Friday, December 28, 2018

Evolution versus Intelligent Design?

The article below was written in response to the request: "Can you compare and contrast the Theory of Evolution vs. the Theory of Intelligent Design?"

First off, there is no inherent conflict between the Theory of Evolution and the Theory of Intelligent Design, so it is difficult to compare and contrast or set up a “versus” between two things that are not at odds.

Perhaps it would be better to compare or contrast Undirected vs. Directed Evolution. Undirected Evolution (pure naturalism) states that evolution is a purely blind chemical process with no ultimate goals or supervising principles. Directed Evolution (Intelligent Design) states that evolution has been guided by a supervising agency with goals.

When evaluating these two paradigms (models) we have to look at evidence in the following fields: Biology (primarily DNA), Probability Mathematics, and Chemistry (and physics to a lesser degree, but only in the sense of time and those features which support chemical activity), and finally Paleontology (fossil record).

When we look at Biology (DNA), we are astounded by the sheer complexity and total volume of genetic information encoded into the nuclear material of cells. As the famous Atheist, Richard Dawkins, recently admitted:

“You contain a trillion copies of a large, textual document written in a highly accurate, digital code, each copy as voluminous as a substantial book. I’m talking, of course, of the DNA in your cells.”

The problem for those who accept Undirected Evolution (pure naturalism) is that they must account for the random, unguided assimilation of more complex information than contained in thousands of books written by “intelligent” authors. As Dawkins admitted, the digital information encoded in DNA is both a storage mechanism (codons of nucleotides) and it is a language that can interpret that information. BOTH are required simultaneously.

There is a (1) LANGUAGE of DNA (syntax, letters, words, punctuation, etc) and then there is (2) the actual, physical, SYMBOLIC INFORMATION stored in the nucleotides embedded in our double-helix. You have to have BOTH (1 and 2) in order for DNA to function (it is analogous to the “which came first: the chicken or the egg?” conundrum). The rules and syntax and guiding principles of DNA (it’s LANGUAGE) must ALREADY exist in order to interpret the physical encoded information that is actually there. But, even a child can see the inherent paradox.

The language of DNA is useless without any actual information to process, and yet the information itself (about 3.1 billion nucleotides in the human genome) is only a series of meaningless bits of chemistry without the necessary language of DNA to interpret and act upon them.

For instance, imagine that I wrote the 5 physical letters HELLO on a piece of paper with a pencil. There are 5 letters physically written with graphite on paper (similar to nucleotides “written” on the double-helix). BUT, unless you have the English language in your mind when looking at those letters (LANGUAGE), those 5 letters are worthless, useless INFORMATION. To a person who only understands Mandarin or Arabic, those 5 letters are meaningless. They are only “functional” if the person using them has the built-in language of English to aid in the processing of that encoded, symbolic information.

This is the unanswerable and insurmountable barrier to the model of Undirected Evolution. Those who espouse this model have to admit, that at the very outset of the basis of all life, is a system that cannot be arrived at without a level of intelligent planning and design that is orders of magnitude even beyond our own. Since the digital, encoded information in our DNA was discovered several decades ago, it has taken thousands of scientists, utilizing supercomputer processing to try and unravel the mysteries and intricacies of DNA, and yet we are only beginning to grasp the various mechanisms and principles that are contained within the molecule of life. New discoveries are being made regularly.

Those who espouse Undirected Evolution have to account for the existence of the (1) LANGUAGE OF DNA (which are the rules, letters, words, punctuation, etc) that is IMMATERIAL (it does not exist physically in the cell) and (2) the INFORMATION stored in the genome. BOTH must exist for any processing of the “written” and “encoded” digital information that Atheist Richard Dawkins spoke of. Even if the genetic information was there (3.1 billion nucleotides) to create “you” — without the LANGUAGE of DNA to process and interpret and utilize that information, there could be NO YOU. Imagine trying to read this page if you did not know English…no reading of any meaningful sort would ever occur (and you are an intelligent being who is capable of complex thought processes, and yet you still would not be able to decode this page unless you had the language of English in your mind).

You see, the decoding of the genetic information (“reading”) does not follow pure, chemical necessity. There is nothing chemically that forces the cell to interpret the codons and then use them to symbolically account for a 20-Amino Acid “look up table” to then begin the process of protein synthesis. There are precise parameters (principles), exactly like a language, that supervises this process. And since there is no natural law or chemical process that can create language (with syntax, letters, words, punctuation, etc) then one must logically concede that an intelligent source has led to (at least) the formation of the DNA information storage-and-retrieval-and-processing system. This conclusion can be arrived at using nothing but empirical science (DNA) and logical reasoning.

So, Intelligent Design (Directed Evolution) is considered by many to be a scientific and logical necessity. It is not a “religious trick” or “metaphysical sleight-of-hand” as its detractors insist, but rather, the logical consequence of an unbiased evaluation of readily available facts.

Secondly, to account for genetic change (“evolution”) over time, those who espouse Undirected Evolution have to rely on the fuel of random mutations to drive the engine of change (remember, Natural Selection can only function based upon material to act upon, and this material is random by nature). Once we apply mathematics (the frequency of mutation occurrence) and probability mathematics (the chance of a “beneficial” mutation) to the number of estimated organisms in a species over the amount of time estimated, we are left with a statistical improbability that defies any rational justification.

