Electing POTUS

I am amazed by many of the reasons some would-be supporters of the Republican party have given for withdrawing their support for Donald Trump, especially in light of their affirmation that a Hilary Clinton presidency would be disastrous. These reasons include things such as his joke about John McCain not being a war hero because he “got caught,” his calling a former Miss Universe contestant “fat,” and the recently released 2005 recording in which he is heard making lewd comments about women—to name but a few. With all due respect, I find this approach to be severely misguided. While we can all agree that many of his comments are indefensible, …

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Posted in Law, Politics.

Is it Unconstitutional for the Federal Government to Favor Religion Over Non-Religion?

We often hear mention of the separation of church and state. Usually, its mention is accompanied by the claim that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion; any instance of such, according to the Separationists, violates the United States Constitution. Though it may come as a surprise to many, the phrase separation of church and state has no mention in the Constitution. To support their allegation of unconstitutionality, Separationists must rely on a flawed interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . Consequently, the erroneous exegesis leads them to affirm the demonstrably false principle that the …

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Posted in Uncategorized.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus: Inference to the Best Explanation (Part 8 of 8)

8.0 Inference to the Best Explanation As was set out in Chapter 1, the central argument of this series contains two primary steps: Establish the facts which will serve as the historical data that will need to be explained. Argue that the Resurrection hypothesis is the best explanation of those facts. The aim of the previous five chapters was to accomplish (1). Chapter 1 also described the objective criterion upon which Chapters 3-7 relied in their establishing the historical data to be explained. To reiterate, that data was as follows: Empty tomb Postmortem appearances Postmortem conversion and subsequent martyrdom of James Conversion of Saul of Tarsus Relentlessness of the apostles Accordingly, the aim …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus: The Relentlessness of the Apostles (Part 7 of 8)

7.0 The Relentlessness of the Apostles There is a virtual consensus among scholars that, subsequent to Jesus’ death by crucifixion, his disciples sincerely believed that he appeared to them risen from the dead. What’s more, these appearances radically transformed them from fearful, cowering individuals—who denied and abandoned Jesus at his arrest and execution—into bold proclaimers of the gospel of the risen Lord. They remained steadfast in the face of imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom; these men took the world by storm, so that within three hundred years the mighty Roman empire would be transformed by Christianity. But the obvious question arises: How could this handful of obscure people turn the world upside down? 7.1 Simon …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth: The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Part 6 of 8)

6.0 The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus In contemporary critical studies, the apostle Paul is almost always thought to be the best witness among the New Testament writers. A former opponent of this message, Paul clearly points out that the risen Jesus appeared personally to him. He was a zealous Pharisee who had surpassed many of his Jewish contemporaries in his efforts to keep the Jewish traditions of his fathers (Gal 1.13-14). He was educated by Gamaliel, one of the most respected Jewish rabbis of his day. In his zeal for keeping the Jewish tradition, Saul made it his mission to crush Christianity. Thousands of Jews who heard the message …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus: The Postmortem Conversion and Subsequent Martyrdom of James (Part 5 of 8)

5.0 The Postmortem Conversion and Subsequent Martyrdom of James It is seldom questioned by critical scholars that James, Jesus’ brother, was an unbeliever and a skeptic during his brother’s public ministry (Mk 3.21-35; Jn 7.5). Then, just a few years later, James is the pastor of the Jerusalem church, where Paul finds him when he went for his two visits (Gal 1.18-19; 2.1-10; cf. Acts 15.13-21). What’s more, we learn from Josephus—a first century Jewish historian—that James was martyred for his belief that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. Josephus wrote the following in his Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, chapter 9: Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus: Postmortem Appearances (Part 4 of 8)

4.0 Postmortem Appearances On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people claimed to have experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead. This is a fact that is almost universally acknowledged among New Testament scholars today. Prominent historian E. P Sanders, who calls himself a liberal , agrees. He declares that the “equally secure facts” include that Jesus’ disciples “saw him (in what sense is not certain) after his death. . . . Thereafter his followers saw him” . Koester asserts “We are on much firmer ground with respect to the appearances of the risen Jesus and their effect.” These appearances “cannot very well be questioned” …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus: The Empty Tomb (Part 3 of 8)

3.0 The Empty Tomb The first of the historical facts comprising our data to be explained is that of that empty tomb. All four Gospel accounts are in agreement on this core fact: on the Sunday morning following His crucifixion, the tomb of Jesus was discovered to be empty. Remarkably, the majority of critical scholars affirm the empty tomb as historical. New Testament (NT) Scholar Dr. Gary Habermas has conducted a study1See here. of hundreds of scholarly sources on the resurrection. In which, he found nearly two dozen arguments for the empty tomb. What is more, approximately 75 percent of the scholars who were surveyed defend one or more of those …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus: Preliminary Concerns (Part 2 of 8)

  2. Preliminary Concerns Before getting into how historical methodology is used to infer the Resurrection as the best explanation of the facts concerning the fate of Jesus, I think it wise to first dispel a few common (but severely misguided) objections: Textual variants: “The Bible has been recopied so many times and in so many different languages that it’s impossible to know what the original texts actually said.” Discrepancies in the narratives: “Seeing as how there are numerous differences in the writers’ accounts of what they claim happened on Easter morning and the days that followed, none of them should be viewed as trustworthy.” Legendary embellishment: “You can’t reasonably believe …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus: Historical Methodology (Part 1 of 8)

1.0 Historical Methodology There is no denying the fact that the vast majority of people—Christian and non-Christian alike—would say that belief in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is just something you have to take on faith. For it’s an event, they’d say, that is separated from us by twenty centuries; and thus it cannot possibly be evinced by any real evidence. That response, however, is demonstrably false in light of the tools of historiography. These tools make it so that we can in fact construct a solid historical case for the Resurrection and, in so doing, produce real evidence. 1.1 Argument Structure The structure of such an argument will contain two key …

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Posted in Historiography, Resurrection.

