RE: pendulum swings (was: Re: [asa] Gospel in the Stars WAS Star of Bethlehem presentation?)

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 15:02:19 EST

The “problem” with Bernie is that he has to confront Christ and say no to Him. Perhaps he has already done that. Arguing with us is cheap, spitting on Christ’s face and call Him a liar and not the Son of God is quite another matter.

From: [] On Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow []
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 11:18 AM
To: asa
Subject: Re: pendulum swings (was: Re: [asa] Gospel in the Stars WAS Star of Bethlehem presentation?)

Bernie has a good point: God wants us to use our intellects, and our logic.
OK now, let's look at a list of names:

John Scotus Erigena, Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, William of Ockham,
Duns Scotus, Erasmus, Thomas More, John Calvin, Richard Hooker, Jonathan
Swift, A. E. Taylor, Alvin Plantinga.

All of these thinkers have demonstrated intellectual capacity of the highest
order. Many of them studied logic formally, and even wrote treatises on
logic, and so can be reasonably said to be more skilled in logic than Bernie
is. Yet all of them believed not only in God, but in the Christian God. If
Christianity is so illogical, so contrary to reason, how is it that so many
of the most logical people in the history of the human race have embraced

Of course, one might also say that scientists can be very logical people,
and then one might wish to point out that Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, and
other early modern pioneers of science were Christians as well. Newton, no
slouch at reasoning, spent the last part of his life engrossed in Scriptural
interpretation -- would he have done that if he thought Scripture was a mess
of illogic?

The problem with Bernie's approach is that he picks out the stupidest,
weakest Christian statements and arguments that he can find, i.e., the sort
that are found in American evangelical and fundamentalist literature and
that are taught in churches where the congregations have very little formal
education, and he thinks that, because he can expose the flaws in such
statements and arguments, he has refuted Christianity itself. But of course
he hasn't even come close. Without meaning to be uncharitable by saying so,
I think it is objectively true that Alvin Plantinga or C. S. Lewis or G. K.
Chesterton would wipe the floor with Bernie in any public debate.

In order to refute Christianity, Bernie is going to have to stop relying on
300-word "sound bites" from the Internet, and is going to have to do the one
thing he dreads doing the most -- pick up and read some really difficult
theological and philosophical books (both Christian and anti-Christian), the
kind that are a few hundred pages long and that sometimes require ten
minutes to read even one page with real understanding: Augustine's City of
God, Calvin's "Institutes", Aquinas's Summa Theologiae, Spinoza's
Theologico-Political Treatise, A. E. Taylor's Does God Exist? and so on. If
he isn't willing to invest the next five or ten years of his life doing this
kind of reading, he is never going to understand Christian theology at its
best, and his "arguments" against it won't be worth listening to.

Anyone can refute Ken Ham, Duane Gish, Henry Morris, or the people who post
on Answers in Genesis. I could already do that in my last year of high
school. The fact that Bernie can take candy from babies (so to speak)
doesn't prove that he is a theological force to be reckoned with. When I am
convinced that Bernie has read, all the way through, even one book by any
theological author who is actually worth reading, and has actually
understood it, then I will take his "threat" to Christianity seriously.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dehler, Bernie" <>
Cc: "asa" <>
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 10:19 AM
Subject: RE: pendulum swings (was: Re: [asa] Gospel in the Stars WAS Star of
Bethlehem presentation?)

> Bill said:
> " What I am interested in is what is the bottom line. What is it that you
> will not, or cannot, give up, no matter the consequences or strife?"
> I think the thing I will not give up (the bottom line) is logic. I
> figure, if there is a God, He gave us brains, and should be proud of us if
> we use them, as we are proud of our children when they use them and bring
> home good grades from school.
> I will not accept a God who gave us brains and then expects us to believe
> things that are contrary to the best use of the brain.
> Jesus said he is the way, truth, and life. I figure he can be put to the
> test; since he claims to be the truth, then if we seek the truth it should
> lead to him.
> So then, I guess you are saying 'logic' for me is my God. All I can say
> to that is, if you don't use logic, what do you use? I think both
> evangelism and apologetics relies on logic heavily, too. And I don't
> claim to follow logic only; I also know the place of faith, and it is
> valid. However, I think there is NO valid place for faith that runs
> counter to clear-headed logic. And I know there are those on this list,
> because I have met them and they told me in person, that they have a kind
> of cognitive-dissonance (knowing there is a contradiction in what they
> believe vs. facts they know), and they just live with it. I've found that
> becoming an atheist (secular humanist) has a wonderful effect on ridding
> oneself of cognitive-dissonance.
> I think in the OT, God was very upset with people who followed false gods.
> But those were other gods, and not/never things like logic. In Isaiah,
> God even says "Come, let us reason together..." It is as if God is making
> an appeal for us to use our thinker.
> The NT says we are also to be like God "Be Holy as I am holy." We are to
> become Christlike. If God is all knowing, then pursuing education should
> also be a good thing- never bad (contrary to the YEC's like Ken Ham who
> seem to hate modern science; and contrary to modern day right-wing
> (Christian) Republicans who glory in anti-intellectual politicians like
> Sarah Palin (although I admit she is pretty/charming/charismatic...but she
> doesn't have the intellectual fire-power to be second-in-command)). I've
> very happy that the intellectuals are back in the White House (how's that
> for a red herring for the whole topic?... sorry, a little ranting on the
> anti-intellectual Christian movement in America...)
> ...Bernie
> (Friend of the ASA)

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Received on Mon Nov 30 15:03:14 2009

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