Craig-Cooke debate

This just in…

* * *

The Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship
&
The New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists

present a debate between

Atheist Historian *Bill Cooke*

and

Christian Philosopher *William Lane Craig.*

Adjudicated by *John Bishop*, head of Philosophy Department, Auckland University.

*Moot: Is God a Delusion?*

7PM, Tuesday the 17th of June 2008
Lecture Theatre OGGB5, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland University

* * *

Of course, this kind of thing is only one of hundreds of its kind. The apparent -or ‘felt’- ‘winning’ of either ‘side’ will not, of course, be (directly or indirectly) indicative of the superiority of that position. Debates are like that. But it will be entertaining, interesting and a better use of time than watching most of the nonsense which will be on television at the same time (not that I watch much television anyway). So do come.

good question

I’ve enjoyed the few articles I’ve skimmed at this blog called “Just Thomism”.

(Thomism designates the study of the life and work of St. Thomas Aquinas)

I found this post having to do with atheism, theism, evolution and science(s) of particular interest.

Here’s a quote…

It is mere historical chance that popular theism did not end up insisting that God could only exist in an evolutionary world, where all matter had been developing to the point where man could emerge at last- At last! man! prepared for by all the ages! Who all creation leads up to, just as it says in the book of Genesis!

This is one of many interesting philosophical reflections (and certainly not necessarily the best) in basically each and every post. We often don’t think about how we think; observe how we observe; ponder how we ponder; distinguish how we distinguish; wonder how we wonder; know how we know; ‘etc.’ how we ‘etc.’

:)

Happy browsing… (and thinking)

a gentler universe?

Consolmagno has done it again…

Yet another poignant and wise article, helpfully navigating the intersection of faith and science…

Here’s a sampler:

…there’s the world of nature, the world I study as a scientist, nice and neat and well described by some beautiful equations, elegant in their simplicity. And there’s the world of human beings, strange fleshy bundles of ego and free will, who can sometimes be described in a statistical sense but who as individuals never cease to surprise you.

Read the whole thing here.

public service: worship and prayer included

Issues of culture, religion, politics and the like are of much interest to me.

This Friday, quite an interesting complex of issues will be focused in one event in which I’ll be taking part.

As a pastor of one of the churches in the Northcote area, I’ve been asked to take part in the ANZAC Day Commemorative Service, where we will (as the brochure will read) commemorate “those who have fallen in service of their Country.” My part in this event –which I will do gladly– will be (and I quote – again from the already printed order of service) to offer a “Call to Worship”, a “Prayer of Remembrance” and a “Benediction”.

Continue reading “public service: worship and prayer included”

Ehrman and Wright ‘blogalogue’

WrightEhrmanBart Ehrman and N.T. Wright have agreed to ‘blog’ through the issue of Suffering and God over at Beliefnet. You can follow their discussion here.

Bart Ehrman (author of ‘Misquoting Jesus‘, ‘God’s Problem‘ and other titles) and Tom Wright (author of ‘Evil and the Justice of God‘, ‘Suprised by Hope‘ and other titles) are both recognised scholars. Ehrman is currently an ‘agnostic’ and is open about his slow departure from the Christian faith. Wright is Bishop of Durham.

I look forward to following their contributions and interaction with one another.

beliefs undergirding science

In another interesting article over at Thinking Faith, Guy Consolmagno posits three things all scientists must ‘believe’. He calls them “three axioms of science that must be taken on faith before you can do science.”

  1. “You have to believe that the physical world actually exists – I am not just a butterfly, dreaming that I am a scientist, in an imaginary universe.”
  2. “You have to believe, ahead of time, that the physical world actually does have rules and regularities – well hidden ones perhaps, but something that eventually you’ll be able to figure out.”
  3. “…you have to believe that the physical universe is worth studying. Think of it… if your religion says that the goal of life is to meditate yourself out of this corrupting universe onto a higher plane, you’re not going to be a physical scientist.”

