30 December 2016

Quotables - R.C. Sproul

God’s grace is not infinite. God is infinite, and God is gracious. We experience the grace of an infinite God, but grace is not infinite.

22 December 2016

Atheist Quotables - Richard Lewontin

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen."
 
- Richard Lewontin (italics in the original) - 'Billions and Billions of Demons', The New York Review of Books online January 9, 1997.

Quotable - Fyodor Dostoevsky


19 December 2016

Atheist Quotables - Allan Lightman

"We can say that science and God are compatible as long as the latter is content to stand on the sidelines once the universe has begun. A God that intervenes after the cosmic pendulum has been set into motion, violating the physical laws, would clearly upend the central doctrine of science."
 
- Allan Lightman

15 December 2016

Atheist Quotables - Victor J. Stenger

"The Darwinian scheme has no role for God."
 
- Victor J. Stenger, God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion (2012)

06 December 2016

A Sense of Morality Makes Us Weak?

My son and I were recently watching the 2013 Superman movie "Man of Steel". I have not watched it since it first came out, and did not remember a lot of the details. In one scene, Superman and one of his opponents were fighting each other. In one moment where the one his enemies (Faora) had the upper hand, she states:
 
Faora: "You are weak, Son of El, unsure of yourself. The fact that you possess a sense of morality, and we do not, gives us an evolutionary advantage. And if history has proven anything...
 
[Faora picks up Kal-El throws him into another building]
 
...It is that evolution always wins."
 
What a powerful statement. "The fact that you possess a sense of morality, and we do not, gives us an evolutionary advantage." The inverse of this sentence shows something else - that those who have a sense of morality are truly at a disadvantage.
 
I am grateful that 'a sense of morality' is one of our greatest assets as a race. But where does that sense of morality come from? Does it merely come from a general consensus? I think that many would state that it does. But that does not give an answer to the specific and consistent reactions that are experienced by people all over the globe - and frankly the source being a general consensus gives me no hope that we can ever come to a common understanding of right and wrong.
 
Last week at Ohio State, an 18 year old with a butcher knife drove his car into pedestrians and began hacking away at whoever he could reach - which was about 9 fellow students, before he was shot and killed by an officer. Although I am sure that there are outliers, most people would say what the young man did was wrong, and even that what the officer did was right - no matter what culture or country this happened in.
 
Somewhere in the world, a wallet or purse was just stolen - and no matter what country it happened in, most people would respond with anger at being taken advantage of. In their gut, they know that theft is wrong. But why is it wrong?
 
If evolution-atheism is the true state of the universe, and there is no God, then there is no absolute sufficient and true truth to determine right or wrong. If I hold to a worldview that says that stealing is wrong - what right do you have to complain when I take your possessions from you if everything about right and wrong is relative? It would not be sufficient to say that you are right and I am wrong if there is not an authority higher than us. When there is a disagreement between us, there has to be a higher authority/truth to determine the result or else we will ultimately try to kill each other.

That higher authority might be the police - but what if two separate police forces disagreed on the nature of crime - we again have to appeal to a higher authority.
 
You can cut me with a knife - and what grounds do I have to complain if morality is determined by whatever you think is right?
 
Absolute truth is a blessing because it gives us parameters by which we can make judgments about the nature of decisions that people make. We have to be able to submit to the absolute if it is going to work. I have to submit to a greater truth, because I am often wrong - not merely because I am finite, but because I am a broken, sinful person in a broken and sinful world that seeks its own good above that of anyone else.

So despite what others may say, I thank God today that there are absolutes of right and wrong - and I thank God that I am suffering from the weakness of not just a sense of morality, but an actual knowledge of morality revealed to us in Jesus Christ and His Word.

Quotables - R.C. Sproul

24 November 2016

Quotables - Christopher Hitchens

"If you can charm everyone, it means you don't care about anyone in particular."

- Christopher Hitchens

Quotables - William Shakespeare

"Oh, full of scorpions is my mind" - Macbeth

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." - Macbeth

"I have no words. My voice is in my sword." - Macduff

Quotables - R.C. Sproul

23 November 2016

Quotables from "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"

"Why can't I act right outside of a baseball game?" - Peppermint Patty

"I think I am losing control of the whole world!" - Charlie Brown

God moves in a mysterious way... (from April 2008)

William Cowper (pronounced 'cooper') attempted suicide 2 or 3 times, was committed to an asylum, and yet still penned this gem... these words are the kind of darkness and light that hold me together...

-----------

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
 
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
 
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

What does it say...

What does it say about a culture that would create this item for a child?
 
I am sure that someone had a good laugh over it.
 
I doubt that it was anyone on the receiving end of a lion's maw.
 

19 November 2016

18 November 2016

Mark 8:36 || Mathew 16:26

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

How is this going in your life today?

11 November 2016

A World of Worshippers (Even at a Football Game)

I love Ohio State football. Pretty much the only reason that I pay for cable TV all year long is so that I can satisfy a yearly appetite for that one sport. I know that a lot of people have a disdain for the Buckeyes, but when you grow up in Columbus, Ohio it pretty much comes with the DNA.

However, if there is something that I love more about Ohio State than Buckeye Football, it is the Ohio State University Marching Band. The only thing I regret about my choice of undergraduate school was missing out on playing in the OSUMB. They truly are the best student musical group in the United States, if not the world.

Recently, my son and I went to the skull session before a home game, and I was completely struck by themes of worship. Not overt worship of the band per se, but of any and all things Ohio State.

Someone has well said that man is a worshipping creature. That observation was on full display. Thousands of people wearing the sacred robes of scarlet and gray. Women dressed in outfits that they would never wear in front of their mother with makeup applied to attract and catch the lust, desire and worship of men. Songs written to an Alma Mater ("Oh! Come let's sing Ohio's praise..."). I saw fans of music, sport, achievement - you name it - clapping, screaming, and cheering this scarlet and gray hued theme. Most people would blow off my concern saying that I am a religious fanatic and that I am just reading things into this experience. But doesn't it evidence the truth that when we stop worshipping the true God, we must find something to take its place?

C.S. Lewis said that one of the pivotal moments in his understanding of specifically worshipping God was the realization that everyone in life worships. In his book, Reflections on the Psalms, he states:

"The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game – praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars... I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” 1

In some ways it is beautiful to see people enjoy something deeply with great abandon. In other ways, we all need to watch that the things we enjoy do not become idols. Idols that we keep giving priority to eventually let us down (best case scenario), or completely eat our souls.

So while I will continue to enjoy Buckeye football, I need to be continually reminded that all praise needs to be submitted to the greater praise for God and all of the gifts that He grants us in this world - not as an end in itself. I need not be so worked up no matter the outcome of the game as to feel that God is not on His throne (in the event of a loss), or that there is nothing better in the universe than a Buckeye win. God is the greatest object of our attention and praise – not because I say so, but because our souls testify to this need to worship things greater than ourselves – things that do not perish with the use.

1 C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1958), pp. 93–97

10 November 2016

Ohio State vs Nebraska 11 5 2016

Game Time Seats! The Buckeyes won 62-3!
A Panorama Shot of the Ohio State University
Marching Band during Skull Session

The Sousaphones

A attempted surround picture

Great to spend some time with Brian - thanks for the ticket!
 
The OSUMB during Skull Session at St. John's Arena