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Two people in a heated argument about religion when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University.

Photo via David Shankbone through a CC License

There must be a transcendent, objective moral standard, or our claims make no sense.

“When one nation asks another to conform to some form of moral behavior, it’s not saying, “Do it our way,” it’s saying, “Do the right thing.” Our appeal to a particular behavior isn’t based solely on our collective, subjective opinion; it’s based on an appeal to objective moral values transcending our opinion. We can argue about the identity of these values, but we must accept the transcendent foundation of these moral truths if we ever hope to persuade others to embrace them. Nations may dislike one another and resist the subjective values held by other groups. That’s why we argue for the transcendent moral value of an action, rather than appealing to a subjective national opinion.”
-J. Warner Wallace

via http://feedly.com/e/yS0BpAj7

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

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photo by MrX through a CC License

“Atheism makes a knowledge claim—“God does not exist”—and therefore stands in need of justification, as does the theistic claim, “God exists.” The atheist is not off the hook. If the atheist claims that he simply does not believe in God, then he does not differ from an agnostic, who also doesn’t believe in God. The agnostic’s view is properly characterized as unbelief; the atheist’s is disbelief.”

– Paul Copan, from the Parchment and Pen blog

via http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2014/02/theism-atheism-and-rationality-some-reflections/

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

Quote  —  Posted: April 21, 2014 in Apologetics, Atheism, Quotes
Tags: , , , ,

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photo via http://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Resurrection_of_Christ.jpg by Hendrick van den Broeck

On this most holy of days, may you stop and contemplate the fact that God tabernacled among us in human flesh. He was one Person with two natures-Divine and human.

We are in such dire straits…dead in our trespasses and sins, that we can’t save ourselves. Our crime is rebellion against an infinitely Holy God. The debt must be paid by an Infinite Being. We don’t fit-the-bill.

But God, being rich in mercy, didn’t leave us as we deserve.

The Trinity, before there was anything but their three Persons in one Being, decided to save for Themselves a people.

When the time was right, God the Father sent His Eternally-unique Son to actively fulfill His Righteous Commands in His Life, and passively suffer our punishment in His Passion.

He suffered our punishment, He died our death. He was put in a borrowed tomb, for borrowed sins. When He cried “it is finished!” (gk. Telestai-the debt is paid in full), it truly was.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end with just having our sin-debt paid. On Easter morning, our Savior rose from the grave.

He secured for us more than a reboot to Adam’s state in the garden. He secured for us an Eternal future with immortal bodies like His. He secured for us a future devoid of the penalty, power, and presence of sin. He secured for us a closeness to the Father that Adam never had. Wherever Jesus will be, we’ll be with Him. When the Father looks at us, He sees Us through His Beloved Son.

Celebrate with me, and remember the words to these wonderful hymns:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain:
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure?
The saints’ and angels’ song!

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

He is alive, and He is Lord,
Now crowned with heaven’s highest name;
And there in Him, by love restored,
With all creation we’ll proclaim:
“Worthy the Lamb, the Great I Am,
All glory, power, and might.”
With joy we’ll trace His boundless grace
In all its depth and height.

And finally,

1. Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

2. Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

3. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

4. Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

5. Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

6. King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Happy, glorious Easter!

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

Eric Adams:

I live in an Easter Saturday world, as well. Great post!

Originally posted on Hope's Reason:

Holy Week is important. We have things like Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But what about Easter Saturday. Nobody talks about Easter Saturday. It is just filler until Easter Sunday shows up. Or is it?

I have a soft spot for Easter Saturday, because that is where I live. Good Friday is where the victory takes place. Sin is defeated. Easter Sunday is where the victory is completed. Death is defeated. Easter Saturday is the time in between. It is the time when the disciples are hiding. It is the place where they are not sure which way the battle has gone. Easter Saturday is where they are the most human.

We too live in Easter Saturday. We know about the atonement and what God has done through Jesus Christ. There is a part of us that is filled with hope. But we are still waiting. We are waiting…

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imageImage via KellyLawlessThrough a CC License

I am guilty of being a little intellectually lazy. I tend to have my best ruminations after reading either a book, or a blog, listening to a sermon by my pastor, or maybe after listening to a podcast. It could be an argument I haven’t heard before, or a term I’m not familiar with, or a thought I vehemently disagree with. I’m always more stimulated by other minds than I am my own. Perhaps it’s because I’m always in my own mind, and I know how boring or thin it can be.

Whatever the cause, I take seriously the Great commandment:

Mark 12:28-30 ESV

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Loving The Lord with all our minds has been largely ignored by present and recent generations. It took the horrible consequences of belief in the aberrant Word of Faith Movement to spur my own entry into God-loving with my mind. We live in an anti-intellectual culture. You would think today’s humanity would be skeptically burnt out on false worldviews, especially the cynical Millenials; but, alas, skepticism seems to be a non-sequetor, except for the truth claims of Christianity. Then it’s Katie-bar-the-door.

I am by nature skeptical as of lately; although I haven’t always been. My foray into the “name-it-and-claim-it” club forced me to critically-examine my belief system.

Through God’s Grace, I turned to the Reformers for help. Their conflict with the Roman Catholic Magisterium and rediscovery of the 5 Solas ["Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone); “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone); “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone); “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone); and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory)] gave me a great foundation to be able to claw my way out of a false belief system. I am now chronically allergic to what I call “terminal goofiness” when it comes to theology.

What about you? Have you examined your own beliefs with a critical eye?

