As an ancillary to the Explore God series, Kurt spends this episode addressing common questions and saying that Christians may wrestle with today.
Kurt: Good day to you. And thanks for joining us here on another episode of veracity hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. This is Episode 138. And we are doing a follow up to the Explore God series. It’s a series we’ve done seven weeks, asking life’s deep, important questions, we brought on guests to cover these different topics, and hope that that series was wonderful for you. I hope to just make it a big long post with all of the videos for people to watch. And we’ll make a nice page on our website. Maybe get that over at apologetics. 315 as well, which is a great resource website for those interested in apologetics. And look, I’m I’m wearing that T shirt today. The lettering is a little lower, I gotta get that fixed at any rate, apologetics 315. If you want a shirt like this one with a little bit higher lettering, become one of the monthly donors over at apologetics. 315 dot com. Alright, on today’s show, we’re kind of shooting the breeze here. But we’re following up. We’re talking about some questions that Christians may wrestle with. And this is going to be an interesting show because I have no idea what these questions or sayings are. Seth Baker, who’s one of our associates with the the program here has prepared five questions and five common sayings and so he’s joined. We on our Skype line here or not Skype, FaceTime. And also in studio we have Ted Wright joining us yet again, Ted, great to have you here. Good to be here. Hopefully this becomes a regular thing. It’s great. Looks like it. Yes, the studio here. Alright, so let’s see, I wanna I want to do one announcement. Chris, if I got you that image for the Dyer conference today. The main churches announcement tonight. We’ll give them a quick trump card here. Discovering truth in an age of opinions. May three and four at village church dire. It’s in dire Indiana so if you live in Chicago land or maybe Western Michigan, Northwest Indiana, of course. We would love it if you would join us for discovering truth in the nature of opinions. We’ve got three keynote speakers. Mike Licona is coming to town, Cisco Koto, who is a pastor of the village church, Oak Park, which I believe was a church plant from village church Dyer. And Cisco is also a Chicago radio personality. And also Ted Wright will be giving one of the the keynote or plenary sessions, we’ve got some great breakout sessions as well. Should be a fun evening and Saturday. Again, in apologetics conference may three and four we’d love it. If you join us. You can go to defendersconference.com slash dyre D Y E R defendersconference.com slash dyre to learn more and register. All right, well, let’s see here, Seth. Again, I’m kind of going in this cold, I have no idea what we’re going to talk about. And if so we’ve got these questions from you. If you’re one of our listeners today, and you want to ask a question, we have reopened the call lines. So if you want to give us a call, the number to call is 505. to strive, that’s a 505-278-7483. If I remember that it has been a long time since I’ve had to say that number. Yes, 505-278-7483. And I’m monitoring the calls as they come in. So if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask or something you want us to talk about on the show, please give us a call. You can also text in text word veracity to 555888 I will load up the texting platform as well. Seth, take it away. You ready? Can you hear me? Yes, Yes, we can.
Seth: Okay, cool. Well, I was so inspired from the Explore guide series. I thought it was a wonderful series of podcasts. I learned a lot. But I just thought, you know what, why don’t we take this to the streets as it were, you know, cold. See how Kurt would do…
Kurt: Hopefully not as cold as a cold case, you know.
Seth: And so what I have here today is what I think are probably five of the most common questions that a Christian would run into And five common slogans that they might hear,
Seth: Maybe in the context of sharing their faith or friend knows that they’re believer they might hit him with one of these. So we’re gonna see how, you know, in the flesh apologist would handle these without any before preparation,
Kurt: I feel like I should have done more homework just you know, to get ready for this.
Ted: You always have to be ready to give an answer Kurt.
Ted: Yeah, I think I heard that somewhere.
Kurt: Yeah, somewhere.
Kurt: Maybe read it.
Ted: Maybe it’s the Bible? I don’t know.
Kurt: Should be fun. We’ve already got people commenting here. It appears Kurt Jaros is watching with me. Yes, Cameron. Glad you’re watching the program today. So I guess for people who may not know the way I keep tabs on the Facebook comments is through my phone. So in my bumping my stats by having one view, okay. All right. I’m guilty. But it’s easier that way. Instead of having my main computer where I keep tabs on the comments, I keep tabs on my phone. So, John writes in this should be interesting. Yes. And if you got a question, john, let me know and call in to we’ve, you know, in the first year of our program, we had this call in line. And our program has grown quite a bit since then. And we’re hoping to let you know from time to time, open up the call lines and hear from some of you folks, you can leave a message. Or you can call in live here. So we’d love to hear from you. All right, Seth. What is the first question?
Seth: Okay, so the first one is not a question, but it is a slogan very often today, and it’s this, so many people disagree on truth, that relativism must be true.
Kurt: Ah, yeah. Okay. So because there are so many people that disagree, we can’t really know or relatives, I’ve seen this taken a couple different ways. There’s the nihilist approach, or there’s the relativist approach, then the nihilist approach basically says, because there are so many different opinions, well, we can’t really know what the fact of the matter is. And then the relativist would say, maybe off of that nihilistic approach that, therefore just go and do whatever is good in your own eyes, which is a relativistic approach. Alright, so how to handle this one. Boy, I’m already on the, you know, I’m on the limelight here. So I would say, a mere difference of opinion or disagreement has no weight on the grounding of a truth. So, oh, here’s a fun one. And I think one of one of our listeners might appreciate this. There’s, there’s there’s disagreement over the shape of the earth. All right, there are very, very, very few people who think that the earth is flat, but they are out there. And they use their global positioning systems to meet at different locations. You know, when they have conferences and such, but note how, just because there’s disagreement, that doesn’t mean we can’t actually know the truth. So we can know that it’s true that the earth is a globe or it’s a sphere. So, you know, I think that should be a good clear example. Now, if we think …Seth, yeah, go ahead.