The article can be found here, (PDF version) or by clicking the link in my RSS for Thinking Faith in the sidebar…

Thoughts?

good news for all the people

If only people in general –and Christians in particular– could grasp just a few key things that makes Jesus who He is… then I’m convinced not only that Christianity would have a better reputation, but –even further– those who aren’t Christians might be far less against the growth of Christianity…

People are scared about the growth of Christianity because they (often) think (and not without reason to) that this could eventually lead to a Christian state. All those voting Christians, voting in all those ‘religious’ laws, taking away our freedom, taking away our shopping on Sunday, etc. Many Christians are not at all hesitant to affirm that this is, in fact, precisely what they are working toward…

Now, this post is not directly about how Christians should relate to politics, but it does relate. I am convinced that the Christian faith is to be lived out in the public world, and not simply in private. However, the question is: “What does this look like?”

Continue reading “good news for all the people”

overlapping magisteria?

My last post touched (if only in passing) on the relationship between two realms: the philosophical/religious and the scientific. Among other things, I was suggesting that there is both a distinction and an inter-play between the two.

We are all –to an extent, of course– both scientists and philosophers. We engage in the stuff of science; for at various levels of skill, we figure out how things work, what makes things tick. We also engage in philosophical reflection; for we all navigate our way through life based on an understanding (either assumed or deeply worked out with much reflection) of what is good, etc.

Continue reading “overlapping magisteria?”

fighting over the god of abraham?

U2 rocked Mt. Albert Stadium this past Friday.In addition to providing exhilarating entertainment and much more, Bono – to the surprise of none – beat his drum of anti-poverty and world peace. Noble indeed. At one point, Bono donned a white bandana with the word ‘Coexist’ in black letters. The Crescent moon of Islam, the Jewish Star of David, and the Christian Cross in place of the ‘C’, ‘X’ and ‘T’.The idea is obvious and wonderful: These three world religions ought to be able to exist together without murdering each other. From the horrific Crusades involving all three, to the Nazi extermination of Jews (and others) in the name of Christ, to the more recent acts of terrorism by Muslim fundamentalists, the world has seen more than enough violence in the name of religion. To advocate peace is undeniably a good and desperately needed cause.

During this part of the concert, Bono pointed out that Jews, Christians and Muslims all claim Abraham as a father-figure and are happy to call themselves ‘Sons of Abraham’. One phrase he used to drive this home was “Jesus. Jew. Mohammed. It’s true.”

The reaction from some of the Christian community has been quite interesting. Some see Bono as equating the three faiths, and others defend him as merely trying to advocate peace and using their common ground with Abraham to do so. At any rate, the following question has resurfaced in many conversations: Do Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

I’d like to answer the question with another: Do Christians, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses worship the same Jesus? Whether we like it or not, the answer to these questions is both Yes and No.

On one hand, we can point to the basic, general things the faiths have in common. Jews, Christians and Muslims all share the same principles of monotheism (all 3 believe in One God), election (all 3 believe that God chooses a people to be His own) and eschatology (all 3 believe in a future hope of eternal life with God).

On the other hand, we can point to the many more ways in which they are different. The number of different beliefs is too many to list here, so I’ll just focus on the one that is not only the biggest, but the most important – Jesus.

Jews believe Jesus was a good prophet and teacher, but far from Messiah, and anything but Lord of the Universe. Muslims believe that Jesus was ‘a messiah’ that will return to earth again, but don’t see him as ‘the Messiah’ and certainly not as God incarnate.

The Christian faith centers on Jesus. He is the One Lord; of the One people of God; who have the One glorious hope of resurrection.

One of the great things about serving Jesus is that he doesn’t ever ask us to kill in the name of religion. Though there are differences between Judaism, Islam and Christianity which will always separate us spiritually, we should have no problem coexisting with them physically.

I’ll close by quoting the end of a discussion Jesus had with the Pharisees of his time.

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” – John 8:56-58