences- The argument stated | J.W. Wartick -“Always Have a Reason”: http://jwwartick.com/2012/11/26/undesigned-coinc-1/
  16. Reasons To Believe : Hominids: http://www.reasons.org/rtb-101/hominids
  17. Neanderthals, Like Other Humans, Heated Water, and Organized | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/neanderthal/neanderthals-heated-water-organized-homes/
  18. What is the importance of the empty tomb? http://www.gotquestions.org/empty-tomb.html
  19. When Apologetics Was Evangelism: http://www.equip.org/articles/when-apologetics-was-evangelism/
  20. Was Adam a Real Person? http://www.str.org/articles/was-adam-a-real-person#.Vs2bafkrKUl
  21. Did Humans Really Evolve from Apelike Creatures? https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/ape-man/did-humans-really-evolve-from-apelike-creatures/
  22. Darwinism Refuted.com – origin of man: http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/origin_of_man_06.html
  23. Even Scientists Don’t Believe Darwin’s Theory, and neither Should You: https://heiscomingblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/even-scientists-dont-believe-darwins-theory-and-neither-should-you/
  24. Evolution frauds | Evolution is not science: https://evolutionisntscience.wordpress.com/evolution-frauds/
  25. The Missing Links Of Human Evolution Are More Than Missing – They Are Non-Existent! | Ancient Knowledge: https://sapientiaexanimo.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/the-missing-links-of-human-evolution-are-more-than-missing-they-are-non-existent/
  26. The Origin of Man: http://www.harunyahya.com/en/Books/592/darwinism-refuted/chapter/44
  27. Darwinists have Deceived the Whole World with Frauds: http://www.harunyahya.com/en/Books/152365/atlas-of-creation–/chapter/14299
  28. Evolutionists’ Confessions Regarding the So-Called Forebears of Man: http://www.harunyahya.com/en/Books/8063/confessions-of-the-evolutionists/chapter/4563
  29. Neanderthal | unifiedserenity: https://unifiedserenity.wordpress.com/tag/neanderthal/
  30. Evolution Hoaxes | New York Apologetics: http://www.newyorkapologetics.com/evolution-hoaxes/
  31. There are no Missing Links! – Kent Hovind: https://youtu.be/qA8imkOCpd8
  32. David Menton: Lucy–She’s No Lady — Clip: https://youtu.be/p6RfIEVO6YQ
  33. Human evolution: oh so clear? – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/human-evolution-stories
  34. Neither Human Evolution nor Theistic Evolution – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/neither-human-evolution-nor-theistic-evolution-1/
  35. Smithsonian’s Traveling Human Origins Exhibit Overstates the Case for Human Evolution – Evolution News & Views: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/12/smithsonians_tr101351.html
  36. Must Human Evolution Contradict Genesis? http://godandscience.org/evolution/evolution_contradict_genesis.html
  37. Is the similarity in human/chimp DNA evidence for evolution? http://www.gotquestions.org/human-chimp-DNA.html
  38. Human evolution – Conservapedia: http://www.conservapedia.com/Human_evolution
  39. What is the definition of the theory of human evolution | John Ankerberg Article Archive: https://www.jashow.org/articles/guests-and-authors/dr-fuz-rana/what-is-the-definition-of-the-theory-of-human-evolution/
  40. Darwin’s God: Gene Regulation Not Enough in Human Evolution: http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2014/01/gene-regulation-not-enough-in-human.html
  41. Human/chimp DNA similarity – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/human-chimp-dna-similarity
  42. A Scientific and Biblical Response to “Up from the Apes. Remarkable New Evidence Is Filling in the Story of How We Became Human”: http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/timeresponse.html
  43. Fossil missing link Fraud Lucy. Dr. David Menton (PhD in Biology): https://youtu.be/QDBPIq_Ihpo
  44. BREAKING: Live Action releases video showing a D&E abortion procedure: http://liveactionnews.org/breaking-live-action-releases-video-showing-a-de-abortion-procedure/
  45. Do Evolutionists Believe Darwin’s Ideas about Evolution? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/theory-of-evolution/do-evolutionists-believe-darwins-ideas-about-evolution/
  46. LGBT Activist Changes Mind, Supports Christian Bakers’ Rights – A Clear Lens: http://clearlens.org/2016/02/21/lgbt-activist-changes-mind-supports-christian-bakers-rights/

