Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Response to Loftus #1

John Loftus is a former-pastor turned atheist who now writes and speaks in defense of atheism. He has been writing on his blog, Debunking Christianity, a series he has called “Reality Check: What Must Be the Case if Christianity is True?” These are a series of seemingly unbelievable ideas that, according to Loftus, all Christians must believe. I am going to blog through all of these (so far he’s up to 23 posts) with my responses and then do my own series “Reality Check: What Must Be the Case if Naturalism is True?”

1) There must be a God who is a simple being yet made up of three inexplicable persons existing forever outside of time without a beginning, who therefore never learned anything new, never took a risk, never made a decision, never disagreed within the Godhead, and never had a prior moment to freely choose his own nature.

I don’t think any rational Christian believes that God is simple. God does not have to be simple. Through God’s omnipotence, He can show himself in a simple way so that we, His creation, can understand Him, but that does not make Him simple. When I am talking to my 18-month-old son, I do not speak the same way that I speak to my graduate advisor. I speak simply to my son so he can understand me. That does not mean that while I am speaking to him all my speech and thoughts must be simple.

An infinite being who created the universe and exists beyond the limits of time and space would appear to us, who are finite beings living within a linear timeline, as having the characteristics that Loftus mentions above. The fact that he exists outside of time and never learned anything new does not sound like a challenge to me. This sounds like commonly accepted attributes of an eternal and omniscient God. The laws of causality demand that there must be something that exists eternally (an un-caused first cause) to stop infinite regress (more on this on a future post). I think some atheists (actually most people, atheist or not) have trouble with the concept of a being who already knows everything and does not need to learn anything new. To me, these sound like necessary attributes of a being who is powerful enough to create the universe. The concept of learning something new is a human concept, and an attribute (i.e. omniscience) which can never apply to humans can sometimes be uncomfortable. Once my son is old enough to start asking questions, I will have the answers to nearly all of them (I hope!) and he might think that I know everything. But the difference between God’s knowledge and mine is so much greater than that between my knowledge and my son’s.

The arguments that God “never took a risk, never made a decision, never disagreed within the Godhead, and never had a prior moment to freely choose his own nature” are human attributes that don’t necessarily apply to an infinite being. I think that Loftus is trying to say that because God already knows the future the concepts of risk and choice do not apply to Him. Choice does not involve knowledge of the future, it involves desire. A little while ago I had a choice to make: Michelle and I went to my favorite restaurant (Red’s) and I had to choose between the burger and the chopped salad. I knew that I was going to get the burger, I always get the burger. In fact, before we were seated Michelle told me that she knew I was going to get the burger. Just because both I and Michelle already knew that I would order the burger does not mean that I did not make the choice to order the burger.

The main problem with Loftus’ argument is that he is looking through atheism glasses. He already assumes that God does not exist and then interprets the data. He calls this a control belief. Christians have the same kind of control belief; Christians assume that God does exist and then interpret the data. And this is the way it has to be. God can neither be proved or disproved; we must start with an assumption either way. Atheists/naturalists are no less impartial than Christians/theists. Atheism/naturalism does not build a better case than Christianity/theism, they just view the data through different glasses. In this case, Loftus assumes that there cannot be an infinite deity who created the universe and therefore these attributes of omniscience and eternality are irrational. I start with the assumption that there must be a God and omniscience and eternality must be attributes of this God.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

By Request...

Here are some recent pics of Eli.

Here we are at Disneyland.

We met Nana and Papa there.

His favorite ride seems to be the carousel right now.

We had a lot of fun.

We also went to the Long Beach Aquarium. He loved the jellyfish exhibit.

And he made friends with a diver.

Eli loved the fish petting zoo.

But his favorite part was the Lorikeet Exhibit.

