Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reasonable Faith Podcast: How are Morals Objectively Grounded in God?


The Reasonable Faith Podcast with Dr. William Lane Craig is in my opinion the best apologetics podcast on the internet.

Dr. Craig deals with timely issues in an easy to understand manner without dodging the tough questions. Further, he addresses numerous topics that repeatedly come up when one is sharing his faith.

One such objection (or supposed dilemma) is the the Euthyphro Dilemma. The name Euthyphro refers back to a famous dialog written by Plato between Socrates and Euthyphro. In this interaction, Socrates is attempting to understand the essence of piety and holiness.

Socrates: And what do you say of piety, Euthyphro? Is not piety, according to your definition, loved by all the gods?

Euthyphro: Certainly.

Socrates: Because it is pious or holy, or for some other reason?

Euthyphro: No, that is the reason.

Socrates: It is loved because it is holy, not holy because it is loved?

Apologist Greg Koukl explains the dilemma Euthyphro faced here:

"Is a thing good simply because the gods say it is? Or do the gods say a thing is good because of some other quality it has? If so, what is that quality?" [1]

Koukl goes on to point out how in recent times, Plato's approach has been used as an assault of sorts on the coherence of Christianity. In Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian, Russell presents the problem this way:

"If you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, you are then in this situation: Is that difference due to God's fiat or is it not? If it is due to God's fiat, then for God Himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God's fiat, because God's fiats are good and not good independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God." [2]

So, in summary, Russell is basically asking, "Is a thing right simply because God declares it so, or does God say it is good because He recognizes a moral code superior even to Him?

In the following two podcasts, Dr. Craig takes a look at this so-called dilemma and demonstrates how:
  • Objective Morality is Grounded in God
  • Euthyphro's Dilemma is actually a false one
The podcasts are as follows:
You can check out more of Dr. Craig's work here.

Finally, I would recommend Greg Koukl's article Euthyphro's Dilemma.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources:

1. Greg Koukl, Euthyphro's Dilemma, http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5236, 2002.
2. Greg Koukl, Ibid.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lectures by Ravi Zacharias: Apologetics and Worldview

Ravi Zacharias presents two lectures that deal with the state of apologetics today and why we must be able to defend the faith against opposing worldviews.

As Zacharias's website notes:

"A classroom style lecture that Ravi delivered recently at Wheaton College to a group of budding apologists. The message is; your worldview affects not only your apologetics but all your efforts to spread the Gospel."

Here are the lectures:

I encourage you to take the time to listen to these challenging messages.

To checkout more resources offered by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, please see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

'Religion-free' Haiti Relief Fund


For those who haven't heard, atheist Richard Dawkins and 13 other groups of unbelievers have set-up a 'religion-free' relief fund for the earthquake victims in Haiti. For that I commend them.

Nathan Black, of the Christian Post writes:

"Dawkins has joined 13 other groups to create the Non-Believers Giving Aid. Donors are told that when they give they are "helping to counter the scandalous myth that only the religious care about their fellow-humans." [1]

The article goes on to quote an unidentified member of the relief effort:

"[W]e do not hide behind the notion that earthly suffering will be rewarded in a heavenly paradise, nor do we expect a heavenly reward for our generosity: the understanding that this is the only life any of us have makes the need to alleviate suffering even more urgent," the atheist and freethought groups say." [2]

Chad Meister, director of philosophy at Bethel College and contributor to God is Great, God is Good: Why Believing in God is Reasonable and Responsible, exposes the straw-man argument that Dawkins, and others like him, continue to put up:

"No one is arguing that atheists cannot utter ethical statements or live good, moral lives. Of course they can," Meister writes in God is Great. "Believing that something is right or wrong and justifying one's belief that something is right or wrong are two very different matters." [3]

The article continues....

"On Dawkins's schema, one is kind to his neighbor because he's been preprogrammed by his genes to do so (at least some individuals have been so preprogrammed; others perhaps not), and he's been so programmed because acting this way confers evolutionary advantage," Meister summarizes. "It's not that it is a universally binding moral value to be kind. We simply call it 'morally good' because our genes have, through eons of evolutionary struggle, gotten us to believe that it is so." [4]
Meister goes on to note that he has several friends who adopted children and he doesn't suspect they would agree with Dawkins's explanation for why they did so.

