Have you thought about lately what you do with the treasures that others have buried inside you?
Quoting an often remembered parable “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
My mother’s love language was acts of service. Without any conscious purpose I have spent the majority of my life pursuing the following professions, military, police, and education. All of which gave me opportunities to help, protect, and cultivate. Now I’m taking the time to consider what it means to be my mother’s son.
One of her defining traits was fostering. Her grandmother showed her what that meant while raising her from infancy. As a child my mother practiced it with her cousins. As an adult she continued it with coworkers, friends and acquaintances throughout her life.
I am humbled by the daily experience where I engage in the same fostering my mother once did. This manifests as a cherished memory now. One I welcome with warm embrace. Thankfully, I have powerfully available visual cues to remind me of how my mother’s spirit remains present in her absence.
It occurs to me that similar expressions will be born out in her other children, grandchildren, and those others whom she endowed with her loving legacy. There is a good sized list. My hope is that in the days ahead that we live without her, each of us still recognize how we operate as an extension of the seeds she planted within us.
What about you? Who do you think about? What do you remember? What do you see in your life that must have come from them? Will the idea of honoring the heritage they passed on to you bring you peace, comfort, or assurance? Will it bring healing and restoration? Will it help you bury your treasures in the right fields?
Book Discussion Day 14: Chapter 13 – Who is Jesus: God? Or Just a Great Moral Teacher?
Chapter 13 outlines the Old Testament prophecies that point to the Messiah and ultimately provide the evidence that Jesus, the only person to ever fulfill the prophecies, is God.
Isaiah 53 has an important prophecy of Jesus. Isaiah 42 has another description of him.74
Some of the other Old Testament verses about Jesus include
Genesis 12: 3, 7
Jeremiah 3: 5-6
The New Testament writers claimed Jesus was God.
John 1:1, 14
2 Peter 1:1
Luke 4:34, 41
Jesus himself declares he is God.
Jesus refers to himself in a manner that God would.
Jesus alluded that he was God in the parables he spoke
Jesus did things that a God would be able to do
He forgave sins Mark 2:5-11
He commanded discipling Matthew 28:18-19
Commanded new law John 13:34
Said to pray in his name John 14:13-14
Allowed people to worship him on at least 9 occasions75
Proofs that Jesus is God
He fulfilled messianic prophecies written hundreds of years in advance
He lived a sinless life and performed miraculous deeds
He predicted and then accomplished his own resurrection from the dead
Skeptics complain Jesus wasn’t more overt
They cite and misinterpret Matthew 19:7
They cite John 14:28 and Matthew 24:36 which may confuse them without a thorough understanding of the Trinity.
They object to the Trinity
The authors provide useful insight for the Trinity
Some Muslims charge that the trinity is too complex. But who said that truth must always be simple? As C.S. Lewis aptly puts it, “If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”76
Since Jesus is a morally perfect being – Chapter 7 – then anything he teaches is true. What did Jesus teach? What did he teach about the Bible? Chapter 14 answers this question.
The chapter addresses the claim people sometimes make that Jesus was only a man who was a great moral teacher. The evidence in the New Testament proves that is a false conclusion. Liar, lunatic, or Lord are the only possible conclusions a person can draw after studying the New Testament. Have you come across people who said they saw Jesus as a moral teacher but not God? How did that conversation go?
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would rather be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is , the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.77
74Geisler & Turek page 333 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
75 Geisler & Turek pages 344-345 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
76Geisler & Turek pages 352-353 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
77Geisler & Turek page 346 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
The halfway point in the book marks a transition from proving the existence of God to proving Christianity. Here again are the twelve points the book sets out to make.4 I have summarized them below.
Truth about reality is knowable
The opposite of true is false
It is true that the theistic God exists. There are 4 types of evidence for this truth
If God exists, then miracles are possible
Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (acts of God confirm a word from God)
The New Testament is historically reliable, based on 4 key points of evidence
The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God
The Jesus’ claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by
His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself
His sinless life and miraculous deeds
His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection
Therefore, Jesus is God
Whatever Jesus teaches is true
Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God
Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God – and anything opposed to it is false
Chapter 8 covers the two points about miracles @ items 4 and 5.
