Tag Archive: god

The Argument Against Euthanasia

Why shouldn’t someone have the right to end their own lives? Well, in reality, they do. If someone has such an intent and takes the right actions they will succeed in their endeavor. What law can then stop them? What punishment shall we bring upon them once they are dead?

Now, a legal argument can be made against assisted suicide and it can with a decent measure of success be enforced. The one assisting is still alive to punish and this can certainly serve as a deterrent.

It is odd, but those who favor the right of an individual to end their own life miss the irony of also being in favor of assisted suicide. You see, the argument in favor of the right of someone to end their own life is based on the view that, “its their own life, they can do with it as they please. Its no one else’s business.” If it is no one else’s business then what are they doing by getting involved and assisting? They are getting involved in someone else’s business.

The argument against Euthanasia is not a legal one.  It is not even just an ethical one.  It is a spiritual argument.

The foundation of the belief that suicide is an acceptable act is built upon a faulty assumption.  The statement, “It is my life, I can do with it what I want,” is untrue.  You did not create this life.  You did not purchase this life.  It was given to you as a gift by its creator, God and was ransomed by its Savior, Christ.

When you make it your life, in the sense that you possess it, you have become your own God.  This gives us a clue as to why someone would want to end thier life.  They have lost hope.   Surely there is little or no hope in to be found in ourselves as our own God.  Our God must be someone greater than ourselves in order for us to find any hope in him.  It is the running of ones own life that brings them to the point where they feel the answer is suicide.

It is not our own life, that we can do with it what we want.  We are not our own God.  If we live our lives daily with God as the ruler we can avoid the utter desperation and despair that makes us believe suicide to be the answer.  As it is not our own life to do with, it certainly isn’t someone else’s to assist in bringing it to an end.  Obviously if it is morally wrong and devastating to make the choice to be your own God, it is just as bad or worse to act as the God of someone else’s life.  Rather than fighting for the right of someone to take their own life, a right that we have shown really does not exist, let us fight to show them the hope that exists in submitting to God as the owner and ruler of their life.

The Bible Makes Sense – Like God Makes Sense

I recently received the following question that I would like to address.  “I definitely believe in God. I am certain I believe in the same God of the Christian bible, my struggle is with the bible itself. I find so many contradictions that nobody can explain for me; faith shakers. I want to know my creator, but it is hard when my bible is so tainted by interpretation of man.  God never held the pen, nor did he hand pick the books of the bible. This was done by a committee of men.  I am not an atheist, nor do i try to play devil’s advocate. I am just a person searching for answers. In the exodus for example, it says that the pharaoh would begin to want to comply, but then God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart and made him defiant.  How could the God of love and all living things harden the Pharaoh’s heart, thereby sealing his fate? And what of Judas? Did the God of love and infallibility take free will from these men and damn them?  So even though I believe very much in a loving God, the inconsistencies in the bible cause me to doubt the whole dynamic of salvation through Christ.  I have no choice but to think that there is a possibility that Christ’s role in the bible could have been misrepresented.   I just want the information given to us to be consistent. I apologize for the length of the question as well as punctuation and grammar, but what i want to know is, where can i find a god that makes sense? (content modified for grammar and length).”

First, let me say, while you are looking for a God that makes sense, rest assured He has already found you.  And while that may sound trite it lies at the heart of the answer to the concern mentioned above.  If there is a God (and other posts on this site have already begun addressing that point, as will more to come) who is the Supreme Creator it stands to reason that He would desire to communicate with His creation.  What would prohibit Him from doing so if He desires?  As Paul describes for us, the law is written on our hearts and our conscience also bears witness (Romans 2:15).  The witness of God is upon our hearts from birth.  God begins His communication with us at the very beginning of our existence.

It is more difficult to believe that God would not communicate with us than it is to believe He would.  He certainly has the ability to communicate with us.   God has communicated with us in three primary ways first , the Son, Christ.  He is the fullness of revelation.  Secondly is the Bible, which entirely compliments the revelation of the Son.  The third means is through prayer.

I cannot answer the question of why God has chosen the Bible as one of the three primary means of communicating with us rather than choosing some other means.  But on the other hand, why not the Bible?  Written communication is a common and accepted form of communication (I’m communicating with you right now through written form).   Written communication is the recording of ideas that exist in someone’s mind, whether it be your own with you being the true author, or someone else’s, like a reporter or journalist would.   Is it so inconceivable that an all powerful Creator could communicate the ideas in His mind and heart to those He chose?  Wouldn’t a good author seek to insure that what He has communicated is published accurately and correctly, especially an author with unlimited power?  Why do we make the assumption that the Bible is tainted with the interpretation of man.  Has God shown Himself to be such a hands-off creator and subsequently communicator\author?