Added to that, recent studies of HUMAN DIRECTED Evolution (where researchers have simulated hundreds of thousands of generations of various species in an attempt to force change over time), the results have been stunning and yet not surprising. The researches find that even HUMAN Directed Evolution yields only marginal change, within very precise boundaries. Simple changes can be forced, but these do not BUILD upon each other to create new systems or new features. Simple changes, such as color, size, and the ability to consume various materials can be forced, but left alone, these populations inevitably return to a norm that does not continue to change to build upon any of these changes.

Finally, the other area of evidence to consider is the fossil record itself. Unfortunately for those who espouse gradual change (molecules-to-man) models of Undirected Evolution, the fossil record provides little verification. Instead of a tidy “tree of life” starting with a single ancestor and branching out into various sub-categories of life, we find what is more properly defined as BUSHES of life. We have different groups who experience (1) sudden appearance (2) basic stasis (little change) (3) then Extinction. This basic obstacle is freely admitted by famous evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould:

“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our text- books have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record…”

So, in conclusion, once we examine the Biological evidence (DNA—both an immaterial LANGUAGE and SYMBOLIC INFORMATION), Mathematics (frequency of mutations, improbability of beneficial change (even allowing Natural Selection), and HUMAN Directed Evolution experiments), Chemistry (there is no chemical necessity to drive the formation of a genetic language or in processing of the genetic information), and Paleontology (the fossil record which indicates abrupt appearance, relative stasis, then extinction) one is logically and empirically driven to consider a more reasonable DIRECTED Evolutionary model (Intelligent Design).

Consider the scientific model involving Intelligent Design (Directed Evolution):
(Science looks at available phenomena and then makes educated hypotheses to attempt to explain the phenomena).

1. We find highly complex life capable of intelligence

2. Question: Did this life arrive by purely naturalistic (unintelligent processes) or by intelligent processes?

3. If it arrived by purely naturalistic processes, we should be able to account for that series of processes along purely chemical lines of evidence.

4. If life arrived by intelligent processes, we should be able to find evidence of that intelligent engineering in the physical makeup of the creature.


To account for this highly complex, intelligent, life, we would expect to find a highly complex, intelligently engineered mechanism to account for the existence of this highly complex intelligent life.


In the field of Biology (DNA) we discover an irreducibly complex (both a language and encoded information) system with all the necessary features of a functional language (syntax, letters, words, punctuation, etc).

In the field of Probability Mathematics, we discover that random mutation (even allowing Natural Selection) is inadequate to account for the volume of biological function and diversity. This is confirmed by research attempting to simulate hundreds of thousands of generations of forced evolution to bring about substantial change, which results in marginal adaptation and often reversion to previous norms over time. The only basis of mutations as the driving force of actual Evolution would be Directed Mutations at a level of understanding much higher than current human knowledge.

Finally, Paleontology provides evidence of sudden appearance and a lack of gradual transition (which is best predicted in a model of Intelligent Design).

So, scientifically and logically, Directed Evolution (Intelligent Design) is not only an alternative to Undirected Evolution (pure naturalism), according to empirical research and logical reasoning, it is the only acceptable and tenable model to account for known phenomena. It is not pseudo-science, it the logical consequence of unbiased scientific investigation. Just as Forensic Science can point to intelligent (murder) vs. natural (accidental) causes of death (through examining evidence and utilizing logical reasoning), we can also apply these same principles of inference and induction/deduction to arrive at the logical conclusion of Intelligent Design when we examine the evidence without presuppositional bias.

I will let scientist (Astrophysicist) Sir Fred Hoyle have the last word:

"A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

FREE Quotes and Memes about Atheism, Science, and Logic

Here is a small collection of photos, quotes, and memes to challenge a secular culture. Feel free to copy and share:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Video Archive

The videos embedded below represent a wide range of topics in the fields of theology, science, and apologetics.








Saturday, April 19, 2014

Defending the RESURRECTION

THE RESURRECTION: The foundation of Christianity

The resurrection of Jesus was the primary, fundamental, and conclusive proof that the early Christians offered to the truth of salvation through Christ.

The early Christians pointed to the prophecies in the Old Testament that predicted that the Messiah would die and rise from the dead (ignored by most of the Jewish leadership who only wanted a political Messiah--not a soul-saving Messiah).

To demonstrate how important the resurrection was as evidence to the early followers of Christ, we only have to look at the earliest book that discusses their lives--the Book of Acts in the New Testament.

The RESURRECTION is referenced 28 times in one book!