The authors point out that so far the Cosmological, Teleological, a Moral Law arguments prove the existence of a theistic God. Therefore no other religious worldviews, those that deny a theist God, are correct about God. That is based on the Law of Noncontradiction. Mutually exclusive religions cannot all be true.
While other religions can offer good guidance and state accurate truths, they are still built on a false foundation without a theistic God.
How we know beyond a reasonable doubt that a theistic God exists with certain characteristics.50
The Cosmological Argument proves that God is
Self-Existent, timeless, nonspatial, immaterial (outside of time, space, and matter). in other words, without limits. infinite.
Unimaginably powerful, having created the universe out of nothing.
Personal, by choosing to convert nothingness into the time-space-material universe.
The Teleological Argument proves that God is
Supremely intelligent, able to design incredibly complex life in an incredibly precise universe.
Purposeful, having designed many life forms which live in the specific and ordered environment they exist in.
The Moral Law Argument proves that God is
Absolutely morally pure. Consisting of infinite justice and infinite love.
God Communicates Using Miracles
Is it possible for God to intervene in the natural world by performing miracles?
In fact, miracles are not only possible; miracles are actual, because the greatest miracle of all – the creation of the universe out of nothing – has already occurred. So with regard to the Bible, if Genesis 1:1 is true – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” – then every other miracle in the Bible is easy to believe.51
The two major arguments against miracles came from Benedict Spinoza and David Hume.
According to Spinoza53
Miracles are a violation of natural laws.
Natural laws are immutable.
It is impossible to violate immutable laws.
Therefore, miracles are impossible.
The problem with Spinoza’s argument is that it begs the question. How does he know that natural laws are immutable?
The creation of the universe itself shows us that natural laws are not immutable. The universe was created by a power beyond nature, a supernatural power.
Chapter 6 – New Life Forms: From the Goo to You via the Zoo?
The Most Difficult problem for Darwinists. Where did the first life come from?
Darwinists don’t have an explanation for first life. Yet they still force the very bad – completely unsupported – science of macroevolution on innocent children in American public schools.
Comedian Steve Martin used to say, “I know how you can be a millionaire and never pay taxes! First get a million dollars, okay, now…”27
The joke of Darwinism is worse than that because, 1) they can’t explain how first life occurred, and 2) they can’t even explain where the non-living chemicals came from that first life consists of.
Darwinist Theory of Macroevolution
The belief that all life on earth came from one common original one cell organism, naturally, with no intelligent direction, no God, all by accident.
The only scientific evidence that has ever been found, shows that microevolution takes place. That is when a life form changes BUT still remains the exact same type of life form. There is no scientific evidence of any lifeforms ever evolving into a different type of life form.
The Darwinists use the evidence of microevolution to claim that it proves macroevolution. That’s their proof! Remember that the next time anyone asks you if you believe in evolution. Which one? The one that there’s evidence for or the one Darwinism teaches that has never been observed?
Five reasons why natural selection cannot support Darwinists’ unproven macroevolution.28
Nonviability of Transitional Forms
The Fossil Record
Artificial selection, man made efforts to change species, has never been successful because each species of life is limited by its genetic makeup. And once again, Darwinists tell you that natural, unintelligent random selection can do what artificial, intelligent man made intervention can’t.
The evidence of change within a species shows that they change back and forth over time in response to environmental influences, not in one specific direction without returning to a previous form. Natural Selection may be able to explain the survival of a species, but not the arrival of a species.
In his book Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, provides the evidence of irreducible complexity that disproves Darwinism.29 Here is his conclusion.
The idea of Darwinian molecular evolution is not based on science. There is no publication in the scientific literature – in journals or books – that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations. Since there is no authority on which to base claims of knowledge, it can truly be said that the assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.30
Here is what Behe wrote about the contribution of this scientific study.
