Thursday, July 24, 2014

Atheism Fails to Supply the Foundation for Universal Moral Values


Mike Robinson
Granbury, Texas


 
objective moral values apologetics book
God is required for objective moral values

Introduction

Atheism, in principle, is deficient of ontic resources required to ground moral absolutes. Atheists know what is moral: they can know right from wrong. However, atheism lacks an objective, immutable, and perfect ontological foundation to issue objective immutable moral commandments. Additionally, atheism lacks the means to bring justice to all moral lawbreakers.

It is pretty hard to defend absolutist morals on ground other than religious ones (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion).

Atheist Christopher Hitchens observed: Hume said, “You can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is.’” I think that is true (Hitchens and Wilson Debate, WMTS).

The language … and practice of morality today is in a state of grave disorder (Philosopher of Ethics Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue).

This essay seeks to demonstrate that moral absolutes exist and that atheism lacks the ontological (nature of being; ontology is the study of existence or reality) grounding for moral absolutes. Atheists can know what is moral (epistemic explanation: relating to what we know); they can know right from wrong. Nonetheless, atheism lacks an objective, immutable, and perfect ontic ground to issue objective immutable moral commandments. Additionally, atheism lacks the means to hold all moral lawbreakers to an account.

A moral absolute is true and completely exceptionless. This is sometimes put by saying that a moral absolute is universalizable: it is equally binding on all people at all times… (J.P. Moreland & William L. Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview).

Many ideologies and religions offer moral edicts, but I maintain that secular, Islamic, Hindu, and naturalistic moral values are inconsistent and cannot be ultimately justified. Some people believe it is right to lie and murder in order to promote their agenda. To a consistent atheistic materialist, the concept of immaterial law is nonsensical. It doesn’t seem to make sense to argue that an immaterial objective moral value comes from a material-only world; therefore, for the consistent atheist, immaterial objective moral values do not exist. I will argue that the only consistent and righteous moral system comes from Christian theism. It is justified and it is impossible for it not to be true because Christianity supplies the necessary truth conditions for immutable moral values. Mutable materialistic atheism ultimately tumbles into moral nihilism.

God is Necessary for Objective Morality

In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point (Nietzsche).
If the conclusion of a sound argument is rejected because of sinful suppression, clearly that's no fault of the argument (James Anderson).

  • Since the immutable good God with universal reach exists then immutable universal objective moral values exist.
  • The immutable good God with universal reach exists.
  • Therefore immutable universal objective moral values exist.
Below is another valid but not biblically acceptable form (it does not ontologically start with God)
  • If immutable universal objective moral values exist the immutable God with universal reach exists.
  • Immutable universal objective moral values exist.
  • The immutable God with universal reach exists.
-------
Similarly one could argue employing the following form:
  • Objective moral values exist.
  • Objective moral values have the attributes of being immutable and immaterial.
  • The mutable material cosmos and humanity within lack the attributes of being immutable, and immaterial.
  • The mutable material cosmos and humanity within cannot account for objective moral values.
  • The triune God has the attributes of being immutable and immaterial.
  • Therefore the existence of objective moral values furnishes grounds for knowing that the triune God exists.
These are valid and defendable formulations; nevertheless the issue of the ontology of moral values is not merely a matter of reasoning to God utilizing the existence of moral values. It understands that all reasoning depends and presupposes God. This includes reasoning about moral values.

Additionally, I am not asserting that non-theists do not know (epistemic concern) moral principles nor are they directly rejecting the second table of the Ten Commandments. In some ways non-theists do not have to openly affirm the first four commandments in the Decalogue to live by selected moral principles, albeit incongruously. Accordingly, I am contending that God is ontologically indispensable for the existence (ontic claim) of objective moral values. God is the ontological basis and underpinning for immutable moral values.

God is the unchanging foundation for unchanging moral values for the reason that He is the standard of good. Since He is good and perpetually the same, He is the foundation for unchanging moral values. Under non-theism mutable human beings cannot be the ground for immutable moral values. Evolving humans (evolve means change) lack the ontic capacity to provide a ground in of themselves for unchanging moral values. One cannot give what one does not have (universality and immutability).

