Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

What is the meaning and purpose of life, the universe and everything?

Here’s the lecture:

(37 minutes)

Topic:

Does life have a purpose? If naturalism is true, what is the purpose of life? If Christianity is true, what is the purpose of life?

Dr. Shenvi’s web site is here. Lots of great articles there on every conceivable topic.

Summary:

  • Dr. Shenvi’s brief testimony and background
  • There is no purpose to the universe and us on naturalism
  • The answer to every why-question on naturalism is chance and necessity (laws)
  • Nothing in the universe has intrinsic / objective value
  • There is no hope on naturalism because of the heat death of the universe: everything dies
  • Nothing that humans do, on naturalism, matters in the long run
  • Given sufficient time, the universe will not even know we were here
  • Famous atheists like Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins agree on this

Purpose on naturalism:

  • Purpose response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up purposes
  • The monopoly in a prison illustration

Meaning on naturalism:

  • Meaning response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up meaning
  • The scrabble vs Shakespeare illustration

Value on naturalism:

  • Value response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up values
  • The subjective opinion vs objective truth illustration

Hope on naturalism:

  • Hope response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up hopes
  • The heat death of the universe ensures that all hopes fail on naturalism

If Christianity is true:

  • The universe and human beings have an objective purpose
  • There is a meaning to life that is objective
  • Human beings have intrinsic value, because God made them and values them
  • There is hope because there is an life after death that extends eternally

Conclusion:

  • This lecture does not argue that Christianity is true because it gives us goodies
  • People should become Christians because Christianity is true
  • Christianity is actually quite difficult because it requires self-denial and self-sacrifice
  • What God has done to help us overcome with our rebellion?

Note that these are not arguments for God’s existence, because he covered that in a previous lecture. And this lecture is not about arguing for Christianity, because he covered that in a previous lecture.

Dr. Shenvi is a research scientist in theoretical chemistry. However, this lecture is not only passionate, but snarky and humorous.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Was Hitler a Christian? Is Nazism similar to Christianity?

One of the strangest things I have heard from atheists is the assertion that Christianity is somehow connected to the fascism, such as the fascism that existed under Adolf Hitler. Two posts by Jewish author Jonah Goldberg from National Review supply us with the facts to set the record straight.

Let’s start with the first post.

Here are some of the points:

1) Hitler wanted Christianity removed from the public square

Like the engineers of that proverbial railway bridge, the Nazis worked relentlessly to replace the nuts and bolts of traditional Christianity with a new political religion. The shrewdest way to accomplish this was to co-opt Christianity via the Gleichschaltung while at the same time shrinking traditional religion’s role in civil society.

2) Hitler banned the giving of donations to churches

Hitler banned religious charity, crippling the churches’ role as a counterweight to the state. Clergy were put on government salary, hence subjected to state authority. “The parsons will be made to dig their own graves,” Hitler cackled. “They will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable little jobs and incomes.”

3) Hitler replaced Christian celebrations with celebrations of the state

Following the Jacobin example, the Nazis replaced the traditional Christian calendar. The new year began on January 30 with the Day of the Seizure of Power. Each November the streets of central Munich were dedicated to a Nazi Passion play depicting Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch. The martyrdom of Horst Wessel and his “old fighters” replaced Jesus and the apostles. Plays and official histories were rewritten to glorify pagan Aryans bravely fighting against Christianizing foreign armies. Anticipating some feminist pseudo history, witches became martyrs to the bloodthirsty oppression of Christianity.

4) Hitler favored the complete elimination of Christianity

When some Protestant bishops visited the Fuhrer to register complaints, Hitler’s rage got the better of him. “Christianity will disappear from Germany just as it has done in Russia . . . The Germanrace has existed without Christianity for thousands of years . . . and will continue after Christianity has disappeared . . . We must get used to the teachings of blood and race.”

5) Hitler favored the removal of mandatory prayers in schools

In 1935 mandatory prayer in school was abolished…

6) Hitler favored the banning of Christmas carols and nativity plays

…and in 1938 carols and Nativity plays were banned entirely.

