Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Most atheists will readily admit that there is no evidence against the existence of God. Why then do they deny God’s existence? For the same reason they also deny the existence of the Good-Tooth-Fairy, Bigfoot, and the Flying-Spaghetti-Monster – that there is simply no positive evidence for these!

But are these beings ontologically equivalent to a Being who can possibly account for the first cause, the existence of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe, consciousness, life, and the laws of science – things that naturalism is hard-pressed to account for?


What is the atheist response to the argument from design? One response is evolution. If things can evolve naturally, ID becomes unnecessary. However, there is no proof that ID might not have guided scientific “natural” processes.

Another response to design is non-design. The late Christopher Hitchens argued that we are confronted with more “non-design” and wastefulness than design. He cites the fact that 99% of biological species have gone extinct.

However, “non-design” – and it’s hard to prove that something is without a design - fails to directly address the evidence of design. For example, if I come home to my totally unkempt apartment to find that the kitchen has been perfectly cleaned and ordered, I shouldn’t say:

                  I don’t have to account for the order of my kitchen because the three other rooms remain in total disorder.

Instead, I should still seek an explanation for my ordered kitchen.


The late atheist Christopher Hitchens had argued that extraordinary claims - namely the existence of God - require extraordinary evidence.

While this might be true, it must be weighed against another extraordinary claim - that everything sprung into existence uncaused out of nothing.

This observation leaves us with the unavoidable question - Which makes more sense: ID or naturalism?

Monday, April 25, 2016


Most atheists and agnostics believe in moral relativism: Morality is created or invented relative to our desires, upbringing, feelings, and the dictates of our society. And because it is created, rather than discovered (existing objectively apart from ourselves), it changes as we and our society change. This means that torturing babies might be “wrong” for one society but not for another.

However, some atheists and agnostics are objective moral realists. They believe in an unchanging objective set of moral laws, which exist apart from ourselves and are therefore discovered rather than created. Consequently, they believe that torturing babies is wrong no matter what time or in what culture you might live.

As a Christian, I also believe that there are immutable and universal objective moral laws. Therefore, I applaud others who believe in moral laws and regard them as real and immutable as the law of gravity. However, I must point out the problems in believing in moral law without a moral law-Giver.

The atheist cannot adequately account for such laws in his exclusively materialistic worldview. While the atheist might insist that the moral laws are merely a part of the material universe, this seems unlikely:

MATERIALS ARE MOLECULES-IN-MOTION. Meanwhile, moral law, as are the physical laws, is immutable.

MATERIAL REALITY DIFFERS GREATLY FROM PLACE-TO-PLACE. The Goby Desert is greatly different from the bottom of the Indian Ocean or Mars. Moral absolutes could not be objective or absolute if they differed in Alaska and the Congo. So too, the law of gravity! What then would explain the fact that moral law is universal? Consequently, the moral laws must rest upon something that transcends this varied material universe.

MATERIAL REALITY CANNOT EXPLAIN OR ACCOUNT FOR OUR ELEGANT AND THEREFORE KNOWABLE LAWS OF PHYSICS AND MORALITY. Even the chemical table exhibits profound elegance and design. What can explain such elegance in the material world apart from an intelligent Designer? Besides, a changing material world cannot begin to explain the existence of unchanging laws.

There is also elegance in the operation of the moral laws. Following the moral laws bring harmony, order, and peace. We do wrong, and we feel guilty. We confess our sin (and perhaps make necessary reparations), and we feel better. Relationships are restored. Or instead, we attempt to justify ourselves and must harden our conscience accordingly, as we obsessively wage an inner war to prove ourselves right and, in the process, weaken relationships.

MORAL LAW ALSO MUST BE AUTHORITATIVE. It must carry the authority to tell us that we have done either wrongly and to require a price for wrongdoing. It communicates through the compelling feelings of guilt and shame. Consequently, we are coerced to make excuses and justify ourselves. However, there is nothing in the merely physical world that can communicate our guilt with any authority.

For one thing, the physical world reveals what is, not what ought to be (morality). My computer might flash a screen at me reading, “You have not treated me properly.” However, these words carry no authority. Although it might shut itself down if I didn’t follow the proper procedures, it cannot censure me morally. I can simply have it repaired without any damage to my conscience.

Besides, what is impersonal (the physical world) cannot be morally offended like what is personal. If the physical universe is the source of moral law, I cannot offend it by yelling at it. I can curse at my computer without breaking a moral law. However, if I scream at my wife or my subordinate, this is entirely a different matter.

