This one will drive you right over the edge of the flat Earth. It’s at the website of Answers in Genesis (ol’ Hambo’s online ministry). The title alone is interesting: Is the Christian Worldview Logical?
Another interesting thing is that it’s by Jason Lisle, who left AIG a couple of years ago to become director of whatever it is that they call research at the Institute for Creation Research. For some reason, Jason’s latest is posted at AIG.
He’s written a few times before about this mind-bending subject. See Jason Lisle: Faith vs. Reason, and before that Jason Lisle Tells Us How To Think, and we’ll never forget this one — Mathematics is Creationist.
He’s doing it again, so hold tightly onto your brain — or you’ll lose it. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The notion of “faith versus reason” is an example of a false dichotomy. Faith is not antagonistic to reason. On the contrary, biblical faith and reason go well together.
Yes, we’ve seen how well that works at AIG and ICR. But Jason’s just getting started:
The problem lies in the fact that many people have a misunderstanding of faith. Faith is not a belief in the absurd, nor is it a belief in something simply for the sake of believing it. Rather, faith is having confidence in something that we have not perceived with the senses.
Jason then refers to the scriptural definition in Hebrews 11:1 — “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” But a more rigorous definition is that faith is belief which is not based evidence or logical proof. Let’s read on:
Whenever we have confidence in something that we cannot see, hear, taste, smell, or touch, we are acting upon a type of faith. All people have faith, even if it is not a saving faith in God.
Then he gives an example:
For example, people believe in laws of logic. However, laws of logic are not material. They are abstract and cannot be experienced by the senses. We can write down a law of logic such as the law of non-contradiction (“It is impossible to have A and not A at the same time and in the same relationship.”), but the sentence is only a physical representation of the law, not the law itself. When people use laws of logic, they have confidence in something they cannot actually observe with the senses; this is a type of faith.
Aaaargh!! Jason is totally wrong here. Logic isn’t an example of faith — it’s an essential premise for all rational thought. A premise like that isn’t held by faith, but by necessity. Religious doctrines, in contrast, are entirely optional. The doctrines of one religion can contradict those of another, yet they all have happy adherents, despite their incompatible dogmas. To further illustrate their optional nature, people can and do function quite well without any of them. Jason continues:
When we have confidence that the universe will operate in the future as it has in the past, we are acting on faith. For example, we all presume that gravity will work the same next Friday as it does today. But no one has actually observed the future. So we all believe in something that goes beyond sensory experience.
Aaaargh!! There’s also the little detail that all the evidence we have, which is considerable, shows us that the laws of nature haven’t changed from what they have always been. Further, we routinely make predictions that depend on the constancy of natural law, and such predictions always work out. So there is, shall we say, slightly more involved in the constancy of natural law than blind faith. But Jason sees it differently:
From a Christian perspective, this is a very reasonable belief. God (who is beyond time) has promised us that He will uphold the universe in a consistent way (e.g., Genesis 8:22). So we have a good reason for our faith in the uniformity of nature. For the consistent Christian, reason and faith go well together.
Aaaargh!! But what about all those miracles that violate the laws of nature? No problem — Jason’s essay seems to ignore them, at least so far. Here’s more:
According to the Scriptures, the Christian faith is not a “blind faith.” It is a faith that is rationally defensible. It is logical and self-consistent. It can make sense of what we experience in the world.
Aaaargh!! Genesis makes absolutely no sense when compared to the evidence of this world. But then Jason surprises us. He boldly confronts some of the scriptural absurdities:
There are those who would challenge the rationality of the biblical worldview. Some say that the Christian worldview is illogical on the face of it. After all, the Bible speaks of floating ax heads, the sun apparently going backward, a universe created in six days, an earth that has pillars and corners, people walking on water, light before the sun, a talking serpent, a talking donkey, dragons, and a senior citizen taking two of every land animal on a big boat! The critic suggests that no rational person can possibly believe in such things in our modern age of scientific enlightenment. He claims that to believe in such things would be illogical.
Indeed! Here’s how Jason deals with that:
The Bible does make some extraordinary claims. But are such claims truly illogical? Do they actually violate any laws of logic? Although the above biblical examples go beyond our ordinary, everyday experiences, none of them are contradictory. They do not violate any laws of logic.
Jason is struggling to confine his argument solely to the laws of logic, but even on his chosen ground, he’s in trouble. There’s that pesky law of non-contradiction. If the laws of nature are constant (and Jason just said they are), then things that violate natural law cannot exist. Oh, wait — Jason deals with that too:
The critic arbitrarily asserts that it is not possible for the sun to go backward in the sky, or for the solar system to be created in six days. But what is his evidence for this? He might argue that such things cannot happen based on known natural laws. With this we agree. But who said that natural laws are the limit of what is possible? The biblical God is not bound by natural laws. Since the Bible is indeed correct about the nature of God, then there is no problem at all in God reversing the direction of the planets, or creating the solar system in six days. An infinitely powerful, all-knowing God can do anything that is rationally possible.
Aaaargh!! We’re barely halfway through Jason’s essay, and we’ve reached the limit for what even your Curmudgeon can handle. Well, okay, one more excerpt:
The extraordinary claims of Scripture cannot be dismissed merely on the basis that they are extraordinary. If indeed the biblical God exists, and if indeed He has the characteristics attributed to Him by the Bible (all-knowing, all-powerful, beyond time, etc.) then the critic has no basis whatsoever for denying that the miraculous is possible. Clearly, an all-powerful God can make a donkey talk, can create the universe in six days, can bring two of every animal to Noah, etc. These are simply not problems in the biblical worldview. When the critic dismisses the miraculous solely on the basis that it is miraculous, he is simply begging the question.
That’s it! We’ve had enough. You can click over there and read the rest of it, but we’re outta here!
Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.