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.  2 Peter 1:16-18

Blessings to you all

Advertisements

mid-week apologetics booster (2-18-2016)

Hi All,

Hope you’re having a great week and I hope something here can encourage or equip you to do as the Apostle Paul did at the end of Acts: “From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.“ (Acts 28:23b) realizing that if you’ll do that, you’ll see similar results: “Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.” (Acts 28:24).  Here are some links to articles and videos to help you in this:

  1. Is Faith in God the Opposite of Reason? http://christianmomthoughts.com/is-faith-in-god-the-opposite-of-reason-book-excerpt-from-keeping-your-kids-on-gods-side/
  2. Birds of Flight – Design in the Air – With David Rives and Dr. Paul Nelson on TBN: http://creationinthe21stcentury.com/birds-of-flight-design-in-the-air-with-david-rives-and-dr-paul-nelson-on-tbn/
  3. What hath Apologetics to do with Discipleship? | Christian Worldview Discipleship: http://www.discipleshipphilippines.org/what-hath-apologetics-to-do-with-discipleship/
  4. Does Truth Exist? – Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek: http://crossexamined.org/does-truth-exist/#toggle-id-1
  5. “31. What if I have doubts about God?” on YouTube – Nathan Betts (bit.ly/nathanbetts) of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries answers the question “What if I have doubts about God?”: https://youtu.be/_s5X5jfQ_D8
  6. “Are Christian Hypocrites? My Response!” (Sean McDowell) on YouTube: https://youtu.be/N6tlHyf3H38
  7. On the Origin of Chins – Evolution News & Views: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/02/on_the_origin_o_8102606.html
  8. How to Do Apologetics without Fear or Aggression | LogosTalk: https://blog.logos.com/2016/02/how-to-do-apologetics-without-fear-or-aggression/
  9. “The A, B, Cs . . . Ds Es of Defending the Gospels – Dr. Mike Licona” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1_I4OkShxh8
  10. Cross Examined Solution – Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek: http://crossexamined.org/crossexamined-solution/
  11. “Excursus on Natural Theology Part 19: Questions About the Moral Argument” on YouTube (William Lane Craig): https://youtu.be/N4NSpV2c05M
  12. A Clarification on How Bible Variants Are Counted – Stand to Reason Blog: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/02/a-clarification-on-how-bible-variants-are-counted.html
  13. Similarity and Causation: http://www.stephenjbedard.com/similarity-and-causation/
  14. Inspiring Kids to Choose Biblical Morality – Stand to Reason Blog: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/02/inspiring-kids-to-choose-biblical-morality.html
  15. Why I Know the Disciples Didn’t Conspire to Fabricate the Resurrection of Jesus | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/why-i-know-the-disciples-didnt-conspire-to-fabricate-the-resurrection-of-jesus/
  16. Is Religion the Cause of Most Wars? http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/02/is-religion-the-cause-of-most-wars.html
  17. Doubting God: Real Questions People Ask (Mary Jo Sharp): http://factsandtrends.net/2014/02/04/doubting-god-real-questions-people-ask/#.VsW4i_krKUl

When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die, ‘ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.” (Ezekiel 3:18-19)

 

Apologetics Class (2-14-2016)

Hi All,

Great class today.  Our topic was “Is God Just a Human Invention?”  Here is a video of the slides I used to present:

I’ve pasted the slide notes below (so you can watch the video and read the notes).

Additionally I handed out a small article called “Rubber Crutches”.  That and our note taking form and our discussion questions are pasted below.

Thanks for attending and we’ll see you next week!

 

Notes that go with each slide:

Slide 1

 

Today the question we’ll be examining is, “Is God Just a Human Invention?” Are we just deceived into believing in God because this belief makes us feel comforted?

 

 

 

Slide 2

 

The title of this talk is based on the title of an excellent book of the same title by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow.  I would highly recommend the book (hold up book).  As you can see, it attempts to answer this question and 17 other questions raised by the new atheists.

 

 

 

Slide 3

 

So, as usual, as we examine this objection, we will first take a look at what the skeptics and atheists say about this….

 

 

 

Slide 4

 

First, one of the New Atheists, Christopher Hitchens said “Freud made the obvious point that religion suffered from an incurable deficiency: it was too clearly derived from our own desire to escape from or survive death.  The critique of wish-thinking is strong and unanswerable.”

 

 

 

Slide 5

 

Former governor of Minnesota, and skeptic, Jesse Ventura said “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.”

