Today I received an email from a popular Christian writer who challenged his large audience to take up mindfulness meditation.1 He cited four benefits of meditation from Psychology Today in support of establishing it as a daily practice. In the email he sent out to subscribers, this author explained that “its roots go back to Biblical times and ancient cultures.” But does mindfulness meditation trace its roots to the Bible? Should Christians meditate?2
I have long wanted to write a few thoughts down regarding Atheism and it’s naturalistic foundations. I have previously written on the subject, and the paper below extends the thinking behind that post and adds a couple of other things I’ve come across since then.
This paper depends on the connection between atheism (the belief that there is no God) and naturalistic evolution. This connection seems to be a necessary connection, so if naturalistic evolution falls, atheism is robbed of its only real chance to be “intellectually fulfilling” (to use Richard Dawkins’ words). In this case, atheism is in my opinion irrational, or as James Speigel said, “Atheism is a form of intellectual suicide.”
For details and the argument, read the paper below.
If you haven’t seen Ray Comforts film (38 mins long) on Evolution vs God, it is worth watching.
He interviews a few fairly well known advocates of Evolution including P. Z. Meyers. Enjoy.
Jay Adams on reconciling God and evil.
Simply this: God controls all things, even the existence and activity of evil.
We must remove the word “allows” when speaking of God and evil. He doesn’t merely allow evil to occur. If so, there would be another power, or force, in the universe as great as (or nearly so) as God. It is a force wanting to express itself in various evil ways, but must seek permission from God to do so. So when evil occurs, God has given way to this force and allows it to have its way .
But God is in control of all things. What does that really mean? Think about it—who is the force that determines if and when evil occurs-for His own purposes? There is no second god-like force; He is the sole force in the universe. All evil is according to His determinate purposes—always for some good purpose. God doesn’t allow evil; He has planned all good and evil. Actually, all the “evil” we talk about today is actually a good that we shall someday see to be such. God doesn’t allow it—He foreordains it.
In Mere Christianity, Lewis warns about over simplifying Christianity (something some people who call themselves Christians sometimes do) and the straw man that Atheists often build from this.
Very well then, atheism is too simple. And I will tell you another view that is also too simple. It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right—leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption. Both these are boys’ philosophies.
C. S. Lewis’ 1938 Sci-Fi novel Out of the Silent Planet chronicles the voyage of three men, two of whom are partnering for their own reasons and a lone philologist on a walking tour who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and won’t be missed if he disappears. Weston and Devine drug Ransom (the philologist) and take him to the planet of Malacandra (which turns out to be Mars). Weston and Devine have been there before, and were asked them to bring back another person with them as (they believe) a sacrificial offering. Their belief that the Malacandrians are unsophisticated savages and that humanity represents the most highly advanced civilization in existence makes them willing to sacrifice Ransom for the greater benefit to come from Malacandra.
It’s always a joy to read biographies. Its an even bigger joy to read autobiographies where the author explains their conversion to Christ. Last week I read “Surprised by Joy” by C. S. Lewis. Last Monday I posted a synopsis of his conversion from atheism to Christianity, but I also wanted to follow this up with some of my favorite quotes from the book which are relative to his conversion, and some of which are philosophically interesting.
C. S. Lewis traces his conversion story through his autobiography “Surprised by Joy” from his early childhood through to his conversion to Christ as an adult. As the story unfolds, he traces the “aesthetic experience” of “joy” as an experience that “was valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer.”
Early in his life, he speaks of a “religious experience”, which is followed by his becoming an “effective believer”, by which he means he “heard the doctrines of Christianity…” and “had no skepticism”. This resulted in a fear for his soul to the effect that he “began seriously to pray and read [his] bible and to attempt to obey [his] conscience.” At this stage, Lewis’s faith is a simple faith, which does not understand how to comprehend and consider the world. Furthermore, it seems it bore a fear of God, but not an explicit understanding of his own sin and in this sense, he did not feel a sense of personal responsibility before God, which comes much later.