The Logic of Atheism Drove This Scholar to Jesus

Logic is an amazing feature of the universe God created, but one that is unfortunately often ignored. It is no longer taught in public schools, which is obvious from the tenor of public debates over politics and religion. And those of us who attend weekly worship services at our local church also get very little, if any, teaching about logic. But if we are to think well and critically through life, logic is indispensable, especially in a hostile, post-Christian Western culture. (The one encouraging bright spot in this logical wasteland is the growth of Christian (and public charter) classical education, but it’s only a drop in a very large bucket at this point.)

Most people tend to think that logic drives people away from Christian faith, but logic is in fact one of our faith’s most powerful allies. I recently learned about an atheist turned Christian who found this out much to her surprise. Sarah Irving-Stonebraker was once a committed atheist, and she tells her story of coming to embrace the Christian message in a piece at The Veritas Forum. Growing up in a “loving, secular home,” as she puts it, she just knew that “Christians were anti-intellectual and self-righteous.” She doesn’t seem to have known any Christians at the time, but that is the perception in the Western cultural air we breathe.

Bob Dylan And His Classical Education

Although I’ve never been a big fan of Bob Dylan, I’ve always appreciated his genius, and especially his ability to capture the cultural Zeitgeist. A piece by Rod Dreher titled “Bob Dylan On The Road To Damascus” explains why he was so good at this. We learn from Dylan’s Nobel Prize speech that several books he read in grammar school,  Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Odyssey, among others, influenced the way he saw the world, and thus wrote lyrics. Dreher comments that

He goes on to discuss those three novels, and how they affected his understanding of the world, and in turn, his music. One of the greatest popular musicians of the 20th century, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, got his start in what we now call classical education — one that gives the student “a way of looking at life, an understanding of human nature, and a standard to measure things by.”

The Epidemic of Unexamined Assumptions

Given I’m a fan of popular culture, and a student of it’s influence on, and reflection of, the worldview of the people in that culture, I was very eager to read a piece titled Questioning the Gods: How TV’s Tackling Belief and Religion. The article perfectly captures a certain epistemology that is at the heart of how people understand the world in our secular, post-modern relativist culture.

When Keeping Your Kids Christian gets published, you will see that I’m a big fan of identifying assumptions within the culture, in discussions with others, and in our own thinking. Unexamined assumptions are an epidemic today. While everyone knows what assumptions are, most people don’t think they have any! Many Christians think this way too. But once we learn to question assumptions, many things become clear that once seemed opaque. As we uncover hidden assumptions we clarify thoughts and arguments to see if the logic holds up under scrutiny.

Epistemology Isn’t Just For Philosophers

In researching, reading, and thinking about writing a book about keeping my kids Christian, I was kind of surprised to discover how important questions of epistemology began to emerge. I even decided to write an entire chapter on epistemology—in a book on raising kids! I can understand why a lot of Christians would think that’s a bit nutty, in many cases because they wouldn’t even know what epistemology is. I’m hoping in some small way that my book might help change that. Every Christian in our postmodern, relativistic, secular age needs to know not only what epistemology is, but how important are the implications for their faith.

Simply, epistemology is the study of how we know what we know, and it has been vigorously debated among philosophers in Western civilization since at least Rene Descartes (1596-1650). The reason religious faith is so problematic in the modern West is because skepticism about metaphysical ideas and historical facts is the default epistemology of the culture. Which is why I was so surprised when I saw an article at the reliably liberal and secular NPR website titled, “Skepticism about Skepticism.” I instantly thought of a quote by C.S. Lewis in his book Christian Reflections (p. 164)

Hey, Bill Nye, Fake Science Guy, There Are No “Extra Kids”

Who is this Bill Nye guy anyway? I only became aware of him recently, but it seems he’s a popular “science educator.” He got his moniker, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” from a PBS children’s science show in the 90s, and we know that anything that has the word “science” attached to it has instant credibility in our secular age. Unfortunately, science has to be one of the most abused words of modern times. Instead of referring to an empirical method of inquiry, it’s become a weapon to shut down debate. Specifically, it’s used as a cudgel by the secular left to intimidate anyone who dares question the “scientific consensus” on things like global warming (which has transmorgified into the redundant term “climate change”) and evolution.

So it didn’t surprise me when I saw the provocative title of a piece at The Federalist, “Bill Nye’s View Of Humanity Is Repulsive.”  You’ll see why below, but human dignity is only possible in a theistic universe. Without God all we are is lucky dirt. Material things don’t have any transcendent value in themselves. Keep in mind I am speaking logically; you cannot get to value from dirt. We step on dirt, we don’t fall in love with it, or cherish it, or treat it with respect. It’s dirt! If atheism is true, then all we are is lucky dirt and thus logically can be stepped on with impunity.

LifeWay Research: Americans Are Fond of the Bible, Don’t Actually Read it

The Bible, the most influential book in American history, has fallen on hard times. According to a recent Lifeway Research survey, while Americans respect and many venerate the bible, it seems most never open one.

Americans have a positive view of the Bible. And many say the Christian scriptures are filled with moral lessons for today.

However, more than half of Americans have read little or none of the Bible.

Less than a quarter of those who have ever read a Bible have a systematic plan for reading the Christian scriptures each day. And a third of Americans never pick it up on their own, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

You might see in these words, if you are a Christian, that the problem is that most Americans don’t read the Bible. Even more disconcerting, however, is that people think the Bible is about “moral lessons,” which isn’t surprising given people generally equate religion with morality.

Notable Quotation

We must attack the enemy’s line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics, or Astronomy, we found that its implication were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defence of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materalistic assumptions in all the other books.

C.S. Lewis, God in The Dock, p. 91.

Why Is the Question, “Who Designed the Designer?” Logical AND Absurd?

A common question when talking to children about God being the creator of all things is, “Who created God?” The question is logical enough, but absurd. Many atheists and agnostics, who often think like children, often ask the same question:

Amazingly, it’s the chief objection raised to religious belief by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion. It’s also a complaint you hear all the time in response to intelligent design. Regarding the “natural temptation…to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself,” Dawkins replies:

“The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.”

Keith Green And Reflections on Our Love for God

Every Evangelical or “born-again” Christian of the boomer generation knows of Keith Green, a fervent evangelist (some would say almost prophet) musician who died way too young. When I was in college in the late 70s and early 80s, Keith Green’s music was a large part of the soundtrack of my Christian life. On my way to my first job out of college on July 28, 1982, the day before my birthday, I heard on the radio that Keith Green had died in a plane crash. He was all of 28 years old.

I was thinking of him on Easter morning because I couldn’t get his Easter Song out of my mind, especially where he sings, “He is risen, hallelujah.”  So I decided to take a little nostalgia trip reading about him and listening to some old songs. I came across his bio at the website of the organization he and his wife, Melody, founded called Last Days Ministries. A quote from Keith there reminded me of the type of Christianity I was “born-again” into, and why I am so grateful I was introduced to Reformed Theology a couple years out of college. Here is the quote, and I’ll explain why:

Loving Him is to be our cause. He can take care of a lot of other causes without us, but He can’t make us love Him with all our heart. That’s the work we must do.  Anything else is an imitation.

Notable Quotation

I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, of the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they have shed; and that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify what has happened.

Theodore Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov