Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is Belief In Divine Action Only a Matter of Faith?

I’d like to make a couple comments about an article that recently appeared in USA Today. It appeared in section A on the very back page, in a section called The Forum. The article is entitled “The God Choice” written by Barbara Hagerty. She writes, “A few years ago, I witnessed two great British scientists in a showdown” John Barrow, on the one hand, and Richard Dawkins on the other. John Barrow, who is a Cambridge mathematician, asserted that “the astonishing precision of the universe was evidence for ‘divine action.’’ When he made that remark, Richard Dawkins, Oxford Biologist nearly leapt from his seat. “But why would you want to look for evidence of divine action?” he demanded.[1]


She goes on to write how today there is some evidence of divine action. One of the anecdotes that she writes about is Pam Reynolds. The story of Pam Reynolds is that she was in an operating room, having a procedure done on her brain. When she awakened from the operation, she began to describe the operating theater exactly what it “looked it and how many surgeons were there. She could describe the unusual-looking bone saw that cut open her head, as well as the drill bits and blade container. She heard conversations.” Barbara Hagerty points out that from the surgical records—everything even in the smallest details—was confirmed. She then says, this “story raises the question: Was Reynolds’ consciousness operating separately from her brain?” Her conclusion is then this, “In the end, we could learn that we are nothing more than nerve cells and molecules,” or we could come “to believe that our brain activity reflects an unseen reality… Either way, whether you are Richard Dawkins or doctor and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, what you believe is a matter of faith.”[2]


I would say that in that she is dead wrong. It’s not merely a matter of faith. From the perspective of logic we can demonstrate that the mind is not identical to the brain. We can prove that the mind and brain have different properties. For example, “the feeling of pain…is different from anything that is simply physical. If the world were only made of matter, these subjective aspects of consciousness would not exist.”[3]


Furthermore, from a legal perspective, if human beings were merely material, they could not be held accountable this year for a crime committed last year, because physical identity changes over time. Of course a criminal who attempts to use this line of defense wouldn’t get very far. Legally and intuitively, we recognize a sameness of soul that establishes personal identity over time.


One other point, liberation freedom (freedom of the will) presupposes that we are more than mere material beings. If I am merely material, my choices are merely a function of such factors as genetic makeup and brain chemistry. Therefore, my decisions would not be free, they would be fatalistically determined. The implications of such a notion are profound to say the least. In a worldview that embraces fatalistic determinism, I cannot be held morally accountable for my actions, because reward and punishment only make sense if we have freedom of the will.



While the logical, legal, and libertarian freedom arguments are convincing in and of themselves; there is an even more powerful and persuasive argument demonstrating the reality of life beyond the grave—in other words, demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are more than mere nerve cells and molecules. The argument, of course, flows from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through the resurrection, Christ not only demonstrated that He does not stand in line of peers with Abraham, Buddha, or Confucius but also provided compelling evidence for life after death.


There is so much evidence we have today that we are not mere molecules in motion. We have the origin of life, fine-tuning in the universe to support life, information in the genetic code, irreducible complexity in biological systems, and the phenomena of the human mind. They all collectively pose intractable difficulties for merely natural explanations. Bottom line is that we’re going to never wake up and find out that as Barbara Hagerty, who by the way is a correspondent for NPR, put it, “we are nothing more than nerve cells and molecules.”[4]


It doesn’t matter if you multiply Richard Dawkins by a thousand, philosophical naturalism, is dead in an age of scientific enlightenment. The philosophical naturalist are beating their drum and asking us to march lock step with them because it is an ideology that is now so rampant in the universities that unless you embrace it without question, you’re going to have a lot of difficulty getting tenure. This is not about science anymore, it’s about being in step with the times, and being in step with the times means being in step with what is politically correct as opposed to what is demonstratably true.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] USA Today, 6/22/09, page 9A, The Forum, “The God Choice” by Barbara Bradley Hagerty (http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/06/the-god-choice.html). Accessed 6/23/09

[2] Ibid.

[3] Gary Habermas and J.P. Moreland, Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence For Immortality (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 52.