Acts 1:3, 22
Acts 2:24, 27, 30, 31, 32
Acts 3:15
Acts 4:2, 10, 33 (key verse)
Acts 5:30
Acts 9:40,41
Acts 13:30,32,33,34,35,37
Acts 17:3,18,31,32
Acts 23:6
Acts 25:19
Acts 26:8,23

Acts 4:33
“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”

I Corinthians 15:17
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”

1. Empty tomb
2. Changed lives of the Apostles (people do not die for a lie)
People will die for what they BELIEVE/THINK is true (like the hijackers of 9/11), but normal, sane people do not die for a lie that they created (and if it is a lie--the apostles created that lie)
3. Testimony of the women (the first to arrive at the empty tomb)
4. Testimony of the early followers (eye-witnesses of early post-resurrection appearances)
5. Early Christian writings speak of resurrection immediately after crucifixion—not decades later
6. Old Testament prophecies
7. Jesus predicted His own resurrection

THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR THE FACTS is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and appeared to many (just as the scripture says)

Let’s consider what challenges modern skeptics of Christianity use against the evidence of the RESURRECTION:

Stolen Body Theory/Missing Body
Swoon Theory
Drugged-Body Theory
Twin Theory
Hypnosis Theory
Spiritual Resurrection Theory

Stolen Body Theory/Missing Body

1. The disciples stole the body/someone else stole the body

1. How could the disciples overpower the Roman guard?
2. WHY would they steal the body???
-they just spent 3 years believing in Jesus
then He DIES. Their hope for a Messiah is DEAD



They would have DIED FOR A LIE--and sane people do NOT die for a lie.

Swoon Theory

-Jesus only fainted, He didn’t actually die, he woke up in the tomb, escaped

1. Two Roman doctors had to sign a certificate of death (on pain of their death)
2. Blood loss of flogging and crucifixion would lead to death anyway
3. How could a nearly-dead Jesus, in a pitch black tomb, with no food or water, roll away a stone
4. How could a half-dead Jesus fight off a Roman guard
5. How could a half-dead Jesus convince his followers He was the Lord of all, conqueror over death
6. Ascension to heaven

Drugged-Body Theory

-Jesus was drugged with a special chemical to make him appear dead
(same problems as swoon + a whole lot more)

Twin Theory

-Jesus had an identical twin brother. When Jesus #1 died, his twin (that no one knew) took over

1. FAR FAR fetched
2. No historical account of a twin (which is rare anyway)
3. How could a twin convince the early followers of Jesus that he was Jesus (he would not know them, any details)
4. Ascension
5. WOUNDS---where are the wounds?

Hypnosis/Hallucination Theory

-Jesus was able to hypnotize people, and he made them think that he rose from the dead

1. Hypnosis was not understood in ancient world, certainly not in Israel
2. Not everyone is susceptible to hypnosis
3. The early followers were not expecting a resurrection
4. Physical contact with Jesus, eating, etc
5. Ascension

Spiritual Resurrection Theory

-Jesus did not BODILY rise, it was only a “spiritual” or “ghostlike” rising from the dead

1. Old testament predicted a physical resurrection
2. Jesus prophesied a physical resurrection
3. Paul taught a very clear PHYSICAL resurrection in I Cor. 15
4. The disciples spoke of physical contact with a risen Christ (eating, etc)



1. It validated that Jesus was our sinless substitute whose sacrifice was accepted
- Old Testament reveals that those who were not accepted, they died.
- High Priest had a rope tied, in case He died when He appeared before God
- Jesus emerged ALIVE after His sacrifice

IF JESUS HAD NOT RISEN—that meant that His offering for our sins was not accepted, he was a sinner, and a sinner cannot save a sinner.

I Corinthians 15:17
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”

2. It validated that He was Who He said He was --- God in the flesh

-Jesus said in John 10—No one takes my life from Me, I have the power to lay it down, and the power to take it up again.

THE RESURRECTION validates that He was God in the flesh, and therefore we should believe what he says.

Romans 1:3,4
“concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. “

3. It validates the believers own guaranteed resurrection.

Jesus said: Because I live (am resurrected) you shall live also.

Paul said that Jesus was the firstfruits of the resurrection, and that our resurrection would follow


Following Excerpt from The Atheist Delusion by Dr. Phil Fernandes, Ph.D.

First, the first eyewitnesses of the empty tomb (and the resurrected Christ) were women. This is something the apostles would not have made up, for a woman’s testimony was held highly suspect in the first-century ad. It offered practically no evidential value to fabricate a story of women being the first witnesses.

Second, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then the Jewish religious authorities would have produced the rotting corpse of Christ, thus refuting Christianity and stifling its growth at its earliest stage.

Third, New Testament scholars agree that the sermons of Acts chapter 1 through 12 are the earliest sermons of the church-they date back to the early 30′s ad. Their antiquity is accepted by scholars because these sermons show no signs of theological development (this type of theological development is found in Paul’s letters which were written twenty years later). .

Fourth, Jesus was buried in the tomb of a well-known man-Joseph of Arimathea. It would have been easy to locate the tomb to ascertain if it was empty.

For further investigation:


Thursday, February 6, 2014

MORALITY cannot exist in Atheism (how to deal with challenges of slavery, rape, immorality, etc)

Skeptics of Christianity and/or the Bible (as demonstrated in the first 100 pages of "The God Delusion") love to cherry-pick certain verses, or fragments of verses, especially from the Old Testament, and then they will accuse God, or the Bible of being "immoral" or "evil".