7) Hitler abolished religious instruction for children

By 1941 religious instruction for children fourteen years and up had been abolished altogether….

And now the second post.

8) Hitler opposed the ideas of universal truth and objective moral absolutes

…Just as the Nazi attack on Christianity was part of a larger war on the idea of universal truth, whole postmodern cosmologies have been created to prove that traditional religious morality is a scam, that there are no fixed truths or “natural” categories, and that all knowledge is socially constructed.

Practically everything this man believed was 100% anti-Christian. But he fits in fine on the secular left.

Conclusion

Adolf Hitler was a man influenced by two big ideas: evolution and socialism. His party was the national SOCIALIST party. He favored a strong role for the state in interfering with the free market. He was in favor of regulating the family so that the state could have a bigger influence on children. And he favored the idea of survival of the fittest. His ideas are 100% incompatible with Christianity and with capitalism as well. Christians value individual rights and freedoms, small government and the autonomy of the family against the state. The differences are clear and significant.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is the meaning and purpose of life, the universe and everything?

Here’s the lecture:

(37 minutes)

Topic:

Does life have a purpose? If naturalism is true, what is the purpose of life? If Christianity is true, what is the purpose of life?

Dr. Shenvi’s web site is here. Lots of great articles there on every conceivable topic.

Summary:

  • Dr. Shenvi’s brief testimony and background
  • There is no purpose to the universe and us on naturalism
  • The answer to every why-question on naturalism is chance and necessity (laws)
  • Nothing in the universe has intrinsic / objective value
  • There is no hope on naturalism because of the heat death of the universe: everything dies
  • Nothing that humans do, on naturalism, matters in the long run
  • Given sufficient time, the universe will not even know we were here
  • Famous atheists like Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins agree on this

Purpose on naturalism:

  • Purpose response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up purposes
  • The monopoly in a prison illustration

Meaning on naturalism:

  • Meaning response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up meaning
  • The scrabble vs Shakespeare illustration

Value on naturalism:

  • Value response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up values
  • The subjective opinion vs objective truth illustration

Hope on naturalism:

  • Hope response: we can invent our own arbitrary made-up hopes
  • The heat death of the universe ensures that all hopes fail on naturalism

If Christianity is true:

  • The universe and human beings have an objective purpose
  • There is a meaning to life that is objective
  • Human beings have intrinsic value, because God made them and values them
  • There is hope because there is an life after death that extends eternally

Conclusion:

  • This lecture does not argue that Christianity is true because it gives us goodies
  • People should become Christians because Christianity is true
  • Christianity is actually quite difficult because it requires self-denial and self-sacrifice
  • What God has done to help us overcome with our rebellion?

Note that these are not arguments for God’s existence, because he covered that in a previous lecture. And this lecture is not about arguing for Christianity, because he covered that in a previous lecture.

Dr. Shenvi is a research scientist in theoretical chemistry. However, this lecture is not only passionate, but snarky and humorous.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The return of William Lane Craig videos to Youtube

A while back, the channel that hosted many of Dr. Craig’s debates was shut down. But nothing to fear, it’s back up now, and being managed by Reasonable Faith.

The full list of 900 videos is here, and there is also a list of 97 playlists for longer videos. You can find even more videos on ChristianJR4′s Youtube channel.

One of the nice things about the channel’s new management is that they do not allow comments on Youtube. I think that is a wise decision, and I hope they stick with it. You won’t hear the same quality of argument at the lay-level of atheism that you hear at the lay-level of Christianity. Lay atheists typically don’t try to make formal arguments against God’s existence based on evidence, whereas more of the Christian rank and file have read basic stuff like Lee Strobel books and they sound pretty much like a William Lane Craig clone, if given the opportunity to debate. Unless you go to the level of a Peter Millican or a Walter Sinnott-Armstrong or a Paul Draper, you’re not going to hear anything compelling from most atheists.

Here’s a new lecture on the moral argument that I found, which I had not seen before.

Details:

Is morality objective? Or is it subjective and relative? Is there such things as moral absolutes? Dr. William Lane Craig answers these questions and argues that if objective morals exists, then God exists.

