Can We Believe It?: Evidence for Christianity

Can We Believe It?: Evidence for Christianity

by George A. F. Seber

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498289191
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 03/21/2016
Pages: 406
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

George Seber is an Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Auckland University, New Zealand, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and recipient of the Hector medal in Information Sciences by the Society. He is the author, or coauthor, of seventeen books in statistics and, more recently, being a trained counselor/psychotherapist, has written an extensive book on counseling. He has published about ninety research articles in a wide variety of statistical subjects.

Table of Contents

Preface xii

1 What Do Science and Mathematics Prove? 1

1.1 The Nature of Science 1

1.1.1 Assumptions of Science 2

1.1.2 Legacy of Science 3

1.1.3 Materialism and Naturalism 4

1.1.4 Communicating and Doing Science 5

1.2 Enter Mathematics 6

1.2.1 Numbers in Nature 6

1.2.2 What is Mathematics about? 8

1.2.3 Mathematics and Reality 8

1.3 The Scientific Method 11

1.3.1 Falsifiability 11

1.3.2 Mathematic Has Limits 12

1.4 Conclusion 13

2 Is There a God? 15

2.1 A Matter of Faith? 15

2.2 Nature of Our Universe 20

2.3 The Argument from Abstract Objects 23

2.4 The Cosmological and Related Arguments 26

2.4.1 Evidence of a Beginning 26

2.4.2 The Arguments of Aquinas 33

2.5 The Teleological Argument 38

2.5.1 The Role of Mathematics 38

2.5.2 Fundamental Laws of Physics 40

2.5.3 Subatomic Particles 43

2.5.4 Fine Tuning 44

2.5.5 Anthropic Principle 49

2.5.6 Multiverses 51

2.6 Argument from Design 54

2.6.1 Some General Arguments 55

2.6.2 The Genetic Code 57

2.6.3 Epigenetics 59

2.6.4 Evolutionary Developmental Biology 61

2.7 The Moral Argument 61

2.7.1 Universal Values 62

2.7.2 The Moral Law Giver 65

2.8 God and Religious Experiences 67

2.9 Evidence and Probability 68

2.9.1 The Nature of Probability 68

2.9.2 Probability of God 69

2.10 Conclusion 72

3 Is There a Spiritual Dimension? 73

3.1 Who are We? 73

3.1.1 Nothing But… 74

3.1.2 Looking for Meaning 76

3.1.3 Are We More Than Molecules? 77

3.2 Are We Spiritual? 78

3.2.1 Neurothcology 79

3.2.2 Our Changing Brain 82

3.3 Mind and Brain 84

3.3.1 Qualia 84

3.3.2 Consciousness 87

3.4 Dualism or Monism 90

3.4.1 Near Death Experiences 92

3.4.2 Mind Over Matter and OCD 94

3.5 Biblical Concepts of Body, Mind, and Spirit 97

3.6 External Evidence of a Spiritual Dimension 98

3.6.1 Spiritual Forces 99

3.7 Conclusion 102

4 Do We Have Free Will? 103

4.1 What Is Free Will? 103

4.1.1 Does Randomness Exist? 104

4.1.2 Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle 109

4.1.3 Enter Quantum Mechanics 110

4.1.4 Relativity theory 116

4.1.5 Short Comings of Materialism 116

4.1.6 Uncertainty and Determinism 117

4.2 Determinism, Indeterminism, and Self-determinism 118

4.2.1 Libet's Experiments 120

4.3 God's Sovereignty and Human Accountability in the Bible 124

4.3.1 Four Answers 125

4.4 Conclusion 130

5 Is the Bible Reliable? 131

5.1 General Principles 131

5.2 Old Testament 134

5.2.1 Earlier Manuscripts 135

5.2.2 Internal Evidence 136

5.2.3 Old Testament Canon 144

5.2.4 Archaeological Evidence for the Old Testament 146

5.2.5 Early Chapters of Genesis 147

5.3 Old Testament Codes 150

5.4 New Testament 151

5.4.1 Authorship and. Dating 151

5.4.2 Archaeological Evidence for the New Testament 156

5.4.3 New Testament Manuscripts 157

5.4.4 Reliability of the Gospel Writers 158

5.4.5 Consistency of the Gospels 159

5.4.6 Choosing the Canon 164

5.5 Prophecy in the Bible 166

5.6 Alleged Biblical Contradictions 167

5.6.1 Unpleasant Old Testament Stories or Practices 171

5.6.2 New Testament Difficulties 177

5.7 The Bible and Science 178

5.8 Scriptural Inspiration 180

5.9 Conclusion 181

6 Who is Jesus? 183

6.1 Evidence for His Existence 183

6.2 The Ethics of Jesus 185

