Attackers silenced freedom of speech

Warning: Those who like censor could be offended with our open-minded attitude to tackle a problem which we have encountered the last few months.

We do request those who can’t bear open speaking to abandon from reading this article, because they might, perhaps by prejudice or partiality, be offended.

Previous days and years

The last few days there did not seem to have come any opportunity to publish anything on this recently opened website on WordPress.

22102006 AC Distrubitie dag bijeenkomst

Members of our community at a meeting in the Christadelphian ecclesia Brussel-Leuven. – Heverlee, Leuven

The Belgian Christadelphian community has been under attack by a person who lives in the North of Europe and leads a prosperous organisation which tries to bring people all over the world under their spell.

For years now the Belgian Christadelphians had tried to work together with that man and his organisation, with the idea that people should unite in their force to bring people to Christ. It must be told that this guy converts a lot of people to Christianity and gets them baptised under Christ. In previous years he baptised them as Christadelphians, but we came to understand this could be called very doubtful in the present circumstances.

‘Being in’ or ‘Belonging to’ a group

Normally one would think when people are taken into a group, be it for example Anglicans, you would expect such persons baptised in that church would be welcome in any Anglican church and considered as Anglicans. But this man baptising his followers and leading an organisation that calls itself Christadelphian does everything so that their members would not associate with other members of the worldwide community of Christadelphian brothers and sisters.

After loads of correspondence and trials to reconcile the founder of this website, who is also the responsible for the Belgian Christadelphians, and member of the Central Fellowship, with that man and his organisation and the organisation which helps us, the Christadelphian Bible Mission or CBM, in the United Kingdom as in Belgium we came to understand that there is no way to talk reasonably with that man, and the organisation which seems to be blinded by that charismatic figure.

Belgian story

After months of patience, the community of Brethren and Sisters in Christ, under the CBM, came to the conclusion we had to stop trying to come to terms with that man of the North and his organisation. By taking distance from this terrible division we clearly stepped on that man his toes. Probably for that reason he continued even more to twist our words and talked slanderous about Mr. Ampe, calling Marcus Ampe now the cause of all the problems and accusing him of slander. Therefore Marcus Ampe went in to defence and made clear why the Christadelphian community in Belgium could not give any addresses in Belgium of that man his organisation, because they did not allow us to have the addresses where people could come together to study the Bible and to have worship together.

We would have loved to see the different groups of Christadelphians having come together in unity, but because that person and his organisation not willing to share meetings with our members, we just could not help those people who asked us for advice and help.

Not willing to Care

The organisation which has the word “Care” in its name did not seem to care that the very few in Belgium could not have gatherings in unity. It looks like they are more concerned in their own membership and followers who want to say and do everything like they want it to be done. For us this became smelling more like being a cult or sect, which does not wonder us why we often are asked if or are accused of the Christadelphians being a cult. Though normally Christadelphians have no specific worldly leader, or any order of ranking, like you can find in so many Christian organisations or denominations, so no pope, cardinals and bishops. We all consider ourselves under the leadership of Jesus Christ. He is our cornerstone who leads us to his Father. All of those who come to be baptised under the name of Jesus Christ, are considered equal brothers and sisters of Christ.

CIMG0593

Marcus Ampe in 2006

Therefore it is also ridiculous of the organisation to consider that Mr. Ampe from Belgium would have been able to have a worldwide exclusion of the man of the North for the Christadelphian community. He even never disfellowshipped the man of the North, so why should the organisation from the Australian division request Mr. Ampe to restore fellowship in the Christadelphian community. It is to attribute Mr. Ampe with a power no one has in our Christian community. He is well aware of that and never claimed to have such a position or never demanded other Christadelphians not meeting with the Man from the North.

Living in the world obliged to laws and regulations

We do know we are living in this world and as such are bounded to regulations of this world, like having to pay our taxes and to confer other worldly obligations. As such, we also do need a working structure and an office. Mr. Marcus Ampe takes care of those duties in Belgium. For this he also has the responsibility to try to make the daily duties work. He not only has to provide material for the services and make arrangements so that the baptised people can come together; he also has to protect them and to make sure the community or parishes are kept clean of teachings and safe for all members who want to join.

ScreenHunter_35 Feb. 15 10.47

Christadelphia Facebook page not available, or blacked-out on 2014 February 15

Having confronted with the person of the North, trying to jam the Christadelphian movement in Belgium, he felt pressed to undertake action and to defend his actions. For that reason he placed his defence on his religious website Christadelphian World and put notices up on his Facebook and the Christadelphia Facebook page. Being confronted that the truth about this dilemma was put onto the net the accuser felt bitten and wanted to have Marcus Ampe his Facebook close down. We where warned of this request to close down the Facebook account by that man, but the Facebook site of Mr Ampe stayed public. (Though surprise today 15/02/2014 there was a picture of a wounded thumb up saying the page did not exist any-more.)

Black-out of Christadelphian World

Christadelphian World 11 Nov 2013Going further in the attack, we cannot tell if it was the man of the North himself or one of his co-workers, they succeeded to silence Marcus Ampe his voice on Blogger. Incredible, but true, Christadelphian World was silenced under the norm “inappropriate postings”. As soon as Marcus Ampe got to see that his website was obstructed for public viewing he send in a request to Google to reconsider their action. Later that day the main postings seemed to be available to the public again, but all the comments where and are still not visible to the public today (Saturday 15 February 2014).

It is unbelievable that someone could close down a website for reasons which make no serious ground to do such a thing. We do know “truth may hurt one mentally as much as an antiseptic balm may hurt on a wound”, like Vichar Prachar says it so nicely in his article Freedom of Speech and the Right to Offend. Sometimes we come to a point where we do have to bring the dirty linen into the open. First the people in Belgium tried to solve the matter between themselves with the man from the North. Afterwards we brought in the linkman from our British main organisation CBM. Than the CBM linkman tried to bring CBM in reconciliation with the man from the North and the organisation linked with him. Following the Christian rule of have first no witnesses, than two witnesses, then more witnesses from the own community, we did have to bring it more into the open because people from outside our organisation where also affected.

To wash one’s dirty linen in public

We do not like it at all to bring out internal matters, but this situation has ran our of hand and the accuser attacks us with all he can do.

The Belgian Christadelphians have showed patience for more than one year, and tried sincerely to bring all baptised Christadelphian members, be it Amended or non-amended, or from any group linked with one or the other organisation, together.

The Belgian Christadelphian also sincerely tried and still try to spread the Good News of the Gospel, and want to unite all people who would like to follow Jeshua, the Nazarene Jewish rabbi, who is better known in the West as Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah and should be our only mediator between God and man. According to our faith it is Jesus people have to follow and not one or the other organisation. We should all be parts of the body of Christ and feel united as such.

When washing has to be done, those who are made dirty should have to receive the opportunity to be cleansed. We also consider that all things should be made clear and to do so everybody should have the right to speak openly.

The Indian writer says also:

A society that endeavors to consist of an enlightened citizenship will always put Truth central to its constitutional preamble. Our constitutional visionaries took vision from an age old Dharmic saying ‘Satyameva Jayate’ and enshrined it in our Constitution. Yet we have been only paying lip service to the underlying importance this has towards developing an enlightened, civilized and developed society. We have been steadily contorting ‘abuse’ to imply ‘offense’ and ‘hurt’ irrespective whether the hurt or offense is caused by Truth or untruth.

Imposing their will on others

Freedom of Speech (preliminary version)

Freedom of Speech (preliminary version) (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

The person from the North and his organisation do want to have to tell things in the world, want to take on ministerial positions, but do not want to accept the political controversy with it. Those involved in politics should know that they always stand open for criticism. In case they can not endure such criticism they better would withdraw and do other things, but not wanting to take the lead.

In case every politician could silence a website or newspaper when criticism was given on him or her or on the work of the party, or when they told the truth, many websites would face a close-down and many papers would fall in oblivion. But clearly than our world would be in dictatorship. In the West we can not accept that we would be placed under absolute or despotic control or power.

