First off, I’d like to note that I love Answers in Genesis, and I’ve used their site for research more times than I can count.
Second off…AiG??? I thought we were tight?! Like baseball and America, chocolate and happiness, pork chops and applesauce, pyromaniacs and matches?! Why’d you go and make a nonsensical post about God’s Not Dead?
In case you didn’t realize it yet, I strongly disagree with AiG’s view of God’s Not Dead. Roger Patterson wrote a review that pointed to what he believed to be the unbiblical nature of God’s Not Dead. In this post I’ll be adding a few of his points, as well as my response.
Being a natural skeptic myself, I tend to take issue with the idea that reason should not be held in high regard. I’m not cold hearted, but let’s just say that C.S. Lewis’s factual and pointed manner makes a deeper emotional connection with me than Beth Moore’s warm and fuzzy encouragement. Both are beneficial, and everyone has their preferences, but that’s the truth. I’m more apt to cry reading Ravi Zacharias than I am watching The Passion of The Christ.
I can be naïve, but not to the point of believing that Christians don’t have their seasons of doubt. I’ve had my share of those seasons, and remembering those moments make me thankful for sound reasoning. Maybe I was guilty of little faith, maybe I’m that annoying kid that constantly said, “nuh-uh”, to the unmitigated madness of those trying to convince me, flawed in my ability to “believe like a child”. But alas, I’m His annoying kid. We’ve often confused the biblical calling for childlike faith with the idea of simplistic faith. But as one apologist put it, we should believe like children, and haven’t we all been shocked by the number of questions children can ask?
So, to start, below is an excerpt from Patterson’s article:
“In the first debate, Wheaton boldly declares to his classmates, “We’re going to put God on trial!”
Think about that for a moment. A college freshman is going to place a group of teenagers who are willing to sign away their souls to please a philosophy professor they don’t even know as judge and jury over the omnipotent Creator God of the universe.
While Wheaton sought counsel from a pastor on his decision, he might have done well to consult his Lord who plainly said when He was tempted in the wilderness, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12, ESV). Only a fool thinks he can sit as judge over the Judge of the universe.”
Alrighty. First, let’s break down the verse used. In Luke 4:12 Christ is quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, which, like in the wilderness, was a warning not to taunt God for proof of a divine revelation when he has sufficiently given them proof already. In Deuteronomy it gives a comparison, “as you did in Massah”. So, let’s follow the breadcrumbs: In Exodus we learn that Moses named Massah as such because it signifies “temptation”. The children of Israel were taunting God, giving ultimatums. He had already proven Himself to them time and time again, but they still taunted Him by demanding food, water, cattle, etc. in return for their devotion. If their needs were not met, they attempted to threaten the Almighty God by saying they would no longer believe. Coming to the conclusion that the Lord is not among them out of anger, not sound logic or lack of belief.
Example of such taunting: “Mommy, if you don’t give me a cookie you won’t be my Mommy anymore.”
Affirming their acknowledgment of existence in the very threat itself.
So what does that have to do with the above issue that Answers in Genesis has with the movie? Well, they’d have a legitimate point if Wheaton had said, “We’re going to put God on trial. Everyone sit here, if God’s real, he’ll drop Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and curly fries on all of our desks.”… But he didn’t make such an audacious request, he simply wanted to expose the factual evidence already given to an audience that had never sought out the evidence. Putting the evidence for God on trial, not God Himself. If they have issue with his verbiage, that’s fine, but the rest of their argument falls flat because the actions that went along with “putting God on trial” were no different than their own.
Let’s be honest, the real issue for Patterson is that the Movie didn’t proclaim from the rooftops that the earth is young. With all due respect, all other points were just excessive – and faulty – nitpicking.
Robertson continues with the following:
“In approaching the issue in this manner, Wheaton ignores the truth of Romans 1:18–32. The people sitting in those seats and even the professor know God exists. The existence of God is not the question—whether they are willing to bow to Him as King is.
