A secular Jew, [David] Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community’s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions:
- Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close.
- Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.
- Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.
- Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.
- Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.
- Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.
- Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.
- Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ballpark.
- Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.
The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions,
With a mindset of unity we will view our economic resources as available to meet others’ needs. We will voluntarily, periodically supply our local assembly’s common fund for the poor. Such a structure should not bind the Spirit’s prompting to be generous as we encounter various needs, nor should it become a matter of obligation. If grace is on us, we will be gracious to others.
William J. Larkin, Acts, p.83.
What are we attempting which could not be accomplished without the Holy Spirit? What is there about our lives which demands an explanation? We will be “filled with the Holy Spirit” when we dare to do what could never be accomplished on our own strength and insight.
Lloyd Oglivie, Quoted by William Larkin, Acts, page 73.
I’m a bit of a chameleon. I’ll change, adapt, and make stuff up just to avoid any tension. Maybe it’s the performer in me, but I aim to please. My wife aims to kill. Not out of ill will or a desire to hurt, but she is going to stick to her position no matter what. I think it’s called a belief system. When I am uncomfortable, the only thing I believe is that I should be going.
Tom Papa, your dad stole my rake . . ., page 219
We can’t see light itself. We can see only what light lights up, like the little circle of night where the candle flickers—a sheen of mahogany, a wineglass, a face leaning toward us out of the shadows.
When Jesus says that he is the Light of the World (John 8:12), maybe something like that is part of what he is saying. He himself is beyond our seeing, but in the darkness where we stand, we see, thanks to him, something of the path that stretches out from the door, something of whatever it is that keeps us trying more or less to follow the path even when we can hardly believe that it goes anywhere worth going or that we have what it takes to go there, something of whoever it is that every once in a while seems to lean toward us out of the shadows.
Originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words
Shared by Tom Pedersen
A. T. Pierson said, “There has never been a revival in any country that has not begun in united prayer, and no revival has ever continued beyond the duration of those prayer meetings.”
William Larkin, Acts, page 45.
“Revival is impossible apart from confession of sin among believers. It must be confession to God, and it may be confession to one another. Every hindrance must go. Sin must be confessed in order that it may be cleansed…Judgement must begin at the house of the Lord.” Only a holy people, a repentant and restored people, are vessels fit to be revived.
William Larkin, Acts, page 47-48.
Ultimately, nonbelief in God is an act of faith, because there is no way to prove that the world and all that is within it and its deep mathematical orderliness and matter itself all simply exist on their own as brute facts with no source outside of themsnot believing is an act of faithelves. If the theory that God exists leads us to expect what we find, whereas the belief that there is no God odes not, why not move ahead, at least tentatively, but adopting the theory that God is there?
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 227.
Even in its beginnings, the movement of Jesus followers spread out in all directions outward from its Middle Easter origins, not only to Europe, but also to North Africa, to Turkey and Armenia, to Persia and India. “Christianity was a world religion long before it was a European one.” And today again, . . . Christianity is the religion that is most equally distributed across the continents of the world. So “no other [faith] . . . has so extensively crossed the cultural divisions of humanity and found a place in so many diverse cultural contexts.”
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 229.
“Think of Jesus at his trial,” says one biblical commentator, “Was he the prisoner, or were his accusers? . . . He was calling the shots, not they. In this age that values freedom almost more than anything else, Jesus confronts us as the most liberated man who ever lived.”
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 236.
quoting Michael Green, Who is This Jesus? page 14.