The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Reasons to Follow Jesus - An Apologetic

Attached here Reasons to Follow Jesus’ Beliefs.doc (37.5 KB) in three pages is my best sense of the reasons for faith and what it means to follow Christ. It’s based less on claims of revelation, such as an infallible Bible, and more on universally accessible knowledge, especially our calling to love (as well as a cosmological argument). I welcome your critiques and reactions to this approach to apologetics that claims less than ‘certitude.’

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Hello Bob! (I only joined the forum yesterday)

Fantastic work! :slight_smile: I had a little look at this, and it is well thought-out and clearly involved a good amount of effort (especially with all of those quotes)!

I am interested in apologetics (see my partly-done blog , and find that UR can form an excellent part of it in areas such as the classics, “Problem of the unevangelised”, “Problem of Hell” and, also, “Problem of Evil”; it is intensely fruitful in providing very satisfying answers to these.

If I understand it correctly (please correct me if this isn’t representative), your points include the following:

  1. Believing the truth is important, as it can affect how we live (section 1) - this is certainly the case, and a good reason for trusting in God as loving, and believing the truth is often considered intrinsically good.

  2. A wonderful aspect of Jesus was His love (section 2) - indeed this is true also, and is all-too-often overlooked. If more people could grasp this basis of the Message of Jesus, maybe more people would be willing to follow Him.

  3. The Good News makes love worthwhile in the end (section 2) - this would be very encouraging for those who are weary from helping others, charity work, etc.

  4. Cosmological arguments (you even express a mixture of the two forms, the argument from contingency and the kalam cosmological argument) (section 3) - these are good to include in apologetics, and I have some more on them in the next post (in case you’re interested, although you may not want to make any changes)

  5. Deep-seated intuitions about love point to the Ultimate Reality of God’s love (section 4) - this can be used as an existential argument, or a reason to contrinue to trust God after we realise the truth intellectually, or an aspect of the argument from Design.

  6. The Christian Message is centred on love and God’s compassion (section 4) - this is a very good message to emphasise, as all-too-often legalism creeps in, when love, instead, ought to be at the centre.

  7. Evidence from history for Jesus’ resurrection (section 4) - the evidence is very good indeed, as one of the best arguments for Christianity, and you could even go into it more (see my blog for amateur information, or the websites with Gary Habermas (

  8. Argument from fine-tuning (one of the most powerful) (note at end) - this could be put in the main argument sections, with more examples at, as the phenomenal numbers involved here provide one of the most powerful of these arguments, possibly even more than the cosmological argument. Entropy, for example (if I have got this right), of the early universe, needed a universe with an early universe with entropy finely tuned to 1 part in 10^10^123 (which has more zeros than particles of the known universe!).

You presented everything very poetically, and put things across in a way that can benefit and encourage many people. I would like to go into some of the arguments that you gave (maybe you could present them in deductive forms), in case you’re interested. You may not want to change anything, but I have stated the arguments below for interest:

Here are some forms of the cosmological arguments, if you’re interested (mainly inspired by William Lane Craig):

Below is one form of the cosmological argument. It is different to the ‘causes’ version (which is the Kalam cosmological argument), and it focuses on explaining the universe, rather than the initial cause

Cosmological argument from contingency restated (CAfC)

Below is a deductive expression of the Cosmological argument from contingency that is shorter, followed with some comments arguing for the premises (based on a quote from William Lane Craig and altered):

[Premise] 1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the
necessity of its own nature or in an external explanation)

[Premise] 2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

[Premise] 3. The universe exists.

From 1 and 3 it logically follows that:

[Conclusion] 4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.

And from 2 and 4 the conclusion logically follows:

[Conclusion] 5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God.

(end quote)

Now, this argument is deductive, and valid, so, given the truth of the premises, the conclusion logically follows, and the argument is sound.

For a more in-depth, and potentially confusing (since I wrote a lot of it) discussion of this argument, see a post below.

