Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Expert Testimony: The Anthropic Principle, Anthropology, and Historicity

“The Christian faith does not call for us to put our minds on the shelf, to fly in the face of common sense and history, or to make a leap of faith into the dark. The rational person, fully apprised of the evidence, can confidently believe...” –William Lane Craig

What is faith exactly?  Is it unyielding belief in the absurd as Richard Dawkins has suggested?  Is it trust in propositions that exist in contradiction to reality?  Or is faith something else?  Could it be possible that faith is reasonable, even logical?

We all put our faith in a certain ideology.  An atheist puts his or her faith in naturalistic conclusions, the belief that all things can be explained through natural means.  Is that a scientific conclusion, or a belief structure?  A Christian puts his or her faith in conclusions based on theological constructs of reality.  Is that entirely unscientific, or reasonable faith?

"I actually do not believe that there are any collisions between what I believe as a Christian, and what I know and have learned about as a scientist. I think there's a broad perception that that's the case, and that's what scares many scientists away from a serious consideration of faith." Francis Collins

I see three key areas as vital to my faith, which I see as intelligent faith.  We've often discussed the anthropic principle, or the evidence that the universe is tuned to allow for stars, planets, and life.  That is a vital first step toward intelligent faith.  To ignore the anthropic principle seems to me, insincere.  Second, it's important to understand anthropology, or the study of man.  More specifically I look to the heart of man.  Which means I'm trying to understand the common perspective from which I view the evidence and inquire of reality around me.  If I'm to be honest, as much so as possible at least, I must see my own inclinations and desires in how they affect my conclusions.  And finally historical voracity.  Since I am not able to inquire of the accounts of Christ by scientific measurements, how am I to inquire?  I am to inquire by the tests of historical verification.  How do historians decide on the credibility of events that took place in the past?  History is credible when it meets certain requirements, as we will see.

Once again as we've done in the past, we'll be looking at expert testimony, quotes from great minds to discover what their conclusions were regarding these three key topics.  So let's take a look.

The Anthropic Principle
the fine tuning of the universe
“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.” –Robert Jastrow, agnostic astronomer, author of God and the Astronomers

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” –Francis Crick, biochemist and spiritual skeptic, shared the Nobel Prize for discovering the molecular structure of DNA 

“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature's numbers to make the universe....The impression of design is overwhelming.” – Paul Davies, an internationally known British astrophysicist and author

“When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.” – John Polkinghorne
, renowned theoretical physicist 

“Many have a feeling that somehow intelligence must have been involved in the laws of the universe....I strongly sense the presence and actions of a creative being far beyond myself and yet always personal and close by.” – Charles Townes, Nobel Prize-winning physicist

"God is an awesome mathematician and physicist." -Francis Collins, award winning physician-geneticist, distinguished leadership in the Human Genome Project

the study of man
"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
C. S. Lewis, famous author, The Weight of Glory

 "Education, the great mumbo-jumbo and fraud of the age, purports to equip us to live and is prescribed as a universal remedy for everything from juvenile delinquency to premature senility. For the most part it only serves to enlarge stupidity, inflate conceit, enhance credulity and put those subjected to it at the mercy of brain-washers with printing presses, radio and TV at their disposal." Malcolm Muggeridge, famous journalist & author, in the "Observer", 1966

“Many people are being persuaded that they cannot be considered intelligent or well educated if they insist on the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Book. Let me say to you that truth has always lived with the minority; what the majority says at a given moment is usually wrong. The crowd one day cried, “Crucify him,” and the whole world united to murder the Son of God, because in their ignorance they knew Him not.” –Alan Redpath, Victorious Christian Service: Studies in the Book of Nehemiah, p. 113.

“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.” –G. K. Chesterton, English philosopher & author

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”–C. S. Lewis, famed author

“Therefore, when a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God's Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God.” –William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, p. 35-36.

“As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene...No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” –Albert Einstein, famous scientist, Nobel prize winner 

historical verification
“I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.” –Thomas Arnold, historian and Oxford professor

“If all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.” –Paul Maier, historian, Professor Emeritus at Western Michigan University

“They [the disciples] were testifying to the resurrection, a question of fact, not merely of faith. They were convinced of an event. And their willingness to die for attesting to that event is far more convincing that the willingness of others to die for a mere belief or because of loyalty to a religion or religious leader.” –Dave Hunt, Christian apologist & author

“I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history...” – E. M. Blaiklock, Professor of Classics at Auckland University

“If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the reality of the Christian church and its phenomenal growth in the first three centuries of the Christian era? Christ's church covered the Western world by the fourth century. A religious movement built on a lie could not have accomplished that....All the power of Rome and of the religious establishment in Jerusalem was geared to stop the Christian faith. All they had to do was to dig up the grave and to present the corpse. They didn’t.” –Henry Schaefer III, Professor of Chemistry University of Georgia, highly cited scientist H-index 110.

“The fact that the Christian fellowship, founded on belief in Jesus’ resurrection, could come into existence and flourish in the very city where he was executed and buried seems to be compelling evidence for the historicity of the empty tomb.” –William Lane Craig, Christian author and speaker, Biola University

Click Here to view more Quotes in the "Powerful Quotes" section of this website.

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