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Christian Apologist Dinesh D’Souza Inspires Oklahoma Audience, Leaves Questions Unanswered
The Woodward Report ^ | December 3 2010 | Brian Woodward

Posted on 12/03/2010 6:53:40 PM PST by honestabe010

Dinesh D’Souza, one of the foremost Christian apologists of our time, spoke at the University of Oklahoma on Wednesday night with an address titled “The God Decision: Delusion, Confusion, or Truth?” He gave an elegant espousal on why there is a large amount of evidence that points toward the existence of some sort of supernatural creature, namely God.

For those relatively unfamiliar with the Indian born speaker he was mesmerizing. Having seen him in almost twenty speeches and debates, I was still awestruck with not only his intelligence but his ability to convey his message in layman terms. Upon the conclusion of the even an overwhelming majority of individuals came away from the speech invigorated and reaffirmed about Christianity.

Nonetheless, some of the most consequential questions were left unanswered. He began his speech detailing some of the tactics new atheists employ when seeking to influence young minds. One tactic he referred to was asking the question, “Is it not because of cultural and geographical situations that most people subscribe to a certain religion? For example one becomes a Christian because one was born into a Christian home in Dallas, Texas and conversely one is a Muslim as a result of being born into a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia. I had never heard him address this point before and was excited to hear his analogy. Regrettably he never addressed this subject and no one asked him the question during the Q&A. I got in line to ask the question but unfortunately the event ran out of time before it was my turn.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Apologetics; Current Events; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: apologetics; christianity; dineshdsouza; religion

1 posted on 12/03/2010 6:53:47 PM PST by honestabe010
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To: honestabe010
Someone is a dolt on matters of theology: ". . .the existence of some sort of supernatural creature, namely God."

All forms of classical monotheism teach that God is Uncreated. The word "creature" means "a created thing", which God, the Uncreated Creator, is most assuredly not. The most classical form of Christian theology, still upheld by us Orthodox, teaches that there is no likeness between the Uncreated and the created, that calling God "good" or "just" or even asserting His existence can only be done by improperly applied analogy with created things.

2 posted on 12/03/2010 7:16:56 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: The_Reader_David

How do you interpret Genesis 1:26-27

3 posted on 12/03/2010 7:46:54 PM PST by LiteKeeper ("Psalm 109:8")
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To: LiteKeeper

I take it to mean that God created us with attributes that He himself has. Love, intelligence, thought, etc. and not that we were made “little gods” though I don’t know if that was the point you were trying to make.

I would have to read the underlying Hebrew to see though. Sometimes the English is not so good.

4 posted on 12/03/2010 7:55:39 PM PST by sigzero
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To: LiteKeeper

The same way the Fathers did: an image and likeness is “like” its prototype only in an improper way. An icon of a saint is an image and likeness of its prototype, but is wood and paint, not living body and soul vivified by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The ontological gap between Man and God is even greater than that between the depiction in colors of a saint and the saint. (And for that reason the Divine condescension in Christ’s Incarnation for our salvation is completely incomprehensible—not only to us poor fallen men— but even, according to the Church’s hymnography, to the minds of angels.)

5 posted on 12/03/2010 8:04:02 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: honestabe010
I provided these answers on his page, but it did not do spacing, etc.

Nonetheless, some of the most consequential questions were left unanswered.”

If you can accept cheap labor i will try.

1. “Why did it take so long for God to send Jesus to earth to save all mankind?”

This supposes that man could not be saved prior Jesus coming, while in fact God offered forgiveness from the beginning in recognition that He would provide the atonement. Even Jesus forgave before He die for our sins, and He also talked with Moses. Rather than just letting man go his own way unopposed, ruining himself and the earth God had made, He sought after man, taking the initiative, and affirming right choices. Ultimately, as Jesus said, those who are damned do so because they did not want the light, because they loved darkness over it. And those who obey the light they have are given more, and ultimately will come to Christ. (Rm. 2: Acts 10)

2. “Were the people who lived before not as important?”

They were. And God showed great care and attention, giving them better this and that, and through Israel other nations were to see who the true God was. When obedient they were blessed and victorious; when they fell into decklension, God disciplined them as He said He would, but showed much long suffering with them. When they showed themselves continually recalcitrant, judgment that He had warned them of came, and yet God still would call them back, and promised a yet future restoration. Some speculate that if the Jews had accepted Christ as a nation, He would have brought in the reign of Christ and restoration of the earth.

3. “Why does God detail instructions for how the Israelites should care for slaves in Exodus (thus condoning slavery)?”

These types of laws are require a thread to itself. The question is, are all laws the same as regards immutability, or are different types of laws, with civil laws being based upon immutable principles but their applicability letter relates to societal context. And do some laws, outside the foundational moral laws, manifest a condescension to man's condition and culture, while working toward an original ideal, such as Moses more liberal criteria for divorce, or treatment of enemies, and of vengeance. In establishing the higher standard, Jesus did not say Moses was wrong in his law on divorce, or that “an eye for an eye” ) a restriction of vengeance) was either, but called and enabled a higher standard.