** Kalam Cosmological argument **

Below is just a quote from a major proponent of this argument, William Lane Craig, arguing from the idea that the universe came into being from absolutely nothing (not a quantum vacuum, or any other set of physical conditions or laws) (from … le&id=5507, added [bracketed])

[Start quote]

  1. Whatever begins to exist [out of absolutely nothing] has a cause.

  2. The universe began to exist [out of absolutely nothing].

  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

[End quote]

Then, it is argued that the ‘cause’ of the universe is necessary (cannot fail to exist, so that it would not need a cause, therefore being uncaused), and has potential to cause an event, meaning that it would be transcendent (not forcibly subject to physical laws, or time, or space). In addition, the ‘cause’ could not be purely mechanical, since this would require it to always and necessarily be producing the effect, which does not make sense given that time began with the universe and it moved on from its dense beginnings. Nor is it plausible to be purely random, since this would mean that we should expect very strange occurrences in the universe at the moment: perhaps, for example, we may expect random objects ‘popping’ into existence everywhere, which does not appear to be the case.

It seems most plausible that the cause is an intelligent, autonomous Mind, who can will the production of a universe. This can be identified as God (especially given other arguments).

Out of these two, I find the Cosmological argument from contingency to be more plausible (and it is expanded on in a following post).

If you don’t mind me saying this, in case you’re interested, see rationalchristianworldview.blogs … -from.html (part of my blog) for further defence of the cosmological argument from contingency (this post is quite long).


A belated welcome from me! Thanks for the great links; I’ll enjoy studying your blog. I tried to keep my paper simple enough for those much less conversant than you. Your list of my points captures my approach perfectly, and I appreciate your encouragement concerning apologetics! It’s a delight to see another who recognizes love, Kant, Habermas, contingency, Craig & Kalam.

BTW, that events in process logically requires a beginning (rather than an infinite series) seems over my head. I know Eric Reitan (Is God a Delusion?) e.g. doubts it (though thinks even an infinite series would also call for a sufficient reason). But if even Hawking affirms the intuition of a necessary beginning, and otherwise my brain would be required to embrace that something is eternal and infinite, it makes more sense to me to think of that which is so beyond my comprehension as ‘God.’

On Kalam, unlike perhaps Hawking, don’t most skeptics reject premise 2 and the Big Bang as an absolute beginning of everything? I think they presume an infinite series of contractions and expansions. I also don’t grasp CAfC. The conclusion (5) assumes premise 2. But won’t skeptics say the universe is explained by the necessity of its’ own nature (a ‘brute fact’), rather than by God? It seems thinkers differ over which Brute Fact (God or the universe) makes the most sense out of existence.

Grace be with you,

Thank you! :slight_smile:

I tend to not rely too much on the Kalam argument; for example, I think that people should be careful about trying to rely on it, since there are many more powerful arguments, and someone should not have doubts just because some potential problem with the Kalam argument is pointed out (it is one amongst many arguments)! I stated the Kalam argument differently above, ensuring that I meant ‘absolutely nothing’, and not the quantum vacuum, or any other possible physical theory, because these are not ‘nothing’. If the universe truly did come out of absolutely nothing (with no physical laws, alternate realities or anything to dictate it naturalistically), then this would, given the many other items of evidence for God, make theism just about unavoidable, since any other explanation would just seem like an attempt to ‘wriggle out’ of the problem.

I am not an expert on the Kalam argument (Dr. Craig certainly could defend it better than I can), but, since we can be confident from physics that, at very least, the universe had some sort of beginning, it is a very strange conjecture to then, simply to avoid the theistic implications (which flow well from the accompanying fine-tuning arguments and (especially) Jesus’ resurrection), postulate an exceptional series of causes or mechanism, or infinite chain. The very presence of a Big Bang at all is interesting evidence for a Creator!

Regardless, of course, any contingent chain of events (even if infinite), would itself require an explanation to explain why it exists rather than failing to exist! I may post on the CAfC after this, which does not rely on a beginning.

Thanks again and all blessings, CC :smiley:

Let’s take the rough quote from Dr. William Lane Craig (the modified parts are placed in [square brackets]:

[Premise] 1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the
necessity of its own nature or in an external [explanation])

[Premise] 2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

[Premise] 3. The universe exists.