On non-theism the best we have is a varying subjective opinion (or collection of opinions) of what some men at a particular point in time consider a moral value; possibly conjoined to a moral duty.

An Ever-in-Flux Cosmos Cannot Ground Immutable Moral Values

Moral law has to be derived from us (Christopher Hitchens, Wilson and Hitchens Debate).

If you don’t like my principles, I’ve got others (Groucho Marx).

Materialistic atheism believes that only the cosmos exists; the matter and motion within the universe is all there is. Does the cosmos have the capacity to ground immutable universal moral values and duties? No. The material cosmos comes up infinitely short since it is a particular mutable (changing) thing; it lacks universal reach (it is not omnipresent) and it is always in a shifting and variable flux. Thus the material cosmos and the matter and motion within fail to ground immutable universal moral values. Since immutable universal moral values exist, strict materialistic atheism cannot be true. Mutability eats at the non-theistic ontic base like acid.

Strict materialistic atheism lacks the ontological ability necessary to furnish a suitable foundation for objective moral values and duties. Equally, mutable humanity embedded in the cosmos is also devoid of the ontic capacity to account for immutable moral values.


First ... human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in certain ways... Second ... they do not in fact behave in that way. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in (C.S. Lewis).

Many actions are universally, objectively, and immutably wrong. Actions like killing babies for mere fun. Child sexual assault and torture for crowd enjoyment are universally and immutably wrong. These actions are unremittingly wrong since these prohibitions are based on God’s unchanging nature. Every person with a properly functioning moral sense knows that gratuitous torture and abuse is always wrong.

Moral values are grounded on God and moral duties are commands revealed by a good God in man’s conscience and in Scripture.

A moral duty is obligatory of men when the good God commands it. A moral action is permitted for people when the good God commands it or the action is derived from the general equity of a biblical command. An action is prohibited when the good God commands people not to do such an action.

Accordingly, moral obligations and prohibitions are known by the commandments of God and the application of the general equity thereof. Additionally, in a subservient manner, one’s properly functioning conscience directed by the truth of Scripture morally informs a person.

God’s commandments are not arbitrary inasmuch as they are based on and flow from God’s essentially good unchanging nature. Since God’s commands are based on His nature the truth of God’s existence is invulnerable to the Euthyphro Dilemma (this is discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this volume).


Objective Moral Values vs. Subjective Opinions

By Mike Robinson

Objective Moral Values are not mere preferences


Introduction

One can avoid moral skepticism by depending upon an unchanging, infinite, infallible, and exhaustive moral authority. God has these necessary qualities. God is mandatory inasmuch as He is unchanging, universal in knowledge, timeless, transcendent, and immaterial. Harmoniously, objective moral values are unchanging, universal, timeless, transcendent, and immaterial. God has the necessary attributes to account for objective moral values.


You’re thinking in black and white. Think in shades of gray.[1]
[When I was 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?[2]
Let us change the rule we have hitherto adopted for the judging what is good. We took our own will as rule; let us now take the will of God.[3]
Objective moral values are not determined by the opinions, preferences, or psychological dispositions of an individual man or groups of men. It is a moral value “independently of whether anyone believes it or not” (William Lane Craig). The moral view which is based on one’s personal preference is a type of ethical subjectivism. Ultimately, it is based on preferences similar to one liking clam chowder over chicken soup. It is a descriptive form of ethics that leaves one without an ultimate arbitrator to settle moral disagreements among men with different preferences.

One can prefer torturing babies for fun over forbidding such behavior in the same way one prefers the chowder over the soup; it is a matter of personal taste and choice. In principle, if one observes a greasy old man ready to torture an innocent little baby, your repugnance is no more morally justified than one who is a bit queasy over a friend sipping his clam chowder. Under this sort of subjectivism, formally, it makes no sense to claim that the man torturing the baby for fun is morally wrong. He prefers it and you do not. You have no principled justification to attempt to stop the baby torturer from preferring his behavior any more than you may stop a friend from enjoying clam chowder. Nonetheless, torturing babies for fun is objectively and immutably wrong. It cannot be morally right to engage in such behavior. The subjectivist lacks the foundation to declare that torturing babies for fun is morally wrong. There are no behavior directing moral laws; morality is merely a matter of one’s preferences. Of course most atheists know such actions are morally wrong. Nevertheless I contend that it’s not a matter of knowing right from wrong—atheists can know (epistemological realm) right from wrong (Romans chapters 1 & 2)—I argue that atheists cannot account for the truth that there are objective moral values (right & wrong exist; ontological realm).

