Category Archives: culture

Book Discussion Day 9: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

Chapter 8 Miracles: Signs of God or Gullibility?

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.

  1. Truth about reality is knowable
  2. The opposite of true is false
  3. It is true that the theistic God exists. There are 4 types of evidence for this truth
  4. If God exists, then miracles are possible
  5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (acts of God confirm a word from God)
  6. The New Testament is historically reliable, based on 4 key points of evidence
  7. The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God
  8. The Jesus’ claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by
    1. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself
    2. His sinless life and miraculous deeds
    3. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection
  9. Therefore, Jesus is God
  10. Whatever Jesus teaches is true
  11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God
  12. 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.

world religions

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

  1. Self-Existent, timeless, nonspatial, immaterial (outside of time, space, and matter).  in other words, without limits. infinite.
  2. Unimaginably powerful, having created the universe out of nothing.
  3. Personal, by choosing to convert nothingness into the time-space-material universe.

The Teleological Argument proves that God is

  1. Supremely intelligent, able to design incredibly complex life in an incredibly precise universe.
  2. 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.

 

miraclesGod 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

  1. Miracles are a violation of natural laws.
  2. Natural laws are immutable.
  3. It is impossible to violate immutable laws.
  4. 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.

Natural laws are not immutable because they are descriptions Continue reading Book Discussion Day 9: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

Book Discussion Day 7: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

photo of a turtle underwater
Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

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

  1. Genetic Limits
  2. Cyclical Change
  3. Irreducible Complexity
  4. Nonviability of Transitional Forms
  5. The Fossil Record

Genetic Limits

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.

animal beautiful biology bloom
Photo by Cindy Gustafson on Pexels.com

Cyclical Change

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.

Irreducible Complexity

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

sloth

Molecular Isolation

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

 

35-researcherss

Even though Darwinists have no support for their theories, they object to Intelligent Design.

Four Darwinist Objections to Intelligent Design36

  1. It is not science
  2. It commits the God-of-the-Gaps fallacy
  3. It is religiously motivated
  4. 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

  1. Darwinists would lose their claim as the highest authorities on truth. (Power)
  2. By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they don’t have absolute authority when it comes to explaining causes. (Miracles)
  3. By admitting God, Darwinists would risk losing financial security and professional admiration. (Power/Money)
  4. By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they don’t have the authority to define right and wrong for themselves.

Summary

 

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

 

Discussion Point

 

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’s Black 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’s Black 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.

 

Book Discussion Day 6: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

Chapter 5 – The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?

bacteria-106583_1920

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

  1. Science cannot be done without philosophy
  2. Philosophical assumptions can dramatically impact science
  3. Science doesn’t really say anything-scientists do.

ucla-dna-home-test

There are five reasons why the materialism of the Darwinist naturalists’ worldview is false.25

  1. 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.
  2. Human thoughts and theories are not comprised of only materials. Thoughts, convictions and emotions are not completely materially based.  Therefore materialism is false.
  3. 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.
  4. If materialism is true, then everyone in all of human history who has ever had any kind of spiritual experience has been completely mistaken.
  5. 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.

Chapter Summary

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

Discussion point

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.

 

Book Discussion Day 5: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

sky earth galaxy universe
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

            Chapter 4: Divine Design

 

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

  1. Every design has a designer
  2. The universe has a highly complex design
  3. 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

  1. Oxygen Level
  2. Atmospheric Transparency
  3. Moon-Earth Gravitational Interaction
  4. Carbon Dioxide Level
  5. Gravity

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

  1. There is no evidence for it.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

jupiter

Discussion point

 

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.

purple and brown colored planet
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Book Discussion Day 3: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

group of people in a meeting
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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

  1. Sociological
  2. Psychological
  3. Religious
  4. Philosophical

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

  1. The Skepticism promoted by David Hume which led to the principle of empirical verifiability.
  2. 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

  1. People show that they believe truth in morality matters when someone treats them immorally.
  2. Success in life often depends on the moral choices a person makes
  3. 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?

woman in gray tank top and black cap
Photo by Anthony Brown on Pexels.com

Discussion point

 

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?

lies

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.