From 1 and 3 it logically follows that:

[Conclusion] 4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.

And from 2 and 4 the conclusion logically follows:

[Conclusion] 5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God

When a deductive argument is stated, it is always the case that the conclusions rely on the premises, and logically follow from them, if true, and so this argument is no different. The good thing is that, if the premises are plausibly true, the conclusion follows logically necessarily.

Premise 2 is more controversial than some of the others. We must be careful to distinguish between a ‘brute fact’ and ‘exists by the necessity of its own nature’, since they are not the same; a ‘brute fact’ is, in my understanding, a fact (not necessarily about existence) with no explanation that is just assumed, while ‘necessity of its own nature’ is describing a metaphysically necessary object (exists in all possible realities, and could not fail to exist, which could be thought to be due to the nature of metaphysical reality itself), which is, instead, explained just by its own nature of being necessary. For example, what is the explanation for “1 + 1 = 2”? This is logically necessary, and so its truth in a given situation is explained simply by the fact that it is necessary. It isn’t just a ‘brute fact’ that just happens to be true in some circumstances.

Premise 1 is a weak version of the principle of sufficient reason that, although it allows some other ‘brute facts’, it contends that nothing exists by just ‘brute fact’, but, instead, everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (i.e. a set of factors and entities influencing it to be the way that it is). This is very plausible, since anything that is not metaphysically necessary was not required (by the necessity of its own nature) to exist, and so the very fact that it does exist seems to indicate that some other entity influenced it to be that way. The whole argument looks at the naturalistic universe as a whole (since it is not the whole of reality), containing all scientific rules and laws, and applies this principle to it: why did the universe exist when it didn’t have to? Why does anything exist at all, when it didn’t have to? (This (maybe) could be a good way of ‘summing up’ this version of the cosmological argument)

The two options that are alternatives to the external explanation for the universe as a whole are the ‘brute fact’ of existence, which contradicts the very plausible premise 1, and the ‘necessity of its own nature’ option. The ‘brute fact’ alternative just assumes that the universe’s existence just ‘is’; however, this seems to be making arbitrary exceptions to the plausible premise 1, without reason, which makes for a weak rebuttal. Since one of our aims ought to be to reduce the number of ‘brute facts’ to an absolute minimum, since they are very weak in explanatory power and are usually not needed (ironically forming ‘naturalism of the gaps’ reasoning and clutching onto straws for atheism!), if we can avoid having a brute fact, especially for existence itself, we should. In this case, we can avoid a brute fact by giving a perfectly viable, and well-evidenced, explanation in theism.

As for the ‘exists by the necessity of its own nature’ option, if we think about this, it is incredibly implausible. If we think of the universe as basically a large collection of objects, physical principles, and spacetime reality, to say that it exists ‘by the necessity of its own nature’ means that it must not be able to not exist (existing necessarily). This is akin to saying that it could not possibly have been the case that the universe not exist. If we think about this, it is implying something about physical reality: it requires that at least part of the universe exists necessarily, which would imply that it couldn’t possibly be destroyed, or possibly fail to exist, or possibly have an absolute beginning to its existence (since something cannot both be truly ‘metaphysically necessary’ and have a beginning, since this would imply that, at some point, it did not exist). Since this is extremely implausible (and potentially arbitrary) again, we start to look beyond the universe for a metaphysically necessary explanation.

God, as a Mind, prima facie has more plausible necessary existence than some other abstract object, which makes sense even more if we think about His role as a Creator: since He created ex nihilo (in whatever way that this took place, whether all time at once or at a particular point), nothing would exist without God, according to theism. Thus, is we accept theism, God would be necessary in at very least every universe in which anything else exists, and hence it is very plausible to suggest that God has complete metaphysically necessary existence in even realities with nothing else present. In this way, theism is an excellent metaphysically necessary ground on which to base the universe.

