The Moral Argument for God’s Existence

HodgeSome time ago listening to an apologetics talk I heard something that was so obvious I wondered why I had never thought of it just that way before. I probably had to some degree, but it never made as much sense in the context of evidence for God’s existence. The statement went something like this: you can no more break God’s moral laws than you can break his physical laws. If you tried to break the law of gravity by jumping out of a building with thoughts of flying, you would shortly surely splatter on the ground. God’s moral laws are just as unforgiving if not just as immediate. Take sex as a ubiquitous example in our culture. If you do it God’s way, man, woman, lifelong commitment in marriage, it is a very good thing, and there is no downside. If pleasure and romance and self-fulfillment are your gods, then misery awaits, whether that is a sexually transmitted disease, or broken hearts, or jealousy, lying, violence, or children growing up without a mother and a father, or killing the “product of conception.” (more…)

Why religion is always public

Naked Public SquareThere is a nice piece by Joel Miller at Theology Sticks about the essentially public nature of religion. As much as the secularists of our day might try to distort the First Amendment and keep Christians silent and docile, it will never happen. This is not just about the nature of the Christian faith either, as Miller points out, but about human nature and the nature of religion itself. Faith is never simply personal because all faith is a function of our view of the world, of all reality and our place in it.

Modern people want to turn religion into a merely subjective experience, something that doesn’t say anything about the real world; as long as it makes us happy, or whatever. Americans and Westerners in general are basically relativists who think what is true for one person doesn’t necessarily have to be true for another person. Of course this is patently absurd on the face of it, but logical consistency is not at the top of many people’s priority list. All the world’s religions make competing truth claims, and the law of contradiction says two contradictory claims cannot be true at the same time. Whatever these claims happen to be, and whatever religion it happens to be, even if it is atheistic religion, it will seek to influence society in some way, and that includes its politics. There is no neutral ground, and there is no naked public square, as the late Richard John Neuhaus once argued persuasively. Ironically, when people took truth claims seriously, tolerance as a virtue actually made sense. Today so called tolerance is an excuse for totalitarian leftist group think, the fruit of a relativism that is as absolutist as any religious fundamentalist.

Polyamory for All!

Sister's WivesThe gay “marriage” ruling, the gift that keeps on giving. As one headline read: “‘Sister Wives’ family points to same-sex marriage cases in arguing against Utah polygamy ban.”  Of course they would, and they would be perfectly logical to do so. In fact, the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling pretty much redefined marriage out of existence. Remember, when Justice Kennedy in the 1992 case that legalized sodomy said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This sounds like more at the heart of what Christians call the fall that we read about in Genesis 3. Satan’s temptation to Adam and Eve was that what God provided wasn’t good enough. If only they would listen to him they would “be like God, knowing good and evil,” the perfect equal to Justice Kennedy’s hubris.   (more…)

It’s the Sin, Stupid!

nn_1_isis_iraq_140829David Brooks is one of the token kind-of-conservatives at the New York Times, and I enjoy reading him because it is interesting to read someone who is not a committed conservative philosophically, but has something of a conservative temperament. He is also from what I understand an agnostic or atheist, probably more of the former, so as a Christian it is also interesting to see where he goes with his almost conservative thoughts. In a piece last week titled, “When ISIS Rapists Win,” he asked a typically modern question filled with Enlightenment, progressive assumptions when confronted with the horrific evil of ISIS:

The ISIS atrocities have descended like distant nightmares upon the numbed conscience of the world. The first beheadings of Americans had the power to shock, but since then there has been a steady barrage of inhumanity: mass executions of Christians and others, throwing gay men from rooftops, the destruction of ancient archaeological treasures, the routine use of poison gas.

Eve the recent reports in The Times about the Islamic State’s highly structured rape program have produced shock but barely a ripple of action.

And yet something bigger is going on. It’s as if some secret wormhole into a different historical epoch has been discovered and the knowledge of centuries is being unlearned. . . .

This wasn’t supposed to happen in the 21st century. Western experts have stared the thing in the face, trying to figure out the cause and significance of the moral disaster we are witnessing. (more…)

“Risen” Trailer Available

I learned about this movie called “Risen” coming out next spring, obviously around Easter. It looks very promising, with a big name lead, Joseph Fiennes, and obviously excellent production values. From the piece at Empire:

Kevin Reynolds’ film, which he co-wrote with Paul Aiello, follows Roman military tribune Clavius (Fiennes), a firm believer in his empire’s power and someone tasked with removing resistance. But when it appears that Jesus of Nazareth has – in accordance with his followers’ beliefs – risen from the dead after his crucifixion, Pontius Pilate (Firth) assigns Clavius and his aide Lucius (Felton) the task of figuring out the mystery, to avoid an uprising in Jerusalem.

Those familiar with apologetics will instantly recognize what most people ignore: The crucified and buried body of Jesus of Nazareth disappeared. His followers claimed he was risen from the dead, claimed to have seen him, which is obviously impossible. Many of them paid with their life for this claim. The premise of the movie is no doubt true to history: Jesus’ enemies and those who convicted him and carried out the sentence, had every incentive to find the body. Do that, and this menace is crushed once and for all. Of course they never did because, well, Jesus is even now sitting at the right hand of God.

As an aside, I have to wonder if Fiennes is a Christian or at least has Christian sympathies. He stared in the 2003 movie Luther, yes the same one who started the Reformation, and he’s working on a movie coming out next year called, The Last Race, a sequel to the 1981 classic Chariots of Fire, about Christian Olympic athlete Eric Liddell, who refused to run a race on the Sabbath and forfeited the event. It’s possible he’s a member in good standing of the Church of England, a good Anglican.