The result of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell – to investigate life at the molecular level – is a loud, clear, piercing cry of ‘design!’ The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science. The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein.31
Nonviability of Transitional Forms
Darwinism claims that macroevolution takes place slowly, minute changes over long periods of time. So the problem for the Darwinists is twofold: first they have no viable mechanism for getting from reptiles to birds, and second, even if a viable mechanism were discovered, the transitional forms would be unlikely to survive anyway.32
At a molecular level there is no trace of the evolutionary transition from fish >amphibian>reptile>mammal. So amphibia, always traditionally considered intermediate between fish and other terrestrial vertebrates, are in molecular terms as far from fish as any group of reptiles or mammals! To those well acquainted with the traditional picture of vertebrate evolution the result is truly astonishing.33
The Fossil Record
Darwin thought that further fossil discoveries would reveal that his theory was true. Time has proven him wrong.34 Even though the fossil record has not shown the ancestral relationships Darwin hoped for, it doesn’t matter because it is irrelevant since the irreducible complexity problem revealed by microbiology trumps it.
Anatomy is, quite simply irrelevant to the question of whether evolution could take place on the molecular level. So is the fossil record.35
Even though Darwinists have no support for their theories, they object to Intelligent Design.
Four Darwinist Objections to Intelligent Design36
It is not science
It commits the God-of-the-Gaps fallacy
It is religiously motivated
It is false because the so-called design isn’t perfect
Why are there still Darwinists when their theory has been proven false?
Motivations for supporting Darwinist beliefs37
Darwinists would lose their claim as the highest authorities on truth. (Power)
By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they don’t have absolute authority when it comes to explaining causes. (Miracles)
By admitting God, Darwinists would risk losing financial security and professional admiration. (Power/Money)
By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they don’t have the authority to define right and wrong for themselves.
The authors propose teaching the scientific evidence that supports Intelligent Design in American public schools. They argue why not give children all the scientific evidence, pro and con, and let them make up their own minds. They say that Darwinists fight to prevent this from happening. The reason why, they say, is because in this area Darwinists lack faith.
They lack the faith to believe that their theory will still be believed after our children see all the evidence.38
For me the discussion must be about what appears to be the source of the conflict. This is a moral battle. Truth is at the center of this battle. I argue that it’s a form sophisticated deception. Advanced lying. In every adversarial confrontation there are winners and losers. Do you think there is a more important issue in the debate than that? If so what might it be?
27Geisler & Turek page 139 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
28Geisler & Turek pages 142-155 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
29Geisler & Turek page 145 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
30 Michael Behe page 183 Mere Creation: Science, Faith, and Intelligent Design. William Dembski
31Michael Behe pages 232-233 Darwin’sBlack Box.
32Geisler & Turek page 148 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
33Michael Denton page 285 Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.
34Geisler & Turek page 152 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
35Michael Behe page 22 Darwin’sBlack Box.
36Geisler & Turek pages 156-161 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
37Geisler & Turek pages 162-163 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
38Geisler & Turek page 167 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 5 – The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?
The Proof that Darwinism is nothing more than a secular religion masquerading as science
Atheists and Darwinists including Naturalists do not have a valid explanation for the presence of life on earth. Any life on earth. Scientific discovery, specifically the nature of DNA, proves that the simplest life form on earth is made of detailed instructions that would fill over 1,000 sets of encyclopedias.22 Their theory is that original life spontaneously came into existence from nonliving chemicals. There is no scientific evidence for this theory. None. In fact all the scientific evidence points to an intelligence that created and designed the instructions that tell DNA to cause life to occur. There is no forensic evidence to support the theory either. That’s the same type of evidence which the police use to investigate crime. Forensic investigation is based on the Principle of Uniformity.23 The chapter has a useful analogy to describe that principle. If natural activity causes something today, then that’s what happened in the past. If intelligent activity caused something in the past, then that’s what is happening today. For example, the faces of presidents on Mount Rushmore could not be made by natural wind erosion today. Therefore in the past when Mount Rushmore came to look the way it does, it was caused by an intelligent action. Similarly, the Grand Canyon was created by water erosion many years ago, just like water erosion creates canyons in the present day.