If there is no God, anything is permitted.[4]
Regeneration Required
If man is to change ethically, he must be converted.[5]
Jesus taught that for men to change, their heart must change; men must be born again (John 3:3-8). If one dresses up a wolf to look like a lamb, one still has an animal that can viciously attack humans if hungry or alarmed. For the animal to become sheep-like, the wolf needs a miracle: regeneration into a lamb (or a huge genetic swap). The wolf needs a complete change. And that’s what God’s grace does to men by the power of the Gospel. By grace through faith men are born again by the Spirit (regenerated) and after regeneration they have a changed heart that leads them to grow in moral goodness.

Biblical Law
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long (Psalms 119:97).
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
But about the Son He says, "Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever... You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness” (Hebrews 1:8-9).
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! ... So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good... We know that the law is spiritual (Romans 7:7-14).
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him (John 14:15 & 21).
The moral commandments of Scripture found in the Ten Commandments must be the standard for normative ethics. Biblical ethics are proscriptive (what one ought not to do) as well as prescriptive (what one ought to do) of normative human conduct—the general equity of the Decalogue—should be the ground for our rule of law: deontological. Deontological is obligatory inasmuch as it is the moral will of God in real-life situations: explicit actions that are based on its broad principals. Thus all persons are obligated to affirm and embrace the commandments of God in establishing laws and in living their lives.

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands (2 John 6).
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law, till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18).
Morality and Unguided Evolution

The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy defines morality as: “An informal public system applying to all rational persons, governing behavior that affects others, having the lessening of evil or harm as its goal, and including what are commonly known as the moral rules, moral ideals, and moral virtues.”[6] The word "ethics" is given the following definition by the same dictionary: “The philosophical study of morality. The word is commonly used interchangeably with morality ... and sometimes it is used more narrowly to mean the moral principles of a particular tradition, group, or individual.”[7] Theologian Norman Geisler states: “Moral law is morality for conduct... Law is a moral rule by which we are led to act or are withheld from action... God’s purpose for law is to regulate human activity.”[8]

The theory of unguided evolution offers no ontological basis for fixed moral values. Many people have fallen for the bamboozlement of the ages, the theory of unguided evolution. This theory, along with selected features of Nietzsche’s philosophy, has accomplished a lot. What has been accomplished by this misreading, this hoax, this fallacy, this misapprehension? This theory has given many of the world’s despots and dictators aspects of their ideological systems for carrying out the atrocities they had ordered. Stalin, Mao, and the Khmer Rouge butchered over fifty million people in the twentieth century under the influence of communism, atheism, and evolution. Unguided evolution not only gives no fundamental basis for morals; it, in principle, disallows essential features of benevolent ethics. The evolutionist’s creed is “survival of the fittest.” This doctrine helps hoist the proposition that “might makes right.” When one applies this to reality, the strong should take everything they can through force. Under that view, they should go through the country raping, trampling the weak, and killing the handicapped. Strict Darwinism undermines selected altruistic endeavors and charitable ethics as it gives men reason to be selfish, inhumane, wicked, murderous, and destructive.

All power grows from the barrel of a gun (atheist Mao Zedong).
In atheistic evolution, ultimately, the only thing that is important is promoting the survival of one’s own genes to the next generation. Turning the other cheek or doing good to the physically and mentally challenged only weakens the gene pool, so charity and benevolence should be rejected. The strong should step on anyone they can to promote their own genetic success. In contrast, I agree with the way Martin Luther King put it in his homily upon receiving his Nobel Peace Prize: “I refuse to believe the notion that man is mere flotsam and jetsam ... unable to respond to the eternal oughtness that forever confronts him.”

