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Book Discussion Day 14: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

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Book Discussion Day 14: Chapter 13 – Who is Jesus:  God?  Or Just a Great Moral Teacher?

 

Chapter 13 outlines the Old Testament prophecies that point to the Messiah and ultimately provide the evidence that Jesus, the only person to ever fulfill the prophecies, is God.

Isaiah 53 has an important prophecy of Jesus.  Isaiah 42 has another description of him.74 

Some of the other Old Testament verses about Jesus include

Genesis 3:15

Genesis 12: 3, 7

Genesis 49:10

Jeremiah 3: 5-6

Isaiah 9:6

Micah 5:2

Malachi 3:1

Daniel 9:26

Isaiah 53:11

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The New Testament writers claimed Jesus was God.

John 1:1, 14

Romans 9:5

Colossians 2:9

2 Peter 1:1

Matthew 1:23

Hebrews 1:3,8

Matthew 8:29

Luke 4:34, 41

 

Jesus himself declares he is God.

Mark 14:61-64

John 8:56-59

 

Jesus refers to himself in a manner that God would.

John 17:5

Revelation 1:17

John 10:11

Matthew 25:31

John 8:12

John 5:21

John 14:6

John 4:42

 

Jesus alluded that he was God in the parables he spoke

Luke 15:4-32

Matthew 19:28-30

Matthew 20:1-16

Matthew 25:1-13

 

Jesus did things that a God would be able to do

He forgave sins Mark 2:5-11

He commanded discipling Matthew 28:18-19

Commanded new law John 13:34

Said to pray in his name John 14:13-14

Allowed people to worship him on at least 9 occasions75

 

Proofs that Jesus is God

  1. He fulfilled messianic prophecies written hundreds of years in advance
  2. He lived a sinless life and performed miraculous deeds
  3. He predicted and then accomplished his own resurrection from the dead

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Skeptics remain

Skeptics complain Jesus wasn’t more overt

They cite and misinterpret Matthew 19:7

They cite John 14:28 and Matthew 24:36 which may confuse them without a thorough understanding of the Trinity.

They object to the Trinity

The authors provide useful insight for the Trinity

Some Muslims charge that the trinity is too complex.  But who said that truth must always be simple?  As C.S. Lewis aptly puts it, “If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier.  But it is not.  We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions.  How could we?  We are dealing with fact.  Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”76

 

Summary:

 

Since Jesus is a morally perfect being – Chapter 7 – then anything he teaches is true.  What did Jesus teach?  What did he teach about the Bible?  Chapter 14 answers this question.

Discussion point

 

The chapter addresses the claim people sometimes make that Jesus was only a man who was a great moral teacher.  The evidence in the New Testament proves that is a false conclusion.  Liar, lunatic, or Lord are the only possible conclusions a person can draw after studying the New Testament.  Have you come across people who said they saw Jesus as a moral teacher but not God?  How did that conversation go?

 

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him:  “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would rather be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is , the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.77

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74Geisler & Turek page 333 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

75 Geisler & Turek pages 344-345 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

76Geisler & Turek pages 352-353 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

77Geisler & Turek page 346 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

Documentary: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, starring Fred Rogers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Megyn Kelly TODAY

Documentary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, starring Fred Rogers

The film portrays the relationship between the educational children’s public television series Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001), and its creator, writer, composer, and host, Fred Rogers.

The message of the show was simple. However the substance of the show was very deep and highly complex. A subtle irony associated with it developed around the observation that for some, the simplicity of the program may have masked the inherent brilliance from them. So they failed to appreciate the true value it had for children.

I find a parallel with the Biblical account of Jesus of Nazareth. Many of his messages appeared simple on the surface. Yet the substance of what Jesus communicated has astounded countless readers over the generations with its complexity and depth. Personally, I think that the reaction to what Jesus said tells you more about the person who forms their opinion, than it does about Christ. Comparatively, the same applies to Fred Rogers. Your reaction to him and his television show reveals more about you, than it does about the value of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

One of the takeaways for me from the documentary was how important the manner in which Fred Rogers acknowledged the dignity of each individual child was. Another was how selfless his commitment to children seemed to be. And another was the contribution he made to so many lives. There were more for me, but I’m focusing on these three.

Fred Rogers gave his total attention to children. He answered serious questions about life for them. He created an atmosphere where spending time together was more important than mindless humor, and he incorporated music to aid memory, create comfort, and impart joy. His respectful approach was unparalleled, and sadly, has not been replicated to this day.

One unique aspect of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is that while other educational programs focused on teaching reading, vocabulary and arithmetic, it focused instead on teaching kids how to think and mature as human beings, how to deal with the realities of life like friendship, responsibility, kindness. I’d imagine every key concept was covered short of income tax. Fred Rogers did this because he cared that TV could harm children if all it gave them was relative garbage (vis a vis the saying ‘garbage in garbage out’). I think it was his Christian calling, which speaks to his belief in practicing what Jesus preached.

He was determined to counter the mindless entertainment forced into homes and provide quality content for the benefit of children, regardless of the challenging circumstances or misguided critics, which often were too many. My favorite part of the film was when Rogers faced off against the U.S. Senate effort to cut funding for public television in order to put the money into the Vietnam War. The documentary is well worth seeing for just that scene alone.

The contribution Fred Rogers made to the lives of so many people is best exemplified by his statement that ‘you are special just the way you are’. He believed this about himself, and he was aware that so many children struggled in their childhood and later in life because of their lack of self esteem and the emotional and psychological handicaps inflicted upon them as a result. His legacy, generations of well adjusted people, is a testament to what he was able to accomplish because of this belief.

“There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold…”

A great pairing LOTR and Zeppelin

101 Books

You know you’re a cool rock band when your lyrics quote The Lord of the Rings.

You know you’re an even cooler rock band when you quote The Lord of the Rings often. And that’s why Led Zeppelin might be the coolest rock band ever.

Just take a look at a few of these song lyrics.

One small sample verse from “Ramble On”:

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