God being the explanation is plausible, also, for other reasons, over alternatives, We could, for example, postulate a purely mechanical necessary explanation, but this would firstly be implausible to be metaphysically necessary (since any mechanism appears to demonstrate a structure that would plausibly require an external explanation) and secondly would make the universe become necessary itself (since the mechanism would always create the universe), which, as we have seen, is extremely implausible. Another option, a necessary random explanation, is even more implausible, since, with this, we would expect much less orderly events to occur than those which we continuously observe as being highly intelligible in present reality. To the contrary, theism, as well as being much more plausible than these alternatives, is augmented ‘through the roof’ in plausibility because of the fine-tuning of the universe and the evidence from events such as Jesus’ resurrection, and the very fact that a species (i.e. humanity) has arisen that takes a suspicious interest in such a theistic reality! In these ways, premise 2 is made to be very plausible indeed.

I may have waffled a bit above, so please ask about anything which is unclear. I would like to mention that I consider the fine-tuning arguments, and the related design argument from the fundamental principles of physics, to be even more powerful than this (with fine-tuning as exquisite as 1 part in 10^10^123 for entropy), as well as the suspiciously plentiful evidence for the Resurrection. Indeed, reality seems a bit ‘fishy’ in nature in that so many of these arguments can work: why should there be so many different strands of evidence, combined with NDEs and countless personal experiences, some of which were not actively sought after? Indeed, the Christian worldview is, unlike many people like to think, well supported by ‘an abundance’ of evidence.

Thank you again, CC :slight_smile:

Hi CC!

We track a lot the same, including seeing UR as helpful for theodicy, and seeing a combination of arguments as especially compelling. I sympathize with each of your arguments and conclusions, but sense that they are individually less unavoidable, such that someone could be intelligent, and honestly find them less than compelling. I agree “fine tuning” seems challenging to scientists, who seem to need to mysteriously posit infinite ‘universes’ to explain the probabilities. I just suspect laymen, not grasping the implications of physical constants, will be skeptical of the huge odds that theists want them to trust, or will chalk it up as another “gap” in understanding a unified explanation for how things work that science will one day figure out.

Thanks for the clarifications. You don’t rely on Kalam, but say, “we can be confident… the universe had some sort of beginning.” How (esp. if “some sort” means from “absolutely nothing”)?? By “physics,” do you mean thermodynamics?

On CAfC, you are stretching my grasp! How would you respond to holding that it’s as reasonable to think God or the universe are equally “metaphysically necessary”? Why think one must be less of a brute fact (with no explanation) than the other? (I assume you don’t think whatever exists, including God, has an explanation.) Does God “have” to exist (in a way that we can know that the universe does not have to)? If so, why?

Blessings to you,

Thanks for your questions, Bob. :slight_smile:

I am afraid that the below reply is quite long, and I apologise for further lack of clarity or rambling.

By the way, I have just recently had a quick look at some of your other works and they show great insight and respect – the one offering a critique of Penal Substitution was especially good from those I looked at. I have, for a while, preferred different theories of the atonement, and I certainly agree with your (if I am understanding you correctly) thoughts on justice, and how it is about restoring wholeness and how it does not conflict with love – I support principles of restorative justice at the moment, and I believe that they would be useful for social application, since they are more centred around love and compassion than law-breaking.

Indeed, UR is a very fruitful principle indeed for a satisfying solution to the ‘Problem of Evil’ (and, of course, the classic ‘Problem of the Unevangelised’ and ‘Problem of Hell’), as well as a solution to many emotional forms of doubt, and, although I am highly unsure about this, perhaps a motivator for the atheist (who may, due to the threat of eternal hell, have specifically tried to convince themselves of their position in order to avoid fear) to examine theistic evidence.

What I would like to do is present the arguments, eventually, in a linked format, i.e. assembling them into an argument framework where one argument supports another in that they have similar conclusions or one argument supports a premise of another. Other arguments can be added if they are produced. Doing this helps portray the true power of the case for the Christian Worldview, rather than potentially diluting efforts by presenting the arguments more individually, which can cause people to rest too much on individual arguments rather than the case as a whole. I agree that, on some of the more abstract philosophical arguments, certain people could find them less compelling, but I still think that these, at least, can have a very valuable place in supporting the other arguments and as extra ‘boosters’ in themselves, as well as being attractive to those who prefer such philosophical reasoning. Also, I believe that the form in which I presented them was excessively complicated – perhaps some people would be more convinced by clearer reasoning that can more easily be visualised. It seems to me that these arguments also can be convincing if presented well.

