In speaking with many young people, I discover that most do not believe in God because they feel an impossible divide exists between God and Science. Further questioning reveals they honestly do not know much about either subject. After careful study of both, one may logically conclude that we have very strong proof for the existence of God, using none other than science to get to that point. Yet others feel differently. In 1883, Nietzsche proclaimed “God is Dead.” The sentiment was echoed by Time magazine over 80 years later. Many do not have a sincere faith in God, citing scientific theory regarding the origins of life as the answer. But, is this logical? (more…)
Posts tagged ‘Logic Of’
The challenge of sin and how one may obtain forgiveness overshadows nearly every other theme in our lives. While some have learned to ignore it, guilt eats many from the inside out. More than any other motivating factor, most people seek out religion to answer the question of guilt as we have all committed wrongs that have pained others. More seriously, we have offended our Holy creator, who sets the standard of holiness.
When you compare many of the world’s religions side by side, you can find any number of answers to this challenge. Buddhism asks you to empty yourself of all desire and negativity to reach nirvana. Eastern philosophy asks you to do enough good deeds to outweigh the bad. Catholicism and Mormonism churches theoretically hold the keys to heaven. To enter, you will need to join and follow various rules and sacramental ordnances . I have noticed that nearly religions have you do a multitude of things to either earn or qualify for forgiveness needed for salvation.
On the surface, this almost seems logical. After all, if one presumes that we create some sort of spiritually based debt when we commit an act of iniquity, than certainly enough selfless or holy acts that benefits mankind could, theoretically, pay it back. As children, we would try to get away from punishment by promising better behavior in the future.
Yet, if we ponder how justice works, we see the shortcoming in this logic. When we commit a civil offense, we cannot trade in our good actions, past or future, to get away from the penalty. Recently, I police officer gave me a ticket for a traffic violation. Despite my nearly flawless driving record through two decades, and promise to learn from my error, the officer still issued the citation. An appeal to the judge to waive the requisite penalty based on future promise would fall on deaf ears. I broke the law, and I must pay the penalty.
The Bible makes it clear that the wages of sin are death, not promised (or actualized) good behavior. Once we’ve committed even one selfish act, we bring ourselves under the terrible penalty of sin. And, most of us have committed not one, but a multitude of sin. Interestingly enough, when asked, most reply that they believe they are ‘good’ people…as if we’ll all be graded on a curve. Unfortunately, the holiness of God demands that He judge us based on His Holy scale, not our understanding of it.
Back to the topic of hand, as I studied world faiths, I saw one, clear contrast as I read the Bible. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In Acts 16 a keeper of the prison “29 …called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Christianity provides the only method of salvation whereby God has already done all of the work. In just about every other faith, you have to jump through hoops, prove yourself worthy, and hope it is enough. The Bible, on the other hand, says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2.8-9) Jesus paid the price, in full, on the cross.
Occasionally, some friends of different faiths will point out that such a message implies that the sinner may continue to go on sinning. In fact, he probably will knowing that he’s forgiven of all sin, past, present and future. To make such a statement shows an ignorance of the New Testament message. When one puts their faith in God, Jesus says they become ‘born again.’ God takes the old nature of that sinner, and replaces it with a new heart. Where, before, the sinner cared mostly to satisfy his own desires (selfishness), he finds he loves his God and fellow man more. The Bible states that God grants repentance, or a desire to turn away from sin, as well. The sinner no longer finds sin captivating or compelling. While he or she may still struggle and fall from time to time, the characteristics of the Christian life, over time, will include a surrendering of their sinful way to the Lord, and a new heart filled with love for God and fellow man.
The Bible goes so far to state that a life void of love and holiness characterizes a dead faith (and, therefore, not a saving faith). James says, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” A child born of parents will have the characteristics of both. If he does not have any, people suspect that he is born of different parents. This applies to spiritual birth, as well. If one claims to have been re-born by the spirit of God, but lives like the devil, one would logically question if that person ever game to a saving faith in Christ. For the Bible states that “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Are you born again? Do you have heart that truly desires the Holiness of God? Do you delight in His ways?
A few months ago, I wrote an article providing logical support for why a loving God sends people to Hell. Ultimately, God does not want any to go to hell. After all, He sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins in order that we might spend eternity at His side, our sin pardoned. However, when we shake our fists in the sky, say “I’ll do it my way, God,” we leave Him little choice. To allow such selfish, destructive children into Heaven would quickly turn it into a version of Hell.