Seth: You know, what about this one, like my brother and I, we can’t agree on what’s the best flavor of ice cream? So it doesn’t show that there’s, you know, no best flavor of ice cream and yeah, for truth is all relative?
Kurt: So yeah, yeah. And this, you might even stretch the example further. Well, or go deeper into the example and say, well, well, actually, you can probably discover why it is that one might like chocolate or vanilla because of how many tastebuds and how your taste buds respond to certain stimuli. So you might even come up with a scientific explanation for why that is, but mere difference of opinion. Sometimes we have preferences, and sometimes preferences are distinct from truth about reality. So someone might have a preference to drive on the left side of the road. That’s not going to work out well for them here in America. They’ll get in a car crash. So that you know, in terms of an ethical claim, what someone ought to do, right there are some people don’t think that there are things that ground ethical truths. But there are in fact, things that ground ethical truths. And so that’s part of our truth dome, if you will, things that fall under…
Seth: So you’re saying that the flavor of ice cream isn’t quite the same category as…
Kurt: Yeah, so that would be a weak analogy. Ted, Yeah, go ahead.
Ted: Can I take a stab at this? Yeah, I would say with the flavor of the ice cream. It is objectively true, actually, that you like chocolate and your brother likes vanilla. That is objectively true, because truth is that which corresponds to its referent. Another example that people give is, well isn’t ultra relative because, you know, in in Chicago, it’s like 28 degrees. And in Atlanta, it’s like, you know, 68 degrees. So it’s two… , no. So, it’s depends on the referent. So truth is that which corresponds to its referent. So the problem with people making the case for, you know, relative truth is that they have to use the law of non contradiction to make the case for relative truth. It’s objectively true that there is no such thing as truth. Well, is that true? Because if that’s true, then that’s false. So you can’t get around, you know, absolute truth without using law of non contradiction.
Kurt: Yeah, yep. We’ve got some other folks chiming in online here. Zach says, Yo, what’s up, Kurt? Good to see you, Zack, glad that you’re watching today. John, I see your question here. And it’s one we could devote the whole program to. So I’m only going to answer it if in fact, you call in to our call line 505. to strive. That’s 505-278-7483. John, you’re a devoted fan. You should be calling into our call line and chat with us. Of course, it’d be good to hear your voice as well. So I met John, when we did the apologetics and evangelism conference in Connecticut. Ted, you remember that?
Kurt: Last year. So it’s great to have John. John is one of our regular viewers of our program. Alright, so Seth, does that kind of cover a little bit? I mean, just because there is disagreement doesn’t mean we can’t actually know what the truth is. Some people are wrong. And that can go into areas of knowledge that we might not think that would have applied to.
Seth: Yeah, absolutely. And I was reading last night in preparation, even though you didn’t prepare, I had to be prepared for this. Um, but there’s the postmodern writer named John Caputo, and he puts it like this. The truth is that there is no truth. And obviously, that’s immediately a contradiction.
Seth: So I think that’s pretty easily dismissed there. So are you ready for number two?
Kurt: Yeah, yeah, go ahead.
Seth: Okay, so this one is a question now. And it’s this: If God created the universe, then what created God?
Kurt: Yes, yeah. God created the universe. Yeah, this is one of the classic when people propose the Kalam cosmological argument. This is one of the classic misunderstandings. So the Kalam cosmological argument is that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist, therefore, the universe has a cause. And they say: Well, what created God? Well, wait, you missed that one important word: Begin. Something begins to exist in the Leibnizian cosmological argument. This is there’s a distinction between things which are contingent and things which are necessary, right. And so God has. God is a being who is a necessary being, he can’t not exist, and he has always existed. So, this is if you want to get more into the doctrine, this is divine saiety. This is, you know, that God is not dependent upon anything for his existence. So that’s sort of the quick answer to that question. So when someone asks that question, they’re asking the wrong type of question. They’re presenting what’s called a categorical error. And so some might even say, this is a contradiction in terms. It might be asking like, hey, do you know my friend, the married bachelor? And you might say, Well, wait, what, huh? What are you talking about? So people aren’t realizing that when they talk about God, they’re talking about a necessary being. And so that’s where the contradiction is. They’re unaware that they’re talking about a married bachelor. And so we need to just help explain when you’re using that term, as I understand this, what you this is what you’re referring to. Now, maybe they have in mind, which there’s a big misconception out there, especially by atheists against Christianity, that they think that when we talk about God, we’re talking about something like Zeus, or Thor, these sort of demigods, you know, these, these very human looking like, super powerful humans. That’s not what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the creator of the universe. We don’t have that in mind. Now, humans are created in the image of God. But that’s not to say that God is, you know, looks like us. And so so that’s a big difference there.
Ted: Yeah, I would say that God. It’s a great question, Seth. And you hear this a lot. You know, especially on the street. You know, when you hear people you’re talking about apologetics questions, the question of who made God in the very definition of God is a spaceless, timeless, immaterial being so that’s not how we define God, if we’re defining God is this old man, you know, in heaven with gray beard that kind of looks like the picture of Leonardo da Vinci. You know,
Ted: …Sistine Chapel, or Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, then yeah, obviously, but we’re not talking about that. And Kurt touched on this earlier, we talked about the Kalam argument. And that is, you know, even science itself shows reveals very strongly Einstein’s theory of relativity that all space time and matter came into existence a finite time ago. So we, you know, people argue about the age of the Earth, but what what the shows the physics shows is that the universe is a contingent thing. So, then the question is, is that well, then what created the universe? There had to been a spaceless, timeless, immaterial Creator of the universe. And that’s how we define God as a spaceless. timeless in materiality, and then you dig into it further, and you find out he’s infinitely wise and infinitely holy. And there’s personality there personal…
Kurt: …and Yeah, not just is he transcendent, but now he is also eminent.