Wheaton could have agreed to the debate and used the Word of God as his foundation, as Jesus did in the wilderness temptation, but he chose to appeal to reason—the reason of fallen men and women whose minds are blinded by the god of this age.”
Reason is the modus operandi of the mind. Biblically, the mind is not merely a physical tool that keeps us alive, it is part of the soul. The bridge between a presupposition and a stable hypothesis is reason; however, there is nothing beyond a hypothesis to be found anywhere but in the Word of God. Wheaton’s foundation was the word of God, the issue is that, once again, he didn’t specify young earth creationism in his dialogue. It’s foolish to dismiss an entire movie and not help promote it simply because it encourages kids to think, but doesn’t clarify that they need to think exactly as you do. I would even go so far as to say this makes them as guilty as the atheists that claim audacious absolutes.
Wheaton’s goal was to open them up to the idea that a God exists, to make them think, not to appease the young earth creationist ideals, or the theist evolutionist ideals.
At the end of the movie all of the students proclaim that “God’s not dead”, but only one student gives his life to Christ. I would venture to guess that the majority of those in classrooms across America have at some point in time heard the gospel, yet walk away from faith because they were offered absolutely no reasoning. He used the bible to prove his point, he just didn’t articulate AiG’s exact position. Once again, he didn’t advocate for young earth creationism or theistic evolution, he simply asked people to think with an open mind.
I also take issue with their assumption that Atheists are simply lying about their belief in God. I would argue that while God writes His laws on the hearts of all men, it is possible that they have developed a suppression of knowledge.
Example: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” – Romans 1:28
God didn’t suppress their knowledge. They, and the world, in an act of free will built presuppositions that suppressed or belittled the existence of God. So, I could argue that what God’s Not Dead encouraged was not only belief in the existence of God, but they mainly wanted to bulldoze down the presuppositions built by man. It’s the idea of intuitive knowledge vs. beliefs built on human perception. Most atheists are not simply liars that actually believe in God but just aren’t telling anyone because they enjoy being deceitful. We won’t encourage them to think openly by vilifying their intentions. They’ve suppressed their intuitive knowledge like Pharaoh suppressed his intuitive knowledge of what was right in Exodus.
We can see that atheists exercise their biblical intuitive knowledge daily by attributing worth to human life, that doesn’t mean they have conscious awareness of their intuitive knowledge. SO, from that standpoint, it is quite logical to assume that no, their conscious awareness is not in the know that God exists. Yet, their anger towards a God that their conscious awareness claims doesn’t exist is indicative of the fact that intuitive knowledge is present, but deeply buried under the presuppositions of societal views on God. So yes, AiG, the existence of God is the question.
Additionally, if everyone knows about God, why does their site exist? To simply educate believers, or to encourage reasoning from both believers and unbelievers. I’ve always thought it was both.
“In other instances, the Christians endorsing the movie are happy to accept the big bang and biological evolution as proof of God’s work in the universe.”
Huh? No, I’m happy to continue researching scientific findings knowing all the while that whether the earth was created yesterday, or 7 billion years ago, the only way it happened is through God and God alone. I’m also completely thrilled if a movie has the power to make students mull over the creator of the universe, regardless of when He demanded there be light.
Ultimately – and in my opinion – and certainly AiG and I would disagree as to whether or not it agrees philosophically with the bible, but the goal of the movie was neither to promote evolution nor creation, but, by Wheaton’s own admission in his opening statement, prove that modern philosophy cannot disprove the existence of God. Plain and simple. Ergo, the title of the movie. And again, in my opinion, mission accomplished.
Last weekend I went to the movies with my nephews to see Mr. Peabody & Sherman. It was ridiculously adorable, and an all-around feel good movie. My nephew and I were standing in line to get snacks and I told him to pick out a piece of candy. He immediately pointed to the Starburst, and I, knowing that the Starburst in this particular theater have been hard in the past, thought that was a bad idea and didn’t like the choking hazard. The conversation went as follows:
Me: “Oh buddy, why don’t we pick out something else?”