God did not mandate slavery, as with basic moral imperative commands, but regulates and ameliorate a ubiquitous institutional practice of the ANE, which was an integral part of the economy, and the Biblical laws regarding it appears as part of culturally applied laws. And in which only foreigners could truly be slaves, and yet both the Israelites and foreigners could buy Hebrew servants, but which were to be treated like hired help and given a generous severance pay when offered freedom after 6 years, unless a female was to be married (as per her father's decision) to the owner or his son (and who had to give here freedom if he failed in his marital duties). While slavery for foreign slaves was normatively perpetual, yet they were to be given freedom if the owner was responsible for breaking his tooth or putting out an eye, while to murder one was evidently a capital offense. And an escaped slave was not to be return to his master. And slaves were made such salvific partakers of the covenant, and had regular sabbath rests.

Considering such and more, and the society that then existed, in which people might never travel much, go to schools etc., but typically lived on a large tract of land all their life, and that this slavery ensured provisions and a stable life (Israel was admonished to care for strangers) by former slaves themselves, and that some Hebrew servants choose to be such for life, then a different perspective than the concept we typically have should be realized.

In the New Testament, for focus is not so much on escaping the station or circumstances one existed in as it is in overcoming such, in being “content in whatever state I am.” But the early church as an organic community had no slavery, and Paul's commands to both slaves and master was to do obey as unto the Lord (and obedience to man is always conditional in the Bible), and while he enjoined slaves to be obedient (and the church to conditionally obey the state), he also forbade threatening slaves and commanded equal pay for slaves, in the fear of the Lord. Yet Paul also advised slaves to gain freedom if they could, and his own example was to require the master of an escaped slave to receive him back “no longer as a slaves, but as a brother in the Lord, even as Paul himself. (Escaped slaves were marked as fugitives by Rome, with a bounty on their heads, thus Paul's return of one). See here for a concise article on slavery and references, and here for a deper examination of it. I myself touched on the difference between immutable basic moral laws and others here.

Thus the young church dealt with the institution of slavery in the state in which it was birthed and grew in, and they certainly were not in a position to encourage revolts, which did not go too well, but it regulated the institution to render it morally tolerable, while the overall ethos of Christianity would work toward its abolition, when a revived, Biblically intensive Christian had the zeal and freedom to do so. However, the institutional form soon became the norm, but which did work, if not consistently, to free slaves.

4. “How revealing are the 10 commandments? “

This presumes that the 10 commandments are presented as some sort of new revelation, rather than being a concise codification of morality which was established before that, for the new nation amidst varying degrees of immoral cultures. The immorality these condemn can be see censured before that time, from idolatry to covetousness, but not as a body of law. But the Mosiac legislation does not end there and does add new laws made necessary, (Lv. 18) and considering there are 600 more, that should make one thankful that God was concise in providing the basic ones. And which are the details of the two greatest ones.

5. “Thou shall not kill? Is it really being asserted that societies could have made it as long as they did without knowing that murder was detrimental to a cohesive and successful culture?”

Certainly not, as God affirms that this and like immorality resulted in the destruction of those around them, but such wickedness was often allowed, and God codified the condemnation of it in establishing what was purposed to be a holy nation.

6. Is it not routinely preached that man is innately sinful? Are we not programmed as humans with instinctive urges that if acted upon are sinful? So how when we are born innately sinful due to no fault of our own is that considered free will?

Because even though man is born with a demonstrable proclivity to selfishness, envy, etc., he can resist sin, and sins, at least initially. God told Cain, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. " (Gen. 4:7) But while man can resist sin, it is true that man will end up sinning, as well as doing other things that are not sin, beginning with breathing as a baby. So as long as one will live, his “free will” is not wholly free. But what effectively condemns a man is that of justifying his sin an self righteousness, and not humbling himself as a sinner to seek the forgiveness of God, which he made provision for from the beginning.

7. “It would seem to me that there is an outside persuasion that influences are actions.”

Perhaps you meant inner which i affirmed, but there is an outside on, as Gn. 3 makes clear, as well as environmental factors, and which God does take into account. But the key thing is that man does willfully commit sins which he could have resisted, and is accountable for such, and for ending up addicted to certain sins by not resisting them when he could, and seeking to live his/her life independent form God and His laws and saving grace. And seeking to live by the former works to make one realize his/her need for the latter.

8. “Why do volcanoes erupt causing devastation? Why do floods, and earthquakes, and hurricanes, and tornadoes occur? What does this have to do with free will?

Because man was given stewardship of the creation from the beginning, and his rebellion against the One who gave him both good laws and good things, which are to his benefit when obeyed, effects all that is under man's influence.

"For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, {21} Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. " (Romans 8:20-21; cf. Gn. 3:16-19)

God is just as well as merciful, and just as blessings effect more than us, so does punishment. Some are simply self-incurring, such as the effects of oil spills due to negligence, while others are like that on Sodom. But we also benefit from the obedience by others to God's laws. Also see Theodicy post here .

6 posted on 12/04/2010 7:52:13 AM PST by daniel1212 ( ("Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," Acts 3:19))
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To: honestabe010
God is the Creator, not a creation or creature. God's essence is beyond creaturely features. The essence of God is his attributes. God created man righteous and with the capacity to experience God. He also gave man dominion over the material universe. God stands outside of his creation although he can choose to enter into it.
7 posted on 12/04/2010 12:34:58 PM PST by Nosterrex
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