XFiles Friday: A taste of things to ensue

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, pp. 26-27)

Let’s pick up where we left off last time.

Faith covers a gap in knowledge. And it turns out that atheists have bigger gaps in knowledge because they have far less evidence for their beliefs than Christians have for theirs. In other words, the empirical, forensic, and philosophical evidence strongly supports conclusions consistent with Christianity and inconsistent with atheism. Here are a few examples of that evidence that we’ll unpack in the ensuing chapters:

I can’t wait for the chapters to ensue, can you? Just look at these examples:

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XFiles Friday: Blessed are the gullible, for theirs is the kingdom…

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, p. 26)

We’ll skip over the little story of Steve and Barry, which Turek uses to try and reinforce his mistaken idea that you need omniscient knowledge in order to rule out the possiblity that the self-contradictory stories of the Gospel might be true. Instead, let’s look at the central theme of the book, as presented by Geisler and Turek:

You may be thinking, “The atheist has to muster a lot more faith than the Christian! What possibly could Geisler and Turek mean by that?” We mean that the less evidence you have for your position, the more faith you need to believe it (and vice versa). Faith covers a gap in knowledge.

Let’s interrupt the authors right there. They’ve got some pretty interesting stuff coming up, but this remark, and the worldview that it reflects, have some very serious consequences when we apply them to the Christian doctrine(s) of salvation by grace through faith.

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XFiles Friday: “The problems with Christianity”

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, pp. 24-25)

For today’s installment of XFiles Friday, authors Geisler and Turek take us on a tour of what they see as the problems with Christianity. After a brief nod at a couple problems in Christianity itself, the authors devote most of this section to “flaws” that really reflect–or purport to reflect–flaws in non-Christians.

Is Christianity reasonable? We believe it is. However, unless one makes a thorough investigation of the evidence with an open mind, belief in Christianity may appear to be problematic. First, there are many perceived intellectual objections, like those mentioned above (the problem of evil and the objections of many scientists).

Right away we start with the insinuations. Belief in Christianity may appear problematic if you have a closed mind. In other words, there aren’t any genuine problems with Christianity, just false perceptions among those who refuse to examine the evidence with an open mind. The emperor is not really nude, there’s just a perception of nudity among those who are not sufficiently wise to be able to see and appreciate the exquisite quality of his rare, fine new clothes.

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XFiles Friday: The resurrection and the “historical evidence”

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, pp. 23-24)

Geisler and Turek have defined their terms (or stacked the deck, if you prefer), and are now ready to discuss faith and religion, in the context of the claim that “religion is simply a matter of faith.”

Facts are also central to all religions because all religious worldviews–including atheism–make truth claims, and many of those truth claims can be evaluated through scientific and historical investigation…

The alleged resurrection of Christ presents another example. Christians claim that Jesus rose from the dead, while Muslims say that Jesus never even died. Again, one of these views is right and the other is wrong. How can we know which one is right? By evaluating each of these conflicting truth claims against the historical evidence.

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XFiles Friday: Stacking the deck (again)

As we continue our look at I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, authors Geisler and Turek continue setting the stage for their apologetic. They claim to hold all the winning cards, and you’d think they’d be eager to show their hand, but here we are on our sixth XFiles post, and up to page 22 in the book, and they’re still fiddling around trying to stack the deck in their own favor.

Most of the worlds major religions fall into one of these three religious world-views: theism, pantheism, and atheism.

A theist is someone who believes in a personal God who created the universe but is not part of the universe… Major theistic religions are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

By contrast, a pantheist is someone who believes in an impersonal God that literally is the universe… Major pantheistic religions are of the Eastern variety such as Hinduism, some forms of Buddhism, and many forms of the “New Age.”

An atheist, of course, is someone who does not believe in any type of God. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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XFiles Friday: Is any religion the right one?

(Continuing our look at Geisler and Turek’s book,.)

Having argued that only religion can provide the “box-top” view of the jigsaw puzzle of life (more or less by simply ignoring the alternatives), Geisler and Turek now turn to the question of whether or not any one religion can claim to be the answer to life’s puzzle.

So which world religion, if any, answers the God question correctly? Does any religion provide the true box top for life? The common wisdom says no, for a number of reasons.

Wait a sec. The “common wisdom” says religion is not the answer? Since when did atheism/agnosticism/liberalism become the majority view?

That’s a pretty big whopper to start off with, but it does fit in well with the pseudo-martyr pose favored by Christian supremacists. “Oh, poor us,” they moan, “everybody persecutes us by failing to endorse the exclusive supremacy of our religion over all other alternatives.” Never mind any actual statistics about how many people think religion gives them the answers to life’s most important questions.

But notice the other subtle assumption that slips in: “Which world religion, if any, answers the God question correctly?” It has to be a world religion, does it? Presumably we’re not going to find the true answer in the religious views of some trivial minority, then? Why not? Could it be that even Geisler and Turek can see how reasonable it is to expect a true religion to have a significant and measurable impact on the real world? In three short sentences, the authors manage both to complain about the minority status of their own faith, and to imply that minority beliefs are probably not true anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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XFiles Friday: The Purpose of Purpose

Now at last we get to some real apologetics (in Geisler and Turek’s book,). Having moved the discussion from the world of verifiable realities into the realm of subjective philosophical speculations, and having identified 5 questions about Origin, Identity, Meaning, Morality and Destiny as being “the five most consequential questions in life,” Geisler and Turek begin their attempt to show that Christianity is the religion with the best answers to these five carefully-chosen questions.

The answers to each of these questions depend on the existence of God. If God exists, then there’s ultimate meaning and purpose to your life. If there’s a real purpose to your life, then there’s a real right and wrong way to live it. Choices you make now not only affect you here but will affect you in eternity. On the other hand, if there is no God, then your life ultimately means nothing. Since there is no enduring purpose to life, there’s no right or wrong way to live it. And it doesn’t matter how you live or what you believe–your destiny is dust.

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XFiles Friday: The Philosophical Dating Game

Having casually dismissed all educated scholarship on the grounds of an anecdote about one university professor being a post-modernist, and having strangely and utterly ignored the scientific approach to making sense of the world around us, and having made a truly Olympic-caliber leap to the conclusion that religion is the only possible source we can turn to for a “box top” overview of the jigsaw puzzle of life, Geisler and Turek turn to the question of which religion has the “best” picture of how the puzzle pieces fit together.

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Scapegoat University and the Big Box Top of Life

It’s time for XFiles Friday, and another installment in our analysis of Geisler and Turek’s book I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST. As we saw last time, the book opens with a story designed to stimulate the reader’s mistrust of educated people and to set a properly superstitious atmosphere for what follows. And if there was any doubt about the intention of the opening anecdote, the authors are quick to dispel it.

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XFiles Friday: Setting the stage for superstition

It’s time to get into the meat of Geisler and Turok’s . Chapter 1 starts off, not surprisingly with an anecdote. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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