Tag Archive: Paul Copan

Paul Copan, in an article in the AG Enrichment Journal, writes,bible_microscope

The late Christopher Hitchens — one of the infamous “new atheists” — made this claim: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” If you have had conversations with atheists about belief in God, this view — known as “strong evidentialism” — probably sounds familiar. In fact, if you hang around skeptics and freethinkers long enough, chances are you will hear about William K. Clifford’s essay, “The Ethics of Belief.” In it, he claims: “It is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

Are these reasonable claims? What is the proper role of evidence for belief? Is it improper to hold beliefs without empirical evidence?

Copan makes his case here: http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201304/201304_028_believe_evid.cfm

Paul Copan

I think increasingly we are going to need to be not only the bearers of the gospel to others but a people who have answers available to questions such as, “What about the problem of evil? and “How do I know God exists?” We will need to give basic answers to these objections. Typically, the same questions come up over and over again. You won’t need to learn lots of new material with each person you talk to. If we have a mastery of some of the basics, we can really go a long way. And, as we’re evangelizing, as we’re talking about our faith, we will have greater confidence in presenting the gospel and won’t be daunted by the potential questions that might come up, but rather will say, “I believe the Christian faith does a better job of answering these sorts of questions.”—Paul Copan (From the interview: Starting Right Where I Am)

(from The Poached Egg)

God’s Wrath, God’s Love

I think our view of God is a an inaccurate one often. We tend to think of him either as an authority, but equal, like a president, or else something completely impersonal or removed who has no daily influence.  God is wholly “other,” and while we are created in his image, we are not God and he is not us. We share characteristics, but must not become too casual and comfortable in our relationship. The pure, holy, and awesome God condescends to have relationships with man, yet he still retains his attributes.

I used to think that wrath was unworthy of God. Isn’t God Love? Shouldn’t divine love be beyond wrath? God is love, and God loves every person and every creature.  That’s exactly why God is wrathful against some of them. My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and over 3,000,000 were displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry. Or think of Rwanda in the last decade of the past century, where 800,000 people were hacked to death in one hundred days! How did God react to the carnage? By doting on the perpetrators in a grandfatherly fashion? By refusing to condemn the bloodbath but instead affirming the perpetrators’ basic goodness? Wasn’t God fiercely angry with them? Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.

– Miroslav Volf, quoted in Is God a Moral Monster, by Paul Copan