Why Atheists sometimes lose effectiveness in Theistic discussions

Observed truth or truth we discover, is ultimately inadequate to affect absolute certainty within man. Having no deeper foundation other than our own fallible faculties, our beliefs must deliver a standing invitation to all competing ideas until all possibilities are exhausted. If, then, our beliefs stand, they can only hold certainty in the sense of having withstood all other ideas our current day and age can muster and for which we are able to understand. Thus, our beliefs can only hold a current temporary certainty while holding a respect for such a time in the future that mankind is able to obtain a greater understanding of those beliefs. Thus, absolute certainty can never be reached by mankind. It has the effect of silencing the free exchange of ideas and creating a tyranny upon other men who hold differing beliefs.

Truth, as a Being with person-hood, is entirely in the position to produce a greater degree of certainty within man than he could reach alone. For Truth, having personality, could relate with man, instruct, and cleanse man of error he could not have eliminated on his own. That is not to say that man would then have an infallible understanding of the truth. The best he could do is present to others a representation of this Truth-Being or a representation of some external truth the Being has communicated. The representation would still be subject to the fallible faculties of man and therefore must deliver the same standing invitation to other representations. Otherwise, tyranny will result. Furthermore, whatever refined beliefs man contains inside himself must be held in a progressive truth-seeking manner with a respect for some newer revelation communicated by this Truth-Being in the future. For it is absurd to believe that man has perfect understanding of truth the first time it is communicated to him.

Therefore, the only difference realized by man, either in truth discovered solely by man or truth received from this Truth-Being, is the deeper ground on which he stands when receiving communication from this Being. Those who criticize representations of this Being without standing in deeper ground themselves will compete with any self-authenticating witness this Being has produced inside the man standing on the deeper ground and will, thus, be only marginally effectual in an argument. Effectiveness can be obtained either by developing a greater understanding of the representations or moving onto deeper ground.

Advertisements

The Robot and the Doll

Value, meaning, importance, or significance are not things which can be imposed upon us; they can only come from us based upon what we care about. They are not discovered, but rather created through our interaction with the world around us. Thus the very act of caring about something creates meaning, value, and in the end morality.

This excerpt was taken from here.

This is a statement of philosophy, not a statement of fact. We can, indeed, place our own meaning on things. This is true. However, whether the meaning and purpose that we place on objects and ourselves is accurate or not we are not sure of. The validity of subjective meaning would be plausible if not for one thing. This world is not our property. We do not own it. We did not make it. We cannot attest to its origin or its future. We were not here when it came into existence. Sure, we can create, as it were, “out of nothing” our own meaning, but when we do we take the place of authority over it. In this act, we become impostors. Consider the following:

A man builds a robot, then he leaves never to return. Another man finds it and decides that it would make a nice doll for his daughter. He rejects any notion that the robot, now a doll, had any purpose or meaning other than what he gives it. He makes himself the final authority on the issue, and since he does not see any “maker” of the doll around to refute the claim, he rests his case.

Does he not take the place of the maker in this analogy? Does he not then become an impostor, a fake? Bringing this back to reality, we did not even make ourselves! Can we attest to our meaning without taking the place of something if not someone?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Meaning of Life – A Look at the Life of Mark Sherrell

What is the Meaning of Life?

Earthly Meaning:

For the Christian, meaning is found when we give up the right to ourselves. Our meaning is insignificant compared to the worth of God. He is the only self-sustaining one. Meaning to us is found when we stop trying to find ourselves and seek after the person of God. His meaning is the greatest there is, and we can glory in him. I must decrease so that God may increase. Yet, when we try to put this meaning into words, words escape us, and all we can do is praise the God who is everything to us.

Eternal Meaning:

As humans, by naming something, we ascribe meaning to it. For those who are in his family, God has chosen a new name for each of us. (Rev 2:17, Rev. 3:12) We won’t know that name until we get to heaven. Although we try to look for our own meaning, it is actually ascribed by God and rooted in our new name. And though others may tell you what you mean to them, if God is increasing in your life, it is really God that they are finding any worth in. And what’s better, our new name is linked to God’s name, just like when you know a person better by knowing their first and last name. You then realize what family they belong to. Perhaps we will know our true meaning after God calls us by the family name.