 

 

 

Slide 6

 

Likewise, Larry Flynt (a publisher who produces sexually graphic videos and magazines, most notably Hustler) says “There’s nothing good I can say about it [religion]. People use it as a crutch.”

 

 

 

Slide 7

 

American media mogul Ted Turner, founder of the Cable News Network more popularly known as CNN, said “Christianity is a religion for losers!”

 

 

 

Slide 8

 

In 1843, Karl Marx penned his denunciatory statement on religion that it is the “opiate of the masses”

 

 

 

Slide 9

 

So, as we’ll see, there are various theories atheists and skeptics advance to try to explain the phenomenon of religious belief…

 

 

 

Slide 10

 

There are 5 prominent theories that we’ll be covering.  Each of these theories attempts to explain why people continue to believe in God.  They are:

  • Projection Theory
  • Opiate of the Masses
  • The God Gene
  • Richard Dawkins – Memes (and Religion is a Virus of the Mind) theories
  • Natural Selection

 

 

 

 

Slide 11

 

The first theory we’ll discuss, advanced by Sigmund Freud is the theory of projection.

 

 

 

Slide 12

 

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who founded the practice of psychoanalysis, a system espousing the theory that unconscious motives dictate much of human behavior.  Though championing atheism, Freud admitted that the truth of religion could not be disproved and that religious faith has provided comfort for untold numbers of people through history. However, Freud thought the concept of God was illusionary.

 

 

 

Slide 13

 

In one of his religious works, The Future of an Illusion, he wrote, “They [believers] give the name of ‘God’ to some vague abstraction which they have created for themselves.”  As to the motivation for creating such illusions,

 

 

 

Slide 14

 

Freud believed two basic things about this: Number 1) people of faith create a god because (click) they have strong wishes and hopes within them that act as comfort against the harshness of life; number 2) The idea of God (click) comes from the need for an idyllic father figure that replaces either a non-existent or imperfect real father (who doesn’t have one of those???). Speaking of the supposed wish-fulfillment factor in religion, Freud wrote,

 

 

 

 

 

Slide 15

 

“They [religious beliefs] are illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind. We call belief an illusion when a wish-fulfillment is a prominent factor in its motivation and in doing so we disregard its relation to reality….”

 

 

 

Slide 16

 

For Freud, God was nothing more than a psychological projection that served to shield an individual from a reality he does not want to face and cannot cope with on his own.

 

 

 

 

Slide 17

 

What are the problems with Freud’s theory of projection?

 

 

 

Slide 18

 

It begs the question against God…  Freud’s argument is essentially “Since we know God doesn’t exist, what are the psychological explanations of this belief?”  His argument assumes from the outset that no object of belief actually exists, which is fallacious, committing the fallacy of Begging the Question.

 

 

 

Slide 19

 

As a reminder, the fallacy of begging the question is committed when a person merely assumes what he or she is attempting to prove or when the premise of an argument actually depends upon its conclusion.

 

 

 

Slide 20

 

So, this approach of assuming there is no God is clearly invalid.  We actually do have evidence for God’s existence (for example arguments from cosmology, biology, morality, etc.) and that evidence must be dealt with.

 

 

 

Slide 21

 

As C.S. Lewis said “You must first show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong.”  I think this is a powerful response that can be used to defeat any of these objections and theories we are examining today.

 

 

 

Slide 22

 

The second assumption made by the projection theory is that having beliefs that bring us comfort means that those beliefs are false.  But, this does not follow logically.

 

 

 

Slide 23

 

Philosopher of religion Paul Copan observes that “a belief that brings comfort and solace should not be considered necessarily false.  We find comfort in human relationships, and this is perfectly normal, reasonable and healthy.  It would be implausible to presume that our finding comfort in something is automatically defective or otherwise wrong.”

 

 

 

Slide 24

 

The 3rd problem with the projection theory is that it “cuts both ways”.  If it can be argued that humans created God out of a need for security or a father figure,

 

 

 

Slide 25

 

then it can just as easily be argued that atheism is a response to the human desire for the freedom to do whatever one wants without moral constraints or obligations.  As the poem Invictus boldly proclaimed, “I am the master of my fate – I am the captain of my soul”

 

 

 

Slide 26

 

Perhaps atheists don’t want a God to exist because they would then be morally accountable to a deity?

 

 

 

Slide 27

 

Or maybe atheists had particularly tragic relationships with their own fathers growing up, projected that on God and then spent most of their adult lives trying to kill a “Divine Father Figure”?

