Food Court

When I think of a food court, two things usually come to mind.

The first is the food court located on a military installation where various fast food vendors are all located around the same eating area. Some of the vendors are those that the general public would find familiar with such as Taco Bell or Popeye’s Chicken, but there are also places that would only be familiar to military members such as Robin Hood or Anthony’s Pizza. The size and number of vendors varies with the size of the installation.

The second place that comes to mind is Disney World. Much like the military installation, there are different types of food available: burgers, pizza, desert, and full dinners. The dinners usually take on the style of the resort the food court is located in, but these are all owned by Disney.

After reading Gerald Nachman’s fictitious My Day In Food Court at The American Spectator, I now have a third picture in my mind when I think of a food court. But this one’s a little scary.

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Biblical Archaeology: Philip’s Tomb and Gobekli Tepe

I had heard the news that Philip the Apostle’s tomb had been found a few months ago, but I held off being excited because I know how those discoveries are often recanted later. As it turns out, it’s may not be the Apostle’s tomb, but Philip the Evangelist. Either way, it’s still an exciting find if true, because finding the tombs of people who are mentioned in Scripture still serve to provide more evidence for the reliability of Scripture.

More on Philip’s Tomb:

Another find that has been revealed over the last couple of weeks has been equally as interesting. It’s that of Gobekli Tepe. Gobekli Tepe is being heralded as the oldest “Temple” ever found, predating Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. If true, it would provide more evidence that religion has always been a part of mankind’s life, and not something invented later on as part of culture. Stand to Reason has posted a short article on this, along with an interview of Ben Witherington regarding the ramifications for secular understandings of religious history. I highly recommend you follow the link STR provides in the article called Philip’s Tomb and listen to the interview; it’s only about 18 minutes.

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Atheistism #4: The God Diversions

When it comes to atheism, you can find a lot of arguments against the existence of God. But have you ever really thought about those arguments? Probably not, because the number of statements can be overwhelming. I’ve seen Christians bombarded with statements supposedly “proving” that God doesn’t exist, and then the Christian is left “defenseless,” because responding would require too much effort. But I’ve thought about a lot of those arguments, and I’ve found that most aren’t really arguments against God’s existence at all. Most are arguments regarding His character or attributes, but those are theological arguments that have absolutely nothing to do with His existence. They are simply diversions from the real debate, because the reality is that atheism doesn’t have a strong argument.

Please note that this post is not meant to be an in-depth look at these arguments. It’s just a short summary of a few of the more popular arguments against God, and what makes them a diversion.

Lack of Necessity: A popular argument today is that God isn’t necessary. Science claims that evolution, on its own, allows for organisms to evolve in an ever increasingly complex manner, and has no need for input and direction from the outside, making God unnecessary. Unfortunately, lack of necessity doesn’t preclude existence. I could claim that Glee is unnecessary, but if I check my television listing, it will still be there. Necessity has nothing to do with existence.

Poor Design: Continuing along the evolution path, we have another argument: that of poor designer. It is claimed that God is perfect, therefore we shouldn’t find “bad” design in nature. We find “bad” design in nature, therefore, God must not exist. But, for the sake of argument, it is possible that God could be a bad designer. But, like the *Lack of Necessity* argument, bad design doesn’t preclude existence. We can debate the good points and the bad points of His design, and we can even debate our definition of perfect, but this argument has no bearing on whether He exists or not. “Bad designer” is irrelevant to existence.

Ridiculous Contradictions: Can God make a rock so big that even He can’t lift it? If God knows what you’re going to have for breakfast tomorrow, can you choose something else? These questions are thrown around like they prove that God can’t be omnipotent or omniscient. And the “natural” extension is that God must not exist because He doesn’t fulfill the definition. But it only disproves omnipotence or omniscience when unrealistic definitions are used. Omnipotence does not mean God can create logical contradictions. Omniscience does not mean He has scripted what your going to have for breakfast tomorrow (foreknowledge vs. predetermined). These are simply clever word games, and prove nothing except humanities cleverness.

Where Did God Come From?: This circular argument stems from the “Who created God?” question, which stems from the claim that the universe had to be created. My personal opinion is that while it is helpful when describing the origins of the universe, it is useless as a proof. Christians should stop using as if it were proof, because I don’t think that that is what it was intended for. It seems obvious to me, that something was eternal in existence. Whether it was the natural world (although possibly in different forms) or the supernatural world is a question that we cannot prove. Either existence has always existed, or God has always existed. It makes for interesting debate, but neither side can “prove” their argument, which leads to a faith statement for both sides. You have faith in the evidence provided by science, or you have faith in the evidence provided by God.

