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Book Discussion Day 10: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

greek nt

Chapter 9 – Do we have Early Testimony About Jesus?

Historians have documented 10 Non-Christian writers who mentioned Jesus within 150 years of his life.  By comparison, you will find documentation that Roman Emperor Tiberius was mentioned by 9 writers within that time frame.

Here is a compilation of facts documented by these non-Christian writers.57

  1. Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar.
  2. He lived a virtuous life.
  3. He was a wonder-worker.
  4. He had a brother named James.
  5. He was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
  6. He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover.
  7. He was crucified under Pontus Pilot.
  8. Darkness and an earthquake occurred when he did.
  9. His disciples believed he rose from the dead.
  10. His disciples were willing to die for their belief.
  11. Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome.
  12. His disciples denied the Roman gods and worshipped Jesus as God.

celsus
Celsus

Here is the goal of chapter 9

Since, as we have shown, the existence of God and the possibility of miracles is firmly established through natural revelation, and the general story of Christ and the early church is affirmed through non-Christian sources, did the miracles of Christ actually occur as the disciples claim?  So the New Testament documents record actual history?  Could it New that they are not biased religious writings full of myths and fables as many in our modern world assume, but instead describe events that actually occurred about 2,000 years ago?  Is so, we’ll be well on our way to discovering which theistic religion is true.58

Tacitus_portrait
Publius Cornelius Tacitus

To test the historical validity of the New Testament the authors pose two questions

Josephus
Flavius Celsus

1. Do we have accurate copies of the original documents that were written down in the first century?

2. Do those documents speak the truth?

 

 

Here is some of the evidence for question #1.59

  1. Copies of the original documents- about 5,800 Greek New Testament manuscripts. 20,000 more in other languages.  The next closest document with copies of manuscripts is The Iliad by Homer with 1,800 total.
  2. Some of the manuscripts were written very close to the time the originals would have been written. Within 25 years.  Other manuscripts by comparison – Homer; about 400 years between the original and the oldest copies.  Plato 1,200 years (only 7 actual copies). Caeser 1,000 years (only 10 actual copies).  Pliny 750 years (only 7 actual copies).
  3. The early church workers quoted the original so many times, you could make your own complete reproductions of the New Testament just from reading others quoting it.
  4. Because of the quantity of source material, the accuracy of the New Testament has been established at 99.5 percent.

time-gap1

Seven items provide the basis for the historical reliability of the New Testament (is it the truth?).60

  1. Early testimony that supports the New Testament.
  2. Eyewitness testimony that confirms the New Testament.
  3. Multiple, independent eyewitnesses.
  4. Trustworthy eyewitnesses.
  5. Archeological corroboration and corroboration from other writers.
  6. Enemies of Christianity who attest to the reliability of the New Testament.
  7. Testimony regarding the New Testament that has content embarrassing to the authors.

manuscript-variations

Summary

The authors draw two major conclusions in this chapter.61

  1. We have an accurate copy of the original New testament documents.
  2. The New Testament documents are early and contain even earlier source material.

 

Discussion point

 

Often you here about doubts about the New Testament.  What do you think about the overwhelming evidence that eliminates reasonable arguments by doubters?


57Geisler & Turek page 223 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

58Geisler & Turek page 223 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

59Geisler & Turek pages 224-230 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

60Geisler & Turek page 231 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

61Geisler & Turek pages 248-249 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

 

 

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

CS Lewis

Book Discussion Day 8: Chapter 7 – Mother Teresa vs. Hitler

The first three arguments for a theistic God are the Cosmological Teleological and Moral Law arguments.

The Moral Law Argument39     mraol gaugeEvery law has a law giver

  1. There is a Moral Law
  2. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.

Az Quote Ravi

Eight reasons for the Moral Law40The Moral Law is undeniable

  1. We know it by are reactions
  2. It is the basis of human rights
  3. It is the unchanging standard of justice
  4. It defines a real difference between moral positions (Mother Teresa vs. Hitler)
  5. Since we know what’s absolutely wrong, there must be an absolute standard of rightness
  6. The Moral Law is the grounds for political and social dissent
  7. If there were no Moral Law, then we wouldn’t make excuses for violating it.