I would just like to mention, in addition, that intellect and reasoning shouldn’t, in itself, be a sole basis for trust in God, because God is, at heart, not just a philosophical theory or concept, but a person, with actions of deep love and ‘unsearchable’ judgements (Romans 11 is some of my favourite Biblical material), where a mixture of reason and anchored trust should be appropriate to such a personal Being, as opposed to the work of a detective a detective story. I think that your apologetic alluded to this, and this is a reasonable approach. Regardless, however, I do believe that the evidence presently, if properly considered, is compelling, especially if the arguments are combined to form a combined ‘atom bomb’ (so to speak) case.

It seems to me that the fine-tuning arguments that you mention indeed may be difficult for people to grasp, but, perhaps by citing good sources, and even (if plausible) perform the calculations ourselves, presenting them in a way in which many people can understand, although this will be a challenge! I was influenced by reading some of John Houghton’s “The Search for God”, which really helped my approach in considering science as a mechanism for God’s action, not a replacement, and for introducing me to fine-tuning and the fact that, even if physical theories of the universe have ‘built-in’ fine-tuning, these show even greater evidence of intelligence. Much of what I have considered at present is still work in progress, but I particularly like the ‘holistic’ argument, which takes the whole of the naturalistic view of the world (i.e. everything governed by the ‘laws’ of physics etc.), assumes its completion, and uses its very nature in the fact that we can express it mathematically, with intelligible equations, regular principles and the fact that such principles can support life in any way whatsoever, and the fact that human life itself has theistic inclinations and capacity for NDEs etc., to infer to a transcendent Intelligence. The excellent aspect of this is its use of ‘inference to the best explanation’ and the fact that it cannot (since it assumes a full naturalistic picture) be rationally charged with traditional ‘God of the gaps’ or ‘laziness’ or ‘science will explain it (argumentum ad futuris)’ objections. It is not destroyed by scientific advances, but instead welcomes them, and some can in fact increase the power of the argument; of course, it will be a struggle to portray this in a way that is properly understandable!

As for the Kalam argument, I do not wish to reduce confidence in it: it is still a compelling argument for many, and has good points, but I would just like to ensure that people realise (as, of course, you do) that it is not the only argument nor necessarily the most powerful (although it is useful as an introductory apologetic since it can be easier to understand), and so, even if someone tries to “debunk” it, it should not be the entire rational basis of one’s ideas.

As for my comment, I mean that we can be just about certain that some form of Big Bang expansion phase occurred (and, yes, this is supported by the second law of thermodynamics, as well as Hubble’s law concerning distances of galaxies etc., and red shift) from (at least, being very conservative) a very small beginning. This, even if we don’t think about the Kalam argument at the moment, the very fact that the universe has not existed as a ‘steady state’, but instead began at a Big Bang, fits rather nicely into the theistic worldview, and so at very least gives evidence for a Creative agent in that such a universe that begins to exist exists at all, when a steady state universe was metaphysically possible. In other words, it seems odd (and in support of theism) that modern cosmology has confirmed a universe that, interestingly, slots rather nicely into the Judeo-Christian model of Creation; it is interesting when we hear that atheists such as Fred Hoyle used to actively oppose the ‘Big Bang’ theory because of its theistic implications!

I do realise that the CAfC is complicated and that I am not necessarily very adept at explaining it; I would imagine Dr. William Lane Craig, from whom many of the ideas orginiated at the (very useful) Reasonable Faith website ( would be able to explain it more proficiently. However, if expressed well, I do believe that it can be quite compelling, and very useful in the context of a ‘cumulative’ argument.

