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."
I joined a team within my company about a year ago and am now regretting it. I am the only straight (and female, and Christian) person in a group of five money-hungry, Christian-hating gay men whose mouths and minds are filled with the most vile things, and they speak of everyone around them -clients, other teams, anyone - with bitter contempt. I was not the most devoted Christian when I joined, so it would be an unpleasant surprise to my team if I were to begin to demonstrate my faith, even in the smallest ways. In fact, whenever they take the opportunity to bash believers, I stay silent for fear of putting my job in jeopardy. They managed to push out the previous girl, who was also a Christian. My desire is to leave the team and find a better fit - as well as something closer to home (my commute is over an hour one way).
I have been praying persistently to Jesus to invoke the Holy Spirit to either strengthen my walk and help me endure this job, or provide a better opportunity. But neither has happened, and I live in constant discouragement.
Recently I was presented with a better offer from a Godly team in my hometown. I turned it down before my resume was even accepted, simply because the ringleader of my team suspected I was looking for another job, and offered me a $200 gas card and a .50-cent an hour raise. Now I feel like Judas, who was bought out by the Pharisees for a bag of coins. Furthermore, my boss has recently insisted on helping me financially with moving into my new apartment. So I feel ashamed, because in a way I am greatly indebted to him.
Would there be a reason for God to keep me in this job - possibly to use it as a mission field? I should hope not, no Christian should have to be surrounded by this daily filth! But I’m afraid since I forfeited my chance at a better opportunity for a few cents more an hour, I have indeed messed up God’s plan, and now must remain here as a consequence. How am I ever to know which path God wants me to take?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
So, I was just wondering since Jesus told us not to bring anything when we preach the gospel in Luke 9:3, then how does that view fit into our modern society? We have Bible apps now and faith-based mobile games like Blue Letter Bible, OnePassion Ministries, Play The Bible, GLOW: Guardian Light Of the World, Reborn Crosswords and others. How do we know what the red line is? Or whether we crossed it unknowingly? Or does the red line even exist? The reason why I'm asking these questions is because some churches are using Christian apps to do evangelism and I'm not saying that it's wrong, because I don't see anything wrong with it, I'm just confuse since I'm only a baby Christian and I don't feel that it is in line with what the Lord Jesus said.
But if I have a wrong notion about this stuff, then by all means please correct my thinking. I hope to see your opinions on the matter. Thanks!