I am a Christian and looking for a place to share ideas and connect with other believers. I am interested in topics such as how does the church interact with culture in an effective manner. Also, I would like to discuss ecclesiology and how does church structure affect the way we exercise our God-given gifts. I am hoping to generate some good discussion on these points and to see if others share my interest in these questions. I would also like to pray and share Christ with those in need and request prayer when needed. Let us bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
God bless you and thank you for the opportunity to participate here.
When the word worship is mentioned in a Christian context I wonder if playing music and singing are the only things that come to mind. Of course there is a lot more to worship than music and singing. In addition to doxa referring to honour in Luke 14:10, five other Greek words used in the Bible variously translate into the English word worship as follows:
By Uber Genius
Posts in this series are aimed at helping those defending the Gospel message understand how to respond to popular but fallacious arguments raised against theism. Atheist have a variety of arguments, but the New Atheists use a large number of fallacious arguments and my goal is to poison the wells to such a waste of time and effort.
In 2006 Wired Magazine author Mark Wolf coins the phrase, "New Atheist." The author described Richard Dawkins arguments as "logical," demonstrating that journalism schools don't require one to have even a basic understanding of logic.
Once open to scrutiny, professional philosophers that shared the atheistic worldview, but not the propagandistic approach, started speaking out.
Michael Ruse, atheist, philosopher of biology at Florida State, and author of hundreds of popular and scholarly papers, observes in an article about the new atheists,
"I have written elsewhere that The God Delusion makes me ashamed to be an atheist. Let me say that again. Let me say also that I am proud to be the focus of the invective of the new atheists. They are a bloody disaster and I want to be on the front line of those who say so."
Read more at Why I Think the New Atheists are a Bloody Disaster - Science and the Sacred
There are a host of rhetorical tricks played by so-called New Atheist and their fundamentalist followers these days. These tricks have leached into intellectually-challenged minds for decades and have achieved a certain acceptance by tweeting millennials and their ilk.
The goal of this series will be to help Christians defend against the rhetoric with rationality. There is much to be discussed with "Seekers," but little or none with "Seekers In Name Only," referred to as SINOs.
I will arrange these threads by the logical fallacy deployed by these New Atheists in order to serve as both a critique but also to familiarize the reader with plenty of examples so as to not follow in their footsteps.
Definitions are a good place to start. Dictionaries used to be a good resource but slang and Wikipedia have led to equivocation in favor of definitions that are not either historical or very descriptive.
You get to define the terms of an argument but when making truth claims make them clear by defining terms.
"God exists," is a truth-claim.
"God does not exist," is a truth-claim.
In both cases a truth-claim is being made.
In both cases the truth-claim must be defended.
Now historically they were defended. But recently, the last few decades, the New Atheist says, "Atheism is the lack of belief in Gods," by this redefinition they hope to avoid the burden of proof. But it muddles the meaning of "atheism," quite badly.
On this view, my cat and dog are "Atheists."
I'm sitting on an "Atheist," chair as I write this thread on my "Atheist," ipad.
If we wanted to join the New Atheist in their word games we could say that "Theism is the lack of belief that their are no gods," BAM we no longer have to defend our claim because I is stated in the negative!
Just kidding here. We do not have to act as if we haven't ever had a philosophy 101 class. We can take an intellectual honest route of defending our claims.
Of course we would give various arguments such as:
Teleological (fine-tuning or design inference for life from DNA etc.)
Existence of miracles/ fulfilled prophecy
Various arguments from desire (no atheists in fox holes)
Now to my theist friends I give the following advise:
1 - Learn how to spot logical fallacies and not use them in an argument.
2 - We can be generous to those who are genuinely seeking. If you were unaware of some of these tricks so too may some of the seekers be.
3 - If the advice above fails to help, you may just have to disengage. I often link debates and other critical peer-reviewed discussions so my opponent can engage the real argument and not play tricks. But many of these individuals are SINOs as mentioned above. You will determine this lack of intellectual engagement by their refusal to do the smallest amount of research on topics.
A blanket statement advising a philosophy 101 course at their nearest jr. college when they are finally motivated to get up off their couch should suffice as an exit strategy. We are generous to genuine seekers, but to fakers and pharisees no such consideration is warranted.
4 - Remember that you engaged the conversation in good-faith and have been manipulated by propaganda. Propaganda is a shortcut for the intellectual lazy or intellectually challenged. You don't (I hope) use propaganda to manipulate the seeker, you deserve the same respect. Don't be bullied by ignorant fools.
This advise cuts both ways. Ray Comfort, Ken Ham, Duane Gish all use similar fallacious propagandistic approaches to manipulate people to adopt the Christian Worldview.
5. We are not "proving anything!"
Since Descartes modern philosophy has shown that we can't "prove" we are not a brain in a vat being manipulated to experience everything we experience. In fact we can't "prove" we live in an external world, with other minds (people), or that the past is real, or that the world operates consistently over time. In none. Our most foundational knowledge assumptions are "provable," what are the chances of proving theological truths based on historical information, especially given all the competing explanatory inferences?
So don't get drawn into "proving" just focus on theism being the best explanation of the things we experience and the concepts we know.
For theists, I recommend anything by William Lane Craig, his site is a valuable resource for beginners and advanced apologetics.
For atheists, I recommend Graham Oppy, J.H. Sobel, Quinten Smith, Kai Nielsen, J.L. Mackey, Michael Ruse, and the most prolific of the bunch (before he abandoned atheism), Antony Flew.
People to avoid due to propagandistic approaches: Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, Atkins, Krauss, Coyne.
For good programming that engages these issues from a rational standpoint I advise a program called, "Closer to The Truth."
By Uber Genius
Recently, a well-educated individual posted a great response to a exegetically fallacious rendering of a passage. He was technically astute and handle the hermeneutics flawlessly, then he made one of the most ignorant remarks I have heard in a long while. "The majority of Western culture has held a false scientific view of the world as being flat, due to the influence of the Bible on our science understanding."
Here is the research:
False Flat Earth Myth
According to Stephen Jay Gould, "there never was a period of 'flat Earth darkness' among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the Earth's roundness as an established fact of cosmology."
Historians of science David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers point out that "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference".
Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell says the flat-Earth error flourished most between 1870 and 1920, and had to do with the ideological setting created by struggles over biological evolution. Russell claims "with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat", and ascribes popularization of the flat-Earth myth to histories by John William Draper, Andrew Dickson White, andWashington Irving.[3,4,5]
Atheists in the late 18th and 19th centuries were largely responsible for falsely propagating this myth in order to support an ad hominem attack on theists and especially Christians.
Don't be suckered by myths invented by atheists. Call them on this fallacious trick to claim all Christians come from a scientifically ignorant culture.
1. Gould, Stephen J. (2011) , "Columbus and the Flat Earth: An Example of the Fallacy of Warfare between Science and Religion", Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life (e-book ed.), New York: Random House LLC,ISBN 978-0-307-80141-8
2. Lindberg, David C.; Numbers, Ronald L. (1986), "Beyond War and Peace: A Reappraisal of the Encounter between Christianity and Science", Church History, Cambridge University Press, 55 (3): 338–354, doi:10.2307/3166822,JSTOR 3166822
3. Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1991), Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and modern historians, New York: Praeger, ISBN 0-275-95904-X
4. Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1993), "The Flat Error: The Modern Distortion of Medieval Geography", Mediaevalia, 15: 337–353
5. Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1997), "The Myth of the Flat Earth", Studies in the History of Science, American Scientific Affiliation, retrieved 2007-07-14