C (6): “But I want the Starburst…”
Me: “Well, they’re not like normal Starburst, they don’t taste very good here. But they have Skittles, and they have the special yummy Wild Berry Skittles here, but pick out what you want…”
C: “Skittles!! But then later we can go to the store and get yummy Starburst, right?”
Yep, I lied. The Starburst probably tasted just like regular old Starburst, but I didn’t want to make him feel like he wasn’t a big boy, and I didn’t want to dampen his Birthday spirits and tell him “no” without giving a good reason. So, I manipulated his craving by making the object of his interest seem undesirable, and I overemphasized the positives of the snack I wanted him to have; however, he was not aware of my intentions, he thought it was all his idea to buy the Skittles.
Judge me if you must.
In the world of Science, Atheism is a Skittle, while Creationism a Starburst. (Yeah, you can quote me on that.)
Kelly Oxford and Seth Rogen took their genius to Twitter last weekend. If you don’t know who they are, basically they are two elitist actors that have siphoned your wallet for years and are now astounded by your idiocy. They are hilariously entertained by your tiny little brains that reject science. My first inclination when I hear such infinite knowledge of the universe, while claiming there is no such thing as infinite knowledge, is to drop everything and run to the defense of faith. But in a surprising plot twist, I will instead drop everything and run to the defense of science.
Below are points that articulate why I believe Atheists are actually the group that is actively rejecting science, and the below points have absolutely nothing to do with the Bible. -
Christianity and science are not enemies.
This week a major scientific discovery took place and the atheist community is bouncing off the walls in excitement over the coming melt down of the Christian belief system. One commenter actually proclaiming, “I can’t wait for the implosion in the Christian church upon full absorption of the evidence”, another boldly proclaims that this discovery is on par with the top 3 discoveries ever made. Yet, thus far, my faith is not in need of the bomb squad just yet. Their Neanderthal-esque fist pounding is indicative of what they actually find more important, disproving a god they don’t believe in is far more important to them than the existence of new scientific findings.
So what’s the discovery?! Scientists believe they have found proof of Cosmic Inflation, which would substantiate the Big Bang theory. Now, I’m not a scientist, nor are many of the individuals taking to Facebook and Twitter to falsely label people of faith as ignorant. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I have the ability to hold my own in a debate with Richard Dawkins. But I can, with confidence, declare one thing: The Big Bang, even proven, still wouldn’t account for the beginning of matter. Many atheists don’t realize that this is what it comes down to. That’s also why many scientists who don’t believe in God still have respect for those that do.
Thomas Aquinas eluded to the idea that reason begets faith; however, unfortunately that is opposite of today’s church in many aspects. Maybe if this were reversed we wouldn’t see as many “Christians” leaving the faith once they leave the house. His point was timeless in that it wasn’t dependent upon scientific discoveries to substantiate it. The nature of causality: Something cannot come from nothing, regression to infinity via efficient causes is not possible, with no cause there is no effect, a first cause must beget all others, so a supernatural cause exists. Now this is debated by those who ask the very logical question, “What caused God?”…. Now I would say that, while logical, asking such a question is similar to asking, “how many feet does a cookie smell like”. It’s a category fallacy to assume that the smell of a cookie can be measured by feet, it’s a category fallacy to assume that an uncausable being can be held to the standards of a causable creation. His nature alone is beyond our comprehension, and for that matter, causality.
Basically, we have no answer. A) You could call me a fool for saying that an uncausable being caused the universe in all its intricacies, because something cannot come from nothing. Or B) You can exhaust all possible causes for the beginning of the universe and still never find the initial cause. Both of which are a form of belief. I’m not refusing to acknowledge the scientific findings, I’m simply choosing, just as you, a presupposition by which we’ve adapted before we look at all the facts, none of which will ever be able to explain every detail.
