Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why Faith?

If there is a God, have you ever asked “Why would He use faith as the channel to relate to Him?” Why wouldn’t he post a huge sign in the Cosmos that was not ignorable? For those of us on the earth, the Sun is a great example.

Imagine that you are extremely rich and famous. What a great dream! Now, imagine that you are searching for true love. How would you ever know if anyone really loved you for who YOU were vs simply loving all that comes along with your wealth and fame?

One way would be for you to hide who you really are.

You might hide your wealth and fame and search for someone who really loved you for who you were, not for what you have.

Christ hid His fame and fortune and came down to earth in a humble manger.

I often see God as someone who appears to be hiding. But He wants us to find Him. He also wants us to love Him for who He is and not because we have no choice.

If God appeared to us as a giant in the sky, we'd be stupid to not at least act like we loved Him.

So He seems to veil Himself in such a way as to give us a fork in the road. That fork gives us two interpretations of life. One is the materialist's worldview that says man is the arbiter of all things. Such a view might even allow for belief in a god, but he/she/it is impersonal (Deism).

The other option is a God that loves us, a God who cares about how we live our lives and wants those lives to be acts of worship.

I'm not here to tell you that one of the two interpretations makes more sense or is more rational than the other.

I'm asking you "Do you want to believe?"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Which came first, intelligence or curiosity?

Does intelligence cause curiosity or does curiosity cause intelligence?

I don't have all the right answers, just the right questions....

Shortcut for the simple-minded

I believe very much in rationalism. I believe that it supplements faith in the same way that I could say as a musician, that music theory supplements creativity.

But in music there are musicians who have achieved greatness solely on their creativity and natural talent, devoid of music theory. There are great musicians who are long on creativity but short on musical analysis. Eddie Van Halen is a great example of this.

There is no doubt that the questions that this blog asks are some of the most important questions of life. I ask questions like, "What is this life?", "Why are we here?", "Is there a God?", "Who is God?", "How shall we live?", etc....

This line of questioning inevitably leads us down a complex and intellectual road. Although, we might enjoy this journey if we are intellectually inclined, how do we reconcile the exclusivity of such thought with the universality of these questions?

In other words, if we have discovered that these universal questions many times require more sophisticated, analytical thinking, then what about the exclusion of the simpler minded among us? Have we discovered truth as merely an intellectual, academic exercise?

If knowledge is virtue, than only the highly intelligent among us are virtuous. This is clearly not the case.

If there is a God and this God is a personal, loving God who wants to reveal Himself to us, then it would make sense that He would want to reveal Himself to everyone, regardless of intellectual propensity. How is He doing this?

Perhaps we look with the mind, when we should be looking with our hearts. If our hearts are pure, is there anything we can't see?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Guilt By Association

Blaise Pascal, in his brilliance as a mathematician, philosopher and scientist, arguably being the forefather of the modern computer, and applying his intellect to his faith as a theologian and Christian, certainly gives us evidence of the nexus between faith and reason that is a constant theme of this blog.

In his Pensees, he states that since our lives here on Earth are clearly transitory and death is eternal, we do ourselves an injustice to be distracted by that which is temporary, failing to focus on eternity.

If this blog is about having the boldness to ask questions, then I would have to add that boldness is necessary to ask questions about eternity. And since, as Pascal has confirmed, death is associated with thoughts on eternity, such questioning is avoided due to a guilt by association.

What are the questions you are afraid to ask?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Casting Doubt on a Miraculous Conspiracy

In my last blog, I spoke about the existential arguments for God. In this one, I turn to the propositional arguments for God. These arguments point more to WHO God might be.

If we accept the existential arguments for God, then we have to ask who is God? Is God a He, a She or an it? Is God simply everything in the universe or is God separate from creation? (see Why the Earth is Not our Mother)

Is God all powerful and all knowing, or is God limited in some ways? Is God a personal God who cares? Can God be known? Or is God impersonal, more like the force of Star Wars?

Just as technology authenticates science, miracles authenticate prophecy.

E=mc2 was authenticated when the atomic bomb was created.

Knowledge TRULY is power!

I believe in the existence of good and evil. Every axiom can stand when tested against its own claims, so use such a test.

I've read many agnostics/atheists who reject the notion of good and evil. But inevitably, in the same breath even, I find them "preaching" against faith worldviews based on moral grounds. It doesn't take but one Google search to turn up atheists/agnostic/skeptics who reject the existence of evil, claiming that religious worldviews are evil.

Ravi Zacharias ( tells of a man who held such a view. As Ravi engaged the man in a dialogue following one of his lectures, he asked the man if someone were to take a newborn infant and slice it up, could the man call this act evil. The man replied that he wouldn't like this act, but he could not call it evil.

I would challenge the man to go and find out why he would have such a visceral reaction. Why does such a repulsion exist in our natures and what does it mean?

So if we can agree in the existence of good and evil, then we are left with the question of WHO defines their terms (Does this very posting not demonstrate my aphorism of "Continue to ask "Why?" until you are forced to ask "Who?".)

If man defines the terms, than good and evil are limited by the bounds of a nation's legal system. Exterminating Jews in Nazi Germany was not evil because it was legal. Slavery in antebellum times was legal and therefore not evil or immoral.

In such a world all kinds of atrocities could be justified with the wrong vote.

Good and evil can only transcend the boundaries of nations, cultures and ages if it is defined by God. Only God is transcendent. Everything else dies.

If good and evil are defined by God, then clearly God is good. This is easily established simply by definition. The definition of good is what ought to be. Evil is what ought not to be. In such a world God determines what ought to be.

If good and evil exist and God has declared what ought to be, then this gives us good reason to believe that He is a personal God who actually cares how we treat others. This gives us reason to believe that we are known by Him.

Living in a world of "ought" means we live in a world of purpose. Nothing smells like purpose more than a story. Propositions only tell us what exists, but only a good story tells us why they exist.

Thus I would expect God to be revealing Himself in a story of some kind. Is there any greater story of God's love than the story of Him being born in a manger, living life on earth in the form of a man, teaching, loving, performing miracles, giving His life as a ransom for us all in the name of love and rising again?

But how do I know this story is not a myth? How do I know that men didn't make it up?

This brings us back to authentication. This story was written by multiple authors; Mathew, Mark, Luke & John. If they made these things up, then we are looking at a conspiracy because they share too much agreement. What was their motive?

Was it to sell books, gain money and go on the talk show circuit?

Was it to gain power?

A historical examination of their lives reveals that they suffered and died for their claims.

Why would they willingly give their lives for something they knew not to be true?

While I hear skeptics express their rejections of the Bible, I have never heard one of them explain away what would alternatively have to be nothing less than a miraculous conspiracy.

And in this sense, they have more faith than I do.

This is why I believe....