Sunday, May 24, 2015

JurassicGate: Chris Pratt Blasts Political Correctness

Our society claims to promote tolerance. Yet what we mean by "tolerance" nowadays seems to be "throwing a tantrum over anything that could conceivably offend anyone, until people pretend they agree on everything."

Tolerance presupposes disagreement. If I agree with your views, I don't need to tolerate them. Tolerance only comes into play when you believe something, I believe something quite different, and we want to make sure we don't start killing each other over our differences.

Yet any departure from the status quo, no matter how trivial, is now perceived as a cringeworthy offense, and is met with howling intolerance by the mindless stormtroopers of political correctness.

Chris Pratt draws attention to this unfortunate cultural degeneration in a recent Facebook post, where he apologizes for the inevitable offense he will cause in the Jurassic World press tour. Here's his scathing "apology":

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ravi Zacharias on Buddhism, Christianity, and Suffering

According to Buddhism, the source of suffering is desire. Eliminate desire, and you eliminate suffering. The goal, then, is complete detachment.

When his son was born, the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) famously declared: "A fetter has arisen." That is, he perceived his son as an obstacle to his enlightenment. The Buddha then abandoned his wife and child in order to pursue detachment.

Ravi Zacharias compares this response to suffering with the response of Christianity:
"It does not seem accidental that the night Gautama Buddha left his palace to pursue an answer to pain and suffering was the very night his wife was giving birth to their son. In his quest to eliminate suffering, he actually walked out and left his wife alone in the throes of her pain. Contrast this with the God of the Bible, who came into this world Himself in the person of His Son to suffer on the cross, to embrace pain and suffering for the sake of humanity. Buddha walked away from his son and from pain. In Christianity, God is part and parcel of the solution." (Why Suffering?, p. 131)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rodney Stark on the New Atheists

Rodney Stark
The "New Atheists" are rapidly becoming the atheistic equivalent of Westboro Baptist Church. Oddly enough, this mass of anti-intellectuals, mindlessly repeating whatever Dawkins & Co. say, happen to view themselves as champions of science and reason.

Dr. Rodney Stark has written more than 30 books and more than 140 scholarly articles and is Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor University. Here's his assessment of the scholarly prowess of the "New Atheists":
"To expect to learn anything about important theological problems from Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett is like expecting to learn about medieval history from someone who had only read Robin Hood." (Rodney Stark, What Americans Really Believe, p. 120)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Paul Copan on the New Atheists

Paul Copan
Here's a good description of the "New Atheists" by Paul Copan:
The Neo-atheists' arguments against God's existence are surprisingly flimsy, often resembling the simplistic village atheist far more than the credentialed academician. The Neo-atheists are often profoundly ignorant of what they criticize, and they typically receive the greatest laughs and cheers from the philosophically and theologically challenged. True, they effectively utilize a combination of emotion and verbal rhetoric, but they aren't known for logically carrying thoughts through from beginning to end. Their arguments against God's existence aren't intellectually rigorous—although they want to give that impression. Yes, they'll raise some important questions concerning, for example, the problem of evil, but again, their arguments are a collage of rhetorical barbs that don't really form a coherent argument. I've observed that while these men do have expertise in certain fields (biology and evolutionary theory in the case of Dawkins and Dennett), they turn out to be fairly disappointing when arguing against God's existence or Christian doctrine. And a quick check of Dawkins's documentation reveals a lot more time spent on Google than at Oxford University's Bodleian Library. (Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster?, p. 17)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Debate: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? (David Wood vs. John Loftus)

Jesus' resurrection is the heart of both Christian preaching and Christian living. In 1 Corinthians 15:17, the Apostle Paul said: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless." Hence, Christianity stands or falls with the resurrection of Jesus.

In order to discredit Christianity, atheists simply need to discredit the central miracle on which it is founded. But can atheistic explanations account for the historical facts? If they can't, is atheism a worldview in crisis?

In this video, David Wood (Christian, former atheist) and John Loftus (atheist, former Christian) debate whether Jesus rose from the dead.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Jennifer Fulwiler: How Modern Art Led Me to God

The idea of there being objectivity in art might seem counter-intuitive to most people. After all, art is simply about the expression of feeling and emotion, right? If all art is equally beautiful and good, then we must conclude that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing are just as good and aurally aesthetic as Justin Bieber's Baby. Perish the thought! All Justin Bieber roasting aside, it does seem that we can look at the grandeur of the Sistine Chapel and conclude that it is objectively more beautiful than a room of empty metal boxes. This is precisely what led atheist Jennifer Fulwiler on the path to Christianity. She wanted to affirm the existence of objective standards for goodness and beauty, but failed to explain how they could exist on an atheistic worldview. This is her story.

Modern Art

There was a recent controversy in Tacoma, Washington because the Tacoma Art Museum considered showing the work of an artist named David Wojnarowicz. Specifically, they wanted to show a video montage he put together that was pulled by the Smithsonian because it was too offensive. The Tacoma museum’s curator responded to critics by saying, “For someone to come and have to confront this image, it’s not going to be easy but art’s not easy.”
Curious about what this non-easy art might involve, I did some searches and found a clip of the video on Youtube (it’s called Fire in My Belly by David Wojnarowicz if you’re interested, though I don’t recommend viewing it). It features images of ants crawling on a crucifix juxtaposed with flickering shots of a young man doing something pornographic.
Oddly, it was this kind of thing that helped lead me to God.
Shortly after I got married, my husband suggested that we check out an international modern art festival that had come to town. At one exhibit we walked into a large room where stylishly-dressed people wandered around rows of metal boxes, nodding and making approving comments. Were we in the wrong place? Had the organizers not had a chance to set the art out on the boxes yet? As it turned out, the metal boxes were the art.
As we walked through the other exhibits, I was amazed at what was considered art: a light bulb, a paper with some holes in it, even an entire building with some spray painting on the side. A favorite approach seemed to be to take something that traditionally symbolized purity and hope (e.g. a sacred religious object) and juxtapose it with something considered dirty and bad (e.g. excrement).
“It’s beautiful,” someone commented at one such exhibit. I recoiled at the statement. If someone wanted to say that this art was thought-provoking or interesting, I could have barely seen where they were coming from. But beautiful? No.
My husband teased me by joking, “Hey, one man’s Sistine Chapel is another man’s metal box!”
“Umm, no,” I mumbled.
At the time I was an atheist, and my husband responded with an interesting question. As we walked back through the rows of metal boxes, he said: “Are you sure that you can defend that statement from a purely atheistic perspective?”
Without thinking about it, I blurted out, “If not, then I denounce atheism. Because I know more than I know anything else that those boxes aren’t as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel.”

Continue Reading.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Another French Atheist Becomes a Christian

Alex was a French atheist, who thought that Christians were weak-minded. After deciding to commit suicide and having an out-of-body experience, he is now a Christian.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Another Atheist Calls for Book Burnings

I posted here about an atheist calling for book burnings, and here about atheists saying that people who believe in God should be wiped out or quarantined. Here's another atheist calling for book burnings. If this comment had come from a Christian, atheists would point to it as clear proof that religion breeds radicalism. But since it comes from an atheist, it's no evidence of anything. Welcome to the amazing world of double standards.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Searching for the Atheist Refutation of Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer who raped and murdered 17 men and boys. He is chiefly remembered for cannibalizing some of his victims.

In his last interview on Dateline NBC, Dahmer explained that he had seen no reason to control his depraved urges, because he didn't believe he would have to answer for his actions.

I'm obviously convinced that Dahmer was wrong, but it's because I believe that there is an ultimate standard of right and wrong and that we are all accountable for our actions. When I was an atheist, I agreed with Dahmer that, in an ultimately meaningless world where humanity is a cosmic accident, we might as well do whatever we feel like doing.

Interestingly, Dahmer and I both eventually realized that we are accountable (because there is a standard of right and wrong) and that we will all stand before him. Here's the full quote from Dahmer:
"If a person doesn't think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what's the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That's how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing. And I've since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly God, and I believe that I, as well as everyone else, will be accountable to Him."