Kurt: So, he’s among us, Seth, I hope that’s a good answer. We have a caller who’s calling in here. And now calling studio has this new feature where they auto screen so Chris doesn’t have to… before many people don’t know this in the earlier days, Chris would be monitoring his phone. And if we had a call, he would walk out of the room, and he would screen the call and come back in. And so then he could type in the note there about who this is. So now, calling studio, the program we use, has an auto screen feature. And so John, I’ve brought you on the line here. How you doing, John? You there? Hello, John. He’s calling about why God allows evil. Well, we’ll keep this on here. And maybe he’ll hear it. Maybe he’s turning the volume down on this phone. I’m not sure.
Seth: What we’re right. While, we’re waiting on John. He’s here. Ready for number three?
Kurt: Yeah. Go ahead, Seth.
Seth: Okay. It’s wrong to judge others. And Jesus said, so.
Kurt: This is great. This is a softball, I thought these are gonna be a bit this one was, you know, this is nice. Alright. So it’s wrong to judge others. And Jesus said so. Alright. Well, you need to ask yourself, when you’re thinking about how to respond to this, what does the person mean wrong? And what does it mean to judge? So, if you say it’s wrong to judge someone, are you saying it’s ethical to to judge someone? And when you’re saying you judge someone, are you? Are you making a moral evaluation, or you pre judging someone? There’s a difference there. Jesus all the time makes moral evaluations. He tells people don’t do this and do this. All the time, moral evaluations, okay. And when the person who’s saying this, this common saying says that it’s how do you phrase it against death? That it’s wrong to judge others? Right, right. Okay. Yeah. So when I use that term wrong, that person is making a moral evaluation. So they’re making a moral evaluation in saying you shouldn’t make moral evaluations. So wait, so this is this is a contradiction. This is a and not a. And so frequently, sadly, is the case. People do not who propose this haven’t read the Gospels thoroughly. They’ve maybe listened in church from time to time, but there, they are very unfamiliar with the teachings of Jesus, extremely unfamiliar with them. They, the Christianity, they know is just the pithy sayings, love your neighbor as yourself, do not judge. And in fact, if you go look at that passage, I think it’s in Matthew, perhaps, among other places. What does Jesus say? He says, it’s not an instruction not to judge. It’s actually an instruction on how to judge you know, Jesus says, first, you know, who are you when, you know, when you accuse your brother of the speck in his own, I first take the log out of your own eye, then you can go do this. So Jesus is talking about hypocrisy there, that you know, the speck in the log, the same quality, same material. And so you’ve got to take that out first before you can be someone to come along someone and help them in some area. So Jesus is teaching, teaching you how to approach your brother and to help him in a moral situation. Whereas the relativist wants to use this as a license. He He takes this out of context and uses it as a license for the whatever behavior this person might be wanting to do. So, alright, that’s that. I know, John’s call has dropped here. So but he he tried to call in so I’ll give you I’ll give you that, john. I pushed the the talk button, then we should have been able to hear you but I didn’t hear anything. Let us know in the comments. If you were talking and that wasn’t working, john, alright, so john wants to know, his question is why does God allow evil? You know, we did do an episode in the Explore Gods series on this just a few weeks ago. And there are different approaches to why God allows evil might depending upon what your view of divine sovereignty is on human human nature, the spiritual realm, divine providence, so a lot of factors play into how we might answer this question. So I’ll just give a broad answer. And let me know what you think. So I think one of the main reasons why God allows evil, is because he wants to be in a genuine relationship with his creation. If you were to create a Lego set, let’s say they’re motorized Legos, I mean, I had the train set going up in it, if you were to program at all, I’m relating to a machine. And it’s not the same. Whereas if you have a creation, that is an agent, you want that relationship to be genuine and real. So what does that require? I think that requires a certain level. And we can debate over what level and scope that is. But I think it requires a certain base level of human freedom. And so why God allows we can say at least some evil, perhaps even most evil. Yeah, certainly most evil, I think, is that human freedom is abused and misused. And so we use our freedom to hurt others. physically, emotionally, psychologically, so humans, we’re not doing the things we ought to do. And so in a broad, simple answer, but which, oh, you know, I hope , Ted, I, you know, nuanced that enough,
Kurt: There’s a base level of freedom in the world that God requires for a genuine relationship with him. He set that up, it’s the model, it’s the framework from which he has set this world up. And so that’s why most of the evil in the world occurs, occurs.
Ted: That’s very well said, Kurt, I would say another component to this question is the very definition of evil. So when, when a skeptic or someone who poses this question, you know, they say, Well, you know, why does God allow evil? Well, how do you even know what evil is. Define what evil is because, you know, if they’re coming from an atheistic standpoint here, if they believe that atheism is true, there is no God then really, evil and good are just vague categories, depending on who you’re talking to.
Ted: Because, you know, in one society, this may be good, and then we’re talking about we don’t really have any standard to judge what is good and evil. So, that figures into the discussion as well.
Kurt: Yeah, if the atheist just means Oh, I just don’t like it.
Kurt: Well, la de freakin da! Some people do like it, you might say in a discussion on that, you know?
