None so blind …

There is a traditional joke in which a person who is lost asks for directions – “Well, I wouldn’t start from here …”, comes the reply. Of course, we have to start from where we are, but gaining a real understanding of that starting point is key in helping us to identify the direction of travel and understand the journey ahead.

Like anything involving real people, real data and the reconstruction of historical events, Christianity is messy.  I can understand the temptation to cut through the messiness with a clean clear-cut theology that becomes the guiding principle when we don’t know how to interpret the data.  However, for too many Christians and critics that theology can become the plank of wood that blinds us to really considering the evidence, because we become too quick to dismiss anything that doesn’t fit with our world view.

Before we come to consider the claims of Christianity and its implications for our lives, I would urge each of us to examine our prior assumptions, our starting point if you like, because these will colour the conclusions we can reach. Just as the Christian who begins with the claim that the bible is infallible will never acknowledge the errors and inconsistencies within its pages, so too the critic who declares that all miracles are a priori impossible is destined to reject the case for Christ’s resurrection.

Fortunately, Christian truth does not require scripture to be infallible – it is enough that the evidence is sufficient to lead people to Christ.

Hume’s argument for atheism

David Hume proposed the following argument against the existence of God:

Suffering exists in the world.
If God exists then He is both omnipotent and loving.
If God cannot eliminate suffering then He is not omnipotent.
If God will not eliminate suffering then He is not loving.
Hence, God does not exist.

What do you think of Hume’s argument?  Are the inferences Hume makes valid?  (Note that whether or not you agree with the conclusion has no bearing on the validity, or otherwise, of the argument!)

Feel free to share further arguments for or against the existence of God.

Science vs Christianity

As Christians, we have to be able to answer the question: “Why Christianity, as oppose to any other religion or non-religious belief?”.  For me, it is not a question of choosing a system of beliefs or a theology with which I feel comfortable – that would be putting the cart before the horse.

Christianity is first and foremost an evidence-based faith – the historical evidence points to the existence of a man, whom the Greek-speaking world named Jesus, who claimed to be the son of God, performed miracles, taught about God and heaven, and was raised from the dead precisely as he claimed he would be.  The challenge is to construct a world-view that fits with these facts, which is the challenge that the writers of the New Testament and the early church took on.

However, there is a continual challenge that all of us who wish Christianity to retain that privileged status must face – in light of continuing developments in our understanding of scientific, historical and literary evidence we must continue to re-evaluate the evidence for our faith and, where necessary, adapt our theology to fit the facts rather than denying the facts to suit our theology.

The consequence of failure to engage with this challenge is that Christianity becomes just another religion ….

Music Recommendation, 4th February

There’s no lack in all you’ve given (My soul is well): Newday 2009 Album

Is faith the opium of the people? What draws people to worship God? Many people, if not all, are on a search for waht they call “happiness”. They’re trying to fill a void. God fills that hole: making our souls well, as this song proclaims – it gives an answer for the hope we have…

I am richer than a king
In the gift of Christ our portion
My soul is well
There’s no promise I am missing
All I need has been supplied
You’re the strong and firm foundation
My soul is well
My soul is well

Praise the Lord oh my soul cry out
Praise the Lord oh my soul
Praise the Lord oh my soul cry out
For in You my soul is well

Though the struggles have been many
And the flesh inside me weak
Lord, Your grace and truth have taught me
My soul is well
Though I’ve wandered in confusion
I have seen enough to know
Where I tread Your goodness follows
My soul is well
My soul is well

To the praise of all Your glory and Your grace
To the praise of all Your glory and Your grace
In the wonder of Your goodness I will sing, ‘Great is the Lord’

Jordan Dillon & Simon Brading
Copyright © 2009 Thankyou Music