A Response to the Argument from the Hiddenness of God

While some take arguments of this sort to be prima facie cogent, a closer look, however, demonstrates otherwise. The argument is based on a gross theological misunderstanding; it also relies heavily upon an unjustified assumption. Let us start by stating the argument in a formally valid structure. In so doing, we will make explicit the hidden assumptions underlying this instantiation of improper reasoning: If God exists (P), He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent (Q). If God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent (Q), then He is willing and able to provide the evidence He knows I need in order to be convinced of His existence (R). If God is willing and …

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Posted in Defensive Apologetics, Logic.

State of Missouri v. Darren Wilson: Bias, Denial, and Flawed Reasoning

As expected, many people are having trouble accepting the Grand Jury decision in the case of the Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, who was involved in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown back in August. This difficulty springs forth from the same diseased root that also led to a similar problem in accepting the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial: prejudging a case before having all of the relevant facts. Once these facts1Much of the documents and evidence presented to the Grand Jury can be viewed at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/25/us/evidence-released-in-michael-brown-case.html?_r=1 finally came to light, they appeared to tell a very different story than the one told by key eyewitness Dorian Johnson. These …

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Posted in Law, Politics.

The Teleological Argument from the Fine-Tuning of the Universe

1 Introduction The teleological argument (i.e., the argument from design) has experienced something of a renaissance over the last half-century or so. In addition to the genetic and biochemical evidence that points to the existence of an Intelligent Designer of the cosmos, the primary fuel for this renaissance has been discoveries from and advances in fields like cosmology and theoretical physics, to name but a few. What scientists have come to discover is that the physics necessary to permit the existence of life—of any kind—depends upon a balance so unfathomably precise that it literally defies human comprehension; this is known as the fine-tuning of the universe. Here is how Stephen …

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Posted in Cosmology, Natural Theology.

The Kalām Cosmological Argument

The kalām cosmological argument (hereafter, KCA) is a piece of natural theology that aims to show that there exists a beginningless, spaceless, timeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, personal, Creator of the universe. The most notable—and indeed, the most capable—defender of the argument today is the eminent Dr. William Lane Craig . Atheist philosopher Quentin Smith has noted, The fact that theists and atheists alike ‘cannot leave [the] Kalam argument alone’ suggests that it may be an argument of unusual philosophical interest or else has an attractive core of plausibility that keeps philosophers turning back to it and examining it once again. The argument can be formulated in three simple steps: 1.0 …

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Posted in Natural Theology.

Why Prohibiting Same-Sex Marriage Does Not Violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment

The purpose of this post is not to argue the merits or morality of homosexual behavior (that post is forthcoming). Rather, the purpose here will be to demonstrate that there is nothing discriminatory toward homosexuals when defining marriage in accord with (DOMA § 3): In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.1www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-104hr3396enr/pdf; emphasis …

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Posted in Law, Politics.

Calculating the Probability of Abiogenesis

There is a misconception prevalent in society today: the Darwinian theory of evolution by way of natural selection acting on random variation explains the origin of life. Ignoring for the moment whether or not the theory accurately explains the origin of the species, the fact of the matter is that the Darwinian theory says nothing with respect to how life began. Thus, proponents of naturalism are forced into the position of conjoining Darwinism with the theory of abiogenesis—the view that organic molecules and subsequent simple life forms first originated from inorganic substances. Naturally (excuse the pun), naturalists must posit that this process was purely unguided; all of the inorganic components of the hypothetical first living cell (hereafter, FLC) …

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Posted in Biology.

Extending the BGV Theorem to Cosmogonic Models that Posit an Infinite Contraction

You all will have to forgive me for making such a technical post as this blog’s first; it just so happens that this has been the topic of my recent research. Sorry. For those of you who do not know, there was a kinematic incompleteness theorem proven in 2003 that (in very non-technical terms) demonstrates that any universe that has been, on average, expanding throughout its history, cannot be eternal to the past, but must have an past spacetime boundary (i.e., a beginning). It just so happens that our universe has been, by all appearances, expanding throughout its history. However, there have been many attempts to craft highly speculative cosmogonic …

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Posted in Cosmology.

The Solution to the Omniscience / Free Will Dilemma

Have you ever heard someone ask, “If God is omniscient (i.e., all-knowing) and therefore already knows what I am going to choose, then how am I free to choose?” What the question is fundamentally asking is, How can God’s omniscience and human libertarian free will possibly coexist?Before answering the question, let us first define some terms. The standard definition of omniscience says that, for any person \(S\), \(S\) is omniscient if and only if \(S\) knows all true propositions and believes no false proposition. What this entails is that God, being omniscient, must know the truth value of all future tense propositions (e.g., Jones will sign with the Saints); He …

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Posted in Defensive Apologetics, Logic.
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