Liar, Lunatic, or Lord

April 6, 2012

It’s Good Friday, and I figured it would be good to pull out a little C.S. Lewis.  The Liar, Lunatic, or Lord proof is one of C.S. Lewis’ most famous use of reason and the law of excluded middle.  The law of excluded middle is often called the either/or law.  I will borrow an example from Ravi Zacharias to explain the law of either/or.  Imagine my wife and I are taking a walk down the street together and another couple that knows us walks up to us and makes the statement “Congratulations, I hear you are pregnant.”  At the same time my wife says “yes” and I say “no.”  The other couple stares in confusion and shock, wondering what is going on.  My wife cannot be both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time.   There is an explanation for the different answers.  Perhaps my wife hasn’t told me yet, perhaps we agreed not to tell anyone until after a certain time has passed, perhaps there might be new trouble in our marriage!!  But we know that she cannot be both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time.  One of us is wrong.

Jesus is the center of Christianity, even many other religions claim some part of Jesus either calling him a prophet, a good moral person.  Jesus made some bold claims as he taught the people, the biggest Jesus made was the claim that He was God.   Several places in the scriptures Jesus claimed to be God some of the more popular scriptures are. John 8:58, John 10:30-33, John 1:1,14.  There are many other statements and examples that we can pull from scripture, but not at this time. Jesus forgave sins, allowed Himself to be worshiped, among many other clues from other people.

Using the Law of excluded middle we can see how Jesus claim to be God was really the only one that makes sense.  You can see from the chart below of how it flows. out with the either/or law.

If He was a liar consider the following results:

1. He deceived people on purpose
2. He was a terrible blasphemer (Claim of God)
3. He was a hypocrite (Told others to tell truth & He lied)
4. He evil because He claimed to forgive sins
5. His followers trusted Him for eternal destiny
6. He was a fool, for He died for His lies.
7. He is not a great moral teacher because of this list.

Of all the results above, I find the hardest to believe that Jesus was lying and He went to His own dead on a painful cross for nothing.  I don’t know anyone who will die for a lie THAT THEY KNOW is false.  It doesn’t make sense.  However, what if Jesus just thought He was God, He believed it, and perhaps was crazy or a lunatic.

If He was a lunatic consider the following:

1. There is no evidence of Jesus being abnormal or imbalanced.  A lunatic is typically only into themselves and doesn’t care about others around themselves.
2. Unlike a madman, Jesus always demonstrated the greatest composure under pressure.  For example when religious leaders questioned Him, when crowds tried to stone Him, even when He was on trail for His life He was calm and in control.
3. Jesus was too wise, loving, and creative to be crazy.  If he was crazy we should all hope to be crazy also.
4. Mad or Insane the miracles and resurrection stand on their own.
5. The disciples would have obviously recognized a crazy man after spending 3 years with Him side-by-side in ministry.

Those two possibilities don’t seem to make a lot of sense, that leaves us with the third possibility which is Lord.  Jesus is who He says He was and it is either our choice to choose to reject Him or accept Him.

Originally in C.S. Lewis’ explanation there was a 4th category of Legend.  But since his writings in the mid-19th century a great amount of external evidence to Jesus outside the Bible has been discovered through other Christian and even non-Christian historians that make Jesus a historically a real person.

One other objection I have heard over the last year was that perhaps Jesus was a real person, but never claimed to be God, and after His death the early followers and church made up Jesus to be something greater, like God.  The problem with that argument is that many of the early Christians, even most of Jesus disciples died a martyrs death faking a story, creating a lie, and trying to keep it going.  The idea that the early church in the 3rd and 4th centuries changed the writings of the Early apostles doesn’t fit either because of the sheer amounts of manuscripts that were created as Christianity was being spread.  It would be very illogical to think that the church could get hold of every single manuscript and change them.

As always, questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.  Have a great Good Friday and remember it’s Good for us that Jesus died for our sins.


