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Tuesday
Sep232014

God and Morality - a response to Eusebius McKaiser

Eusebius McKaiser (political and social analyst at the Wits Centre for Ethics and radio talk show host) was recently involved in a public debate with John Lennox (Oxford Professor of Mathematics and renowned speaker on the interface of Science, Philosophy and Religion) around the question of whether there is a connection between morality and God. As I write this blog, I have not seen the actual debate but hope to provide a link to a video or audio recording thereof in due course. My response is simply to McKaiser’s own follow-up article which appeared in The Star after the debate. Below is a copy of the article with my notes inserted in italics. My assumption is that, as a public response to Christians, McKaiser refers to orthodox Christian doctrine and the following perception of God, and hope to respond as one of those adhering to that. Please point out any instance where I might depart from orthodoxy myself, especially where it would make McKaiser’s argument more valid.

 

Why God’s not a moral imperative

God plays no necessary role in moral reasoning, writes Eusebius McKaiser.

Embedded image permalinkI promised you last week that I would offer you full argument in this week’s column for why morality does not need God. Now that my public debate with Professor John Lennox has come and gone – and thank you for those who generously travelled afar to fill the Wits Great Hall – I can write out of my basic argument for those who were not there.

Although the public debate lasted some 90 minutes, the problems with Christian ethics are so incredibly basic that I can confidentially assert I can put Christian ethics on the back foot in under 800 words. Not because I am cocky (though I can live with a bit of shade thrown my way from internet trolls in this summer heat), but because Christian ethics do not live up to critical scrutiny very well.

Is murder wrong because God says so or does God tell you not to murder because it is wrong regardless of what God himself secretly thinks? How about rape? Is rape wrong only once God sends us a command “Thou shalt not rape!”. Or is rape wrong whether or not God commands us to not rape?

McKaiser presents two options here: murder or rape is wrong, either because God uttered a command which established it as wrong or because God identifies these as immoral deeds due to His recognition of a moral law, apart from Himself, which He may or may not agree with. Earlier McKaiser sets out to critique Christian ethics, but then starts off by describing a Deity unlike the one portrayed through the Christian biblical narrative, the One acknowledged by the orthodox Christian community through the ages as the true God. Firstly, he presents God’s utterances which convey moral laws as separate from God’s being and character. Christianity views God as Triune and holy. Holiness implies absolute moral purity, a state of wholeness and perfect relationship within the Triune Godhead. God’s holiness does not require imperfection or strained relationships as reference points for His wholeness; He is all-personal, all-relational and all-perfect within Himself. His very being is the moral standard; strained relationships between his creatures and Himself, among His creatures with one another and between his creatures and the greater cosmos, are ultimately what immorality looks like: that which does not reflect the character of the Trinitarian relationship. Thus, actions and thoughts are deemed immoral because of whom God is, and His moral utterances are never separate from that. God is also eternal and thus, the immorality of rape is eternal.

Secondly, he presents God as a being, existing under a moral law which He recognises apart from and fixed outside of Himself, having to comply with its absolute status. Holiness also implies that He is above, separate from, and different to all of His creation, of which He is the creative source. He is morally fixed, creation not. It was created with the potential to drift from its state of holiness. Christians believe that it has drifted and is drifting in that direction, bar His interventions.

Christians – and those of other faiths – have a huge problem answering these questions I’m afraid. They have only two choices. Either they can say rape is wrong because God or Allah or whoever doesn’t want us to rape, or they can say that God reminds us to not rape because rape is necessarily wrong as a matter of universal moral truth that is independent of God. But watch where that leads you though.

I have shown above why I believe he created a straw man Christian God, now even drawing other perceptions of God (Allah and others) into his definition. From that he creates a false dilemma Christians supposedly find themselves in, which may or may not serve his argument – it certainly misrepresents the foundation of the Christian argument.

If things are right or wrong only once God has given his view, then morality becomes completely arbitrary. We are at that point at the whim of God. If you’re an obedient Christian, this logically forces you to accept that if a missing page from the Bible is found tomorrow that says “Kill all racists on online comments’ sections”, then you must do so. It is God’s command, after all.

He continues with his above line of argument, still assuming ‘murder is immoral’ apart from God, which is not the Christian position, and also a moral claim he is himself yet to defend apart from his own ‘command’.