When confronted with the complexity of DNA and the impossibility of life being created by itself, the atheists and Darwinists admit that they are committed to their theory regardless of the evidence. Moreover, they will not question it since to do so would require them to consider a divine cause.
This is compounded by the fact that all experimental efforts to re-create life by scientists have failed. So intelligent scientists have been unable to do what Darwinists and atheists claim unintelligent chemicals can do by themselves. And if some scientist is ever able to do it, it would only prove that it could be done by intelligent action!
Here’s a tip. If life could have spontaneously created itself from nonliving things as atheists claim, then according to the principle of uniformity it should have been able to happen more than once since the earth began. But there is no evidence of it ever happening even once! Not today, not last week, not last year, not ever.
Science is a Slave to Philosophy
Science is built on philosophy. Bad philosophy results in bad science and good science requires good philosophy. Here are three reasons.24
Science cannot be done without philosophy
Philosophical assumptions can dramatically impact science
Science doesn’t really say anything-scientists do.
There are five reasons why the materialism of the Darwinist naturalists’ worldview is false.25
Materialism cannot explain how complex life exists from mindless nature creating it. The authors point out that its like saying the words on this page were not created by the mindless ink, but by the mind of the writer who held the pen.
Human thoughts and theories are not comprised of only materials. Thoughts, convictions and emotions are not completely materially based. Therefore materialism is false.
If we were nothing more than materials, then we’d be able to take all the materials of life – which are the same materials found in dirt – and make a living being.
If materialism is true, then everyone in all of human history who has ever had any kind of spiritual experience has been completely mistaken.
If materialism is true, then reason itself is impossible.
Let’s simplify this
If you could identify one paragraph that represents this lengthy and complex chapter, it would be this one on page 133
How do you find the right box top of the puzzle of life? Arriving at the right box top is not a matter of preference (you like atheism, I like theism). No, it’s a matter of objective fact. By using the self-evident first principles of logic and the correct principles of scientific investigation, we discovered in chapters 3 and 4 that this is a theistic universe. If this is a theistic universe, then materialism is false. If materialism is false, then the Darwinism promoters may not be interpreting the evidence correctly.
Here is a summary of some of the chapter’s main points.
Life isn’t made up of merely chemicals, it includes specified complexity which only comes from a mind. There are no known natural laws that create specified complexity. Science is a search for causes based on philosophy, and there are only two types of causes, intelligent and natural. Yet the Darwinists use a philosophy that rules out intelligent causes before they even look at the evidence. Spontaneous generation of life, which Darwinism requires to get the theory started, has never been observed. It is believed by faith. With such strong evidence against the Darwinian belief in naturalism/materialism, that belief has nothing but their faith in it to support it.26
In many public schools children are taught materialism, the idea that life occurred by chance from natural phenomenon. What are the consequences of teaching a theory that is not supported by any scientific evidence?
Remember the discussion on why we believe what we believe? This gets back to those four sources of belief. Sociological (parents, friends, society and culture), psychological, religious, and philosophical. Why do people believe that the science of evolution disagrees with intelligent design and creation? Is it because of sociological influence, what they’ve been told? Since there isn’t any philosophical or scientific proof to support materialism and a natural cause for either the creation of the universe or life on earth, why do some people believe these ideas?
22Geisler & Turek page 118 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
23Geisler & Turek page 118 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
24Geisler & Turek pages 127-128 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
25Geisler & Turek pages 126-127 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
26Geisler & Turek pages 134-135 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 4 introduces us to the Teleological Argument which was alluded to in Chapter 3 when the authors described the precision with which the universe was created.
The Teleological Argument17
Every design has a designer
The universe has a highly complex design
Therefore, the universe has a designer
There is so much evidence of the complex design of the universe it is hard to quantify. The Anthropic Principle can help the average person get an idea of how complex our universe is.