As for your comments, to provide a more visual overview of what the CAfC is presenting, we could consider it asking the question, “Why does any universe at all exist, when no universe had to exist?” It is treating the universe (the whole of everything governed by physical laws) as a complete entity, and asking the sensible question of what is it about our reality that means that we have existing a universe at all; thus, it is asking a more fundamental question than the ‘holistic’ argument that I briefly alluded to earlier.

You asked about God being metaphysically necessary, and the potential for the necessity of the universe. I think that I need to explain what I think that I mean when I say, ‘metaphysical necessity’: I am using an amateur view of modal logic, and possible world semantics, which treats all the ways that reality could possibly have been as a set of ‘possible worlds’, of which only one is actual. It is analogous to a thought experiment, and ‘world’ refers to ‘the whole of reality’ (everything that exists), and it is a theoretical concept, not an actual existence. Claims such as metaphysical necessity then refer to the proportion of these ‘possible worlds’ that a given claim is true in. Something that is contingent is only true in some of the possible worlds, while something that is either logically or metaphysically necessary is true in all possible worlds; this means that a metaphysically necessary proposition cannot fail to be true, since there is no possible world where it is false. I would just like to mention at this point that my grasp on this form of logic is not necessarily particularly representative, since it is mainly self-taught, and I apologise if you already knew about this.

Anyway, to say that something is explained by the necessity of its own nature, it means that it exists in every possibly world, and so the fact that it exists in the actual world is explained just by the fact that it must be true and cannot possibly fail to be true. The contention is that God, as a non-physical Mind, would be plausibly metaphysically necessary, given that the nature of a Mind (e.g. ability to think) is more plausible as a necessary Entity than a particular, and very specific and complex, collection of matter that makes up a universe, especially as we can be more certain of the existence of our own minds than of external reality (Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am”). In addition, taking the (well-fitting) definition of ‘maximal greatness’ for God (unlike the universe, since such a criterion does not fit the nature of the universe), metaphysical necessity seems to follow swiftly, since a necessary being is greater than one who is contingent. Then there’s also the idea that, if God is the Creator of any possible universe, it would make sense that He would be, at least, certainly existing in these possible worlds, which adds credence to the idea of metaphysical necessity, and which is only supportd by the conception that God is eternal, meaning that, with no beginning or end, it is quite plausible that such a Being has metaphysical necessity.

As for the universe, accepting it as metaphysically necessary (exists in all possible worlds) seems highly implausible, given that it would mean that some, or all, of the nature of the universe, simply couldn’t possibly be any different, when, in reality, the intricate complexity of the universe points away from this idea that it couldn’t have been otherwise, using the modal intuitions that we usually find trustworthy for other matters. William Lane Craig mentions, “That we do have such an intuition is indisputable, I think, for I can’t think of any contemporary philosopher who would defend the proposition that the universe exists necessarily”, … le&id=8533. An even more devastating attack on the necessity of the universe would be the fact that it is usually thought to have had a beginning of time and space: since necessary entities must exist eternally (since otherwise there would be possible states of affairs where they do not exist), a non-eternal (or timeless) entity must be contingent. Hence, metaphysical necessity for the universe it highly implausible. Thus, it at least seems plausible that the universe it contingent, and highly more plausible than not, which is what we are looking for; it’s not enough just to think of a possibility where a premise is wrong, but to consider plausibilities. In this way, it does not seem reasonable to ‘choose’ the metaphysical necessity of the universe over that of God.

As for ‘brute facts’, these are different to metaphysical necessities, since they would usually refer to, I imagine, contingent facts (only true in some possible worlds). Declaring that something just ‘exists’, without explanation, as a brute existence goes against premise 1, and making exceptions for the explanation of the universe is rather arbitrary, and such an exception should itself have an explanation apart from “to avoid the theistic consequences”, and this is even less plausible given the intricacy of physical reality, and the fact that brute facts are not very explanatory and should be reduced in number and only permitted if absolutely necessary. I would just like to emphasise, also, that no forms of ‘brute existence’ are permitted by premise 1, and God is no exception: He must be explained by implication of His metaphysical necessity (discussed earlier, reviewed again below) In this way, it is highly implausible that the universe itself ought to be considered a ‘brute existence’ (especially as other entities are not given this (fairly arbitrary) privilege.