Another friend brought up this very subject, and upon thinking on it overnight, I found a logical inconsistency with how we evaluate God and our own relationships. Now, my purpose in writing this is not to demonstrate another logical reason for judgment and Hell, though it might do just that. Rather, I wish to display how we use a different standard in evaluating Christ’s approach to relationships versus our own. (more…)
A week or three ago, some friends (and friends of friends) discussed the “Ice Bucket Challenge” on Facebook. One of these friends linked an article about how the author could not support it. I stopped to read the entry because others would certainly judge such a view as controversial, at best. The blogger eventually concluded that he could not support this popular effort because the non-profit research organization that the Ice Bucket Challenge funded used embryonic stem cells in its research to fight cancer and disease. This, of course, brings up concerns about abortion.
Standing up against abortion (which many label as “Women’s Reproduction Rights”) continues to draw criticism from the news media and many social sites. So, this gentleman set himself up for two cans of whoop-ass from two different camps. The comments and replies on the blog entry went back and forth quite a bit, as it did on the Facebook thread posted by the friend of my friend.
And I decided to support the blogger, writing “I agree.”
I got a wee bit of flak, as expected, for my stand. So, I wrote a blog entry “Arguing Abortion With Logic.” In it, I used logic, and logic alone, to show how immoral abortion is. The article received numerous hits, yet I received no further comments from anyone. Since then, I have spoken with nearly a dozen people about the subject. Even when speaking with die-hard, pro-abortion followers, the conversation stops, after I prove my logic, nearly every single time.
I love logic. I excelled in math in High School because, at the end of the day, understanding math requires understanding logic. I often describe myself as ‘creatively logical,’ as I not only love logic, but also love to draw and write. I believe that logic is that middle ground between God and those who do not believe, if they choose to look into it. You see, God invented everything (or so the story goes). True followers of God should never fear what science, history and logic discover. Since God created it all, it will only work to all point back to Him.
Many of my friends who think that faith is simply a blind faith in an invisible God find this surprising. They erroneously think that in order to have faith in God, the way the Bible describes, you have to check your brain at the door. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I actually came to faith, in God, using logic. If you study the holy texts of the three or four larger faiths and apply logic, you can find some striking similarities and constrasts that makes Biblical Christianity stand head and shoulders above the rest (I could write a series of articles on that, alone). One of my favorite Christian leaders, Ravi Zacharias, speaks at numerous public colleges each year at their request because when we speaks of religion and faith, he does so using university-level logic.
Now, logic is not a silver bullet. In one of the Star Trek movies, a Vulcan officer, Valeris, betrays Starfleet. When confronted, she uses logic to support her actions. While Captain Spock, a Vulcan himself, also uses logic to support an opposing view. If someone wants to believe something hard enough, they will find logical reasons for defending their viewpoint, regardless of the actual error. Trying to push someone’s opinion using logic (or any means) rarely works when the recipient has already cemented their viewpoints. In such circumstances, at best, I hope to put a ‘stone in the person’s shoes,” essentially forcing them to rethink their viewpoint knowing that, while I cannot change their mind, I might make them feel a wee uncomfortable about their illogical (and immoral) point of view.
For those who truly desire truth, however, logic can help show the way. Spock went on to say, “Logic, logic, logic. Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris, not the end.” When used as a starting point, and not a means to a pre-chosen end, logic plays a pivotal role in discovering truth. People do not believe me, but the Bible encourages us to think… not simply accept everything on blind faith. When Paul approached the Boreans about the Gospel, they did not accept his testimony at face value. They compared it with scripture, and studied diligently before embracing it. And, the Bible calls them some of the most holy people of that time…even though they used reason, instead of “blind faith” to accept the teachings. Therefore, I believe that if you wish to find the truth, and desire to find wisdom, you can absolutely find it using logical reasoning.
So, along the lines of my abortion article, mentioned above, I shall write a series of articles addressing concerns about God, the Bible and moral issues, using pure logic whenever possible. Aptly titled the “Logic of” series, I will refrain from Bible scriptures, outside of points of reference, and use pure logic to prove important, fundamental points found in the Bible. As I said, I hope to put a few stones in some shoes, and/or provide a starting point for friends and blog readers who truly desire to find the truth about God and life at all costs. However, I’m hardly the expert. I encourage those of you searching to research other resources as well. You do well to start with the teaching of Ravi Zacharias, but you may find other options easily enough. Or, like me, you can search the various holy texts yourself and come to your own, logical conclusions.
Until next time, may God bless you richly!
In the early 70’s, the supreme court lifted many governmental restrictions on abortions and, in that sweeping decision, split much of the nation into two camps; pro-life and pro-choice. Occasionally, my friends and I discuss the matter, and with embryonic stem cell research discussions taking place more, the concerns about human rights continue to come to the surface again and again.