Well, Mr and Ms Christian, would you willy-nilly follow commands from God regardless of whether you personally feel comfortable with them? Would you? Is that a “No” I am hearing from you? Good. Because presumably you will only follow moral commands that are rational and meaningful. There is nothing rational or intelligible about a command to kill left-handed people, say, just because some authority instructs you to.

So, we can safely conclude so far that it is not desirable for morality to be based purely, and uncritically, on God’s wishes or on what God had for breakfast. We want more. We want reasons.

Again, it is assumed what Christians would answer. But would orthodox Christians answer in that way? At the centre of the decision to follow Christ exists the denial of self, or the proverbial “taking up of one’s cross”. Throughout history, Christians have followed God’s commands despite their own discomfort. He of course suggests a non-existing command which would make God seem immoral…but by whose standards?

There is good news. You could, instead, accept that God tells you not to murder because murder is wrong. Murder is wrong whether or not God exists. Murder is wrong whether or not God says so. And if God says to you you should not murder, he isn’t inventing a fresh, new moral command; he is simply communicating a sensible moral command that already exists widely in our societies for good reasons, in the same way I can communicate sensible rules to children: “Don’t hit your sister, Johnny! It’s wrong to go around just hitting people for no reason my boy!”

If I didn’t exist as Johnny’s dad, that wouldn’t make it right for him to kick the living daylights out of his little sister. The wrongness does not depend on me, as dad, saying it is wrong. In the best-case scenario, I simply play the minor cameo role in Johnny’s life by uttering what should and should not be done. The wrongness consists in the violation of her entitlement to respect and dignity by virtue of being a human being, flowing from social and psychological truths we have come to know about human beings over time like a general negative preference for being beaten up (unless I consent, in some circumstances).

McKaiser now aims to present his case against murder. He likens God to a human father, once again a being operating within the cosmos, subject to cosmic absolutes – remember, not the Christian understanding of God. Being a human being entitles one to not be murdered, is, in effect, what he is saying. Why are human beings, consisting of the same or similar materials than all other material things in existence, so different though, and entitled to this respect and dignity? He reveals it to be a matter of preference… unless there is consent… in some circumstances. What he basically does is he places morality within the (preferably) autonomous individual. He moves from absolute or objective morality to relative or subjective morality. It is reduced to a matter of opinion. Although, he does not appear to be an absolute relativist (irony not intended) but rather a modernist rationalist, who believes in society’s collective ability to discover what we ‘ought’ to do, apart from God of course.

So Christians, and other faiths including Islam and Judaism, must make up their minds: Do you follow commands regardless of what they are? Or do you concede you can tell me why cheating or killing or raping or terrorism are all wrong without making references to supernatural beings? And the truth is you know you can articulate the wrongness of these activities without reference to a God. That means God is not needed for morality. God plays no necessary role in moral reasoning and he plays no necessary role in you puzzling through questions of right and wrong.

What happens here is, he continually operates from the assumption, which I believe he has not yet defended, that killing, raping, terrorism(!?) are all absolutely immoral, then states that he can argue that it is wrong apart from mentioning God and that Christians ought to agree. Personally, I cannot articulate the wrongness of abovementioned activities without reference to God, and I understand that to be the orthodox Christian position.

I was shocked that Lennox’s main response to me was that he partly agrees. I asked him if he could write me a 500-word essay, without making reference to his Christian God, but still explaining fully in that essay why it is wrong to murder. He said yes, he could. That is a gigantic concession that is going to be archived on YouTube. Yes, I am pleased about that. Many Christians would have said: “No, it is not possible.” I was so taken aback, I thought the moderator surely ought to stop the debate right there. Lennox had crossed the argumentation floor!

My personal issue was with McKaiser’s argument presented above and that was what I wanted to respond to.

He further states, though, that Lennox agreed with him on there being no necessity to invoke God to argue for the immorality of murder, for instance. He was quite shocked to hear him say that, as that would mean he made a concession which faults his own argument, in favour of McKaiser’s. I will leave you to be your own judge, and more so once footage of the debate becomes available, on whether it truly was such a concession. Having followed Lennox’s talks and debates online, I interpret his statement to mean that, “Our ability to reason and conclude absolute moral rights and wrongs, serves as evidence pointing towards an absolute moral source. Both those who acknowledge such a source and those who don’t, are equally able to discover those absolutes because of our rational,God-given ability to discern an absolute moral law.” In Lennox’s conversation with John Maytham on Cape Talk Radio, he mentions that evidence points towards God but we still need to decide whether it is indeed true. If He is not, morality is as relative as McKaiser portrays it, and I am convinced Lennox will agree with that. If he does not, however, I would disagree with him on that point.