The Anthropic Principle
In so many words, this principle identifies many aspects of the created universe that allow life to exist on earth. These aspects are very narrow as a rule, and the odds of all of them coming together to enable life on earth are far beyond chance. In other words, it is not statistically possible that they happened by chance.
The chapter describes five anthropic constants in detail. Each constant represents something in the universe that is required for life on earth to exist. There is another list of 10 constants. Over 100 of these anthropic constants have been identified. Every one of them must exist for us to have life on earth. They are also dependent on one another. If one of the constants was altered in the slightest, others would not be in the state they are, and we would not be here. It is not possible for all these constants, existing in the precise form that they do, to have been created accidentally.
Five Anthropic Constants18
Moon-Earth Gravitational Interaction
Carbon Dioxide Level
The chapter examines how atheists respond to this evidence. It is very telling. It amounts to essentially ignoring the evidence and attempting to explain it away with unscientific guessing. For example, one atheist argument is the Multiple Universe Theory. It’s main goal is to explain the unexplainable, how the universe could be made by chance when there is no chance it was made by chance. Four problems of the Multiple Universe Theory are provided in the chapter.19
The Questionable Response of Atheists
Questions About the Multiple Universe Theory
There is no evidence for it.
It has been proven that it is not possible for an infinite number of real things to exist in a finite universe.20 Since the Multiple Universe Theory asserts that there are infinite universes the theory promotes an idea that is not possible.
It is not possible for multiple universes to exist in the precision they would need to have without something or someone to design them that way. In other words, multiple universes would increase the argument for a designer, not defeat it.
The Multiple Universe Theory explains away everything you can imagine.
Here is an example of how the theory works.
In fact, The Multiple Universe Theory is so broad that it can even be used to excuse the atheists who made it up. Perhaps we just happen to be in the universe where people are irrational enough to suggest that such nonsense is the truth!21
The authors conclude the chapter by explaining that atheists who refuse to accept the scientific evidence showing the universe was designed do so because they are unwilling to accept the idea itself. They do not want to believe it, so they choose to ignore the evidence. An explanation for why they make that choice is promised in chapter 6.
How do you feel when you think about the mountain of evidence that proves the universe was designed to support life on earth? What reactions do you have?
I think this is the type of knowledge that provokes an emotional response. Do you think the knowledge shared in the chapter motivates people to try to answer the questions many of us have? For example, who created us? Why were we created? Is there an eternity we should consider?
Do you see how the authors use the Teleological Argument as another basis for their point that it takes more faith to be an atheist than not? The atheists deny that there is a designer of the universe. Where to you fall on this question?
17Geisler & Turek page 95 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
18Geisler & Turek pages 98-102 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
19Geisler & Turek page 107 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
20Geisler & Turek pages 90-91 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
21Geisler & Turek page 108 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 2: Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?
Why do people believe what they believe? Well, there are actually four reasons.
Four Reasons for our beliefs10
By using philosophical reasons for believing something we give ourselves the best chance to believe that something is true beyond any reasonable doubt. Which is the best we can hope for when we lack perfect induction.
Philosophy should matter to us and logic should be used by us because without it we run the risk of being ignorant about things that could cause harm in our lives. It could also cause us eternal harm if there is such a thing as eternity.
The Problem of Harmful Beliefs
The chapter has informative, and for me disturbing examples of how these tools can protect us from ignorance. They were used to disprove two of the most harmful beliefs in recent history.11
The Skepticism promoted by David Hume which led to the principle of empirical verifiability.
The agnosticism of Immanuel Kant which argues that you can’t ever know reality because everything you experience is filtered first by your senses and interpreted by your mind.
The theories were soundly disproved because of the self-defeating statements that their ideas were based on. Chapter 1 introduced us to the idea of the self-defeating statement and how to use it to identify faulty reasoning. Nevertheless, many people have allowed themselves to be influenced by these harmful ideas.
The main message of Hume and Kant were that it is neither possible for there to be a God nor for us to prove there is a God. So while showing that they were wrong in their assertions was useful, it still does not prove God exists.