Book Discussion Day 2: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

group of people in a meeting
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Chapter 1 – The truth about reality is knowable.

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

  1. What is truth?
  2. Can truth be known?
  3. Can truths about God be known?
  4. 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

see no eveil
Design Toscano

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.

Discussion point

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.

Book Discussion: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

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?

e92da91f-0ea5-42ca-8bc5-7f95532f41b2

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:

  1. Origin: Where did we come from?
  2. Identity: Who are we?
  3. Meaning: Why are we here?
  4. Morality: How should we live?
  5. 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.

Simply put

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.

  1. Truth about reality is knowable
  2. The opposite of true is false
  3. It is true that the theistic God exists. There are 4 types of evidence for this truth
  4. If God exists, then miracles are possible
  5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (acts of God confirm a word from God)
  6. The New Testament is historically reliable, based on 4 key points of evidence
  7. The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God
  8. The Jesus’ claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by
    1. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself
    2. His sinless life and miraculous deeds
    3. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection
  9. Therefore, Jesus is God
  10. Whatever Jesus teaches is true
  11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God
  12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God – and anything opposed to it is false
adult biology chemical chemist
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

Discussion point

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.

MY FAVORITE 4TH OF JULY MEMORY- JULY 4, 1969

The summer of 69 I was enjoying Ernie Banks leading the Cubs until the Mets ended it all – at least young 2016 Cub fans will have what we never did.

slicethelife

Overview of Forbes Field

It has been impossible now for decades to do this but back in the day they used to schedule doubleheader baseball games on the major summer holidays- Memorial Day- The 4th of July and Labor Day.  When I was young I’d get the Pirates schedule as soon as if the Pirates were home on any of those holidays and he was off- work on him to take me to the doubleheaders. Nothing was as great as a doubleheader for a young fan who could never get enough of baseball.

The most memorable of the doubleheaders we went to- was on July 4, 1969. The Pirates were playing the Miracle Mets.  In the first game of the doubleheader the Mets had their great pitcher- future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver pitching. My dad, uncle Dave and Whitey-[my grandfather} went to the game as I recall. My dad and Whitey were casual…

View original post 361 more words

Healthy Eating

What I learned from Ketogenic Dieting

Carbohydrates are a problem.  At least for me.  So out of necessity I searched for a short-term solution where I could cut carbs and lose weight too.  I am getting to the point where I need to settle in on a long-term alternative for my diet.  This is a good time to reflect on where eating and maintaining Ketosis arrived as a tool for me.

I began with strict daily calorie counts.  25 grams maximum of carbs.  To reach the level of fat burning I wanted, my ratio of 4% Calories from carbs, 15% from protein and 81% from fat was what I followed.  So, with about 2000 calories daily, I had 77 grams of protein and 184 grams of fat to eat.

agriculture basket beets bokeh
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Was it hard?  You bet it was.  Finding enough fat to eat seemed almost impossible.  The shock for me was realizing how much the typical American diet is high carb and “low” fat.  What was good for me is that I reached Ketosis quickly and saw early weight loss.  I did not stay on it very long because of the health risks people around me kept reminding me of.

Lifesum diet app
From https://www.dietspotlight.com/lifesum-review/

I found that using a dieting app was indispensable.  After looking around a bit I went with Lifesum.  lifsum logoThe choice of diets with the app were a factor for me.  I soon switched to their Ketogenic easy.  This meant I now got to eat a whopping 100 grams of carbs each day.  My ratio changed to 20% calories from carbs, 15% from protein and 65% from fat.  The bad news was that my protein stayed at 77 grams per day.  The shift up by 75 grams of carbs was offset by a reduction in 35 grams of fat down to 149 grams a day.

lunch table salad
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

While that may seem easy as the name implies, at first it was hard for me to get up to 100 carbs.  I began with the idea that by eating about 4 times I could average about 25 grams of carbs per meal.  This average was significant for me because I was wary of how large swings in carb consumption would affect blood sugar.