One of the test of any published work is how does it stand the test of time?  What other book has withstood such great investigation, scrutiny, cynicism and even attack and remained a timeless message?

 Now in regard to contradictions in the Bible lets really consider that.  I have heard my entire life about contradictions in the Bible.  As I mentioned, no writing in history has been more scrutinized than the Bible.  People have gone to great efforts to identify contradictions and inaccuracies in the Bible.  Where are they, really?  This blog does not have the space to address the many supposed contradictions specifically.  My book will address some of them as examples.  For now, lets consider the attitude that leads to tghe argument of contradictions in the Bible.  If one approaches any writing with the mindset that it must contain contradictions and fallacies, they are guaranteed to find them.  They will produce them.  It is assumed the Bible has contradictions becasue of what it claims to be.  It claims to be the Word of God.  Such an outrageous claim immediately awakens the cynic within us.  If we approach the Bible with the mindset that it is true and accurate we are able to see that the contradictions we thought existed really aren’t there.  I’m not promoting blind acceptance, but rather a different approach in our investigation with a more open mind.

As C.S. Lewis tells us in ‘Mere Christianity’, reality is very much different than we would have expected.  If we were designing the universe it would have been much more symmetrical and simple.  Instead, what we have is complexity that does not meet our expectations.  For example, if one were designing the planets they would probably be uniform in size, or maybe growing larger as they moved further from the sun.  Or they would all have one moon, or three, or some pattern.  Instead we have planets of all different sizes in no particular order, with a variety of moons, one with rings, etc.

The same would be expected if someone were putting together the Bible as a scam or a hoax or even just a good made up story.  They would go to great care to make sure that when people looked for contradictions they would not be able to find them as that would hurt the credibility.  Instead what we have is a book that seems to have (I emphasize the word seems) multiple contradictions, but somehow has stood the test of time.

To address the two examples provided in the question above, simply put, no, God did take away these men’s free will to choose.  Pharaoh did not begin to comply and then God harden His hurt.  There was no real compliance on Pharaoh’s heart.  He thought he could negotiate a deal, thereby placing himself on equal footing with God.  This is not compliance and is certainly not humility.  God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because he would recognize who God was.   The same is true of Judas.   If  not then why was Judas distraught and regret what he had done?  These men chose their own fate when they chose to be the god of their own lives.  This happens to all of us as we seek to make ourselves the God of our own lives.

How Can Good People do Bad Things

We often struggle with the fact that people who seem to be able to produce so much good in their lives can also produce such bad. It makes us question all that we view as right about the world. It can even make us question God. After all, if God is the all-powerful creator , can’t He either a) make us in such a way that we cannot do such bad or b) keep us from doing it? Now I will address the second of those more thoroughly in another article. Suffice it to say for now that God can indeed ‘keep us’ from doing such bad but only as we allow Him.

The one who is able to do much good has equal ability to do much bad. It is precisely the ability to do such good that enables them to also do the bad. The one who is creative in his doing of good can use that same creativity toward the doing of good. It requires submission to the greater will of God to channel this ability toward good.

Wrong = The Absence of Right

There are several terms we use as descriptors as if they are an absolute condition or state of being. Some of them are misleading insomuch that they seem to be on equal footing with their supposed counterpart.

Take for example the term dark, when used in reference to a room or the night around us. Dark is not a true measurement. There are no units of dark. There are only units of light. We measure light and use the term dark to describe the absence of light. Dark is solely a term of relevance, describing a condition where someone feels there is sufficient absence of light. Cold is another term like this. We measure units of heat and we say something is cold when it reaches some level of an absence of heat.

To refer to something as wrong is similar. When we refer to something as wrong we are describing it as being absent of or deviating from the condition of being right. Right is the standard. When we say something is wrong, we mean it does not or is not at the time, living up to the standard of being right. Whether we want to accept it or not we all have within our natures some level of understanding of an absolute standard of right. See my previous articles on God and intelligent people along with the article discussing other gods for more background. When we talk of something being wrong, or unfair, we are measuring it against this standard that originates with God.

Wrong is not an alternative means of doing something. It is the choice to deviate from the right way or the standard.