Bible Contradictions: The Bible is written by a perfect God, but the Bible contains contradictions, therefore He is not perfect, and must not be real. This is simply a variation on the Poor Design argument. We can debate the existence of so-called contradictions, but a poor “writer” doesn’t preclude God from existence. Christians are often accused of not reading their own books, and while that is a sad truth for many, it is not true for all. And those who read the whole thing in context, find a much different picture than those who cherry pick the problem passages, without really thinking about them. So, the contradiction myth continues to propagate. The bottom line is that the these so-called contradictions are a subject completely unrelated to existence.

The Moral Monster: Often when debating God’s existence, God’s moral character comes up. Unfortunately for atheism, moral character has nothing to do with existence. Once it’s determined that God exists, His moral character can be debated, but saying He doesn’t exist because He’s a moral monster is like saying Hitler or Stalin didn’t exist because they were moral monsters. Maybe God is a moral monster, but stop bringing it up when we are talking about his existence. It’s off-topic and irrelevant.

Religion Is Dangerous: Yes, religion can be dangerous, but so can atheism. Atrocities committed by Christians of the past do not align very well with the teachings of Christianity. So, Christianity can be abused, but that doesn’t make Christianity bad. Atheism makes the same kinds of claims regarding atheist dictators, but then will add that they really aren’t atheist because these leaders have set themselves up as gods. Nice try. Lenin and Stalin tried to eradicate religion and instill atheism. While they didn’t recognize their own “godhood,” trying to dismiss their atheistic beliefs is foolish. But bad people don’t prove or disprove God’s existence. It’s another diversion.

Too Many Gods: Throughout history, there have been a number of gods. So, for atheism, this must mean there aren’t any. It’s the classic throwing the baby out with the bath water. But, it’s easier to just throw them all out, that way, they don’t have to involve themselves in any theological discussion. But an over abundance of gods, doesn’t mean none of them exist, you just need to figure out which one corresponds the best with reality, and the existing evidence.

There are other diversions, of course, but I think that this is reflective of some of the more common ones. The thing to keep in mind is that when engaged in points presented by atheism, you need to think about what is really being said. You will find that most arguments against the existence of God, have absolutely nothing to do with His existence, and while they are legitimate theological arguments, their use when arguing existence only serve to divert your attention away from the empty argument.

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Atheistism #3: Denying Their Faith

I’m not sure why we continue to let atheists define faith for us. We’ve all heard the popular: faith is believing in something you know isn’t real. Unfortunately, it’s been said so many times that there are a good many people who actually believe it.

The truth of the matter is that if people believed in something they knew wasn’t real, they would be believing a lie, and they would know they were believing a lie. But this isn’t the case.

Christian faith is believing in something that they are certain is real. But this definition falls slightly short because there’s an obvious difference between being certain God is real, and being certain the keyboard I’m writing this with is real, because I can see the keyboard, but I can’t see God. But there is evidence of both! Evidence of this keyboard exists because you’re reading the words that I’ve produced with it. Likewise evidence of God exists because we see the complexity and beauty of the universe in the heavens and our DNA. The fact that life exists is all the evidence I need. Further, we have the Gospels, so not only do we see His handiwork in existence, but we have His Word telling us Who He is! And finally, there is individual revelation (subject for another post).

So, we can refine the definition of Christian faith to read: believing in something that we are certain is real, based on good solid evidence.

The unbeliever can say they aren’t convinced by the evidence, but to say there isn’t any is just a denial of reality.

So let’s take a look at one of the fundamental beliefs of the atheist. As an atheist, there is no supernatural, so that means that everything in existence has come about through purely natural means. That includes life.

For me, the existence of life is a key piece of evidence for God’s existence. I’ve thought about this long and hard using the critical thinking skills given to me by God , instead of the cloned thinking provided by liberal educators. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no way life could have gotten to the point it’s at without supernatural intervention. I’ve even imagined conceding the initial “spark,” but I immediately run into complications. Basically, in order for the first life to survive, it needs the ability to take in energy. I think that an atheist would agree with me in saying the first life wasn’t immortal. So that means when it rose from the dead, it had to already have the ability to take energy from outside itself and convert it into something usable. I don’t think it would have had time to evolve this system as evolution involves reproduction which would involve a lot of energy. I just can’t comprehend the amount of built in energy that would be required to evolve that synthesis system. Which brings me to the second problem: reproduction. In order to evolve, a life form needs to be able to reproduce. The initial life can’t evolve if it can’t reproduce. So the first life would have had to have had the ability to “synthesize” and “reproduce” right out of the gate. And that occurred naturally?

What are you smokin’!?

The atheist response? We don’t know, but we’ll figure it out.

This is a common response, but has anyone stopped to think about what kind of statement this is? I’ll tell you what it is. It’s a statement of faith! It’s a statement that says Science will someday tell us what we don’t know now.