[4] USA Today, 6/22/09, page 9A, The Forum, “The God Choice” by Barbara Bradley Hagerty (http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/06/the-god-choice.html).

24 comments:

Boris said...

From the perspective of logic we can demonstrate that the mind is not identical to the brain.

Boris says: This from a man who regularly tortures logic to promote his evil and false religious dogmas and doctrines. Hank, let's see you prove that minds can arise without matter. Until you can do that you've said exactly nothing as usual.

I hope everyone reading this blog sees just how easy it is to demolish the arguments liar Hanegraaf spouts here and on his radio show. There's a reason he won't debate atheists. Hank Hanegraaf has no answers for atheists. If he did he would happily try to refute my posts. But Hank cannot refute anything I've said and he knows it. And now you all know it too.

bossmanham said...

Boris, seems that you actually missed Hank's entire point. Your ignorance shines brightly.

Great post, Mr. Hanegraaff.

Anonymous said...

Boris,
Why do you hang out here? I mean, I don't believe in martians, but I do go hang out with people that do and try to pursuade them otherwise.

I think you are fighting something deep within yourself. Your argument isn't really with Mr. Hanegraaf or anyone else here. You are really arguing with yourself. Something inside of you is angry because something else inside of you knows there is God above. Until you come to terms with that, this is as good as it is going to get for you - hanging out and arguing with yourself under the guise of arguing with believers in God.

Boris said...

Anonymous
You have to tell yourself those things about me because you cannot deal with the fact that there are plenty of good reasons not to believe in God. But the idea of God isn't what is so absurd. It's all of the Christian God's invisible boogy friends and enemies like demons, angels, Satan, Jesus and all the rest of the unbelievable nonsense and crap associated with your ridiculous God. While you may find it easy to believe in a bunch of invisible boogymen you are also painfully aware that no intelligent people believe the crap you and the rest of the Bible believers and their cult leaders like Hanegraaf believe. So everything in your post is a bunch of desperate nonsense and if you didn't know it when you wrote it you damn sure know it now. Loser.

Anonymous said...

Get it out, and give it to Him.

Teofil S said...

Hello Mr. Hank Hanegraaff,

I’m editing your book (The Apocalypse Code)that is going to be published into Romanian.
I encountered a few difficulties and I wonder if you can give me a hand in solving the problems. If, by any chance, you could answer to some of my question (not more then 5), I’ll be glad to write directly to the source of the explanation.

Best regards,

John Tucker said...

Boris, as I've stated before, I do not believe that Hank himself posts to this blog. He has assistants that handle the posting of articles, and he has no desire to make this a venue for debates. You need to call CRI directly or write Hank a letter if you want to debate him publicly.

Anonymous said...

". . . you are also painfully aware that no intelligent people believe the crap you and the rest of the Bible believers and their cult leaders like Hanegraaf believe."

Boris, if you are so smart, you should at least be aware of the numerous, very intelligent people who believe in both (or either) God and Jesus Christ. There are millions alive now and millions who have come and gone. You well know that list includes some of the smartest scientists, philosphers, teachers, professors, etc. ever to walk this earth.

Do you really think it's likely that the only "intelligent" people ever to breathe were the small number of atheists who have lived? You can't be that egocentric to believe such lunacy?! Your "arguments" have quickly degraded into personal attacks, which leads me to believe Anonymous is on to something.

In fact, one very smart man once wrote that he believed people like you were destined to lose your argument simply because you were arguing something that would never be testable and something you did not understand appropriately.

Paul Tillich wrote in "Dynamics of Faith" that because faith and science were of different dimensions, the proponents of the two would struggle to understand each other. I'm not going to give a synopsis of the very short book, but I would recommend you read it. Most religion professors (both Secular atheists and believers alike) have it as mandatory reading in their 101 classes so you should be able to find it.

Lucas L. Thompson

Boris said...