As you can see, Chris likes to lurk in the background

But he came out to show off his glorious manbeardedness

The whole fam came

Why do kids sleep like this? This cant be good for his back.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Amazing Winning Wife

Michelle is the luckiest woman alive, and not just because she married me! She wins so much stuff from radio stations. I think its a combination of incredible, odds-defying luck and a huge number of attempts to win stuff. She will be flipping through radio stations in the car and if she hears "Call now to win" she'll have already speed-dialed the radio station before the DJ even finishes the sentence. Today she won Dave Matthews tickets and we're going to see them at Verizon Amphiteatre on August 21. Here is a list of things she has won from radio stations in the past couple of years:
- Front row center tix to see Dave Matthews Band at the Hollywood Bowl
- Another pair of tix to see DMB at the Hollywood Bowl on another night
- Backstage passes to see the Goo Goo Dolls at Verizon which included wine tasting and pics with the band
- A pair of tix to see Nickleback at Verizon
- A set of four tix to Knotts Berry Farm for answering the question "What is the name of the restaurant that serves chicken at Knott's?"
- A pair of tix to see a screening of Hitch with the cast which included the soundtrack and a t-shirt
- A set of four tix to see Princesses on Ice which included a tea party with the princesses
- A set of books and cds from Greg Laurie and Harvest
- And most recently another pair of tix to see DMB at Verizon

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lost Ramblings

Some things you may have missed so far this season if you are only a casual watcher of Lost and have not yet taken it to the same unhealthy level that I have:

- Jin and Sun are not married in the alternate universe: they are not wearing wedding rings and the airport employee calls Sun ‘Ms. Paik’ which is her maiden name
- Desmond is married in the alternate universe: he’s wearing a wedding ring
- Jack does not have a problem with alcohol in the alternate universe: he only has one bottle of alcohol instead of the two that he had in the season 1 flashbacks, and he spills it and doesn’t drink it.
- The title of last night’s ep “What Kate Does” mirrors a season 1 ep titled “what Kate Did.”
- The infection that Dogen said that Sayid had sounds like the infection from the early seasons that made Desmond wear a hazmat suit to go outside the hatch.
- Ethan was Claire’s doctor in the alternate universe and he tried to steal Claire’s baby in the original storyline. He was introduced in season 1 as Ethan Rom, but we later found out that he was the son of Horace Goodspeed and he introduced himself last night as Ethan Goodspeed. Also, he was born on the island, so I think his appearance last night is going to be important.
- The stuffed killer whale that Kate saw in Claire’s bag in the off-island timeline is the same stuffed killer whale that Kate gave to newborn Aaron in season 2.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


We took Eli to the snow for the first time last weekend. My family rents this cabin up in Blue Jay every year and this year was Eli's first. I know I am totally biased, but isn't this the cutest kid you've ever seen??? The last picture is in the cabin when Eli tried to kiss Michelle through a window.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Poor Neglected Blog

I'm back to blogging. I don't think anyone's reading this anymore, though. To anyone who still reads this little blog, here are a bunch of thoughts rolling around my head:

- I just turned 29. I don't want to call it a mid-life crisis, but this was a tough birthday for me. I have a list of things that I want to accomplish by the time I'm 30 and I only have 360 more days to finish it.

- Emotions overwhelm over the crisis in Haiti; so tragic. It makes me proud to be an American that disaster aid is something that we take so seriously, and it makes me glad to be a Christian when I hear of faith based organizations showing God's love to Haiti. Pat Robertson ticks me off and he mis-represents Christianity. He doesn't represent me or anyone else that I know when he says stupid things like this. His theology is dangerous. If one thinks that when tragedies happen, the victims are being punished by a vengeful God, then help will be slow if at all. Ideas have consequences.

- Eli is at an awesome age. He is really active, very curious, and just mobile enough to be able to hurt himself. He gets really excited about certain things and starts running, but he cant quite control it yet, so he trips a lot. He is so cute, though. I think he might be starting to get ready for a sibling though. (this is merely an observation, not an announcement.)

More blogging later. Here's a picture.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Christmas Music Video

We won funniest video last night at the Calvary-Church-high-school-group-"White-Christmas"-Christmas-party.

Feel free to laugh at my running man dance moves.