 

 

 

 

Slide 28

 

Finally, the 4th problem with projection – Perhaps the idea that humans invented God to meet their desires is precisely backward.  Perhaps the reason humans have a desire for the divine is because something or someone exists that will satisfy that desire?

 

 

 

Slide 29

 

C.S. Lewis powerfully articulates this point “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.

 

 

 

Slide 30

 

A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food.

 

 

 

Slide 31

 

A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water.

 

 

 

Slide 32

 

Men feel sexual desire: well there is such a thing as sex.

 

 

 

Slide 33

 

If I find in myself a desire, which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”  What a profound (and true) statement!

 

 

 

Slide 34

 

The 2nd of the 5 reasons why atheists theorize that people believe in God is that “religion is the opiate of the masses”.  This is related to the prior theory of projection, but since it is so popularly quoted by atheists, I decided to call it out separately.  In 1843, Karl Marx penned this famous statement on religion.  Marx’s contention was that religion gives people artificial, illusory happiness—like opium does to a drug addict—and freeing people from that unrealistic illusion was part of building a better society.

 

 

 

Slide 35

 

Critics such as Marx have charged that religion is an invention designed for people incapable of coping with life’s pressures. Some critics respond that they don’t need this type of emotional comfort, as though that fact falsifies Christianity.

 

 

 

Slide 36

 

Such individuals often claim to be “stronger” because they’re brave enough to face life without a “crutch.” However, to imply non-religious people don’t need a crutch is misleading. Dependence on drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, money, power, other people, and material possessions demonstrates people’s need for a crutch. Atheism—the belief that there is no God—can become a crutch for those addicted to a lifestyle contrary to God’s standards of morality.

 

 

 

Slide 37

 

However, rather than being weak, Christians are strong—not because they depend on themselves, but because they depend on Jesus. Everyone needs assistance. The question everyone has to answer is, what will you lean on? Christianity provides what atheism or other religions never can: spiritual fulfillment, peace, and forgiveness. I’m going to give you all a short article by Greg Koukl that discusses the idea that Christianity is crutch. (Hand out “rubber crutch” paper) Oddly enough, in this piece, he does not reject the idea that Christianity is a crutch, but rather makes the case that we all need a crutch and challenges each person to consider whether their crutch can actually hold them up.

 

 

 

 

 

Slide 38

 

The 3rd of the 5 reasons atheists and skeptics use to explain belief in God is “the God Gene”.  Some in the field of neuroscience are advancing the idea that belief in God is caused by the “God Gene”. Dean Hamer, American geneticist and author, wrote a 2004 book titled “The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into Our Genes”

 

 

 

Slide 39

 

In this book, Hamer explains the impact of genetics on belief in God.  The specific gene in question, is VMAT.  The author, claims that this gene accounts for the spirituality that emerges in some people but not others.

 

 

 

Slide 40

 

So, what’s wrong with this theory of the God Gene?

 

 

 

Slide 41

 

Firstly, the author himself admits his title is overstated.  In a later interview, he said there “probably is no single gene”…  Admissions after the fact like this are rarely ever publicized sufficiently to correct public misconceptions.

 

 

 

Slide 42

 

Additionally, none of Hamer’s work was subjected to peer review by other geneticists or published in any scientific journals.  And the study on which the book was based, was never repeated.

 

 

 

 

Slide 43

 

Human Genome project director, Francis Collins, responded to this theory by saying, very bluntly, “There is no gene for spirituality”

 

 

 

Slide 44

 

Finally, the last problem with the “God Gene” theory is that Neuroscience can’t prove that religious belief is nothing more than a by-product of brain states or chemistry. The mind or soul is clearly correlated with certain brain states or chemistry,

 

 

 

Slide 45

 

but the mind or soul is not identical or reducible to them.  This is a great challenge to the “materialistic worldview”. Materialists claim that the mind reduces to the brain – that there really is no such thing as the mind or consciousness.  However, they face major difficulties with this view. Here are what a few of the experts say about the mind-brain connection and consciousness…

 

 

 

Slide 46

 

David Chalmers, an Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist specializing in the area of philosophy of mind, says “No explanation given wholly on physical terms can ever account for the emergence of conscious experience.”

