Thursday, 4 November 2010

Dan Barking up the wrong tree!

I was just listening to atheist, Dan Barker, on the Unbelievable? Radio Show.  He was debating the apologetics of CS Lewis.  It was frustrating, but not surprising, to hear Barker blunder with such bluster.  I offer just a few examples:

When he was asked about Lewis's point regarding our outrage at the injustice of the universe, Dan did a great deflection job of talking about how we have to raise our voice at violence etc. in order to survive – if we didn't care about people attacking us we wouldn't live. He misses the point completely. The point was that we recognise that the strong attacking the weak, and the rich oppressing the poor, is unfair, unjust, and immoral – we perceive the world is not as it should be. If we were mere material beings, first of all we wouldn’t reflect on these things at all, but even if we did, we would see that this is just the way things are – we would never dream up a concept of an external, objective standard of justice which is binding upon us all. Darwinian evolution is survival of the fittest – Barker wants to say that this very process that created us (i.e. eliminating the weak) then tells us that we are morally obligated to protect the weak and alleviate suffering! As he so often does, he saws off the branch he sits on.

When discussing the subject of the first cause, he bangs Dawkins’ irrelevant drum that appealing to God explains nothing, because “where did God come from?” This is so juvenile that one questions the sincerity of the person who raises it. Why was it intellectually acceptable to say (as atheists always did) that matter is eternal – “it just is”, but it’s not acceptable to say that God is eternal – “He just is”? Why were atheists happy to say “the universe had no cause”, but jump on Christians for saying “God has no cause”? Now that they know matter is not eternal it's all of a sudden “irrational” or “special pleading” to talk about something not having a beginning (despite this forcing them into either an infinite regress or an uncaused effect)! This shows they will accept any theory, no matter how internally incoherent, provided it excludes God.

He was way off when discussing Lewis’s famous tri-lemma. First, his appeal to legend won’t work. How could this legend have developed so quickly and been accepted in the city where the alleged resurrection was supposed to have happened? But more fundamentally, why would a legend have been developed? Why would these writers of the Gospels have given their lives, and encouraged others to do the same for the sake of a stack of lies they invented? If they didn’t believe Jesus was living then they mustn’t have believed God was living either. Can we really believe that? Second, he introduces the option that Jesus wasn’t mad, but just mistaken, and for support he said that Christians are mistaken, but not mad. Think about it, I can be mistaken about who Jesus is, but I can’t be mistaken about who I am, and if I think I’m the Son of God who has the power to forgive and the right to judge the world, then it goes beyond the realm of a simple mistake.

Barker claimed that he could come up with a better moral system than Christ did. The question is, “By whose standards?” Who is he to say what moral system is better? Why should anyone care about his system? Why should it be binding on me? In seeking to dethrone God as the law-giver, he enthrones himself and says that his moral decrees are better than others and ought to be obeyed.

When someone rebels against their Creator, they are still creatures made in His image, living in His world, and that is why they end up attacking the foundation they stand upon, and can’t live consistently with what they profess to believe. Barker can’t get away from the fact there is justice, and there are moral obligations. We all have failed to fulfil our moral obligations, and, in rejecting Christ, Dan Barker is rejecting the only one who can deal with his guilt.