The Logic of Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
Here the chapter gives us a basic primer on inductive and deductive reasoning. Induction can only be arrived at by observation. We often do not have perfect induction because we do not have the ability to observe every instance of something we want to prove. So typically the result is that we arrive at the proof of something being true beyond a reasonable doubt, which is somewhere short of absolute proof.
The book clearly shows us how we can use this type of reasoning to prove the existence of many things that cannot be observed by instead observing their effects. That includes God.
Why Truth Matters
The chapter ends on a discussion of why the truth matters. Three reasons are stated.12
People show that they believe truth in morality matters when someone treats them immorally.
Success in life often depends on the moral choices a person makes
All laws legislate morality
The third reason is a convincing enough fact. Every law says what behavior is right or legal, and therefore the opposite behavior is wrong and illegal. So whose morality should be used to make laws?
For me this is a most important discussion, the idea that truth is an absolute we should try to know. Have you considered what your ideas about truth are? Have you considered what you base your morality on? How do you tell the difference between right and wrong? Remember this was one of the fundamental questions in the introduction, the question on morality. How should we live? What are the rules? Who gets to make them? What are they based on? For example if you think murder is wrong and should be punished as a crime, why? What is your convincing argument? What about lying? Is it wrong? Was it wrong to treat people as slaves when it was legal? Based on what? Is it wrong to deny people access to the United States because they might be Muslim? Is it legal? So if it is legal is it right? Based on what?
I believe the book will get to one of the main reasons atheism requires too much faith. One reason for me is that if there is no God, why should we behave “morally” if we can get away with lying, cheating, stealing, and using force against others for our benefit? Why would you choose to behave by certain rules when by breaking them you can get what you want? The argument of the atheist creates a world where the only test of how you should treat others, in particular, “good” or “bad”, is if you can get away with it. One way to get away with it is to change the rule so that it isn’t illegal to do it.
Finally, there are some points that remind me of passages in the Bible. For example, the ideas of Hume and Kant remind me of 1 Peter 2:25, 2 Peter 3:3, and 1 John 2:26. The discussion about truth reminds me of John 8:32
10Geisler & Turek page 51 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
11Geisler & Turek pages 58-59 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
12Geisler & Turek pages 66-67 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
The authors introduce a contradiction. Why do so many people demand the truth in everything but morality and religion? They respond to this problem with four questions about truth.6
What is truth?
Can truth be known?
Can truths about God be known?
So what? Who cares about truth?
The tool Geisler and Turek use to identify false statements and philosophies in today’s culture is the recognition of the self-defeating statement. That would be anything that fails to meet its own standard.
Example: There’s no such thing as truth. (For this to be true it would have to be false, wouldn’t it?)
Popular self-defeating statements:
All truth is relative.
There are no absolutes.
It’s true for you but not for me.
There are two messages in Chapter 1
The first one is that ideas have consequences. Good ideas have good consequences and bad ideas have bad consequences. The second message is that false ideas about truth lead to false ideas about life.
The conclusion of the chapter is that truth exists. To deny truth is to make a self-defeating truth claim that there is no truth.
Is this a self-defeating statement?
Truth cannot be known.
This chapter has a powerfully revealing story about a conversation between two evangelists and an agnostic, a person who isn’t sure whether God exists. When asked, he said that he couldn’t know anything for sure. The response to him was, “How do you know for sure that you can’t know anything for sure?”7
Identifying the self-defeating statement for him helped him accept that while he might not know anything for sure it was possible that he could know something for sure.
Here is where the book points out that when a person has this viewpoint they could be open to hearing evidence of the truth about God
The point about truth is summed up by the statement, if you say “truth can’t be known” you can’t claim that what you say is true. You can’t have it both ways.8
Evidence can only convince the willing
The idea that all religions are true is completely disproven here.
Some of the fundamental contradicting beliefs of the major religions are pointed out.
I found the most compelling part of the chapter to be the discussion of truth vs. tolerance on pages 46-48. I hope you read it.
