Weekly Buzz: 1/5/15

Science makes the case for God? Earth

Wall Street Journal op-ed argues that science “increasingly makes the case for God,” and there’s a new movie trailer from the people behind God’s Not Dead.

Just like Randy Quaid at the end of Independence Day, the weekly buzz is back.

WSJ op-ed argues that science makes the case for God; a rabbi and a physicist respond 

In the Wall Street Journal, Eric Metaxas wrote a guest piece: “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.” Metaxas uses the fine-tuning argument:

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

Not surprisingly, some folks disagreed with Eric’s take. Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman published a great response on the Huffington Post: “Sorry, Science Doesn’t Make a Case for God. But That’s OK.” In all honesty, I side with Mitelman here. He makes some great points:

Yes, it truly is amazing that all of the needed requirements for life on Earth are so precise. But science is a search for an accurate understanding of our world, which means that it can change. And if we’re basing our view of God on the latest scientific research, we’re going to have a very fragile theology. . . . In other words, religion doesn’t need science to prove God’s existence, because the question of God is not a scientific one.

Physicist Lawrence Krauss, a prominent atheist, issued a more polemical response to Metaxas.

What do you think of Metaxas’s argument, and how Mitelman and Krauss responded? 

“Yes, Jesus existed … but relax, you can still be an atheist if you want to”

My goodness, I love this article title. Check out this fantastic work from Christian theologian Michael Bird. Here’s a sample of it:

There are substantial reasons why one might choose to reject Christian belief; but the question of whether Jesus existed is not one of them. Even if there is no God, there was still an historical Jesus.

I absolutely agree. When I hear atheists make this argument, I feel just like sad Keanu Reeves.

What do you think of Bird’s article?

“‘Year without God’ pastor: Why I’m no longer a believer”

One of my favorite people, Chris Stedman, just interviewed Ryan Bell. A former Christian pastor, Bell made headlines last year when he decided to try atheism for 12 months. Well, the year is up, and Bell announced that he’s chosen atheism over theism.

“2014: Revenge of the Creationists”

Karl Giberson, a physicist and expert in science and religion, wrote a Daily Beast article about creationism. He lists “the top 10 anti-science salvos of 2014.”

New Christian movie: Do You Believe? 

The creators of God’s Not Dead just released a trailer for their new movie. It stars Sean Astin and Mira Sorvino, among others. (BONUS POINTS if you can spot a former college football/NFL player in the trailer.)

Did you see him? That’s right, Brian Bosworth is in this movie!! If you haven’t seen his ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Brian and the Boz, you should. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

What do you think of this preview of Do You Believe?

Love the buzz? Hate it? Please write a comment!

12 thoughts on “Weekly Buzz: 1/5/15

  1. Even if the universe is perfectly fine tuned, whatever that means given that we don’t know if some of these forces and factors can even occur, in any conceivable universe, in different ways than they have in this one, not to mention the possibility of infinite parallel universes of which the only ones capable of life have life capable of observing it, that is no positive evidence for a creative intelligence just some factor that resulted in the conditions observed. And the funny thing is that even if we had foolproof evidence of a creative intelligence, with no further information it would still mean that at least the vast majority of people on earth believe in the wrong god or worship that god in the wrong way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter, I completely agree with you! That’s why some Christian theologians, e.g. Karl Barth, are skeptical of this kind of natural theology. (Natural theology: learning about God from nature, apart from divine revelation.) Folks like Barth say that all good theology starts with the revelation of Jesus, not arguments about science.

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    • Would have loved to hear more of a debate where he would have to respond to more direct challenges from a tougher interviewer. It is one thing to present the statistics in his article as something to inspire wonder/discussion – but it seems weird that he would first say it doesnt prove God’s existence to only later suggest that it offers a large amount of evidence for God’s existence. Is there that much of a distinction between the definitions of proof and evidence?

      With that said – really eye opening to learn that is the most popular article ever on wallstreetjournal.com. Shows how much of an appetite people have for perspectives on this topic!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, Jesus represents the soul or Christos within each of us. Did he live as a representative of how we as human beings can become one with God’s love and compassion? This is certainly possible and If so, it’s been an incredible gift. But even more important than arguing the point of his historical reality is to direct our attention inward. How can we begin to become more Christ like, at one with the universal spirit or Cosmic Christ we all share? While attendance at church helps many, it is nevertheless an individual responsibility.

    Ancient as well as current philosophers and spiritual teachers have given us ways to do this. Two paths are often described, first the Long Path of ego purification. This can be mundane such as dealing as effectively as possible with the struggles of everyday life and our psychological issues or as lofty as loving devotion. Traveled successfully, this path leads to the Second or Short Path of identifying with and expressing God’s beauty in our lives. Mother Theresa’s compassionate seeing Christ in everyone is a beautiful example.

    Our acceptance of a Cosmic Christ breaks us out of narrow beliefs pitting us against one another’s religious doctrines. However we may define God, we have been given life by something greater than we are. A little humility would be useful here. We are all struggling to understand and it limits us to think we have all the answers and everyone else is wrong.

    Thank you, Mike. I appreciate the opportunity to express a few thoughts.

    Beverly

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  3. I want to thank Eric Metaxas for his article “Science turns to God as universe appears to be ultimate miracle”.
    The atheist powers behind Atheist, especially in evolution are so militant that Christian parents are being
    verbally & angrily abused.
    The Governments are responsible for much of this, in not allowing the scientists with the knowledge to challenge their theory any voice in scientific studies.
    PLEAS CONTINUE WITH YOUR ARTICLES REACHING OTHER NEWSPAPERS.I am one mother very grateful.

    Like

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