Fundamental Astuteness

The Essence of Astuteness: Non-Partisan Intellectual Honesty

Archive for the ‘Voddie Baucham’ Category

On Faithful Skepticism and Rational Faith

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It is my observation that the mainstream media and academia stigmatize faith as something intellectually inferior and antithetical to both science and reason. This is not always true of every respected scientist. Some, like Michael Shermer (editor of Skeptic Magazine and the one to whom I also like to refer to as “my favorite skeptic”) have a less villifying take on faith in general, and the Christian Faith in particular. Still, atheists like George H. Smith boldy assert that “Christian theism must be rejected by any person with even a shred of respect for reason”. Websites too, like Importance of Philosophy make assertions such as “The result of using faith consistently is the complete inability to think.” Richard Dawkins is quoted as saying “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”

I disagree.

To either replace their faith and justify their rejection of it, skeptics turn to other pinnicles on which to view truth and analyze the world. Some go all out in support of Science. Its all about science. What do emperical experiments tell us. What’s happening in the labratory. Others are all about reason. “This is rational.” “That is not.” “If God created everything, then God created evil. And since evil exists, and acording to the principle that our works define who we are, the we can assume God is evil.”

Media and acadamia potray these alternatives to faith (reason, science, etc) as exclusive to faith. “Science and Faith are not compatible” or “Reason and Faith cannot be reconciled”. The implication is that if you have faith, then you are not rational. You are not scientific. You wonder in the wastelands of stupidity and cluelessnes. Such implications are used, particuarly in our college campuses, as tools by which to destroy people’s religious faith.

And it works. The Christian Church doesn’t do very well educating its people on how to defend the faith. The de-conversion rate of college students is at an all time high. So when our young people go to college, who wants to be called “irrational” “stupid” “clueless” etc? And so people fall away from the faith or cower from the mighty intellecutals in fear because someone convinced them that faith is inherently exclusive to the other faculties of reason, science, and so on.

Part of the problem may be that we let our opponents define what faith is. And when that happens, they are more than happy to define it in the negative. “Faith is the opposite of reason” or “Faith is antithetical to science”.

But is faith merely a dictionary antonym for intellectual glory?

I think not.

I propose that we as Christians take our definition of faith from the 19th book of the New Testament, the Book of Hebrews, the 11th chapter, and the first verse, which says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

In other words, strictly speaking, faith is merely the belief in something that we have not directly seen or experienced firsthand. That’s it.

If this is the case, then it has far reaching implications into whether or not faith should be stigmatized as something inherently irrational. Because if it is true that faith is merely belief in something not directly experienced, then everyone has faith.

I have not been to England. But I have strong faith that it exists. I haven’t seen it first hand, but Rick Steves has apparantly been there and made a movie about it. The name appears in my history books and all of them agree on the general size and location of the country on the map. Its a well grounded faith too, because there is good evidence for it.

Scientists have not actually seen macro-evolution happen. No one has gone to the zoo for a few million years and watched a monkey turn from ape to homo-sapien. Its a matter of faith because they’re believing in something that they have not actually seen.

In light of this, the argument in our culture ought not to be about whether faith is inherently dangerous or evil; everyone has faith; the argument ought to be over who has the best faith supported by experience, reason, science, and logic.

As a historical faith, Christianity has, in my experience, been able to meet the burden of proof to my satisfaction such that I am convinced that, while theism and christianity are not proveable with mathmatical certainty, the archeological, scientific, philosophical, and historical evidences make faith in God and the Bible a reasonable state of existence not outside the realms of science and rationality.

The evidence that makes this so will be explored on this blog as time goes on. But for now, remember: Faith is not irrational in and of itself. Everyone has to one varying degree or another in various fields of thought and persuasion. The debate ought to be over which faith is best supported by our deductions and observations.

I conclude as I often like to do with the great quote from the great Voddie Baucham:

“Is that your final answer? I hope its not. voddie-baucham.jpgLet me give you an answer to that question that I believe is better than ‘I was raised that way’ or its better than “Well I’m Southern Baptist and that’s the way we believe’ or its better than “I tried it, and it worked for me” Let me tell you why I choose to believe the Bible. I don’t believe the Bible because I was raised that way—because I wasn’t. I don’t choose to believe the Bible because I tried it and it worked for me. My mother’s Buddhism worked for her—that’s why she was a Buddhist! I need something more than just ‘because it works’. Here’s the answer—I’ll give it to you and unpack it for you:

I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report [of] supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claimed that their writing are divine rather than human in origin.”