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes (Psalms 19:8).
Today, many people assert that there are no moral absolutes. Yet arguing against unchanging moral truths is self-stupefying. What the anti-moralist asserts stifles itself on its own grounds. If he objects to you pointing this out, he also stultifies himself. To state that he rigidly objects to any moral notion is to appear to assume a moral absolute. Hence, his objection is duplicitous. Just ask the non-absolutist, “Do you think that it is always ‘wrong’ to affirm moral absolutes?” If he answers “No,” at that point he has contradicted himself and indirectly affirms moral absolutes. If he answers “Yes,” you point out that this objection is a moral truth; a truth he seems to want you take as an absolute.

Universal Binding Laws Presuppose God

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them (Romans 2:14-15).
The moral law was written on the human conscience by nature. This writing has been defaced, but not obliterated. A clear and correct knowledge of the moral law requires the republication of the commandments, summarized in the Decalogue as the permanent and unalterable rule of man’s duty on earth.[9]
Moral laws are immaterial immutable realities that presuppose an immaterial immutable God who has the wisdom and authority to decree and enact them. Without God, as the moral lawgiver, there cannot be invariant moral laws. A holy, wise, and good God is the essential truth condition for true, invariant, immaterial, and irreducible realities called moral laws. The Decalogue provides apodictic (established by God as immutable commandments) moral duties since they are universal and unconditional; they are laws for all cultures and people in all time periods. A distinction is made regarding case law. Case laws are specific applications for particular people and definite applications of these apodictic commandments.

Materialistic atheism cannot account for irreducible immaterial invariant entities that are to govern human behavior. Without an omnipotent sovereign God, issuing laws that are based on His perfect character, one has no motivation to obey the law simply because obedience is morally good. Leave God out of the picture and one only obeys the law because of the fear of possible penal sanction and civil punishment from an earthly government. When the civil authorities aren’t looking, one can steal, lie, cheat, and rape with impunity. There must be a sovereign God, as the sufficient and universal condition, to obey out of gratitude and love. We have strong motivation to follow laws, when no one is looking, if the laws are intrinsically good, and come from a good all-seeing God. A God one loves, who commands humanity to love Him by obeying His commandments. When you take away the character and authority of God to enact law, one is not obliged to obey them out of mere love and gratitude.

Without postulating the existence of God it would be impossible to link the moral order to the natural order: the two realms would remain separate. How could the moral laws confront me with the kind of demands they do, how could they come to me with the kind of force they do, unless they have their source in a Being who exists objectively that is, independently of me and is essentially good? ... There is something in every man, it may seem, that demands God as a postulate.[10]
Placing No Value on Objective Moral Absolutes

The denial of moral absolutes is a self-diminishing exertion because the denial of moral absolutes presupposes a moral view: it is morally permissible to absolutely deny absolute moral values. So in a sense, the attempt to deny absolute moral values affirms that they exist. To deny fixed moral values is self-deflating; the denial, in the end, leads to the removal of a standard that obligates others to communicate the denial absolutely. If you ask them if they absolutely believe that there are no absolutes; they may say no. Then you just ask them if they absolutely believe their answer of no. At some point they must stand on an absolute or they fall into idiocy.
Conclusion

It is a divine doctrine which teaches what is right and pleasing unto God and reproves everything that is sin and contrary to God’s will (The Book of Concord).
Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7, NET).
The best way to avert moral skepticism is to have an unchanging, infinite, infallible, and exhaustive authority. The God of the Bible has these attributes. God is required because He is unchanging, universal in knowledge, timeless, transcendent, and immaterial. Correspondingly, objective moral values are unchanging, universal, timeless, transcendent, and immaterial. God has the required attributes to account for objective moral values.
Additionally, the way to avoid eternal condemnation is to turn from your ways and trust in Jesus Christ: the One who died for His people and rose again on the third day. He’s wonderful and full of excellencies that will thrill your heart.

