Generation Next NBC

A youth ministry under the New Beginning Church Singapore. Our aim is to enrich young people lives, and to ensure that each and everyone of our youth to be an impact in every aspect of their lives.
 
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 In Depth Discussion!

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BlaBla
Gennextian
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PostSubject: In Depth Discussion!   Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:03 pm

Dear NBC,

After reviewing the book (The Case for Faith) again, I realized that some of the contents of the book which this post used to be based on may not be completely relevant to Singapore especially in terms of the objections usually rised.

Furthermore some of the chapter of the objection may require some understanding of basic science most people here either forget or never learn in school. Hence, I take some liberty to arrange the content of this post to be more relevant to us.

See you next time!


Last edited by BlaBla on Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:59 am; edited 5 times in total
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Gennextian
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PostSubject: 1st objection: The existence of evil and suffering disproves the existence of loving God.   Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:41 pm

1st objection: The existence of evil and suffering disproves the existence of loving God.

Let us face it, evil and suffering does exist in this world. From personal level such as perhaps accident or the loss of family member or to societal level such as war and famine. The "problem of evil" as it commonly called has been the stumbling block for people to accept the idea of loving God. The first formal objection was made in ancient times by Epicurus who lived around 341 BC – 270 BC. So, the idea that the existence of evil has existed prior to birth of Christ.

The objection is usually like this:
1)Either God wants to abolish evil,and cannot;or he can, but does not want to.
2)If, He wants to ,but cannot, He is not omnipotent.
3)If, He can, but does not want to, therefore He is wicked and not loving.
4)But, if God is both omnipotent and loving, then how come there is evil int he world?
5) Conclusion: God is either not loving or He is not omnipotent (which of course is not God that we worship).

Although the objection seems daunting, it is actually not valid.

First, God actually created a perfect world which He called good which can be read from Genesis.

Genesis 1:29-31
29And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


There is even no bloodshed since every creature is vegetarian including human, therefore since new Heaven and new Earth promised will be restoration of Eden, it is most likely that we will be vegetarian in Heaven. (That is why I am skeptical of those who claim that they have gone to paradise and there they eat fish).

Now, if the world that God created is good, then why there is evil and suffering now? The reason if because of the Fall, which can be found in Genesis 3. The idea is that God removes some of his sustaining power temporarily and hence we experience pain, suffering and evil. If God removes all his sustaining power then the whole creation will cease to exist. Hence, it is not God's fault that there is evil and suffering but Adam and Eve's fault (meaning human's fault) that there is evil and suffering. Hence, yes evil and suffering does exist, but loving god also.

Some people insist that we must not use Bible to answer the challenge, but it is wrong to agree with them. Where do they get the idea that God is loving? Buddhism does not say there is a God, some version even is atheistic to the core. Hinduism teaches polytheism and pantheism so there is no absolute good and evil. Only monotheism which affirms absolute moral law from God. This is of course shared by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. But, remember that 3 of this share the same root from Old Testament where they agree that "all-powerful and all-loving God exists". Hence, it is wrong for them to agree on idea that God is loving from OT, but reject OT's explanation why evil exists.


Last edited by BlaBla on Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:00 am; edited 6 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: In Depth Discussion!   Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:56 pm

Second, remember that not all suffering is bad.

Sometimes God allows as to suffer either to test our faith or to make us learn.

For example,


God allowed the suffering of righteous Job.


Do you remember about Job (Ayub), who is the most righteous man on Earth of his time?
He suffered intensely —losing all his children, servants and possessions in a single day; then he was struck by a painful illness. Anybody here that can claim he/she is more righteous than Job or suffer more than Job? The Lord had reasons for allowing Job’s suffering, but He never told Job these reasons, and He demanded that Job not question the decisions of his Maker. And the conclusion of the book of Job tells us waht those who endure in his faith despite suffering will receive.

Jesus was asked why a man was born blind.

When Jesus and His disciples passed by a blind man, His disciples asked Him whether the man’s blindness from birth was due to his own sin or the sin of his parents. Jesus explained that neither was the case. The man was born blind so that God could demonstrate His power (when Jesus healed him, John 9:1-7).

Jesus discussed why eighteen Jews died tragically when the tower of Siloam collapsed.

This is an answer for those who brings up an example of the attack of 911 by terrorists and ask why "innocent" people must suffer.
Luke 13:4 records His words: ‘Those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were sinners above all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no!’ Hence, suffering in our lives is not always related to our personal sin.