There is a very good reason Bible believers have denied every scientific discovery ever made since the Bible was voted on to be the crap it is. Science has and continues to prove the Bible is pure nonsense. Until you liars can prove angels, demons, Satan, Jesus, seraphs, giants, dragons and the rest of the Bible absurdities actually exist you have no case. The burden of poof is always on the liars. That would be you.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

How did Moses know, without benefit of the Hubble telescope, or even Mount Palomar, nor the 50mm refractor that I had as a child, how did Moses know that the universe came into being in a gigantic explosion of light? There is no parallel in the mythology of any other culture. There is no single event where science and the Bible align so precisely. I speak, incidentally, as someone who finds the framework of evolutionary biology clearly laid out in the first two chapters of Genesis. It is true that all kinds of church doctrines, debates, campaigns of suppression, have blinded us to what God really did put into the first five books of the Bible. But science hasn't disproved any of it.

If you ask anyone who really understands the original Hebrew of the Old Testament (which almost has to be someone trained for forty years in the Jewish tradition), you may well find that malachim (mistranslated "angelos" are not independent beings with free will, that Satan is God's tester and faithful servant, not God's enemy, that Jeptha's daughter lived a life of celibate devotion to God, rather than being burned on the altar (a gross abomination if it had happened), but you will not find that debunking these boogies and demons in any way calls into question that "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Why would you look for divine action? Because, as Fred Hoyle recognized, when he fought so long and hard against the theory he derided as "The Big Bang," if there is a Beginning, then there is divine action.

Boris said...

How did Moses know, without benefit of the Hubble telescope, or even Mount Palomar, nor the 50mm refractor that I had as a child, how did Moses know that the universe came into being in a gigantic explosion of light? There is no parallel in the mythology of any other culture.

Boris says: The Babylonian creation myth is an almost exact parallel to the Bible’s creation myth. Also light is said to be a separate creation from the moon, sun, heaven, earth, not something that created these things. Another inaccuracy is that the heavens and the earth are a separate creation, that the earth isn’t part of the heavens. From the biblical author’s subjective point of view this appeared to be true but anyone standing on Mars or anywhere else would have the true prospective about the earth’s place in the heavens.

There is no single event where science and the Bible align so precisely. I speak, incidentally, as someone who finds the framework of evolutionary biology clearly laid out in the first two chapters of Genesis. It is true that all kinds of church doctrines, debates, campaigns of suppression, have blinded us to what God really did put into the first five books of the Bible. But science hasn't disproved any of it.

Boris says: Science has disproved the entire Bible a million times over. Why do you think Bible believers have been fighting against and denying science ever since the Bible was forged by and then voted on by the Christian church? Why did every Protestant denomination deny the findings of Galileo until 1835 if the Bible is so accurate scientifically?

If you ask anyone who really understands the original Hebrew of the Old Testament (which almost has to be someone trained for forty years in the Jewish tradition), you may well find that malachim (mistranslated "angelos" are not independent beings with free will, that Satan is God's tester and faithful servant, not God's enemy, that Jeptha's daughter lived a life of celibate devotion to God, rather than being burned on the altar (a gross abomination if it had happened),

Boris says: Well I HAVE been reading Hebrew for over forty years and the Bible says Jepthah DID burn his daughter as a sacrifice to Yahweh. “When the two months were over she went back to her father, and he treated her as the vow he uttered had bound him” – Judges 11:39. Why was there a custom to lament over the death of Jepthah’s daughter if he didn’t kill her to appease Yahweh? Leviticus 27:29 describes rules governing human sacrifice to Yahweh.

but you will not find that debunking these boogies and demons in any way calls into question that "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Why would you look for divine action? Because, as Fred Hoyle recognized, when he fought so long and hard against the theory he derided as "The Big Bang," if there is a Beginning, then there is divine action.

Boris says: That doesn’t follow at all. Besides science tells us that the mass-energy that comprises the universe always existed. So while we know our universe in its present form had a beginning we also know it probably always existed just in a different form before the Big Bang. So Siarlys Jenkins, your post is a bunch of religious nonsense. Look at how easily everything you posted was soundly refuted. It’s tough to face the fact that we atheists have good answers based on empirical evidence isn’t it? Especially since you theists have no good answers for anything especially atheism itself.