Check out my Apologetics eBook on Amazon The Sure Existence of Moral Absolutes HERE
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NOTES

1. Craig Boldman, Every Excuse in the Book: 714 Ways to Say it’s not My Fault (New York: MJF Books, 1998), p. 94.
2. C.S. Lewis: Martindale and Root, Editors, The Quotable Lewis (Wheaton, Il: Tyndale House, 1989), p. 59.
3. Thomas Morris, Making Sense of It All (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman, 1992), p. 211.
4. Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov, Bantam Classics. Many impute this line to Dostoevsky, but it nowhere appears in the volume. Perhaps it is a summary of a position of one of the characters within the text.
5. P. Andrew Sandlin, We Must Create A New Kind of Christian (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon Publication, 2000), p. 16.
6. Robert Audi, General Editor, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Second Edition (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Press 1999), p. 586.
7. Ibid., Audi, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, p. 284.
8. Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), pp. 414-416.
9. Carl Henry, Editor, Wycliff Dictionary of Ethics (Peabody, MA: 2000), p. 432.
10.Geddees McGregor, Introduction to Religious Philosophy (Boston, MA: Mifflin, 1959), pp. 117-119.




Monday, July 21, 2014

God Exists: Powerful Evidence that Refutes the New Atheists


 by Mike Robinson


If there is a god maybe it rewards those who don't believe on the basis of insufficient evidence--and punishes those who do (Peter Boghossian, A Manual for Creating Atheists).
The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful, and has nobody to thank (Dante Rossetti). 
Humanism or atheism is a wonderful philosophy of life as long as you are big, strong, and between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. But watch out if you are in a lifeboat and there are others who are younger, bigger, or smarter (William Murray).
refuting new atheist boghossian

The first century Church was in crisis at the very beginning. The Roman governor Pontius Pilate had ordered the execution of Jesus Christ, and many apostles had run away and hid from the authorities. Priests had turned Christ over to the pagan procurator and successfully urged him to crucify Christ. Evangelists and teachers had surrendered their ministry to be derided and disallowed in the city streets as well as anywhere near the temple. An air of distress and fear hung over the church. Some might have thought that God was dead.

But something powerful, even colossal, arose to restore the confidence and buoyancy of the New Testament congregation: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The task of the church, in the Christ’s vision, was to preach the good news of redemption to a fallen world as it seeks to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus sought to purge sin from His people’s record and reduce the amount of wickedness in every corner of the globe through the expanse of the church.

After Christ’s resurrection appearances, the church believed that, in all lands, the first job was to preach the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and then defend the faith (1Peter 3:15). Yes, it’s undeniable that Jesus was unlawfully arrested and sentenced to death. Yes, Jesus died. But on the third day Christ arose and this truth wouldn't be diluted by fright and anxiety. With this offensive posture, the apostolic church built a robust ark for all those who came to Christ. The resurrection changed everything. Clearly, God is not dead!

One of the problems with selected sects and cults, the church points, is that they are too static. They try to seal off an ark to ride out the tempest, but they end up shutting themselves in. They cut themselves off from others and the challenge of truth. In contrast, the church is on the move because God is alive.

Christ mounted the wings of resurrection power and His followers run with a risen Savior. Thus, the people of God go on the offense and swallow the ungodly domain as it transforms it by the word of God. In addition, the empowering truth of the resurrection is assured and is to always be defended (Jude 3).

They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ has risen. We are alive in him. And in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven.[1]

If one had sufficient evidence to warrant belief in a particular claim, then one wouldn’t believe the claim on the basis of faith. “Faith” is the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway (Peter Boghossian, A Manual for Creating Atheists).
Often, the Bible uses evidential arguments. For example, when scripture states in Psalm 19 that the heavens declare the glory of God, it is denoting how God’s glory is manifested in the natural world. It is proven by nature itself. Evidence and proof are everywhere around us. If you offer an evidential assertion, you should have real evidence to posit such.

Equally, there is no amount of evidence that is adequate in and of itself to persuade a non-believer of the truth of Jesus Christ. Prayer must be undertaken and the gospel must be presented, but God’s grace is the ultimate means for salvation of a soul.

At night, atheists find themselves looking out at the starry hosts spangled against the dark canvass of the night and declare that it was all just an accident. They do not see design where design clearly resides. The mathematical precision necessary for the running of the planets to and fro was not designed. All the precision came from chaos and blind chance. They have blind faith in scientism as they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. In actuality, they know that God designed the cosmos, but they do not want to believe it. [see book for more HERE]

Logically, there cannot be any true atheists. For one to propose that God does not exist, anywhere at any time, one would have to know all things, and be omnipresent, eternal, and infinite. That would make you God.