But he then explained why it is only a partial concession from where he was coming from. He insisted that God still plays an important role because God gives him, and me, the rationality that, in turn, helps us to reason about morality. So while him and I can both reason about the wrongness of murder with no reference to God, God is responsible for the rational capacity that enables us to reason.

This is a shockingly poor retort, though, and one he has trotted out many times in debates with Richard Dawkins and others. They never called him out on an elementary problem with this response. I don’t even have to say I don’t believe in God’s existence to explain what is unconvincing here. Even if God exists – no, more generously still, let’s pretend that the Christian God with all his bells and whistles really does exist – so what if he gave me the capacity to reason? That doesn’t save the day. It still remains that people can, as Lennox conceded, reason about morality in their daily lives without praying to God, without consulting the Bible, and without talking to their priests. That means God is not necessary for us to distinguish between right and wrong.

Sure, we should give God a bucket of umqombothi for giving me rationality. But the conclusion remains: we can now know rape is wrong without asking God if it is wrong. Where the rationality capacity comes from is a question for another day. In the context of reflecting on the connection between morality and God, we can safely conclude that God plays no epistemic role in the explanation and justification of moral rules that govern our societies.

Lennox’s argument is a bit like saying that just because my mom gave birth to me, she is a necessary part of the explanation of how I solve a maths problem.

Without her, I wouldn’t exist. That is true, but it is an utterly uninteresting truth when you congratulate me on winning a Maths Olympiad. The fact is that my perfect solutions for the maths puzzles are intelligible, and justified, regardless of who or what my mom is or the fact that she gave birth to me.

So thanks, God, for giving me rationality. But sorry dude, that means you are not needed beyond that. Your rationality gift has, sorry for you, rendered you unnecessary in moral reasoning. If you disappeared permanently tomorrow, I’ll still know the difference between right and wrong.

He ends off in his last few paragraphs, reasoning from the same ‘God character’ he created initially, and argued from throughout: a God who may have created him (McKaiser) as a rational being, but not along the Christian understanding of God as the perfect measure of all meaning and morality; also, once again likened to a parent figure within, and not apart from, reality.

 

 

Serv. in reply to Eusebius McKaiser

 

"Doing away with all religion to get rid of oppressive religion leaves us with an atheism which places no value on human beings” –John Lennox, Stellenbosch University, September 2014

"Something is a meter long inasmuch as it is the same length as the standard meter bar; something is good inasmuch as it approximates God." –William Alston

 

Monday
Sep222014

A vision of 'Africa redeemed' - Harriet Beecher Stowe

From time to time I come across an article, speech or writing  which just has to be shared. Not necessarily reported on or disected, just shared. This is one such article which is filed under the Verbatim section.

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin (published in 1852), a novel which played a significant role in the lead-up to the abolition of slavery in the United States. It is rumoured that Abraham Lincoln once quipped that Stowe was responsible for the bloodshed of the civil war, as this book exposed the reality of slavery within American society, to the extent that people took sides around the issue based on their reading of this novel. As an African, although probably not included in Stowe's initial calculation but certainly in the modern sense of the word, I share her hope below - not on any other grounds than my perception of God and of history.

 

"Tom, therefore, in his well-brushed broad-cloth suit, smooth beaver, glossy boots, faultless wrist bands and collar, with his grave, good-natured, black face, looked respectable enough to be Bishop of Carthage, as men of his colour were, in other ages…

…If ever Africa shall show an elevated and cultivated race–and come it must, some time, her turn to figure in the great drama of human improvement–life will awake there with a gorgeousness and splendour of which our Western tribes faintly have conceived. In that far-off mystic land of gold, and gems, and spices, and waving palms, and wondrous flowers, and miraculous fertility will awake new forms of art, new styles of splendour; and the negro race, no longer despised and trodden down, will, perhaps, show forth some of the latest and most magnificent revelations of human life. Certainly they will, in their gentleness, their lowly docility of heart, their aptitude to repose on a superior mind and rest on a higher power, their childlike simplicity of affection, and facility of forgiveness. In all these they will exhibit the highest form of the peculiarly Christian life, and, perhaps, as God chasteneth whom He loveth, He hath chosen poor Africa in the furnace of affliction, to make her the highest and noblest in that kingdom which He will set up, when every other kingdom has been tried, and failed; for the first shall be last, and the last first."