The Law of Nature – Part 2

Many will claim that what we refer to as the law of nature or the moral law is merely our instincts and the Herd Instinct. We all know about instincts like feeling hungry, or motherly love, or sexual instinct. Sometimes we may feel the desire to help another person in agreement with the herd instinct; but feeling that desire and choosing it are two different things. What happens if you hear a cry for help from someone in danger; helping them will place you at risk. You will be conflicted with two desires; one to provide assistance and another to keep out of it due to the instinct for survival. Yet something inside of you tells you that you should follow the instinct to help and deny the urge to keep out. What is this? It is the moral law. You probably want to be safe more than you want to help the person in trouble, but yet something inside you causes you to follow the weaker instinct. It is the moral law.

Throughout history we have viewed some instincts as better than others. As in the example above we may say that the instinct to help someone in trouble is better than others. But instincts themselves are neither good or bad. Certainly instincts such as the sexual instinct or the instinct to fight must be restrained more often than an instinct such as motherly love. But a husband must follow his sexual instinct with his wife at certain times and a soldier must follow his instinct to fight at the right moment while the instinct of motherly love may have to be restrained in order to be fair to other children, and can even in and of itself be perverted.  Even the mere idea that an instinct can be perverted tells us it can be good, pointing to good and bad, or right and wrong – a standard.

To choose the right instinct at the right time requires something other than the instincts themselves. It is much like the keys on the keyboard I am using to type this. The keys themselves do not determine which should be typed when. Something above them does. In order for what is typed to make words and sense something other than the keys must determine which key should be pressed and when.

In addition, a standard determines the quality of the output of that decision. We call some documents and stories good while others are not. Even simpler, for a word to be a word the letters must be typed in a certain order. As our instincts are used there is a standard we use to determine when they should be followed and when they should be restrained.   We do not merely follow them or restrain them, we choose to do one or the other.  Our instincts cannot choose themselves which to follow.  Something above them must make this choice – the moral law.

credit to C.S. Lewis – “Mere Christianity”

The Law of Nature – Part 1

We have all stated things such as “how would you like it if anyone did the same thing to you?”, “That’s my seat, I was there first”, “Leave him alone, he didn’t do anything to you”, “Come on, you promised.”

What is interesting about this is that the person saying them is not merely saying there is something inconvenient about the act or it does not happen to please them. They are appealing to some standard of behavior which he expects the other person to know about. They are appealing to a sense of fairness.  The other person is not apt to reply, forget your standard. Rather they will seek to justify their actions with some reason or excuse. They will try and come up with some reason as to why this particular instance is an exception to the norm and why they are justified in their action. It appears that both persons acknowledge the existence of this standard of behavior. The very fact that we will attempt to justify our actions proves our belief in an acceptable standard of behavior. We use the very same standard of behavior to defend our exception to it in certain cases. The mere fact alone that we debate in such instances shows that we acknowledge the existence of this standard of behavior. Debating is an attempt to prove that you are right and the other is wrong, and vice-versa. There can be no right and wrong if there is no standard of what is right.

In older days this was called the law of nature. It has more recently become known as the law of human nature or the moral law. In modern times we tend to identify the law of nature with such things as gravity, or if you mix certain chemicals they will produce certain things, or like will beget like, etc. Those of older times recognized that man’s existence was governed by the moral law just as he was governed by the law of gravity. I will discuss the differences and similarities of these laws more fully in a future article.

One of the objections to the Law of Nature being an absolute in mankind is the differences in what is right and wrong from age to age, civilization to civilization, and various cultures. If you actually examine these different ages, civilizations and cultures what you will see is there are actually far more similarities than differences. For example, selfishness has never been admired. Men may have disagreed whether a man may have one wife or three, but they have always said you cannot have whatever woman you want. A soldier who runs from the battlefield has always been looked upon as cowardly.

Some will argue against the presence of an absolute moral law by stating that as man evolves he simply evolves to a ‘better’ or more civilized creature. First, in doing so he undermines his own argument. For what is he measuring against to determine that man’s actions are ‘better’ or more civilized at one time or another. In order to do a comparative he must have a standard to measure against as an absolute. Secondly, quite often the ‘better’ or more civilized notion comes merely from an understanding of fact rather than an improved morality. For example someone may say mankind burned witches at the stake years ago as an illustration of how we have evolved. The reality is that the reason we do not put witches to death today is because we do not believe witches exist (at least as thought of in days past). We have not ceased putting to death witches based on a new or improved moral understanding but rather because we do not believe there are witches. Certainly if we did believe there were witches who used their powers to kill or drive others mad or other similar things many would feel that if anyone should be put to death, they should. This does not stand as an argument against a moral law and in favor of the evolution of man’s thought but rather it actually again argues in favor of an accepted standard of behavior – for how would we determine that it was wrong to burn these people at the stake and we should no longer do so?