As for how we know about God’s necessity, this very argument argues for this, which can be supported by other arguments! The CAfC is seeking to provide an argument in order to increase the plausibility of an intelligent, metaphysically necessary Mind, and is not presupposing such an Entity. As was briefly discussed above, reasons for the plausibility of God’s necessity include nature (maximal greatness), divine eternity (or timelessness) and the plausible nature of a necessary Minds. In these ways, metaphysical necessity fits God well, but such necessity is highly implausible when it comes to the universe.

Regardless, this argument would probably be most effective when used as a support to a premise of another argument, or in those philosophically minded. It is not necessarily as powerful as the holistic argument (from the intelligibility of the whole of naturalistic reality), or argument from Jesus’ Resurrection, but is still useful, and, if expressed better than me, could turn out to be a compelling argument on its own for increasing the plausibility of theism.

I hope that my rambling has been of some benefit, and I apologise for mistakes and lacks of clarity. For Dr. Craig’s more in-depth defence (not exactly the same as mine, but potentially interesting, see

Blessings to all,


CC, Thanks, I’ll digest your reflections, and try to formulate my question more cogently, but I’m headed on a road trip to the Rocky mountains where my computer access will be limited for three weeks. Please don’t interpret a present lack of response as any lack of interest. Your breadth of thinking is an inspiring blessing for me.

Hi Bob,

I’m new to this forum, so you may have answered this question elsewhere and I haven’t found the answer yet – if so, sorry for the repetition.

I’m wondering, given how cogent what you argue here is for a God who is Love and Love especially as Jesus lived and died (and lived again) it, how Christianity has gotten in many circles, both historically and contemporarily, so off track? In the past of course, institutional Christianity and its numerous cruelties could be explained by the fact that it was in bed with the state and that it was – well – an institution, which as Walter Wink convincingly suggests, has an ‘ego’ of its own, once it becomes autonomous enough. But how today? How today can so many – in fact most – committed Christians still believe and preach and practise a God of implied if not obvious cruelty? The lack of compassion many non-Christians consider characteristic of Christianity seems to me kind of mind boggling. That this forum is not mainstream in the world’s eyes when as your essays show, it really is just self-evident – is confusing.

When you’ve time, your thoughts on this would be appreciated.


Bob, I thought this last paragraph was especially interesting:

“Why should physical reality have any basic powers, especially the consistently “fine-tuned” givens that science requires to explain all else? Can it ‘just happen’ by accident? Unbelieving physicist Paul Davies clarifies, “The impression of design is overwhelming… The Universe is put together with such astonishing ingenuity that I can’t accept it merely as an unexplainable Brute Fact.” This apparent order in nature and its’ laws has led most cultures to conclude that the Source of every thing must be able to be a Powerful ‘Orderer.’”

Well, if quantum physics has taught us anything, it’s that “physical reality” doesn’t have any basic (intrinsic) powers; in fact, matter itself appears to be nothing more than energy produced by thought.!

So for anything to exist at all, there had to be an original intelligent “observer” to make it happen.

Hi Sasha!

I’m very sorry that I only now saw your inquiry (I was on the road in August). I’m especially apologetic that I have no comfort to offer in the church’s admittedly confusing failure to embody Jesus’ love & compassion as its’ priority (it does seem that the Bible’s whole story displays his people as rather consistently bombing).

I only know that Jesus’ ‘follower’s’ failure to practice what he espoused doesn’t change how impressed I am with Jesus himself and his message. And, I can say that in my feeble efforts to practice this value, it seems like I experience blessings that vindicate Jesus’ message. So, as my paper suggests, I’m left with whether to place my bet on such love, even when I’m reduced to finding hope for its’ triumph bolstered in very few places, though especially in Jesus. It seems all the more like there needs to actually be something like ‘God,’ in order to reasonably retain any hope of love’s ultimate vindication.

Grace be with you,