At The Table

Thinking about Jesus, culture, and everyday life.

Tag: apologetics (page 1 of 3)

The Fight to Embrace Reality

It is an essential characteristic of us humans that we seem to never stop in our quest for truth. Survey any age, any culture, at any time, and there is one thing that you are bound to find: people asking and seeking answers to some of the most fundamental questions of life. Some of us more than others. Yet all to some extent. There is always an element in all of us that is hungry for answers. We cannot settle down to merely being utilitarian; that is, to merely fulfilling our role in society, going to work, paying the bills, and calling it good.

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Reason and the Resurrection

The idea of the resurrection of has been criticized and mocked from the very earliest days of christianity. Jesus debated with the Sadducees – a group of Jewish scholars who generally dismissed the possibly of the miraculous or supernatural. When Paul spoke with the Greeks in Athens, they listened to his argument, up until he got to the fact that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Then they just mocked and dismissed him.

There seems to be an element of appeal in this dismissal of such fantastical notions. A reasonable rootedness in reality. There is indeed a goodness and virtue in such a gesture. It’s so much easier to believe in magical stories that explain away some of the big questions of life. The modern mind needs reason and foundation. There is no room for blind faith here. We have grown out of that. Continue reading

A Cruel and Unjust World

If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? … for many years I simply refused to listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling ‘whatever you say, and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?’ But then that threw me back into another difficulty.

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too— for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies.

Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist— in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless— I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality— namely my idea of justice— was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.¹

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Unpacking the Modern Myth

“The picture so often painted of Christians huddling together on an ever narrower strip of beach while the incoming tide of “Science” mounts higher and higher corresponds to nothing in my own experience. That grand myth which I asked you to admire a few minutes ago is not for me a hostile novelty breaking in on my traditional beliefs. On the contrary, that cosmology is what I started from. Deepening distrust and final abandonment of it long preceded my conversion to Christianity. Long before I believed Theology to be true I had already decided that the popular scientific picture at any rate was false.

One absolutely central inconsistency ruins it; it is the one we touched on a fortnight ago. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula or the remotest part obeys the thought laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory—in other words, unless Reason is an absolute—all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction.

They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based. The difficulty is to me a fatal one; and the fact that when you put it to many scientists, far from having an answer, they seem not even to understand what the difficulty is, assures me that I have not found a mare’s nest but detected a radical disease in their whole mode of thought from the very beginning. The man who has once understood the situation is compelled henceforth to regard the scientific cosmology as being, in principle, a myth; though no doubt a great many true particulars have been worked into it.”

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C. S. Lewis on Pain and Purpose

A couple of weeks ago, our youth group had a small cabin retreat, during which we took some time to think on the issue of pain and suffering. Here are some of the key quotes that I found incredibly insightful from C.S. Lewis on the subject. It is important to note on the outset however, that he is saying these things on the presupposition that we have established (see previous post) the reality of suffering in our world, the existence of a good and loving God, and therefore the reality of true purpose in our pain. Continue reading

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