Kurt: There is no grounding, there’s nothing that connects the two ideas. I just don’t like it on the atheist view. Okay, on the atheist view, there is no objective grounding. So all we have are our subjective opinions and evaluations. But why should one subjective one value more than the other? Seth, in the context of your other question, you got the chocolate and vanilla, right? And there’s nothing that should woo one person over to the other. So that’s one of the shortcomings with atheistic objections to the problem of evil. There still might be theistic objections or concerns. And in some of my academic work, as well, I’m concerned with the view that evil is really just good, and it’s just masquerading as evil. So that’s a concern. That’s one That’s one approach some people take to this, that God has a divine plan, through all these evil actions, why they occur in a meticulous sense.
Ted: It could have been a past world type of thing. So let me also make this distinction to so instead of you to narrowly ask the question this way, but I would say that, you know, we as apologists and philosophers and Christian thinkers, you know, when you’re talking about… you can answer the question from a philosophical or an apologetic standpoint. And that’s important, but it’s also not going to help someone who is actually experienced evil in their life or something horrible has happened to them that maybe a car accident or a relative or someone who is abused or something like that. Sometimes those philosophical answers, you know, they’re good, and they’re true, but they don’t really help. But so I would say this, you know, we can, and I think there are good arguments that Christians have. The problem of evil is not just a problem for the theistic worldview. It’s also a problem for an atheist worldview as well. But I’ll say this lastly, and that is that, you know, in the Christian worldview in the Christian view of reality, God came down to earth in the form of a man in Jesus Christ who experienced brutal evil on the cross and is able to empathize. And in fact, there is provided a solution, ultimately, for evil the problem of evil.
Kurt: Yep, we’ve got Stephen who commented on line, a number of great questions, Stephen, we can’t get to all of them. might be able to get to one or two of them a little bit later. I want to make sure Seth, we go to your next comment or slogan or saying or question. What’s up next here?
Seth: Okay, very good. So John took one of mine on evil.
Seth: I think he knew that when we’re throwing some softballs here that he will definitely be one that comes up in there. You know, that’s, of course, the question.
Kurt: Yeah. It’s the biggest objection that people bring against theistic belief. So…
Seth: Yeah, absolutely. So this next one, I think, is maybe a little bit more difficult to answer in that if you can’t prove it scientifically, then you shouldn’t believe it.
Kurt: Ah, okay. If you can’t prove it scientifically, then you shouldn’t believe it, or you can’t really, you know, take heart in it. So here’s the way around this one, there are a couple different ways. First, you can say, Well, look, there are these different fields of inquiry, where we can learn about things. Say, we can learn about art, and we can learn about history. And we can learn about math, you know, mathematics, so we can learn and logic for instance, there are self evidential truths. You know, the law of non contradiction is one of those. You don’t perform a science experiment on that. So you have these other fields where you can learn truths about reality. And I think that the realm of religion is one of those realms where you can say No, that’s not true. For example, the Book of Mormon makes certain claims about historical battlefield, an ancient people group, and those claims have been unverified. Now, there are some claims someone might say, well, in the Bible, there are claims of people groups, right, Ted about the Hittites, the Hittites, previously, had been unverified in history, until more recently, actually, so. But there’s a big difference here, one in the Middle East, I mean, we, you know, we know that’s where people generally came from here in the Americas, where the Book of Mormon makes that claim, you can just start digging, and you’re not going to find a thing. So the probability here that what the Book of Mormon is claiming is very, very, very unlikely. So it’s a historical claim, right? So the religious claim isn’t separate from history. So we can make evaluations on that.
Ted: Seth, I would answer it this way. And that’s good, Kurt, because some really good points
Kurt: Are you gonna say that the the scientism approach presupposes certain truths.
Ted: Yes, that but also, I mean, it’s a, that itself is not a scientific statement.
Ted: The fact that, you know, well, don’t believe something and let’s it scientific well, should I believe that prove that question in a scientific way? Where are you going to find that in a test to where, where am I going to go to find that empirically verified, but there are a lot of things that we believe, without, quote, unquote, scientific and depends on how you define scientific truth. And I think a lot of people who today who are committed naturalist or materialists, they define science by the scientific method. And that’s not necessarily science. In fact, philosophy is all over science. In fact, you can’t do science without a lot without logic, without ethics without other branches that in themselves are not actually scientific. The laws of logic are not scientific, and yet we, you can’t improve. You can’t prove them empirically. Yet we we hold them you can’t be a rational person and not hold to the laws of logic, the laws of mathematics as well, moral laws, moral truth, the fact that there is an innate sense of right and wrong people have where that come from, you know, CS Lewis talked about this. So these are not empirical things. But again, it sort of begs the question, when people say, Well, you shouldn’t believe it, unless it’s scientific. Well, there’s a lot of things that we, we hold to that, you know, but again, that’s coming from a particular worldview, more naturalistic worldview, but there’s a lot of things that are not scientific. Again, like I said, the laws of logic, mathematics, things like that.
Kurt: Seth, let me take a moment here, and I know Stephen’s got like three questions here. And I think he’s still tuning in. So let me briefly address one of your first questions here, Steven. Very good question. You say in dealing with difficult questions, probably some of the most prevalent are questions concerning Old Testament difficulties. This is true. For example, you right, like, why did God have females marry their rapists? Why were people allowed to sell their daughters into slavery? Did God command old test genocide and the Old Testament? On that last question, let me encourage you to go watch the defenders conference from 2018, where we invited four different Christian perspectives to address this subject. It was really rather boring, right? They all talked about the same thing. No, it’s actually very exciting. Having the different interpretations. I know the folks that attended loved the different perspectives on that. Oh, Chris has the image up. Yes, there it is. All right, we’ve got to take a short break here. When we come back, though, Steven, I do want to answer that first question, though, about whether in the Old Testament whether God required a rapist, a victim of rape to marry the rapist? That’s a very difficult one good question. And I’ll answer it after the short break from our sponsors.