Furthermore, remember that no one is in absolute sense "innocent". All of us are sinners and deserve to die because the wages of sin is death.

Lesson from Paul

Alhough we may never find reasons for some suffering, Paul’s letters contain practical reasons for the suffering of God’s children, even when they have done nothing wrong. For instance:

1) Suffering can ‘perfect’ us, or make us mature in the image of Christ. (Job 23:10, Hebrews 5:8–9).
2) Suffering can help some to come to know Christ.
3) Suffering can make us more able to comfort others who suffer.

Thanks to Lee Strobel sources and CMI website articles for the wonderful answers.


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Okky Linardy
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PostSubject: Re: In Depth Discussion!   Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:47 am

Well done! Baru awal aja langsung serius nih. Very Happy

Aku juga setuju kalo penderitaan memang bisa membuat orang lebih dewasa dan makin dekat dengan Tuhan serta menggunakan pengalamannya untuk membantu orang lain juga.
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Joshua
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PostSubject: Good points   Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:49 pm

Good points brought up here Smile

ayo donk guys...mana supportnya...again lets not forget that....Erik is just sharing with us about apologetic ministry. again the purpose of this forum is for us to share our thoughts..yaaa...

GBu

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PostSubject: Re: In Depth Discussion!   Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:24 pm

exactly, so what is exactly your thought on this one bro?
We'd love to hear from you as our Youth leader

Mwahahahaha tongue

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BlaBla
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PostSubject: Introduction to 2nd objection   Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:11 pm

2nd objection: Miracles Contradict Science

Introduction to 2nd objection


As people who are living in 21st century, I think we are justified to accept any claims of miracles with some amount of healthy skepticism. In the past, people viewed natural phenomenon with supernatural explanation, such as thunderstorm viewed as wrath of gods or goddesses and other natural phenomenon as acts of certain deities. Few people in the right mind nowadays will suggest illnesses such as cold, influenza or fever as evil forces but as the effects of viruses and/or bacterias and we certainly went to hospitals for such diseases and not pray to some mountain for cure. (There are exceptions of course, but they are minority).

The objection above is very serious since Christianity framework is very unique among the world's religions. In the word of Peter Kreeft:

"Subtract miracles from Islam, Buddhism,Confucianism, or Taoism, and you have essentially the same religion left. Subtract miracles from Christianity, and you have nothing but the cliches and platitudes most American Christians get weekly (and weakly) from their pupils" (Kreeft,CMP,273) (Notes: There are few claims of miracles on Koran itself, majority of miraculous claims in Islam is in its traditions or Hadith which were written few centuries after Muhammad).

Surely, without any genuine miracles Christianity means nothing since even all of its moral frameworks are tied closely to the act of creation of God in Genesis. One example, marriage is between one man and one woman because God's instituted such relationship in Genesis by creating a man and a woman and told them to be fruitful and multiply (Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve HEHEHE). Furthemore in Paul's own words why miracles or specifically Resurrection is a major tenet of Christianity:

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19


In fact, many atheists love to attack Christianity compared to other religions due to its prevalent claims of miracles which is exemplified by this quote from Richard Dawkins:

“The virgin birth, the Resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, even the Old Testament miracles , all are freely used for religious propaganda, and they are very effective with an audience of unsophisticates and small children.” (Dawkins, Snake Oil and Holy Water, www.forbes.com/asap/99/1004/235.htm).

In this quote, Dawkins says that only those who are simple-minded (for him it means Christians) that will believe in miracles while the 'intellectuals' will not believe in miracles. But, can a reasonable person accept that miracles can occur? Can a reasonable person laughs at elves and fairies as myths but embrace manna from heaven, virgin birth and the Ressurection as credible events in history?

The article below seeks to answer this 2nd objection which are prevalent today and probably more in the future. As the world become more modernised and people become more educated, the claims of miracles will be received with much more excessive skepticism and hence unless we have sound, logical and reasonable answers to the 2nd objection, evangelism effort in the future may become more difficult or even improbable.


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PostSubject: Re: In Depth Discussion!   Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:16 pm

Definition of miracles

To be honest, we tend to be footloose in our use of the word miracles. For example, “Wah, it is a miracle that I can get good result for this exam.” or “It is a miracle that Arsenal can actually win against Chelsea (well to Arsenal fan, do not be angry). Before, we can move on with the discussion, the word miracles has to be first established.