Boris said...

Lucas Thompson
First there is a big difference between faith and religious faith. Religious faith is a combination of idiocy and insanity. I understand it very well. Religious faith is the surrendering of one's brain. I would expect a ridiculous post such as yours from a person who has given up on reason and logic in favor of man-made religious dogma and lies.

Boris said...

John Tucker,
Hank isn't intelligent enough to debate an atheist and you and he both know it. Plus he's shameless liar and there's enough dirt on this jackass on the Internet to bury him forever. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

"First there is a big difference between faith and religious faith. Religious faith is a combination of idiocy and insanity. I understand it very well. Religious faith is the surrendering of one's brain. I would expect a ridiculous post such as yours from a person who has given up on reason and logic in favor of man-made religious dogma and lies."

Again with the personal attacks toward a person whom you do not know. I find it altogether sad and amusing that that is the best you can do. But ok, I'll bite. What exactly is the "difference between faith and religious faith?" You clearly don't respect organized religion. Well guess what genius, neither do I. My arguments are not designed to show the virtues (if there are any) of organized religion.

I was only pointing out that there is a fundamental inability for faith and science to relate to each other. I did so by pointing you to a book by a well-respected secular author. And instead of responding to that, you lay out a premise as though it was going somewhere then dive right into the personal attacks. That, honestly, is the sign of someone who is poorly educated and unable to argue his point successfully.

Just because you come on this board and accuse others of "torturing logic," "logical fallacies," and "saying nothing as usual," doesn't mean you have any clue what you are talking about. I want you to read this quote of yours and explain how it argues effectively.

"From the perspective of logic we can demonstrate that the mind is not identical to the brain.

Boris says: This from a man who regularly tortures logic to promote his evil and false religious dogmas and doctrines. [How exactly? Give me an example with your explanation of how it tortures logic] Hank, let's see you prove that minds can arise without matter. Until you can do that you've said exactly nothing as usual. [This isn't responsive to Hank's point. I rarely agree with Hank and I'm not saying I do here, but you haven't really sai anything to disprove him, and this is HIS board]

I hope everyone reading this blog sees just how easy it is to demolish the arguments liar Hanegraaf spouts here and on his radio show. [Again, show me how easy it is. You call him a liar and other names, but you don't try too hard to prove he is such a transgressor] There's a reason he won't debate atheists. Hank Hanegraaf has no answers for atheists. [Isn't that what he is trying to provide 5 days a week?] If he did he would happily try to refute my posts. [What do you want refuted?] But Hank cannot refute anything I've said and he knows it. And now you all know it too. [That's an arrogant asumption. All I learned from this post and others is that you can call names.]

Boris, have you read the bible? I guess you can answer "yes a hundred times" and we couldn't question you because if we did, you would find some answer from the web, copy and paste it, and act like you had a clue. You aren't fooling anyone, and honestly you are wasting your time on here.

Boris said...

Again with the personal attacks toward a person whom you do not know. I find it altogether sad and amusing that that is the best you can do. But ok, I'll bite. What exactly is the "difference between faith and religious faith?" You clearly don't respect organized religion. Well guess what genius, neither do I. My arguments are not designed to show the virtues (if there are any) of organized religion.

Boris says: I don’t have to know you or Mr. Hanky personally because all you fundies are alike. The difference between faith and religious faith is huge. What I believe is based on evidence and if new evidence should refute what I currently believe it will change what I believe. I cannot just decide to believe something. Religious faith on the other hand is not based on evidence but adherence to dogma and doctrine no matter what evidence or proofs might appear to refute these dogmas and doctrines.

I was only pointing out that there is a fundamental inability for faith and science to relate to each other. I did so by pointing you to a book by a well-respected secular author. And instead of responding to that, you lay out a premise as though it was going somewhere then dive right into the personal attacks.

Boris says: I read his entire his three-volume work on Systematic Theology in college. I have a BA in Ancient Near Eastern Studies.

That, honestly, is the sign of someone who is poorly educated and unable to argue his point successfully.