 

 

 

Slide 47

 

And Jerry Fodor, author of “In Critical Condition: Polemical Essays on Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind ”, says We don’t know… how a brain (or anything else that is physical) could manage to be a locus of conscious experience.  This …is, surely, among the ultimate metaphysical mysteries; don’t bet on anyone ever solving it.

 

 

 

Slide 48

 

Alan Wallace, author of “The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness”, says “if mental phenomena are in fact nothing more than emergent properties and functions of the brain, their relation to the brain is fundamentally unlike every other emergent property and function in nature.”

 

 

 

Slide 49

 

The 4th reason atheists advance to explain belief in God is something called “Memes”.  This view is put forth by Richard Dawkins, who suggests our beliefs arise from these “memes”, which are described as discrete memorable units, like catchphrases and slogans.  Additionally Dawkins is a strong proponent of the idea that religious beliefs are, what he calls, “viruses of the mind”.

 

 

 

Slide 50

 

But Alister McGrath responds in the book Dawkins’s God (Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life), “If all ideas are memes or the effects of memes, Dawkins is left in the decidedly uncomfortable position of having to accept that his own ideas must be recognized as the effects of memes.”

 

 

 

Slide 51

 

If ideas arising from memes are unreliable, then not only religion, but also materialism, science and reason are undermined.  On the other hand, if scientific ideas arising from memes can still be true, why can’t the same be said for belief in God?

 

 

 

 

Slide 52

 

Now we’ll cover some additional problems with memes and the “viruses of the mind” theory.

 

 

 

Slide 53

 

Unlike Genes (and genetics), there is no scientific evidence that memes actually exist.  Dawkins reveals as much. He says, “We don’t know what memes are made of or where they reside.  Memes have not yet found their ‘Watson and Crick’ [co-discoverers of DNA]; they even lack their Mendel [the founder of the science of genetics]”

 

 

 

Slide 54

 

Are we to conclude that there is a “meme for belief in memes”? Alister McGrath observes, “The meme concept then dies the slow death of self-referentiality, in that, if taken seriously, the idea explains itself as much as anything else.”

 

 

 

Slide 55

 

Let’s briefly return to the notion that religion is a virus of the mind.  This certainly gives a negative impression – that belief in God is a dangerous idea…  But, the question is, “how does one decide what is a dangerous idea and what is a beneficial idea?”  And “Why are the ideas that Dawkins dislikes (e.g., religion or God) viruses of the mind, but others like Darwinian evolution are pure, safe and beneficial?”

 

 

 

 

 

Slide 56

 

All these ideas would have infectiously leaped from mind to mind.  All would function as memes in his view.  It seems wholly arbitrary and subjective to prefer one set  of beliefs and condemn another.  Each and every argument that Dawkins advances for his idea of ‘God as virus of the mind’ can be countered by proposing the opposite – that ‘atheism is a virus of the mind’.  Both ideas are equally unsubstantiated and meaningless.

 

 

 

Slide 57

 

The 5th and final theory we’ll be covering today on why atheists and skeptics think that belief in God persists is the idea that it is a by-product of natural selection.

 

 

 

Slide 58

 

Some scientists turn to the emerging field of evolutionary psychology to explain the roots of religion.  Perhaps humans were hardwired to believe in God by the process of natural selection (they say)?  Maybe this belief was for human survival (they theorize)? Many experiments strongly suggest that “human minds come into the world with all sorts of ‘software’ both preinstalled and booted up” and that “some of this software manifests itself right from birth, while other bits of it become operative at specific times in human development.
 

 

 

Slide 59

 

Michael J. Murray, quoted in the book “Contending with Christianity’s Critics”, says “We have a mental tool that makes us think there are agents around when we detect certain sounds (bumps in the night), (click for next image) motions (rustling in the bushes), or (click for next image) configurations (crop circles) in nature.

 

 

 

Slide 60

 

This “Hyperactive Agency Detection Device”, as it’s called, (or “HADD”) causes humans

 

 

 

 

Slide 61

 

to hypothesize invisible agents that, for example, control the forces of nature.

 

 

 

Slide 62

 

And this disposes us to belief in the supernatural

 

 

 

Slide 63

 

“ROBIN HENIG writes in Darwin’s God,

 

 

 

Slide 64

 

“Hardships of early human life favored the evolution of certain cognitive tools, among them the ability to infer the presence of organisms that might do harm…Agent detection evolved because assuming the presence of an agent — which is jargon for any creature with volitional, independent behavior — is more adaptive than assuming its absence. (click) If you are a caveman on the savannah, you are better off presuming that the motion you detect out of the corner of your eye is an agent and something to run from, even if you are wrong. If it turns out to have been just the rustling of leaves, you are still alive; if what you took to be leaves rustling was really a hyena about to pounce, you are dead…. What does this mean for belief in the supernatural? It means our brains are primed for it, ready to presume the presence of agents even when such presence confounds logic.”