Let's put this to rest, once for all---
Morality cannot exist in Atheism.

Listening to a skeptic challenge the Bible as immoral is like listening to a prostitute giving a lecture about sexual purity--it is amusing at best, hypocritical at the least, and pointless for all concerned.

A logical flowchart of why MORALITY cannot exist in Atheism:

SECTION ONE: Is Morality possible in an atheistic Universe?

Let’s pick just one “bad moral issue”---SLAVERY (or put in RAPE, or whatever)

Question 1: What is the Universe/reality?
Atheist Answer 1: Physical matter/energy, space, time, natural law (basically)

Question 2: Are all actions that people do (in reality) just atoms moving due to energy over time following natural law?
Atheist Answer 2: Of course, there is nothing else possible.

Question 3: At the atomic level, is there a fundamental difference between slavery and, building a computer?
Atheist Answer 3: Well, actually, no, there is no fundamental difference between any action and any other human action, because only physical matter/energy/time/natural law exists.

Question 4: Is SLAVERY then immoral or “wrong” based upon your own definition of the Universe?
Atheist Answer 4: I believe and feel that slavery is immoral. Owning people is an evil concept.

Question 5: I didn’t ask if you FELT or BELIEVED something, I asked: is slavery IMMORAL based on your own view of the Universe?
Atheist Answer 5: Well, at the physical level….NO, but I personally just KNOW that it is wrong.

Question 6: Is absolute RIGHT or absolute WRONG even possible in a Universe that is just matter/energy, space, time, and natural law?
Atheist Answer 6: Right and wrong are intensely personal and communally-derived.


Conclusion: By your own admission, since the Universe is just matter moving due to energy through space over time according to natural law, then absolute RIGHT and absolute WRONG are impossible. Morality therefore cannot exist without a Creator that is external to the Universe.

SECTION TWO: Is Morality the result of community over time?

Question 7: Is Morality merely derived from communal activities and needs of the species?
Atheist Answer 7: Well, yes, of course. Over time, we evolve different views based on needs and this propagates throughout the local community or even the whole species. So, yes.

Question 8: So morality can change over time (in other words, it is not absolute)?
Atheist Answer 8: Yes, I just said earlier that it changes according to societal or even interpersonal needs. So, yes, it changes.

Question 9: Is slavery a moral issue?
Atheist Answer 9: Well, yes, of course it is a moral issue…and it is wrong.

Question 10: Is it possible that there was ever a time in the past, or there could ever be a time in the future, when society will condone/allow/encourage slavery?
Atheist Answer 10: Well, duh..of course, slavery was practiced for thousands of years as a way of life, and it was only recently challenged and pronounced immoral in the last three hundred years or so.

Conclusion #2:
So, in the past, slavery was considered moral, and a way of life. Yet now, times have changed, and most types of slavery are now considered immoral. So, according to your answers in SECTION ONE (absolute right and wrong are impossible) and your admission here in SECTION TWO (morality can and does change) THEN IRREFUTABLY Slavery is not wrong or immoral according to atheism.

In an atheistic view, things can be convenient or inconvenient, they can be pleasurable or painful, they can be preferred or disdained, but nothing can be RIGHT or WRONG at the fundamental level…because at the fundamental level the universe is just matter/energy, space, time, and natural law.

Morality is not a feeling (like empathy or sympathy), morality is absolute RIGHT or absolute WRONG.
Confusing feelings of morality and morality itself is a common misconception. Here is an example of the difference. 

If someone was a waiter, and a customer gives them a $50 tip, they FEEL good. But that feeling doesn’t make sense unless MONEY itself exists fundamentally. The feeling of getting a good tip is not the same thing as the existence of money. 

If someone gave you a handful of small pebbles for a tip, it wouldn’t make you feel good, because in most cultures, pebbles aren’t valuable. The feelings associated with “doing good” or “doing bad” have nothing to do with MORALITY as a fundamental issue. Right or Wrong exist regardless of how I feel about it.

In any discussion of morality, therefore, it is illogical to talk about the physiochemical ramifications of your own adherence to your own concept of right or wrong…that is illogical.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is God Guilty of MURDER?

Nonsense questions are fun to explore. There is something fascinating and intriguing about asking or positing questions for which there can be no actual answer.

What does the color blue taste like?

How far is it from here to insanity?

What time is the sweetest sound?

Indeed, these are questions. But this small collection of humorous inquiries shares at least one thing in common: they have no logical answer. They can be ASKED but they cannot be ANSWERED. These are nonsense questions.

Color and taste involve two different, unrelated senses. Distance and states of mind are not comparable, and temporal reality (time) and audible tones make strange bedfellows.

How does color, taste, distance, time, or sound have anything to do with the question of God murdering? Well, actually...everything.


Skeptics of Christianity in general, and of the Bible in specificity, have a small and cherished collection of skeptical "Trump" cards. This tiny assortment of questions and accusations are presumed to be great "unanswerable" silver bullets, clever one-trick ponies to silence those pesky and gullible Bible-thumpers. A survey of atheistic and skeptical forums and blogs quickly reveals this to be the case.