So, the only person in the universe who could possibly not believe in God, everywhere, and always, would be God. One would have to be God to be a true atheist and that is theoretically, logically, and rationally absurd.

defeat new atheists
No one has enough blind faith to believe that:

  1. Order came from disorder
  2. Uniformity came from the accidental
  3. Intelligence came from non-intelligence
  4. Design came from chaos
  5. Personality came from non-personality
  6. Love came from hard matter
  7. Something came from nothing
Militant Atheists and Skeptics

Richard Dawkins called upon fellow anti-theists to implement crass mocking as a tactic to use against religious people: “…mock them. Ridicule them. In public ... religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged, and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.”
expose richard dawkins
Ever since I became a Christian in my early twenties, I have spoken with many hundreds of non-Christians who have told me that I was wrong to believe in God. The most bitter and rancorous of these rebukes have come from atheists. This behavior is consistent with men who lack an absolute moral standard and, therefore, they often sputter out caustic and biting reproofs against God and Christians. Once they understand that the believer has the intellectual upper hand, they get very defensive and, frequently, very angry. No other group with whom I have had dialogues seems to get enraged so often. These conversations have been at universities, coffeehouses, bookstores, homes, philosophy groups, and other forums. I ascribe this behavior to human nature and to the weak intellectual worldview that atheism provides.

Christians may behave rudely and unruly, but when they act this way they are in opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ. They are acting in an inconsistent manner when they engage in troubling behavior. The atheist is consistent with Darwinian thought when he acts in a hostile and belligerent fashion.

Objective Moral Values Require a Living God
 
Moral arguments for God's existence may be defined as that family of arguments in the history of western philosophical theology having claims about the character of moral thought and experience in their premises and affirmations of the existence of God in their conclusions. Some of these arguments are on all fours with other theistic arguments, such as the design argument. They cite facts that are claimed to be evident to human experience. And they argue that such facts entail or are best explained by the hypothesis that there is a God... Other moral proofs of God's existence take us away from the patterns of argument typical of natural theology. They deal in our ends and motives. These variants on the moral argument for God's existence describe some end that the moral life commits us to (such as the attainment of the perfect good) and contend that this end cannot be attained unless God as traditionally defined exists (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

We hope to wake up people to the double standard. Keith Olbermann can have a position, and even say it on the air, and he’s OK, but I don’t have a right to biblical beliefs. What we can’t have in this country is a point where a corporation feels empowered to punish those who have a biblical belief. That’s the chilling effect of this moment in my life (sportscaster Craig James after Fox Sports fired him for holding biblical beliefs).
 
Our means of discerning what is good and right is found in the Bible. It is our authority and guide. Mankind is not the standard. Science cannot be the standard. The Bible alone provides a standard based on an all-knowing and unchanging God. The standard must be based on an unchanging source, otherwise ethics could change. If moral standards were changeable, this would mean that theft and murder may be considered bad on one day and good the next. This is manifestly wrong and is one more reason we must follow God’s word.

The Death and Resurrection of Christ

No amount of belief makes something a fact (James Randi).

Today, I would say the claim concerning the resurrection is more impressive than any by the religious competition (former atheist Anthony Flew).

It’s worth noting that the apostles saw the risen Christ, touched the risen Christ, and died tortuous deaths while proclaiming the truth of the resurrection. They did this when all they had to do was deny it to avoid persecution and death. Sure, many people die for lies, but no collective, diverse group of people die for a lie when they have sure knowledge that it is a lie. Furthermore, all known ancient documents that refer to the subject report an empty tomb. Even though the manner in which one accepts or rejects the evidence is controlled by one’s presuppositions, the facts are mighty. The evidence is there and it is impressive.

Evidence is Delightful

The Christian worldview alone offers a confirmed resurrection of a Savior to demonstrate its authority. The Greek deities and other pseudo-resurrected gods were not historical figures. The only documents we have concerning the false gods/myths are the specific documents dated hundreds of years after Christianity arose.