God and Intelligent People

Brian from Kentucky asked the following:

Something came up in my small group the other day – If God makes so much sense to us, then why are there so many smart people that believe in something else? There are plenty of people out there that are way more educated and way smarter than any Christian I know that believe in another God or believe in no God at all.
Also, if we were born in another culture that believed in something else, do you think it would make just as much sense? Did we just get lucky to be born in the right culture with the right beliefs around us?

There are actually two distinct questions here so I am going to treat them in two different posts.  First of all, thanks Brian for your questions.

The first question deals with the belief of intelligent people in regard to God.  Brian, you are absolutely correct in your assessment that a number of intelligent people do not believe in any God, while others believe in a different god than this site professes.  It is a common misconception though that intelligent people do not believe in God (or some god).  Throughout history some of the wisest and most intelligent people have professed their belief in a God of creation.  The bible tells us of the man Solomon and his legendary wisdom.  Certainly Solomon believed in God.  I will not focus on him to make this point since our knowledge of Solomon is primarily from the bible and we would in a sense be using the bible to support the bible.

Isaac Newton is regarded by many as one of the most intelligent people and most respected scientists to have lived.  During his lifetime Newton wrote over one million words regarding theology.  Indeed, he spent more time on theology than on science.

Another great man of science in history, Galileo Galilei, spent much of his life showing the harmony of the scripture and science.  While his scientific views seemed to have gotten him into hot water with the church, as he held to a Copernican cosmology, while the church had for years based their belief on Aristotelian cosmology (with the earth at the center of all things), it was probably actually his sharp sarcasm that got him into more trouble than his beliefs.  He never met a debate that he didn’t like and was quick to enter into argument where his intellect and knowledge, combined with his sharp wit would often humiliate his opponent.

Even well-known scientists of a more modern era, Einstein and Stephen Hawking have admitted that a creator God is the most plausible solution to the ultimate source of what we know – albeit Einstein admitted it begrudgingly, he admitted it none the less.  Great minds of other disciplines besides science and math have expressed their belief in God throughout history as well.

The perception that intellectuals do not believe in God is due in part to the fact that some are extremely vociferous in their objections.

Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III, Grahan Perdue Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia has been nominated for the Nobel prize and was recently cited as the third most quoted chemist in the world.  Dr. Schaefer states in regard to the resistance to the idea of a beginning of the universe and subsequently a belief that God is the author and origin of that beginning, “Why such resistance to the idea of a definite beginning of the universe? It goes right back to that first argument, the cosmological argument: (a) Everything that begins to exist must have a cause; (b) If the universe began to exist, then (c) the universe must have a cause. You can see the direction in which this argument is flowing–a direction of discomfort to some physicists.”

The direction Dr. Shaeffer refers to is the fact that if the universe has a cause, it must have a creator, and if it has a creator and a cause, people ought to be compelled to line up with that cause. For many, the idea of lining up with anything greater than themselves or their ideas is frightening at best.

This is supported by the Apostle Paul’s words in I Corinthians 1:18 thru 31.  In this passage of scripture Paul states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ ”  Paul has quoted Isaiah 29:14 in the last half of those verses above.  God predicted that those who are considered to be and who consider themselves to be wise would doubt His primary message, the gospel.

In verse 23 of the passage Paul writes, “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.  Why would it be “foolishness to the Gentiles?”  Man, by nature is an arrogant creature.  At the risk of painting with too broad of a brush, those who consider themselves wise are often the most arrogant.  It is utter foolishness to those who like to sit around and debate wisdom to consider that the answer to man’s problems is actually the act of self-humiliation by the creator, the very one who should embody wisdom.  The arrogance of man often gets in the way of him finding the real answers.  Paul, recognized this trait.  Solomon also recognized it as he wrote in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

Thirdly, would man really want a God who is no smarter than he is?  While we struggle in our arrogance to believe in Him, logic tells us that one who could and is charged with the creation and maintenance of the universe would need to be significantly wiser and smarter than any man.  This is part of what Paul means when he states in verse 25, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength”

One cannot prove the existence of God, but logic leads one in that direction much more readily than it leads one to a void – which is what would be if God did not exist.
In my next post I will address the second part of Brian’s questions relating to people believing in other gods, especially other cultures.