How We Got Here

November 4, 2011

In a conversation recently with an older friend I mentioned that I had been to a Secular Student Alliance Club at a local high school to talk about my faith, and the name of the club begged the question for her, “What is a Secular Student Alliance Club?”  I gave a brief explanation of the club and the kinds of topics that they discuss.  I made the generalization that most of the students in the club don’t hold a theistic position, most are atheist or skeptical.   The friend of mine, responded with a question  “They actually have a club like that in the high school?”  A man listening to our conversation added that they have the right to do that, if a Christian club has the same right to meet.  I agreed with the man and that led to a discussion about the actual statements in the constitution and other ideas like “the separation of church and state” and what it actually meant.  The point I want to focus the rest of the post on what my friend said in wrapping up the conversation.  Being a senior adult, with a “few” years of experience behind her, she asked the rhetorical question,  “How did we get here?”

There are 3 terms that are central keys to the change that American has gone through over the last 50 years.   Secularization, Pluralism, and Privatization.  Each of these ideas have had a large impact of the beliefs, practices, and actions that play out in America.

Secularization is the process of  removing all aspects of God and religion from the public life through avenues like schools, businesses, courthouses, and monuments.  Groups like the ACLU and others make it their number one goal to wipe God out of  all aspects from American culture and history.   In a nation that is predominantly Christian, the few and small groups that are offended by the idea of God can slowly chip away at the Christian foundations that were set early in our countries history.  With God moving out of the picture in American culture this creates a bold new exercise of morality by people who have no ultimate God to answer to.  If God is out of the picture, they can do whatever they want, after all, no one is watching over us.  Secularization pushes the ceiling on how far is too far, by creating an atmosphere of no shame in our world.  With the absence of shame nothing is too far, nothing is taboo.

Pluralism is where you have a wide variety of choices.  “Only in America” as Ravi Zacharias continues “can you find an Indian man selling kosher tacos in a store in Los Angeles”  Ravi goes on to explain that Pluralism in foods, or styles of clothes, and other areas in not bad, bud pluralism with respect to truth and worldviews is dangerous.   When you begin to look at truth as relative, you are taking truth from the objective reality and it becomes watered-down.  In a recent discussion with some high school students they could not grasp the idea that truth is objective and that there can only be one correct worldview.  I also experienced this past summer with some Christians in an apologetics class during camp.   The idea of relative truth has crept into our culture despite the fact that it doesn’t make sense or it falls apart internally.

Privatization is the idea that you can believe what you want to believe so long as you keep it to yourself and don’t bring your beliefs out into the public or life and share them with others.  In America you are free to believe and practice what you wish, but the new atheists and the secularists will go crazy if you dare insist that you actually live by what you believe and speak about your beliefs in a public way, not to mention if you hold a public office and make decisions based on your beliefs.  I have noticed within privatization there is a bias by which many secular thinkers abide.  They tell you that you cannot express your religious views and opinions, but at the same time they can advance their views and opinions without the same scrutiny.  Think about how it affects a person with a worldview who has to constantly separate their personal and public worldviews and how it creates a schizophrenic life.  Imagine that I tell my wife, I love her with all my heart, but why we are out in public I’m not going to acknowledge her, show any affection towards her, or in any way make any decisions based around her.  I hope you see the problems that would cause in my relationship with her.  The same is true of Christians and their relationship with God.  It is insane to think that Christians should keep their faith private.

Desensitization is the key here with these three aspects.  It happens slowly over time, so slow you don’t notice it until you wake up and see how far things have changed and it’s too late.  I like to use the example of a frog in a pot of water when I talk to teens about slowly falling away from their relationship with God.  Imagine you have a frog and a hot-pot of water.  You drop the frog in the water and he will hop right back out as soon as he lands in the water.  If you take the same from and place it in a pot of water and slowly turn the heat up over time the frog will sit in the pot and not jump out.  The frog will eventually die.  The reason being that the frog’s body will match the temperature of the water and not realize that it is too late.  In the same way we need to be aware of the constant changing temperature of the world around us.  Don’t let the little things go by without noticing how they change the environment around us slowly over time.

So what can you do as a Christian?  How can you fight back against the Secularization, Privatization, and Pluralistic world?  Here are a few ideas.  First, do your best to represent God and your Christian values in both private and public.  Your consistency will help yourself and encourage others.  Secondly, get a good grasp on truth and why it matters.  Don’t let the wave of relativism knock you down.  Be ready to defend object moral truths with examples and logical reasons.  Lastly, get involved in a social issue of the day.  It should be something you feel strong about and support from your worldview.  Items like defending traditional marriage, educating people on abortion and supporting groups that hold the Christian worldview.   The worst thing you could do is nothing, being silent when others speak up allows them to get their way without a fight.