Pointing out such a danger of having being censored, though Marcus Ampe is only a very, very small player on the field, he now had to go into the pen for more than one reason. Such a jamming of his writings and a censoring of the commentators, without him being consulted or having the possibility to keep the postings on the net, are an infringement of freedom of public speech.

Unwanted and dangerous censorship

A good example of how in the past also one certain church wanted to silence other believers. – In “Panegyricae orationes septem” (1596) Henric van Cuyck, a Dutch Bishop, defended the need for censorship. Van Cuyck argued that Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press had resulted in a world infected by “pernicious lies.” He singled out the Talmud and the Qu’ran, and the writings of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin and Erasmus of Rotterdam.

This whole situation seems ridiculous, but we do have to question, in case some organisations can silence ordinary folks, what can be done to silence those who really bring out a voice which can change a country? Such blue-pencil, having done its work, for such a small website should make us all think about the power certain organisations and blog-providers may have. The black-out of Christadelphian World and the censor having brought on by Google on Marcus Ampe his Google+ account should have us all think about the danger of such actions to which the involved persons do seem not to be able to do something against. They even were not consulted or could give any defence for their writing.

We know Marcus Ampe does not take any important position in blogging world, and his writings shall never reach so many people, because the subject he writes about, most people are not interested in. But having him to be silenced, though everybody may come to see his writings are not offensive at all, should make question about the liberty of speaking out freely. When you consider how much spam every day comes into our mailboxes and how many porn sites and websites about violence and with awful words can be seen by many every day on the internet, without them being black-out, we may wonder in what sort of world we have come to live in. Mr. Ampe’s writings are integer and about what is happening in the world as seen from a Christadelphian and Christian viewpoint. If he gets silenced one can wonder why so many others have not been silenced, though they hurt many people, use a much more inappropriate language than Mr. Ampe.
This Marcus Ampe, though coming from the performing world also may not be confused with an other Mr. Marcus, who is an an American pornographic actor who in 2012, was the main person in a syphilis-infection scandal in California when several porn-performers were infected during video production.

Please: Look for yourself

We would like to ask our readers to look for themselves. In case they can (again) view the writings on Christadelphian World, that they let us know if those writings are so offensive or so dangerous as others want the public to believe. Let us also know if the comments are visible again and if in it are used inappropriate words. Our community want to learn, so we do not mind response.

This annoying situation has consumed lots of time of several of our members. We came to the conclusion we shall have to row on our own and shall have to find ways to reach the Belgian public, without help of outsiders.
The Belgian Christadelphians do want to buckle their belt and continue the necessary work of preaching.. We do not mind to make shift with what we may have in our small country. To make the best of it, any help is naturally welcome, spiritual and/or financial support. Mostly we would appreciate already the spiritual support, to encourage us to continue spreading the Word of God.

We shall soon take up again our regular duties and bring the Gospel of the Good News. But this time we were so ‘flappergasted’ (taken by) the bad news, we did have to share it with our regular readers and with those who are interested in what is happening in the religious world in Belgium.

In the time we are

Deutsch: Christadelphian-Gemeindehaus in Esslingen

Christadelphian – Community house in Esslingen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We do know in what sort of time we probably have come. In the Bible we can find many prophesies and also prophesies about the end-times. A prediction of what shall happen in the world when it comes closer to the end makes us aware we shall have to endure certain attacks, which shall even come from those we considered to be our brothers.
Reading the Bible and finding many answers in it, we also come to know there will be an even greater need for believers to be in harmony and to pray together as our world starts to fall apart. Therefore we would like all those who believe in the Divine Creator, to join hands, preach the Gospel of the Good News and the coming Kingdom of God.

+

Please do find

Mr. Ampe his reaction after continued exclusion by the man of the North his continued refusal to allow different Christadelphians meet with each other: No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks

Additional writings by Marcus Ampe concerning the controversial situation in Belgium:

  1. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  2. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  3. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  4. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  5. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation

++

Please do find other additional readings:

  1. Belonging to or being judged by
  2. A Voice to be heard
  3. Good or bad preacher
  4. One Mediator between God and man
  5. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  6. Parts of the body of Christ
  7. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  8. Called Christian
  9. Breaking up with a cult
  10. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  11. Making church
  12. When discouraged facing opposition
  13. Fearing the right person
  14. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  15. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  16. Reasons to come to gether
  17. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  18. Meeting – Vergadering
  19. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  20. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  21. Many churches
  22. Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
  23. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  24. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  25. What’s church for, anyway?
  26. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  27. Commitment to Christian unity
  28. United people under Christ
  29. Breathing and growing with no heir
  30. Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
  31. An ecclesia in your neighborhood
  32. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  33. Christadelphians children of God
  34. Christadelphian beliefs
  35. Major Points of Belief
  36. Christadelphian or My Beliefs and the World
  37. What we believe
  38. What Christadelphians teach
  39. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  40. Politics and power first priority #1
  41. A Society pleading poverty
  42. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
    sssh!

    sssh! (Photo credit: Stephen Dagnall)

     

+++

From other people, denominations and atheists:

  1. A beautiful photo: #leadership at Inspiration Daily Shared publicly  –  13 Feb 2014
  2. Why so religious?
  3. Freedom of speech or political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas
  4. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  5. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  6. European Convention on Human Rights
  7. American Convention on Human Rights
  8. African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
  9. Find also more information on libel, slander, obscenity, sedition
  10. Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
  11. Liberty-human-rights – article 10 – freedom of expression
  12. Freedom Of Speech And Expression inclusive Importance Of Freedom Of Speech And Expression
  13. Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition
  14. The Paradox of Liberty: the Freedom of speech (re)considered

+++

A screenshot of the default WordPress theme.

A screenshot of the default WordPress theme. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • On the site of ABC you may find the article Who are the Christadelphians? (blogs.abc.net.au) where a wrong picture is given of our community. Though we do agree like in any denomination you may find very conservative groups but also very progressive groups in our community.+
    “it sounds like Vanessa belonged to an extreme group. Adelaide is not typical of Christadelphians worldwide. I’m a Christadelphian from the UK and I can safely say that those I mix with enjoy a drink, theatre going, football, movies, read lots of novels, wear scarlet – and yes we bring friends home.I’m sorry that Vanessa seems to have had a poor experience of Christadelphians. We’re not all so insular. But yes we believe the Bible and try to follow its principles in our lives. In this messed up world to keep focused on the big picture of the Return of Christ and his kingdom on earth is a certain hope. It’s a true hope – Bible prophecy about the Jews is compelling evidence.” Sarah Joiner
  • Marching not to war (christiantoday.com)
    Britain was virtually alone in recognising the rights of COs and this clause was seen as a major coup for the No Conscription Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The latter was a Christian ecumenical movement which had long campaigned for such recognition.The Fellowship of Reconciliation arose out of a friendship between a German Lutheran and English Quaker. Friedrich Siegmund-Schultz and Henry Theodore Hodgkin met at an ecumenical conference in Switzerland that was disrupted by the onset of war.
  • Cory Bernardi and Freedom of Speech (andrewwhalan.com)
    The problem with that is my explicit and implicit attitude : the only person who should exercise freedom of speech is me and me alone.Which means I can enjoy my moment of free speech. And silence everyone else’s freedom of speech.Which mean freedom of speech is lost in the long run for me and for everyone else.
  • Taking offence and freedom of speech (blogs.spectator.co.uk)
    All religious groups benefit from freedom of speech, because their beliefs have the power to offend others. As our leading article this week sets out, that includes the rather mild and doddery-seeming Church of England, which teaches that personal sin is a serious matter requiring repentance. That’s the sort of thing that can offend people, too, but the Church and other groups benefit from the freedom to say it. Religious groups who argue for curbs on freedom of speech must realise that in the end, this would damage their own freedom too, not just that of others they don’t like.
    +

    Agrippina:

    The fanatical ideologists need to be defeated, either they accept this free democracy or go and live elsewhere. They have nothing to offer us and we do not want anything from them. Spectator journos should pop out to Tower Hamlets or further north, and see the level of islamification of this green and pleasant land.