So is the atheist’s definition of faith still valid? Faith is belief in something they know isn’t real. Well, they believe that life began purely by natural cause, and they believe this is reality so their definition of faith doesn’t fit.

So we could say that their definition of faith is belief in something that you are certain is real. But like the Christian version with the same definition, it isn’t quite enough. Like the Christian, they can’t prove their statement, Science will know, unless they are allowing their god “Science” omniscience regarding future events and knowledge.

Do they have evidence? They can’t claim that Science will reveal everything, because it hasn’t so far, and they have no scientific gospel peer-reviewed journal from the future. Lab experiments can’t prove life occurred naturally millions of years ago because lab experiments are forms of intelligent design (planned for by intelligent people in specifically designed, controlled environment) and can’t be guaranteed to work the same in the wild. Is there evidence that life began naturally? Well, there are all those theories. So, I’ll give them that, even though they’re weak as far as evidence goes.

So, we can refine the definition of atheist faith to read: believing in something that we are certain is real, based on some evidence.

Of course, the atheist will still argue there’s no evidence for the supernatural. At which time we need to correct them: there’s no repeatable, scientific evidence for the supernatural. And then we need to add, just give it time; one day science will find it.

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Atheistism #2: Hung Up On Contemporary Evidence

We’ve all heard it before, the atheist exclamation, “We don’t believe that life rose from the dead (Resurrection) because of the lack of contemporary evidence.” But what is contemporary evidence? While contemporary could mean from the same period, the evidence wanted is from the same time, in other words, they want actual evidence from 30 to 34 AD (the approximate time period of Jesus’ public ministry). In other words, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Existing documentation regarding Jesus centers around the four Gospels, but also includes writings from Josephus, the Jewish historian, Tacitus, the Roman historian, and others. While these writers were born after Jesus’ death–four to twenty-three years–they lived close enough to have talked with eye-witnesses. There are also a wide range of dates given to the writing of the Gospels. Theists generally acknowledge scholars who date the Gospels from 40 to 90 AD, while atheists generally acknowledge scholars who date the Gospels from 100 to 150 AD. In either case, the extant copies are exactly that: copies. In other words, the actual dates are all speculation. By moving the some of those dates ahead by a mere six years, the first writings line up exactly with the time of Jesus’ death on the Cross.

Am I acknowledging the earlier dates because I’m a Christian? Maybe, but I would argue that atheists do the same and acknowledge later dates because they’re atheists. We both have scholars that we find more “trustworthy.” But, it’s more than just listening to scholars; the arguments for later dates just don’t seem plausible to me. And what about the lack of Roman documents from the time, for example, Pilate’s execution order? Simply put, the documents existed at one time, and may still exist. We just haven’t found them yet.

But the problem I have with the claim that there’s no contemporary evidence for Jesus rising from the dead, is that there’s no contemporary evidence that life rose from mud either, however, that doesn’t seem to be a roadblock to belief for the atheist. Well, we can argue that there was no contemporary evidence because the protein, or whatever you want to call it, wasn’t keeping records at the time, but the fact of the matter remains, there is no contemporary evidence. But atheists don’t believe anything without evidence! There’s reasonable evidence to believe that life rose from mud, without the assistance of God, they say. Well, show it to me!

The problem is, they can’t, because there is no contemporary evidence! Sure there are theories, and a few lab experiments that point to possibilities, but lab experiments don’t prove everything. An experiment that works in a lab doesn’t mean it will work in the wild. In fact, to me, a lab experiment is more of an intelligent design concept since it’s set up by intelligent beings to work under specific conditions.

In fact, no where in history, has a person witnessed life arising from mud. There are no eye-witness accounts, and no hearsay. History is silent on the matter, as opposed to say, the Resurrection. But it’s reasonable to dismiss the Resurrection because those documents were written a few years later, possibly even seventy in a worse-case scenario. Compare that to the non-existent contemporary evidence for life arising from mud, based on the same requirement for Jesus, and the atheist claims: reasonable!

But not only is belief in life arising from mud reasonable, it’s proof that God isn’t necessary (as if a lack of necessity determines lack of existence).

I find the atheist claims absurd, but that doesn’t matter. I should follow scientific claims blindly, because I’m not a science expert. I shouldn’t question them, because, after all, scientifict claims are infallible.

If you’re going to live by contemporary experience, live by it. Don’t pick and choose when to apply it.

The atheist isn’t using science to prove that God doesn’t exist, he’s using science to support his bias presupposition that God doesn’t exist. The claims are supported because there is no alternative.

So, in the end, the atheist doesn’t believe that life could rise from non-life in the form of a dead man, but believes that life could arise from non-life in the form of mud. Yeah. That makes sense.

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