So I walk into the kitchen and find a pan of brownies and ask, “how were these made?”, after a considerable amount of research I find the bowl with traces of left over brownie dough, I don’t then proclaim to the world that I have proof that no one went to the store and bought the brownie mix. I’ve already heard rebuttals from young earth creationists, as well as Christians that believe in evolution, and I personally like to absorb it all in before coming to my own conclusions. But I’ll say with confidence that recent findings still leave us wondering how the brownie mix got into the kitchen. Heck, where did the space for the kitchen come from?
We are not infinite beings.
As my favorite apologist Ravi Zacharias notes, to claim infinite knowledge of the creation of the world, while claiming that there is no one being with infinite knowledge, is to take the antithetical position of rationalism. There you sit, with your presuppositions, as I have mine, trying to build your argument in the sand and then convince me that it’s more equipped to withstand a stiff wind than mine because you painted bricks on the cardboard walls. Some point out that no peer reviewed published papers have been published on creationism, yet many creationists themselves have had peer reviewed published papers. If lack of peer review published papers make the theory irrefutably futile, then those that believe it are irrefutably ignorant; by proxy, anything they have published is lacking in credibility. But that just isn’t the case, because many on both sides of the debate are brilliant scientists who have simply chosen one of two unproved theories, yet are still highly regarded in the scientific community.
Assuming that one scientist claiming absolute knowledge of the unproven (evolution) is somehow a work of genius, while another scientist is some sort of a “dreamer” for refusing to claim infinite knowledge is irresponsible.
You can post all the links you want that talk about the “cold hard facts that disprove creationism”, and guess what, they are presupposed viewpoints that still aren’t substantiated. Incredibly brilliant atheists that I hold in high regard still say that there are many unanswered questions, even after this recent discovery. There are many agnostic scientists that claim neither faith nor the great abyss of emptiness, and that’s because while they may not believe in my God, they continue to seek the truth and not some canned version that gives them the excuse they need to dismiss the idea that there is a god. I’m not saying that the evolutionists don’t have their facts, they have theirs just as the creationists have theirs, but much of it comes down to interpretation.
SIDE NOTE: You can believe in Micro Evolution even if you don’t agree with Macro Evolution.
They’re labeling individuals with much higher IQ’s than themselves as ignoramuses. This never ends well.
I wonder if the new atheists could tell Galileo that he’s a fact-less moron, or tell James Joule that his contributions to the first law of thermodynamics is a joke due to his belief in God, or look astrophysicist Arthur Eddington in the eyes and mock his work in the theory of relativity due to his religious inclinations. Oh to be Einstein, questioning the possibility of a higher being and not even realizing how brainless your silly scientific approach makes you. Speaking of Einstein, even while questioning the possibility of a higher being, he was also the first (correct me if I’m wrong) to even mention the idea of Cosmic Inflation. Or how about Oxford Professor Dr. John Lennox, a brilliant Creationist. Or Physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys, or Wayne Frair, who only has a Ph. D. in biochemical taxonomy….I’m sure that Kelly Oxford would have the upper hand in a debate with him, right?
But see, instead of accepting the idea that both sides of the debate are finding legitimate proof for their claims, they would rather point and call names. Because that’s super scientific. They need to manipulate you into believing that Skittles are the superior treat and that the Starburst taste poorly, and when you believe it without researching the facts, what do you end up looking like? A gullible six year old.
So, as Christians we shouldn’t be dropping our bibles in disgust, or attacking new findings, we should be absorbing them. The more unique and detailed we find this world to be, the more it points to the original cause. And atheists should be more accepting of the idea that there are indeed Christians out there that rejoice in scientific findings, as well as know the long list of errors that have accompanied those findings years later. All in all, neither of us have concrete answers, but when I look at the brilliance in the intricate design of something as simple as an eyeball, I’m pointed to the existence of God.