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"Life In all Its Fullness"

Reader comment on item: Bolstering Moderate Muslims
in response to reader comment: Moderate Islam is not the solution The Anti-life is Evil: Religion is anti-human life:

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), Apr 21, 2007 at 10:18

To Ralph C.Whaley MD,

You say that "Faith is belief in the absence of evidence and/or in controversion of evidence. Religion is anti-reason anti-mind and therefore anti-life." Writing as a deeply committed follower of Jesus Christ, Who was and is God, I deny that statement. Faith is placing confident trust in the person of Jesus Christ, with Christianity being very much evidence-based. Here's an overview. The Scientific evidence overwhelmingly confirms that the universe exploded into being out of nothing.

Either someone created something out of nothing (the Christian belief in a Creator God), or no one created something out of nothing (the atheistic belief). Which belief is more reasonable? The Christian belief. Which belief requires more faith? The atheistic view. It is true that the Theistic God exists, and this is evidenced by the beginning of the Universe from nothing (the Cosmological argument), the design of the Universe (the Teleological argument/Anthropic principle), Design of life (the Teleological argument), and the Moral law (the Moral argument). In addition, to make it personal and 'ink it in,' He went public around 2000 years ago, coming to live amongst His creation, as Jesus Christ, the man who was, and is, God.

Ancient historians and writers allude to, or confirm events recorded in the Bible, and archeology corroborates them. Seeing evidence from creation that God exists, Christians believe these multiple lines of evidence show beyond a reasonable doubt, that God had a hand in these events. Atheists of necessity, have a lot more faith to explain away the predictions in ancient prophetic writings, foretelling the coming of a man who would actually be God. This man-God/God-man it was foretold, would be born in a particular city from a particular bloodline, suffer in a particular way, die at a particular time, and rise from the dead, to atone for the sins of the world. Immediately after the predicted time, multiple eyewitnesses proclaimed and later recorded that those predicted events had actually occurred. Those eyewitnesses endured persecution and death, when they could have saved themselves by denying the events.

Thousands of people then living in Jerusalem became followers of Jesus Christ, after seeing, or hearing of these events, and faith (trust) in Jesus Christ quickly swept across the ancient world, with ancient Jews committing the ultimate blasphemy of worshipping a man as God, if He were just a man. The truth is that Jesus was and is God. Atheists of necessity have a lot more faith to explain away the predictions, the eyewitness testimony, the willingness of the eyewitnesses to suffer and die, the origin of the Christian church, and the corroborating testimony of the other writers, and archeological finds. In saying that "Sense perception evidence, processed by reason, is man's only means of discovering the nature of his life and what actions are required to preserve and promote his own life," Dr Whaley presents the self-defeating argument that human reason and rationality is the ultimate arbiter and authority.

How do you know this Dr Whaley, did your reason lead you to this faith commitment of being only prepared to accept "sense perception evidence, processed by reason?" The Christian apologist Norman Geisler undercuts faith in human reason and rationality, by telling a story involving his student days at the University of Detroit, where he took a class in Logical Positivism. During the first day in class, the Professor gave the class the task of giving presentations based on chapters in A.J.Ayers book "Logic, Truth and Language." Geisler volunteered to do the chapter titled "The Principal of Empirical Verifiability," this being the very foundation of Logical Positivism, and thus of the entire course. At the beginning of the next class, the Professor said, Mr Geisler, we'll hear from you first. Keep it to no more than twenty minutes, so we can ample time for discussion." Geisler had no trouble with the time constraint. He stood up and simply said, "The principal of empirical verifiability states that there are only two kinds of meaningful propositions. 1. Those that are true by definition, and 2. Those that are empirically verifiable Since the principal of empirical verifiability itself is neither true by definition, nor empirically verifiable, it cannot be meaningful. That was it, and I sat down to a stunned silence in the room……………..in just the second class period, the foundation of that entire class had been destroyed, what was the Professor going to talk about for the next fourteen weeks?

I'll tell you what he was going to talk about. Instead of admitting that his class and his entire philosophical outlook was self-defeating and thus false, the professor suppressed that truth, hemmed and hawed, and then went on to suspect that I was behind everything that went wrong for him the rest of the semester. His allegiance to the principle of empirical verifiability, despite its obvious flaw, was clearly a matter of the will, not of the mind." Dr Whaley's posting concluded by saying:- "Religion is anti-reason anti-mind and therefore anti-life," a statement that David Hume might have made.

David Hume April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776 was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian, considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment. Generally regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, Hume's major philosophical works – "A Treatise of Human Nature" (1739-1740), the "Enquiries concerning Human Understanding" (1748) and "Concerning the Principles of Morals" (1751), as well as the posthumously published "Dialogues concerning Natural Religion" (1779) -- remain widely and deeply influential, despite their being denounced by many of his contemporaries as works of scepticism and atheism.

Perhaps more than anyone else, David Hume is responsible for the skepticism so prevalent today. As an empiricist, Hume believed, as Dr Whaley so clearly articulates he does, that all meaningful ideas were either true by definition, or must be based on sense experience. Since, according to Hume, there are no sense experiences for concepts beyond the physical, any metaphysical claims (those about concepts beyond the physical, including God), should not be believed, because they are meaningless.

In fact, Hume asserted that propositions can be meaningful, only if they meet one of of the following two conditions. 1. The truth claim is abstract reasoning, such as a mathematical equation or a definition, such as, ‘2+2=4,' or ‘all triangles have three sides,' or, 2. The truth claim can be verified empirically, through one or more of the five senses. While he claimed to be a skeptic, Hume certainly wasn't skeptical about these two conditions, he was absolutely convinced he had the truth. In fact, he concludes "Enquiries concerning Human Understanding" with this emphatic assertion, "If we take in our hand, any volume, of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, ‘Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number?' No. ‘Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and experience?' No.Commit it the to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion."

Nearly two hundred years later, Hume's two conditions were converted into the "Principle of Empirical Verifiability" by twentieth-century philosopher A.J.Ayer, with his principle claiming that a proposition can be meaningful only if it's true by definition, or if it's empirically verifiable, but given Norman Geisler's demonstration of empirical verifiability's fatal flaw, instead of committing all books about God "to the flames" as Hume suggested, you may want to consider using Hume's books to get your fire going.

Dr Whaley's posting concludes by saying that, "Religion is anti-reason anti-mind and therefore anti-life," and expressing confident trust in Jesus Christ, is none of those, with Jesus, Who is God, saying, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8 "You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 22:37-38 "I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest." John 10:10 "And I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand." John 10:28 With the Bible telling Jesus' followers to:- "Be always ready to give a reason for the hope that you have within you, and do so with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15 and by the Grace of God, I will. You're going to live forever Dr Whaley, please choose life. "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!" Deuteronomy 30:19 "As God's partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God's kindness and then ignore it. For God says, 'At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.' Indeed, the ‘right time' is now. Today is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

With kind regards and best wishes, Lactantius Jr.

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