While the mockery of the miraculous, such as Jonah and the great fish, or the virgin birth of Jesus, can be found by the bucket-load, most of these one-shot-wonders involve claims of immorality against the very character of God Himself. In fact, atheist professor Richard Dawkins devotes a large portion of the opening of his book, The God Delusion, to a glib tirade against the God of the Old Testament as the worst of all moral monsters.


Perhaps topping the list of these moral challenges is the accusation that God is evil because He has murdered CHILDREN. (Side note: a challenge of evil, like murder, is a humorous contradiction when made by an atheist--since morality cannot exist in atheism; right or wrong are not even possible in a purely naturalistic viewpoint!)

It is amazing that seemingly intelligent people use a term like MURDER in a sentence involving God, the Creator. Can we ask the question: Is God guilty of murder? Ummm...yes, you can ASK it, but the question is nonsense. Here's why.

Let me ask you a question: Have you ever taken something out of your house/apartment? Well, of course you have, so have I. But then, let me ask you:

Well, then, aren't you guilty of STEALING, then?

Well, of course NOT, you would say, and rightly so. Why? Because you CAN'T steal from yourself. If you own something, then you have the right to it. Now---if I go into your house, without permission, and I take something of yours, without permission, now that is something different altogether. That IS STEALING.

Why? Because it wasn't mine to take. I had no right to it.


Imagine taking a piece of paper and a pen and roughing out a sketch of a tree. You look at it and smile, but then, you decided to crumple it up and throw it away. Have you committed some great moral evil? Absolutely not. It was your creation, and you have the right to choose what you do with that creation. But if I took it away from you forcefully and then proceeded to tear it that is wrong.

Here are 3 distinct reasons why it is nonsense to challenge that God has murdered anyone, whether baby, child, or geriatric.

REASON ONE: The Creator has the right to govern every aspect of His own creation.

God is the ultimate Creator. He has made all physical things. He has given life to all those that have life. He chooses when life begins, and He must allow the physical death of each person. Think about it: God owes no one anything. God did not have to give physical life, and there is no logical or moral reason that prevents Him from bringing  that undeserved physical life to an end.

God has never promised that each person will live to be a certain age physically. When a teenager is killed in a car accident, or tragically, a baby dies of SIDS, we hear people say: "They were so young!" Even though this seems true, and indeed is correct on a certain level, in reality it betrays our improper view of what God is doing.

He has purposes and plans that are far beyond our understanding. There may be incredible and world-changing reasons why one is taken away at birth, and another lives into a "ripe" old age. We only see the tiniest of slivers of what God is doing, and what He has been doing, and what He will do in the future.

REASON TWO: Only people can murder people.

The ending of life is not murder. People die every second from sickness, accidents, and the fatigue of bodily systems. These deaths are not murders. Murder is the unlawful taking of a human's life BY ANOTHER HUMAN. Only people can murder----because we do not have the ultimate right to decide when someone else's life should end.  If someone trips and falls onto a sharp spike and dies, we do not say that they were murdered (unless another human planned out that "accident" and made it happen) but they did die.

REASON THREE: Physical death is not the end of a person's life.

It is almost comical to hear an atheist say that God has committed murder! Ponder that statement for a moment---by making that statement they are "allowing for" the existence of God. In other words, they say, IF I allow the possibility that God exists, well then, THAT God is guilty of murder.

But here comes the trap that they have stepped into of their own free will:

If you say (for sake of the argument) that God exists, then you are allowing for the possibility of "life after death", in other words, physical death is not the END! Physical death just changes the state of life, from an Earthly state to some type of spiritual life (after life). Since the Bible clearly teaches that humans are created in the image of God, that we have an eternal spiritual aspect that will never cease to exist, then the concept of death or murder takes on a completely new perspective.


If a person is standing on the shore, they are experiencing the life of a land creature, a land-lover, as the sailors say. But if that same person gets on a boat, he has stepped into a new experience of life, a life at sea. These are merely two different experiences of life, the person does not cease to exist when they step onto the deck of the boat, it is the same person, just a different experience of life. Similarly, when a person dies (by any means) they do not cease to exist, rather, they step into a new phase, a new experience of life.

Now, I am not justifying one human killing another human, that is forbidden, except in war and execution of certain criminals (as the representation of God's judgment for their actions). Murder is wrong, because I do not have the right to decide when your life ends. That is not my decision, I did not create you.

But when the atheist challenges that children died in the flood of Noah, or that babies died in the conquest of the land of Canaan by the armies of Israel, their accusation against God falls into the realm of nonsense questions. First, God has never promised a certain physical life span. Secondly, only people can murder people, because murder implies an action without right, and God, as creator, has all rights. Finally, death is not the end of existence, rather, physical death is a transition into a new phase of life.


Can people ask: "Is God guilty of murder?" Sure, but remember, you can ask all kinds of nonsense questions, like "How many apples does it take to elect a president?" You can ask it, but that question is just wrong all the way to the core.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Painting God as Immoral: Watch out for the corner!

The image in our mind is vivid. We see the ambitious painter, with broad strokes of great zeal and skill, laying down the latex on the freshly sanded floor. Back and forth, taking a step back, covering more and more of the spacious area with glistening and colorful paint.

