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Debate: If evil exists, is it unreasonable to believe that God doesn’t?

February 11, 2015

debateflyer2

So much ‪#‎Evil‬ in the world. Does God even exist? Looking forward to moderating this debate at ‪#‎WayneState‬ on Feb. 18
http://t.co/vFcakqD8Pb

Via Twitter @RC_WSU_MI

Does Intelligent Design “Prove” God’s Existence?

February 8, 2015

Apologetics Course BasicUnit 5 Handout: “Does Intelligent Design ‘Prove’ God’s Existence?”

1.        Questions and Answers from Last Week’s Discussions and the Readings for This Evening

2.        Quiz and Review of Quiz

3.        Follow-Up Discussion: Chapter 3: Does God Exist? The Design Argument
a.        The Watchmaker
b.        The Argument
c.        The History
d.        Different Flavors of the Argument
e.        Fine-Tuning as Design
f.        Information as Design
g.        Complexity as Design
h.        Tactical Note
i.        Conclusion

4.        Article: David D. Gebhard, “An Overview of Intelligent Design,” http://tinyurl.com/n3lv2rf
a.        Discussion

5.        Redux: Second Law of Thermodynamics (Increasing entropy or unavailable energy)

6.        Introduction: The Moral Argument
a.        Existential Questions: Am I Good? (What Good am I?) Am I a Good Person? What if I am Not a Good Person?
i.        Why do I Doubt my Goodness? Why do I Care? Why does Anybody Care?

7.        Moral Principles (“Values”) are Metaphysical
a.        And yet all humans seem to have a built-in sense of right and wrong.
b.        Compare: Romans 2:14-15

8.        C.S. Lewis’ Argument
a.        Everyone knows, and so believes, that there are objective moral truths.
b.        Objective moral laws are very peculiar in that they are quite unlike Laws of Nature and “natural” facts.
c.        The hypothesis that there is an intelligence behind, or beyond, the natural facts that implants the knowledge of right and wrong in us and serves as the foundation for good judgments and the best explanation of objective moral facts.
d.        Conclusion: The existence and nature of objective moral facts supports the existence of an intelligence behind them serving as their basis and foundation.

9.        Moral Absolutes: Objective, Eternal and Universal
a.        Christian Moral Absolutism:
i.        Absolute standards against which moral questions are evaluated;
ii.       Certain actions are considered inherently right or wrong;
iii.      Opposed to philosophical and moral relativism (i.e., the view that all truths are relative to social, cultural, historical constructs, paradigms, or preferences);
iv.      The infinite-personal God is the source of moral absolutism;
v.        Moral laws are discoverable and knowable regardless of time, place, or context.
b.        Objections
i.        Morality is cultural
ii.       Morality is relative
iii.      The presence of Evil disproves a moral God
iv.      Morality either is arbitrarily imposed by God or is outside of Him
v.        The Is/Ought Objection

10.      Atheist Explanation for Morals
a.        Social Contract (Compare atrocities of Hitler, ISIS, etc.)
b.        Herd Instinct (Are herds, or instincts, always right or deserving of survival?)
c.        Psychological (“Value” judgments regarding others’ behavior; Ought/ought-not persists)
d.        Ethical Framework (Sufficient rational ethical theory … developed by elite ethicists?)
e.        Categorical Imperative (But can “immoral” principles be applied unversally?)
f.        Happiness (Is greatest happiness of greatest number necessarily moral?)
g.        Emergent Property (But is there evidence that morality is emerging from the physical world?)
h.        Part of Reality (Moral Realism)

11.      Compare: The Christian Position: Moral principles (“ought”) are necessarily personal, universal, available for critique of behavior, and readily accessed by actors.

12.      Biblical Articulation: Leviticus 19:2; 1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 5:16; Zephaniah 3:5; Psalm 19:7, 9; 2 Corinthians 7:1
a.        So what: Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:9

13.      Quick Review:
a.        What does the cosmological argument tell us of God?
b.        Taken together, what do the teleological and moral arguments tell us of God?