  • Silence is the true freedom. (priscillaescamilla28.wordpress.com)
    Silence is power, / the freedom of speech is nothing but a lying blood sucking leach,
  • Free Speech or Regulated Silence? (amresolution.com)
    How did our founders ever manage to establish a republic committed to free speech and the rights of the individual without a Federal Election Commission to regulate that speech and force disclosure of the speaker?
  • What if Freedom Meant Exodus? (pumabydesign001.com) +What if Freedom Meant Exodus?
    With our faith being ridiculed and mocked and a government increasingly hostile to our practicing our faith. We see a rampant increase of sexual immorality and perversion along with an assault on a on our children by forcing them to accept this behavior as normal.We pray for wisdom for our leaders and for God to intercede. But what if God has other plans? What if God were to bring a Moses forth? Would we recognise and welcome him? If he wanted to lead us to a different place, would we go?

Christianity without the Trinity

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the Council of Constantinople (381) the concept that God exists as three Persons in one Substance has been affirmed has formed a central part of the Christian confession. Though perhaps neglected in Protestant theology, the modern evangelical movement has given considerable emphasis to the doctrine of the Trinity as fundamental constituent of Christianity. Nevertheless a number of groups, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, have from biblical foundations developed a trinity-less theology. In their book The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting presented the argument that the doctrine of the Trinity is both a misrepresentation of the biblical doctrine of God and a liability that weakens Christianity’s power.[1] The controversy caused by The Myth of God Incarnate opened up to scrutiny the doubts of ‘respectable’ theologians about the ideas surrounding the divinity of Christ.[2]

The question I wish to consider in this article is what would Christianity without the Trinity look like, and is such a Christianity desirable? This can only be a cursory survey of the issues involved nevertheless I hope that this review prompts a reconsideration of the centrality ascribed to the doctrine of the Trinity in Christian theology.

A Platonic Doctrine

English: Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on ...

Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on the Hebrew word רוח “air, wind, spirit” having feminine grammatical gender in the Hebrew language (though in fact in a significant minority of its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, the word actually has masculine grammatical gender). Could be considered “non-orthodox” by the criteria of the traditional mainstream of Christian doctrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When theologians write about the doctrine of the Trinity they cite great luminaries like Augustine and Karl Barth, and, occasionally, the Bible.[3] But rarely will one pause to consider the theological pioneers of later Christian doctrine, such as the early apologists. Yet any scholar who deigns to do so will come against the awkward fact that the concept of a triune god is not Christian at all, but has the Platonists as its progenitors.[4] If Justin Martyr held a doctrine of three divine principles (First Apology 13), it is because Middle Platonists like Numenius of Apamea held this doctrine first. And the first thinker to propose three co-ordinate divine members of a trinity was not one of the Cappadocian Fathers[5] but a bitter enemy of Christianity, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry.[6]

The Platonic doctrine of a triune god is an imposition upon Christianity and an imposition that diverts Christianity from its original message and purpose. The simplicity of Christ’s teaching was supplanted by philosophic complexities that are seldom consistently defined. And thus too, the Bible was, in part, supplanted, because where in the Bible can one go to find theological definitions about the Trinity? It is noticeable that the Nicene Creed quotes verbatim from the New Testament regarding almost every aspect of belief except its definitions of the nature and trinity of God, where philosophic terms are supplied instead.[7]

A return to the teaching of Christ and the apostles would necessitate a reversal of the Platonic influence upon Christianity and thus require the revoking of the doctrine of Trinity.

The Role of Christ

In early Christian thought Christ was understood as a mediator. Paul writes ‘there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim 2:5). This relationship between to God and Jesus was seen through the role of high priest, Paul describing Christ as ‘making intercession’ for believers (Rom 8:34). Paul does not connect the intercession of Christ to any supposed divinity but to his ascension to the right hand of God. We find the same concept used in Acts when Peter says of Christ ‘God has exalted him to his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 5:31).

The writer to the Hebrews makes this concept his own, repeatedly naming Jesus ‘High Priest’. As with Paul, this intercession is linked to the literal ascension of Jesus from the earth to the right hand of God, ‘passing into the heavens’, as the writer puts it (Heb 4:14). Christ’s entry into the presence of God is described as a high priest entering the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:11-12). And, unequivocally, Christ becomes High Priest, not by intrinsic divinity but by the calling of God (Heb 5:5-6, 10, 6:20).

Other early Christian writers also view Christ has a mediator between God and men. Clement of Rome describes Jesus as ‘High Priest’, saying that he was ‘chosen’ by God (1 Clem 64). Ignatius too uses the term ‘High Priest’ but also describes Christ’s intercession through another figure, saying ‘he is the doorway to the Father’ (Ign.Phil 9). Also see Polycarp’s letter to Smyrna, where he too says Christ is ‘High Priest’ (12).

If Christ is promoted to the Godhead (and the Holy Spirit too), who then intercedes on behalf of believers? Historically, this problem was ‘solved’ by the introduction of a series of other go-betweens, namely the Saints and the clergy. In modern evangelical theology can alternative ‘solution’ has been posited, namely that Christ, whilst ontologically co-equal with the Father, remains subordinate and can thus perform his scripturally defined duties of intercession.[8] Yet this fudge simply results in the conundrum that Jesus is neither fully co-equal, nor fully mediator.

Sola Scriptura

Luther Bible, 1534

Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw both the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into the common tongues of the people of Europe. And following almost immediately on the heels of these developments was the emergence of groups that denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The Socinians, the Brüder in Christo and other unitarian groups were founded across Europe, teaching that the Bible alone was authoritative and that the Bible knew nothing of the Trinity. The problem for the Protestants was clear. The Reformation was founded on the principle of sola scriptura, and yet these groups, who also held the principle of sola scriptura, denied the doctrine of the Trinity.

English Protestant theologians wrestled with this problem throughout the seventeenth century. They urged that the believer needs both scripture and reason, and hoped that reason itself would be sufficient to safeguard the Trinity. Catholic theologians pounced upon the dilemma, challenging the Protestants to meet the objections of the Socinians by scripture alone or else return to the Catholic rule of faith.[9] The consequence of these disputes led English Protestants to neglect the doctrine of Trinity, passing over it in silence, a tacit admission that with scripture alone as the rule of faith the Trinity could not be sustained.[10]

Vickers bemoans the demise of the Trinity as the impact of an emphasis on the Trinity as a set of propositions (the immanent Trinity), and urges a return to the invocation of the Trinity in the believer’s encounter with God (the economic Trinity).[11] Yet, as Karl Rahner declares, the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity; it would make little sense to invoke God as Trinity if that set of propositions cannot be assented to. Given then the failure of Protestant theologians to defend the doctrine of the Trinity by scripture alone, it seems we must either abandon the Trinity or the founding principle of the Reformation, sola scriptura.

Modern evangelicals attempt to hold both sola scriptura and the Trinity, and yet it seems no evangelical can preach about the Trinity without reference to the creeds.[12] Though evangelicals may claim that the bible alone is authoritative, there is implicit in many evangelical writings a retreat to tradition to defend the doctrine of the Trinity.

Interfaith Dialogue

Christianity is oft categorized as one of the three great monotheistic faiths, alongside Judaism and Islam. Yet the Trinitarian conception of monotheism is determinedly different from that of either Jews or Muslims. Inasmuch as the Trinity is three Persons in one Substance, the Trinitarian claim to monotheism is an ontological one. However, viewed from a liturgical perspective it is hard to escape the fact that Trinitarian Christians claim to experience God in plurality, worshipping three Persons as God. This feels very different from the Jewish experience of a uni-personal God, and seems to have more in common with Hinduism’s conception of Brahman.

The upshot of this is that in dialogue with other monotheistic faiths the Trinitarian brings to the table a plural conception of God. However carefully the theologian may define the Trinity ontologically as one God, the bread-and-butter of traditional Christian liturgy is hopelessly poly-personal. Christians may claim to be monotheists but they appear for all world to practice polylatry. This hampers interfaith dialogue (and ultimately evangelism).