The lecture was given at the First Baptist Church of Colleyville, Texas in their “Faith and Reason” class. Churches seem to be getting more and more into this sort of thing these days, and that’s a good thing. If you just watch the first video, and see the church leader charge his flock to get ready to think carefully about apologetics, it’s a good thing. I feel encouraged by it, but it’s becoming more common for churches to take the intellectual approach, even as thinking is dying in the secular world.

The play list is here.

Here are the 5 parts:

Part 1 of 5:

Part 2 of 5:

Part 3 of 5:

Part 4 of 5:

Part 5 of 5:

The total time is one hour and 7 minutes, and there is Q&A at the end.

By the way, now may be a good time to mention that in the last year, the two leading atheistic web sites on the web, Common Sense Atheism (#1) and Debunking Christianity (#2) have both ceased operations, except as archives of past activity. My take on this? I think that atheism as a worldview is dying out because it is just too difficult for them to defend a worldview that is contradicted by cosmology and astrophysics. At the very least, the good scientific evidence we have from the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning, the origin of life, the galactic habitability, the stellar habitability, the Cambrian era fossils, etc., show that there is at least a deistic God.

There are still fair-minded agnostics and open-minded atheists who haven’t heard anyone make the case for theism to them out there. And that’s something for Christians to address with their evangelistic efforts. But for atheist activists who know about the scientific evidence from William Lane Craig debates and elsewhere, atheism is no longer a viable worldview. I think it remains as a non-rational personal preference, but it’s not something you can really argue rationally with anyone who follows the progress of science. The only question to decide now is which version of monotheism is true: deism, Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Since Islam is extremely easy to disprove on historical grounds, there are only three live options: deism, Christianity and Judaism.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Profile of Canadian pro-life debater Jojo Ruba

Here’s the article. (I linked to the printable version)

Excerpt:

Before Jose “Jojo” Ruba spoke at St. Patrick’s Church last night as part of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Northern Ontario Truth Tour, he conceded he has a tough task ahead of him; making parallels between the civil rights movement and the abortion debate today would be tough for anyone.

That’s what Ruba, a graduate of Carleton University’s Journalism and Masters of Political Science programs, has set out to do on the Sudbury stop of his tour of Northern Ontario with his talk Injustice Interrupted: From the Civil Rights Movement to The Modern Abortion Debate.

Ruba, who’s approaching his 10th year as a public speaker, debater and educator on pro-life issues, said his talk examines the legacy of the civil rights movement and the lessons that can be taken from the social reform movement as it relates to the pro-life movement.

No stranger to controversy, Ruba said he knows it’s tough to draw comparisons, but added that he wants to give people some ideas as to why he thinks comparisons between the civil rights movement and the modern abortion debate are justified.

Ruba said his presentation focuses on an important question central to the argument : what are the unborn?

“If unborn are human beings like us, just as the civil rights activists fought for equality rights of human beings who were different, but still human beings, we say the same thing about the pre-born child.”

Ruba said that’s what he does as a “pro-lifer,” and a challenge he presents to other pro-lifers.

“If we truly believe there are 300 deaths every day of Canadians through legal abortion, how should we act? With gentleness and respect, of course, following the laws, but without compromise.”

Like those who fought for equal rights in the civil rights movement, Ruba is aware of those who would try to silence him.

Ruba recalled a time when he was giving a lecture at St. Mary’s University in Halifax when prochoice audience members shouted him down for 45 minutes.

“At McGill University in Montreal, they shouted me down for two hours,” Ruba said. “They started singing all 99 verses of 99 bottles of beer on the wall and also sang happy birthday for abortion.”

Ruba said that even in such a hostile environment, he was happy to stay afterward and answer questions.

“In fact, one of the protesters who started off chanting as part of the protest group, after hearing a bit of what I’d had to say, said he’d wished he’d heard more of the presentation. Even when it happened in Halifax, more people showed up at the next university on the tour because of the controversy.”

Ruba said it’s a person’s right to disagree with him, but argued the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform is “a good thing, a democratic right.”

Here’s another video featuring Jojo Ruba that I featured previously.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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