14.      Conclusion: Colossians 2:8; 4:5-6

Does the Universe “Prove” God’s Existence?

February 2, 2015

Apologetics Course Basic Unit 4 Handout: “Does the Universe “Prove” God’s Existence?”

1.        Questions and Answers from Last Week’s Discussions and the Readings for This Evening

2.        Quiz and Review of Quiz

3.        Questions and Answers: Chapter 2: Does God Exist? The Cosmological Argument

a.        Definitions

b.        Kalam Cosmological Argument

c.        Thomist Cosmological Argument

d.        Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

e.        Scientific Arguments

f.        Conclusion

4.        Article: SEP, “Cosmological Argument,” http://tinyurl.com/8xkm72n

a.        Discussion

5.        Introduction: The Design Argument

a.        Existential Questions: Do My Surroundings Tell a Story about My Existence?

i.        If so, what is that story?

(1)      Is my story merely physical, or metaphysical?

b.        Review: 5 Things the Scientific Method Can’t Prove (Craig)

c.        Review: The One-Two Punch: Cosmological Argument and Design Argument

6.        Is there Design in the Universe?

a.        Design in the Cosmos (Isaiah 40:38)

b.         Design in Living things (Psalms 104:24)

c.        Design in Man (Psalm 8:5,6)

d.        Design in Ethics and Morality (Romans 2:15)

7.        The Anthropic Principle

a.        Embodied conscious life requires stable, reproducible complexity

i.        To say that the laws are fine-tuned means that the universe must have precisely the right set of laws in order for (highly complex) life to exist.

b.        Gravitational Constant: very short-lived stars v. no stars

c.        Ratio of electrons to protons: no stars or galaxies v. no stars or galaxies

d.        Strong Nuclear Force: no hydrogen, fusion v. only hydrogen

e.        Weak Nuclear Force: all H2 –> He at big bang    v. no He at big bang, no heavy elements

f.        Electric Force: no chemical bonding v. no chemical bonding

g.        Expansion rate of universe: no galaxies v. universe collapses quickly

h.        Ratio of matter to antimatter: too much radiation for life v. no galaxies

i.        Possible explanations other than creation: Multiverse? Chance?

8.        Information Theory and DNA (Order as Information, i.e., communication between minds)

a.        Information has code, meaning, action, purpose

b.        Common language requires tokens (symbols or code representing ideas)

c.        Fundamental entities: Mass and Energy …. and Information?

i.        Life = material + (nonmaterial) information

d.        Code: 4 letters – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), thymine (T)

9.        Irreducible Complexity (Order as complexity)

a.        Some things are as simple as they could be and still function.

i.        They are so simple, that if any part was missing they would not function.

ii.       They had to have been created just as they are, or they would not have survived, or they would not have had any purpose.

b.        By identifying the genes shared by the simplest organisms, researchers have recently concluded that at least 250 or so are required for survival as a self-replicating cell. That’s about half the number present in the smallest known bacterial genome.

c.        E.g. The bacteria flagellum. Is a whip like part of a bacteria that allows it to move. An outboard motor. This motor is water cooled, it features a universal joint, has gears for forward and reverse, and can reach speed up to 100,000 rpms, and can do self-assembly and repair. It demonstrates a precision that cannot be accounted for in evolution, but can be explained by intelligent design.

10.      The Soul (Order as creativity)

a.        1 King 17:21-22; Matt 10:28; 2 Cor 12: 2-4; 2 Cor 5:1-4, 8

11.      For Next Week: Chapter 03: Does God Exist? The Design Argument

a.        David D. Gebhard, “An Overview of Intelligent Design,” http://tinyurl.com/n3lv2rf

“How do I Learn to Give a Defense of the Faith?”

January 28, 2015

Apologetics Course Basic

Unit 3 Handout: “How do I Learn to Give a Defense of the Faith?”