6.3 Outstanding Features of Jesus' Life 188

6.3.1 He Had an Extraordinary Introduction into History 188

6.3.2 He Had Extraordinary Abihties 192

6.3.3 He Made Extraordinary Claims 195

6.3.4 He Had extraordinary Powers 199

6.3.5 He Had an Extraordinary Birth 200

6.4 He Had an Extraordinary Death and Resurrection 201

6.4.1 What Happened? 201

6.4.2 Paul's Early Writing 203

6.4.3 The Evidence 205

6.4.4 Probability Arguments 212

6.4.5 Some Alternative Views of the Resurrection 218

6.5 Is Jesus the Only Way? 218

6.5.1 All the Major Religions are Exclusive 219

6.5.2 New Age 221

6.5.3 Mystery Religions 222

6.5.4 Relativism 223

6.6 Comparing Religions 223

6.6.1 Their Founders 224

6.6.2 Universality 226

6.6.3 Nature of God 226

6.6.4 Nature of Sin 227

6.6.5 Scriptures 227

6.6.6 Nature of the Afterlife 228

6.6.7 Obtaining Salvation 228

6.6.8 Tolerance and Compulsion 230

6.7 Those That Haven't heard 230

6.8 Is God Unfair? 232

6.9 Conclusion 235

7 Do Miracles Occur? 237

7.1 Definitions and Theories 237

7.2 The Rise and Fall of Scientific Laws 240

7.3 Miracles and Natural Law 242

7.4 Biblical Miracles 243

7.4.1 Categories of Miracles 249

7.4.2 God the Free Creator 249

7.5 Conclusion 250

8 Why Does God allow Suffering and Evil? 253

8.1 Introduction 253

8.2 Positive Aspects of Pain 257

8.3 Why Did God Create Us? 257

8.4 Some Philosophical Arguments 259

8.4.1 Best Possible World 260

8.4.2 Further Answers 261

8.5 Free will 262

8.5.1 We Have Some Freedom 262

8.5.2 We are Free to Hurt Ourselves 263

8.5.3 We are Free to Hurt Others 264

8.5.4 We are Free to Ignore God 264

8.6 An Impartial World 265

8.7 Natural Disasters 265

8.7.1 Human Influence in Disasters 266

8.7.2 Everything Falls to Bits Sooner or Later 266

8.8 Animal Suffering 268

8.9 Biblical Perspective 270

8.9.1 Genesis Chapter 1 270

8.9.2 Genesis Chapters 2 and 3 277

8.9.3 The World is a Spiritual Battleground 280

8.9.4 Animal Suffering and the Bible 281

8.9.5 The World is to Be Restored 283

8.9.6 Suffering and Other Religions 283

8.10 Some Traditional Answers 284

8.10.1 Suffering is God's Judgement 284

8.10.2 Satan Can Afflict People 286

8.10.3 Reincarnation: Suffering from Sin in Past Lives 286

8.10.4 Suffering is Ali in the Mind 287

8.11 Some Old Testament Responses 287

8.12 Some Positive Aspects of Suffering 291

8.13 An Approach to Suffering 295

8.13.1 The Death of Christ 295

8.13.2 Conclusion 298

9 Is Christianity a Blessing or a Curse to Society? 299

9.1 Shameful Events 299

9.2 Missionaries 301

9.3 Health Benefits of Christianity 301

9.4 Science Flourished under a Christian Umbrella 302

9.5 Christianity and Society 306

9.5.1 Jews and Gentiles 306

9.5.2 Husband and wife 306

9.5.3 Parents and children 308

9.5.4 Masters and slaves 309

9.5.5 Other social contributions 310

9.6 Conclusion 312

10 What About Evolution? 313

10.1 The Nature of Evolution 313

10.1.1 Hox Genes 315

10.1.2 Evolution of Everything 316

10.1.3 Can We Trust Evolution to Get it Right? 317

10.2 Some Evidences for Evolution 318

10.2.1 Vestigial Organs in Humans 321

10.2.2 Evidence of Poor Design 321

10.3 Evidence for Human Evolution 324

10.3.1 Pseudogcnes 325

10.3.2 Establishing Connections 325

10.3.3 Retroviruses 328

10.3.4 Genetic Parasites 329

10.4 In the Beginning… 329

10.4.1 A Prebiotic Soup? 330

10.4.2 Evolution of Proteins 331

10.4.3 Evolution of the Cell 334

10.4.4 Animal Fossils 335

10.4.5 Human Evolution 340

10.4.6 Second Law of Thermodynamics 342

10.5 Irreducibly Complex System 344

10.6 Is Evolution Compatible with the Nature of God? 347

10.7 Conclusion 351

11 How Do We Get to Know God? 351

11.1 Introduction 351

11.2 What is God Like? 352

11.3 What Docs it Mean to Know God? 354

11.4 Is God Knowable? 354

11.4.1 The Role of God's Creation 355

11.4.2 God's Revelation 356

11.4.3 Life. Without God 357

11.5 Reaching Out 359

11.5.1 Contemplation 359

11.5.2 Steps to Communication 359

11.6 Conclusion 365

References 366

Index 383

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