But, there is a problem...

After a certain point of committal in the process, the fervent worker has inadvertently done two equally disparaging travesties...
(1) he has painted himself into a corner
(2) his own effort has blocked any hope of escape or recovery.

What does paint, corners, and unexpected unfortunates have to do with God and Logic? Lately, well, um--- everything. Within skeptical circles of reasoning, certain types of attacks upon theism or Christianity or the Bible (which were dealt with many decades, and sometimes hundreds of, years ago) have become the latest darling, and the pop culture feeding frenzy begins afresh.

Many skeptics (atheists) and sadly, many Christians, have not taken the time to do the real work of research and investigation into what has already been debated and discovered. Like a joyful but soon-to-be-disappointed-scientist who claims that he/she has recently discovered the existence of atoms, these trendy-but-out-of-date zealots have, far too quickly, grabbed the nearest brush and bucket and have started slinging paint everywhere.

There is an old expression: let your opponent continue to speak, because the more one says, the greater the chance that one will make an error. When it comes to skeptical challenges against theism in general, or Christianity or the Bible in specificity, there are several tempting hues that the naturalist may be eager to grab, but they only serve to undermine their entire position.

Like the golden idol at the outset of the Indiana Jones franchise, the lure to "grab and run with it" is quickly demonstrated to be near-folly as the tragic and destructive results begin to cascade.

But isn't that always the way temptation works? Take it NOW, don't worry about the consequences?! A viral youtube video, or a pop-culture book, or a charismatic pundit appears on the talk show circuit proudly bearing this "new" bucket of god-coating goodness, and voila! Everyone on the blogosphere is hailing the argument as the silver bullet that will finally silence the imaginary god of the religious right. Praise the non-god!

So, what is this golden idol of an opportunity, this new bucket of "god-is-a-lie" latex? The late atheist, Christopher Hitchens, used this concept in the formation of the title of his book, "God is Not Great" and Oxford professor, Richard Dawkins, devoted the opening chapters of his volume, "The God Delusion" to this attack strategy. Enough--you say, what is it?

Put simply:
 It is the angle that the God of the Bible is a moral monster.

I'm not joking. Dawkins refers to the God of the Bible (primarily the Old Testament) as perhaps the most hideous of any evil character in all of literary history, more or less. To sum up their argument, the God of the Bible, in and through His dealings with mankind, is not worthy to be called God, and is certainly not the Creator.

Carrying this bucket further, some skeptics will even challenge theism to explain evil and suffering in general, not just the specific accounts such as the Flood, the history of Israel, etc. They demand a reconciling of the existence of a good god and bad events. In a way, their challenge is that for God to even merely allow evil or suffering (forget about direct causation) is to implicate Him as a moral monster.

Why skeptics fall into this obvious trap is truly a mystery. Why they are so often eager to take the brush and then begin swinging away is hard to understand, since this argument (if taken to it's logical beginning and end) completely destroys the skeptics cherished position. It is like a survivor of a sinking ship hacking away with an axe on the floor of his rescue will only serve to surely drown him and those with him.

 Let's take a huge step backward and see why this line of assault is suicide to the skeptic. The skeptic accuses the God of the Bible of being a moral monster. We didn't ask them to go there, but they did. Now, logically--there can only be two fundamental explanations for the existence of a "moral code" within humanity.

First, there is the traditional view that the Creator placed a basic moral framework within the heart of all mankind. This divine programming is evidenced by the existence of a conscience, with attendant feelings of guilt or elation due to either violation or conformity, respectfully. Right and wrong exist because our Creator tells us so.

Secondly, there is the skeptical, or naturalist explanation for morality. While there is no general agreement on the mysteries of this process and product, invariably biochemical evolution is invoked to account for the moral makeup of man.

Over millions of years, somehow and in some way, homo sapiens evolved a moral code to benefit the species as a cultural whole, rather than the survival of the fittest individual.

We will not look into other abstract formulations, such as social contract theory and it's offspring, as they fail to account for the Universal nature of man's condition.

So, morality is either an external truth given by our Creator, or an imaginary condition inferred upon us by blind chemical forces. If the latter (evolution) is the mechanism, then serious flaws begin to be seen in the skeptics entire argument. Why?

Simply put, if morality is merely a survival aid conferred upon us by an amoral universe, then it has no ultimate or legitimate authority.

If we merely evolved our sense of fairness, or right and wrong, or justice and injustice, then these are no more "real" or binding as some set of eternal immutable laws, rather they are chemical processes, worked out over aeons of time, with the real possibility of changing the next time a dominant gene is expressed that exhibits benefit to the species.

If morality is a product of evolution, then it loses it's authority to judge anything as right or wrong, because our current morality is along a continuum of adaptions that began as something far different in the distant past, and will morph into something even more bizarre in the not-so-distant future.

The reason people are arrested and even jailed is because they (allegedly) have broken an established law. There is a documented code of acceptable behavior on the books, so to speak. Their actions (or inactions) are then compared against that standard, and conformity or violation is confirmed.