  • Questions and Answers from Last Week’s Discussions and the Readings for This Evening
  • Quiz and Review of Quiz
  • Questions and Answers: Chapter 14: Methodology
    • The Toolbox
    • Classical Apologetics
    • Evidentialism
    • Presuppositionalism
    • Fideism
    • Interaction and Critique
    • Integrative Apologetics
    • Conclusion
  • Article: Coulter, “Introduction to Christian Apologetics,” http://tinyurl.com/lbduqz3
  • Approaches to Apologetics
  • Common Objections from the Bible
    • The Bible does not need to be defended
    • God cannot be known by human reason
    • Natural humanity cannot understand God’s truth
    • Without faith one cannot please God
    • Jesus refused to give signs to evil men
    • Do not answer a fool according to his folly
    • Apologetics is not used in the Bible
  • Objections from Outside the Bible
    • Logic cannot tell us anything about God
    • Logic cannot prove the existence of anything
    • No one is converted through apologetics
    • Different Approaches at different stages
  • Introduction: The Cosmological Argument
    • Existential Questions:
      • What/Who Am I?
      • How is it that I Exist?
      • How is it that Anything Exists?
    • Why is there Something instead of Nothing?
  • 5 Things the Scientific Method Can’t Prove (Craig)
    • Logic and Mathematics
    • Metaphysical truths
    • Ethical beliefs
    • Aesthetic judgments
    • Science itself
  • The Mystery of Existence
  • The Cosmological Argument (Kalam Argument from Contingency)
    • The universe either exists necessarily or contingently
    • The universe is not necessary
    • Therefore the universe is contingent
  • Four Possibilities for the Existence of the Universe
    • All that exists is merely an illusion.
    • The universe created itself.
    • The universe is eternal.
    • The universe was created by an outside eternal being (God)
  • Objections
    • Schoolboy objection: What caused God?
    • How can we ever know the universe needs a cause?
  • For Next Week
    • Reading from the Holman text: Chapter 2: The Cosmological Argument
    • Online Article: SEP, “Cosmological Argument” http://tinyurl.com/8xkm72n
  • Conclusion

What (Good) is Apologetics?

January 19, 2015
Apologetics Course Basic

Unit 2 Handout: “What (Good) is Apologetics?

1.        Questions and Answers from Last Week’s Discussions and the Readings for This Evening

2.        Quiz and Review of Quiz

3.        Chapter 1: What (Good) is Apologetics?

a.        Supermarket or Antidote?

b.        Apologetics is for Believers as Well

c.        Apologetics in the Bible

d.        Use and Abuse

e.        Tollers and Jack

f.        Conclusion

4.        Article: Edgar, “No News Is Good News,” http://tinyurl.com/om9ncam

5.        Review: Defense, Answer, Explanation (Story); Pre-Evangelism and Affirmation

6.        100 percent “Proof” versus leading the honest truth-seeker to an openness where the Gospel is shared

a.        Romans 10:17

b.        2 Corinthians 10:5

c.        Ministerial verus Magisterial Use of Reason (Martin Luther)

7.        Christian Apologetics Styles / Viewpoints

a.        Thomistic/Classical tradition

i.        Based on philosophical arguments for God’s existence, then specific case for Christian revelation claims. Deductive reasoning.

b.        Evidentialist tradition

i.        Empirical arguments about the life, miracles, death, resurrection of Christ, fulfilled prophecies

ii.       Uses probabilistic proofs (Inductive reasoning)

c.        Presuppositional tradition

i.        Belief in God and His Word is presupposed

ii.       Depends on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit

iii.      Non-theistic assumptions/worldview proven to be false

d.        Fideist tradition

i.        God-consciousness is an common experience common to most people.

ii.       Rational arguments are not necessary.

e.        Reform tradition

i.        Belief in God is “properly basic”

f.        Compare: “Natural Theology” and the primary arguments for God’s existence

i.        Cosmological argument: Beginning of the universe

ii.       Teleological (Design) argument(s): Design and order in the universe, e.g Anthropic Principle; Design of life

iii.      Moral argument: Moral law implies a moral law giver

8.        The Starting Point of Apologetic Methodologies

a.        Psalm 8; 19; 33:6 and 119:105 & 130

b.        Proverbs 1:7; 5:12; and 9:10.