"In order to have a consistent and reasonable objective moral stand – a moral view in which you can substantiate a claim that this is right and that is wrong, this is good and that is evil – you need to have an objective moral basis," Meister argues. "I don't see how one can have an objective lawgiver with anything other than a transcendent God. Surely from the physical perturbations of the big bang, moral values didn't spew forth...and indeed nothing in biological evolution ... is capable of providing the foundation necessary to ground unconditionally binding moral values" such as compassion, dignity and respect."
[5]

Interestingly, Richard Dawkins, according to his own works, would agree with Meister! Consider the following statements from Dawkins:

"If the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies . . . are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention . . . . The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference." [6]

Also, in one of Dawkins' earlier books, he concedes:

"Science has no methods for deciding what is ethical. That is a matter for individuals and for society." [7]

So, Dawkins and his fellow atheists are not helping the Haitians because they are created in the image of God or because it's objectively the 'right' thing to do, but because 'individuals and societies' have deemed it appropriate.

The late existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre admitted that in a world in which God does not exist, there was no real 'good' or 'evil,' but just the authentication of self. Sartre provided the scenario of an old lady crossing the street, while a truck is heading in her direction. One could pull her to safety or one could push her in front of the truck. All that mattered was one authenticating ones self. Meaning, if the person who decides to push the lady in front of the truck feels he is "authenticating" himself, he was therefore justified in his actions.

In closing, I want to once again commend Dawkins and his fellow atheists for providing relief for those in Haiti; and, it is indeed wrong to say that atheists cannot be good or live ethical lives. However, from the atheistic worldview it is unsustainable why it is better to help the Haitians than to not help the Haitians.

May we continue to pray for the New Atheists and those in Haiti.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources

1-5. Directly taken from this article.
6. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 133.
7. Dawkins, The Devil's Chaplain.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Featured Article: The Apologetics of Peter by Steve Cable



Steve Cable of Probe Ministries has written this informative article on the apologetic methodology used by the Apostle Peter.

Check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Free E-books from John Piper


I found a few more free E-books (for those who haven't noticed, Truthbomb is all about free books of any kind!) for our Free Apologetics E-book Library.



These books were originally found on Pastor John Piper's website, Desiring God.

They are as follows:

1. Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity edited by John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Kjoss Helseth [PDF]

2. Desiring God by John Piper

3. Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper [PDF]; originally called The Passion of the Christ

4. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper [PDF]

5. The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright by John Piper [PDF]

6. The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World General Editors- John Piper and Justin Taylor [PDF]

You can find more free e-books and ministry resources at Piper's homepage located here.

Finally, as mentioned above, these books will be added to our Free Apologetics Online Library located here.

Courage and Godspeed,
ChadFifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die
Fift Reasons Jesus Came to Die

Friday, January 15, 2010

Attention: My Email Has Been Hijacked!

My Truthomb email, djspidey67@yahoo.com, has been hijacked. If you receive an email from me asking for money, please know that it is NOT ME!

I apologize for this inconvenience and am in the process of getting the problem corrected.

Update: My new email address is truthbombapologetics@gmail.com. I am still unable to access my yahoo account but it is frozen so all is well.

Again, thanks so much for your patience in this matter.

Godspeed,
Chad

Feature Article- Apologetics: Why Your Church Needs It by J.M. Njoroge


Ravi Zacharias International Ministries offers numerous apologetic resources such as radio shows, essays, articles, and a daily devotional.

I recently stumbled across an essay on their website entitled Apologetics: Why Your Church Needs it by J.M. Njoroge.

This is an article that every pastor, apologist, and laymen should read and take to heart.

You can check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Christ in the Rubble by Pastor Dave Vance

Pat Robertson is at it once again, claiming that the 7.0 earthquake that Haiti suffered two days ago was the result of "a pact they made with the devil."

