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