Kurt: Thanks for sticking with us through that short break from our sponsors. If you’d like to learn how you can become a sponsor, go to our website veracity Hill comm we’ve got an open call line. We’ve brought it back today. It’s been a long time since we’ve used it. If you want to call in and leave a question. The number is 505. to strive, that’s 505-278-7483. And we’re going through some common sayings or questions, and I have no idea what they are sets prepared them. But first, I left you on a cliffhanger. Stephen has asked some difficult questions here. And one of those is about any old testament doesn’t you know say that the victim of rape must marry the rapist? Now there’s an interesting article at the console for Biblical manhood and womanhood, you don’t always have to agree with them. I’m just this is where I’ve got this article here, which looks at this question. And the author of the article has cited a number of different Old Testament scholars who have questioned the translation of that term of the terminology there. And the passage for those that are interested, let’s see comes from Deuteronomy, I think, yep. Deuteronomy 22. If a man meets a virgin, who is not betrothed, and seizes her, and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman, 50 shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has violated her. So these two terms here seizes and you know, violation. So there’s questions going over the proper translation here, especially the context. So this author argues given from what other Old Testament scholars have argued that this season is not actually rape, but could be a type of sexual embrace of sorts, maybe like Potiphar’s wife trying to hit on Joseph, that type of context. So there is question of translation that maybe we need to look at and consider here. One thing I do want to caution is that cultural context is key. It doesn’t justify, but it really can help explain things. So if there’s one thing I learned from the the defenders conference last year, these different scholars had different approaches to the contexts. So for example, you had Paul Copan, who basically said that this is ancient Near Eastern war rhetoric. And and while Copan and clay Jones were very similar to each other, they still had some differences on this. So for example, co pan’s approach wouldn’t necessitate the idea that God instructed the Israelites to kill infants. Okay. But now, Jones, his approach thinks this was the case. And so cultural context might lead you to different conclusions. Then you got Ken sparks, he was another one of the representatives, he proposed that the cultural context was that God didn’t actually command this because God’s holy loving, and just, and God wouldn’t do that. And so this was merely the Israelites perception. sparcs didn’t sort of phrase it that way. But that I think, is a fair summary of his view. So cultural context is key. And I think I think if we look into this, maybe there are more questions here than we realize and that translators haven’t properly brought forth into that. So hopefully, that answers that. We got a couple more comments, Jacob, you’ve got some questions here. We’ll get around to that. Also comment from Seth Baker. Seth writes that Seth guy is really handsome. Seth, what’s, your last name?
Seth: Totally different Seth. I don’t know. But a guy he’s got some good tastes, that’s for sure.
Kurt: Yeah. Okay. You know, I see this guy, the guy. You know, the one I’m talking to you right now has a baby face. Maybe this other guy his facial hair? I can’t tell. Alright, so let’s keep moving along. Jacob. We’ll get to your question here momentarily. But Seth, I want to make sure we cover another one of your scenes.
Seth: Okay, wonderful and feel free. If there’s, you know, a flood of comments and questions. Let’s Let’s up for those. But these were just ones I came up with last night. The next one is does evolution leave God out of a job?
Kurt: Odd. Is evolution leaving? You know, I’ve never heard anyone actually phrase it that way. But they phrase something like that, that, you know, we don’t need God anymore. I’ve heard that one a number of times. So unfortunately, it doesn’t leave God out of a job. There’s still a guiding process. Even if evolution were true, subjunctive mood were true. That doesn’t mean God isn’t the guiding process behind it. I think a number of folks, I can think of the theistic evolution camp and the Intelligent Design camp that would say that there are reasons for thinking there’s a guiding process of sorts. Of course, there’ll be disagreement between those camps on the the specifics of how it all worked out, and the mechanics of it. But it wouldn’t leave God out of a job. In fact, one thing I like to talk to people about is, when God works providentially, or miraculously, he does so in the natural world. And so we we can explore and come to a belief about how something was brought about, but it doesn’t explain why something was brought about. And so that’s where you might have divine agency come in. So I don’t think evolution would leave God out of a job. God did create the heavens and the earth, how he did it, there’s debate over. But if it were true, that Darwinian evolution, whatever that might mean, because there are still disagreements, even in those camps. And some people are even questioning the Darwinian model, non Christians, just on this sheer scientific basis are questioning that framework. That doesn’t say how God brought it about, so wouldn’t leave God out of a job,
Ted: It sort of hints at this whole idea of the, you know, God of the gaps fallacy that a lot of nationalists and abolitionists will bring up. But there’s also in this in the same on the flip side of the coin, there’s also a naturalism of the gaps fallacy. You know, that if we can understand then we’ll evolution will eventually find a way or will we evolution did it so it just sort of begs the question in the opposite direction as well. Yeah, but very well said. I think you absolutely right that the intelligence on camp and and not just the the intelligent design, guys, but there are an increasingly increasing number of scientists who are questioning the whole Darwinian model. And I believe might be he’s got a new book, that’s just if it’s not published now, it should be out really soon. On Darwin, Darwin devolves, I think the name of the book is. And it’s, I have some friends couple years ago that came back from the Royal Academy in London, which is the, they’re the heirs of Darwinian evolution. And these are the these are the secular Darwinian biologists in Europe. And they’re basically saying that Darwinian ism is defunct as a theory, we’ve got to look at new areas They were not…We’re not saying it was evolution, or that it was intelligent design, but they were saying that we realized that this is not predicting luck. We thought it was. So it’s got some scientific issues with it.