Morality, like a legal system, operates in a similar and analogous way. Behavior is compared against an authoritative standard, and consequences follow. But, alas---here is the rub, the catch-22, the fly in the ointment, for atheism:  Without an ultimate authority, NO ONE can call any action good or evil, right or wrong, just or unjust, fair or unfair.

A Universe comprised only of:
(1) matter/eenrgy/chemical processes
(2) space
(3) time
cannot magically produce eternal moral laws. It may have laws of gravity, or electromagnetism, or laws of chemistry (and even those are suspect), but it cannot, and never will have, eternally binding moral laws.


You have to have an ultimate authority to accomplish that, and in the atheist worldview, they cannot allow that divine foot in the door. It is inescapable, and actually even worse than that for naturalists, for as Stephen Hawking admitted recently, if there is nothing higher than the Universe, then indeed, even free will and choice are merely illusions.

This brute "fact" and condition is called Determinism.
How could we actually have free will, since we are nothing more than chemical factories (according to the atheist) and chemicals will always act a certain way in accordance with chemical (natural) law?

SIDE NOTE: Actually, it is even MUCH WORSE than that for the naturalist, because ultimately naturalism mandates that certain people will be atheist, or theist, Christian, Buddhist, or even liberal Democrat or right wing Republican---it all just depends on the collection of chemicals in their brain. It is not the arguments, or the logic, or the rationality or reasonableness of a case, we all are forced to "believe" or "accept" what we consider to be "right" based upon our cerebral chemistry.

Realizing this, it is almost funny to think that atheists continue to write and publish books to "convince" people to accept atheism, since, according to atheism, a person has no free will or choice in the matter. We are merely chemical factories, and we will only obey natural law.

It is a bit weighty, and a read that takes a couple of passes to really absorb the full impact of it's conclusions, but it is a worthwhile quote nonetheless, from theoretical physicist John Polkinghorne (my clarifications are between brackets [ ]):

"...human freedom is closely connected with human rationality. If we were deterministic beings [just a collection of atoms obeying natural law], what would validate the claim that our utterance constituted rational discourse? Would not the sounds issuing from our mouths, or the marks we made on paper, be simply the actions of automata [the natural result of purely natural processes, not the result of logical deduction or reasoning]? All proponents of deterministic theories, whether social and economic (Marx), or sexual (Freud), or genetic (Dawkins and E.O. Wilson), need a covert disclaimer on their own behalf, excepting their own contribution from reductive dismissal?"

In other words, if we are merely a collection of atoms, acting according to unintelligent and immutable chemical and natural law, then nothing we say or write can be considered more or less logical or rational than anything that anyone else says or writes, whether nutty lunatic or nobel laureate. He concludes that the major proponents of an atheistic worldview, such as Dawkins or Freud, need a simple warning at the front of their books/papers telling readers that nothing can be trusted and nothing should be absolutely believed, except for THEIR writings, of course.

He is undeniably "right"...and even Stephen Hawking agrees with that conclusion.

Back to buckets and brushes.

To restate our earlier premise, a trendy (but historically resolved) challenge issued of late by skeptics is that God is a moral monster, especially the God of the Old Testament in the Bible.

By virtue of His "evil" behavior He is either not worthy to be worshipped at best, or rejected altogether at worst.

This unfortunate challenge places the atheist in a pitiable condition. The entire crux of the argument hinges upon the existence of eternal, immutable laws of morality, and that somehow, this deity has violated those laws that even He must somehow obey. Yet, in an atheist worldview, neither god nor morality can exist.

But, some would protest, they are arguing from the viewpoint "given that a god exists, the god of the Bible cannot be god because He is immoral." This perspective shift does nothing to aid in their argument, because then what is the supposed source of this "morality" that god has "violated"?

If human morality is determined by god, then no accusation of immorality could ever be labeled against the Creator Himself/itself. Where would the skeptic receive knowledge of an even higher law of morality that even this god must obey?

The only morality we could "know" would be human morality, i.e. the code of acceptable and unacceptable human to human behavior as mandated by the Creator.

Nothing the Creator does or commands to be done could be labeled as immoral or "evil." Actions of people (created beings) could be determined to be good, bad, evil, fair, or just---but since we are not privy to all of the counsels and understandings of our Creator, we could never judge ANY of His actions. 

There are two fundamental reasons why we could never judge our own Creator to be immoral:

(1) We do not have access to all of the facts surrounding any decision that God makes, therefore we cannot say with (anything even remotely resembling) 100% certainty that God does not have very good reasons for His own actions.

(2) Our own sense of morality has been given to us by our Creator, and we are subject to Him, not He to us. We may not understand why He would do a certain thing, but our morality is for created humanity, not an eternal god.

To put this into a more modern analogy, God is like the computer programmer who has written a new game. The digital (created) characters within the game are subject to different parameters and restrictions than the programmer himself is subject to.

You cannot logically apply the same "rules" and restrictions to the designer of the game that he has assigned to created individuals within the virtual world.

Surely the programmer has the right to rewrite the code, or to remove characters, or to change parameters or to assign new rules---but, as Creator, that is His right.