Boris says: You’re the one making the personal attacks and you are quite obviously unable to argue any points successfully because of your lack of education.

Just because you come on this board and accuse others of "torturing logic," "logical fallacies," and "saying nothing as usual," doesn't mean you have any clue what you are talking about. I want you to read this quote of yours and explain how it argues effectively.

Boris says: Okay I’ll prove you don’t know what you are talking about. Explain how the Midianites were completely annihilated, every man, woman and child murdered, and then reappear a few chapters later so numerous they were like locusts on the land. One of does indeed know what they are talking about and it certainly isn’t you. Don’t avoid this problem. I can’t wait to se you response.

"From the perspective of logic we can demonstrate that the mind is not identical to the brain.

Boris says: From the perspective of SCIENCE which is the only perspective that matters, we can demonstrate that the mind is subject to chemical processes of the body and that these alone control the mind.

[How exactly? Give me an example with your explanation of how it tortures logic] Hank, let's see you prove that minds can arise without matter. Until you can do that you've said exactly nothing as usual. [This isn't responsive to Hank's point. I rarely agree with Hank and I'm not saying I do here, but you haven't really sai anything to disprove him, and this is HIS board]

Boris says: Hank says that our afterlives are programmed by our DNA. You don’t think that is tortured logic? It’s retarded is what it is.

Boris said...

[Again, show me how easy it is. You call him a liar and other names, but you don't try too hard to prove he is such a transgressor] There's a reason he won't debate atheists. Hank Hanegraaf has no answers for atheists. [Isn't that what he is trying to provide 5 days a week?] If he did he would happily try to refute my posts. [What do you want refuted?] But Hank cannot refute anything I've said and he knows it. And now you all know it too. [That's an arrogant asumption. All I learned from this post and others is that you can call names.]

Boris says: You’ve seen me demolish both Mr. Hanky’s arguments and yours and you know it.

I had read the entire Bible before I was in first grade. My mother attended Fuller Theological Seminary and insisted on it. I read both ancient Hebrew and Greek. This is how I know the Dead Sea scrolls are mostly forgeries. I can’t read most of them because they are in Modern Hebrew instead of ancient Hebrew. One reason these things were hidden from the public for so long and something your cult leaders don’t want you to know about.

You aren't fooling anyone, and honestly you are wasting your time on here.

Boris says: I’m causing you to become angry, frustrated, frightened and to waste time trying to refute what you cannot. Also I’ve got Mr. Hanky and his minions every worried that I am a big reason almost no one else posts on this blog.

Jake said...

Boris, I think the problem is that you haven't read the Bible SINCE first grade. If you read it with a tenth of the integrity and volition to search for truth as you pride yourself on name-calling, I think you'd be saved!! But, I'll give you this, you have a great ability to search the internet for insignificant and insipid quotes! So, here's a quote for you: "that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth." For ALL and EVERY faith you want to put in science only, and for EVERY and ALL insults you want to hurl at people you don't know, one day, Boris, YOUR knee WILL bow before Jesus Christ, and if you keep on your line of thinking until then, THAT will be the most horrific and terrifying day of your life. You will surely laugh at that and come back with yet another mindless, and unfounded arrogant insult, and I will continue to, genuinely, feel sorry for you.

Boris said...

Jake
For me to believe in Jesus, I'd have to believe in angels, demons, Satan and lot of other Christian crapola. Any evidence for these absurd beings? You people don't understand the giant load of crap you've swallowed. It's not just God you're asking us to believe in, it's a huge bunch of nonsense NO sane person can believe. Jesus Christ never existed.

Boris said...

Oh and thanks for admitting that the only reason you believe in Jesus is because somebody frightened you into it. Frustrating when you can't pass that delusion on isn't it? You really should have read the Bible BEFORE you believed it. Hahaha. Fool.

Anonymous said...

Survival group against God?? LOL. Good luck with that. Truth is, no one knows the exact time this will happen except the man upstairs, however, I firmly believe that there are people placed here by God that post the warning signs and it's up to you to take heed.
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