A misleading and unfair question

It’s not uncommon for someone opposed to our faith to ask: How could you believe in God given some of the things science has proven? It’s a misleading and unfair question for several reasons.  It’s usually directed at someone who is not an astrophysicist or even someone who holds some advanced degree. It’s easy to imply that advanced science has proven there is no God when talking to someone who is not a scientist. It’s an unfair advantage that some exploit. One can claim that science has proven anything when talking to someone without such an education.  But doing so speaks more to the intentions of the one making the claim. Science has not proven there is no God.  It’s either a claim intended to deceive, one made from ignorance, or it’s an expression atheist faith.

It’s important to note that the Bible wasn’t written to teach us about the processes by which God created the universe. Its books were written to explain in words we can understand, the nature of God and our need for salvation. The processes by which God created the universe may or may not be something that men and women can understand. When one considers how little of the universe is even visible to us, we would have to make a lot of assumptions to claim we understand it.

Researchers have learned things about the physical world that that appear to be gibberish to common understanding.  I’m talking about things such as subatomic particles that exist in two places at the same time and the universe being made up of mostly dark matter that we can’t see or detect other than its gravitational pull. Something existing in two places at the same time? That doesn’t make sense.  It sounds like gibberish to say most of the universe is invisible, but they’ve demonstrated that as well. Reality is not what we think, and it’s certainly not what our senses tell us.

Researchers and our finest scientific minds have never come up with something that “proves” there is no God.  If anything, they’ve demonstrated we’re going in the wrong direction if our goal is to confirm that our understanding of reality in this universe reveals that the idea of God is hard to believable.  But there are some people who work very hard to try to convince us that science has eliminated God.  Let me restate this.  As top scientists find things that go against our common sense, they find that making sense of God’s creation isn’t as simple as we’d like it to be.  Fallacious arguments such as the “celestial teapot” lose their bite when used to say the idea of God is false because it seems absurd. In fact, Bertrand Russell who devised the argument was intentionally being absurd to demonstrate that the burden of proof lies with the person making a claim, not to “prove” there is no God.  How something seems or feels does not tell us anything about its reality.  As science advances, the  arguments of those calling the concept of God absurd recedes, and the idea that science has eliminated God is revealed as little more than anti-theist faith.

I believe God created the universe, and us, and loves us enough to offer His son’s blood to cover our shortcomings.

What do you believe?

 

 

Atheist group appeals ruling that its ads have same restrictions as religious organizations

A Pennsylvania atheist organization is appealing a judge’s ruling that the Lackawanna County transit system did not violate the group’s First Amendment right to free speech when it declined ads that, “promote the existence or non-existence of a supreme deity, deities, being or beings,” on buses.”

U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion in July found the County of Lackawanna Transit System, COLTS,  has a legitimate reason to reject ads submitted by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society.  The judge’s ruling says COLTS’ treatment of the organization follows COLTS’ advertising policy and is no different than any other group seeking to buy advertisement.

The American Civil Liberties Union represents the society in the case.  The ACLU filed the appeal with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. A news release issued by the ACLU says, “The trial court’s ruling in this case does not diminish our belief that COLTS is suppressing our clients’ right to free speech. As a government agency, COLTS is significantly limited in its ability to censor speech. It can’t censor speech in order to keep people from debating important public issues, which is exactly what COLTS has tried to do here.”

Federal judge: Transit system that bans religious ads can ban atheist posters too

A United States federal judge this week ruled the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS), of Pennsylvania, did not violate an atheist group’s right to free speech by rejecting its ads.  COLTS cited a policy it enacted in 2011. The policy states COLTS will not accept advertising that, “…promote the existence or non-existence of a supreme deity, deities, being or beings.”

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society filed a federal lawsuit alleging the transit system allowed several churches to advertise before the atheist group tried to place an ad in 2012, according to an Associated Press report printed in the Seattle Times. The AP report does not mention that COLT’s ban on such advertisement was already in place when the atheist group applied to place its ad.

US District Judge Malachy E. Mannion’s ruling concludes, “The legal issues presented in this case are particularly fact specific. By way of this decision, the court in no way diminishes the importance of free speech in our society. In fact, in today’s society, free speech is more important than ever. That being said, the law dictates that, under the facts of this case alone, that COLTS’ advertising space is a limited forum  and  that COLTS did  not violate Freethought’s First Amendment right to  free speech by refusing  to place  its advertisement on COLTS’  buses. For the foregoing reasons, judgment will be entered in favor of COLTS and against Freethought. An appropriate order will issue.

Leader of Houston atheist group resigns amid sexual harassment claims

A Houston, Texas secularist group this week announced its leader has resigned following an incident of sexual harassment.

A statement posted to the website of Houston Oasis states, “Mike Aus submitted his resignation as Executive Director of Houston Oasis. The Board of Directors has accepted his resignation. On Saturday June 9th, the Board of Directors became aware of an incident of sexual harassment by Mike Aus from a member of the Houston Oasis community.” You can read the entire statement here.

The group’s website says Houston Oasis is a community that meets weekly to enjoy fascinating talks, live music, and friendship among non-religious people in the greater Houston area.


EDITOR’S NOTE:

It is not the position of Texas Gospel that incidents such as this are evidence of a moral flaw among atheists.  To claim this would be to make the same hasty generalization often made by non-believers about Christians.  Every person has free will.  Unfortunately, some individuals choose to use their free will for acts such as is alleged in this case.