The issue is not simply that Christians experience God differently from other faiths, but that they define God differently. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to adherence to the God of Abraham, and yet the Trinitarian definition of God is simply alien to both Jews and Muslims (and, one must assume, would have been alien to Abraham himself). Therefore Christianity’s most primitive form of evangelism, preaching the coming of Jewish Messiah, is robbed from it by a doctrine that fundamentally alters the conception of the God of Abraham.

The Atonement

One proposition above any other motivates the continued emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity in modern evangelical theology: that only God could be sufficient substitute to bear the punishment due to mankind. It therefore becomes necessary that Jesus was fully God to bring about the atonement and to question the Trinity is treated as tantamount to denying the salvation of believers.[13] Yet this doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is a relatively new doctrine; it certainly did not motivate the doctrinal innovations that led to the formulation of the notion of the Trinity.

It is beyond the scope of this article to digress into a full rebuttal of the notion of penal substitutionary atonement but, in brief, there are at least two reasons why Christianity would be better off without such a doctrine.

Firstly, none of the New Testament writers appeal to the idea of a substitute to explain the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The analogy to the brazen serpent speaks of a representative icon (John 3:14-15); the analogy to the Passover lamb speaks of a representative offering (1 Cor 5:7); even the analogy to the Day of Atonement speaks of a representative death (Heb 9:11-14). The recapitulation theory that Paul develops at length (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:20-22; Phil 2:5-11) knows nothing of a substitutionary death, rather an offering of obedience to God (Rom 5:19). Even the very words of the NT writers presuppose a representative understanding of the Christ’s death, using huper (‘on behalf of’) in preference to anti (‘instead of’) in almost every instance where the death of Christ is described (cf. Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51; Rom 5:6-8; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:14; Gal 1:4; Eph 5:2; 1 Thes 5:10; 1 Tim 2:6; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:21; 1 John 3:16).[14]

Secondly, the notion of penal subtitutionary atonement skews our notion of God. The psalms describe a God who does not desire sacrifices (Ps 40:6; 51:16). Hosea states that God prizes mercy above sacrifice (Hos 6:6; cf. Matt 9:13, 12:7). The idea of a God who requires sacrifice as a prerequisite for mercy seems inconsistent with this picture. Rather the biblical concept of forgiveness is one without price or condition; the king in the parable, moved with compassion, writes off the debt of his servant without any requirement of some other source of remittance (Matt 18:22-27). Followers of Christ are instructed to forgive freely; are we then more righteous than God, who only forgives at cost? This notion would seem to annul the very idea of grace and portray God as limited and constricted by the requirements of Justice, unable to act freely upon His compassion. This is not the God of the Bible.

Christianity without the Trinity

Christ Church

Christ Church (Photo credit: Nathan Kavumbura)

There are some that feel that without the doctrines of the Trinity and of the incarnation Christianity is doomed to failure. It is claimed that robbing Christ of his divinity makes his message and mission of null affect, and ultimately leads to a denial of the atonement, the resurrection and miracles in general.[15] Unfortunately in some cases, such as the Unitarians (capital ‘U’), this has been the result, Jesus being treated as just a righteous teacher. However there is no reason why the reductive process of removing the doctrine of the Trinity from Christianity should be a purely negative process. Rather it is, I am arguing, a restoration of the primitive Christian faith.

What, then, would Christianity without the Trinity look like? A unitarian creed might look something like this:

  1. There is one God (Mark 12:32), who is the Creator of all things (Eph 4:6) and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; 2 Cor 1:3).
  2. There is one Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:5), the Son of God (Rom 1:4) born of a virgin (Gal 4:4; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27f), who lived a sinless life of obedience to God (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; Rom 5:19), was crucified and rose the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4). Through his death Christ reconciled man to God (Rom 5:10).
  3. There is one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4), the power of God (Luke 1:35), by which God inspired the prophets (2 Pet 1:21) and works miracles (Gal 3:5).

What would Christianity without the Trinity feel like? It would feel more reminiscent of its Jewish roots, more consistent with its claims to monolatry, more reflective of scriptural language, and more intelligible to its adherents.

It has oft been claimed that those who deny the Trinity aren’t real Christians. Yet a ‘Christian’ (Greek christianos) by definition is a follower of Christ, and if this is to be anything more than a nominal title then those who claim to be Christian should follow Christ, in both his teaching and mode of life. Jesus Christ preached the God of Abraham (Matt 22:32) as his Father and as the one true God (John 17:3). Isn’t it time for the teaching of Christians to reflect the teaching of Christ?


[1] A. F. Buzzard & C. F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (New York: International Scholars Publications, 1998).

[2] The Myth of God Incarnate (ed. J. Hick; London: SCM Press, 1977).

[3] Cf. M. A. McIntosh, Divine Teaching: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell 2008), 111-178

[4] T. E. Gaston, The Influence of Platonism on the Early Apologists, The Heythrop Journal 50.4 (2009), 573-580.

[5] Pace I. S. Markham, Understanding Christian Doctrine (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 76-7.

[6] J. Dillon, ‘Logos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity’, in The Philosophy in Christianity, (G. Vesey ed.; Cambridge University Press, 1989).

[7] E.g. “Light of Light, very God of very God”, “being of one substance with the Father”, etc.

[8] R. M. Bowman, Why you should believe in the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 78-81.

[9] J. E. Vickers, Invocation and Assent: The Making and Remaking of Trinitarian Theology, (Grand Rapinds: Eerdmans, 2008), 69-101.

[10] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 165-7

[11] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 191-2

[12] cf. S. Olyott, The Three are One (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1979), 101-2; N. Gumbel [Alpha Course], Is the Trinity Unbiblical, Unbelievable and Irrelvant? (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2004), 7;

[13] cf. J. I Packer, Knowing God (Leicester: IVP, 1984)166-170.

[14] The single exception to this rule is Matt 20:28 (cf. Mark 10:45), “to give his life a ransom for (anti) many”.

[15] Cf. Packer, Knowing God, 46+

Please do find to read:

  1. Did the Inspirator exist
  2. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  3. God of gods
  4. A god between many gods
  5. Only One God
  6. God is One
  7. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  8. The Divine name of the Creator
  9. God about His name “יהוה“
  10. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  11. Sayings around God
  12. Attributes of God
  13. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  14. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  15. God Helper and Deliverer
  16. God is Spirit
  17. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  18. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  19. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  20. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  21. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  22. Seeing Jesus
  23. Jesus Messiah
  24. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  25. Who was Jesus?
  26. Jesus spitting image of his father
  27. Jesus and his God
  28. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  29. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  30. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  31. On the Nature of Christ
  32. Jesus spitting image of his father
  33. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  34. A man with an outstanding personality
  35. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  36. The wrong hero
  37. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  38. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apsotle, High Priest and King
  39. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  40. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  41. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  42. One Mediator
  43. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data
  44. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  45. Politics and power first priority #2
  46. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  47. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  48. 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
  49. Christ Versus the Trinity
  50. Is God a Trinity?
  51. The Trinity – true or false?
  52. The Trinity – the Truth
  53. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  54. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  55. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  56. How did the doctrine of the Trinity arise?
  57. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  58. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  59. Altered to fit a Trinity
  60. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  61. The Great Trinity Debate
  62. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’
  63. Compromise and accomodation
  64. Written to recognise the Promised One
  65. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  66. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  67. About a man who changed history of humankind
  68. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  69. Doesn’t the name “Immanuel” show that Jesus is God, and therefore proves the Trinity? (Isa. 7:14, Mat. 1:23)
  70. Is Isaiah 9:6′s “Wonderful counselor” related to Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8′s “Immanuel”?
  71. Why does Isaiah 9:6 call Jesus “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”?
  72. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  73. One Mediator between God and man
  74. Philippians 1 – 2
  75. Worshipping Jesus
  76. Idolatry or idol worship
  77. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  78. People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
  79. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  80. Science and God’s existence
  81. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  82. Blackness, nothingness, something, void
  83. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  84. Joseph Priestley To the Point
  85. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  86. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  87. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  88. The professor, God, Faith and the student
  89. Concerning gospelfaith
  90. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  91. Apologetics (23) – The Hard Questions: Which God? The Exclusivity Issue (7) The Resurrection and Exclusivity
  92. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  93. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  94. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  95. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  96. Edward Wightman
  97. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  98. Book of Mormon (5): God and Jesus
  99. The Book of Mormon: (7) Right First Principles are Essential to Getting it Right
  100. What the Qur’an Says About…(2): Jesus
  101. Creation’s Gospel: (12) The Veiled Glory

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  2. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  3. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  6. Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7
  7. Anyone Who Goes Too Far and Does Not Abide in the Teaching of Christ, Does Not Have God
  8. Is Jesus God?