Kurt: Yep. All right. So Jacob, has a question here that he’s asked. And I might need some clarification. If he’s still tuning in. He asks, How would you respond to this? The terms everything, and nothing, have the same definition? That is you can’t take something out of it, or can add something to it? Where is the contradiction in these two terms? So I think what you’re proposing here is that someone says we can’t take something out of it, or add something to it are qualifiers of the two terms, everything and nothing. So hopefully, I’ve understood your question. You’re Jacob. And thanks for watching. By the way, I would say this, that the contents of the terms, the quantity of the terms are different, which means that they are different conceptions. So nothing refers to what rocks dream of, as I believe Aristotle, once wrote, nothing is what rocks dream of. So if you want to think about that, that’s nothing. All right. And then everything would be all of all of the items, all of the things that are in some set. Okay? So there, you could see how you have different numbers. So if I have nothing in my hand, okay, there’s no thing in my hand in the palm of my hand that I’m holding. But if I have everything or all of the bottle caps, within my reach in my hands, I now have to see, look at all that and how that worked to bottlecaps. So that’s everything or all of the bottle caps on my desk, at the very least within my reach, maybe there are more. So that would be a difference of of everything and nothing. And hopefully I understood that correctly. Your question? So I’m not sure how that might be brought up in other apologetic contexts, but it’s very good for critical thinking. I’m even teaching my young daughters how to make these qualifications. I think you’re in logic, the square of opposition, all SRP, some SRP, some SR not P. No SRP if you can get those four qualifiers down, you’re gonna you’re going to learn how to think well, pretty often so you know, all dogs have four legs. Well, what about those rare dogs that have only three legs? Oh, even still, there’s that’s usually a deformity or something like that. Yeah. So you can you can think, well, if you can get those qualifiers down. So Jacob, if you’re still watching, feel free to follow up here. With that. Hopefully, I understood your question. Seth, what else do you got?
Seth: Okay, here’s another, all religions teach basically the same thing.
Kurt: Yeah. And that’s just wrong.
Ted: Not true.
Kurt: This person has maybe not looked at religions, or hasn’t thought critically about them. What sets Christianity apart is… Well, number of things. One, I like the golden rule. I like how the golden rule is set apart from other religions. And a lot of people don’t know this. They think, Oh, well, no other religions teach the golden rule to don’t do what you don’t want them to you that’s different than do unto others, as you’d have them do unto you. You see, Jesus’s command is proactive. It’s not leave me alone. The Silver rule, as it’s commonly called, is the Leave me alone rule and I’ll leave you alone. So Jesus is actually seen to go and love people that I believe, if I’m not mistaken, is distinct from all the other world religions. Also, Christianity makes a historical claim. One that is testable, and it’s also falsifiable. So Christianity makes a historical claim here, and of course, Islam does as well. The Book of Mormon as I mentioned, does, so when religions make historical claims, those are testable and we can come to conclusions about them. And we can see how they’re how they vary. Did Jesus come to America as some belief, or did he not? That’s, you know, a testable claim. Okay, so do they all basically teach the same thing? No, they don’t in their history, in their ethics. How about how about theological anthropology? That’s a big terminology. That’s my area of doctoral work, theological anthropology, that is sort of theological study or discipline of the nature of man. What is man like? are humans, good people in their essence? Are they good? Generally speaking? Are they bad? What’s the situation here? And different religions will have different approaches on how they address that question. So for example, in Islam, they think that humans are a blank slate. This was John Locke’s view, the political philosopher, that there’s this blank slate, we’re neither good nor bad. And it all just depends on our environment. Also, the there was a lot in Christian history. The Augustinian Pelagiun debate, Pelagius believed that the fall that refers to the first sin, the fall didn’t have a drastic effect on humanity only sort of a social effect. So he sort of held to a blank slate view as well. So that’s different than saying that when humans pop out of the womb, that what’s their situation like? And I think the Christian view is that there’s, at the very least, and by Christian view here, I mean, that all of the camps within Orthodox Christianity would say that there is a propensity to sin that humans now live in a fallen world that we all die as a result of the fall. So there are consequences. Some Christians will go further than that, but I’m just saying this is what Eastern Orthodox Roman Catholics, Protestants would all agree upon. So there is a difference of opinion. I should say conviction on what human nature is like. So do all religions basically teach the same thing? No, they don’t. Christianity teaches Hey, humans are so messed up. We need to save your we can’t earn our salvation. That’s another aspect. Ordo salutis: The Order of salvation. So when we require a savior, that’s different from the goods outweighing the bads in our life and having a law judge how we’ve done?
Ted: I would only add one little thing and that is that, you know, if I’m talking to a person like that, and they’re saying, well, all religions teach the same thing you did great, a perfect answer. I would also say this, that it does reveal that man is religious by nature and that you’re going to worship something. Even an atheist, they, you know, there’s some kind of religious loyalty somewhere. So it does show you that we are built for relationship with God. And so obviously, other religions are an attempt to, to do that. But of course, they’re very different in how they do it.
Kurt: Yep. Good point. Keep them coming. This is kind of fun. Maybe we should do this more often.
Seth: Okay, are you ready for this one?
Seth: All right. Why doesn’t God make his existence more obvious to us?
Kurt: Oh, this is a hard one. No, softball here.
Seth: Fastball thrown this one in there.