9.        The Means of Apologetics

a.        Matt. 22:37 – Using reason and logic

b.        Jude 3: Battling for the truth

c.        Acts 17:2-4: Explaining and demonstrating the Gospel

d.        Acts 17:11: Searching the Scriptures and seeking truth

e.        Acts 17:17: Answering the questions of believers & skeptics alike

f.        Acts 17:23: Finding common ground

g.        2 Tim. 2:15: Imparting God’s word accurately and clearly

h.        Romans 12:2: Using our mind to reason

10.      For Next Week

a.        Reading from the Holman text: Chapter 14: Methodology

b.        Online Article: Coulter, “Introduction,” http://tinyurl.com/lbduqz3

11.      Conclusion

Why NOT do Apologetics?

January 10, 2015

Apologetics Course Basic

Handout 01: “Why NOT do Apologetics?” 

1.         Introduction: What is Apologetics?

  • a.         1 Peter 3:15: Defense, Answer, Explanation
  • b.         Preparedness (Eph. 6:15)
  • c.         Defense (Acts 25:16 ; 2Co 7:11 ; Phil. 1:7 , 16 ; 2Ti 4:16)
  • d.         Answer (Acts 22:1 ; 1Co 9:3)
  •  e.         Reason (Matt 5:32; Acts 10:29)

2.         Review of Syllabus

3.         Why NOT Do Apologetics?

  • a.         From the Non-Christian Questioner’s Perspective
    •  i.         The Atheist Perspective: No God
    •  ii.        The Humanist Perspective: I am God.
    •   iii.       The Relativist Perspective: No Truth
    •   iv.       The Materialist Perspective: No Future
    • v.         The Wishful Thinker’s Perspective: No Facts
    • i.       The Sceptic’s Perspective: No Good News
    • vii.      The Cynic’s Perspective: No Credibility
    • viii.     The Post-Modern Perspective: No Story
  • b.         From the Christian Questioner’s Perspective
    • i.         Worldly Perspective: Colossians 2:8
    •  ii.        Is “Faith Seeking Reason,” Faith? (Sola Fide)
    •   iii.       Is “Reason Seeking Faith,” the Gospel? (Sola Scriptura)
    •   iv.       Is anything but “Christ and Him Crucified” the Gospel? (Solus Christus)
    •  v.         Is “the Hope” comprehensible? (Sola Gratia)
    • vi.       Doesn’t apologetics make use of the “Wisdom of the World” (e.g. philosophy)? (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
  • c.         Why bother? Why be bothered?
  • d.         Traits and Triggers

4.         “The Hope”

  • a.         What Exactly Is “The Hope”? (Experiential/Existential)
    • i.         World View and Temporality
    • ii.        That which is and will be (ontology)
    • iii.       How to think about that which is and will be.
    •  iv.       Relationship
    • v.         Wonder, Awe, Mystery, Incomprehensibility
  •  b.         What Exactly Is “The Hope”? (Biblical)
    • i.         Being born again (John 3:3)
    •  ii.        Being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
    •  iii.       Being united to Christ: Romans 6; 1 Corinthians 15
    •  iv.       Being a follower/slave to Christ: John 8:31-36
    • v.         Finding wisdom in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  •  c.         Faith is/as a Gift: Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 11:25-27; John 3:3-8; John 6:44,65; Acts 13:48; Acts 16:14; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, 14; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:5,6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13
  •  d.         Biblical Epistemology
    •   i.         Fear of the Lord: Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 15:33
    •  ii.        God’s Word Judges All Human Affairs: John 12:48; 2 Corinthians 10:5
    •   iii.       Conclusion: Faith Governs Reason
      • (1)       Believers: God’s Rationality –> Human Faith –> Human Reason
      • (2)       Nonbelievers: Human Reason –> Human Religion
    • e.         The Noetic Effects of Sin: “Wisdom” of the World: 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16; 3:18-23; 8:1-3
  • i.          Compare: Luke 16:8; Matthew 23:2-3; Mark 1:24