 

 

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Starting Points…

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As I mentioned quite a few weeks ago, I’ll be blogging about Christian issues, specifically on the defense of the Christian faith with a focus on the intellectual side of Apologetics.

Hopefully, this blog will not merely be a stump for methodically proclaiming religious dogma from centuries past. In addition to discussing the Christian side of things, I hope to give voice to some of my favorite skeptics  as well. I guess it would be correct to say that I try to be open minded, although I do think “tolerance” is overvalued in the our culture. But that is for a different discussion.

I thought it might be good lay out a couple of my positions on things related to what I’ll be blogging about for a while; some basic hypothesis that will be examined and critiqued as the blogging goes on.

  • The Bible: The Bible is the authoritative Word of God. It was written by over 40 authors over a span of approximately 1500 years. It appears there is good evidence that the Bible is a reliable collection of documents that is attested by historical, archaeological, and scientific data and appears to bear markings of divine inspiration. Many Christians believe the Bible for the wrong reasons that depend on illogical circular reasoning. Voddie Baucham said it best: ”

    “Is that your final answer? I hope its not. voddie-baucham.jpgLet me give you an answer to that question that I believe is better than ‘I was raised that way’ or its better than “Well I’m Southern Baptist and that’s the way we believe’ or its better than “I tried it, and it worked for me” Let me tell you why I choose to believe the Bible. I don’t believe the Bible because I was raised that way—because I wasn’t. I don’t choose to believe the Bible because I tried it and it worked for me. My mother’s Buddhism worked for her—that’s why she was a Buddhist! I need something more than just ‘because it works’. Here’s the answer—I’ll give it to you and unpack it for you:

    I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report [of] supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claimed that their writing are divine rather than human in origin.”

  • The Resurrection: For reasons to be elaborated on a later date, I find the evidence for the bodily Resurrection of Christ to be compelling.
  • The Problem of Evil: The problem of evil is indeed one of the strongest arguments against rational theism. Yet, after considering the matter for over a year, and continuing to do so, I do not find the existence of evil and suffering to be a rational reason to reject theism. My reasons for this will be explained later.
  • Theism: The existence of God cannot  be proven with mathematical certainty. But the same is true for a variety of other things we intellectually  take for granted. However, I do believe it is reasonable to believe in God because there is good evidence and good arguments for His existence.
  • Origin: After some consideration of the evidence, my position is that God created the Universe a finite time ago ex-nihilo (out of nothing). As far as evolution is concerned, I find a lot of holes in the theory, and am disturbed that it is taught as fact in our schools. This has consequences far beyond mere scientific knowledge.

These and many other thesis I hope to examine in the coming months on Fundamental Astuteness. Your thoughts, insights, criticisms, and questions are welcome.

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August 30, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Voddie Baucham: “Why I choose to believe the Bible”–Fundamental Astuteness on Christian Apologetics, parts 5 & 6

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“Is that your final answer? I hope its not. voddie-baucham.jpgLet me give you an answer to that question that I believe is better than ‘I was raised that way’ or its better than “Well I’m Southern Baptist and that’s the way we believe’ or its better than “I tried it, and it worked for me” Let me tell you why I choose to believe the Bible. I don’t believe the Bible because I was raised that way—because I wasn’t. I don’t choose to believe the Bible because I tried it and it worked for me. My mother’s Buddhism worked for her—that’s why she was a Buddhist! I need something more than just ‘because it works’. Here’s the answer—I’ll give it to you and unpack it for you:

I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report [of] supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claimed that their writing are divine rather than human in origin.”

 

 

Part 5:

Part 6:

Written by Astuteness

March 17, 2008 at 8:32 am

Voddie Baucham: “Why I choose to believe the Bible”–Fundamental Astuteness on Christian Apologetics, part 4

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March 17, 2008 at 8:27 am

Voddie Baucham: Fundamental Astuteness on Christian Apologetics, part 2

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Voddie Baucham’s fantastic sermon on “Why do I choose to believe the Bible” part 2 of 6

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March 12, 2008 at 11:28 am

Voddie Baucham: Fundamental Astuteness on Christian Apologetics, part 1

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We now continue our efforts to get this properly loaded with Video #1 of 6:

This man has Fundamental Astuteness some pretty key areas.

Part one of six:

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March 11, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Voddie Baucham: Fundamental Astuteness on Christian Apologetics

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The half hour is well worth it. This man has Fundamental Astuteness some pretty key areas.

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Part 3 of 6

Part 4 of 6

Part 5 of 6

Part 6 of 6

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March 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm