Thursday, June 26, 2008

Isn’t it arrogant to believe that one religion is true, and not another?

Is one true religion possible? Interesting question. But what if someone truly believes that there is only one true religion....does that make her arrogant?

A common tactic used to silence religious particularists is to claim they are arrogant and immoral for believing that there is only one way to God. In response to this charge, Philosopher Alvin Plantinga asks, “Suppose I think the matter over, consider the objections as carefully as I can, realize that I am finite and furthermore a sinner, certainly no better than those with whom I disagree, and indeed inferior both morally and intellectually to many who do not believe what I do; but suppose it still seems clear to me that the proposition in question is true [e.g., that Jesus Christ is the only way to God]: can I really be behaving immorally in continuing to believe it? It seems not."

Moreover, the charge of arrogance and immorality cuts both ways because implicit in the sophisticated religious pluralist view is the claim that everyone else but them has it wrong! All of the devout adherents of the worlds major religions—billions of people—have it wrong. If that doesn’t count as arrogance, I am not sure what does.

For more on this issue, check out chapter 14 of Welcome to College.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Did Humans Invent God to Make Themselves Feel Better?

It is sometimes objected that humans invent God out of an intense need for a “father figure” or to console themselves. Alister McGrath cleverly summarizes the gist of this argument, “religion offers succor for suckers and losers, but not for serious and sophisticated people.” This argument finds its roots in writings of Ludwig Feuerback and Sigmund Freud.

First of all, this argument cuts both ways. If Christians created God out of a need for a father figure, then atheists can be said to have rejected God out of a desire to kill a father figure. Paul Vitz, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at New York University, has documented a connection between fatherlessness and atheism in his intriguing book Faith of the Fatherless: the Psychology of Atheism.

As for inventing God to meet our desires, maybe this is precisely backwards. Perhaps the reason humans have desires is because something / someone exists that will satisfy them? C.S. Lewis beautifully articulates this point, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”

For more on this, see Paul Copan's That's Just Your Interpretation

Friday, June 13, 2008

Louisiana Science Education Act Passes

Academic freedom gets a boost with the passage of this bill. For more on this and why it isn't religion, click here.

It is important that people are taught to critically engage issues that may be controversial. We have nothing to fear from the truth.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Welcome to College....Now what?

So I'm what? Don't Christians have to check their brains at the door once they step on to the university campus? Welcome to College: A Christ-follower's Guide for the Journey is a new book by Jonathan Morrow that encourages students to think about what it would mean to live "Christianly" in college. Whether you are a high school student on your way, just settling in to your dorm room in college, or a parent trying to find out how to prepare your son or daughter for these formative and exciting years--this book may be just what you need. It covers everything from study skills, how to resolve conflict, and sex to what to do with doubt, can I trust the Bible, and is Jesus the only way to God? Christians can flourish in college.

“Wow! What a book!! Quite frankly, this is the book I’ve been waiting for the last forty years to give to college students. It is the single best volume I have ever read for preparing students for how to follow Jesus and flourish as his disciple in college.”
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Author, Kingdom Triangle (Zondervan)

Monday, June 2, 2008

The New Testament...Is it Historically Untrustworthy?

One of the claims repeatedly trumpeted in the pages of the New Atheists' books is that the New Testament (and the Bible for that matter) is untrustworthy. But there is at least one big problem with this claim--as Dr. Doug Groothuis notes--"The new atheists reject the New Testament as historically untrustworthy chiefly because of its antiquity and its miracle claims. However, in savaging the New Testament, these writers almost never engage the best conservative New Testament scholars."

As I have read the New Atheists, this observation is valid. They have not done their homework. To read more about this, see the rest of of Groothuis's article, click here.