How we react proves we live by a Moral Law

One student, an atheist, wrote eloquently on the topic of moral relativism.  He argued, “All morals are relative; there is no absolute standard of justice or rightness; it’s all a matter of opinion; you like chocolate, I like vanilla,” and so on.  His paper provided both his reasons and his documentation.  It was the right length, on time, and stylishly presented ion a handsome blue folder.

After the professor read the entire paper, he wrote on the front cover,”F, I don’t like blue folders!”  When the student got the paper back he was enraged.  He stormed into the professor’s office and protested, “F!  You didn’t grade the paper on its merits!”
Raising his hand to quiet the bombastic student, the professor calmly retorted, “Wait a minute.  Hold on.  I read a lot of papers.  Let me see…wasn’t your paper the one that said there is no such thing as fairness, rightness, and justice?”

“Yes,” the student answered.

“Then what’s this you say about me not being fair, right, and just?” The professor asked.  “Didn’t your paper argue that it’s all a matter of taste?  You like chocolate, I like vanilla?”

The student replied, “Yes, that’s my view.”

“Fine, then,” the professor responded.  “I don’t like blue.  You get an F!”

Suddenly the light bulb went on in the student’s head. He realized he really did believe in moral absolutes.  He at least believed in justice.  That simple fact defeated his entire case for relativism.41449866-C-S-Lewis-Quote-One-can-regard-the-moral-law-as-an-illusion-and-so.jpg

We judge, because there is a standard based on the Moral Law

Before he became a Christian C.S. Lewis believed one reason for belief in atheism was all the injustice in the world.

“As an atheist my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.    But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?  A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.  What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”42When people think that morality is relative, it is due to confusion.43 People confuse absolute morals with changing behavior.

  • People confuse absolute morals with changing perceptions of the facts
  • People confuse absolute morals with the application of morals to particular situations
  • People confuse a what an absolute command is with how the absolute command is practiced by a particular culture
  • People confuse absolute morals with disagreements over moral questions
  • People confuse values that are absolute ends with the means of achieving those ends

Consider the moral dilemma often used by university professors to get their students to believe in relativism: there are five people trying to survive in a life raft designed for only four.  If one person isn’t thrown overboard, then everyone will die.  Students labor over the dilemma, come to different conclusions, and then conclude their disagreement proves that morality must be relative.

But the dilemma actually proves the opposite – that morality is absolute.  How?  Because there would be no dilemma if morality were relative!  If morality were relative and there were no absolute right to life you’d say, “It doesn’t matter what happens!  Throw everyone overboard! Who cares?”. The very reason we struggle with the dilemma is because we know how valuable life is.443694164-C-S-Lewis-Quote-There-is-nothing-indulgent-about-the-Moral-Law-It.jpg

Ideas have consequences

Hitler used Darwin’s theory as a philosophical justification for the Holocaust.

Princeton professor Peter Singer used Darwinism to assert that “the life of a newborn is of less value than that of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”45James Rachels wrote a book defending the Darwinian view that the human species has no more inherent value than any other species.  He wrote that retarded people should be used as laboratory subjects, or as food, like other animals.46Two other Darwinists, Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, wrote a book asserting that rape is a natural consequence of evolution.47Objective moral laws require a transcendent Law-Giver, but the Darwinian worldview has ruled him out in advance.  So consistent Darwinists can only consider murder and rape as personal dislikes, not real moral wrongs.48lewis-rationality-quote1

Summary

In their seminar the authors begin with these two points

  • If There is no God, then what Hitler did was just a matter of opinion!
  • If at least one thing is really morally wrong – like it’s wrong to torture babies, or it’s wrong to intentionally fly planes into buildings with innocent people in them – then God exists.49

 

Discussion Pointravi3

I think the biggest reason people do not consider where their ideas about right and wrong come from and what how they should live their lives is based on is that many simply do not think about it.  If they think of it much at all their thoughts don’t go below the surface.  Have you had conversations with anyone about how they know the difference between right and wrong?  How far did the conversation go?