My Uncle Mark recently died. Although, he was a drug addict for thirty years, he found victory over addiction the last years of his life. How do you measure a life lived? Most of his life would seem a waste to us as he lived in bondage as a slave to his own addictions. Yet, for those who have chosen to make God their God, he has made them a new person, and regardless of what Mark did, God made him a new person. He was still subject to the lusts and sins everyone else was subject to, but he had this treasure (his new person) in his flawed body so that the power of a changed life might be shown to be of God and not of him. The best we can do in this life puts us on our knees begging for forgiveness because we are not good enough. As the Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

I think it’s appropriate now to let Mark explain to you himself what happened to him:

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Life Worth Losing

“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They are done before you realize it, and once they are done, they make you do other things until, at last, everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.”
– Eugene O’Neill from the play Long Day’s Journey Into Night

“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
– God

Only God can help you find what you’d truly like to be. Self made men will find that they lose themselves and have not the power to change into their own contrived creation. A life worth living is found behind a life worth losing.

Pain

The human experience is pain. It’s the affirmation of life. If you wake up in the morning and feel a headache, there is no question that you’re alive. In fact, you may wish you were otherwise. Funny how something we don’t want affirms something we desperately want… life. Pain from a parent’s divorce, from a cheating girlfriend, from a lying father, from a pointless job, from a physical problem, from the death of loved one, from your own failures, or from a devaluing of who you are gives evidence that your time is not yet over. But we can’t stuff it away. We can’t bury it. No one is exempt. We must endure it. For pain is the true test of a person’s character. Under torture, some have stood their ground and some have fallen. What you do under pain speaks volumes to fellow humans and to God himself. What will you do? It’s your life.

What in the Universe is “Ex Nihilo”

 larson1

“The Bible teaches that the universe had a beginning. It does not teach that this beginning was recent. That is a mistaken inference based on adding up the life spans of various Old Testament figures. But the Old Testament genealogies do not purport to record every generation, and in any case, such a reckoning would take us back only as far as the creation of life on earth, not to the very origin of the universe.”

-William Craig Lane

Science, however, does support the Bible’s conclusion that the universe was created, just not in the way that most Christians think. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered through his observations of light in the universe that the universe is growing apart. Not only was the universe expanding, but it was expanding the same in all directions. To illustrate this, imagine a balloon with buttons covering every square inch of it. As air is blown inside, the buttons get farther and farther apart.

MF_thagomizer

The implication of this expansion is what brings us to the same conclusion as the Bible. Basically, if one were to travel backward in time, he would witness the universe returning to the point of origin. It would shrink in size until, at some finite point in the past, it reached a point of infinite density from which the universe began to expand. This point becomes known as the “singularity”.

“At this singularity, space and time come into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation out of nothing.”

– John Barrow and Frank Tipler

There can be no natural cause of the outward expansion for nothing existed before the singularity. Thus, there is an apparent supernatural cause of the universe. The Bible is clear that the universe was created, it just does not specify when.

GaryLarsonMicrocopeMammoth-full;init_

My thoughts:

I, being from an Independent Fundamental Baptist background, was taught that the earth was only six thousand years old. The basic reasoning mainly came from the genealogies of the Old Testament. I never questioned this until a few years ago. My pastor said, recently, that he believes the earth to be around ten thousand years old. I don’t know his reasoning, but it did take me by surprise. He’ll have to explain himself at some point. I only assume that is what he was taught from whatever seminary he went to. Some account for the age of the universe by adding evolution into he process, evolution being the chief way in which God created life. I’d like to think I did not come from amoebas.

 farsideme0

If the time calculations are true, and the universe did begin some billions of years ago, it still has no relevance as to when God created life on earth. God, existing outside of time, could have chosen any point in time to come upon a planet that was “without form and void” and create life there. He is not bound by time constraints.

Science and the Bible are not enemies as some claim.

far-side-hcl