+++

Also of interest:

  1. Trinity Proof Texts Considered
  2. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  3. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  4. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  5. The Unholy Trinity
  6. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  7. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  8. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  9. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  10. What About Those Who Do Not Know The Name of God?
  11. The Existence of Jesus Christ
  12. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  13. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  14. Cult or True Religion
  15. Reimagining the Historicity of the Bible
  16. Bishop T. D. Jakes says he now embraces the Trinity Doctrine: T. D. Jakes was interviewed by pastor Mark Driscoll and pastor James MacDonald on January 27, 2012 at Harvest Bible Chapel
  17. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’ By Nicola Menzie
  18. T.D. Jakes is Heretical Concerning Modalism Whether he Believes it or Not
  19. Changed Heart for @StevenFurtick & @BishopJakes: Conviction in The #ElephantRoom. Lessons for dads?
  20. An Elephant Room Roundup
  21. Mark Driscoll And The Mars Hill Churches: When Discipline Becomes Control Becomes … ?
  22. Heretical Modalism and T.D. Jakes Doctrine On the Trinity
  23. The Leader of the Episcopal Church is a Heretic
  24. Critiquing N.T. Wright’s monotheism
  25. God, the Trinity
  26. This Is That – 1
  27. Dwell
  28. A brief visit to the Father of Revolution and Evolution
  29. Who Are You Really Slandering?
  30. On Union with God
  31. By the oaks of Mamre

+++

  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
    +
    Immanuel Kant, a German Idealist continuing the exegesis of the Socinians, saw no need for the doctrine of the Trinity. It was this idea of “necessity” mixed with speculative interpretation that led many like Kant to dismiss it altogether. Questions addressing God’s being, volition, and self-consciousness brought to light some of the supposed weak spots in the Trinitarian doctrine. Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’

    All this should have made it clear that according to the New Testament the key quesiton in the doctrine of the Trinity is not the question which is declared an impenetrable ‘mystery’ (mysterium stricte dictum), how three such different entities can be ontologically one, but the christological question how the relationship of Jesus (and consequently also of the Spirit) to God is to be expressed. Here the belief in the one God which Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam may not be put in question for a moment. There no other God but God! But what is decisive for the dialogue with Jews and Christians in particular is the insight that according to the New Testament the principle of unity is clearly not the one divine ‘nature’ (physis) common to several entities, as people were to think after the ne0-Nicene theology of the fourth century. For the New Testament, as for the Hebrew Bible, the principle of unity is clearly the one God (ho theos: the God = the Father), from whom are all things and to whom are all things.

  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.

    I can name at least three churches in my immediate area (i.e., within 25 miles of my home) who have either had to turn away prospective new members because they wouldn’t affirm the Nicene formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or who have only found out that a new member denied the Trinity after the individual had already been received as a member (in this case, it was kept hidden from the elders).

    What’s more, I know of at least two seminary students (at Presbyterian and Reformed seminaries, no less!) who have informed their professors that they don’t out and out deny the Nicene Creed, but they’re not sure they can affirm it, either.

  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com)
    Giving recognition to the Holy Trinity is an important aspect of the Holy Orthodox Church.  When we pray we make the sign of the cross.  The thumb and first two fingers represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The bringing of these three fingers together signifies that we do not believe in three gods, only ONE GOD.  Everything we do is in the name of the trinity: baptism, forgiveness, marriage, the confession of our faith (Nicene Creed) etc. The Trinity expresses the essence of our faith.  The work of salvation begins with the Father who created the world, is realized by the Son through His death and resurrection, and is completed through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.

    “Catholics believe (X), but (X) isn’t in the Bible”

    First off, let me put this out there and get it over with — Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which translates to “Scripture alone.” Unlike many Protestant beliefs, Catholics do not accept the Bible as the highest authority on doctrine. This may sound like a heresy to some, but it isn’t. The Church isn’t derived from the Bible. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is precisely because of the Catholic Church that the Bible even exists

  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
    +
    Scripture is God-breathed, making one spiritually complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  If Scripture is sufficient, what need is there for anything beyond it?  On what basis would we accept anything more or less than or different from the Bible?  How could fallible man be equal to or co-authorize with the perfect law of the Lord?  Let us accept no substitute or rival to the Bible!
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown. But to the glory of God, He rekindled the fire of the Gospel, and it spread like a fire in a barn of hay. The Reformation has given us such a wealth of knowledge of the truth of Christ’s teaching that I personally will never be able to ingest all of.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

Morality Breach

Morality Breach (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

Making moral decisions is not always easy. Sometimes we get pulled in different directions; maybe our heart says one thing and our head another. But some things are crystal clear – some things are just plain wrong. The murder of an innocent person is wrong. The abuse of a child is wrong. Rape – regardless of the gender or the circumstance – is wrong. But where does this moral conviction come from? Why is it that we think that morality is important? Why is it we spend so much time worrying about whether something is right or wrong?

Atheism does not provide very satisfying answers to these questions. Some atheists say that human morality is just a happy coincidence – we could have developed differently, but luckily we happen to think that murder and rape are wrong. But this isn’t very encouraging, if our sense of right and wrong is just chance. Nor does it seem to reflect our experience of moral decisions – morality isn’t just a trick of our brains, some things are obviously bad.

Some atheists say that human morality developed as a survival strategy – a society without lots of murders will work better than a society with lots of murders so evolution should select for the society without lots of murders. Whilst that’s true, it is also true that it is even better for the survival of my genes for me to feign morality when it suits me and to behave immorally when it suits me better. We would expect evolution to equip us with a survival instinct but we would not expect evolution to equip us with values of self-sacrifice, compassion and altruism. And yet, we just do think that self-sacrifice is morally good and that murder, regardless of the selfish motives, is bad.

Some atheists say that morality is a consequence of our rational faculties, that when evolved rational minds we realised that murder or rape was wrong. But morality is something different from reason. Reason is great working out how to get what you want but it cannot tell you what it is you desire. If I want to be successful and powerful then it is perfectly rational for me to commit immoral acts to further my career (if I can get away with them). Reason can help us make our moral decisions but only once we have some moral values to work with.

In contrast theism has a very straightforward explanation for why we think morality is important – God has given us this moral capacity for our benefit. God is good and God wants humans to be able to form relationships with him, so has given them this moral capacity. Our morality capacity is part of what makes us personal and relational beings.

This is not to say that atheists can’t do good things (they can). All human beings have this moral capacity and can choose to act upon it or not. The question is where does that moral capacity come from? Why do we think that morality matters? If morality is real, if some things are just plain wrong, then we cannot explain the universe in purely physical terms. Our tendency to think in moral terms indicates that there is moral being behind the universe – and that is God.