 

 

 

 

Slide 65

 

So, what’s wrong with the idea of natural selection and “agent detection” accounting for our belief in God? For one thing, this notion makes the assumption that God doesn’t actually exist – another example of “Begging the Question”.  But if God does exist it is reasonable to think that He has designed humans to form these beliefs

 

 

 

Slide 66

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

 

 

 

Slide 67

 

So, it needs to be pointed out that this “agent detection” feature of humans could be resulting from the fact that God actually exists and that He has designed humans to form these kinds of beliefs.

 

 

 

Slide 68

 

Blaise Pascal once famously said that “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man”…  So, this idea that our “hyperactive agency detection” was put there by our Creator, rather than simply evolved due to it having a “survival advantage”, is certainly reasonable.

 

 

 

Slide 69

 

This reminds me of a fallacy.  For those of you who went through the fallacies material with me last year, you may remember the formal fallacy “Affirming the Consequent”.  Here is one example that makes it clear what this fallacy is:

 

 

 

 

Slide 70

 

If it is snowing, then it must be cold outside.

It is cold outside.

Therefore, it must be snowing.

 

But clearly just because it is cold outside does not necessarily mean that it must be snowing, right? So, this argument is invalid.

 

 

 

 

 

Slide 71

 

In the same way, you could substitute the “Natural Selection” argument in there:

 

If natural selection is the reason for belief in God, then belief in God must have had a survival advantage

Belief in God can be shown to have a survival advantage

Therefore Natural Selection is the reason for belief in God

 

But, just because you can demonstrate reasons that belief in God confers a survival advantage, doesn’t mean that God does not exist.  Theists (those who believe in God) would also expect that belief in God would result in human flourishing.  So, in this way, the argument is shown to be fallacious.

 

 

 

Slide 72

 

If belief in God is hardwired, there are 2 possible explanations:

  • Blind process of natural selection produces religious belief over time as a by-product with some selective advantage
  • An Intelligent Mind designed humanity to naturally believe God exists.

 

 

 

 

Slide 73

 

So, its critical to ask the question, “What is the evidence for God?” and “Which view is more reasonable?”

 

 

 

 

Slide 74

 

So, let’s recap where we’ve been – we’ve covered a lot of material here.

 

 

 

Slide 75

 

The charge coming from the skeptics and atheists is that “God is Just a Human Invention”.  They try to support their case with several theories which we’ve examined here today…

 

 

 

Slide 76

 

Here are the theories we’ve covered:

  • (click) Projection Theory (which was advanced by (click) …  Freud) – the theory that God was created by man to comfort him against the harshness of life and to create a father figure
  • (the related) (click) Opiate of the Masses (which was put forth by (click) … Karl Marx) – The theory that religion was created by man to give people “artificial happiness”, similar to taking opiumn.
  • (click) The God Gene (which was written about by (click) … Dean Hamer) – the theory that some of us are just genetically hardwired to believe in God
  • (click) Memes / Virus of the Mind theories (proposed by (click) … Richard Dawkins) – the theory that our beliefs arise from “Memes”, which are memorable catchphrases and slogans, and he also proposed that religion is a dangerous idea that is transmitted from mind to mind like a virus.
  • (click) Natural Selection (which comes out of the field of (click) … evolutionary psychology) – the idea that belief in God gave humans an evolutionary advantage because we can detect invisible agents controlling things.

 

 

 

 

Slide 77

 

We’ve analyzed each of these theories, examining the ways in which they all fall short, failing to defeat the idea that God is simply a human invention.

 

 

 

Slide 78

 

I certainly hope that you will now find yourself to be more equipped to answer this objection – that you would feel confident knowing that the faith you hold is not mere wish fulfillment and that those who make that charge, impugn their own ideas in the same breath – they saw off the branch their sitting on.

 

Now do you have any thoughts you want to share with me or would like to comment on the material we’ve covered?

 

Rubber Crutches

Everyone has a crutch.  Will yours hold you up?

When people ask me, “Isn’t Christ just a crutch?” I have a simple reply.  I tell them, “You’re right.  Christ is a crutch.  But you’ve asked the wrong question.”