Are atheists belief free?

CHURCH

Is it true that atheists are simply people who are not convinced there is a God?  For some who claim the title “atheist” this is the case even though Webster says the difference between an atheist and agnostic is that an atheist BELIEVES there is no God.  But I question those who claim in online debates that they have no belief when some very strongly take the position that there is no God.   I question their position even more firmly when they resort to calling God my “imaginary friend.” To say that God is imaginary goes beyond simply not believing that He exists.  It is not honest for an individual to say God is imaginary while claiming they do not have a position.

There are anti-religious organizations for those who believe there is no God. Arguably one of the largest is the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  Billboards such as the one recently put up in Cobb County Georgia that reads, “Supernatural belief – the enemy of Humanity” make it clear the organization is anti-religion.  A press release from the organization claims that by giving up supernaturalism, we all can have a more fulfilling life, though it does not say how. Would it make sense to claim that belief in the supernatural is harmful if one had no opinion on the matter?  To believe faith in God is harmful is to have a belief.

People are individuals.  Each of us finds fulfillment in our own way.  It is obvious that some atheists do not find fulfillment in a life devoid of spirituality.  Gabriel Ross Parker, for example, fatally shot two classmates.  He said he did it because he was an atheist and his life and the lives of others had no purpose, something that came out in testimony following the shooting. Here is the video.   I make no claim that being an atheist leads everyone to become homicidal.  To say this would be to make a hasty generalization similar to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s billboard that says all belief in the supernatural is harmful.

So why would an atheist who believes there is no God claim he or she simply has no opinion? Well, one reason is that it is a good debate tactic.  A person who makes a claim has the responsibility of providing evidence for their claim.  To take the position that one is not making a claim shifts the burden to the other individual. But it strains credulity when a person who says they are not making a claim refers to God as imaginary and supports a billboard saying religion is the enemy of humanity.  Is it not more likely that the god of this world has blinded them to the truth?

California woman breaks into Baptist church, rips Bibles, burns 10-foot cross

Mug SHotA California woman faces a possible hate crime charge after she broke into a Baptist church, ripped Bibles and hymnals, and burned a 10-foot cross in the sanctuary.

Rio Vista Police say Danielle Ricafrente, 23, caused significant damage to the building of the Union Baptist Church Monday night. CBS 13 reports she was arrested on suspicion of burglary, arson of a church, felony vandalism and hate crimes against a church.

A report from The Sacramento Bee says Ricafrente also damaged musical instruments in the building.

Church Deacon Roger Benz told KCRA television He’s disappointed, willing to forgive.

The Rio Vista police department issued the following news release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/UPDATE

RIO VISTA POLICE ANNOUNCE ARREST IN CHURCH ARSON/VANDALISM

At around 9:15AM June 13, 2018, Rio Vista Police Officers responded to the Baptist Church on Sierra Drive regarding a vandalism that occurred to the interior of the Chapel. Significant damage was done to the interior of the Chapel area and a large cross behind the altar was set on fire. This crime possibly occurred between 8PM and midnight on June 12, 2018.

Rio Vista Police working with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives developed a person of interest early in the investigation. Physical evidence has tied the person of interest to the crime scene along with video from a neighbor. Arrested for burglary, arson of a Church, felony vandalism and hate crimes against a Church was Danielle Ricafrente, age 23 of Rio Vista. Ricafrente was transported and booked into the Solano County Jail. The case will be reviewed by the US Attorney for possible federal charges.

RVPD would like to thank our federal partners for their assistance in this investigation.

Dan Dailey, Chief of Police

 

OPINION: All men are sinners, even atheists

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It’s not uncommon after a Christian leader is accused of some indiscretion to hear non-believers claim this demonstrates that religious people have some flaw.  That is, some claim it is religion that caused the individual to do whatever it is they are accused of doing.  But some of those same non-believers abandon this standard when it is applied to other groups.

For example, BuzzFeed reports that the board of  American Atheists terminated David Silverman as president of their organization earlier this month because of financial conflicts and sexual assault. This happened within weeks of the American Humanist Association’s removal of Lawrence Krauss, a winner of the Humanist of the Year award, from its speaker pool because of alleged misconduct.  The Freedom from Religion foundation removed Krauss from its honorary board citing, “Well-documented allegations of sexual misconduct” according to an article on patheos.com. What, if anything, does this prove?

I don’t mention these men as part of an effort to demonstrate that atheists are bad people; quite the opposite.  I don’t accuse all atheists for the actions of individuals, but some non-believers condemn all Christians for the actions of individuals. It would be wrong to assume that something about atheism makes people do things like these atheist leaders have done.  It is equally wrong to assume that there is something about religion that makes religious leaders do wrong.  Individuals are responsible for their choices.

I think a good example is the way some non-believers react when a priest is accused of a crime against children.  If I am going to assume that religion causes some priests to assault children; then by that convention I should assume that education leads school teachers to assault students.  Making this assumption in either case is a sort-of composition fallacy; they are assuming what is true of a member of a group is true for the entire group.  In this case, they add on an assumption of cause. This type of reaction to individual actions is assumption based on personal bias.

Terrible acts are committed by religious and atheist leaders; therefore, a researcher should look for rival causal factors.

What are your thoughts?