For example, Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig Ph.D, defines miracles as:

“A miracle is an event which is not producible by the natural causes tha are operative at the time and place that event occurs.” (quoted from The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel, pg 84)

Josh McDowell defines miracle as “special acts of God,they can only exist where there is a God who perform such acts.” (quoted from The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell, pg 358)

Hence, we can conclude that miracles as events which do not come from natural causes and therefore comes from supernatural acts or in other words acts of God. Hence, the two examples listed above are clearly the wrong ways to use the word 'miracle' since both are possibly come from natural causes (eg studying hard for exam or that Chelsea teams are full of injuries and many more). Of course, it is also possible that there is divine intervention from God in both cases although it is very unlikely.

Miracles and Science

One of the reason why the claim of miracles are usually met with excessive skepticism may be due to the so-called 'miracles contradict science'. Unfortunately majority of those who make such claims never bother to understand what science really means or even bother to study the philosophy of science.

First, it is difficult now in modern times to claim that science outrules the possibility of miracles. Since the publication of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and Planck's Quantum Physics, Newtonian outlook in science has been totally revolutionised that it is presumptous to claim such a thing as natural law. In the word of James R. Moore:

“today scientists will admit that no one knows enough about 'natural law' to say that any event is necessarily a violation of it.....Today what we commonly term natural law is in fact only our inductive and statistical description of natural phenomena.” (quoted from Christianity for the Tough Minded, James R. Moore).

What Moore says is that in our current modern understanding, what we say as law of science or natural law is not necessarily an absolute binding rule but only the most probable event determined by statistical means. Hence, any event which seems to do not agree with some natural law can not be ruled out as myth or impossible since there is a probability within statistical means for such event to happen. (Sorry, this is the easiest explanation I can give).

Furthemore majority of those anti-miracle or anti-supernatural belief is philosophically and scientifically irresponsible since in the age of Einsteinan physics (do not worry, you will only learn this in university Physics) 'any attempt to state a “universal law of causation” must prove futile' or in simple term is that it is impossible to perfectly certain that a certain law of nature is perfectly binding.

To conclude in Vincent Taylor word: ”It is far too late today to dismiss the question by saying that miracle is impossible” ....This change of view does not, of course,accredit the miraculous; but it does mean that, given the right conditions, miracles are not impossible, no scientific or philosphic dogma stands in the way.” (Taylor, TFGT, pg 13)

Second, majority of the claims that miracle can not happen comes from the wrong understanding of the meaning miracle. Miracle is never meant to be a violation of the natural law or law of science which the philiosopher and skeptic David Hume taught but instead it means the interference in the event which is not predicted by natural law. For example, law of gravity dictates that if you drop an object, it will fall to earth, but if you reach out and catch the object before it reaches the ground, is it a violation of the law of gravity? Surely not! This example illustrates the interference in the event and not violation. And that is what God does when miracles occur. For example, when Jesus walked on water, natural law dictates that Jesus should not be able to do so. However, it is possible fo Jesus (God for that matter) provide one extra force supernaturally which balances the weight of Jesus to prevent Jesus from submerging into water.

The example illustrated above brings the next point that miracle is ridiculous if there is no God. Only if God or divine beings exist that miracle is logically possible. It is true that the resurrection of Jesus by natural means is impossible however that is not what Christians or the Bible claims, what Christians claim is that God raised Jesus from the dead which again is not violation of the natural law which dictates that dead men stay dead, but instead an interference by God the Creator which is powerful enough to create the whole universe.

Third, some may claim the lack of experience in miracle as the 'evidence' against the probability of miracles. They may have prayed for God to miraculously intervene in their lives, but no miracle occurs. This is one major reason brought about by ex-Christians who have abandoned the faith in Christ. Although I do not deny that God still do miracles today, there is no reason to expect miracles in the world today to be as abundant or as impressive as in the past. That is because miracles tend to gather around great moments of salvation in history, for example during Exodus or the ministry of Jesus, where miracles acted as a sign of the incoming kingdom of God and his exorcisms as signs of his ability to destroy the power of darkness. Since after Christ, the great event that Christians can wait to is the Second Coming and the Last Judgment which time is unknown, there is no reason for God to intervene as often as He used to. In addition:

29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
John 20:29


Well, thank you for reading. I hope that those who read this and perhaps have comment or something to add please feel free to discuss. Perhaps those who have encountered genuine miracles may be willing to share his/her testimony.


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elv08
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PostSubject: Re: In Depth Discussion!   Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:47 pm

dalem sekali bro... ada simplified version ga? hihihihih.. tp semua meaningful dan berguna koq bro... thanx for sharing yah... Smile
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