 

 

 Serv. via Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin, ch. 16, p.227-228)

 

"...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land..." -2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Wednesday
Sep032014

A New Social Covenant...requires virtuous individuals

The ‘New Social Covenant’ document produced by the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council (WEFGAC) was recently discussed in Stellenbosch. This event, which was co-hosted by WEFGAC and Stellenbosch University, is part of a series of global gatherings seen as reflective opportunities through which a new, global Social Covenant can be developed. The series of difficult challenges the world is currently facing is ascribed to a “broken social contract”. It is described as a “time of crisis”, largely due to a “loss of trust” among individuals and groups.

I will not be able to give a full account of the discussion and did only attend the two public sessions, namely ‘A New Social Covenant – a philosophical perspective’ and ‘A New Social Covenant’. My aim, as per usual, was to establish which questions or obstacles lie at the bottom of what was being discussed.

The ‘New Social Covenant’ document produced by the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council (WEFGAC) was recently discussed in Stellenbosch. This event, which was co-hosted by WEFGAC and Stellenbosch University, is part of a series of global gatherings seen as reflective opportunities through which a new, global Social Covenant can be developed. The series of difficult challenges the world is currently facing is ascribed to a “broken social contract”. It is described as a “time of crisis”, largely due to a “loss of trust” among individuals and groups.

                                                                                           Photo (l-r): Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Derek Yach, Trevor Manuel, Jim Wallis, Bronwyn Nielsen (moderator)

I will not be able to give a full account of the discussion and did only attend the two public sessions, namely ‘A New Social Covenant – a philosophical perspective’ and ‘A New Social Covenant’. My aim, as per usual, was to establish which questions or obstacles lie at the bottom of what was being discussed.

The core values, and proposed application thereof, was the first section of the provided seminar booklet I noticed as a positive starting point to this ‘journey’ towards a new social covenant. It is acknowledged that previous attempts at a social contract/covenant (terms which were used interchangeably during the seminar) had a ‘too strong’, although necessary, emphasis on individual rights. Along with the dignity of the human person being central to such a covenant, the importance of a common good that transcends individual interests, and a concern not just for ourselves but also future generations, was highlighted. Jim Wallis referred to the selfie as the ‘symbol’ of modern individualism within a society which, as suggested by research, acts rather with instant and self-gratification than posterity in mind.

‘Covenant’, as explained by Tom Donaldson during the philosophical perspective session, differs from a contract in the sense that it is not merely transactional but has a moral dimension. The main areas of concern: the broken social contract, (economical) inequality, loss of trust, and the implementation of a working stakeholder economy. The first question then: which moral vision would inform the development of the new social covenant? Some speakers suggested a removal of metanarratives followed by the discovery of “shared values”. Do we then create a new metanarrative? Can any person or group continue to move forward intellectually apart from an existing metanarrative or is this a case of “you lay down your narrative and operate along mine”? Or was it simply another way of saying, “let’s listen to one another”?

Donaldson suggests many micro social covenants, as one grand covenant is too idealistic. His co-panellist, Gayatri Spivak, broke it down to the individual, stating that individuals will have to adopt these required values. Thought-leaders are given the responsibility to “rearrange desires”, such as the desire for social justice, and then only thinking and behaving in an ethical manner can, very importantly, become habits. Donaldson adds that formulated concepts such as laws can never influence behaviour; moral paradigms – what people believe is right – ultimately influence behaviour. Then again, which moral vision would thought-leaders employ to rearrange desires? Which guiding worldview best creates ethically thinking and behaving individuals? Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, in the second session, shared her concern about the destruction of societal values and suggested that mentoring, whether in a parent-child or other relationship, is the only way through which values are preserved.

This was the great, untouched question for me: how do we develop rational, self-governing, society-serving, ethically thinking and functioning, individuals?