We can no more challenge God as being immoral, than Super Mario can challenge Miyamoto Shigeru in a court of law for his choices of programming. It is that absurd.

The best an atheist can say is that, perhaps, the actions of God are emotionally challenging, or difficult to understand, but an atheist or skeptic can never, logically, accuse God of immorality, and certainly not attack him as a "moral monster" as Dawkins and his crowd have done.

Once the accusation is made by the atheist he has painted himself into the corner of admitting that ultimate morality exists, and that deep down inside he experiences a legitimate revulsion at the actions of a deity he does not accept. It is an awkward position! (and frustrating)

Secondly, if, for the sake of argument, God does exist, then the atheist cannot accuse him of immorality because morality has been given BY GOD, it cannot be used to judge the God who gave it.

At best the atheist can only say that the actions of God are difficult to understand, tough to comprehend, but that skeptic cannot say that they are unequivocally WRONG.....


The famous scholar, Christian philosopher and apologist, William Lane Craig, responded to atheist Christopher Hitchens claim that evil and suffering in the world proved that either God did not exist or that He was evil. Craig, in his typical grace-under-pressure disposition, calmly asked Hitchens (and I loosely quote)

"Is it possible that God has a morally justifiable reason for allowing evil or suffering?"
That response and question is a ticking time bomb to the skeptic. Answered either way, it completely destroys both their credibility and  case. Hitchens answered the only way a sane person would answer, he basically said:

 " is possible." Then the conclusion is inescapable---if it is possible that God has reasons for these supposed "moral atrocities" then the entire case of the skeptic collapses instantly.

It doesn't have to be merely has to be possible.

A simple example from history illustrates this: Imagine teaching a young child about World War II. Imagine that you tell them about evil president Harry S. Truman.

You tell them that he dropped two nuclear bombs on mainland Japan, killing and injuring hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

No doubt the child, in their sense of fairness and justice, would be filled with understandable rage and resentment. They would, no doubt, perpetuate that account of Truman being a moral monster, maybe even go on to write books about it.

But what is the problem? Well, their education is missing a huge component of information, information that, if they knew it, would completely change their entire feeling and/or judgment about "evil" Harry. Once they learn that he actually agonized over that decision, and that he did it to SAVE LIVES, and to end a long and drawn out war as quickly as possible...

...well, now...that changes everything.

I think we can give the Creator of the Universe, a being so intelligent as to design DNA, enough of the benefit of the doubt when it comes to difficult to understand actions that He has taken. We do not know the whole story...yet.

Remember, just because we do not understand WHY God would do or not do something, does not, in any way, mean that He does not have morally justifying reasons for doing so.

We have seen enough CIA and covert-operations type of movies and TV shows to be familiar with the phrase "Need to know basis". Sometimes documents or photographs are classified TOP SECRET, with a "Need to Know" status decreed upon them.

If this is true in human dealings for purposes of security and national integrity, then surely the Creator of the Universe has dealings and plans so far above us that we, in our present condition, are not necessarily in a "need to know" status. It is both impossible that we could know all that God knows, and it is illogical to mandate that He must answer to us for His actions. 

Let's be honest...about 99% of the challenges of skeptics in this line of reasoning involve the idea of death. Why would God allow this or that person to die, or why would God wipe out this or that group of people, or why would God "kill" this or that child?

The first question to ask them, of course, is simple: What is wrong with death? Isn't it merely the movement of atoms, because of energy, through space and time? Why is physical death such a moral evil? Think about it. I doubt they have.

And, since the Bible says that physical life is not all there is, that man has been made in the image of God, that we have a spiritual aspect that survives physical death, then death has truly "lost it's sting." Death is not the cessation of existence (that is only true in an atheistic worldview), death for a human is merely the crossing over into the next realm. You will survive your own mere physical death.

So, now what is the challenge of the skeptic? Everyone dies physically-- the flood in the days of Noah thousands of years ago, or the gunman at the Colorado movie theater in recent weeks, did not increase the amount of death in the world--it is still the same ratio as since the beginning of time--one death per person.

I am not condoning anything, I am merely pointing out cold, hard facts.

And, since no one is promised even one more day on this Earth, then a child dying or a centenarian passing away is no different, except for perhaps our own emotional response. Compared to eternity, we all have the same amount of time.

As the ultimate Creator of life, God has the right to choose the time and manner of the ending of physical life. No charge of immorality or of moral monstrosity could ever logically be laid at the feet of our Creator.

The same could be said for any of this type of flawed reasoning. Any attack on the moral goodness of God can be silenced with one simple question: "Does God have the right to govern His own creation?"

The answer is, of course, YES (I actually had one atheist, who had painted himself into this uncomfortable corner say "No!" and he was nearly laughed off the online thread, even by those not theistically bent). So, since God has the right to govern His creation, and death is not the end, then what is now the argument for immorality of our Creator?


God is not a moral monster...

...He is the Moral Mandater.

The next time a skeptic wants to challenge you with the idea that evil, suffering, or the actions of the God of the Old Testament make the Creator out to be an evil being, beg him to let you have the bucket and brush. Tell him it's not a corner he wants to put himself in. You have the MORAL obligation to warn him/her not to go there.