One of the biggest benefits from this new diet was that it led me on an unending search for healthy, convenient, nutritious and consumable sources of carbohydrates.  So many of these foods checked off some of the boxes but not all.  They might be extremely hard to prepare, or even harder to digest!  Some are delicate and challenging to use.  It seemed like the window of when they are ripe, and edible was so small that if you didn’t have a backyard garden full of trees giving birth to them the moment before you ate some, then forget it.

hand fruits rural gardening
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Another benefit was that I lost weight, and on a gradual timeline.  I learned over time how I would be able to maintain my goal weight once I reached it.  With the 2000 calorie plan, any day I burned more than I consumed contributed to my weight loss.  The app was a big help with measuring my daily calorie burns.

My takeaways.

  • Eat at least 4 meals at regular intervals. If fasting, plan the fasting periods with care.
  • Avoid unhealthy calories. These can lead to very bad consequences.  Take the time and make the effort to find healthy types of fat, protein, and carbohydrates for your diet and then eat them in healthy amounts.
  • Counting calories is a good habit to have. Knowing  how much you are eating keeps you out of danger.
  • Counting the calories that you burn each day has huge benefits. This lets you know if your amount of exercise is contributing to a healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy one.
  • Healthy dieting can provide better alternatives than caffeine and other stimulants people depend on.
  • There are so many things to learn about diet and exercise that can impact not only your health but your brain, your skin, your energy, even your sleep.
spinach chicken pomegranate salad
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

3 Things to Consider

Think about how those involved are working to make things better.

 

3DCB8B64-E1FC-4572-BB3B-3EB62531C4A3.png

Every city has ghosts, but some have more than others. Detroit is one of those places.  When you have a city with such an incredible and tragic past still reeling from issues and challenges that impact a vulnerable population, spirits will linger. The truth is that in order to really appreciate and understand Detroit, you need to go looking for them. They’re not hard to find here – every building, park, street and community has a story to tell that goes beyond the surface. If you care enough to listen, the ghosts reveal themselves. Sometimes, they find you instead of the other way around. This is what happened to me on a recent Saturday morning. I was taking an aimless drive around the city, when I passed by a cemetery. The cemetery is a place that I can’t resist visiting. Whenever I go to a new city, it’s one of those places on my list of things to see. I’ve visited cemeteries in cities across the U.S., in Scotland, Germany, Armenia and Mongolia. They offer the best insight in getting to know where you are. They help piece together the story of a place that can’t be told just by its current facade.

A Writer’s Residency, Reimagined

WRITE A HOUSE

We fix up homes in Detroit to award creative residencies to writers.

 

AE18677D-AE4A-4191-AFCF-B8A2B0D2988D.png
Keys to Staying Positive
  1. Simplify your life.
  2. Watch your thoughts. What goes in, comes out.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people.
  4. Take time for yourself, even if it means saying “no” to others.
  5. Be grateful, laugh and celebrate life.
  6. Think more about what you have as opposed to what you don’t have.
  7. Help others

 

A21

JULIA

http://www.a21.org/content/liberty/go3mpk
via A21.org

 

Julia* grew up picking mushrooms and fruit in a small village in the countryside of Bulgaria. She loved this pastime and enjoyed doing it alongside her family—but she saw that everyone around her in the village was struggling. Julia* wanted something more for her life.

When she was offered an opportunity to pick mushrooms in the Netherlands for higher pay, she accepted. She was excited to do what she loved, with job security, and a hope for a better future.

But when she arrived, Julia* discovered that she had been deceived. She was thrown into a house crammed with other foreigners and forced to work from dawn to dusk for little or no pay. She had been trafficked for her labor, enslaved, and trapped. But, after some time, Julia* bravely escaped out of a window and ran to safety.

With the assistance of A21, she was safely repatriated home to Bulgaria. Since coming into our care, she has completed our aftercare program and found employment through our social enterprise, Liberty.

After all of the trauma and abuse she experienced, Julia* has continued to recover step by step. She’s had a safe environment to work in, community to support her, and time to heal. Now, after two stable years of employment, with Liberty on her résumé, Julia* is able to bravely take steps toward a life of full independence