New Morality

New Morality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Preceding articles:

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

++

Find also to read:

  1. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  2. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  3. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  4. Book of books and great masterpiece
  5. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  6. Judeo-Christian values and liberty
  7. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  8. Do we have to be an anarchist to react
  9. A risk taking society
  10. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  11. Satan the evil within

+++

Also of interest:

  1. An Introduction to Logic
  2. Life Amidst Moral Chaos
  3. A Friendly Discussion (Morals, Ethics, and Theism)
  4. Ethics
  5. The ethics of admitting you messed up.
  6. Teaching Ethics to Greedy Bastards
  7. About My Humanist’s Perspective
  8. Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion
  9. Ethics and Answers: Leave pirating to the high seas, not your cable box
  10. Louis P. Pojman – Ethical Relativism
  11. Question Time: Absolute Morality?
  12. Morality: Objective vs Relative
  13. Objective Morality
  14. The foundations of morality
  15. Morality and Conscience: Chapter 14 Prayer Service
  16. Art and Morality
  17. American Thinker: Opinion: Trevor Thomas: Bill Maher, High Priest: Defining Morality in America
  18. Programmed To Be Moral?
  19. Moral values aren’t absolute, but aren’t arbitrary either + Moral values aren’t absolute, but aren’t arbitrary either
  20. This View of Life: Why Sam Harris is Unlikely to Change his Mind
  21. Born that way
  22. Virtue and Evil
  23. Notes on “Breaking Bad”
  24. Welfare politics
  25. Ravaging Politicism (excerpt 3)
  26. Hursthouse Reading
  27. Should Ethicists Be Held to a Higher Moral Standard?
  28. Christian ethics and Peter Singer
  29. Multicultural apocalypse: Stealth jihad has taken root in Europe and is coming to America
  30. Let’s keep America exceptional
  31. Breaking: “American Freedom Law Center”
  32. It’s out with the old as Christian values fall away
  33. “The Fear Of God Is Not In This Place”
  34. Using the Bible Against Christians: Sola Scriptura Atheism
  35. “Spiritual But Not Religious” and the Path to God
  36. There is the Law of love, and then there are the Ten Commandments
  37. Ten commandments to lose the first 4?
  38. The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant? – Part 4
  39. He who does the commandments and teaches them shall be called great
  40. To what extent should government enforce the moral law of God? The example of divorce.
  41. The Ten Commandments and non-believers
  42. The Ten Commandments and Christian Living
  43. The Catholic Church Changed The Ten Commandments?
  44. Fully Human: Why Think Part I: The Rich Ruler and Jesus
  45. Why is islam such a dangerous foe of liberal democracies?
  46. The Gift of Connection
  47. Torrance on Natural Laws
  48. Barth on God’s Love
  49. Being a “Good Person” Part 2
  50. About Greed
  51. So Be Good for Goodness Sake
  52. Russians find homosexuality more immoral than drinking, infidelity or abortion
  53. I Have No Survival Instinct
  54. The Rules of Survival
  55. Survival Of The Fittest
  56. Chapter 3 of The Journey – My Invisible Scars
  57. Rust: A Beginners Guide (Part 2)
  58. Unpredictable Life.
  59. Survival of the Richest
  60. It doesn’t really matter What I Do…..
  61. Humble Your Life, Before Life “Face-Plants” You
  62. Leaving the Nest
  63. Things That Were Lost In Our Vaginas
  64. Article: States Where Rape is Most Common
  65. What Is Rape Culture? Why You Should Care.
  66. The Rape Epidemic in Alaska
  67. Zimbabwean Pastor imprisoned for half A century, for raping 4 members of his congregation
  68. Ignorance Means Acceptance: A Stance on Rape Culture
  69. Shut Up, Rape: Gender Politics in “Super”
  70. Functional repression
  71. Farrah Abraham Claims “Dark Times” During Her Time in the Porn Industry
  72. The beatings, and fear, and rape that permiated my life
  73. I No Longer Want Chocolate Cake for Breakfast
  74. Chapter 1, part i
  75. Chapter 1, part ii
  76. Thursday, February 6th, 2014
  77. Male on Male Prison Rape – Where is the Outrage?
  78. Is it rape if you let it happen?
  79. Men of a Nightmare
  80. Why I Rise for Justice
  81. Send to me Thy Trials so that I may Heal
  82. I Am An Abortion-Hating, Same-Sex Mongering, Marriage-Smearing Hypocrite
  83. This Is A Story About Rape. But More Importantly, This Is A Story About Survivors.
  84. The Intrinsic Links: Violence Against Women, Poverty and Impunity
  85. Call To My Childhood Rapist Teacher Charged
  86. Life decisions and getting raped
  87. Rape legal in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan?
  88. Solomon vs Bullard – why it matters
  89. So You Were Saying Porn Is Not Dangerous…huh!
  90. Fighting/Self Defense: Two sides of the same coin
  91. please help me!!!!
  92. Boasting immorality…
  93. Repent or Be Judged – A Warning to the Nations

+++

 

 

  • Do atheists believe that slavery is wrong? Can atheists condemn slavery as immoral? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    For a Christian response to the complaint that the Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, see this article and this article for slavery in the Old Testament, and this article for slavery in the New Testament. These are all by Christian philosopher Paul Copan. You can watch a lecture with Paul Copan on the slavery challenge here, and buy a book where he answers the challenge in more detail. There is also a good debate on whether the Bible condones slavery here, featuring David Instone-Brewer and Robert Price. My post is not a formal logical essay on this issue, it is more that I am outraged that atheists, who cannot even rationally ground objective morality, insist on criticizing the morality of the Bible. I think that atheists who are serious about finding the truth about these issues should check out those links, if they are interested in getting to the truth of these matters.
  • Chad Meister: can atheists make sense of morality? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Atheists often argue that they can make moral claims and live good moral lives without believing in God. Many theists agree, but the real issue is whether atheism can provide a justification for morality. A number of leading atheists currently writing on this issue are opposed to moral relativism, given its obvious and horrific ramifications, and have attempted to provide a justification for a nonrelative morality.
  • An atheist explains the real consequences of adopting an atheistic worldview (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination.
  • The Problem With Atheistic Morality (crawfordgarrett.wordpress.com)
    If God is a mere delusion, I find it impossible to develop any objective moral framework.  I think most atheists and naturalists would agree with me on this statement, but most would say that it doesn’t matter.  When asked about absolute morality, atheist Richard Dawkins claimed “The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include stoning people for adultery, death for apostasy, punishment for breaking the Sabbath… these are all things that are based on absolute morality.  I don’t think I want an absolute morality.”  First of all, there are several things wrong with this statement.  Number one, he takes into consideration only ancient religious extreme morals.  This just goes to show how incredibly ignorant Dawkins is of Christian moral values.  The second problem with Dawkins’ statement was how he didn’t give any explanation for the moral framework that everyone seems to follow.  Why are we moral creatures?  Why are all of the terrible, awful people such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. not justified in what they did?  Under an atheistic system, I will admit, you can see the evil of a situation for your own personal value, but you cannot in any way, shape, or form claim that the situation is absolutely evil or unjust.  The last part of Dawkins’ statement about not wanting an absolute morality is absurd, considering Dawkins puts so much emphasis on what is absolutely true and what is absolutely not true.  Just because you don’t want something to be true, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
  • The morality of Atheism (siftingreality.com)
    The debate over morality between Atheists and Theists is forever ongoing. I think Atheists mistakenly believe Theists claim they can’t act in a moral manner, but this isn’t the issue.  Most Atheists, in my experience, are relatively honest, caring people with genuine concern for their fellow man.  However, I have always been puzzled by the Atheist’s claim that a godless, non-transcendent worldview can somehow produce an objective ethical code which supplies moral prescriptions to persons who share different opinions on what is and isn’t moral.

    Inevitably, what the Atheists argues for is some form of relativism, be it individual or cultural.  Either of which have no solid immovable standard.

    Individual relativism, or personal ethics, isn’t really morality.  One’s moral convictions are limited only by the will-power and sensibilities of the individual.  There is nothing binding on the individual to keep his or her own standards.