Kurt: Yes. Good. So Why doesn’t God make his existence more known to us in the academic debates? This is what’s called the hiddenness of God. And this is becoming very popular among critical thinkers for an objection against theism. Now, let me let me first say this, and this is an interesting take, perhaps, let’s say it’s true. That let’s say the argument is a good one against the existence of God, here that that if God were to exist, he would show himself more frequently, more, obviously, for his creation, to know that He exists. If If we say that’s a good argument, but we have all these other arguments in support of God’s existence, then we need to weigh all of the arguments cumulatively, in order to make a an informed evaluation of the situation. And when, if we grant the hiddenness of God view here, let’s do that. So you got the one good argument. Let’s say you got two maybe even three arguments against God’s existence. But let’s say you’ve got 10 or 15 arguments or a dozen or so you might say argument For God’s existence, you need to put those together. And maybe wait some arguments together. I think the it’s still overwhelmingly the fact that God exists, that we can know that. So yes, let’s say it’s a good one that shouldn’t push you away from God. All right. Now let’s, let’s address the argument more. So there might be reasons why God hasn’t written, I am here in the sky, he might have certain reasons for doing that. And we might not know what those reasons are. This is an approach to the evidential problem of evil, called skeptical theism. And skeptical theism doesn’t refer to that one is skeptical of theism, but just that, that maybe we don’t have this information about why God would do something. And so maybe, that would apply here with divine hiddenness that a certain level of of distance epistemic distance is required for God to relate into allow certain freedom for us. Now, if God were to make his existence known, more, So would that guarantee more people believe? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it does. When you read the Old Testament, you see God performing these miracles with the Israelites time and time again, think about the 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire, and by night and cloud by day. So God is clearly working with them in their immediate context. And guess what happens? They still build the golden calf, they still rebel, they don’t follow along. And so what happens is, yo, he says, fine, you’re going to have to wander the wilderness for 40 years. Because what basically he’s requires and wants to bring about is a fresh crop, new people. So he requires a generation to pass before the Israelites can go into the promised land. So even with these manifest experiences, the Israelites had, they continued to rebel. So I want to sort of undercut the the the question or the argument here and say, would that really be enough to bring you to believe and not just believe proposition only, but to give your allegiance, right? And what is giving your allegiance that means you got to give your will over. And I don’t think a lot of people want to do that. And they wouldn’t even if God wrote, I am here in the sky in the clouds. So that’s sort of a quick, you know, again, I was unprepared for this. So hopefully, that and that’s, that’s a tough question. Seth. I’m glad you brought that up. And it is becoming more common. So I’ve got to work on maybe preparing my answer to that one.
Seth: And you know, there’s been atheists that have been rather blunt. You know, when asked the question, well, what if you died? And you know, you found out that God existed? Would you worship Him? And some atheists have been…
Kurt: Yeah, they say, No, I still wouldn’t. Yep,
Seth: Exactly. Like I’d rather go to hell, then go to heaven. That’s pretty revealing,
Ted: Which highlights the will. It’s… we’ll do that Kurt was talking about in Hebrews chapter 11, verse six, to give to give a simplistic answer. And Kurt gave the scholarly answer, which is correct, I think, Hebrews 11 six says, but without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that He exists, that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him so. So for the atheist in Kurt, you nail it right on the head, that they’re what they’re looking for, is this extraordinary evidence as if there’s not enough evidence already. Whereas Romans one says very clearly that since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen from the things that have been made, so that men are without excuse. So it really highlights the will, and not just the intellect because there, you know, it’s like, well, I don’t know if there’s a God. Well, no, Paul says, you can know there’s a God. And then the science backs it up as well.
Kurt: Yeah. And you said there, the atheist is looking for the extraordinary evidence. And this this comes from Carl Sagan who said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The trouble is, there’s no such thing as extraordinary evidence. It all just is evidence there’s evidence for and evidence against an extraordinary, you know, evidence might be like having having a video camera from the first century AD, right? of some event, let’s say, Jerusalem being burned down by the Romans, that requires extraordinary evidence. Well, why think that? Why think, you know, for starters, there are no such things as video cameras, so you have to evaluate the time period, the the evidence given the time period, so you can’t you can’t require Something that was impossible. Right? So that then speaks to the will that you’re seeking for something that is impossible. And also the extraordinary claims, is it you know, what, what is an extraordinary claim? And looking at the presumption of the person, for some people, that might not be an extraordinary claim. So that idea of extraordinary claim and extraordinary evidence, I think we should be willing to say, Well, what do you mean by that? That’s a very important question. What do you mean, what does that word require from your framework? And and you’ll discover there, when you ask that you’ll discover Oh, well, here’s where we disagree. And I question your use of that, that term or meaning, what you mean with that term? So all right, we’ve got here Michaela is tuned in. She is the best follower, I’ve got. Clay Jones says something interesting to say about this. I need to swipe over here. So I can read the full comment, in that we are proving ourselves as followers of Christ, because we can’t see him face to face. He says, This is why we will be able to rule over angels who know without who know without that God exists or something to that effect. So yeah, there is this sense, with divine hiddenness, the hiddenness of God, that we are, we are proving ourselves. So this is also a part of what’s called theodicy, you know, coming up with reasons for why this might be the case. And so that’s that’s part of it. This is maybe one area of soul making theodicy or God is working on having us build our character, or spiritual maturity. So there’s some aspect of trust to it as well. If I am away from my wife, and I need a ride, I have trust show. And she’s told me she’s gonna come pick me up, I trust that she’ll be there. Now, even that trust might be mistaken. Let’s say she doesn’t show up. Maybe she got into a car accident, right? Maybe there’s some other other factors here. But I still have that trust based on the evidence and the reliability and the character of the person, I trust that they’ll be there. So Michaela, better pick me up from the train station. Alright, Seth, you have a quick one. We have time for one more.
Seth: I do I have a quick one. And I’m gonna give this to Ted here because he just on the show a couple weeks ago, and asked, answered this question. And that is, the Bible’s been changed so many times throughout history, that we can no longer trust it.