5.         For Next Week

  •  a.         Reading from the Holman text: Chapter 1: What is Apologetics?
  •  b.         Online Article: Frame, “No News Is Good News,” http://tinyurl.com/om9ncam

6.         Conclusion

Readings for Upcoming Course on Apologetics

October 4, 2014

Apologetics Course BasicIn response to several inquiries about the upcoming course on Apologetics, planned
for the Free Seminary program at Cornerstone
Baptist Church
starting in January 2015, I am posting this Schedule
of Reading Assignments.
This is not the entire syllabus, but
it does include all of the reading assignments that participants
will read prior to each class. You can start reading now if you
like!
Required Textbook and Readings: Doug Powell, Holman
QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics
(Nashville,
TN: Holman Reference, 2006). ISBN: 080549460X; ISBN-13: 9780805494600 / 978-0-8054-9460-0 (Referred to as the Holman text).
Can be ordered from the Book Rack bookstore at Cornerstone Baptist Church for less than is often found online.

  • Other readings, in the form of weekly assigned readings from online scholarly journals and from apologetics websites are also
    required for this course (fourth column, below).
  • The Bible will also be used extensively in this course, so please plan to bring your Bible to class.
  • Plan to come to class prepared by: having read the assigned readings, having made notes of questions or concerns (with page
    numbers referencing the specific material about which you have a question), and having absorbed carefully the overall content of
    the readings (i.e., read with pencil/pen in hand).
Schedule of Reading Assignments
Class Date Question on the Table Holman Text
Reading Prior to Class
Other Reading(s) Prior to Class (Click on Link)
01/13/2015 Why NOT do Apologetics? None. None.
01/20/2015 What (Good) is Apologetics? Chapter 1, What is Apologetics? Edgar, “No News Is Good News,”
http://tinyurl.com/om9ncam
01/27/2015 How do I Learn to Give a Defense of the Faith? Chapter 14, Methodology Coulter, “Introduction”
http://tinyurl.com/lbduqz3
02/03/2015 Does the Universe “Prove” God’s Existence? Chapter 2, The Cosmological Argument SEP, “Cosmological Argument”
http://tinyurl.com/8xkm72n
02/10/2015 Does Intelligent Design “Prove” God’s Existence? Chapter 3, The Design Argument Gebhard, “Intelligent Design”
http://tinyurl.com/n3lv2rf
02/17/2015 Does Morality “Prove” God’s Existence? Chapter 4, The Moral Argument Copan, “Moral Argument”
http://tinyurl.com/ph2m7mr
02/24/2015 Aren’t All Religions Essentially the Same? Chapter 5, Which God Exists? Farinaccio (Through page 54)
http://tinyurl.com/kgkg2e2
03/03/2015 Isn’t the New Testament a corrupted, unreliable text? Chapters 6 & 7: Origin and Reliability of the N.T. Butt, “That Which We’ve Seen”
http://tinyurl.com/o3gfm28
03/10/2015 Isn’t the Old Testament a corrupted, unreliable text? Chapter 8: Origin and Reliability of the O.T. Brantley, “Dead Sea Scrolls”
http://tinyurl.com/ogddb94
03/17/2015 Doesn’t Science Disprove Miracles? Chapter 9: Do Miracles Happen? Montgomery, “Science …”
http://tinyurl.com/pv4he9m
03/24/2015 Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Chapters 11 & 12: Jesus’ Resurrection & Deity Habermas, “Case for Resurrection”
http://tinyurl.com/nyycu7g
03/31/2015 Doesn’t the Existence of Evil Disprove God? Chapter 13: How could God Allow Evil? Howard-Snyder, “Evil/Suffering”
http://tinyurl.com/mjzcfco
04/07/2015 How Do You Actually Do Apologetics? Farinaccio (Page 57 to End)
http://tinyurl.com/kgkg2e2
Koukl, “Common Objections” http://tinyurl.com/l99r7gd
04/14/2015 Make-up date if a previous meeting date is canceled for any reason.
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