Buddhists and Hindus also believe in a moral law – karma. However, without a law-Giver, how can karma be justly administered? Without Intelligence, how is karmic justice to be administered in light of the many moral nuances that must be considered?

Besides, we can defy physical laws like gravity, without consequence, by flying on a plane. However, we cannot take a pill to cleanse a guilty conscience, not for long, at least. Morality cannot be successfully side-stepped.

Moral problems must be addressed with moral answers. However, a material world can offer no explanation or remedy (just palliatives) for moral problems. We can take an antibiotic to cure giardia, but there does not exist an antibiotic for guilt.

In his essay “Fact and Value,” Leonard Peikoff argued that there are objective moral principles or laws embedded in the physical reality – the “is” -  of this cosmos:

                  As Ayn Rand states the point in “The Objectivist Ethics”: “Knowledge, for any conscious organism, is the means of survival; to a living consciousness, every ‘is‘ implies an ‘ought.’” (

But how it is that “every ‘is‘ implies an ‘ought?’” A car can place no demand on us that it “ought” to be driven. Nor can an apple demand that it “ought” to be eaten. Instead, it seems that the “is” and the “ought” occupy separate worlds.

Ordinarily, they do, but Peikoff unites them by quietly introducing his own “ought” to connect the  non-moral “is” to the “ought”:

                  Every fact of reality which we discover has, directly or indirectly, an implication for man’s self-preservation and thus for his proper course of action. In relation to the goal of staying alive, the fact demands specific kinds of actions and prohibits others; i.e., it entails a definite set of evaluations. For instance, sunlight is a fact of metaphysical reality; but once its effects are discovered by man and integrated to his goals, a long series of evaluations follows: the sun is a good thing.

“The fact demands specific kinds of actions and prohibits others” only because Peikoff’s
“ought” requires the facts to do so. The facts are to serve his “ought” – “man’s self-preservation.” Consequently, “the sun is a good thing.” Why? Because it serves our “ought” of “self-preservation!”

But from where did this “ought” of “self-preservation” come? Not from the facts! The facts of existence are silent about human priority or exceptionalism. They say nothing of a human value or importance that exceeds the value of termites, mosquitos, bacteria, or hogs. (The concept of value requires us to question – “Valuable to whom?” Certainly to humans, but this is just a subjective assessment.)  Instead, in order to salvage “The Objectivist Ethics,” Peikoff was forced to inject his own subjective value of “man’s self-preservation.” (If the hog could speak, he’d speak of “hogs’ preservation.) However, this makes his entire moral system subjective. All of the facts are subjectively coerced into serving his own value of “man’s self-preservation.”

Yet, I appreciate Peikoff’s attempt at trying to formulate an objective system of morality. However, moral law requires a moral law-Giver. There is only one objective basis for morality, the “ought” – the One immutable, omniscient, and universal God, who demands the very morality He has written on our conscience.

A world without God is a world where anything goes, and the worst deeds are met with silence. The humanist Max Hocutt had aptly written:

·       “To me [the non-existence of God] means that there is no absolute morality, that moralities are sets of social conventions devised by humans to satisfy their needs…If there were a morality written up in the sky somewhere but no God to enforce it, I see no good reason why anyone should pay it any heed.” (David Noebel, Understanding the Times)


Some say that Christ doesn’t make a difference – that Christians act the same way as others and that Christ doesn’t change lives. However, I know otherwise!

Anger and hatred are hurricanes that have the power to sweep away every defense. They are tyrants that override reason and even self-interest. Yet, I know that hatred is wrong. I even know that it torments its prey, tearing it apart.

I saw the hatred that was consuming me, but I seemed to be powerless against it. Even its “arguments” were persuasive. They felt so right. Hatred placed its own lens over my eyes, and I saw only red.

However, I remembered the Word of God:

  •  Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good… Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them… Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9, 14, 16 -21; ESV)

His Word came upon me with such force and conviction that it drove the hatred entirely away, the bully yelping helplessly as it fled. Instead, I was left rejoicing at the great privilege to love others, to “overcome evil with good.”

No wonder Scripture informs us that loving God is about embracing and obeying His teachings:

  •  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:10-14)

Keeping His teachings is our cure, our protective shield and the source of blessings. It even rescues us from ourselves:

·       Only be strong and very courageous [Joshua], being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:7-8)

No wonder that we are instructed to “meditate on it day and night.”