What consequences do you think can result from some of the ideas about whether or not there is a Moral Law?


39Geisler & Turek page 171 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

40Geisler & Turek page 172 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

41Geisler & Turek pages 173-174 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

42C.S. Lewis page 45 Mere Christianity

43Geisler & Turek pages 182-186 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

44Geisler & Turek page 184 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

 45Peter Singer pages 122-123 Practical Ethics

 46James Rachels page 186 Created from Animals:  the Moral Implications of Darwinism

 47Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion

48Geisler & Turek page 191 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

49Geisler & Turek page 192 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

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.

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Book Discussion Day 4: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

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Chapter 3: In the Beginning There Was a Great SURGE

SURGE

SURGE stands for

The

  • Second Law of Thermodynamics
  • Universe is Expanding
  • Radiation from the Big Bang
  • Great Galaxy Seeds
  • Einstein’s Theory of Relativity13

All of these aspects of the SURGE provide overwhelming evidence that science and scientists have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe, everything that exists in the physical reality, had a beginning.

Real tangible evidence.  Scientific evidence.

What the evidence points to is that time, space, matter and energy are all related.  They all began at the same moment, at the beginning of the universe.  Which means time, space, matter and energy did not exist before the universe began.  There was not time, space, matter or energy before the universe began.  None of the material reality existed before the universe started, and it started from a single point and has been expanding ever since that beginning.

The fundamental principle of science is called the Law of Causality.14  The law states that everything that had a beginning had a cause.

Since the universe had a beginning, what caused the universe to exist?

The simplest, best and easiest answer is God

The fact the universe had a beginning points to the existence of something beyond nature, or supernatural as the cause of the universe.  Since there was nothing, no matter before the universe, there was no natural thing before the universe.  Therefore anything existing before the universe or before time itself would exist beyond time, space and matter, and, by definition, be supernatural, transcending time and space.

Now for the heady part.

If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing?15

Nobody has come up with a good answer.  Not a single atheist.  All attempts by atheists have been found poorly lacking in any scientific or logical validity, often both.

In summary, the chapter makes the case that the scientific evidence leaves us with only two possibilities16

  • No-one created something out of nothing
  • Someone created something out of nothing

If you can’t believe that nothing caused something, then you don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.

Here is the Cosmological argument that defeats atheism:

  1. Everything that had a beginning had a cause.16
  2. The universe had a beginning.
  3. Therefore the universe had a cause.
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Discussion point

Here is the most scientific proof that I think there can be for the existence of God.  How persuasive do you find this to be?

Why do people choose to doubt the existence of God after considering this evidence?  What is their position based on?  What are the reasons for them believing that there is no God?  Are they sociological?  Are they psychological?  Are they religious?  Are they philosophical?  If they are philosophical what is the strength of their evidence?  How do they answer the question if there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing?

There was one overriding facet of the scientific evidence proving the beginning of the universe.  It was the precision with which the universe was created.  There is such specific precision to the universe that it points to a supernatural creator.

On page 93 of the chapter the authors list 4 things about the First Cause that made the universe based on scientific evidence.

  1. Self-existent, timeless, nonspatial and immaterial
  2. Unimaginably powerful, to create the entire universe out of nothing
  3. Supremely intelligent, to design an incredibly precise universe
  4. Personal, in order to choose to convert nothingness into the time-space material universe

Since science identified these characteristics of the entity that existed before the universe, how would you compare it to our ideas about God?


13Geisler & Turek pages 76-84 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

14Geisler & Turek page 75 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

15Geisler & Turek page 94 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

16Geisler & Turek page 75 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

 

 

 

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

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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?

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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

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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

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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?

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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
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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.