Seth: How would you respond to that?
Ted: You know… Well, that’s, a big assumption that the Bible has been changed so many times. So you know, what, obviously, what do you mean by that? It’s a great, it’s, it’s the Greg kochel tactic. You know, what do you mean by that? How did you come to that conclusion? You know, would you consider that if you haven’t read tactics, you should read Greg kokles. Book tactics is a great book, since we’re talking about questions. And Seth, have you read that book? By the way? I have more than once. It’s excellent. Okay. Very good. Very good. Well, you get an A for today. But no, so the Bible, it hasn’t been changed. You know, that’s, that’s the thing is that you? The question we’re asking is, is that we’re kind of kind of the assumption is that you can’t really trust the Bible, because it’s been, you know, it’s so old. And it’s been through so many additions, things like that. Well, that may be a popular understanding of it. But that’s not the scholarly understanding of it. So when you’re reconstructing the texts that hold science is called textual criticism. And so this is based on years of collecting manuscripts and evidence. And there is a there’s an organization in Germany, called the thick it’s called the Center for New Testament textual research, it’s in Munster Germany, an American organization that does the same thing is called the Center for the Study of New Testament manuscripts. That’s directed by Daniel Wallace. And what these organizations do is they count the number of New Testament manuscripts. And currently there are goodness, what is it close to 30,000, 29,000 manuscripts? Most recently, we have a manuscript that dates to the second century it’s a marked fragment. It was believed that the mark fragment was probably first century but it ended up it was second century we had a whole episode. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Dan, Dan, on the show. Yeah. So so what we’re looking at it with manuscripts is we’re looking for early at a station we want we want the manuscripts to be within within the timeframe of the eyewitnesses. And then we want multiple attestation. So when you look at the Bible, and you compare that to other documents in the ancient world, the Bible is is head in a hands all way over any other ancient document with a number of manuscripts and with the, with the early manuscripts. So with with this science, we’re able to reconstruct the original text in its original format, and you compare and contrast the different versions, and they’re not really versions are really text of the same thing. Beyond that the early church fathers, were talking about this earlier, I was actually talking to a friend of mine about this, the early church fathers like Irenaeus and Polycarp, things like that. They’re writing in like the second century. So they’re writing, and they’re quoting the New Testament documents. So these documents are actually they’re that widespread. And you can actually reconstruct the entire New Testament, you know, hundreds of times over just from just from the quotations of the early church fathers, when you add to all of that archeology, then you have an incredibly reliable document in which we can be, you know, with a fairly high degree of certainty. Now, when we’re talking about archaeology, and you’re talking about manuscripts, we’re not talking about like, like logic, or, you know, any type of you know, where you’re going to have an absolute definite, you know, 100%. But it’s a very high degree of probability within a reasonable doubt that the New Testament is very historically reliable, that it’s giving us historical information. We talked about tacitus. Last time we were on Kurt, we were talking about how, how accurate of an historian he was, and tacitus record something like 14 or 15 historical facts about early Christians that dovetail perfectly with what the New Testament says. And you add to that Josephus and other writers, so you know, the person who says that the Bible can’t be trusted, because it’s, you know, been copied down so many times just really doesn’t understand history, they understand manuscripts. They don’t understand archaeology.
Kurt: Yeah. It’s not the telephone game.
Ted: No, it’s not.
Kurt: …which, sadly, Bart Ehrman, I believe, has used that example, you know, the copies of the copies, you know, and so yeah, I think he said, it’s like the telephone game. He used that as an introduction. And really, I’m 90% positive. I’ve heard him say this, but I will go back and confirm and it’s a shame if he does, yeah. And because he knows better,
Ted: Yes, he does. He studied under Bruce Metzger at Princeton. I’ll add the two final quotes here that kind of dubbed to kind of finish this up that to answer your question. And one of them is I’m paraphrasing, this is Dr. Gary Habermas at Liberty University. He says, and Gary has said, and I’ve seen it, I’ve read him say that say this somewhere. He said that we have enough evidence right now to prove Christianity over and over again, and we say prove we don’t mean again with 100%, but with a very high degree of probability. And then the other quote is from Dr. Daniel Wallace. And he says this, and I saw him several years ago, we were in Dallas looking at some actual manuscripts. He says, today, we have an embarrassment of riches. When it comes to manuscript Christians who believe the New Testament we have this incredible embarrassment of riches. So we live in exciting time when it comes to the New Testament, the Old Testament, as far as historical reliability.
Kurt: And I just quickly googled, yes, in fact, Berman has used the telephone game analogy. And in fact, scholars have replied to that as well. So all right, good. We’ve confirmed that we’ve got it in the show. Seth, thank you for your questions. And the
Kurt: How many did we get through?
Seth: We got through eight of them. So we’ve got a couple more, but maybe we can save those for later.
Kurt: Sounds good. add them to the next time we do something like this. We should maybe do this once a quarter. Something like that. That’d be a lot of fun. All right. Well, that does it for the program. today. I’m grateful for the continued support of our patrons. Those are folks that just chip in a few bucks a month. We’d love for you to consider becoming one of our monthly supporters to keep us going and growing here on the program. also grateful for the partnerships that we have with our sponsors. They are defenders media, consult Kevin, the sky floor, rethinking Hill, the Illinois family Institute, and Fox restoration. I want to thank our guests today. We’ve got Seth over on the line. And Ted in studio. It’s great to have you guys here on the program. Thank you so much. And a special thanks to our technical producer Chris, for all the fine work that he does week in week out except for next week. I think he’s gone so well might not have a live show might have something pre recorded for you if you’re still tuning in here for us. Alright. And last but not least, I want to thank you for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.