Evidence is indeed wonderful. The Christian faith has an abundance of evidence to support its claims. In truth, there is nothing but evidence for the God of the Bible. Every star and every atom declares the majesty of God (Psalm 19:1).

We see evidence of God’s fingerprints in every known corner of the universe. Mankind discovers the proof and affirms many of the facts that the Bible records and announces. The greatest miracle is the resurrection of Jesus. The Lord Jesus is alive! He is the only religious leader to rise from the dead. He is the only one who promised a resurrection and duly kept His promise. You can visit the tombs of all the deceased religious leaders and find their remains still in the grave. However, Jesus is alive because God is not dead.

All Religious Originators Died and Remained Dead

"The Prophet died on Monday and was buried on the night of Wednesday. The Holy Prophet departed from this world on the 28th of Safar" (Ikn Ishaq).
Like all mere men, Mohammad died, was buried, and stayed dead. Dovtastic shares his visit to Mohammad’s grave on YouTube: “During my trip this year on Hajj I had the great honor to visit our Prophet Mohammed’s … grave in the Ottoman front portion of the Masjid Al Nabawi. This beautiful masjid holds one million people in Medina and when the grave is open for visitation, 1000s of people are passing through every minute.” This man and millions of others have seen the occupied grave of Islam’s founder, proving that Mohammad simply remained dead.

You can visit the graves of leaders like Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, and Buddha from your home computer by watching a video of their gravesite on YouTube. They and all the others died and remained dead; their occupied tombs attest to it. Jesus, however, is alive. His grave is empty. When people visit His grave it’s vacant.

Jesus said, “All power on earth and heaven has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). No force could have kept Him down. The Romans killed Him, put Him in a cave tomb, and placed huge boulder at a downward angle in front of the cave. Additionally, the state attached Caesar’s seal on the crypt, and posted Roman guards to protect the tomb. They were only trying to prevent the inevitable. Jesus had the power to rise and nobody could stop Him.

God used Christ’s resurrection and His appearances before His disciples to win many of Christ’s enemies to salvation. The Bible tells us that “the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Scripture also records that some Pharisees converted to Christianity (Acts 15:5). It’s clear, God is not dead, He’s the living God.

The Bible is the Word of God
 
Often skeptics argue that the Bible was written many years after the events it records, thus it was corrupted over time. Abrasive atheist Sam Harris notified the world that “the gospels are ancient fiction.” But papyrus expert Peter Thiede has demonstrated that a copy of the Gospel of Luke, housed in a French museum, is dated approximately 50 AD.[2] Thiede has also determined that the Magdalyn Manuscript of the Book of Matthew is dated circa 40-50 AD. And finally, Thiede has dated a copy of the Gospel written by Mark to be from about 50 AD.[3]
 
The age of the gospels demonstrates that there was not enough time between the events and their transcription for the Bible to be tainted or altered in the manner the critics allege. Ramm acknowledged, “Divine inspiration of the Bible is the only adequate hypothesis to account for the Bible.”[4]
 
Predictions Fulfilled: Declaring the Things to Come

Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were… Or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter… Thus says the LORD … I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me, there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? … I have declared the former things from the beginning; … Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass... Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you... (Isaiah 41:22-23, 44:6-8, 48:3-20).

Another segment of “proof” for Christianity is the messianic prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The Old Testament foretold the coming of the Messiah in precise detail. The text was written centuries before the coming of Jesus and predicted more than three hundred prophecies about Him. No other founder of any religion can provide a similar prophetic record of their life written down centuries before their birth. Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White, David Berg, Mohammad, and Buddha did not supply a widely transmitted, pre-existing written record that accurately predicted the specific details of their lives.

But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:22; italics mine).

The three hundred clear prophecies of the coming Messiah were predicted and predestined by God (Acts 2:23). The Bible foretold events and historical details about the coming of Jesus prior to His birth. All these predictions came true in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. No other spiritual leader or prophet had predictive material written about their lives recorded before they were born. Jesus Christ had more than three hundred predictions about His life that were fulfilled in exact detail. An agent on The X-Files once said: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” And only one with extreme power (God’s omnipotence qualifies) to perfectly arrange history could create a future where one man could fulfill hundreds of predictions—most of which were out of a normal man’s control to arrange.