In summary, we learn from the chapter that truth is not dependent on feelings or perceptions because something is true whether we like it or not. Since the major religions do not agree on major issues about God then all religions cannot be true. And finally, we cannot adopt a type of ‘tolerance’ that requires us to accept that all religions are true.
What did you think about tolerance? Have you talked to others about the idea that tolerance means we are required to accept what everyone else believes as true?
One question that I think this chapter leads to is this. Is any religion true?
I found it helpful to have a practical definition of truth to aid the discussion. Calling truth “that which corresponds to its object” or “that which describes an actual state of affairs” is a useful place to base this discussion on.9 It really helps in the area I’ve found where I have seen people confused or misguided by the idea that truth is relative. I appreciate that the book begins by covering the idea completely so that we can eliminate any doubt about the concept of absolute truth. Has anyone tried to convince you that truth is relative? What happened?
6Geisler & Turek page 36 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
7Geisler & Turek page 43 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
8Geisler & Turek page 44 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
9Geisler & Turek page 37 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Join me in a book (club) discussion. Each day we will cover the main concepts and questions of one of the chapters. I will summarize the points in each and offer my insights. You are welcome to comment. If you choose not to comment, you still may consider these and other points of interest to you. Feel free to do so on your own or with someone you know. I hope you enjoy and benefit from this experience. Shall we?
Why this book?
The introductions states –
What someone believes about God affects everything else he or she believes.1
It includes these 5 most critical questions in life:
Origin: Where did we come from?
Identity: Who are we?
Meaning: Why are we here?
Morality: How should we live?
Destiny: Where are we going?
Any book that rightly helps us figure these out is worth discussing.
What we believe about God is often referred to as a worldview
There are 3 primary worldviews about God,
Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism.
Theism = God made all
Pantheism = God is all
Atheism = no God at all2
The authors introduce us to the modern myth that religion is nothing more than faith (blind faith, some call it) and they include the parable of the 6 blind men and the elephant story as an illustration.
The point we are asked to consider is that all religious worldviews make truth claims. To the degree those claims cannot be completely 100% proven, faith is used by people to cover what doubts remain.
We should evaluate these claims with scientific and historical evidence.
One example the authors provide is
Truth claim: The universe had a beginning
Truth claim: The universe has always existed and did not have a beginning
Both claims cannot be true.
The book is a presentation of the evidence that allows us to decide which claim to accept as true. This passage capsulizes the authors’ premise:
“Yet despite these intellectual, emotional, and volitional obstacles, we submit that it’s not faith in Christianity that’s difficult but faith in atheism or any other religion. That is, once one looks at the evidence, we think it takes more faith to be a non-Christian than it does to be a Christian. This may seem like a counter-intuitive claim, but it’s simply rooted in the fact that every religious worldview requires faith – even the worldview that says there is no God.”3
The book systematically covers twelve points that show Christianity is true.4 I have summarized them below.
One of the closing points made by the authors in the introduction is that acceptance of Christianity is not solely based on proof that it is true. Many atheists and non-Christians refuse to become Christians because they are unwilling to live by the what they understand to be what Christianity espouses. The authors assert that God wanted it that way. Where there is room for choice. Here’s what they say is why God made the world the way it is in order that we have free will to accept or reject him.
God has provided enough evidence in this life to convince anyone willing to believe, yet he has also left some ambiguity so as not to compel the unwilling. In this way, God gives us the opportunity either to love him or to reject him without violating our freedom.5
I agree with the authors that God expects us to be knowledgeable about why we believe what we believe. I have found the Old Testament encourages wisdom. This is the type of book that helps us get exposed to more wisdom. I have also found that the New Testament encourages teaching and discipling other Christians and persuading non-Christians. This book should help with each of these.
What would you say on the points made in the introduction so far? The authors have promised to cover each of these topics in detail. Ideally, any questions you might have now will be answered in the chapters that follow.
1Geisler & Turek page 20 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
2Geisler & Turek page 23 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
3Geisler & Turek pages 24-25 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
4Geisler & Turek page 28 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
5Geisler & Turek page 31 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.