I am a man of many flaws, and they can be deeply troubling. However, I have learned something of even greater significance – that our Lord brings strength out of our ongoing weaknesses, even Paul’s:

  • Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this [affliction], that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

I too have learned to boast in my weaknesses. They continue to humble me, tromping upon my pride, drawing me closer to my Savior through His Word, which ministers so powerfully to me, through His blessed Spirit.

Yes, I continue to battle against my inner demons, and yet I am changed – a new creation! It is also through my weaknesses that I praise Him, all the more gladly and confidently.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Part of being human is about knowing ourselves, even why we are here. The late beloved Jewish philosopher and theologian, Abraham Heschel, asserted this very thing:

  • It’s not enough for me to be able to say ‘I am’; I want to know who I am and in relation to whom I live. It is not enough for me to ask questions; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?
Psychologist Arthur Deikman also wrote:

  • Human beings need meaning. Without it they suffer… Western Psychotherapy is hard put to meet human beings’ need for meaning, for it attempts to understand clinical phenomena in a framework based on scientific materialism in which meaning is arbitrary and purpose nonexistent.
The late psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl affirmed:

  • Man’s search for meaning is a primary force in his life.
The late professor of philosophy, Dallas Willard, claimed:

  • [Human life] essentially involves meaning. Meaning is not a luxury for us. It is a kind of spiritual oxygen, we might say, that enables our soul to live. (Os Guinness, The Journey, 39)
Even the atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche admitted that without a “why” for our lives, we remain fragile:

  • “He who has a why to live for can bear any how.” (Guinness)
When we have a goal, a reason for our being here, we can endure far more than if we are just living for pleasure. It is our confident purpose for living that allows us to see beyond our painful circumstances to a joy beyond ourselves.

Nevertheless, there is also the opposite – the pursuit of diversion, a desperate respite from trying to figure out life. The late scientist, mathematician, and inventor, Blaise Pascal, wrote that humanity seeks diversion:

  • From thinking of what they are, either by some occupation which takes their mind off it, or by some novel and agreeable passion which keeps them busy, like gambling, hunting, some absorbing show… It is not that they bring happiness nor anyone imagines that true bliss comes from possessing the money won at gaming or the hare that is hunted. (Pensees)
Why is it, if finding our purpose for being is so central to our being, that do we avoid it through distractions? Pascal wrote:

  • If our condition were truly happy we should not need to divert ourselves from it. Being unable to cure death, wretchedness, and ignorance, men have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things. (Pensees)
Well, isn’t the meaning of life and the comfort that it is supposed to bring discoverable? Not according to the late British skeptic and philosopher David Hume:

  • Most unfortunately it happens, that since reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, Nature [pleasure] herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bend of mind, or by some avocation and lively impression of my senses, which obliterates all these chimeras. I drive, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends…(Treatise of Human Nature)
Even the brilliant Hume could not figure life out. Therefore, he resorted to sensual pleasures.

However, if Hume couldn’t figure life out, what hope have we? Perhaps Hume started with the wrong assumption or paradigm. It’s like starting with the wrong button. Every subsequent button will be misplaced until we go back to the beginning, but are we willing to?

Well, what is Hume’s misplaced initial button – the button which had become his guarded and cherished bedrock? Atheist Stephen Knight, host of the Godless Spellchecker podcast, acknowledged that, without God, “Oblivion looms”:

  • “When we reject the imagined supernatural meaning from our existence, what we’re left with is far from a consolation prize. Sure, it’ll be messy at times, sometimes joyous, sometimes miserable, but it’s all we’ll ever know. And it’s ours. We invent comforting lies to distract us from one simple truth: Oblivion looms. So, what are you going to do about it?”
What is the “comforting lie” to which Knight alludes? Heaven, an afterlife! But perhaps the atheist also has his comforting lie – an oblivion where he will not be judged, which allows him to live in the way he wants, at least for now.

Why would anyone prefer oblivion above the possibility of finding God? The atheist and author of the Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, explained his rejection of the Christian faith:

  • I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning [and moral absolutes]; consequently assumed that it had none…We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless. (Ends and Mean)
Huxley was right. Meaninglessness is a choice of the wrong initial button and not a lack of intelligence or evidence. But why would anyone make such a choice? Jesus explained:

  • And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)
Consequently, meaninglessness and the pursuit of diversion are the costs for rejecting the light – the choice we make.