Most of my friends know me for my faith in the Bible, but few people understand that my faith is actually grounded in logic. As an accountant, my career revolved around the black and white truth of numbers. I believe that most matters of morality, including this very topic, may be argued and looked at from a logical viewpoint as well. When I share this with friends, it surprises most that these matters of the spirit also have such strong ties to logic and common sense.
First, to understand a pro-life perspective, one must have a fundamental belief that life has intrinsic worth. Even most atheists I speak with agree that we should protect human life. Now, I could write a whole blog entry on why this viewpoint, in and of itself, has logical weight. But, for the sake of brevity, let us assume that the vast majority of people of all faiths (and those without faith) agree on the idea that human life has moral value and worth.
Second, we must believe, as an extension of that above logic, that to take an innocent life through any means is wrong. We all lament when we hear about modern day dictators killing people in their own countries. Our hearts collectively broke when terrorists slammed an airplane into the Twin Towers, killing thousands. Lately, I have seen a string of news horrifically reporting the death of numerous infants due to their negligent parents leaving them in a car, unattended. Because we believe that life has worth, we become incensed when we see others murdered, especially the weak, helpless and defenseless.
So, when it comes to the issue of abortion, no one defends that killing and murder of a human life is wrong in every conceivable way. However, when the arguments fly and the dust settles, we face the heart of the matter. Is the embryo or fetus actually a live human being? After all, if he/she is, than the fetus deserves the same protections under the law as any human.
Ironically enough, many states recognize that the fetus has those exact protections under the law. For example, Scott Peterson was convicted of double homicide under California’s fetal homicide law because he murdered his wife and their unborn child. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act provides another example. A wiki entry reads, “The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) is a United States law which recognizes a child in utero as a legal victim, if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence. The law defines “child in utero” as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb””
So, we have laws on our books, from our own government, judging the severity of any violent act leading to the unborn child’s death along the same lines as a born child, grown man or elderly woman. However, this does not prove, logically, the immorality of abortion. Rather, it simply shows that our government is inconsistent at best, and confused, at worst. We need to determine whether or not the fetus should be extended the same rights as a born child.
The question of exactly when life begins eludes scientists, politicians and scholars. When asked about this very topic, President Obama answered that such a question was “Above my (his) pay grade.” Scientific theories attempting to tackle this challenge outnumber the number of citizens in a small town. Born 2 weeks before the legal abortion limit, Amilia Taylor defied not only the odds, but scientific theory, by surviving. Some claim that life begins when the fetus is born, others when you can sense a heart beat and, yet others look at when you can see limbs. Using pure logic, anyone would struggle to define exactly when life begins. Yet, we can certainly make a decision regarding the morality of abortion.
Before destroying any building through implosion, the engineer in charge will have a survey of the building conducted. Obviously, if anyone remains in the building (say, a homeless person), he or she will be safely removed before the implosion takes place. If an engineer does not have the survey done, he might kill any squatters who remain inside. No one questions that if an engineer implodes a building without first conducting the proper survey, he acts unethically.
Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Let’s say a farmer has a boy who loves to play and hide in hay. Every week, the father farmer uses a pitchfork to move the hay around for storage. One morning, he does not see his son around, but the job needs to be done. Few people would feel the farmer on ethical high ground, however, if he starts shoving his pitchfork into the bundles of hay before insuring that his son is not hiding inside them. Indeed, most would consider it the ethical responsibility of the father to insure his son was outside of the bales of hay.
Logic clearly shows that when we value human life, and we are unsure whether human life exists in a situation, we must take the higher moral road of caution. Because, ultimately, if we move forward and wrongly take a life, we are guilty of one of the highest immoral acts possible, cold-blooded murder.
As a nation, we are clearly uncertain as to when life begins. Our laws even contradict on the matter. We cry out when a baby dies due to the negligence of a parent. Yet, we take over 3,000 lives each day without much thought or concern. We hand wave the vital fact that, as a nation, we are unsure. The only logical difference between the death of a fetus through a violent act (Which counts as murder in many legal circles) and abortion is who made the decision to terminate the life of the innocent… the mother, or the attacker. In any other situation, that variation would only shift who the judge will convict… it never absolves the guilt of the act itself.
I could go on, but this lays out the foundation of my concern regarding abortion, without even mentioning what God’s Word has to say on the matter. No matter your faith, if this logic holds true, we are incredibly guilty of the death of millions. The Nazis killed 11 million in the name of their country and leader. We have killed nearly five times that number in the name of convenience. May God have mercy on us all.