Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rational Christianity

Yeah I know this is allegedly a political blog, but I think holy week warrants a blogpost on the topic.

After going through high school, there  is one thing that I notice all far leftists agree to as a basic tenant of life, it is impossible to be rational and Christian at the same time. I recently picked up several Apologetics books, lectures, and debates and found out that the belief couldn't be farther from the truth. I am going to attempt to amalgamate all that I have read so far and see what happens. My objective is to show that faith can be based on reason.

My argument will be outlined as follows

A. God exists

  1. Moral argument

  2. Cosmological argument

  3. The teleological argument

(Dr. William Lane Craig)

B. Christianity is true

  1. Jesus existed

  2. Jesus stated that He is God

  3. Jesus was crucified

  4. Jesus died

  5. Jesus was buried in the tomb

  6. The tomb was empty

  7. Jesus' followers claimed to have seen Jesus after his death

  8. Saul of Tarsus, an opponent of Jesus' followers, had a vision of Jesus and became a Christian.

  9. Those who had visions continued to support their claims of Jesus being God till death.

  10. There are no plausible naturalistic explanations for the above facts.

(Dr. Gary Habermas)

1. Moral Argument

This argument goes as follows:

  1. God is necessary for objective morals to exist

  2. Objective morals exists

  3. Therefore God exists

There are a couple of important clarifications to this argument. This does not mean that atheists cannot be moral. It is also not arguing that life would be too horrible without the existence of God. Simply put, if you believe the first two then the third necessarily follows.

1.God is necessary for objective morals to exist

This claim is widely accepted by most philosophers. By objective here, I mean independent of human opinion, and therefore inter-temporal. So without God all morals are simply based on opinion. Very uncontroversial claim in most circles.

2.Objective morals exist

This is the more controversial claim. The problem with this claim is that there is no evidence for it, outside of personal opinion. If you are of the opinion, that objective morals do not exist, this argument does not apply to you. But there is good reason to believe that objective morals exist. If there are no objective morals, then nothing is "wrong." It all becomes a matter of personal preference. Making the statement "Rape is wrong" is the equivalent of saying "2+2=5 is wrong." If you believe that morality is simply a convention created by humans, then one has no right to criticize someone for doing an "immoral" act as morality is simply a matter of preference. Saying "helping others is good" is the equivalent of saying that "chocolate is good".

2. Cosmological argument

This argument is just as simple as the last one. It goes like this:

  1. Everything that comes into existence has a cause

  2. The universe came into existence

  3. The universe has a cause

This is actually a really old argument. Most objections to it were on the basis of the second contention. Back then most atheists believed that the world existed universally. That view however is untenable given modern science.

This one is actually really hard to dispute.

Some try to argue that the universe is everything and therefore the argument is simply tautological. The simple response is that there are "things" outside of the universe  like abstract concepts. For instance numbers, and mathematics exist independent of time and space. No one ever argues that the number 7 came into existence, therefore the number 7 is uncaused.

3. Teleological argument

This is the argument that the universe is so fine tuned that its so unlikely that all of the universal constants, like gravity, the weak force, are so fine tuned that the universe must have been designed.

Some argue that regardless of what the universe's constants are some form of life will exist. Easy response:
Stephen Hawking estimates that a decrease in the expansion rate of even one part in a hundred thousand million million one second after the Big Bang would have resulted in the universe’s recollapse long ago; a similar increase would have precluded the galaxies’ condensing out of the expanding matter.

These all provide adequate arguments for the existence of God or at the least provide evidence that God's existence is possible. Given the possibility of God's existence, then you cannot reject the resurrection a priori. So now let's analyse the possibility of the resurrection.

The historicity of the Resurrection

The following facts are accepted by the majority of New Testament scholars:

  1. Jesus existed

  2. Jesus stated that He is God

  3. Jesus was crucified

  4. Jesus died

  5. Jesus was buried in the tomb

  6. The tomb was empty

  7. Jesus' followers claimed to have seen Jesus after his death

These facts are accepted by both liberals and conservatives alike, both atheists and theists. The thing is, atheists must provide an alternative, naturalistic explanation for these facts. Some atheists take the position that Jesus was never really dead, although this view has been largely abandoned as ridiculous. Another argument that attempts to explain these facts is that the disciples had a delusion that made them believe Jesus was risen from the dead. That would not explain why Saul, a man who stood against the church and had everything to loose by becoming Christian, became a Christian.

All of these facts are widely attested, and support the existence of the Christian God. Perhaps I did not convince you to become a Christian, but I believe I provide good evidence for belief in Christianity to be rational. There are plenty more arguments that I don't even mention, but I think this is a good basic explanation. To quote Blaise Pascal:

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

You were expecting a religious quote weren't you?

No comments:

Post a Comment