No one makes fun of a lame person who uses a crutch.  So the real question is, “Am I lame; am I crippled?” because crippled people need crutches.

The fact is, everybody leans on something.  As a Christian I lean on Jesus, because He’s a crutch that can hold me.  What about you?

When I was a kid and someone told a dumb joke, we’d say, “That’s as funny as a rubber crutch.”  The point is “rubber crutches” aren’t funny.  As it turns out, though, a lot of people are leaning on rubber crutches.

The real question is not whether you have a crutch or not.  Everybody does.  The real question is, “Can your crutch hold you?”

What’s your fancy?  What is it that makes your life work for you?  A relationship?  A secure job? Your bank account? Your health? Power?  All of those are rubber crutches.

If whatever you’re depending on for security and significance can be here today and gone tomorrow, then you’re in trouble.  You’re leaning on a rubber crutch.  And that’s not funny.

Yes, Christians lean on Christ.  Call it a crutch if you want, but our crutch can hold us.

One person put it this way:  A Christian is one who has come to the end of his rope. He admits his deep need.  He knows he’s crippled in many ways, and needs help.  When you finally come to your senses and realize you’re deeply crippled and dying, Christ isn’t “just” a crutch—He’s an iron lung.

 

 

Is God Just a Human Invention?

Purpose of the message:

 

 

Naturalistic / Atheist Theories Regarding Belief in God:

  1. P___________________________   T_________________________
  2. O_____________________ of the M___________________
  3. The G____________   G__________________
  4. M____________s   and  V______________ of the M_______________
  5. N____________________   S_________________________

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you see a common theme running through all these naturalistic theories about belief in God?
  2. What is projection theory and why does it fail to defeat belief in God as rational?
  3. What is the difference between “correlation” and “causation”?  How is that relevant to these theories?
  4. What is a “Hyperactive Agency Detection Device” and why is it relevant to this topic?
  5. Have you heard of any of these theories prior to this?  If so, were any of them compelling?
  6. Christians get accused of making “God of the Gaps” arguments (what we don’t yet understand, we attribute to God).  What line of reasoning do skeptics and atheist continually seem to resort to?  What is their “god”?
  7. How can these theories and arguments be turned around and used to explain atheist’s disbelief in God?

 

mid-week apologetics booster (2-11-2016)

Hi All,

Here are some weekly links for you to look at:

  1. You Can’t Preach the Gospel without Freedom: http://crossexamined.org/you-cant-preach-the-gospel-without-freedom-2/
  2. Your Most Important Relationship | John Ankerberg Article Archive: https://www.jashow.org/articles/christian-living/relationship-with-god/your-most-important-relationship/?inf_contact_key=ff99c2a49fe2e82715f2e88a9f28ae98d2fe37b67df351117ee39cee14679988
  3. Why Your Kids Can Spend 600-Plus Hours in Church and Not Get Much Out of It: http://christianmomthoughts.com/why-your-kids-can-spend-600-plus-hours-in-church-and-not-get-much-out-of-it/
  4. Youth Questions Answered Tough Questions Answered: http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/youth-questions-answered/
  5. Three arguments you’ll face on why faith and science are incompatible | Beyond Teachable Moments: https://beyondtm.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/three-arguments-youll-face-on-why-faith-and-science-are-incompatible/
  6. KISS’ Gene Simmons Defends Tim Tebow: He ‘Believes in God and People Pick on Him,’ If Muslim, ‘People Would Never Dare’: http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/kiss-gene-simmons-defends-tebow-he-believes-god-and-people-pick-him-if-jew-or
  7. Does the “God gene” disprove God? http://www.gotquestions.org/God-gene.html
  8. If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced? – God Evidence • Does God Exist? http://godevidence.com/2010/10/if-the-evidence-for-god-is-so-strong-why-are-so-many-smart-people-unconvinced/
  9. Reasons To Believe : Is Faith in God Merely Wishful Thinking? http://www.reasons.org/articles/is-faith-in-god-merely-wishful-thinking
  10. The Pros And Cons of Being A Christian Introvert – Therefore, God Exists: http://thereforegodexists.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-being-a-christian-introvert/
  11. What’s Wrong with Valentine’s Day? https://realtruth.org/articles/110207-001-holidays.html
  12. When talking with a non-Christian, make truth – not behavior – the main issue: http://winteryknight.com/2016/02/05/when-talking-with-a-non-christian-make-truth-not-behavior-the-main-issue/
  13. Amazing ancient Chinese treasure ships – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/a/10586
  14. The Hard Questions: http://www.premierchildrenswork.com/Past-Issues/2014/February-March-2014/The-Hard-Questions
  15. A Quick Response To The “Who Are You To Judge?” Objection | Think Christianly: http://www.thinkchristianly.org/a-quick-response-to-the-who-are-you-to-judge-objection/
  16. Involving Students in the Battlefield of Ideas | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/involving-students-in-the-battlefield-of-ideas/
  17. 5 Reasons You Should (Probably) Leave Your Attractional Church | TGC: http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/gospeldrivenchurch/2016/02/02/5-reasons-you-should-probably-leave-your-attractional-church/
  18. Critiquing Culture for Christ — and Our Neighbor: http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/breakpoint-commentaries-archive/entry/13/28770
  19. Apologetics: The Most Important Vaccine: http://www.blogos.org/theologyapologetics/important-vaccine.php
  20. Over 1,000 Christians in India Protest Arrest of Two Christians Accused of Black Magic « Persecution News: http://www.persecution.org/?p=74544
  21. Does the Bible condemn homosexuality? – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/a/10593
  22. Rules to Evaluate Alleged Bible Contradictions and Difficulties (Free Bible Insert) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/rules-to-evaluate-alleged-bible-contradictions-and-difficulties-free-bible-insert/
  23. What does it mean that God is a consuming fire? http://www.gotquestions.org/consuming-fire.html
  24. Darwin vs. Beauty: Explaining Away the Butterfly – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/darwin-vs-beauty-explaining-away-butterfly

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

mid-week apologetics booster (2-4-2016)

Good morning all,

Hope you’re having a great week and enjoying the (brrrrrr) cold weather!  I pray that something here might encourage you to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and demolish arguments (2 Cor. 10:5) that keep people from considering our King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

  1. Bad Design Is a Bad Argument against ID – Stand to Reason Blog: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/01/bad-design-is-a-bad-argument-against-id.html
  2. New Testament reliability | Upholding Truth: “Patristic quotations” — thousands of citations made by early church fathers — include substantial portions of the New Testament.  For years, it was believed that all but 11 verses from the New Testament could be recovered from these writings alone.  Recently, however, some NT scholars announced that it’s more likely the case that 46% of the New Testament could be reconstructed from patristic quotations.  Regardless if this is true, the fact remains that even if we didn’t have a single NT manuscript or copy of the Bible, we could still reconstruct nearly half of the entire New Testament from sermons, catechisms, lectionaries, and other writings of the 2nd and 3rd century church fathers who frequently quoted the NT: https://upholdingtruth.wordpress.com/tag/new-testament-reliability/
  3. Why Trust Reason if You’re an Atheist? http://crossexamined.org/why-trust-reason-if-youre-an-atheist/
  4. Viruses and the Christian Faith:
    1. Redemption: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XG6WwNlQyY
    2. The Fall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq7jJRE90BI
    3. Creation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nLgqL-37vw
    4. Thinking about Suffering and Death, Part 1: http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/thinking-about-suffering-and-death-part-1
    5. God’s Goodness and the Ebola Virus: http://www.reasons.org/articles/gods-goodness-and-the-ebola-virus
    6. Viruses and God’s Providence Revisited: http://www.reasons.org/articles/viruses-and-god-s-providence-revisited
  5. Tactics: the worst mistake a Christian can make when doing apologetics | WINTERY KNIGHT: http://winteryknight.com/2016/01/29/tactics-the-worst-mistake-a-christian-can-make-when-doing-apologetics-2/
  6. Science Doesn’t Say Anything- Scientists Do – Cross Examined: http://crossexamined.org/science-doesnt-say-anything-scientists-do/
  7. Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: Should Christians Never Argue? http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/01/should-christians-never-argue.html
  8. Michael Denton and David Berlinski Discuss: How Does Darwinism Hang On? – Evolution News & Views: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/01/michael_denton_1102560.html
  9. Creation apologetics in youth ministry – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/a/10611
  10. How Is Apologetics Bringing Christians Together? http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2014/02/10/how-is-apologetics-bringing-christians-together/
  11. Is the Trinity Three Different Gods? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/the-trinity/is-the-trinity-three-different-gods/

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?  Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour –when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:52-53

Blessings to you all