Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Opus 2022-115: Book Review: Is Atheism Dead?

I just finished reading Is Atheism Dead? by Eric Metaxas.  I would recommend it for most readers.

The general hypothesis that he is presenting is that honest inquiry has all been pointing toward the existence of God and away from materialistic atheism.  He addresses this in three areas.  First, he looks at the scientific research of the last 50 years.  Second, he looks at archeology.  Third, he gets into the logic and philosophy of science.

The science section is powerful.  If you are not familiar with the Fine Tuning of the Universe, this is a very important read for you.  What he says is not really new.  I have been coming across bits and pieces of this for years.  I read The Fingerprint of God written by Hugh Ross in 1989.  He comes at it from the point of view of an astronomer and astrophysicist.  

I think the next point I hit was Expelled:  No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary by Ben Stein in 2008. The high point in that was when he had a live interview with Richard Dawkins and all he could come up with for the cause of intelligent life was “crystals”.  

Then about ten years ago I was listening to the podcasts of William Lane Craig as I walked.  He talked about the fine tuning of the universe.  In one lecture he said science was showing that the entire universe seemed to be put together to make advanced life possible on earth.  He said there might be some kind of very low life somewhere but nothing intelligent.  At Reasonable Faith it says there are 290 results for a search on the topic.  I am not going to wade through them to find what I listened to.

After science Metaxas reviews the discoveries of archeology.  Some I had heard before but the discovery of the actual location of Sodom was the most interesting.  By using what the Bible said a modern archeologist changed the entire search parameters and found an actual, undisturbed site that had all the characteristics of a cataclysmic destruction.  This has happened frequently as archeologists get serious.

The most surprising bit of information for me was the statement that “scholars” questioned the existence of King David.  It started with a discovery.

“Three years later it happened again.  Another Times article, this one on the front page, said Israeli archaeologists had discovered a stele bearing the first reference outside the Bible to King David and the dynasty he founded, ‘the House of David.’”
Then the statement that I was not expecting.
“But the discovery of archaeological evidence for the Bible’s King David was genuinely earth-shaking news, since many scholars thought King David was a mythical figure like King Arthur.” p. 121
I had not been aware that there were people so full of hate for the Bible that they rejected the existence of David.  Keep in mind that such a view also would negate Solomon and all the the Bible verses talking about the line of David.  It would be important to make David a myth if you wanted to make Jesus a myth.  Score one for the Bible

The last section dealt with the logic and use of reason in science and how it also reinforces the rejection of atheistic materialism.  One of the big arguments of anti-God scientists is that religion is not based on reasoning and facts but on faith.  By some twisted rational they assert that the two cannot go together.  He then proceeds to look at things like atomic theory that largely developed on nothing but guess work and imagination.  Towards the end he deals with some of the distortions of history about Galileo and Copernicus being at war with the church.  A must read is the chapter entitled “Christianity Begat Science.”  It is an point that has been around for a good while but you may not have come across it.

If I have a problem with this book it is the absence of an index.  Metaxas does footnote, which is helpful but if I am going to use this as a resource I want to be able to find specific topics.  I read a library copy but I think there is enough detail in it that I will buy a copy for reference.  It brings a lot together in an easy to read style.

Metaxas, Eric.  Is Atheism Dead?.  Washington, D.C.:  Salem Books, 2021.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.