Then He (Jesus) said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44).

Christ’s virgin birth was predicted about seven hundred years before He was born in Isaiah chapter seven verse fourteen: “So the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel.” His place of birth was recorded in Micah 5:2, hundreds of years prior to the event: “And you, Bethlehem ... out of you He shall come forth to Me, to become Ruler in Israel, He whose goings forth have been ... from eternity.” The exact date of His entry in Jerusalem was predicted by Daniel in chapter nine. God prophesied the Palm Sunday event recorded in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly … O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Christ’s death on the cross was foretold before that form of execution had even been invented by Persia. Psalm 22:1-16 announces the crucifixion hundreds of years before it happened: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me... But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All who see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip; they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, since He delights in him! I am poured out like water, and all my bones are spread apart; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels and You have brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have circled around me; the band of spoilers have hemmed me in, they have pierced my hands and my feet.”

Data is mute; one needs a theoretical framework to make sense of anything (chemist Roald Hoffman).

This evidence for Christian theism is overwhelming. Nevertheless, the truth is even more certain and compelling than compiling great blocks of evidence to prove the reality of Christianity. The argument for Christian theism is assured. Without God, one cannot provide the necessary truth conditions for knowledge—including knowledge derived from evidence and its analysis.
debate craig boghossian
 For more see my new book A Manual for Converting Atheists HERE
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NOTES


1.        John Piper, The Passion of Jesus Christ.
2.        Thiede, Rekindling the Word.
3.        Thiede, Eyewtinesses of Jesus.
4.        Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences.
5.    One cannot have evidence or the analysis of evidence without God. The God of the Bible is the precondition for the examination of evidence. Analysis uses induction, empirical testing, the laws of logic, and morality. One cannot account for any of those dynamics without God and His revelation. In a moment of honesty, renowned philosopher W.V. Quine, granted: “The collapse of empiricism (truth is found through man’s senses) would admit extra input ... by revelation.” Considering that empiricism is self-refuting (one cannot measure by seeing or hearing the definition of empiricism, so it collapses under its own load) it must concede truth claims to revelation by God and the general application of its precepts. Rational pre-commitments assist in directing one’s investigation and analysis of the data (as well as its interpretation and communication). This admission is often difficult to get from some atheistic inquirers to acknowledge. What worldview can furnish the a priori necessities and rational tools for analysis and research? Christian theism can deliver the epistemic ground for the a priori immutable universals utilized in rational enquiry; in principle, materialistic atheism cannot furnish the aforementioned ground. What is obligatory to account for analysis is a first principle that has the ontological endowment to not only ground it, but to account for it and its preconditions—all the universal operational features of knowledge. The loss of the immovable point of reference, in principle, leaves the ungodly bereft of a resource necessary to construct the analytical enterprise. Without God, one cannot hoist the necessary a priori operation features of the intellectual examination of evidence. The Christian worldview supplies the fixed ontic platform as the sufficient truth condition that can justify induction, immutable universals, attributes, identity, and the uniformity of the physical world. But materialistic atheism lacks such a fixed ontic platform. Consequently, it fails to provide the sufficient ground required to justify enquiry and research. When anyone attempts to escape the truth that God exists, he falls in a trap he cannot escape. This point is well made in Van Til’s illustration of a man made of water, who is trying to climb out of the watery ocean by means of a ladder made of water. He cannot get out of the water for he has nothing to stand on. Without God, one cannot make sense of anything. The atheist has nothing to stand on (an ontic Archimedean locus of reference) and he lacks a rational apparatus to scale an epistemic ladder that would allow him to view reality with clarity. God and His revealed word supply men their only possible ground with the explanatory clout needed to account for critical and analytical pursuits. The ontological barrenness of atheistic materialism is just one reason the Christian should never grant the natural man the right to determine the criteria for testing truth claims—atheistic naturalism lacks an ontology with a shard of explanatory power. Christianity rests upon God and His Revelation as the ontic Archimedean locus of reference for science.