  • 7 fatal flaws for Relativism (thecatholicdormitory.wordpress.com)
    Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behavior of others, because relativism ultimately denies such a thing a ‘wrongdoing’. If one believes that morality is a matter of personal definition, then you surrender the possibility of making objective moral judgments about the actions of others, no matter how offensive they are to your intuitive sense of right or wrong. This means that a relativist cannot rationally object to murder, rape, child abuse, racism, sexism or environmental destruction if those actions are consistent with the perpetrator’s personal moral understanding of what is right and good. When right and wrong are a matter of personal choice, we surrender the privilege of making moral judgments about the actions of others. However if we are certain that some things must be wrong and that some judgments against another’s conduct are justified – then relativism is false.
  • The Moral Of The Story (edwardhotspur.wordpress.com)
    One aspect of morality comes from within. Just the simple viewpoint that you don’t wish someone else harm, as long as they haven’t harmed you or someone you know. But sometimes you trick yourself into believing that something someone else has would be better served in your possession. So you just take it. But in time, you’re not 2  years old anymore, and you learn societal morals such as The Prisoner’s Dilemma.
  • How can Atheists be ethical? (angelamaldita.wordpress.com)
    most atheists agree that there is wisdom and morality in the Scripture. How can this be? Well, we, atheists, think that values, including morality, come from people like themselves; the values and morality are the same whether one believes in a god or not. The morality found in scriptures of various religions is remarkably similar, even if the theology is very different. The common thread of morality in these different theologies is the people who wrote them. Atheists, just like any of those people, share the same sense of morality.
  • Did God Make These Babies Moral? (newrepublic.com)
    People can be selfish and amoral and appallingly cruel, but we are also capable of transcendent kindness, of great sacrifice and deep moral insight. Isn’t this evidence for God? This version of “intelligent design” is convincing to many people—including scientists who are otherwise unsympathetic to creationism—and it’s worth taking seriously. Like other intelligent design arguments, it doesn’t work, but its failure is an interesting one, touching on findings about evolution, moral psychology, and the minds of babies and young children.
  • Moral Law (totellthenations.wordpress.com)
    if the law emanated from Someone outside the created order, and indeed, were a reflection of that One, two points become clear. That the Law came from a Supreme and immutable Law-giver and that as such the Law very much is and must be immutable.These are points that must be reflected upon both by the atheist, the agnostic and one who places trust in a Higher Power. If I am not responsible to a Higher Power and this Moral Law stuff is all made up, then murder and torture are indeed no different from acts of kindness and altruism for there is no Immutable Standard. If the Moral Law (however difficult to define) exists, than we humans are held to that standard and are responsible for upholding it.

     

Enhanced by Zemanta

Book Review: Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe & Casey Luskin, Science & Human Origins. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2012.124pp.

Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Leh...

Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Intelligent Design proponent. Lecture at DPC, University of Maine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest publication from the Discovery Institute (the organisation that promotes Intelligent Design theory) is somewhat of a departure from their previous coyness regarding religion. As the introduction by John West describes, “intelligent design focuses on whether the development of life was purposeful or blind” and not on common descent (p11); indeed many ID advocates accept common descent (e.g. Michael Behe). This book not only challenges the idea that humans and apes share a common ancestor but also explores whether there is evidence that all mankind is descended from an original couple (who are frequently labelled “Adam and Eve”). The motivation for this foray into common descent is the claims being made by theistic evolutionists, particularly the BioLogos Foundation, which, it is claimed, encourages Christians to revise “traditional Christian teachings” (pp9-10, 105-6).

In the debate over evolution it defenders and its critics often argue past each other. Evolutionists claim evolution did happen because of such things as the similarities in morphology and DNA, distribution of fossils, and apparent ancestral vestiges. Creationists claim evolution could not happen because of such things as irreducible complexity, symbiotic organisms, and the sheer improbability of invention by random mutation. Science & Human Origins fits within this mould, though it does cite some new evidence.

The first two chapters centre on an experiment conducted by Ann Gauger and Douglas Axe, in which they identified two proteins with similar morphology but different function and tried to estimate how one could evolve into the other by neo-darwinian processes. They concluded that it would require seven coordinated mutations to occur, something too improbable to have occurred within the history of the universe (p20). From this finding they argue that, firstly, unguided processes could not have produced the changes necessary to evolve humans from apes, and, secondly, similar morphology is not a reliable indicator common ancestry. This research is interesting and the sort of evidence that anti-evolutionists need to produce if they are to affect a shift from the current neo-Darwinian paradigm. But, at most, this kind of experiment demonstrates the ineffectiveness of random mutation; it does not, of itself, rule out common descent. And, as has often been pointed out, it is difficult to prove a negative. Maybe it didn’t happen this way; that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

The third chapter is an interesting review of the literature regarding the fossil record. It highlights the vast uncertainties about the earliest hominin fossils (4-7 million years ago). Then it presses the differences between the australopithecines (1-4 million years ago) and the homo genus (0-2 million years ago); the former are considered an extinct form of ape, the latter are considered part of the family of humans. The fourth chapter considers two genetic arguments for common descent, so-called “junk DNA” and chromosomal fusion. It was previously argued that large regions of non-coding DNA within the human genome made intelligent design unlikely. Recent research has demonstrated that much that was previously considered junk is now known to be functional. The more interesting argument is that the 23rd human chromosome-pair seems to be fusion of two ape chromosome-pairs (apes have 24 chromosome-pairs). Casey Luskin challenges this argument saying that at most it shows that a human ancestor had 24 chromosome-pairs, not that this ancestor was a common ancestor with apes; this response does not seem to be particularly strong. Luskin also suggests that the similarity between the 23rd human chromosome-pair and ape chromosome-pairs is not as compelling as it might appear; it is difficult for a non-scientist to judge.

In the final chapter Gauger challenges an argument from population genetics put forward by Francisco Ayala, which implies that there was never a bottle-neck of a single human couple in our ancestry (Ayala assumes common descent with apes). This chapter is quite technical, but in brief, Gauger reveals the hidden assumptions in Ayala’s argument, cites other studies that focused on other parts of the gene, and concludes that it is possible that there was such a bottleneck. Gauger then goes further and considers the possibility that humans and apes did not have a common ancestor, citing some examples that would not be expected on current evolutionary models (e.g. regions of the human genome that are closer to gorilla than ape sequences).

This is an interesting book and, at very least, sketches the relevant issues in the ongoing debate over common descent. Its inadequacy, and the inadequacy of much of ID research, is that it does not present a unified alternative to the current evolutionary narrative. Reading between the lines, there is equivocation over the whether to just reject unguided neo-Darwinian processes or to also propose an act of special creation as an alternative to common descent. (This equivocation is probably representative of the equivocation within the ID community). It seems incumbent on those who would reject common descent to propose an alternative narrative for the distribution of fossils and the variation with the human genome. It seems the authors are sorely tempted to say that God created Adam and Eve as a distinct genus (including Home erectus and Home neanderthalensis, as well as Homo sapiens) and that some evolutionary process is responsible for the variation found within the genus, but this is never stated explicitly (nor is it likely to be).

Those who believe in the special creation of a single human couple from whom all humanity descends are likely to take comfort from these scientific challenges to the current neo-darwinian paradigm, but this is not the book that will cause a paradigm shift.

+++

  • How to Test for Intelligent Design (str.typepad.com)
    Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute writes an interesting article in response to a scientist’s statement that “the Intelligent Design hypothesis is untestable by science, exactly because we can never empirically know or understand the actions of God or any other Intelligent Designer.”Luskin points out that, on the contrary, we can understand when actions are being taken by intelligent designers (such as human beings), and from that, make testable predictions.
  • Genes (slideshare.net)
    Each cell in the human body contains about 25,000 to 35,000 genes. Genes carry information that determines your traits.
  • The Discovery Institute gets terminally desperate: considers evolutionary rebuttals of creationist arguments as “condemning religion” (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
    The Discovery Institute, losing its battle for Intelligent Design (ID) on all fronts (they can’t even get it taught in a Texas community college!) has resorted to a desperation move: attacking the characters of evolutionary biologists.  How this will give evidence for ID is beyond me: perhaps they think that if they show character flaws in evolutionists they thereby discredit our discipline. But whatever happened to their promise to that “scientific” evidence for ID was “right around the corner”? They seem to have forgotten that one.And they should be mindful of the beam in their own eye: despite their claim that ID isn’t religiously motivated, virtually everyone at the Discovery Institute is religious, and some of them (like Paul Nelson and William Dembski) unwisely proclaim their religious motivations when they think they’re out of earshot.
  • Casey Luskin’s latest take on junk DNA – is he lying or is he stupid? (sandwalk.blogspot.com)
    The issue of junk DNA is a case in point. We’ve been trying to explain the facts to people like Casey Luskin. I know he’s listening because he comments on Sandwalk from time to time. Surely it can’t be that hard? All they have to do is acknowledge that “Darwinians” are opposed to junk DNA because they think that natural selection is very powerful and would have selected against junk DNA. All we’re asking is that they refer to “evolutionary biologists” when they talk about junk DNA proponents.
  • Discovery Institute’s Triumph #5 for 2013 (sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com)
    The Discoveroids were proclaiming the good news of a book — Discovering Intelligent Design — published by their in-house vanity press, the Discovery Institute Press, and written by “home school educators Gary and Hallie Kemper [of whom no one ever heard], and Discovery Institute research coordinator Casey Luskin.”
  • Discovery Institute Embraces Martyrdom (sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com)
    Some of you may not have been around back in 2010 when your compassionate Curmudgeon honored him — see Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow. Most of his long post today is just a copy of what he posted a few weeks ago, about which we wrote Discoveroids Suffer a Crushing Defeat.Yes, Casey is claiming that the Discoveroids’ defeat at Amarillo College, a state-run, two-year community college in Amarillo, Texas, is one of their big highlights of the year. They were apparently embarked on a stealth campaign to infiltrate two-year community colleges with their kind of creationist course, using their books, thinking that no one would notice. But their plans were thwarted when the non-credit course was cancelled.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

