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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Finally! Television that takes religion seriously

I've had the opportunity to watch Faith Under Fire, Lee Strobel’s show that had aired on PAX TV (now ION Television). What a breath of fresh air. The show is styled as a kind of Hardball dealing with theology, faith and ethics and it features the top luminaries from both sides of each issue. Strobel acts as the facilitator.

Previous topics have included “Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?” “Do All Roads Lead to God?” “Is the Supernatural Real?” and “Is Hollywood Anti-Faith?”

I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see people such as J.P. Moreland, Craig Hazen, Frank Beckwith, and William Lane Craig on national television presenting their views. Given the show’s format, I would love to see each topic explored more slowly and more fully, but I also understand that the quick exchange makes better television. It also will give the careful listener much to chew on. Although these are no longer on the air, you can grab the DVDs of the series or download episodes here.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Is Naturalism Opposed to Homosexuality?

In my latest Come Reason e-Newsletter, I just finished a three-part article on the problems with homosexual marriage. The last installment prompted this response by a good friend of the ministry:
It seems that the homosexual has no real world to live in. As far as
worldviews go, neither theism nor atheistic views account for homosexuality.
The naturalists rely on the principle of "survival of the fittest" to
assist in supporting their evolutionary view. If, for the sake of argument
naturalism was true, the homosexual would have been sifted out of existence (first, do to the inability to procreate and secondly do to the short life expectancy among male homosexuals). This is just some fodder for further thought.
Although I think that homosexuality could possibly be explained by Darwinists today, it can never be argued that this predisposition will advance the species. If homosexuals are evolutionists, then arguing that "they're born that way" doesn't help advance their cause.

Of course, I haven't seen the benefit in that argument no matter what they believe. Even if one were to grant that homosexuals are born with that proclivity, it doesn't prove that we should therefore embrace it. Bipolar disorder, for example, has a genetic component. Alcoholism can also be attributed in specific cases to a genetic predisposition. Does this mean we should accept it? Or does it mean that these with such a predisposition need to take more care and work harder to avoid the pitfalls of their genetics? A little clear thinking in this area will go a long way in our talk with others about this subject.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Ethicist Confuses Chickens and Humans

Peter Singer is at it again. For those of you who don't know, Singer is a strong animal rights activist and bio-ethicist at Princeton University. The main problem with him is he frequently diminishes the worth of a human being while elevating the status of animals. He has publicly stated that parents have sufficient moral grounds to kill severely disabled infants and he equated this action to putting a suffering chimpanzee out if its misery. Quoting from a fact-index article on him:
He wrote "I think that a chimpanzee certainly has greater self-awareness than a newborn baby. There are some circumstances...when killing the newborn baby is not at all wrong... not like killing the chimpanzee would be. Maybe it's not wrong at all."
Well, Singer and coauthor Karen Dawn have just published an article in the L.A. Times opinion section comparing the slaughtering practices of chickens at KFC to the abuses of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib in Iraq. The commentary (which can be read here or here) Singer and Dawn describe some of the cruel treatment workers inflicted on the soon to be slaughtered poultry in a PETA released video. They then write "The sickening images echo the snapshots and videotapes that found their way out of another inhumane facility: Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq."

I find it interesting that in this sentence they appeal to a specific dynamic of humanity - the understanding of cruelty and the responsibility to not to perpetrate acts that would be deemed "inhumane". It seems to me that this one phrase negates the basis of their argument that all biological species should be treated with equal worth. I mean, you never hear anyone criticizing the female Black Widow spider for killing and eating her mate!

Singer and Dawn try to make the case that both instances the human who felt superior inflicted torture on the weaker victim. "In both Baghdad and Moorefield, W.Va., a simple cruel dynamic was at work. When humans have unchecked power over those they see as inferior, they may abuse it."

While I believe that human beings have a responsibility to treat animals with respect and dignity as God's creation (see this article for more), I find the approach of Singer and others at PETA disgusting. If I were a victim of the Abu Ghraib abuse or a family member, I would be deeply offended that these people would be comparing my suffering to some slaughterhouse chickens. In fact, as a human being, I am deeply offended! Singer in this approach devalues human life to the point where he puts it on par with poultry. Contrary to protecting chickens, all Singer and Dawn have done is make human beings a disposable commodity. And that is an inhumane position.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Article's Approach on Creation Hits the Same Old Problems

I just finished reading an article on Slate written by Jim Holt. Entitled "The Big Lab Experiment: Was Our Universe Created By Design?" it seeks to (surprisingly enough) explore the idea that our universe could be created as a kind of lab experiment. Artist, acrobat, and physicist Andrei Linde theorizes what he calls "chaotic inflation theory" to show how an entire universe could be created from relatively little matter in a laboratory.

Of course, though the theory may be new, it runs smack dab into some of the same old philosophical problems that have plagued atheists for centuries. Holt writes "Linde's theory gives scientific muscle to the notion of a universe created by an intelligent being. It might be congenial to Gnostics, who believe that the material world was fashioned not by a benevolent supreme being but by an evil demiurge. More orthodox believers, on the other hand, will seek refuge in the question, 'But who created the physicist hacker?' Let's hope it's not hackers all the way up."

And therein lies the problem - if this universe was created by a someone in another universe, then who created that universe? You can see that with this theory one can quickly falls into what is known as an infinite regress. An infinite regress is where this event was caused by the previous event, which was caused by an even more previous event. It goes back and back like a chain of dominoes, with each fallen domino caused by the one before it. The problem is there's never a beginning. In order for the dominoes to fall at all, there had to be a first one that got knocked down. This is why an infinite regress doesn't explain anything. It just pushes the problem back a step, then chooses to ignore it. Any chain of events has to start somewhere, and so this theory really answers nothing about if the universe is created or not.

Although I'm interested to see Slate take a theory demonstrating the universe could be created by design and giving it some press, the Intelligent Design movement has many far more convincing theories and arguments than this one. Let's hope that Slate will choose to cover one of those instead.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Welcome to Come Reason's Apologetics Notes!

Welcome to Come Reason's Apologetics Notes. This forum is meant to be a more informal place where I can post observations, news points, current events and commentary. I hope it will help you approach some of these topics in a more thoughtful way and perhaps highlight some things that you didn't know about before.

If you have any comments or observations, please be sure to let me know.

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