As always questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.


Defining Terms: Law of Non-Contradiction

October 5, 2011

Law of Non-Contradiction
2 statements are made that contradict each other.  One must be true and the other must be false.  For example: “There is only one God.” and “There are multiple Gods.”  These statements contradict one another and therefore one must be false.

Ravi Zacharias often uses this example:
A husband and wife are going for a walk down the street for a walk together. They meet another couple on their walk and stop to talk to each other.  One of the other people make a statement “”I hear that both of you are pregnant.”   Immediately  together the wife says “yes” and husband says “no.”  The other couple is confused and waiting for an explanation.  Perhaps she is pregnant, and he doesn’t know yet, or perhaps there is a problem in the marriage.  Whatever the reason a woman cannot be both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time.

This law will keep a person honest when it comes to several things in apologetics.  It will also help someone who is hesitant to make a judgment about a position to decide where they stand on it.  For example in future posts we will discuss evidence that the universe had a beginning.  According to the law of non-contradiction  the universe either had a beginning or it did not.  Atheists have motives for not wanting the universe to have a beginning, because ever effect has a cause.  Christians gladly point to God as the first cause.  Even the Big Bang Singularity points to a beginning, even though it is not accepted by many Christians.    That’s why physicists like Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose are continuing to work on other alternative theories about the origin of the universe.


Defining Terms: Worldview

September 29, 2011

If you are just starting to learn about apologetics it is good to be familiar with several of the basic terms that are used in discussions, debates, and by many of those in the creation and evolution realm.  I will start out very basic with some of these words and gradually get deeper and more complex with the terms.  If I use a word in a recent blog I will include it in the Defining Terms blogs that  I create.

Worldview – The dictionary describes it as a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.  Everyone has a worldview whether or not they think a little or a lot about it.  I believe that a solid worldview must be able to satisfactorily answer basic questions about our past, present and future as well as give coherent meaning to all of the issues that we may face in our lifetime.   The human mind has a curious need to organize things and understand and make them coherent.

I have recently heard of a University of Florida student who was attending a lecture by apologist, Ravi Zacharias, and the student stood up and defiantly made the statement that “Life doesn’t have to be coherent” and demanded that Ravi Zacharias give an answer to why it should.  Dr. Zacharias responded that he would like to help the student, but before He answered that question, he had one question for the student.  Dr. Zacharias asked him, “Would you like my answer to your question to be coherent?”  The student stood quietly there for a moment and then just sat down.

What goes into making our worldview?  Everything.  Everything we experience from the time we are born until this very present moment that you are reading this blog accumulates to the sum of our world view.  Our Nurture, Our Nature,  Our Experience, Our Relationships with People (bosses, parents, peers, etc.), Our beliefs, Our Actions, the list could go on and on.  In my Christian worldview, God and the Bible,  have a big part of every single persons worldview on earth, whether they acknowledge God or not.  Someone who holds an atheist position would of course disagree.

A worldview does not have to be religious by nature.  By religious, I use the definition of a strict devotion to a supernatural being, higher power, God or gods.   Worldviews can be based solely on scientific laws and knowledge and whatever a person views as coherent and true.  For example someone who calls themselves a Darwinian evolutionist has a worldview that holds an atheistic or agnostic values.  Another worldview that I just learned about today are Raliens.  They believe that human life was seeded on this planet by extraterrestrials.

I am constantly self-examining my own worldview with the knowledge that I receive almost daily.  I want to make sure that I am as intellectually honest with myself about what I believe as I can be.  In other words, I like to keep an open mind.  Over the course of my journey in life I have found that my Christian worldview has for the most part stayed the same and I still feel that it is one that is the most coherent of all the worldviews I have examined.  The Christian worldview is durable, it can withstand the constant scrutiny from outside and internal sources.  Through out the months and weeks to come I will be examining the different aspects of my own worldview and also comparing them to other popular or mainstream worldviews.  I will do my best to offer the evidence, you can decide what you want to from the facts.

As always questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.  In the near future I will post a follow-up with this blog about the challenge by Richard Dawkins, that people basically take the worldview that they grew up with.  Indoctrination, as he calls it,  by those who raise their children into religion, he even goes to the lengths to call it child abuse.  Most likely for the reaction.