Notes on Apologetics study from On Guard by William Lane Craig, Chapter Two
"I'm just gonna live my life and be as good as I can. When I die, hopefully my good will outweigh my bad, and if there is a God, then I hope He'll let me in to Heaven. I'll find out then for sure if God really exists."
Ever heard that? Ever said that?
I remember as an unbeliever, I thought many of those kinds of things. I kinda thought God existed, but I didn't have enough reason to think that it mattered if I came to know anything about Him; either He would accept me or not.
I'm so thankful that He's made it much more definite and knowable than that. Some people would retort, "How arrogant to think you can know that you will be accepted by God!" To that I would say this: It's not arrogance, because it has nothing at all to do with me or my goodness. It's only by the righteousness of Christ alone [His right-ness, by God's standard] being applied by Him to my heart and life that I am made acceptable. All I did was repent of my sin [my wrong-ness, by God's standard] and receive what He did for me and all mankind who will receive His gift [Christ's right-ness].
Many cannot seem to get even to this point in God's truth because they get hung up on why it even matters that God exists. Their view is that, if He does exist, He is seemingly completely removed from all that goes on in the world...just look at all the evil we see on a daily basis! Where is He if He exists? What difference does it make?
I believe I will get the chance to deal with the problem of evil later in Chapter 7 in this book, but for Chapter 2, Craig starts with the task of showing why it matters at all. Craig says, "By showing them the implications of atheism, we can help them to see that the question of God's existence is so much more than merely adding another item to our inventory of things -- rather it's an issue that lies at the very center of life's meaning. It therefore touches each of us at the core of his being." (pg. 29)
Reductio ad absurdum is a term used in formal logic to describe "a reduction to an absurdity; the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating the inevitably absurd conclusion to which it would logically lead." (dictionary.com) In other words, showing that something must be true by proving that its opposite would lead to an absurd outcome.
Craig uses this logic, reduction to absurdity, not necessarily to prove God's existence, but to show that the most significant question a person will ever ponder is whether or not a supreme, all-powerful Creator of the universe exists. "No one who truly grasps the implications of atheism can say, 'Whatever!' about whether there is a God." (p. 30)
Many philosophers have argued that if God does not exist, then life is absurd. What does this mean? It means that if God does not exist, then there is no ultimate meaning to anything in life...no intrinsic value within life...no conclusive purpose for existing.
If there is absolutely no meaning, value, or purpose in life, then we can define life itself as absurd.
"If atheism is true, then life is really objectively [based on known fact] meaningless, valueless, and purposeless, despite our subjective beliefs [personal opinion] to the contrary" (pg. 30).
This is the key. Because while an atheist will say that there is no meaning, value or purpose to life, he will still live his life as though it has all three.
Now, in order to keep these posts from becoming a verbal equivalent to this:
I will expand on this train of thought next time. Surely you can understand why I needed to chew this one bite at a time....