Apart from the abovementioned summit, philosopher John Gray suggests that, "the unique status of humans is hard to defend, or even understand, when it is cut off from any idea of transcendence". Considering an aim to develop covenants hinged on the concept of human dignity, requiring a moral responsibility towards ‘equal others’ in generations present and future, under a shared historical narrative; is this ideal fathomable apart from any reference to God? Especially, considering that the moral element typically associated with a covenant requires involvement from a higher moral agent. Nick Spencer believes that, in America, because Christianity was not part of the initial federal structure it could never end up being a coercive power such as it had been in Europe. Os Guinness, in addition, states that although Christianity, in the case of the United States, was not initially their officially established faith, it was welcomed because it was a faith that provided a “thick” notion of virtue.  Faith, he deducts, acts as the inspiration of virtue, the content which tells people what virtue actually is. In other words, although the “constitution excluded any mention of God” (Spencer), faith was allowed to act as the source from which individual virtue is cultivated.

WEFGAC’s vision invites engagement and collaboration from various stakeholders, including faith groups, and I would suggest voices from faith communities are indispensable in the development of social covenants which requires virtuous individuals in order to function.

 

 

Serv.

 

Tuesday
Aug262014

Heyr, Himna Smiður (Hear, Smith of the Heavens - a hymn)

From time to time I come across an article, speech or writing  which just has to be shared. Not necessarily reported on or disected, just shared. This is one such article which is filed under the Verbatim section.

 

 

http://decoratorsnotebook.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/screen-shot-2012-09-26-at-16-06-18.pngThis Icelandic hymn, composed by Kolbeinn Tumason on his deathbed in 1208, was brought to my attention earlier this year as a facebook friend posted a modern rendition thereof to his timeline. I am fascinated by, and appreciate how, various cultures relate to the Lord in worship. Norse culture, in particular, intrigues me and also then this referral to the Creator as “Smith of the Heavens”.

 

 

 

 

 

Hear, smith of the heavens,
what the poet asks.
May softly come unto me
thy mercy.
So I call on thee,
for thou hast created me.
I am thy slave,
thou art my Lord.

God, I call on thee
to heal me.
Remember me, mild (king),
most we need thee.
Drive out, O king of suns,
generous and great,
every human sorrow
from the city of the heart.

Watch over me, mild one,
Most we need thee,
truly every moment
in the world of men.
Send us, son of the virgin,
good causes;
all aid is from thee,
in my heart.

 

The music to the hymn was composed in the 1970s by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013), one of Iceland's foremost contemporary composers, and can be listened to as performed by Eivør Pálsdóttir or Ellen Kristjándsóttir (with English word translation).

 

 

Serv. via Kolbeinn Tumason

 

 

Thursday
Jun262014

Noakes, nutrition and the nature of evidence 

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk to a small group of people, participating in a training programme, about the concept of apologetics and what an apologetic is. As I looked for a practical, current example, the (in)famous ‘Tim Noakes diet’ came to mind. I’m not sure how well my example served my audience on that day but an article which could serve as a useful example for future conversations is now conveniently trending on facebook.

“Tim Noakes – making a ‘Real Meal’ of critics who say his diet is dangerous”, reads the article headline. Noakes, director of UCT’s  Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, and Discovery Health professor of exercise and sports science is defending his high-fat, low-carbohydrate (HFLC) diet against those who regularly label it as “dangerous and bad science”.

http://cdn.24.co.za/files/Cms/General/d/2717/b960cea2332c4a8eb110157568a4da5e.jpgIn this article, Noakes responds to accusations of him using ‘bad science’ with what one would presume is ‘good science’. Noakes defends his position regarding the effects of a HFLC diet on a person’s health, refuting the supposed faulty claims made against his position. Noakes is delivering an apologia (defence) in response to his accusers’ kategoria (accusation).

A first thought that came to mind was whether Science, a practice committed by fallible people, is as almighty as the populace would often believe? An accomplished scientist recently told me that his area of work does not leave much room for argument or debating from different perspectives but simply ‘commenting’. I think he argued that, while literary works are (more) open to interpretation, scientific exploration hardly is, and that preconceived ideas do not influence interpretation of evidence – which made me wonder why scientists bother to read the work of their predecessors? I’m not too sure what was meant by ‘commenting’ and such but am open to the possibility that we misunderstood one another around the concept of critiquing theories, preconceived ideas and his field of work.