Those unfamiliar with astrophysics might get the impression that the Big Bang was just a random explosion of energy that just happened to produce galaxies with stars and at least one planet capable of supporting intelligent life. But nothing could be further from the truth. The more physicists have learnt about the conditions for a stable universe, and in particular a universe capable of sustaining intelligent life, the more it seems that the Big Bang must have been very finely tuned. Like Goldilocks porridge, the universe had to be just right.

One example of this fine tuning is the strength of gravitational force. If gravitational force were too strong then matter would clump together, if gravitational force were too weak then bounds between particles would be too weak. In either case, stars like our Sun could not have formed and without the Sun, life on planet could not exist. But what is really surprising is just how particular fine tuning is. If the strength of gravitational force had differed by one part in 1040 then our Sun could not exist. (1040 is scientific notation for a 1 followed by 40 zeroes, or in other words, ten thousand billion billion billion billion).

And the strength of gravitational force is just one example of many conditions that are remarkably finely tuned. Other examples include the difference in mass between a proton and neutron, and the density of the universe.

The point about these examples is not simply that they are improbable, but that they are crying out for an explanation. Imagine if you replayed the Big Bang over and over again, billions upon billions of times. And imagine that each time there was a Big Bang, you changed one of starting conditions (say, gravitational force) by a small degree. In almost every case the universe that emerged would either quickly collapse in on itself or would be entirely made up of hydrogen and helium; the scenarios under which the Big Bang produced a universe capable of sustaining intelligent life would be a tiny tiny percentage. This specified complexity requires an explanation and for a lot of people that explanation is a Designer.

And these examples of fine-tuning are not controversial. The physicist Paul Davies has written, “everyone agrees that the universe looks as if it was designed for life”. Both believers and non-believers agree that these remarkable coincidences require an explanation. However, there have been some attempts to propose an explanation that doesn’t require a Designer. Perhaps the most common alternative is the multiverse explanation, whereby there just are billions upon billions of universes and eventually one of them would turn out to be like ours. It is questionable whether this is a better explanation. Firstly, the multiverse is entirely theoretical and it is not clear how one might go about trying to prove it. Secondly, it seems odd to choose to hypothesize billions upon billions of universes just to escape the existence of one God. Thirdly, the multiverse hypothesis seems to complicate, not simplify the fine-tuning, as now one has to explain the origin of billions upon billions of universes.

God is the most straightforward explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe.

+

Preceding article: Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

+++

WMAP image of the (extremely tiny) anisotropie...

WMAP image of the (extremely tiny) anisotropies in the cosmic background radiation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Dr. Robin Collins explains two kinds of cosmic fine-tuning (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    I was busy working my way through “Debating Christian Theism“, a book published by Oxford University Press in August 2013. It features about 20 different topics from science, to philosophy, to history. For each topic, there is an essay by a world-class scholar in favor, and one opposed. So you get both sides of many interesting issues, at a very advanced level. The section on cosmic fine-tuning features a chapter written by Dr. Robin Collins.
  • Evidence For Universe Inflation Theory May Lurk In New Data From Planck Space Probe (mukeshbalani.wordpress.com)
    At first, there was nothing — complete and utter emptiness. Zero energy and zero matter.

    And then, out of this nothingness, the universe was born. Tiny, but extremely dense and packed with energy. And then, within a miniscule fraction of a second, it rapidly grew in size — inflated — by at least a factor of 10raised to the 25th power.

    This theory, known as inflation, is currently the dominant explanation for what happened after the Big Bang and for how the universe came to be the way it is today. But although many scientists now believe that inflation did indeed take place, they still don’t know how or why it started, or how it stopped. And so far, there hasn’t been any solid experimental evidence for this accelerated expansion. [8 Baffling Astronomy Mysteries]

    Scientists hope that in just a few months they might start to unravel the riddle, when they examine the next set of data from the Planck satellite. Since 2009, this radio telescope, run by the European Space Agency (ESA), has been mapping the oldest light in the universe.

  • Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: Can Infinite Universes Explain Fine-Tuning? (christianreasons.com)
    Barrow & Tipler, in their landmark book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, note that if Einstein’s cosmological constant varied in either direction by as little as 1 x 10120, (which is a fraction so small that it would take more zeros to write than there are atoms in the universe) If this were to be changed by even that amount, the universe would expand too fast for galaxies & stars to form.
  • Craig’s Five Ways, Part One [EvolutionBlog] (scienceblogs.com)
    Writing in the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas famously presented his “five ways” to prove that God exists. He relied largely on extrapolations from observable phenomena in our daily experience to grand claims about the origins of it all. Thus, he argued from the presence of motion in the natural world to an unmoved mover behind it all, or from the contingency of existence in the natural world to the presence of a necessary existent, and so on.

    These arguments have received detailed philosophical development over the years, from Aquinas and from many others, but they have not fared well. Few philosophers nowadays defend them, and for good reason. All of them rest on dubious premises, and their conclusions are generally underwhelming. (For example, there might be a necessary existent, but why should we equate a necessary existent with God?)

  • William Lane Craig debates Lawrence Krauss in North Carolina: Does God Exist? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Would you like to hear a debate featuring the least intelligent atheist ever? Well, this is a good candidate.

    The full transcript of the debate is here at the Reasonable Faith web site.

    Audio of the William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss debate at North Carolina State University has now been posted at Apologetics 315. The people who recorded it did not do a good job, though.

    And I also posted some background information on Craig’s arguments.

  • Video, audio and summary of Wiliam Lane Craig vs Peter Millican debate (winteryknight.wordpress.com)

    This debate on “Does God Exist?” took place in front of a capacity audience at the Great Hall, University of Birmingham. It was recorded on Friday 21st October 2011 as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig.

    William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California and a leading philosopher of religion. Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford and a noted scholar in studies of Hume.

    The debate was hosted by the University of Birmingham Student Philosophy Society, and the debate was moderated by Professor Carl Chinn.

  • Did Alien Life Evolve Just After the Big Bang? (lunaticoutpost.com)
    Traditionally, astrobiologists keen on solving the mystery of the origin of life in the universe look for planets in habitable zones around stars. Also known as Goldilocks zones, these regions are considered to be just the right distance away from stars for liquid water, a pre-requisite for life as we know it, to exist.

    But even exoplanets that orbit far beyond the habitable zone may have been able to support life in the distant past, warmed by the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang that created the universe 13.8 billion years ago, says Harvard astrophysicist Abraham Loeb.

  • Did Alien Life Evolve Just After the Big Bang? (space.com)
    “When the universe was 15 million years old, the cosmic microwave background had a temperature of a warm summer day on Earth,” he said. “If rocky planets existed at that epoch, then the CMB could have kept their surface warm even if they did not reside in the habitable zone around their parent star.” [Gallery: Planck Spacecraft Sees Big Bang Relics]

    But the question is whether planets — and especially rocky planets — could already have formed at that early epoch.

    According to the standard cosmological model, the very first stars started to form out of hydrogen and helium tens of millions of years after the Big Bang. No heavy elements, which are necessary for planet formation, were around yet.

Enhanced by Zemanta