Never mind the senselessness of Robertson's comments, what I want to know is why make these comments now? It would be a grand understatement to say that this is kicking the Haitians while they are down.

On the 700 Club's website (CBN) they claim:

"His [Robertson] humanitarian arm has been working to help thousands of people in Haiti over the last year, and they are currently launching a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of this disaster. They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are expected to arrive tomorrow and begin operations to ease the suffering."

This is outstanding and I commend Robertson for his efforts; however, Robertson should know by now that every statement he makes such as "Haiti is suffering for a pact they made with the devil," is going to be played on every major news network around the world. He statements reflect poorly on all followers of Christ, but even more importantly, Christ Himself.

If you are an unbeliever, please know that when Robertson makes these insensitive claims such a tragic event, that it grieves us as much as it does you.

I plead with you to remember that you must judge a belief, not be the believer, but by the validity, or non-validity, of the belief itself.

For a heartfelt and reasonable response to this tragedy, please check out this blog post by Pastor Dave Vance entitled, "Christ in the Rubble."

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Note to Readers: I have emailed Pat Robertson's website editor and asked him for a list of scholars and/religious figures that believe this supposed "pact with the devil" the Haitians made. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reminder to Pray for Haiti

As I'm sure all of you know, Haiti was hit with a devastating earthquake and death tolls are expected to reach 100,000.

I just wanted to remind everyone to be in prayer for the Haitians and those who have been injured and/or have lost loved ones.

Specific Prayer Requests for Haiti

1. Steve S. has shared the following prayer request via the comments. I wanted to bring it to the attention of our readers:

"We sponsor a child in Haiti through Compassion International. Her name is Rebeca and she will be 14 on her birthday tomorrow. She lives with her family in Cayes. Please pray for her and her family."

2. Also, my home church, Faith Christian Fellowship in Williamsport, MD, sponsors a missionary that lives in Haiti named Luke St. Felix. Please keep Luke and his family in your prayers as well.

3. Billy wrote:

"A fellow I work with (Gaby) has family in Haiti. He flew back yesterday afternoon. He knew for sure that his brother was injured but hadn't heard from his sister as of yesterday. Any prayers for his family would be appreciated. Thanks!"

If anyone else has any prayer requests regarding the tradegy in Haiti, please let us know via the comments and I will draw our reader's attention to them.

I appreciate your time.

Added 1-16-10: Here is a link to Worldvision's Haiti Relief Effort.



Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Featured Resource: Pleaseconvinceme.com Free E-books

Pleaseconvinceme.com is an apologetics ministry that seeks to give "real answers for a real faith in a real world."

This ministry offers numerous resources including articles, pod casts, and free E-books.

The free E-books are as follows:

These resources have also been added to Truthbomb's Free Apologetics E-book Library located here.

I encourage our readers to checkout Pleaseconvinceme.com and take advantage of the wonderful resources offered there.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Foundation of Truth when the Heart is Broken

In a recent article, Dr. Frank Turek writes of a couple who recently lost their newborn child. As the father of two young girls myself, I can only imagine the pain and anguish that this couple has experienced.

What struck me most in the article was Anna's (the mother) words after finding out that her newborn daughter, Caroline, had gone on to be with the Lord:

“I was so thankful that I didn’t have the added burden of questioning my belief and faith in God. And that’s because I hadn’t made the decision based on tradition or emotion. I had a faith that stood upon reasonable evidence.” [Emphasis mine].

This greatly underscores the importance of understanding what you believe and why you believe it. Feelings are ever changing; however, that which is true never changes. As Norman Geisler has said, "The unexamined faith is not worth living." I would add that the "unexamined faith will most often fail us when our hearts our broken."

As a result of their eternal hope, Neil and Anna were able to say “We know where sweet baby Caroline is, and we will see her again.” Amen.

Anna and her husband Neil also have an apologetics ministry entitled No Blind Faith. Their goal is to "move from superstitious religion to rational faith."

You can checkout their ministry here. They offer numerous resources including sermons, articles, talks, Bible studies, and cult answers.

You may also read the rest of Neil and Anna's story here.

May God give each of us such a measure of faith.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad