Science


As some of my blog followers know I have written a bit on one of the most intrigiuging atheists whose ever lived named Christopher Hitchens.  He is both brilliant and witty and because of these traits he is quite entertaining to watch and read.  I have viewed many of his debates against religious minds across the board and have concieted as a Christian devotee that he has won each debate hands down.  Until recently I had given up hope and couldn’t quite understand how the Christians couldn’t offer this man a better debate.  Getting my BA in Religion and Philosophy I know of timely arguments that have worked against atheists and in favor of the theist’s worldview and couldn’t quite understand why no one was pulling these out of the arsenal.

One of my heros, Alister McGrath came the closest but allowed Hitchen’s to bring the debate into the arena of emotions and ethical accusations where Hitchens does best and likes to stay focused there.  However, the true debate is not about if many people do evil things in the name of religion.  No one is arguing that.  But that reality does not prove that God does not exist.  What it proves is that people do things that don’t line up with God’s purpose and nature but there own.  There is no other religion that proves this than Christianity.

I have been calling and hoping for a Christian to step up who is at the caliber of G.K. Chesterton in my posts : http://jeremiahstrumpet.com/2011/04/18/christopher-hitchens-vs-the-christian-church/

http://jeremiahstrumpet.com/2011/04/19/the-power-of-testimony-what-the-critics-and-atheists-cant-take-away/

Finally, such a Christian stepped forward and I came across the debate on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8&feature=related.  A Christian philosopher named William Lane Craig from Biola University debated Hitchens and debated him well.  I am not sure a Chesterton will ever rise again but Craig is close.  He is brilliant, witty, and bold and one may observed this made Hitchens quite uncomfortable.  All of Hitchens rhetorical parlor tricks did not prevail as Craig cleverly fended them off. 

Of course Hitchens’ devotees will defend him to the death and will NEVER concede a defeat, unlike me and other Christians who have honestly admitted such on our end.  Apparently for them Hitchens is inerrant and infallible.  Yet I think those who are truly honest will see that Craig resurrected several of the timeless theistic truths that have prevailed for centuries and finally won the day!!!  (Sorry no pictures…I fired this post off quickly since I should be working on my final paper for my seminary course instead 🙂

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“… and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” –Nietsche (I am indebted to my sister for reminding me of this quote.  I must add I am aware of Nietsche’s philosophies and the irony of using him as a quote for my article.  The irony here though is…I don’t think Nietsche could hear the music either).

                How do we Christians stand against the attacks of the world, particular the reason of the “New Athiests?”  They say our God is not real and doesn’t exist.  To that I say, “We are dancing to music they just can’t hear.” If they could only experience the power of the over whelming love our hearts experience when he touches us with his gentle hands.  If they could only experience the perfect peace we have amidst the worst storms of life.  If they could only experience the impregnable joy we have when we have no reason to laugh or rejoice.  If they could only experience the belonging to a community of believers when we have every reason to feel alone.  If they could only experience the closeness we feel to a father, friend, companion, shepherd, and king when we are in the presence of the God they can’t see. 

                 What do we say to those who can not hear the music we are dancing to?  What do we say to those who have not felt the touch of the Master’s hand?  What do we say to those who have become so calloused toward the idea of God?  What do we say to those who have not experienced the power that we have experienced?  It’s that experience of God that has caused us to entrust ourselves to him; that experience that has allowed us to know that there is a God who loves us in a way that no outsider could possibly understand with all their human faculties; that experience that has evolved into a relationship that is deeper and more real than any relationship we have ever had or will ever know in this life or the next?  I don’t know what to say sometimes, except “Come. Come. Come and meet the Lord I have come to know and love; this new life; this joy; this peace; this deep, deep love.  Hear the music.  Hear the music and dance!”

 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift (Revelation 22:17 NRSV).

Let me start by saying this, “YOUR TESTIMONY AS A BELIEVER IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL OF EVANGELISM YOU HAVE IN YOUR ARSENAL.”   Piggy backing off of my previous article, it is apparent that the world is filled with Christopher Hitchenses.  That is, our faith as Christian believers is being challenged on a daily basis.  I have watched several of Hitchens’ debates against many Christians and people of various faith backgrounds.  He has debated theologians, scholars, authors, ministers, social activists etc.  As I have mentioned, overall, I think they have all lost the debates to Hitchens for various reasons.  Yet in the midst of all of these debates there was one debater, and one single moment that seemed silent but POWERFUL. 

During the debate between Marvin Olasky and Hitchens, Olasky says to Hitchens (my paraphrase), “I don’t know what teaching you have absorbed over the years that has made you believe the way you do.  But whatever the reason…I pity you.”  Olasky went on to say, “There is something that you and I have in common.  We were both married and then divorced.  In my first marriage, I was an atheist and did not know how to be a husband.  I was a bad husband.  It only lasted two years.  Then I got remarried but this time as a Christian.  Christianity taught me how to be a husband and a father.  I have been married for thirty years.”  WOW!

If you watch Hitchens, his demeanor changes and he seems taken back.  He even says something to the effect of, “Well said” to Olasky.  It may be the first time I have seen Hitchens like that.  Why do you think?  I think it’s because Olasky used, and maybe not purposefully, the most powerful element of Christianity we have.  EXPERIENCE!  No one can refute your testimony.  No one can dismiss your witness.  No one can reject your experience.  Why?  Because it is your proof that it is real, that something is going on here that no outsider can convince you with all their logic, reason, and rhetoric otherwise. 

What Olasky was saying was that he has experienced the power of the Gospel in his life and not even Hitchens in all of his brilliance can take that away.  Hitchens, I think, knows this too.  The Gospel has the power to change and transform lives and it has done exactly that.  Hitchens can’t convince the ex-drug dealer or alcoholic who came to Christ and was delivered that there is no power in the Gospel.  In fact, I know some of those people.  I have heard their stories how the impossible was made possible because they had an encounter with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. 

I work with a man who I knew as no more than an alcoholic bum.  God got a hold of him and flipped him upside down and then right side up. He went through a traumatic divorce during all of this and I thought for sure he would go back to drinking.  Yet the power of God that changed his life, identity, and desires stuck with him and he is still living strong for the Lord.  That’s an experienced reality of the power of God in someone’s life.  No one is going to tell that man there is no God and that Christianity is a flop.  I think he might just laugh at such a remark.

I am reminded of John 9.  I trust you have a Bible to look it up…if not you must be viewing this from a computer so you can search that passage on an online Bible.  If you need a Bible, email me and I will get one to you.  Okay back to John 9.  This is the passage where Jesus, rather sanitarily spits on some dirt and makes mud balls.  He smothers the mud onto some blind guy’s eyes and tells the man to go wash the germy mud off.  The man does and could see.  He was healed miraculously!  The Pharisees get their robes all in a bunch and get mad about the healing.  After much interrogation of both the blind man and his parents the blind man says one of the most profound things in scripture.  The Pharisees accuse Jesus of being a sinner and try to undermine him.  The blind man responds, “I don’t know if he is a sinner, but one thing I do know—I was blind but now I see.”  Wow that is awesome!!! 

The man was blind from birth.  Jesus heals him.  The Pharisees pout and have a hissy fit about it.  Who is really blind in this narrative?  Who?  Right…the religious leaders who should have known better.   These leaders were the intelligencia of their day.  You know…the guys who knew it all and were well studied in matters on many subjects.  But their whining and reasonable arguments did not matter a hill of beans to the blind man who could finally see.  HE COULD SEE!  Nobody was going to take that away from him…NOBODY! 

This is my argument against those who want to align themselves against the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ: all the bells and whistles of reason and logic don’t hold a match to what we have personally experienced as Christians.  I have so many testimonies I don’t know where to begin.  I know people who have so many testimonies it would take weeks to cover.  So while we sit around holding debates and theorizing about the God of the Bible and the reality of the risen Savior Jesus Christ being real or not—there are people all over the world experiencing his power NOW.  If you don’t believe me I will point you in the direction of many folks that are in the midst of it and seeing it move like wild fire across countries like China and Sudan.

For those of you who haven’t experienced it I say this…get out of your dead and dried up churches into a church that actually expects God to move and live.  If you haven’t been to church find one that expects God to be real and to move in their midst.  If you walk into a church that hands you a bulletin of how the service is going to go…walk back out… because they have obviously structured and choreographed God right out of the service. 

This may rub some of my Christian brothers and sisters the wrong way but listen.  There is a world that is hungry for the reality of God in this decaying world and they are depending on you to proof it to them.  Stop playing church for goodness sakes and start calling out for the fire of God to fall on you.  You don’t want to?  Then slowly wait for the day when your old church doors and windows are boarded up and ICHABOD is plastered across them. 

God is moving and waiting for YOU to jump in!  Throw off the chains of this culture that are holding you down!  Stop protecting your reputations and securities and get embarrassed for God!  Let him interrupt your controlled life and infuse it with the power of his Holy Spirit.  Does that make you feel uncomfortable?  Right…it’s suppose to. God wants to invade your life and fill it with his presence.  But you have to let him in.  Whatever is holding you back needs to be submitted.  Yuck, not that word again.  SUBMIT and YIELD yourself to God…I promise, you won’t regret it.

As you embrace him he will give you an experience, testimony, and reality that no one can ever take away. 

Blessings!

Perhaps one the most fascinating people of our time in my opinion is Christopher Hitchens.  Hitchens is a well educated journalist who attended Oxford.  There is so much more to say about his unique life than I am willing to take the time here.  However, he is an outstanding debater on sundry subjects and is both witty and bold.

Hitchens describe himself as an antitheist instead of an atheist.  In many of his debates against religion he describes an antitheist as someone who does not believe in God but also is relieved that such a tyrannical god does not exist.  Hitchens calls upon Reason and Logic as his tools of truth and wields them against all of his religious opponents. 

Hitchens however does not hide away in a corner.  Instead he is very willing to debate any and all religious devotees who would like to step into the rhetorical ring with him.  Several well known ministers, theologians, and authors of various faith traditions have taken on the challenge.  Since I am a Christian I am mostly concerned with his debates with fellow-believers.  He has debated Douglas Wilson, Alister McGrath, Marvin Olasky, and even Al Sharpton (that one was hilarious and embarassing). 

Here’s the problem though.  Out of all we have offered him…in my opinion he has won every debate.  He is not only brilliant but he is unapologetically bold.  I find that many very intelligent Christians simply become intimidated and back down.  Now each one comes at him from a different angle.  I must say if they would actually sit down and pull all their thoughts together they may fare better. 

Olasky came at him from the approach of personal experience and attacked Hitchens’ generalizations.  McGrath, also a graduate from Oxford and a brilliant man came at him from the fields of science, philosophy, and theology.  In my opinion McGrath has done the best.  Wilson started out will but ran out of steam.  He came from the field of logic, philosophy and theology.  Al Sharpton…well ugh…yeah.

So I wonder, is there any Christian out there who could at least stay on equal playing field with Hitchens?  Where are our G.K. Chestertons?  Where is our witty version of Hitchens?  He is indeed a words-smith and if you don’t agree with him he is at least VERY entertaining to watch.  As a Christian I am intrigued by this man.  I would love to spend a day with him or write his biography.  He has given me reason for many sleepless nights of pondering my faith.

I just wonder though…is there anyone who can counter this guy?  The Church needs to step up their game on him.  Either way I will be writing more on this in the future and the New Atheism as it is being called.  But I would like to hear your thoughts.

Of late I have been doing a bit of research into what has been called “The New Atheism.”  They have four main characters in their lot that have ordained themselves as “the Four Horsemen.”  Pay attention to the following names because for at least the past four years they have been very aggressive in pushing their agenda.  Their names are: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel C. Dennett, and Sam Harris.  Obviously this handsome title has been adopted from the Christian canon book of “Revelation.”  This was a purposeful play on John’s vision of these agents of horror.  We Christians scratch our heads but they think it is clever and may some how be a message that scares us. Now do not get me wrong, these men are not clowns but are very intelligent individuals and have a message that is not new (as their title “New Atheists” may seem to imply) yet is aggressively re-energized by these men. 
There is however, several points where their atheism challenge seems to break down or at best, is very flimsy.  I believe that these weaknesses are: 1) creation 2) sin 3) solutions.
I may address these issues in a future post but for now it will suffice to merely mention them.  To the first weakness I will direct you to a wonderful site for scholars and Christians of all degrees.  The site is “First Things.”  The article is: When Nothing Created Everything.  It is written by a wonderful author, Joe Carter, and I feel he does a beautiful job articulating in a creative way the silliness of the New Atheists approach to creation and evolution.  Let me know what you think.