Don’t think for a minute that you can escape having your worldview challenged. It’s gonna happen. You can’t rigorously defend a minority Weltanschauung that you’ve garnered by familial osmosis, or pieced together in the mad laboratory of public opinion that you’ve grave-robbed from the cemetery of bad ideas.

God’s Word is the only foundation that will keep you from sinking sand. Biblical, historic Christianity is the only worldview that can adequately answer both the way things are in reality, and how their supposed to be.

simul justus et peccator,

Eric Adams

Eric Adams:

The Origins of The Easter Bunny

Originally posted on THE WALL: a blog of Baptist Voice Ministries:

It is thought that the word Easter  comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. A festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by these people to honor her. Of interest is the word’s relation to east ( ost in German). The name for a celebration of the sunrise and a change of season was eventually applied to the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ and the new era He heralded.

The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility. Since rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring, it’s understandable that the rabbit is the symbol of fertility.

The legend of the Easter Bunny bringing eggs appears to have been brought to the United States by settlers from southwestern…

View original 240 more words

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Image via Brews Ohare, per CC Liscense

When I first moved to the Toolroom at the manufacturing plant I worked in as an apprentice Toolmaker, I was having difficulty with trigonometry. In my vocation, trig was used on a daily basis to obtain accurate angles, or to figure bolt patterns, etc.

I was horrible at math in school, especially geometry and trig. Learning the trig functions was important. Doing your job well is a great motivator for learning things you have difficulty with.

I’m not particularly brilliant, but I am stubborn. I kept banging my head around sine, cosine, and tangent.
One day, it’s like it all just fell together. I had wrestled with the fundamentals so long, I just got a good grasp of it. It seemed to happen overnight, but I really worked hard at it, since it was a necessary skill for my work. I became the trig expert of the shop, which was humorous to me, considering how bad I was at trig in high school, and college.

There are several equations that are the foundation for trigonometry.

Three important ones are:

O/H = Sine (the O/H meaning the Opposite of the Hypotenuse);

A/H = Cosine ( the adjacent of the hypotenuse); and

O/A = Tangent (the opposite of the adjacent)

Theses equations all deal with the relationships between the angles and lines of a right triangle.

The way I learned to remember these relationships was to employ a mnemonic device:

Oscar Has
A Heap
Of Apples

O/H
A/H
O/A

It really helps to understand the equations.

Philosophy uses equations called syllogisms. These syllogisms are representations of logic and argumentation. By argument, I don’t mean a knock-down-drag-out with your bestie. In philosophy, “the goal of an argument is to offer good reasons in support of your conclusion, reasons that all parties to your dispute can accept.” (1)

The syllogism of the moral argument for the existence of God goes something like this:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.

Conclusion: Therefore, God exists. -

If the atheist denies Premise 1, he or she must offer some alternative source for objective moral values.

By “objective moral standards”, we are making the case that there are at least some ethical values (things that ought to be done, or ought not to be done) that exist in all cultures at all times.

This first premise has to do with moral ontology, or the ultimate source of ethical values. Where is the grounding for “objective moral standards?

This is a difficulty for atheists to deny or refute, which is why many move to deny Premise 2. Of course, this creates its own set of dilemmas.

For instance, how do we explain that even isolated peoples have certain moral absolutes in common with the rest of humanity?

Some examples of a universal moral value might be:

1) it is always wrong to torture babies;

2) it is always wrong to kill someone for the simple pleasure of killing.

“Most people want to uphold premise 2 of the moral argument. After all, if there are no objective ethics, then who is to say that Hitler was objectively morally wrong? Humans have an intuitive sense of right and wrong. The moral argument requires only that at least some actions are objectively right or wrong (e.g. torturing children for pleasure is objectively morally wrong). Premise 1 relates to the perfect standard against which everything else is measured. God, being the only morally perfect being, is the standard against which all other things are judged. Moreover, in the absence of theism, nobody has been able to conceive of a defensible grounding for moral values.” (2)

Human beings have an intuitive sense of what is right and wrong. The Bible identifies this sensing as conscience.

Romans 2:14-16 ESV

14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

The belief in objective moral absolutes is called “moral realism” by philosophers.

It would seem to me, that if we feel guilt over transgressing a moral “law”, that it would have to be more than some abstract idea of morality. It would need to be grounded in a person. We don’t feel guilt when we transgress the law if gravity…we will feel pain, and maybe even die…but not guilt. We feel guilty when we disobey our parents. We don’t feel guilt when we fall off a ladder, unless we fall on our mom…then we feel guilt, of course.

“In other words, objective moral values must be ontologically grounded in a transcendent personality before whom it is appropriate to feel moral guilt (it’s worth noting that the possibility of objective forgiveness for moral guilt is equally dependent upon the moral law having a personal ground).”(3)

Just like learning trig functions helped me in my vocation as a Toolmaker, learning the various arguments for the existence of God will help us all in our vocations as Evangelists and Apologists. Don’t think that by ignoring the arguments for the existence of God that you are somehow not responsible for “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”(1PE 3:15b ESV) it takes real mental work and reasoning to prepare yourself for the inevitable questions about your faith.

Much of the above discussion was inspired by:

http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/moral-argument.htm#sthash.t6EOZkjt.dpuf

1. Pryor, Jim. “What Is an Argument?.” Philosophical Terms and Methods. N.p., 6 Jan. 2006. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. .

2. “Moral Argument.” AllAboutPhilosophy.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. .

3. Williams, Peter S. . “Can Moral Objectivism Do Without God?.” bethinking.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. .

simul justus et peccator,

Eric Adams