From the ‘Noakes debate’ it is clear that scientists do disagree, that further exploration provide more clarity and better understanding, and that various human-character factors may play a role in this disagreement and inability to acknowledge the same truth. The abovementioned article suggests, as I often hear scientists complain, that it is a matter of the media misrepresenting the views of scientists and therefore an opportunity has been provided for one of Noakes’ main detractors to post a response of his own after Noakes’ clarification of his position.

Noakes further draws attention to what the scientific method in his sphere of involvement entails, stating that all in the field of medicine begins with anecdote. “Scientists determine the truth on the basis of clinical trials, personal experience, and what patients tell us. None of these things is more important than the other”, he continues to explain.

It seems fair to say that while all scientific exploration involves a realistic search for truth, not all scientific findings are necessarily true, and ‘the science’ is not as clear cut as many would suggest. I am not suggesting scientific exploration can’t lead us to true understanding of aspects of our surroundings but that ‘Science’, often portrayed as an enlightened being with a will of its own, is ultimately still just that: humans trying to reach a true understanding of aspects of their surroundings. The inquiring mind of many a great philosopher, mathematician and scientist has been agitated by the enigma of the human mind’s ability to interpret and use the inherent design of things by means of mathematical formulae, to paraphrase Albert Einstein. His surprise at this mystery is otherwise revealed in the statement that “the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible”.

http://thesituationist.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/god-versus-science-time-magazine-cover.jpgScience aside (sort of) brings me to another statement by Noakes which drew my attention as I read through the article a second time. Although he has broken out of old paradigms as far as nutritional science is concerned, he is still caught up in another old paradigm, namely the fact that science is based in reason while religious beliefs flow from a form of ignorance. He accuses his main critic of practicing 'religion' because he continues to believe in ideas which science has disproven on the basis of evidence. Now, of course Noakes may be referring to certain specific religious movements but the blanket statement itself is one of ignorance I believe. And what is more, he seems to invoke a god-of-the-gaps, which will be discussed below.

Australian ancient historian and theologian, Dr John Dickson, recently responded apologetically from the Christian perspective to some of these notions categorising Religion and Science (the ‘Beings’ with wills of their own it seems) as two alternative, exclusive sources of truth as follow:

“Aristotle was the first to point out that persuasion occurs through three factors: intellectual (logos), psychological (pathos), and social or ethical (ethos). People rarely change their minds merely on account of objective evidence. They usually need to feel the personal relevance and impact of a claim, and they also must feel that the source of the claim - whether a scientist or a priest - is trustworthy. Christians frequently admit that their convictions developed under the influence of all three elements. When sceptics, however, insist that their unbelief is based solely on 'evidence', they appear one-dimensional and lacking in self-awareness. They would do better to figure out how to incorporate their evidence within the broader context of its personal relevance and credibility. I think this is why Alain de Botton is a far more persuasive atheist (for thoughtful folk) than Richard Dawkins or Lawrence Kraus. It is also why churches attract more enquirers than the local sceptics club.”

“One slightly annoying feature [popular among New Atheists] is the constant claim that believers invoke God as an explanation of the 'gaps' in our knowledge of the universe: as we fill in the gaps with more science, God disappears. Even as thoughtful a man as Lawrence Kraus, a noted physicist, [recently] did this on national radio following new evidence of the earliest moments of the Big Bang. But the god-of-the-gaps is an invention of atheists. Serious theists have always welcomed explanations of the mechanics of the universe as further indications of the rational order of reality and therefore of the presence of a Mind behind reality. Kraus sounds like a clever mechanic who imagines that just because he can explain how a car works he has done away with the Manufacturer.”

“One of the things that becomes apparent in serious Christian literature is that no one uses 'faith' in the sense of believing things without reasons. That might be Richard Dawkins' preferred definition - except when he was publicly asked by Oxford's Professor John Lennox whether he had 'faith' in his wife loving him - but it is important to know that in theology 'faith' always means personal trust in the God whose existence one accepts on other grounds. I think God is real for philosophical, historical, and experiential reasons. Only on the basis of my reasoned conviction can I then trust God - have faith in him - in the sense meant in theology.”

 

 

Serv.

 

A year ago I attended a lunch hour talk on Stellenbosch University campus in which Prof. John Lennox discusses this very God vs Science debate which is so active in popular discussions.


Further thoughts on Proving the existence of G-d by Prof. Brian Leftow.