Does Faith or Science Best Explain Morality?

That question in the headline above captures at many levels the essential debate that defines the post-modern era, especially as it relates to a host of social and other issues that regularly confront congressional aides, their bosses and the journalists that cover them.

There is an incredible wealth of material available now on the Internet on both sides of the question, but a debate hosted at Stony Brooke University by New York Apologetics in 2015 may be the most enjoyable, intellectually engaging and comprehensive presentation yet.

It’s a long program, so be prepared to do a lot of listening, thinking and learning from both men at the podium, Dr. Frank Turek of Cross-examined.org and Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine. Would that all public policy debates were as civil, enlightening and educational as this one:


 

Here’s The Impossible Task For Atheists

Logic in many respects is the point where the debate between Christian and atheist advocates reaches the decisive questions each must confront: How does something come from nothing if God doesn’t exist and how can either’s answer be demonstrated?

I’m a journalist by training, not a philosopher and certainly not a mathematician, so I claim no such authority in this discussion. Being a journalist of an investigative bent and a man who has experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ, however, I love engaging in civil discussion with others about these ultimate issues.

And I will be sharing regularly here on HillFaith quotes, references, links to, excerpts and analyses by people, believers and non-believers, who I find have something worthwhile to contribute to our discussion.

My friend Chris Shannon posted this lengthy excerpt from Christian philosopher and theologian J.P. Moreland addressing the decisive questions posed above:

“…you can’t get something from nothing…It’s as simple as that.  If there were no God, then the history of the entire universe, up until the appearance of living creatures, would be a history of dead matter with no consciousness.
“You would not have any thoughts, beliefs, feelings, sensations, free actions, choices, or purposes. There would be simply one physical event after another physical event, behaving according to the laws of physics and chemistry …
“How then, do you get something totally different- conscious, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures- from materials that don’t have that?  That’s getting something from nothing!  And that’s the main problem …
“However … if you begin with an infinite mind, then you can explain how finite minds could come into existence.  That makes sense.  What doesn’t make sense — and which many atheistic evolutionists are conceding — is the idea of getting a mind to squirt into existence by starting with brute, dead, mindless matter.”

This quote is from Lee Strobel’s interview with Moreland, who is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, can be found in its entirety in Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Creator.”  Strobel is a former journalist, so, yes, I am perhaps a bit partial to him!

And after you consume Moreland above, go to BigThink for an alternative approach to the question.

Now, Moreland has set the table for what should be a helpful discussion for all concerned with things like knowledge, truth and logic. Let it begin! And by the way, if you work on the Hill, where you come out on these matters has a great to deal to do with how you resolve many of the seemingly mundane daily issues with which you deal.

Mark Tapscott is HillFaith’s editor, IT jockey, spiritual guide, chief bottle washer and overall Jack-of-All-Trades. Email him at mark.tapscott@gmail.com

So What If Jesus Isn’t A Myth Like Santa Claus And The Easter Bunny?

Let’s stipulate — just for the purposes of honest discussion and open inquiry — that Jesus is not like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or Thor or … you get the drift. And if you are wondering why you should stipulate here, check this out:

By the way, the above illustration was produced by the Impact 360 Institute, a group of really sharp people who absolutely love training in intellectual discourse. I found it on The Poached Egg, a web site you just might find endlessly stimulating, challenging or upsetting (in the good sense of making you re-think your assumptions).

Mark Tapscott is HillFaith’s editor, IT jockey, spiritual guide, chief bottle washer and overall Jack-of-All-Trades. Email him at mark.tapscott@gmail.com

 

Jesus Didn’t Say He’s The Only Way?

Actually, He did say that, many times. So many times that it amazes me whenever somebody tells me — as I often hear — something along the lines of “But Jesus never claimed to be the only way to get to Heaven.”

I’m often tempted upon hearing those words to ask if He didn’t, why on Earth did He allow Himself to be nailed to a cross and left to die the most horrible of deaths? But that’s a topic for another post and another day.

Now, back to the question raised in the headline to this post!

Stand To Reason’s Alan Shlemon offers some quick thoughts by way of scripture and a recommendation for a useful compilation of more than 100 instances where Jesus made clear His claim to be the unique way to spend eternity in Heaven.

The verses Shlemon cites will be familiar to most anybody who has even lightly considered Jesus’s claims for Himself. There is John 14:6 where He says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Then there is Matthew 28:18-20 where He makes what is, a reasonable person will realize upon honest assessment, an amazing, comprehensive claim:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The compilation Shlemon suggests is by his colleague in Christian apologetics, Greg Koukl, called “Jesus, The Only Way.” There are 100 such verses and anybody who has pondered the question of their eternal destiny would profit from shelling out all of $2 to get their hands on Koukl’s little book.

Now, I offer one additional thought on this issue: Before this issue can be settled, it is first essential that the question of whether or not Jesus was resurrected on the third day after He was crucified be addressed.

Here’s why: If He was resurrected, everything He said about Himself must be true. If He wasn’t, then Christians who like me believe He was are in Paul’s words at I Corinthians 15: 17-19, “of all people most to be pitied” and our “faith is in vain” because we have gambled our eternal destiny on a myth, or worse, a liar or lunatic (HT: Josh McDowell).

Bottom line, then, is this: The truth or falsehood of the Resurrection is the key to the answer to every question you could ever have about Christ, including especially the one that prompted this post. And because all of your questions about Him are of crucial importance, you do well to start with the Resurrection.

Mark Tapscott is HillFaith’s editor, IT jockey, spiritual guide, chief bottle washer and overall Jack-of-All-Trades. Email him at mark.tapscott@gmail.com

Should Christians Be In Politics?

People from all over the country come to Capitol Hill to work, and many of them come from faith backgrounds that span the spectrum from evangelical Christian all the way over to the party animals in the First Church of the What’s Happenin’ Now, Baby.

A recurring question is what is the proper role of Christians — and of their faith in shaping their decisions and actions — in politics. The controversy currently surrounding the possibility President Donald Trump will nominate Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court brings the issue to a sharp point.

Barrett is a dedicated Catholic who is active in a charismatic group. Does that disqualify her from being on the Supreme Court? Does being active in public life require a believer to leave his or her faith at home?

Apologist Frank Turek deals with the question frequently and offers some arresting thoughts on how to answer it faithfully:

Mark Tapscott is HillFaith’s editor, IT jockey, spiritual guide, chief bottle washer and overall Jack-of-All-Trades. Email him at mark.tapscott@gmail.com